Thursday, 28 March 2013

chilly old March

This March not only saw the hottest day of the year so far but was also one of the coldest March's on record! But that's enough about the weather...

With my 4 things challenge in mind, I've been keeping up with my changes:
De-clutter: I faced my dreaded chest of drawers this month and did a ruthless clear out (and even organised some of Mitch's clothes too - I was on a bit of a mission). Brixton is staging one of it's Give and Take events this Saturday and I've already got my stuff to donate all bagged-up. I'm not planning on taking anything (it would kind of defeat the point of de-cluttering) but I may have a little look at what's what.
Health: About two/three weeks ago Mitch suggested that we become home cook vegetarians - ie we're aiming to only cook vegetarian (and fish) dishes at the flat BUT we are allowed to order meat dishes if we eat out/someone invites us for dinner. It's mainly to help us cut down on our meat consumption but it's also been quite a fun challenge to think up and try out new recipes. We don't eat out very often and I rarely (if ever) have something meaty for lunch at work so I've been very veggie (with a bit of fish) for the last couple of weeks. I feel pretty good and the only thing I miss cooking at home so far is bangers and mash.
Money: Not much to report just yet as I was uber broke for practically the whole of March but I do have some frugal plans for April...
Do More New: Towards the beginning of the month my friend came to Brixton for dinner and instead of taking him to one of our regular haunts we tried out a brand new tapas place in the village. It turned out to be v.nice - excellent sangria. I also, very excitingly, found a Zumba class in brixton. Wait, it gets better, not only is it within walking distance from my flat but it's only 5 quid for an hour (and I mean an hour, I barely have time to gulp down some water between each song)! The woman that takes the class is bloody amazing, she has so much energy and enthusiasm. It's official: I love Zumba - it's the best thing to happen to Mondays.

Other bon things that happened this month:
Went to the Spring Knitting & Stitching Show
Caught up with some friends I hadn't seen for a while
This little blog turned 2!
I got to see lots of my family for Mother's Day
My sister got published in a magazine
Got a promotion at work (eeeeeeeeeeee! - SO chuffed)
Spent some quality time with Mitch over a whole weekend! (a moderately rare occurrence)
I'm also very much looking forward to spending Easter between my family in the New Forest and his family in Essex.

Hope you all have a fabulous long weekend too!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Flamingo launch party

Last wednesday I ventured to The Print Club in Dalston for the launch of Flamingo magazine's latest issue. And why was I on the guest list for this fun occasion? Most excitingly, my sister had written an article for them! I'm super proud of her and I think it's proper awesome that her name is in print. Don't get me wrong, writing for the web is cool too but there's something extra special about getting something you've written in printed form :)

We were greeted with a red plastic cup (a la american frat parties) of delicious pale ale AND a copy of issue 4 of the magazine - needless to say I was well chuffed. For those who haven't come across Flamingo before, it's an independent magazine featuring a mix of articles based around the issue's theme, it's beautifully designed, filled with excellent photographs and illustrations all printed on the best paper ever (it smells fantastic). Issue 4 looks at The Future Craft - so it's basically about making stuff -  particularly perfect for me as I do love craft in all it's various forms. You'll find articles on home brewing, knitted art, tattooing, urban farming, modern apprenticeships, cryonics and of course my sister's piece on film restoration. See, a good old mix of interesting things, including stuff you might not have thought of as a craft before! I highly recommend it. Obviously I am a bit biased but I did buy the previous issue (it was all about Homes & Habitats) which didn't feature my sister and loved it! It's the perfect magazine to dip in and out of, great for short journey's on the tube, plus it's a v.handy size and fits perfectly in your bag. Any mag with the tag-line "a magazine that celebrates doing-it yourself" has gotta be good :)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Tuesday's Tees - Celia Birtwell @ uniqlo

UNIQLO + Celia Birtwell = lush tees (and tunics)

unsurprisingly they're all selling pretty fast - the collection only got released last week!
see here. trust me, you're going to want to zoom in on some of these delicious prints.

my faves :)

Monday, 25 March 2013

cheap weekend

The weekend before payday is usually a bit of a squeeze but thankfully this one coincided with some rather excellent free events. It all kicked off on Friday night when I caught up with a couple of friends I'd not seen since before christmas. We'd won a pub film quiz back in November and had arranged to spend our winnings - a 50 quid bar tab in richmond. A super-cheap and bon night out was had :)

Saturday brought another free activity as the glorious Crafty Fox Market was in town. Despite the atrocious weather it was pretty busy and full of seriously excellent stalls. Being almost completely broke, I couldn't buy anything nor take part in the screen printing :( However, I did pick up a few business cards to prompt me to check out the stall holders' websites when I get paid. If I had had money I'd have bought this from Made by Me Me Me and this from Anna Wiscombe.

And on Sunday I took a trip to Somerset House to catch the last day of The Wool House exhibition - also completely free. The exhibition was a real celebration of wool showcasing its value and versatility in the form of art installations, furnishings and clothing all made from different varieties of wool. Half of the exhibition consisted of an actual wool house wherein different designers had been asked to create a room centred around, you guessed it, wool! Donna Wilson's design - the children's bedroom - was my favourite. I came away feeling very inspired and pretty gutted - there are no wooden floors in the flat so I can't really justify the need for numerous, and beautifully patterned, rugs...but one day you betcha I will!

I can't remember who made these hats but they were all made using wool from different types of sheep - they looked so cosy.

awesome rugs - left: Infinity designed by Cristian Zuzunaga. right: designed by Kit Kemp.

The Nursery by Donna Wilson. Is it wrong that I'm an adult and still really want the cloud and raindrops mobile (as well as all the cushions and blankets)?

left: amazing 100% wool felt wall in the Modern Room, designed by Anne Kyyro-Quinn.
right: loved the rustic-ness (especially that bench!) in the Natural room designed by Josephine Ryan.

left: Crochetdermy Brown Bear by Arabella McNie
right: can't find who made this but it was pretty cool and arranged in an archway - so many colourful threads!

Friday, 22 March 2013

it's a blogiversary!

beard today gone tomorrow has now been going for two whole years! 

Firstly: Thank you to everyone who checks in here to read my ramblings, be it regularly or randomly - it's all good and v.much appreciated.  
Secondly: Bloody hell I've actually managed to keep this going! Two years doesn't sound like much but for someone like me - the queen of starting-things-and-not-finishing-them - it's quite an accomplishment.

This last year has been awesome - looking through the archive to write this post brought back some great memories and really underlined the fact that you certainly can squeeze a lot into 12 months!
I learned to knit and crochet, took A LOT of photographs with my little Golden Half, I got very patriotic - what with the jubilee and olympics in london, attempted to milk a fake cow, did some baking (a lot of baking), had one of the best days ever at my friend's wedding, soaked up the sun on the beach in dorset, went through a summery headscarf phase (this may well return if the weather improves), made a pretty tasty pumpkin soup, saw some truly excellent exhibitions, this little blog won an award, I got THE best glasses ever, mitch and I did some exploring around south london, spent new years in new york and got engaged(!). Busy, huh? :)

It was also a year of many firsts:

I finished my first ever quilt
Attended my first blogger meet-up
It was mine and Mitch's first go at growing our own food
Made my first ever dress
Bought my first pair of DMs
Knitted my first scarf
Mine and Mitch's first ever trip to the USA
My first go at geocaching
First-ever yarn bombing experience
And I welcomed my first ever pet

So all in all, a very good year - here's to the next one!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Reading & Seeing 9

Bright Lights, Big City (1984)
Jay McInerney's classic. My uncle recommended it to me back when I was hungry for anything to ease/escalate my NYC excitement in the lead-up to the holiday. The fact that I didn't read it until recently (having returned to London) didn't make me like it any less. It's an awesome snapshot of mid 80s New York City. The reader, much like the protagonist, is thrown in at the deep end and is left to fight to stay afloat in the city's fast-paced and relentless cycle. The novel is known for it's, rarely seen, second person narrative - which I really enjoyed. It felt like I was living inside the main character's head - getting wasted, going to clubs, doing stupid (but v.funny) things and, more seriously, coming to terms with loss. This novel, despite being set 30 years ago, still somehow feels relevant - it's easy to let a city consume you, to loose sight of reality. I've heard a few comparisons, and in some ways see similarities, between this and The Catcher in The Rye - young men, new york city, figuring stuff out yadda yadda yadda. However, I have no time for Holden Caulfield but this book? I loved it and would highly recommend.

*I've just seen that's it's been made into a film starring Michael J Fox AND Keifer Sutherland! Haha*

Kiss Me Kate - The Old Vic
A few weeks ago my parents treated my sister and I to a night out at the theatre. To be honest I wasn't too keen on going to see a musical but 10 mins into Kiss Me Kate I was laughing so hard. The story focuses on a stage production of Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. As the audience, you get to see some of the actual show as it would be performed but also all the trials and tribulations behind the scenes, expect wires getting crossed and arguing lovers! The songs are funny and perfectly performed by the cast. There were some excellent dance numbers too including tap (I do love tap). Sadly this show is no longer on at The Old Vic but it's worth keeping an eye out for it uncase it ever returns to the west end.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)
Having caught up with some of this year's Oscar nommed films (Argo - excellent; The Master - interesting but I didn't really get it) Mitch and I opted for something a little lighter. I'd read some mixed reviews before-hand (mostly not so favourable) but actually I quite liked it. As I'm sure you're all aware this OZ instalment tells the story of how the Wizard came to be 'The Wizard of Oz'. There are nods to the original Judy Garland film throughout particularly the opening 10 mins - black & white no less :D - and the mirroring of Kansas characters in the land of OZ. It's been criticised for the amount of CGI used (OZ is basically a CGI haven) BUT it is done v.well - especially the little china doll. It was pretty long (I think I'm getting old, I'm saying this a lot more often about films these days) and it was weird that the land and the wizard were both called Oz (or perhaps this is how it is in the original, clearly I need to rewatch it). The witches are great (especially Mila Kunis) and it all ties together in a fairly neat bow (apart from a bizarre romance which clearly doesn't last), ready for the original story to pick up from. Good fun but you won't be missing anything if you wait for the dvd. It's very different from the other Land of Oz adventure made in the 80s, which, while we're at it, is also worth a viewing, parts of it are rather terrifying. In a fun way.

Friday, 15 March 2013

knitting & stitching: spring edition

Yesterday I went to the first day of The Spring Knitting & Stitching Show, formally known as Stitch & Craft. The organisers, twisted thread, have jazzed up the event somewhat and, in my opinion, it was a big improvement on last year's show and certainly benefitted from the fact that Olympia 2 has had a much-needed makeover.

It being a work related visit I of course made a bee-line for the quilt section of the show. On this occasion it was comprised of traditional quilts made by members Quilters' Guild. These ones in particular caught my eye.
Judith Scott
You can't really tell from the pic but the pieces which make up each block are soooo small - love the geometric designs.

Margaret Rust
Only one shape is used to create this entire quilt - it's just the change of colour which makes the emerging patterns -

Sally Stott
This one was quite simplistic with the same shape repeated but what I really liked about this quilt were the fabrics. Plus there was a bit of a back story to it (gotta love a back story). The blocks were originally made in America during the 30s and 40s (hence the awesome prints) which were then joined together by Sally and her mum in 2003! Time defying quilts - yeah!

Other good bits:

The Knitted Garden, a nice change from the knitted village. People made flowers and birds even a little pond complete with lilli-pads and frog. My favourite thing was the knitted garden slug.

Textile Garden - The most amazing button shop I have ever seen! So many beautiful buttons, a girl is just completely spoilt for choice. When I get paid I want need these and these. There is no longer an excuse for boring buttons.

Liberty Lifestyle fabrics - launched at the show, the new range is just fantastic (obviously). Four colour ways of 8 beautiful designs. The fabulous Fabrics Galore were selling them at their stall so I'm hoping they'll have some left to sell in their shop by the time I get paid! This site has a few patterns from the collection but not the whole lot.

I also stopped to have a look at the Alpaca wool stall - the rugs especially were incredibly soft (and fun).
As you're probably aware (and perhaps sympathetic of the fact that) I am unable to go to a show and come home  empty handed. So this year I signed up for a subscription to The Simple Things (the first three issues are only a pound!) - the recipe below pretty much sealed the deal. I also came away with these v.pretty fabrics for only 1.50 each - bargainous.
So all in all a day which I recommend if you're into your knitting/crochet/sewing. BUT, if you do go this weekend for god's sake bring your own lunch and, if you can, coffee - they near enough amount  to the price of the ticket!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

fabric swoooon

I'd not had a look at any fabric sites for quite a while, mostly because I'd have probably been tempted to buy some to add to my ever growing stash. But, due to the nature of my job I was required to pick some fabric for a couple of new projects in the magazine (it's a hard life). There's some great stuff out at the mo - including Lucie Summers' most recent collection, the Comma collection by Zen Chic, Lizzy House's Constellations  and Out to Sea by Sarah Jane. Alas, payday is so far away!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

mother's day!

A v.happy mother's day to all the mothers out there but in particular my mum - talented artist, and amazing cook who's always there for me no matter what - whether I need help, advice or just a good old chat :)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

a photo an hour (ish) #2

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far and it certainly was a glorious day in Brixton. My last attempt at a photo an hour was back in september and was basically a regular day at the office (ie pretty boring). This time I wanted to show you my typical day at the studio (actually no two studio days are the same but whatever).

9am - as you are
me: about to leave for work. moriarty: looking for breakfast. mitch: computering

10am - shoot list.
Work begins.

11am - sunny spot
quick break outside because the weather is SO nice.

midday - glass bricks.
The back wall of the studio largely consists of these glass cubes - they let in loads of light.

1pm - lunch alfresco.
We had lunch in the park behind the studio, which is also home to Brixton's windmill.

2pm - playtime.
 Despite the glorious weather there wasn't a soul insight so I had a go on the swings (and perhaps one or two of the climbing frames).

3pm - pinning.
Bag project - check out the hand modelling skills. Wild huh?

4pm - fish.
I've been admiring this towel rack for some time.

5pm - legends.
Just a couple of the photographs which adorn the walls of the studio, taken by the owner. That's nirvana at the top and prince (i think) on the bottom. There's a rad pic of Bj√∂rk in the bathroom.

6pm - carbonara
mitch made a v.tasty dinner

7pm - TV
catching-up with GIRLS

8pm - toast
evening snack of peanut butter and banana on toast. YUM.

9pm - nibbles.
 Feeding and playing with moriarty. I bought him a new thing to gnaw on and he seems to love it.

10pm - fabric
cutting out some squares for an on-going quilt project whilst watching House of Cards.

To conclude: yesterday was pretty awesome. Hope you all managed to get outside and enjoy the nice weather too!

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