Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quince Essentially Delicious

 I ate quince jelly as a child, my mum made both jelly and the jam, although  I never  really took to the jam as it looked like mashed baby food and the colour was more than off putting.  I have never made quince jelly but in the next few days that will change. The other day I was given a huge bag of them and I  was told that stewed quince was good so I thought that I would have a go, I can’t begin to tell you just how delicious this fruit is, the flavour is a cross between pear and pineapple and my kitchen smelt deliciously tropical for several hours after. So if you have any quinces loitering in your kitchen here is my version using my mum’s recipe for stewed apples:.... Let me know if you do try this or if you have any other recipes for quince that you think are worth trying out.

I used 4 medium quinces
250ml sugar or 1 cup sugar
1 large cinnamon stick
½ stick of vanilla pod
1ltr of water or 4 cups
Wash, peel and core the quince, they are tough little blighters so watch your fingers when coring them. Cut each quince in half and then half again.
In a medium sized  pot add the water and  sugar, cinnamon stick and the vanilla pod (slice the pod and flatten it before adding to the pot.  Stir till the sugar dissolves and then add the slices of quince and bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered  for about 40min, if you put a knife blade into one and it falls off then it’s done. Turn off the heat and leave to cool.
I had some biscuits called Kletskoppen!  Seriously I could not make up a name like that and they are like a flat brandy snap and very addictive. When the quinces have cooled I placed a couple of slices on to the biscuit and then topped with Cream and I can promise you that you will keep reaching for a quince again and again.
Will let you know how the jelly goes later.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

All in a Spin with OldhausFibers

This is something I have never done but would love to add it to my wish list and OldhausFibers raise, blend, and hand spin their own Angora wool  and are based in Amana Iowa. They use conventional spinning wheels and drop spindles to spin and dye their fibres and yarns along with a variety of felting techniques on their projects. ARBA registered so no bunny is hurt in the harvesting of Angora wool. They opened their store in January this year so if you fancy learning how to spin or need some beautiful angora wool pop over and have a look you might find just what your looking for.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Handmade by Lucinda

A few weeks ago I came across Lucinda on face book and when I saw her handmade flowers it was love at first sight and I had to have some. So after choosing what colours I wanted (and I really wanted them all). I then waited patiently  for them to arrive and they did within the week and they are stunning. Now what! I had no idea what I was going to do with them and so for awhile I just admired them on passing.  Few days later some jewellery supplies arrived including a pack off bronze bobby pins. This led me to take 2 of Lucinda's flowers and add them to a flat mother of pearl button and then attach to the bobby pin. I have to admit I thought by glueing them I was going to ruin them, but glad to say I never, the paper is really sturdy and good quality. Pop over and say hello and have a look at some more of her little beauties and see if you can resist them. Aren't her cards fabulous too.
  Copyright of Lucinda Lucker

Lucinda's cards and flowers are all hand made and  her attention to detail  and obvious love of her craft shows in each and every one off her products, she has a huge variety and they are very reasonable priced.

Here are my bobby pins and a hair comb and if you have something you made with Lucinda's flowers I would be more than happy to show them off for you.

For Sale:)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Language of Fans

The fan became the perfect little instrument  for ladies off the 16th century up to the 1800's  creating such things as intrigue, love and scandal  and throughout the whole of Europe no true lady would be seen without one, and in an age where freedom of speech for women was very restricted this modish little machine played an important role. Initially  fans were designed for  self- cooling, but  users of the fans of all shapes and sizes (that goes for the ladies too) quickly developed their own language, depending on how the fan was used a signal was sent, holding it to the left ear meant "I want you to leave me alone" or to let it slide on the forehead "You have changed". There are many more ......

 I found a great blog called  "The Victorian Times" which gives you a wonderful and  often humorous insight into Victorian days and the language off fans, but for now I just wanted to collect a few beautiful fans to admire.   Here are  some of them. Which one would you pick? 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Well Hello Doilies

My mother had doilies here, there and well everywhere she could find a place to put them and we all loved them, then I guess they just stopped being fashionable which is a shame. Unfortunately for me  I never quite managed to conquer crochet and always ended up with a tangled mess. So I can and do admire the intricate patterns that are to be found. Today you can go into junk shops and find them thrown into an old box left there until they are saved by someone who thinks "now what can I do with this". The other day I found two beige doilies which I thought were just beautifully worked. It was then that I put in on my arm and thought this with a few beads would make a gorgeous cuff. I added three pearl beads for the closure. This then made me want to see what others have done with their doilies and well as you can see below some really clever uses. I think that a few more doilies will be saved and put to good use. Have you saved any doilies  lately and what did you make?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Homemade Christmas & Homemade Knit Sew Crochet By Ros Badger

I had the great pleasure of meeting Ros Badger when she held a sewing masterclass course, held in the beautiful Ch√Ęteau Dumas here in France two years ago. I discovered Ros to have an incredible eye for detail and colour and she had then a seemingly endless amount of patience (I fear I might have used it all up!) plus she has a great sense of humour. I was making a bag and got carried away with the hole punch and tore the material. I went to Ros and she looked at it, smiled, and took the bag from me and said go and do something else and leave this with me! Within 15 minutes she was back and my bag was repaired, she had found a scrap of material that matched the bag and made a label and, well I never, it was perfect.
She told me she learned how to crochet at the age of eight, and has made things all her life, customising clothes, restoring old furniture, growing food, flowers and cooking everything from bread to vegetarian feasts.

In recent years, as well as working as a stylist for magazines and newspapers, including the Telegraph and Sunday Times. Ros also has a mail order business called “Little Badger” which specializes in fashionable hand knitwear and T shirts for children, using logos and imagery previously not associated with children’s wear: Website is currently being updated.

Little Badger's customers are worldwide and have included celebrities from Nicole Kidman to Bono, as well as many figures in the fashion world. Website currently being updated.
An ex-designer for Betty Jackson and Marks & Spencer among others, Ros also did a stint as knitwear expert on the C4 Big Breakfast programme.

Ros also hosts Pop Up Shops under the trade name 'Its LovelinessIncreases'. Scouring markets across the UK and France, she sells vintage finds, from furniture, paintings and textiles to objet d'art and mid century contemporary pieces.

Ros's most recent books, “Christmas & Festive Decorations” and “Knit Sew& Crochet” each book has 25 innovative projects for you to make for yourself or friends, both books will be on sale from the 11th October 2012 just in time for you to get out your knitting needles, crochet hooks and sewing machines and learn to make something truly original. Ros is sponsoring 4 books and the winners will each receive two craft books which she will personally autograph, doesn't get better than that!
Previous books from Ros include Homemade: “Gorgeous Things to Make with Love” which she co-authored with Elspeth Thompson is published by Harper Collins in the UK and Skyhorse Publishing in the USA.
Ros is also the author of two successful knitting books, Little Badger ContemporaryClassics (Ebury press) and Instant Expert Knitter (Octopus books).

This giveaway is open worldwide and I will be using Rafflecopter again, so good luck and  a huge thanks to Ros for her generosity.

Dates for your diary.....
Daylesford Organics nr Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG

5th & 6th November 
Preview Monday 5th  6.00 pm and 9.30 pm
Tuesday 6th  9.30 am and 4.00 pm
CHRISTMAS FAIR in aid of WellChild  5th & 6th November 
10% of sales go to this charity.

Selvedge at Chelsea Town Hall
Selvdedge Winter Fair
November 10th 10am -4pm
Chelsea Town Hall
Kings Road
London SW1
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hold Your Hand Out Please...

Love them or hate them! I am talking Spiders here..... and  I have some friends that just by uttering the word "Spider"  can turn them into a quivering jelly... of course I would never utter the word Spider  to my friends on purpose, then again!!!!
Several years ago I took my son & daughter to the Tropical Butterfly House in South Yorkshire. The door to the Arachnid house had not even closed behind me when a young man came up to me and said " Would you be good enough to hold your hand out for me" of course I obeyed without question (why do we do this)  he then placed a very large Tarantula on my palm!!!! Oh my god! I immediately froze on the spot and I think I also stopped breathing. This young man was the spider keeper and had about 20  children around him and he wanted them to see that there was nothing to be afraid off by holding a Tarantula!!!! 
Well I had a choice here and after realising that I was about to faint from lack of air, I sucked in as much  as I could and somehow managed to control my poise, giving him a rather sickly grin when I actually wanted to scream endless abuse at him for putting me through this. This only lasted minutes but it felt way way longer than that at the time, and by this stage my arm was beginning to ache as it was fully extended to keep this monster spider as far away from me as possible. I found myself telling all the children in front of me (I might add with very high pitched  vocals that I never knew could be reached) that it was actually rather nice and you know what it was!!! it was very soft and furry. I can't say I love spiders and would certainly never want one as a pet, and I wont ever, ever  hold my hand out again to a stranger, and  have to admit that up to that day I was also one of the howlers when the word spider was mentioned. But since that day I have absolutely no fear of them so I should be grateful to the keeper for the cure!!!

What about you do you love them or hate them?

Monday, October 8, 2012

V I S I O N S.. O F.. L I G H T.. Mark Raynes Roberts

Described as a master craftsman who hails from another era, Mark Raynes Roberts is Canada’s leading crystal and glass engraver, sculptor and designer with an international reputation for his one-of-kind masterpieces in a medium few have mastered.

Born in Sutton Coldfield, England in 1961, he trained as a goldsmith and silversmith, before focusing his studies on engraving under the tutelage of Ronald Pennell, one of Britain’s finest glass artists at the Birmingham City University, Institute of Art & Design.
An Associate Fellow of the British Guild of Glass Engravers since 1989, Raynes Roberts creates crystal sculptures remarkable for their hand-engraved precision and detail. His work is broad in scope, including large, 8-foot crystal works, smaller sculptures, themed sculpture collections as well as iconic awards. He has participated in many international glass exhibitions and has been honoured with several prestigious exhibiting invitations such as at the New York location of Asprey, crown jewellers to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, where he held two one-man exhibitions in 1998 and 1999. His work has been presented to important leaders from the world of business, the arts, sports and science and resides in private and corporate collections of an international clientele.
In 2012, Raynes Roberts has exhibited his crystal art with the British Guild of Glass Engravers in Johansfors, Sweden, and at the Red House Cone Gallery, National Guild exhibition in Stourbridge, England. In October, the artist celebrates his 30th Anniversary in Canada, with a solo exhibition of new works entitled VISIONS OF LIGHT, at the Hotel Le Crystal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
An artist whose traditional training in England provided strong grounding in fine detail, his work has evolved in new directions thanks to the free expression of living in North America where he continues to experiment with new techniques, styles of expression and medium.

Larger scale works such as the 72-foot glass tapestry of engraved panels depicting Canadian landscapes, at McMaster University’s Health Sciences Library, (a designated cultural property of Canada) have provided impetus for the artist to develop larger scale projects working with architects and developers.
He describes the ability of multi-faceted crystal sculpture to magically refract engraved images as the creation of dreamscapes. And it is this dream-like aspect of his engraved crystal pieces which he feels can express issues of human transcendence, a subject he has always wanted to explore in more depth.

One of his crystal collections, The Human Spirit Collection, owned by DAREarts, a charitable organization that empowers children through arts programming, depicted life values such as Persistence and Equilibrium. The sculptures were toured extensively to schools and aboriginal communities, used as talking points to help children in need contemplate the importance of the depicted values in their own lives.
The “Visions of Light” exhibition will expand this interest in the human desire to recognize life-affirming goals. Some of the proposed engraved crystal pieces will address themes of Connection, Diversity and Tolerance. Raynes Roberts is interested in exploring how we overcome adversity, how we move beyond pain and conflict, in all aspects of our lives, individually and collectively as a society.

The significance of “Visions of Light” is the artistic evolution from one of Canada’s leading artists, who reminds us about a craftsmanship from a time when the world was slower, and who helps us appreciate the beauty and the values which connect us all.

For more information:

Mark will offer three winners worldwide, the opportunity to win a signed copy of "Visions of Light" book - an 80 page colour retrospective book celebrating 30 years of engraved crystal masterpieces. Value $59.95 each.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Messie Jessie

I have literally just been over to twitter and checking out new followers  and being naturally inquisitive (ok nosey) just had to go see what Messie Jessie was all about. Oh my, I have just spent a glorious time browsing through her beautiful shop where nostalgia and romance just leaps out at you.

Based on the small Island of Anglesey, Sue's love of textiles, illustration and craft  lead her to create and open - “Messie Jessie”, taking its name from her eldest daughter, (there must be a story here and maybe Sue will enlighten us) each piece of work is hand crafted and truly original. Sue works with mixed media, favouring collage and assemblage; being somewhat of a magpie her work frequently features found objects, recycled jewellery, beads and fabrics. Here are a few of her beautiful and original items.

A small three dimensional dress inspired by the novel - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The dress is Empire line, stitched together from old book pages (from a book of the novel) and vintage white cotton fabric with an over dress with side fastening made from a beautiful ivory vintage silk. Words from the novel are sewn to the front side of a layer of the dress. Covering the dress is a long very full coat intricately tailored from a very fine pure wool fabric.
The piece has been inspired by the the poem "The Moth" by Walter De la Mare. A moth
has been collaged onto the outside and inside of the box, then distressed it using acrylic, acrylic gel and silver leaf. A small tab of cloth embroidered with "The Moth" is affixed to the front of the box. The inside of the box is made to look as if it's from a time gone by. Embroidered on a piece of pale blue fabric are the words from the poem "A tremble in shimmering grace", whilst at the side of these words is a papier mache moon covered in part with silver leaf .. On the other side of the box hangs the dress which looks as fragile as a moths wings. The box it's self has been collaged with book papers and distressed with acrylic paint.

Limited edition of 25, a print from original art work, The Moth - Walter De La Mare. 
Fine Art Paper "Museum Etching"
A4 (approx. 21cm x 29.7cm)
Weight 350gms (93lbs US)
This print has a lovely weight and texture.
Each print is signed, numbered and dated and shipped in a cello sleeve within a rigid mailer.
Wire and papier mache Sculpture - 28cm wide, 33cm high and 22cm deep.
Clasping her cloak to her to ward off the cool of the night, a young Red Riding Hood strolls confidently through her moonlit forest with her companion by her side.
The figure is made from wire and papier mache, accompanied by the trees and her wolf she rises out of the book from which they are formed. Her hair is made from a soft viscose material which is gathered and ruched, then falls into a long plait. Her dress is 100% cream silk, with three buttons down the side. Flowing behind her, the vibrant red cloak is also 100% silk.
A small three dimensional assemblage comprising a backdrop fashioned from the remnants of the book from which the dress is made. The moonlight streams in and joins the beautiful glow from the shimmering chandeliers that catches the warm gold hi lights of the dress.
The back drop of the book is an atmospheric photo of chandeliers which has been washed over with white and beige acrylic and large areas of gold leaf leaving a subtle contrast of soft blue and gold hues. The bodice of the dress is made from book pages. The skirt is also made from book pages and remnants of vintage fabrics and also a bronze satin. Adorning the dress are vintage pearls around the waist and also a delicate metal fan which will be needed after all the dancing from the ball.

Inspired by the following quote from Shakespeare's play -Timon of Athens .

"The moon is an arrant thief, 
And her pale fire she snatches from the sun"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Made To Love

A delightful Belfast based crafter who loves to play with beads,blooms and other bits and bobs and then turns them into something to be loved. Just a few of her beautiful creations and you can pop over to her page and see more. I think these are stunning and beautifully made.

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