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Sunday sewing

28 Apr

What a productive weekend it’s been! Disappointing news on Friday afternoon could have made it otherwise but instead I’ve chosen to keep busy – while finding time to chill out too!

Yesterday I caught up with the lovely B to see The Dancer Upstairs at the French Institute as part of the London Spanish Film Festival. Two hours of Javier Bardem plus the hefty slab of coconut and orange cake that followed made for a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Check out the beautiful rainbow I saw that evening, too…

Rainbow

It reminded me of a quote I saw on Pinterest recently:

“Everyone wants happiness. No one wants pain. But you can’t have a rainbow, without a little rain.”

Today, I had my usual early morning walk with the lovely Putney WI ladies (another gloriously sunny AM at Richmond Park) and now, I’ve just finished crafting my first needle case, Sarah Moore style. What do you think?

Needle case 4

Walks and wonders

14 Apr

20130414_093038

What a glorious weekend we’ve been having! The sun has finally come out and it seems as if spring has finally sprung! I made the most of the good weather with an early morning walk around Richmond Park with three of my WI members. We meet outside the beautiful Pembroke Lodge before setting off for a one-hour stroll around Sidmouth Wood and Pen Ponds, before climbing up King Henry’s Mound to admire the view – you can see all the way to St Pauls on a clear day.

Yesterday was an equally successful day. On my way into town I passed a skip where some beautiful pieces of furniture were being thrown away. I couldn’t lug it all home but did manage to salvage some bits and pieces – like these handles.

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I’ve been wanting to get some like this for ages so am very excited, not just about finding them but also by the fact that they were free! It seems there are treasures to be found everywhere, you just need to take the time out to stop and look.

Knit one, purl one

9 Feb

It’s official. I am truly a knitting addict! Having been taught the basic knit stitch by a colleague from work, I have been creating endless scarves and snoods for friends and family, and can’t get enough it. But, I’ve also been keen to master purl – I’m told that once you have these two stitches you can knit anything! So I signed up for a morning knitting course at the stunning Mrs Moon haberdashery in St. Margarets.

Mrs Moon Little Miss Married 2 Mrs Moon Little Miss Married 1

From the moment I entered the shop, I knew I was in for a treat: a warm welcome and floor-to-ceiling displays of brightly-coloured yarns, ceramic buttons and knitting patterns – I couldn’t wait to get started. There were only three of us in the class – the average amount – so it was easy for Mrs Moon co-founder Karen to keep her eyes on what we were all up to and give us personal tips and guidance. We started off going over the basics – casting on and knit stitch – then moved onto purl, stocking stitch, and how to create a rib pattern. We also practised increasing and decreasing stitching and learnt how to cast off – all in the space of three hours. At £35, it was incredible value for money.

Mrs Moon Little Miss Married

Before I left, I couldn’t resist buying a stunning ivory baby alpaca and merino wool mix by Debbie Bliss, which I intend to transform into (yet, another) snood, this time using moss stitch. Watch this space for the results…

mrsmoon.co.uk

I’m a fan – of fans!

3 Feb

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 3

After signing up to it at the end of last year, today was finally the day when I returned to the wonderful Fan Museum in Greenwich for my fan-making taster class. I’d been feeling a little silly all week when I told people what I was going to be getting up to at the weekend because surely fan-making is just pleating a piece of paper, which anyone can do, right? Wrong! The course began with an introduction by Helene Alexander, the museum’s founder, to the history of the fan, its different styles, and the varieties of materials used to make them over the years and then it was over to us (a group of six) to try and replicate the traditional Chinese and Fontange shapes ourselves. I’d treated myself to two beautiful papers from Libertys, especially for the course – one a vintage-looking map of central London; the other an intricate Oriental-themed pattern. What I hadn’t realised it that when you print paper, it distorts the image meaning straight lines become curved and colours richer and more intense. There’s also a real skill required in attaching the spokes of the fan to the paper, and ensuring it opens and closes correctly; there’s so much more to fans than meets the eye. After three hours, we all had two fans to take home. If you look closely, mine aren’t perfect but, for a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with the results. I’m planning to frame them and put them on display. Fans are works of art, after all. Check out these examples from the museum’s latest ‘The Fan in Europe: 1800-1850’ exhibition – stunning.

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 1

Fan Museum Little Miss Married 2

thefanmuseum.org.uk

Happy (early) Burns Night!

19 Jan

Going to uni in Edinburgh and being married to a Scot, Burns Night is unsurprisingly an important date on my calendar. And, having discovered The Ceilidh Club in London, it made sense to get a group of friends together and head to their festivities – traditional dancing with haggis, neeps and tatties thrown in (the perfect ingredients for a night out, in my opinion). M came up from Southampton too and, despite feeling gutted that he didn’t have his kilt to hand – in storage – we all had the most fantastic night. Resolution for 2013 – go to more ceilidhs. They’re such honest fun and a much more enjoyable source of exercise than the gym, any day.

ceilidhclub.com

Keep Britain Farming!

16 Jan

Pop-up farm

Pop up farm 2

The countryside came to London today when The Addington Fund hosted its first Pop-up Farm – outside St Paul’s Cathedral! Check out the cute sheep – and the impressive combine harvester. Don’t think the city commuters knew quite what to think. Country Living magazine was also there promoting their current Keep Britain Farming campaign to encourage the public to reconnect with where their food comes from and get to know their local farmers. Definitely a cause to support.

keepbritainfarming.com

Festival of Carols

13 Dec

I love carols but, every year, I end up only going to one carol service so barely getting to sing them myself. I’ve therefore vowed that this year I have to go to at least three events where I have the opportunity to sing. First up was tonight’s Festival of Carols, hosted by The Eve Appeal at St Botolph without Bishopsgate. It was beautiful. I began with a candlelit procession, which was followed by a programme that included Once in Royal David’s City and Hark the Herald Angels Sing, as well as readings by Celia Imrie and Helen Lederer. I feel so festive this year!

eveappeal.org.uk

Cecil Beaton at the Imperial War Museum

2 Dec

Cecil Beaton's photograph of Eileen Dunne, aged three

The Theatre of War exhibition has been on my list of things to do since it opened in September so I can’t believe I only just got there today – as it enters its last weeks! But, as I knew it would be, it was worth the wait. Not only am I a massive fan of photography exhibitions, I love Cecil Beaton. The exhibition follows Beaton’s time working for the Ministry of Information during the Second World War, taking images that would create sympathy for the British side such as the famous picture of three-year-old Eileen Dunne in hospital at Great Ormond Street that appeared on the cover of Life magazine. It’s an eye-opening and thought-provoking collection and one that truly demonstrates Beaton’s skill.

The excursion was made better still when I stumbled across the Morley College Christmas Fair en route and picked up a stunning set of antique soup spoons and dessert forks, which I’ve been hunting for, for a while. Now all I need is for M and I to move back into our own place so I have a space to invite friends over to use them!

Theatre of War runs to 1 January 2013; iwm.org.uk

Sushi club goes British

28 Nov

Back from the monthly sushi club meet and tonight saw us head to Barbican, to The Jugged Hare, a gastropub specialising in British cuisine. There was a lot of meat on the menu – mutton, rabbit, venison, Pig’s head (!) – so perhaps not one for vegetarians. We all ended up trying something new: B had duck, C had quail and I tried kidneys and the portions were just right, and tasty. I probably won’t have kidneys again – not my cup of tea – but the sides (fondant potatoes and Guinness battered black pudding bites) were scrummy.

thejuggedhare.com

Hollywood Costume at the V&A

17 Nov

Hollywood Costume

I met up with the wonderful M, a friend of mine from Chelmsford and owner of Wicked Waxing, last night for a spot of dinner and a look around the V&A’s current Hollywood Costume exhibition. As with all V&A exhibitions, it was so well done. It brought together over 100 of the most iconic movie costumes from the past 100 years – think the likes of Indiana Jones, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly, Batman and Harry Potter. But, not only did it have the costumes on display, it also gave you an insight into how each outfit had been designed – for example, Indiana’s hat has a shallower brow to allow camera lighting to reach Harrison Ford’s face – so you came away feeling you’d really learnt something about the film-making process. It also looked at fashion as a costume and how what we wear is a direct portrayal of our emotions or an image we want to portray. M and I then grabbed a quick burger before she dashed back to Essex. It was so lovely to see her – I miss Chemsford!

Runs to 27 January 2013; vam.ac.uk