Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Readings...January

This morning I finished my eleventh book for January - "The Comfort of Strangers" by Ian McEwan. I'm really very pleased that I have managed to get through January maintaining (and exceeding) my New Years Resolution. So these are the books I read...

"Wintering - a novel of Sylvia Plath" by Kate Moses
"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
"Amsterdam" by Ian McEwan
"Juliet, Naked" by Nick Hornby
"When God was a Rabbit" by Sarah Winman
"Slam" by Nick Hornby
"One Day" by David Nicholls
"My Week With Marilyn" by Colin Clark
"Black Dogs" by Ian McEwan
"Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro
"The Comfort of Strangers" by Ian McEwan

I started "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen this afternoon in a waiting room, and I am already on page 82, so I suspect February may be another successful month! I also started another pair of socks yesterday, and they are coming along quite nicely too. I am definitely feeling more positive about my work/home life balance - not only am I having something that resembles "free time",  I am more productive and efficient at work. It's a great feeling to have everything under control and going in the right direction!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sunday Afternoon

After a couple of weekends gallivanting all over the country, we're having a lovely Sunday at home together. We popped into our favourite local coffee shop for tea and cake, and sat reading - I'm onto "Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro (book 10 for January), and my hubby is reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" (apparently zombies were the thing that was missing from the original...)
My plans for this afternoon involve more tea, more reading, and watching "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", which I think is a pretty good Sunday afternoon movie. Last night we went to see "The Iron Lady", Meryl Streep really does deserve all of the praise she's been getting, regardless of your political perspective, or opinion of the person she plays. It really was astonishing. 

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Flea Market Finds

 My Flea Market Finds this week came at the end of a very busy day in the stall today...
 Fat Face top
White Stuff top

They're both really pretty, with lovely prints. I had a huge New Years clothes clear-out so I really needed some new stuff, and these will be fantastic with layers for the rest of the winter, but also nice and light for the summer. Ironically, they both came from the same charity shop that I took my clothes too, so I'm taking it as karmic reward that I found them...
I'm still experimenting with instagram, but I rather like it!

For more Flea Market Finds, pop on over to see Sophie Isobel

Friday, 27 January 2012

Another Pair of Socks!

Two small victories here - another pair of socks finished, and my first attempt at with the instagram app! 
It's been a busy day, but I am enjoying a nice quiet evening in with my hubby, watching "Grosse Point Blank" and eating pizza. All in all, I have to say, life is pretty sweet. 

Thursday, 26 January 2012

My Creative Space

My Creative Space this week has been focused on a wholesale order that I have for a brand new shop that is opening in Brighton. I was asked to make thirty-five brooches - five designs in seven colours. I've glued the pins on so I'll be packing them all up tomorrow ready to send!
I also tried something new - mirror plastic! I just cut out a deer, so I could find the right setting, and find out if my usual glue works on a different type of backing. I think it's pretty cute!
I also put a new Flying Duck Necklace design up on display. I'm just making this one for now, to see what my customers think - I'll be making it as a commission rather than part of my every-day ranges. 
So I've been a busy bee!
For more creative spaces, pop on over here

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Readings...

This evening I finished my eighth book for January, "My Week With Marilyn" by Colin Clark.  I quite enjoyed reading a book that had a slightly different perspective on such a well known woman, even if suspension of disbelief was required for some of the long-winded exchanges that occurred (I mean really, how much of a conversation could be remembered in such word for word detail?!). But besides that it was an interesting read. 
I picked up a biography of another well known lady this evening, after my film-going experience on Monday...

Generally I'm not a fan of Royal biographies, they're not really my cup of tea, but I find Wallis Simpson quite intriguing; the idea of someone being so thoroughly captivating that she could throw a whole country into turmoil. I have to say it would be interesting to read something about her that portrays her in a new light, which is what I suspect this might be...I will be working my way around to this, but my next book is "Black Dogs" by Ian McEwan, which was recommended to me by the nice girl in the bookshop who served me when I bought "Atonement". So I'm going to pour another cup of tea and get started on it right now!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Another Trip to London...

I have been very lucky to have had so many opportunities to get down to London over the last few weeks. My trip this weekend was another tag along with hubby, because he had another meeting. Since we were both getting over the lurgy, we went to the Heymarket on Sunday afternoon to see "Shame" (which was not quite what I was expecting...), had a look around the National Portrait Gallery, as well as a cup of tea in the National Gallery.
On Monday I wandered  around on my own - my first stop was for a cup of tea, then onto Carnaby Street to have a look at a shop that had approached me about selling my work. It's a really nice shop, but there are some figures to work out before I make any decisions. From there I went the the Contemporary Applied Art Gallery, which has a lovely exhibition called "Target the Heart"  
 Image of work by Susie Freeman from the CAA website
I had a look around a couple of charity shops just off Tottenham Court Road, and then went to the cinema to see "W.E". It's a beautiful film, full of stunning detail and fabulous outfits. I really enjoyed it.
image from IMDb
After the movie I mooched up through Covent Garden and up to the British Museum for a look around. I had a cup of tea in the cafe and read for a while before I met up with hubby after his meeting. It was a really lovely weekend. 
Today I had a bit of a false start - I got up early for a meeting, but it was cancelled right at the last minute, so I've been at a bit of a loose end all day. I have taken the opportunity to read and drink tea - I think last weeks lurgy is still making me feel a bit run down, but hopefully it's nearly done!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Shopping List Saturday

I haven't made a list for a while now, so here's a round-up of some of the things I've been admiring lately...
A Few of my Favourite Things 8x8" Print by LolasRoom
Embroidery Flowers Multi Bright, limited edition giclee print by EloiseRenouf
So many pretty things!

Knit Knit Knit!

Here is my finished calorimetry! I love this yellow, although I'm not sure it is helping my dodgy post-cold complexion! It is really warm and cosy though, and that's the main thing! 
And today I finished my stripey sock! Not bad going given that I only started it on Wednesday!
I was really pleased to be well enough to go into the stall today, after feeling so rough for the last few days, and it was worth it, with three necklaces and two pairs of earrings off to new homes! 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

My Creative Space

I must confess that this isn't really a creative space post, more of a round-up of what I've been making, because after what feels like months of avoidance, I have finally been caught by the dreaded lurgy. I woke up yesterday feeling really quite rotten. But I try to look on the bright side - I went into work for a couple of hours (the drawback of self-employment, no-one to do my job for me...) and as a reward for dragging myself in, decided to finish knitting my mustard yellow calorimetry (it still needs the ends weaving in and a button), and I cast on a new pair of socks...
Because I finished a second pair on Tuesday evening! I love the stripes, and I am so pleased that I can make socks to fit my odd sized feet! 
Today I have spent the morning resting in bed, and I finished reading "One Day" by David Nicholls. I am onto "My Week with Marilyn" by Colin Clark now, all wrapped up cosily on the sofa under a lovely warm quilt. 
For more creative spaces pop on over here

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Shopping Trip...

This morning the cold weather related Cabin Fever kicked in. I took myself out for a couple of hours, with no particular plans other than to check out the charity shops, as well as the yarn shop and the independent bookshop Booka
The charity shops weren't too fruitful today, but I did pick up two balls of mohair for 50p. I've never used mohair before so it's going to be a bit of an experiment! 

From the bookshop I got Angie Lewin's beautiful "Plants and Places" book, which I bought with birthday vouchers. I've loved Angie Lewin's work for a while now, I love the simple shapes and choice of colours, so I thought this would be a perfect belated birthday present to myself! I took myself for a hot chocolate, and had a look at my new book, before heading to the yarn shop, where I picked up some more sock yarn. I've been coveting this lovely green/pink/cream combination for a while so I finally gave in today. And as I was heading out of town I spotted a pair of gorgeous grey knitted boots. I must admit that it is only recently that I started liking these boots, and I can say without any doubt that I will not be wearing them with shorts, but I think they will look pretty cute with a skirt and coloured tights, and they are so cosy! 
So that was my little trip - I feel much better now, full of inspiration!

Monday, 16 January 2012

Readings...

I'll be honest; when I set myself the task of reading a book a week for 2012 I thought it was a bit of a long shot that I would manage it. I am willing to accept that New Years Resolutions tend to last for about 24 hours after they are made, and although I always make them with the best intentions, it is always inevitable that something gets in the way. But it would seem that this time I am sticking to it! 
I thought that the half-way point in the month would be a good time to share my January reads so far...
"Wintering; A Novel of Sylvia Plath" by Kate Moses
"The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne
"Amsterdam" by Ian McEwan
"Juliet, Naked" by Nick Hornby
"When God was a Rabbit" by Sarah Winman
"Slam" by Nick Hornby
So my plan to read a book a week / four books per month is going pretty well, since I've read six books in two weeks!
My other New Years Resolutions are also going pretty well - obviously I am making time for myself (given the amount of reading...) and I have only started one new project which is a mustard coloured calorimetry, which I think is fair given the cold weather, but other than that I am only working on existing projects - a second pair of socks and the chevron blanket that I started at the end of last year. It's all going very well and I am finding that the focus is helping with my work too, everything is really well organised and I feel good!

And one of the things that made me feel really good today is this; a feature on Rebecca Danger's blog! I'm really thrilled!

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Flea Market Finds

I have two special little critters to share this week! 
I spotted this little grey kitty when I was mooching around Covent Garden Market on Monday. She was on a table with lots of cat ornaments, but her big blue eyes stood out from the crowd (also the rest were generally not nice...). I knew she was coming home with me so I pushed my way to the table, past a man who really didn't want to move (I'm not normally so rude, but he was just chatting!) and grabbed the kitty, and clung onto her as I scrambled in my bag to find my purse, and she was mine! 
The squirrel came from a different shopping trip, on Tuesday. It was a much less frenzied experience - he was sat patiently on a shelf in a charity shop, and I must confess that I wasn't instantly sure that he was for me. The wavering was due to the fact that he is a pepper pot, and although that wouldn't normally put me off, he is  obviously meant to be holding the salt shaker. But I couldn't resist, he's just too cute. So I will need to think of something that he can hang onto!
So they have a temporary home on my shelves, until I can find a permanent home for them.
For more Flea Market Finds, pop over to see Sophie Isobel

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Today's Makings...

I had a lovely day of making today! I made some heart garlands for Valentines day out of vintage book pages...
 And I started to sew together some crochet flowers into a scarf. I have used gorgeous bamboo yarn for these flowers, it was quite a treat to work with! 
So my time at work was spent on fun stuff, and when I got home I had boring paperwork stuff to do. Seems a bit wrong somehow. But I have pushed on with my "to-do" list, and now I can have a lovely day off tomorrow! So I'm going to get my big research book out and pop in some of the stuff I saw in London, and possibly finish my second book of the week - "Amsterdam" by Ian McEwan!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Birthday Girl!


Sunday was my 27th Birthday, and my husband took me to London for a couple of days! We had lunch in a French patisserie, perused the second-hand book stalls on the South Bank and went to have a look around Tate Modern. Later we took a stroll down to Tower Bridge, one of the few landmarks that I'd never visited before.  It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon.


 And we walked past St Paul's Cathedral which was beautiful all lit up in the dark. We had dinner in my favourite restaurant, and watched "500 days of Summer" in the hotel. It was a lovely birthday!

On Monday I spent the day on my own (while hubby was in a meeting) drinking tea and mooching around - 
I got into the National Gallery early enough that I had the Van Gogh / Gauguin room all to myself, and walked around Covent Garden Market, which was buzzing with people. 

image from www.bbc.co.uk/news
In the afternoon I went to see "The Artist" - it's a really fabulous film!It's been ages since I went to see a film on my own, there's something quite frivolous about going to the cinema on a Monday afternoon! After the movie I went to The National Portrait Gallery, and the British Museum, where I treated myself to a big cup of tea and some chocolate cake (I'm going to call it birthday cake, makes it seem less over-indulgent!). 
It was a really lovely birthday trip, it was so nice to have the day off and be in my favourite place with my favourite person! 
I spent today with one of my other favourite people - my gorgeous friend Vicky. We haven't seen each other since before Christmas, so we exchanged presents - I made her a pair of little fabric birds and a cat's eye glasses necklace...

and as well as some amazing bamboo sock needles, Vicky knitted me this awesome chappy - he is nameless as yet, but I'm sure he'll tell me before long! The foxy ornament was my birthday present, I've been looking for a fox for ages! Vicky knows me too well!

We went out this afternoon for lunch and did some shopping - I bought some mustard wool for another calorimetry, and a new critter, but I'm saving him for my Flea Market Finds on Sunday!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Flea Market Finds

For the first time in absolute ages, I got to go Charity Shopping with my husband during our Christmas break. This doesn't happen much these days due to conflicting schedules, and we both really enjoyed it! I got a stack of books, including "Enduring Love" which I am giving a second chance after a-level English nearly destroyed Ian McEwan for me...
My New Years Resolution to read a book a week is going well, I finished "Wintering - a novel of Sylvia Plath" by Kate Moses on Wednesday and have nearly finished "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. And I'm rather enjoying the challenge!
For more Flea Market Finds, pop on over to see Sophie Isobel!

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Back to Work!

My stall re-opened for the first time in 2012 today, after a lovely ten day break. It was really nice to be back, catching up with the other stall holders and friends that popped up to say hello. I have a nice big list of stock that need to be replaced from the run-up to Christmas, and some orders/commissions, so that's tomorrow morning planned out. My plans for tomorrow afternoon include drinking tea, reading, and starting the second of my stripey socks, because once that is done I have plans to crochet some moomins with this fantastic pattern. My new years resolutions are going well so far! 
Anyway, I'm going to put the kettle on, but here are some interesting crochet links that I've mooched over to this evening...

Sarah London has posted a "Crochet a Rainbow" update
Heidi Bears has a new Crochet Edging which is very pretty
Sophie at Her Library Adventures is making gorgeous squares

Enjoy!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

New Year's Resolutions...

2011 was a pretty hectic year. I'm not complaining - it's been amazing, I've loved being busy and seeing my  business go through changes and get stronger. But sometimes I get a bit wrapped up in things that need to be done, get a bit distracted and forget to look after myself properly. I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to fall into that trap but having made a concerted effort to make positive changes towards the end of 2011, I have realised that I don't have to be working for 24hours a day to make things happen. So my resolutions for the new year are pretty simple, straightforward changes to my habits so that I make time for myself...
  • I want to read a book per week (or at least average four per month). It's not a huge thing, but it will definitely help me to relax 
  • Having two days off per week - my stall is only open three days per week, which leaves me a day to do design/admin work and a day to laser cut/make stock, and still have two days off per week. I just need to be organised! 
  • And of course, my on-going resolution which I always break accidentally - finishing crafty projects before starting new ones...Unlikely that I'll manage this one, but at least the will is there! 
from we heart it

So those are my resolutions. They're not huge, but they will hopefully mean that I can function more effectively, and be more creative. I'm wondering if anyone else has made any resolutions that they'd be willing to share? It would be interesting to know what kind of goals are being set for 2012!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Lovely London...

The Christmas period is a hectic time for our household, in a very good way I must say, since hubby and I both celebrate our birthdays within two weeks of Christmas Day. We both got very spoiled over Christmas, so instead of going crazy buying birthday presents for each other, this year we had a trip to London! We set off early on Thursday morning and went straight to Tate Britain. We saw the John Martin Apocalypse  exhibition, and the Barry Flanagan Early Works exhibition - they were both really impressive. The rainy weather put a dampener on our plans to go to Tate Modern, so we went to the Haymarket  cinema to see "The Lady" and "My Week with Marilyn", and I really wasn't disappointed! 
On Friday we went over to South Kensington to the V&A, to see the "Private Eye" exhibition, and this lovely lady caught my eye in the new acquisitions section ...
1960s Barbie - she's gorgeous!!
We had a lovely mooch around the shops in Covent Garden on Friday afternoon, and there was a bit of a theme to my shopping - I got a paper Moomin making kit and a Moomin coaster from the Magma shops...
and we found the Moomin pop-up shop in the Covent Garden Market, it was absolutely amazing!

Hubby sneakily bought me these awesome little figures, they are the cutest!
I also picked up another Soop ring from Magma. I just love it!
 I first came across Soop when I was at uni, researching acrylic jewellery, and I fell in love instantly. I have quite a collection now...

I have been fancying the alligator for a while, but it's the first time I've found it in my size, so I just had to buy it! I think I need some way to display them all!
The trip was a lovely way to wrap up 2011. We had a relaxing New Year's Eve, we did some charity shopping and I got a couple of books, and I got some really lovely double knit cotton for my next project!

Sock Knitting!

Firstly, Happy New Year everyone! 2011 was an amazing (and very busy) year, and I'm hoping 2012 will be just as much fun! It's started pretty well - so far today we've had a marathon of  "Futurama" season 1 with lots of tea and playing with the kitties, and I've finished another sock! 
After making three pairs for Christmas presents, I finished the very first pair for myself during the week! They're really cosy...
I've got some other sock yarn to use up too, so I will soon be wearing my very own handmade socks everyday!