Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Sewing Patterns Galore

When Kandipandi posted a link to Simplicity patterns at 50% off, I just had to toddle off and have a nosey. I just couldn't resist buying the little haul below.

The pyjama pattern is to make some new jimjams for little granddaughter.

I love tunics worn with waistcoats - so hope to get round to making these for myself.

The wheelchair bag is something I'm hoping to make for my mam for Christmas.

And the other two just because I like them!

Although the offer for 50% off Simplicity patterns is no longer on the site now has 50% off New Look patterns and 40% off Butterick patterns.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Durham Quilts

When I was a child I had a Durham Quilt on my bed. It was to my childhood eyes warm, comfortable and functional but meant little more. Unbeknown to me then the quilt was made by my paternal grandmother.

My Nana Barrow died when I was only five and I have few memories of her, though my one clear memory is sitting on the couch with her while she crocheted and allowed me to thread the contents of her lovely and fascinating button drawer onto a piece of knotted embroidery cotton.

Time passed and the quilt was relegated to a cupboard as more fashionable bed linen in the form of the "continental quilt" (duvet) took over.

When I set up my first home money was tight and I was grateful for whatever I was given. I was given some of mam's old bedding, and yes you've guessed one of the things I was given was Nana Barrow's Durham Quilt. As soon as I could afford to the old fashioned bedding was replaced, but I kept the quilt because it was made by my Nana and it was the only thing that I had that was hers. I'd like to say I kept it because of it's beauty and an appreciation of the work that had gone into making it, but I am ashamed to say I just didn't see it like that at the time.

As I grew older (and maybe wiser???) I took out the quilt one day and laid it on the bed and really looked at it. I realised that the patterns all over the surface of the quilt were handstiched and the realisation struck me that this was an amazing handcrafted work of art.

This marked the beginning of a love affair with Durham Quilts and I now have a small collection of five Durham Quilts. Of course the one my Nana made will always be my favourite, but by far my best bargain so far was the second quilt I acquired from a Salvation Army shop for the princely sum of £1.50.

Now maybe your wondering where I'm going with this post?

My latest acquisition -

This is the main picture of the quilt as it was pictured on EBay. The seller did make it clear that the quilt had however been "tampered" with and someone had in the past covered the other side with and bound the edges with a rather inappropriate fabric, and, furthermore they had machine sewn the addition - hence the vertical straight lines of stitching that can be seen on the pictures above and below. Because of this however the quilt was cheap enough for me to take a chance and see if I could restore it in some way.

More before pictures -

I initially just unpicked a corner of the cover and was delighted to find that it unveiled a beautiful original paisley patterned fabric and much more unpicking later revealed ...

Most of the fabric that was under the cover was in very good condition, however a section of about 5 inches in the centre of both the top and bottom is badly worn - this will be the reason for the cover. Also the original quilt must have already been shortened to remove earlier sections of wear. The quilt will still be a good size if I remove the worn parts but will no longer be long enough to use as a bedspread, so I intend binding the edges with a suitable complimentary binding and using the quilt as a throw. The colours will complement those in my sitting room perfectly and ...

...my little female cat Esme definitely approves!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Today I made ...

You may remember that back in the summer I bought this ...

The idea being to use the panels to make cushions for my dear granddaughter's room.

Well finally, I have made one of them.

Another three to do!!!
(Sometime ;-D )

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Back in Time with the War on the Line

This weekend The Weardale  Railway held their annual 1940's event "War on the Line"

Most of the event takes place on a show field behind the railway station in Stanhope, though they also have some re-enactments taking place at the stations in Stanhope and my home village Frosterley.

Hence why our little village rang with the sound of rifle and machine gun fire as I walked to the shop this morning!

Yesterday though we went along to the main event at Stanhope Railway Station. It really did feel like we had stepped back into a bygone era, with 1940's music playing over the tannoy system and many visitors in 1940's costumes.

(Excuse the following photo's they are a bit fuzzy as our camera has decided to play up and I had to use the camera on Dave's phone)

There were lots of displays put on by various ww2 re-enactment societies:

The home front - complete with Union Jack bunting.

One of the military camps.

Another military camp.

The best bit for me though was the fashion parade by the ladies in 1940's outfits.

It's a shame the photo hasn't come out better - some of these outfits were stunning, especially one which  unfortunately I didn't get a picture of, where the wearer had made a pair of stunning red wide leg trousers herself using an original 1940's pattern and had also knitted a lovely white top with blue stripes also from an original 1940's pattern.

There were one or two stalls as well ...

...like this one selling original 1940's hats.

There was also a stall selling vintage clothes and household items, I bought this ...

A Bakelite sugar canister - all I need to do now is find tea and coffee canisters that complement it better than the cream coloured tin ones I have at the moment :-D

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Little Bundles of (fabric rehab) Joy

I was initially introduced to the fabric rehab website by a post on Kandipandi’s blog.

I duly ambled off to have a look – what fabulous fabrics …
...and so many of them!

I just found it impossible to choose.

I thought the £2 emergency bundles might be the answer to my dilemma, after all they would give me an idea of a range of fabrics “in the flesh” so to speak.


...alas :-( they were out of stock and being the indecisive sort I wandered back to the relative comfort of blogland.

I was reminded of fabric rehab when Jenevieve of Buttons, Ribbons and Other Things  posted some of their  new arrivals and on investigating the £2 bundles were back in stock – yahhh!!!

I ended up buying three of them.

Aren't they gorgeous?
I feel a larger order coming on!!

Monday, 13 September 2010

It's a Wrap!

We're talking tortilla wraps here!

My home made flour tortillas - Ingredients:
Unbleached Organic Flour, Salt, Olive Oil, Water.

That's it!
Just 4 simple ingredients.

Here they are pictured behind the homemade wedges and waiting to be served as honey and lime steak fajitas along with homemade guacamole, salsa and some sour cream.

So why???

Do commercially prepared wraps have an ingredients list like this:

Wheat Flour, Water, Palm Oil, Humectant: Glycerine; Raising Agents: Disodium Diphosphate, Sodium Hydrogen Carbonate; Emulsifier: Mono- and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids; Acidity Regulator: Malic Acid; Stabilisers: Carboxymethylcellulose, Guar Gum; Dextrose, Salt, Preservatives: Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Propionate; Flour Treatment Agent: Ascorbic Acid.

A total of 15!!!  ingredients,
and even buying those labelled as organic are little better having 10 ingredients:

Organic Wheat Flour, Water, Organic Vegetable Oil, Humectant: Glycerine, Organic Sugar, Sea Salt, Raising Agents: Calcium Phosphate, Sodium Carbonate, Organic Spirit Vinegar, Deactivated Yeast.

I really hate how we have to read the labels on everything these days as nothing seems to be how you would expect it to be. I know I love cooking but sometimes - just once in a while, I want to be able to grab something quick and convenient so that our evening meal can be on the table without a long preparation time once I get home from work.

Guess I'll just have to get organised enough to batch cook and freeze stuff eh!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Fading Summer Memories

Well I've been back to work for all of four days now and it feels like the summer break is just a distant memory.
Did I really had six weeks off work??
Feels like I have never been away!

It got me thinking back - what was I doing this time last week?

Making the most of the late summer sun by spending time picnicking and plodging with my daughter and granddaughter at the Slit Woods 

that's what!

It took me back to when my three daughters'  were young and we used to take them to the Slit Woods where they would happily play in the Middlehope Burn for hours , just as Flic was doing. It makes me appreciate that sometimes it's the simplest things in life that bring the most pleasure.

 Flic - going it alone!


The only thing she caught was her own stinky socks!

Never mind, mum's on hand to talk about the one that got away!

The Slit woods is a favourite place of mine. The walk follows the Midlehope Burn to the remains of an old lead mine. It never ceases to amaze me how nature has reclaimed this old industrialised site and turned it back into such a beautiful place. Along with the overgrown remains of the nineteenth century lead mines the path meanders over quaint rustic wooden bridges and past beautiful waterfalls. The area is renowned for it's wildlife and is also now designated a site of special scientific interest.

It is beautiful in all seasons...

...and never fails to captivate my imagination.

ahh the simple pleasure of memorable days and places!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Stormin' the Castle

This weekend we've been Stormin' the Castle!

Stormin' is an annual bike rally which takes place at Witton Castle. It's only about 12 miles from where we live but we do this rally every year as this is one rally where all three of my daughters also come to and it's nice to do this weekend as a family.

The company of good friends and family.

...a barbie

... beer

... bikes

...and of course the fabulous

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Finding out about each other.

The fab Vintage Vixen has tagged all the blogs that she reads with 10 questions to get to know the writers better. Like her I too am a nosey curious person and would love to find out more about all you wonderful bloggers, so in turn I am tagging all of the blogs that I read. Do join in - it'll be fun!

1) What is your favourite time of day?

Although I don't like getting up too early I do like mornings. Especially those mornings when you aren't rushing about to get anywhere and can take time to wake up naturally and get ready for the day ahead at a leisurely pace. Although I can't do this on workdays, I have a 25 mile drive to work and at certain times of the year the scenery as I drive through the countryside can be stunning with soft misty sunrise.

2) Where did you meet the love of your life?

Dave is my third husband. Following my divorce, my brother took me for a night out. Dave had been my brother's friend for a long time and I had known him for ages but to be honest had never really thought of him in a romantic way. Anyway - at the end of the night my brother asked how I was getting home and I said I intended to walk home, he wasn't too happy about the idea of me walking home alone and as Dave lived in the same direction as me he asked him to walk home with me. at some point along the way our eyes met and I noticed how lovely his eyes were and had a sudden drunken urge to kiss him - so I did. The rest as they say is history, we have now been together 18 years and married for 12 of them.

3) What three words would your friends outside the blogging world use to describe you?

I wasn't too sure about this one so asked the advice of one of my daughters who said "pain in the a*se". but she can't count and that's four words. We settled on bubbly, loyal and eccentric.

4) What country would you like to visit and why?

I never tire of visiting Scotland and it's many isles. I think my favourite is the Isle of Mull. I love the wild and rugged scenery and how much of Scotland is still unspoiled and untouched by the hand of man.

5) What is your favourite dish to cook?

I love cooking but I think my favourite things to cook are Chinese dishes - I get lots of compliments whenever I cook Chinese, in fact my eldest daughter's boyfriend thinks my Chinese is better than that from the takeaway or restaurant!

6) Salt or Sugar

Salt - I definitely prefer savoury to sweet.

7) What are your must have make up or beauty items?

I won't go out without wearing foundation - I don't have a favourite but it has to give good coverage and be long lasting. My must have beauty product is Organic Rosehip Oil - I swear by this and use it both as a make up remover and a night treatment. A little goes a long way and it lasts for ages.

8) What are your favourite flower?

I love all flowers, but especially brightly coloured flowers and all the better if they are scented, so things like sweet peas or freesias.

9) What do you think are your worst vices?

Buying books is definitely got to be the worst, not only do I buy far too many books I also find it hard to get rid of books once I have them. The result is that there are books in every nook and cranny all over the house, if I don't do something about it soon I think we are in danger of drowning in books!

10) When were you happiest and why?

I have never been happier than I am now. As I have got older I have gradually become more comfortable with myself, I feel I know myself now and am happy with who I am. I have reached my 50's and learned from my mistakes, but along the way I have also learned to accept and celebrate my achievements.When I was younger I would always aspire to be like someone else, I always thought if only I were prettier/thinner/wittier/less shy but now I am happy to be just me.

I'd love to find out more about my fellow bloggers, so please join in. xxx
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