Thursday 29 September 2011

Hidden Gems: Cotton, Suffolk

So yesterday I played hookey, and went to a little village called Cotton with Belo. It seems somewhat random, as many villages do - so hard to see what brought people to live in a small clump together. However, it has Hidden Gems.

The first Hidden Gem is a rambling building full of old-fashioned 'stuff'. I guess technically this place is an ironmonger's shop, but really it was an Aladdin's cave of Stuff with the surprisingly normal name of J.Lawes.

Stuff you'd never thought of because it's just there somewhere in your life quietly doing its job - but of course, someone must make it, and other someones must buy it .... for example, manhole and drain covers, Vim, Borax, several different types of string and rope sold by the yard from big reels, drawer handles, chains, sweetpea seeds, kerosene lamps, lasagne dishes (trying to tempt Alison down for a visit by mentioning that as she must need to add to her collection), bathmats, galoshes and a truly amazing variety of different mouse and rat traps.

And, well, really, just hardware wonderment in spades. Which they also sell.

To me, these two items are of academic interest only, of course my house is spotless and we have no need of such antiquities as my grandmother used as we have air fresheners. But I did buy the sweetpea seeds as not only are they guaranteed as ''heavily scented'' they are also ''floriferous'' ... and can be planted next month. Which is Saturday, of course.

And the second Hidden Gem was a gift/tea shop called Emzo which was rather like the Tardis in terms of external size related to internal size, but which looked way prettier and I bet smelled tons better too. Belo, who had not questioned that someone might need to buy a door hinge small enough for a dolls house at J.Lawes, along with teak garden seating and a Pyrex measuring jug at the same time, now queried why people might want to buy pretty decorative thingies that were lightly scented to clutter up their house with, or coasters prettily painted with this year's trend ie. cupcakes and ooh ! look ! a matching china mug, candleholder and notebook ! But I did buy some small girly-type pretties for Mini Diva as stocking fillers for Xmas.

Both these mind-boggling shops in this tiny village in the middle of nowhere. Go figure.

Today is the hottest 29th September - 28 centigrade, 82 fahrenheit - since 1865, says the news. So having been to the park and run the legs off the dog earlier while the morning was cooler, now I feel faint and that nothing will cure me but to sit gently and preciously on the patio soaking up some very unseasonal rays ....

Friday 23 September 2011

FO Friday 53: Undeclared Finished Object

So there is nothing much for me to do right now: I have powered my way through my tasks this week, leaving me only with a modicum of housework to do today. As a result I have a kind of cheat for FO Friday - I finished it and gifted it ages ago (June), but forgot to take photos. I borrowed it back for a moment just to take the following picture:

It's Sirdar 1912, made from Hayfield Baby Bonus in 'Mint'. A quick and straightforward knit; I think now I have made 2 tank tops and 2 sweaters from this pattern, ranging from the 3-6 month size up to age 5 or so.

After going over to Tami's Amis for everybody else's FOs, I am off to hunt out a stunt scooter, and get to grips with Google +. I know no fear .....

Wednesday 21 September 2011

WIP Wednesday 59: Taking No Prisoners

I guess this image of the 7 of Wands from the Tarot of Northern Shadows might seem a bit grim or gruesome, but it's how I feel: I am Achieving. Not quite against the odds, but certainly against my usual laziness. The tasks listed as 'To Do's this week are gradually becoming 'Done's, hence they are my triumphal skulls.

I even woke at 4am this morning, and got up because my mind was whizzing with ideas ... I think I've found a solution that I like for my packaging; I will have a special limited edition collection of soaps out soon, linked to tarot ... here is the first one cut and ready to cure:

Made with goatsmilk, honey, pink Argiletz clay and an array of luxury oils; scented with Rose Neroli .... The second is in the mold right now, and the third and fourth will be in the molds later today. This week, I am taking no prisoners.

In other news, the Seekrit Projekt is coming along -

I can post a picture because you can't tell what it is.

And even when it's a magnified picture, you still can't tell: brilliant camouflage. Yarn's a pretty color, don't you think ?

Pop over to Tami's Amis for some more WIP loveliness ....

Monday 19 September 2011

Promises, Promises

So just a li'l post today to publicly commit to the promise of Getting Stuff Done this week. Mainly by not blipping around on the interwebz.

Having made it through last week, and added a busy weekend during which I cooked dinner 2 out of 3 times, and time 3 was a re-heat (liver & bacon, and macaroni, ham & cheese .... not lasagne. Just sayin', Alison), I am persuaded that this week I can be disciplined: I can do everything I must/need to do, plus still have time for the things I want to do. Sometimes there is an overlap between those 2 lists, but not so often.

So, the beds are made; the house is tidy; Destructo Boy's birthday invitations have gone out; I have one wash out already and am washing the big curtains today; I have printed the recipe for today's batch of soap; I have had my daily cup of coffee; England defeated a surprisingly strong Georgia; Downton Abbey is back on for the Autumn season; the kids are at school; the dog is snoring. And the sun is out. What's the worst that could happen ?


Friday 16 September 2011

FO Friday 52: A Year Completed

Ha Ha ! I've made it to Friday ! and I'm still in one piece - all appointments kept, all unexpected flies in the ointment dealt with (requesting that the child who has a history of trying to bully Mini Diva is moved so that he is no longer sitting right next to her) and only some normal stuff left to deal with today: a bit of housework, and some soapy stuff - cutting and curing, a couple of new batches to make (most likely cedarwood-patchouli and cool citrus basil). And dinner. I feel like cooking dinner - of course, the drugs may wear off in the interim and I return to my normal stove-avoiding state.

I finished the scarf for UberCool Brother and mailed it off to him on Tuesday. He called me Thursday and proved himself knitworthy by the rave review he gave it; the rave review a friend of his gave my soap was also fantastic to hear ...

Here are nice photos of the blocked scarf:

Unfortunately, the scarlet runner beans aren't ours, but our neighbor's, climbing over to our side of the fence. Ours .... died.

It was made from Skein Queen 'Squash' 4ply/fingering 100% merino in the colorway 'Aunt Betty's Pond'. The stitch pattern is German Herringbone Rib.

More yumminess can be seen - as usual - over at Tami's Amis, where we are all celebrating a year of FOs ....

Wednesday 14 September 2011

WIP Wednesday 58: All ....


.... Wiped out. Well, I am this week: the second week of term and everything is happening - Mini Diva's classroom tour yesterday, today the hearing test review, followed by swimming and gymnastics after school. Also today is Destructo Boy's classroom tour.

Tomorrow I have a meetup with the friend with whom I am planning her little boy and Destructo Boy's joint birthday party, the grocery delivery, and optician's appointments for both children. Sebastian is also due to return to the vet for a checkup this week. My sister is over for a visit starting tomorrow. All of this means that I have done little to no knitting, and minimal soapmaking.

Far more importantly, it meant I didn't have time to meet an old friend for coffee; not even when he upped the stakes to offer lunch out: my friends will know how much it wrenched my soul to turn down good food cooked, served and washed up by someone else. Let alone the wine.

So there has been no progress on the Vintage Lilac Cabled Sweater, but I have cast on for a Seekrit Projeckt using Madeline Tosh 'Prairie' 100% merino laceweight in the colorway 'Briar'.

When I can draw breath again, I shall catch up with all the WIPs over at Tami's Amis ....

Friday 9 September 2011

FO Friday 51: The Wheel Turns


The summer days are fading, as they must
From endless hours to short and fleeting light
The bird's once bright, immortal tune, now cries
A melancholy aura to the dusk
The children fiercely climb, and dream, and race
Before their wild and unchained days depart
And yet beneath the zeal lies a half heart
For there isn't time, there's only enough space
The sun seems low, a hazy orange sphere
Now reminiscing sweetly of the days
When endlessly before you summer lay
And as in the deep, crimson dusk you stir
Your soul joins with the birds in wistful brood
Crying for lost summer days, for childhood

[author's name removed by her own request, received via email 26 Sept. 2011]

The wheel of the seasons definitely feels like it's turned this week: what with the gales, rain, clouds, gray skies and chilly evenings, it seems like a switch was flicked: beginning of term = autumn. And looking at our patio reinforces that:

May 2011

end July 2011

beginning Sept. 2011

It's clearly time to pull the summer bedding and get ready for planting spring bulbs, and winter/spring bedding.

Another FO today is a batch of Aztec Queen Soap: loaded
with cocoa butter, a creamy mix of vanilla and chocolate makes this a smooth and special soap ....

Head over to Tami's Amis to see who else is talking about Autumn ....

Wednesday 7 September 2011

WIP Wednesday 57: Twiddling
 thumbs. Short and sweet post today, as you won't believe how much time twiddling sucks up.

Mini Diva went back to school yesterday, Destructo Boy today. I popped into town to remedy the parenting fail discovered this morning: no new school socks for Destructo Boy. This - of course - led me to also top up their stash of pants and vests - it's been all too easy to believe in the arrival of autumn with the recent gales and winds; it's the earliest that I remember DH being winded off at the port, too.

I've been pretty consistent with my efforts, so that I've now completed one sleeve of the Vintage Cabled Sweater; I modified it so that there is only one cable framed either side by a mock cable, rather than a full repeat of the front & back pattern: I thought this would be quicker, easier, and also, if done in the full pattern, when put together, the whole effect might be a little ... too much:

And I may just complete UberCool Brother's scarf this week too:

Let's just pretend that the bottom of the photo being missing is totally on purpose. There's some great photos of things to look at over at Tami's Amis ....

Monday 5 September 2011

Versatile Blogging

So three lovely bloggers have considered my blog worthy of an award; this time, it is the Versatile Blogger Award, passed along to me by WitchyKnits, Miss Soo, and Rugby Mad. Thank you all.

You may now envision me curtseying gracefully, clutching my award with one fair, newly manicured hand, and waving regally with the other.

Here is the award:

The conditions are that I thank whomever I received the award from, and link back to them; I must share 7 things about myself; I must pass the award along to 15 blogs that are newly discovered by me.

To make sure I don't repeat the same information, I looked up the last time I got an award. Please to note, I have achieved Number 10 on the list. So. Sharing seven new-to-you things about me:

1) I am gradually turning into my mother. This is worth many, many .... many blog posts all on its ownsome.
2) I am reliant on my Twins more than I think they realize: Good Twin, and Eviller Twin. Yes, I have worked out that three of us means we're actually Triplets ...

3) I'm old enough now to choose to wear practical, comfy shoes (see #1)
4) I stopped smoking just over a year ago.
5) I have gone up 2 dress sizes (see #4)
6) I don't care too much about #5 because now I have a D cup.
7) I will own a Siamese before I die.

And, as I haven't discovered 15 recently, 10 new blogs:

1) Di Sandland: great jewellry.Like my sister, she has Behcets.
2) Good Enough: crafting blog, mainly knitting.
3) Northern Snippet: helps remind me why I left my former career
4) Alchemist's Grove: Australian soaper
5) Inner Whispers: I've watched this one develop and find her voice
6) The Essential Herbal: interesting stuff about the uses of herbs
7) It's Own Reward: Bajan crafting and recipes ...
8) Songs from the Wishing Tree: tarot & crafting
9) Marcia McCord: tarot & stories
10) AndyBC: Lenormand tarot

Enjoy !


Friday 2 September 2011

FO Friday 50: Small Things

The final Friday of the summer holidays ... Destructo Boy is fully kitted out for the new school year; Mini Diva ... not so much. I have postponed the purgatory that is uniform shopping for her until tonight, when I can make the suffering joint by including DH in the process. I already did the shoe-shopping without murdering her, so my place in a martyr's heaven is assured.

Since UberCool Brother's Scarf, and the Lilac Vintage Cabled Sweater seem to be such slow movers, instead I finished the hat made with the leftover ball of Robin Picasso Chunky; because of the modifications I made (which included a row of eyelets especially so we could have ribbon), it doesn't look so much like the beret of the pattern, but a rather dinky mob cap kind of thing. Regardless, it fits, all her hair fits in/under it, it'll be lovely and toasty warm in winter, and she looks super-cute in it:

And the first soap of the new season is out of the molds (custom molds !), an unscented, uncolored Oatmeal, Honey & Goatsmilk that is currently nameless ....

As usual, lots of pretty things to see over at Tami's Amis ....