Monday, 25 February 2013

Monday 25th February 2013



Oh is there anyone else who is just counting the days now..spring is nearly here and I can't wait. The first beautiful snowdrops have been in full bloom..always the first flowers of the year here.These snowdrops (above) are in my garden but last Sunday I went with my daughter on a "snowdrop walk" at Plas Cadnant, a lovely place just down the road from me which opens its gardens to the public and also has holiday cottages.At this time of year their snowdrops are just fabulous...



 The garden looks down onto the River Cadnant and has been restored sensitively. Usually I go down to the river from the other side so it was interesting seeing it from here...



                                         I loved this interesting gnarled-wood bench ...



There are formal walled gardens as well as more natural areas..it must be quite sheltered as I came across this early flowering azalea...



                                         ...and also spotted this interesting chap...



That reminds me of someone...I went into the garage on Monday and was worried when I heard rustling but no, it wasn't a mouse but this chap had woken up from hibernation as it was unusually warm for February.There's a bit of a similarity don't you think? ...


It has been gorgeously sunny all week in fact but he didn't stay awake for more than a day as the temperatures dropped again and yet again I've been up at 6.30a.m. and sitting in my daughter's car warming up the engine and de-frosting the windows before her early start, or as I call it, as in the famous poem, "warming her pearls", ha! 

It's been a good time for cheap tulips in the supermarkets and strangely, I prefer them when they are past their best and on the verge of dropping their petals.They take on a satin pearly shimmer and a sort of faded glamour...

 

One of the few things getting me through the "fag-end" of winter is the excuse, if it were needed, to bake comfort-making cakes. Today I made these intensely chocolatey buns..they are healthier than you might think..secret ingredient being a tin of kidney beans (liquidised) which add protein, fibre, and a rich moisture to the free range eggs, organic wholemeal flour, cocoa, butter and small amount of sugar...they are definitely not as sinful as they look and are my most-requested cakes...


Early hours of Monday morning now..I should go to bed..have a good week everyone. xx

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Sunday 10th February 2013

What a treat yesterday was..a trip to Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft show at Event City in Manchester. I went with my daughter so we were bound to be slightly late (she HATES getting up early!) but hey ho, so long as we could park and I could get to see my preferred lecture/demo all was fine.
SO much to see there.Below I've posted only half of the photos I took but hope they are representational of the general feel of the event.

 I was particularly looking forward to seeing the costumes from several Jane Austin productions...anyone who knows me knows how much Jane Austin means to me..I practically know her books word for word and they were the first books I bought, one a week, with my wages when I worked through 6th form and college in a petrol station at weekends. I'm meandering, (no surprise there), so, here are the clothes... 

                  Here's Alan Rickman's Colonel Brandon suit from the film Sense And Sensibility..



             Emma Thompson's dress when she played Elinor Dashwood in Sense And sensibility.. 



                       Kate Winslet's Marianne Dashwood dress from Sense And sensibility...



Well, I'm sure any woman reading this has vivid memories of this particular shirt..it is of course the one Colin Firth wore when he emerged dripping from the lake as Mr Darcy in Pride And Prejudice...not actually in the book of course but an enjoyable bit of artistic license!.It was all I could do to restrain myself from reaching out and touching it...



               This is Jennifer Ehle's wedding dress as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride And Prejudice...



                          The dress Billie Piper wore as Fanny Price in tv's Mansfield Park...



                Finally, a dress Gwyneth Paltrow when she played Emma Woodhouse in Emma...



Loads more stuff to see at the show; below are just a few other random things I  noticed and enjoyed...
                                                     A stunningly beautiful calico quilt...



I was particularly thrilled to be able to say hello to my Facebook friend and someone whose work I really love...Kim Thittichai (below,right). I was right on the front row watching her funny and interesting lecture on her work as a textile designer...



                                                       A display of stitched postcards...



I LOVE the eccentric Jonathan Korejko and the beautiful hand-made papers he makes out of ,well, almost anything...



There were more card-making stands than anything else, selling anything you could ever need to make any type of greetings card; stamping equipment, glues, stickers, glitters, beads,too many things to list really. I REALLY had to restrain myself!



                                              Beautiful printed fabrics by this lady...



I hadn't come across this man at the shows before..interesting old-fashioned skills as a pencil-maker...






Sadly this didn't photograph well but it was stunning..one of my favourite pieces in the show...



There was a big display of traditional smocking..farmers' smocks, children's smocks from the 1960's, and so on.All very interesting to me as I had to learn how to do proper hand-stitched smocking in my first year as a fashion student.






                                          More up-to-date fashions in a catwalk show...



                                              There were many gorgeous quilts....




































































A wonderful day out for me, in spite of terrible traffic which meant it took a full hour to drive away from the Trafford Centre area and get to my parents' house only two miles away!  
Did I buy anything?? But of course: some water-soluble membrane from Kim, some more barbed felting needles,some gilding flakes, some Friendly Plastic from a lady who demonstrated some easy effective techniques, and best of all, the handbag I lusted over at the last Creative Stitches show and foolishly decided I could live without..it was still there on the same stand, calling me..well, a girl needs handbags that make her smile!!  Goodnight all. xx