Saturday, 30 July 2016

Travel and Amsterdam

A short break away somewhere completely different.  In so many senses. Amsterdam was everything all at once - difficult, easy, beautiful and not quite so beautiful.  But the whole?  Amazing! Once I realised we were on the equivalent of Oxford Street when really I wanted Marylebone High street, it was fine.

If some of the image angles seem slightly skewed,  most were taken by the photographer's assistant who is nine.

But she was as enthralled by the doors, windows and tiles as I was!

Left with so many happy memories.
Blog hopping before I went I came across a couple of people talking about their domestic lives (I'll find them and add the links!) and I realise that's the core of my life too.  I also realised that suits me fine, but it always does you good to leave it for a little while.
Makes coming home so delicious!

P xx

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Cherry ice cream

A couple of months ago (where does it go? and so quickly?)
I spent a gorgeous week in Riva, on the northern shore of Lake Garda. It was so relaxing and even though we did a little of the expected stuff - ferries around the lake, meals out etc, it was the unexpected which appealed more and stayed with me.
Riding a local bus to another town - I thought the concierge was going to collapse in a heap at the thought of it - finding a lovely, tiny coffee shop at the back of a wonderful bookshop, and cherry ice cream.

Not being a real aficionado of ice cream, when first choosing I'll admit to being led by the visuals.  It just looked so darned pretty with its ribbons of cherry sauce through the white cream.
Cherry it was.
With all of this warm weather - which is also so very airless at the same time, not like the Italian Lakes at all! - it was time to look for some to cool off with  at home.
Do you know how difficult it is to find it locally? Well, it is here, so hello to google and searching for homemade cherry sauce for ice cream.
The result:

When it had cooled I added it to some creamy vanilla which had been left to soften for a little.
Of course it's nowhere near as nice as the original, but hey, not too bad either.

As for the rest of life?  Well, I couldn't be getting so many things wrong if I tried.
Home is fine, family is fine but friends? The wrong thing is continually coming out of my mouth no matter how hard I try to say the right thing.  Luckily (especially for them) I'll be going away for a couple of days. Give everyone a break.

P xx

Friday, 22 July 2016

Blooming today

A picture led post today:

If it's all in the detail, then it's not too bad at all.

P x

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

High summer

Obviously such days are few and far between, which is what makes them so special. Not too sure I could live my whole summer with such days, but I have enjoyed this one.  Washing dried and folded three times - unheard of for the past months. The joys of an empty washing basket!

The flowers in pots are liking it too.

And right now is the best, slightly cooler, but still warm enough to be sitting outside. And so very still.

P xx

Monday, 18 July 2016


Making and dressing dolls has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.  From baby dolls in dark red prams for me and my sister - as we had another baby sister on the way! - to rag dolls for my daughter.  Having an aunt who was always dressing dolls for herself, us and her own daughter, it's probably not surprising. 
I love seeing how other people make up dolls and their clothes - from gorgeous rabbits to stylish wooden dolls - they all appeal.  The doll I loved making the most was Emily from Laura Ashley; it was a joy to make her with help from my daughter.  A very long time ago.  And as with everything else, the longer you leave something, the harder it is to get into it all again. So, a Sophie Tilley doll kit is coming along (very slowly) and obviously before finishing one, it was time to source another.  Did I say I always like to have a couple of things on the go?!

I'm sure there are more local doll maker suppliers, but then France isn't that far is it?

And the packaging is just gorgeous.

The pieces are all cut out and small amounts of embroidery started.  But no rush.  The enjoyment is the doing, the process rather than the end product.

And the random image of Cath Kidston hand creams?  Part of a delicious care package from aforementioned aunt who was aware of a very stressful couple of weeks and wanted to alleviate it a little.
She managed that beautifully.

P xx

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Vanilla buns

Dark days don't always mean winter; sometimes you just have a head like a pan of broth and you need to lighten it up.  No better way than bread making.  Normally it's just straightforward white loaf, but can be a little more exciting if the mood/need is there!

One of the books I use regularly is Scandilicious baking and as everything was to hand, vanilla buns it was.
Worth it for the smell in the house alone, but they are so light, not too sweet and perfect with sour cherry jam.
Perfect antidote to a pan of broth.

P xx

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Please don't let the pretty pictures fool you

As with absolutely everything else in life, it's all in the editing:

They are so pretty, and stunning colours and some of them even smell so sweet.

The ones grown from seed earn a special close up.

Those hidden away and only seen when up close and personal, show that they flower for any reason but me.

The reality is different, slightly darker and just a little bit guilt-inducing.

In truth, the borders are a complete mess; a shambles of a garden.  All the necessary elements for a decent garden are there, and the lawns are good - mainly because someone else is seeing to those - but what needs to happen now is a good dose of slash and burn.  Well, maybe composting rather than actual burning, although.......
And there will be a certain pleasure in that.  Sweeping clean is usually a case of re-starting and new ideas.  So not all bad then.

P xx

Monday, 11 July 2016

Making a toile

As the colours for the doll's stockings, blouse etc are working out well, it seemed a good time to start on the skirt. Ordinarily when making doll's clothes it's very much a case of cut, sew, cut a bit more, sew a bit more until there's some approximation of fit! But here?  With this one? Oh no.  Nothing less than a toile made up in scrap fabric. With French Seams. 

What got into me I'm not so sure, but it was liberating - no worries if it didn't look right, or the length was off or any of a dozen ways it could normally go wrong!  And the result? Meh, it's ok.  Just ok.  The waistband could be a lot better and it definitely needs to be fuller . But that's fine.  It just means I get to play around with it tomorrow too.  Which brings me to this little poster from Flow magazine which sits above the sewing desk. I'm learning to do this all over again and it feels pretty good.

P xx

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Green? Or green?

This shade of green is a love it or hate it one.  And I'm not too sure I've decided which yet.  But the doll's legs are definitely this colour, and actually, I think it may work out pretty well with the skirt.  As she has a bit of attitude already she may also end up with some stripes...

Right now there seems to be so much more colour around - and I'm pretty sure that's because I'm noticing it more, rather than it just appearing! It's always good when that happens.  

P xx

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Collars and cuffs

Not the sewn ones, but painted. Little steps forward.
And I think I've found the perfect combination of fabrics for the skirt etc.
Happy days.

The rest of the day has involved cauliflower.  Lots of it.  Soooo much of it in fact. Cauliflower is tasty, especially when fresh from the allotment, but for some reason I don't like the taste of it from frozen.  So what to do with it all?

First off a creamy cauliflower soup.  Probably more creamy than any soup should be, but it's delicious and can freeze!
Secondly a cauli and broccoli bake with cheese sauce, grated cheese and nutty breadcrumbs on top.
Not too bad at all, and again, easy to freeze and doesn't have the funny taste.
But enough with the cauliflower for a couple of weeks thank you.

P xx

Friday, 8 July 2016

Copper Love

When did it all change from shiny stainless steel and chrome and black, to gorgeous copper and rose gold? Well, whenever it was, it's here for sure now.  The moment I knew I'd been hooked into it was earlier today in John Lewis when I was to be found cooing over a dinky little copper saucepan. Of course the remarks from best beloved standing next to me soon knocked me to my senses - along the lines of what exactly would I use it for?  well, nothing really, but how gorgeous would it look hanging above the cooker??!  So no, it didn't manage to come home with me.  Well today it didn't.  Doesn't mean it never will.

These, however, most certainly did:

Shiny, copper, lots of them and SO useful!!

P xx

Thursday, 7 July 2016

The key

To the untrained eye it may just be the key to an ordinary, old cherry wood wardrobe.  But only to the untrained eye.  Those of us who know better (though in my case only because I've been told!) it is obviously a very important key which must be hidden from those who would steal the treasure inside the old wardrobe.

Which is a long-winded way of saying this key is regularly lost - but only to me.  And the only way to retrieve it is to plead with the keeper of the key to part with the knowledge of its whereabouts.  I did start to look for it, but hey, it could take a lifetime.  Luckily said keeper of the key was still awake in her own house so I just rang and asked.  

More work is happening in the sewing room; but before making the skirt I started on the painting - first the blouse, which will have a collar and buttons and cuffs added.  Next up will be the stockings and shoes.  Taking it all very slowly, but that's ok.  There's enough rush and hurry in my life without adding to it. 

I did manage to hold firm and only buy a couple of fabrics today:

Not shouty shouty designs, but oh so useful! Beautiful grey and blue and a quality feel to them both.  Cheap is ok; good value is so much better!

P xx

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

And we're back......

Too much to talk about, or at least rake over, but there was a holiday, Visitors from Australia and life in general.  Hey ho.  Let's just jump straight back in.  Before coming here to write I was thinking about the blog - what it's for, who it's for etc etc.  No real answers, but it fills a need right here, right now, and there's no harm in that.  But one of the joys is the impetus it gives to take photographs.

The sewing room has been tidied (again)  which means there's more head space to actually sew. There is a certain quilt which needs finishing.....

The front is all done but I do need to choose some fabric for the border.  The local fabric shop has a sale on just now, with 35% off all their fabrics, including these beautiful ones.  and local is always good, isn't it?!

It's not all about the sewing though; as there's a new baby on his way very soon, it has been a joy to be knitting extremely small crossover jackets and a cable blanket.  I do love the way knitting allows your mind to wander as you rack up those rows.  It does mean the occasional pulling out, having gone too far ....

Hopefully it won't be such a long gap before blogging again, 

P x