Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Pancake Day

Pancake day doesn't exist as such in Holland ....though Carnival is celebrated in the south of the country . But that doesn't matter in a country where pancakes are everyone's favourite meal and eaten in industrial quantities by all , all year round . There are even special pancake ships in every big town . I think it's a franchise thing . Ours , in Leeuwarden , is a pretty two-masted clipper , moored in the center of town , where you can choose from a huge variety of pancakes for a cheery , filling supper . And the ideal place for children to hold a pirate birthday party .Still , we'll be eating our pancakes at home tonight and I must get back to work on a little quilt .....looking as graceful and diligent as the Leicester Seamstress , I hope . ( Sculpture by James Walter Butler RA and put up to celebrate the countless hosiery workers who made Leicester wealthy .)

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

London weekend


A joint blog this time! A little sight seeing was done, as we wandered through the city from eating opportunity to eating opportunity.

And a lot of eating was done: steak and frites, Tapas, Lamb pilav, gourmet cheeses from Borough market and stunning bread from Hoxton.

Thus fortified, we went from market to market, including the flower market at Columbia Road. This is one of the murals that are on a school wall.

It wasn't all just eating, as we window shopped as well. There are lots of lovely shops, including this new venture 'The Powder Room', where staff are dressed in a vintage look reminiscent of a 1950s nightclub. They can paint your nails, make you up, and so on. We just looked through the window!

At the end of the market, many flowers are sold at a discount - so you hear lots of sellers crying out: 'look at these lovely roses. 3 bunches a fiver. You can even give some to your friends'.

Well, we can't give any flowers to all our readers (lol!), however we have decided to run a competition. Which of these photos are of real cakes? The one on the left or the one on the right? Leave a comment and you (dear reader!) can win a bag of buttons. If more than one reader is out there, then the cat will put her paw on a name to choose the winner.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Verde... and other food


Sonata is heading over to London, so we may be double-blogging at some point. A brief visit, but there will have to be some (window) shopping and some eating done as we walk around the capital.

Last Sunday, my partner and I decided to head on over to Spitalfields market, which is where author Jeanette Winterson's shop Verde and Company is:

We hadn't been to the area for ages and ages. Sadly, it is no longer what it used to be. The restaurants are all great, so there is plenty to choose from (we plumped for Canteen - yum, roast duck!). But the market itself no longer sells stuff that is exciting... still, the place was packed because it was a beautiful sunny day after all the snow.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Dreams of elegance to come .


I went off on the train with a friend yesterday afternoon. She wanted to buy a present to take to Florida this week and decided that Harlingen, a half hour away on the train, was bound to provide just the thing.

It's a very pretty little seafaring town with ferries leaving for the islands .....occasionally conversation is interrupted by a huge hoot from a ship's horn .....and, in the summer, the docks are packed with yachts and holiday makers. But on a freezingly cold February afternoon we almost had the place to ourselves.

Nice little independent shops with all manner of pretty things and some lovely modern Dutch and Scandinavian designs . Then we came upon the Harlinger Tegelfabriek and both became very covetous!

Their china is lovely and their tiles, handpainted, are stunning.

During the week the artists are at work and you can wander around and watch them at work. But being Saturday, the workshops were empty and we could examine it all at leisure. I've chosen the tiles for my kitchen .... now all I need is a Lottery win.

To see why we were so tempted Click here

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Quilts .... little and large


Smitonius was right! Too much shopping and not enough crafting. Still, I have finally made some progress. In typical fashion, when faced with 5 quilts to finish, I made another one. But, in my defence I must say it's only 10"x 12"with 30 pieces. So would have been very quickly made had I not decided to try machine quilting for the first time! With a new sewing machine....with a new electric sewing machine. I must be one of the last women in the Western world who still used an antique Singer hand machine from choice! Anyway, the recipient.... and his monkey.... won't be too critical of the wobbly lines.... and I enjoyed doing it more than I thought I would.

It can't replace handsewing for the Hitty quilts which measure roughly 8"x 8 1/2" but I enjoy sewing these by hand, anyway.

In the evening in front of the television, it's a great way to relax. It takes a while to get from this

to this ( over 300 pieces ) and I love pottering about, finding colour combinations!

And, as for large quilts.... the 80 foot long Oldehove Quilt, made to celebrate the inauguration of the Fries Museum's Quilt exhibition in November, out of beautiful Kaffe Fassett materials, by local quilters, has been, as promised, cut into smaller pieces and ninety "dreamquilts "have been made for children who are ill, handicapped or suffering bereavement. Kaffe Fassett handed the completed quilts to the Regenboogboom ( Rainbow Tree ) Organisation last week to be distributed. So nice to think that they'll be enjoyed by so many children who are in need of some extra love and attention.