Sunday, 24 January 2010

Homework and Hamsters.

A brief summary of my week - worked a long day on Monday at my proper job.  But as it was just the one day, I coped.  Tuesday -guitar lesson, followed by working at Leyton Orient for the evening match against Bristol (and yes,  surprisingly  they DID win, 2-0.)  Wednesday was our first City and Guilds class this year, and after that I drove up to Cambridge to meet my niece to  see Avatar at the cinema.  (Oooh, a little tip here, if you take your own popcorn in, to avoid paying the ridiculously inflated prices they charge in the cinema, hid it in your handbag.  They've started confiscating 'imported' snacks.  Fortunately, my niece did the whole "I'm anaemic and I could collapse' scenario, so we were allowed to take it with us.  Not that they believed us, but they could see that we weren't going to be bullied. 
It was a long film, nearly three hours, and Sarah dozed off (no stamina, these youngsters- although if the popcorn police had seen her I'd have pretended that she'd passed out) Anyway, I enjoyed the film - I'd never seen a 3D movie before, and it amused my niece (when she was awake) that I kept looking over the top of my special glasses to see if they really DID make a difference.
Thursday, I dyed some more buttons and did some C & G homework.  On Friday I met the girls in Baroosh and we drank coffee had lunch and knitted.  Now tell me, why do people find that so odd?  Even my Mum said "Don't they mind you knitting in there, it might put their customers off"  We ARE customers!  I suppose it's only a matter of time before someone claims to be "Yarn Intolerant", or a Government body warns of the dangers of passive knitting,  and we are banished outside to stand and knit on street corners.
Today I've been to Art and Stitch for a day's workshop by Fan My Flame on Bonded Books.  It was a lovely day, good to come away from a workshop with a finished piece, and hopefully the glue should wash out of my clothes. Here are the result (and you're wrong, mine isn't the pink one!)

There was a band on tonight in Hertford that I wanted to see - The Hamsters, who I've been going to see for about ten years, at various venues, some of which have been closed down and others that have narrowly escaped the same fate.  (Like the recently reprieved Half Moon at Putney, where the Hamsters have a monthly residency) Not that the closures were anything to do with the band, you understand.  Nor with me, for that matter.  Unfortunately, none of my mates were available to come with me - some had good excuses, eg. snowboarding in Austria/Staying with friends in Henley-on-Thames/Cruising the Panama Canal,  - but some less so - "Staying in to watch Casualty" (you know who you are!).  So, even though I was Gilly-No-Mates, as I really wanted to see them, I decided to go on my own.  Really glad I did - I've usually seen the 'Regular Set', when they play their own material and various rock/blues covers, but tonight they did a 'Hendrix/ZZTop Set' which was excellent.  I took a few photos while at the front, but as is usual at these events, I unwittingly found myself standing next to a real-ale-drinking flatulence sufferer, so I moved well back.

They finished with their finale - ZZ Top's 'Sharp Dressed Man' - where they wander through the audience and swap instruments, with the bass player playing lead, the drummer playing bass, and the guitarist playing the drums.  (Makes me realise I'll have to practise a bit more before I book Wembley)

So, if you like Rock with a bit of Blues, Blues with a bit of Hendrix, Hendrix with a bit of ZZ Top, check them out sometime.  If we don't turn off the TV and go out and see live music occasionally, we'll lose the music venues that have managed to survive, and then the only music that exists will be the stuff that Simon Cowell churns out.  No, thank you very much.
Going back to the Hamsters, I must have been seeing them for more than ten years, because I remember my (then very young) nephew saw a Hamsters tape in my car, and wanted to play it, as he'd just got his first Hamster.  And he's now 25 and moved into his first house today.  Blimey, time flies.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

It's done and I love it!

My sewing room is finished and I love it! 

The wallpaper - which for me was definitely a bit of a bold choice, looks perfect on one wall, and the cream paint on the other walls matches it completely.  It looks so lovely I am absolutely determined not to clutter the room up like it was before.  Feel free to pop by for spot checks.  It'll fit well with my 'make more, buy less' resolution - I won't buy anything else, I'll just use what I've already got, and finish off the multitude of half-finished projects.  I sorted through those yesterday - some go back over 15 years - pathetic or what?  There are some I really should just throw out, techniques that I tried and didn't like, and to be honest, I'm never going to do anything with them, even if I do get them finished.  I might post pictures of them on here, and you can agree that they're awful, then I can bin them. You can be a kind of stitching equivalent of Trinnie and Suzanne.  Feel free to be as rude as you like, I promise I won't cry.
The only things I'm going to have in my sewing room are pretty things - like this beautiful scented candle that my lovely sister  Linda made for me for Christmas.

It's the first time she's ever made candles, and this is very much a limited edition, as she only made six.  She will  have to make some more though, 'cos I keep going in charity shops and buying her more cups and saucers and other receptacles.  What makes it doubly special, is that contrary to the fears expressed by our parents, she didn't burn her house down in the process, which is good.
While I'm on the subject of Christmas presents from my sister, here is the wrapping for one of the other presents she made me -

It's a stitched calico envelope, about A4 size with appliqued baubles and a stitched garland of fairy lights.  I'd like to show you what's inside, but the light's too poor to take photographs at the moment, so I'll do that tomorrow, and show you next time. 

Yesterday I braved arctic conditions to go up to London for an exhibition.  I'm happy to report that it must have been the right kind of snow for the trains, as there were no transport problems.  I went to the Fashion and Textile Museum, with Fan My Flame but I'll let you read all about it on her blog (her pictures turned out better than mine!)  I rather liked this black lace blouse, especially the unusual overlap at the front.  I spent some time sketching it with a view to making it (in another 10 or 12 years, probably)

The trouble is, as Gina and I discussed, lace looks lovely in tiny sizes, but I fear it might look a bit 'matronly' on those of more normal proportions.  And MatronlyRockChick doesn't really cut it.
From there we went to Anthropologie in Regent Street, which I keep reading about but hadn't visited.  We spent quite a bit of time browsing, and it's definitely worth seeing for the decor, especially the fantastic chandeliers made from recycled plastic.  Gina's blog has them looking spendid in situ, and this is a close up of one of them -

I liked this sign at the back of the shop - maybe I should adopt it as my motto?

It doesn't say anything about saving things for best, does it?
My only purchase in there was a couple of door knobs.  I need 13 for the cupboards and drawers in my room, and given the price of them, I definitely wasn't going to buy a complete set, but as you could buy them individually, I decided that I'm going to have mismatched knobs (oo-er missus).  When I'm away somewhere and see one that I like, I'll buy it as a kind of souvenir.  Here are the the two I bought yesterday, fully installed -

a pink glass one, and a white china clock face.  The trouble is, the door to that cupboard is so wide (I think it originally used to house a fold-down bed) that when it came to putting the glass one on I couldn't reach round far enough to hold the knob with one hand , whilst turning the screw on the other side of the door with my other hand.  I'm not sure how a professional tradesman would have coped - but I solved the problem by - if you can picture this - holding the knob in place with my left foot, and turning the screw on the other size of the door with my right hand, whilst standing on one leg. 
It's a good job I started with that door.  By the time I finish my door knob collection, I'll probably be too arthritic to perform that particular manoeuvre.

Monday, 11 January 2010


Good-o, no more snow so the decorator is coming this morning.  Which means I'd better dismantle the PC now.  See you in a few days - I'll miss you  :-(

Friday, 8 January 2010

Still snowy.

Getting just a little bit bored of the snow now.  It's always lovely when it's fresh, when you look out of the window and get that little kid "Oh it's snowed!" feeling.  But after a few days it just looks messy and untidy, and its difficult even to pop out in the garden for something.  Which means I'm afraid that today's photos have been taken indoors, or from the kitchen door.  Nice sunrise yesterday though,
All right, maybe I've played around a little bit with that one.  Be lovely if skies were really that colour. 
This one is completely uneditted by me, but I think the camera does something clever when you put it on the 'sunset' setting

Still, I've got more than enough to occupy myself indoors, so I'm not complaining.  Apart from all the sorting and clearing out, I've made a couple of these -

and which fold down to this -

I first saw them here at the Knitting and Stitching Show, so I made a couple in this slightly tacky leopardskin nylon-y fabric (it was given to me, I didn't buy it!)  I think I'll refer to them as my "Bet Lynch Shoppers".  I think it's now time for a new ironing board cover though. 

I've had a lovely new one for ages (it's got pink hearts on) but I've been saving it for best. 
Oh no, it's snowing again. (I'm never going to get my room decorated)

PS  - My friend Jill told me I HAD to buy the Waitrose Food magazine this month.  I had completely forgotten why, because as you know, I'm not very experimental in the kitchen.  I just went to make myself a cuppa, and picked up the magazine, and started flicking through.

Now I remember why I had to buy it.

Great hair, nice cars, a fabulous house in Yorkshire, AND cooks puddings.  What more could you want?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Notice anything different about me?

Oh dear.  Still snow.  Still no decorator.  Lucky I left my computer set up so I could play.
Right now I'm off to do some housework stitching x

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Just As I Suspected....

I KNEW I'd made the right decision not to dismantle the PC until this morning.  I looked out the window and realised it was highly unlikely that my decorator would be able to get here today.

Sure enough, at 8 o'clock he rang to say that he wasn't.  I don't blame him at all, his kids will be off school and they can have a lovely day making snowmen and having snowball fights.  I did advise him to carry out a risk assessment prior to engaging in any fun - to check that no-one was likely to slip/get cold/retaliate with guns and knives.  Probably best to ask the intended target if it would be ok to throw a snowball at them, before doing so, just to be on the safe side.
 Anyway, my sewing room is hardly a 'life or death' situation is it?  Plus, as I am not going anywhere today, and will be sitting in my lounge surrounded by mounds of 'stuff' it will be an ideal opportunity to have a very ruthless sort out and hopefully there will be less to go back in the room when it is decorated.
Incidentally, if anyone wants two binders worth of Embroidery magazines, (the Embroiderer's Guild ones) dating from 1990 let me know - although you'd have to be within 'collecting' distance I guess.  If I come across anything else that I think anyone could make use of, I'll let you know.

I'm only having the room decorated because I saw this lovely paper ...

I kept going back to B&Q to look at it, trying to decide if it would be a bit much.  Then I went into a new 'boutique' in town - I hope that doesn't date me - are they still called 'boutiques'? (Actually, if they are, I dare say the spelling has probably degenerated to 'Booteeks') Anyway, the paper looked lovely on the walls, so I immediately went and bought a couple of rolls.  It's only going on one wall in my sewing room, and the rest will be painted cream.  I'm really looking forward to seeing it finished.  Sitting here in the empty room - it seems so much better already with no clutter in it, so I really am determined to get rid of a load of stuff that I've been keeping 'just in case'.
Right, I'd better get started.  (Still snowing) x

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Not a moment too soon.

You'll be glad to know I've finished. 

The room is empty, all except the computer which I'll move tomorrow, and immediately start suffering with  withdrawal symptoms at not been able to get on the internet.  And this from the woman who, ten years ago, couldn't see the point of having a computer.

I'm not sure which I had most of, empty sketchbooks or spider's webs. 

I bet now that I've cluttered up the rest of the flat with boxes and bags of fabric etc, etc, the decorator won't be able to get here because of the snow.  (Which is why the computer is staying where it is at the moment!)

Never mind the snow, how about this for a sunrise over Staples Corner this morning.  Completely as it was with no photoshop-ing.

Still Clearing.

Oh dear.  Clearing my sewing room in preparation for the decorator tomorrow is taking longer than I thought.   I could well be up all night.  Trouble is, with living in a small flat, there's nowhere to put anything when you clear a room out.
Incidentally - how many empty sketchbooks would be acceptable, and how many would amount to a serious addiction?

Sunday, 3 January 2010


On Saturday I was expecting to work (at Leyton Orient) so I got up at 6.30, got myself ready and just before I was due to leave, at 8.30 - I got a phone call to say that the game was called off as the pitch was frozen!  You can imagine my disappointment - a whole 'free' day to myself.  Oh well, you just have to make the best of it, don't you?  And, although it was cold, it was bright and sunny, so I borrowed a friend's dog and took her for a long walk.  Saw some  interesting patterns in the ice ...

and made some very long shadows...

We were out longer than I'd intended, as several of the routes I took were flooded and/or frozen.  And we might have got a bit lost.  All right then, I got a bit lost.  I don't think Trixie minded, although I suspect her feet might have been a bit cold at the end of it. 

Today I had one job to do.  I had to clear my sewing room in preparation for the decorator who is coming on Wednesday.  I got as far as taking all the fabric out of the cupboard and piling it up on the sofa in the lounge.  And then I don't quite know what happened, or what I ended up doing but that's as far as it got.  I have sorted out some paper work (totally unconnected with the decorating project) and cleared a pile of magazines (by reading them) and watched back-to-back episodes of Pride and Prejudice (the one with Colin Firth in a wet shirt).  I think I have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder.  Do you think I could have counselling?  Or at least a badge?
Anyway, if you see me on here tomorrow or Tuesday evening, please tell me to go away and clear the room, or I am going to have to get up at about 2am on Wednesday morning.
It'll be nice when it's done.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Woke up to a lovely sunny day - which maybe gives you a clue as to the fact that I didn't get up at the crack of dawn - so met up with some friends and had a good walk. Masses of other people and dogs doing the same thing. What a lovely start to 2010.

Have been giving a bit of thought to NY resolutions. I watched "Enid" on TV the other night, with Helena Bonham Carter playing the title role. Enid Blyton was my favourite author when I was a kid, but having seen the programme, she came across as a complete.... well, she certainly wasn't going to win any awards for "wife and mother of the year". So I DID consider resolving not to read any of her books for the whole of 2010. But that's a bit of a cop out as I probably wouldn't have done anyway.

2010 is definitely NOT going to be the year I learn to become a Cordon Bleu cook, or any other kind of domestic goddess. I'm not going to be going to the gym everyday, nor running a marathon, and although I intend to practice the guitar regularly, I don't think I should go ahead and book Wembley just yet. I want to draw and stitch more, and take more photos for my blog - and then get to grips with Photoshop.

So it might be a bit airy-fairy, but my resolution for this year is to "make more stuff, and buy less"

If that sounds familiar, it may be because I think that may have been last year's resolution too, but if it works.....

If I come up with anything more life changing, be assured you'll be the first to know.