Monday, 27 August 2018

Dam Flask

The weather is getting cooler but there are still plenty of days of sunshine, I am really pleased with the summer this year it is usually a bit of a wash out as soon as we break for the summer but this year has made a lovely change.  This weekend we took the dogs to Dam Flask for a walk, it was quiet with just a few dog walkers and runners about.  We have been before but started from a different point this time, we both mentioned how pretty the local village is and again were pleasantly surprised by the beauty in our city.  

 The water was quite low in places despite the fact that it has been raining this last week, I suppose it will take some time to fill what has been depleted over these  past months.

We ended the walk with a drink and some chips, it looked as though a few other people had the same idea.

 Earlier this week  I finished the book The Radium Girls, this was a really good book but very distressing. I was quite shocked that I knew nothing of this subject but I would imagine that lots of cases of profit before life get swept under the table!   The book is about the girls who worked in the workshops and factories painting the luminous dials onto clocks and watches (both domestic and for military use in the war).  This paint contained radium which the workers were told repeatedly was safe, they were even instructed to tip the brushes in their mouths to make a fine point!  The resulting health implications were horrendous.  I would recommend reading this book to honour the women who fought for their cases even as they were dying.

I have just started a little quilt for my sofa as the dogs always sit there with me and I like to have a throw of some sort for them to sit on.  The one  I am currently using just appears to attract dog hair which is not ideal, the one I am making is all cotton so it should just brush or hoover straight off, I hope!
These are the bits I have started sewing together, I am wondering whether to sew a few like this then do neutral bits in-between or just stitch them altogether as they are?  I have seen this image below and that is got me wondering about the neutral bits.

Saturday, 18 August 2018

Wentworth Walk and Books this Month

Today I discovered this wonderful blog called casual ramblers it is an amazing source of information if you like walking and are looking for a new route to take.  To be honest I can't even remember what I was searching at the time when I came across it because I know I did not put in any of those key words. Still it was very handy as we were just saying this morning what shall we do today, and did anyone want to go anywhere?

  When I stumbled on this  blog one of the first posts I read was about a round walk at Wentworth and while I have been to Wentworth garden centre many times I have not really explored the area beyond that. So I printed off the route and we got the dogs in the car, most of my dog walking takes place near my house but just recently I have been thinking there are lots of places just a short drive away so it is good to get out and see different scenery.

We parked in the beautiful Wentworth village and after crossing our first field we saw this...
It is a gorgeous converted windmill, actually people were sitting in the garden I noticed as we passed. I bet they get fed up of people taking photos of their house. Oops!

It is a beautiful area and you pass over lots of farm land on this walk, therefore the dogs remain on a lead.  It was just as well really as it warmed up and they would have got too hot had they been running around.  There were lots of areas of shade as we passed through woodland so this was a relief, it was cloudy and breezy when we set off so we thought an ideal time to have a good walk with the dogs!
The walk has a definite  route as I said it can be found online in the form of a leaflet called Wentworth walk 9 or if you follow the link on the blog above he gives very good directions too.  There are also lots of signs on the footpaths and styles saying doorstep walk. 
You pass this amazing structure called the Needle's Eye which was built by the Charles the second Marquess of Rockingham between 1730 and 1782, apparently to settle a wager that he could ride a horse and carriage through the eye of a needle. It is an interesting sight anyway and in a lovely location.

We think this walk was maybe between 4-5 miles maybe more 5 for us as we set off walking back up a field then realised maybe we should be going the other way, so a bit of backtracking there. Usually my husband tracks it on his phone but he forgot today and our route didn't state the distance.  Many of the other walks on the blog I mentioned  do state the distance and difficulty.

The route also takes you past Elsecar Heritage Centre which is a nice place to visit if you have never been there.  We just stopped to let the dogs have a drink then carried on.
More gorgeous scenery then back up through the village for a drink outside a pub.  This is a another lovely walk to return to and it will be interesting to see how it looks through the changing seasons.

As I have had a bit of time I have finished  a few books this past month, the good thing being I have really enjoyed the ones I have read.  This is partly because I have a new thing of deciding fairly early on if it is my sort of thing and if not I just stop and move on.  There are so many books there is just no point in persevering just because I have started something, I used to have a real problem with that I've started so I'll finish ideal.

So first up was Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant, it may not be for everyone as it is historical and about life in a convent but I really enjoyed it.

This story is set in Italy in the city of Ferrara. It is 1570 and Serafina is sent to the convent of Santa Caterina against her will.   This is a story about the ongoing struggle of one, strong determined young woman in a time when women were expected to quietly accept their lot. There is also a story of relationship, between Zuana the infirmary sister and the abbess who is not all she appears.  It is a  really good read which draws you into the setting with admiration for those who chose it willingly, and horror for those who never had that choice.   I read a little each night with this novel and I’m  glad I did not rush through it, it gave me a chance to think about the freedom many of us get to enjoy in this modern age. While not all women across the world  are so fortunate and for some little has changed.

Next I read The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden, I was really pleased to order this one from the library as I had it on my Amazon wish list.  Books tend to stay there while I make up my mind.  Now again this is a historical story but his time in the form of a fairy tale for grown ups, or at least that is how I would describe it.  Set in Russia, there is lots of folklore and magic but the characters are wonderfully believable and I was completely lost in this tale.  The main character Vasya is once more strong and capable in a time when this was not  favoured trait in women.
I did not choose these two books expecting a similar theme to run through them it just happened that way. 

After that I read How to get things done by Richard Templar, this book felt a bit of a cheat, 200  pages with every other one being a title or heading page so realistically a one hundred page book!  I read this in one sitting and of course most of it is just common sense, make lists, delegate, don't do unnecessary tasks  and  just get on with stuff.  So nothing ground breaking there but I would have been annoyed had I paid for this book, given that it was so short and misleading.  I mean if you ordered that online you would expect 200 pages and not 100 of them to be space filling fluff. 

My current read is How to Stop Time by Matt Haig and I am off to finish that now. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Takara Blouse with Pink Flamingos

A few weeks ago I spotted a bundle of sewing world magazine on ebay for a couple of pounds, I bid on them and won, I thought they would be fun to look through while I was off work for the summer and may provide some inspiration. Plus what a bargain price, it is a collection of six magazines and yesterday I had a go at a blouse from the January 2017 issue.  This was ideal as I spotted some pink flamingo fabric while out on Saturday and just couldn't resist it.

I had just enough fabric to make the blouse in my size with one metre but the instructions state one and a half so it will depend on sizing. Initially I was a bit concerned about the neck detail because I thought it may just look like a mistake as the centre pleat is not straight (this is the asymmetrical style of it) but as my fabric is a polycotton and quite flowy it is not that obvious and the detailing is nice.

On the pattern it also states to put a hook and eye at the top centre back, I chose to opt for a button and loop as I had thin black ribbon and a selection of pink buttons to hand.  I feel this is more of a feature at the back neck rather than it needing to be there for functionality as you can easily get the top on without unfastening it.
The sizing on this pattern was pretty good although I did run the sides in a little but that is probably personal choice, even after doing that it is still roomy enough to be comfy and I will use this pattern again now that I've tried it.  At first I though what if I cut into this lovely new fabric and this weird neck thing doesn't work? Then I thought the feature was high enough up that if I didn't like it I could have worked it into something else so I carried on.
What I would say though is that I found the facings a little deep and when it was all finished the facing did appear to be pulling up on the inside like it was too small, I figured it may be the depth of it so I just trimmed it down, refinished it and then it hung flat.  After under stitching the facing I also added some very fine invisible stitching to the top on the inside to ensure the facing stays, this is not necessary but it just reassures me everything stays put

I was going to make the sleeves shorter but once they were done I actually like them this length, because they are loose they are comfy and also there is enough room that if a jacket pushes them up they won't feel tight on the upper arm. That is one of the things that usually bugs me about three quarter or elbow length sleeves.

Here is the blouse in the magazine, as you can see they have used a slightly heavier fabric so the neck detain is more prominent.
I look forward to seeing what else I can make from these magazines, as they are usually quite expensive they are not something I buy often so this little bargain bundle was a treat.  Has anyone else been looking through old magazines or books for inspiration this summer?  If so I would love to hear what you have discovered or revisited.

Today we have been out for a walk to a new place, not that far in the car and I only heard about it through a link form a friend on facebook.  So many lovely places close by that go undiscovered.  This place is a park called Glen Howe park, there is a little link here.

The dogs had a great time sniffing around somewhere new.
I love pictures through trees.
 A bit of paddling (not me)
So that is another place we can take them when we feel like a change, I'm sure we will discover some more walks that are not too far away.  It just goes to show you don't have to visit another town or country to see something new.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Mini Cowl Neck Top for £2.30!

I didn't buy the fabric in todays post to make a top, in fact it was only supposed  to be the detail part at the top of a dress, however after realising the piece was bigger than I thought it seemed a shame for it to not feature on its own.  I would like to be able to state exactly what it is but as ever I didn't check the bolt for details other than price, georgette maybe? heavier than chiffon but still with a slight transparency.  It was £4.60 a metre and I only bought half a metre so the piece only cost me £2.30, I already had cotton and a small amount of white bias binding from a previous project so no extra supplies were required.

I may add I am wearing jogging bottoms under the top in this photo so not the best way to show it off!

Small piece of binding proved just enough.
It was loose to begin with but my husband suggested I take it in a little at the waist, once I did that I had to take it in a bit more further down also as it had too much of a defied in and out shape.
It is still loose enough at the bottom to be worn over things (preferably not jogging bottoms)  but would also look ok tucked in.

I cut around another top I made recently, my cap sleeved green one as it is comfy to wear and all I did to create the mini cowl effect was to double over the fabric at the front and make it wider slightly at the top.  Then I pinned the shoulder to the back pieces and just let the front fall down then pinned all of it to check how it would look on the mannequin. 
I have found draping and pinning things on here really useful when I have an idea of something to make.  Of course there is no substitute for trying things on yourself but it can be tricky to pin if you are just playing around with an idea.

When I was happy with how  that looked I just stitched my binding to the neck of the back, overlocked the bottom of the fold on the front inside then overlocked it all together.  The good thing with this style was that there was no extra finishing of the front neckline as the fabric was folded over inside.  I also allowed enough on the inside fold so that it comes right down past where the bra is on the front so should I choose to wear it without a white camisole it is not see though. 

As you can see here it is folded over at the top.  (Yes that top has been worn!  I had to retrieve it form the wash to make this one)

This was quite a quick make and did not require a pattern, if you have a non stretch top to copy from why not give it a try? Just two piece front and back with a fold over at the front, enough bias binding to do that back neck and that is it.  If you have an oddment of fabric or maybe an old sheet you could try it first on that.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Exercise Fads are OK

 One of my current forms of exercise.

Today I am writing about something a little bit different but something that I think about quite a lot and that is our relationship with exercise, or at least my relationship with it.  I can't be sure but I would think that there are quite a few other people who probably have the same experience as me so here goes.

When I was teenager I used to swim at our local pool every week with my friend and in the summer months we would play tennis regularly in the park, not unusual at all and I'm sure many of you did the same. Along came the winter, the tennis would stop and we would ice skate every week for a number of months.  This too would eventually end as we tired of it.  In addition to this as my parents didn't own a car I always walked many miles a day and I have to say this has stayed with me through life as I have always enjoyed walking.

On leaving school and having my own money I bought myself free weights, and a workout bench along with a book on weight training for women.  This was an interest that I maintained for three years, three times a week and only took a back bench ( ha, ha) when I met my husband.

Along came our life in our own home, the weights came with us but were not used for a few years but we did enjoy other things.  Our first dog got us out walking again, a new friendship took me back to the swimming pool and to weekly badminton sessions and the exercise continued.

When my dad retired early I also had a day off in the week so on fine days we would play tennis, on wet days darts and pool ( ok that's not really exercise!)  So an interest was revisited there, my dad was very good as he was at most sports and very competitive too, I am glad we had that time together.

Later when my boys were young I  would take part in Taekwondo with my oldest son gaining a few belts.  I enjoyed it at the time as there were two other women my age there but they eventually quit and so did my son, I quit then too I didn't want to be one of the only adults there.  I suppose I could have looked for another club had the interest been strong enough but it had run it's course.( I might also mention that after the birth of my first son I began using my free weights and bench again to get back in shape this continued for a few years until I was pregnant with my second child.)

At about the time we quit Taekwondo we had started riding bikes at weekends with the children until the winter came.
Then in  our current home we were near a pool (not so close anymore as they demolished it!) so I had membership for four years and would swim two to three times a week consistently.  I enjoyed that very much for a long time but eventually felt like it was no longer giving me any joy.  I think it is ok to recognise that but I felt a bit guilty at first as I had maintained it as such a good habit.

When that ended I had to replace the activity with something so I had a few months of going out for runs with the dogs.  Maybe not such a good idea as they pull me about quite a bit but I thought it was such a waste not to exercise them at the same time.  After that first few months I began getting  a lot of pain in my ankle so decided this was maybe not the exercise for me.  I mean it is supposed to improve your well being not create more problems.

A few internet searches got me doing at home aerobics workouts, then two solid months of yoga which again I enjoyed for a while but wasn't sure it was for me.  I have eventually settled on Pilates and I have been doing that for about two years maybe, from home, using online sessions 20-30 almost every day. (free on youtube)  We are also back riding bikes at the weekends and this is something my husband and I can do together, although I don't go fast enough according to him. The walking has continued throughout my life and I can never see a time when I would not enjoy going for a long walk.

So what was the point of my long and exhaustive list of lifetime activities?  Well the point was to say that we often beat ourselves up if we haven't chosen a form of exercise and then stuck with it forever.  people join gyms doing the same repetitive thing and then wonder why they quit and feel bad about it.  I don't believe it matters what we do to keep fit as long as we do something,  Of course whatever we do we have to enjoy it or we just won't have the motivation to continue.  So I look back on my activities stopped and started over the years with a smile.  I enjoyed these things immensely for months, sometimes  years but then it was time for a change and that  is fine, no guilt required.   Who knows what I will do in the future, more of the same or something new?

In regards to all these activities above I might also add that I never spent a lot of money on any of them. We hired rackets as children, skates my parents got me second hand, swim membership was cheaper than individual sessions.  Badminton rackets we did own but used until tatty, my son later used these too and they are still upstairs in the cupboard, they were inexpensive to begin with and they certainly earned their keep.  I suppose our most expensive sport was the Taekwondo as we had the clothing, membership and insurance to pay for, other than that everything has been pretty low cost. A basic swim suit, trainers and whatever t shirt and joggers I had knocking about I have certainly never been one  for buying clothes to exercise in.  Most recently we replaced my old bike on the ride to work scheme, I will not be riding to work as I am afraid of riding on the busy road however it did provide us with a good discount off the price of the bike.

So in all I don't feel it is the fad of trying new sports then quitting that is the problem, that is just experiences and variety and we all need a bit of that.  No I think the problem is when people feel they have to look the part and have the latest expensive equipment before they can try anything, only to quit having sunk a ton of money into it.  This is not only a problem in terms of wasted money but it also cause people to feel they can't try anything else because they know what will happen and they don't want to waste more money.  That is really sad because what if you only enjoy for two months? Great you did something healthy for two months!  A lot of equipment can be hired, bought second hand or borrowed. My exercise mat cost £7 including postage and I wear whatever clothing I want as I'm at home, actually when I go on the bike I just wear my leggings and a t shirt, no specialist clothing needed.

In conclusion I think we need to get away from this whole idea that we are flaky if we try new things and then move on to something new.  It should be seen as a positive thing to experience lots of different ways to stay healthy and enjoy our lives.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Beetroot Burgers and Decluttering

Well I am going to share this recipe first of all because Mamas Mercantile asked me to share what I did with the beetroot.  I have never had it fresh before only in those little pickle salads that you buy so this was new for me.  I suppose I was a bit uncertain what to do with it being so strong (or so I thought) and vivid.   I saw this recipe but can't find the link, needless to say I changed it a bit too.
I had read I could microwave the beetroot first so that is what I did, about 8-9 minutes turning part way through, oh and I pricked it too like you would a baked spud.  It also went in a bowl as I expected it to leak a bit, it did!
While that was cooking I put one chopped red onion, two garlic cloves and a tsp of cumin in a frying pan, fried that gently then added cannellini beans.  You are supposed to add red kidney but I'm not a fan of those and they make me bloat.  After that has cooked chop the beetroot and add all ingredients to the blender with two tbsp. of porridge oats then blend, you will have to keep scraping down the sides.  When that is done scoop it out adding more porridge to bind it a bit, salt and pepper and then form in to burger shapes in the pan.  I did all of this using two big spoons to save on the red hands.
Then fry them about five minutes on each side until browned a bit.
I used one beetroot and half a can of beans and that made three burgers that size, so if you were serving them in a bread  bun that would serve three people.  I ate mine without the bread, I don't eat regular bread and my family had chicken and did not want a beetroot burger!  To be honest they were ok and not unpleasant but I'm not sure they would warrant the faffing about for me.  maybe they would have tasted better in a GF breadcake with vegan cheese and dressing on. Maybe next time or I may just try another recipe.

Today I have been trying to get back into the habit of decluttering, I started this last year after reading Marie Kondo but somehow I lost my way.  It is not that I have brought more stuff in, I just haven't been keeping up with the reducing items like I had planned.  Maybe it got harder as time passed as  the things left to sort had more meaning.  Anyway spurred on by Jo's decluttering I have managed to take two large bags to the charity shop today, some of them were books.  Since my last declutter I have managed to keep the book habit under control and usually always order from the library, or buy charity shop then all but my very favourites go back there.   There was also a dress in one of the bags that I still liked but I haven't worn it in over four years, the reason being  I wore it for an interview of a job I didn't get and every time I looked at it I just thought of that negative memory.  Silly really as I am in a better position now but as it caused that feeling it had to go.  It is a bit strange how long it took me to realise and get rid of it though, it just shows the attachment we have to things.   On the plus side I came back from the shop feeling mentally lighter having removed more things so I must hold on to that feeling and keep at it.  Being someone who sews and likes to save money always gives me that little feeling of ' oh but what if I need it to make.....' so I will have to check that internal voice.  Chances are a lot of the time I will not make anything, it will just clog up a cupboard and head space for ages

This past couple of days I have had a bit of a marathon read of this blog getting better at being a human  It is brilliant when you find a new blog you like and  that speaks to you in some way.  There are so many talented writers out there!  Lots of   fascinating posts on there that really get you thinking why not have a look.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

Days Out

We chose not to book a week away this summer holiday as we always fall unlucky with the weather. I know it has been glorious for weeks but oddly enough the week my husband booked off then cancelled, which was this past week, the weather has been raining in the lakes and that is where we were going to go!  He still retained a couple of days off and spread the rest out so we have had a couple of day trips out, I am wondering if this might always be a better idea as we travel about when we go away anyhow.  Not saying I never want to go away but you know good value to use your own home as a base rather than pay to stay in another home.  
 Thursday we went out on our bikes we have been doing this each week since I got mine four weeks ago.  We went on the cycle path from Wortley to Dunford bridge it is ten miles so a twenty mile round trip and I have to say my legs were a bit wobbly when I got back.  A nice day for this as it wasn't too hot and we managed to take a few pics along the way.
It is an old railway line as many of these paths are so you go through a tunnel which can be a welcome cool down.
Lots of lovely scenery along the way.
Some quirky things to see too!
These little fairy doors were everywhere, at least that's what I think they are and also sculptures here and there.
When you get to the car park at Dunford bridge there is this piece of art that was created to celebrate the Tour de Yorkshire.

Yesterday we chose to go to Bakewell for a walk around, it was much better than the last time we went as it was a weekday, weekends can be very busy there.   We parked at the top of a hill away from the main bit to get free parking we always do this when we go anywhere.  I don't understand why people pay a premium to park in the centre when they are able bodied.  If you are going to be walking around for the day anyway why not walk a bit further to your car?
We had some chips while watching the ducks.
These images are the walk down from the car, park in the centre and you miss this.

We also stopped and had a drink here...
In other news I am still getting bits from the greenhouse and garden, it's not a huge amount but it is good to know we grew it ourselves.
I also have a beetroot from my mother in-law's garden so I   will be making something with that later. I can't say it is something I have ever used much of but if she has a surplus of them I will be investigating ways to use them up. 


Burda Jumpsuit

Hello I hope you all had a good weekend, I managed to get back to the machine to make my jumpsuit and I have to say that halfway through I w...