When it’s raining cats and dogs and picking raspberries by umbrella….

in the nanny chair

Well so much for a Summer heatwave, this week it’s been raining cats and dogs, every time the cat comes in the floor needs wiping over and I’ve been scurrying around the garden lifting water laden pots out of over flowing saucers.

However at least someone isn’t too bothered by the weather, his current favourite spot is snuggled down on his Nanny chair, all curled up with Miss Enid…..soft snoring and gentle puttering and mutterings..interrupted by the occasional trumpety noise and the less than pleasant aroma that accompanies….

gutterman tin

I’ve been trying to have a bit more of a sort out, in part because I was getting a bit cross I couldn’t find some of the the sewing threads that I’d bought recently (I’d put them in a safe place and then couldn’t find them…then only for them to magically appear right under my nose a day or two later…)..although I do most of my sewing by hand, a fair bit still gets done on a sewing machine..after the traumas of last week when my Bernina machine started playing up and needing to bring my beloved Dorothy out of her retirement, I found I was then feeling somewhat fraught trying to lay my hands on thread that I could use in the sewing machine.

I ended up having a bit of an “aagghhh” moment then calmly, took a deep breath and just emptied a shocking amount of thread out on to my work table (and on the floor…) and began sorting out all the Gutterman thread I have.  (I like to use Gutterman in my sewing machine, I find it doesn’t keep snapping like the cheap thread and the cotton comes in a good range of colours.)  It’s quite nice having it all in one place, and I’m trying to be good and not put random threads back in odd places like the window-sill, or behind my computer or in one of the umpteen sewing boxes that seem to accumulate around my room.

inside todays sewing box

Every so often I like to clean out and tidy my current sewing box (it makes me feel like Amelie’s mum cleaning out her handbag or her dad tidying out his work box)…generally what’s in there changes depending on what I’m sewing, although there are always going to be a few old friends and favourites that I like to have close to hand that make my sewing so enjoyable but there are always a few “now how did that get in there”s that surprise….

Favourites emptied out include little red Clover wonder grips (left over from the hexagon piecing a few weeks back), a rel of vintage ribbon (had a present to wrap and tied it with this), beautiful Sajou embroidery scissors and vintage tortoise shell effect ones (presents from my boyfriend), numerous silk threads for hand sewing, beeswax (for making the silk thread stronger), elastic bands for the Bernina (a little trick for the 1008…the wheel on the side that turns the needle tends to stick which is a pain when you need to re-lease it when you want to thread up a bobbin…a fat elastic band placed around the ribbed edge of the wheel helps you get a nice tight grip and the wheel un-screws much easier), an assortment of thimbles (they breed as I don’t often wear one so I don’t know where they are coming from), more un-pickers than you’d think possible..(this is why I don’t sew a lot on a sewing machine, I always end up going too fast and then needing to un-pick what I’ve done.. one of them has a little brush on the end which is handy to regularly dust out under the stitch plate), red strawberry needle sharpener (bought some years ago from The Royal School of Needlework and these are very similar….they seem expensive but they are one of the little things in my sewing box I love more than words and it gets used no end)…..there’s also a pair of Japanese fabric snips (another gift from my Arpette) which are lovely to use, tweezers for stitches that don’t want to come out without a good wiggle, an old embroidery pamphlet and a knitting needle gauge because it has a nice size little ruler along the side.  There’s also a pin cushion ball I bought form a car boot and which when gently and carefully kneaded, produced a shocking amount of needles.

vintage green fabric

And this is one of the reasons there are so many un-pickers in the sewing box…..it’s one of the frocks I’ve been making based on the dottie angel dress pattern.

The fabric is from one of the antique/junk shops in Norwich and actually…all the thread and trimmings are vintagey too……rather than make the tucks in the front, I’ve sewn a fabric band across the front.  The ties are attached at the front, thread through and pull up at the back.  I’ve also not bothered with the pockets, I htink the fabric is a bit light weight for them…It’s quite a slinky number and the fabric feels nice and silky….it was a bit of a “oooh…blast” to sew as it was slippy, so I ended up hand sewing the hem, turning it over a few times with the needle point and though this sounds a right old chore, I found this the easiest part of the dress.  Modeled it last night in front of  the boyfriend and the cat, and it didn’t get the “are you wearing curtains”comment so figure it’s safe to wear out of  the house.

Looking at the picture I’m thinking my sewing does look proper ropey…all I can do is hang my head in shame and say I wasn’t any where near the sloe gin or fruit vodka from last week.

If you’d like to see some nice examples then there is a great Instagram thingy here

raspberry cluster

It’s too wet to go foraging as the rain’s been so hard and I know the blackberries will be all mushed but hopefully if we get some sunshine I can get out over the weekend…in the mean time, we’ve got raspberries all ripe and ready to burst in the garden, so it’s out with a brolly and although a bit of balancing is required when there is both a bowl and a brolly in one hand, any trouble is well worth it, especially if there’s cream in the fridge.

I never used to like raspberries growing up but then I had a warm one, freshly picked and it was a taste epiphany, they’ve become a favourite fruit, and the crop we get between now and October (sometimes even November if it’s mild and sunny) are looked forward to all year round……delicious in jams and syrups poured over ice-cream, I love them just as much eaten straight off the bush, and with the merest sprinkle of sugar and a dollop of thick cream they blow strawberries out of the water…velvety and soft in texture and with a rich, intense fruit taste, they seem so much more luxurious than what they are…..

ripe and ready to burst

The bushes are getting all droopy with the weight of the berries, the fruit hangs down like bunches of fat swollen grapes the colour of deep red rubies….we need a bit more sun and a little less rain if any are to be used in jam.  Most days Bernard and Bob from next door are to be found lurking around them somewhere.  Stretched out napping, finding a little shelter from the rain…they seem to keep pretty dry underneath there.  Every so often wafts of cat fluff drift up and catch on the berries only to be noticed when we’ve drenched the berries in cream …”why is there cat fluff in my pudding” seems to be the catchphrase of the Summer……

7 thoughts on “When it’s raining cats and dogs and picking raspberries by umbrella….

    1. My dad once used my giant fabric shears for cutting wallpaper/wallpaper border and he couldn’t understand why I got so het up and cross.
      My face is continually smeared with raspberries…..they’re so good this year though too much rain for jam (not that my tummy is complaining) xx

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