Monday, 30 May 2016

Butterfly and Chickpea Rescue

It's been a smashing Bank Holiday weekend, just what I needed.   We travelled up to Somerset to babysit the grandchildren and a jolly time was had by all.  It was good to get away from the stress of trying to buy a house, there has been all sorts of complications, which if we can't get sorted to our satisfaction may mean that we have to pull doesn't bear thinking about.  Spending time with the grandchildren puts everything into perspective, the littlest one always has a smile on his face and literally dives head first into fun.  While the older two happily spent an afternoon jumping waves, such simple pleasures.  While we were looking for seaweed I spotted a butterfly washed up onto the beach.  I thought it must have been dead but on closer inspection saw it struggling to move.  Scooping it up I painfully trudged up the pebbly beach, sadly not the golden soft sand that we are used to in Cornwall, and placed it carefully onto a bush.  After a few minutes it seemed to recover from its swim, stretched out it's wing to dry and warm itself in the sun.

Sitting on a beach, watching children play, surrounded by beauty and really is the little things in life that bring such joy isn't it?

Chickpea xx

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Is it a dress? Is it a Tent?

Merchant & Mills pattern

My mother was an amazing dressmaker and on the other hand never even sewed on a button until I inherited her sewing machine and thought it would be nice to learn how to use it.  I have had several attempts at learning dressmaking, once at a class, where the humiliation of having to be measured nearly saw me walking out the door.   How much??!!  That can't be right, the tape measure must be wrong....sob sob.  Anyway, I made a blouse which never saw the light of day.  A couple of years ago I made another attempt at a top which sort of fell apart.  Ever the optimist I am now trying to make a dress, I am already thinking I don't actually like it and would never wear it and I haven't even finished.  It looks like I accidentally stumbled into someone's tent, got caught up in it and stumbled out wearing the tent.  It may look good on a 5'10" skinny person but not on a 5'1" 'well rounded' shorty. (and getting more rounded by the day with all the stress eating)  I picked some cheap denim so I didn't waste too much money and now hate the fabric.  However by learning from the mistakes on this dress the next dress with nicer fabric will be better.  It said on the pattern that it was easy.....well I have already messed it up,  completely missing marks that told me where sleeves etc should line up, well how was I too know that was what they were, they didn't actually say.  It also said to iron interfacing around the neck.  I didn't realise there were so many different types and just picked up the first I saw, yes you've guessed it, the neck was as stiff as a board.  For an 'easy' pattern I feel the instructions could have been clearer for complete novices like me.  I lost heart with it so the dress got shoved into a drawer and has remained there for months.

Then along comes Sewing Bee, for those not familiar with the programme, a group of amateur dressmakers compete each week to win the coveted Sewing Bee title.  Each year I get all excited and yearn to be able to whip up a dress like them.  Each year I fail miserably.  I feel like the poor lad who was knocked out in the first round.  But I live in hope, one day I will make something I can actually wear.  I have retrieved the dress, unpicked the neck, luckily had enough material to cut out another and am now sweating and swearing over the sleeves.  Well at least it takes my mind off the buying a house saga......which is still ongoing.  I will never be able to achieve these amazing jeans made by Kristie but she kept trying and so will I.  Obviously the sewing gene was not passed onto me but with practice, practice, practice hopefully I will improve.

Update:  While the football was on, yes my lot are Man U. fans, I thought I would work on the dress and have finished it!  With a few alterations, cutting a huge amount off the length and sleeves and adding a little line of stitching to the neck and sleeves I think it is passable.  The seams inside are fraying like anything, I haven't got the hang on zigzagging close to the edge without the machine gobbling it up.  But I would certainly wear it at home, and maybe out with a sleeveless cardi to pull it in so it doesn't look so much like a tent.  I'm thinking of making a sleeveless one in a light cotton next, well I have to justify the cost of the pattern, I can mooch around the garden in it.

I'm hoping to finish off a few more projects before everything is packed away.  I have earmarked a little box room in the new house for sewing but will be so busy sorting, painting and getting the garden cleared it may take a while to get sewing again.  The saga of the move is continuing, we are now trying to find out the state of the septic tank, insure access to our bore hole which is in someone else's field and disconnect the electric supply to a GP building down the lane.  Such are the complications when you are buying part of a farm that has been divided up.  I'm still incredibly stressed but hopefully it will all be sorted soon.

Chickpea xx

Friday, 6 May 2016

Wall Envy and Confusion

Yes I know, I think I would get D - for my blogging at the moment.  What can I say?  Still clearing the attic, it is embarrassing the amount of stuff up there!  Anyway by Bank Holiday Monday I was so grumpy about the whole thing that the bearded one decided to get me out of the house for an hour (to save his own sanity I think as I had been snapping at him all weekend).   I had wanted to go to Potager Garden for a while after hearing about it from friends and this was the perfect opportunity.  It is over on the south coast where our new home (hopefully) will be, so we thought we would explore the area.

It's a lovely little garden with a cafe, there is a lovely 'feel' to the place, all very 'hippyish' which suits me down to the ground.  I especially loved the wall built out of logs, my sons partner has said he will  make me one when we move, probably not to this scale though!

Coffee, cake and a stroll around the garden getting ideas for our new home set me on the path back to a happy Chickpea.  People thought I was a bit strange photographing the compost heaps and chicken run but it is all research.  The cafe is lovely with a glasshouse next to it where you can play table tennis and extra seating so that even if the weather is miserable you can sit surrounded by exotic cacti.  It lives up to it's name by growing veg for the cafe, potager meaning kitchen garden.

If you are in the area go and pay a visit and give them your support in developing this little oasis of calm and community.  I'm sure I will be visiting often.

House news - I'm about to get quotes from removal firms, it's been 15 years since the last move so I think I will have to sit down with a stiff drink afterwards!  I'm still prodding the bank and conveyancers to get things moving, why do things take so long?

I'm confused this morning, blogger is telling me something about changes in HTTPS settings.  My poor brain can't take in anymore information at the moment.  Can anyone translate this into English for me?

Chickpea xx

Chickpea xx