Monday, 24 October 2011

A little teeny bit of a catch up

Erm, okaaaay, so it's been a while...I'm thinking that if I just write like I've never been away then maybe you won't notice...attempting to fill you in on all my goings-on over the past two weeks would, frankly, be a) daft and b) a bit boring for all of us, so here are the edited highlights, presented in bullet point form (I used to have a proper job once upon a time, you know, one where I was forever using bullet points.  There's not so much call for them now I spend my days running around after small, noisy people...)
I have hoovered the entire contents of not just one but two boxes of Rice Krispies off the floor/worktop/bread board/cooker.
I have caught a regurgitated marshmallow as it flew from middle n's mouth (think Witches of Eastwick and you have an idea of what my Saturday night was like).  Nice.
I have finished my blinds! more goldfish bowl-effect sitting room for us:
I'm absolutely thrilled with them - they have turned out exactly how I'd pictured them and they make such a difference to the general cosiness of the sitting room. 
I've also finished my cowl.  (Pause for a happy dance).  No pictures today though - there'll be more on that when I've found someone to take pics of me modelling it (in a headless way, of course...)
I bought a dresser on a whim; as you do:
Love it!
There's been plenty of crochet action on my summer hols blanket too:
It's neeeearly fiiiiiniiiished.
An exciting parcel also plopped onto my front door mat this week.  Here it is in action, Claire:
This is the most stunningly well-made and beautiful tea cosy I have ever seen - Claire is a real artist and I urge you to visit her lovely blog if you haven't already done so!
And now I need to go - Mr N's just walked in the door after spending three days in Paris with 90 14-year-olds.  Who'd be a teacher, eh? x

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Vintage embroidery inspiration

Despite being slightly jaded (hung over) I am all fired up and excited about what I have to show you today.  You may remember a while back I mentioned that my lovely granny had given me a load of her crafty bits that she can no longer use due to her arthritis (poor granny).  Some of these bits were used to make my spotty cushion for my sitting room, but a big stash of something tremendously exciting has been waiting in the lovely folder in the photo above (hand embroidered by my gran, of course...) for the perfect moment for me to photograph for you.  That moment presented itself today when Mr N and the boys were at the swimming pool and baby n was asleep.  So would you like to see what's getting my creative juices flowing?
An amazing collection of vintage embroidery transfers.  Most of these date from the 1930s, with a few from around 1940.  They are so beautiful and I can't believe they're all still pristine and largely unused.  Hooray for granny and her hoarder tendencies!
This little book is dated 1933.
I particularly love this one, which not only has the original transfer (from a magazine, like most of the others) but also a colour picture of how it is supposed to look when it is completed:
I could go on like this for hours, but I'll restrain myself.  Suffice to say, I am raring to get sewing - I find hand sewing so calming and therapeutic and I am so inspired by this lovely lot.  I have so many ideas for what to make with these: squares of white linen with small, single-colour pictures hung as bunting in my sitting room; plain white hankies with little pictures in one corner to give to my female relatives as Christmas presents (if you are, indeed, female and happen to be related to me, please ignore what I've just written there...); lovely embroidered cushions... hmmmm....the possibilities are endless.
And on a completely other note, I wanted to update you on a couple of rather pressing matters: I can confirm that my mattress topper is, quite possibly, the most exciting thing to happen to my bed for a long time (snort); and the tweed cowl...hmmmm...the pattern said it uses two skeins of yarn, but either I am doing something completely wrong, or this is a mistake.  Anyway, I am rejigging it to make something similar with my two skeins and I'll update you when I've managed to create something wearable (it is a very lovely yarn though, that's for sure).
Hope you all had a jolly weekend, wherever you are in the world. x
PS - Just to say 'hello' to my new followers and all you lovely gals who leave me comments - I really, honestly love reading what you have to say and I am so grateful that you stop by to read my ramblings.  I often read your blogs on my phone, which won't let me leave comments, and I just wanted to say that if I am a bit rubbish about commenting it's not because I don't visit, it's because I spend my life running round like a headless chicken and have a memory like a sieve! x

Friday, 7 October 2011

♥ Yip-de-WIP ♥

I had a rather fine morning today and I thought I'd share some photos of it with you, cos I'm that kinda gal.  Can you guess what I did??  Here's a clue:

Apologies for the rather crapsticks photo - I only had my phone with me.  Actually, it was great, I felt like some kind of secret agent walking round the shop furtively taking photos with my phone.  I say 'furtive' not only because I think it's a rather brilliant word, but because, although I'd asked if it was okay to take some photos, I find the owners of this shop faintly intimidating, so I was a bit afraid of being told off.  Although, to be frank, they were more like to have words with me about the appalling behaviour of my maniac daughter who was tired and bored and had had enough of looking a yarn, thank you very much, than about me taking the odd picture to put on my blog that not very many people read anyway.  Thank god I was with my friend who is not only a rather fabulous human being, but is also a childminder and has some sort of magic aura that instantly makes all children turn into compliant, quiet, non-stroppy, angels.  I don't know how she does it, but one second baby n was shouting 'no, no, no' in that special way that only a small, angry child can, and the next she was strapped in her pushchair silently sucking her bun-bun and playing peep-o with an old lady.  It was magic, I tell you.  Witchcraft.
But I digress, this isn't a post about how my daughter has a will of iron and a voice like a foghorn, this is a post about yarn.  I shall return to the subject in hand, without further delay.
So...yarn...and buttons:
You can't see them very well here, but there were some absolutely amazing ceramic buttons with imprints of lace in them.  I spent quite a considerable amount of time pondering the possibility of spending five quid on a button, then reality kicked in (well, it was either that or baby n spreading unravelled balls of yarn all over the shop that woke me from my button-induced reverie).
I had made a pilgrimage to this shop because I was a woman on a mission (cue rendition of Gabriella Cilmi).  I had come across this on one of my many Pinterest trawls and knew instantly that I simply had to make it:
 (this is from here)
(it's an actual, real fact that time speeds up when you log on to Pinterest.  I often spend 'five minutes' stealing other people's ideas looking for inspiration only to find that it's getting dark and I've forgotten to collect the boys from school and Mr N is walking in the door asking where his dinner is and demanding to know why I'm not wearing a frilly apron and freshly-applied lipstick).
Anyway, I succeeded in my task and came home with this, which I am more than a little excited about:
This is Rowan summer tweed and it's a mix of 70% silk and 30% cotton.  It's absolutely beautiful and is the colour of damsons with flecks of red, blue and white in it.  I'd never even heard of it before today and I'm really looking forward to seeing what it looks like when it's made up.
So the big question now is: do I start making it now or do I sensibly finish off one of the other million things I've got on the go?  For those of you who would like to make an informed answer to this question, here is my list: 1) not one, not two, but three blinds for my sitting room (the fabric is lurking ominously in a roll behind the door and every time I see it, I feel guilty for not getting on with it); 2) my summer hols blanket, which is coming along nicely, but which needs a final push to get it finished; 3) my starry Christmas decorations - I have red cotton now, so I can get on with a few little hearts to add to the garland; 4) the little rocking chair that I blogged about yonks ago, and which is currently sitting next to me in a state of half-paintedness.
This is like phone-a-friend.  I'll go with the majority (maybe) x
PS - I was very excited about my massive new pink plastic crochet hook, but I have now discovered that plastic=crap and I had to make an emergency John Lewis run to buy an extortionately expensive bamboo one.

Monday, 3 October 2011

♥ Things on my table

A little bit of early morning sun casting beautiful shadows on my favourite little tablecloth (my granny would be horrified at all the wrinkles being thrown into relief here).  I've been relishing the sun and slightly cursing the mugginess at the same time (I feel guilty for even writing that) - it's all very well being lovely and sunny, but enough of the shiny-face-inducing clamminess.  Thank you.
Humbuggishness aside, it was a joy to spend time sitting at the garden table peeling half a ton of apples that a friend gave me:
Mmmm, a cup of tea and a bit of peace and quiet while baby n was asleep - is it wrong that I love this time so much?  I do adore my daughter but really, I do love my time alone while she sleeps.  Guilt...
And my favourite table scene of all?  Why, it doesn't get any better than this:
It upsets me too much when my wine, in its unsteady wine glass, gets spilt all over the table.  I have learnt from experience, my friends.  Take it from me, beakers are the future x

Thursday, 29 September 2011

✸ A little bit of crochet and a big thank you ✸

Well, I'm pleased to report that my mood has improved with the weather.  This was my view in a sunny spot on my lunch break on Tuesday - it looks beautiful, doesn't it?  The reality is that I'm sitting in a car park next to a recycling bin, but hey - the sun's shining and that's all that matters.  (I actually had a bit of an incident in this car park a few months ago, but I won't dwell on that because it still makes me anxious and on the six billion to one chance that the owner of the Porsche that was unfortunately parked near to my car, happens upon my blog - as far as he's concerned, ignorance most definitely is bliss.)
But I digress - really I should be saying a big, huge, enormous thank you to you lovely people for really cheering me up when I was feeling a bit glum (I just love that word).  You're all brilliant and I am sure that karma will handsomely repay you for your kind words.
So, apart from loitering in car parks, I've managed to get in a bit of hooky time:
(actually, this photo was taken in the car park - if you look very closely, you can see a drain by my left thigh)
Can you also see my sparkly new Boden-sale-bargain scarf?  Mr N was a bit rude and scoffed at the irony of me buying something from the johnnieB range.  I think he was implying that it makes me mutton dressed as lamb, in some way, but I just put my fingers in my ears and said 'la la la - can't hear you' (then I flicked his ear, cos he really likes it when I do that...)
And this is the fruit of my crochet-related labours:
Hmmmm, on reflection, that's just asking for trouble putting that there - it's far too easy for grabbing little hands to reach.  This is much better:
Ah *happy sigh* my high-up little crafty corner, how I love it so.
Before I go, and for the benefit of anyone who's reading this and feeling mildly disgusted with me for being involved in some sort of low-level hit and run incident, I'd like to make it clear that although my car was scratched to the metal (grrr) the Porsche didn't have a mark on it (well, not that I could make out in the semi-gloom anyway). x
PS - I've just remembered something that makes me just a little bit excited every time I remember it - I went wild today and bought a treat for me and Mr N.  Do you want to know what it is?  Eeeeeek - it's a quilted mattress topper!!  For so many years I have longed for one of these babies and now, finally, I have one (well, I nearly have one - I can't actually pick it up until tomorrow and that's just killing me, but this time tomorrow I will be well and truly ensconced in my bed and that is thrilling).  Oh lordy, that's just made me think of something else completely brilliant that's happening tomorrow - it's the return of Strictly Come Dancing.  
Oh happy day. x

Monday, 26 September 2011

❊Watch out, there's a whinger about...

Ugh, I'm feeling tired and run down and sorry for myself and what I'd really, really like to do at this precise moment in time is crawl under my duvet with an enormous piece of cake and have someone on hand whose sole role in life is to play with my hair and rub my feet.  Boo hoo hoo, moan moan moan...
WHY is my daughter a nightmare-inducing insomniac?
When will I get a proper night's sleep again?
Where is the fairy with the magic wand to make all the crud in my house magically disappear, to be replaced by only clean, sparkly, freshly-laundered things?
How can I lose half a stone whilst simultaneously indulging my deep love of wine and cake?
Where is my 'back up brain'?  The one that will kick in when my scrambled egg head forgets things like where exactly I left my children, and hospital appointments, and what I need at Waitrose when I've left my shopping list in the kitchen.  Huh?  Where???
Actually, that 'back up brain' idea's not a bad one - as soon as I can track down my front door keys, I'm hot-footing it to Dragon's Den. x

Thursday, 22 September 2011

☆ Twinkle, twinkle ☆

The boys and I (okay, mostly I) spent a happy moment or two looking at the lovely sunset that we were treated to last night.  Middle in particular was keen to discover whether the old saying about red skies at night was true and I can confirm that, in this case, it was!  (Mmmmm - that's meant lots of lovely, hung-outside-to-dry washing to sniff today.)
So, apart from inhaling fresh washing smells, I've been frittering away my time making a little pile of these:
I have Plans for these little beauties.  Christmas plans (I've written that bit really small because it makes it less scary).  Plans that involve threading them on invisible thread with little red hearts and beads and then hanging them in the big bay window in our sitting room.  Ooooh, add some little tea lights and some sparkly baubles and I'm already feeling a twinge of the festive spirit (crikey - talk about peaking too early.)
These, which admittedly might seem a trifle premature, have come about as a result of reading this post from the lovely Little Cottage Comforts blog.  What can I say?  I panicked.  She's right - the making starts now or gibbering wreckdom beckons. 
And here is a little peek of something totally and reassuringly unrelated to Christmas - my beautiful Tea Wagon picture:
 Tuhwit tuhwoo, baybeee. x

Monday, 19 September 2011

Pincushion and parcel

I came across these lovely flower pincushions on one of my blog-trawls last week.  I just love Little Woollie's blog - she makes some really lovely things, so when I saw these I decided I just had to make one for myself.  I really like how it's turned out and it was lovely and quick and easy to make - I'm certain I'll be making more of them in the future - I think they'd make really great presents too.  I used some white Rowan handknit cotton from my stash and a vintage button from the crafting treasures that my gran gave me recently.
On a completely other note: look what came in the post today:
Such a beautifully-wrapped parcel from Jane at Teawagon Tales.  This contains a gorgeous applique made by Jane - when I saw it on her lovely blog, I just knew that it had to come and live in my newly-decorated sitting room!  I haven't had a chance to photograph the contents properly yet as I haven't quite decided where it's going to 'live', but I am completely in love with it and can't wait to show you!
So that's it from me, really.  Hope you've all had a good Monday - I've been running around like a mad thing working/looking after poorly children/being a taxi - just the usual mummy stuff! x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

✪ Sunday stuff (on a Saturday)

This is a bit of a belated post - these pictures are actually from last Sunday, but I'm working on the 'better late than never' principle here'
Check out the dog 'refreshment facilities'.
I just love this little shop, which is really no more than a tin shed, but it's been decorated so beautifully and has such an amazing selection of things for sale, that it's a sheer delight to visit.  It's right next to a canal just down the road from us and it caters for passing canal boats as well as walkers so it has everything those two groups of people could possibly need from diesel to fridge magnets (shaped like canal boats, of course) to maps.  Unfortunately it also sells sweets, which the kids get very excited about, and homemade cake, which Mr N and I get very excited about.  (I'm not sure how a slab of coffee cake fits in with my 'oh god, I've still got half a stone of post-baby weight to lose' diet, but what the heck - I loved every mouthful.)  They also have adverts in the window for canal boats that are for sale.  Mr N and I have spent many a happy moment fantasising about being footloose and child responsibility free and living a simple existence on one of these - not sure if Ocado would deliver to a boat though, which could be a problem.
Can you believe all five of us were up, dressed and ready for action by half past nine?  In the morning?  On a Sunday?  Unheard of.  I got into one of my 'right, let's get out and about and do something' moods and so we loaded the car with all the essentials - the boys' bikes, hot chocolate, chocolate biscuits (there's a theme emerging...) and wellies and headed off for some fresh air slash high-calorie action.
Look at this lovely little thing, with a chunk taken out of its wing - I wonder what caused that?
This is the ideal spot to sit and eat chocolate biscuits (or a dried fruit bar in baby n's case, poor girl, she doesn't know what she's missing):
We forgot her coat (oops), but she completely rocked the 'I'm wearing my older brother's jumper' look:
I have to say, I think it works really well with the Gruffalo wellies. x