Friday, 14 October 2011

Rio de Janeiro in the Spring

I'm about to head off again for Malaysia and Australia so thought I'd better get a bit up to date!  I've only been home for 5 days and I've been non-stop all week.  Today I've been doing my bit for the war effort baking cakes and brownies for the Whistle Stop Cafe at Reed's for war weekend.

I'll miss it this year as I have to leave very early tomorrow but in true Brit fashion I'm doing my bit.  I nipped into Pickering today for supplies and the place was already teeming with soldiers and folk dressed up in their 1940s finery.

Last week I popped back to Rio for a week - as you do :)  It was a much quieter trip and I limited the number of Caipirinha I imbibed and also the amount of food I consumed as I really cannot afford to buy a whole new wardrobe in the next size up!  I have to tell you, I felt a little like a celebrity as I sat in the airport waiting for my flight home - two little girls, after casting surreptitious glances in my direction for some time they sidled over and gabbled away to me in Portuguese about the crochet I was doing... and then, someone else took my photo!  Clearly, crochet is mych celebrated in Brazil as shown by the wares on the street market on Copacabana beach

Maybe I should make myself one of these... certainly wouldn't miss me in a crowd!

I did treat myself to an original Panama hat though

I was very glad about my purchase as we strolled through the botanical gardens as it was baking hot, despite being mostly shady.  The orchid house was like a greenhouse despite being open sided

I took a bazillion photos but I won't bore you with them all but I would recommend the place for a visit.  Plenty to look at and a lovely atmosphere

Gorgeous palms and clear blue skies

I love the way the trees grow along the beach front - I guess they are searching for sun as they are mostly in the shade of the high rise buildings that line the beach

Another very familiar site in Rio

Graffiti on every available space - most of it very artistic if sometimes a bit gruesome at times when depicting the problems of the drug trade.

And of course, Christ the Redeemer is looking at you from wherever you are - there he is just a spec in the distance on the top of the mountain 

I took a long walk along the beach and around the back streets on the Sunday morning which was very colourful - chillies anyone?

Fruit and veg...

oh the sea.... so inviting

The place is so mountainous that land is at a premium but they make their gardens wherever they can

I loved this doorway which also quite typical of the older buildings

This is where all the rich and famous stay in Rio - I tried to find out how much a room is but there were no tariffs on the website.... Justin Bieber was there this weekend although I didn't see him - just hoards of young girls milling around wearing Justin t-shirts

All I managed to do in the way of crafting were a few granny squares for a Christmas blanket.  Now I have to decide what to take with me to do on the long, long flights I have over the next three weekends.... maybe some sewing this time as it'll be a bit hot for crochet.

Wishing you all good health and happiness.  

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

How sad am I?

Thank you all for the words of encouragement.  Just a little addendum:

Anne - I did go and buy some lovely wool (and a new vacuum) - have a couple of cushions to get on with now - should have one of the made by the end of the Rio trip.

Francine - I wish it was a break but it's another work trip. There are worse places to go in the world though and the weather should be warm.

Missy - I got a new Dyson - no Hetties or Henrys in my local electrical store and although I am having a little trouble with the tools I realise how badly my old one was behaving.  It didn't owe me anything after 10 years of very hard service.  I have lovely clean carpets now!

Bibbitybob (so sorry but I don't know your real name - must have a read through your old posts) - see above.  I already spent £50 replacing the clutch last year and I thought it might be better and safer to invest in a new one as the old one was pretty much held together with electrical tape.  It's a bit sad but it has given me enormous pleasure testing it out throughout the house.

I'd post a picture of my very perky looking carpet but there's a limit...

Hope you are enjoying some fab weather like we are here in North Yorkshire!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Seven years bad luck coming my way :(

Thank you ladies for your kind and thoughtful comments.  I may be very much in need of support in the coming months, nay years.

When I got home from work tonight I thought I'd do a few jobs to try and get the upstairs back in some semblance of order.  I should have opened a bottle of wine and put my feet up with my crochet but no ....

.... instead, I decided to put the bathroom cupboard back up - no idea why because I don't even really like it that much.  I took the mirror off the wall, removed the toothbrush mug from the glass shelf and hey presto, one cupboard on the wall.  Mirror back up on the wall... then I'm not sure what happened but the glass shelf collapsed, the mirror fell off, made a nice dent in the loo seat, shattered into many pieces and the toothbrush mug also shattered.

Ho hum, resigned to my bad luck I started to clean up and phut, drrrrrr, pop, funny smell of burning and one dead Dyson stood forlornly on the bathroom floor. Sigh.  I hope that counts as three bad things.

I do have one small tah-dah moment though ... hot off the sewing machine yesterday just seconds before big sis came through the door, one homemade gift to go with my birthday purchases from Finland for her..

I wasn't allowed to take any close ups or any of her face because she said she had .... very dirty hair!  

So, I have 3 days to buy a new vacuum cleaner, sort the bathroom out and gather something together to occupy me on the long flight to Rio.  Ash - yes, travelling and seeing new places, different cultures, nice people - all very lovely but completely and utterly exhausting.  I'm getting too old for this game! 

Note to self: put more than one lucky dip on the lottery this weekend.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Another week, another country...

I've been in Finland this week as my favourite work colleague is leaving and going to pastures new in Helsinki so I headed over for some meetings and her farewell party.  I didn't even take any wool with me such is my lost mojo status!

However, before I went I spent a few hours with my sewing machine to take my mind of Will going away to uni.  I made this bunting on request for one of my sister's colleagues whose daughter was going away to uni too


Those are my new bedroom curtains - also hastily made!

Will's girlfriend was also off to dance school in London and had been looking for a laptop case.  I wanted to get her something to go away with so I made here this

using lovely Tilda on one side and some fabric I picked up in the States on the inside

I didn't have a pattern so made it up as I went along and think I made it a bit more complicated than it needed to be, with a lot of hand finishing but she was thrilled with the result and it has been much admired she tells me so I am happy.

I'm sure that like a lot of empty nesters around the country there has been quite a lot of soul searching going on, taking stock and wondering what to do now.  I am at such a crossroads and really don't know what I want.  I did have a long chat with my boss this week though so now have some things to think about.  I was even brave enough to tell him that I was sick and tired of this kind of attitude:

It's a bit small but the caption reads: 
'that's an excellent idea, Miss Triggs, perhaps one of the men would like to make it'

I used this as the cover for a dvd I put together for Ulla of all our travels we'd made together with work since 2007.  She totally got it!

Only a few days at home for me this week and then it's time to pack my bags for Rio - but I get an oernight stop in London do I can see how Will is getting on in his new digs.  But first, I must go and make a belated birthday present for my favourite sister....

Hope the world is treating you well.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Light and fresh...

That's not describing the wind that is currently battering the UK with gale force but my new window treatment.  Since my creative mojo seems to be absent without leave I have turned my attentions to the home.  Instigated by the sorting and packing I've been doing for my two younger sons - one as he leaves uni and sets up in his first home and the other as he makes ready to go off to uni, and the knowledge that I will have to down size I took to the decorating.

The bathroom is always the easiest to do as it's pretty small and can be done in a day.  As I took the old blind down for a wash I was horrified at what lay behind it.  Out came the cleaning products, the elbow grease and a lot of sneezing!  Even after a wash the blind wasn't really fit to put back up - well, the bits you can see look fine but I know what lurks on the back so I had a little think and then knew I had the perfect place for the bit of cotton heart crochet pelmet I'd been making with no real idea as to what I would do with it.

A bit of snipping from my fabric stash, a length of ribbon from my extensive ribbon collection, a pleasant evening spent hand sewing the edging on whilst watching last night of the proms and hey presto....

light and fresh I think you'll agree?

I've also given my bedroom a bit of an overhaul - Will declared it very nice and much warmer feeling than before - praise indeed.  I'll post some pictures when I've finished it.  In the meantime, it's on with the hall, stairs and landing in between shopping for 'uni stuff'.  

Hope you are all staying safe, warm and well.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Changing times....

Thank you for your lovely comments.  My flu is on the wane thank goodness - a couple of days in bed and several days doing very little indeed seems to have put me on the road to recovery.  I even managed a little time out in the garden to mow the meadow and do some much needed weeding, snipping and pruning.  My crafting mojo has not returned at yet so I'm just going to seek inspiration and bury my nose in a book for a while. I think I'm hanging fire starting anything as I know I have a lot of things to do round the house.  Once Will heads off to Uni  I need to get the house in shape for selling and will be spending most of the autumn away from said home on some pretty long haul trips.  I can't see past that at the moment.

My god daughter posted this on her facebook wall.  I thought it was really nifty so wanted to share it with you if you haven't already seen it. 

Times, they are a-changing.

Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Here comes the Autumn

and there went the 'Summer"!  As I write this the sun is actually shining but I have been laid low with a nasty virus I brought back with me from Rio.  Their Winter was pretty nice apart from the wind and rain triggered by the earthquake and hurricane Irene in the second week of my stay.  Fortunately, no flight disruptions ensued and I got home without incident apart from the inevitable jet-lag.

I did a tiny bit of crochet on the train and plane on the way over but after that the hook and wool stayed tucked up inside my suitcase as the Brazilian team were very welcoming and sociable so much eating and drinking occurred.  I did no shopping as the place was very expensive but did manage to get in some sightseeing - a very nice bonus for a work trip.

View of Copacabana from my 23rd floor hotel room

and at sunset - the clouds were gathering and since it was dark by the time we got back from Guadalupe each evening we didn't get much chance to enjoy the beach (I did dip my toes in though).

A high rise ride on the cable car up to the top of Sugar Loaf mountain - no sign of James Bond or his enemies fighting atop the cars thank goodness.

A chat with the big man to see if he could possibly keep the clouds off until we had finished our sight-seeing.  It kind of worked - the rain held off but the wind got up so we didn't do the helicopter ride around Sugar Loaf and Corcovado (I was secretly pleased as I had the kollywobles at the mere thought).

Followed by a mammoth meal complete with 'mixed at the table' Caipirinhas (falling down water to you and me) at Por Cao where the waiters basically fly around the restaurant practically force feeding you various cuts of meat.  Suffice to say that after a couple of hours here we all needed a lie down and never made it out that evening!

After many evenings eating meat, meat and more meat, Tatiana and I went for pizza in an Italian restaurant just along the beach from our hotel.  By this time I had lost all interest in food but loved the tiled floor!

Then for a little shopping at Leblon - just of the window variety as the prices were almost as staggering as the views in Rio!

I met a couple of interesting chaps on my trip ...
this one,  Carlos Drummond de Andrade  wasn't terribly interested in my blogging chat

This one was a little friendlier - he let me sit on his lap but wasn't interested in a night cap...

Oh well, back to the crochet but before that, mental and emotional preparations are under way for my last baby to fledge ... maybe it's a good thing that I have a lot of travel coming up so I won't have time to think about my empty nest.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Where has the time gone?

It seems to be whipping by at a rate of knots!  I haven't been idle whilst I've been gone all this time, far from it.  I was in London moving Michael from Kingston to Camberwell - a hot, sweaty, exhausting and expensive few days but well worth it, especially the day spent with Ben and Michael having some R&R in the big city.  I've also been sorting and chucking out - or rather, re-homing 'stuff' and clothes as the house was bursting at the seams.  I've been making a few bits and pieces and finishing a few projects - none of which are photographed as the boys condemned my camera as a pile of poo!

Now my time off has come to an end and there's not much to show for it but at least my knicker drawer is neat and tidy!  I'm off to Rio tomorrow - a work trip but hopefully with a dash of fun too so I will leave you with this little nugget.  I reckon this is the way to go rather than diet - if I end up with thighs like her's I'd be very happy!

Take care 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Two bags full...

Time as been at a premium just lately and I was putting myself under a bit of pressure to make a couple of birthday presents.  I fondly thought I'd have loads of time during my week off..... ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

Michael's jean bag has been much admired so I thought I'd make one for his lovely boyfriend, Andrew for his 21st birthday.  I used a pair of my eldest son's old black jeans, an old Paul Smith shirt, some grey shot silk I got from a car boot sale last year and a teeny, tiny piece of fabric I bought of eBay (not realising how small it was so I had to use it carefully).  I had to present it to him unfinished and then whip it back off him so I could add the embellishments.  I could have finished it on time had it not been for some very crappy quality cotton which kept breaking in the machine (along with several needles too so maybe my machine is sick...)
Little card pocket

Phone and wallet pockets

He liked the unfinished version - hope it still likes it.

Lacking the energy to do much else on Sunday after reclaiming the house and garden and doing a bazillion loads of laundry, inspired by the beautiful bag my sister made for my birthday I managed to rustle this little bag up for my friend's 40th birthday.  It's pretty eye catching - just the job for the lovely Summer evenings.... I'm sure we'll have some more soon...

I added an interpretation of the Swedish flag (yes, she's Swedish!)

and some bits and pieces of crochet and a few buttons

and a little pocket inside for her phone

I'm happy to say that she was very happy with her gift.

And remember, never buy cheap thread - it is evil and will make you crazy!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Fridge magnets

I was just reading Vicki's post about her messy yarn room which brought to mind this fridge magnet I found in Asheville, NC a few years ago

This is so true, don't you agree?  
I daren't photograph my dining/craft room at the moment - it looks like it's been trashed by burglars!  I was so defeated by it that I didn't even clear it for the return of the prodigals and just closed the door instead.  It got back into this state because I had a frenzy of tidying a while back, so much so that when I came to start a new project I couldn't find anything.  When it is a bit messy I work better as I know where everything is but it's now to the point where I just can't face it.  

The pea magnet was sent to me by my son's girlfriend as she hates peas but she was tempted to taste one of the fresh ones from the garden at the weekend.  See, she did...  give peas a chance :)

Every now and then I think I should go a bit minimalist and clear lots of stuff away, starting with the fridge magnets

but each one tells a story so I think they have to stay.  Maybe I'll start with my clothes mountain.... or then again I might just get my crochet out instead!

Hope your week has got off to a good start.  I consider mine a great success as I did manage to get to work... almost on time.


Sunday, 17 July 2011

It's been a busy old week..

.. this might be a very long post!

Sister Anne and I went back to the lands from which we hail and spent a couple of very interesting days near Stoke-on-Trent.  I forgot my camera so only have mobile phone shots but really, I can't put it any better than Anne did in her post here.

I loved the Burleigh shop and tok ages deliberating over what to buy.  I restrained myself knowing that we would be spending the whole day at Bridgewater.

Oh to have a dresser like this.
or this!

The building was lovely, retaining most of the original features

After our little sojourn to Burleigh we braved a trip into Hanley and did a good impression of Cinderella as we tried on posh lady shoes in M&S - the little toes were protesting and not at all happy about being squished into high heels

We went back to our hotel and had a budget version foot spa - Anne sat on the loo and me on a chair with our feet in the spa bath with a glass of wine in hand pretending we were at Ragdale Hall instead.

Despite our reservations and this warning sign we did enter the establishment and partook of a very good steak and bottle of house wine.  A lovely and unexpected bonus.

Feeling in good spirits we wondered if we should round the evening off with some clubbing but decided against it - afterall, a girl can have too much of a good thing!

The day at Bridgewater was an absolute delight.  I am absolutely convinced now that I am living the wrong life!
Although I am grateful that I don't have to spend my day working like the clappers to make half pint mugs 

or fettling, dibbling or wiping said cups bottoms before they go to the kiln

I wouldn't mind spending my day sponge painting beautiful works of art though (you get to sit down to do this bit)

This is a bespoke range for Conran

The tour was really interesting and very impressive as they recycle pretty much everything, from the reject firings that are sent to make plasterboard to the heat from the kilns to warm the green houses on top of the factory roof where they grow tomatoes and such.  I'm sure factory life is not that much fun but it certainly seemed like a nice place to work with very much a family feel.

I hope we'll go back again if only to spend some time in the cafe

heated by this gorgeous Aga

Lovely bits of memorabilia on the walls and home grown sweet peas in jugs on the tables

A very nice lunch followed and also a talk by 'the very nice Matthew Rice'

a very satisfied looking sis :)

I spent a frivolous amount of money but justify it by adding that since my youngest son is off to uni in September and my middle son is moving into a new place soon I can bequeath my slightly battered old china to them and replenish my empty nest with some beautiful things....  did that work, are you convinced?  Well, William Morris must be right and who am I to argue with him?  I'll post pictures of my purchases later as they deserve to be staged properly.  I wasn't about to get them all out whilst the house was full of partying young folk.

We had a civilised family get together on the Thursday evening.  The sun was shining, the wine was flowing and the  garden was full of laughter - perfect.

Michael and Andrew
Liz and Ben

The next night wasn't quite as civilised although I am sure it started with good intentions.  The day was spent shopping,  preparing and cooking for an ever increasing number of guests
Ben the chef, Liz the apprentice
A rare event and one worthy of a photo - Liz in an apron, being domestic!
I didn't take a picture of my lovely little oasis of a summer house when it was full of sleeping drunken young men - five in total and then more in the lounge but all very grateful for scrambled eggs on toast and copious cups of tea the next morning.  When your home has been voted the best place to have a hangover in it's hard to be annoyed at the carnage - ego be gone!

I think Fairy washing up liquid must have changed because believe you me, these hands are not soft!  The fridge is bare, we were down to half a loo roll out of a pack of 12, no washing powder left and enough empty cans and bottles to warrant several trips to the bottle bank in the dark.

The house feels empty now with just Will and I.  It's back to work tomorrow for a rest and maybe a chance to get back to the crafting before the travelling begins again.  I was catching up with blogland with my feet most gratefully up last night when I saw Amanda's post and was inspired to get my act together and finish a few of my own on-going projects and then I saw Lynne's post about a hexagon quilt along so I'm now torn!

Hoping you are all enjoying the rain and the reprieve from gardening as I am!