Saturday, 26 June 2010

Vintage pizazz!

Doesn't it feel good to tick things off your to do list! 
And this project has been waiting in the wings patiently for quite a while. I'm eager to turn our box room into a lovely girls retreat, with just enough pink but equally filled with a mix of new and vintage fabric and finds. So transforming this;

into this,

was high on my list, but it still didn't have that pizazz. 
It needed something. So after a quick rummage through my vintage stash, 
cushion one appeared,

And just in case it got lonely and to make the chair extra comfy a second cushion appeared.

It's lovely as little E who is now a whopping 8 months old got all excited when she saw her transformed chair, her chubby legs went berserk and she grinned like a Cheshire cat.
I'm beginning to think she might already share her mummy's obsession with fabric! 

Monday, 21 June 2010

The garden takes over!

The gorgeous sunny days that we have been having lately has meant that sewing of an evening has been replaced by watering our veg patch and greenhouse. I'm not complaining, as its amazing to wake everyday to sunshine but with our water butts now completely empty, watering from buckets out of the stream bordering the allotments is quite hard work. Though we are already beginning to reap our rewards.

The kids are munching through our best crop of strawberries ever, I am happy to be left with our patch of wild strawberries which I prefer, the boys choosing size over taste! We also picked our first crop of peas yesterday. None of them made it as far as the kitchen. It brings me much delight to watch the boys sitting on the allotment amongst the veg snacking on peas. I have very clear memories of my sister and I on holiday in Wales sitting podding peas, it was a case of eat one, put one in the bowl!

Our rhubarb is still going strong. I'm hoping to get one more picking before it's time to let the plant rest. It's become a great trading item on the allotments. In return for rhubarb we have had courgette, squash and tomato plants which is great as we're been behind on our sowing. I've also stumbled across some different rhubarb recipes. Rhubarb and ginger cake was delicious, the rhubarb helping to make the cake lovely and moist. On the same site I found a rhubarb relish recipe. It made less than two jam jars and I served it at a small family barbecue we had the other week. I was concerned that I had added too much chilli but seeing as I only have a spoonful left that obviously wasn't the case. It went down very well, so I'm definitely going to be making more. 

I'm also keen to try this recipe for rhubarb bread. I used to make a lot of bread before #3 came along so I'm looking forward to filling the kitchen once more with the smell of freshly baked bread. We cooked our first meal last week using our conger. We cooked it in an onion and tomato sauce with potatoes, the recipe called it a soup though it turned out more like a stew. The fish was tasty, with the flesh being very meaty. As for bones well I can't imagine eating it in a restaurant as we sat there with kitchen roll at the ready, the bones made it fiddly but it was still worth it, which is a good thing considering how much is still in the freezer!

The sunshine really has made the flowers bloom. Just when we were giving up on the clematis as it usually gets clematis wilt before it flowers it has produced the most gorgeous velvety deep purple flowers, The climbing rose has an abundance of flowers on it. It wasn't until today that I noticed it rambling happily through our neighbours trees!

The gazania's open up every morning soaking up the heat,a bit like lizards basking in the sun!
The white clematis not wanting to be out done by the purple one has produced flowers the size of your hand.

Inspired by this lovely lady Mr D and I are attempting elderflower champagne for the first time. It's busy doing it's thing in a quiet corner of the house, if their is such a thing. We're quite excited about making this drink and Mr D is busy planning more hedgerow brews, with help from his Father's Day pressie.

Our redcurrants are nearly ready for picking and if we get to the gooseberries before our chickens do it looks like a bumper crop. So I'll soon be making jam, talk about being kept busy!!

Friday, 18 June 2010

this moment ...........

 Just a photograph, or two! 

 a special moment I'd like to remember always, no words, inspired by Amanda Soule.
Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Birthday table runner

July is birthday central for us. Starting at the beginning of the month with #1's birthday then a week later mine, followed by my dad's, my Gran's, then mum's and their wedding anniversary, and finally at the end of the month my niece's. So it's a busy time and one that I try to get as organised as possible for.

As soon as I saw French Generals "rouenneries" range for Moda I knew it would be perfect for my parents. The fabric has a linen look about it and there is a lovely selection of small and large prints as well as solids. To me it just speaks of kitchens and reminds me of my mum and dads, so I decided on a table runner.

I wanted to use as many of the great prints as possible so I decided to use a charm pack. And what a delight, anything that takes the cutting process out is a bonus in my eyes! The hardest part of this project was deciding the layout though also very enjoyable, I had great fun selecting the arrangement of the prints. 

I've added a linen border and used a heavier interior weight fabric on the back. Both these fabrics were bought from ikea (here) who are beginning to produce some very useful fabrics at excellent low prices. I used a bamboo/cotton wadding and kept the quilting to a minimum.

It's one of the quickest sewing projects I've done and I'm very pleased with the result.

The loveliest thing is with my mum over for a short stay I've been able to give her their present,  in person, a little early but great to see her reaction. And judging from her "ooh's and aah's" she too has fallen for this gorgeous range of prints and the table runner will soon be taking pride of place in their French farmhouse kitchen.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Let's all do the conger!

How do you spend your evenings?
Ours last night took an unexpected turn, when this rather large creature turned up!

One of our neighbours loves going sea fishing but he and his family don't like fish! This I thought was quite a shame all that fresh fish and nobody to eat it! So last night there was a knock at the door and not being one to say no to some free food, a bin bag was handed over and inside along with lots of other great catches was this huge conger eel!
 The only problem was how exactly do you skin a conger.

 With a pair of pliers it seems and some brute force!
The fork through its body was for me to try and hold it steady whilst Mr D tried to pull the skin off. It wasn't the quickest of operations and not for the squeamish but we got there in the end and have now a freezer full of scrumptious fish.

So tonight I'm searching for recipes. Apparently it has sweet tasting flesh but unfortunately plenty of bones. I'm thinking soups and stews, plenty of onions and tomatoes a bit of garlic and handfuls of parsley. Any suggestions are more than welcome!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

A Homage to "Red letter Day"!

My second quilt is finally complete!
Just when I was beginning to feel like I would never find the time to get it finished, half term came and somehow with the boys occupying each other and #3 napping, a little sewing got done, and I'm extremely happy with the results.

I must say I've made mistakes, some of which irritate me, especially because as soon as I had made them I realised what I'd done wrong. I guess this is what happens when you teach yourself something so that's ok as its a learning curve, I just need to remember to learn from my mistakes!

I've also learnt about wadding. I followed the advice I got from your very useful comments and bought Hobbs batting. It feels like a lovely wadding but after sandwiching the layers together and reminding myself that I was making a play mat rather than a quilt and it was puffiness that I was after I changed my mind and decided to use 4oz polyester instead.

Why the word polyester makes me shiver I don't know, after all the polyester is sandwiched by cotton. I didn't find it that easy to quilt but that is probably due to my lack of experience rather than the wadding itself. I am pleased with the end result. It's not as puffy as I had thought it would be, but it is a nice weight and I think it offers enough protection to soften #3's falls even on our wooden floors.

After a lot of umming and ahhing over a fabric for the back I decided to stick with "red letter day" and the duck theme and choose "Sitting ducks" in tangerine. I also used her "pink and lilac" stripe for the binding. So I really feel this play mat has turned into a homage to Lizzy House's Red letter Day.

With #3 sat on her "ducks" as I type I feel very happy that I can finally cross this project off my to make list.
I already have plans for another quilt it would be naughty of me not to! I mean I can't just buy the hobbs wadding and not use it, now that would be a waste!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A Bad Influence

If like me you really don't need any more fabric I advise you to look away now!
I've been debating whether to share this knowledge with you all or whether it would be better for everyone's bank balance if I kept quiet! You see the other day when I was innocently flicking round the internet I ended up here. Unfortunately the shop in question five valley designs is closing down which means that there is a sale on. A whopping 40% off everything. This includes many sewing and knitting patterns, books and fabric. So you can guess what happened next, well I just had to take a quick peek!

Well it would have been rude of me not to have helped clear the shop of stock!!

Most of the fabric in the shop is Amy Butler's. I'm a fan of her prints but I must say her "Love" range up until now has really past me by. But I do have a love of spots, so I couldn't resist buying these. There a great addition to my stash. The colours are fresh and bright, very spring like.

I also couldn't resist her Memento in Burgundy.

Oh and just in case I run out of projects on my to do list which isn't at all likely but you just never know I bought Amy Butler's barcelona skirt pattern. 
So as you can see, the internet can at times be a terrible influence on oneself, how dare it show me a fabric sale! 
And just in case you find looking at images of fabric slightly boring my boys thought they would make the photos more entertaining!

#1 "Mummy what are you doing", my response "taking photos of fabric", 
#1 "WHY?" followed quickly by "how boring" and that was that my little bit of peace was shattered and my innocent photos turned in to the following;

I'll leave it up to you to decide if the photos do indeed 
look more interesting with the help of my dear boys!

If I have been a bad influence on you, and you fancy having a look at five valleys their sale is on until the 30th June.