Friday, 24 September 2010

Exciting news…

I’ve not been at all present on the blog front for ages, neither new posts or, ashamedly, even reading very many of my regulars. The reason is that I have been plagued by utter exhaustion and I have had absolutely no energy and have been very zombie-like of late.

The reason? I am pregnant!

Woohoo! I’m nearly 13 weeks and just had our first scan this week which was fantastic beyond words.

So hopefully as I enter the second trimester I should get some much-needed energy back and be a little more engaged with my life in general, and weaving and blogging also.

I know it’s still early but I’d like to weave something for the new baby, perhaps a cot blanket and of course Christmas is just around the corner. But first I must finish, nay, start the rug that I have half on, half off the loom. Well, soon anyway….

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Beamish Reliability Run 2010

I completely forgot to post this! It was only when looking through the photos on my phone that I remembered.

Back in June Ivan and I went up north to visit his family and also to take part in the Beamish Reliability Run which is a vintage car rally. Now, Ivan’s parents happen to have a 1931(?) Rolls Royce which usually gets to go out for a tootle at family weddings. They even brought it all the way down to Cornwall for our wedding back in 2003 – about 500 miles, albeit it was on a trailer. It’s a very special car indeed and is absolutely THE way to travel!

The rally took us around the north east countryside over a distance of 150 miles or more and considering the age of the car, performed impeccably without a hitch. They obviously built cars without ‘built-in obsolescence’ and all the rest of it in those days but then it is a Rolls.


Ivan and his Dad with the Rolls at one of the stop off points. Don’t they look alike?!


Ivan’s Mum looking terribly glamorous and photogenic as always.


Me travelling in style in the back seat.

I should probably mention that we all decided to get into the spirit and, as you can see, dress for the era. We thought everyone would but it turned out that only two car loads of people actually did so we felt slightly overdressed at lunch! It worked out well though as Ivan and I won a prize for the best dressed couple!

I do have more pics of the fantastic scenery on the other camera so I may well do another post on that soon.

Parham House

Mum and I took a trip to see Parham House which is just outside Storrington in West Sussex. It’s only up the road from where I live so it’s very handy for a bit of pleasant escapism. Except that we got there quite late and by the time we had wandered round the garden and had platefuls of cake etc in the tearoom we didn’t have time to go round the actual house (which is amazing) – in fact they were just bolting the door as we walked up to it but never mind! We promptly fell about laughing in the courtyard.

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Although it doesn’t look it, it was actually raining but well worth a wander.

The little house built into the brick wall is in fact a child-size Wendy house. It’s all scaled-down and when you go inside, the doors are tiny and the ceilings are really low and there was a little inglenook fireplace inside. It was lovely, it even had bedrooms upstairs but I got a bit stuck on the staircase as it was so narrow! It was all very Alice in Wonderland.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Adventures in bread-making

A few years ago I presented my parents with a bread maker, thinking this was the perfect gift as they always like fresh baked bread – who doesn’t!

To my surprise they didn’t take to it… so I took it back, back to my kitchen that is :)

Having recently reorganised everything in said kitchen I was able to make some space to set up the bread maker under the stairs where it wafts its smells up the stairs when it’s nearly done.

I’ve never had much success with it before now but I am now determined to get it right. So I wanted to chart my adventures here along the way. Here’s the recipe which seems to be the most successful:

225ml warm water

2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp yeast

4 tbsp vegetable oil

400g wholemeal flour

1 tsp salt

Small handful each of seeds/chopped nuts

1. Add the water, sugar and yeast to the pan and allow to stand for 10 mins – it should bubble slightly.

2. Add the oil, flour, salt and seeds (poppy seeds, whole sesame seeds, chopped hazelnuts)

3. Set the bread maker to the wholemeal brown loaf setting and in 4 hrs 15 this little loaf comes out:


It’s a pretty dense loaf, nothing like what you might buy in a supermarket (which I consider to be a good thing). It doesn’t rise massively so I’ve been adding a bit more yeast although this doesn’t seem to have much effect. It does have a nice crust which I’ve struggled to achieve before.

Has anyone tried using bread makers before? Got any tips?!!!

Monday, 2 August 2010


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So pleased with the new shelves in our kitchen. We are a bit storage-challenged in our kitchen, by design rather oddly, and I really wanted somewhere stylish to store all the food that gets lost in packets at the bottom of the drawer and goes generally nasty and sticky and spills everywhere. And these jars came to the rescue! The shelves were a bargain from Ikea and I bought the jars on the internet – I actually ordered too many by mistake (I thought I was buying 3 individual jars of different sizes but 3 packs of 3 turned up!) but hey-ho, they mostly all got used.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Blue suede handbag

I am in love with my new blue suede handbag which my mum gave me for my birthday. Isn’t it pretty? It even has a pocket in contrasting brown suede. I think she probably bought it from OneForty in Cranleigh.

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Wednesday, 28 July 2010


computer_out During the past week I’ve had real trouble with my laptop. It has managed to corrupt all sorts of Windows files and I now can’t use the computer except in safe mode which is a pain because the computer basically doesn’t do very much at all while in safe mode. There’s now nothing I can do except format the drive and reinstall Windows.

I, like many, rely on my computer for work – I work in software so it’s especially critical that I have a PC that works! Luckily in a moment of perhaps sixth sense I migrated to a new PC a few weeks ago so I’ve not lost anything but it has caused real frustration because the issue with the computer has basically got the better of me.

Anyway, my point is for anyone out there reading this, whatever you do, back up your data!

That’s all I have to say. Except that I might now go and open a window and expel the laptop out of it.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

A lovely day…and it ain’t over yet!

sunflowerToday is my birthday and I’m feeling very fortunate because lots of people have been wishing me happy birthday, even some of my customers in far flung places who I’ve never even met. I met my lovely friend Francesca for lunch and she gave me a bunch of whopper sunflowers and later I’m cooking dinner for my parents and Ivan.

In fact Ivan set the smoke alarm off this morning at 5.45am by lighting candles on a cake right underneath the smoke detector and when one goes off, the other two chirp in as well! Talk about a dawn chorus!

Monday, 26 July 2010


Yesterday we surprised my auntie with a family lunch for her 60th birthday. I only have a little family. Here’s a pic of me with my Granddad who is 86 this year and not doing too badly – he plays bowls these days and still does his own garden. A few years ago he taught himself to play the guitar and started touring pubs with a folk band. He also plays chess competitively and used to be a keen golfer. He’s pretty eccentric and as sharp as a button.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Little forgotten blog

Hello readers, it’s been some time! Yes I’ve been busy over the last month and rather neglected my little loom and blog, but the loom is used to that now. Hopefully I can put it all right…

I finished my wall hanging – I actually finished it the day after I wrote about it which was the end of May, I think. It has turned out quite nicely but I can’t help thinking that it works better as a rug which is probably why it’s called rug wool!

IMG_1448IMG_1444(Oops just spotted some wrong threads in that photo!)  

It’s predominantly dark navy so when I held it up to the white wall (they’re all white) it appears even darker. It needs a very strong directional light on it to highlight the colours because it contains really bright colours in the weft but the dark warp makes them hard to see under daylight. What it really needs is a nice strong halogen bulb on it but our house, conforming to Building Regs, only has feeble low energy ones. Anyway I rather like the injections of colour, you suddenly see a flash of shrimp or red or olive but then you move your head and it’s gone again. As cool as this is, it also has the effect of making it pretty difficult to photograph!

So I finished it but haven’t yet got it hung up. Basically I don’t know now where to hang it so I’m going to leave it a while and mull it over. It seems to have settled on the floor in front of a sliding door, so maybe that’s where it will stay!

I have to say, I do like the Axminster wool which I used on both the warp and weft. You may remember that I had a panic that it wouldn’t be strong enough on the warp because you can break it…and it turned out fine, no broken threads. So thank you to Charlotte, Benita and Dorothy for your reassurance.

In fact, I liked using it so much that I ordered a great big cone of it in ecru – you can probably see my thinking there! I have decided to see if I can use the full width of the loom which I have never done before and see if I can’t make a rug using clasped weft again but this time in more distinct diagonals. So don’t be surprised if you soon see a photo of the dog sitting on the navy one and the ecru one hanging on the wall!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Purl, SoHo

purl_wool2All the time we were in New York excitement was bubbling in my veins about going to the knitting shop, Purl, in SoHo. I’d seen it advertised in Selvedge magazine and I was so excited about going there while visiting the city. I remember first seeing the advert in the magazine and thinking that I would call in next time I was in town, but then realised it was SoHo (NY) not Soho (London). Gutted!

So on our last day – yes, I waited five days! – we took a walk off to SoHo to find it. In fact it was basically the only shop in New York that I was excited to go to which just goes to show how bizarrely my mind works these days.

When we found it, I was not disappointed. It’s quite unlike any wool shop I’ve seen in England – over here they’ve either all closed down and turned into charity shops or bars, or they stock a few Rowan colours, masses of gaudy acrylic baby wool and lots of naff tapestry kits with pictures of churches.

I didn’t take any pictures of the shop but here is their website –

They stock so many yarns and so many fabulous colours plus fabrics and books and so on. It was all so pretty and the people so friendly!

After deliberating for ages I came out with a bagful of wool and a fist, very much not, full of dollars!


I don’t know what to do with them yet….hmm.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Bank holiday

As today is a Bank Holiday it meant I didn't have to work! Yay! I'm not good at Mondays except when the banks are shut.

I spent a lovely afternoon weaving, ah the bliss! I haven't done any weaving for what feels like ages. Remember I said I wanted to make a wall hanging? Well today I finished getting the warp on the loom and started.

I made up a 400 end warp in black, navy and plum Axminster carpet wool. It's a lot more slubby than I expected but it has a fabulous texture. This is the perfect project to try out the technique whose name I can't for the life of me remember! It begins with a 'C' and you can see it below..

I'm rather pleased with how it's going so far. More pics soon.

I hope you're having a great day, whether it's a holiday for you or not.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Museums and art galleries

We were so impressed with the museums and art galleries that NY has to offer. After toddling up the Empire State we went to the Museum of Modern Art. This was a real treat and they had a great selection of exhibits once we had got past the b*llocks on the ground floor. There was a woman sitting on a chair just staring and members of the public could go and stare back for as long as they wanted, 20 minutes or so. Give me a painting any day! This was the first exhibit we saw and I thought I might be disappointed because I feared it might all be like this. But then through a set of doors we went and the rest was fantastic.

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We also went to the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, both of which held great collections on just about everything. This first set is from the American Museum of Natural History and contains images from their space centre, a beautiful window, a Chinese wedding carriage, tribal masks and hats, and some wonderful beaded Native American clothing.

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I think these last ones were from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but I could be wrong!

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Friday, 28 May 2010

Empire State & Katz Deli

The first place we went to on our trip was to see the Empire State building. It was Monday morning and not at all overrun with tourists which, by the looks of the vast but empty snaking queue lines meant we had chosen a good time. It’s a phenomenal building especially to think that it stands proud of the surrounding buildings and yet was built nearly a century ago. It really sets the tone for the city. It must have been received with such awe when it was first built and all the other existing buildings would have been much smaller. I have to say it was expensive to go up it - $70 for two – but it was a great experience!


This was a view from the top which Ivan tiled to make one big photo:


Here’s one of the entrance in all it’s Art Deco splendour:


Another day, Ivan was keen to sample the culinary delights of a New York breakfast and where better to head than Katz Delicatessen? This is the place where Meg Ryan enjoyed more than she expected in When Harry Met Sally – you know, the, “I’ll have what she’s having” scene.

It was just around the corner from our hotel so we called in and ended up with rather more than we expected to! Although not in that sense, I hasten to add, just that the food portions were HUGE. Without really knowing what we were ordering, we each received no less than THREE “sunny side up” eggs on buttered toast, with a substantial salami, a bowl of chips each (chunky ones not skinny fries, tea and orange juice. I practically had to roll out of the place – three eggs!!!

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