Sunday, 25 September 2011

~Warm Thoughts of Knitwear~

I'm in accordance with Steph at Curlew Country that even though we're apparently due a bit of unseasonally warm weather, as far as I'm concerned the leaves are falling, Autumn is coming, and consequently knitwear is on my mind! Earlier this week I received this lovely package...
'a really nice delivery from Cornwall' indeed, from Seasalt, one of my favourite shops. Myself and a friend ordered 6 pairs of their fab 'Fluffies' which we first discovered  in Padstow in June. They were 3 for 2, and we shared the postage. One pair for me and 2 for my daughter L at Christmas. Toasty warm feet all round!
Also included was their 'look-book' which had me coveting more knitwear, especially this Nanna Knit Scarf and Rekindle Jumper...

Visit Seasalt online here and if you are in Cornwall at all (lucky lucky you) they also have a discount outlet at Unit 17, Kernick Business Park, Penryn, TR10 9EV, near Falmouth open 10-4.30 Sat and Sunday. I can recommend it - well worth a visit.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

~I ♥ Eiderdown fabric ~

I bought some scraps of eiderdown fabric from a lovely lady at York Car Boot a couple of weeks ago and have debated what to do with it. I didn't want to add it to my stash because, to me, eiderdown fabric is the Queen of Cloth - I could look at it all day long.   I love Cath Kidston paisley fabric and eiderdowns too, but I prefer the muted soft colours and the feel of an old 1930s or 1940s quilt. I've never been lucky enough in my thrifting to find a vintage eiderdown or comfort quilt. I regularly covet these eiderdowns at Decorative Country Living. At vintage fairs they tend to be out of my price range. Maybe, just maybe,  I will find one at this week's Vintage Fair at St. Gemma's in Leeds.

In the meantime I will content myself with this little project; a bit of crazy patchwork for a cushion cover. My favourite fabric is on the bottom left. What's your favourite kind of fabric?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

~My key ingredients from Quay Ingredients~

I'd like to sing the praises of Quay Ingredients and display their smart logo linking to their website. I discovered Quay Ingredients herbs and spices about 2 years ago in a shop in Boston Spa near Wetherby as I was searching for more unusual ingredients to use in my chutneys and preserves. I found them excellent quality and liked the size and style of the packaging.  In addition to this, I found that they are from a family run Yorkshire company, run by Ian and Deana Southworth, and it's important to me to support Yorkshire produce.  They have got a vast range of herbs, spices and spice mixes for cooks, bakers and preservers.
 I use their vanilla pods, cumin, Ras el Hanout, cinnamon, pickling spices and cinnamon sticks to name a few! 
Ian and Deana's herb and spice business started in 2000 in Ilkley, and is now based near Skipton in North Yorkshire, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and just a stones throw away from the beautiful Forest of Bowland. Both are keen cooks and were dissatisfied with the products on offer at the time. So they launched their business supplying an extensive range of the finest quality herbs, spices and ingredients. These are now available to buy direct and through a wide selection of farm shops, delicatessen and fine food retailers; the packaging is really attractive and I especially like their, as they say, sensible sized ‘no-nonsense’ packs meant for the serious cook. All their products are GMO free and contain no artificial flavour, colour or preservatives.
I can't praise them highly enough and am extremely pleased to have their support with making my baking as tasty as possible at future Time for Tea afternoon tea events.
Please note that Saturday 1st October is now sold out - I have decided to donate all proceeds on that day to Macmillan Cancer Relief Coffee Morning fundraising and sell raffle tickets for their funds too. I will promise to announce more Time for Tea dates on the supperclub website ASAP.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

~And the winner is! Tea Cosy & Teapigs Giveaway~

Here we are again...
This time I numbered the comments 1-7 in the order they were received...

I had some lovely new followers this week, but they didn't leave a comment, so (gulp!) I had to be strict and not include them in the draw. I don't do strict very well.  Then I  used the trusy number generator...
And the winner is...
Em, Number 2! Please email me ( with your address and I'll send you your teacosy!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

~Teapigs & Tea Cosy Giveaway (with a cherry on the top!)~

I am coming to realise how everyone loves a blog giveaway, myself included!  As promised I have a Tea Cosy for you, the appearance of which has made members of this family laugh scornfully at the size of the cherry on the top.  I don't mind though. To me, a Tea Cosy  -invented in the 1800's to keep afternoon tea warm whilst ladies had a gossip-  though having this very serious purpose should not be a serious-looking object. In fact the more ridiculous, silly and downright kitsch, the better, I say.
So here we are.....

The cherry bun Tea Cosy has been (lovingly) knitted in Rowan Cashsoft Aran and Debbie Bliss Cashmerino (merino/cashmere) and beads sewn on to represent sprinkles.  It's a made-up pattern; (I wonder if regular blog readers are noticing a theme with me) - I'm as much make-it -up-as-I go  as  make -do-and -mend.
The body of the tea cosy was worked in two pieces; each side is 53 sts and worked in K2 P2 rib with a bit of shaping at the top.

Also, the tea-lovers at Teapigs have sent me a selection of teas to try this week. 

I love their packaging and little biodegradeable gauze tea temples that give the leaves room to stretch their legs infuse. Have a look around  their website and support the Real Tea Mission to encourage us to drink leaf tea. I particularly like the darjeeling earl grey, being a big earl grey fan.  This is made with a quality darjeeling with added italian bergamot, and tastes how you want earl grey to taste and not 'dusty' like some brands do, even the expensive ones.  I am going to serve this at my next afternoon tea on the 1st October.
Teapigs have some great 'Cheeky Deals' on too, where you can buy packs together and make a big saving. I think they'd be great in (dare I mention it) Christmas hampers for foodies along with a homemade cake and some chutney...I will include some Teapigs tea for the winner to try as well.
So, if you want to own this Tea Cosy to keep your Real Tea warm, all you have to do before Tuesday 13th Sept at 12 midnight, is;
  • please add yourself as a follower of my blog
  • peruse the lovely Teapigs website and please mention my blog if you place an order
  • leave me a comment so I can enter you in the draw
Right, I'm off to put the kettle on...

Saturday, 10 September 2011

~Car Boot Sale in York~

I was early to arrive at York racecourse Car Boot Sale this morning in the mizzle/drizzle, as other members of the family were up and off to work and sports clubs. A real treat to go on my own, this is a regular large car boot sale at York racecourse with the fab backdrop of the old Terry's chocolate factory. Free entry and free parking is a bonus too. More details here. I was so excited; the anticipation of what I might find was almost unbearable! A few pictures of lovely finds now;

Retro St. Michael pillowcases

1950's Midwinter teapot (damaged but lovely)

Vintage floral picture

Vintage eiderdown fabric

Handknitted cream blanket

Handknitted cardigan

We also have another local car boot sale tomorrow so I'll be up early again....

~Elderberry Syrup~

First post of the weekend is the recipe for Elderberry usual I use my Marguerite Patten book as guidance, with a bit of internet savvy thrown in.   I'm sure we all know where to gather some elderberries, either out in the hedgerows or in a garden. Pick ripe berries - you need about a pound weight. Apparently the stalks and the green berries can give you a stomach ache, so strip and sort your fruit with care.
Strip berries with a fork, and remove stalks and green berries. Wash 1lb fruit, then cook in a large saucepan slowly for 1 hour with half a pint of water. Give them a good mash.

Strain through a muslin cloth or jelly bag...

Measure the liquid, then add 1lb granulated sugar per 1 pint of liquid and four cloves. I ended up with about 3/4 pint of liquid. Heat slowly until sugar dissolved, then simmer for about 10 minutes until it starts to look 'syrupy' round the edges of the pan. Pour the hot syrup through a sieve into a sterilised bottle. Either serve with sparkling water or I am going to try mine with Prosecco or sparkling apple juice. Some books then advise sterilising the filled bottles, as you do in canning and bottling, but I didn't as I will use mine quickly and not store it for any length of time.

Store the bottle in the fridge
Gorgeous ruby-coloured syrup...other uses include as an ice cream topping or a base for a fruit milkshake.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

~And the winner is!~

I allocated the 6 lovely entrants a number 1-6
Then instead of a teapot this time, I used a Random Number Generator...And the winner is...
PEAS & CARROTS!!!!!    Please email me your address ( and I'll get it in the post. Thankyou to to everyone for your lovely messages...I am planning a Tea Cosy giveaway soon, to
spread the Tea Cosy Love, so please keep in touch.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

~Pincushion Giveaway~

Some small crafty projects have been fitted in around the underground tearoom event, going back to work and the staying up til midnight knitting!
This is a pincushion, for you fellow sewing fans, complete with cute matching heart pins, made from 2 upcycled vintage dress fabrics and felt.

Just drop by and say hello or leave a comment by midnight and I will choose a winner at random. It's that easy!

Monday, 5 September 2011

~Knitting Project~

So I know I didn't learn to crochet and dispel my 'crochet-fear' in the summer hols; but I have met some nice ladies via Clandestine Cake Club and lovely Joanne from Wool & Buttons, who may help me with that challenge soon! My Louisa Harding Fleuris wool in Meteor arrived quickly from Wool & Buttons with some advice to help me with the cable cast-on method and a recommendation for this tea cosy pattern book (have already ordered it!)
So, I have started my coveted cardigan (only 2 months after I blogged about it on 14th June) on these gorgeous bamboo needles and learned something new.

 I think I should have knitted into the back of the 'YO' loop- I knitted into the front and the result is not as lacy...

...but I like it. Wonder how long it will take me to finish it?

Saturday, 3 September 2011

~Time for (afternoon) Tea - 1st event! ~

"Please come in - you're in the right place!"
What an exciting learning curve the last few weeks have been, on the journey to my first underground afternoon tea today.  

Tasty tomatoes fresh from the garden

My 9 guests each had a table gift of a little jar of Plum & Cinnamon Cheese and some 'Love-in-a Mist' flower seeds. My youngest guest was lovely R, at 3 and a half; and guests had travelled from all over Yorkshire - York, Malton, Selby, Leeds and Pontefract.
Yorkshire Tea was very popular, and the ladies liked the China Rose Petal Tea too. Favourite cake of the day was deemed to be either the lemon drizzle (which had homemade lemon curd in the mixture) and these mini Victoria sponges which were filled with cream and my summer fruit jam.

A really enjoyable afternoon, with plenty of chatting (mainly about lovely wool and knitting!) and a good atmosphere. Thankyou to all who attended - looking forward to the next tea on 1st October when the theme will be 'Autumn Harvest'.