Sunday, July 27, 2014

Visiting Chatsworth

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of history. And that I'm a big fan of costume drama. So it's no surprise that when the lovely husband made me make a bucket list of things I'd like to see when we moved to the UK that Chatsworth was pretty high up on the list. The history of this stately home goes back to 1549 and it's been used as a set for many famous costume dramas (including multiple versions of Pride and Prejudice).

My sister-in-law has been staying with us this week and Chatsworth seemed the perfect destination for a mid-week day trip (it was so lovely to have a last-minute day off work in the middle of the week too!). Here's some photos from our trip. We've been having such lovely weather in the UK lately!

Gorgeous hand-painted wallpaper

Don't you just love the sign they have to put on Mr Darcy!

Beautiful wildflowers

Who wouldn't want a bath in their cupboard?

Hope those of you in the Northern Hemisphere are all enjoying this glorious summer! 


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hey, remember me!

Look, it's a post! I finally feel like I'm starting to get my everyday groove back. I finished my final assignment for my post-grad diploma about a month ago, and recently got my final grade and applied to graduate. I've done enough to graduate with an A+ average, which I am so pleased about. 

It's taken a while to settle into a not-studying routine, but I'm loving it. I've been reading more, cooking proper meals more, exercising more. . .  and slowly, slowly, my mind is starting to turn back to craft. This week I pulled out a long waiting quilt in progress and sewed a couple of lines. Some friends have just announced their engagement, so I've been looking at card designs. I've been feeling the urge to pick up the crochet hooks too. Time to get back to it!

I have been fitting some embroidery in occasionally when the headspace allows. I've finished 6 of the blocks for The Birdhouse Christmas wall hanging. They aren't perfect, but I'm improving as I go and enjoying the process. I'll show them off over the next few posts, but for now here's some cute birdies to go with the heart block from my last post.

Hope to speak to you again soon friends!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mental Blogging

I''m here! Promise! *waves*. I know I've been totally lax on the blog lately (you can still find me on my book blog, but that's only because writing down what I thought about what I read is a six year old habit, so I may as well post it). Turns out it takes a while to get into the new-job-first-time-commuter thing. Especially when it coincides with the final part of your post-grad diploma. I feel like I'm starting to push into a routine now, but it's taken a lot longer than I expected. Which meant I either haven't have time or have been to tired to craft. And no craft = no blog posts.

The carrot cake I did manage to find time to bake for hubby's birthday!

It's weird though, because I feel like I'm still mentally blogging. The small things I have found time to do, like experimenting from my cookbooks and a couple more panels on my Christmas stitchery - I have the blog posts all written in my head!! Just need to find some time to actually write things down (and take pictures). 

Hopefully normal service will resume soon. My final post-grad assignment is due in just under two weeks. I think the clouds will lift then and I'll be able to manage the juggling balls of life a bit better!

All my love friends - I'm loving reading all your post whenever I get a free moment in the meantime.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Back to work + Stitchery

I'm going back into full time work tomorrow. The last two weeks have been a blur of study, paperwork, taking delivery of furniture while there was still someone at home during the day and work-wardrobe shopping. There hasn't been much time for craft! (or anything, I feel like I should apologise for my husband for the drastic reduction in meal quality over the past fortnight). 

I'm looking forward to going back to work really. I'm looking forward to having some routine in our lives again after 6 months of ippity-uppity. I genuinely enjoy working and being part of a team, so am looking forward to that. And I'm looking forward to the new challenges this job will bring! 

There is a part of me that is kind of sad this chapter is over. Moving country was a big step and has bought us new challenges and new places to explore - its been refreshing for me and 6 months in I feel like it was the right move. But going back to work means the 'exciting' part of actually moving is over and I hope that going into real life won't bring me back down to the ground with a bump. 

I've been trying another new thing this week when I can grab a moment - hand stitchery. This is a pattern by The Birdhouse that will eventually be a twelve panel wall hanging. I'm enjoying the process, the portability and the rush of trying something new - I think this first block turned out fairly well. There was more fabric distortion than I was expecting (though it mostly came out with ironing) and I'm not 100% happy with the satin stitched berries (though more happy once I'd outlined them, following a tip from sublime stitching). But for a first attempt I'm really more than a little pleased. Let's hope the new job turns out the same way ;-D

So on the whole, yay for new things! Whether they be big or small.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Cookbook Challenge: Country Calendar Cookbook

Still trying to make my way through my cookbooks, one at a time! The challenge has been going really well so far I think. I haven't felt pressured, but at the same time have been looking at my cookbooks more when I feel like baking/cooking. Yay! This week it's 'The Country Calendar Cookbook,' by Alyson Gofton, which I have used precisely zero times since buying it a year ago. Which is sad, because Alyson Gofton is one of my favourite cookbook writers and it's a lovely book to flick through - filled with stories and recipes from the long running New Zealand TV show Country Calendar. For the non-Kiwi's among you, it's a half hour program that each week examines a different farm or rural person in a conversational, documentary style.  

The recipes are handily divided up by season, which was great because I was looking for a 'spring' recipe. I ended up trying out the 'Spring Chickpea Pasta Salad,' which I happened to have all the ingredients on hand for at the time and went well with a steak and green salad on a sunny evening. 

I was really pleased with how it turned out, but then again I love chickpeas, so I probably always was. Its definitely a recipe I'd use again, though unfortunately the leftovers from this one ended up languishing in the fridge because I was to sick to eat them!! Next time. . .