Monday, 6 December 2010

Knitting on the move - Paris

The Hemlock is on the move... I am in Paris for a couple of nights staying at les Jardins de la villa which is really nice.

The Hemlock is quite impressive. I have now passed the 400 stitches. Yes, 400 in the round, me who tends to do two needles, quick projects... To be honest I am hoping to finish it off soon. Ahahah the famous last words! Anyway check out the bed, the flowers are cut out of leather. I like the combination leather and wool...

Friday, 3 December 2010

Skiing gear and Fimo

As I am sure you are all aware the UK is snowed under, and it is bloody cold around here. Cannot believe I am going to work still - then again, some of my colleagues cannot get here at all!

Was knitting happily a headband for the coming skiing season but it looks like I will be using it before. It was a very easy knit, based on the fact that I could knit a few rows in the morning before catching my train (and we are rushed in the morning usually). And you know what, I am using it now! My ears would be suffering otherwise.

I used the Blue Leaf headband pattern available on ravelry for free, my beloved mirasol sulka yarn ( I nearly have none left, argghhh) and 5mm needles.

As you can see, our current house is very tidy (or not) and we are clearly very minimalist...

Whilst in France, I came across a really good book about FIMO paste. I always looked at it, but just did not know what to do with it... But the book came up with a brilliant idea, to make your own buttons with FIMO. You can choose your colour, form and print on the buttons.

I tried different forms. the biggest one has been made with a stamp, then a square (gone round) and then the round button I used for the headband. This is really quick, 5 mns to do it (should have spent a bit more time to be fair), half an hour in the oven, wait for it to cool down and varnish. I am really impressed with the result, and will definitely used it again. I may need a bit of practice before doing all the fancy thing you can see on youtube, but it is really worth a try.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Home inspiration 13

I have recently been looking at upcycling, as in using every day objects but not in their intended purpose (well that is how I define it...). I came across a lot of glass work (glass bottles becoming drinking glasses), but the light from this designer is quite different and vey affordable.

Thomas Stanley is a young designer with a lot of potential, well I think he does. He has made this desk light out of... beer cans. I don't drink beer, but I can easily have someone else a home to drink them for me... below is the black/Guiness version, but he can do a white version (Stella Artois). Very funky and very green! And I am sure someone will enjoy drinking them - especially if it is for the sake of design.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Coup de coeur

Came across this brilliant photographer, Sacha Goldberger who decided to take his Grandma (Mamika) as the subject of his photos. It is witty and just brilliant (worth going on the website, she speaks French, English and Hebrew on it - very funny). You can find him at the Wanted gallery in Paris. Everyone needs a Mamika in their lives! Although I am not sure my Grandma would be willing to do what Mamika does, then again I have never asked...

Friday, 26 November 2010

Home Inspiration 13

A Friday post rather than Thursday. Was sent to Paris for work Wednesday and Thursday(someone has to do it!)

And here it was, what i knew was true for a long time, all over the magazines - wool (that is knitted wool) is totally in!

I am feeling really trendy right now! All these hours of knitting are clearly well worth it (should remind M of this tonight - he has a very trendy wife!). Very exciting stuff.

Anyway, back to home inspiration... I found those little gems from Korea (made by KamKam). The 'dressed-up furniture' is, literally, furniture dressed with felt that is decorated with clothing elements such as belts and buttons that are used to close the cabinet doors. the series consists of four items: a dressed up stool, cham cabinet, cham bench and belt felt.

The grey cabinet can be closed by fastening felt belts. an inner magnet fixes the door shut,that can also be rolled if one wants to leave it open. Because it is 'dressed' with felt, the shape of the furniture has a soft appearance.

the upholstered 'dressed-up stool' has a storage that can be closed with three buttons - much like closing a shirt or jacket. the door can also be fixed by rolling it up using a magnet that is built within.

I love the grey cabinet, it would really soften the atmosphere of a room, those colours would also brighten any room - just very clever designs.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Day 1 - Destruction

Bad, bad, bad pictures (really should give up on taking pictures from the blackberry), but you get the idea of my visit of the house last night after one day of work... Slightly nervous about what I have just signed up to...

Monday, 22 November 2010

New starts...

Today is a very important day. It could be because in a month's time it will be my birthday.. Good reason, but no that's not it. Or because I have fed my addiction to Harry Potter and feel satisfied that I have seen the Deathly Hollows Part I film the best one so far, but no... It may be because my Christmas present number 2 is well on its way (it is much more advanced than the picture suggests).

No, no, no... Today is the day when the builder start ripping out our new house. Gone will be the hot air heating system, gone will be the 70s kitchen and gone will be the walls downstairs (and the bathroom, and the purple/lime green colour scheme, and the artex ceiling).
Gone will be the corridor (behind the right-hand side wall is the kitchen that will be no more)..

And we are hoping that light will come into the living room.. M is looking particularly tall, it is clearly a bad picture, he can fit no problem in the house...

This is really exciting today, but not sure how long I will last... I hope I will be able to post progress soon...

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Home Inspiration 12

Another very clever website - the Victoria and Albert Museum Patchwork Pattern Maker. At the site, you can upload a photo and turn it into your own quilt pattern! You can also look around the gallery and see what others have done. Print out your pattern, choose your fabric and you are ready to go.

There is one pattern from the gallery that really stood out for me. Here is the original picture.

Here is the patchwork pattern version (which in fact I prefer to the original picture):

Pretty cool, right! I am wondering if you could not use the pattern for cross-stitch too... Here is another nice pattern (well I think).

Free software + easy to use + more possible crafts = a very happy creative me!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

And one Christmas present blocking...

Not so long go I discussed my Autumn project, the shallowtail, and the lovely yarn I was using. Here are new pictures of how I got on!

I knew I did not have enough yarn, probably from the start, but add a left over skein from M's scarf. It adds a bit of drama I think... right up my Grandma's street.

I have made a fw changes, made the budding lace repeat longer (17 repeats), made te lily of the valley border smaller (6 rows of nupps instead of 5 and 5), and made the lace border one row longer. You may be able to see what I mean below. I love the colours!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Home Inspiration 11

I am sure you have all looked (bought?) some of Caroline McGrath posters. I thought that was such a clever idea - so new, so beautiful!

All the interior design magazines I read (and believe me I read many) featured the prints. Can you have too much of a good thing? Well I am ashamed that the novely worn off a bit. It is still great, but it felt that everyone had the print..

However I found out a very cool way to have my unique word cloud. Wordle explains that it is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide.

The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends

Here are some of display on the website

All I need now is to find my favourite text (I am considering the song my parents wrote for my wedding - yes, they decided to sing in front of all the guests, and boy did I cry!). What text would you choose?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Autumn projects

I do like Autumn usually, but today it is really cold, rainy and .. miserable. And I am not sure whether I really like it.

I bought some handspun, hand-dye yarn on Folksy (the UK equivalent of Etsy) a month or so ago. I have trying to find the right project and decided to finally get on with the Swallowtail and join the other 7778 knitters out there. I am currently struggling a bit with the nupps, and my progess has slowed down a bit. This is a Xmas present for my grandma, so plenty of time still... It is a great pattern though, very interesting, and quite rewarding (all that lace pattern forming under your fingers). Here is a (really poor quality - must stop taking picture with my blackberry) picture of the pattern and yarn.

You will see on the picture my best homemade soup (as in the only one I did this year).. pumkin soup. It is really tasty, and very very easy to do (again apologies for bad picture).

The recipe is from the BBC Food website (it is one of the few pumkin soup recipes without curry powder). I used organic vegetable stock cube and it is all worth it, as a lot of the flavour comes from the stock. It is really filling. I added the coutrons the first time, but honestly it was too much (even for M, and we are talking about my 6'2 husband who is constantly hungry!). Do try it!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Home Inspiration 10

This post is really just about inspiration as this designer is in South Africa...

South African company REcreate specialises in taking old luggage, milk bottles, typewriters and other back-of-the-basement items into unique pieces of furniture.

Designer Katie Thompson is the brains behind RECreate. Even though she is not the first person to take a crack at the art of recycling, Katie Thompson definitely has a knack for turning so-called “junk” into household gems.

Some of my favourites are below:

I cannot wait to go to my nearest boot sale...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Very excited!

Yes she is back and yes I made M watch the whole episode of Kirstie's Homemade Home. And... she got Erika Knight on the show as well! I got very very excited suddenly pointing out to the books and then to the TV, and then to the books and then to the TV, and trying to get M as excited as I was. He wasn't. Oh well his loss!

So here we are my Tuesday evenings will not be the same again, Kirstie's Homemade Home is back!

I am leaving you with a picture taken on my way home.. St Paul's by night.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

(Home) Inspiration 9

This is a bit different from my regular inspiration posts...

Meet Aidan a 5-year old who loves monsters. On September 13, 2010 he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He pulled through his first round of chemo . Unfortunately, he must go through 2 to 3 more years of chemo treatments and everything that goes along with that.

While in chemo and resting at home Aidan has been spending quite a bit of time drawing.

In order to help his family out they started selling prints of his works as well as a few originals on Etsy. All proceeds will go directly to Aidan’s medical bills.

I have been really moved by this story, and a monster from Aidan should really make it into my home, as a personal reminder that it could happen to everyone. And also hoping that Aidan will get better soon.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Knitting + Patchwork I Cushion in Green

I finished a couple of projects over the weekend, one in particular really needed to be finished. One of my friends spent the weekend with us and had commissioned a cushion cover for her new flat (brown sofas, and she wanted a green cushion). The below image set the colour tone she wanted...

In the end I chose the Mirasol Sulka yarn in Thyme (212), and I wanted a pattern/stitch that was both simple but quite effective visually. I tried a couple of stitches and ended with the herringbone stitch. This tutorial is really useful. Once you know it is easy but requires a lot of work for your elbows though. Beware this stitch eats yarn, but the effect is really worth it.

My big issue was to make the cushion reversible. Once I decided that there was too much yarn going into this I decided to go for a geometric pattern at the back. Here is the back (already quilted) on its own. It is my first attempt at this design, so it is not my best effort but you have a good idea of the effect.

And here is the corner of the cushion! it is actually not as bad as other parts of the patchwork. I love the butterflies fabric (I think it is a Michael Miller fabric). The colours are a bit richer than shown on the picture.

I will definitely used that pattern again, I am hoping to make a big wall hanging patchwork for the new house, with a mix of light and dark colours of the same tone.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Home Inspiration 8

Sorry for the silence. I have been on a course (trying to concentrate all day long... I had not done this for a long time), and was too tired to update my blog.

However things are moving with the house. We made the kitchen designer in - whoohoo - the quote for the kitchen - not so whoohoo, and we have agreed (as in M proposed and I finally gave in) that we would keep some wall lights in the main room (kitchen cum living room cum dining room) - when all I wanted was spotlights ..

Here I am trying to find modern wall lights, and ended up on this manufacturer website in Germany. They create patterned lampshades that were inspired by the graphic designer-owners Steffen and Viktoria. A heavy 300gsm+ paper is used for the exterior of the lampshade, acrylic is used for the customized mounting, and polystyrene as a light diffusing inlay shade. Each lampshade is available in different acrylic colors, different papers, measurements and designs, and with or without a light diffusing inlay shade — basically you can customize your very own lampshade.
How great does this look? Not sure about the light it actually gives, but that is not really the point (we are still going to have spotlights).
So many to choose from ... Cannot wait!

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Home Inspiration 7

This is really cool... British artist Keira Rathbone uses typewriters, instead of brushes and pencils, to create portraits and drawings.

Keira first started experimenting with typewriter art, when she was in university. She bought an old typewriter, from a flee market, in the hope that she would soon use it to write something. By the middle of her first year at the university, she hadn’t come up with anything to put down on paper, so she decided to use it as a drawing tool.

Fast forward to present day and Keira Rathbone is an established artist with her very own niche. She now has an arsenal of 30 typewriters which she has used to create unique portraits of Barrack Obama, Kate Moss, Marylin Monroe, and others.

She says that she simply turns the roller to move the sheet of paper, and uses different characters to create the shapes she wants. It might sound easy enough, but creating detailed artworks from simple letters, numbers and punctuation is definitely not the easiest thing to do.

I am looking at this magazine cover that would go well on one my walls... A reminder of British Labour foreign policy..

Monday, 4 October 2010

It is finished!!!

I am SO happy to post these pictures... I never thought I would see the end of it, but 15 years later, and here is what was supposed to be my bed cover for my bedroom in France. However in 15 years, well the bed has changed (accomodating two people now) and my bedroom is in the reds and not yellow... So I will focus on the sense of achievement and having a nice quilt to snuggle up in.

I had to hang it on the curtain pole in the main room... Not exactly the best shot but it gives you a good idea of what it looks like (this is only half of it).

What have I learnt?

1. My taste in colours changed, and I am over little flowers print... I am even surprised that my teenage self was into that (clearly showing signs of the countryside girl in me).

2. The purchase of a sewing machine makes my life SO much better. I did everything by hand (all these squares are stitched by hand... that is dedication, and clearly the reason why I gave up). But I finished with the machine within an hour...

3. Buy enough fabric - I need more prep work.. Here is the 'dark' corner. I like it obviously because it accounts for the time that it took to complete, but I can see that it is not ideal if I were to give it to someone (outside my family that is).

All in all, I am impressed with the design I came up all these years ago, and very happy to see it finshed and sitting on my armchair.

Well, once the quilt was finished it was time to move to another project. This is a present for one of my friends. She was very specific about the colour... I am knitting with my favourite yarn, mirasol sulka, with 12mm needles using the herringbone stitch (a real pain, but so worth it). What do you think it will be? She has just bought a new flat...