Friday, 31 October 2014

All Hallows' Eve

We're staying in with friends tonight and munching on some hot chilli beef with sour cream, nachips and freshly made coriander and lime salsa. I expect a few 'sherbets' will be taken.

It's a film night for us. We take it in turns to host a film night with these friends. Tonight is our turn, so it's Burke & Hare starring Simon Pegg.

I have a few sweeties and some apples from our own tree for any little callers.

If you are going a witching tonight and are stuck for ideas, check out these fab ideas over at Jan's blog.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Handmade is Best

The shift in the weather has prompted many makers and crafters to start their Christmas projects. I've got my thinking cap on re some handmade goodies, for gifts and decorations for the house, but I'm finishing off some other projects first.

Yesterday the Mister and I visited a friend who always helps us a lot. I thought I would make her a wee gift to show her our appreciation of all she does for us. The yarn I used for her present - a cowl, was a good quality one and just the right shade of blue for her. Now, in the best thrifty tradition the cost to me was only my time, seven hours. The yarn itself had been part of a Rowan subscription offer that another chum bought for me as a birthday present a couple of years ago. This is the second gift I have made from the yarn and I have enough left to make one more item. My time is precious, so although the yarn for the gifts didn't cost me any hard cash, I have I think given a gift of value. It also helps when the recipient is delighted with the result.

It is the first cowl I have ever made and I'm so pleased with the result that I'm making myself one now, albeit in a different weight yarn. This blue Rowan yarn is a pure wool 4 ply, which is considerably thicker than the yarn used in the original pattern. It is made on a circular needle, which is always a bit fiddly to start with but works well once you get going, as long as you remember to mark the start of your rows. Seen here with a small red marker.

I pinned and blocked the finished cowl but it still seemed to take on its own different idiosyncratic look, nonetheless beautiful for that methinks. After all a pattern is only a guide and everybody brings their own creativity to handmade items.

Here is the link to the free pattern which is listed on the ever so useful Ravelry site. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

American Museum - Some More Titbits

One of the important things to me about blogging is the sharing of ideas and information. So I aim to post about interesting things I do or places I visit, that may be helpful to folk. I get a lot from other bloggers on that score so I like to pay a bit back into the pot when I can, so to speak.

I realise that not all my readers are based in the UK and may or may not ever get here. But I'd like to think, that like me, they enjoy reading about and seeing places regardless of whether they can visit or not.

Just recently I have been gleaning lots of info and tips from Blogworld about the Scottish Islands, as the Mister and I are planning a trip in the new year.
From the House of Edward and Where Five Valleys Meet have made some fabulous recommendations over the last year or so regarding Scotland and The Isles. Sharing at it's best.

So...........what to see at the museum. Well the gardens looked superb. We went late in the day so didn't have time to take a good walk around, but it looked picnic perfect to me. Next time we shall visit in the Summer months and spend the day there.

The museum opened in 1961 and is billed as the only museum of American Decorative and Folk Art outside the United States. There are three floors to explore in the main building, plus a Folk Art annexe and another building that houses the changing exhibitions.

There are numerous 'Period' rooms that are exhibits in themselves, quilts, textiles and Folk Art artefacts. Most of it interesting, although for me I did feel that the history and detail surrounding the subjugation of the Native American population was conspicuous in its absence.

As always, I was most taken with the wonderful examples of handmade items. They have a large collection of quilts, some rugs, antique dolls and surprisingly a case containing the Obama family in dolly form. Very good fun.

A big welcome to my two new Google Friend Connect followers, Dar Win and Jan.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Calling All Count Arthur Strong Fans


Just in case any of you lovely blogging chums are fans of the Count, here's a public information broadcast.

Tickets went on sale this morning for Arthur's 2015 tour.
I've booked to see him, I think you should too.

You can do it here.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

American Museum in Britain (Bath)

The mister and I recently had a weekend jaunt to Bath, because I just had to see 'The Colourful World of Kaffe Fassett' exhibition.

I know I have probably almost certainly seen everything in the exhibition before, but I still wanted to go, that's how I am. Can't have too much of a good thing in my book. I loved it of course. But the American Museum was quite an experience too. Very Folksy and interesting. I'm not going to fill your heads with facts about the day, I'll simply (lazily) show you some gorgeous, if not somewhat blurry pics. I know you will 'get it'. It's COLOUR after all.

I'll pop back soon with some Museum images, otherwise I fear you may nod off, scrolling and scrolling...........................

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Homespun Pursuits

I've been slowed down on the gallivanting front this week due to a lack of sleep. Frankly I'm knackered. Not due to any joyous or exciting activity, just bloomin mighty menopausal temperature swings. Just thought I'd share that. I suspect some of my blogging chums may empathise.

Anyhoo, moving on. Rugs. The homemade kind. I've finished my first, peg loom rug. I know, so exciting isn't it? Life in the fast lane.

This is it just after 'liberating' the rug from the loom.

Finished and 'installed'. Also above, showing the peg loom in all it's finery, as requested.

I am pretty pleased with it. I got my inspiration from an Irish Crofter's room set, during last year's Wool Week at Somerset House. Our bedroom now has that curated feel, ha ha.

More domestic goddess activity, in the kitchen this time, with home made soup. Actually I saw a post on Rosemary's blog which spurred me on to harvest the last tomatoes from the greenhouse.

I added more chilli, celery stalks and leaves and a few other bits and pieces, but essentially used her recipe. My it was good.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Change is a Beautiful Thing by Kathryn Ferguson

I found this here, at one of my fav' upbeat blogs. Made for Selfridge's Beauty Project last April.

All these women are in their 80s!

Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, don't mess with Mr. In-Between, no, don't mess with Mr. In-Between.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Welcomes and Winner

A quick post this evening folks as I'm just back from a short and sweet visit to Bath. Haven't even unpacked yet. I will post 'proper' in the next day or so. But I wanted to pick the winner of my blog's 3rd anniversary giveaway.

First though I would like to welcome some new followers, Jo, Alexandra and Laura.

I'm sorry everybody that entered the giveaway couldn't win a prize, but I will be doing another giveaway in the New Year.

So the winner is......................................

Congratulations Yvonne, please let me know your postal address and I will get your parcel off to you forthwith.


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Immersed in Craft

Bear by Heather Drage

Had a fun and full on day with the knitty group at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally yesterday. The rain first thing put quite a few folk off, but that was a bonus for us, as we could walk around the show without being squished to death. It was great.

I got a good deal on the tickets by booking early, then booking as a mini group, then adding a discount code that Texere Yarns had very kindly sent through to me. So instead of £16.00 per person we only paid £10.50, what a bargain!

I only made a few necessary purchases, which I will share with you another time. Small items that I needed for my projects list and one C*******s present.

Looking at and buying gorgeous materials and yarns is only part of the many pleasures of the annual show. I get so much more from experiencing other peoples work and understanding their inspirations. This show offers a large and varied body of work put together by artists and makers from all walks of life. Fascinating.

We Are What We Eat by Helen O'Leary

Closer to home, a local maker Polly Kettley, is opening up her studio for a one day 'Introduction to Lampshade Making', on Thursday 16th October. Using the most amazing vintage fabrics, you can, with her help, create your own bespoke shade.

Polly has actually made a few shades for me, which sit mighty prettily in my studio and drawing room. So I'm confident you will get good value, in every sense, from the experience.

So if you are within easy travel distance of Lewes, East Sussex, pop over to her site for the full details.

Also don't forget to enter my exciting 3rd anniversary blog giveawayRemember you have until this Sunday to participate. Good Luck.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Weekend Plans and a Surprise

The mister and I had planned to pop along to a small Real Ale festival in Lewes on Saturday night. He is usually the nominated driver when we venture forth, so it was my chance to drive him so he could imbibe more fully. I'm not a great fan of these things you understand, but in a relationship it's a good thing to share each others interests, no? And of course I took some knitting with me, so the evening wasn't a complete wash out, even though there seemed to be a LOT of SHOUTY people in the pub.

The plans for Sunday were much more up my street. Southwark Cathedral to see the Wool Week exhibition, which is free entry btw. A stroll down through Bermondsey to the Kerry Taylor auction house to view some vintage Biba bits, followed by some nosh in Maltby Street, all very trendy now, don't you know.

As we were preparing to leave the house Sunday morning, Steve Wright let slip on radio 2 that Ray Winstone was to be interviewed that very afternoon, for a BAFTA special: 'A Life in Pictures'. Where is BAFTA HQ? I asked the Mister. Why, Piccadilly says he. My cue for some over excitement.

Tickets for this fabulous event were only £15.00 a head and that included a Tattinger champagne reception before the talk. I was beyond happy, as you can imagine.

bar @ BAFTA

Any hoo, I've managed to come back down to earth now, after breathing the same air as Mr. Winstone for nearly two hours. He was everything I expected him to be, gracious, honest, funny and diamond geezerish. Wonderful.

For those of you not quite so in love with Ray, here are some more pics of the day.

The Shard
Old Southwark reflected in New Southwark
Lovely London boozer

Another lovely London boozer

The Wool Exhibition at Southwark Cathedral

Ah Londinium, how I love thee.

Monday, 6 October 2014

3rd Anniversary Blog Giveaway

Hello to all of my lovely fellow blogging chums. As you will see from the title of this post I have been wittering bestowing my wisdom and wit on this here site for three years this week.

Only fair to organise a little giveaway I thought. So with apologies for the pics, (I must blame failing light at this time of day and season). Here goes.

So the top image shows the giveaway prize in total. 2 x 50g balls of 100% pure Alpaca yarn, made in Peru. Only the best for you lot.
A pattern for some delightful fingerless mitts and various flowers and leaves, in case you can't think what to make with the yarn.
6 x pretty crochet hooks. Plus as a random afterthought, a small perfectly formed nodding doggie.

There you have it. Should you be so inclined to enter the giveaway, you will need to be a Google Friend Connect Follower and leave a comment on any of my posts this week.
Yes this is partly a ruse on my part to increase my listed followers. (Hundreds of lovely peeps visit my site so I know you're out there).

For every comment you make you will get one entry, so more comments more chances.

I will pick a name out of the proverbial titfer Sunday night.

I'm very happy to send the parcel anywhere in the world, so this giveaway is open to everyone.

I'll be back tomorrow with a 'proper' post about my exciting weekend. I know, you can't wait.