Monday, 17 February 2014

Well I think  I'm getting my creative mojo back .
The past week has been a week of planing and creating.
Friday saw me start planning a new crochet blanket , I really want to make a squishy aran ripple blanket for our bed . So I've made a little purchase to get me started , some very soft and very squishy Rico merino aran , I've started my chain and am very excited about getting the blanket started but feel it may be a long term project as it is to go on a King size bed ( Ooooo I think I may also need to take out a small mortgage to fund the project too !! lol ) . 


 I am very much in love with these four colours 



 I've also had a real  fun time in the kitchen over the past week , I sooooooo love being in my kitchen and am never happier than when I'm making something for others .

First of all  my youngest niece had her birthday to celebrate and Auntie Tracy never turns up without baked goods . So I had a little play !



  A very good friend had her  birthday yesterday and she was having a house party to celebrate . Well it would have been rude not to turn up with celebratory cup cakes ( buns ) . Our friend absolutely adores Joules clothing so with that in mind that was the colour theme I chose for her birthday buns . Oh what fun I had creating these buns and one evening a very dear friend helped too , there was a quick demo on flower making and there may have also been a little Damson gin consumed as well (  and what a very good friend she is too to put up with my sometimes very bossy nature ! thanks Sam x) .

 So after two evenings of forming fondant flower it was time to start decorating .


 I love this part !





 It was wonderful to see her face when she saw her buns , 30 special buns for a fabulous lady .

I must confess or as you may have gathered by now with all the baking that goes on in my house , I have a very sweet tooth . But I am trying to make a real effort to watch what I eat , as are a lot of my family and friends . I am also trying out some new recipes  on the family and this next one has been a great success . If you are trying to cut down on your fat intake this is a great way to cook tasty spicy chicken .

You will need  : chicken thighs and or chicken drum stick I use a mix of both , 6 x thighs & 4 drum sticks ,                                which feed our family of four .
                       : 2 tbsp Cajun spices
                       : The juice of 1 Lime
                       : 250 g Fat free natural yogurt


 In a dish mix together the yogurt the Cajun spices and the Lime juice .
Then remove all the skin from the chicken pieces and score the meat .


 Next coat all the chicken pieces with the yogurt mix .
You can either cook straight away or cover in a dish and leave to marinate in the fridge for a couple of hours .
 Next  spread out the chicken pieces on  baking trays , You don't really need to cook with any oil as lots of natural juices come out of the chicken which you can then use to occasionally baste the meat . If you don't have non stick trays to bake with put about a teaspoon of cooking oil in the tray and using a pastry brush liberally brush the tray to create a non stick surface . Place the trays of chicken ( I usually have two ) in a hot oven , mine is usually at 200 degrees for about 30 to 40 mins , but all ovens vary so yours may take a longer or shorter time than in my oven . Remove chicken from oven when it is cooked and juices run clear , enjoy the spicy juicy chicken with  the happy thought that it really healthy too .

I've also had lots of creative planing going on in The Studio this week as Lucy and I get a programme of workshops started . So I've been working with Rachel from Bewitched by stitch to work out the next 4 Rag rug related workshops especially as the ones before Christmas were so very popular . We thought our first one would be an Easter Rag Rug Wreath day workshop . Which takes place on the Saturday the 1st of March from 10 am to 4 pm in The Studio and this a perfect opportunity for anyone who is interested to have a gentle introduction to the art of prodded rag rugging . Below is just an example of what could be achieved in this day workshop . Imaging being able to make and add something like this to a lovely Easter display in your own home .



  If you would like to attend please visit www.creativecoopers.blogspot.co.uk and go to the workshop page for course information and visit the contacts page to contact me . Alternatively you could message me on my Facebook page , Handmade Over Yonder  to arrange securing a place and places have already started to go .
Now I'm looking forward to spending a week at home and  being out and about with Mr P and our boys . 
Thanks for popping by and ta ta for now .
Tracy xx

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

A thread of connections

Isn't it strange how days can turn out ! 

Recently I've been in a real slump , some days  I've wanted to throw in the towel with my business and get a job ( which would = a wage at the end of the month ) and make my creations as a hobby . There has been some serious internal dialogue and arguments going on inside my head , I've been battling with the love for what I do and make with the serious lack of money . But as always I solider on trying to keep faith in what I'm trying to achieve . I have had some lovely moments recently, especially when my first batch  for 2014 of Mr Foxes were finished . This is what makes it all worth while , when my little creations are finished  they go off to new homes to be loved and admired and it is the fact that my handmade items are giving other people such pleasure that spurs me on and I do love making them .
 One Mr Fox had  to stay with us and has become the newest member of our Family on the insistence of
our youngest ( I had previously promised him  one and how could I refuse !!)

But little events and conversations yesterday started even more cogs turning in my head  , as Mondays go it was a pretty normal start to the week even though my head wasn't in a good place . I had decided to work at home when Rachel who teaches our Rag Rug workshops popped in to see me ( she is a neighbour as well as a friend ) and she had arrived with samples she had finished for our next round of Rag Rug related workshops . The last time we met I had shown her some images of old spools of threads I had photographed which I intend on framing and hanging up in the communal area in Coppers outside of The Studio . At which point she had promised to lend me some old spools of Dewhurst sewing thread she had and they had the name of our town on . I thought it would be apt to have large images of them hung up at The Studio as we are virtually next door to the old Dewhurst Mill where they were originally spun . So yesterday I photographed the beautiful little spools , I do so adore the tactile nature if these little every day objects . 
Then last night I had our Monday evening crochet group at my house , one of the ladies that attended I have got to know through coming to one of our Rag rug work shops as well as  having mutual friends . She also works at my eldest sons school and through our conversation and talking about photographing the Dewhurst spools she went on to tell me that my son went to school in what once was the  Dewhurst Mill owners Family home ( built in the 1850's) and she has the daily pleasure of sitting in the old sewing room as her office . Well I was quite giddy at finding this information out and apparently our huge park which is at the top of our street and many of you Yarndale visitors may have walked through was the private garden to the house and the mill was at the bottom of the garden . 

Then the thought of what have I been making for the last two days popped into my head ,  My Yorkshire Mill Mice . If ever there was a sign that  I'm on the right track and to hang on in there it  and not give up now , then I felt that this was it .
 This change in my perception of things  has all come about because of these Dewhurst spools and the fine threads of connection they have made in my very ordinary daily life . It has made me feel like I'm in the right place at the right time . 
Weird !!
So this evening I am feeling more grounded and positive and very excited at working on my Yorkshire Mill mice . 

My family for generations back have had connections with either the weaving or spinning in the wool mills of Yorkshire or the manual production of textiles . We have ancestors on one side of the family with continuous connection in the production of textiles that dates to the late 1700's and they  were frame work stocking knitters . 
I think textiles is part of my genetic make up and I know I do romanticise about the past and sometimes the cold hard reality of trying to make a small living jumps up and bites me on the butt . 

I do think it's strange how a bobbin of thread from the past can create so many connections in one day !!
But it does ground me to look into the past and see I am part of a long line of ancestors stretching back hundreds of years that have been involved in textiles . From Frame Work Stocking Knitters , Dress Makers , Miliners , Weavers , Spinners and me a Designer Maker and Yorkshire is definately where my heart is .

But thanks for popping by and I hope you don't think I've totally lost the plot , honestly I am quite sane .
Have a lovely week and ta ta for now , Tracy xx