Saturday, 19 July 2014

Wet Nellys in Hydrangea Heaven.

We enjoyed a lovely day with friends Neet and Chas and after a good natter and lunch the day's heavy rain left us and so we took advantage of some sunshine to visit a nearby National Trust property....
Speke Hall.
After touring the hall and basking in history we strolled the gardens and we were overwhelmed by the hydrangea walk.
This white variety was amazing and HUGE!
as you can see ....there's Neet behind them.
Of course, the purple shades were my favourites and I loved all the shades over just one plant..




We went crazy taking photograph as each plant offered something different and we were especially fascinated by the fluffy tops of this variety right at the back.

This was my favourite for the beautiful centres.....


but then I adored this one's vibrant colour....
and this one is very special and really lovely! 
Then there was this fascinating pointy one.
The bees were in Hydrangea Heaven
and so were Neet and me.
What's this you may ask? Well let me tell you about a local delicacy.
We went for a welcome cuppa before we left and just had to try.......
a Wet Nelly! It certainly tastes better than the murky lump it looks.

It evolved in Liverpool during times of hardship as a means of using up leftovers and any stale crumbs of cake or bread. It varied according to each family and also what was available day to day.

Here's the recipe from the National Trust at Speke Hall, Liverpool, if you'd like to try one.

Wet Nelly

PUDDINGS AND CAKES

  • Serves:8
  • Preparation time:4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Cooking time:1 hour and 15 minutes
Try making your own! © National Trust/Alex Muir
Try making your own!

Ingredients

1 loaf of white bread (day old becoming dry is perfectly fine for this recipe) with crusts cut off and cut into chunky squares
100g butter
140g brown sugar
¾ pint milk warmed
500g mixed fruit
1 dessert spoon mixed spice
3 medium eggs

Method

  •  Soak bread in milk for at least 4 hours and preferably overnight.
  •  When fully soaked, add all other ingredients, mix together well and pour into a greased deep sided roasting tin.
  •  Bake at 180°C/Gas Mark 4 for approx 1 – 1 ¼ hours until soft but springy to touch.
  •  Delicious served hot with custard or cold with a cup of tea.
  •  Enjoy!


Saturday, 12 July 2014

A Fragrant Trip

This week we've had to demolish our 8 x 6 foot garden shed and dispose of it before our new one arrives, and is constructed, on Monday so we took a much needed break and escaped from all the toil at home as we've had enough of muck and mess. This was the perfect little, relaxing, trip to fit the bill.
I realised my lavender plants are in full bloom so it was a reminder to visit  Inglenook Farm in Rainford, near St Helens and Liverpool, to enjoy the fields of lavender before they are shortly harvested. This farm produces the only organic lavender in UK and I love the oils and other products that they make and sell there.
There are several shops on the farm selling a variety of products and it is slowly expanding it's range. 
There are several animals to see...a donkey, sheep, goats and chucks.
Check it out here as it is well worth a visit for a short trip, an afternoon or just for a good lunch.


There are several varieties of lavender and I had never before seen this one with it's long thin flowers.
I think this will be a smile to post on Annie's blog, although I'm late for Friday, it's good enough to share.
Pop over to see more here for week no 77

Here are a few things to see around the farm...

It's amazing to see these wood sculptures being carved in the woodyard and this eagle is as tall as me.


The owl is about 4 feet tall
This is a cross section of a tree that had to be felled due to storm damage and shows history through it's growth rings.


They now have a small local history museum showing many local artifacts, most were found in the farm fields around Rainford.

Tiny fragments of porcelain including dolls limbs, ornaments etc., and that little leg at the bottom was around 1 inch in length.

The chucks wander freely and I loved this fine fellow who was quite an amusing character.
The wise ones were around our feet waiting for crumbs from our meal but the management was wiser and requested us not to feed them.
We were aghast when DH's home made steak pie arrived as it was so HUGE! It reminded me of Desperate Dan and his cow pie in my childhood comics!
I ordered fish and chips from the children's menu and it was still too much for me. The chips are hiding under the crispy fish and there was tartare sauce too. The green pile is mushy peas, which I love.
Everything is fresh cooked and has always been delicious each time we've visited.
We will probably return on Sunday for the monthly Artisan Fair.











Monday, 30 June 2014

Folded Dreams Quilt

Whilst I love to machine-stitch patchwork I am so thrilled and satisfied that I have finished my very first, completely hand stitched, quilt.
 "Folded Dreams" 
and here it is in all it's glory. 
Inside one of the Japanese Folded squares there is hidden a tiny note from me and I will add an embroidered label with the date and my name onto the outside. 
I love the way this technique provides the wadding, and backing too, all in one process.
It was so therapeutic to stitch and the squares have been made in so many places on my travels over the last few months since I started.
 Driving to Brighton, on the plane to Germany, trips to the supermarket, day's out, World Cup TV, all produced squares and the end result is this quilt.
I only cut out my fabric at the end of March so it has taken me slightly less than three months to complete, during time which I would otherwise have been twiddling my thumbs or scratching my head for something to do
so, that's a worthwhile result!
Now I think I will start another one in fabric of a brighter, single colour.
This colour palette was joined at random apart from selecting darker shades for the outer edge.
Until I organise my next main "stitch as I go" project, I have started this clam shell cushion, to match, from all of my tiny left over scraps from the quilt.
 I can't have idle fingers now, can I?
I have a personal "thing" that, each day, I must make something or I feel that the day is wasted, and these hand stitched projects help me to fulfil this so easily with results that are so worthwhile.
Why waste time?


Saturday, 28 June 2014

Patchwork Note Book

A while ago, I offered to make a hand stitched patchwork item as a Blog Candy prize for whoever guessed how many squares I had completed towards my Japanese folded patchwork quilt. At that time I'd only made just over 100 and I'm so thrilled that I've now finished 180m squares and stitched them together so the quilt is complete. Watch out for the pics on my next post.
Sam (Samski) was the first to enter for the blog candy prize and the only person who guessed correctly and, as she isn't a sewer, she chose a covered notebook in preference to a needle case.
 She received it last week so now I can safely show it here without spoiling her surprise.

I used Batik fabric for the paper pieced diamonds ... big mistake as it is so hard to push a needle through but once prepped I plodded on and ended up with a painful hole in my finger as I hate to use a thimble.
Front View
Sam chose shades of green but I added a few contrast segments.
Back View
Inside there are handy pockets to slip things in but it also means the cover can easily be slipped off and onto another note book once this one is full. 
The beaded cords are elastic and provide decorative place markers.
I'm so pleased Sam liked her prize as much as I enjoyed making it.

Here's a great idea that my DD2 sent me recently as a birthday greeting. I forgot to post it when I posted my hand crafted cards, last week, because I had hung it up on the wall. I love it and, as I am totally off making paper cards, this will be a great idea for me to poach to make for friend's birthdays.
DD2 isn't an ardent crafter but everything she does make is quite individual and she always has good ideas.
Now I must find another project to stitch "on the go" or I'll be wasting too much precious time! 

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

70 !!!

Last week my 70th Birthday came and went and, whilst I had tried to keep it low key, I was treated to such lovely cards and gifts from those crafty friends who already knew and from some sleuths who found out.
Heartfelt thanks for all these beautiful handmade items and for making me feel so special.
This wonderful album was made by Neet (Hickydorums) and inspired by the recent Finnabair course she attended.
I'll show more detail later in this post.
Special cards from Dolores (Cardarian) and Sandra Grimes OSA

from Helen (Above) Vicky Stampers and Janet, Katy's Corner

Enid,Vicky Stampers and Neet 

from Mo, Vicky Stampers

My family gave me some lovely gifts, including an amazing vintage patchwork quilt from DD1 and Kaffe Fassett fabric from DD2 so I can enjoy making myself a special quilt.
My grandees also created special cards for me, leaving no doubt to how old I am!
Don't you agree that these are so special?
I love that they all have navels!
More views of Neet's fabulous album and if you pop over to Hickydorums she has lots more pics and a previous post will show all she made on the Finnabair course.
Lots of texture
There were photos of my family on pages with super backgrounds



I met up with Neet on Saturday at Boundary Mill in Lancashire and her lovely fella Chas very generously treated us to the most fabulous quality fish & chips in the famous Banny's Restaurant. Not just a chippy! Take a look and pay a visit if you can for 5 star fish and chips.
Here I am with my super album
 but there was also a purple gift bag of goodies all wrapped in purple tissue
and amongst all this birthday stash that Neet hatched up for me was this crazy fun gift.....
I LOVE IT!!
Thanks so much to Neet and Chas for a wonderful unexpected birthday treat.

Later we went on to visit a fabric shop in Nelson as I was looking for the perfect material to make my grandees fancy dresses from the Disney film "Frozen".
We ended up in the Asian Bazaar in Nelson which was a fascinating market full of saris and Indian outfits, trimmings and jewellery. Chas spotted a shop nearby selling fabric and I was thrilled to get exactly what I need there for only £1.50 and £2.00 per (very generous) yard.
Neet bought an embroidered Indian dress for herself and when she arrived home there were trousers and a stole in the packet with it. 
I bought these fabulous buttons which I can forsee being used as fasteners for bags and notebooks.
It was such a good day and I think we'll pay another visit there one day.