Monday, August 25, 2014


Repurpose - verb. To alter to make more suited for a different purpose. (wiktionary)

I'm not sure when this term came into use in the English language but it's what I've been doing this weekend.

About 10 years ago I bought a skirt which I loved and wore and wore and wore.  It was long and floaty and eventually started to fall to pieces - the seam around the zip had ripped and the hem was starting to fray too.  But I couldn't bring myself to throw it out so it lay in the fabric pile until Sunday when, after watching an old episode of 'This Old Thing', I had the idea of turing it into a top.

Armed with a stitch ripper I took the yoke off the  top, removed the zip and green band and started to work out how it might change into a top.

This involved lots of cutting and pinning and trying on - what I'd forgotten was that the skirt was cut on the bias and this made it an absolute pig to work with. At one point I added the original green band around the neck (after phoning a friend for emergency supplies of green thread!) but the bias made it all twist so I unpicked it.

After a lot of fiddling it has become this:

I'm pleased with it and I know that I'll enjoy wearing it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The March of Summer

The builders are working next door (and in a terraced house 'next door' is very close) so I've been escaping as much as possible. Yesterday I decided to leave the brick dust and blaring radio and headed off to Arger Fen, my favourite local wood.

Despite it being the school holidays there was hardly anyone about (they all probably knew it was about to rain, I clearly didn't!).

There were lots of wild flowers about: thistles, hawkweed, rosebay willow herb and greater stitchwort amongst others.

But there were also signs that summer is moving ever onward: teasels, blackberries (quite a few of which came home with me), elder berries, rose hips and sloes.

I walked to the large pond

(not actually a part of Arger Fen reserve but very beautiful) where I sat and watched dragonflies darting and swallows flying high.  This is when the heavens opened and I got very wet as I was a good way away from cover and by the time I got back to cover it had stopped raining!

If you want to see where I escaped to last week hop over to Celia's blog to read about our day out in London.

Friday, August 8, 2014

And There Were Poppies Too

After having had a lovely few days in Ireland last weekend I took myself off for a day in London yesterday.  I spent the morning in the Chelsea Physic Garden, somewhere I'd never visited before.

It is an oasis of calm, surrounded by beautiful buildings.  As someone who is very interested in the properties of plants, especially for healing and dyeing I found it all fascinating - and the glasshouses were fab too :-)

After a short tube ride and an unplanned walk from Green Park (courtesy of 'significant delays on the Piccadilly Line') I arrived at the theatre to see this:

I never managed to see it in the 80s when it was first on and all I can say about is that it is totally brilliant.  I've seen many many West End shows over the years and this has to rate joint first (joint with Phantom of the Opera which I saw with the original London cast in the 80s).

Then I set off on a long walk - first of all along the south bank where I wanted to see some of the Books About Town benches.  These are 50 benches in all designed to celebrate London's literacy heritage and to promote reading for pleasure.

William Shakespeare

Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler
If you're in London it's worth taking the time to find some of them as they are all so different and such fun (and free!).  The War Horse bench was my favourite.

Micheal Morpurgo's War Horse

But the poppies on the bench weren't the only poppies I'd come to see.  I had come to see the Tower Poppies - an art installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins with setting by stage designer Tom Piper entitled 'Bloodswept Lands and Seas of Red'.   888,246 individually made ceramic poppies will be 'planted' around the moat of the Tower of London, each one representing a British Military fatality during the 1st World War.

They start off tumbling out from a window in the Tower

and meander their way along the west wall (clicking on an image will enlarge it)

before appearing to leap over the main entrance bridge.

At the moment they don't go much further than this but by November the sea of red will completely surround the Tower.

You can find more here, including a video of how they were made, and also how to buy one if you so wish.

If you're in London between now and the end of November it really is worth visiting this very poignant and beautiful tribute to the British Servicemen and women who died fighting for us in the 1st World War.