Those of you that know me personally will probably be aware that I am usually in a bit of a hurry.

 

In terms of actual spare time, I am probably (certainly) better off than a lot of the people I know – especially those with kids and other commitments, but I am still making a stand.

I will be in less of a rush. Even if I am in one. Which I will be.

 

The all came to light when I realised how little cooking I did during the course of last year. OK, I made a couple of cakes, but then ate cake instead of dinner.

I had also got it into my head that I was eating well because I “got rid” of my microwave oven. In truth, the eggs I was keeping on to of it had been smashed. Albumen had then dribbled into its mysterious workings. So I decided not to trust those mysterious workings to be safe any more…

(The watermelon that had fallen onto the eggs and smashed them was unblemished – until 1 week later it fell onto the floor and exploded. I hate that watermelon).

 

ANYWAY

The realisation that I was eating mainly Tangfastics, takeaways and puddings was a bit of a shock. So. Action required. When I am in a rush, which I won’t be, I will need decent food in a hurry.

Tangfastics...the bane of my adult life. And adult teeth...

Tangfastics…the bane of my adult life. And adult teeth…

Chicken bought, thai green curry (chicken breasts, onions, aubergine, green curry paste, coconut cream), roast chicken (legs, thighs and wings plus seasoning, olive oil, thyme and root veg) and chicken soup (carcass, onions, carrots, seasoning) made. Portions boxed up and put in freezer.

New, tiny little microwave oven with steamer and crisper (wat?) functions ordered. Like I’m a proper grown up who cares about things like that.

 

I also made the following veggie meal this morning. I wanted something that tasted like the good, snugly bits of winter. And it absolutely does the trick.  Have a go. Measurements aren’t included because I honestly don’t know how much of anything I used.

Try not to omit things because the flavours are balanced pretty well…. Also the number it feeds depends larger upon the hunger and size of those involved. Duh.

 

HOT ROAST WINTER STUFF

Celeriac

Carrots

Sprouts

Pears

Thyme

Chilli (I use lazy ready chopped stuff in oil)

Salt and pepper

 

To serve

Grated mature cheddar (the sort that hurts when you eat it)

Posh Croutons (big french bread ones)

 

Cut it all into nice chunks and roast it until it’s roasted. The sprouts should brown. Add cheese and croutons. Eat. Say nom.

 

 

Do try it. Yummy and easy. Now to go and have a conversation about my pension.


I spent a recent afternoon measuring, marking, stitching, measuring again, cursing, tying, threading and cursing.
A couple of years ago I found 3 matching pale blue leather “skins” on etsy and happily imported them. And put them in a zip up bag with pictures of ice creams on it and ignored them.
About THIRTEEN years ago, I bought a fat quarter of Liberty’s fabulous Ianthe fabric from a shop that has since been closed down and demolished.
I have a coffee table in a fairly offensively orangey stained pine and I decided about a month ago to make a leather button tufted cushion with Ianthe buttons for it, to turn it into one of those wanky footstool ottoman things you can still rest a tray on…
So with all of my tufting experience (that is, zero), I gathered the fruits of my undisturbed stash of delights, bought some foam and some coverable buttons, did a billion drawings, watched a couple of tutorial videos on YouTube and got to it.
 
You’ll also need, foam, strong leather working thread, a variety of needles, coverable buttons, normal buttons, beeswax, thread, leather, a sewing machine wash tape, scissors, lining fabric, lovely fabric, a world of patience and no problem with the sight of your own blood or the sensation of stabbing yourself repeatedly. You will also need an elaborate, dramatic and extensive collection of swearwords. Here’s the guide….

foam STEP 1 – Scrawl incorrect measurements onto a piece of pre cut foam. Swear. Scrawl correct measurements onto piece of pre cut foam.

leather STEP 2 – Join two skins together with washi tape, sew them together and scrawl some measurements onto them. (2cm bigger both ways than the squares on the foam)

Ianthe buttons STEP 3 – Cover buttons with beautiful yet sadly delicate fabric. This is Ianthe by Liberty and it looks great on blue.

stitches STEP 4 – Do complicated knotty thing copied from YouTube video. Puff up with some pride at impressive nature of sudden expertise.

tufting STEP 5 – Do this bit. Try not to weep too excessively when leather tears and breaks in your fat fingers of ineptitude. Honestly I thought this would be the most fun bit – It really wasn’t.

tufting2 STEP 6 – Nor was this. Attempt to add sharp folds into the leather so that it looks nice.  I used a lolly stick. It meant I had to eat a lolly for practical reasons.

tufting3 STEP 7 – Continue, with the poking and folding and swearing.

tufting4 STEP 8 – Add buttons. Consider not adding a base, not adding all of the buttons and spend a long time watching iPlayer and drinking tea instead of working on it at all.
The fact I have a Chesterfield sofa in the same room puts it to some shame, but the fact that I have a designer’s head, one that says, “ruin one skin, you’ll never find another in the right colour to match” and “could you just measure that again, idiot?” means that I now have a serviceably pretty thing.
I regret not waiting for a wooden base. I got impatient and thought tying it all up together taut at the back would do (no)… But other than that, I am very happy. VERY. All it needs now is a bit more stitching, a proper fabric base and some more cursing and I’m done….there will be evidence.
Keep your stashes. Trust them and the part of your brain that required them. The bits you love may find a way to be useful eventually…

 


The Jewellery Story

introduction.

It’s fairly common to read a jeweller’s blog and see something about there being a story behind every piece.

 

Surely sometimes though there are pieces you make to see if you can, just to get the stuff out of your head and into 3D?
No… apparently there are stories. Lots of stories.
“My work contains buttons. When I was growing up, my grandmother taught me to appreciate buttons.”
I was in a room when a jewellery designer said this.

Please. What? Really? No irony? No…well, that’s one weird grandmother. W E i R D.

 

 harriet bedford buttons

I have nothing like that. I draw and I engineer. I think about what things will look like on and off the body. I worry about getting the back of the piece right and I take pride in having my own signature clasp. I’m the type of designer who gets cross with people who don’t draw enough. I also possess an intimidating display of pens.

And then I thought about my grandmother and the time she made me stand at the top of Whiteladies Road in Bristol while she crouched beside me and made me look at the city skyline. The buildings, towers and chimneys.

She didn’t care that I was embarrassed. She wanted me to appreciate the work that had gone into the environment and how beautiful a thing as mundane and everyday as the view from a pavement could be.

That switch from mundanity or simplicity to complex beauty, something you are glad you noticed has grown into a key part of my work.  

And then I thought more about my collections. Reluctantly – very reluctantly, I had to admit that they all have at least one cool fact about them. Some have loads.

And if you have bought one of my pieces, or are thinking about it, or have received one or have owned one for ages, you might want to know what you have there.

It’s a part of me and (I feel like such an idiot saying this) there is a story behind every piece.

harriet bedford. workbench

harriet bedford ember brooch

the stories will appear here.
hb x