Posts Tagged ‘Todmorden’

The Flood!

Monday, June 25th, 2012

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A 1950s G Plan sideboard in our sitting room with flood water surrounding it

Have you noticed that we’ve been a little scarce on the blog and social media front since last week?

a flooded corner of our sitting room

Well the reason behind it is that we were one of the flood victims in the Calder River Valley on Friday night.

antique chest in our sitting room with flood water surrounding it

A metre of water lapped at our front & back door and it was soon apparent that we wouldn’t be able to stop it coming inside – it quickly came up through the floorboards to a height of about a foot and a half. We managed to save a lot of our things by putting them on our big kitchen table or taking them upstairs but alas, bigger items of furniture, kitchen cupboards and appliances have been ruined. And there’s now an awful lot of cleaning up to do – there’s a layer of mud on every horizontal surface!

Any further blog posts will be postponed until we get everything sorted out and back to normal. We’ll just leave you with a little clip of video we took on our mobile phone out of a top floor window after we’d retreated to higher ground:


The river and street become one!

Tuesday Huesday: Vintage garden chair

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

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vintage 1970s blue floral garden chair

We’ve been having the most glorious late spring/early summer weather here in Todmorden and our vintage garden chairs have been seeing some action for the first time this year. We completely disagree with whoever came up with, “blue and green should never be seen”!

Chuffed with my ciabatta!

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

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sliced, homemade ciabatta with Todmorden-made Pextenement cheese and watercress

I’m chuffed with my ciabatta! It was my first ever attempt and I think the loaves turned out really well!

two uncooked, homemade ciabatta loaves prooving before getting put in the oven

I used a recipe from one of my favourite baking books, Bread by Christine Ingram & Jennie Shapter. If you’d like to try making this one yourself, I’ve listed the recipe at the end of this post.

sliced, homemade ciabatta detail from a sliced, homemade ciabatta

There’s always a little ‘hold your breath’ moment as you cut the first slice and have a look at the crumb. Proper, big ciabatta holes!

sliced, homemade ciabatta with fried eggs and Todmorden-made sausages

I had a few slices, fresh from the oven, with a handful of watercress and East Lee soft cheese made locally by the Pextenement Cheese Company… Justin had his with the slightly less healthy option for his Sunday brunch – fried eggs with pork & chive sausages – but it was all local produce too – and delicious he said.

For the biga starter

7g/¼ oz fresh yeast

175-200ml/6-7fl oz/¾-scant cup lukewarm water

350g/12 oz/3 cups unbleached plain (all purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting

For the dough

15g/½ oz fresh yeast

400ml/14fl oz/1⅔ cups lukewarm water

60ml/4 tbsp lukewarm milk

500g/1¼ lb/5 cups unbleached white bread flour

10ml/3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Makes 3 loaves

  1. Cream the yeast for the biga starter with a little of the water. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Gradually mix in the yeast mixture and sufficient of the remaining water to form a firm dough.
  2. Turn out the biga starter dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave in a warm place for 12-15 hours or until the dough has risen and is starting to collapse.
  3. Sprinkle 3 baking sheets with flour. Mix the yeast for the dough with a little of the water until creamy, then mix in the remainder. Add the yeast mixture to the biga and gradually mix in.
  4. Mix the milk, beating thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Using your hand, gradually beat in the flour, lifting the dough as you mix. Mixing the dough will take 15 minutes or more and form a very wet mix, impossible to knead on a work surface.
  5. Beat in the salt and olive oil. Cover with lightly oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1½-2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
  6. With a spoon, carefully tip one third of the dough at a time on to the baking sheets without knocking back the dough in the process.
  7. 7 Using floured hands, shape into rough, oblong loaf shapes, about 2.5cm/1” thick. Flatten slightly with splayed fingers. Sprinkle with flour and leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  8. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas mark 7. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and sounding hollow when tapped on the base. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Friday Folks: Olivia Pilling

Friday, February 17th, 2012

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Olivia Pilling in her studio

This Friday, we’re really pleased to be featuring local artist, Olivia Pilling. We first saw her gorgeous, colourful paintings in Todmorden Fine Art. Owner, Dave Gunning was excitedly enthusing about this new and extremely talented young artist that he had just started representing. About a year later, we went for dinner at the Todmorden Vintner and saw two large paintings on their walls… unmistakeably Olivia’s work. When we said to the owners how lovely they were and if they were in fact done by Olivia, they said yes, she’s their niece! Since then we’ve been to the restaurant to attend an exhibition opening of her work – and she’s invited us to another one happening next week – we’re really looking forward to it!

green dotted horizontal line

painting of a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Olivia Pilling. I’m am artist, more specifically a painter. I work in acrylics. I’m 26 years old, and have recently moved to Manchester from Todmorden.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

How did you get into the business?
It was by accident to some extent. I was doing my Fine Art degree at the time in Nottingham but over the long summer holidays I’d have small exhibitions at the Todmorden Vintner restaurant back home. I needed to get two paintings framed, so went down into Todmorden Fine Art gallery to get them framed. The paintings were just placed on the floor (apparently lent against the wall of the gallery to one side) when one customer came in and took a shine to them and offered £250 for them, then another customer came in and offered £500, then another came in and offered £750! As a skint 19-year-old student, I was ecstatic when I heard! Since then, I’ve been selling my work through the gallery mentioned and have gone on to sell with four others in the North West and the Midlands.

painting of houses by Olivia Pilling

Who or what inspires you?
I don’t have to go far before I feel totally inspired to paint. I love to walk, and try to do everyday. When I lived in Todmorden on the hilltops, I’d walk to the end of the hill and be surrounded by rugged moorland, patchwork fields, steep cliffs and be able to look down to Todmorden in the valley to my left and Cornholme on my right. Cornholme especially is a feast for my eye, the train-line runs straight through it squeezing through the valley walls. Dotted around are rows of terraces, mills chimneys and zig zagged shaped factories. It’s like a little toy town, it looks very sweet and quaint. The shapes, angles of the architecture really appeal, it allows me to create wonderfully simple fresh planes of colour with one brushstroke but still with a decorative element. I’m unashamedly a sucker for aesthetics and colour. I try to squeeze as much colour as I can into my paintings, and in parts, sections of my work will look abstract as I put brushstrokes of rich colour anywhere I can.

painting of cows in a field by Olivia Pilling

Travelling inspires me, especially exotic colourful places. I was lucky enough to go to India last year, and visited Jaipur known as the pink city and Jodhpur know as the blue city, I was in heaven with the colours and decorative jewellery and clothing, and architecture. I’m planning a trip to Jordan next year. It appears to be an absolutely fascinating place. David Bomberg’s paintings of Jerusalem and Petra are a real inspiration to me, he handles paint amazingly and creates such beautiful paintings.

I love the work of the Fauvist painters, specifically Jawlensky, Vlaminck and Kandinsky. Russian folk art is also an influence – the heavy use of black in the motifs and drawings, help to make the colour pop and this is something I try to do with my own work. I like to play around with light sources in my work. Having light coming from different directions can give a sense of isolation, and confusion, Russian folk art does this very well. It makes the image look quite enchanting and mysterious.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

What has been your greatest success?
I think simply my greatest success is just being able to do what I do for a living. Sounds cheesy I know, but I forget how lucky I am to to able to do something that I love on a daily basis. I came straight out of university and more or less started to sell work immediately. To have someone like your work is great, to have someone love your work is fab, but to have someone actually want to spend their hard earned cash on my work, that’s unbelievable – the feeling never gets old.

painting of a train on a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
I’m not quite sure I have some advice about how to actually get into the business, as the circumstances about how I got involved were quite accidental. The obvious thing to say would be to approach galleries and see if they are interested in your work.
I would say though that if painting is a real passion then you just have to stick at it, and be clear that it is what you really want to do. Sometimes you’re up, sometime you’re down, and sometimes you’ll get knock backs, that’s just the way it is but if you’re passionate about it, then the rest will hopefully fall in to place!

Vintage Fair Fortnight

Monday, July 11th, 2011

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detail of H is for Home's table display at the Todmorden vintage fair

A couple of weeks ago we blogged about our preparations for taking part in our first ever vintage fair. We put together a vintage fair checklist to make sure that we didn’t forget any of those essential bits & bobs.

You can download it here (it’s a PDF document) if you’re thinking about getting into doing craft/vintage fairs.

exterior of Victoria Hall, Saltaire

Two weekends ago, on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday, we had a stall at the Vintage Home & Fashion Fair in Victoria Hall, Saltaire.

H is for Home stall at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire

Our good friend Duncan came along for moral support and to lend a hand.

Vanroe stall at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire

It was lovely having the opportunity to meet customers & other vintage sellers face to face… something missing when you mainly sell online like we do.

smaller room at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire smaller room at the Vintage Home and Fashion Fair, Victoria Hall, Saltaire

Last Saturday, we set up shop again, in our home town of Todmorden  for the Treasure – Vintage Fair meets Handmade event.

exterior view of Todmorden Town Hall

Another gorgeous building hosted the event – this time it was Todmorden Town Hall.

vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

Beautiful inside too – look at that ceiling!

Justin setting up at the vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

Back to the setting up…

Adelle on the H is for Home stall at the vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

…there’s Adelle – ready to meet, greet and share in the vintage loveliness…

H is for Home stall at the vintage fair at Todmorden Town Hall

…and here’s a closer look at some of our wares!

We’ll be returning to the vintage fair scene in the autumn – hopefully see you there.