Sunday, 20 April 2014
A trip to the north Norfolk coast yesterday to see my father-in-law. The wind was cold but the beach was bright and beautiful.
Not really a coast for beach combing, but there is always a wide band of empty razor clam shells which have been left by the tide.
The beach is so vast that it never feels crowded, although the roads were very busy yesterday.
Nearby Burnham Market has been named 'Chelsea on Sea' and you could see why. It was choc a bloc with expensive clothes shops, delis, crowds, shiny BMWs and 4x4s. It's undeniably a very picturesque place. Difficult to take any long shot photos with lots of people around, but a few little details caught my eye.
And we can't have a post at this time of year without some blossom ....
Monday, 14 April 2014
I enjoyed the sale yesterday, but I didn't sell very much. It was just one of those days. I haven't had a sale like that for a really long time, and sometimes you just have to accept that your stock isn't right.
The event I was at was more of a craft fair, I was the only vintage stand (phone snap below).
My best sellers were old saucers for 30p each :) But I did cover the cost of my pitch with a little bit on top too, so it could have been worse. And I was sitting next to my friends Lucy and Kate, so there was plenty of time for copious cups of tea and a slice of this unbelievably good home baked Battenburg cake.
But I certainly won't be giving up the day job! Talking of which, I have an interview with artist Kirsty Elson in the latest issue of LandScape magazine. Kirsty's work is so popular at the moment, and she was a genuinely lovely interviewee. I know some of my blog readers are fans of Kirsty's work, so I thought you might like to know.
A very gentle read...
Saturday, 5 April 2014
Easter holidays are here. In fact, as my youngest son is doing his GCSEs this year, I am hoping that it will be more of a working holiday (we live in hope ;)). Eldest is due home from uni on Monday and he wants/needs to earn some money so he's got a job at a local cafe. I'm preparing for an Easter sale next Sunday, so I've been getting some things ready for that today.
I've only taken a small stall, so I'm trying to be really selective about the things I'm taking along.
Patchwork pieces are always popular.
Some old books...
On my stall, there'll be some small pieces of furniture, shelves, hooks, tins, crochet blankets and china. Plus a few flowers ..
This is where I'll be...the village hall, Barnwell, nr Oundle. Sunday April 13, 1pm onwards.
Saturday, 29 March 2014
Just the most amazing day. A cloudless sky arching overhead, and we'd made plans to go for a walk followed by tea at a village tea shop. Perfect! It was an advance Mother's Day treat for me and my Mum.
We headed to the prettiest Northamptonshire village of Wadenhoe. It is a very small village, composed of mostly old thatched houses. There is a pub, a village hall and a tea room and that's about it. It's one of those untouched villages, with no modern developments, which appears to be folded into a nook of land.
Blossoms everywhere and purple aubretia growing on the limestone walls.
We walked across the fields.
First you cross the bridge past the old Mill.
Over the fields on the banks of the River Nene to this little church which stands alone.
Next to it is a garden, it is semi-wild, but someone obviously cares for it a bit. At the end of this garden is a beautiful, faded old red brick wall.
I love all the gates!
And another one!
The light was magical today. Bright, but without the harshness of a summer sun.
We finished off with a big pot of tea and slices of lemon cake, coffee cake and home made cinnamon tea cakes with butter and jam at The Old Barn.
A beautiful spring day to remember.
* I've been given some more info about these beautiful donkeys! Their names are Corkey and Bruno and they are working boys, appearing on the beach at Skegness each summer. Bruno, the dark brown donkey, won an award in 2006 for beach donkey of the year. It looks like they have earned that beautiful pasture.
Sunday, 23 March 2014
Thursday, 20 March 2014
This week I've been writing an article about wild swimming. As well as being absolutely fascinating, it has made me think about the joys of being outside, and every chance I've had, I've been in the garden, or nipping out with my camera to take photos of blossom or flowers. Today, fittingly, I found this little Brexton picnic hamper in a second hand shop. It is a bit rusty, but the green flask, china cups and saucers with a green stripe and tiny salt and pepper pots swung it for me. It'll be a lovely prop in some photos for the local magazine I work on, I've already got plans for it.
I also spotted this beautiful hamper in my local antiques centre. Didn't buy this one (too expensive!), but it is a cracker.
As part of the wild swimming article that I'm writing I've been digging out quotes from books about the joys of river swimming: The Wind in the Willows, Swallows and Amazons, Three Men in a Boat, and less innocently, The Go Between and Women in Love. It has transported me back to a golden age. I am fairly sure that I took my first tentative swimming strokes in a local river, Maxey Cut. Anyway, those halcyon hot summer days are some way off, although we've had some beautiful sunny ones here recently.
The trees are loaded with blossom.
I took this one of our village church today with the Magnolia blossom just starting to come out. I thought it looked quite celestial.
An avenue of blossom covered trees. Reminds me of Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery, when Matthew is driving Anne home from the station to her new home (and she is unaware that he and his sister Marilla were expecting a boy orphan instead).
And finally, daffodils. I am not a huge fan, but I can't deny that they are a cheery sight.
Thursday, 13 March 2014
At last. The quilt is finished. I put the final stitches in this morning. I am soooo grateful to my friend Lucy for helping me with the final stages, as I had got completely stuck. I think making a very large quilt as my first was a bit ambitious. But with Lucy's guidance, I got there in the end.
The backing is a piece of linen. We have a brilliant market stall in nearby Stamford where you can buy thick linen for £10 a metre. Because my quilt was a double, and I hadn't bought quite enough fabric, we had to join two pieces together on the back to make the square large enough.
The quilt is not bound, as many are, so to finish it, I had to put the right sides of the fabric together, then I sewed around the edges, and turned it inside out, just like a large duvet cover without the duvet in the middle. Every stitch has been done by hand, apart from the joining of the backing fabric.
It is far from perfect, I have wobbly lines, the corners are not razor sharp, and there are some strange puckers and gathers in some of the squares, but I still feel a real sense of achievement.
It started out like this. I sewed the squares everywhere. On trains when Jack was going to his uni open days. In the car and while waiting anxiously for a friend to have tests in hospital...happy times, sad times.
The best bit was collecting all the fabrics together, and then as the number of squares grew, setting them out on the floor and seeing how they fitted together. I had a break last summer and then all through the last winter, I would stitch while watching TV. Breaking Bad, The Bridge, Borgen, it's seen me through them all!
Most of the fabric is second hand. I had a theme of red and then it was a case of anything goes. I found scraps at car boot sales, in charity shops, and at antiques fairs. I have a few favourite stalls which always had a fabric treasure to add to the mix.
Even the cottons I used were second hand. I just bought some new quilting thread to do the quilting stitches and some quilt pins, which were very useful.
I 'signed' the quilt...not sure it will last long enough to become an heirloom though!
The tools of my trade. I've become really fascinated with quilts now. And although I said I wouldn't do another one, I just bought this children's book which explained all about quilt blocks, and how to make them....
Hmmm, it's sorely tempting....if I did it again I would:
* try to be more accurate in making templates and cutting out
* make a smaller quilt
* finish by binding the edges
But it has been hugely enjoyable, and I am very pleased with my happy red quilt.
- I'm a freelance journalist living in a village in East Northamptonshire with my husband and youngest son. I love visiting car boot sales, auctions and markets and writing about my inexpensive finds, and also some small craft projects and my attempts at watercolour painting. I'm the editor of a local magazine, so I find out about loads of interesting things that are happening in my community, some of which I share here, too.