Sunday, 29 September 2013

The whole world was at Yarndale

Mavis and Gladys changed their usual Saturday morning trip to the Hill for a little trip to Skipton. The first Yarndale (first of many I hope) was being held at the Auction Mart.  We really weren't sure what to expect but, as the day wore on we realised we were seeing a lot of unexpected things. The first was the queue of traffic about two miles out.  Actually there were other things going on in Skipton but there were still huge quantities of (mostly women) heading, with magnetic force to the beautifully situated Auction Mart.  It was quite easy to park although there were loads of cars. First unexpected - we were in the overflow car park and had to walk half a mile to get to the door - it was a lovely stroll downhill, which of course means uphill on the way back! Following the bunting we found the route to the entrance easily enough. People from all over the world had crocheted bunting triangles - 6000 in all.

Could I just apologise for the pictures which are poor and very few.  Firstly I forgot to pack my camera so had to use my phone and secondly there were so many people there you couldn't get a picture of anything except, well, people.
Ah and there were some animals - alpaca and rabbits.  They calmly watched the huge throng of ladies and the odd husband pushing by.  They probably wondered what on earth we strange humans were doing.  They must have been bored with being stared at because they had turned their backs on their audience by the time I had wrestled my way to the front. 
So what did I buy?  Fortunately none of the credit card machines seemed to be working in the great metal building so I had to content myself with spending only what was in my purse.  (I had been to the cashpoint before we left - ha!)

A little gallery of beauty:
 A Calico Bag for my purchases;
Some paper yarn - yes paper! and some monster rick rack;
Possibly for swags;
 Some hand dyed merino wool and a pattern for a neck warmer;
 Some silk blend for wristwarmers
 Some pink cotton and viscose for something I haven't thought of yet (at £2.50 a ball I will think of something)
Another unexpected - yarn made from sugar cane.  I love the ice cream parlour colours.
Some bamboo needles with beads on the top - I was brought up on metal needles so all the beautiful wood needles you can get now are sheer joy for me.

I have added these lovely purchases to my little basket of goodies waiting to be turned into something gorgeous.

I couldn't really take any pictures of another unexpected thing - it was the number of people whose hair resembled knitted items or un-spun wool. Some people had yarn and fabric woven into their hair. Some looked like they had plonked a bag of roving on top of their heads (we had to look to make sure it was actually hair - it was green too).  That was one of the men on the stalls. 

I'm not a great one for crowds - especially when you have to queue for hours for the loo but Yarndale was certainly a fantastic experience.  Lucy from Attic24 was mobbed every time I saw her, she'll be shattered.

We passed a sign saying Great Yorkshire Ice Cream Farm on the way there so we decided to call in on the way back.  Little farm shop, home-made ice cream? That was the last 'unexpected' of the trip.  It was a huge building with a wrap-around porch.  There was a massive playground and outdoor tables, heaving with families.  Inside there was an American Diner, again heaving with people.  The ice-cream was home-made and utterly delicious.  We each had a three scoop sundae and to wash it all down I had a cloudy ginger beer and Alison had a sarsaparilla.
The food looked delicious - the menu choice was huge and very USA Diner (lush and high calorie).  The sugar rush only lasted a short while and then we yawned all the way back up the A1.

Our first Stitchin' Friends class for some time is on Thursday at High Street Quilting in Birtley so I've been busy checking through the teaching materials. I also made a pattern for the bag I originally made last year called Autumn Glow.   We have had a lovely Harvest Moon this month so I adapted it slightly to celebrate this.  I painted some more pumpkin buttons and will print out the patterns ready to pack up and take with me.
The bag under construction.  
I cut out the purple fabric in the wrong order and didn't have enough to make a back in one piece - hence the striped back which I think is really nice - I made a good mistake for once!
The finished article - a lovely size for knitting and other projects.

It's 9.30 in the morning and I'm going to steel myself to go shopping.  I try to avoid Sundays but needs must.  Then I'm going to come home and finish Ben's First Year book.  Oh and housework, don't forget the housework.....

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Harvest Home

In his new garden John has a bramble - cultivated I think, because it hasn't got any thorns.  I noticed the fruits were ripe last week so I took the liberty of getting a bramley apple.Text conversation:

Me: Juicy Bramley seeks ripe blackberries for friendship leading to crumble and custard.

John: I was picking some today actually.

Me: Are they good?

John: As sharp as my wit.

The result of this blessed union?

 He must have eaten quite a few during the picking session.....

Actually there was no custard so we had ice-cream instead.  The blackberries were not, I have to say,  as fragrant as wild berries, but it was good nonetheless.

Hillary (High Street Quilting) had given me some pink and purple fabric strips to make an alternative coloured star quilt.  

I added some of my own because you really need a big selection of different prints and spent the week-night evenings cutting up squares and half square triangles.

All ready to go by Saturday night.  I was at the machine at 7am on Sunday morning and barely lifted by head until nearly 5pm.  Just put on loads of washing at various intervals, stuck some duck legs in the oven to confit.  A baked potato and some salad completed the Sunday meal.  No effort at all.  Here is the (nearly) finished result.  It needs an inner and outer border yet but I've left that for Hillary to choose.
That was why I didn't post last week.  By the time I had got the ironing done I was whacked.  Work was ultra busy last week too.  I don't think I was home before eight every night except Friday.  On Wednesday it was well gone nine. I'm up at six every morning and out of the house just after seven - it makes for long days.  I think I had worked my contracted hours before the end of Wednesday.  Not so bad if you're a Spring Chicken full of energy, but I'm more of a late Autumn Boiler myself.

I had an early morning visit on Wednesday because John had left the gas meter key at work and they had no hot water.  He is going to monitor the costs and may keep the meter rather than have it changed to a direct debit. (Oh those days of yore when you had to add up the cost of the shopping as you went round the supermarket so you had enough money when you came to pay - there are some compensations for age after all).  They all arrived in their PJs except Ben, who was wrapped up warm.

Don't you wish you could bottle them?  He's one in a couple of weeks.

This weekend I am recharging my batteries.  A lovely morning on the Hill continued with an afternoon, leading into the evening finishing my pumpkins and sunflowers ready for garlands.

Base-coated and ready for the next stage
Building the layers of colour and design
And the sunflowers are ready to join the pumpkins

Tonight I will start crocheting the leaves and 'string' with some green Rowan Cotton Glace.

I'll be ironing in front of the Singapore Grand Prix this afternoon and then settling down to make a fabric pumpkin garland which may become a workshop.  The fabrics are ready but the design is still in my head.
A quiet day should allow that design to become reality - that's what I'm hoping for anyway.  Sadly there's still a bit of housework to do before I can get down to the joy of creating.

Oh - the Harvest Home (apart from the bacon!):
Broth - the ultimate comfort food.  Have a good week everyone.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Mostly doing, not much done

Saturday dawned - I'd like to say bright and sunny but Friday's rain was still falling heavy and dark.  The wind had gone down though! Small mercies.  Alison and I went to our lovely painting session on the Hill.  I'm making an album for Ben's first birthday on 1st October so I spent a happy couple of hours gluing and painting.  Sandra's patient advice was very welcome too for a big decision in my life.  We left later than normal and I popped home to get some flyers for a quilting class we are starting at High Street Quilting - Mavis and Gladys are back! 

The class starts on Thursday 3rd October and will run fortnightly.  The lovely owner, Hillary, asked for a beginner's class so we are re-running the quillow we did on the Hill last year but will have other projects alongside for anyone who has done this but still wants to take part.  We've got some lovely Christmas things planned.

There is a charity shop just near the quilt shop and, for the bargain price of £6 I bought a little cabinet which I am going to shabby chic for my bedroom.  It's circa 1950 I think but not too valuable so I don't think a coat of paint is going to ruin an heirloom.  

Someone has very kindly removed the original handle and replaced it with a little china job with a rose.  It looks totally out of place on the cabinet  but is perfect for the shabby chic makeover.  This will get a rub down during the week and painted next weekend.

So what can I say is the 'done'? The Square in a Square is bound and ready to deliver - well almost.  I will be taking it to school to get the girls to sign their names on the label.  The instructions for this quilt are on the tab at the top - I have added the instructions for the binding at the bottom of the page.

Actually, come to think of it another 'done':

Strawberry ice cream.  I didn't completely puree the strawberries so there are little nuggets of sharp fruit (proper English Strawberry sharp).  This has been in the freezer since this morning so should be deelish by now.

I got up bright and early this morning to finish the quilt but left the binding to slip stitch whilst I watched the Italian Grand Prix.  I had breakfast, put some pork into the oven to slow cook for pulled pork and then did another (version ninety seven) of the five year budget for school.

When the budget was safely emailed off I made the ice cream and prepped the vegetables and yorkshire pudding batter.  I quite often get to mid afternoon and can't be bothered to cook so I reckon if everything is prepped I have no excuse.

Plenty of mash and cabbage to make bubble and squeak tomorrow.  I curled up on the sofa with the quilt - started binding at lights out (the start of the race) and had it finished by the time they had finished the trophy ceremony.

The ironing came next - another leaning tower of Pisa.  Steph and Ben called in three quarters of the way through but Ben was a bit snuffly and listless.  I don't usually catch colds but I definitely caught the listlessness. I am now completely without list.

I fed the hens and cooked the yorkshire puds

and nearly burnt the potatoes - just caught them in time.

Pulled Pork (slow cooked on a bed of vegetables until it can be pulled apart with two forks served with a gravy made from the juices), creamy mash, savoy cabbage and yorkshire pudding...mmmmm

My friend rang and we gassed for nearly two hours so the pumpkins I had laid out to paint 

(thank you Karen B for the inspiration) are still waiting for another coat of lovely Burnt Orange (in the centre).

This is the palette for my pumpkins but you'll have to wait for next week to see these!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

It's time to think of pumpkins

I sleep with my window wide open even in the depths of winter and when I woke the other morning there was a very distinctive change to the air - that 'Seasons of Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness' feel.  A quick trip to High Street Quilting at Birtley was in order. (A girl can never have enough pumpkin coloured fabric).

I have a couple of ideas for this which I had planned to work on today but the Grand Move is not going as well as hoped so the pumpkins will have to wait for another day.

The tenancy on John and Steph's flat is up on Thursday and they had hoped to get everything moved yesterday (Saturday) and spend their first night in the house.  John and I were there until nearly ten last night still trying to fit the work surfaces in the kitchen.  Most of the furniture is in now.  They came round to my house at 6am yesterday to collect the mattress. It won't fit in any of our cars because you can't bend it so they decided to carry it round to the house.  If I could have got the camera out in time I would have taken a picture of them  trotting down the road killing themselves laughing with a king-sized mattress wibbling about.

Ben came down and helped with a load of washing,

But of course housework is very tiring.

John is absolutely exhausted and all he wants to do is come in from work and sit down to a nice meal and an evening relaxing.  One day soon John, one day very soon.

I have finished the quilt I have been working on and made the pattern which is now for sale at High Street Quilting.  It's called 'A Glowing Star'  

This quilt is destined for Quilts for Comfort and will go to Sandra together with the Square in a Square Quilt which is in the final stages of quilting.  If I could be in my Dream World I would be making things like this all the time.  What could be more satisfying than doing something you love knowing that you are giving that love to someone you've never met?

I've had a little fun with cooking this week. My leeks needed thinning so I made these little beauties into a pasta dish.  I think it's a Jamie Oliver recipe.

There's always a lot of debris left for the compost heap!

In a saucepan, gently fry some leeks in a little butter and oil until soft, cover with stock and a glass of white wine if you have it (I always try to keep some in the freezer). Add a little salt, pepper and some thyme. Drape some parma ham over the top and put a circle of greaseproof paper over the top and cook gently for about 15 mins. Then add some cooked, well drained tagliatelle to the pan.  The original recipe calls for a topping of dried mushrooms which have been blitzed in a food processor, mixed with breadcrumbs and fried and finally mixed with grated parmesan.  That is delicious and adds another layer of flavour but for simplicity we just put parmesan on top.  Mmmm.

Everyone is staying here tonight and hopefully all will be ready for tomorrow. Steph and John had some tea and put Ben to bed - how cute is he in his little dressing gown?  

I'm babysitting while they get the final touches put to the house. Well final enough to move into!  I'm sorting out stuff ready for tomorrow when I start work with a bang.  Guess what I'll be doing - moving!  Hey ho. I'll have to remember to set my alarm although I'll probably wake up ten times before it goes off!

I was watching an Italian programme (on Channel 4 I think) on the top ten Italian foods we like. The presenter made an ice cream that only had a can of condensed milk, 500ml of whipped double cream and some vanilla.  She added different flavourings to the base.  This is my version:

Mango, lime juice  and honey whizzed to a puree and swirled into the vanilla base.

I poured this into some containers and put them in to freeze.  Gorgeous.  Oh and then there was the chocolate cake....

Oh well, back to work and back to eating the rainbow next week.  Have a good one.