Wednesday 29 January 2014

The year in books: January

It's time for me to talk about my January book that I chose for #theyearinbooks that I am taking part in. As you can see I chose Donna Tartt's second book that took her ten years to write, (she has written 3 books which have each taken her a decade each to write, amazing!)The Little Friend. I read her first book The Secret History about 15 years ago and found that a real page turner, but in all honesty I forgot about her until about a couple of months ago when I heard her being interviewed on the radio and then on the television about her latest novel The Goldfinch and my fascination with her grew. I love that she is a recluse and rarely allows interviews. I love her sense of dress and style and that she dares to take so long to write her novels. Quite frankly I am a little obsessed with finding out more about her, no I am not quite stalking her!!!

So, back to this book, all 576 pages of it were real page turners once again for me. It begins as such: "For the rest of her life, Charlotte Cleve would blame herself for her son's death because she had decided to have the Mother's Day dinner at six in the evening rather than noon, after church, which is when the Cleves usually had it."

This novel is not directly about a murder. It is about the effect that the murder has on the main character Harriet's immediate and extended family and it is through Harriet's desire to come to terms with the past and find her brother's killer that Donna Tartt Takes you on a journey through one of aged 12 Harriet's lonely summers, encountering misunderstanding, bereavement, solitude and straightforward cruelty, she drifts further and further into her obsessions.

As the story progresses, other, tougher, meaner characters are dragged into her world and she is almost destroyed by her attempts at revenge on individuals who bear illogical grudges against her.

This book felt multi-layered to me, lots of sub plots going on which I enjoyed keeping up with. It delves into South American history which I have always liked learning about and as I followed Harriet it became evident to me that she had to learn lessons in betrayal, loss, guilt and unfortunately lessons which crossed a threshold into pure evil. It became a bit of a thriller for me, full of suspense which made it an immensely satisfying read. I almost found myself not reading every day to try and draw out the the enjoyment of suspense for longer!

I would highly recommend this book if you like what I have described and of course you can read many other much more intellectual reviews about this fascinating read. I give it a good 4 out of 5 and can't wait to read The Goldfinch, but will wait for it to come out in paperback as I am not a fan of hardback fictional books.

I am excited about my new read, Kartography which I should finish in February and will be talking about on my blog. I hope this might have inspired you to pick up a good book that appeals to you, I am feeling rather inspired with having got back into my love affair with books.

I will be next on the blog with a winner from my giveaway as seen here. Until then happy reading xox Penny


Saturday 25 January 2014


It's about time I did a giveaway on my blog, I've been meaning to for a while and bought these 2 small balls of Eric Knight yarn in November last year as I love the colours and and the fact that they are pure British Bluefaced Leicester wool makes them extra special. The book is a stunning homage to stylish ideas and handmade projects by Sarah Moore and I just felt like spoiling you lovelies who come and visit and say hi.

If you'd like to enter please become a follower of my blog and leave a comment and your email if you don't have a blog. I will use the random number selector to see who the winner is on Saturday the 1st February. Good luck :o)


Thursday 23 January 2014

Comfort crocheting

Hi there, how are you all?

Thanks for your lovely comments on Frederick Barbosa II he has been enjoying being part of the menagerie of cuddly creatures and pillows on Alice's bed.

I have been a rather busy bee this week, working and doing horrid home stuff like sorting out paperwork for the car and insurances etc. I really am not very good at that kind of "grown up stuff" and usually rely on Andy to steer me in the right direction. More like I stick my head in the sand and hope it will go away, but alas it never seems to!

So in the spirit of cheering myself up, instead of comfort eating (which is a usual default for me) I have found my comfort in crocheting. Yes, crocheting very simple monotone granny squares from some Stylecraft Special DK I bought last week. My purse is sad this month and I bought this yarn because it's affordable and one of the better acrylic yarns in my opinion, oh and it's easy to wash without shrinkage!

So it's been a week of evenings on the couch movie watching, radio listening and The Great Interior Design Challenge iplayer catchup watching with a cuppa and my comforting, easy peasy crochet. Six rows of easy treble granny squares which bring such comfort to body and soul after a long days work.

The yarn's "acrylic-ness" is rather evident in these photographs which may be a little close up, but I don't mind as it's sometimes not about the product its about the process and other times it's about both.

I think I will put a border of grey around each square before joining them together to make me a huge comfort blanket in these last few months of Winter.

So, instead of comfort eating, I'm comfort crocheting. Sounds like a high fibre, zero calorie good plan to me :o)

How about you, what's bringing you comfort at the moment?

Hooray for Friday tomorrow
See you all soon with my New Year and long overdue giveaway

Sunday 19 January 2014

Frederick Barbosa II

Would you like to meet Frederick Barbosa II? He is our new bunny boy that had his arms, legs, ears and tail sewn on yesterday?

He was christened yesterday evening by Alice who is determined that he is a boy and despite me pointing out why I thought he might be a bit more girly, she is determined he is a boy and promptly gave him his name. She has allowed me to call him "Freddy" as a compromise!

I must say that he has turned out rather sweet and has already carved a space into our hearts. I crocheted him from some Aran beige wool I had left over from another project and some Aran Noro yarn from my stash. The pattern can be found in the September (2013)issue of Inside Crochet and despite being a bit fiddly to make and sew together, I think he has come together rather well.

This fabric was given to me at a street market in Brighton last year from a kind man who saw me admiring it and wondering if it was a Liberty print. Not sure about where the fabric comes from? I still like it though and have enough left over to incorporate into a patchwork or make a small purse if I like.

So there we have it a new bunny boy to plop on Alice's bed. He's definitely got that home made look about him, one arm and leg fatter and longer than the other. One ear bigger than the other and some odd stitching, just the way we like it round here. I don't know about you, but I always get excited about knitting or crocheting bunnies and teddies and then when I am half way through think it's harder than what it looked like and takes much more time and effort than initially thought. Always worth it in the end and I vow never to make another until the next cute one comes my way!

Other than that there has been a lot of veggie soup and home made bread munching going on around here to warm the cockles of our hearts on the chilly evenings and a little bit of playing around with some cotton and a hook.

I have a thing about geometry at the moment after being re-taught by Alice this past week! Amazing how I can just about remember to calculate the degrees of angles after all these years! Little did I know that maths would hold me in good stead in my fourties with a hook and yarn in hand :o)

Happy days to you all this coming week

I have seen a few photos of snowdrops on Instagram this weekend, so exciting the thought of tiny little blossoms everywhere.


See you soon

Ps. I am now on Instagram now and loving it x

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Greens and yellows

I am so thankful for all your lovely messages about my funny old crochet hanger covers, I was grateful for the light relief they gave me after last weeks crazy busy time at work. It's such an odd time of year January where I feel such ambiguity. One day I am high as a kite thinking of Spring coming and the joys of new life emerging full of inspiration for what the year will bring and then I feel not so joyful, kind of blue and damp and dark where I gain solice in reading and hiding away from the world once I am home. I am also such an anti-social creature, I don't go out much in the winter and tend to hibernate on weekends, trying to recouperate from my working week. I wish I was a bit more energetic, but alas this is just what I am at the moment. I like my own company you see, I am the girl who is sitting on her own in the movies, in a pub reading, in a cafe knitting, in a live gig dancing on my own. It's what refuels me, being on my own. I like thinking.

Despite all of this, I have found myself being attracted to all greens and yellows in the past few days and have been snapping away...

This is my latest crochet venture, a sweet Bunny doll which I first saw on lovely Lisa's blog here, thank you for inspiring me Lisa, I loved your bunny and simply had to make one for Alice too. Her arms and legs and body all need to be sewn up, but hopefully she will make her debut sometime soon on the blog :o)

Taking of bunnies, this little one is a new addition to my printers tray found for 20p in a charity shop and the one below was bought from the Tiger shop in Brighton ages ago, she's the yarn guard bunny girl!

The daffodils have been making dark morning cups of tea and coming downstairs a whole lot more brighter and lighter

Alice's Headgirl badge that I couldn't resist putting in her stocking this Christmas has been popping up all over the house, the yellow is cheery for grey coats at this time of the year and we can giggle about it too.

Last, but not least I was rather pleased when my Christmas present to myself plopped through the letter box on Saturday. I love this beautiful bi- monthly magazine and a gorgeous friend of mine was ordering a years subscription for her sister as her Christmas present and in order to get the excellent deal there needed to be 2 people subscribing, Helen thought of me and after a couple of texts I had me a selfie Christmas pressie!

There are definitely some greens and yellows in there. How about you? Do you ever buy yourself a present at Christmas or on your birthday? I must confess that I always do....very naughty but nice.

I'll share more of this beautiful magazine which feels more like a book to me in the near future, it's got some great ideas.

Hope you week is going swell


See you soon

Sunday 12 January 2014

Moody blues (and greys)

These past few days I have been a little grumpy, I think it's that January feeling and just always being tired. I haven't felt inspired to start knitting a new pattern and have been grateful for the smallness of crochet flowers and BBC iplayer catch up of The Bridge

I have really enjoyed covering my wooden hangers with left over yarn in my stash, which is looking rather low on the stock front, may need to correct that sometime soon! I initially thought, happy, light, bright, beautiful Spring themed hangers full of the breathe of new life and waking up from the Winter, however my mood won in the end and my moody blues and greys were the first colours I gravitated to. I love blues and greys and despite maybe representing a darker side to me they make me feel very normal and if I say so rather happy and complete. I am pleased that I can accept that each day, depending on my mood my colour palette can change. I try not to think that I have a default colour, but if I was pushed it would be every shade of blue on this good earth. Teal, turquoise, Prussian blue all melts me away.

So enough blabbing, do you fancy seeing how I added pops of colour to my moody blues and greys? Here goes...

That very bright pink was far too zingy for the camera!

The bright blue flower in the centre is from Lucy's pattern May Roses. I love the idea of fields and fields of blue roses. The very bright pink centre flower in the photo below is also a May Rose and all the little flowers on the sides are Lucy's teeny tiny flower pattern.

The light pink rose in the centre was a pattern from this Nicki Trench book which I have on my crafty shelf. It was the first time I have ever crocheted the dtr stitch which sure is a yarn gobbler, but good fun with all that twisting and flicking of the hook.


So there we have it, my sweet and simple moody blues and greys with pops of hopeful pinks. I love that these are now going to have an important function in my domestic life and that they will remind me that it's good to give into your moods at times.

See you soon and thanks for stopping



Saturday 11 January 2014

My year of books

I love reading, I never used to as a kid, but then I went to University and despite doing a science degree, I found all my friends in the Arts and English depts. Their influence on me was profound enough to start a little flame deep inside of me and I am eternally grateful to them for this beautiful relationship I have with books and literature.

I go through phases when I don't feel inspired to read fiction and can only concentrate on a magazine or newspaper article and then I go through a gluttonous phase of never getting enough of reading fiction. This year I want to make a concerted effort to read more, both fiction and non fiction. I love poetry and children's books too, so there will of course be a place for them as I embark on Laura's great idea of "the year in books".

My first read is Donna Tartt's, The Little Friend which I am loving, it's a bit of a page turner and I am almost stalling on reading it as I don't want it to finish. Does that ever happen to you?

So, I hope to share my little year of books here on my blog and if you fancy joining in visit Laura's blog to find out more. In the mean time I'll leave with you of some of the images from my day on our seafront. Wasn't the sun delicious?

Last, but not least some fun choosing colours (always accompanied by tea of course) for my floral decorations to be sewn onto my covered wooden hangers, I shall show you very soon.

I hope you are all having a good weekend and that the sun has shone on you too


See you soon


Wednesday 8 January 2014

Oh the ugly


Dearest friends

Now, I know it's not fair for me to say this, but I was pleasantly horrified (can two such emotions exist simultaneously?) when I found these 3 wooden hangers with knitted covers in a local charity shop for £1 on the weekend. What were they thinking with their colour and quality control, was this a seventies attempt at modern-granny style?

Whoever knitted them in the past did so in a little bit of a hurry I think and wasn't to concerned about attention to detail. Fair enough, but I have other ideas for these beauties.

After cutting the covers off I found this label for 19p, that doesn't make them too old, but definitely old enough for a makeover. Ha ha, Let it begin!
See you all soon
Maybe with a hanger or two


Sunday 5 January 2014

Last years calendar

This weekend we have been mostly an indoors given the blustery wind and high rainfall. We have watched a couple of movies, eaten comfort food and read our books. It was also the perfect time and opportunity for me to fill in important dates in my 2014 Mollie Makes calendar. Looking at all the pretty pictures from the 2013 calendar I was loathe to put it in the recycling bin so I started chopping up some of the little pictures from each month...

I thought it might be good for me to set myself monthly rather and annual goals which feel too vague for me and also start to become a reason why I can ignore them until December! I used the little cutout pictures from each month of the year to paste in my lists book and left enough space to add my monthly goals at the beginning of each month. They may not be all my goals, but they are ones that I simply must achieve, some big and more challenging and others smaller and guaranteed to be attained. Andy and I both feel we haven't been making enough time for each other lately, so I really want to correct that and to plan for us to spend some proper time together.

By chance I turned the calendar over and found more of the mini pictures representing each month and then the idea came to me to add them to my printers tray. I have been umming and ahhing about what I want to do with my printers tray and have started a Pinterest board to collect ideas for mine. I thought it might be quite nice to have some pretty pastel colours in my tray so I had a play around. These are not permanent and can be replaced or moved around, I just thought it might be a good way of reusing my 2013 calendar and for bringing colour to our dreary January.
My tray looks a little dusty but I quite like it like that, printers trays are about the silence of time I think.

Right, got to start thinking about school uniforms and packed lunches again (it's been bliss not doing this for the past 2 weeks)
Hope you all have a great week ahead