Sunday, 30 September 2012

Two Dresses, One Pattern

I made these dresses in the early summer, but did not photograph them until early autumn.  Here they are hanging from the pear tree in our small London garden.  In the background you can see the hydrangeas which almost match the dress on the right.
Having made the blue Liberty print dress, I decided to use a piece of raspberry linen to make another one.  I changed the neckline and added patch pockets.
Both dresses were a success except that they are a bit too triangular for me. I have decided to nip in the waistline on the blue one by making an obi to cinch it  and to alter the raspberry one by taking in the centre front and side seams to give it a bit more shape.  They should be ready by next summer.
It seems, I never really get the look right until the second wearing. Does anyone else have this problem?
Apart from that, they are perfect summer dresses. (Note the irony.)

Before Hubby got to France, a friend and I had a two day break in Jersey, staying in a smart hotel with a posh dining room.  I had not taken dress clothes with me to France, so I had to make do with the raspberry dress.  I smartened it up by wearing red shoes and a necklace from a collection that my friend sells on her site:

The original dress

A close up of the neckline

Restyled dress
New neckline and necklace by Zippy Zebra

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Back to Blogging - Harvest

Some of the jars of fruit.  From left, red plums, nectarines and peaches.

Fruits of My Labour

I spent the summer in France, where I did not knit, crochet, sew, garden or blog.  The first three because I just was not in the mood to do these creative things, probably because I was tired after all the exertions of the winter and spring. And even though I took several projects with me, I could not be enticed to get them out of their bags. The last because it was slightly difficult to do.  In order to blog, I had to take my laptop to a nearby town in the afternoon, when the IT shop was open.  I am a morning person and by late afternoon, I am thinking of having a nice drink, a few nibbles and then an evening meal. I do not want to be in the car on my way to doing a purposeful activity.  To be honest, there are so many lovely things to do in France, like visit beautiful towns and eat lovely meals that doing something purposeful just doesn't appeal.
A box of red plums from the market.

However, I did do lots of canning. I canned 14 jars of fruit.  These will keep us going on dreary winter days when we need a taste of cheery summer fruit. I canned peaches, nectarines and red plums.  I even made the canning easier by a taking a few short cuts.  We will see whether these were successful when we open the jars.  For example, I did not stone the plums.  They were too small and too juicy.  I did not peel the peaches.  I have always done that in the past, but it is so time consuming that I decided to leave that step out this time.  I did, however, sterilise the jars and process them with the hot bath method.  And this year, I tried to get the fruit right up to the top so there were no air gaps at the top to turn the fruit dark. 

We picked apples in France - a few from our very young trees - and at home where they clearly liked the wet summer followed by dry weather.

I will freeze some, make sauce with some and use some in crumbles (mixed with other fruit) and cobblers.
They will make excellent sauce, cobblers and crumbles.
And finally, I primed the lavender in our garden.  It also had a prolific year and the bees loved it.  I have put it in pillow cases and will make lavender sachets out of pretty scraps of fabric soon.

Some lavender from my garden.