Wednesday, July 26, 2006

tired and crochety...

last night the temperature here was higher than the normal daytime average for July which meant little sleep, so tempers have been a little frayed.

My son went to play at a friends this afternoon and I took the opportunity to get on with finishing the present I have been dithering over for days now. After much contemplation I re-did the patchwork I showed the other day. I decided it was too busy for such a small area so I pared it down to just 3 fabrics and kept it simple.

Finally I have finished one wip - so many more to go though! One project I may add to my wip list is this lovely bottle holder over at Pink Chalk Studio - especially as we all seem to be glugging from various bottles trying to slake our thirsts at the moment.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

definitely another lemonade day...

is it possible to become addicted to homemade/real lemonade. It seems to be just about the best thing to drink in this warm spell.

Tomorrow I will have to go and buy more lemons - the pips my husband planted 2 weeks ago have sprouted and are growing really well but I don't suppose they will fruit in time for another lemonade making session tomorrow!

Today I went into a couple of local charity shops - I love browsing but very rarely leave with anything it tends to be all too new or last years Richard and Judy bookclub books - it always makes me so envious to see thrift store purchases on other blogs or even more exciting yard sales and estate sales - they just don't exist like that here. So I was delighted to discover this book for £2.50
and it wasn't until I got home and looked at it properly that I discovered this wasn't loose pages but in fact a whole other book.

Both books are amazing in the detail they provide on how to create your own patterns or adapting paper patterns - I never realised there were at least 8 ways to make a pocket or that there were quite so many places you could put darts. I am now keen to get a copy of Mrs Natalie Bray's follow up book that deals with dress patterns.

Monday, July 24, 2006

1 down 42 to go ...

Today counted as the first 'proper' day of the holiday and so far so good.

This morning involved the usual grocery shopping and then a trip to the library to enrol my son on 'The Reading Mission'. I picked up these books for myself so I will take great pleasure in flicking through them over the next few days.

My son is keen to make some felt hand puppets so tomorrow morning will probably be a supplies shopping foray. He has lots of ideas of the things he wants to do - to day involved an art afternoon and he wants to go and see some exhibitions with me - at this point I should point out he is only 6 (7 in August). On our list is Kandinsky and Modigliani, my list also includes Angus McBean (I'm sure he can be persuaded). He also wanted to set up his own blog but we have settled for a scrapbook - apprently 'blog' is a girly word anyway.

I am also currently trying to get together a present for a friend who has just had her fifth child but my eye for colour has completely failed me - I blame sun blindness.

So it has subsequently been unpicked, simplified and stitching should occur in the next day or so...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'm mad...

it is official, what friends and family have no doubt known for sometime has now finally become apparent to me.

Who else would cook 36 fairy cakes in temperatures that nearly matches cakes for degrees centigrade? It was a Nigella recipe and each batch only made 12 cakes so I had to make three separate batches - I never trust the doubling or tripling up of baking recipes.

Which mad fool would then stand over a hot iron to do a freezer transfer onto a t-shirt?

Yep you guessed it - sorry no prizes. But I have to say I am very pleased with the results - the cakes are yummy and they don't all have to go into school so at least we get to enjoy some of the fruits of my labour. The t-shirt, a gift for someone, is looking good too.

In true Sesame Street style-ee this evening's blog has been brought to you by a glass of chilled Chilean Zinfandel rosé and the music of Richard Hawley.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm at a bit of a loss...

.. as to what exactly to blog about as today has been a bit of a nothingy sort of day and I have resolved not to talk about the weather.

Well, I have selected the buttons I am going to send and I have a few ideas for a couple of other bits and bobs to send along with them. The posting date isn't until the 1st August but I know if I don't get ahead of the game it will be a last minute panic - especially once the school holidays start.

I re-bought my dolliedaydream domain - I had let it lapse and had to wait for it to be released so I could register it with a cheaper company. It just has a holding image at the moment that links to my blog. And last but not least I registered with etsy .... just in case.

My workspace has been sorted out a bit and I have finally put my notice board up so it no longer perches on my magazines - I can actually get them out and look at them now.

So it has been a day filled with tiny triumphs. Tomorrow I have to bake and decorate cakes for my son's last day of Year 2, so I really hope it is a little cooler (oh bum I just mentioned it didn't I).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

what a good day...

What a glorious summer's evening golden light glints off everything, swifts joyfully screech high in the sky, church bells are ringing and all is right within my little world (the bigger world at large is just too scary at the moment). The photograph is a view from my garret window - I love the sound of a garret it implies so much - but really it is just a modern loft conversion.

This morning was spent in Dorking and I acquired several metres of fabric to help lift my stash - it was in desperate need of enlivening and I hope this fabric will do just that.

Came home to discover the flat springs had arrived - I only ordered them yesterday! Unfortunately they are ever so slightly too long but a little jiggery-pokery will see them do the job I'm sure.

Then I discovered this in a local stationery store. Denyse Schmidt just isn't heard of here so to find an item from her product range is nigh on unheard of.

Also I discovered today who my vintage button swap partner is - so now to the tricky business of trying decide which buttons to send.

Here's to tomorrow being an even better day.

Monday, July 17, 2006

a visitor flies in ...

I walked into the kitchen around lunchtime to discover we had a visitor - I have no idea how he (or maybe she) got in but he probably hopped up the back stairs from the garden. He was in no hurry to leave either it required a sheet to be thrown over him so he could be returned to the garden. Unfortunately, worried and frightened birds leave rather a lot of faecal matter around so an hour later I was finally happy that everything had been cleaned and sanitised.

Sorry, I hate to say it, and I think it was Oscar Wilde who said weather is only talked about by people with no imagination (or something like that)* but it has to be said today has been spectacular. The whole week is set carry on in a similar vein too - I just hope it doesn't break too soon as my son doesn't finish school until Friday and it would be great to be able to do picnics and the like.

The weekend was hot and sunny too, hence very little was actually accomplished. However, I made this glasses case on Saturday evening as a salve to my conscience. It just needs a suitable closure so I have ordered some flat springs from Kleins.

Sunday was the final fundraiser of the school year - a dad's five-a-side football match. Picnics and fun although some of the dads got a bit carried away and forgot it was supposed to be fun.

Tomorrow in a desperate effort to get stuff done before my son breaks-up I plan to get over to the Quilt Room and pick up some bits and pieces for summer projects.

*"Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative"

Friday, July 14, 2006

what is vintage..?

It is a question I have been struggling with for a while now - what makes something vintage.

I seem to come across fabric that claims to be vintage but whilst the design maybe 'retro' or 'vintage' the fabric itself is new - surely making it reproduction rather than vintage. Or fabric that is only, at most, 10 years old being called vintage - are the 90s really vintage? Does it mean that fabric I have had in my store for several years now could legitimately be called vintage?

Are 1960's/70's vintage? or retro? A vintage car is a car built between 1919 and 1930 and for an item to be called antique it has to be over 100 years old (or pre-1830 depending on where you search for the definition). Why can't there be a tight definition for fabric, buttons and trimmings? But then if there were how would you date the item correctly - they are not like books that give you publication details.

Or should it be regarded like wine - vintage can be any year, recent or distant past, where the product is of a particularly high quality.

Or should it just adhere to the dictionary's definition " old-fashioned; dated; outmoded"?

I have a lot of questions, certainly no answers - so your homework this week is an essay entitled 'Vintage is in the eye of the beholder. Discuss.'

And of course the really big question - Does it Really Matter?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

view from a bridge & other stories ...

Yesterday required a trip 'up town'. A glorious day hot, sunny, blue skies - the works. I had a quick browse in Liberty and bought some fabric in the sale then on to Persephone books to get a birthday present for my mother-in-law. I thought she would really like their new summer book 'Gardener's Nightcap' by Muriel Stuart - I hope I am right.

For once I took my camera with me and this is what greets me on my journey back to Waterloo as I walk across the Golden Jubilee Bridge (west side).

So now it is Thursday evening and here I am a glass of wine beside me, ready to bring you my day.

What had been a day marked out by domestic chores has transmuted itself in to quite a successful day. I have moved on with the dollie logo idea and created my own stamp. Nothing more complex than a carved eraser (sorry I can't say 'rubber' it elicits too many giggles).

I have also freezer papered a t-shirt for my husband with his company moojoose's logo. If I am going to keep doing these I really must invest in a craft knife with a softgrip handle.

Tomorrow I think I might have quite a serious post - something has been bothering me for a while and would be interested in other people's views but until then ....

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

the octopus just ain't right ...

Today I finally got around to cutting out the octopus pattern. I love the fabric although because of the weave it frays rather too easily - but the blocks of colour give it a patchwork look and feel without the bother of piecing.

But I have just stuffed it and I don't like it - it doesn't work for me at all. It requires a total rethink. However, I think I now know how I can hopefully achieve the look I want it just needs to be so much more substantial. So it is still officially a work in progress.

On a brighter note the couple of Barefoot Contessa books I ordered from Amazon arrived today - so I have been enjoying looking through them and thinking what I am going to make from them. One of the things I like about Ina Garten's recipes is that they are very do-able.

I have also spent today catching up on various blogs - I have been completely enthralled by the letters Alicia found at an Estate Sale, I really wish my family kept or even had letters like that. I have been working on and off on my family history (I am concentrating on my dad's side at the moment) and I am continually saddened by the lack of family ephemera be it photographs, letters whatever - anything.

Monday, July 10, 2006

modern monday ...

So today I finally made it to the V&A's Modernism exhibition - I am usually so bad at actually getting to an exhibtion before it closes.

It was interesting but with such a huge subject it felt like it was just scratching the top of the iceberg and in someways only giving the history of the 'celebrities' of the movement. But definitely a great starting point and a fantastic collection of items all displayed together.

I saw plenty of things to spark the imagination - mainly textile items. But sadly the postcards from the exhibition didn't include any of the things I was really interested in so I have had to trawl the internet. Photography was strictly not allowed in the exhibition.

I loved the Ruth Hollos Consemuller and Anni Albers wall hangings - some great quilt ideas me thinks.

I also loved the two Claire McCardell outfits hidden away behind a huge silver car. And I was pleased to see that Russel Wright hadn't been completely forgotten about, I went to an exhibition devoted to him at the Cooper-Hewitt several years ago and have been smitten ever since.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

normal service will be resumed shortly...

oh dear it has been several days and I haven't posted a thing but I have been busy - honest.

Wednesday was a baking day - lots of pecan shortbread and soaking of bulghar wheat for a supper at a friends house on Thursday evening. I also created my dolliedaydream logo - I like the idea of an insignia that can be used in place of words.

On Thursday I used the old freezer paper trick and created a dollie logo on a t-shirt.

I also created a paper pattern for my nephew's octopus and decided on the fabric and some embellishements and I even took pictures with the intention of posting them for wip Friday. Then it was time to complete the making of the wild rice, chickpea and bulghar salad from the wonderful Avoca Cookbook.

Friday was the school fair - so in the morning I was helping wrap the remainder of the lucky dip prizes. My parents came for a visit so we had a pub lunch then along to the school fair to take up my position as stallholder on 'Hook a Duck'. The rain stopped and the sun shone and it was an afternoon of roll up roll up and plastic beakers of Pimms. My husband was on the 'Bash the Rat' stall - mmm I think he missed his true vocation except I think the dodgems or waltzers would be more his style.

Also I never posted the wip photos - that's what sometimes happens to good intentions - so here it is now.

Saturday was Barnes Fair - which was packed but again the sun just about shone and it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon - I got some buttons but as always have no idea what I will do with them .... yet.

And today, Sunday, I feel burnt out so I think an early night is called for - but I did make some more shortbread for my family who only got a couple of biscuits from the previous batch.

I would also like to say thank you for all the lovely comments about Pierre - I had meant to reply to them personally - hopefully I will do so this week.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bonjour Pierre ....

so here he is - Pierre Lapin. His Frenchness is on account of the PJ fabric used to make his body, direct from a Parisian boutique (an old worn out PJ top finds a new life) - what a chic little guy he is.

To carry on the sleepytime theme he has his own dressing gown and bunny slippers, not that he needs them in this hot and sultry weather.

and here he is modelling the ensemble ...

A little expat bunny over here in Putney but luckily there are plenty of little boys and girls around here who speak French fluently so he can practice his native tongue. He adores pain au chocolat for breakfast but it does tend to mess up his PJs - that chocolate can get everwhere. And it must be washed down with some sirop de peche avec l'eau.

Oh no, now he is feeling homesick and I am getting a hankering to hop on the Eurostar - oh, we have checked the purse and the moths that flew up in our face suggest that it is empty so we will have to wait to traverse the Channel.

For more Wee Wonderfuls have a look at the Flickr group

Monday, July 03, 2006

blimey ...

it has been so hot these last few days - the only thing to do is take it easy and sip homemade lemonade.

I was supposed to go running this morning with a few mums from school, it is a regular Monday morning thing, but luckily today everyone had other things to do so it didn't happen - it was too hot for running even at 9.00 am.

My weewonderfuls bunny is completed but my camera battery ran out on me so I will post a photo tomorrow. I can reveal, however, that his name is Pierre.

With the sun so bright and shiny today I thought it would be a good opportunity to try and expose an image on some solar plate I bought a few months ago. I am not sure that I exposed it for long enough because when I went to develop it the image was very faint - the instructions related to using a lightbox not natural sunlight. So I am not holding out much hope for it but I will ink it up tomorrow and see what, if anything, has happened.

The weather is supposed to continue getting hotter over the next couple of days so better get more lemons in.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

an homage ...

I love Jane over at Yarnstorm's beautiful pictures of her complimenting colours be it jelly beans with knitted cushions, book covers with yarn or cakes with embroidery thread. A recent photo was nail varnished toes with dahlias.

Well when my hollyhocks burst forth this week I knew I just had to take this picture.

They are the most gorgeous colour, they start of as virtually black and then as they unfurl and mature they become the most sumptuous purple, crimson, black, brown colour that I just don't know what you would call it. It would be a great colour for velvet.

While I was out in the garden - I finally managed to take a picture of my garden buddy.

He loves sultanas and chirps on the fence until I replenish the bird table then by way of a thank you he gives the most beautiful burst of song. Although today his chirrups were drowned out by 'oooohs' and 'ahhhs' and 'nnnooooos' - the sound of football being watched up and down the street. It is so hot that doors and windows are open and the groans and excitement permeate the air.