Sunday, 26 February 2012

~Time for Tea - Feb event~

Yesterday's afternoon tea theme was Berries, Cherries and love, in honour of Valentine's Day. 6 ladies (and one baby nephew) sat down to tea at 2pm, following a welcome drink of homemade pink lemonade.
The table theme was red, with gingham and roses cloths, matching vintage china and table gifts of mini-heart candles. Have used a photo of the table setting for my new header - I used L's swanky camera and did a bit of editing with special effects. Her camera is tons better than mine!
I was ably assisted by daughter L and best friend J in the tea-making and serving of the cakey delights...
I made some mini-bunting for the cherry and almond cake.  The double choc brownies with macadamia nuts were lovely.  My favourites were the homemade jammie dodgers, which turned out really well and were yummy. I added some custard powder to the mix, which made them a lovely yellow colour.  I sieved homemade raspberry jam for the filling.
Next event is in March, with a Spring themed menu (yet to be decided on!).
Some of my guests brought me a thoughtful gift of rhubarb from the Rhubarb Festival in Wakefield, which Anne at Marmalade and Catmint posted about yesterday. A bunch of Oldroyd's rhubarb tied with green ribbon - more attractive and delicious than flowers I think!
I'll be making a crumble with it on Monday morning. Thankfully I've got a day off on Monday to catch up with domestic stuff that has accumulated over the last busy week.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

~Aberford Interiors visit~

On the way back from visiting a friend, I called in at Aberford Interiors for what I call an inspirational mooch...( I was very good at sticking to my resolutions and didn't buy anything!)
It's an interiors shop I have visited many times over the last 10 years, and is a liitle too handy for me, being just 5 miles down the road in the pretty village of Aberford.  This is the lovely building it's housed in...
Aberford Interiors, Hicklam House, Aberford LS25 3DP
see here for location and opening times
(Image from Aberford Interiors website)

... the upstairs is a private residence, but downstairs the shop consists of an interesting warren of charming period showrooms and roomsets, including Neptune kitchens, Farrow & Ball, Emma Bridgewater, St Eval candles, Avoca linens, Betty Boyns textiles, Sophie Allport pottery and textiles, Garden Trading, Biggie Best lamps and cushions, glassware, Sophie Conran, and many more. They also have a few tables in the sunny front room where you can have tea, coffee and homemade cake whilst leafing through the pile of Country Living magazines.
There's also a new vintage section I discovered today, where I coveted this old French armchair recovered in Vanessa Arbuthnott fabric...

...out of my budget at £595, but gorgeous all the same.
There are also child and adult arts and crafts classes available in the art gallery area.  Well worth a visit if you're anywhere near - they are closed on Mondays but open the rest of the week.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

~Happy Birthday~

Firstly thankyou so much for all your lovely comments on my last post and to new followers too!
Not sure where time this half-term is going to - I know I'm fortunate to work term-time only but it's hard to get anything practical or creative done when the kids are off too. Whinge over...
Yesterday was my birthday! We had a family day of lunch at Pizza Express then the joy of seeing the new Muppet movie. I loved the Muppets as a child of the 70s, and the theme tune brought nostalgic tears to my eyes.
I baked myself a chocolate cake with cherry jam and fresh cream...
Multiply the candles by 7, and you will have the correct number!
My favourite card, courtesy of one of my brothers. What is he insinuating?!
Generous gifts from lovely friends and family...A new CK bag...
Enough smellies for the next 12 months!

Some seeds...

Some beads...
...And a lovely read!

Lovely presents - I am very lucky.
My mood definitely lifts when I reach mid-February...the sun is out today, I hope it's warmer where you are too.  I'm off to do a bit of gardening now!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

~Vintage Fair at Rivers Meet Craft Cafe~

Bbbrrr, it's been a cold weekend here in Yorkshire, the snow has lingered due to the low temperatures.  It was minus 5 on my garden thermometer yesterday morning - and I have to confess I stayed in my PJs and watched a dramatisation of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca starring Charles Dance & Emilia Fox.  I hardly ever do that, so it was a nice treat.
 I loved the feathery ice pattern on the conservatory window on Saturday morning...
Today I went along with Anne from Marmalade & Catmint, and my lovely Mum,  to a Valentine Craft & Vintage Fair here...

Rivers Meet Craft Cafe in Methley, near Leeds.   I remember this building as a pub a few years ago - it was given a new lease of life as a craft and foodie haven when it was reopened by Joanne and Richard as Rivers Meet in Autumn 2011.  It's open 7 days a week for food, and the in-house craft shop has some fantastic fabrics and beads too. There are also sewing, quilting and other craft classes, along with a book group. See other blogs here and here for foodie reviews and more lovely photos of this unique place, which, judging by today's busy cafe, is obviously a very popular hub of the community.
I caught up with Margaret again from Ready Planted  (@MaggyAnne on Twitter) whose stall looked very pretty and Spring-like.  I bought some Hellebores and Mum treated me to my first daffodils of the year at 50p a bunch.
Margaret's son paints the bespoke signs, they really are the nicest I've come across - his contact details are on the sign on the right under 'For Quotes and Orders' ...I'm looking forward to welcoming Margaret to my March afternoon tea event too.

A cup of tea and a slice of cake on pretty vintage china in the cafe ...
Now to more purchases...
Some East of India ribbon and labels from Chicken Shed Gifts who also have an online shop. 
  Some more ribbons and a handmade ditsy corsage from Twisted Vintage, who open their shop in Whitwood, Castleford, next month.

This cute wooden mini bunting from Twisted Vintage...
A couple of fat quarters of this pretty faux patchwork cotton lawn.  I might recover my piano (sewing) stool with this during half-term...Anne bought some fat quarters too, I'm sure she will post about them too - we both had cameras in-hand to take some snaps!
I may be back there for a half-term breakfast treat with the kids this week!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

~Hopes & Aims 2012 Update~

I haven't bought any new clothing (after my dress purchase on the 16th January) or anything else non-essential - just food, toiletries, petrol  etc.
I have to say there has been a definite change of mindset and I haven't been anywhere near a clothes shop. I've also worn stuff that I had forgotten about; maybe it's about being creative with the stuff you have already.
I am allowed to have a rummage in lovely charity shops though.   I managed to get some lovely Armani black trousers for £3.99 in Boston Spa the other day. Thrifting heaven.
I'm still reluctantly going to circuit training. It's a definite mood-lifter but not an attractive proposition on a dark, icy night. As the joke goes; my exercise regime lasts 2 hours - 1 hour of circuit training and I hour trying to talk myself into going...  
A bit of  nostalgia now...In my head whilst training, I convince myself that I look like this - my favourite fitness look - the hi-cut leotard and headband...
Olivia Newton John in the 'Physical' video in 1981

From about 1975 - 1982 I wanted to be Olivia Newton-John.  Back to reality though, and on return from Circuits I have to be helped out of the car making involuntary grunting noises, bent double like Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques.
Sadly, I haven't lost any festively acquired weight yet, it's sticking around into February...The funny thing was I thought the charity shop trousers were a Size 10 and bought them smugly, but when I got home and checked the label, they are in fact an American 10. Ho hum.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

~Snowy Yorkshire~

There's a decent fall of snow outside so thought I would show a couple of photos as I've enjoyed snowy pics on other blogs today.  Small Dog loved the snow last night and ran excitedly in and out of the back door chasing snowballs. He's a bit more tentative today...

and has refused point blank to go for a walk, despite wearing his anorak, as the snow in the street is chest-level for him. Brrrrr! The view from my sewing room is this... could almost be a Swiss mountain chalet, but it's actually in Yorkshire. This chalet-type building used to be a Farm Shop/ Greengrocers when I was a teenager. When we moved in 5 years ago, it was selling French brocante and vintage goodies, which was really lovely, but it's closed now. The snow-covered yard is used for caravan storage.  It wouldn't be everyone's favourite view, but I adore the vintage (1960s?) green static caravan. I'd love to move it into my garden and deck it out with curtains and bunting in green and pink roses fabric...
I've got some sewing finished this afternoon.  A small log cabin cushion for my nephew J, who will be 6 tomorrow.
His bedroom is CK Cowboys, so I hope it will fit in well.  I used fabric and buttons I had in already.
I also made this bunting for my cousin's baby daughter E, using the Laura Ashley trellis fabric I used in the previous log cabin panel, vintage pink wool fabric applique letters, and mini suffolk puffs in scraps of a Robyn Pandolph fabric, plus a couple of vintage buttons.

I need to post this off to Chester tomorrow, along with some other eBay parcels as I've sold a few vintage bits and bobs this week.
Now it's time for some stew with homemade bread rolls...

Hope you're warm and cosy wherever you are!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

~South Yorkshire food explorations~

Friday night was spent in South Yorkshire - a cheap birthday treat for me - a Groupon deal on a 4* B&B mini-spa break near Rotherham.  Not the romance capital of the world perhaps, but a night away nonetheless! The hotel was fine, not 4 * in my opinion but then I do have 5* taste with a budget that doesn't match.  I just think it's pointless paying to stay in something inferior to what you've got at home.  I like my home comforts and cleanliness, so I'm an over-critical guest, according to my OH.
We feel a bit guilty we didn't have the "spa-break" experience, as it would have involved a walk in minus 4 degrees to a separate building with a pool and gym.  A warmer prospect was to have a drive out nearby to eat lots of nice food instead.
In nearby Wickersley we had lunch at JR's @ The Courtyard see here , a wine bar/bistro which has an outdoor seating area for better weather.   The food was impressive, fresh, locally-sourced and good quality, plus speedy service and a reasonable price we thought.  I had Home-Made Fishcakes with chilli dip and salad for £4.95 and we shared a side order of huge chunky chips for £2. OH had a huge Greek Salad for £5.25. 
JR’S @ The Courtyard
155 Bawtry Road,
S66 2BW

Tel: 01709 549122

In the evening we intended to eat at Vasco in Wickersley, a popular restaurant serving modern British food, and where Jamie Oliver chose to eat when he was filming his Ministry of Food series in Rotherham. Unfortunately it was fully booked, so we opted to drive to the picturesque rural village of Wentworth to the George and Dragon (again apparently Jamie ate there).

 Lovely Real Ale pub in picturesque Wentworth
I had a pint of this....

yummy Cornish Black Pearl, brewed in Truro, which looked like grown-up dandelion and burdock and tasted divine. OH had a Crayfish and Prawn salad at £4.95 to start...

...and as it was Fish Friday we both had the Pan-fried Sea Bream with chorizo, black pudding, new potatoes and cherry tomatoes at £12.95.   I loved the roaring fire and the antlers above the hearth...

Delicious food in a traditional real ale pub with a great atmosphere.  What more can you ask for? We'd definitely visit again.
George and Dragon
85 Main Street
S62 7TN
Tel: 01226 742440

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

~Log Cabin Panel~

After the last 2 and a half days spent in flannelette pyjamas on the sofa with some virus, I have felt much better this afternoon. Managed to walk the stir crazy Small Dog round the block (I did manage to get dressed first), albeit felt sweaty and tired afterwards though. Have just had an urge to sew, (that feeling that you've lost a couple of days and need to catch up) and have done a first quick attempt at log cabin patchwork.   I knew how to, but have never had a go before. I used a central 7cm square, and 6cm wide strips of ripped fabric strips, following the method in 'Quilting in No Time' by Emma Hardy.

You'll see some favourite fabrics here from my stash, a vintage paisley eiderdown fabric, some Cath Kidston, Ikea Rosali Spots and  Laura Ashley. I'm still sticking to my 2012 intention of using what I already have. This literally took half an hour - how fantastically quick compared to paper piecing hexagons and hand stitching. Not sure I got the repeat right - should it be random or ordered? -  I couldn't decide...