peppermints & poppies

where life imitates art

a comfy kind of picnic… April 18, 2010

Filed under: Photography,Writing — Katherine @ 11:27 am

What better way to spend a spring day than lazily picnicking somewhere quiet and picturesque? Yesterday dawned bright and unseasonably warm, and as Heather was making the trip here anyway, so she could have a snoop round my local yarny shop, we decided afterwards to pick up some snacks and head out to Yorkshire Sculpture Park to laze about in the sun. Or, more accurately, to laze on a bench in the shade. Lovely.

We decided on a bench, rather than the ground, mainly for the fear that I wouldn’t be able to get back up off it.

The Sculpture Park (or more accurately, Bretton Hall – the building that the park surrounds) always has a special place in my heart because it’s where I did my degree. I spent four years traipsing round these grounds, to-ing and fro-ing from my veritable dump of a student house. In my first year I spent much of my time in the ground floor Orangery, watching squirrels and bunnies from the full length windows when I probably should have been working. The next three years I mostly spent on the top floor of this building:

Bretton Hall College, formerly an independent college focusing on teacher training and the arts, merged with the University of Leeds in 2001. I graduated in 2004. In the summer of 2007, all departments were closed, and relocated to the Leeds city university campus. The Hall is now awaiting its new incarnation as a luxury hotel and spa. To be honest, that makes me a little bit sad.

Happily, for all us creative souls, the Sculpture Park in the grounds lives on.

So, anyway, a spring picnic!

Of course! Nothing says spring like a good covering of daffs. I’ve been admiring the healthy crop on the driveway to our estate every morning on my way to work, but the park was just covered, and along with the budding trees, made us feel like our cobwebs were being well and truly blown off.

So we ate, people-watched, took pictures and talked babies, sausage dogs, families, babies, hair, babies and babies. I spent some time stalking a cheeky robin, paparazzi-style (except without actually getting up off the bench, of course) until I finally managed to get him:

And as the light started to falter, and we were joined by Mr Heather, we had a final wander round the grounds before home, allowing me to participate in a level of tree climbing suitable for the seventh month of pregnancy:

All in all, another really rather nice day.


breaking the silence… February 9, 2010

Filed under: Crochet,Knitting,Project Projects!,Sewing,Writing — Katherine @ 9:41 am

Sorry for my absence, even after my resolution to pop on more often. Shameful, I know. Truth is, I haven’t really been doing anything. Well, apart from creating this, of course, which I have been putting a great deal of time and effort into:

On Thursday we found out that we are having a baby girl, which came as a bit of a shock, because we (and everyone we know) thought she was a boy. A good shock, of course. I didn’t really have a preference either way, I was just so, so sure I was on team blue!

Of course, since finding out, I have been wandering gooey-eyed through baby clothing aisles, and have come to an alarming realisation. The vast majority of baby girl clothing is pasty, washed out and feeble at best, downright ugly at worst. This little lady is going to need my help.

Baby clothing craft initiative is go for launch!


one year on… September 29, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Photography,Writing — Katherine @ 10:19 pm

On Friday, 26th September 2008, I married my soulmate.

That was the start of something. Something bigger than just me. The start of a life. The start of a family. I finished that day with a new ring and a new name and a person who’d been mine for a while already, but not quite so officially.

One year later I still giggle a small, secret giggle whenever I call him my husband.

Five days ago my husband and I (*giggle*) hopped on a train and sped off under the sea to celebrate the one year later.

By the way, did I ever tell you that I love trains? Well, I do. I’m generally not a great traveller. I hate cars, hate buses, hate boats and ferries, hate planes. But trains? Love them. I love the sounds, the rhythms, the mindlessness. The freedom to wander. The buffet cars! The platforms and announcements and whistles and guards and everything.

And all these things took us on our very Parisian anniversary trip.

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Champ de Mars

Arty shot!

Arc de Triomphe from the safety of the street

Stunningly awesome cake in an expensive-looking shop on the Champs Elysées

Tree-lined sides of the Champs Elysées

Artist at work in Montmartre

Sacré Coeur in the late afternoon

Dahlia in Jardin des Plantes

Caged birds at the marché aux oiseaux, Ile de la Cité

More to come!


ARGH! September 17, 2009

Filed under: Writing — Katherine @ 9:52 pm

For reasons known only to itself, wordpress has taken to deleting the entirety of my entries instead of publishing them.

Instead of the long, painstakingly crafted entry you were going to have tonight, instead feel my fury.

ANGER, etc.

The end.


hello world! June 28, 2009

Filed under: Baking,Crochet,Knitting,Sewing,Writing — Katherine @ 8:11 pm

It began like this: with an ice-cold drink on a warm, sticky day, watching the world go by. I was sitting with Heather, each of us with a paper bag full of deliciously coloured yarn at our feet, when she asked, simply, if I had a blog.

How very twenty-first century.

The simple answer is no, I haven’t. Or should that be hadn’t, as I pen my first address to cyberspace from the frivolously-named vessel that is peppermints and poppies? Simply two of my favourite (and delightfully alliterative) things, if you were wondering. Hello world, indeed. I know you haven’t been waiting for me, but here I am!

The complicated answer is, well, complicated. And riddled with false starts.

Perhaps at this point I should introduce myself? Ok, I’m Katherine, I’m nearer to 30 than I’d like, and I live with my lovely husband on the fringes of an old mining town in the north of England.

I have a series of increasingly complicated love affairs with art and with crafts. Sewing was my first love – my childhood sweetheart – but no sooner had a little dust settled on my pinking shears than I became infatuated with crochet (though not so infatuated that I didn’t manage to cheat on crochet with knitting, or with photography, or with baking). At the moment, the five of them  are hesitantly co-existing, while all the time knowing that none of them are The One.

Because in the background, always, sketching out descriptive patterns in my brain, is writing. But writing scares me a little, I think, because deep down I know that me and writing could really make a go of it, you know, if I could only shake off whatever it is that stops me.

Because crucially, relentlessly, I have a love/hate relationship with words. And when it comes down to it, I guess one of the things I’m longing for most from my tentative paddle into blogging is simply to learn to love my words again.

So here goes: Hello world. I’m here.