Thursday, 31 October 2013

Mittens and a Tower

I had a thought that I would have time for ideas, time for making things and time to write more than a weekly post what with this being half-term and all. Instead we've been sociable, doing stuff and staying out to avoid a home with no electricity. Thankfully we only had one day without power after we saw sparks fly from the cables over our cherry tree. I had visions of it turning into the burning bush right in front of our eyes, but for some reason just sat and stared at it. It all turned a bit Dad's Army, when my man, who'd seen it from above, ran down telling us not to panic. Which we weren't - until then anyways. 

In the divine wisdom of those who mend things, the electricity board have scheduled to turn all our power off again tommorow for a whole day. I've got to go to a standardisation meeting first thing anyway and then we'll all go somewhere we love to be after that while our wee home sits powerless.

There are of course a few things to show and share with you whilst all of this excitement? has been going on.


You see, I finally stitched up the super soft and thick mittens for the Bun's. Miss Rosey favoured the pom pom's, Little Bun did not. Now I'd have thought it would have been the other way round, so that just goes to show I don't know everything.


They were so thrilled to finally have their mittens, that they begged me to take tons of pictures of them wearing said mittens. Which I did.

Don't be put off at this point as I'm only sharing a few here, despite there being some really good ones you know.


They're a very cheeky pair. Such brilliant friends and loyal sisters, although they do yell and scream at one another now and again too.


Seeing them together, makes me feel a missing part where I would have liked a sister to have been. I do have siblings out there, it's just that I've never met them, so maybe that's why I feel this way more than the average only child. Who knows? All the same, I love to see my daughter's laughing and loving, knowing that someone is always there by their side


Miss Rosey really enjoys being the eldest by eighteen months, and Little Bun is only too pleased to be the youngest. They were cut out for these roles. 
 

The mittens had their first outing today. Blue skies abounded and as Mr was off for a day or two we headed to the woods we'd cycled through in the summer.

We went in search of the Tower. It's a National Trust holiday let, we can't tell if it's Elizabethan or Georgian. My man thinks the latter as there are some windows in Indian style on one side. 


I fancy this would make quite a pleasant hidey hole for a few days rest. Apart from the people trudging past taking photos.


After our walk we headed to Binky Hall's secondhand bookshop, where Mr bought some 1960's books on London and Little Bun scored a couple more Tammy annuals.

Then it was time to plop down in the cafe with hot chocolates before heading homeward.


I couldn't resist taking pictures of the beautiful windows we sat by, despite having the mickey taken until I agreed to take photos of the butter packets and the salt too.


In a couple of days, after the All Hallows Eve shenanigins is done and dusted and we've been sociable once more, I've plans to do something with this fabric and elderly sheet I bought at the start of the holidays. I'm not quite sure what it's to be as yet, but I'm thinking on it.


While I was being tempted by the stripy lemon sheet, my mind was also turning to thoughts of the tray I'd seen in the window of the same shop.


I'm so glad I brought it home as it fits right into it's corner perfectly. 

See you very soon I hope.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Tight Knits

Woohooo - it's the first day of our half-term and I'm feeling knicky knacky noodled. Plans are for some good fun time and plenty of cosy resting too.

I wonder what this weather will do? Will we need woolly hats and mittens or will it stay happy and warm. Just in case of a quick cold change, I've finally finished up the slouchy hat I was knitting and am nearly there with the girls mittens.


This is the first cabled thing I've ever actually finished so quite an achievement really. I might have gone wrong on a couple of row counts when I lost my thoughts for a while, but it all looks fine to me. Each cable makes me think of soft plaited bread. This hat was from Ros Badger's latest knitting book and is meant to be quite slouchy. As I knit pretty tight this one isn't. Note to get myself some bigger circular needles for the next one. I love this hat and pattern so much I'm going to knit another in mustard with a bobble for Little Bun and a duck egg blue for Miss Rosey and I to share.

 

It's a really thick and cosy hat just for really cold days. As it's knitted in two balls of Cashmerino Aran at a time you can literally feel the warmth oozing out of it.


Just to prove it's not too slouchy, but still fits, here it is perched on my head squishing my eyes down as hats always do. 

Before they slip down.


I might have to pop some ticky tape on my forehead to stop slippage.


Now on to other things. Thankyou so very much for your well wishes and support, it means a lot even though you probably wondered what on earth I was on about. It's a problem that won't go away, but at least I feel in charge of it again.

Hello also to new followers. Now I have a bit more of my own time for the next week and a half I'm planning to be doing much more blog visiting as there will be so much to catch up on and read I'm sure.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Nasty then Nice

The start of last week was exceptionally unpleasant. As it's to do with work, I can't be as open as I'd normally be, but I want to mention it as my week hasn't been all hearts and flowers. In the background there's the tinge of something vile and bitter which got the better of me this week and made me so upset I had to leave work. My darling man left his meeting when I called him, dealt with the situation and then came to teach my students as he wanted me to get away. It's at times like these when you feel so raw that you ironically find out how great some people are (I knew that about him of course, I mean other people). Another colleague took me straight to a cafe when I called him and another just stepped in to hold the fort knowing what needed doing.


Underlying all of this I was annoyed that I was putting people out, even though the situation wasn't of my making. I hated feeling weak too as I really like to be in control.

Once I was in the car I just wanted to drive and drive. I love driving and it relaxes me. I knew I'd be twitchy if I went home so I ended up at the end of my drive wandering round a factory shop and picked up some pretty glasses for 90p. 

Then I knew a wee spot of shop visiting would help my mood. When I got to the shop I had in mind I spied a great vintage sheet I'd not seen before. As the shop is run by a collective I was lucky that someone I knew was in that day. She made me a coffee, pushed a stool my way and we just chatted awhile. It was exactly what I needed at that minute and I left feeling so much brighter. The last bit of cheer was added by the reduced Gerbera's from the florists.


Although I still felt shaken, I was definately feeling more like me again. I had just enough time to pop home to give Alfie Blue a cuddle and lose myself in a few more rows of the slowly growing stripy blanket before picking up the girls. They were surprised to see me on a work day which was an added bonus. A bad day had slowly turned good.


The rest of the week went by uneventfully thank heavens. 

On Friday when I was off work, I had a choice - ignore cleaning the house and make things or make the house shine. 

I made the first choice obviously. To start off I picked up the cable beret I've been knitting until I ran out of yarn. Then my mind turned to patchiness. I'm not sure if it's the change of season, but I feel such an urge to change lots of the colours and things in our cottage.


On the back of the leather sofa in the snug room there's a very very old patchwork throw that I picked up at an antiques place years ago. It's torn in places and so I've patched over the rips. Now it just looks old and depressing so a cheery new throw was most definately needed.


I was in the mood to make a quick throw that could be on the sofa the same day so I chopped larger than usual squares.


Once I'd finished the top I had a quick check to see if it was big enough and was thrilled to see I'd guessed right size wise.


After quilting some old and never used Ikea checked fabric to the back, my throw was all done and ready to refresh the sofa. It's such a good feeling when a small plan that's been hanging around in my head gets made and looks just as I wanted it too.
Now only two more days to go before I break up for half-term and the girls the day after. Pure and utter bliss as we're all ready for a rest. We've already lots of plans in our heads.




Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Let there Be Light

Like most of you, I really fancied getting my hands on a copy of this here magazine, book thing. I got the last one, I kind of liked it, but I wasn't as impressed as I should have been. There was far too much of a re-hashing of the same articles that had already appeared in Mollie Makes to make it anything truly new or exciting. This time around, I'd had a sneak peak and liked what I saw, plus lovely Jane was in it and I fancied seeing more of her pad too (because - like most of us I'm nosey ok).
 
Apart from buying it online, I just couldn't find the darned thing anywhere. Then having a quick sleepy time shuffle through Instagram (where I've sort of joined in as Bobobun68) I saw that Jane had pointed someone in the direction of Hobbycraft. That was me sorted then. After dropping the girls at school I whizzed off for a quick food shop and then patiently waited for the HC doors to open.


Back home in time to truly enjoy a Monday off, I threw together my favourite breakfast, gathered my latest hooky thing and my newly found magazine.

I only looked at the pictures this time round. Words will follow later when I'm in the mood for them. I did have to stop to read a few words near the back mind you. There in the back pages are instructions for recovering a lampshade. I've wanted to re-jig all of ours for a while now, but couldn't get my head around the instructions in the books I have. These seemed really straightforward. Easy enough to jump in and have a go right now I thought as I binned all of my other plans for the day.


For my first ever attempt I decided to use some small scraps of a precious barkcloth. I've had it stashed away as I only have it in small pieces, too small to make most things with, but perfect for cutting out small lampshade panels from.


Once I'd stripped all of the red gingham fabric off the shade I got on with the easy to follow instructions. First off I made a pattern.


Then I chopped up the eight panels to cover the shade.


Once stitched together they came up a bit bigger than I needed so I did a bit of extras stretching and stitching and there it was fitted all snug pretty. 

After handstitching around the top and bottom, I really wished I'd bought a glue gun the last time I was staring at them. No glue gun at the ready, so off I went with my stitchiness to add a zig zag of
red for a finishing pzazzzz.


There are a few Heath Robinson bits in this make, but what the hell. I can't believe I've actually got round to covering a shade and it looks ok


Do you know the lampshade making even went so well that I still had enough time to make a couple of the cushions I'd had planned.


I bit the bullet and used two of my most favourite fabrics that I've been saving for goodness knows what really.


Other than wishing there were more hours in a making day, I'm really really pleased with how it's all turned out. More lampshade and quick cushion making will most definately be happening.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Walking in Other Peoples Footsteps

Another whole week has passed before I can get on here. It's been quite a full on week to say the least. I've been working four day weeks lately to cover my mans working hours as he can't be in two places at once. He's self-employed so I'm a Blue Cat representative on these days. I normally do three which is more manageable to make sure there's food, clean clothes, bills paid and all that kind of stuff (you know the kind of stuff I mean). Little time has been left to think or be creative, but I've managed to squash it in somehow or I'd sure get moody.

At the start of the week I got a phone call from my mum to say she'd got home to find a burgular in her house. Luckily she had just seen his white t-shirt at the kitchen window and thought she was imagining seeing my dad standing there. It meant she took her time putting the car away, which in turn gave him time to climb back out of the window. Thank goodness for that at least as it would have been dreadful if she had walked in with him inside. She spoke to him in the garden as he hid behind the hedge and then stood up. The police picked him up minutes after she called them. 

He admitted to the burglary and two others and so went to court the next day. He took nothing, didn't damage the house at all, but someone univited has still been inside which has left my mum feeling very vulnerable indeed. I went straight over that night and we've taken it in turns to stay over for the rest, but that doesn't help forever does it.


In all the topsy turviness our usual routines have been thrown out lately and so Alfie doesn't always get a walk with his master first thing. Little Bun and I have been trying to make it up to him when we get home. Last week we walked up through the paddocks at the back of our villages churchyard. We read many of the inscriptions as we always do. Then we hatched a plan to go and find my grandparents grave as soon as we could.

Last Saturday Little Bun was at a party near the church, so we decided it was the right day to go exploring. I never met my grandparents as they died ten years before I was born and years before mum married dad. I always remembered dad parking the car at the church at christmas and running in with a wreath for the grave.


Do you know we explored every inch of the graveyard and couldn't find them. We were about to give up when Little Bun gasped and I turned round to look straight at their grave. She said she'd felt a tap on her arm. When we read the dates we saw we were there the day before the anniversary of my grandmother's death. The story of her death months after her husbands from an anuerism is a sad one and not one I feel I should share here as dad never talked of it to anyone. It was my aunt who told my mum who told me. I just feel pleased we found them, cleaned up their grave and have made plans to take flowers at christmas as dad once did. I remember reading once that we are only truly dead once we are no longer remembered.


In the midst of this week I received a lovely parcel from a lady I know through blogging. Karen asked me to make some things for her a long old while back now and ever since we've chatted through emails. We nearly got together once, but then our plans fell through. I just know we'd get on grand when we do sort a proper meet up out. Anyways she read my post about loving this library book and so she texted me to say she had one I could have. How wonderful is that. Well I picked it up this week all wrapped up in pretty yellow fabric. I feel so thrilled to have my own to keep copy and to know that I have friends like Karen out there.

I'll show you the two things I made on Friday from this book another time and my new crochet project. I will give you a peek at something I quickly put together around my stitching though. 

Rifling through the cupboard for tracing paper, I came across my carefully put away (which means lost) vintage wallpapers. Then I got caught up in something different and ended up making two new pictures for Miss Rosey's bedroom. I've now been asked for a few more by both girls. 


After a whole making day on Friday it ended with a trip to the theatre just for two. I'd got tickets to a wartime review which sounded completely different to what it was. It was sort of awful and great in equal measure and we thorougly enjoyed it. It was Am Dram with some really good bits. There was an elderly lady who reminded us of Mrs Overall. When she did a turn as Carmen Miranda is was priceless. There was the RAF chap with a 1970's mannequins wig which we couldn't take our eyes off and as for the lady who played the Mirror's cartoon sex-bomb Jane. Well we kept hoping she wouldn't bend over in her French knickers anymore than neccessary. Our favourite was the wonderful performance of one man as Max Miller in a tight leopard print suit. His patter was spot on and really funny.

All that said they'd put together a fabulous show which really rattled through all the songs of the period. Next play we fancy is a Female Gothic piece. Now I wonder how that will measure up.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

It's Here & We're Happy With It

I've been avoiding thoughts of Autumn for a while now because that means winter and being fffffrreeezzing will come quickly after it. I now feel fairly content to give the summer up because there's so many new things to celebrate and prepare for. 

There will be Apple Festivals, followed by Halloween and then Bonfire Night. We'll hopefully have the new knits I'm busy clacking away on to wear too. 


Alongside all this are the apples we've harvested to make pies, cakes and the like; the sloe gin which is nicely fermenting ready to be sipped in December and the chillies slowly drying for all the spicy soups and chillies we'll need to warm our tums and tongues.


I've also been collecting a few books to add to the huge pile already by my bed to snuggle by the fire with. Throughout the summer I just couldn't stick with any of the books I started. This was really odd for me as I've always lost myself in a book. Being an only child with all grown-up cousins it was where I escaped to have adventures and get lost in other worlds. 

I read everywhere we went quietly snuggled in the back of the car. My dad forgot about me one day because of this habit. I was seven and the pair of us had just visited his boatyard for something or other. We had to wait for the train that ran at the bottom of the hill so I asked if I could stand on the bridge and watch it come. I put my book down and ran to the bridge. Dad stayed in the car smoking his cigar and listening to the radio. Once the train had gone, the gates lifted and dad started to drive up the hill. I thought he was teasing me at first, then I got worried and ran up the hill waving at the back of the car. When he got to the top and turned left, I burst into tears. I went to the garage as I'd seen my dad talking to the man who owned it and just waited. Dad came back, after having driven nearly all the way home. He'd spoken to the me and when I didn't answer he got the shock of his life. He thought I might have fallen out of the car, having completely forgotten I ever got out to look at the train. A long old drive back for him I should imagine. 


Books have always been figured largely in my world. After three years of a Literature degree I really fancied taking an MA in Myths and Fairytales. Instead I took a post-grad course to become a lecturer thinking I might inspire others to enjoy literature as much too. Getting all academic with books meant I found it hard to read without a pencil to annotate it. In the end I waded through daft books like Joanna Trollope to fix me of this problem. Now I always alternate reading a book that will make me think with one that I'll just enjoy whizzing through. 

Maggie O'Farrell is always a writer that I can get straight into. After I read the fabulous The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox I was hooked by her narrative style and the characters she creates. Instructions for a Heatwave has grabbed me straight away and funnily enough is set in that same incredibly hot, blue skied summer when my dad left me at the train tracks. I like how things come full circle. It just feels right somehow. 


The nights are now drawing in too quickly, but we're getting fabulous sunsets to make up for it.  

It also means it's the season of ill days off school. Little Bun was wiped out yesterday, planned well as it was my day off thank goodness. I hate when I have to say struggle on, I've got to work. She had the pleasure of hearing the dentist drilling away at my teeth every time the door opened which worried her a bit. 

 Just over the road from the dentists is a house where a lady sells bright bright flowers. I couldn't believe my luck when I saw she still had lots of stunning dahlia's to choose from. These will probably be the last until next year I guess.

 


Flowers chosen, we decided to pop off for a spot of shopping and browsing nearby. In Vintage Mischief we found a mini mixing bowl to match my Nan's larger one that my mum still uses and the brightest reddest suitcase.

The suitcase was the same price as some fabulous 1930's floral fabric and a lovely 1960s' yellow sheet. I was trying to be good, so it had to be one or the other. I opted for the suitcase as I reckoned I have tons of fabric and I've never ever seen a red suitcase before. Except on the lovely blog of the same name I guess.
 I need more and more colour pops when the seasons change to keep me sane. I'm still thinking about that fabric mind you and wishing I had more spare pennies this month.


 Now we're on the round of autumn birthdays aswell. Little Bun has been to two parties this week. One a tea party for a boy from her primary school and another for a new friend at high school. I sat up until late last night stitching this wee elephant key chain as her new friend is key ring mad.

I hope she likes as we wanted to keep it for ourselves.

 


Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Stitching Sublime

When the local library is in a church and has a good supply of crafty books then it's hard to resist popping in for a wee while.

I was so excited when I struck stitching gold and found Simple Modern Sewing. I have quite a few fabulous pattern books now, but this one has become my firmest favourite one.


It has an amazing selection of simple pattern shapes to dress from the top to the bottom.


There's so many things I want to make in here to get a whole new winter wardrobe under way that it's hard to know just where to start. In the end I plumped for the simple scoop neck blouse with puff sleeves to get me used to the patterns and instructions. I needn't have worried as they're so straightforward and clear to follow.

Now I usually go for brights and floral patterns, but this time I fancied a change. So I chose something simple and neutral to complement the clean shapes of the patterns. For the scoop-neck blouse I used the Charleston print. This was gorgeous fabric to work with it as it's a really soft, heavier weight cotton with a silky feel to it. It also drapes really well which excuses any stitching mishaps I might have had.


I did have to lengthen all the patterns before I got going as they are really short in the body and the darts would only end up in my armpits if I followed the pattern properly.

 I started my top on the Friday and it was ready to pop on by Saturday morning. It was such a comfy and flattering shape to wear that I know I'll definately be stitching a few more of these to add to the winter layers.


First top hot off the press, I was super keen to get going on the next thing. The other fabric I chose with the designs in this book in mind is a geometric pattern in the palest of grey. This print seemed to perfectly complement the shape of the wrap-round top on the left to my mind, so that's the one I used.

For some reason when I see a fabric I love I always buy a 1m and a half. No more, no less. I reason that I can make most skirts and tops from this amount. If I want to make a dress, then I need to go shopping for more meterage and that's always when just the right fabric eludes me.


I haven't stitched for weeks and then suddenly a new book erupts a new obsession in me. We were out all day on Saturday having a wonderful time so no sewing for me then. I did manage to squeeze in a wee bit of sewing time later on though, just before the wine was plink plonking into the glasses. You know how it is when you have something on your mind that you want to get a making. I always get impatient to see how the ideas I have will look in reality and won't rest until I've had a go.


For this top I fancied breaking it all up with contrasting binding around the neck and a wee bit of cream edging found at last weeks car boot.  It was this bit I was in a hurry to see to be honest. 

That's as far as I've got to be sure this week. I've been teaching a four day week and the girls and I had a cinema date the other night after school to see About Time (which was a great film with some wonderful interiors to keep me happy too). Now I'm waiting for Friday to come around (the part after the dentist's) so I can get on with finishing this top up and then start on a few new shapes with the other fabrics I have stored away.

I know for definate I'll have to buy my own copy of this book as I really really don't want to give it back to the library at all.