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I am having a lovely Sunday doing lots of things that I have been meaning to do for ages like back up all my camera pics and little bits of domesticity that are not too taxing. It is at the moment a lovely sunny Sunday so they may even be a chance for gardening later (once I am out of my dressing gown – do not want to scare the neighbours!).
I love Sundays during the winter months – we are so rarely here during the summer due to all our events so it is lovely to be inside all warm and cosy with the prospect of knitting and DVDs later on this afternoon (hmm ….. Little House on the Prairie or Tudors Season 3 – decisions, decisions…..). I cast on for the head of the teddy I am making last night and so far so good so may be able to show you an item that looks like a bear later in the week!
I do love being at home even though I love travelling. I am lucky enough to live in a very nice house – the kitchen is especially lovely so I though I would share some pictures of it with you so you can see the hub of my domestic creativity. I love looking at pics of other people’s houses on blogs (satisfies my inner curiosity!) so thought you might like to see some of mine. I have to say this niceness is very little to do with me – the whole thing was remodelled by the previous owner and was one of the main reasons I bought this house.
It is an old house – about 100 years old and is a stone built terrace that looks very traditional from the outside. It has all the original features in the hall and lounge which I love and you will have seen pics of the lovely fireplace, mantel and hall if you have looked at my Xmas decoration pictures. But then you go though to the back of the house and see the kitchen.
The only thing that I did when I moved in was to paint the central unit and the back wall red as I felt it needed a bit more colour and add some pics . This is what used to be the old dining room of the house – the old kitchen is now a utility room and a conservatory was built on to be a dining room.
The dining room is my creative space for large projects and sewing and is one of my favourite places to be as it has a lovely view of the garden – my cat Blackberry also likes being in here - in the above pic you can see him sitting in his favourite place on the left hand windowsill above the radiator watching the birds!
The kitchen looks very funky from the dining room.
The black marble worktop on this unit is great for cooking as I have loads of space to work and good for pastry as it is always cool but a bit of a nightmare to keep clean – it shows every mark! The pictures on the wall at the back are of the New York skyline in the 1920s which is particularly significant to the story of moving into this house.
I like to decorate my rooms in themes and the look of the kitchen immediately suggested New York loft apartment to me when I came and did the viewing. That in itself was significant as I was off to New York the following day with some friends from the medieval group on a hen weekend. I had been trying to move house for some time and had put in two offers on other houses which had fallen through due to not being able to sell ours in time.
This property I spotted when we were on the way out one day – being in the next road along from where we used to live – so I arranged a viewing the evening before I was due to leave. I really loved it so ended up ringing the estate agents the very next day before I flew to New York and putting in an offer. A very tense 3 months followed where I thought I had lost the house for various reasons and we ended up temporarily homeless for a week as we had to move out of the old one before we could move into this! However it all worked out very well in the end.
When we first moved here four years ago I didn’t have a much time for cooking as I do now due to the general busyness of work and family life. However my job role has changed and I am now no longer out in the evenings and with just me and Jake here the housework is reduced so I am very much enjoying the time to use the kitchen outside of parties and special occasions.
I have just bought a new spice rack as I am doing so much more cooking – previously they were all in a cupboard and it took ages to find things but now everything is at hand!
So that this post is not all about the house I shall now share some more stitching. I thought I had finished putting up pics of the gifts I made for Xmas then realised that I had not posted those of the jar decorations I made. My brother’s partner, Amanda, makes the most fantastic jams and chutney so I gave her and Ben, my brother, a jar of my Nigella’s Chilli Jam each for Xmas alongside their other pressies and also decided to make her some little decorated bands for jam jars.
The patterns came from one of my very old Cross Stitch mags and these were a great quick stitch. I bought the aida band at the Harrogate Show. Ellie also stitched one as well for Amanda but unfortunately I do not have a pic of that.
Well thank you once again for visiting and hope that you had a happy Sunday!
We have had a lovely day today – three of my friends from my medieval group came to do some embroidery and we had a very nice time, researching, chatting and stitching – oh and having very nice food including spice cake – forgot to take a pic of that before we ate it!
Here are Kerry and Lynn deciding on which projects to work on.
Tracey looking very studious.
Kerry and Lynn decided to do goldwork and Tracey needlepoint. This was Kerry’s first attempt at goldwork and she decided to do a little flower – a borage – in couched thread on a white silk background.
She did a brilliant job and by the end of the day had completed all of the couching and beads – she just has the silk shading on the petals to do.
Lynn did two projects – the first was based on a Bess of Hardwick piece – this is the outline of a goldwork project.
The second was a flower motif taken from one of the books which Lynn is couching onto red silk.
Tracey’s piece is a complex picture of herself and her husband drawn onto linen and stitched using tent stitch. This is her progress so far …
We had a lovely time and hope to arrange another day soon to do some blackwork.
I will leave you with some pics of the girls all dressed up in kit at our events.
Do hope you have had a nice weekend – thanks for visiting.
Two very good things have happened this week. Firstly there has been sun – real sun in Yorkshire and blue sky! January is nearly over (hurrah) and I nearly got into the garden for a tidy up this week – though by the time I had finished the work I needed to do it had clouded over and started raining but hey there was sun and this is the light at the end of the tunnel.
Of course I know by posting this that we will have a very cold wet weekend but I am hopeful that Spring is on its way. My honeysuckle has buds on and the poor garden looks like it is recovering from the cold. Have lots of frost damage to sort and tidying up to do but it is looking lots better.
The other good thing is that I have learnt to crochet (sort of!) helped by Arianwen at Knit and Natter this week. On Tuesday I had a trip to Leeds for work so decided to treat myself to a crafty mag and saw this in the news agents -
It came with lovely silky wool and a hook and promised simple instructions – well it did have pictures but wasn’t entirely sure so read the mag on the train and then Arianwen demonstrated and I can now just about do chain stitch and double crochet – just don’t look too closely at the neatness of the small sample below -
Will work on this in the odd moments in between finishing the teddy and bag – bag is more or less done, just the stitching up to do so will be casting on for teddy this weekend.
Am going to have a very lovely weekend as tomorrow I am running an embroidery workshop for the girls from my medieval group. They are coming to spend the day and we will be doing a project each – probably goldwork - that we can all take to shows this year and work on so that the public can see us in action. Have just been sorting through my stash and my (quite extensive!) library of reference books. We shall have a lovely day stitching and I will take pics of their projects for you.
While in Leeds on Tuesday I indulged in a tiny bit of retail therapy and went to a fab bead shop that is located in Thornton’s Arcade in Leeds city centre. Yum Yum beads have got a wonderful selection – I was very good though and only treated myself to these little sleigh charms.
These are perfect for the design that I found the other day for my Xmas ornies for the my friends here in Yorkshire and they were half price! I usually start ornie stitching early in the year as they are great little projects to take away on holiday or on the many re-enactment train journeys we do.
Yum Yum Beads also have an online store here.
I will leave you with a better pic of the Noro beret – taking pics has been a challenge this week as I have been out early and back late and it has been so dark! Roll on the lighter days and warmer weather! Next weekend we are going to a local festival, Imbolc in Marsden, that celebrates the end of winter with a fire festival so that will be fun.
Thank you once again for visiting and I hope you have a lovely weekend.
You may remember that I made Ellie a hat (from a Ravelry pattern) and wristwarmers set for Xmas. The hat looks like this -
I was very pleased with it as it has a bit of a lace effect round the bottom which involved some yarn forwards which I had not done before. There were some mistakes but they don’t seem to show.
As you know I want to improve my knitting techniques so I ordered myself a new book from Amazon which arrived last week – this was on my wish list for Xmas but the kids obviously think I have enough knitting books and ignored the suggestion so I treated myself.
It is called 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield and I want to learn to crochet as well this year thought it would provide some good little projects for inspiration.
I decided as the first project to do a little flower to go on Ellie’s hat – she chose the wool and a simple poppy design (I did attempt another design but got very confused on row one so had to abandon that!). And I finished it last night (though am going to add some little seed beads to it tonight to give it a sparkle).
It was a very simple pattern only involving garter stitch and some increases. Ellie has now pinned it on her hat and has gone off to town with a friend in it this afternoon (she has been home from Uni this week as her term has not started again yet).
Last night I taught Ellie to knit -she has been to Knit and Natter a few times with me recently and enjoyed herself so she has started a scarf in the same wool to match her hat and wristwarmers. We will being doing some more knitting and stitching tonight – am very excited that the new season of 24 is starting tonight – as it is on a Sunday I should be able to see all of the episodes and hopefully will not miss any by being away at re-enactment. This week I have to crack on and finish a cross stitch for a Valentine’s Exchange through ASOE which has to be posted by the 2nd Feb.
I thought I would also share with you some more of the Xmas knitting that I did – this is finished scarf in Noro Silk Garden that I blogged about sometime ago as a WIP. This was a present for my Nana.
I also made this for my Mum out of the most gorgeous Maggie’s Knits Mist Slub yarn that I bought from Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed. This is made using moss stitch though you can’t really tell but it does give it a bit more texture. The yarn is expensive but lovely and silky to touch.
I also knitted a scarf for my aunt from the lovely ladder or ribbon yarn called Zip. I don’t have a good pic of her wearing it but it was a very simple design that someone at Knit and Knatter told me about.
All you do is knit in garter stitch – casting on about 30 stitches on large needles – I used 6mm – knit the ball, cast off and then sew the two ends together making a twist with the knitting before you do so. This makes a very pretty cowl scarf which is lovely as an evening scarf and I have got a couple more balls to make some more of these later in the year.
Just a note on the links I put in to my posts – these are purely for info on what the yarn/ books that I are use are like and where you can get them from. I am not paid or sponsored by any of the companies I link to and most of the yarn I buy is from my LYS – Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed in Westbourne Road, Huddersfield. I am however conscious that lots of my readers are a long way from Yorkshire so won’t be able to get their stuff from the lovely Helen who runs the shop so I am linking to give you alternative sources.
I have also been discovering some new blogs. One that I would like to share with you today is by a very talented women who goes to my Knit and Natter group. She is someone I knew by sight from years ago as our children went to the same Primary school and I often used to see her in the playground. Her name is Arianwen and her blog is called The Silver Spider Presents. She does the most amazingly complex patterns including lots of lace work and I am in awe of her talent – she also has three kids who are younger than mine so I am amazed at how prolific she is as well! Do go and visit and say hi.
Well it is still raining here – though luckily no snow – so any thoughts of a quick garden tidy up have been banished. It is looking really battered because of all the snow but I will have to wait for some less soggy weather so that I can give it a good fettle.
I will leave you with another lovely pic of Spain. This is again from Pablo’s (icu 202 Canon’s) Flickr collection and is of the tower on the salt flats (salinas) just down the road from La Marina at Santa Pola. The salt flats have been there since Roman times and salt is still collected – mainly for use on roads (so they have been busy recently!)
The salt flats are home to lots of birds, most notably the flamingos who come to eat the food that makes them turn pink and are surrounded by mountains which reflect beautifully in them. You pass them on the way to the airport and they are one of my favourite things in Spain.
Thank you very much for visiting – see you again soon!
I have finished my hat! I am very pleased as I am not a fast knitter and had not expected to finish but I just have and am sitting wearing it as I type (sad I know but it is lovely).
I sometimes struggle to find hats that suit me having very curly hair (naturally so which I know I am very lucky to have) and have avoided hat wearing generally. But it has been so cold recently that I have decided I really need one and it is now ready for the predicted snow this week.
We have had a very lovely weekend – Ellie arrived home from Uni on Friday – she is staying for 10 days until her term starts again. We have made lots of soup (same recipes as last weekend) and done some baking and I have knitted lots!
On Sat we made Nigella’s recipe for Yule Log again from her Christmas book – we did this at Xmas and it was lovely but a bit rich so this time we just made it into a Swiss Roll with pink buttercream (courtesy of Ellie) and a batch of fairy buns which we decorated with some left over Winnie the Pooh sugar motifs that I had in the cupboard. I love making this recipe – used to do it all the time as a teenager when we called it the ‘fatless whisked sponge’. It is quite good for you, only having eggs and sugar in it with no flour or fat so quite healthy (without Nigella’s frosting!)
I started the hat at knitting on Friday. I used Noro wool to match my scarf and used the Seed (Moss) Stitch Beret pattern from a book already in my library – The Knitter’s Bible-Knitted Accessories by Claire Crompton. As you know I love Moss stitch and this looked like the right sort of slouchy beret to suit me.
And it is now complete – forgive the quality of these pics – I have taken them in the hall and the light is not good – will have to get some daylight pics. A la Crazy Aunt Purl have used the tried and tested technique of photographing yourself in a mirror while wearing said item ……
I really like the way that the Noro wool has striped – it looks even better on a circular pattern than on a scarf. It was a very, very easy pattern to knit with the decreasing very easy to do – and fast.
I rather like this pic as well – despite the fuzziness – it looks like I am in Paris in a very old movie – maybe a romance or one of those old wartime movies where I am part of the resistance!
These thoughts have obviously been inspired by the fact that my knitting last night was accompanied by no less than 6 episodes (back to back courtesy of the Yesterday Channel) of Wartime Kitchen and Garden – fabulous stuff – Ruth Mott was boiling pig’s heads and canning tomatoes like there was no tomorrow. A perfect way to spend a Saturday night!
I do hope you have had a lovely weekend – thanks for visiting.
As promised I can now reveal some of the things that I made for this Xmas as gifts for friends and family. I did do a lot of knitting which I will put in a later post but also some of my favourite traditional stitching.
I made this pincushion for a very good friend from re-enactment, Denise, who kindly posed for my Women’s Costume Page last year. She obviously makes a lot of kit herself and her partner Carl had asked me if I would make her a pincushion as a surprise for Xmas (he said they were thinking of buying a new leather sofa so he was trying to train her out of sticking pins in the old one – that is why I have a lovely old fabric one that is fine with that sort of behaviour!)
The pattern comes from Issue 165 of New Stitches magazine and is called Cherry Rose – I only stitched the flower element – the whole thing is designed to be a picture and includes stem and leaves as well.
It is stitched on my favourite 28 count sparkly evenweave (it is only to be used at home not at events as blackwork (or redwork!) is not authentic for our period) with dark red Silk Mill thread.
For the finish I chose to back it with some red velvet I had in my stash and to edge it with some dark red braid. I also added some of my favourite little brass charms - I love using these on sewing gifts like the scissor keeps I made last year. This time I chose a spool of thread charm and a needle charm – both from the charms pack I bought from Stitch Direct earlier in the year.
I was pleased with the finish – it was the first time I have used velvet as a backing and it wasn’t as slippery to work with as I had feared -and Denise likes it too which is good!
I realise this is the third post this week – a record for me I think. It is all to do with the snow as not much else has been going on this week. Did leave the house today for the first time since Saturday to go to Knitting Group. As well as Knit and Natter that meets weekly at the wool shop – shop info at the end of this link (Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed) I also go to a monthly one at the same shop – Yarn – which meets the second Thurs of every month 5 – 7 pm.
Had a very nice evening working on my teddy bear bag project and have also bought some more Noro Silk Garden wool to make myself a beret to match the Noro scarf that I wear. I cast on for this when I came home tonight and am using a simple pattern in my favourite Moss stitch. If this freezing weather is to continue a girl needs some head protection!
Thank you for visiting.
Well it is snowing again here – only lightly at the moment but added to the 20 hours worth from Sun night to Monday the world is very, very white again. Last night the back of my house looked like a set out of Narnia – we have a street light just outside the back garden and I was half expecting to see Mr Tumnus in a nice woolly scarf!
As promised here are a few of my pics from Spain – again I have chosen some of my favourite things about visiting.
Because a lot of the people who live on La Marina are retired they lavish a great deal of care and attention on their houses and gardens. The climate lends itself to desert flora and as there is little chance of growing grass people use hard landscaping and ornaments including fountains. My aunt has a wonderful collection of amphora pots here – it looks like a Roman dig! I love wandering round just admiring what people have done.
There are lots of communal green spaces in La Marina known as verdes where there are large trees for shade and public benches etc. What I particularly like are the way that people personalise these with planting or with their own seating. This pic below was taken just down the road from our house.
As well as the mountains I love the sea – as La Marina is on a hill I can actually see the sea from the kitchen of my little house. And you can paddle any time of year!
This year we were there for a festival that we have not seen before – the Festival of the Three Kings which is the main celebration of Christmas in Spain. This takes place on the evening of the 5th Jan and we went to see the parade in Torrevieja before going out for a lovely meal near the seafront.
We went on a couple of cycle rides again – as well as the rides over the scrubland one of our favourite ones is down to the Marina at the local town of Guardamar and then along through the pine forest and dunes for lunch on the seafront.
Prices have gone up a bit in recent years but things are still very cheap and I discovered these handy little wine packs in the local supermarket for 1 euro!
As you know I am always on the look out for stitching and we went to visit the Belen – a large nativity scene – outside the church in Torrevieja. I have been to it before but had not noticed this little animatronic model …
The last two pictures of La Marina are not mine – I found them on Flickr but I hope the photographer does not mind me sharing them with you. These were taken by Pablo icu202 canon who also has a house on La Marina and who has taken some wonderful sunset pics of the local area.
He is obviously a much better photographer than me with a really good camera!
I can’t wait to go back to Spain at Easter. I will leave you with a more seasonal pic from England – not one of mine – this was off one of the Yahoo news sites but is a very pretty snow picture.
I hope that you are all coping ok with the bad weather – we are fine as I live within walking distance of the shops and one of the advantages of not owning a car is that I don’t have to worry about getting it out and stopping it sliding down the road!
I also have lovely neighbours who have been very helpful in taking all our rubbish to the tip as the bin men have not been able to collect for 3 weeks now!
I hope you are all keeping warm and taking advantage of the weather to stay in and stitch.
Thank you for visiting.
Hello and a very happy 2010 to everyone. I am having a very nice unexpectedly quiet and domesticated weekend thanks to the snow. I should have been teaching this Saturday but all classes have been cancelled due to the bad weather so instead I have been concentrating on knitting and making soup!
We arrived back from the sunny shores of Spain on Weds – a little late but safe and sound into a very snowy Manchester Airport. We are now once again fairly snow bound here as our road is pretty bad and the pavements icy but we are near the main road and buses are running and I have been and stocked up with food and lots of soup making and baking ingredients so will not go hungry! More snow arrived today and more is forecast for Mon and Tues so who knows if classes will be running this week!
At Jake’s request I made Tomato and Red Pepper Soup from my Covent Garden Soup Company Recipe book yesterday - doesn’t the veg look pretty ready to be roasted.
Today I have made Cauliflower and Roquefort using the Delia Online recipe (Jake didn’t want any of this one though it was lovely!) Tomorrow will be Parsnip and Sweet Potato (a variation on Nigella’s Butternut and Sweet Potato recipe) using some of my left over veg from before we went away. Am also planning to cook the Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies from Nigella’s Christmas book that we didn’t get around to doing on Xmas Eve.
Have been spending some more time knitting just recently and have decided that 2010 will be my year and improving my knitting skills. In terms of knitting for re-enactment purposes I would love to be able to knit my own socks, stockings and hats so need to get really good with double pointed needles and know how to turn a heel before I can attempt these feats! My fellow knitters at the Woolly Minded and Beady Eyed knit groups assure me that socks are really easy once you can understand the pattern so I shall aspire to master that this year. I have just come across an online resource about historical knitting – from this month’s Let’s Knit mag – called Knitting History so will be looking at that for info.
I do know of a very talented woman called Sally Pointer who I met through re-enactment who makes all sorts of lovely knitted and felted items as well as cosmetics. She has a web site where you can buy her very informative books and patterns and I have just discovered her blog Wicked Woollens as well so shall be reading that as well for inspiration.
So I have decided to make lots of birthday gifts to practise pattern reading and new techniques. since all my knitted Xmas gifts were so well received. My first knitting WIP is a present for a friend of mine’s little girl and comes from the Nov 09 Let’s Knit mag -
It is a very cute little bear with a knitted dress that has a bed that folds up to be a bag that the bear can be carried round in.
This is my progress so far …
I have altered the design slightly by chain stitching around the edges of the border and all the rectangles in an attempt to neaten them up! The pattern has not been too difficult to follow though there were no instructions on how to prevent getting gaps between rectangles when you swapped wools but I remember reading somewhere about twisting the wools together at the back on each row and that worked. I really like doing Moss stitch which is all around the border as it has such a pretty effect.
I was very pleased yesterday as my long-awaited ASOE Xmas ornie from Marlene in the US arrived. I was concerned as I knew that she had posted it well in time for Xmas but what with the volume of post and the weather issues here it took a long time to come! But it was worth the wait.
It is really lovely so thank you very much Marlene – I have taken the tree and all the other ornies down but this one is going to stay up for a few weeks and have its five minutes of fame!
I hope you all had a very Happy New Year – we had a lovely (warm!) time in Spain and I will be posting some pics of that later on. I hope that 2010 is going to be a very good year for you all. I had a really good 2009 thanks to my lovely family, fiance and friends and am really looking forward to this one. Thank you to all those people who have visited the Xmas newsletter page to read the summary of our year.
It is always particularly significant having a new decade and this one is going to be very full of big changes for the family – all very positive and lovely ones. Jake will finish school this year and hopefully go on to 6th form college and Ellie is very well settled at Uni. Who knows I might even be a Granny by the end of this decade – more things to knit!
The 1990s were very much about the kids for me – Ellie being born early in 1991 and Jake in 1994 and the 2000s very much about work and career as I started my full-time job at the University in 2001.
So this next decade is going to be about my new roles as I concentrate hopefully more on developing my ideas for my textile business. I am not in position to do much at the moment but have made a resolution for 2010 that I am going to produce a design from scratch based on my pictures from Spain. This is just the tiniest start but who knows what might happen!
Thank you for visiting, hope you are not too cold or snow bound and Happy New Year!