Friday, 26 October 2007

This weeks junk

Isnt it beautiful - found this little set in a charity shop and had to have it. Been hording lots of funky vintage stuff recently but i really have no where to put it and as this is a coffee pot and i dont like coffee it wont even be used :( The set is from the midwinter range and the pattern is called roselle and is from the 60s. It turns out its quite common and you can get a whole range of kitchen stuff in the pattern so might have to stop myself buying more of it on ebay.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007


After seeing the bonnet pattern for sale on Angry Chickens blog I realised what was missing from my life. I buy a hat most winters that i end up hateing or losing so this year im going bonnity.

Well I have run my own personal gauntlet and come out the other side. I have followed my first pattern and although it was very simple and obviously no where near the massive tracing paper monstrosities that I know are out there I have turned out something that looks like a bonnet!

I did have a trial run to try and figure out the instructions which I completely didn’t understand and halfway through ended up with something sewn inside out and upside down but in the process something clicked. Plus my trial run was an excuse to dress up the kitten and has now taken pride of place improving matt’s strange model of a skull that he insists on having in the office.

I had to literally fight with the sewing machine last night to get it finished. It spent the night before being incredibly well behaved until I stupidly remarked how well it was working and that we seemed to have an understanding now. The machine then decided to break thread, needles, and make large knots of thread on the underside of the fabric. I still don’t know what’s wrong with it but I was determined to get this finished last night so I just went through every setting until it decided to behave and sewed very quickly. There are still hundreds of mistakes and wobbles but im hoping no one will look that close and as it’s for me its the triumph that counts.

So here’s the finished result - Its green cord on the outside and white fleece material on the inside to keep my ears warm. I haven't worn it outside yet as its still a little warm and I don’t want to be the only person in a hat but as soon as people start getting their woollens on im there.

My next project, which is what this is about in the first place, is two more bonnets for Matt's sisters twin girls. Looking forward to choosing some cute fabric and ribbons and having another wrestle with the machine.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Wait a Minute Mr. Postman

It has arrived! Really pleased! Thank you Val. May you have another hundred great blogs. Love the pin cushion and lavender chocolate is gorgeous - have to admit i was unsure about that one but it's really nice.

I did make a pin cushion for myself a while ago that i was quite pleased with but as soon as i used it i realised that it is to thin and generally a bit rubbish so all the pins stick through to the other side and end up hurting me (I have a lot to learn). So this one will be well loved as its beautiful and already involves less pain.

I was also inspired to order last-minute patchwork gifts online yesterday so that i can have a go myself and it arrived first thing this morning - which was a little unnerving. Hadn't even received the email to say it had been shipped before i had it in my hands - certainly not complaining but was starting to get used to really slow mail so speedy couriers are a nice surprise.

I love the book its really beautiful but feel a bit daunted by all the things i dont know about - keep having to run to Google for answers to things like what is a rotary cutter?, or basting or batting??? - dont you love the internet full of answers for the clueless.
Oh well guess its all part of the fun -it seems im entering into the secret world of sewing!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Into the darkness

This is a picture of the meal and resturant i went to last weekend.

- actually its also a picture of the five friends who went with me seventy other diners a few waiters and any number of other things

No need to adjust your screens as i couldnt see anything either.

Ive just got back from a long weekend in Berlin for a friends hen night and one highlight has to be experiancing the Dark Resturant - Nocti Vagus (Literally translated night vagabond)

Its a little hard to explain dining in the dark but it was a huge rollercoaster on emotions and sensations. When i was told it would be dark, even by the waiter who prepared us, I still assumed my eyes would adjust a little but this was complete immersive darkness and for the full time I was eating i couldnt see anything at all.

We were led to our table and brought food by a blind waiter named benjamen and anything we needed from that point on we had to yell for him to help as leaving the table would have meant getting very lost and probably hurt. We could pick our food from three seperate set menus at the begginning of the night or opt for the SURPRISE which i couldnt resist. Turns out later my main meal was Crocodile, rabbit and Kudu (which i wouldnt have guessed probably even if i had seen it)

Eating in the dark was quite a learning experiance - we all seemed to start the night struggling with cutlery and dropping things and gradually decided that feeling things with our hands was much easier. As you cant see your food or anybody around you it allows you to let go of some inhibitions and really touch and taste your food.

The food was really amazing and we spent the meal mostly telling the others about what was on our plates. It took a while to feel settled but once you did i started to enjoy the sound of everyones voices and start to try to place yourself in the room. You could hear the waiters walking around us because they made clicking noises or snapped their fingers which was to warn the others where they were.

You find that that darkness hightens your other senses and you take time to feel and taste your food in new ways. My friends around me were disembodied voices but I was acutely aware of who they were and to pass anything across the table we needed to grasp hands and be much more tactile.

So this is us all dressed up on the train there which was probably not nessacary considering no one could see us and we were likely to get covered in food (im the one in black in the middle - for anyone but renee) Berlin was amazing and we did loads of other things over the weekend but "going into the darkness" as our waiter refered to the resturant will be one meal i wont forget.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

First attempts

This year I am determined to be organised about Christmas. I started buying presents when I saw things on sale or something perfect months ago and im actually feeling quite pleased with myself. I have a huge sack filled with mostly toys so at some point I get Santa status. There must be something good in there considering the interest from the cats.

See the problem is that last year I had three Christmases rushing from my boyfriend’s family to mine and then back home for our January friends Christmas. I enjoyed all of them but what with buying presents for everyone, and the extortionate price of travel I ended up back into my overdraft which I have diligently cleared since I finished my degree.

I love matt’s family but his sister now has six children with four of them being two sets of twins all under three, who also have birthdays in January. So without seeming like a miser it can get very expensive.

I actually found it really hard buying things early as switching my brain on to think about Christmas seemed really wrong before it even got cold. I hate seeing Christmas stuff in shops to early so I had to really force myself. Anyway im on track for an easy Christmas so far.

So my other goal is to try and make things for my friends this year. For the last few years we have had all our close friends round in January for a big Christmassy meal and exchange gifts and drink lots of mulled wine. Because everyone scatters across the country to families for the Christmas holidays I think it’s important we try to get together rather than handing over the odd gift in passing or at the pub. So now I need to start getting sorted about what I want to make to give to people and who will appreciate what.

My fall back for the more difficult people is any kind of food so jams and sweets, cookies are high on the list. So last night I had a trial run at making some lemon curd - because it will only keep for 6 weeks I can’t make loads now but I wanted to see if it was possible. It was quite straightforward and easier than jam but I did manage to grate my knuckle and scald my hand quite badly on the hot jam jars. Always hurt myself when im cooking I wonder if that’s a sign. It turned out really nice but a little bit to sweet so ill feel much more confidant about the next batch.

So happy well organised, stress free Christmas to you all - know thats a bit of a joke but heres hoping.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Secret finds

We have the greatest charity shop near me - approriately named (well at least by the people i know) the "secret charity shop" because the secret has been handed down by generations of my friends and you would have to be taken there to know where it is.

Anyway i have found many wonderful things at the secret charity shop which now adorn my little flat. Its run by an indian charity so its full of piles of saris and scarfs and giant pictures of the sikh gurus. You need plenty of time and a good head for rummaging but i always come away with some thing cool so i thought i would share with you a few bits from last weekend.

Found these funky vintage bowls that i think i will use for keeping sewing stuff in as im already overflowing with bowls. Behind the bowls is loads of green fabric with little flowers and strawberries on that was brand new so need to think of something to do with it - maybe a green rattling bunny since im on a roll.
Also got some wine glasses that match the set I keep breaking and some large spools of thread in different colours so all in all very pleased with myself.

And to make my week even better i wandered into town on my lunch break and there was a farmers market/craft fair going on. Very surprised to find out this was a regular occurance and no one had told me - (obviously a secret craft fair that goes on every month with out my knowledge) but got over the shock and bought a jute shopping bag to celebrate.

And last but not least i have discovered the joy of ginger curd which is soooo yum. Bought some for a friend as a thankyou for babysitting the cats and almost didnt give it to him - so very pleased to find some on the market.

And it seems that 8 out of 10 cats prefer ginger curd... but dont worry he wont get any as its all mine!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Jive Bunnies

Finally finished my rattling jive bunnies!

Although I did the main body on the sewing machine which is a wonderful invention and can turn out a bunny shape in two minutes I also decided to learn how to blanket stitch and that took me forever. Oh well at least I can say they are hand finished.

So ive been trying to find something simple and safe to make for my boyfriends twin baby nieces and when I was in an incredibly posh toy shop a while ago I came across some similar fabric toys. They were really simple animal shapes with a small rattle inside being sold for extortionate amounts and I immediately decided to steal the idea.

My main problem was what to use for the rattles inside as I kind of assumed I might be able to buy a small rattle for use in crafts but so far I haven’t found anything online. So I went round every charity shop in town shaking toys to see if they rattled and came across a number of old soft toys that were perfect. They had small plastic rattles inside that were presealed and I even sewed them into a separate lining just to be sure. I did feel a bit strange going though boxes of soft toys and shaking them all but I was determined to find something.

I did actually toy with lots of scary ideas before this - like welding plastic milk bottle tops together or wrapping match boxes in duct tape but as I am aware that I don’t want to do damage to the children that I give them to... the recycling option seems by far the safest. So here they are. I’m most pleased with the red one as I think the shape came out best but all in all they are washable, safe and rattle so hopefully they will be loved (or at least chewed on).

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Am I woman enough?

I read an article after reading Yarnstorms blog yesterday as i do most days because she is an amazing woman and i find her blog inspiring and generally a good laugh.

The article is here and written with some lovely Bile by a woman at the telegraph -- so see what you think!

I was upset by the whole tone and the attack it makes on a really amazing person and also on how that relates to me and the things that i really enjoy doing in my spare time. I consider myself fairly intellegent and i work hard for a living but why are the things i like to do as a hobby considered somehow (in this articles opinion) degrading to me as a woman.

I feel in life that it is the effort people put into things that is the most special part - if someone makes me a gift or even a meal something they have created with their time and effort i know that i am truely loved. Not to say i dont like being bought things - as i do! I havnt commented myself but the hundreds of women who have commented on the article and on the blog of the woman who wrote it certainly share my feelings.