Thursday, 26 May 2011

Hot Knitting

Finally, I can share this with you as I wanted to wait until Michael had handed in all his work for his final degree show.  He wanted a knitting project in his portfolio and after a disastrous attempt at knitting with wire (he just wanted a metre high anchor knitted in steel wire 3D style.. nothing tricky) he (thankfully) abandoned that idea as my mock up was, quite frankly, pitiful.  So, he asked if I could knit him a piece with some writing in it and sent me a draft of the text and style he wanted.

I was very relieved to find that he was very happy with my first attempt as he only gave me 2 days in which to do it!  Kids - pwuh!  This is what he did with it...

What do you think?  Not bad?  
The knitting's OK too, for a rush job!  He had the needles made out of steel and one of his fashion student friends modelled for him.  Kaffe Fassett eat your heart out!

I've been having a slump week - the most I've managed this week is to make a couple more granny squares for an on-going blanket.  Maybe the bank holiday weekend will rejuvenate me.  I hope so.

Happy nearly Friday.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

A little trip to Tampere, Finland

Thought you might like a little look around Tampere, Finland’s second city.  I was there this week to meet with the sourcing and procurement teams from all of our factories around the world, the only contingent missing this year was from Malaysia. 

After a full day of presentations and meetings and enormous attempts to keep my eyes open, look interested and stay focussed we walked for about 45 minutes to Nasinnneula – a revolving restaurant on the 20 something  floor of a tower.  Here’s some of the 360 degree view:

Lots of apartment blocks, trees and water as far as the eye can see….

The meal was very posh – a different wine with each course (made me realise how enormous my glasses at home are!)  
Lasimestarin lohta (Glazier's salmon)

Parsaa (Asparagus - just the one spear chopped into 3 pieces)

Kaldoaivin poronvasaa (Reindeer from Kaldoaivi)

Lahijuustoa (local cheese - or rather teeny tiny local cheese - and nary a cracker nor grape in site)

Lakkaa ja valkosuklaata (Coudberry ice cream and white chocolate soup)

I forgot to photograph the artichoke soup we had to start after our aperatif of Anna de Codornia Brut Rose - it was too small to capture!

It was all very delicious and we had a fine time on our table as the wine flowed quite freely – very nice whilst you are looking into the distance or directly at your neighbour but not so handy if you moved your head too quickly since the restaurant was revolving while the central kitchen/bar was static – vertigo or the effects of alcohol?  Who can say except I felt absolutely fine the next day after another trek back to the hotel so I’ll put it down to vertigo!  Dan, our Supply Chain Manager from Oz declared the sampler dishes very nice but when was the main course coming!

It wasn't all eating and drinking, honestly, I mean this was very hard work:

No idea what this game was called but it involved a relay race with a broomstick-cum-wooden horse and chucking a tennis ball into a bottle crate - simple on the face of it but after the ball bounced in and out several times the competitive streak in all of us was fully out!  We played golf frisbee, the traditional game of Mölkky, among others and although I don't 'do running' I did break into a fast trot and my shoulder was not impressed with my frisbee throwing prowess - my team members being unimpressed by the lack thereof!  This was followed by a sauna and a quick - and I mean quick - dip in the freezing lake.  Slept like the proverbial log that night.  I think one of our American colleagues thought she'd died and gone to hell - miles and miles of walking and activity and getting naked with your colleagues - HUGE culture shock!

So, that’s the forum over for another year, a list as long as my arm of things that need to be done before the Finnish summer holidays begin – the tradition being to take between 4 and 6 weeks in one stretch which makes the work days quite challenging between mid June and August and a fairly heavy travel schedule ahead of me.  Must get my creative brain in gear so I have plenty to take with me on my travels.

I was very excited to get my hands on the first issue of Mollie Makes at Manchester Airport but am not sure if it is just me or if my excitement and expectation set me up for a smidgen of disappointment but can someone tell me, when and why would I need/want to crochet covers for my apples?  Is it me?  

I'm sure it must be me.
Hope you've had a great weekend and if you've been experiencing the high winds that we have I hope you had your wigs glued on firmly!


Saturday, 14 May 2011

www part 3

I write this post a tad gritty-eyed and with a slight headache - that's what happens when you stay up far too late chatting to a brother you haven't seen in a very long while.  I am too old a) to drink more than 3 glasses of wine and not feel the affects and b) stay up past 2 am, especially after consuming more than 3 glasses of said wine.  When are you ever old enough to know better????

OK, so, as we leave the Ws with a nice shot of the view down Romsey road, heading for Winchester High Street...

I promised to show you a few of my purchases:  some lovely new oil cloth from C&H Fabrics and a coupe of Orla Kiely mugs (neither of which purchases I needed but I felt as though I was on a mini holiday and couldn't help myself)

and of course some fabric.... what can I say?  It's an illness...

I bought a little bag of sample scraps from Susie Watson too and I made this out of them:

I can't afford £29.50 per metre fabric so this was a little taste of Susie on a shoestring.

It's been a busy work week - what a shock to have to work five days in a row!  My week was interrupted by a trip to  the hospital for cortisone injections in my knees so when the doctor told me I should do nothing for the rest of the day ... well, I can never 'do nothing' so I took the opportunity to bind this quilt with some red gingham bias binding.  I'm so happy with the way this quilt has turned out - fresh and cheerful.

Wish I was feeling as fresh but am at least cheerful!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.  Finland beckons for me next week so that concludes the WWW posts: Wedding, Winchester and lots of wishing and waiting.


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

www part 2

Oh ladies, thank you so much for all the comments.  They did make me smile.  I stand corrected and want to put the record straight:  I did not buy my first born child - he was bRought home to that lovely little flat way back when in 1986.  No, I didn't make it to Chandler's Ford or Eastleigh (although I did pass through the latter on the train to Southampton) as I only had a short time there.  Lynne, I did shave my legs but only because I thought I might go bare legged - then I decided this wasn't quite proper for church and it was a good job as I ended up sitting next to the priest throughout the reception dinner.  Minded my P&Qs fairly well but could see the look of disdain flicker over his face as I, first, told him I was divorced and second, told him I was the bride's godmother, of whom he had never heard and he'd been her priest for over 15 years.  Yikes, reckon it would be a lifetime of hail Marys for me and I wasn't sure what to think when he asked me if I had ever considered going on a retreat!  The thought crossed my mind that the present would be a good time .....

So, for Winchester fans here's a little bit more nostalgia - the first house we brought Ben home to :)  It is an end of terrace Victorian house which had been rented by an old lady for over 40 years so it was in an almost original state when we bought it.  Bakelite 3 pin sockets, picture rails, dad rails, slate and marble fireplaces downstairs, cast iron ones in the bedrooms.  Lovely tiles in the porch and on the pathway.  It was a labour of love to renovate it, stripping back all the stair spindles and doors to their original pine, honeyed and reddened over time. It broke my heart to leave this house and move to Camberley.  Life all went a bit pear shaped after that.

The Medieval Pentice in the High Street

The Museum

One of our old drinking haunts, the Eclipse Inn dates back to 1540 though not as nice as the Wykeham Arms

the Gate, part of the old wall which I used to walk under every day on my way to work or to town

the bank where I had my first 'proper' job, appropriately enough located on Jewry Street

and a little glimpse of Alresford - such a pretty, tranquil little town, full of pastel coloured houses and lovely little shops

one of my favourite's being Susie Watson Designs.  Here's my friend, Gill partaking of an imaginary cup of tea at an exquisitely set kitchen table (almost an ex-friend as she had lost loads of weight and not told me!  My friends seem to have a habit of doing this - I wish I had their willpower).  In the background lots of lovely, lovely, gorgeous, lovely china

and for any cat lovers out there, here's one of Gill's cats having a drink the yobby way - straight from the tap!

We've been internet-less the past couple of days - thought Will was going to have a stroke but all has been restored today with the help of a new cable for the router and resetting the Airport - phew, we almost had to 'enjoy' each other's conversation and company for a while there!

Later I'll show you how much shopping I managed to squeeze in to my very expensive parking time in Winchester - I amaze myself sometimes (and my bank manager a lot of the time).

Happy Wednesday (over the hump day as we call it in our office).

Monday, 9 May 2011

www part 1

It’s been a long and happy weekend with a wedding, Winchester and wishing and hoping galore.

This post will have to come in 3 parts as there’s so much to show and tell!  I had a glorious drive down to Winchester on Thursday – sunshine, blue skies, green fields, not too much traffic and only a couple of minor detours as I got out of synch with my Google driving directions!  One day I must get sat nav but think I may still go wrong and get even more flustered if there is someone other than myself telling me I had gone wrong.

Thursday evening was spent in the company of my friends Gill and Jane – no matter how long it is between meetings (and we’re talking years, not months) we manage to take up where we left off and have to speak a mile a minute to get up to date – with quite a lot of ‘what was I saying?’ as we each break off on tangents of one sort or another.  It was lovely and I felt like I’d come home.

Friday got off to a bad start with this:

 a very expensive 10 extra minutes parking whilst feverishly looking at fabrics in C&H Fabrics!  That'll teach me!

I took a rather emotional stroll down memory lane which was perhaps not a good idea right before going to a wedding alone.  This was where we bought Ben, my first born's home from hospital up the road (not the whole thing - just a little flat on the top floor)
Winchester holds so many happy memories for me.

As I got ready for the wedding I agonised over what to wear, wondering why I hadn’t been dieting rigorously in preparation and why I had been so lazy in keeping in touch with some very special people.

The weather was glorious and the whole day was fabulous – a relaxed service (lots of upping and downing in a Catholic service and my knees were complaining about that as well as the stupid heels I had decided to wear – when will we ever learn that no one cares what you have on your feet – wishing I had enough brass neck to wear flip flops!  Marijke very sensibly had little ballet pumps on unlike her sisters who had heels to rival Victoria Beckham's

Left to right: Saskia (youngest sister), Tony (father of the bride), Marijke, Troy, Nel (mother of the bride), Oma (mother of the mother of the bride, 81 - I have no idea what her real name is as she has always been Oma (grandma) and very trendy), Aniek (middle sister).  The bouquets were white tulips - what else for a half Dutch wedding?

There was a lovely meal, speeches, dancing, eating and drinking (enough drinking that the knees were not complaining at the dancing but I had changed into some flat shoes by that point).  My legs were killing me the next day and I wondered why until I realised that I hadn't had that much exercise in months.

Saturday was spent in Alresford and Winchester before heading home on Sunday via Kingston to see son number 2, Michael to deliver a bit of knitting for his degree show.  More on the rest of the trip later but I was very happy to be greeted by these lovelies when I got home.

I only planted this last year so I am both happy and impressed - it must like this spot.

Hope you all had as fabulous a weekend as I did.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Living in hope...

I'm very excited at the prospect of a few days down south for the wedding of my god daughter in Southampton and visiting with my old friends in Winchester.   The wedding quilt is about to be wrapped and I don't think there'll be any time for crafting this weekend so in the meantime I shall leave you with these gems

In the likely event that no millionaire crosses my path...

and just in the very likely event that the getting rich part doesn't happen ... I do like a good fairytale and Alice in Wonderland would approve of this one..

It would be rude not to, wouldn't it?

Fingers crossed that Marijke likes her wedding gift and wishing you all an early happy weekend.

And thank you to all for the welcome back messages, very much appreciated.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Slaving over a hot machine...

Well, the wind had died down a little but it was, as Pooh would say, rather blustery out there, so I decided to sew instead.  Do you remember I said I had tidied my dining room and was going to use the smallest bedroom as my work room? Well, the tidy dining room now looks like this!

Will was sleeping late so I thought it best not to wake him to the thrum of the sewing machine so I made merry with my fabric, rotary cutter and ironing board downstairs.  Whoever would of thought it possible to make merry with and ironing board?

Inspired by the pomp and ceremony of the Royal wedding and feeling rather patriotic I ran up this little number in red, white and blue which I shall call Britannia...

I had to take photos inside as it wouldn't stay still long enough on the line to take a non blurry shot.

I finished this one yesterday which is also an homage to being British and I shall call it Royal Guards

I'm rather attached to this one as it contains pieces of Laura Ashley fabric I used in my eldest son's nursery 25 years ago - it might have to be an hairy-loom.

After all that blue and red I felt in need of a little bit of girlie pink so put together this quilt top of pinks, white and duck egg made up of 2 inch square 9 patch blocks set on their side.  It remains un-named as yet but will be finished off with a strip of white edging and then a border of pinky something... not sure yet but I'm all sewed out for today.  I did discover that I can neither count properly nor sew in a very straight line so the quilt ended up a bit larger than intended and there was a fair amount of seam ripping going on!  

Before I go I just want to show you this gorgeous little jug that Anne bought me for my birthday.  She sneakily bought it for me from the car boot sale last weekend.  I love it, it's soooo pretty.

Work tomorrow... groan.


Loving family support...

I have been busy with my rotary cutter and machine (don't tell my physio), chopping up little girls dresses from the car boot sales and old shirts, adding a bit of new here and there.  My living room floor is covered in scrappy nine patches, this body hasn't eaten a proper meal in days (cheese and crackers have been the order of the day and night) and I haven't seen much of youngest son.  So, upon his return last night there was no 'hello Mum, how are you' just two comments - 'you're up late' as he hung up the car keys followed by 'more quilts!' as he entered the living room.

The sun is shining again - miracle of miracles and the wind has dropped a little so I might have to retire to the garden with some crochet and top up on vitamin D.

Pictures will follow shortly as believe it or not, the eiderdown quilt is actually Finished!  My mother did remark that there were a few loose ends (the knots I had used to tie each corner to the quilt inside).  Sigh.....

Happy crafting all and Happy May Day!