Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Peace, love and Lemsip

Hey dudes and dudettes.  Hope all is hanging well with you all today, man.

Ali, who writes this groovy blog, is still, like, totally sickly man.  So I, Graham the Hippy, have taken over today. 

I'm an easy going kind of dude.  I like to slip on my flip-flops and just hang out.  Stress and worry ain't my bag baby.

I just like to chillax and contemplate, like, world peace and other totally groovy stuff - like cake and stuff, man.

So join me on my guided meditation dudes and dudettes...visualise the mug of lemsip...feel the cosy duvet and imagine the endless supply of satsumas nearby...hear the soothing tones of Audrey Hepburn and Bogie in Sabrina...ummmmmmmmm.....ummmmmmmm....

Well done man, like, far out.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Poorly sick


My view today...

Crochet in bed for comfort, satsuma for vitamin C, You've Got Mail on DVD because what else can make you feel better? Vaseline for a sore nose, and the remote control close by to prevent unnecessary moving around.

I am sick. Proper bowl-by-the-bed sick. I have eaten nothing but a lemon-curd sandwich in the last 48 hours.

Thank goodness for my dear mum, who is looking after my little Lillia as we speak. Thank goodness for Lillia too, who has been a total angel and attempted to read me her Sock Monkey Goes to Hollywood book in bed this morning to make me feel better. And thank goodness for my hubby, Dan, who is an excellent baker...

Though I have to admit just looking at those makes me feel a bit queasy right now. Back to bed for me.

Please help yourself to an antiseptic wipe on your way out.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Handmade bags and pink crochet

Autumn has always been my favourite season. I think I must have been some kind of hibernating creature in a former life, I just love the excuse to retreat into the cosy confines of my little house and stay there with a hot drink.

I love the colours too - the reds and greens, golds, purples, orange, and yes even the browns.

This is the bag I just made for my mum, she wanted a bag she could use to put gifts in that would also be nice enough to form part of the gift...

The floral print is cut from old curtain fabric. The rest is organic cotton, which I love for its softness and kindness to the environment.

This is the first bag pattern I came up with all by myself, though it's so simple it could hardly even be called a pattern - more some rectangles sewed together! I do love my handles though, I do my handles like this for nearly every bag I make...

I use iron-on interfacing to make them sturdy. Then I sandwich one of the fabrics into the other, top stitch them together and voila!

And of course the autumnal theme continues to dominate the ever multiplying plum and cream granny squares destined for a big blanket...

Though as much as I love the muted shades of the season I do of course crave the odd vibrant splash of colour, and with a pink-loving-three-year-old-mini-fairy-glitter-princess in residence it is hard to avoid the requests for things to be made in varying shades of pink...

And so there is another granny-square blanket in progress too...

This one will be made of a variety of sizes of granny-squares...

I am thoroughly enjoying crochet, it's easy and fast to do and looks impressive when it's done, plus it's ideal for doing whilst watching Strictly Come Dancing and sipping a glass of wine indoors where it's warm and cosy.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

A post with no pictures.

No time and no light for photographing the ever growing mounds of granny squares in my house. No time to show you snippets of the two new dolls I am making for friends, no photos of the organic and vintage handbags in progress.

But what the hell, I need to post, so post I will! My head is swimming with many many things. My gorgeous little girl starts school next year and we’ve been visiting local primary schools, preparing for our applications, anticipating the long wait until March when we will finally find out if she has got a place at the school we want her to go to.

The same gorgeous little girl was also up most of the night with a dreadful coughy-cold. We are all knackered, we are all sniffly, we are all feeling the pinch of the end of the month, we are all aware that times they are a changin’. I cannot work 8-5 in the City when the wee one starts school. I have sacrificed many things but I will not, shall not, give up the chance to be there at the school gates at ten past three every day to pick her up from school.

I am fed up with sacrificing my cosy, colourful, chaotic family and home life for an arduous grey commute and endless days in a strip lit office. No matter how noble the organisation, it’s just not worth it.

So plans are being made and plots are being hatched. Money needs to be scrimped and saved, luxuries will disappear for a while. Frugality will be the name of the game here in my cottage with a blue door. Plus I need a way of generating a little income without having to work full time or travel into London. Could I sell some of my bags perhaps? Or maybe some mosaic frames? Some crochet blankets or wrist-warmers? Or some of my polyclay models? Scary thought, putting my crafts “out there” in that way. Hmmm.

Yes, lots to think about.

But for now a slice of carrot cake and a cuppa.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Crochet granny-squares!

It isn't hard to do something creative each day at the moment. I make endless granny squares when I am on the train, in front of the telly, whilst Lillia is eating her lunch...

They are beginning to take over!

I love the colours, nice and cosy. They are going to become a blanket eventually...

Mountains of granny squares...

Lillia likes to gather them up and throw them around, then pick them up and throw them around again. It's nice that these little squares are keeping everyone so happy.

Friday, 16 October 2009

A trip to Spitalfields Antiques Market

I regularly take a walk along to Spitalfields Market during my lunch hour on the days that I work. I like to walk along Brick Lane and through the old streets of East London. I took my camera yesterday to try and capture it.

Here I go off up Brick Lane...

There are lots of interesting buildings to look at along the way...

Walking along this road is like walking through a Dickens novel...

I like to look up, there are lots of surprises if you look up!

Hurrah! Here I am at the entrance to the market. The big yellow sign kept getting in my way, but I took the picture anyway as the sign is pointing the way to the antiques market so it seemed only fitting...

Must not buy pies, must not buy pies

Lots of stalls selling weird and wonderful things...

I love this enamel stuff, I have bought a bread bin from this stall before, a bit like the one here but mine is green...

On the way back to the office I look down rather than up...

And this is what I treated myself to...

Wooden printer's letters. for my bookshelves! All four for a fiver. I like the fact that A, B, C and D can be displayed the right way round as they don't have to be mirror images for printing.

I love a walk to the antiques market, it sets me up for the afternoon. Just wish I had more money to spend there!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Hooked on a feeling

I've been away a short while for a few reasons, some of which are not much fun, but here in my little blogspace I just want to share the fun stuff! And trust me I have been having some fun.

The main reason for my week long absence started with a circle. On every train journey in the last week I read my Happy Hookers book and followed the instructions. My journeys have whizzed past. My fellow commuters look at my like some crazed old dear, I drag balls of wool around with me. I don't care! I have discovered crochet!

After the circle I practised loads of different stitches with gorgeous names like "popcorn" and "victory".

Then I finally mastered the granny square...

Then I am not sure quite what happened. I dug out some wool that has been languishing the the loft since my knitting phase three years ago and I just started knitting granny squares.

Then I practised adding in different colours.

I had in mind a scarf, but now it is apparant that a blanket is going to be more like it.

It's been great to have a craft I can do on the train. I am looking forward to learning so much more about crochet and can't wait to see how it all comes together.


Monday, 5 October 2009

Rainy days and Mondays...

Today was wet, rainy, a bit more wet, autumnal and, mostly, wet.

It is very hard to feel down though; this is my favourite month, my favourite season and my favourite kind of day. A day of blankets and boots and the smell of clean washing drying on radiators turned on for the first time since early spring.

A day for wearing a warm pink fleece and stomping in puddles...

A day for stopping to admire the colours of autumn...

(This amazing plant is in my driveway. No idea what it is, must ask my mum, mums always know...)

A day for new friends...

This is "Star". The Black Apple doll I made in preparation for my first Toy Society drop, but which Lillia fell in love with and adopted (I am so weak!) So work on Star #2 is underway ready for our first drop next week.

Her face and arms are hemp fabric, her stockings are organic cotton, her hair is felt and her body is an old vintage fabric I was given. The face is painted on with acrylic paint, first time I have used acrylic, first time I have painted eyes..think I need some practice!

A day for staying in and getting creative...

And for getting ready for Halloween!

A day for staying warm and dry inside whilst silly mummy prances about with her camera in the rain...

A perfect day :)

Sunday, 4 October 2009

On toys and being immature

The Amazon Mathematic Principal states that “If you are treating yourself to a book from Amazon that doesn’t cost enough to qualify for free Super Saver delivery then you can add a second book to your purchase to qualify and that second book will be determined “free” even though technically you are paying twice the amount you would have had you just paid the postage in the first place...”

Which is how it came about that I received a delivery of two rather delicious books yesterday. The first is "Stitch and Bitch: The Happy Hooker" by Debbie Stoller which, aside from having the World’s Second Best Book Title (we’ll come to the first best in a minute), is going to my number one tool in mastering the art of crochet…

I have dug out some garish acrylic wool from the loft, and dusted off a crochet hook that I didn’t know I even had (or why) and I am beginning to learn the basics. My sister had already taught me a few basic stitches and I had foolishly thought I would now just knock up a few granny squares, stitch them together and have a gorgeously colourful and kitsch blanket to snuggle by teatime. Turns out I’m not much of a natural though, hence the new book.

The second book and current holder of the World’s Best Book Title…er..title is…

Yes, that’s right – "Plush-o-rama: Curious Creatures for Immature Adults". The moment the wrapping came off Lillia had quite literally grabbed it from me. She then spent twenty minutes leafing through its pages laughing hysterically at the array of ridiculous multi-limbed creatures and making a verbal list of all the ones she wished to have made for her.

And make them I will. But there was another reason why I had ordered this lovely crazy book. Two reasons actually: First to teach me a bit of wild abandonment. As the introduction says "..welcome to the new plush frontier where it's perfectly acceptable to be a bit quirky, where uabashed originality is highly encouraged, and 'not-quite-right' is the norm"." I am hoping that some of this attitude will rub off on me.

Secondly I bought it having read about The Toy Society. Have you heard of it? It started as a street art project in Australia and is now spreading its love rapidly throughout the world. The basic premise is that you make a lovely little toy, you wrap it, add a tag saying “Take me home, I’m yours”, then leave it in a public place for somebody to find, take home and love. You include a little letter with your toy explaining what the Toy Society is and with details of how to report the toy as being found if the finder wishes to do so.

The whole thing is just so utterly sweet and has that pay-it-forward kind of vibe that I love. Just reading the notes from “finders” brought a tear to my eye. But then I cry at anything - TV adverts, news stories about rescued animals, losing my lipgloss…anything.

I believe it was the fictional Jerry Maguire who once said “We live in a cynical world, a cynical, cynical world…” I for one cannot deny being of the cynical persuasion, but I still see a lot of goodness in the world and if this little project helps to spread a little more of that goodness then I want to join in.
Watch this space!