Embroidery pattern by Urban Threads – Snowstorm Santa.
Personally I don’t think you can get anything much more escapist than historical fiction, it’s literal time travel, so it was with great relish that I listened to The Redemption of Alexander Seaton. Set in Scotland in the 1620s, Alexander Seaton is a disgraced school teacher struggling (and not really wanting) to forgive himself. When he returns home from the pub one night, dismissing the cries for help from a man he dismisses as a drunkard, he piles more guilt onto himself when the body of the man is found the next day on his school desk, dead. But when one of his few remaining friends is accused of the man’s murder, Seaton feels stirred to try and help. Throw in cartography, papist plots and witchcraft and it’s definitely an entertaining book. My only criticism is that I got ‘who dunnit’ pretty early on in the book, as the author laid on some extremely heavy hints but still, that added to the anticipation about when was Seaton going to finally find out?
I am pleased to see that this book is but a start to a series of Alexander Seaton books, I’ll almost certainly read them
**** (out of 5)
I am trying not to do embroidery at the moment, I have far too much WIP that needs sewn into things but hey, trying to stop me embroidering stuff is like asking the impossible. So my hands had some idle time last night and I love the Light a little lantern pattern that came free with a newsletter from Follow The White Bunny, so I decided to adapt it to a felt applique because after all felt applique isn’t embroidery right?
I printed out the pattern a few times and cut out the various components of the pattern to make pattern pieces and then I stitched them onto the black backing felt freehand, I know I could have traced the exact pattern onto tissue but I’m not a big fan of doing that and I’d still be trying to tease out small pieces of tissue from under my probably too loose stitches, even now.
It’s been a really busy month at work, it’s made me appreciate my free time even more and really realise that when I do have free time, if I want to do more than just sit round checking my Twitter or playing Plants vs Zombies, I need to actively decide what I’m going to do. That’s not to say I can’t change my mind, I had envisioned a sewing day today but when faced with a messy kitchen and the knowledge that I really needed to tidy it up before I started sewing, I decided I might as well spend all afternoon in there, cleaning up because I’m about to start making something nice or tidying up because I’ve got some spare moments whilst something proves or bakes, is much much nicer than just clearing away the remains of breakfast and yesterday’s tea. Besides I needed to make a start on the Christmas cake, a Mary Berry recipe this year (you can find it on the BBC website). The below will be sitting soaking in my kitchen for three days.
This and the very yummy biscuits above (oat and raisin cookies from a Rachel Allen book, me being thrifty, using up some of the remaining raisins from the packet bought for the Christmas cake), were all done whilst the below was going through more than the usual (in my experience) proving stages.
It’s the wholemeal bread from James Morton’s book, I think due to the wholemeal-ness of the bread, there were more (but often shorter) proving steps, Morton writes about how this improves the gluten strands or something because otherwise the wholemeal bits get in the way. Well it seems to have worked because the resulting bread has a lovely crisp crust (helped I think by taking the loaf out of the tin half way through cooking time) and a lovely soft, airy interior. It could have been more wholemeal, I like my bread being properly brown and this loafs is about 3/5 wholemeal, 2/5 plain white, but I imagine maybe the resulting loaf, if all wholemeal, would be a lot more dense.
There has been a complete lack of embroidery on this blog for a while I know, it’s absolutely not that I haven’t been doing any, I’ve actually done quite a lot but it’s all stuff that needs to be sewn into things and that’s where the hold up always happens. Anyway, day off work today, so I managed to crack into my pile a bit. The above is an embroidery pattern from Urban Threads and was stitched around Halloween time but nothing wrong with skeletons anytime of the year. I stitched it up into this shopper.
Unfortunately from a distance the bright yellow skeleton doesn’t show up as well as I hoped, one of the hazards of using a dark pattern transfer pen I guess, as the yellow was much more obvious, with the pattern transfer lines underneath and then not so obvious when I ironed away the markings.
I know you can’t particularly tell what it is from the photos (in my justification, the light is terrible) but it’s a wrapping storage bag, I’ve been meaning to make one for years. With the kids’ birthdays and Christmas so close together, for about three months a year we get through a lot of wrapping paper and then it barely gets touched for the rest of the year but I prefer buying my wrapping paper in bulk, as I’m always wrapping presents at the last minute and get paranoid I’m going to run out of paper. Plus we can never find the sellotape or scissors (due to, I swear, the kids eating them). So, it’s a long, two tone (I know, difficult to tell) drawstring bag, with a large front pocket (the bit with the bear on) for sellotape and scissors (once I can find the sellotape and scissors).
What finally got me to actually get the sewing machine out to make the bag (after years of seeing similar bags in the shops and going “no, I’m not going to buy one, I can make one” and of course never actually doing it), is the Most Excellent Party Bear pattern from Follow the White Bunny. I love this pattern but I think bear looks a little harassed, as I probably do sometimes in birthday / Christmas season, but I think bear looks harassed and determined and is probably a really organised bear who knows exactly where his wrapping paper, scissors and sellotape are, so I thought the pattern was perfect for a wrapping paper bag.