Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Deep Midwinter

Tonight is the Winter Solstice,the moon and stars are very clear in the frosty air. Airports and stations have been closed and travel disrupted as once more Mother Nature teaches us that we are not  masters of this beautiful Planet but it's children.  The cold  and snow has made me think about the way we live ,always rushing, so demanding and obsessed with material things. I am as guilty as the next person, I do "Retail Therapy" sometimes but this extra cold winter has turned me inward .I have been reading about the myths and legends associated with the Soltice and Christmas.

A lonely human dwarfed by the winter landscape,what lurks in the dark woods beyond,wolves maybe!

The constant need for sustainance,staying warm to stay alive until the Spring.

Elemental fire,the Yule Log,the holly,ivy and bay!

So I have been sitting by the stove reading "The Winter Solstice" by John Matthews and imersing myself in old lore and hoping that the Glastonbury Thorn will survive the recent attack and bloom again!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Two skirts I would love to wear!

Ewa Y Walla again! I love her clothes ,they do inspire me to get sewing .

I think it would  be great to make things lke this with recycled fabrics and maybe dye the garments afterwards.....?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Bloggers Block!

Is there such a thing? This snowy weather has made me want to sit and do nothing but watch the flames go up the chimney!
Not entirely ,I have been reading a lot of poetry and browsing through cookery books to find winter warmers for supper.
I have some favourite cookery books, European Peasant Cookery by Elizabeth Luard is full of wonderful recipes .Real food that has sustained the life of ordinary families throughout Europe and it is full of information on tradition. Elizabeth Luard lived and brought up her children in several countries and is inspirational.
Roast Figs and Sugar Snow by Diana Henry is subtitled "Food  to warm the soul" and it lives up to that assertion.The food is cold weather food ,mouthwatering recipes from all over the world accompanied by quotes from poetry and literature. Just reading the recipes is deliscious! 
I made pancakes this evening and we ate them with cinnamon sugar,lemon ,honey and maple syrup!!!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Frida Kahlo

This is a beautiful book about the finding and restoration of Frida Kahlo's Clothes.She was  unique and not only was her work both stunning and horrifying but her personal appearance was an work of art in itself.
Here is a little taste of the look she created for herself. She lived with the artist Diego Rivera in The Casa Azul in Mexico.She sustained terrible injuries in a road accident and suffered horribly all her life from the aftermath of this . However she was a determined and courageous woman who left her mark in art and fashion. She and Diego were commited Communists at a time when it seemed the only hope for the poor and suffering of the world.
She was desperate to have a child but her injuries caused her to miscarry.
 This lace dress is exquisite
These are small bags in Mexican designs.

She used delicate enbroidery and bold  contrasting colours and fabrics to create her own style.

Frida suffered from her injururies and had to wear some horrific corsets and trappings.

 She was confined to her bed for long periods and her bedroom was therefore a special place for her.She woul entertain her friends there and read.

Here are some more images , the skill and  fine needle craft that went into these creations is astounding.

I hope this post will  inspire you to look at Frida Kahlo's work and perhaps visit her Casa Azul in Mexico which is open to the public and where you can see these wonderfully restored clothes.The use of folk art is especially fascinating and tied in with Frida's politics because the skill is that of the people and an expression of the Mexican identity.
 Another one of the inspiring women that will crop up on my blog!!!!!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Thursday, 11 November 2010

One of the good things about the nights drawing in is the excuse to make comfort food.Stews and casseroles slow cooked and waiting when you come home.  Also an excuse for a good glass of red wine to wash it down! In this picture Cassoulet bubbling away and some daffodils to remind me spring will return.

Fungi  in Montmartre last year,more joys of Autumn,an omlette and a glass of wine pure magic! I think I shall have to start a foodie blog soon!

Sunday, 7 November 2010

I love reading probably more than any other activity although I do many other  things I like too! I just want to do a short post this evening before I make the supper so can I ask other bloggers to tell me which book has had the most influence in their lives,not an easy one is it!
 I suppose I would have to say that the first book to influence me was Little Women by Louisa M Alcott but then their have been many that helped shape my views and delighted or informed me.The list would be endless and of course it is an ongoing process.I have worked among books since I was 16 and the first library I worked in was my university,I just spent my lunch breaks pouring through the stock.Biographies,art books,poetry travel,natural history it was all there to be had free! Being read to as a child and then again as an adult has been an intimate experience.Every Autumn I  yearn for Lord Of The Rings,it is the setting out  into the unkown landscape of the imagination that draws me.! Well if I go on we shall all starve here so I am away to the kitchen!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Walk to Dartington

The start of our walk in the rain to Dartington hall.
These periwinkles were so vibrant and blooming at the beginning  of the walk along  the banks of the Dart to the Hall.
Dartington Hall was established in 1925 by Dorothy and Leonard Elmhirst,visionaries, as an experiment in
rural regeneration. The gardens are serene and inspiring and the Hall is home to many exciting courses and of  the Literary Festival.

It was drizzling with Autumn rain when we walked beside the river which was high . Little whirlpools sucked in the fallen leaves and the water was rising.We saw coots and swans and heard skenes of geese as they flew
The colour of the trees , gold, red and yellow was stunning .

As we walked we heard the old steam train that runs from Totnes to Buckfastliegh puffing out steam and the shrill whistle as it made its way along the banks of the Dart.It was like something out of Agatha Christie's novels.She lived near Dartmouth and it is possible to visit her house.
The oak leaves were changing colour .

The ancient trees reminded me so much of Tolkien with their gnarled bark and  and branches.

The sloes were abundant and ready for a good bottle of gin!

The cyclamen,.so delicate and marvellous blooming at this time of the year when other plants are drawing back to wait for next spring blossomed at the foot of a gnarled tree.
We had coffee at the White Hart Pub in front of a smoky wood fire and talked about the exhibition of Kurt Jackson  I had recently seen in Truro  where he had explored the banks of the Dart in  paint . Then we retraced our steps  to our friends house for one of Brenda's legendary Sunday lunches,her roast potatoes are the ambrosia of the potato world!!!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

We have just come back from a weekend in Totnes Devon .We stayed at the home of our very dear friends Richard and Brenda..This morning amid showers we walked to Dartington for coffee.I have taken some pics.and will post them soon but just wanted to say have a good Samhain,we have just eaten firey ginger cake and apples while sitting in candle light talking about seeds in the ground waiting for spring, regeneration and remembering those who have passed on. The stove was bright and cosy and the tea comforting. I am thinking especially of my Dad who died last year at 86,he was a W.W2  veteran and a truly lovely man. We all miss him and his sense of humour which was quirky,he loved to play with words

I will just post a couple more lovely ideas for winter clothes,the fabrics look wonderful together and make me keen to finish the skirt I cut out last week!

I love these colours and layers!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Today at Truro Community Library where I work the kids were learning to paint on silk,some of the designs were extremly attractive.
Mums and Staff  pitched in and the kids had enormous fun creating their owm designs.

Lovely to see the boys being creative too,one lad did the most colourfull halloween pumpkin !

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Thinking back to Spring

Last Spring I wanted to go down to Lamorna and find the studios of a group of artists who painted in and around Newlyn.Some of them had studios at Lamorna Cove which is such an enchanted place.
 A stream rushes down to the sea through a rocky valley that in Spring is full of wild flowers. There is an old Pub called The Wink where the artists met and had  a great time together.The pasties are very good there to this day.
This colony produced some remarkable and beautiful pictures,they painted outside in all weathers and caught the light and the ambiance of the area.They also used local people as models and in another post I would like to share some of their work.
But for now I will just remember that lovely  early spring day when the daffodils were blooming and there was still a nip in the air and the only sound the  was of water rushing  over boulders down through the woody valley and out into the sea.