Monday, 13 July 2015

Crabbing In The Rain, Quilt Making And Cake Baking

I'm a bit Disconsolate today now that Wimbledon has finished. I thought the final went on a bit, but then I suppose you've got to earn your £1.88 million, eh? :o)

Yesterday morning we dragged the two teens down to Mudeford for a spot of Crabbing In The Rain. This is Traditional in our family. We do picnics in the rain, swimming in the sea in the rain, visit country houses in the rain. We even sunbath in the rain....

The boys were overjoyed, as you can imagine. F made a brave show of Joining In after I'd bribed him with an enormous packet of m and m's, while L took himself off to the nearest tree which he climbed up and remained in until the rain had stopped, before relocating to the car where he read a book and munched his way through a packet of minstrels. 

Ted and Pop thought they were going to enjoy it, but after a few minutes decided they weren't. They looked very fed up at the wet stuff failing out of the sky, the wind and the presence of their leads, which they are not used to wearing for more than 5 mins at a time. Ted made himself feel better by having a Jolly Good Woof at an enormous Alsatian. The Alsatian responded by giving him the kind of long, withering look big dogs reserve for little dogs. The sort that says you wouldn't be making that noise if everyone was off the lead and there were no parents about.

M had considered swimming but wimped out as he realised the full extent of the Glorious English Summer By The Sea that was going on. I enjoyed it and we did catch lots of crabs...






 








 
My energy levels are low at the moment. Muggy weather doesn't leave me feeling enlivened, so I'm taking it easy doing lots of sewing and baking while I wait for them to come back up.

First project knocked off over the weekend was J's university quilt. I was going to make it for her as a surprise (she's off to Exeter to study French in Sept), but then decided to take her with me to choose the fabrics. Wise decision, as she chose stuff I would not have done! I'm pleased with the result. She's seen bits of it as I've been making it and is excited about seeing the finished piece, but I'm keeping it under wraps for now.

For those of you who haven't made them before, quilts are built up out of three layers- top, batting (puffy middle- I use bamboo and cotton which is wondrously soft and easy to work with) and the backing.

The process is thus: 1) choosing the fabrics (we lay various bolts of cotton out on the shop floor to make sure they all go together- a process that takes a while but which everyone in the shop seems to enjoy and join in with with thoughts and suggestions), 2) cutting all the squares the same size, 3) choosing the order they go in, 4) trying not to get them muddled when pinning and stitching, 5) cutting the margins, batting and backing to size and 6) pinning and stitching the whole thing together.

It's work I enjoy, provided I've got a day or two clear without too many distractions, and each time I make one I refine the technique so I feel I'm learning as I go. Here are the eight fabrics J chose for her quilt which we started off with as 1 metre or 1/2 metre lengths...


Starting to put them all together over the weekend...



Cutting the batting to size...
 

And then the backing fabric..
 

I get through lots of pins! I love these neon pink ones because they are hard to lose!
 

 
Phyllis worked extremely hard this weekend stitching everything together. Good Old Girl :o) (Pop also helped by lying down on the soft batting and watching me with her head on her paws).


All the sections are now stitched together and the quilt is ready! Believe it or not, I did iron it all before stitching together. You'd never know it now..
 

Here it is folded up and ready to be packed away until September...



Project #2 was a skirt for me, out of this lovely fabric I've been holding on to for a while. It took less than 30 mins to make, is a really simple design with an elasticated waist and the template was from another skirt I already have, so no mad dash to the shops for a pattern required either. Easy peasy :o)
 
 

I've been making trousers too, which have been a God Send in the recent hot weather as I had a load of cotton fabric in the stash ready and waiting and can run up a pair in an hour or so. I've been learning how to sew pockets in sewing club and have been practicing with OK results. My next project is a tee-shirt- I've got stretchy material to try. Wish me luck on that one :o)

I've been doing quite a lot of baking. Ma gave me a Mary Berry recipe book which has some lovely recipes in. I adapted her tiramisu cake with a few twists and made one on Friday with brandy and mascarpone topping sprinkled with grated chocolate. There is none left. I also made Nigella's caramel croissant pud which has also disappeared, and a berry baked cheesecake which went the same way....



I really need to get back to running :o)


I also succumbed to some new crockery from EB in her sale. This Zinnias design is so cheerful it makes me smile every time I use it. There is a Jug in the same design that I have my eye on, but I think I need to let the dust settle after the recent steady influx of red EB boxes arriving at our house before I order anything else (honestly, what kind of ninny orders new EB stuff the very week her husband has a week off work? I timed that one well... :o)




I'll leave you with some shots from round the garden.

Shining Flower Beetles

Southern Hawker

Poppy
Self Heal

Wildflower garden #1

Wildflower garden #2



And T and P, who are sleepy after their morning walk through drizzle-drenched woods...


 

Hope all are well?
 
CT x

36 comments:

  1. Look at the size of those crabs! You wouldn't want to get on the wrong size of a nip from them! The quilt looks beautiful and I'm sure it will be very much appreciated once your daughter goes away - sometimes you just need to wrap yourself up in something from home. Love your skirt label, it's perfect! :-) xx

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    1. I agree- nice to have a reminder of home when you're away from it. Thank you for the comment x

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  2. I went to Exeter, bet she'll struggle to find a room for £160 a month like I did!

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  3. How do you prepare these crabs? I've never eaten shore crabs, there doesn't seem to be much on them.

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    1. We don't eat them, it's an outing with the children to see what we can find. I did once catch a lobster while 'tickling' in Cornwall. I was rather glad he was too small to eat- much to my fisherman father in law's disgust!

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  4. You made me giggle, ordering stuff when ones husband is off work is not the done thing! Did you manage to hide the boxes? Mine haven't been dispatched yet so fingers crossed I will get away with another six mugs :) Love the quilt, quite agree with kids picking their own fabric, Harry was a bit miffed when I showed him the seaside collection I had bought for his, might buy some rain cloud fabric for the back of it - to match his mood & the good old British weather, Have a splendid week my dear x

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    1. I know- what a plonker! I had to fess up to the others, no way I could hide those :o)

      I am on safer ground fabric-wise with L- he adores wolves, so any wolf print goes down a storm, although it's proving impossible to find any larger than a fat quarter...

      Have a lovely week too chum xx

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    2. 'Oh Sew Crafty' have a selection of wolves fabric & they do meters of it too & they deliver. Not stalking you - I couldn't remember if I left a comment or not before :), I'm on a roll today! x

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    3. Oh you absolute star, Jo! I've been looking everywhere with no success. Have just ordered some- thank you lovely (more bags to hide...) xx

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  5. L adores wolves? Send him over! I'll teach him to howl for wolves...as long as he isn't disappointed if coyotes howl back in response!
    Sewing is beyond me...I loved it when you said "I can run one up in an hour"...it took me that long to try to thread a sewing machine!
    Jane x

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    1. He'd love that, Jane. I suspect anyone howling back would make his day :o)

      I should add that the trousers are very simple affairs with elasticated waists too and really not hard once you've cut the pieces out right! xx

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  6. It looks better conditions for the dinghy sailors than the rowers! A bit of rain never puts us off either. You are a real whizz at quilt making and other sewing, not to mention all those gorgeous puddings. You have a very lucky family. I love EB pottery but I do find the handles fall off the mugs alarmingly easily. Feeling much better thanks and thinking about another quick getaway before the schools break up.

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    1. It was a tad wet and windy, even by our standards! Still, we're built of stern stuff :o)

      I haven't had that problem with EB handles, but will keep a watchful eye just in case. I did drop a plate on the floor yesterday and it bounced! Glad you're feeling better x

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  7. Sensible move to take J with you to choose material. I used to do a lot of quilting and choosing material is such a personal thing isn't it?
    I love that photograph of the centre of a poppy - those huge poppies are among my favourite flowers. Although they don't last long there are usually three or four more on each plant to look forward to.

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    1. It is sooo personal and she and I have quite different tastes. I am pleased with the finished product though :o)

      Lots of large poppies here too. As you say, they do drop their petals quickly but are so pretty.

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  8. Your quilt and skirt looks lovely CT. I used to do a lot of sewing but I only seem to get the machine out for 'hemming up' these days, your inspiring me to star making skirts and dresses again. :-)
    I love your poppy and I had to laugh at Ted barking at the Alsation, typical JR the bigger the better! :-)

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    1. I get so much pleasure from sewing- and it's something I can do if I'm tired but need to be occupied usefully :o) x

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  9. Got to love teenagers - why can't they appreciate picnics and activities in the rain. Especially after all the sports I've watched in the rain, and the kit I've washed afterwards! x

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  10. What a cold miserable day by the sea! The dogs look quite attentive in their first picture! J's quilt will be lovely for Uni. My son lived in Exeter for a couple of years after Uni and enjoyed it. You will have a good excuse to visit the beavers again too! Sarah x

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  11. It is great to be able to run things up quickly, do you use an overlocker on your skirts and trousers, I find that it is faster then pining the bits together. The quilt has some lovely fabrics in.

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    1. I use the zigzag stitch, but only because I don't have an overlocker. It's on the Christmas list :o)

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  12. Don't you just love to watch sleepy puppies all curled up sleeping after a hard day of being so very cute !
    I adore your quilt. Gorgeous. I would like that on my bed right now.
    Your garden is so lovely.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Sleepy dogs look the most content of people, don't they? I'll send you a virtual quilt :o)

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  13. Hey CT,
    We like to do stuff in the rain too, although Sam and Alf now refuse to come. Even bags of sweets won't persuade them. We often go crabbing off Smeaton's Pier. I love it!!
    Leanne xx

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    1. I love crabbing too. I shall be going long after the children have decided it's beneath their dignity :o) xx

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  14. Your quilt is just lovely - I wish I knew how to sew. I am surprised after a hardy day like this, ya'll wern't joining the puppies for a nap. I like doing outdoor stuff on a rainy day. I have a light wet suit that takes me anywhere if I don't want to get soaked and you can capture the best photos in the rain sometimes. lol

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    1. I agree- rain is good and nice after lots of sun too. The garden is deliriously happy! x

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  15. i'm with you on the energy level plummet....it got stupidly hot here the last few days and it's wearing me down. this alpine blossom wilts in anything over 28C for more than a day's duration. ugh. it makes me petulant to be so sluggish.

    i wish i were more productive in my sulking, however -- every time you post about sewing i give my machine the side-eye. one of these days...

    your crabbing-in-the-rain reminds me of just about every outing we had as children.....and how the bleaching rain and north sea winds were just part of the ambiance. :)

    xoxo

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    1. I think we tend to take rain in our stride too- we'd never get anything done here if we blinked at every shower :o) Cooler here now so my levels are coming back up at long last. Desperate to get out for run!

      Go and start sewing, woman! xx

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  16. Lovely fabric, and how quickly you turned it into a quilt, I'm most impressed. Mine usually take a year or two. The cakes look delicious, you have been busy. Those dogs have a good life don't they. I sort of wish I was one of them, looking at them enjoying a nap after an exciting morning walk. Life is good. CJ xx

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    1. It has been sitting at the end of the bed sewn into strips for a couple of months :o) It felt good to get it finished ahead of time. How is yours doing? I think I remember you were working on one, or have I got that wrong?

      Yes, doggy people are happy people here, a nice life- going out for walks, food and water on tap, beds spread all around the house for sleeping on and lots of people who love them. Mind you, they give back all of that and more (not literally of course, but you know what I mean!). Any further thoughts on a small furry over at yours? xx

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  17. The quilt is very pretty :) The bakes looks scrumptious. I am not sure which Mary B book you have but in the Baking Bible the traybake recipes are delicious - slowly working my way through each and every one :)

    I have huge problems now B is at home with parcels being delivered as he is always here :( Am thinking of setting up a box number to get round it!!! Ordering from Amazon is a huge problem too as he has taken to studying the Order History :(

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    1. I'll have to search out her Baking Bible. I've got one of her cookbooks from 40 years ago as well as the Favourites one Ma got me. Thanks for the tip :o)

      Love the idea of a PO Box number to collect parcels! It sounds like you need a separate Amazon account :o) x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x