Thursday, 30 July 2009

five minutes of fun

Ah, nostalgia. We never grow up that's for sure... remember those cut-out doll templates that you used to dress with cut-out clothes with the foldover tabs? I used to love those... and now, courtesy of Boden you can do it online, using their entire range of clothes. I spent more than five minutes actually... a bit addictive if I'm honest.

Here's one I made earlier (Trinny & Suzanne... your jobs are safe)...

Home Spun

There's not much I miss about England, but I do miss events like this. If I were there now I would do my best to attend this years Home Spun fair in Cornwall, followed by a large cream tea!

And such a pretty shop too...

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

spotlight on... Lulu Dee

Spotted on Simply Stated today [an offshoot of Holly Becker's great Decor8 blog], I love these simple retro mid-century modern prints from Oregon based designer Lulu Dee. They are hand printed in short runs of 40... and now she has lowered her prices as she knows times are hard. Grab yerself one quick!

little jug of mystery

I can't remember where I spotted this little jug, so if anyone knows who I should credit do let me know. I do, however, love it and wanted to share it with you!

[edit] Emma solved it... it's from the perfectly lovely Found Vintage Style. Unfortunately sold :(

just a perfect day

Sometimes I can't believe I actually live here. Yesterday, George had to go for another one of his business meetings, 4 hours drive from Athens. The notion of conference calls don't really exist here and business is still very much conducted on a face to face basis. Which is no bad thing sometimes. Again, despite a very early start, I joined him for the ride. Most of the landscape we drove through looked like this...

sadly a lot of it is still burnt from the terrible forest fires, trees standing like ghosts...

but sometimes it even reminded me of the hedgerows of England...

We ended up in a place called Pylos in the south-west Peloponnese, and while George went for his meeting I had my coffee and then climbed up to the castle at the top of the town...

wandering through the shady grounds, I discovered secret little entrances and gateways...

which you would walk through and suddenly come upon a view like this...

and then turn around to see this...

I found a bench under a shady tree, sat down and breathed a deep satisfied sigh. This was my view for the next 2 hours...

I sat and read my book and looked far out to sea, the only sound the wind in the trees, the occasional sound of children's laughter, and a choir of a million cicadas. They're ugly little beasts... a bit like giant flies, about 2" long...

but they sound like this...

I realised after a while I couldn't hear another soul around, perfectly blissful. Eventually I wandered down to the gate to leave and found it locked. The castle had already been shut for an hour! Luckily somebody let me out, but I was almost sad about it. I'd found a little peace of heaven.

And then, if that wasn't enough, we went for a swim here!

Sunday, 26 July 2009

one hot hooker

It's 42 degrees here, but... I'm still crocheting... very slowly... with wool!! Just putting a companion together for my Granny Square cushion below...

There is a great tutorial for larksfoot stitch here.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

it's not supposed to be difficult

I seem to be spending way too much time making this damn cushion cover. Apart from procrastinating for weeks over the perfect colour combo.. which I'm now pretty sure is right... I just seem to need so many squares to cover one side of a 50x50 cushion pad. Twenty-five infact!

And I could never quite 'get on' with granny squares personally. They were never quite cushy enough - I've got round that by doing 4 dcs instead of 3. And I hate the way that (well, mine anyway) kind of start 'skewing' once you get past a certain number of rounds. I block them of course - slowly, one by one.

So I've gone for the 'many-small-squares-joined-together' option.

But then there's the joining together. Took me another couple of days just to figure out which kind of join I like best. But I think I like my single crochet ridge the best.

I still haven't decided how to back this yet. Another side of crochet or backed with fabric?? Decisions, decisions... it might be ready in time for Christmas...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

super simple hexagon

While I love my regular hexagons, I do find them a bit tiresome after a while and by the 4th chain round (of 5 rounds) I'm usually reaching for the kettle for a wee break. But these whip up in minutes and have only 3 rounds! They work in a very similar way to a granny square, but are much prettier I think.

So, here it is as promised... my Super Simple Hexagon! It's a short pattern so I'm posting the full instructions here, but you can also download it in printable form here.

There is no copyright on this... please feel free to use it for whatever you want! But a little credit and a link back to here would really make me smile! So, now on with the pattern:

Abbreviations Cl St = Cluster Stitch: YO and pull a loop through ring, YO and pull through 2 loops on hook (3 times), YO and pull through all 4 loops on hook.

Pattern written in US English. (because it’s what I’m used to)

Ch 5, join with a sl st to form ring.

Round 1
Ch2, yo and pull a loop through, [3 loops on hook], yo and pull through 2 loops [2 loops on hook], yo and pull a loop through [4 loops on hook], yo and pull through 2 loops [3 loops on hook], yo and pull through all 3 loops on hook, ch2, (cl st, ch 2 into ring) 5 times. Join to top of first cluster with a sl st and fasten off. Pull central thread gently to close ring. [6 cl st and 6 ch2 spaces]

Join in new yarn. Don't forget to work in your ends as you go!

Round 2 Pull yarn through next ch2 space, ch2, (yo and pull a loop through, yo and pull through 2 loops) twice, yo and pull through all 3 loops, ch2, cl st in same space, ch2, *(cl st, ch2, cl st, ch2) all in next space*, repeat from * to * 4 more times, join to top of first cluster with a sl st and fasten off. [12 cl st and 12 ch2 spaces]

Join in new yarn.

Round 3 Pull yarn through next ch2 space, ch3, 2dc in same space, *(3dc, ch2, 3dc) all in next ch2 space, 3dc in next chain space*, repeat from * to * 4 more times, 3dc, ch2, 3dc in final ch2 space, join to top ch of first ch3 and fasten off. [18 3dc groups and 6 ch2 spaces]

You can join your hexagons in whichever way you want. Alex at Moonstitches has quite a good method for joining as you go. Otherwise, you could stitch them all together at the end with a contrasting yarn, which looks lovely.

Do let me know if there is anything you don't understand or if you find any mistakes. Other than that, I'd love to see what you do with it!

Monday, 20 July 2009

spotlight on... Peter Clark

I like my art a bit on the fun side... doesn't take itself too seriously, makes you smile. And it usually urrs towards what could be called illustration, graphic design or craft. Peter Clark is one of my favourite artists. His work is clever, witty and a joy to look at - gorgeous creations painstakingly made from paper. His website is beautiful too!

what we need. part 3

I adore anything mid-century modern and probably anything that used to sit on my granny's sideboard, but just didn't appreciate at the time. I'm loving this Swedish glassware from the 60s and these amazing Chance Brothers handkerchief bowls... minus the boiled sweets of course! Head over to 20th Century Glass and start collecting now!

Friday, 17 July 2009

a space within

I love seeing the environments in which people work. These in themselves can be an inspiration! The wonderful Orla Kiely's workspace has recently been featured in The Guardian, found via a great blog called Inspiration Boards.

They also have a Flickr group, so make yourself a nice cuppa, take a pew and have a browse. Just a couple of examples of what can be seen there are shown below.

Photo: Mady Dooijes

Photo: Elizabeth Dye & Chelsea Fuss mood board by Matt & Myra Callan.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

what we need. part 2

You know I love crocheting hexagons don't you! Well, you do now. Specially worked up in gorgeous rich colours. Spotted these beautiful things over on the Garnet Hill website via Put a sock on it!. (There are close-ups available on the Garnet Hill website). What's even more exciting is I can work out a very similar motif for myself, and super simple it is too. I will post some instructions if anyone's interested!

up and running

Phew... finally back online after our connection went down on Friday night. We've had no telephone either and the occasional power cut too... not a lot of fun in this heat, I can tell you! But, that didn't stop me crocheting and I've been busy making a batch of these cute little motifs with my new thread. Oh, and a lovely little pin cushion too!

Friday, 10 July 2009


I just can't stop making 'em at the moment. This is a motif from a vintage tablecloth. There are a stack of vintage patterns over at Celt's Vintage Crochet so go and have a browse. Once I have a little collection I shall decide what to do with them.

what we need. part 1

We all need these! Spotted over on the rabbit and the duck blog, these amazing alphabet drawers are a mere snip (!) at £2700 from kent and london. Start saving...

new thread

Waiting to be used...

buttons on a string

Have a nice selection of mother-of-pearl buttons sitting in my sewing box waiting to be attached to something. Making a long chain of palest-pink with a few picots and embellishments...

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

market day

I live in a wonderful neighbourhood right in the centre of Athens called Gyzi. It's an old working-class neighbourhood, where women of a certain age still wear aprons, sweep their steps and talk to the neighbours across the street from their balconies. I love it! And one of the best aspects is the weekly street market on a Wednesday. I can see the orange canopies of the stalls from my balcony. The produce is wonderful and it is as good as any of the best markets I've visited in Provence. I will let the images speak for themselves.