Monthly Archives: November 2009

Going round in circles

In this part of the world we are very fond of going round in circles.

Roundabouts were introduced at some intersections to ease the flow of traffic from all the exits.

A roundabout is a circular one way street where traffic is slowed down and enters a one-way stream around a central island. The direction of travel is clockwise here in the UK and Ireland where we drive on the left hand side of the road. So as we approach a roundabout, we are really at the end of a “T” junction, wanting to turn left, because that is the direction of the one way street. We only have to give way to the traffic flow from the right. In other countries where traffic travels on the right, the roundabout traffic goes in an anti-clockwise direction.

Over the years I have noticed that some Borough Councils here have decorated the roundabouts in some way, usually with flowers and shrubbery in season. More recently sculpture of some form has been introduced.

I had reason to use the A57 a few weeks ago and noticed a new sculpture at Lindsay’s Corner Roundabout. Having made some enquiries I discovered that the Seedhead Sculpture has been designed by Stephen Todd, to reflect the historical importance of linen production in the area.

Each up stand is designed to capture the abstract look of a flax field mixed with some wildflowers. Produced locally by McKnight Engineering the Seedheads combine contemporary European landscape design ideas, wild natural looking grasses and formal plant groupings the scheme changes dramatically with each passing season.

Now I must charge the batteries and go in search of a few more circles.

The roundabouts are usually sponsored by some local industry.

Inventiveness

Now you all know by this stage that I love all things Needlecraft.

There have been times in the past when I employed the most unusual objects to aid in gaining the effect I was looking for….

  • Clothes pegs, to hold pleats in new curtains for the first week after hanging.
  • Spray starch and steam, instead of pressing.
  • A heated metal skewer, to pierce a small hole in something.
  • A soldering iron, to distress fabric or stop fabric fraying.  (Dangerous work needs a steady hand & great care.)
  • Greaseproof paper for pattern making.
  • Used balancing weights, from the local Kwik Fit, cleaned and covered to act as weights.

As a result my sewing box is home to many unusual objects.  There were times when I carried a hammer, multi tool, wrench, spirit level, craft knife and the essential measuring tape or three.

I always carry sewing, knitting & crochet needles, sewing, hat and hair pins, writing, drawing and tracing paper and blotting paper, screw drivers, various types of scissors, a collection of both writing and colouring pencils, pens, eraser, sharpener, and compass.

Never YET have I resorted to this:

Found at There I fixed it .com

One Memorable Day.

LBC Members: Ashok, Conrad, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria, Ramana and I, (Marianna will return after a short break) have been busy, day dreaming about…

One memorable day

the topic chosen for us this week by Ramana.

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Waking to the sound of a bath being drawn for me, I slip from between the sheets and into the warm luxury of bath essence that quickly and gently removes all traces of sleep from my body.  Wrapped in a warm robe, I work my magic on my autumn glory.   A full cooked breakfast prepares me for the day ahead.

Once fully and comfortably dressed it is time to collect our packed lunches and hit the trail.

We are starting from the village of Patterdale, lying at the head of Ullswater, widely regarded as one of the loveliest of all the lakes, in the English Lake District.  Amongst the trees, of native oak, birch and hazel near the shoreline, the golden daffodils of this lake were the inspiration for William Wordsworth to write his famous “Daffodils” poem.

Our ramble takes us on a journey of 6-7miles through hamlets with such wonderful sounding names as Caudale Bridge – Caudale Quarry – Rough Edge – Stony Cove Pike – Threshthwaite Mouth – Pasture Bottom – Hartsop – Cow Bridge – Brothers Water – Hartsop Hall before winding back to Caudale Bridge and Patterdale.

The terrain means a climb of 2,150ft, through breathtaking scenery and we are content to step out together with matching stride.  Long stretches are hand in hand, soaking in the amazing wonder and sounds of nature; at peace and with no desire to break the companionable silence.

Returning to civilization in the late afternoon, there is time for a shower and a rest with the feet raised for an hour before we enjoy an aperitif.  Happy; with a glow that only comes from a day spent under the skies, the chat comes easily now as we each recall the hi-lights of our day.

The chef prepares a mouth-watering four course dinner, using fresh local produce, which is served in a lakeside Restaurant with uninterrupted views.  Being one of the warmer evenings we take an after dinner drink out on the lawn and enjoy chatting with other guests as the sky turns to a deep dark velvet with crystal clear stars.

Finally completing the circle by climbing the stairway to dreamland;  There is only one thought:- A wonderful day!

Indeed; a memorable day!

Sweets

When I was young most sweets were displayed in shops like this:

They were sold in multiples of 4ozs.  I remember barley sugars, lemon drops, acid drops, raspberry ruffles, caramels and chocolate toffees.

What were your favourites?

Now while you think about it, I am off to chew on a square of licorice & chase the dust.  It is Friday and LBC day, I need to be back for a rest and a read at 3pm.

Art with My Needle ~ Week 13

Are you tired of bags yet?

I have one more and a little extra.

This bag was a rather last minute affair.  It was to wear with a plain dark ankle length summer suit.  I only needed something small to carry my emergency kit, a small change purse, a lipstick and a large handkerchief.  It would be an emotional day and I had kept a special handkerchief for such an occasion…. The handkerchief belonged to Jack.

Fills and flounces were never my scene and a plain suit without decoration was what I was after since the proceedings involved a walk; and it was only right and proper for me not to distract from the person beside me.  It was after all her special day.  This person was not alone the centre of attention, but the centre of my world.

Have you guessed yet?

Yes!  It was Elly’s wedding day and I was ‘giving her away’!

Elly with her three mothers!

I think I would be correct in saying, that for any Mother of the Bride, the Outfit is the first and most important item on their shopping list for the big day, followed by hat, shoes and bag.  For me it was headgear.  I knew I wanted something for my head, not necessarily a full hat, but something to wear at a tricky angle – a hat tip, pun intended, to both my mother and mother-in-law, who were both involved in the millinery business during their early lives.  I began collecting feathers from the time Elly & George became engaged. Once again a picture was forming inside my head….

Three months before the wedding I was in Dublin staying with Elly for a few days. The plan was: a fitting for her outfit, attending a function one day and a shopping trip to look at mother of the bride outfits.  So we eventually found time to go shopping.  Within one hour we were on the way home with half an outfit.  The usual story… they had a skirt in my size but not the jacket.  Phone calls to branches in Belfast and Edinburgh brought the promise of the correct sized jacket for me being available in the latter.  I was assured it would be delivered by courier within two days of my arrival home.  It arrived.  I hung it on a hanger for three days and finally decided to make a small alteration to the front of the jacket, changing it sufficiently to make it unique.  A week later I found the pink top and my shoes.

I used pink Sinamay, the same tone as my top, to form a layered bow which I attached to a side comb.  This became the base of my Fascinator.  Then the fun began adding wired beads and then placing the feathers into the Fascinator.  I bought a Styrofoam head stand and pinned the Sinamay bow in the position I wished to wear it.  Then I worked slowly with a tweezers and superglue adding the feathers – not a job you do in a hurry, or with children or animals about.  I also had a magnifying glass at the ready for the tricky little feathers.  It took several hours to produce the effect I desired.  I left it to sit out and air dry for about three days.  It was only then that I tried it on.  I was happy.

All the while I was working on Elly’s outfit.  On a trip to Belfast for some extra beads, I overheard a conversation…   It was like a light being switched on.  Another customer had an envelope clutch bag that she had made and wanted advice on a suitable shoulder strap for it.  In a shop like that we are usually like-minded customers willing to share ideas and help.  I joined the conversation with several ideas that the owner had not thought of.  We learned from each other that day and I came home with inspiration for my bag.

I mentioned last week about a bag shaped like a gift bag and that came back to me.  The fact that I had one sitting on the table may have helped.  Opening the seams carefully I had my pattern, all I needed to add a seam allowance.

I was back to making a fabric again.  The base I used this time was medium felt. Over this I placed a layer of muslin and yes you guessed it small scraps of silks and organdie in bright summer colours.  The sparkle over fabric toned them down a little.  I held the sandwich together with a grid of plain machine sewing in a silver metallic thread.  One idea was to cut away the upper layer in some of the squares (I tried it on a sample piece, but quickly rejected it).  The handles I made with three rows of beads leaving the ends free to move.  I had two large press studs as closures on the inside and I lined the bag in a pale grey to which I added an internal pocket.

I did not carry the bag for the business end of things entrusting it to my No.1 sister-in-law.  I wanted both my hands free.   It was returned to me before the photographs were taken after the ceremony.

UPDATE:  My Fascinator seemed to fascinate everyone, pun intended, and since WWW asked for a close up, I will add it here.

The black looking feathers were in fact a very dark shiny green on the upper side.

Food Monday ~ Cranberry & Chocolate Orange Florentines

Cranberry & Chocolate Orange Florentines

Preheat oven to 180°C

  • 40g butter
  • 75ml double cream
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 25g chopped mixed peel
  • 50g dried cranberries, chopped
  • 40g plain flour
  • 100g plain orange chocolate

Line a baking tray with non stick paper.Melt butter, cream and sugar together over a low heat.Slowly bring to the boil.Remove from the heat and add nuts, peel and cranberries.Stir in the flour.

Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto baking tray, leaving plenty of space for the mixture to spread.Flatten slightly with a fork.Bake for 10-12 minutes.Cool on baking tray and then lift on to wire rack.

Melt chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water.Spread a little over one side of each biscuit and leave to set.

Relax

It is Saturday, time to chill out.

Since I am no longer part of the workforce, the days at times all merge together.  I have almost forgotten what a ‘Saturday’ should be like. I was never a lie-a-bed, and hunger usually got the better of me anyway.   An hour with the duster and the vacuum and then I was ready to play.

Now I wonder what to do today…

No matter what I do I hope it contains plenty of laughter.

Now, what are you up to today?