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Sunday Sevens 19th August – Almond milk, embroidery and black magic

Roses in rose bowl

It has been a busy week and what weather we are having! Sunny days interspersed with rain it is nice to be back to our normal temperatures and see the grass turning green again!  I’ve escaped the four walls nearly every day this week – friends have been so kind to pop by and take me out for a bit. I am walking on crutches so I am somewhat  of a liability – especially as Thursday was raining cats and dogs – but it has been great to catch up with good friends and be a lady who lunches for a while! I have also been showered with more flowers! I bought this rose bowl in a charity shop some years ago – its crystal and was a bargain for about a fiver. I have used it often as it makes displaying flowers so easy as the grid holds the heads nicely.

mini heart brooch pincushion

We had a family gathering recently I wanted to make something to give as well as the usual gift. As she is a stitcher I decided to make a little heart brooch pincushion. I am always losing pins no matter how many pincushions I have scattered around the craft room – so having a little brooch that travels with me, has been very useful. I love this little print and the flower sat so beautifully framed in the pink felt.

brooch pin cushion

Its tiny, only about 4inches by 2 and a half inches but it came out nicely. Ok, I will admit I got carried away with the embroidery bit – I was watching Bletchley and the story tension was building so I was stitching faster! I crocheted a little border round the edge which seemed to finish it off nicely. I do adore Petra Cotton Perle – it is lovely to embroider with. Thankfully the gift was appreciated – which is always a bonus!

make a wish - dandilion embroidery

It is difficult to capture this little embroidery that hangs above this little heart, it is only 2inches – it is a dandelion head worked over fine organza. When I am eating it looks as if I have captured a lovely seed head in a frame, but photographs just don’t seem to come out right.

Dandilion embroidery

Stitching on such a see through background is more difficult and messy than I hoped, and looking so closely at the embroidery – doesn’t really capture how effective it is when viewed from a distance. It took me less than an hour to do but it really does please me.

moon over soho ben aaronovitch

Moon over Soho is the second book from Ben Aaronovitch – I am delighted to see that there are a few more books already out in this Series.  I have become rather fond of DC Grant, – his sardonic humour is delightful, the police procedure and social commentary makes me giggle. Not to mention the mix of the magical in every day cynical London life.

The 1960s planning department of local council whose unofficial motto was Finishing what the Lufftwaffe started…

Some things never change, and a senior police officer doesn’t organise a costly raid and admit to failure, or violating the Magna Carta, until he has done his best to convict somebody of something.

I think this book follows on very well from the first one – and we are now introduced to our ‘modern day Moriarty’ in the form of a Black Magician who managed to escape this time, so I am keen to read the next book. I don’t think it will be long before we see this series televised – it is that good! although they might need some really good special effects to do it justice.

Oh and the little fox brooch was a tiny fabric illustration of the fox cushions I made for my daughter – I could not let it go to waste so I made it into a little brooch. It is lovely to have time to stitch.

almond milk

I made a huge mistake buying some ‘almond milk’ in the supermarket a few weeks back – It was basically water with a hint of almond – I am shocked they can get away with it – the almonds make up less than 5% of of the overall ‘almond milk’ – making it 95% water. So I decided to make some of my own and it is really easy, tastes delicious and is much cheaper.

Simply place a bowl full of almonds (I used the skin on) in water for 24 hours. The nuts plump up and actually taste nicer!

Then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract a couple of dates (to sweeten it a little) your nuts and water to a blender and blend for about a minute. Push through a fine sieve to remove the skins. (I think I might try the almonds without skins next time!)

I found my almond milk was very thick so I did a few more whizzes using the stuff left in the sieve and additional water. It still looked like milk after the third time and my home made milk was more creamy than the shop bought one. It is nice for cereals but I don’t think it would work in coffee or tea!

Sunday Sevens, your week summed up in photographs,  is the brainchild of Nat at Threads and bobbins – you can find her site here.

Have a lovely weekend.





Adventures, afternoon tea, clothing design, London, V&A museum

London Weekend

My darling Mr D is a very talented man he knows exactly how to take a girl on an adventure! I saw a few pictures of the V&A a friend of mine had posted – which made me all dreamy – how lovely it would be to see the costume museum –   it had been closed when I went to the V&A last year. 
No sooner said than done, I was rattling off to the big smoke the following Friday – the clackity clack, closing the miles while I sunk back in my seat reading relishing the enforced relaxation – driving and traffic queues a distant memory. 
It is so romantic to meet your beloved at a train station – catching sight of him waiting at the gate my heart skipped a beat, I felt we were starring in our own 40’s film. He took my bags and led me out of the station and round the corner to a lovely pink pub called the Biosdale that has a reputation for a combination of extensive range of whiskies, cigars and live jazz. Luckily the cigars were being smoked up on the roof terrace –  the jazz band was lovely. We drunk champagne, eating cheese on toast with truffle mayonnaise enjoying the vibrant atmosphere as the mellifluous sax rose and fell. All around were celebrations of the Scottish traditions tartans and a lovely portrait of Robbie Burns. 
Mr D’s talent for spotting perfection continued our boutique hotel, the Thompson Belgraves was very warm and welcoming, the room was splendid and joy of joys a nice deep bath! The staff had just the right mix of friendliness and professionalism I particularly liked the way we were always warmly welcomed when we came back from our shopping jaunts. 
Saturday afternoon, Mr D surprised me with a lovely afternoon tea at Aspley’s restaurant in the Lanseborough hotel. I am a dovotee of of tea, crisp linen, bone china and cake! This hotel had a tea sommelier –  with a whole menu dedicated to many varieties of teas –  first blush assam is my favourite, and Mr D had a Ceylon with rose which came in silver tea pots and was poured for us! We had a very wide selection of savouries and sweets, I never thought I could be all ‘caked out’ reluctant to miss the taste of the raspberry mousse we just could not find room for we took them home in a lovely little box. 
We  headed for the Hakkasan in Soho late into the evening, their cocktails were delicious as was the food. I had not tried soft shell crab before – I really enjoyed it despite it having a resemblance to a large deep fried spider! Once again the buzzing atmosphere was splendid, the cosiness of our table was enhanced by the delightful screens -our hunger sated we headed to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz club.
Oh how divine! the club had a nostalgic atmosphere, with pictures adorning the walls of famous names who had played there. The venue offered an intimacy with the band – low ceilings the stage – all around were such lovely little glowing lamps – if I could have changed one thing it would have been a small dance floor – but then I am more of a dancer than a musician. 
We spent a lovely few hours on Sunday enjoying the costume museum, there were some beautiful outfits and work from famous names.  What struck me most is that fashions seemed to be all about enhancing a woman’s feminine shape, either through cut, to accentuate the curve of her hips, to to drape in such a way as to highlight various aspects of her body. Victorians seemed to focus on the waists, while the Regency period highlighted the bust, with classical lines that hid the shape of the body below the bust line. When I reached the later examples, I saw the fifties dresses emphasising the waist but the sixties seemed to focus more on showing leg, which was completely new. Looking at the clothing after the eighties we appear to have lost any emphasis on enhancement  and the fashion seems to be an androgynous mix of jeans, tee-shirts that distort the body rather than flatter. I found myself agreeing with one of the quotations in the fashion book I read in the bookshop – ‘we seem to have forgotten how to dress’ 
What is fantastic about the current trend for vintage is that women can choose to express themselves through clothing – re-claiming any era of the last century and make it their own: be it the forties with their victory rolls and neat tailoring or the tight waisted big net petticoats of the fifties. Women are no longer slaves to fashion instead they have a choice to return to an age when women were dressed up, stockings, make up, hair do’s that make the most of their femininity. 
We walked along knightsbridge to Harrods for afternoon tea, the dining room was lovely and our table overlooked the street below. We ate macaroons and supped Darjeeling from the pretty duck egg china, watching the world rush by – bliss. 
It was a fantastic weekend – I came home inspired and a very happy girl – thank you Mr D you are a fantabulous man.