Sunday, 30 May 2010

In the garden

A pleasing riot of colours and textures in the Aged Parent's garden,
despite the inclement Northern climate.


Saturday, 22 May 2010

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Reduce Reuse Recycle

Wonderful day of thrifting in the charity shops of South Woodford and Walthamstow yesterday. The Boy had the "quakening" good'n'proper and his sixth sense for junk and treasure was proven, accurate as ever.

One charming Hornsea Pottery "Bronte" pattern tea caddy: I am leaning more and more towards 70s retro kitchenware, perhaps because they're so satisfyingly chunky and the glaze so thick and opaque? I found this for sale online for £15 so I reckon £1 is a bargain ... don't worry, just justifying it to myself!

A Rolf Harris record: just look at the shirt Rolf is wearing, is that Liberty? Very stylish. And the blueprint style drawing of the Stylophone is fantastic, what a wonderous futuristic piece of technology!

A set of stencils like you had at Primary School: I like the speech bubble, and the almost-serif font of the numbers in the blue one.

And I've saved the best for last:

Are they schoolboys or sailors? I love that each has an assigned spice and an individual facial expression. Not sure what I'm going to with them...

I love the thought that thrifting means bestowing a new lease of life on things, rescuing items with history from languishing unloved and unwanted as unconsidered trifles - almost as if they got lost on their life journeys and strayed in to a cul-de-sac. Too whimsical? Well, it is raining today so I reserve the right to wistfulness and whimsy.  I relish giving them back their "belonging" status.

We stopped to re-fuel too, of course. Coffee and excellent Portugese custard tarts at The Windmill.

Plenty of "reuse" and "recycle" - but sadly not so much "reduce" as we collect more clutter than we get rid of! I like to think of it as a conscious design ethic, "eclectic shabby chic" or some such. Keep an eye out for this new design movement in the lifestyle mags, and remember you saw it here first!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

So it begins

So it begins…
The project is under way. Taking advantage of a visit by the Aged Parents to London Town, I grabbed a day of annual leave and work began.
The pattern, as anticipated, is somewhat fiendishly difficult. Thank heavens for Mother's dressmaking skills and experience, as I would have struggled on my own.
After one false start – it turns out 1950 size 16 is really not all that comparable to 2010 size 14 as I had optimistically hoped – and some tricksy work using greaseproof paper to adjust the pattern pieces to fit me (taking your own accurate vital statistics is an odd experience – on paper, the numbers look startling), we cut and basted and stitched, and then cut and basted and stitched some more.
So far, the pattern has required complicated darts (six darts of two different types) and rather sophisticated facing to get the boatneck perfectly flat and elegantly simple.  Next step is the skirt – all 2.5 metres of it – which is sitting gathered up tutu-style waiting to become one with the bodice.
All very complicated, but there's a really pleasure in being perfectionist and making a dress that will fit me – and only me – to a T. A very personal project.
Next step sees me going solo as Mum is back in Manchester and can only support remotely – fingers crossed!

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Urban garden

Stepping out into the garden in the early morning is sheer joy these days. The combination of sunshine, warm and heavy rain has left the greens lush and the seedlings flourishing.

It makes me happy, in a simple way.

This year, the raised beds so far play host to:
  • Strawberries - these tend to go straight in my mouth and never make it to anything more sophisticated like fruit salad or jam
  • Sugar snap peas - just think of the lovely crisp bite of a straight-from-the-vine bright green bean...
  • Spinach - seems to grow like a weed, we are double sowing for a longer harvest
  • Rocket, lambs lettuce, corn lettuce - to save on supermarket bagged salad, yuck
  • Beetroot - recipes welcome, please, as I am not a fan but The Boy is
  • Chives, parsely and mint - the mint is taking over, quick, better make some Pimms or some fresh mint tea

And, germinating nicely in the shed, are:
  • Coriander and basil - it's great to have a proper shed for the more tender herbs
  • San Marzano and Costoluto Fiorentino tomatoes - looking very promising, they are onto their first real leavs and are almost ready to upgrade to bigger pots
  • Gardener's Delight tomatoes - worryingly, nothing showing yet...
  • Runner beans
  • Butternut squash - again, not a whisper of life, so fingers crossed.
This morning, I also listened really hard to the early everything-waking-up noises. I experimented wth sound recording on the iPhone, so you can listen too. (Audio file is MP4 on GoogleDocs and can be listened to in iTunes - if anyone knows a better way, please say, as this method is very roundabout!)

You can hear:
  • The A12
  • The Stansted flightpath
  • Birds singing - I wish I could recognise what they are from their song, I only know I have seen blackbirds, wood pigeons, starlings, a robin and yellowtits
  • Birds taking flight
  • A neighbour's baby
Not bad for urban London at 9am on a Saturday!

[read more like this]


Blog Widget by LinkWithin