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

New fabrics from Amy Butler September 14, 2009

Filed under: Fashion,Sewing — lauravw @ 9:55 am

loveprintsAmy Butler has produced a new collection of fabrics for Rowan. The new collection, called Love, has 26 quilting-weight prints, and 12 in home decoration weight. There is a long slideshow on Amy’s website showing the prints in action – someone seems to have been extraordinarily busy turning them into bags, dresses, and cushions.

Most of the prints look very summery, but I’m pleased to see a few darker ones in there that I could see myself making into clothes.

Some of the garments modelled in the slideshow look interesting – I wonder if they will be the basis of a new set of patterns? I hope so.


Last bites of summer September 13, 2009

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 2:02 pm

pastaHere in the middle of England, the weather this week has been beautiful. Yesterday our local farmers’ market was in town, and the place was buzzing with people enjoying the unexpectedly sunny September day. Amongst the stalls selling bread, cheese, cupcakes, and other goodies, there is a stall offering local vegetables – all summer long, we have been buying yellow courgettes there, every time the market is on. If you’ve not tried yellow courgettes, they are worth seeking out. Usually you see them from July onwards and their season seems to be short, so I wasn’t expecting there to be any for sale yesterday, but there were. And so, for dinner tonight, we will be having yellow courgette and lemon pasta, which comes from a Good Housekeeping cookbook I bought when I was first learning to cook.

Spaghetti with courgettes, lemon and pistachio nuts*
Serves 4

*But we always leave out the pistachios and have pine nuts instead

  • 600g courgettes – yellow ones if you can find them
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 small red chilli
  • 350g dried spaghetti
  • 90ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2tbsp chopped fresh chives

Thinly slice the courgettes and garlic; deseed and finely chop the chilli.

Cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the courgettes, garlic, chilli and lemon zest and stir-fry over a high heat for 4-5 minutes until the courgettes are golden. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice.

Drain the pasta and add to the courgettes with the chives. Season with salt and pepper and toss over a low heat for 30 seconds.

Serve topped with pine nuts or pistachios (we usually toast the pine nuts first in a dry frying pan), and parmesan cheese.


Snowhome September 4, 2009

Filed under: Interiors,Shopping — lauravw @ 10:06 am

Wall birdsAmongst the cobbled streets and tea shops of York there is a modern treasure: Snowhome. This is a small interiors shop which I got to visit last week during my little holiday in York. I’ve been before, but this time I was accompanied by my mother, who was in her element.

There were lots of things in the shop that I liked, and I was both surprised and pleased that mum chose to buy herself a set of wall transfers. She chose a silhouette of birds on branches, and it’s destined to go on a wall in a bedroom at my parents’ house. The owner of the shop was very helpful and explained a little about the process of installing the transfers – and also told us that there is a small practice transfer included in each kit (in this case, a little bird) which I might be allowed to use at my place.

In return for his helpful advice, mum was able to tell the owner that she’d seen an article about the Queen Mother’s home, where there is a wall mounted wooden stag head on display – an odd scenario since you’d expect the walls of a home like that to be covered in the real (ie dead) thing. He seemed interested to know about it: as he is one of the few suppliers of this product, this means it’s possible that something from his little shop could have ended up living in a royal residence.