Monday, 31 May 2010

Oh I Do Love To Be Beside The Sea Side!

Well first of all I'd like to apologise for my blog silence over the past week. No I did not drop off the face of the earth! Last Friday I flew back to Wales to surprise my sister who has now jetted off to Canada to live for a year. Obviously I couldn't mention anything about it before I left as she's known to lurk around blogland herself.

But my flight back last Sunday was cancelled and as my parents had a ferry crossing booked to come stay with me the following Saturday I decided to stay a week and spend some more time with Sis before she left. Which ment more time to spend galivanting round glorious Pembrokeshire!

I had a Wale (excuse the pun) of a time! Burnt to a crisp, swam in the sea, visited family, listened to live music and barbequed it up. But it's back to the sewing machine today. I managed to get a few things done whilst I was away but I hadn't expected to be staying so long so I didn't have much with me. My mum and I embarked on a little knitting project which I shall be blogging about later in the week.

Hope everyone got up to lots of crafty business whilst I was away!

Friday, 21 May 2010

Derry's bid for UK City of Culture 2013

Yes yes it's Friday, but there will be no Folksy Friday post this week. No sir! Why, I hear you ask?? Hasn't there been a Folksy Friday post every Friday for months and months?? Well yes there has, but we're taking a week off over at Jemima HQ to tell you about something very special indeed! So stick the kettle on, dig out the custard creams and relax for a couple of mins.

As some of you may well know I was raised in beautiful rural Wales, but for nearly 3 years now I have lived in a lovely Northern Irish city. Derry, Londonderry, The Walled City, The Maiden City - call it what you will. I love this city. It's the place where I made my first proper home, aside from living with the rents or student digs; it's where I broke my first (and only to date) world record;

it's the city where I first learned to sew and crochet; It's the place where I saw my first canon firing;

It's where I first celebrated Halloween, and boy does Derry celebrate Halloween!

It's a city where the craic is in full swing, where music plays and Guinness flows, where history is painted on walls and culture is painted on faces. Where commemoration, celebration and tradition are demonstrated in various marches, parades and festivals throughout the year.

The point, I hear you ask? Well Derry has been shortlisted for UK City of Culture 2013 and the bid is being hand delivered today. And I have been asked to ask you very nicely to make some noise about it!

How you can help:
Register your support here;
You can tweet about the bid using the tag #derry2013;
You can follow @derry2013;
You can download twitter / Facebook avatars / blog badges etc. here;
You can get the City of Culture Twibbon here;
Follow City of Culture 2013 on Facebook.

Not only would it be wonderful to win the prestigious title of UK City of Culture, but Derry really needs everything that comes with it. I know first hand how hard the recession has hit the city, and how hard it is to get a job around here. Winning the bid will bring with it up to 2000 new jobs, £300 million into Northern Ireland, and a massive increase in tourism revenue.

We already have an impressive list of backers, including Ciaran McMenamin, Brendan Gleeson, James Nesbitt, Anne Robinson, Snow Patrol, Bronagh Gallager, Gabriel Byrne... the list is ever-growing. Oh and Crafty Jemima of course!

So if you have a spare minute then please give Derry your support. Thanking you muchly!

Monday, 17 May 2010

Lazy Sunday

Don't you just love a good old lazy Sunday? Nothing to get up for, nowhere to be. Now this Sunday wasn't a full blown stay in your pajamas and hide from the world day - curtains were drawn, bodies were dressed, friends were visited. We even managed an impromptu trip to the cinema to see Robin Hood (which was really rather good I might add).

But no lazy Sunday is complete without the compulsory comfort food. This week's nibbles of choice were:

Chocolate chip cookies for the chocolate loving fruit hating BF; and

Stewed apples and blueberries all for me! I'm fascinated with the way blueberries transform when they're heated and turn everything a deep pink. I think they taste nicer warm too.

I even managed to do a bit of selfish sewing too. I started to make the bag that came free with Kath Kidson's Sew!, until visions of Russel Crowe riding horseback through Sherwood Forest tempted me away from the machine. I am only human after all! And after all that excitement I came home and curled up on the sofa with some hexagons to keep my hands entertained. So how about you? Did anyone else have a rather enjoyable Sunday?

Friday, 14 May 2010

Folksy Friday

Crafty Jemima is back online! We didn't have an Internet connection yesterday and it was completely frustrating! Luckily I had a drama workshop to distract me yesterday evening. The final presentations had a lot to do with time, so I thought I'd carry that forward into this week's Folksy Friday items. Here they are:

I absolutely love this felted clock by Kelly Connor Designs. So pretty!
Time for doughnuts? Mozzypop Jewels makes this sweet little watch.
"Bread & Butter" by Bev Jennings makes cute ceramic clocks like this time flies pendulum clock.
Pirate Treasure Jewelry sell this beautiful vintage pocket watch pendant.
And finally Fizzy Popov sells these lovely clocks made from Reclaimed Vintage Books. They also make them from vintage tins and vinyl records. Recycling Galore!

Have a happy, crafty weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Book Review: Simple Knitting by Erika Knight

This morning I heard the heavy thud of an envelope hitting the doormat that could only mean fun mail. It was a copy of Erika Knight's Simple Knitting that the lovely people over at Quadrille Publishing sent me to review.

Simple Knitting,
by Erika Knight
Published by Quadrille
Release date: 21/05/2010
Price: £16.99

At first glance the book is beautiful. It's filled with stunning photography and hand drawn illustrations of knitting "how-to's" and stitch patterns. It gives insight into the whole creative process, from doodling an idea to the finished article. Each project is finished true to Erika's usual style - simple, clean and elegant designs in muted, natural tones, where texture and pattern, rather than fussy colour changes or decoration, complete the finished piece.

Upon closer inspection the book doesn't disappoint. The first half of the book is dedicated to the basics: Guides on identifying yarns. choosing colourways, measuring gauge, reading patterns, etc. There are instructions for basic and more advanced patterns in the stitch library, and images of swatches so that you know what they're supposed to look like - always handy for comparison!

The 20 projects, found in the second half of the book, range from cushions to sweaters, note book covers to socks. At the beginning of each project there's a skill classification, a note of every stitch used in the pattern, and it also tells you what skills you'll learn in order to complete the piece. In essence, it gives you all the information you need before beginning, to choose a project within your comfort zone. Each project contains a masterclass, giving detailed instructions on a particular technique relevant to the pattern used.

What I love about this book is that it tells you the type of yarn to use, instead of insisting on using one particular (usually very expensive) brand. I'm very much a "use what you have in the stash" type of girl, but of course it also gives the name of the yarn used in the images. I also love that this book even tells you how to change gauge for different types of yarns for some projects.

The book suits all manner of knitters, old and new, accomplished and uncertain. It has simple, comprehensive instructions, with enough information to encourage beginners without being overwhelming. For the more practiced knitter, the instructions on how to adapt patterns for different yarns gives insight into how Erika develops her own patterns, and inspires me, at least, to try my hand at writing a couple of my own.

So, if you hadn't have guessed, I really like this book. I'll be trying a few of the projects out over the next few weeks so I'll keep you posted on how I'll get on. I'm particularly excited about the cable patterns, as I've never tried before but it seems simple enough. We'll see!

Monday, 10 May 2010

New Quilt

I love every process of making quilts. From choosing the fabrics:

To sewing them together into strips:

To pressing and sewing the strips into something more substantial:

And ending up with the finished quilt top:

Well, I'm almost finished. I still need to sew on the border but that shouldn't take more than a few minutes. And maybe the use of the word love is a bit excessive when it comes to pressing the seams. Ironing isn't one of my favourite past times, but as ironing goes, pressing seams is the best kind.

Now I'm not too confident on the actual quilting part, so I'm gonna spend the rest of the day practicing. I would absolutely love to hand quilt all of my quilts but it would take too long for it to be profitable. I'll save hand quilting for gifts and special occasions! Anyway it's back to the sewing machine to finish off this border.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Sunday Morning

Well maybe that's not an accurate post title as I was unconscious for most of Sunday morning. But look what I had for a belated breakfast:

A yummy bowl of granola topped with homemade yogurt. I never thought of making my own yogurt before but after reading a post that I can't for the life of me find to link to - sorry whoever you are! - I decided to try my hand. And it worked! It is soooo easy to do and tastes lovely. I'm definitely a make your own yogurt convert now!You can find the recipe over at JCasa. Next up - homemade granola. Yum!

Friday, 7 May 2010

Folksy Friday

Well what about that result then? Despite a Conservative win we're still not sure who'll be PM yet so for now we just wait and see I guess. I watched most of the coverage last night and early this morning, so I really need a politics free afternoon before my head explodes! So what to choose as a theme this week? Well as I've just witnessed one leaving me a lovely present on my nice clean windows, I've chosen birds for this weeks Folksy Friday. Here they are:

jemima lumley jewellery makes these adorable little birdy studs. So cute.

I seem to have developed a liking for bird cages. Or rather bird cage designs. This pendant is made by Rose and Raven.

I love these wee birds on these giant hoops. The contrast is lovely. These are made by nuada accessories.

This little beauty is made by Ali Bali Jewellery. I love the leaf wing design.

And finally these sweet little studs are made by Lucy Campbell Designer Jewellery. Usually I'm all about the symmetry but I love the fact that these are slightly different.

So I'm planning a weekend of rubbish TV and sleep to soothe my overloaded brain. Hope you enjoy yours, whatever you may be up to!

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Vote Vote Vote

Well I've done it - I've cast my first ever vote.  It was a bit of an anticlimax to be honest.  The guy at the desk couldn't pronounce my name, then asked me how and still couldn't get it right.  These Irish aren't too keen on rolling their Rrrrr's!

Then I went behind the wee cubicle thingy (that looked more like one of those stands that you use to fill in your lottery numbers than an all important vote casting booth) and crossed my x in the chosen box.  There was absolutely no one else in the room and it took all of a minute to do.  No fanfares, no cheering - quite a boring experience in the end.

But all is not lost - I'm on a caffeine drive so that I can stay up past midnight and watch the first results come in.  And it will be all the more exciting as I'll be completely wired!  So, which one of these Chaps will make it to the top spot??

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Bank Holiday Sewing

Well the bank holiday weekend flew by - did anyone get up to anything interesting??  I had an enjoyable weekend.  A group of us headed up to Belfast on Sunday and hit the ice rink.  Well they did - I on the other hand sat in the stands and started sewing together my hexagons.  In the words of Bella Swan "Ice doesn't help the uncoordinated"!

We managed to catch the end of a craft / vintage market and grab a drink at one of my favourite bars before heading home.  Then yesterday the rain held off long enough to light up the barbie and have a few friends round.  All in all it was a lovely weekend!

I am now engrossed in my hexagon addiction and have finally decided what to do with them.  Progress so far:

I'm off now to brew some more tea - redbush took my fancy today - and then it's back to the stitching!