Saturday, 28 April 2012

Heart This

Love these ...

Today is wet, windy, dull and depressing so do take a look at these pretty pictures and cheer up!

Via tumblr

this is the one picture on the whole internets that made me want to learn how to crochet. i never did find the name of the woman pictured, but these are her stunning tapestry crochet mandalas
Via missmaryquitecontrary
Via tumblr
Reblogged from cinoh
Reblogged from zengypsy
Reblogged from meggieveggie
Reblogged from improvi3ed

Via bohemianhomes

Friday, 27 April 2012

Scraps And Ribbons

Oh ... I love Solvy!
Scrappy Fabric Work in progress ...

I discovered this material in my local craft shop and after reading about it on the net I got a great idea. The material is water soluable and I decided to use it along with lots of tiny scraps and ribbons in the trash bin to make a funky bit of material - maybe a shawl/scarf or whatever?

I cut two large shawl shapes from the Solvy and piled all my scraps and ribbon pieces onto one of them. I then covered these with the second sheet of Solvy and pushed it all flat. I then pinned the pieces in place. I did not try and arrange the pieces - just a higgledy piggledy mess of colour and bits from a scrap bag. I did, however, make sure that each of the pieces were touching each other or the material would fall apart when the Solvy was dissolved. I also added some sequins and felted wool, a gift from Tina at  Sweetypie50  ... I know this is important to her - for me to have a bit of glitter in my life!

I then sewed the two layers together by meandering and sewing lots of lines all over the the area until every tiny scrap was secured. Now for the exciting bit ... I put the whole thing in a basin of warm water and left it for fifteen minutes for the Solvy to dissolve. Then I gave the fabric a good rinse in fabric sofener to get all the remaining stiffness from it that is caused by the glue like substance in Solvy ... and now here it is after the first stage ... the beginnings of a very funky scarf/shawl or piece of wacky material or whatever ?

Shawl shaped - still wet - before the finishing touches

A closer look before the trimming, embroidery and finishing

Below are some pics of the dissolving process - lift it from the water when well rinsed and press flat  (the check background is a towel)  ...

The glitter - a gift from Tina

Old ribbon scraps from a friend

More felted wool scraps and sequins from Tina

Scrap ribbon from my new skirt

Any old tiny scrap pieces just piled in a heap

The back as colourful as the front

More back - a riot of colour

The heap of scraps - what a mess!

Now for a bit of red  machine embroidery to hold the pieces firmly together and tidy the ends ...

Beginnings of some colour stitching

More colour stitching

Even more colour stitches

Trying to cover the whole mess with colour stitches

Scrappy material unfinished fabric/shawl/scarf

When the fabric is dry and pressed I shall trim the edges and then embroider all over again with the machine in red to give it a bit more depth and interest. I may even add some red applique flowers and do some hand embroidery. Sadly my machine has been playing up all day with wonky stitches and making laboured noises so hope it will survive for at least the rest of the day. I shall post more pics of the finished product later today or tomorrow when I have decided just what to do with it.

Lots of detail so far

More detail so far

More colour so far

Even more colour so far

More detail so far

And even more detail so far

I shall continue with this strange work tomorrow and then post some pics of the finished piece when it is embroidered by hand, sequined, beaded, appliqued, washed and softened into a flimsy piece of fabric ... and then who knows what it will become?

Sweetypie50  has taught me that things need not be neat and tidy, could be colourful and unfinished,  and totally off the wall, weird and wacky and then still look interesting ... thank you so much Tina for that little lesson.

I can think of so many things to do with Solvy and this trial is just the beginning of understanding how to use this magical material. This scrappy material reminds me of the crazy quilting of Victorian times and presumably if I embroider it then it could be just as interesting as that was. Maybe a journal cover is beckoning?

Afterwards, now that I understand the process, I shall try to use the material again with some good designer fabrics and a little thought and planning. Watch this space ...

Still work in progress ... more later ...

Knitting outfits..
You know how much I like weird and colourful?
These ladies are knitting their own outfits!
Via cleobelle

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Simple Asparagus

Asparagus Supper

Today I went out with my lovely friend for the day. We did some shopping in the rain and had a lovely lunch. She left all her best friends behind. These are her best friends ...

 When we got home Mr Whizz Kid was hungry ...

We had some asparagus in the fridge

There is nothing like simple asparagus with hollandaise sauce. After a wonderful shopping spree and a delicious lunch out with a friend  at  Carluccio's  it is just the sort of small supper that suits me well. A little touch of rosemary from the garden and a fresh lemon along with a good glass of wine ... and mmmmm!

Homemade hollandaise

Hollandaise Sauce

4 large egg yolks
250g cold butter, diced
¼ lemon

1. Put the yolks, butter and 2 tbsp water in a heavy-based pan and heat very gently, whisking all the time. As the butter melts, the sauce will begin to thicken; don't be tempted to hurry things along by turning the heat up, the sides of the pan should be cool enough to touch at all times.
2. Once the butter has melted, turn up the heat to medium-low and whisk vigorously until it thickens: if it begins to steam, take it off the heat, but do not, under any circumstances, cease whisking.
3. When the sauce is thickened to your taste, stir in 1 tbsp lemon juice and season.



Although I was looking for a very light meal, Mr Whizz Kid wanted the full works so I cooked him some lovely marinated and barbequed meat and grilled tomatoes to go along with his.


Pretty yummy

Nothing better than fresh asparagus!

Here's Looking At You Kid

Casablanca 1942

This is one of my all time favourite films and one which holds real nostalgic memories for me - so I was astounded to learn that today is its seventieth birthday!!

'Eyes to die for'
One of the all time greats

'Here's looking at you kid'

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Knit And Natter

Just A Little Knitting And A Lot Of Natter

Super wools

I finally found the wonderful Rico Loopy that I have been lusting after for a few weeks. It was in a craft shop called C.F. Fabrics in Guildford Town Centre. There were lots of exciting colours to choose from but eventually I choose a very simple grey as I thought it would be appropriate for a friend who is not into riots of colour like me. I think this material may be going out of fashion as it is reduced in all outlets at the present time. A 150 gram ball / 45 metres is now around £7.50 - reduced from about £10. This quantity is supposed to make a scarf sized 20cm x 180cm.

As you can see it is very wide and 'loopy'

The 'Boa Style Scarf' is an easy project

The label has a step by step explanation

I only had a size 4mm needles available instead of the size 7mm or 8mm suggested so I cast on ten stitches instead of the suggested seven stitches. The scarf might end up being slightly less long consequently.

After just five minutes you can see it grow

At the end of the class it had grown just a little more
As I explained in the title - more natter than knitting!

I took very few photos at this session as I was unwilling to upset any of the class further ... I know how annoying it can be to have someone constantly snapping away (because Mr Whizz Kid and the Devil Child  constantly tell me so!)

I could not resist a photo of the following child's crochet blanket, however, as it was simply stunning and had taken the clever lady over one year to complete. She has also done several smaller projects during this time and each and every one is a real masterpiece.

Each square was crocheted in a different stitch

Each square was more complex and beautiful than the last

This is truly a stunning work of art. We have such clever ladies in our class!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Yummy Lunch

Jamie Oliver Lunch

Did I ever tell you that I love Jamie Oliver?  I love the way that he has shown us all how easy it is to cook a simple meal - no need for scales or accuracy - just a handful of this and a pinch of that and such lovely meals come from the kitchen with seemingly little effort. I even like the way that he has taught my boys how to cook and still look cool - (sadly Mr Whizz Kid was not paying attention at the time!)

Nice wholesome Jamie

I always disliked the primness of Delia, and the idiocy of Heston, and the bad language flowing from Gordon and then along came that wonderful, wholesome kid with no airs and graces who showed us all what wonderful meals could come from freshly prepared  simple foods.

The pasta machine (red) and bread station

So another meal out at Jamie's (yes I know I could have stayed at home with his cookery books and done it myself - hmm no! - definitely not this one!)  but I so love the luxury of eating out once a week. 

Very simple setting a bit like an American Diner

Mr Whizz Kid just wanted a light lunch with water (he was driving) - me I wanted a heavy lunch with wine ...

His looked great but was definitely not enough for me! ...

Seafood risotto with chilli and saffron
Crispy salad infused with chilli

Mine was to die for! ...

Frito misto with tartare sauce, lemon and deep fried vermicelli

The most delicious thing I have ever eaten there
The wine was good too!

My excuse for not cooking this ... I don't fry anything at home as it is just too unhealthy!