Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Roll up! Roll up!

All the fun of the fair!  

The Munchkin has pestered me for several days, ever since I mistakenly mentioned the funfair at Crystal Palace, to take him there.   Faced with a full day at home and lovely sunshine outside, having ironed and sewed non-stop all morning, I emerged hermit-like from my den at about 1pm and off we went.  I even managed to change out of my pyjamas (it is very cold outside, after all)!

After a shockingly massive and cheap Italian lunch, (oh the joys of weekday lunchtime offers), we set off for what is definitely a pretty tacky funfair if ever I saw one!  Now, we have been pretty spoiled in recent years because the infinitely posher Dulwich Village hosts the glorious Carter's Steam Fair each June which is a lovely old-fashioned event. Here are some snaps from our visit this year, pre-blogging days. Admire if you will, the beautiful hand-painted and gilded rides, the gallopers hand-carved from wood, the nineteenth century steam engine, the tasteful white lights, the flags of England and St. George blowing in the breeze. If only you could hear the sounds of the traditional fairground organ in the background...

Today it was all garish spray-paint, diesel fumes, flashing neon lights, "Barbie" jeeps and blasting rap "music"!  Still, we had fun, the Munchkin definitely had a lot of fun, and we found our favourite ride, the gallopers, just a bit of a tackier fibreglass, spray-painted in China version!

Violet was to be my trusty steed.  I love the name Violet.  She was the only black horse (and non- garish yellowish horse) on the whole ride.  

Giddy-up, Lillian!

Do we think the Munchkin had a good time?  What more reward can a parent ask for than to see such unbridled (excuse the pun) pleasure on their child's face?

And now, I sign off for a bit of a blogging break.  We're off to the West Country tomorrow for the rest of half-term so hopefully, I'll have lots of adventures to tell you about and thrifty finds to show you next week.  And then there's also Punkie Night...

Enjoy the rest of the week!

Monday, 27 October 2008

A Crafty Few Days

We've just enjoyed a rare weekend at home in London and whilst the Munchkin was occupied with his new Lego ferry virtually all day on Saturday and my other half was revamping the utility room, I indulgently  picked up my crochet hook and all the lovely balls of wool I bought on Friday.  

I've been loving Lucy's blog over at Attic 24 and enjoying her Flickr photos too.  I was inspired to have a go at a project Lucy posted about a while back and became a bit obsessed with producing row upon row of multi-coloured treble crochet!  The Munchkin was most bemused and couldn't guess what I was making. Et voila!  A plain old jam jar transformed...

If you fancy a go at this, can I just clarify that the stitch used is what we Brits refer to as treble crochet but which our American friends refer to as double crochet, so use whatever you are familiar with.

Thanks so much, Mrs Attic 24, for replying to my several, panicky requests for guidance via email.   Lucy, if you fancy a mini break in London in exchange for crochet lessons, we have some nice spare rooms! I'm oh so pleased with my first little attempt at an actual crocheted "thing" as opposed to just practise squares. Next, I fancy granny squares...

I was also lucky enough to have won a giveaway on the lovely Gillian's blog, iheartcrafts.  Look at this package of cute goodies which arrived on Saturday: a set of three "I Heart Crafts" badges, a pretty pink spotted magnet and a blue hanging heart.  The badges are so perfect for me! Thank you, Gillian, you're a very clever crafty lady too.

Do you remember that little jug of roses on my last post?  (Any excuse for a photo of roses...)

I predicted these would be just about the last roses of the year and so I've been working away on this for a while now to keep me going through the Winter...

Should I have waited until it was all beautifully framed before showing it to you?  Oh well, I'm too impatient, so here it is unframed but you can be sure I'll be showing it to you again once it has been framed!

I enjoyed doing this a lot and it was easy to take about on the train with me so I think I'll start another one now...

Sunday, 26 October 2008

The Last of the Roses

Today, I've woken up to the greyest, grimmest, wintery day awash with rain.  No car booting for us then!

However, sitting on my work table here is a beautiful little display I picked just the other day in radiant sunshine: a (thrifted) jug, resplendant with the last of the roses from the garden.  

What a cheering sight.  Roses never cease to amaze me.  Our garden is a bit of a jungle (in fact, the gardener is finally, hopefully, coming in to start work a week on Monday), and yet in the midst of it all, these little beauties bloom away, ignoring the wilderness around them and not moaning that nobody has been looking after them.  No mulching, deadheading and pruning for these poor roses.  Our garden looked even worse when we moved into this house 3 years ago so they've suffered years of neglect, poor things.

They also smell divine;  shame that I can't cyber-share their perfume with you.   Some of the roses were already here when we moved in and despite initial plans to have a big purge, I grown to love their blowsy tea rose perfection and ability to keep blooming no matter what is thrown at them.

At the very bottom of the garden, we have created a kitchen garden with raised beds. There is a central gravelled path in between the beds over which we have placed a series of arches. Here we have planted some of my favourite David Austin roses, just so beautiful in their multi-petalled perfection.

My favourite is Jubilee Celebration. In bud, the rose is a dusky pink but opens to a reveal cream coloured petals, their edges tinged with a vivid pink. It has a good fragrance.

Then there is the Crocus rose, so named as it supports the Crocus charity for bowel cancer. It has a very large blooms crammed full of deliciously rich creamy petals. Unfortunately, there is little scent.

On Friday, I had a lovely day full of unadulterated shopping!  Not just any shopping but for my favourite things, craft supplies, in the form of Cath Kidston material and knitting yarn.  I set off for John Lewis where there is a good knitting section, lots of lovely Rowan (and other) yarns.  I had a good play about with my wool when I got home, well this is the first stash of wool I've bought!

In Cath K, I was tempted by a fair few lovely bolts of fabric...

Just to titivate you a little, I took some snaps of the display of Cath's new Christmas items...

The new print for this year depicts a chalet scene straight from the Tyrol.  Fancy a yodel anyone?

Ooooh, just look at these Christmas Stanleys!

I confess, I didn't buy these, even though they are so cute, because they look very simple to make yourself (for less than £12 for three).

Other gorgeousness in Cath K...

Enjoy your Sunday...

Thursday, 23 October 2008

HenHouse meets Cath Kidston

Now I don't mean literally.  Sorry if you got all excited there!  

I've been making bags for a while now and I generally use fabrics I import from America from the big designers over there.  Don't ask me when, as I am not sure of the precise eureka moment, but recently it struck me that I had failed to combine two of my current passions in life: bag making and Cath Kidston's fabrics...

Et voila.  Behold my first couple of bags made to my own design but with Cath K fabric.  I think they're rather pretty, I hope you agree.  I love Cath's stuff generally (but you know that already) but you do tend to see everyone with the same things so I thought, let's make it a bit more individual!

I've made these bags reversible so if you don't fancy having a Cath day, you can have a polka-dotty day instead.  I've used strong webbing for the trim and straps and selected some pretty co-ordinating buttons and ribbons to close the bags.

I love this Classic Roses fabric with the more unusual beige background. And what's not to love about red and white polks dots? Perfect for this time of year...

Its friend features the same lovely Classic Roses fabric but has the stunning sky blue background teamed with a multi-coloured spotty fabric on the other side.

I'm planning to make some more styles incorporating Cath K fabrics so watch this space!  Any suggestions warmly received.

If you fancy giving a HenHouse/Cath K bag a home, pop over to here.  I promise, they're not made in China!

Have a good day (it looks pretty miserable outside here..)

Quite a few people have asked me how much these bags cost in good old British pounds.  Apologies that Etsy only allows you to put the amounts in US$.  I just used an online currency converter and $56 works out to just under £35.