Monday, 27 August 2012

Easy make inspiration

I found this photo of the pretty cotton blanket I crocheted earlier in the Spring this year and it's fresh colours just gave me instant joy. I must get around to using up the rest of my Planet Penny Cotton some time soon. This photo has nothing to do with this post but I just couldn't resist having it here!

I am supposed to be doing 101 other things and not blogging but how could I resist now I am on annual leave for 10 days? I wanted to show you two sweet tea cups I found in a local charity shop. Their pastel colours lured me out of my stupor just as I was about to give up and feel like I never seem to find any fun crockery anymore. 

I like their individual names and think these are rather pretty which I'll look forward to wrapping up together with some homemade biscuits to give to my friend in the Cotswolds whom we are visiting this week.

I also had a few stolen moments to make myself a little card wallet inspired from the glorious Alexandra of Lola Nova blog here. Such an easy and simple idea which anyone with a sewing machine can make. Go and have a read on her blog for clear instructions on how to make this.

Take some cheap/scrap oil cloth (I got my scrappy bit from here) plus a cheap plastic card wallet or some clear vinyl which you may have in your stationary supplies/scraps or can buy cheaply from here.

I followed Alexandra's instructions with a slight tweak of making rounded rather than 90 degree angle corners and popped up into the attic which is my summer time sewing space (no heating in the winter) and sewed the wallet together in no time. It's not as neat as I would like it but as a first attempt at sewing slippery oil cloth I'm not complaining. 

This is a quick and easy project which would make the perfect little homemade practical gift for friends and family. Thank you Lola Nova for your tutorial and inspiration, I believe I will be making plenty more of these :o)

Hope you also feel a little inspired now.
Love that about blog-land, how the inspiration is a chain reaction that just goes on and on and on!
Cheerio and thanks for stopping.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

All the beautiful things

I woke up feeling blah this morning, it was wet, windy and rather miserable to say the least and I felt tired after a hectic week at work. I did, however spend the first hour I was awake, drinking tea and listening to some music and ended up reflecting on how much I love my job treating cancer patients and cancer survivors. 

I never want to forget the elation I feel after knowing that I might just have improved somebody's quality of life by providing reassuring, practical and meaningful evidence based nutritional advice. I also have the privilege of driving around the west of East Sussex and treating people in their own homes or whilst they are receiving chemo/radio-therapy in the Hospital Day Unit and those having symptom management in the local Hospice. I love what I do and try never to take this for granted. I feel like I am one of the lucky ones who gets paid for doing something I really love.

This reflective hour instantly removed the blah-ness from my head space and I decided to spend the afternoon in Lewes, a beautiful market town in East Sussex after dropping Andy and Alice off at the football in Brighton.

I'm so pleased I did because I had a wonderful wander about, drank tea, did some knitting and a little shopping and took loads of photo's. 

I took some slightly obscure photo's and some blurry ones but I so enjoyed exploring and seeing all the beautiful things.

I'm really becoming a yellow and mustard colour freak, just can't get enough of it.

I also have a secret love of keys and key holes, just can't help it.

A refreshing pot of Lady Grey tea in Wickle whilst continuing with knitting my teal coloured waist coat, is always a must for me when I visit Lewes.

Such colour and design inspiration.

I bought this beautiful Phaidon city book of Rio De Janeiro for Andy because it's his life time desire to visit Brazil and the photo's in this little book are amazing. Oh, and a little roll of washi tape for Alice to have some fun with.

And for me? I couldn't resist this linen and cotton mix simply styled dress in White stuff. It was less than half price in the sale, I love a good bargain at the end of a good pootle about.

How about you?
Are you also fortunate to do what you love in your work?
What do you do to lift your blah days?

Thanks for popping in, have a fab week ahead, we are off to the Cotswold's in England next week for a couple of nights to visit an old friend of mine from South Africa, can't wait. It's always long nights of chit chat for us and I always leave exhausted but very happy.

See you all soon

Sunday, 19 August 2012

My family and other animals

Hello...have you ever read My family and other animals written by Gerald Durrell? I did when I was 10 and loved it very much. I found myself reading it again last week to lift my mood after the sad week I have just had {thank you so very much for your well wishes, really touched me and so kind, Sophia's service was perfect and it was so heart breaking to see so many young people attend a funeral to celebrate her short life}.

The book is set in Corfu and is an autobiographical work written by the naturalist Gerald Durrell, telling the story of part of his childhood spent on this Greek Island in the late 1930's. Written in a rather humorous manner, he describes his family and the fauna of the island. I think it's the first in a trilogy about the island and is well worth a read. It certainly made me smile and I love re-reading books I read as a child and seeing the narrative through adult eyes.

Anyway, did you like the photo of Brush, the Welsh Terrier who lives down the road. He is my favourite chap to run into and he loves a good scratch and cuddle. Janice who owns him always keeps him pristine and neat, I like that in a dog. She used to have Basil, also a welsh terrier before Brush came into their lives :o)

Yesterday, Alice and I popped over to her art teacher's studio to help her construct a Thai fabric 2D elephant for a workshop next week and we had a visitor in the form of Tiggy.

Tiggy is old and grumpy and I like that in a cat too. She makes me smile with all her meouwwwwing and sprawling herself over the studio table and licking the water with paint brushes in. She likes to visit and make a bit of an exhibition of herself whereby we simply have to pay her attention. 

Brush and Tiggy have been fun and therapeutic for me this past week and playing with this little monkey too...

Last but not least, this little bunny hopped her way right into my heart when I eventually got round to sewing her together. 

Meet Beryl...

She is very cute and her pattern comes from this Debbie Bliss book. She's my first attempt at knitting a little animal and I simply love her...plump belly and all!

I found sewing her head and limbs on a little tricky and Alice had to help me with the positioning a bit but I think we have got it just right for her.

It's hard not to love her flower pot ways and no doubt she will be doing gymnastics like Alice's favourite jelly cat hippo "Rose"

She may even get a dress or two knitted for her one day!

Thanks so much for popping in, I will try and get to visit your blogs soon and comment if I can
Have a wonderful, life embracing week

Warm welcome to new followers, Tania at Scandi Coast and La Tana di Mopo

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Sweet Sophia

Sweet Sophia 

It is with deep regret and such sadness that the Dietitians of East Sussex will travel to London tomorrow to say goodbye to you. You with your beautiful, effervescent nature. You with your zest for life and enthusiasm for your family,friends and work. You who encouraged me to get back to playing netball this Autumn and joining your team, your energy being endless at times. You, who earned the respect of our medical colleagues and always gave of your best, an asset to our profession. Sweet Sophia, at 30 it seems that you still had a whole life to live. Losing you last weekend feels unfathomable, you will be missed dearly and may you rest in peace dearest friend xox 

Friday, 10 August 2012

10 Good Things Right Now

I love it when House of Humble blog does their everyday posts of "10 Good Things Right Now" and thought I might try it myself for I am an optimist at heart and like to focus on the good things in my life and there are many indeed. So here goes...
  • Two old keys for £1 and a pretty glass button for 50p found in a junk shop last week
  • Our beautiful girl messing around on the beach
  • Watching my annual potted lily open up yesterday, it always amazes me when it keeps returning year after year
  • Tying shells on string to wrap round our little picnic basket when we go down to the beach
  • Attempting to knit a DK teal coloured waist coat for the autumn... I really am pants at doing any patterns (maybe not paying enough attention whilst doing a bit of psso and yarn fwd?!) so I might just make life easier for myself and knit a cable instead
  • Getting over the top excited about my new pair of Swedish clog sandals arriving in the post, at heart I am a clippity cloppity clog kind of gal and love the cool geeky-ness of these shoes
  • Smiling at Alice's sense of humour when I discovered Mr. Pirate on one of our outside ledges where I collect driftwood, shells and pebbles 
  • Picking flowers and eating too many Tunnocks caramel wafers
  • Laughing at what I may very well knit from this hilarious book I bought for £2.99 from The Works in Eastbourne in one of my lunch time breaks this week
  • Loving the Olympics and this beautiful Union Jack* poster Alice made with some of her crafty bits and bobs and my ric rac and buttons...amazing what Summer time school holiday boredom can produce!

Thank you once again for your comments, I do love reading them and try to visit your blogs if I can. Warm welcome to those who regularly pop in and to new followers Anita's dollyHens rule and  Cariad in Crete

So that's all folks.
I am off to Brighton this evening to stay at my mother-in-law whom Andy and Alice have been with since Wednesday.
Wishing you all 10 good things right now.
See you soon 

*Just in case if some of you were wondering she did also make a little sparkly South African flag for our window after a little nudge from her african mama ;O)

Monday, 6 August 2012

Blackberry dye fun

I like to collect pretty hand embroidered tray and table cloths when I spot them for a bargain in charity shops or boot sales.

I love thinking of the women who made these, sitting quietly in the evenings sewing to their hearts content and the conversations that might have happened, the tea and maybe cake served over this tray cloth. It seemed right that I chose this pretty floral cloth to make another lavender and rice filled heat pack for a special friends birthday on Sunday. 

I really want to learn to embroider with pretty colours and love the therapy of hand stitching. I noticed that the new Jane Brocket book is due to be released next month and if my copy of her book The Gentle art of knitting is anything to go buy, I think I will need to treat myself to this beauty. I can't wait!

It has been rather gentle here over the weekend, Alice is finding a new found level of independence with her friends going to the park or down the sea front for an ice-cream on their own leaving me and Andy at home with some time to spare. It's a weird time letting go of your child, I'm not too sure that I am 100% comfortable with it yet, but I am putting my trust in God that we are doing the right thing.

So, whilst I made us all a veggie curry on Saturday evening waiting for Alice to come home, I got some inspiration from the red onions I was chopping up whilst admiring my lavender I am drying out at the moment. 

The different shades of purple are very pleasing to my eye and I've been thinking about making use of nature's fruits as a natural dye for some fabric but have never found the right moment. So, I decided to pull out some old black berries I froze from last year's pickings and make my very own shade of purple dye.

I only had about a cup of berries which I mashed down as much as I could and added 1/4 cup salt for helping the dye "to take" and not run once it has set in the fabric.

Next,I chose one of my thrifty vintage cotton pillow slips I bought for 50p in a local charity shop.

And popped it into a large enough pot (some people suggest an aluminium pot as it helps with the dying process, but I don't have one so had to make do with what I have)

I boiled the pillow slip for about 15 minutes and was quite excited to see what the outcome of my little experiment would be.

The berries look quite pale and anaemic as I poured the water into the colander...

And very first naturally dyed pillow slip emerged from the water.

I'm rather pleased with this beauty and after having a good look spotted a couple of more "stained" spots but that really doesn't bother me at all, adds to the character is what I say :o)

All in all this was good fun and I plan to have a play with some other plants to make more natural dyes again some day soon. I did   happen to encounter this web site which has a fabulous list of plants and what colour dyes they produce in case you are interested. I fancy using some tumeric to make a shade of yellow/mustard.

Maybe, just maybe this might very well be a perfect pillow slip to practice some of my long awaited embroidery learning skills on?

We'll see!

Thanks for popping in and welcome to new follower, Yvonne of Just Blethering

Oh and thank you kindly to Lynne of Textile Treasury for my One Lovely Blog Award, much appreciated.

See you all soon

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Seaside inspiration and a scrub

I can't help making the most of these sunny, warm evenings and am acutely conscious of the evenings drawing slowly in...
I tend to go for a long cycle along the coast when I can and just love that bit of me time after a busy day at work. 

I pop my headphones in and off I go into the blue sky and breeze.

I love people watching as I cycle along and stopping to take some photos. I try never to take my close proximity to the coast for granted and embrace it as much as I can. 

All the pretty shapes, forms and colours inspire me.

I am busy crocheting a granny stripe blanket in the evenings and am using up lots of my scrappy bits and bobs of yarn left over from other projects or that I have been given (from a colleague's mum when she moved). I think all the colours that I am seeing on my evening cycles are inspiring me, I'll show you my progress soon.


On another note, Alice and I have also got round to making some home made scrub for my friend Janie who is celebrating her birthday on Sunday. She teaches Alice art after school and holds fabulous workshops for kinds in the holidays and manages to grow the prettiest English country garden ever.

Since she is such a keen gardener, we decided this could be used as a perfect hand scrub for her, it can of course be used as an all over body scrub too. 

I was inspired after reading this post on A Thrifty Mrs blog and decided to tweak her "recipe" to suite my needs;

I used 250g soft fine brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 100mls olive oil and about 20 drops of geranium oil (any oil that you like can be used). Mix them all together and voila you have a nifty stash of scrub. A perfect little home made present.

The top right picture doesn't look too appetising(!)but the left hand pic does it the justice it deserves, it smells divine (I love geranium oil) and scrubs up a treat leaving your skin soft and silky and smelling delish. 

Welcome to three new followers Mrs. MicawberPaisley Summer and A Quiet Corner.

That's me for this evening,
I'm off to watch team GB cyclists enjoying their gold medal
See you all soon