Friday, April 30, 2010

A trip to the big city...

Anyone that has a teenage daughter will know the struggle to find the perfect prom dress.  Last Saturday we went to Birmingham to do just that and I'm so pleased to say we found one!  I was on a mission and as luck would have it the 4th dress was the winner.  I, unfortunately, can't show you the dress because DD1 wants it to be top secret..and her friend Miss B reads my blog!  (Hi Miss B!!)  Instead I'll share this pic of the bullring (Birmingham's main mall)

Until next time,

Monday, April 26, 2010

Wonky words and the never-ending fabric...or is it?

Lynda and I are part of a sewing group that meets 6 times a year and challenges ourselves to try new techniques.  This year our theme is flora and flowers and the blocks we sew together must link in with that theme. The last month, Lynda challenged us to make wonky Tonya letters.  I decided to sew together "Lily of the Valley" as it was my grandmother's favourite flower.  I started by drafting and colouring in some graph paper.  I wanted my letters to be more script-like than blocked letter and as I have never attempted this technique, I knew this was going to be interesting.  I kept the background consistent, but wanted to use different reds for each of the words.



Now anyone that has tried this technique before will know from the following picture that I was heading for trouble...



Just how was I going to get the "L" to loop properly? 
Well, I didn't  and in the end I decided I was trying to be too clever...too complicated and I needed to start again.

After some ripping and cursing I got my first word sewn..maybe I should just stop at "Lily"!



Nah...couldn't do that, it has to be "Lily of the Valley"  So onward I sewed. 
Now I want you to take note of the fabric being used for "of"  This is my everything fabric.  It has been in my stash for 12 odd years, and can be found in most quilts in my home...you know the fabric, it never ever seems to end...until you need a little bit to finish of "F".



After sewing the long bit for the "f" I realized I only had those 2 scraps left. 
"Never fear", I thought to myself, there is bound to be a spare square in one of the scrap boxes.  So off I went to look through them..and guess what..I had come to the end of the everything fabric!!
PANIC!  What to do, what to do?
After another frantic look through the boxes with no luck, I started to accept that I might have to start the word over again.

UNTIL...
I realized I had one final place I hadn't thought to look..my 5" charm squares!
I thumbed through them quickly and sure enough there were 3 - 5" squares in the pile.  Just enough to finish the job. 
Thank Goodness! 
I whooped and cheered, like I'd won the lottery as my two stunned children looked on...
I'm pretty sure my kids think I'm nuts! 

Until next time,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Funnies on Friday

I just wanted to share this picture...it made me giggle!




You got to give it to the pub landlord..he obviously has a sense of humour!

Have a great weekend!!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday...

I didn't notice until I loaded the picture onto the computer that there is a little spider on the bottom leaf. 



Until next time...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Trying to get a few things completed...

Just lately I've been trying to get on top of my to-do lists and as a result there hasn't been a lot to blog about.  This morning as the sun streamed into the extension, I decided to get some sewing done.  I've been meaning to get my Linus Zig-Zag quilt basted and ready for quilting and all that needed preparing was the backing.  When I made the top I cut off the extra fabric on the top and edges to square it off and as not to waste any fabric I sewed the triangles together and have incorporated them into the back.  This is going to be so cheery!



In other news, DD1 and I decided to continue our recipe experimentations and over the weekend we tried our hand at sushi. 



I think I've found a new food group!  We used asparagus, avocado and believe it or not, tinned salmon (we couldn't get smoked salmon..Sainsbury's were out)  And it was delicious!!  I will be making more sushi in the future and will look for some alternative fillings...yum yum!

Until next time...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Quick Easter Break Round Up...

I hope everyone has had a good Easter break and I know for some, you still have a week to go.  Sadly, we are all back to school and work tomorrow.  I have so enjoyed the time off with the children.  We've had fun baking, playing games, watching movies and having days out.  Although the first week remained quite wintery the second week warmed up and the first signs of spring are starting to appear.  Just looks at these beautiful blossoms.



And this gorgeous swan who is obviously out to impress!



On Friday we took the the DD2 to Snibston.  Snibston is a cross between an interactive science museum and an old coal mine museum.  There is so much to look and do that it is fun for the whole family.  This was a second time we have visited Snibston and we enjoyed it as much this time if not more.



One thing we did that we didn't do before is go on the colliery tour.  That was really interesting and the fellow that gave us the tour was very informative.  He just recently retired from the mines and was incredibly informative.  In the coal mine museum, one wall was lined with these canisters.  Each one contained a gas mask that the miner would take with them in case the air became unsafe to breathe.



In another part of the museum there was a small display of period costumes that were worn in various period movies.  This is Mr. Darcy's!  Swoon!!  From Pride and Prejudice.



A reminder of who Mr. Darcy is...(best scene in the movie!) :o)  Shows the clothes briefly...



Ok this one shows the outfit..



This dress was worn by Drew Barrymore in Ever After.



Look at this gorgeous bead work!  Amazing!



Here's a youtube video (not a brilliant one..I'd turn the volume down...but it shows the dress from a few different angles)



Until next time...

Friday, April 02, 2010

Time for some old-fashion baking fun!

Holidays are a wonderful time to embark on projects that take up more time than you have during "normal" life.  After being inspired by the Julie and Julia movie, my daughter and I decided this week to set ourselves the challenge of cooking and baking from 3 cook books that date back to a time before I was born.  I am fortunate enough to have my mother's copy of Canadian Cook Book (1963) and her handbook of Home Economics that she acquired during her time at school.  It doesn't have a date of publication, but it would have been given to her in grade 7 or 8.  Have a look at the advice for bathing...particularly the last sentence; once or twice a week!  Eewwe.



The third book we referenced was a compilation of three cookbooks by Good Housekeeping (1956) called the Hostess Compendium that I bought on our way to Scotland from a fantastic book shop in Morecambe Bay.  It is a really interesting book, but there are some strange recipes that I don't think I will ever make! 
As the DD1 and I sat writing the grocery list one thing that struck us both and is that almost every meal had meat in it.  There were no vegetarian recipes...not one!  And unlike today where you can find the heading for pasta in most cookbooks, the only pasta we found was macaroni or spaghetti..and even those offered very little variation.  It was macaroni and cheese, macaroni and beef and cheese, or macaroni and tomato and cheese!

We started off with an easy one...Apple pie.  We found the staple recipe for pastry, which was accompanied by some lovely how-to pictures.



As the book had everything in old money and measures, we thought it fitting to use an old scale and follow the recipe just as it would have been in 1956.  The exercise was an excellent one as my daughter got stuck in and made pastry from scratch.  It is a skill one can always use later in life.



We used Sainsbury's basic apples which were very cheap at less than 50p for the lot.



It was lovely working side by side in the kitchen and seeing her pride come through when she succeeded along the way.



And finished pie..yummy yummy!  She did a great job!



We've made it thought the week trying all these recipes and surprisingly we learned a lot along the way.  For starters, these old recipes still work and shouldn't be dismissed just because they are in an old book.  That said, I don't think I'll be cooking rabbit any time soon, nor will I be making any kind of aspic!  But it was nice to pull together simple ingredients and slow down and enjoy the process of cooking.  My very insightful daughter said she reckoned that was part of the problem with today's society...that many don't stop to create (food or craft) and that it is the pride we feel within when we accomplish something that is missing.  I think she is probably right and as long as you can create in one form or another, then a balance is being struck.

Until next time...