Monday, 12 December 2011

Granny's Attic Sylko Haul

Last week I went to one of my favourite shops, Granny's Attic. It's a house clearance shop in a little market town near me, and is run by a really sweet lady who likes to stop and chat. The shop is tiny, but crammed full of all sorts of lovely things (and some not so lovely, but that's the fun of the thrift/charity/house clearance experience).
I'm going to share a secret. Under one of the shelves, hidden away, is a big plastic toybox. I'm sure that the shop owner and I are the only ones who know about this box, because it contains a whole host of delights.

Sylko thread (original wooden reels), vintage mending/darning cotton in a rainbow of colours, fixings, poppers, hooks and eyes, zips, the list goes on. The best part? 39p each, and if you buy a few (as I always do), lovely shop lady will round the total price down.

With new reels of cotton costing at least £1.20 in my local fabric and sewing shop, this would be a bargain if I were just buying it for the thread. But obviously I'm not.

Hmm. Spot the plastic reel. And the Tesco one.

Those amazing jewel-like shades. Be still my beating heart.

The names of the shades are also amazing.

D. 417 - Gay Kingfisher
D. 45 - Turkey Red Shade
D. 206 - Pomegranate
D. 110 - Sevres Blue
D. 43 - Lt. Scarlet
D. 103 - Lt. Old Gold

I also have to confess that I bought two wooden reels with no cotton on them. Would it be too tragic to wind some new coats cotton onto them just for display purposes?


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Food Glorious Food

At this time of year, all I want to do is eat. Warm, comforting stews, vibrant autumn colours, and long evenings snuggled under blankets with a plate full of crunchy crudites and creamy dip. Here's a little snapshot of some of the dishes that have been gracing my table over the past few days.

First up, it was our 5 year anniversary (since we met, no ring on this finger), and we went for some supper at Pizza Express. I had an amazing prawn and cajun pizza (I almost always have the giardiniera but was pleased with this foray into the menu) and James had the chicken pasta. Then he was sensible and had an espresso, and I was greedy and had a pudding as well.

A few nights ago we settled down to watch Salt (which incidentally is a fantastic film, if a little violent). We wanted snacks but not crisps or nuts or popcorn or any of the other classic cinema foods. We wanted crunchy but not too filling. We wanted tasty but not too unhealthy (after the Pizza Express incident). I chopped up a load of veg that was sitting in the fridge, ripped open some sour cream and chive dip, and congratulated myself on a job well done.

I made bruschetta. I watched Julie and Julia for the umpteenth time the other day, and my mouth was watering at the part where Julie makes this for her husband. I used roasted peppers from a jar, some tiger bread shallow fried in olive oil, and some plump red tomatoes. We had it for Saturday brunch with a pot of tea.

(I also made a REALLY tasty (if I do say so myself) bakewell slice with apricot jam instead of raspberry because that's what I had. It didn't last long enough to take a photo.)

Does anybody have any good ideas for meals at this time of year? I'm all about the one pot meals (no dishwasher), and feel like I'm making the same things all the time (rotation of curry, risotto, pasta bake-type thing, jacket potatoes, stir fry, and round we go again).

One last thought, although I love the festive season, a big part of me (mainly my stomach) can't wait for summer to roll around again so that I can make things like this.