Saturday, 28 September 2013

Flowing Through the Mists

Misty mornings and two wheels, perfect combination for a lovely start to the day. I'm afraid I'm a bit weird and actually like it when the weather is like this, it is so atmospheric and makes the familiar more interesting. I won't complain if the sun decides to show its face this weekend though ;) Happy Saturday everyone!

Spot the heron!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Let's Do The Timewarp

Strange things are afoot in Bath, it seems like there are a whole bunch of people casually wandering around in full Georgian style! It might just have something to do with Jane Austen-fest, either that or everyone has gone slightly bonkers... If you have ever been to Bath you may notice a slight obsession with that particular author. The city certainly does feature in several of her books, and many of the landmarks she mentions still exist, such as the Assembly rooms and the Pump room. The architecture certainly fits in with it all. If you ignore the buses getting impatient at being held up by a parade of Georgian finery, it is certainly easy to picture how things may have looked two hundred years ago. What Fun!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Don't Just Consume, Create.

It seems quite probable that I can only be considered supremely uncool as I like to spend my evenings making and creating. However, I AM OKAY WITH THAT. Ha! Perhaps a true sign that I am over my teenage years (er, at almost 26), I do not give two hoots what others think of how I spend my time, my housemates can give me funny looks and entertain themselves with pointless football, I shall make things. So there.

Well I suppose the point is I am incredibly pleased with myself because I have just completed my first patchwork quilt. It is not by any stretch perfect, but those imperfections are because I hand-crafted it and it is beautiful and I love it :)

Just in case anyone is interested, here is a quick run through of what I got up to. See also this great blog and also this one for some great tutorials and lots of inspiration. I spent a few hours searching the good old net and then I was away. I love the internet, and all the wonderful bloggers that put out amazing information for curious people like me.

This selection of tools makes life significantly easier, though of course a ruler and scissors would do. I went for a very simple design of lots of half-square triangles, made up from 10 different colours and patterns of fabric. I got half a metre of each fabric to make a double bed-sized quilt. There are plenty of tutorials for HST out there so I won't bore you, I cut 6.5" squares of each fabric (the size of the grid ruler!) for mine, then trimmed to 6" when I had sewn then into HST. I made up a whole load of squares, then laid them out on the floor to concoct a design. I went for 13x13 squares because I'm awkward :)

Make sure you label the rows when you gather them back up! I just piled them up left to right then pinned a row number to the top of the pile and kept them together in a plastic sleeve.

I stitched all the squares in each row together, then stitched the rows together. Trimming and pressing as you go makes life significantly easier. All the sewing done on my trusty £3 1946 handcrank Singer 99k, sewing machines do not need to be expensive!

Top done!

Then it was time to do the actual quilting. I made a sandwich with a double sheet (cheaper than fabric and no joining!), and the wadding/batting, then used curved safety pins to hold it all in place. And I finally got my 'new' sewing machine serviced, it is a beast! It is a Singer 401G, 1965, works like a dream and does loads of fancy stitches, unlike my 99k which will only go straight.

Sexy sewing machine :)

Border time! I probably did it in a completely unconventional way but I like how it looks :)

The final product. Like I say, I am just a little bit pleased with myself!

Also, I made a damn tasty dinner of stuffed squash, so I am one happy bunny :)

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Castle in the Sky

I think that it is inevitable that when you live somewhere you manage to overlook the interesting things that are right on your doorstep. I guess when you pass something everyday you sort of forget how exciting a massive ruined castle sitting atop a hill is. Despite having lived in this part of Dorset for most of my life, I think I have only been to visit Corfe Castle once or twice, and not for quite some time (the actual castle that is, I have driven through the village countless times!). Well we decided to rectify that a couple of weekends ago, and actually paid a visit.

It is of course pretty spectacular, especially when you think about just how long it has been there (around 900 years), and that it was actually ruined in 1645, as a result of the English civil war, after a lengthly siege in which the Lady of the castle successfully defended the castle against a substantial army. More interesting stuff here. Always good to learn something about your local area!

Good view from up top too!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Things I Ate and Liked...

Not all in one go mind! Just the highlights from a couple of weeks of food. Cooking for only myself does tend to result in ingredients getting repeated, I still haven't got through that entire packet of wraps, why do they come in eights?!

Anywho, wrap variation number 1, meat making a rare appearance in the form of very nice steak, mixed in with some kidney beans and caramelised onion, creme fraiche and salad keeping company. Yes I did use a spoon to keep it together, classy stuff.

Another wrap variation, no meat required this time, just a spicy red kidney bean and veg mix, some emmental, more creme fraiche and salad, and two wraps, must have been friday or something.

There might have been a cheeky cocktail keeping those company too, grapefruit vodka, orange juice and a hunk of lime, does that count as a cocktail? Served in a proper wine glass, more classiness right there...

Final, slightly left-field wrap-based meal. The topping is a recipe from Everyday Veg by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, an aubergine curry, obviously with my usual tinkering of lots of extra veg. And I toasted the wrap in a frying pan so I could pretend it was a chapatti, kind of authentic. maybe. Then I added a vast quantity of creme fraiche...

Saturday! That means afternoon treats whilst out adventuring :)

The final, triumphant delight is this pasta creation, absolutely classic representation of my cooking, i.e. throw it all together and see what it tastes like. tricolore pasta, this pesto recipe (but with cashews not pine nuts), runner beans from the garden, red pepper, olives, goats cheese and the last of that persistent creme fraiche. Pretty tasty, although it isn't going to win any beauty prizes. I put a sprig of basil on for you though!

What do YOU eat and like?