Tuesday, October 31, 2006

wooooo ...

Happy Halloween

My son has just gone trick or treating with a friend from school and his mum. They are just going around to friends' houses where they know they will be welcomed. I remember Hallowe'en being quite a big thing when I was little. We carved pumpkins, bobbed for apples, dipped, face first, for a sweet placed on a pile of flour and generally scaring ourselves silly by turning the lights off and making spooky noises. My mum is Scottish and I think maybe that is where we got the habit of celebrating from - certainly nobody around us really celebrated. The Irish side of my family celebrated too by having barmbrack. A sort of fruit cake/bread that contained fortune telling charms - a penny, a ring, those sort of things. I can't remember what they all were or indeed what luck each was supposed to impart.

Good news...my little laptop is home! Yesterday I had to go into central London for some training and whilst there I got a message saying it was ready to collect. So a couple of hundred pounds later (I know, I know) here he is back home.
Whilst up in town I took the opportunity to spend some more of my earnings. John Lewis to get a Built by Wendy blouse pattern. Then on to Liberty to get some fabric to make it from. Oh and then finally Charbonnel and Walker to get a scrumptious box of choccies (quick tip, it is cheaper to buy these boxes from Lakeland Limited!)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

pay day ...

Friday was my first pay day in seven years and, oh, the exhilaration of having my own money again. So on Saturday - time to spend. Nothing extravagant just a Lego Star Wars Tie-Fighter for my son and some yarn and a copy of Selvedge for me.

I would like to buy something substantial with my first pay cheque. When I first started work I bought a fancy Pentax camera with that very first pay. I still have and use that camera. All the wages for years after went on the mundane stuff of life but the first pay packet was and is special. I am thinking that I might buy a dress form with this first money. Whilst I was making the dress it would have been so useful and I have big ideas to make some more garments. Those Wendy Mullin designs in "Sew U" are calling to me.

So half-term is now nearly over and I think my little bean had a good time. In the end my husband had a lot more work on than he had anticipated as two big jobs came in on the Friday as half-term started. It meant that all his plans to go out on Father and Son jaunts and escapades whilst I was at work had to go by the board. But in the end he went to play at friends' homes and even spent the day at London Zoo with another friend. Oh and his wobbly tooth finally came out today so all in all not too bad a break from school.

I still have no computer and no clear idea when I will get it back - so much for hoping I would have it back for the weekend. It is becoming a real pain now. I have a package of ribbons all ready for sending to the States but the address to send them to is on my computer so they just sit there waiting. I can also only access one of my email accounts so if anyone has been sending mail to the other one then I haven't been able to get them - a real nuisance.

So with no computer I have been catching up on my reading (Chicago May by Nuala O Faolain), and knitting (still plodding on with Florence) and today I made some chocolate chunk cookies from the Ina Garten Parties! book (I must get her new book). And the clocks may have changed but the evening sky still manages to wow with the most gorgeous colours.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a tale of woe ...

Oh dear, oh dear, my poor little 'pute had to go to the doctors today and he requires surgery. He was working so well and so hard yesterday. First he let me visit all my favourite blogs and then he let me post here and then he was all up for saving off lots of my photographs. I had over 1600 photos sat on my machine eating up valuable space. So I decided it was time to burn some CDs and free some of that space. And that's where the trouble started. First CD he burnt fine, not a problem. The second one he burnt just as easily. The problem came when he tried to eject it - he couldn't. No matter how hard he tried he just couldn't get the CD out. We tried everything to help him, pressing buttons, entering commands but all to no avail. So now he is facing surgery. His drive has got to be removed and a new one put in. We hope he will be out of hospital in time for the weekend.

Now his little felted bag, that keeps him all snug and warm and safe lies empty. Sorry the picture is rather orange I took it this evening.

The problem is all my information is on that little machine and I feel a little lost. It is not the same using someone elses machine. This one doesn't have Firefox installed (yet) and so using Blogger isn't as easy as it usually is (and that's saying something). I also have to figure out how to get my emails - if only I could remember my passwords.

There is a brightside though. The one advantage may be that I actually get some crafting done rather than spending so much of my time looking at everyone elses crafty goings on.

This morning I was hanging out with these fun guys.

This weather has certainly led to a profusion of these fellas. We have never really had them in our garden before but today, as well as these ones, I spotted puffballs and some big huge ones that I don't know the name off.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Hooray, my copy of Crafters' Companion arrived today. I have to say it again, I just love coming home from work to discover happy post. True to form I haven't looked through the book properly, yet, but I like the look of the projects it contains. Although I think the most interesting thing is the insight it provides into the contributors - why they craft, how they craft, their inspirations. The photos of their work places/studios is fascinating and I love the chance to be nosey.

I have some ideas for Christmas presents, sorry I can't divulge too much incase of prying eyes, but I did need to track down some of this stuff.

I found a brilliant little website based in the UK that stocks the stuff. I ordered it late on Friday afternoon and it was here Monday morning. Yay for quick service. I also ordered some of these from the site.

It is about time I tried using the embroidery tool I bought a month ago so now there is no excuse.

Now for that Tracey Ullman knitting book I mentioned in my last post. Well, I am really pleased with it. My parents bought it for me and it was a complete surprise but a very welcome one. The book has some lovely patterns which I can certainly seem myself knitting

and some more adventurous ones that I would love to have a go at.

I just need to finsh my current knitting project before taking on anything else. But then that is so much easier said than done.

Friday, October 20, 2006

yahoo it's the weekend ...

First full week of work done and dusted and I am now really looking forward to the weekend. I have nothing planned except to relax. Although I would like to put the garden to bed for the winter, if it stays dry. I also have a lot of email correspondence to catch up with so I plan to do that as well.

The good news is that after my moan the other day, I have started to finally get some things ticked off my crafting to do list. I obviously just had to get all the negative vibes out of my system in order to move on and sorry you guys got a good dose of my self pity but my family have really suffered the brunt of it.

So on with the good news stuff. I made another little flower badge as a very belated thank you present and it is now wending its merry way across land and sea.

It feels so much better to have that ticked off, it had been taunting me for too long.

I also re-did the hem on my dress as I hadn't been happy with it. And yay! I finally wore the dress today. Other mum's in the playground at pick up were very complimentary about it although I didn't 'fess up and tell them I had made it myself. For some reason I always get embarrassed saying I have made something myself. Silly, I know, but true. But their kind comments made me very happy.

My sister sent me samples of the fabric she bought for the quilt I am going to make for her.

They are lovely and muted and should go really well with plain calico. I will collect the fabric from her the next time I see her so I won't be starting the quilt for a wee while.

There were another two lots of happy post this week. These gorgeous little tags arrived from Kirsten on Thursday.Second happy post was the arrival of the book my mum and dad had ordered for me, "Knit 2 Together" by Tracey Ullman. I haven't had time to look at it properly but I will enjoy relaxing this evening with a glass of wine and a perusal. I love coming home from work and finding post, other than bills and credit card applications, waiting for me. I am hoping the Crafters' Companion will arrive soon too.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

you never phone, you never write ...

What can I say, work seriously gets in the way of life. I have had a gap of seven years in my employment history and in that time I had forgotten how tiring working is. But it has only been a week and I am sure it will all fall into place in due course.

Nothing crafty has been happening. Even the weekend was craft free and I think this in itself is a big problem. I find it very frustrating not using the creative side of my brain and that frustration vents itself in the most unappealing ways. Sadly at the moment my mind is just too tired to even think of anything. I have also been suffering blinding headaches from clenching my teeth to much - returning to work is so stressful.

It's not all o me miserum though. I made it to the knitting group today for the first time in ages. It was good to see everyone, and a couple of new faces, and just catch up on what everyone was making. I also enjoyed the opportunity to just sit down and knit - I actually felt relaxed. Note to self - knit more often it is good for your mental health.

I have also been catching up on blog reading. Wow. A lot has been happening out there. People having babies, suffering earthquakes, debating about the posting of children's photos and sadly some even giving up this blogging lark. I swear it was only a couple of days when I didn't read anything.

As I get more used to being in gainful employment I hope to get my crafting mojo back and blog far more regularly than of late. But in the meantime here's a little passion for a Wednesday evening.

This passion flower has entwined itself around our magnolia tree and made a lovely splash of colour on a grey morning.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I would like to thank ...

all of you for all the lovely comments about the dress, they gave me such a confidence boost. My husband confessed to me today that he had been concerned about my choice of fabric thinking I might look like a chav. I hadn't even thought that the slight Burberry-esque check might lead to this impression. Apparently, and rather luckily, the finished article doesn't make him think of a chav so I can wear it safe with that knowledge - phew.

Here's a quick flash of the lining.
My second thank you goes to Miss Flibbertygibbet for this wonderful gift.
Dolly (or should that be 'ie') mixture stitch markers. A really brilliant idea and they make me smile. They came in a cute little bag in Dolly Mixture striped fabric.

I have now added another knitting project to my ever growing 'to do' list. Thanks to Atelier 455 I now know about these wee hats. Sounds like a good way to use up some odds and ends of yarn and help a good cause.

Tomorrow morning before I go to work (how weird does that sound?!) I have a coffee morning with some mums from school. So this afternoon I made some melting moments, from the new Rachel Allen book, to take with me.

Anyway, must go to bed early tonight .... I have that new shoes and pencil case feeling. Which brings me to my final thank you, for all the good luck and congratulations wishes for the new job.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

are you sitting comfortably? ...

... then I will begin. Firstly my apologies for being a very bad blogger but I bring news.

I have finished the dress and I am very pleased with it, although the weather is so unseasonably warm that I haven't worn it out yet. I have only worn it to try it on and pin hems and the like.

Thank you for all the advice regarding the lining. I did keep it separate from the skirt just attaching it at the waistband. I liked the idea of the lining and skirt being sewn together partly to cut in half the number of seams I would have to sew (lazy girl). But also I liked the idea that it would give the skirt more definition, however, I don't think that would have suited the pattern.

I have also finished some secret knitting. No picture, duh, otherwise it wouldn't be a secret.

Finally, I sent of my swap package to Flibbertygibbet. I have been so bad about sending it off, it has been ready to go for days now even so I still forgot to take a photo. Whilst at the post office I also sent off this little good luck gift to a fellow blogger

I still have a very long overdue 'thank you' to get together and send off so that is now a top priority.

Oh and last but not least I've gone and got myself a job. I found out about it last week and I start this Thursday - my head is still reeling. It is an admin job in a local bookshop and is just mornings. I am going to have to be far more organised.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

here be dragons ...

I have decided to leave the dress for this evening. As I felt myself getting frustrated with the collar band I decided it best to put it aside. I have been doing bits and pieces on it now for a couple of days determined not to rush it and bodge it.

Before I started sewing I decided I should really clean my machine. Now this is something I very rarely do as the pile of lint that came from various parts can testify.
I changed the needle, making sure I used the correct size for my fabric (something I don't think I have ever done). Hopefully you can tell I am taking this seriously.

As I had decided to bind the seams I made some binding from the same fabric that will line the skirt. Luckily I twigged it doesn't have to be bias binding so hurrah no cutting cross grain.

Next I read and re-read the instructions to try and get a good grasp of the details. I laid out all the pieces in their place so I could get a good overview.
I would love to claim that I am always so meticulous but all of this is because I have never made a dress before. Over the years I have made about a half dozen skirts, a couple of shirts, one night shirt, four aprons of varying designs but no dress. So I feel as if I am in slightly uncharted territory and like any good explorer I am travelling prepared and cautiously.

And what to do with the skirt lining - do I sew it separately and insert it at the waistband or do I sew it with the skirt pieces so they share the same seams? Both have there merits and I can't decide which would be best. Any advice would be most appreciated.

Monday, October 02, 2006

busy, busy, busy ...

I think I am ready to proclaim today a success.

The first task I had set myself was to try and come up with an idea for my sister's quilt and I think I have settled on an idea that both she and I like.

She is buying the green fabrics as she has seen two she really likes. I have drawn out a little plan and made up my plastic templates and can set about cutting out the calico. That way I am already to go when the green fabrics arrive.

And ta da!!
I have cut out all the pieces for the dress I have been planning to make for ages now. I just need to sit down tomorrow and mark all the balance points. Then I can take off the paper pattern pieces and get stitching. I am tempted to carry on now but my I am tired, it's getting late and I know that way lies tears, tantrums and heartache. Much better to pick up with a clear and refreshed head.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

it's raining, it's pouring ...

What atrocious and mixed up weather we have had this weekend. Thunder, lightening, torrential rain and then glorious hot sunshine then quick as a flash back to the rain.

As a result there was no planting of bulbs (no tick) so I am hoping for better luck during the week. However, the Thompson and Morgan catalogue has been fully perused and my list of desires drawn up (tick).

The weekend has also been taken up with sorting stuff. All this rain led to a leak in our kitchen ceiling so my husband went into the back attic to see if he could see what the problem was. Of course he could find nothing wet or even damp up there and it hasn't leaked again (yet). So it must only happen when the wind blows in a certain direction.

At least it meant we cleared out that attic (a bit). And we cleared out the under-eaves storage too. We went to take some of the items to the storage unit but forgot that they close at 2pm on Sundays and we don't pay for 24 hour access so that was a wasted journey. The bonus was that I found a lot of stuffing I had forgotten I had - roll on Olive and Archie.

I have also been trying to catch up on my correspondence by replying to all the comments that have been made. I've done quite well but I can't trace email address for some people so sorry if you haven't had a reply from me yet. (75% of a tick).