Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Holiday sewing

I am on annual leave this week, and I resolved to catch up on some dressmaking.    This is yet more fabric I bought at Walthamstow Market.  I think it came from Saeed's.  It is a crisp  poly cotton and perfect for summer dresses for the gorgeous weather we have been having here in the UK.

I first made it up several years ago, to take on holiday with me, now I have been sewing long enough to know that a crisp poly cotton is never going to drape and hang well in soft gathers, but I still went ahead and made a softly draped pattern.  Did it look good and well made, of course not!  So into the clothing to be altered at a later date the garment went.   The later date came and went last year in our non existent summer.  But this year well what a contrast.  Out of the alterations box it came.

I did not actually use one single pattern for this garment, it is a mash up of several patterns.  The skirt is an A line pattern that must be all of 10 years old and has been used so many times it is held together with sellotape. The bodice is part of another dress, and the midriff is just a strip of material I cut and pieced together to join the bodice and skirt together.   I copied an idea I have noticed other bloggers taking  and used an old sheet to line the skirt.  It adds a nice weight to the dress.

I put a side seam in, I have trouble with side seams they never seem to 'hang' properly, to my satisfaction.  I may just go revert to using to back seam zippers, I just feel happier with them.  Anyway this is the completed dress

although I am still not entirely happy with the side zip, I am infinitely happier with this version of the dress than its previous incarnation. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Another week of glorious sunshine

And so it goes on.  last week was a beautiful week weatherwise, a bit to hot really to do much gardening.  I don't get much shade in my garden, but I am not going to complain I love hot sunny weather.

Anyway, back to the garden.  I know I have said it before, but really I am so glad that I used water retaining granules and slow release fertilizer.  With the amount of pots I have and working full time, it would be very difficult and tiring to keep on top of the watering with the heat we have been having.  Look at these pots, I am so pleased with them.

Not so sure about the Sweet Peas, They all seem to be blue tones, and whilst I love the deep blue painted effect I had wanted a variety of colours. Still they smell divine and look lovely as well.

The Pelargoniums just keep on giving from mid may until the first frosts.  I love them, I take cuttings every August and overwinter them.

Photo of the weekend.  The pots are really coming into their own now, and all I need to do whilst we are having this glorious weather is keep them watered, deadheaded every day and a little tomato/rose food once a week to supplement the slow release fertilizer I added at planting.

Addendum: This post was written before the spectacular electrical storm and torrential rain we had in South East Britain Last Night. Although, It is still muggy and warm.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The garden in high summer

What a glorious week.  The weather has been absolutely fantastic, but it is still quite windy on the coast the combination of wind and hot sun can be devastating so  I am so glad that I use water retaining granules, they have really helped the pots to retain moisture.  Because I use a lot of pots and annuals my garden is flowering its little heart out now.  I am really pleased with the seeds that I sowed earlier on in the year.  The only ones that did not germinate were the Sweet Peas 'Winston Churchill'.

I also overwintered some Begonia's I bought 2 years ago.  They were quite were quite expensive tubers so I did my best not to lose them.  This is the earlier flowering one this year.

I think that I may buy some more tubers next year
Then of course, there are the Pelargoniums.  Incredibly useful plants, flowering all summer long.  They start at the end of May and just keep going.  Again, cuttings overwintered in my conservatory.

Although the work in the garden is less intense now, there are still jobs to be done.  Mainly it is cutting back all the shrubs eg. Ceanothus and earlier flowering hardy perennials such as hardy Geraniums and Peonies which are over now.

Photos of the week are the Nasturtiums which are doing brilliantly, they are so bright and colourful and they quite quick to flower. My only very very slight quibble with them is that the height sizes do fluctuate.  I bought Nasturium Milkmaid and Empress of India, the seed packet says 10" to 12", look at this.

Definitely not 10" to 12", but stunning anyway.

Hope you all have a good gardening week.

Charivari day 13 July

The sky was blue, the sun was hot, the music was loud and the costumes were bright. Charivari day in Folkestone.  What a day.  I have been going ever since its inception. I think yesterdays was the best ever.

Assembling the parade in the Old Fish Market.  The photos don't really do it justice as these drummers were actually dancing while drumming.

The parade proceeded around the Old Harbour.

Onto the Leas

And finished on the bandstand. The bands commissioned for the event were playing a variety of music there was dancing, singing, ice creams.  A really chilled out atmosphere and good music. What's not to love.

All in All, A fabulous day.  Well done Strange Cargo - the organisers and all the schools that were involved.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Dinner today 6 July

I love reading cookery books, but they have to be a specific kind of book incorporating some narrative text as well.  I have a lot of recipe books so I don't buy collections of recipes anymore and with the advent of the internet and websites like the Good Food website, realistically I don't even need to keep the recipe collections but do for sentimental reasons.  BUT, I love a cookery book with narrative and still buy them or borrow them from the library  (a fast disappearing resource).  Just recently I have been reading Claudia Roden's 'The food of Spain'.  This is a beautiful book with plenty of photos to relieve the narrative which is highly descriptive of both ingredients and regions of Spain.

I decided to make one of the recipes that by all accounts is a traditional Spanish dish. Patatas a la Riojana or in English Potatoes with Chorizo.  I used one of her variations and added tomatoes to the onions.

My quantities for one
4 medium sized new potatoes
1 teaspoon Olive Oil
2 onions
1 tomato or a handful of cherry tomatoes
100g Chorizo

Sweat the onions in the Olive Oil until they are soft and slightly caramelized.
Add the tomatoes, and cook until softened.
Add the potatoes and cook for a couple of minutes stirring all ingredients together.
Add water to just cover.
Simmer gently, uncovered until the potatoes are tender and the liquid has reduced to a sauce enough to cover the Chorizo and potato mixture.  If the potatoes cook before the liquid has reduced, turn the heat up so that the liquid reduces more quickly.

mint green spots

I love polka dots and I love mint green or jade or turquoise.  I made this garment several years ago from some poly cotton fabric bought at Walthamstow Market. I made it without sleeves and never liked it, so resolved to alter it some day.  Consequently it went into the 'clothes to be altered box' for attention some time in the future.  Well the future is here now, enough time has passed since I made the original garment for me to be inclined to refashion it.   I bought loads of this fabric, and could combine this blouse with some more fabric to make a dress, but I decided to stick with the blouse and put some short sleeves on it and some ribbon.  The rest of the fabric will be made into a skirt.  I can wear the two together to give the illusion of a dress whenever I feel a dress moment coming on.

I made covered buttons in this instance.  I love this blouse now and wear it often.  I will eventually get around to making the rest up into a skirt so the two can be worn together.  If I can buy some more I probably would because this fabric is so versatile.