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Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tuesday Titles 168..

A Little Life




I'm not sure what took me so long to get around to reading this. Probably everyone I know and ever talk books with over the past couple of years has recommended A Little Life to me. I was only reminded of this when I helped out at a guiding weekend away and the venue we stayed at had a second-hand bookshelf, with a copy of this sitting in the middle of the shelf. 

It took me a little while to get around to reading it, as I had a pile of festive fiction to get through over Christmas, but it was one of the first books I read in January, and turned out to be one of those books I just couldn't put down. I took it everywhere with me.

I don't know what it was but I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Discovering more and more about the group of four friends who'd met during their college years and stayed friends; the book follows Willem, Jude, JB and Malcolm right through to middle age.

I think that stories to do with long-lasting friendship groups always manage to reel me in because I've always had this sense of longing to be in one of those. The friendship groups which stick with you for the rest of your life and see you through every good and bad time. I mean, I'm not saying I don't have friends- I'm very lucky to have a lot of wonderful ones, but I do find that they come and go. Anyway, I digress.

A Little Life centres on our protagonist, Jude, who is clearly hiding some suppressed childhood traumas along with various neurological and movement related issues. Even his closest friends realise at one point that they have no idea about his background. But they stick by him nonetheless and once they've finished college, he and Willem share a tiny New York apartment, ensuring it has an elevator in order that Jude, when his immobility is at it's worst, can keep as much of his independence as possible.

Whilst I clearly wanted to uncover his secrets, I didn't find that A Little Life felt as forced as so many other books when it came to piecing together the back story. The gentle pace of the groups' lives progressing was strangely mesmerising like the slow and steady hum of a sleepy train carriage and I was in no rush for the grand reveal. Which is lucky, because as my OH pointed out at one point..."it's a really big book for being about such a little life...!"

Yes, there are some parts where I didn't want to read and yet wanted to discover what happened all at the same time (TW: graphic sexual abuse, violence, drug abuse, rape, self harm). But somehow every page was still compelling.

Honestly, I don't know how the balance was struck so perfectly, but I really think it is in this story. I longed for it not to end, even when it was forty years later and closure was imminent. I may have even shed some tears.

I know that there has been recent talk of film rights and the like, which makes me kind of want to cry a little. I think that when a book has such an effect on me, I don't want to see a adaptation of it, because it won't be as good as what went on in my head. But, the more people it reaches, the better, I guess.

Have you read A Little Life?



Saturday, 9 March 2019

Brooch Display Boards..



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Fancy another project where I made things up as I went along? My wardrobe room is one of the rooms which I've probably done the most too, installing the shoe shelves and replacing the curtains with a blind into the recess of the window. I have plans for some shelves across the window space, too. I'll try to take some more photos of the room itself, soon.

One of the things I've noticed since I moved and gained *so* much more storage space, is just how useful it can be to be able to see some of the things I have. If I can see more of my jewellery collection, chances are I'm more likely to wear a little more of it. 

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After putting some hooks up around the dressing table mirror for some of my necklaces, I decided I needed to think of a way of storing some of my larger brooches. After a little time on Pinterest, I decided to have a go at making some brooch display boards. 

I bought three basic white photo frames from the sale shelf in Asda, and recycled the glass from them. I guess if I were a little more DIY orientated, I should have just made some frames, but it was helpful for me to have the backing and fixings for them, too. 

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I cut up an old pillowcase, which I'd outsorted because it had a hole in it, and cut out rectangles of fabric a little larger than the backs of the frames. I then cut several layers of quilt batting out as well, to the size of the frame, and layered them up, with the fabric over the top. 

I used a hot glue gun to secure the fabric at the back of the frame and also used a staple gun on the corners where the fabric folds overlapped. It was a slow process as I had to make sure that the fabric was being pulled tight over the stuffing. 

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Once I'd left it to dry for a while, I put the frames back on and the boards were ready to hang on the wall. (Let's ignore the small hiatus where I dropped one and had to glue the corner back together). 

Once on the wall, I added my brooches to them, which also gave me a good opportunity to have a bit of a clearout of the ones I no longer wear or don't think I'd wear again. 

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Friday, 8 March 2019

Friday Favourites 298..

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001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005

I know it's been a really long time since I did one of these wishlist posts, but this week it's as if all of the new things are arriving all at once. O. M. G. 

Lately, there have been so many amazing boots catching my eye. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I'm off for a week in the snow and thinking warm outfit thoughts. Not that the first pair of boots are particularly snow-friendly, but I guess I'd happily make an exception. The only thing which puts me off is that the zip is at the back of the boot, and I have weird issues with that.

I mentioned recently that it's the 20th anniversary of Irregular Choice this year and that they have big things in the pipeline. These unicorn boots (001) are one of the releases I've been waiting to drop for *so* long. They're incredible, with the mix of pastels, glitter and of course the unicorn.

002: I have some boots in this style already, so I know that probably makes them unnecessary, but again...unicorns and glitter! I also know already just how comfortable they will be. 

003: I love this bear design, although I think I'd be a little bit wary of wearing them out in the wild if there was a chance of rain. 

004: Another high top design to add to my growing collection ( I seem to have snapped up so many of the past ICED collection lately for pennies on eBay that I have quite the collection these days!) which is kinda daft when I'm really a heels girl through and though, but I just love the green and pink contrast with the clouds. 

005: These remind me a lot of a cross between my ICED Secret Garden trainers and a pair of platform snow boots. Again, more glitter and the selection of floral embellishments has me drooling all over these. Figuratively speaking, of course. 

Any favourites here, or in the new IC collection? There are soooo many new styles coming out at the moment that there definitely seems to be something for everyone. 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

#365DaysofIC February round-up..

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At the start of February, I decided to make a list of some of the shoes in my collection which have hearts on them, or some kind of heart or love related theme or reference in the name etc. I figured I could probably do a week or so of "love" theme shoes around Valentine's Day. 

In the end, it turned out that with a few little exceptions (like, when my Hero boots arrived and I wanted to wear them right away, although I guess they do have a heart on them, or wanting to wear my super-comfy God Mama boots for a hospital visit, I mostly managed to stick to heart themed shoes for the whole month. 

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Oh, another exception was the Locky dragon heels, which I wore for Chinese New Year. 
Other tenuous links may have been my winged rucksacks - I do love these and kinda wish I hadn't worn them both in the same month, but there we go. It's likely that I'll use them again when wearing other pairs in the future anyway. 

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Unlike when I got to the end of January, I didn't have a huge pile of shoes to get rid of at the end of February. I think that's probably because by sticking to the theme, I also stuck to quite a lot of my tried and tested favourites. Hearts on the Line, Clara Bow and Bessie Love are pairs I wear a lot anyway, and Blind Love (the silver flat brogues with the blue laces and red hearts) would be a pair I'd often choose if I was wanting a casual flat style as they're infinitely comfortable. 

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It did really help me to have a theme for this month, and to make a list beforehand of the pairs I would wear throughout the month. Although I didn't put days to them, and I still therefore had some freedom to choose what I felt like wearing that morning, or for the following day when I was getting my outfit sorted the night before, the choice felt less overwhelming having to choose from a list of twenty, than having more than 400 pairs to choose from. So, I'd definitely have another theme month (or week) in the future, but I haven't set one for March. Not yet anyway, as it's been nice to wear some of the pairs I felt like wearing in Feb but which wouldn't fit with the theme. 

Any favourites? Here's the list:

Day 32: Red Polka Dot Blythe
Day 33: Angel Wings Backpack (gold)
Day 34: Making Moves
Day 35: Love You
Day 36: Flopsy in Love
Day 37: Locky
Day 38: Bessie Love
Day 39: Love is all Around
Day 40: Lady Bee (red)
Day 41: Magic Bunny bag
Day 42: Love is in the Air
Day 43: Clara Bow
Day 44: Rada Tilly (pink)
Day 45: Love Me Not
Day 46: Love + Magic
Day 47: Hero
Day 48: Valentina clutch
Day 49: Can Can (hearts)
Day 50: Blind Love
Day 51: Toodle Loo
Day 52: God Mama
Day 53: Summer of Love
Day 54: Thermidor
Day 55: Dotty Love
Day 56: Hearts on the Line
Day 57: Angel Wings backpack (silver)
Day 58: Featherstone
Day 59: New York Skyline 

Friday, 1 March 2019

Hibernating..

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Do you ever feel a little bit like there's something not right, but you can't put your finger on it?

Quite aside from the fact that I can't remember a time before this current headache, lately I've been feeling awful. A combination of the unexplained stomach pains which have been plaguing my life for the past ten years or so, combined with joint pain when I wake up in the morning, particularly in my elbows and knees, and just a general feeling of exhaustion. I know that it's become something of a competitive sport these days to bang on and on about how tired one is, but I mean I often feel as though it physically hurts to keep my eyes open.

And I'm tired of it. Tired of having to retire to bed before 9pm in an evening; tired of telling my friends that I can't meet up, or missing the gym, or admitting to M that I don't want to do something because I feel too poorly. It's crappy, and it's a sign of weakness and it's making me sad. Which can only be making the whole thing worse, right?

And really, I don't know what the point in sharing this is, other than to try and let the thoughts escape from my head. I have become something of a regular at my doctor's and every time the latest test comes back inconclusive, I feel as though I'm a terrible waste of everyone's time and resources. So I now also have this overwhelming sense of guilt hanging over it all, too.

So, I guess if anyone needs me I'll be hibernating until further notice. Or until the next lot of painkillers kicks in, at least.

 

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Adventures in chalk paint..

Since I moved I have become a regular in the chalk paint aisle at my local DIY store. Here's one of the things I worked on over the Christmas break and which turned out pretty well. 


We were given a trailer-load of pine furniture by a relative shortly after we moved and it's all lovely stuff but not entirely to our taste, so once I'd furnished one of the bedrooms, I decided that I could use a set of drawers in the sewing room, for storage of notions and smaller items.

I headed to Pinterest for some inspiration and was almost settled on painting the drawers in an ombre or a rainbow effect, when suddenly I remembered how much wallpaper I had left over in off-cuts (I'd originally planned to paper two walls but ended up just doing one). 


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After a little googling, I had a vague plan of how to go about this. I used pink chalk paint and grey chalk paint to paint the sections of the chest which I was not going to cover with paper - the tops, sides and edges of the drawers themselves. Since I'm lazy and didn't sand the chest before I started, it needed three coats to stop the paint looking patchy and give it a decent coverage, but you might get away with fewer coats if you were more into preparing the piece..

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Once the paint was dry I mixed up a watered-down PVA glue and painted the drawer fronts with this, leaving it for a few minutes to go tacky whilst cutting out the papers to fit the fronts. Cue a lot of measuring, craft knife action (and assistance). I painted those with the glue mix as well before fitting them into place. I left the glue to dry overnight and then painted the whole thing with this furniture lacquer. Again, I needed to use several coats of this to get a finish I was happy with and to ensure I covered the paper plenty of times, too. The final touch was to add these pink crystal drawer knobs to the front, which seem to be such a good colour match to the paper that they blend right in.

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I'm pretty pleased with how these turned out and have recently taken in another unwanted chest of drawers, which I'm trying to decide on a plan for so that it fits our living room, which is next on the schedule to be decorated. I might do something similar.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

An irregular opportunity..


Irregular Raffle

For those of you who are also fans of Irregular Choice, it might not be news to you that the brand are celebrating their twentieth anniversary in 2019. How exciting is that?! 
As you'd expect, there are lots of new and exciting things planned to celebrate this. New styles, as well as old design elements creeping back into some of the new releases. There's bound to be something for everyone over the course of the year. 

One of the exciting things in the pipeline is Irregular Day, which is going to be on 9th March 2019. On this day, Dan and the brand have asked people to step out of their comfort zone and try something new, whatever that might mean to them. It could be a new sport, going somewhere new to them or trying a new food; something that wouldn't happen in your "regular" life. 

One of my fellow IC-collecting friends has decided to step outside of her comfort zone and organise a fundraiser for two charities which mean a lot to her, and I'm very excited to share the information about it here...so, over to Tomi. 

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What is this about?
For Irregular Day I am getting out of my comfort zone and putting myself out there to raise money for two charities through an IC raffle.

How?
The raffles are being hosted on these two pages.

Unofficial Irregular Choice Wiki - https://www.facebook.com/groups/685609068211540/


Each ticket is £1 per ticket. You can buy as many tickets as you like.

Payments can be made via Paypal (snarfybooboo@yahoo.com) which has been specifically set up for this fundraiser. Please pay via Paypal and make sure you add your Paypal name as a reference (so we can contact you if you win!)

When?
There will be two live raffle draws on Saturday 9 March; one at Lottie’s Atik in Lincolnshire and the other at a soon to be confirmed location!

How can we help?
By buying tickets to raise money for two charities:

Teenage Cancer Trust - they create world-class cancer services for young people in the UK, providing life-changing care and support so young people don’t have to face cancer alone.

Chestnut Tree House - The children’s hospice for East and West Sussex, Brighton and Hove and South East Hampshire.

What are the prizes?
There are currently two lots of prizes. Lot one will be hosted on the Wiki Page and Lot 2 on the Irregular Choice Party People page.

Lot 1
£25 Lotties Atik vouchers
IC scarf
Just Dandy necklace
IC Heel grips
Madame Crystal sole protectors
Kitten mirror
1 jewellery pouch
Kids patches
IC stickers
IC postcard
IC display card box box (small)
IC perspex display stand
IC gold tote medium bag
IC gold tote large bag
Classic IC pink tote bag

Lot 2
£25 Lotties Atik vouchers
IC scarf
Macaroon tights
Lamb print tights
IC Heel grips
Carousel mirror
Bunny mirror
IC stationary set -pencil case, pen and pencils
IC Necklace
1 jewellery pouch
IC Sticker
IC postcard
IC 210 shoes calendar
IC gold tote medium bag
IC gold tote large bag
Classic IC robot tote bag


If you'd like more information, Tomi can be found on Instagram here where you'll be able to see this video, and the Facebook groups which are hosting the lots can be found here and here.


Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Tuesday Titles 167..

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Passion in the Bones: Elaine Howard
I have to admit, this book arrived at a very appropriate time for me. It's not really a secret that I've been struggling lately with a lot of things. I would never usually opt for a self-help or a motivational book, but something about this one, combined with the time I was approached about it, made me agree to try something new.

Like me, Elaine was feeling a little lost in her life. Unfulfilled, and concerning herself with the things which she felt were missing from her existence, she admits that she was feeling hopeless. Passion in the Bones is part-memoir and I think this made the concept a lot more accessible to me. Elaine explains how she found a new passion entirely by chance, and for her this was palaeontology.

Using her experiences as a guide, this book helps readers to understand how a positive focus on something they are passionate about can make a huge difference tot heir outlook on life. I mean, all of this makes sense and seems accessible to me, so I've already started making some positive changes to the way I think about things. I've found that by shifting the focus of my thoughts to the good things in my life, or even breaking it down into the good things about my day, it quickly creates a more positive way of thinking about life. Much better to be thankful for the things which are great than sad about the things which you feel are missing from your life, right?!

Honestly, I'd recommend reading Passion in the Bones, even if you think you're a self-help sceptic, like me.


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Another knitted robot..



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I guess the clue is in the title for this one. Looking at the last knitting projects I seem to have shared, it certainly looks as though I have a bit of a knitted robot obsession. I mean, I do love robots but I guess it's also worth pointing out that neither the blanket nor this little guy are for me. 

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A couple of weeks ago I was scouring Ravelry (does anyone else get absolutely lost in there?!) for something heart-themed for Valentine's day. Eventually I settled on this pattern - Louie the Lovebot - which I've had saved in my favourites list for an absolute age. I'd been making a cable knit scarf in a grey DK which I'd picked up from a discount store recently, and had some left over, which made my mind up that one of the colours in my robot would be grey. 

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Since the intarsia heart on the front had to be in a contrasting colour, I decided on red. It seems to fit the Valentines theme. The pattern itself was quite easy to follow, although I got about halfway through and decided that I couldn't get the magic loop thing right, so switched to DPNs. I think that my problem was that the circular needles I was using probably weren't long enough, so I was finding it a bit of a struggle to loop it properly. I also found that my heart came out a little wonky - it's knitted in intarsia in the round and I think my tension between colour changes was a little off. I fixed this once I'd stitched him up by adding a few little stitches to sort out the shape. Hopefully it's not too noticeable. 

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I finished him off with a couple of button eyes and a little heart button in his hand so that he can spread some love. I think a larger button might have worked better for this but I was using up some from the button jar and this was the best I could find. I'm enjoying using up leftovers and working my way through my yarn stash (although I have to admit I did add to it recently when a local charity shop got a huge donation from a wool shop which had closed down). 

The little knitted heart was made using this free pattern from Studio Knits and it was so simple that I would definitely make more; perhaps as a string of bunting or something? 


Friday, 1 February 2019

#365DaysofIC January round-up





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I haven't really shared a lot about my new year's resolutions, although I have spent almost a whole month getting them honed and have some which are hopefully an achievable challenge.

One of the things I have jumped right in to is joining in with the #365daysofirregularchoice challenge on Instagram. A little like the shoe challenge I set myself a few years back, and the one I started but aborted last year, there is a year-long challenge going on to celebrate the brand's twentieth anniversary. I've pledged to join in by posting a different Irregular Choice item each day (we're including not only shoes, but clothes, bags and accessories as well, which is a welcome change to how I've done this in the past).

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So far, I've been keeping track by a daily Instagram story highlight and also keeping a list of what pairs I wore on each day. At the last day of the month I decided it would be a nice idea to take a collective photo of my January items - which was a great idea until I got them all arranged nicely on the stairs and then remembered the lighting on the landing sucks.

So, after traipsing them all down to the sewing room, where the lighting is a lot better, here we are. I'm going to ignore the fact that until I uploaded these pictures I didn't notice that something was missing.

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So, one month in and how am I finding it? I'd say this is the easiest part of the challenge; where you're so new to it that you're likely to remember which pairs you've already worn so it's easy to avoid duplication. I didn't plan any of these in advance (well, not much in advance anyway - I often get the following day's outfit out the night before if I have an early morning gym session, but that's about it). I have for the first couple of weeks in February made a bit of a list of the pairs I intend to wear, as I'm going to try and stick to a love-heart theme.

Some unexpected favourites have been the purple Otter boots - more sparkly than I remember them, and the bear face clutch bag (deceptively spacious!) and also French Fries - I'm sad to have worn them already and not be able to repeat until after the challenge. Also a little gutted I'd already "used" Shoely Not before thinking of my heart theme for February. 

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I've also managed to recognise a handful of pairs which I'll probably be parting with, for a number of reasons (too big, too low in the heel etc)- so far I've listed four of them for sale on my Insta-sale page if anyone's the same size as me / interested.

I'll leave you with the list..

Day 1: Candy Damsel
Day 2: Green Devil slippers (pre-name)
Day 3: Giraffe necklace
Day 4: Don't Bite
Day 5: Striped Mikey
Day 6: Bunny Cuddels bag
Day 7: Intergalactic boots
Day 8: Rocky Hopper
Day 9: Seduce Me
Day 10: Can't Touch This (black floral)
Day 11: pre-name teal duck shoe-boots
Day 12: Easy Trapeezy (gold)
Day 13: King of the Castle bag
Day 14: Pom Pom Parade scarf
Day 15: Shoely Not
Day 16: Little Tipple (blue)
Day 17: Chocolate Banana Smoothie
Day 18: I'm From the Future
Day 19: Bear Faced Cheek bag
Day 20: 2730 (pre-name) Love You heels
Day 21: Sundae Sprinkles
Day 22: Sugar Plum
Day 23: Smiley Fish
Day 24: Glitter Fawn (red)
Day 25: (pre-name) comic speech bubble flats
Day 26: Swan Lake bag
Day 27: Octavius
Day 28: Gold Spatz ankle boots
Day 29: French Fries
Day 30: Otter (purple)
Day 31: Face Calf boots (white)

Friday, 25 January 2019

2019 Make Nine..



Yes, I definitely mentioned that I was planning to write more blog posts this year. And yes, it is definitely also the end of January already. So.....that's going well. And I was working on a list of goals for the year, which is still in progress even though we're 1/12 through. But, sometimes life gets in the way.

One of my goals was to take part in #2019makenine, which is where makers decide on nine patterns or garments they wish to create during the year. I've done this in the past a couple of times, with varying levels of success, but this year I decided to choose my list a little bit differently. I've seen a few people do it this way; I've chosen nine fabrics / yarns from my existing stash in the sewing room, which I want to challenge myself to make into items by the end of the year. This was quite a fun exercise as I've been unpacking things into the new sewing room and there were fabrics and patterns I'd completely forgotten were in my possession, so I think this should give me the push I need to get on with some of the things I've been meaning to make for a while. Plus, nine items is less than one a month - that seems manageable to me. (Hopefully). Want to see what I've picked out?

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As I only know how to make one kind of jersey dress, and it's a pattern I like, I suspect this metallic dinosaur print jersey will end up being a lady skater dress. Probably with long sleeves, but who knows, maybe I'll give a wrap-over front a try.


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I picked up two balls of this glittery colour-changey yarn when I was in the knitting shop for something else entirely, and I have to admit I'm hopeless at wool quantities, so I have no clue what this will be, but I love the yarn, so want to knit it into something this year. 

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Two cottons, which I will make dresses from. Probably using Simplicity 2444 and some of the neckline options. 

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This Liberty dinosaur print cotton lawn is so lovely - it's already got the Betty dress pattern pieces pinned to it ready to cut out. I've found this green lining fabric and will be using this leftover piece of tulle to give the skirt a little more shape, too. I'm trying to decide on a collar for it - probably a Peter Pan one, possibly detachable. Watch this space. 

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One of my most-worn (and ridiculously least documented) makes is a pair of Turia dungarees, so I think this floral print denim will be another pair. I use them in the summer for camping, and general scruffy weekend garden / around the house / painting / errands clothing. 

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One of my friends bought me this kit two Christmasses ago and I still haven't got around to making it. For a while I was blaming the fact that I didn't have the suitable needles, but I've made sure I ordered them with my last knitting supplies, so this year I have no excuse. Can't wait to knit up a triceratops to go on the wall!

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I almost didn't add this to my selection, as the thought of making a raincoat really pushes me out of my comfort zone, but then I remembered that that's kind of the point of this challenge. So, I'll be searching for a pattern suitable for making a raincoat, and a lot of tutorials. 

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This little combination is going to be a SOI Rosie dress, probably. I bought the fabric from a show which had a lovely example of this border print book fabric as a dress with pocket and collar details picked out in the other fabrics. I'm hoping I still have a photo of it to refer to. 

Have you set yourself any creative challenges this year? Follow my progress with this on here or on my Instagram account.. 


Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Knitbots..




I've decided recently that it would still be OK to share some of my favourite finished projects, even where it's been quite a while since I finished some of them. I think my blogging fell a little by the wayside last year when things got particularly busy. I seem to be getting worse and worse at time management. Or, possibly, taking more and more on.

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But anyhow, this is probably one of my favourite things I've ever made. Whilst I used to take a lot of sewing (and a few knitting) commissions, these days I only really make things for people if I think they're going to appreciate them, and if I actually *want* to.

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With the announcement of a new baby in the family, I decided that I would need to find a suitable gift to make, and was torn for a little while between two of Vikki's patterns on Ravelry - fluffy white clouds and these rainbow coloured robots. I knew I wanted something bright and colourful and gender-neutral as the sex was unknown at that point. I decided that the robots were amazing and more of a challenge. Plus, the robot blanket is constructed in smaller squares which are later attached together, which makes it more practical for me to take with me on weekends away etc, than a large blanket on giant needles. So, that was my decision made and I printed the pattern out, ordered the recommended wool from the internet, it arrived a couple of days later and off I went.

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For a few months, I worked on these little critters in my Monday evening post-guides craft sessions, in the passenger seat of the car on long journeys, on weekends away, in doctors' waiting rooms; just about any spare moment I had was broken down into how many stripes I could get finished before I had to leave for an appointment etc.

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As with all of Vikki's patterns, the instructions were clear and I found that I quite enjoyed working from the charts. This is also the first time that I paid much attention to actually blocking the squares, as I was finding that some of the stripes ended up being a little larger than the robot blocks. I'm not sure why that was, other than maybe being pretty loose with my casting on of the initial stitches. 

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I stitched it all together when the blocks were done - there's another thing I'd like to learn to be a bit neater with. Once joined, I had to knit a border, which at least secured everything around the outside edges, by picking up stitches from each block along the edge. This didn't take too long although the top and bottom edges had a lot of stitches to keep on the needles - longer circular cables would have helped me here.

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But, it was finished just in time - literally on the day it was required. Which means that the above photo was taken in a rather hasty rush. I don't think it ended up being as wonky as it looks there. But, the main thing is it was finished and gifted to it's recipient, who will hopefully appreciate it. I love the feeling of knowing that you've made something for someone which they'll hopefully treasure. 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Friday Favourites 297..

FF297
001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005

A little bit of living room decor inspiration in today's wishlist, since that's the next room on the list to be redecorated. 
Before we moved in, we'd discussed a few things we definitely wanted; a log burner in the living room being one of those. We also thought we'd decided on wallpaper (by which I mean I found my dream living room wallpaper and cajoled agreement), but when the sample arrived, I didn't love it as much as I'd expected to - the print was far too big and the background far too dark. So, it was back to the drawing board. 

With the Wallpaper Direct January sale, I restarted my search and ordered a handful of potential samples and I think we're decided on this one (005). Need to get that ordered!

And now that we have more of an idea about colour schemes, everything else seems to just come together. 

001: I never thought I'd get so excited about shopping for light fittings, but there are some lovely ones out there. I like the mix of colours and textures in this one. 

002: Storage baskets like this are destined to keep things like matches and kindling by the fireplace.

003: I can't stop mentioning this clocks - I love them so much. Currently have a savings jar on the go for one of these. 

004: Oliver Bonas never fail to come up with some amazing homewares. I love these plant stands - maybe a couple in different heights next to one of the windows?

Where to start with making home decor decisions? It's a tricky business, no?

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Tuesday Titles 166..

At the weekend, I sat down and wrote up a big list of the things I want to post about on here, as there are so many. Let's get this show back on the road. I'm starting with a small round-up of a handful of the books I managed to read over the holidays. I've a terrible habit of reading several things at once and there are currently several books lying about the house in various states of unread, but let's begin with a few that I actually finished.

One More Chance
One More Chance: Lucy Ayrton
One More Chance: {TW: drug abuse}. This was a step outside of my usual kind of book, but I as intrigued by the synopsis and thought it was worth a try. 
Dani is in prison whilst her daughter is being raised by a foster family and naturally this is pretty upsetting for her. She'd do anything to be with her baby again, and when her new cellmate, Martha, offers her a way to be reunited with Bethany, Dani doesn't hesitate to get on board with the plan. 
Which, if I'm honest, is a little weird. The book goes from some incredibly realistic descriptions of prison life, drug abuse and a life of petty crime, to a kind of strange eggshell based magic spell. 
I stuck with it and although the ending felt a little rushed, this wasn't a bad read all in all.


The Christmas Lights
The Christmas Lights: Karen Swan 

 The Christmas Lights: OK, so I'm worried that it's possibly a little late to still be talking about all things festive, but I read this one on Christmas Eve and it was a nice escape...to Norway, where travel bloggers Bo and Zac are staying for their next sponsored trip. They'll stop at nothing to get the most "authentic" shot for their Instagram grid, even if that means taking part in risky climbs in the snowy fjords of Norway.
This was the perfect book to read around Christmas; lots of snowy scenery, some fairly vacuous characters and a bit of a time-slip situation where alternate chapters shift back into their host's childhood years. Oh, and a dark, brooding guide with a terrible secret in his past.
This was pretty good and I longed to be in the depths of icy Norway. 



The Cactus
The Cactus: Sarah Haywood 
The Cactus: I finished this one a little while ago - it was mostly read (via Kindle) whilst I was on the treadmill at the gym. I'm not sure if that, or something else, was the reason that it took me quite a while to get into it, but I started out a little skeptical about this one. I wasn't wildly drawn to the protagonist, Susan, and it all felt a little bit too reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant for my liking. But at some point something must have clicked because I began to enjoy it and found myself genuinely interested in how Susan would cope with her new challenges. Gentle to the end, and a little bit predictable, I'd recommend this as just the tonic for a long train journey. 


Christmas Camp
Christmas Camp: Karen Schaler 
Welcome to Christmas Camp: You know all of those so-terrible-they're-good Netflix Christmas movies, which are just about everyone's guilty pleasure in the run-up to the big day? Well, now imagine one of those in book format and here you are. It's even written by the same person as A Christmas Prince. There's the perfect mix of cheese, Christmas cheer and predictable ending, as Haley, who always skips the festive cheer by planning holidays over the Christmas break so that she can spend her time working, is offered the opportunity of her career. A big client which could be her big break. She's confident she can win this, but her boss isn't so sure and wants her to go to "Christmas Boot Camp" so that she can learn to be more festive. 

Of course, there's an eligible guy. Of course there's a loveable-but-annoying colleague who decorates his desk with more candy canes than a Christmas elf, and of course there's one of those will-they-won't-they moments? I'm pretty sure this has also already been adapted as a movie, too.

Have you read anything good lately?