Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Attention shoppers June 29, 2009

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 11:47 am

A little bit of idle Googling for the Boden website led me to this page: a preview of Boden’s Autumn 2009 collection. If you buy anything, it’s not my fault…


Martha-watch June 24, 2009

Filed under: Crafts — lauravw @ 6:36 pm

It’s pretty clear from Martha Stewart’s latest Twitter posts (I think I’m possibly to old to say the word ‘tweet’ in this context and get away with it) that she is still in New York, and not, as detailed in her magazine, visiting the UK. Her plans must have changed, for one reason or another.

So we Brits can safely stand down – no need to get your house in order just yet. But perhaps it’s simply a delay – in which case, you’d better start cleaning your curtains and polishing your front doors – we don’t want her to think this is an untidy country…


Look busy: Martha is coming June 22, 2009

Filed under: Crafts — lauravw @ 7:43 pm

According to the calendar page in the June 2009 edition of Martha Stewart Living, Martha herself will be setting off to visit the UK tomorrow. I am absolutely fascinated by this, and hope she’ll take lots of pictures.

You may recall that, exactly one year ago, Martha tried to visit the UK but her plans were changed when it became clear that she would be denied entry due to her, ahem, criminal record. I wonder what has gone on behind the scenes to make this visit happen?

The calendar pages say she will be touring some English gardens, visiting the Wedgwood factory, going to a family graduation at Cambridge University, and having dinner at the Fat Duck restaurant.


Old-fashioned baking June 18, 2009

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 8:54 pm

berohomerecipesSome time ago my mother gave me a little baking booklet that had belonged to my grandmother. She was a very traditional grandmother: she baked and was houseproud, and she had no desire to ever leave Yorkshire (she hardly ever did – once she almost went abroad, to Europe, but the ferry crossing was so choppy that she refused to get off the boat at the other end, and so came back to England having never set foot on foreign soil). So we knew that this booklet had been well-used – mum remembers coming home from school on particular days of the week to find baked goods (it can’t have been Mondays, because that was wash day, when the laundry got done…).

Last week I headed up to York to visit my grandfather, and decided to bake him something from the book. I usually take him a few home-made fairy cakes when I visit, but I really hoped if I made something from this booklet it might taste similar to the cakes my grandmother had made for him over the years. I decided on butterfly cakes, since that’s something I know he loves. I followed the recipe exactly as stated in the book (I’m usually a devil for tinkering a little bit with recipes, or skipping steps like sieving flour), and the end result was delicious. My grandfather was certainly happy with them!

The booklet is fascinating, and I can see plenty of useful recipes in there that I’d like to try. I can’t quite work out how old it is – there are no dates listed in it anywhere. Mum thinks it might date back to the 1930s, but we can’t be sure. There’s no mention of rationing, so I don’t think it was published during WW2. It does mention a depot in Nottingham – and Wikipedia reports that that depot opened in 1931. You can see the booklet I have on the Bero website, and you can also order a copy of the latest edition of it. It’s only £1.50, so I’m quite tempted to do that, but I think I’ll try a few more of the old recipes first.


Nottingham craft events June 12, 2009

Filed under: Crafts,Places to go,Shopping — lauravw @ 9:21 pm

If you’re in the East Midlands you might be interested in the crafty events taking place in Nottingham:

I read about both of these events on the Nottingham Craft Mafia blog – and today I managed to visit their shop in Nottingham to see what’s for sale at the moment. There were some lovely brooches with birds on (I love anything that has birds on it), and purses by the same designer.


London – graffiti-watching June 4, 2009

Filed under: Places to go — lauravw @ 2:29 pm

banksyA week ago today I was in London, visiting a friend in Bethnal Green. We spent the afternoon walking around Brick Lane and Spitalfields market, and looking at some of the graffiti that adorns the walls of disused buildings in that area.

This picture shows a Banksy, the first time I’ve seen one in the wild. (We went to New York a few years ago and were in the Museum of Natural History at the same time as the high-tech beetles he snuck into a display cage, but didn’t know about them and failed to spot them.) It’s been there a while and has been altered a bit – both by the council and by other graffiti artists – you can see what it looked like originally on Flickr.

And I was delighted to see another Space Invader – I’ve now seen them in London, Manchester and Bern (Switzerland).

I really enjoyed my day and have planned a return visit to London for July. I’m going to go to Tate Modern, St Paul’s Cathedral, and have a walk along the South Bank of the River Thames (I hope I’ll see some Space Invaders!). I’ve done that walk before not so long ago, but didn’t spend any time in the Tate on that day, and I don’t think I’ve ever been inside St Paul’s. If time permits, I’ll go to Liberty’s for a look around their fabric department.

Part of the reason for the return trip is that I found a website selling cheap train tickets to London. If you’re in the UK you might want to look at Megatrain – I’m paying £12 for a return train ticket from Nottingham. You have to be willing to travel at somewhat unpopular times, but they aren’t too antisocial. I get to London at 1.30pm, and come home on a train that leaves London at 8.30pm. And since most of London’s museum’s are free, it makes for a not-too-expensive day out.