Sunday, 31 October 2010

Happily Sewn Together Forever

We went to a beautiful wedding last weekend, which I'm going to call a handmade wedding as there were so many beautiful crafty touches, which really made it extra special.

My favourite of these touches were the place settings at the wedding breakfast. Ladies had a fabulous handmade fabric and crochet broach, there were chocolates for the men, who I don't think would have fully appreciated a handmade gift.
Our place settings were little purple painted old style keys with our name tags attached with purple ribbon.
Favours were a packet of wildflower seeds with note explaining that a donation had been made to Great Ormond Street on our behalf, these were studded with little Great Ormond Street badges. Obviously the donation meant a lot to us as Florence spent so long at GOSH and continues to be treated there and it was made especially poignant as it was Flo's first wedding.

Florence and the other lucky children at the wedding had an amazing place setting too. A wooden letter 'F' with fishes swimming across it marked Flo's seat. Beneath this was a sewn bag with 'Play with me' embroidered across it. Inside was a handmade doll and book of 100 things to count. A fantastic way to keep little ones happy at the dinner table!

Other handmade decorations, hand knitted cardigans for little flower girls and hand sewn napkins were the added crafty sparkle on an already glittering day. It was really touching to see how much effort had gone into their big day when so many weddings these days seem to be exact copies of each other picked out of a magazine. All the little handmade touches speak volumes to the nature of this couples love and commitment to each other.

Oh, I love a good wedding!
Congratulations to the happy couple!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Beach babe

This weekend Florence got her first view of the sea and first experience of an English beach. It was a lovely day filled with our amazing friends, fish and chips in a cosy pub, coffee/ milk on the beach and hand knits put to good use on baby Florence.

Flo wore a suitably nautical navy and white striped jumper which I knitted back when I wasn’t sure if we were having a boy or a girl and a very cute hat which my mum whipped up for her. The hat is from Wee Woolly Toppers by Woolly Wormhead which I’m also using at the moment to make a cute hat called Cubba, one for Flo and one for her friend Harry, it will make them look like a pair at an autumn teddy bears picnic when they’re done!

When we arrived the first thing I saw was this cute little yarn shop called Buzz 4 Wool and Crafts which unfortunately was closed at the time. I thought it was worth a mention if you’re heading to the seaside and fancy some crafting on the beach.

I was a very special trip with Florence to see the sea for the first time. One we’ll remember forever.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show 2010

It started off as a military operation. Here’s what I told my bemused friend Sarah before we entered Ally Pally:
“Right, first of all go for a wee. Here’s lunch and a bottle of water I picked up for you earlier. When we get in there we’ll take one room at a time and work from the back of the room to the front making sure not to miss any aisles. You have two choices on how to work the show; either we do a preliminary sweep of the whole exhibition without buying anything and then do a second sweep buying the things you definitely want, or you only make considered purchases as you work your way round, no impulse buys. If you get lost, call me on my mobile.”
She thought I was being a bit over zealous and suggested that perhaps we should carry distress whistles. By the end of the day she admitted that my plan was an essential one as I’m sure many of my fellow Ally Pally veterans will agree.

The plan ensured that my purchases were considered ones; considered but more importantly fabulous! I bought the Bright Young Things pattern book from Millamia Sweden which I’d coveted earlier this year at Knit Nation. As there was 10% off I also bought the yarn for the cutest project in the book; a little stripy babygrow for Florence. The founders of Millamia, sisters Katerina and Helena Rosen kindly let me take their picture with their sample babygrow. I better start it soon before she gets too big for it!

The other hit of the show for me was the V&A stall. They were selling beautiful fabric, printed with designs from quilts in the V&A collection, all for 10% off. I bought two of the same bundles for just £15 each. The price on the ticket was £25, so I reckon this was a serious bargain. I’m hoping to make a quilt with these bundles at some point, but the Christmas quilt really needs to get going first.

I also got some nice needles from The Little Knitting Company.

As always the student and exhibition works were amazing to wander though and take inspiration from. The Black Sheep yarn dive was typically popular and the Stitch London stall had quite a crowd round it. I had a nice chat with Susan Crawford of Knit on the Net, who let me know that there will be a Volume 2 of the beautiful vintage knitting pattern book A Stitch In Time which will be available to pre-order soon.

All my pictures from the day an be found here.

All in all it was a good show. Not the best Ally Pally I’ve been to as I did notice that quite a few regular vendors weren’t there this year. This was most likely down to the more knitting specific shows such as Knit Nation and the I Knit weekender. Stalls are so expensive at these events that vendors are becoming a bit more selective of which shows they spend money on coming to. But for another year the biggest stitching show has come and gone. See you in 2011 Ally Pally and next time I’m bringing distress whistles.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Long time, no blog

Over the last few weeks since my last post I have been very busy and with the increasingly active and awake Flo keeping me well and truly on my toes I’ve felt more like sleeping than blogging when spare time arises. But tonight the Mr is out, Flo is in bed and so I thought I’d make the effort.

First of all I’d like to say, OMG, it’s Ally Pally this weekend! Didn’t that come round quick!?!? I shall be visiting on Saturday with Mum and my amazingly crafty friend, Sarah. I will no doubt find the time to tell you what I spent my maternity pay on once I get back. Last year I went in with a plan and stuck to it, this year I’m going in with only my instincts... this is going to get dangerous... and potentially very expensive.

So in the ridiculously long time that I’ve not been blogging I have done a lot of baking, a little bit of knitting and some quilting.

Baking wise I hosted a surprise cake party for my friend Jessica. It was her first birthday living in the UK after moving earlier this year from Canada and we’ve been out for a lot of cake together so I thought it appropriate to make some cakes and invite people over to eat them in her honour. She enjoyed it very much and the winner of the night was undoubtedly the rhubarb tart, which looks weird as its green rather than pink, but I assure you it was super yummy.

I then went a bit tart crazy and made several plum tarts as my parent’s plum tree was in full swing of fruit. I then topped this off by attempting a pecan pie for my sister in law’s birthday. In a Neil Stuke Celebrity Masterchef moment, here is that attempt.

OK, well I did finish it in the end (by starting from scratch again) but it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be. I’ll get it right and won’t drop it next time. Many more picture of my baking adventures/ failures can be found here.

I made a promising start to my Christmas quilt by buying the fabric, cutting everything out and then making half of the blocks up. However I hit a little stumbling block and having managed to get going again for a good few weeks now. All it will take is an afternoon of someone looking after Flo and no disruptions to get my head round it again, but I’m not sure when that will be. Due to the stumbling block I have no pictures of the quilt in progress as yet. I shall report back.

Knitting wise, once I’d finished the skirt (which made it onto the Purl Alpaca's new blog!) I wasn’t sure what to start, so I have been working on a couple of baby hats and a baby bolero for Flo. We’ve had tons of medical visits and hospital checkups for Florence recently so I haven’t had a lot of free time to knit, although I do think about it a lot!

Flo update: We had more good news from Great Ormond Street that Flo’s heart is continuing to improve and she was able to come off a few more of her drugs which is of course WONDERFUL! We are so happy with her progress and it is a continual shock to realise how far she’s made it with every day that passes. She still has a way to go and it looks like she will be a long term tube feeder as she still hasn’t mastered sucking a bottle or taking solids. This has been quite depressing as you really do become a slave to the tube feeding and it’s difficult to get out of the house or go anywhere for longer than an hour and a half, but I’d do anything for this cute little face, so as far as we’re concerned we’ll keep going for as long as we need to.