Tuesday, October 29, 2013

After the Storm

Yesterday's storm passed through here with very little immediate effect - a few branches down in the street and that was about it.  But a 5 min walk to the river Stour today showed just what power it had.

Willows have been cracked and snapped.

Some have already been cleared from the path and cut up - left for wildlife to snuggle down in during winter I hope.

But it wasn't just willows that were damaged, across on the other bank a broader leaved tree (an alder I think) has had a limb snapped and is resting in the river.

I was pleased to see that the swan family were ok, although there was only 1 adult around today (if you enlarge the picture you might be able to see the now rather large cygnets in the background).

Today everything had returned to a restful calm.

The trains are still not running and there was no sign of anyone clearing the branches up from the line (I guess as a single track branch line we don't have priority) - I wonder how long it will be before they're back?

I hope you all survived the storm ok.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Apple Days

I don't have any apple trees in my garden but the house next door but one does.  When I moved here an elderly gentleman called Arthur lived there, he'd planted the trees many years ago. Arthur died a few years ago and his house is now rented to a very pleasant young couple who have absolutely no interest in their garden at all so they let my neighbour and I pick as many apples as we like.

Yesterday, mindful of an approaching storm, we picked the final ones.  

One of the trees we think is an egremont russet

One is possibly a cox

And one is totally unidentified; a redish, very juicy eater

But the best of all are the cookers.  

They are much sweeter than normal cookers and hardly need any sugar at all but we have no idea which variety they are.  They're the size of a bramley but yellower in colour - anyone know what variety they could be?

I made chutney from some of the windfalls

And will freeze some of the other cookers for use over the winter, but I'll keep some to bake later, filled with some dried fruit and brandy - yum!

Friday, October 18, 2013

And the Winner Is...

It's been a bit of a busy week and I'd meant to draw the winner of the needle case on Wed but, better late than never, tonight I drew the winning name out of the cup.

Cathy Daniel of Potter Jotter is the winner.  Cathy, if you email me your address I'll get it into the post for you.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Trip To The Ally Pally

This is the time of year when Fran and I make our annual 'pilgrimage' to the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Ally Pally.  I think this was our 4th visit and, as ever, it didn't disappoint.

Although there were many lovely galleries of work, these were my two favourites; the first by Mandy Pattullo who re-fashions old quilts and fabrics into new patchworks and textile art.   

I particularly loved her use of colour.  There are lots more photos of the work in this exhibition on her blog.

The other gallery that really took our eye was the one entitled "Our World of Make Believe' - a wonderfully imaginative display of free form crochet and knitting by Mitsuko Tonouchi and Sonomi Tanimoto. 

I also really loved this work in the graduate showcase by artist Faith Wray.  

You can't see it from my poor photo but she'd taken photos of old buildings, and created panels using various mixed media, textiles and other materials based on the textures and colours. 

Of course I also did a fair amount of shopping; some alpaca and silk lace weight yarn from Eden Cottage Yarns ,

a rainbow of naturally dyed blue faced leicester yarn from The Natural Dye Studio (I plan to make a crocheted scarf)

and some other bits, mainly for using with the embellisher, including a lovely dark blue based silk brick from Oliver Twists and some fancy threads from Stef Francis.

It was a great day, one of the highlights of my year, and I'll definitely be back for more next year!

I'll leave you with the yarn bombed taxi that was outside

and a reminder that if you want a chance to win the needle-case made from Celia's fabric then pop over to this post and leave a comment, I'll be drawing the name on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Secret Sewing Project (part 2)

As you'll know if you read part one I still had something to finish using the fabric from Celia's new fabric collection.  On Saturday morning I drove to Tiptree to replenish the supplies that I was missing and am pleased to say that the final items are now finished!

First to be finished was a bag.

Slightly padded, trimmed with ribbon and lined with a dark patterned cotton.

It has a little pocket inside 

and is going to come in very useful on a certain trip I have planned to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace later this week.

 Then I decided to use up the tiny scraps of fabric that I had left and I made two needle cases.

Both are slightly padded, have twisted and tassled cords and have wool felt leaves inside for the needles.

The one with the button fastening (below), has already got a new home to go to

but I made the other little one (below) to give away - it's about 3" square and has a tie fastening.  If you'd like to give it a new home then just leave a comment indicating that you'd like it and I'll draw the names out of the hat.

As before all of Celia's fabrics can be found in her Spoonflower shop and links to the other gorgeous things made by herself, Gina and Tracy can all be found on her blog.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Secret Sewing Project (part 1)

Over the summer I received an email from Celia with an offer she knew I wouldn't be able to resist - would I like some free fabric from her new fabric collection to do what I liked with and blog about?  I didn't take long to reply and very soon a lovely parcel arrived

which contained three pieces of the most gorgeous printed linen cotton canvas in beautiful designs and colours.

I decided to use the 'stone' hearts design to make a very simple cushion as I knew it would be perfect in my lounge.

Just some rounded corners and on the back a co-ordininating plain fabric with some beautiful matching buttons I found to set off Celia's lovely design

and it looks perfect on my sofa.

Next I decided to make myself a case for my work iPad using the two designs in the 'sea' colourway.

It's padded and I used a co-ordinating fabric to line it

I used a different heart on the back 

and the elastic pops round the button to secure it.

I'm going to enjoy using this case in all the schools that I visit this year.

You can buy all of Celia's fabrics here from her Spoonflower shop

Now some of you may be wondering why this post is titled 'part 1' - it's because, due to a supply failure  (ie I've run out of something I need to finish it and, due to manic work commitments, haven't been able to get anywhere to get some more!) the other item I'm making is still a work in progress - but here's a little taster of it

It will be revealed asap, I promise.

Thank you Celia letting me have some of these lovely fabrics to play with - do pop over to her blog and those of the other secret sewers, Tracy and Gina, to see what they made too - there are some amazing things :-).

Edited - 'unfinished project' is now finished and blogged about here (there's a give-away too!)