‘Sew’ pleased with these…

I am slowly but surely learning how to use my sewing machine, having had it for nearly 2 weeks. There is a real danger that anything and everything will end up covered in material just so that I can learn something new! That said, I restricted myself today to 2 cushion covers:

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They took me about 3 hours altogether however, the first hour was spent reminding myself of how to wind the bobbin and thread the needle!!

Finn Cushion …

The amazing Cath Kidston has been known to use templates of her Lakeland Terrier Stanley, in her sewing. Having bought her small but wonderful ‘Sew!’ book yesterday, I decided to see what I could do today, adapting her Stanley so that he resembles my own Lakeland, Finn:

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He now sits in pride of place in our front room!

Foiled by the Weather …

I came home from work, full of good, arty intentions, sadly the wild weather that we are having put paid to those plans. I went into the studio to find that not only has the rain come inside again but also, as soon as I sat down, the gusts of wind blew almost hard enough to blow the door off its hinges. I quickly decided to return to the relative safety of the house and to save those arty thoughts and ideas for a calmer day!
Instead, I’ll post some foodie photos. Last sunday was the 1 year anniversary of the death of a truly lovely friend. As a celebration of her life, her husband and daughter invited various friends and relatives to their home for drinks and cake – she would have approved I’m sure. I took a plate of baked goodies:

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From the left are chocolate brownies, coconut macaroons and flapjacks. We had a lovely time, it was great to meet up again in Leslie’s honour.

Monday was mine and my husband’s 25th anniversary of ‘getting together’, we celebrated at the weekend by going out for dinner to ‘Loch Fynne followed by seeing ‘West Side Story’ at the Bristol Hippodrome. Our meal out was delicious – the best bit for me was the Lobster Spaghetti, absolutely gorgeous. On Monday however, I wanted to cook something special and decided on a Lebanese Lasagne followed by a Spiced Chocolate Tart. The lasagne was interesting, it was warmly spiced and the sauce went over the top of the meat sauce and lasagne sheets, it was a white sauce that then had ricotta cheese, mozzarella and parmesan cheese dotted all over it. This was then topped with a combination of breadcrumbs, more parmesan cheese, oregano and cumin:

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The chocolate tart was spiced up with cardamom seeds, cloves and black pepper. It was tasty, if very rich following the lasagne! It definitely tasted better the following day though, once the flavours had had a chance to mingle:

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As only small slices of the tart are needed, there’s still some left for us to enjoy this evening, yum!

An Early 2014 Catch Up …

Looking back through photos taken since the start of the year, I realise how little I’ve blogged recently, hence the catch up.
Brush:
This recent picture, similar to a watercolour that I painted a few weeks ago, was done with brush pens and ink. I’m still trying to decide which one I prefer:

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Needle:
Both knitting and sewing needles feature here. First off, I spent about 6-8 weeks knitting my latest blanket, combining my favourite colour combinations of purple, dark pink and green. This is a wonderfully stretchy blanket, it was knitted on a pair of size 20 circular needles and it’s huge!!

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Sewing needles arrived earlier this week in the form of a sewing machine. Sewing has always been something that I wished I could do, neatly and well, however I’ve never really managed it. My husband very kindly bought me my lovely machine and I’ve already made something, can you tell what it is?!

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Yes, it’s a bag for my sewing machine pedal and plug!
I have a few other projects in mind for the coming weeks and I’m really enjoying learning how to use my sewing machine. I hope that once I’ve had lots of practice and no doubt loads of advice from my mum (who used to create amazing things on her sewing machine), I’ll be able to attempt to make some new curtains for our dining room.

Whisk:
Last week we celebrated Chinese New Year by having deliciously crispy duck with pancakes, hoisin sauce, plum sauce and prawn crackers. We went to our local Chinese supermarket, I’m ashamed to say for the first time in 13 years, and it was incredible. There were dragons parading outside and inside the shop was a complete riot of colour and noise. It definitely won’t be another 13 years before we go there again:

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Before I go, I’ll leave you with the additions that we’ve made to our shed/studio (or shudio, if you prefer) – our current weather has made it really difficult for me to get out there without getting covered in mud, however, these concrete slabs, cleverly designed as logs mean that I can get there and back without walking mud through the house:

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Feeling the need to make my art space a little more cosy, I’ve added some cheery lights. I must have spent over 30 minutes faffing about with these before deciding to clump them together in the corner:

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and yes, that is a set of wool & fur covered headphones hanging up there too – they are incredibly warm!!