Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween greetings!

It's Halloween, greetings one and all! This is the end of another seasonal year for me. For a year which started out on such a positive vibe, the one thing I tried to achieve, an escape to the country, has remained an elusive dream. My task now is to manifest harder that dream into a reality during the coming year.
I shall mark the day with some candle lighting and feasting.

Cute vampire box of sweeties from M&S.

Homemade almond All Hallows biscuits.

Can't wait to try these handmade Belgian Halloween choccies my sister brought over at the weekend. They look too nice to eat, toodstools, pumpkins, leaves and the little owl!
Here's to a magical day! 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Short days, autumn trees

So the clocks have changed and with the onslaught of winter I can officially feel cold and miserable for the next 5 or 6 months! 
I will of course be trying to fight those feelings of grimness and see if I can muster up a positive attitude to get me through the bleak months. Lack of light and heat really affect all that I do in work, arts and crafts so I'm hoping for a mild winter, maybe that's expecting too much, maybe as long as it's not as bad as last year then I have a chance!

Last week on one reasonably dry day I cut the grass which I hope is the last time this year.

I've also been photographing the changing colours of some trees I look out onto. I started about 2 months ago and here is the series of weekly colour changes from start to this morning.
Looking at the pictures all together I thought it was more dramatic than what it is but I think a lot of that is to do with the colour of the sky.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Spoonflower samples

Spoonflower now have an option to order a collection of swatches as a more cost effective way of sampling your designs for the purpose of checking colours and pattern repeats ready for selling in the marketplace. It's like a contact sheet with all the designs on one strip, here is the first one I've ordered with my 50's atomic style designs. It's not a bad size for making small things with either.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Black Garlic - Day 1

Here we go again, I won't go into too much detail about Black Garlic as I did that earlier in the year (June 2011), but just to say I am trying the fermentation experiment again. Today is day 1 of 40 and this time I'm wrapping the container in foil which I don't think I did last time. Foil helps to stop contamination and also supposedly less garlic vapours escape.
Fingers crossed.... see you in 40 days!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Spoonflower contest - Hanging ornament

My latest fabric design will go live in the Spoonflower weekly contest tomorrow evening. The criteria this week was to design a cut and sew hanging ornament. I took that to being a festive ornament and I have reworked one of my Nutcracker Man drawings and turned him into a jolly little decoration.

I got rather carried away with colour combinations once I got going. The top picture, red and cyan version is the one I settled for entering.
Hopefully there will be time to order some of these for my craft fair to either sell as kits or ready made.

Fabric apple pin cushions

I've just completed a couple of cute little fabric apple pin cushions as seen in the current issue of Mollie Makes magazine. The small one (which is a bit bigger than a creme egg) was a bit too fiddly to handle so I'm going to scale the pattern up and make much bigger ones next time.

I've booked a stall at a festive craft fair on Dec 3rd which is actually a weekend event at the Wolds Village, Bainton so any spare moments I have should be spent making things in preparation.

Monday, 17 October 2011

York vintage fair & clothes swap

On Saturday I went to another vintage fair in York, this one was in the lovely setting of St. Williams College round by the Minster. It was such a lovely sunny day it really lifted my spirits, or maybe that was the delicious little snack I had beforehand at the Attic above Harlequin!

There were some quite nice stalls at the fair. I took some clothes so that I could take part in the clothes swap, there wasn't a huge amount that appealed to me for swapping as items to wear but I picked up a few tops with groovy fabric so that I can chop them up to recycle. 
I didn't use all my clothes swap tokens so they will carry forward to the next event.

There was a small selection of vintage fabric for sale and I purchased these 2 sugary pink flowery pieces.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Soon be cooking again!

After months of wanting the oven servicing the aga man has finally been today. It appears they are very busy at the moment hence working Sundays. It's meant wasting the day waiting in for them but hey ho, I can't wait to get cooking and baking again. I also can't wait for that warmth it will add to the kitchen.

Managed to get the old thing turned off last night and cool enough to clean this morning. Here it is, waiting to be serviced. It is slowly warming up as I type. Still going to have a microwave meal for tea and then won't get chance to use it tomorrow as I have a busy day  doing final preparations for a presentation I'm doing tomorrow evening on design to my networking group. But hopefully on Tuesday I can get back to normal.

Looking forward to River Cottage Veg tonight, I bought the book yesterday, looks to have some fab recipes inside. I can appreciate that Hugh went veggie for 6 months to see what it's all about when the veg are the main part of your meal. Couldn't see Gordon Ramsey doing this!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Cheese, cheese and more cheese please!

The postman keeps some strange hours, he has just been at 16.15pm! It used to be delivered quite early morning, but now it averages 10.30 but then recently it goes to the other end of the day, apparently depending on whether the depot tell him to start at our end or finish here! Oh well, I'll let him off because he's just brought a lovely parcel.... cheese!

I am partial to a good cheese and the best I have discovered was in Wales from the Blaenafon Cheddar Co. Superb taste and texture. It looks like they are doing a festive cheese by the look of the pudding one on their leaflet.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Yesterday's Vintage Fair

It was a last minute decision to visit the Vintage Fair in York yesterday as the weather was particularly foul. But I decided to go seeing as the next will probably not be until the spring and that seems an awful long time away.

The fairs can be a bit hit and miss but the usual lady with the fantastic stash of vintage fabric was there and I got the groovy 1960's geometric brown & orange plus the small pink floral piece.

I got this great book which is like new for just a fiver, and something odd I bought (4th pic down) was a set of 4 napkins all the way from Alaska, lovely simple prints on an oatmeal linen.

I picked up a flyer about another vintage fair and clothes swap in York next weekend which might be worth attending to offload some clothes I've not been able to sell on ebay.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Goodbye Steve Jobs

Woke up to the not totally unexpected but very sad news that Steve Jobs has left us. 
The style and simplicity of Apple's homepage this morning sums up the man's innovations perfectly.

As a Mac user since 1988 I can honestly say the tools Steve Jobs has given people like myself has enhanced my creative work and changed my life forever. To that I am in debt, thank you Steve. RIP

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Spoonflower contest - Ditsy prints

The current Spoonflower contest is for a design featuring ditsy prints, doesn't necessarily have to be flowers but I've gone for a traditional floral scatter print of little embroidered flowers.

Monday, 3 October 2011

My weekend

It's been an odd few days, by Thursday night it was decided my work computer was unrepairable most likely thanks to the power cut by nPower (complaint letter in the post).

Friday..., couldn't do any work so decided to make the most of the unseasonally nice weather and went to Whitby, always best to avoid Whitby on a weekend but with the weather so sunny it was just as busy on Friday. Bit too hot for me in the open sun but a walk up the steps to the abbey and that was quite breezy and the narrow shady snicket ways were nice and cool.

Saw this lovely cat lounging in the shade and getting a stroke and attention from anyone who passed her! What a life!

There are some interesting shops and galleries in Whitby, the usual black jet shops, goth & hippy shops, plenty of charity shops but I didn't find much to tempt me on this occasion. Other than this delightful little birdie necklace from the Ruby Tuesday shop which had many things to tempt me!

I had to take a picture of this bag, one of my friends think I have a direct link to Willy Wonka's factory as I'm known for sourcing unusual & retro sweeties, what a reputation eh!

Saturday was expensive, had to buy a replacement computer for work. All the weekend has been taken up retrieving files, backing up and setting up the new Mac. It will take me a few days settling into the new system. Change is good but it takes time to get back up to speed.  It also signifies the end of an era, I can no longer run Quark as my version is too old, my scanner and printer are too old to install drivers to run them so I hope to find a printer in the not too distant future.

For a bit of relaxation I quickly made a lavender heart for relatives 60th wedding anniversary this week.