I knit so I don't kill people.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Vintage things and charity baking

I'm still sorting out my vintage dressmaking and knitting patterns and will share some of the best ones with you all eventually.
I love vintage clothing and it can be something of a distraction.  When I watch TV and films I'm too busy studying the clothes, accessories and even the interior design of the settings.

I recently watched Atonement again, a really sad story but what a fantastic film and I just love the wardrobe .

My favourite dress is this one, and I just love this colour green.  I may even have a crack at making this dress, do you think its too flash to attend ladies day at Chester Races.  A nice hat and shawl would cover my modesty until the apres race party.  I've got till May to get working on it.  
Another programme I've been revisiting lately is The House of Elliott  

This is a BBC drama production for television (1990 - 1994)  about a fashion house run by two sisters in the 1920's.  Like I say I'm watching it with one eye whilst sketching some of the fantastic clothes with the other.  I'm sure I miss most of the plot by watching TV this way.

Just a quick post tonight as I'm off to watch another of my favourite programmes, now this one I pay very close attention to and absorb all the information provided.  No it is not a period costume drama it's the The Great Comic Relief Bake Off .

I am an avid fan of the TV baking contest "The Great British Bake Off" where amateur bakers compete each week (usually 12 contestants) until only one is crowned "The Great British Amateur Baker".  This weeks series is a special featuring British celebrities whilst raising awareness for this year's Comic Relief* so it is extra special.  The usual judges are there to decide the winner, Mary Berry a cookery writer and broadcaster and Paul Hollywood a master baker/bread maker.  I love their double act good cop/bad cop method of judging and this is supported with the arbitration of TV presenters Sue and Mel.
*Comic Relief is a UK based charity who since it started in 1985 have been raising money to help people all over the world not just in the UK.  You can read about it here 
To help raise funds this year they have organised a pack so anybody can raise funds through having their own bake off or a bake sale.  As I already take my baking into work (that's if I can get it past my teenage boys guarding the door) I think I may try and encourage my co workers to all muck in and we can have a bake sale.  I'll test how they react tomorrow !

Monday, 21 January 2013

Hello Old friend

Today a planned day off work was scheduled to go shopping with my friend to Liverpool.  Unfortunately snow stopped play so I was confined to barracks instead, but hey I don't mind pottering at home and I was not going to waste my day off so ..............

I had been coveting the Joseph Joseph Stacking system for some time and recently acquired a set - maybe it's the colours that attracted me to it.  Today I decided to christen it with flour and cocoa powder.

After rummaging in my baking cupboard I decided to bake Chocolate Muffins from Green & Blacks Ultimate Chocolate Cook book and followed that with an Apple cake

They turned out fine, I didn't bother frosting the chocolate muffins as my family don't like the fussiness. It would be different if they were girls I suppose. Teenage boys don't eat with their eyes they just swallow it whole!!

The apple cake was a strange method of baking to me and yes the sponge was extremely light as the recipe stated it should be.  In fact it was so light I struggled to get it out of the tin in one piece, hence the Ta dah moment is for one small slice, the rest will be hiding under custard later yum.  It is very nice and I would recommend you try it.

After baking , I cleaned, laundered and other domestic tasks before I settled down with an old friend. 

 Meet Irene my sewing machine...............

Irene xx

Why Irene?  That's because it was my mother's machine and sadly she has been gone now just over 9 years and I still miss her so.  My mother was always sewing, knitting, baking, home making - hey what good genes I have.  
So Irene and I had a bit of fun today, she can be a bit contrary and her tension goes awry whenever I rethread her or change the bobbin.  I looked this problem up on Singer's website and it appears to be a common problem with this machine. I love her but sometimes she drives me mad until the tension rights itself then I'm happy again.  We pottered along listening to some of my old CD's, Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran  I felt like I was back in my old bedroom as a teenager again. 
At Christmas I asked my husband for a new pair of dressmaking scissors as my old ones couldn't cut through butter!  It is my intention to get back into my dressmaking, I used to design and make all my own clothes, but now working full time and with a family I find it hard to fit it in any more, but I am going to.
Super duper fabric cutting scissors and my mum's old sewing  tin

I love vintage clothes and do have some 50's dresses I have bought at vintage fairs, I have also bought reproduction clothes from places such as Heyday and Vivien of Holloway.  Fashion history fascinates me and I have a large collection of vintage dress and knitting patterns (all will be revealed as I maintain my blog).
All I ever seem to be doing on the sewing machine of late was clothing alterations and repairs and I had decided that I want to get back into my dressmaking again. (My patterns were calling me !)
The problem is I seem to have lost my confidence and fear I may mess it up, but I will persevere, you have to walk ... 

I have some nice cotton so I'll start with an apron

Before you can run  - right?

When I've rediscovered my mojo - who knows what will be next !

Whilst tidying and sorting my crafty corner ready for my relaunch into dressmaking I found an unfinished item.  A lovely black wool mix pencil skirt - already darted and stay stitched so this will be my reintroduction to my long lost hobby.

Waist darts

I am a sucker for high waisted clothing, I just think it gives a lovely shape.

So come on Irene, behave yourself and let's get stuck in, I fancy a new wardrobe of clothes for summer !

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snow time

In my last post I had my fingers, toes and everything else crossed hoping that the snow would miss us!!  That is while I'm at work as I worry how I'm going to get to work and more importantly how I'm going to get home again.  Yes it did arrive on Friday morning with gusto, I was already in work when it started to snow but luckily it eased off enough to allow me to get home again.  It's so unsettling as I could not focus on my work for the fear that I'd have to struggle getting home.
Saturday morning, different story, out of bed, grab the sledge and off to Wales to find a hill to slide down. We go to a field just outside of Mold near Loggerheads Country Park and so does everybody else, it was so busy with low flying people whizzing past us on a number of different modes of transport.

There were traditional old wooden sledges, modern plastic single seater and family size sledges; I even witnessed a metal roasting dish and a large sheet of plastic, any old thing will do.

Well we slipped and sled until we were wet through and could no longer feel our toes then headed back home - totally exhilarated !!  

It's makes me laugh all the time I have to work I try to avoid the snow and ice so I don't slip over, come the weekend I purposely go seeking it so I can throw myself down a hill at speed.

Back home in my nest (my crafty corner of the living room)  I've finished my mittens and am considering a matching cowl using the same horseshoe cable design.  I think I'll make my own design but will put that aside for now.  Looking through my UFO's (unfinished objects) I've decided to tackle some of these.

Can you tell what it is yet?

I also have a list of requests from family and friends that I need to tackle

1. Finish off an EWOK
2. Create bunting for my niece's nursery NAME BUNTING .  I've made a couple of these for baby gifts, they make a change from the usual bootees.
3. A Sock Monkey Hat to honour an outstanding order

However look what I found in my stash today


OOOOOOH !  I love Noro yarn especially the way the colours change as it knits up.  I've got to have a go with this starting tonight.  I think I'll have to do a different project each evening to keep up.

Monday - Ewok
Tuesday - Bunting
Wednesday - sock monkey hat
Thursday - Noro socks for me
Friday - Noro socks for me
and so on and so on !  

I've got a planned day off work tomorrow, do I go shopping or do I stay crafting hmm!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Watching a weepie :(

Here's the thing - I'm not a big cinema visitor.  As much as I love a good film I hate the hassle of the cinema, the constant scrabbling in the popcorn bucket, the slurping of the icy drinks, the chatting of other inconsiderate cinema goers.  I will however endure these things if it is a must see big epic special effects wow movie that I really must see, or if I have read the book and just can't wait to see the screen adaptation of the book and how it compares with what is in my head.  The soppy love story, the romantic comedy, the musical or the latest animated film I will usually wait until the DVD comes out (that's because I watch TV whilst busy knitting, crocheting or whatever craft I'm indulging in at that time).  I finished off my pair of mittens tonight whilst watching a movie at home.
Tonight I watched this The Notebook and I have only just stopped crying, how sad a story of a romance that had fought through all that life had thrown at it.  I only watched this after it was recommended to me after I had heard of a true account of a long lost love with a very similar story line to this movie.  Bearing in mind these true facts and the events of this movie it is no surprise that I am an emotional wreck.

I've spent most of today checking severe weather warnings as Great Britain is expecting a big snowfall tomorrow.  As we live on a peninsula we're usually quite lucky and the show usually misses us but I have my wellington boots and my big faux fur hat ready for my snow trek expedition to work tomorrow

Oh I hope it doesn't snow and if it does oh I hope I don't slip over.  It's only just over a mile but it's all downhill, maybe I should get a tray from the kitchen and sled to work !
Hey if I get snowed in I may not even be able to go and will be forced to stay at home and knit - yeah !

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Finishing off and mending day

Do you ever have one of those days when all you seem to be doing is finishing off, stitching up and mending. All those fiddly annoying jobs you've been putting off.  Well I've bit the bullet today and did just that.  Seven buttons stitched on, one item of clothing repaired, one Duke of Edinburgh badge stitched to a uniform, and two projects finished off.

The first thing I finished off was my Owl wrist warmers from Mollie Makes, four button for eyes and loose ends stitched up.
They are lovely and warm and considering the temperature outside is only 2 degrees I may not want to take them off.

Another achievement for me this week is to almost master "magic loop" knitting.  After studying many videos on the computer I was still baffled but persevered and with the help of this tutorial Magical Magic Loop I cracked it.

What a tangled mess with my Knit Pro needle, cable needle and stitch markers
After several attempts, with frustrated frogging I did it

Bella's mitten (No 1) in progress
And Ta dah one completed mitten

You'd think after completing one the second would be a breeze, but no!  I kept twisting my first row which results in a tangled mess and me getting more and more perplexed, however after again several attempts I am now on my way to completing mitten number two Bella's mittens

And finally after miscalculating my stitches in completing Sock Monkey hat I inadvertently created an adult version.  Rather than yet another unravelling session I carried on and now have a new hat.  I don't think I'll be wearing it out but I'm sure it will get snapped up by a friend or relation.  In this cold snap of weather I may be getting plenty of requests for more hats!

I'm signing off as my magic loop knitting is calling me and I am seriously addicted.  As I've been a good girl and completed all little jobs today I feel I have earned the right to carry on with my happy knitting xx

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Marth Vader

Just quickly I managed to get a photo of my Marth Vader hat made for my niece aged 6 months old.  She wishes to remain anonymous but is happy to show you her hat !
The force is strong with this one.

I'm dashing off as my challenge tonight is to master Magic Loop knitting.  I've never tried it before and it is confusing but I will not be beaten.  I'm trying to create these bellas-mittens as one of my next projects for Ravelry group 12-months-of-christmas-2013 where I have committed myself to create a gift a month.  This is actually my third project since I started just over a week ago so not bad going so far.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Wonderful weekend Part two

Before the Monday morning blues get a grip of me I like to get out every Sunday for a walk along the wonderful Wirral Coastline. I am lucky to live on this peninsula as we have coast on three sides with some fantastic beaches and coastline.  City life is just a train ride away to Liverpool or in the opposite direction a bit further to Chester and like I said in my previous post North Wales is just a short car trip away.

Today again the weather was fabulous, bright and sunny so we headed of to the North Wirral coastal park aka The Gunsite for a short 2 mile round trip along the beach then back along the sand dunes.

On the beach there are always swathes of empty razor clam shells washed in by the tide, which crunch under foot

Crunch crunch crunch.

Now that's too nice - another one to add to my shell collection.

All refreshed and back home for dinner - a Moroccan inspired lamb dish using my new super heavy cast iron casserole dish.  These French domestic goddesses must have marvellous biceps with all the weight lifting they do whilst preparing their meals.  I love this cartoon showing what I will be capable of doing if I keep using these pans ha ha !

What I will do even though I did not keep up my blog last year is to trawl through my camera memory card and post some photos as a review of what I've been doing even if I didn't share it at the time.  Most of my knitting and crochet is already catalogued on my Ravelry page jamecks I've got some good photos and they sit there being neglected on my camera memory stick. One of my other New Year resolutions was to properly organise and catalogue my photos.  I love my battered old Sony DSC H9 camera, its battered because it goes everywhere with me but I had a bit of a scare where I thought I'd lost it. I was so upset about the missing memory card, hence my reason to be more organised!

Right prepare for Monday some quick mending and alterations of clothing to be done, school uniform to prepare and lunches to pack.  I will not let Mondayitis spoil what is left of my weekend Bye for now x

A wonderful weekend

I've had a lovely weekend the weather here has been mild and sunny and there is no way I was going to stay in.  I believe we're in for a cold snap next week so enjoy the good weather as much as you can, is my motto.  I cannot stay indoors cooped up all day. I have to have a daily dose of fresh air (whatever the weather) after that I happily settle down.  Whilst I am out and about I'm constantly on the look out for interesting things to share on my blog, like I said I will endeavour to keep up to date with my blog.

So what have I done since my last post well truly inspired by Lucy at http://attic24.typepad.com/ I went out and got me some flowers as last Thursday here it was dull and raining and I felt I needed some colourful flora to liven me up.  I had seen this French Style planter in my local market so I knew where I was going to head as part of my errands for today

I know the lovely scented hyacinths are in full bloom and in fact are past their best, but they make my kitchen smell nice and they make me happy.  I plan to plant some Tete a tete miniature daffodils when the hyacinths have finished.

Friday back to work for just one day, my normal working week starts again next Monday.  I work full time so I will have to establish a blog routine within my normal routine.

Saturday a gloriously fine weather day!  After all hands on deck to pack away Christmas we then piled into the car and headed off to Wales for the day.  I am fortunate to live close enough to North Wales so I can nip in to take in the fantastic scenery.  You will see this is a regular occurrence, this week Llangollen canal path was our destination and here are some photos (see I'm getting the hang of this now )

An arty shot of a house right on the canal overlooking Llangollen, what a fab place to live!

I love the interesting shapes in this tree root, I can't imagine how much longer it will stay upright

Can you see the Troll face in the middle?

Llangollen Castle City Bran

I love love love the classic canal art

This boat was named Jamming - reggae inspired

After seeing the fantastic canal boats all personalised by their owners we all got to talking about how we would decorate ours if we had such a luxury.  Himself loves vintage cars so that would be walnut and leather and possible clasic Racing Green, H a techno geek would have solar panels and LED strip lights and all gadgets he would require, F would like a Formula 1 motor racing theme.  Myself would be shabby chic, gingham clashing with polka dots, Cath Kidston vintage styling.  Oh if only !!

One thing I forgot to mention is when we go out on our jolly weekend jaunts himself will drive the car.  I can drive its just that its his baby and he prefers to drive himself.  I am happy to be a passenger and gaze out of the window that's if I'm not knitting or crocheting.  Yes yesterday I was crocheting an owl hat http://www.repeatcrafterme.com/2012/09/crochet-owl-hat-pattern-in-newborn.html at 70 miles an hour, now that is fast !! 

Thursday, 3 January 2013

And the rain came back !!

Well I get a day off work with my family. We could have a nice day out rambling somewhere scenic; but it rained and it rained and it rained !
Himself is getting over a bout of man flu but is actually looking forward to getting back to work to re-establish his normal routine, he's a right barrel of laughs!  We all feel the same at this time of year, too much excess over the festive season and too little exercise, isn't that why people make New Year resolutions. His answer to the rain is to park on the couch and watch trashy day time TV zzzzzzzzzzz.  I don't think he likes being home with the family and I'm still waiting for him to answer that very question - hmm !
Anyway, umbrella out and I trot up to my local village for some provisions for today's meal, a Thai style pork fillet dish.  I won't eat it as I don't like meat but I love cooking.  On my return to the kitchen I prepared a Thai marinade and left the pork to rest in it. I then made a rice pudding which I have never ever made before (apart from opening a tin).  I have fond memories of my mum making rice pudding and my siblings fighting over who could have the share of the crispy coating off the top.  Yuk I never liked the skin off the top and was happy to leave the squabbling to the rest of the family.   I recall one time when Mum forgot to put sugar in and another time when she forgot to put the rice in.  With this in mind I followed the recipe www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rice_pudding_85172 to the letter and it turned out very well. Proper comfort food for a dull miserable day

As the oven was already on I also made some Banana & chocolate chip muffins.

And still the rain came down and still he lay on the couch.  After dinner was completed and all the chores done I settled down to watch my hero Batman in the Dark Knight Rises www.thedarkknightrises.com/dvd/  wowww!  Rainy days aren't that bad after all .

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Well having spent New Year' eve in with Messrs Beechams and Kleenex, oh and Mr Covonia dropped round for a beverage I decided to get out in the fresh air today.  So off to  Thurstaston Country Park we went www.visitwirral.com/attractions-and-activities/wirral-country-park-p7711 and boy was it bracing, there was rolling surf a super strong wind and hundreds of people with the same idea.  There were group after group of ramblers and families all seeing their New Year start with a very fresh walk.

I even managed to use my camera on my new phone, this technology is fantastic.Firstly I had to get it out of it's new case, yes I yarn bombed my phone within hours of receiving for Christmas from himself.  I had small granny squares made from some leftover sock yarn so I stitched them up and ta dah !

Then I got snapping, they're a bit rough as it was blowing a gale and I'm still learning how to use the thing !

And off we go against the wind !

Lovely blue skies after all the horrible rain

After my lovely walk we're all back in the warm with a Vegetable Mulligatawny soup on the hob (made from fresh myself I might add).  I'm off to devour it then back to my crafty corner for the evening with a good movie I think :)