Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Yarn bombing is coming to a town near you...

Yarn bombing, guerilla knitting, graffiti knitting...

Ever heard of these terms? I have to admit I hadn't until I started seeing knitting cropping up in random areas around bristol! I was in St Andrews park recently, enjoying an afternoon in the sunshine, when I saw a tree covered in colourful knitting, like a tree wooly jumper! This was the second time I had spotted what looked like graffiti knitting in bristol. The first time I thought it was cute and quirky but a one off. But after seeing the tree I had a look online and it seems to be a huge new craze; already popular in london and other big cities. The internet research I did suggests it started as early as 2004 in Europe and became popular in America around 2009 and has slowly been spreading ever since! There is even an international Yarn Bombing day, june 11th! The knitting often crops up over night, much like a knitted Banksy, surprising locals who wake up to a colourful new knitted object! I LOVE the idea of a city covered in knitting!! What a great way to cheer people up, it definitely made me smile! 

So keep your eyes peeled for yarn bombing near you!

I certainly will, and note to self... must keep my camera on me at all times... only had my rubbish camera phone in the park so I appologise for the rubbish photos! Enjoy the sunshine everyone xxx

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The quilt is out of the cupboard again!!

I finally bought some backing fabric for my quilt yesterday. I had been struggling to decide on the backing and had even been to the fabric shop a few times and left empty handed. The front is such an eclectic mix of bright and patterned fabrics that I wanted to go for something quite mellow but not completely plain.

Hhhhmmmmm, this photo makes my lines look quite wonky, don't look too closely! haha

Yesterday I managed to find some very cute cream cotton with tiny tiny white flowers on it. So I got the never-ending quilt back out today and made good progress. I have ummed and ahhhed for a week or so as to which quilting technique I should use. With it being my first quilt, and the fact that it is the size of a queen size duvet (in retrospect a bit ambitious for a 1st attempt!) I was worried that the quilt would be too big to fit through my machine. After speaking to my friends at folksy I decided to quilt in straight lines but avoid stitching "in the ditch" as my seams were a tiny (teeny, tiny) bit wonky! So I went for the double lines, sewing one line a presser foot width away from the seam on each side. This worked well, and although my lines are a tad squiffy (a knock on effect of following my slight wonky seams!!) I love it... it looks like a quilt now!

I did have a bit of trouble trying to haul the sheer weight of the quilt around, and I found that it was so heavy it would pull to the side, making sewing in a straight line very tricky! I experimented with propping the material on chairs, and pinning the rolled up fabric so it wouldn't slip. However the thing I found worked the best was having the rolled up quilt over my shoulder... however this technique should come with a WARNING.... I nearly re-pierced my ear with a stray pin!! I also spent most of the day buried beneath reams of quilt, sadly I was home alone so I dont have any action shots, but I did take some mid seam shots to demonstrate my set-up.

Pins sticking in my head and wonky lines aside I managed to complete the quilting stage today, which I'm really pleased about! Although now that I'm finished I'm almost tempted to freestyle quilt a flower on every other square. There are two things putting me off: 1. If I freestyle applique them using the machine I wont be able to regulate the size, shape so they will all be slightly different and I'm worried it might look messy. and 2. If I do one I will have to do them all and I'm not sure I'm prepared to applique  50 flowers!! haha. What do you think??

Now just to learn how to bind the edges... better get the books out!! Any one know any good websites with easy to follow tutorials? xxx

Monday, 16 July 2012

Summer Holidays

I have just returned from a brilliant weeks holiday in Sardinia, an amazing birthday present from my lovely boyfriend! Aren't I a lucky girl!! We stayed in the south east of the island (the less touristy part) in the stunning in Ulassai in the Sardinian mountains and only 20km from the coast. The area is renowned for its free-climbing and hiking. We went on two hikes during the week, which were tough in the 36 degree heat but amazing and afforded wonderful panoramic views of the mountains and the villages nested between the peaks! 

We went to one of the local beaches most days. The coast is stunning, beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and mountains in the background. We did lots of snorkeling and swimming and generally chilled out on the beaches... I managed to read 4 books whilst lounging on those beaches!! I've just realised I don't have any photos of the beautiful sandy beaches... only the rocky ones! I promise they do exist, but actually they were more touristy so we preferred the stoney beaches as we often had them to ourselves! 

We stayed in a very cute little hotel ( which displayed lots of beautiful local textile work made by local women known as the "Su Marmuri Cooperativa tessile Artigiana"
The website is in italian but does have some good pictures of their work. The hotel also displayed lots of inspiring antiques, art and textiles. 

We are back to reality now, but I do have another two days off before I go back to work so I'm aiming to buy the backing fabric for my patchwork quilt and start the quilting process, eak!! I'l let you know how I get on. 

I hope everyone has had a good week. Amz xxx

Sunday, 1 July 2012

A recipe a day keeps the bikini (hidden) away!!

This baking fad I have launched upon is great for the taste-buds, and for the soul... but not so great for the diet! BUT right now I don't care. I will happily do an extra 20 minute "shred" a day with Jillian Michael's shouting at me through the TV if it means I can eat more cookies!! I am happily working my way through my newest cook book, The Hummingbird Bakery "cake Days". I know I have mentioned this book a few times but honestly, everything I have made from it has turned out brilliantly! Here are the two recipes I have made this weekend...

Apple and Currant flapjacks: These were lovely cold, but so much like apple crumble that they taste great warmed up with ice cream too!!

White Chocolate Cookies and Milk Chocolate Cookies.

This is actually a recipe I adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery book, The Original was white chocolate and cranberries. I did make a variation of this with currants as I'm not a huge fan of cranberries; and they were a lovely mixture of gooey chocolate, chewy currants and warm spices. However tonight I have made cookies for the team at work tomorrow and I know lots of people wont like cinnamon, or currants etc so Iv kept it simple and stuck to a batch of white choc cookies, and a batch of milk choc!

Balls of cookie dough! 

Fresh from the oven

I hope the folks at work enjoy these tomorrow! Happy baking people!! xxx

home sweet home... I love Devon!

I'm sorry for the lack of posts recently! I actually wrote this blog last week after spending the weekend in Devon, but our home internet is very temperamental at the moment so I haven't been able to upload it until now. Although it's a bit late I hope you still enjoy some of the photos I took...

One of my favourite things to do when I'm at home is walk the cliff path. We live in Alwington, a tiny village near Bideford. The photos above were taken along the stretch of cliff path between Bideford and Peppercombe. These pictures remind me of how beautiful Devon is and how much I miss home!! 

Some of you might remember the "new home" photos I posted in March, just after my mum moved into her new country house. I love the house and find the setting really relaxing. They are having the garden landscaped at the moment which I spent a few hours helping out with, and ended up completely knackered and FILTHY! The flowers are coming along beautifully though and give me a great excuse to play with the macro settings on my new camera! 

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend in the sun!