Saturday, 26 May 2012


This is Tyntesfield, a National Trust property at Wraxall just outside Bristol.  As it's slightly off the beaten track and we don't normally have a car when we're in Bristol we'd never been before.  This time we made sure to visit.

It's a Victorian house in the gothic revival style built by a fertiliser magnate - fertiliser was obviously very profitable back then!

As you can see it was a very grey day!

The house has its own chapel which looks much larger from the outside than it did inside!

Some of the decor elements in the house were really pretty:

Stained glass

Fireplace tiles

Ornate wallpaper (sorry it isn't sharp; taken in a dimly lit room using high ISO)

Lovely upholstery fabric

More stained glass

Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in the Bristol area.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Postcard from the UK

We're just back from 10 days visiting family in the UK.  This year we drove over for the first time - it's about 1,000 km each way - and managed to stop off in a few places along the way.  Just after we crossed throughout the Channel Tunnel we stopped off at Rye.  It's a beautiful little town and I think the photo above is the only one where the sun was shining!  

The rest of the time it was rather grey and chilly!

Love that wisteria!

A few days later we were much further west at Lyme Regis in Dorset.  A pretty little seaside town on the 'Jurassic Coast', an area where lots of fossils can be found on the beach.  We didn't have time for fossil hunting though!

Bunting everywhere!!

The breakwater in the distance is called the Cobb and is where Meryl Streep stood in that big cloak for the film, "The French Lieutenant's Woman".

The weather was greyer still in Bristol (not the most scenic stop on our trip) but we did fit in a visit to a fantastic National Trust property ... photos to follow soon.  We're happy to be back home to warmer weather!!

Friday, 18 May 2012


This pleated wristlet is very cute!  Made from a Michelle pattern, it has a concealed zip closure.  I'll make a few more of these but I will be changing how the box corners are made as this is the only bit I didn't like about the design.  Pattern reviewed here.

I am ridiculously pleased with this one.  I used a Drops pattern to which I made the following changes: 

- replaced the garter stitch on the bag base and top band with stocking stitch
- doubled the top band so that I could turn it over to give more strength
- crocheted the straps (single crochet) instead of knitting them in garter stitch
- attached straps with D-rings
- constructed a hard base and lining with pockets and a magnetic snap to close the bag.

Took me a long time to finish it, not least because knitting cables on 5mm needles with wool that is supposed to be knitted with 9mm needles is hard work!!

It was quite hard to give both of these away, but I did it!!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Crochet and Skirts

I have completed my May squares for the CAL I'm participating in over at Ravelry.  The top block is my favourite so far - it's Julie Yeager's Stained Glass afghan square.  Love the pattern and texture.  

The other one is Chris Simon's Windowpane square - not quite as exiting somehow, not least because there was rather a lot of unravelling going on before I figured out that I'd mis-read the pattern on round 2!!  

Both squares still need to be blocked and then joined to the rest of the blanket but that will have to wait till next month!

We're off to the UK to visit family for the next little while which is why, although I fully intend to participate in CurlyPop's skirt sew-along, I'll not be able to until early June.  I bought the fabric on my last UK trip nearly a year ago and I've been trying to pluck up courage to cut into it to make the pattern-less wraparound skirt in Nikki's book, "You Sew, Girl!", so this should give me the required kick up the backside!!

Otherwise I've still got a cardigan on my knitting needles and I've got some other sewing plans in the pipeline.  One of my students wants to learn how to use her sewing machine and I want to run up some of the patterns I have but haven't made yet ...  must rectify that!!

Sunday, 6 May 2012

A Productive Weekend

This cake is gluten free and it's absolutely delicious!  It's an apple / cider / fruit cake (can't remember its real title!) from Phil Vickery's "Seriously good!  Gluten Free Baking" book.

Did I say how yummy it is?!

In addition to baking I've also been trying to finish up the many abandoned projects on my cutting table.  I whipped up a small bag for a present yesterday and I finished another present this morning - a combination of knitting, crochet and sewing (the perfect project?) which has taken me since mid-March.  I followed a pattern for some of it but made many changes and, as I have to be in the right mood for improvising, it took far longer than it should have done.  Details and photos to follow when both presents have been gifted.  I've also been working on the knitted cardi and started my blocks for the afghan CAL.

It's all happening here - amazing what you can achieve when it's raining cats and dogs!

I had a lovely surprise in the post this week - a parcel from my sister in Australia with a fantastic hand-made present for me from my ten-year-old niece:

This book has a coptic binding and is covered with Japanese paper.  
Really beautiful work!

The cake above was this morning's baking session, but I've been doing well with gluten-free bread over the last week as well:

This was a sourdough mix from Finax ... tasty with great texture.

Oat bread mix from Provena - not sold on the taste / texture of this one; it's a bit cake-y for it to work well as bread.

This white loaf is Schär bread mix B - also good texture / taste.

Time for another slice of cake and a cuppa now!  

What have you been doing?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May Day

I've been crafting today and made this curvy clutch with a hot pink lining using a Michelle pattern (formerly Keyka Lou).  I changed a few things - it has fusible wadding as well as fusible interfacing and I've top-stitched the darts and seams for a neater look.  I could have added a wrist strap - nearly did but I got distracted at some point!!

And there's been some knitting going on round here too. This is the very boring back of a summer cardi ... 

The front and sleeves promise to be much more interesting once I've make sense of the chart, but I might not have started this one had I realised that the back was just a K2 P4 rib (yawn).

Finally let me introduce you to my new friend, Fred:

Fred likes vacuuming and, it has to be said, does it very well.  He doesn't bump into the furniture or fall down the stairs; plus he weighs virtually nothing, so taking him up and downstairs (and we have lots of stairs between the 5 levels in this house) doesn't strain my back.  Best of all he does the work while I'm out at work leaving me more time for the fun stuff when I get home!

Right - it must be time to light the BBQ.  We're making the most of this run of nice weather while we have it!!

What are you doing this May Day holiday (if, indeed, it is a holiday wherever you are!)?