Thursday, 10 March 2011

Random things and a cautionary tale


This is a post of disparate, but very good things. Firstly, I wanted to tell you about these delicious chocolates that my sister bought for me from Artisan du Chocolat. Last time I was in London we went there for hot chocolate.

Photo credit: Artisan du Chocolat

We sat on their funny, squashy seats, marvelled at the lampshade that spans much of the room, explored the different chocolate options (you can pick two to go with your hot chocolate) and savoured the hot chocolate  (which is so rich it is a meal in its self), while both drawing and discussing room plans in my sister's notebook. So it brought back lots of lovely memories when she sent this beautiful box of Artisan du Chocolat chocolates to me last week as a birthday treat.


Not only are the individual chocolates beautifully decorated, but I particularly love that their packaging demonstrates such an appreciation of haberdashery, from the cloth label that secrues the inner papers, to the little button that fastens shut the thick white box that holds the chocolates.


You might remember that I mentioned the exhibition at the Foundling Museum here. I never did manage to get along to it, but my mother went and brought back a beautiful tin of postcards and a piece of fabric that had been reproduced from one of the original fabrics that a baby was left with. Even as a reproduction, it's an odd feeling to hold a piece of fabric that bears the pattern that would have had so many emotions and memories tied to it for someone.


Last night, faced with some sweet potatoes, spinach and a block of feta I knew that I wanted to turn them into a quiche, but wasn't quite sure how (it's a quiche that my favourite local cafe sells, but I was uncertain as to how to deal with the potatoes in this instance). A quick google search revealed a recipe from Cathy's Kitchen. It's not a conventional quiche in that it's without pastry (Cathy refers to it as 'crustless'), but it was utterly delicious, worked well and feels healthier than a traditional quiche inspite of the smothering of pine nuts and Parmesan on top. I emailed a link to the recipe to my sister, who raised the question: at what point does a 'quiche' become a 'bake' in the absence of pastry? I was unsure, but felt that the presence of a round dish retained its quiche status. Either way, it's definitely worth trying.

Have you read recently on the Oliver + S blog that they have started designing patterns for women? Such wonderful news. You can find the Sew Lisette blog for this range here. They are being produced under the Simplicity banner for maximum global coverage, which I think is fantastic. My one reservation about the utter fabulousness of this plan is that they have been designed around Simplicity's standard fit and sizing, which in my own experience invariably allows me to make something to wear that will resemble a potato sack. However, bearing in mind that Lisel tends to do things that are rather super and that the photos of the models wearing the garments on the Sew Lisette website look so very lovely, I'm feeling that I can't discount them until I've tried at least one...

Finally, a welcome to my newest advertiser, Backstitch, who incidentally, stock the delicious range of Oliver + S fabric (cotton and jersey!), as well as Tasia's wonderful new-to-the-UK Sewaholic patterns (I followed the sew along for the Pendrell blouse and am in awe of how this girl sews and her approach to starting a business).

Florence x

PS. While this is a post of random things, I thought that I might share with you the events of last Friday as a cautionary tale. This tale should be prefaced by the declaration that I have always held a firm belief that clothing pockets are entirely decorative things and that using them ruins the line of clothing, distorts the fabric and produces disturbing lumps. On Friday morning, not thinking about pockets at all, I decided that it may be easier for a small boy to keep his box-room a little tidier if a large bookshelf were provided, rather than just a small-to-middling sized one. Luckily, we had just such a thing in the garage where we keep our book overflow. As I knew that I'd be out there for some time unloading books from the shelves, I took the highly controversial step of placing my iPhone in my back jean pocket. It is this act of sartorial inelegance that almost certainly meant that I was later saved from thoroughly breaking myself and our house. After unloading the books and hauling the bookcase to the bottom of the stairs I realised that it was a little heavier and more cumbersome than anticipated, but I decided that sliding the bookcase up the stairs on its smooth top would mean that getting it up to the small one's room was still possible. So I slid it up, shouldering the top of the book case near the top end, increasingly aware that it was proving more difficult than expected. But it was only when I reached the top of the stairs where one must turn a tight corner before going up the last few steps that I realised my plan may have a fundamental problem: in that no amount of hoisting could make the bookshelf turn the corner. It was with much alarm that I also quickly realised that I was now finding the bookshelf so heavy that if I tried to slide it back down again it would take me with it...so I found myself stuck near the top of the stairs, supporting the weight of a bookcase, unable to go up or down.

Let this be a lesson to you that if you are thinking of doing something that a small part of you knows is likely to be unsafe at the outset, it is a very wise precaution to arm yourself with a phone so that you can place SOS calls to husband/mama/any other key-holder, who may laugh at you when they unlock the door and behold the sight at the top of the stairs, but at least you will be alive to sew another day. The even wiser person would wait until someone was on hand to help move the bookcase, but that's the option for patient people. My suggestion works for all sorts. (It should be said that I am most thankful to the heroine of the story, who abandoned her bowl of hot porridge, leapt into her car and was at her daughter's side in less than 20 minutes).

16 comments:

  1. Thanks for the recipe tip. I love spinach, sweet potatoes and feta, so it must be a winner! Your bookcase story made me laugh (though I am sure it wasn't funny while you were stuck.)

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  2. I read your original post about the foundlings and was very determined to go. Unfortunately although i had a free day I did not go (my reason that as I work in London going there on a day off is something I avoid if I don't have a chum to go with). I now regret the decision so much, I would have loved to have some of that fabricas well as see the exhibits.

    We have a book overflow too, in boxes in the loft. A friend solved this problem by having a wall to a new extension built as a double sided bookcase.

    Thank goodness you were rescued from the book-case-stuck-on-the-stairs-debacle but 20 minutes must have felt like hours.

    xx

    c

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  3. Great tip about the phone...but another cautionary tale...just remember said phone is still in the clothing pocket before you wash the item...phones really dont like washing machines!!

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  4. If I had a pound for every time I've moved furniture by my self and got in a right mess, I'd be very rich - but I still do it! Lucky someone could get to your aid so quickly - though I expect it felt like an endless wait!

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  5. I am sewing a Lisette RIGHT NOW! So far, so lovely.

    I was inclined to think well of it anyway but then it sneaked past customs and arrived in just 3 days from New York - very impressed.

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  6. I really needed to smile today, and the combination of chocolate, a good recpie and a great story definitely achieved that, thank you.

    We should be moving in the next couple of months, so I'll make sure I always have my phone with me when I do!

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  7. Oh, your bookcase story made me choke on my tea! I would be impatient too--when I get an idea it must be done as soon as possible. The Simplicity part makes me wary too--but Oliver + S patterns are usually lovely so I'll have to try before I decide too.

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  8. I am sorry, I confess I chuckle a little at your bookcase tale :-s It reminded me of the day I thought it was a good idea to climb on the workbench in our shed to get something at 7 months pregnant - obviously I NEEDED this thing as you do when pregnant :-) Well I go the item but then realised I couldn't climb or jump off it as I had a rather big tummy so had to yell for help :-o

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  9. The 20-minute wait might have seemed a little less long had you had the forethought to put a couple of those scrumptious chocolates in the other pocket ...

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  10. I loved your cautionary tale. I thought you were going to say you fell backwards onto it and it broke your fall!


    My recipe for crustless apple pie - a dish of stewed apples!

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  11. Oops! That is cautionary indeed! A shame about the porridge, but your mother got her priorities right there, I think.
    p.s. Blog has a name now - just got to work on the, er, content...

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  12. Oh Nina! I've been so looking forward to that - please share it as a matter of urgency! Clicking on your blogger profile reveals nothing...I do hope that wasn't a carrot being dangled!

    Jane - do you think that's symptomatic of being the type of person that completes sew-alongs in a day...I can see so many personality similarities here.

    Nancy - that's so exciting...and even more so for sneaking past customs! I can't wait to hear how you get on.

    Anonymous...you are clearly far more cunning than me - that's a super idea!

    I am now thinking of stewed apple (which I adore) while awaiting Nina's blog name reveal.

    Thank you so much for your lovely comments and for sharing your own mishaps.

    Florence x

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  13. Hi! I feel like I need to introduce myself. I really enjoy reading your blog. I stumbled upon you through a google search looking for how to make things with zips, so far you're the only one who's been easy enough to follow. I just had to drop a note to say that in addition to loving sewing (although I am still a beginning beginner) like you, I also love the Bronze Horseman, and my mom read that book when she was pregnant with me and named me Tatiana! I hope to hear all about the fun you have in Russia so I can live vicariously through you.

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  14. Hehe, Florence, I'm afraid I'll have to make you wait a little longer. I thought I'd found a name that would stick and then my grandfather (the brains of the family) objected to it rather strongly! I'm now awaiting his approval for the modified name before announcing it to the world! I'm also having no end of difficulty with banners, layouts, etc... Soon, soon, I promise!

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  15. Oh dear! These things always seem like a good idea at the time, don't they? Reminds me of the time I thought I could quite easily step onto the kids' little table to place a very large box full of yarn on top of the very high bookshelf. The box, me and everything on the table (luckily not the bookshelf) came crashing down, I landed on the baby's playframe thingy and broke it. Oh the indignity of it all (if that's a word).

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  16. It is such a very best recipe you shared here. sweet potatoes and feta is my favorite recipe among all.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x

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