Wednesday 29 September 2010

P is for perseverance

Hello all you love people, hope this mid week is treating you fine and dandy? I have been at a professional meeting all day today and need to switch off, it's been a meaningful and productive day and I feel good but tired. The thing is, I am a Specialist Dietitian in Neuroscience and Neurological rehabilitation and my 30 hour week can take it's toll on the old brain. I keep telling Mr. A that I need to be knitting and hooking in the evenings in order to switch off and relax and that honestly truly he didn't marry a granny! there is much to be said for the therapy of making, using ones hands and producing, don't you agree?

The title of my post today comes from the fact that sometimes it's just "the doing" and "the perseverance" that matters rather than the end product. It's the PROCESS that matters! (or am I just trying to justify the piles of unfinished WIP's I try not to look at ?)

Sooo , a while back I took it upon myself to attempt to knit a cardigan for myself, one gorgeous blue colour was chosen of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino and off I sailed into the knitting sunset , or so I thought!. One back and one left hand side panel later monochrome boredom set in so I turned the pages in my knitting pattern book to find a fair isle beanie... and so with a little bravery and perseverance this started to emerge....

My very first attempt at fair isle, it was such fun, SO addictive to see fancy patterns emerging I got a wee too excited and so the beanie that I was planning to do somehow got split into a kind of tea cosy thingymegiggy....


I don't think I should have tried to turn it into a tea cosy for my sister-in-law's wedding in 3 weeks time but I have put it down to experience and now I have the confidence to tackle another simple fair isle pattern sometime. I think this might end up in my "samples" basket {please tell me you've got one?}

While I was digging around for yarn on the weekend I found these

Oops! Sorry Alice but these were crocheted last year for your little lap blanket and I still haven't finished it! Bah humbug, I must , I will, I promise to complete this granny blanket for you very soon x

I seriously am becoming worried about myself and my overactive desire to create. Scientist by day, maker by night. I think I will need some serious help in attention / concentration therapy one of these days !

And now I bid you farewell my friends, with this little insight into our round the table dinner time discussions last night. The JOY of conkers in autumn and a lovely little book by Ed Boxall a local illustrator and children's book author whom we love.

This book has blank pages with little illustrations with the odd saying / words here and there and it's designed for the child to write their own story, something I know Alice will love in the coming winter months xox

Monday 27 September 2010

My girl is 10

Hello there, it feels like it's been a while since I posted anything but we have been oh so very very busy with the business of my lovely Alice's tenth birthday yesterday.

 We went out for pizza with 2 of her girlie friends on friday night then daddy took her to a football match in Brighton after ballet on saturday.
 Mr. A and I went to see a fabulous newish band on saturday night called Little Dragon in Brighton {who were superb by the way} and then the whole of yesterday was spent celebrating her birthday with family, tea and cake and more family and tea and cake. We are all caked out !

There were some pressies of course... I LOVE the gorgeous Belle and Boo stationery {have a look at their work it's a real delight}, it's so beautiful and so nostalgic of the innocence of childhood. Some of Alice's gifts were wrapped in their beautiful gift wrap.

We have always had Alice's birthday in our own home and it was strange waking up in Granny's home on sunday. I needed to make it feel a little like home and so I made this little birthday garland for Alice and stuck it up on Granny's fireplace, which she loved. I found a pack of very old cards which must of belonged to a card game of sorts and got lost from the rest of their pack and managed to find most of the letters I needed. I must look into which card game it is, I like word creating games.

and then there was cake ;o)

Alice thinks this photo is rather funny as she looks overwhelmed with which candles to blow out first. I told you there was cake and even more cake came in the afternoon xox
It was a fabulous day and she was so sweet and tired last night. My heart felt a little sore at seeing my girl growing up so quickly, I celebrate her every day.

And as for me time this weekend? I managed to sqeeeeeze in some knitting in a chilled out Brighton cafe whilst my two loved ones were watching Brighton and Hove Albion football, yes I have decided to take the plunge and have taught myself to do fairisle! I'm not sure if I am doing it correctly but it sure looks ok {and it's addictive} and soooo exciting to see it emerging. My first project is a beanie hat for a christmas pressie, watch this space for some photos very soon. Thanks for popping by and see you all soon......xox

Wednesday 22 September 2010

And the winner is...

Well Wednesday has arrived and (almost) gone....I have had it at the back of my mind about the "big draw" of names today for my give away but I've been busy at work till 3.30pm, then to the dentist (aaarrgh) and into town to finish buying the last of my list for Alice's birtday on Sunday. My baby girl will be 10 ! I am having a real problem with time stealing her away from me, where oh where have the last 10 years gone?

So now it's drum roll time..... and the lovely blogger who's name was pulled out of the little pile is :   Alice ! Hoorray my give away will find it self travelling southwards to New Zealand!

Congratulations, hope you enjoy Alice xox

ps. could you e mail me your address to:

Monday 20 September 2010

A couple of Ta-da moments before the giveaway

Hello everyone. Thanks for stopping by and a very big thank you to all of those that responded to my give away which will be drawn on Wednesday 22 September. It gives me such delight packaging up a pretty parcel and sending it into the world for someone else's joy. I know how excited I feel when a parcel arrives at our door x

I have tried to resist posting before Wednesday but as you can see discipline is something I need to work on! I thought I might show you some pictures of a couple of my finished projects. It's always an accomplishment when you do that last stitch don't you think and who better to share it with other than your lovely selves.

So.... here we have the makings of a 'grandala' cushion inspired by the ever so lovely Alice who's blog brims with colours and gorgeous hooky stuff (check it out if you haven't already).

I have used an acrylic yarn here to keep costs down a little as my purse is feeling a little empty from all my yarn purchases of late and to reduce my 'snobbish' attitude I used to have towards acrylic. I'm not sure where it came from because I don't consider myself a snob as such, I think I just had it in my head that all acrylic crochet granny blankets felt harsh and almost squeaky and rough on your skin. However, I am now a convert after using this Stylecraft yarn seen here. 
It's soft, cosy and rather affordable!

And now for the finished cushion...

Something nice to snuggle up with on the sofa with all the nights drawing in :o(

And then came these for my friend Janice down the road, to say thank you for looking after Alice's goldfish Donny and Hatty and her hamster Giggles when we went to Marrakesh this summer.

The yarn is fabuloso it's 30% wool and 70% acrylic and self patterns with it's colours as you crochet along. I must apologise but I cannot find the label and so can't tell you what it's called but am more than happy to let you know next time I pop down to my LYS.
What do you think of the colours? I think they are a bit of fun and jazzy for the autumn. best of all is that almost 300m of this yarn costs me £3.95 certainly enough to make a pair of these me thinks.

I made this pattern up and have called them granny (fingerless) gloves. For those who are interested all you need to do for each glove is:

Make two 'granny' squares either 3 or 4 rounds depending how wide your hand is. I made 4 rounds for mine, I think a child's size would be 2 or 3 rounds.
Sew / crochet the granny square's together along the sides leaving a space for your thumb to pop through.
Is this making sense so far ?

Now you can pass your hand through your joined up squares and pop your thumb through the space and start to visualise your glove taking shape.
Next; tr or dc (US)  around both the top and bottom of the joined up squares. I did 3 rows on the top, fingers bit of the glove and 8 rows on the bottom, wrist bit of the glove. The number of stitches you do one again depends on the size of your hand and wrist/arm and how loose or tight you want your gloves to be.

Then do a small shell or picot design at the end of the wrist/arm end and a row of dc or sc (US) at the top, fingers bit.
Almost there...
Last but not least make a decision about whether you want to have a "naked" thumb popping out or a covered one ? If you like naked you have FINISHED your fingerless glove, however, if you want a clothed thumb you can tr or dc (US) 3 rounds {or longer if you have a long thumb} around the thumb space you created earlier when you sewed your granny square's together.

Phew... I hope this makes some kind of vague sense ? If not you can all riot and I will make a more photo based explanation if you would like to make some granny gloves for yourself?

Here is the finished product Ta-da

I like mine to have a cosy fit so can you see how much more narrow my finger and wrists are in comparison to the granny square bit ?

A closer up of those jazzy colours

Can you see my wee little shell edging?

And one last (rather naff) picture of me trying it on. They are super cosy that's for sure and super practical for autumnal days.

and another...

Well, that's all folks, hope you've enjoyed your read, see you on Wednesday xox

Wednesday 15 September 2010

Hooray it's a Give Away !

Hello all you lovely people. Hope this mid-week is treating you just fine? Well, I can hardly contain my joy and thrills at finding out I now have 11 followers! Now don't get me wrong, my happiness does not depend on the kindness of strangers and my identity is not written in how many people dip in to read my ramblings.... BUT it's SUCH FUN seeing the number going up. Really puts a smile in my heart ;o)

The honest truth of the matter is that I was going to do a fun give away when I got to 10 followers but the number jumped from 9 to 11 within the last 24 hours so now this is my 11th hour give away to celebrate all of our lives and to give me the happiness of sending a little parcel of goodies to a new found friend.

So here is a picture of what could come your way....

and another slightly more clear picture on our floor, my good old trusty "photo shooting studio"

As you can see my give away has the following :

1 Avoca rose tea towel, 1 patterned stamp, 6 dolly pegs, a pack of 4 ceramic and 4 vintage pink buttons I love to collect, 1 ball of 100% cotton for crocheting/knitting face cloths, 1 Love badge, 1 sample of white cotton lace for possibly sewing onto a border, 1 sweet card painted by local artist Claire Fletcher (she paints heavenly vintage canvases and furniture) and last but not least 1 vintage embroidered tray cloth for tea time! I always need a lovely cuppa x

It's a bit of a pink/purple theme going on there, Hmmm maybe I am more of a girly girl than what  I thought. All of the above lovely bits have come out of "The Bag" in the attic. Have you got one of those? Where you pick up bits and bobs in charity shops, sales and country fairs? Always good if you accidently have fogotten to buy a gift for someone xox The best thing is that these add up to soooooo much less than what they would of cost at full price. Oh happiness x

I will draw a name from the the list of Lovely people in 1 week's time ie. 22 September 2010 and announce it here. To enter please feel free to "follow me" and then after the winner is drawn I will ask you to email me your address. 

Thank you ever so much for havng fun with me xox

Monday 13 September 2010

Please can we have 3 day weekends?

Greetings lovely people!

Where oh where does the weekend go? We have had a lovely relaxing, family weekend in the countryside picking blackberries to make apple and blackberry pie and a couple of jars of jam too, having italian ice-cream at our sea side and progressing with knitting my cardigan and hooking my little "grandala" squares for a cushion on the sofa.

Two little fun purchases came my way (more like I couldn't kind of resist them...), first this little brooch which makes me feel nautical, sea-breezy and happy in a sort of tinker tailor, soldier , sailor way.

So I thought I might share it with you, I bought it in a lovely shop McCarrons of Mercatoria found in Norman Road, St. Leonards-on-Sea. It's a delicious shop full of goodies which are often handmade and local!, they also have an art gallery and  serve tea and cake :o)

Me thinks I shall wear it on a care free cycling day at the sea side day ...

And then, I simply could not RESIST this beautiful Lea Stein cat brooch from Lily Rose, a stunning vintage and retro shop in my town. The lovely Julia who owns Lily Rose sells my vintage fabric bunting I make and button hair slides amongst other bits and bobs I produce from our snug. Soooo instead of accepting her latest cheque for me I did a swopsie (hee hee) for this litte beauty. Hope you enjoy...

Lea Stein is an incredible lady and designed  these between 1969 - 1981, you can see more of her beauties here. I certainly will enjoy wearing this brooch this winter. I personally think we should all wear more badges and brooches, the more interesting the better. I think I ought to do a post on some of the brooches I have collected over the years, maybe sometime soon.

The weekend allowed time for work (as in me facillitating Alice's homework!) and some relaxation from this magazine, the 1 and only that I subscribe to. I love the "plop" sound it makes on the door mat when the postman delivers it and nobody, yes NOBODY is allowed to or dares to for that matter open it before me! It's my one and only selfish mummy thingy I've developed and I don't feel I need to justify it ;o)

Ooooo how I love tis magazine, it warms the cockles of my heart and is ever so inspiring.

I also stumbled apon these which I forgot I had stashed away back in the spring (oops) and so I think they will be next on the agenda. I think I was thinking Cath Kidston kind of colours when I bought these or maybe not. Never mind I am sure they will make someone a lovely hooky blankie.

I simply neeeeed the weekends to be 3 days ....

Anyway I shall leave you with a little quote I found for Alice which I wanted her to read and remember as she was getting quite frustrated with herself whilst doing a little water colour painting of a lighthouse. I like it and hope you do too xox

Hope you all have a sunny September week x 

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Love is...

Hello again ! 

Mr. A has gone away on business to Cornwall for 2 nights yesterday, soooooo Alice and I are having 2 girlie nights in, eating delicious veggie food and pizza! double portions of pudding and watching DVD's xox Sometimes I like time on my own and so I am just sharing a slice of me wallowing in it while Mr. A is away. This is what Love is/was last night...

Sewing Allypops a little skirt with the fabric she chose, I think a line of ric rac would look fab but she is not convinced

Picking flowers from the potted garden and just enjoying them before the rain came

Reading my new book club book (I read this about 15 years ago when I went through a bit of a feminist period and am excited to re-read it again, I adore Margaret Atwood's novels)

Siping on this, don't you just love the Clipper packaging ? I love this purple, delish.

Making dinner from this new recipe book, Rose you are a Veggie Goddess ;o)

Not worrying too much about this...

Appreciating another one of our purchases from Marrakesh 

and a stunning piece sent to me by my most favourite friend in South Africa which she made with her fine hands

and last but not least absolutely loving writing a good old fashioned letter with my new and super stunning ink cartridge pen which is the best I have ever come across.

I had one of these years ago that a fine art student friend gave to me and oh boy did I love it but then some nasty little person nicked it. It's been years since I have had the joy of using one of these Rotring pens, sheer velvet when you write and I am an old fashioned kind of gal and just LOVE ink on paper. This little baby cost me £14.60 ! from our local art shop. Lets hope no-one decides to nick it again. If you love ink pens like me, you simply must give this variety a twirl, you won't look back xox

and tonight I will be indulging in a bit more of this business of hooky which I started last night as I needed a break from knitting my cardigan (using once colour was freakng me out a bit!) and this materialised thanks to the very clever and inspiring Alice  who has a fabulous blog of all things hooky which is full of patterns of sheer delight, this is her latest called a "Grandala"

A little bit closer

Watch this space for my completed cushion. Thanks for popping over xox

Monday 6 September 2010

A room of one's own

Hello to all my lovely blog land friends, it's good to be feeling human again after a rather horrid head cold and chest. Thank you for all your kind words and well wishes. I think I slept most of saturday and sunday away and found myself feeling better by yesterday evening and managed to make it into work today feeling ready for the week ahead.

I am not sure about you but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with all there is to do and my creative head space is constantly buzzing all the time. There are times when I lie in bed tossing and turning, planning and bursting with ideas and inspiration that it can seriously drive me silly at times.

Well, I decided to be sensible and to start keeping a note book of these ideas and it's helped, thank goodness as I can now plan and prioritise what, how and when I am going to knit, crochet, sew and make IN AMONGST being mum, working 30 hours a week and spending time with my beloved. And having a little "me" time with my girlie friends.... oooohh it's a crazy but very happy juggling act of a life as I am sure you will agree about yours.

Now, enough of me bumbling on, the purpose of this post is to say that the lounge felt rather overwhelmed with my yarn, needles, WIP's and other bits and bobs this weekend ... it was under the coffee table

on a chair...

In amongst some of Andy's records...

On the coffee table...

And another...

Oh dear...

and so feeling better yesterday evening I felt like doing something about it , a kind of autumn "sort out" , which is what I did and was kindly and ever so gently reminded by Mr. A that he did make me a "room of my own" last year which Alice and I call the snug which is a snuggly partially converted loft space where I do all my sewing and storing of vintage and contemporary fabrics as well as a place to chill out in on soft cushions and patchwork blankets where reading, knitting/crochet, chatting and drinking tea and listening to records happens. Alice has her own space in the snug where she paints, doodles and creates allsorts.

It truly is a fab place which I think we kind of forgot about for a couple of reasons; it's been hot in May/june/july here and so the loft can be a bit of a sauna and I have to admit I kind of forgot about (don't tell Mr.A !) as it's so novel and pleasurable to have a creative room of my own that it's almost too good to be true.

Virginia Woolfe said that all women need a room of their own and oh my goodness, she is a woman after my own heart xox What do you think ? Do your creative bits and bobs infest all corners ? Let's see how long I can prevent mine creeping down at night times ;o)

Finally I will leave you with a joy from my potted garden ( the scent from these flowers was remarkable)

and a picture of my finished blankie with shell stitching...


Thanks for visiting x

Friday 3 September 2010


I have been so well over the summer, managed to enjoy all my holiday's and break from work and now find myself lumped with a "seasonal change" head cold, which is horrid to say the least. I am the world's worst patient and do not appreciate having to slow down!

Anyway, being forced to lye in bed with radio 4, lemsip and anti-inflammatory pills, my knitting and the net isn't too much of a hard life....

I found this fab pic on google images which cheered me up :o) as I love the 1940's and am REALLY into my knitting at the moment.

I have been reading  a little about the history of knitting and came across this quote:

"The word is derived from knot, thought to originate from the Dutch verb knutten, which is similar to the Old English cnyttan, to knot. Its origins lie in the basic human need for clothing for protection against the elements."

and during the 2nd World War:

"Make do and mend was the title of a booklet produced by the British wartime government department, the Ministry of Information. Wool was in very short supply, and the booklet encouraged women to unpick old unwearable woollen items in order to re-use the wool"

A lovely friend of mine bought me a re-published version of the Make do and mend book last Christmas and I am really enjoying reading it in bed today.

Sometimes one gets sick for a reason!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone xox 

Wednesday 1 September 2010

And now for some knitting

Hello everyone! Today is the last day of my annual leave for the summer and it's back to work for me and school for Alice. Still can't believe our baby will soon be 10 and in year 5 at school, where on earth have these years gone? The scary thing is that I tend to concentrate on her so much that I forget that I too am aging !!!

Having Alice is like reliving my childhood again, all her imagination, thoughts and finding out what matters in life, it truly is a miracle and amazing to be part of. Can you tell that I am missing her? She slept over at a friend's last night and is due back very soon, sometimes it's nice to have the "free" time but usually I feel a little bare/naked almost without her near, that first snuggle up and kiss in the morning has no price attached to it.

Anyway, while my little girl has been away I have been down to my LYS, Wa wa wool and discovered a super summer sale. I went with no purpose but came away with one. Does that ever happen to you? A sense of excited frenzy and not knowing where to start in the shop, all that yarn, colours and temptation and then a groaning purse looking rather empty as you leave?

Well my purpose evloved with the help of Lelsley who works in the shop occasionally, she helped me FOCUS on the purpose of knitting myself a cardigan for the autumn.

Thank you Lesley, I am so pleased to not come away with a rainbow of colours and no real project in mind. So I am putting down 1 needle for 2 for the time being and hey ho it's ADDICTIVE ...  and exciting to knit again. This is most defnitely not to say no hooky time, oh no, it just means that when I need a slight change from knitting my cardy, I can hook up a quick and easy something for that finished satisfaction feeling, something that crocheting does for me. Knitting as you know takes that much more longer and PATIENCE, something my creative crazy mind can severly lack at times.

Well enough chatter, here are some pics of my pleasures...

Here is the book from Wa wa wools library with the cardy pattern, it's well written with a list of abbrevaitions, and what I would say is a beginner pattern for the likes of me as a newby to the world of knitting.

Here is the cardy I plan to knit

I like the pretty dull pink of this cardy but think it will make me look washed out, so I found myself magnetising towards one of my favourites, a deep blue. Wa wa wool sells lots of Debbie Bliss yarns which are super scrumptious to feel and knit with but can be a bit on the pricey side, so a summer sale was the best time ot indulge in 11 balls of this...

So silky with the cashmere in it, it simply slips off the needles when knitting with it, making the addiction more intense!

I decided to start on the front left panel , I am not sure why, I think I decided the back was just tooooooooo many stitches to cast on and it would take aaaaaaaaages to see beyond the border of moss stitch. Oh dear am I revealing my lack of patience again? Do you see the gorgeous plate with 2 lemons on? One more of our many purchases in Marrakech, a fruit plate or big enough for salads and couscous maybe?

Want to have a closer look ? Andy sure did good with all that haggling!

So I am off to knit my way into the afternoon in the sunshine with Alice on the beach and will not be thinking of all the organising and packed lunches I need to do for tomorrow. Oh yes, I forgot I have my monthly bookclub to go to tonight where we will be discussing this book:-

It's something I would never have chosen for myself , a bit of a sci-fi novel, but I guess that's the joy of our "out of the hat" bookclub where we all put names of books we would like to read and one gets pulled out the hat each month.  Hope one of my books pops up soon.

So cheerio for now, I'll leave you with a couple of images which Alice took over the last few days
Happy days to all xox