What are we all about?

The focus of this blog is simple - and that's the goal too. A more simple way of life. A life in tune with the rhythms of nature and of human nature. Where everything has its time and place and purpose, including us.

We have left the rat race behind and taken on new challenges. We aim to tread as lightly as we can upon the planet, to reconnect with nature, to eat good food, drink excellent wine, enjoy the best of company.... even if that is sometimes just our own! Please feel free to eavesdrop from time to time on our lives and see how we are doing and if you are ever in Extremadura... drop us an email and we'll give you directions.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Toad Hunting

I guess spring has been sprung for a couple of weeks now. Mind you it never quite feels like it until the weather catches up, which it seemed to this week. Our neighbours almond trees have been in blossom for about ten days, we thought this was a little bit early.

Ours are only now catching up, but they are quite young.

We had visitors this week and spent time sight seeing and eating out. This is nice for us, a break from the routine and a break from work. You don't realise how stuck in a routine you have become until you make a change.

It's been great having a like-minded visitor - knitting, crochet, spinning and weaving dominated the conversation. A colourful week!

Some things never lose their appeal though. What is it with me and the frog/toad thing? Last year I recorded their noises on our way to language school. This year I tried my hand at a bit of night filming. Sadly the camera isn't up to low light filming but we did our best. Warning! The following is 7 minutes of your life you will never get back but hey ho! This is how we roll here 😊

Sunday, 5 February 2017

The Rugby Begins

And it rained! So, stuck in the house with whoops and catcalls filling the air (Steve glued to the television) I was about to get out the couture jacket pattern when I got distracted by a comment on a Facebook group that I follow. It's a group dedicated to historically accurate knitting and crochet. Someone was knitting a petticoat. Sounds bizarre I know but it was cold back then and I guess a warm woollen petticoat would have been a Godsend.

Anyway long story short, I started thinking about my collection of Victorian magazines and all the knitting and crochet patterns they contain and before I knew it I began photographing and uploading them to the web, where they will hopefully inspire some historic knitters! It's a work in progress (like I need another blog) but is there as inspiration and/or encouragement for those attempting to recreate a look from the past. You can shortcut here.

I can't help but admire our great grannie's skills since the instructions for many of these patterns require you to look at the picture and simply make it up as you go along. You really had to know your craft back then - actually I bet many women were cursing and swearing (albeit in a ladylike manner) at the pattern writers as they struggled with achieving anything that resembled the drawing.

I did attempt some sewing this week when I made a stab at a pattern from one of my Spanish pattern books. And here's the thing you should know if you are planning to live somewhere abroad. Don't assume that you can buy individual paper patterns like you can in the UK or USA. Here in Spain all you get are these magazines that print the patterns on top of each other.

The pattern I chose was so densely overprinted in all the sizes and variety of colours it made my eyes dance. In the end I had to drag an engineer in and get him to trace the individual pattern pieces for me.

My own personal Madame Rudolphine!

Then I made a pair of cami knickers with lots of hand sewing 'couture-style' techniques. I love them, and I've never sewn press studs so neatly, but they don't fit so I had to make another pair. I know, dressmaking 101 - pattern fitting!!!! But I got carried away with the tranquility of the hand sewing.

These will be worn as pyjamas in the summer. But now I am running out of suitable fabric for underwear so I think I will head back to the historical knitting and upload some more patterns.

If anyone actually attempts to knit or crochet any of these patterns do send me a photo!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Haute Couture

The rains came.

The finca is grateful.

For those who follow sporting events you may know that there is a large rugby event looming. Steve has already downloaded the programme and it is clear that normal life will revolve around the TV for at least two weeks. It is my custom during such events to challenge myself with some creative project. This year I am going to begin my long planned haute couture jacket.

The ultimate goal would be to make an LFJ. This is shorthand for the iconic Chanel box-shaped jacket, since Chanel as a company (fashion institution) are zealots in the protection of Mme Channel's name her iconic style of jacket is now known as the Little French Jacket.

There are several techniques that distinguish an LFJ as different from the run of the mill, the amount of hand stitching being one. And if like me, you cannot afford (or simply on principal would refuse to pay for) an authentic haute couture jacket, then the only option is to make one.

I chose a pattern. This is not a traditional LFJ being alot more American in its style but it is going to be my practice piece. It incorporates many of the couture features I want such as the chain weighted hem and quilting of the lining to the fashion fabric. But the material and lining I plan to use are on the cheaper side.

One day, I will invest in a beautiful tweed or wool boucle fabric to make a jacket that will be fought over by my daughter's and grand daughters after I am gone. Yep, a couture jacket from the 1950's could still be worn today and not look out of place or dated in any way.

It is the ultimate in wearability, pairing with jeans to make a more youthful look and equally happy with a formal skirt or trousers. It is my dream to own such a garment.

OK so where am I going to wear such a thing? It's true, I don't go out much, certainly not to places where an LFJ would be recognised and appreciated but I have a special event on the cards... my youngest daughter and her boyfriend have announced their intention to marry. We don't have a date yet and they are not in a rush so I probably have time.  This is not a project that will be completed during the rugby, but a start will be made. I'm really looking forward to it!