Thursday, 29 July 2010

Good Life

I know I am slightly stuck in a theme here; it's all garden and harvest and food, but it does not get much better than this. A friend has a beautiful old "coble", a traditional fishing boat, and went to give it a spin yesterday evening. As he was giving the engine a run he thought that he could as well have a line in the water and then it all happened! He had to stop fishing in order to stop landing fish which could not be eaten. We got five of the beautiful mackrels and I think all his neighbours and pretty much the whole street was supplied!
The fish was all gutted and headed, which I did not expect and look at their shiny sides here:

I went to the garden to get some new potatoes and salad stuff and we had a feast for the lunch. I would have loved to give some of my produce in exchange, but this couple has a double allotment providing them and for the aforementioned street!  Yum Yum Yum!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Herbal Goodness

Oooh...time runs away in the summer when I need to catch every possible sun-ray and mild skin caressing wind outside. I could literally spend a day pottering in my polytunnel, having a cup of tea in the chair placed in one of the corners and just soak in the serenity of that magical growing sphere.

I am not a herbalist, but like to make some easy home made remedies for us. We are not much ill, so remedies are very basic. My skin tends to get eczema during the winter so I gathered marigold (Calendula) petals for my bath. I also picked sage and rasberry leaves for hormonal balancing, should I need it and thyme and oregano for cooking.
My climbing rose yielded some flowers for petal baths and here are my bath petal jars:

I have since collected more marigold petals and even used them in my bath. The night I used them I was really tired and could not be bothered to wait for the water to drain to clean the petals away. I forgot about them and the following morning while I was enjoying my breakfast in bed, courtesy of Elf Husband, Elf Son came to the bedroom to announce: "Mummy, even if it is your un-birthday, you do have to clean up the mess from the bath".
Any nice home made remedies you have been  making?

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Selfish Peasantry

Hello, hello from very windy Northumberland! I was half thinking gardening today, but the wind out there would drive me round the bend in no time. The only garden related work today was securing our polytunnel yet again. It has taken flight already once and I think we have to bite the bullet and turn it 90 degrees, so the sides turn to the East and West where the strong winds blow from. Having the ends towards the wind is to ask for trouble.
Well, I have not have a chance to sew much lately and the week gone has gone in tired haze after the weekend when I taught my Kinesiology Course. I don't normally need this long to recuperate, but life threw a couple of curve balls at me and hence I started to feel slightly like me again first on Thursday.

My intention was to press on with my project which is a present, but I found out that I have somehow lost my pair of little sewing scissors which are really essential for the project. I tried without, but managed already to have an accident and decided that I better pack the BIG project away today. So I decided to be selfish and sew this peasant blouse from Meg MCElwee's Sew Liberated book.

I had thought of this for a good while and because it is a true peasant blouse it fitted the bill today. It was an easy project to cut and sew without much ado. I am at the best of the times a hodge-podge seamstress and thrive best when the sewing does not have to be done by millimetre.  On the other hand when I manage to be precise there is no end to my self-congratulations. Anyway, this blouse would make an easy beginner project as the sleeves are so easy to sew on and there is absolutely nothing fiddly about the neckline either.

Meg uses in her blouse a linen-coloured linen with a little appliqué flower. I had this white linen-cotton blend fabric in my draw and there was just enough. I borrowed the birdies from Meg's other project. I appliqued them on with raw edges and hope that they fray and get more visible with washing.

The day has been really rather lazy for our family today, that's what we needed most. I was so lazy that I served this for our lunch:

The Boys did not object, although the Elf Son did request a sandwich as his pudding! Do you have any easy projects to share?

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Many Pattullo's Artwork

For a while ago I visited Mandy Pattullo's art exhibition, which was on tour with the "Highlights". Highlights is an organisation, which brings art, music and drama to rural communities in Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland. Unfortunately I was so dazed with all the lovely work that I totally forgot to take any photos. Mandy has a blog, so you might want to see some of her work there. I bought one of her recent "small" pieces. She works with a theme for a time and "empties" it before moving on to her next "obsession"(Mandy's own words). Last year she has been working with "Thrift and Thread", using a lot of old materials to make new things. One of the sources has been old Victorian Quilts. My little bird has a piece of such a quilt. She has then embroidered the picture on it with traditional embroidery techniques. The theme before this was called "Memento Mori" and had some beautiful pieces inspired of the old gravestones. She had looked at especially women's headstones from Victorian era, when lots of women died in childbirth. The pieces she made were both beautiful, etheral and haunting. Do go and see her work if you have a chance.

 Back to her joyful piece and more details from it:

I have framed this in IKEA's white "Ribba" frame and I think I will hang it in my workroom. It does have a glass, so not that easy to photograph. I am always slightly in two minds putting glass in front of textile as it does take something from it - for the time being I am quite happy with it. My blogheading embroidery might be framed similarly and be hung next to Mandy's birdy.

Have you seen any inspirational art lately?

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Kitchen Loveliness

Sweets! No, actually the new kitchen cabinet handles I painted. I am quite in love with them. The local hardware shop supplied the pine knobs and I decorated them with my artist's acrylic colours. I did add two layers of clear varnish to them as they are in use all the time. To begin with I had a more complicated scheme in my mind, but realised that I like the look of spots and spirals. I have this littleTingatinga painting in my kitchen

which has orange

and green

and black colours in it and because I did not want to do any black handles, I went for really dark purple. In low light it looks black, but that does not bother me.

The new handles in situ:

Our kitchen has North facing window, so all photography is tricky. The window wall where most of my decorative items are is almost "no-photos" zone. I know, I just have to borrow Elf Husband's SLR camera and everything is possible and photoshopping helps as well. I wanted to show you a couple of other things from my fresh new kitchen.
One of the Moroccan wall lamps, which Elf Husband installed for me. Thank You! I know it was a horrible job involving crawling in our attic.

A corner with the sheep clock and a rice sorting basket on the wall. I have coriander from my garden hanging to dry.

The coriander is hanging from a shelf we installed above the window after the painting. As the ceiling is quite low, there is almost no natural light that way, so the pictures don't really do justice. Here are though two snaps from my fish collection on the self.

I bought a hand towel and made three lovely teatowels from a scarf. Yes, I know that sounds daft, but this scarf was made of two layers of nappy muslin and dries dishes beautifully. The scarf was originally dyed and sewn by two of my friends. i had it for years and seldom used it as a scarf, but more often as a tablecloth. One day though I had a candle accident and an ugly hole was burnt into it, so now it has a new lease of life as very posh teatowels. I also added the ribbon as an extra, when I made the towels.

I love flowers and I make little posies for our house during the summer. Here is the latest one in the kitchen.

And the chandelier is there as well, without the birds at the moment, but with green candles. (Do I notice an obsession with a colour?)

I hope to get some pictures to show of the whole kitchen in a sunny evening, after a cleaning fit! Now I better go and do some preparation for teaching in the weekend!