Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wedding Feature: Modern Wedding Ideas

A lot of you will have read my own blog feature on my crafty wedding that took place in May this year. It was such a special day; lots of family and friends were there to share it all with us, and I've got some great mementos hand crafted by some great Etsy sellers and other crafty people from around the world.

My story was picked up by Nicola at Modern Wedding Ideas, and Stewart and I have been featured in their Real Weddings section. There are some great call outs to the Etsy sellers who created some of my items!

It's so lovely when other people like what you have created - it's been lovely sharing our special day with a wider audience after 18 months in the planning...

The photography by Imagine That Studios is truly excellent; they have taken some stunning pictures, and created a wonderful album for us to keep and show people. 

I'm planning on launching my next blog giveaway when I reach 200 blog followers - we aren't far off now! 


Saturday, 25 September 2010

Battle of Britain

This month is the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain; I'm a bit of a history buff, so I have been watching the different television programmes that have been on commemorating the anniversary, and getting new insights into the men who fought, and what it was really like being there.

The BBC have had a whole season of TV on over the last month, and I've really enjoyed watching some fantastic programmes

First Light is a Drama-documentary mixing modern images and storytelling of a veteran with a dramatisation of some of the moments he experienced during the Battle of Britain. At the age of just 18, Geoffrey Wellum was one of the youngest spitfire pilots to go into combat in the Battle of Britain. I really enjoyed the way that this was constructed, with the story played out as it would of happened, and experiencing from Geoffrey's perspective what going into battle would have been like. Knowing that the story was taken from true to life events made it more interesting, and seeing Geoffrey now made it very poignant.

Another show I was surprised by was Battle of Britain hosted Ewan McGreggor and his brother Colin, who is himself a pilot with the RAF, in their take on the events. Ewan is a great story teller, and speaking to veterans you could tell he was in awe of their achievements. Colin wowed as he learned to pilot some of the iconic planes of the period, including a Hurricane, but finishing with a Spitfire. A touching moment at the end where Colin lets Ewan go up in the Spitfire as it flies in formation as it would have done at the battle was very sweet; Ewan's sheer excitement and child like awe really brought it to life.

It got me thinking about vintage themed items from the era, and whilst tidying up my craft room I found a stack of 1940's dress and knitting patterns; so evocative of the period, if only I could get around to scaling up some of those old dress patterns to fit me - I'm a bit bigger than the average 1940's woman!

As a little part of the remembrance, I've created a Battle of Britain themed treasury to celebrate the event, so please take a look!


Friday, 17 September 2010

Free Pattern - Knitted Headband / Earwarmer

It got a lot colder recently, and I was trying to think of something to wear that would keep my ears warm, but not as thick and hot as my hats... I came up with this nifty little pattern for a dead easy headband - these have been everywhere on the high street this season, so manufacture your own! I went for a plain look, but you could embellish it with crochet flowers, stripes in different colours, cool yarns - make it your own!

(This pic may not sell it to you - apologies! This is a quick snap to show what it looks like on!)

It will take:
Approx 30mins to an hour depending on how quick you are!

You will need:
Approx 50g of Arran weight yarn (or use DK doubled up)
Circular needle (60cm long) or 4 x dpns (whichever you prefer) - 5.5mm

(Note: Can be made for Small / Medium / Large adult heads by following the corresponding stitch numbers)

Cast On 80 / 84 / 88 stitches (if working on dpn's split over 4 needles)

Knit 1/2 inch in 2x2 rib (k2,p2), 

At the end of the last round increase 1 stitch, leaving an odd number (81 / 85 / 89) of stitches.

Continue for 1 - 2 inches (depending on required thickness) in seed stitch (*k1, p1 repeat from * to end) 

(NB: The odd number of stitches on the needle means that this will automatically knit up into seed stitch in the round)

On the last round of seed stitch, decrease 1 stitch by k2tog at the end of the row, so you have an even number of stitches again (80 / 84 / 88).

Continue in 2x2 rib (k2, p2) for 1/2 inch 

Cast off (Don't cast off too tightly!)

And Voila! You have a basic textured headband that you can customise as much as you like! 

Give the pattern a try, and let me know if it works for you!


Sunday, 12 September 2010

I Knit Weekender - London: Review

Finally it arrived! I've been so excited to go to this event - it involved an early start, getting up at 6.20am to get up, dressed, fed and out to catch the bus to town to get the coach to London. I'm not allowed to travel alone due to my fits, so Stew gallantly volunteered to come with me for the day - he is good like that! Coaches are the cheap way to travel - it worked out at £12 each return to get to London from Cardiff - not bad at all really. The downside of getting the coach is that it takes about 3 hours to get there, when it is more like 2 on the train, there is not much leg room, and we ended up with a "chatty" couple in front, talking loudly about everything and anything... so it was a LONG trip down.

We arrived in the Big Smoke at 11am at Victoria Coach Station, and headed off to find Emily at the tube station. Emily lives in Peterborough near East Anglia - the other side of the country to us, so it made sense to meet in London and head over to the Expo from there.
10 minutes walk from the coach station was the Royal Horticultural Halls - we spotted the Weekender straight away from the decoration outside:

So we went inside - it was £8 a ticket - I booked in advance for me and Stew, and Emily bought hers on the day. They didn't offer a disabled discount like most fairs which was a bit disappointing, especially as Stew was only coming in with me in a carers capacity.

Well... it was a mix really. What was there was really good - there were some fab stalls selling vintage goods, hand spun yarns, felting etc - there were some really beautiful yarns on offer - mostly in the higher price bracket of £10-20 a skein weighing about 100g, not that great for those on a budget.

Some of our fave stalls included Belina Harris-Reid and the Knit Expo, offering hand dyed yarns, patterns and knitting retreats to Devon (!!!), the stunning merino yarn on offer from Sweedish company Millamia - designed to be knit for kids but the yarn is so soft I bought some to knit for myself, and the stunning Alpaca yarn from the Toft Alpaca Shop - offering stunning yarn in beautiful colours, and dreamily soft to the touch, and kits to knit gorgeous bags and hats. They have also got homemade giant wodden buttons to die for!

One of my favourite stalls was there - Rachel John and her giant knitting - this one must have been a mammoth one to knit! 


I think that those were whittled from tree branches - must have been about 50 strands in all! Last time we saw Rachel I bought some large needles to make blankets which I featured in my previous blog post.

I think the downside of this event was that it was much much smaller than we were expecting. It took us less than an hour to walk around all the stalls - there were approx 50 stalls in all in a large hall. for £8 per person we were expecting it to take us much longer to walk around. We were also a bit disappointed that each of the lessons were priced up at about £20-40 per session, putting them way out of our price range. There were supposed to be fashion shows, but there was no-where to sit to view them (the few seats there were were taken), and with the PA blaring out I couldn't hear what they were saying anyway - whilst we were there it was someone talking about garments on stage with them on a rack - not really a 'fashion show'...

The bit that I was most looking forward to was seeing my competition entry on display, and seeing what everyone else had come up with. To my dismay, they weren't on display at all - and when I asked about it the response was that "that had not received enough entries" and were considering extending the competition. This made me a bit angry if honest - I put a lot of effort and time into entering the competition an getting it in on time, and to be told that they hadn't bothered to display the entries, and worse that they weren't awarding prizes was really sad. It seems very unfair on those who did bother to enter that you would change the boundaries of the competition after the closing date to suit them. I hope that they sort this out soon and keep to the spirit of fairness by awarding the prizes to those who have entered already.

So a mixed view of the event. What WAS there was great - but was it worth £8 each to get in and travel from Cardiff...? Not so sure...

So after a few hours we went to the pub to chat and catch up, and decide what to do next. Emily went off to meet our friend Gemma who lives in London. Stew and I jumped on the tube and went up to High St Kensington - a cool and hip part of the city, where I went to the Urban Outfitters Sale (woo!) whilst Stew found a couch to sit on, and then we had some tea in Wagamamas - a noodle and rice bar serving Oriental food - this is me tucking into the Cha Han; like a massive bowl of special fried rice: (wearing the headband I knitted for the event)

It was SO yummy! We travelled back on the coach - this time the man sitting behind SNORED the whole way home....sigh... we really don't have much luck with the people we travel with! 

So a good day out! Even Stew seemed to have a good day too. He wants to whittle me some of those giant knitting needles now!

Reminder! My Giveaway is still open until 19th September so get looking now - it's being hosted on Tigerlily's Book Blog and is accompanied by a review of my slouch beanie hat...


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

It's Giveaway time!

This time around I've taken a different tack with my giveaway this month, and am hosting it through a wonderful blog called Tigerlily's Book

This great blog is written by the lady behind 2thousandthings - Yuri .Yuri lives in Jakarta in Indonesia, and as you can see from the pics below she looks stunning in the grey slouch hat she is reviewing:

I really enjoyed working with Yuri to create a custom slouch beanie, she was so polite and accommodating with the time it took for me to create the hat and get it to her all the way in Indonesia. I'm really glad she has enjoyed wearing it since!

As part of the feature I'm hosting a giveaway on the blog - all the rules for entering are provided in the feature - and you have until September 19th to enter!

Up for grabs is a custom one of a kind knitted beanie - made out of Sirdar Bigga yarn in a cream colour, which has been discontinued; it is chunky and will keep your head nice and warm as the cooler weather draws in...

So make sure you check it out!

I'm off to the I Knit Weekender on Saturday - yarn related fun and frolics will ensue so keep an eye out for my next post!


Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Great Norfolk Getaway!

I haven't taken any leave from my office job since my wedding in May - and was quite frankly getting a bit frazzled. So Stew and I planned a trip to Norfolk, across the other side of the country, to visit the in-laws, and take a break from the stresses of home life.

As it's such a long trip, we stopped in on our good friend Rob in Cambridge, to see his new house, his super cool comfy sofa and stunning kitchen. Maybe a little green with envy at this point - then he showed us his new i-pad - want one! If I was commuting to London every day by train like he is, I'd get one too. Alas, as I don't commute more than 10 minutes in a taxi every day so I don't think I can justify buying one...

From Rob's house we caught a bus into Cambridge itself - it is much smaller than I thought, but the college buildings are really beautiful. Full of tourists as usual - couldn't move for people taking pictures or asking if we wanted to go Punting - being pushed along the river in a boat bu a man with a large pole - very Cambridge...

After spending a few really good hours wandering around, we drove the rest of the way to Norwich - leaving the heavy rain from home behind us. It was good to see everyone - we hadn't seen them since our wedding in May so the photo album for the big day was shown to everyone in turn, with lots of cooing and gasps. 

I won't bore you with step by step details of the whole week, but will fill you in on some of the key highlights:

Sunday night we went on a family boat trip - a paddle steamer (again!) with a jazz band playing on top, and glorious sunshine. The boat went up and down the Broads (these are rivers surrounded by reed beds, and only exist in this area of the UK) and we got to oggle at all the stunning homes along the river banks, with their own boat moorings - some were holiday homes to rent - I'd love a holiday with a little boat pootling around on the river - sounds idyllic!

Monday involved a trip to the local Zoo with my sister in law, husband and mother in law - it's a cool little zoo in the countryside with a wider variety of animals, including Giraffes - my fave! Weather stayed dry, and we saw a bird show with birds of prey circling over head. We also saw some really cute critters including prairy dogs, Doug the Donkey and baby snow leopards!

Tuesday saw us back at the Broads at Wroxham on yet another boat trip - this time with Stew, Rick and Neil - everyone took it in turns to drive the boat, and with snacks on board it was a great trip out. We did get a rain shower at one point as you can see... but there was a canopy on the boat so after a quick scramble we stayed dry!

We then drove down to the coast to play crazy golf - classic British seaside resort; a little bit run down, lots of arcades and good ice cream. I was NOT on form with this game of golf...lost miserably, with Stew in 3rd and joint winners with Rick and Neil. Consolation followed in the form of a tub of toffee ice cream - very tasty!

The rest of the week involved visiting family and friends, including Emily and her husband Stew, our long term friends who live nearby. We met up in Kings Lynn and showed them the wedding album where Emily was one of my bridesmaids over a good pot of tea. It was great to hear they are moving into their own house and are happy.

We drove back on Sunday in a record time of just over 4 hours - the week flew by, and it's odd to think we won't be going back over until New Year. All I hope that this was not my last break away until then - 1 week just isn't enough!