Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Southport

We live not far from the beach but our beach is not a holiday destination.  The nearest proper seaside town is Southport, which is about 16 miles north from Liverpool.  It's a while since we visited there, so on Monday, we (Hubby and I) made a trip there.


It wasn't as nice a day, weather-wise, as we had hoped, a bit blustery, but we packed our picnic and set off.


One of the traditional attractions of Southport is the pier.  It is the second longest pier in Britain, after Southend Pier, and it has its own tramway.



Sheltering from the strong winds

From the pier, you can see across the bay to Blackpool - can you see the tower and the roller-coaster?


Southport's fair ground is much smaller in comparison.


The sea goes out a long way round here.  We walked the full length of the pier (1112 metres / 1216 yards) and even at the end, the sea was still far off in the distance.


We had a quick drink in one of the pubs before setting off for home.  A pleasant day - just glad I took my scarf.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Sunburst Granny Squares WIP

I'm making excellent progress with my knitted cardigan and my dressmaking, so I should be ready for the wedding.  The fact that I'm feeling on top of things has given me the excuse to drift off onto other projects.


I've now made a total of five squares for my cushion cover that I started last month.



I particularly like the green, mint and pink colour combination and I'm thinking that these colours could be used to make a multi-stitch blanket (Oh no!  Another distraction!)

Before I get onto starting anything else I'm determined to finish my existing WIPs.  I'm optimistically working on the basis that this will be by the end of the week.  Unfortunately, real life tends to step in and I suspect it will be nearer the end of next week before I can justify starting anything new.

Note to self - get on with the dressmaking, or else!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Macramé

Firstly, can I say a big thank you for your comments recently.  I do so enjoy getting messages and reading them.

On browsing Pinterest recently, I came across this picture of some macramé.

From Smitten by a Knot

It's been ages since I last did some macramé.  In about 1971 or 1972, we had a student teacher who during our craft lesson taught us macramé.  I thought it was wonderful, much better than the boring sewing we had been used to doing.

I borrowed books from the library and practised all the knots.  I still have two of these samples from that time.



The problem with macramé is that there isn't a lot you can do with it - a hanging plant pot holder or a wall hanging.  So I haven't pursued this craft for over thirty years.

But now, I'm feeling all inspired again.  Having seen the picture above, I searched for more macramé pictures and here are some of the ones I found, including some very interesting and imaginative wall hangings.

from flickr

from Etsy



A beautiful necklace.


Quite a number of owls.

From Etsy

from Etsy


I even found mini plant pot holders - how wonderful are these.

from Etsy

I'm feeling very inspired now and  I think I can remember most of the knots.  I fancy giving an owl a try, I'll let you know how I get on.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Distracting Distractions

I find myself easily distracted these days.  I know I have a cardigan to knit and a dress to sew, but everything else is so appealing.

I was supposed to be defrosting the freezer.  I thought I'd fit in a bit of cleaning.  Whilst plugging in the vacuum cleaner, I remembered  I wanted to photograph the fat quarters I bought in Hobbycraft (yesterday's post).

I wanted to style them nicely (I'm trying to improve my photography skills) so I thought I'd include a pretty doily.

I went in search of a doily, not just any doily, one that would be right for the photo.  I have a lot of crochet doilies, mostly made by me, and I thought, maybe I should reorganise them all better in the drawer where they are kept.  I took them all out and at the bottom of the drawer I found a crocheted rectangular tray cloth I must have made way back when, probably in the 1970s.


It's quite a nice design, but rectangles aren't my favourite shape.  Then I thought, maybe I could  re-crochet this and make it into a square shape instead (still not my favourite shape but better than rectangles).



So I started calculating stitches and examining the construction.  But then the doorbell rang.  My lovely next-door neighbour had picked some plums from her garden for me.  What a delight!


So it's out with the cookery books and what shall I make with the plums.  Meanwhile the freezer is busy defrosting it's ice all over the kitchen floor and the cleaning isn't doing itself.

If my husband asks, I'm multi-tasking, just between you and me, I think I'm a little distracted.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Goodies from Hobbycraft

Whilst Grace was staying with us, we popped into Hobbycraft for a browse.  Obviously we didn't come away empty handed.  We managed to notch up a good total on the credit card!  I topped up my supply of craft yarns and bought a few other bits and pieces.  My favourite buys were these.


A lovely bundle of floral fat quarters.


And some pretty lace and ribbon.


I'm thinking a simple patchwork table cloth using the fabric would be a very fine thing to make.  Just need more hours in the day - something, unfortunately, the credit card won't buy.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Apple and Sultana Cake

I thought I'd try a new recipe for Grace's birthday.


When we were on holiday in Shropshire recently, I had a most delicious slice of Apple and Sultana cake in the tearooms at Ludlow Castle.  So I Googled a recipe and made my own.


Absolutely delicious and wonderful.  What a  lovely and moist cake.


This cake is set to make regular appearances in our home.  The recipe I used is here.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Don't Panic

I've just realised how close our God-daughter's wedding is!  Panic!!!
What am I wearing?

Well there's the cardigan I'm knitting!


And of course, the dress I'm making intending to make!


I think I need to get a move on.

Or, if I'm desperate I could just drape the fabric around me, toga-style!  Let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Lady Lever Art Gallery

As part of Grace's birthday celebrations, we had a family day out to the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight.




We've been to the gallery many times before, but there is a special exhibition on at the moment that we fancied seeing, entitled "Rossetti's Obsession: Images of Jane Morris".  It was a really interesting exhibition and I especially liked the photo of Jane with her younger daughter, May, taken in 1865.




At the gallery, there is an extensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian paintings.  Here are some of our favourites.






Besides the paintings there are collections of statues and pottery, lots of Wedgwood and a number of rooms dedicated to Chinese objects.

Our favourite find was this cat.  Sat amongst the fine Chinese vases and statues, he looked a little out of place.


His face is so amusing - he looks positively constipated, poor thing!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

It's the Little Things...

...that make all the difference.


Attach a thin strip of ribbon to a paper clip and make a bookmark.  In fact, why not make several.


Ideal for my notebook, so that I can keep track of all my lists.


And not only do they keep me organised, but they are so jolly and colourful.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Collage

So what have I made today?  A collage.


I thought I would create something colourful and interesting to look at.  I started with the butterfly cross-stitch I completed the other day.  I added a border of running stitch and a lovely shell button.


I collect together a variety of pretty craft papers...


And a postcard and other bits and pieces of embellishments.


I had an old photo frame - cheap and not very exciting, definitely in need of some recycling.


So I painted it a lovely light green colour and gave it a light sanding down to give it a distressed look.

The green shows up better in the following photos
of the completed project

Put it all together with the help of some bright washi tape, and there you have it.




The postcard is from the V&A and reads
"Time and tide wait for no man"


A lovely display to brighten up the room.