Monday, 10 September 2012
Finding cheap vintage is getting harder and harder these days...especially in London. However, some days luck is on your side, you are in the right place at the right time, and you get what I like to call a 'Scoregasm'. I got all this stuff (which includes an original 1920s framed oil painting) for just under £20.00. Can you believe it! It makes all those days of getting up at the ass-crack of dawn, all full of optimism then coming home empty handed, totally worth it.
Love and Light
Saturday, 8 September 2012
I could never grow tired of Rye. One of my favorite places in the world, I find it totally enchanting...probably because it is...and very haunted...like every Medieval town should be. The famous Mermaid Inn (pictured just above) is one of the most haunted buildings in Britain. I always hope to see some ghostly face peering out the leaded windows at me, but no such luck yet. Those who stay at the Mermaid in hopes to see some of its paranormal inhabitants usually see nothing. It's the poor unknowing sods who just want a nice weekend away, to de-stress and unwind, who get all the action. I heard about this one couple who stayed there and saw one of the ghosts walk into their room through one wall and walk out the other. They were so terrified that they left their room in the middle of the night. The hotel manager found them asleep on the sofa in the lobby. They made the hotel staff go back to the room and get their luggage...they were too scared to go back in there. They obviously didn't get the memo.
I know it's a cliche (especially coming from an American) but I can totally lose myself in the history of Rye. From the safety of the here and now, I can look down one of the cobblestone roads and completely imagine what it must have been like 400 years ago. The sounds, the smells, the people, the clothes...and the danger...the rough smugglers and snipers...the sheer lawlessness of it. It's very romantic to dream about it, but in reality, you wouldn't want to live it...especially as a woman.
I would love to live in Rye for a little bit and do nothing but explore and paint the scenery and not have to worry about money. I wish there was a way that I could not be so dependent on London and have the freedom to live anywhere and be able to comfortably sustain myself financially. I'm sure it could be done, but the risk is quite scary....in fact seeing a ghost is less scary!
Love and Light
Friday, 7 September 2012
On the way to Rye we always drive through a lovely old Kentish village called Appledore.
Appledore means 'apple tree' in Saxon. Many years ago, in Viking times, it used to be a bustling port and it has an incredibly rich and interesting history. It's a perfect place to stop for lunch. There are places to have a picnic or you can have a wonderful meal at the local historic pub. If you go, be sure to visit the antique mall that is housed in the Old Forge. I think it's a hidden gem because I always find a treasure there and it's dirt cheap too!
I love the church with it's minimalistic clean lines and modest stained glass windows. Inside the church, encased in a long glass case, is the best treasure of all...The Appledore Tapestry. The tapestry, designed and created by parishioners Monica Woodhouse, Liz Marsham, and Joanna Edward, is a very long (approx 20 ft?) panel of meticulously laid out needlework, embroidery, appliques made from fabric scraps and found objects that illustrate the history of Appledore spanning from 892 AD to 1988. The craftsmanship is just simply beautiful and the photos don't do it justice. You really do need to see it in person to appreciate the work that went into it. If you like textiles...you really do need to see it.
Oh, and did I mention that some of my ancient relatives are buried there in the church cemetery, for reals...how cool is that?
Love and Light
Thursday, 6 September 2012
What do you do with all the mushy fruit left over from the picnic fruit salad? Pick the berries out and make a crumble from them. You can use any kind of berries or fruit with this recipe but this time I used a combination of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries because that's what I had left to use up. The crumble is so good you would NEVER guess it's not made from wheat. I have fed it to the fussiest of wheat eaters, not telling them it was gluten free, and they didn't even notice!
750g fresh berries (or other fruit like rhubarb or peaches)
2 tbsp orange juice
75g butter (softened)
175g gluten free flour (I use Doves Farm Plain White Flour Blend)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1. Preheat oven to 190c (375f) or gas mark 5. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a deep, ovenproof dish.
2. Chop the strawberries into bite size pieces and put all the berries into the baking dish, evenly distributed. Sprinkle HALF of the sugar all over the fruit. Then spoon the orange juice evenly over the fruit. Set dish aside.
3. In a medium bowl rub the softened butter into the flour until it is all mixed in and resembles large bread crumbs (I use my bare hands but you can also us the back of a wooden spoon or a pastry blender.) Blend in the remaining sugar mixed in with the cinnamon and ginger. Pour the crumble mixture over the fruit, pressing it down well with the back of a spoon.
4. Bake in the center of the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until crumble topping is browned and the fruit is bubbly. Serve it up hot or cold...either way it's deeeelicious!
Love and Light
Tuesday, 4 September 2012
A couple weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to attend one of Permacouture's natural fabric dyeing workshops. The Dinner to Dye For workshop is a unique type of workshop because it's practical, intimate and social. You learn about how to use plants to make natural dye, very simply and gently. I explored dyeing with dock root, fig leaves, nettles, onion skins and saffron on tussah silk and wool. We explored different mordants as well. Then you go on a little walk around the farm garden and talk about plants and foraging. By the time you get back, the table is set for a lovely group meal with foods prepared with the same variety of plants we used for dyeing. Beautifully organized by Katelyn and her team...a very lovely day out...I met some really nice people. I highly recommend it.
Love and Light
Monday, 3 September 2012
Sunday, 2 September 2012
Ahhhhhhh...beautiful Hever Castle...the childhood home of Anne Boleyn.
"The oldest part of the castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and a walled bailey. In the early 1500s the Bullen family bought the castle and added a Tudor dwelling within the walls and so it became the childhood home of its most famous inhabitant, Anne Boleyn. It later passed into the ownership of Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. From 1557 onwards the Castle was owned by a number of families including the Waldegraves, the Humfreys and the Meade Waldos. Finally, in 1903, William Waldorf Astor invested time, money and imagination in restoring the Castle, building the ’Tudor Village’ and creating the gardens and lake."
Words can't express how breathtaking this place is. It is a proper Tudor castle with a moat, acres of land with canals and a lake, huge oak trees hundreds of years old and creepy topiary trees. Jousting, swords, big horses and all that romantic stuff is there too. Inside the castle (not allowed to take pictures, which is why there aren't any) has stone floors, walls, twisty turny staircases, loads of medieval furniture...and a very good vibe. Despite its reputation, I didn't feel any creepy ghost vibes in this place...it was full of love and history and the warmth of family. The huge Mediterranean gardens were gorgeous and full of huge Italian urns and sculptures, hundreds and hundreds of years old...just simply amazing. England really does have some awesome history.
Love and Light