Monday, 27 September 2010

Change is a coming

Well I was right on friday not to predict what the weekend had in store for me. I had lots of fun, went to the cinema, watched some live music, saw some (bad) comedy, but the most random experience of all was the tour of the Masonic Hall as part of Derry's Culture Night on Friday.

Now I must admit that I hadn't much of a clue what the Freemasons did before going and I can say hand on heart that I was none the wiser after the tour! They encouraged us to ask questions but refused to answer most of what we did ask, and then claimed that there's no secrecy involved with the organization!


Dear me we were confused. Then last night I picked up Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol that's been sitting on my bedside table for 3 weeks and realised it was all about Masons! I'm kinda glad I didn't start reading it before going though or I'd have been a bit more aprehensive I think.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings - to the point of the post. Next week I have surgery so I won't be around for a few weeks so I'm planning some blog posts to write in advance. I suppose I'm looking for some feedback on what you'd like to see up here? Any requests? I'm planning a how-to on some different knitting stitches, some tutorial round-ups and my usual wordless / wishlist wednesday features. I'm hoping to do some getting to know you crafter interviews too so if you're interested in being interviewed please get in touch! Any other suggestions? I'd love to hear them! :)

Friday, 24 September 2010

Folksy Friday

Oh my Gosh the sun is actually shining in Derry! We've had a couple of weeks of wind and rain so the sunshine is much welcome. And it's put me in a colourful mood, so this week I've chosen colour as my Folksy Friday theme. Here are my vibrant, happy, colourful favourites:

Roly Poly Rainbow Cats by Quernus Crafts

Rainbow Button Bracelet by Lonely Hearts

Rainbow Choker by Oddgirl Creates

Rainbow Drop Earrings by Hand Over Your Fairy Cakes

Set of 6 Rainbow Flower Buttons by Lilley's

Since saying that things are slowing down as we move into Autumn I've had two pretty hectic weekends so I won't predict how this next one will turn out. But if you're out and about in Derry this evening the City is celebrating Culture Night and there are a whole array of events on tonight so check out the schedule - I have my eye on a fair few!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Not so Fruitful

Now I may have harked on about my displeasure with the gravelly back yard that I have, and hankered after a lovely big veg patch or allotment, but as I'm stuck with my lot for the time being, I grow my veggies in a plastic shelving unit. It has a double zip up the front and the shelves are removable, so I had two tomato plants and a chili pepper in a grow bag in the bottom, and a sweet pepper plant in a pot at the front. Anyway, now that the sun has gone into hibernation I decided to bring my potted pepper inside to see if it would fare any better.

For some reason the slugs and caterpillars have gone to town on this plant, and it's looking very holey and disheveled. So far I've only gotten one fully grown pepper from it and a lot of the flower heads have shrivelled up and dropped off before new peppers can form. But all is not lost! The heat of the house and light from the kitchen door seem to be working because I have several new (and rather pretty) blooms coming as well as the flowers that were already there. Their stalks seem firm too so fingers crossed they'll prove fruitful at last.

I'm not familiar with pepper harvesting so someone please tell me whether I'm completely deluded in thinking that I'll get more peppers this late in the year. Note to self: next year plant out earlier!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Wishlist Wednesday

The more I think about it, the more unimpressed I am with the way things are made these days. Technology has improved leaps and bounds, but I find myself drawn more and more towards vintage and retro designs. They're so much more fun, more colourful and more unique. Today on my grown up wish list is a telephone. A big, chunky, eye-catching telephone. Here are a few that jumped out at me:


My sister and I made countless and very important phone calls on an old cream phone similar to this one in our Wendy House when we were little. Love the colour of this one though!

These types of phones always remind me of Mr Banks, the father from Mary Poppins. Supercalafragalisticexpialadoshus!

This beautiful 1920s wooden and tin toy telephone is the most gorgeous shade of blue. Some lucky kid must have gotten a whole childhood of fun out of this one.

That orange again! I am now officially in love with that orange. I love these 1960s Grillo fold up phones - the word dinky springs to mind (and come to think of it I haven't used that word in a very long time!).

And this photo looks like you've just re-wound 30 years to your granny's sitting room. Look at that wall paper! Love it.

So would I miss my caller ID? My answerphone? Of course, but surely that's what mobile phones are for? In the mean time however, I'm stuck with my boring black modern digital phone - at least I'm still able to screen my calls though right??

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Book Review: The Knitter's Year by Debbie Bliss

Oh my I can't put this book down - I just love it! I can't remember the last time I was this excited about a craft book, and as I've recently caught the knitting bug again it couldn't have come at a better time.

The book is perfect for the quick-fix knitter. Most of the projects can be completed within a week for some instant knitty satisfaction. The 52 projects, one for every week of the year, are designed to keep you knitting from spring right through until Winter, and the patterns are organized by season. Perfect for someone like me, who flits from project to project and doesn't want to spend weeks on the same garment.

From peg bags to pin cushions, hats to hangers, most of the projects in this book are both decorative and functional so not only will they look great but they'll serve a purpose around the house too. Some projects need a bit of preparation in as much as you need a few balls of matching yarn, but others can be made on a whim using oddments from your stash.

This book may not be suitable for the absolute novice knitter, as there isn't a knitting basics, or "how-t0" section. I actually find this extremely refreshing, especially as this is Debbie's latest offering from a whole library of knitting books, several of which contain basic knitting techniques and stitches.

There are so many projects in this book that I want to try myself. I thought about knitting up one project a week and making it into a year long blog feature, but honestly I'm not sure whether I can wait that long to make some of them! No doubt I'll be posting about several makes from this book very soon.

The Knitter's Year: 52 Seasonal Knits by Debbie Bliss is published by Quadrille Publishing, and is priced at £18.99.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Custom Order With a Twist

So my mum very kindly took some of my stuff along to sell at a craft fair last month and I got an order for personalised bunting from her. However instead of the fabrics that I offer for the bunting, this order came in for all different kinds of fabrics, mainly pinks, but nothing solid. So after raiding the stash here's what I came up with!

I actually think it might be my favourite so far (yeah I think I say that about every order I make but it's true!) and I might eventually add a different selection of fabrics to the listing. But for now feel free to ask what I have in my stash if you'd like something a bit different!

p.s. Somehow over the weekend I made it to 100 blog followers. Yay! Thank you everybody. Doing a little celebratory dance and glad there's no one watching :)

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Fruits of my Labour

Here they are - my biggest crop so far, in all their beautiful imperfection. I am so proud of them, especially considering I don't have much of a garden at all.

I have loads of tomatoes still on the vine that need to redden and loads of peppers to come yet, but so far this year I've only one of this and a couple of that ripen all at once.

My courgettes are starting to taper off now, but I've had some beauties this year from that plant too! If anyone is interested in growing their own then I'd definitely recommend looking up Alys Fowler - she's a gardener's world presenter but she's just done an "Edible Garden" series for the BBC and I am in love with her garden! Mine will be like that one day I swear.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Fair Isle Fun

Trying my hand at some fair isle knitting has been on my to-do list for ages and I'm thrilled to say that I've finally gotten around to it. Now I am handy with a pair of knitting needles, but have never attempted stranding or complicated colour changes before. Well in true have a bash fashion I basically doodles out a pattern on a sheet of squared paper and knitted up a swatch. All looked well so I went about my first project - a pair of fair isle leg warmers:

I bought myself some fake fair isle leg warmers last winter - they look fine on the outside but there's no stranding on the back as they're primark's finest and wouldn't have been hand knitted. So I've been feeling guilty about that and have been meaning to make myself a pair for a while now.

Then I started reading Vanessa's posts over on Do You Mind If I Knit about her fair isle dress and was so chuffed for her when she finally finished it that it gave me the push I needed to go buy some yarn and knit knit knit!

Isn't it beautiful?? Now my leg warmers aren't nearly as intricate and well thought out as Vanessa's dress, but they do fulfil a fair few of my new year's resolutions - be more colourful, learn something new, make more things for me - and I love them!

I've finished one, and the measurements worked out fine so I'm onto the second already. I'll be sure to let you have a look at the finished article once I've finished sewing in all the loose ends and seams. But until then I'm contented to knit and stare at the dainty symmetry of the one I've already finished!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Weekend Antics

Remember that post I wrote on Friday? The talk of open fires and cups of tea? Well it would seem that as soon as you're planning a slow sleepy weekend just the opposite happens. On Friday evening I found out that Derry's very own Undertones were playing in Brooke park on Saturday afternoon - not only was it a free gig, but also there was a whole host of local musical talent to keep us entertained all day long.

So off I go, with some sandwiches and some hand sewing, and had a thoroughly lovely afternoon. Most of my day was spent doing a lot of this:

Blanket stitching the hours away with a beautiful view and the sounds of choirs, blues bands and orchestras wafting through the air. Then we moved closer to the stage to see the main event - the Undertones in all their hip wiggling glory!

What a treat to see them play in their hometown, sounding as great as they did the day they began (I assume as I don't think I was born then!). Well I'll have to reserve next weekend for soup and tea under blankets, especially if the weather stays this miserable. Bye bye summer - you were fun!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Folksy Friday

I am officially dubbing Friday the sneakiest day of the week. It creeps up silently and sure enough before you know it you turn around and it's here! But now the weather's taken a turn for the worst I foresee a weekend full of sewing, soup and mugs of tea, so Fridays won't be the beginning of an exciting adventurous weekend like it has been all summer. I am very much in the mood for colder weather though. Bring on the blankets and open fires I say. And dare I admit that I'm getting more than a little bit excited about Christmas! It's my favourite time of the year and having to started on Christmas stock already has definitely put me in the mood for the festivities!

But before I get ahead of myself, here's this week's Woodland themed Folksy Friday:

Monty the Fox by Sara Carr.

Felted Wool Acorns by ZM Felt.

Spotty Toadstool rubber stamp by Skull and Cross Buns.

Woodland Friends collection PDF by fluff and fuzz.

Woodland print by Sparklehen.

I noticed a couple of days ago that the leaves have started to turn and fall already. Could we be in for an early autumn this year? Bring on the oranges and browns I say. There are some who yearn for year long summers but I love each season, and love to watch the changes each one brings. Who's with me?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Canada Cowl

So what with the weather taking a turn for the worst over the weekend I decided to start thinking about warm snugly clothing and started knitting this baby. I've christened it my Canada Cowl:

I think (but don't quote me) that the yarn is Sirdar Escape, but whatever it is it's warm and chunky and I can't wait for it to be cold enough outside to wear it! I have been assured that autumn in Vancouver will be obliging.

I didn't follow a pattern, I just knitted a few inches of ribbing either end and stocking stitched the middle as long as I fancied. I would have preferred to knit it in the round but it was a late night knitting craving and I didn't have circular needles in the right size.

I still have one ball left and I think I might just have enough to make some chunky hand warmers to match. So if you happen to be in British Colombia next month and see these pretty blues, purples and pinks out and about then stop and say hi - I'll be the one huddled underneath!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Wishlist Wednesday

First off I need to apologise for my lack of blogging over the past week. This is what happens when you plan an impromptu trip to Wales, forget to bring your camera and then realise once you've got there that your chances of getting online are slim to none. Oops.

But I got back last night and after the milk fiasco this morning (i.e. there not being any and hence no tea!) I am calm and collected and back in the land of blog. Phew! Right now as it is Wednesday (I think!) I'll get you in on another something on my Grown Up Wish List.

Having grown up in the countryside I'm used to old country furniture, and I'd on my list for things I want in my imaginary house is a china cabinet. In welsh we call it a "seld" and a lot of farmhouses would have one displaying their best crockery and tea sets. They're lovely, and I've seen a few made-over recently as craft storage solutions too!

This one has a very "cottage by the sea" feel to it. I love that all the china inside is white too.

I found this beautiful shabby chic cabinet over at Cameo Kids Boutique. It's been painted pink on the inside - there's an idea! And I've also seen a few people wallpaper the inside of theirs too. Lovely.

And Jenny from Allsorts keeps her fabrics and craft supplies on show on her lovely white cabinet. I'd never in a million years manage to keep it as tidy as that though if I had one!

I would however take a beautiful picture of it pristine and lovely and pretend to you and the rest of the world that it was like that always!

Anyway my imaginary house is really starting to take shape now. If anyone would like to give me a real bricks and mortar house, for free preferably, or in exchange for a lifetime's supply of banana bread and carrot cake, my email address is on the blog!