Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Quick catch up.

This is going to be a short catch-up as I've been having problems with my internet connection, hence the delay in posting. 
I was walking past a charity shop last Thursday evening, when I spotted a lovely treasure in the window.  Sadly the shop was shut, but I made a note of the phone number, as I knew I wouldn't be able to get there the following day.  I rang the shop the following morning and they kindly agreed to save it for me, so on Saturday morning I was up bright and early and drove over to the shop, and now it's mine!
The reason I couldn't get to the shop on Friday was because I had a day out with my little sister at the Textiles in Focus show at Cottenham, near Cambridge.  It's a really lovely show, not on the scale of Ally Pally or Harrogate but very friendly and one of my favorites.   Small, but perfectly formed, as they say.  I'll be posting more pictures from the exhibitions on Art Van Go's blog just as soon as I get time, but in the meantime, I particularly liked this work by Vanda Campbell of the MESCH Contemporary Art Textiles group.

It was part of a series, combining watercolours, metalwork and textiles.  All very delicate, yet vibrant.  And , apparently, she taught herself to crochet to make these pieces.  I must say, she seems to have had much more success than I did, when I tried to learn to crochet in order to make myself a hat.  (it's still pending)

On Saturday, on my way back from collecting my aforementioned treasure, I stopped off for a few bits at the shops, and bought these tulips.  And, as the sun was shining through the kitchen window for what seems like the first time in years, I took a photograph.  (I must admit that I had to clean the window first, though)

I would say, maybe Spring is on the way - but as it rained all day on Sunday and has snowed several times since, I don't want to jump the gun.

PS - What about this little beauty my sister found in her bag of potatoes - I think her husband thought she was barmy when she rushed to take a picture of it.


 It almost makes me want to start eating vegetables.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A non-Valentines parcel.

This huge parcel arrived earlier this week.

Obviously, I knew it wasn't an early Valentine present.  (No, none at all, seeing as you asked.)
Believe it or not, I couldn't think what it was.  But I soon realised ....

It was very well packaged, in swathes of big bubble wrap....

It's my lovely mugs, that I was lucky enough to win, courtesy of  DogDaisyChains
Aren't they beautiful.  Thank you again, Jackie, you are welcome for a cup of tea anytime you're passing!
On Friday afternoon,Val and I went to The Handweavers Studio in Seven Sisters Road.

They used to be in Walthamstow, but have moved (under new ownership, I think) to Holloway, just a stone's throw from Finsbury Park Station.  If you are interested in anything textile-y it's well worth a visit.  Lots of things to look at, even if (like me) you are not a weaver.  There are lots of books and magazines on knitting, felting, textiles and, obviously, weaving.  Loads of different yarns - wool, cotton, sparkley lurex, etc at very reasonable prices and beautifully displayed ....

 and also a million shades of merino wool for felting. 

So, having left there, we noticed that opposite is a shop selling shopfitting and display stuff.  As Val has been looking for something to display hats on her stall, we called in and asked the men behind the counter if they had any heads.  They had several, and Val ended up buying a large, long necked polystyrene lady on which to put a hat.  We managed to get the chaps behind the counter to put her in a black bin liner to make her easier to carry. (The head, not Val, obviously)  It wasn't very heavy, but it was a bit awkward and Val didn't want anyone banging into it in case she dented.  She was immediately christened 'Alfredo' (as in 'Bring Me The Head of Alfredo Garcia')  We stopped for lunch, tucking Alfredo down by the side of our table while we had coffees and lunch.   Needless to say, when we left, the inevitable happened, and several hundred yards, and one or two charity shops later, Val stopped and said "Oh no, I've left Alfredo!"  We ran walked quickly back to the cafe and said to the waitress "did you find a black bin liner with a head in it?" which seemed to cause a bit of consternation amongst the other diners.  Anyway, they had found it and we got it back, thanked them very much and carried on with wandering.  About an hour later, I was buying a couple of bits and pieces in Rolls and Rems (another good reason for going to Seven Sisters Road) , and on getting my purse out of my handbag, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't paid for our lunch!   Another brisk walk back, and into the cafe for a third time to pay the bill.  The girls who served us didn't seem at all bothered.  I guess it isn't their cafe, and it's not their money.  Anyway, we got home, having paid for and arrived home with, everything we should.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Where did you get that hat?

On Sunday morning, I woke with the alarm at 6.45am.  (I like to set the alarm early at the weekends, otherwise you don't get the full benefit of a lie in, do you?)   About 7.30 I made myself a cup of tea, and went back to bed and drank it whilst flicking through a Grazia magazine.  Not my magazine of choice, it's full of young skinny B- list celebrities.  But some of the fashion pages are interesting, including a section on stylish young women that they've stopped in the street and photographed.  I thought  that maybe I should try and be a bit more stylish, (not to find myself stopped in the street, you understand) so after my shower, I had a play with some make up, and a little try-on session from my wardrobe. 
Fast forward about half an hour, and I was bored with that, so decided to get some fresh air and a bit of exercise.  No real point in a walk without a dog, so I texted my friend's daughter and arranged to collect her dog, Trixie.    I got dressed in normal dog-walking gear - jeans, anorak and walking boots and went to fetch her.  I thought my friend's daughter looked slightly taken aback but didn't think anything of it, until about half way round my walk, it occurred to me that I was wearing scruffy walking gear, but fully made up, complete with bright pink lipstick.  The other dog walkers must have thought that I was either .....
a)  the most stylish dog walker out this morning, or  b) some mad old woman who's only outings in life are a muddy stroll round Waterford marshes. Never mind - as they say, 'barmy is in the eye of the beholder'.

Talking of which, I've made two hats this week.  One is a knitted one with flaps.  I've always thought they looked a bit daft, but with the recent cold snap (and another one promised_ they seem practical for keeping your ears warm.  So, I found a pattern, and some recycled yarn from a jumper I'd unravelled and reknitted,  that was about the right 'consistency', and I knitted it.  See, I'm keeping to the 'buy less, make more' resolution.  And here it is - no tittering at the back, please.....

I can't help reminding myself of a spaniel when I shake my head. 
My second hat was intended to be a 1920's type cloche. After much searching, I found what looked like the perfect knitted-and-felted-cloche.  I already had some felting wool from Knitting4Fun (which always felts reliably) which I'd originally bought for a bag.  Having compared the tension for that yarn, with the one on the pattern it looked about right, so on I knitted.  I finished it at our knitting group in Baroosh in Hertford.  I was a bit concerned that it seemed a little on the big side .....

Not deterred, 'cos I know that knitting shrinks a lot when felted,  I put it through the washing machine at 40 degrees.  Although it had shrunk and bit and started felting, it still needed a bit more, so I re-did it, this time at 60, which definitely did the job.  I haven't got a hat block, which is why Friday night found me watching the double episode of  the new series of  'LOST' wearing a damp felt hat.  Well, it can't all be party, party, party.
I left it to dry overnight on an upturned wooden bowl that my dad made, perched on top of a glass vase, and by the morning it was perfect.

So, opinions please on the two hats.  I'm really aiming for "quirky yet stylish" as opposed to "mad old bird".  You decide.  Oh, small tip - when pinning a flower brooch to a felt hat, it's probably best to do it when you're not wearing it.  Those pins really hurt when they jab into your scalp.

And on a final note - these have probably been there for days, but isn't it lovely when you wander down the garden with the recycling, and notice snowdrops for the first time this year.

Friday, 5 February 2010

What a perfect day!

Sorry it's been a while - I've been up in Norfolk with my folks for a week - doing a bit shopping with my Mum, celebrating my Dad's birthday, having my hair coloured for a quid - my nephew's girlfriend is training to be a hairdresser and she needed a willing volunteer for one of her college assessments. The colour's great, but she omitted to tell me that the other assessment she needed to cover was the "all-over use of curling tongs", hence I came out looking like an ageing Shirley Temple.  And yes, there are photos, and no you're not seeing them.  I had a day with my sister too,  at her patchwork group and then a mooch round the shops to buy a few threads, and ribbons, a bit of fabric - oh and a new sewing machine. All the usual stuff.
But I'm back now, had a couple of days at work, followed by an evening at Leyton Orient.  I know you're not at all interested, and neither am I normally, but I think it only fair to mention that they won FIVE-Nil on Tuesday.  Even I got mildly excited.
But not nearly as excited as I got today.
It started well, and I met my friend Val and we went up to town to go here again ...
Yes, it's my third visit to the  Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, and I still noticed things I hadn't seen before. 

In addition to the Foale and Tuffin exhibition,  there was another small exhibition about Debbie Moore, the former model who founded the Pineapple Dance Studios.  We watched a video about her - apparently she was born in Manchester, but I think she must have been to elocution lessons, because she spoke with a very clipped and posh accent.  In fact she was interviewed by a young Lynda Lee Potter, and it sounded as if they'd both been sent to the same Finishing School.  I think that was the only way you got on the television in those days.  There were examples of the Pineapple range of clothing too, lots of stretch animal prints.  And no, I wasn't tempted to buy - I think my leopardskin catsuits days are over.  The videos of the aerobics classes made us smile - rows of dancers exercising in shiny coloured lycra, with highlighted perms and heavy make up - and the women were just as bad!
Having left the exhibition we headed to a wool shop near Waterloo Station, and decided that we'd walk, rather than catching the tube.  You find places you'd just never know about otherwise.  Like this lovely cake shop- Konditor & Cook  - they had masses of delicious looking cakes, and some really pretty ones like this....

 and these (which remind me of a game called Misfits that I had as a kid)

Val bought a couple of slices of cake for the men in her life, but I resisted, partly because I haven't got a man to buy cake for, and partly because I ought to be watching my weight, just in case I change my mind about the leopardskin cat suit.
Then, we'd almost got to the wool shop when we passed a great looking vintage store called Radio Days
I said to Val, "Can we just pop in here for a look"  It was brilliant - loads of clothes, accessories, vintage magazines, books, music, jewellery, ceramics and other collectables from the 1920's to 1970's.  I could have spent hours in there, but I did buy this lovely bit of pink vintage bling ...

You can never have too many sparkly brooches.

Then we dragged ourselves away, and finally got to the wool shop  I Knit London.  I bought some Jelly Yarn (plastic knitting yarn) in Shocking Pink, to knit a flower pot cover, like you do.   Val spent several hours (I kid you not) drooling and choosing, and particularly sorting through a large barrel of yarn, while I happily flicked through knitting books.  She bought lots of yarn, needles and other essentials, and whilst I'm not prepared to reveal the exact sum she spent, suffice it to say that the slice of cake she intends to present to her husband seems a rather meagre offering by comparison.

So, I got home, having had a lovely day, and popped in to check my emails, and had some very exciting news.  I've won a beautiful set of TG Green Mugs in a giveaway on DogDaisyChain's Blog.  What a perfect end to a perfect day.