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

Sewing a peg bag August 30, 2010

Filed under: Gifts,Sewing — lauravw @ 5:37 pm

The other day I had a sewing request from a friend: she wanted me to make her a new peg bag, based on her existing peg bag, which was on its last legs.

I like this sort of project: I already had enough fabric and so was able to start straight away, and the peg bag was quite simple so I knew I would be able to make the whole thing from start to finish in one go.

I sat for a little while with a pencil and paper, measuring all the various bits and making notes on how it seemed to have been assembled. Then I cut out the fabric and set to work sewing. I chose some sturdy ribbon for the strap, and remember making a mental note about which stage I would need to attach the strap. But mental note-making is not my strong point (rather than use my brain, I usually write everything down), and so it was that I came to assemble the whole bag without a strap, and had to unpick and reattach things. Oh well.

I’m pleased with how the finished item looks, and I’m starting to wonder about whether I should make more for gifts for people. Or even to sell – job security is not what it once was, and so anything that brings in a few pounds is worth considering. I’m not sure whether making peg bags counts as a get rich quick scheme, but it would be a start…


Slow but not stopped August 22, 2010

Filed under: Nature and wildlife — lauravw @ 10:46 am

August seems to be passing me by: the days are going by quickly, but I am moving slowly. I have no excuses, it’s just that I’ve slowed down.

And so I don’t have much to report: I’ve done a bit of baking, and a little bit of sewing, but nothing major. I’ve been enjoying reading Thomasina Miers‘ Mexican cookbook, but my inertia means I’ve only got as far as choosing recipes I’d like to make, rather than actually jumping in and making something. I’ll get there in the end, and when I do, I’d like to start with the summer tacos. (So let’s hope I get round to this before summer slopes off.)

I have possibly watched a little more TV than is good for me. The Sherlock Holmes series had me glued to the TV – I can’t wait for them to make more episodse. I have never ready any Sherlock Holmes and so had no idea I would enjoy it so much.

And this week I watched that BBC programme about a baking competition. It was OK – not something I’d go out of my way to watch, but enjoyable enough. There were a few tears in my eyes when the poor man whose cakes failed him started to cry!

This picture shows a couple of goodies I bought an antiques fair in Southwold earlier this month. In the past year I’ve seen a few old and rusty first aid tins, and I really wanted one to call my own. The ones I’ve seen were either too expensive, or too far away (expensive postage costs!), but these were £2 each, and I’m so thrilled with them. The little one even says Nottingham on it, so I felt it was right that it come back and live with me there.

If you’ve ever wanted something similar, there are sometimes nice ones on offer at H is for Home – even a set with all the original contents in.

I’ll leave you with this: a very short video I took of two adorable guinea pigs, who I saw on a recent visit to a city farm in Nottingham. Guaranteed to improve your mood (even if you’re already reasonably happy).


Seeing stars August 10, 2010

Filed under: Nature and wildlife,Places to go,Travel — lauravw @ 2:15 pm

We’ve been away at the coast for a few days, in Southwold. Have you ever been there? It’s a sweet little seaside town in Suffolk, which has avoided much of the tackiness that clings to many coastal resorts. Mostly this comes down to money: it’s the sort of place where wealthy Londoners have second homes (and where the beach huts cost more than many people’s first homes). It’s also the sort of place where our last Prime Minster went on holiday.

I enjoyed pottering around the shops – the numbers of wealthy tourists passing through mean the town can support shops that wouldn’t survive in other towns of the same size. If you like Cath Kidston goodies, this is the place to be. There are a couple of charity shops but I couldn’t find anything worth having in them – I suspect the people of Southwold make do and mend rather than decluttering their homes.

One of the highlights of the trip was the night sky: we live in a town, and so when the sun sets, not that many stars come out. But in Southwold, you could actually see the Milky Way. And luckily for us, our visit coincided with the Perseids meteor shower. We headed out around 11pm on Sunday night armed with a little map of the sky, and walked around until we found somewhere far enough from the streetlights to get a good look. The perseids are right above you, and so it wasn’t long before our necks were aching. Ideally, you’d be lying down to see them – we tried lying on a bench but as night was falling, everything was starting to get a bit damp!

While we scanned the skies looking for meteors, we saw a few other goodies: the afore-mentioned Milky Way, and perhaps half a dozen satellites. Finally, I saw one: a bright streak across the sky, which disappeared very quickly. I saw a second one a bit later, but the best one we saw was back at the house, standing on the porch – a really bright meteor shot across the sky above us.

The Perseid meteor shower peaks this week, and so there is still time to see them if we get another clear night.  Thursday night sounds like a good time to go out and take a look – there’s a BBC guide to whereabouts in the night sky to look here. But don’t hurt your neck!


To the park, to see the deer August 5, 2010

Filed under: Nature and wildlife — lauravw @ 12:04 pm

Our best efforts to get up early on Saturday morning and head to Wollaton Park saw us leave the house at the not very impressive hour of 10am.

We had planned to get there early so that the park would be quiet and the wildlife would be wandering around undisturbed. Luckily for us, even though it was almost 11am when we arrived, the park was quiet, and there were deer all over the place.

First of all we saw the roe deer, the pretty spotted ones that look like Bambi. They were about eight of them, very close to us but with a small hedge between us and them. We stood and watched them for a while, snapping a few pictures.

A little further on we saw some red deer, a group of young ones and adults pottering about in the woods. And further still we saw a deer in the shallow part of the lake, nibbling on leaves from an overhanging tree.

There are more pictures of the deer we saw on Flickr.