Sunday, 24 November 2013

Festive London!

So, it’s Sunday evening again!  I hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.  I’m sure time at the weekend’s passes more quickly than during the week.  Tomorrow and Tuesday are bound to crawl by, but these last two days have sped past so quickly. 

We’ve had a busy couple of days, a busy couple of weeks really, and with Christmas approaching, things are only set to get even busier :o)

Yesterday we spent the day in the fair city of London!  We booked the trip weeks ago, taking advantage of some cheap rail tickets, and the girls have been counting down the days on the calendar ever since. 

We are lucky that we live just a 70 minute rail journey from London, so by 8.30, we were already in the capital, all geared up and ready to go.  We like to get in early, so as to avoid some of the business on the Underground.  I don’t like travelling on the underground, but my girls are a breath of fresh air and happily chatter and sing, which relieves the tension, a bit. 

Our first stop was Westminster, where, upon surfacing from the tube, you are greeted with this rather spectacular view.

We grabbed a spot of breakfast and sat in Parliament Square, just watching the world go by.  I like to people watch.

On Whitehall, just a stones throw away from Big Ben, is the Cenotaph.  Although some two weeks have passed since Remembrance Sunday, the poppy wreaths are still in place.

We took a brisk walk through St James’s Park to see the pelicans before making a pit stop for a hot chocolate with marshmallows; a most welcome warming treat.  There was the obligatory kick through the crunchy autumn leaves, as we walked up The Mall, towards Green Park. 

Green Park is just beautiful.  There are still plenty of leaves still hanging on the branches, and, bathed in golden autumnal sunshine, the view was simply glorious.

In a corner of Green Park is the Bomber Command Memorial.  We visited in the summer and were totally entranced by the tranquillity of the place against the noisy backdrop of the A4, and had wanted to take my mum to see it too.  She was overwhelmed by the statues and the level of detail in each and every figure. 

From there, we headed to the shops and left the tranquillity of the park behind us as we joined the hoards of crowds!  I’m not one for hustle and bustle, I far prefer a country lane or open green space, but the girls wanted to see the lights and there was Christmas shopping to be done!

Fortnum and Mason had the most incredible window displays, including a 1930’s/1940’s kitchen scene, and another of a sitting room. 

Their inside displays were pretty spectacular too. 

As day turned to night, we headed to Regent Street to see the Christmas lights, a beautiful end to a thoroughly wonderful day. 

It was definitely a day where memories were made, not only for the girls, but for all of us.  All too soon, it was time to head home, back on the Tube, dragging behind us two tired little travellers with weary feet.  Their final glimpse of this fair city, back where we started at Westminster Tube Station.

Today has gone at a much more sedate pace, thank goodness, because my poor feet are somewhat sore after the miles they stomped out yesterday. 

After making the loathsome weekly trip to the supermarket, I’ve been a busy bee and have made some Christmas cakes!  I put my last cake in the oven an hour ago, and the house smells decidedly festive!  Not long now, you know!  I now have 5 cakes, yes 5, to diligently feed with brandy and subsequently decorate. 

While they were baking, I put my time to good use and picked up a crochet hook!  Now, as you will have gathered from my previous posts, I knit, but don’t crochet.  After seeing some truly scrumptious granny squares on Instagram, I have wanted to have a go myself.  So, with the help of a YouTube tutorial, I’ve made a start!  Eventually, these pretty pink and cream squares will be made into a cot blanket for C’s baby’s cot.

Things have been moving along slowing on the “Knit For Victory” front, but I’ll save that for another post! xx

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Knit for Victory knit-along - I'm In!

So, dear readers, are any of you joining in with the knit along which has been organised by the lovely Tasha, who blogs over at By Gum, By Golly? 

I have, and I can’t wait to get started!  The Knit Along follows a 1940’s theme, and since I’m somewhat addicted to the patterns from that era, it would be silly if I didn’t sign up, right? 

It has come at a perfect time for me.  This year, I have decided to try and make a handmade gift for each of my immediate family, so joining in with the knit along will be the kick up the backside I need to actually get started.  After all, 6 weeks today, folks, is Christmas Eve, so I should really crack on!

So, what to knit?  Well, the knit along is open until January 31st which gives me plenty of time to tackle more than just the one project! 

My other half and my brother wouldn’t thank me if I gifted them something of the woolly variety, so both of my parents and my two girlie's will be the recipients of my work. 

Choosing for my dad is really easy.  When not a work, he wears a lot of 1940’s original and vintage inspired clothing.  His normal outerwear is a CC41 overcoat and 1940’s trilby (which does get him the odd sideways glance!).  To go with his overcoat and chocolate brown trilby, I’m going to knit him a scarf!  While it’s not the most imaginative of gifts, I hope he’ll really like it. 

The pattern is a Weldons one, printed on wartime paper, and was advertised as being suitable for both civilian and service wear. 

If I’m going to do it, he would want me to do it properly, and as period correct as possible, so I have chosen a pure wool Merino mix, by King Cole, in the most delightful chocolate brown colour.

It’s quite a fine 4 ply, and I have 3 balls of it, which is about 6oz.  The original pattern calls for 4 ¾ oz, so I should have enough.  The beauty of it is that if I do run out of the wool, the scarf will simply be slightly shorter than intended!  At approximately 50” long, I need to get cracking!!

I also want to try to tackle another Fair Isle jumper for my Dad.  I knitted this one for him about 4 Christmases ago. 

He absolutely loves it and as he’s so slender, he is a joy to knit for because I don’t have to adjust the patterns to fit his skinny frame.  I haven’t found quite the right pattern yet, but I hope to knit it in shades of brown and beige to go with his brown pinstripe suit.  His birthday is in February, so, if I manage to finish it in time, it will make the perfect gift.

Next up is my mum.  I won’t be knitting a jumper for her, as I still have one on the needles that I was meant to have finished for her birthday 3 years ago!  I have done the front and the sleeves, but it’s being knitted in crepe and I’m finding it hard on the hands, but that’s another story entirely! 

Instead, she’ll be getting a tea cosy.  Mum and Dad live in a beautiful house, decorated and furnished, in the most part, with original 1930’s and 1940’s items.  One day, I hope that they will let me take some photographs of it to share with you all.  There is a huge dresser in the kitchen which displays a collection of Beryl ware, and a knitted tea cosy will be just the job to keep the pot warm.

The pattern is one from the ‘40s, this time produced by Bestway.  I haven’t decided on a colour way yet, the original calls for 4 shades of 4 ply.  I’ll probably try to get some green in there somewhere.  It should be a good way of using up some of the odd balls of wool I have lying around. 

Last, but by no means least, my little pair of pickles!  My girls are truly easy to knit for, and while I won’t have time to knit them a jumper each, I want to make them a beret and matching mittens.  Neither of them likes pure wool, as they find it far too itchy, so I’m off to Norwich on Saturday, without my babies, to see what I can find.

They are also both still young enough to love playing with their baby dolls.  My oldest has a girl doll, so for her I’m knitting a Little Red Riding Hood outfit that I have in a 1930’s Good ??? magazine.  Although not from the 1940’s, I’m sure the pattern would still have been used well beyond the era it was made in.  Obviously it will be done in red, probably using up some of the Stylecraft cardinal that I have left from when I completed this jumper.

For my youngest, her doll is a boy.  Interesting boy doll patterns have proved much trickier to find!  So much so, in fact, that I have yet to choose one and am still looking.  I'll be back to show you when I do! 

So that’s me done, and my next few months of knitting mapped out for me.  The hope is that all, bar the Fair Isle, will be completed in time for Christmas.  I’m sure that’s achievable, providing I stay flu free!! 

I’ve joined the Flickr group that Tasha has set up, so those joining in can add photographs of their work for all to see.  I’m loving looking at the things people have decided to make. 

If you want more information about it, or are tempted to jump in and join in, then there is a link in my sidebar which will take you to Tasha’s original post, where she explains how to go about it! 


Monday, 11 November 2013

We Shall Keep the Faith - We Will Remember

Yesterday we attended the Remembrance service held in Christchurch Park, Ipswich.  We haven't been for a number of years, not since before I was married, but we woke up yesterday morning to a beautifully bright, crisp autumn day, so made the decision to take a trip into the town.  

The service was conducted from the war memorial; one of our favourite places in the park to sit in peace and have a picnic.  To see so many people gathered in hushed silence around the memorial was an overwhelming sight.  I hadn't seen many people wearing poppies in the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday and so it was truly lovely to be part of such a large group of people, all gathered together with a common purpose; to remember the fallen.

It was bitterly cold, but the low autumn sun shone, taking the edge off the chill.  As we watched the various services marching through the park to take their position for the service, everyone clapped, and the children were given Union flags to wave.  The whole experience made me very proud to be British.

After the service, the girls placed their poppies on the memorial as we remembered Mr Y's great uncle, who died in Rangoon in 1945.   

Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valour led:
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honour of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields

by Moira Michael.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Monday, 4 November 2013

November already?!`

So it seems that October passed me by in a blogless blur!

My absence was totally unintentional, and it wasn’t for any interesting reason at all, quite simply, a lack of that precious thing called time.

I seldom get five minutes to myself at the moment, and during any time I do have, my mind wanders to anything and everything other than writing and, more importantly, completing a blog post. 

I have a couple of posts that are half written, things which I want to record on this little space of mine, the 1940’s event of the North Norfolk Railway to name but one, so in the next few weeks, I hope to find pictures to accompany my ramblings, but my posts will be a little jumbled, from a date perspective.

So, what have I been up to?  Well, aside from the normal home educating, cooking, cleaning etc, etc, etc, (I’m sure you know how it is) I’ve actually been a very busy bee! 

If you follow me on Instagram, I apologise in advance, because most of the following pictures come from there.  A sort of round up of what I have been up to these last 6 weeks. 

Where to start then?  Well, let’s start with my first crafting love, the knitting!  I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that while my fingers may not have been taping away at a keyboard, they have been clicking the knitting needles in a vain attempt to finish what I’ve started!

Currently on my needles, and something I’m really struggling to find the motivation to knit, is this wavy affair.

Although the pattern is one I’m familiar with and is really very simple, I’m struggling with the stripes!  I think it’s because they don’t run in a regular sequence and aren’t of equal width.  I love the colour combination and will finish it, I’m just not sure when! 

Keeping with the knitting theme, I’m desperately trying to find a way to sort, catalogue and safely store my ever growing collection of knitting patterns.  I started out by grouping my patterns according to type, so jumpers together, and cardigans together, and so on.  I then got to thinking that maybe I should group the patterns according to manufacturer, i.e. Weldon’s, Bestway etc.  That confuddled my brain even more though, because then the patterns for men, women and children were all muddled up together!  Help!  Any storage/cataloguing suggestions greatly appreciated :o) See what a mammoth task I have ahead of me??

Ooh, and a quick little sneaky peek of a knitting pattern that arrived today.  It’s really rather fabulous, but it’s only a shot of the front cover because, well, it was bought for my birthday, which isn’t until the end of December, but it arrived while Mr Y was at work today so I had to just undo it and check that it had survived the journey :o)  I have carefully popped it back in it’s envelope until the big day!

Next up, Etsy; and what a little hive of activity that has been!  From October 1st until November 11th (well, until today actually, because I have totally sold out of poppies) from every poppy sold, I donated £3.00 to Royal British Legion Poppy appeal.  I happily sent off a payment of £72.00 to them – quite an achievement I think!!

When the weather was bright, and the days warmer, we made the most of the late summer sun and scratched ankles and prickled fingers, foraging for a rather beautiful bounty of ripe blackberries, all of which have already been turned into bramble jelly, and squirreled away for a Christmas present for my dad.

Although I may not have been blogging, I’ve still been in email contact with some fellow blogging buddies!  I like this blogging lark and the likeminded people I have been able to “meet”. 

There are some incredibly talented folk out there, and I’m truly in awe of some of their crafting skills.  I’m a great believer in promoting the skills of others, I mean why not?  Why, if you like what you have bought, would you not want to tell other people where you got it from?  So, with that in mind, just take a look at this sweet pair! 

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t stand the gigantic scavenging pasty stealing kind that you get on the north Cornwall coast, but I do love a seagulls cry and it’s one of the sounds that reminds me of my Mr’s home county.  This pair, affectionately named Cyril and Cedric, is currently hiding out on the top of my wardrobe, well away from little eyes. 

I ordered them from Julie, who blogs over at ???.  They are beautifully finished and came neatly wrapped and very well packed. 

At the bottom of the box was a totally unexpected gift of two beautifully made candy stripe bags.  Each had been thoughtfully embroidered with the girl’s names, a sure fire way to prevent the inevitable squabble of whose bag is whose!  The pattern they were made from is a 1940’s one, and the girls will love carrying them round. 

Julies work is neat and precise and well, she’s just lovely.  Her Etsy shop can be found here and her blog here.

Well, I think that is me just about done.  Not about amount of waffling for my first post in a long while.  I’ll try not to leave it so long next time :o)