Friday, 27 April 2012

All You Need is LOVE

Stretched my legs last Tuesday and managed to avoid the rain at Ardingly Antiques fair. I really enjoy going and always go on the Tuesday, because although it costs a mite more on that day, that is when there are bargains to be had.
I picked up a couple of these really nice mosaic LOVE signs this blue one, which now sits atop my pantry door.

(I took this picture with a flash and you can see it has reflected the letters onto the ceiling).

And also this red one, for an unbelieveable £10.00 for the two.
I will be selling the red sign on, and this nice little batch of jewellery I found there.

I have recently rented some shop space in a nearby coffee shop, to try and bring Shrimpton and Perfect to a wider local audience.This is a new venture for me and I'm really pleased to have the opportunity. My first day should be next Wednesday, fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Earthy Eloquence Monty Don and the Proclaimers

I found out about this book from one of my regular blog reads, shame on me I can't remember which one. I took a while to order it because, yes theoretically we are saving to transform our garden, but a necessary purchase methinks to myself, in pursuit of garden gorgeousness, I'm sure you will agree.

Monty Don is sooooo passionate about the soil and of course plants, and he writes beautifully, sigh.......

"So it is, in this part of the world at least,with peregrines. You see them with a thump of shocked recognition. For a breathless minute,one of the fiercest and most feral creatures on the planet beat straight above my primped garden, and until it disappeared into a dancing mote in my eye, we alone shared the tentative dawn sky, the carefully edged path, the clipped yews, the family sleeping indoors, the everything known and unknown of that minute. Then it is gone and, with the pang of loss, a great flush of experience and excitement that lights up the rest of the day on into a memory, and, if you have any shred of wonder about you, the rest of your life".

This is one of his beloved pooches, who I do believe from the caption underneath is called Barry Anne :)
More earthy eloquence from the Scottish Bros.

These lyrics tickle me pink, and they too are earthy and eloquent.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jubilee at Battersea Park

I don't think I have mentioned it before but I hail from Battersea, so I can't think of a better place to be on Jubilee Sunday than Battersea park to watch the Queen's Royal Thames Pageant.

Mr.S&P and I booked a small B&B in Chelsea at the end of last year for the Saturday and Sunday Jubilee week end, to make the most of the occasion. 

And I have just been emailed details of the very cheap tickets, £5.00 per head, for the big event in the park on the Sunday. I thought I should spread the word.

It is an event curated by Wayne Hemingway which will celebrate design, music art, film, fashion and food from the past 60 years. It's even going to have a classic car boot sale. The park is also an ideal spot to view the Thames procession.
You can get more information here, tickets are sold through Ticket master, but get a wriggle on, at this price I think they will sell out fast.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Making Money go Further in the Garden

Hello all you week end gardening types out there, are you just like us? Planning, tidying, cleaning, planting, getting soaked, drying off, getting soaked :) Glorious rain at last and plenty of it, no grumbling allowed I say.

After living in this house for about three years and doing very little to the garden apart from weeding and tidying we have made the decision to engage with it and completely re model it so we can really enjoy it. We have been thinking about this project since last Autumn, when I posted dear reader how we hoped to get to grips with our generously proportioned garden, which let's face it needs just about everything doing to it. 

Firstly we have spent the longest time thinking about how we want our garden to work for us, what we want it to be and how best to start the first steps towards this. Luckily I have been able to recruit some help from a 'real' gardener who very kindly came to our house and identified every plant and tree we have. From this we developed an understanding of what we would really like to keep and what definitely has to GO.

The stucture or bones of the garden has taken us a long time to work out but we are finally happy with it. And so we are off. We estimate it will probably take us this year to get the structure in place, then we can plant it out next year. Of course we aim to create something wonderful, but equally we have our thrifty mind set on and want to make our money stretch. Each small project in the garden will have to be saved for and we will be searching high and low for bargains. Naturally I hope to grow most of the plants myself. 

Our first purchase is a green house. I scoured the internet and for a short time it looked like we were going to have to find about £500 even for a small one. But lady luck was on our side when quite unusually I was flicking through a local free magazine and saw an advert for a whopper of a green house for £100. We have had to take it down and transport it a short distance and we're a bit nervous about putting it back up, but we are thrilled. The couple who sold it to us have been very sweet and have given us all the pots and racking from the green house as well as some strawberry plants.
This is the site for our GH.
And this is how it looks at the moment. (The bricks behind this frame we picked up from free cycle this week and we're using them for our pathways and edging.)

Mr.S&P happily cleaning the base of the GH.
These are some panes that didn't make it, but we will replace them with some plastic sheeting which I'm sure will work almost as well and will be cheaper.

Once this is up and running we can plant our vegetable seeds and prepare the raised beds for the seedlings. We hope to grow as much as we can this season and any extra we will either give to friends or sell on. 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Souvenirs and Knitting with Cable Needles.

Just back from the knitting group, thought I'd hop on the pc and show you my latest project.

It's the first time I have used cable needles, and although they are a little bit tricky they give such a wonderful result. You may remember dear reader I'm trying to increase my knitting repertoire this year. Well look at this.
A honeycomb pattern. I love it. This will be the front of a cushion for the bed in my spare room, I'm thinking of putting a gorgeous vintage floral fabric on the back. If it all works out beautifully I might make some to sell too.

The yarn which is 100% machine washable wool,  super soft and very cosy, is one of the three things I bought on my recent long holiday to remind me of the splendid time I had. The yarn is from New Zealand, you can imagine how fabulous their yarn shops are. 

The other NZ purchase was this scrummy poster advertising the Art Deco week end that takes place every year in Napier, which is a town built totally in the Art Deco style following a massive earthquake there in 1931.
My last holiday item was a totally irresistible vintage teapot purchased during our stopover in Singapore. It has a little lid with integral filter,
and has the most delightful retro images of Snow White and the Dwarves.
Funny choices for souvenirs I know, but they won't end up being recycled in a charity shop any time soon :)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Knitting so Sculptural so Much Fun

I get a regular e newsletter from the Lion Brand Company, full of interesting little items. Recently they have been posting some really exciting videos.

This one is about emerging new knitwear designers and makes me fantasise about working full time with textiles and design. It also reinforces the idea for me of having fewer pieces of clothing but only wearing things that are special. Some of these designs are quite wacky but most are very wearable, and all are visually quite wonderful.

And at the other end of the spectrum, up t'north in Saltburn-by-the-Sea an anonymous knitter has been coming out at night to leave little knitted surprises for the amusement of the townsfolk. Woolly books outside the library, buns outside the baker etc. And this is an Olympic special a 50 yard long sporting themed scarf tied to the pier. What a really nice thing to do and completely just for fun. We definitely need more fun in this world.

Reporting Back as Promised.

Well they came up a lot lighter in colour than I thought they would and not very rich in chocolate, which I kinda expected. But they didn't seem to rise quite as much as I would like. But perhaps in a smaller tin they would be thicker? The recipe just says flour which from looking at an American baking site I took to mean plain flour, but again perhaps SR would have been better.
Having said that they've all been eaten already, no not just by me :)

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Katharine Hepburn's Brownies

This recipe is apparently the one that Hepburn used to make her brownies, not too much flour is the key to success. 
She supplied it to the 'The Ladies Home Journal' in 1975.

I'm gonna give them a bash soon and I'll let you know how I get on.
120g butter
2 eggs beaten
pinch of salt
50g dark chocolate
vanilla essence
200g white sugar
a cup of chopped walnuts
45g flour

preheat the oven to 170C/340F/gas mark 3+1/2

melt butter with chocolate in saucepan, add eggs,sugar, a drop or two of vanilla essence, a pinch of salt and the chopped walnuts

add flour, mix well and pour out into a square (20cm) cake tin lined with baking parchment. Bake for half an hour.

Monday, 9 April 2012

First Bootie of the Season

 It's always good to support the Chazza shops but boy are their prices getting silly. Thank God it's bootie season again now we have a chance to score some vintage and useful bargains. The weather in our area was pretty poor yesterday but a few brave souls were out selling their wares. Slim pickings apart from these little vintage cuties.

And a rather nice marmalade pot.

I'm loving the packaging on these bias bindings from the Dioresque glamour version to homely plain Jane.

My last purchase of the day which is a keeper, a great Monsoon corduroy jacket with a quilted lining for moi - £1.00 only :)

I know the Summer is on it's way but a nice cosy jacket will always come in handy on cooler evenings.

Did you find any bootie bargains?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Weavers, Spinners and Dyers.

In the hope that I may have some spare time soon to learn some new skills, I joined the East Sussex Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Turns out you don't need to know how to do any of that stuff to join, they're happy for you just to go along and learn at your own speed.
 It meets once a month in a local village hall and has turned out to be the most splendid place for meeting truly creative people, who are more than happy to share their knowledge. 

Firstly I really want to improve on my knitting skills and also to feel at least comfortable with crochet.
Then I think later on in the year I will try my hand at spinning and dyeing yarn. One of the members who also comes to my weekly knitting group has offered to lend me one of her spinning wheels to see if I can get on with it and like it. Brillaint eh?

Then I can attend reasonably priced workshops like this.
 This is an image from a workshop 'Celtic Dyeing Day' at Fishbourne Palace. Next up is 'Colours of the Romans', dyeing with Alum Mordant, doesn't that sound just like a poison our Agatha C would know all about?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Ludicrous I Say.

Well fellow thrifters look at these. A pair of gaudy coloured shoes with impossible heels and a large chain and padlock on the back. Desirable? NO! Mega expensive and attention seeking YES!
These are from the stable of Marc Jacobs, cost round about £650 and he has called them 'Oh Really'.

 I sometimes wonder whether 'designers' come up with the most silly ideas just to test how stupid and led by the nose the public are. What a total waste of good money.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Our Beloved Queen

Oh I'm such a huge fan of royalty, not in a silly stalker way and not in a cheap parody of Royal Worcester on the wall sort of way. This may sound silly and yes I know they are only humans but I do find them the tiniest bit magical.

 It's not their social status, HRH and all that, it's more that everything they do is well......... done so well.

On my recent big holiday Mr.S&P and I went to see a touring V&A Wedding exhibition in Wellington, NZ.

Part of the exhibition featured footage of the Queen's wedding, Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon's wedding and of course Wills and Kate's, if I may call them that :) We sat amongst a few of the locals, eyes glued when one of them piped up in a lovely loud kiwi accent "Nobody does it quite like the Brits", cue immense pride on my part.

I think the Queen has an aura of purpose and dignity about her and I think William does to. 

These early pictures of her are just great.
She looks a bit like my Mum in this second one.

This is her in NZ many moons ago.
 She is well loved there still, all our relatives had parties for the last Royal Wedding as did my family in Oz.

Even when she looks grumpy I still love her royal Nana cuteness.
I must get to the Cecil Beaton exhibition at the V&A which closes soon, lots of gorgeous Beaton photographs and film clips plus Beaton's personal scrapbooks.

Then it will be full steam ahead to the Jubilee, so exciting. A friend of mine Vanessa Mooncie has produced a limited edition of her take on Her Maj. 

I'm first in the queue for a right royal poster and some cards. They will be on sale at Charleston very soon.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Lion Brand New York

I love the whole art yarn vibe, so inspiring. Oh and the Picasso figure knitting is just so funny and clever don't you think?

I must  try and plan some time for lovely craftiness. Otherwise I get bogged down in doing essential things around the house and garden. Chores chores chores....

 I don't know about you dear reader but I always feel a tiny bit guilty about time spent on craft and relaxation, when did this creep into my life?  Note to self must overcome this and soon :)