Friday, 18 December 2009

Podcast love

With so much Christmas sewing lately, I have been listening to a great many podcasts. I can hear them now that I have a fancy new, quiet machine!

What are my favourites on the iPod at the moment?
  • Americana on Radio 4. Well, for someone who got her degree in American Studies, this is a must-have. A wonderful, insightful, view of what is going on in America each week - from the beautiful buildings full of politicians in Washington DC to the small town world of middle America. Excellent.
  • Desert Island Discs on Radio 4. I LOVE this programme and have been wanting it to come out as a podcast for so long. Finally. All they need to do now is bring out I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue on podcast and my Radio 4 life will be complete. This week's castaway was Lord Coe, who is bringing the Olympics to my part of London in two and a half years time. He seems to know what he is talking about.
  • The Archers. This is not a new podcast - and I am not a new fan, but it is now podcast as a weekly omnibus edition as well as the daily 12 minute episodes, which may suit some poeple better. The story lines at the moment are excellent - Jazzer and Fallon...will they or won't they? (yes! go on Fallon!) Annette - how could she be so stoopid? and will the Grundy boys come to blows over the Christmas turkeys? Good stuff.
  • The Moth. A brilliantly simple podcast from America: true stories told live and without notes in front of an audience. Each episode is short (usually under 15 minutes) and quirky.
  • Another fantastic podcast from Radio 4 is Great Lives, hosted by Matthew Parris. Matthew Parris is a thoughtful, insightful presenter who discusses with his guest the life of a famous person who has been a great influence on the guest. It is a fabulously eclectic podcast; so far this month I've heard Paul Daniels talking about Harry Houdini, John Major on Rudyard Kipling and Kate Humble on the apartheid activist Miriam Makeba.
  • And there are of course many other old favourites: Woman's Hour, This American Life, Excess Baggage, Saturday Live and Guardian Books.

There's an enormous amount of Radio 4 in there. Maybe I should branch out a little. Do you have any suggestions?

Here are some of the Christmas presents I have been sewing. They are for someone who doesn't have a computer so I think it may be safe to show them off.

They are three simple lavender sachets, made with some leftover fabric scraps. Lavender sachets are something you could whip up very easily without a tutorial (sew pouch, stuff with lavender, close gap), but this tutorial from Checkout Girl really caught my imagination. I didn't do the applique because I was running out of time, but I did follow her suggestions on the size of the sachets and the fancy top stitching.

They are lovely. I am very pleased with them.

And what makes them even more special is that the lavender I stuffed them with came from a big bunch that Mum picked for me from her garden in France last summer. I have been drying the bunch carefully in my big jam pan (hanging from the ceiling in my kitchen) since August, and it now smells astonishingly powerful. If I had more lavender I'd be sewing these sachets for everyone I know (or maybe keeping them greedily for myself - they smell so good). I am going to see if I can pursuade Mum to plant a whole bed of lavender in France, that I can then harvest for sachets each year!


  1. I very much agree re I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Radio 4 podcasts are great, but more are needed.

    I listen to most of my radio on the iplayer in bed; sadly I usually fall asleep 5 minutes in, whatever I am listening to. So really, I haven't heard most of what I like.

    Did you listen to the Radio 4 Bleak Expectations? I came to it this last couple of months and found it was already in its third series. I loved it. I even stayed awake for most of it, which is saying something.

  2. The lavender sachets are lovely.As far as I'm concerned you can't have enough Radio 4 because they talk to me as if I still have a brain(I wonder sometimes)and an attention span longer than a gnats unlike most other forms of entertainment.Have a good weekend.


  3. I'm afraid I can't comment on podcasts, but the sachets are so lovely. Especially the top stitching.

  4. Great idea, love the top stitching, did you do that by hand? Tis beautiful.
    No time for podcasts at the mo, but R is a big radio 4 fan as well, shall investigate and come back to you!

  5. I will take the hint about the lavender bed!


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