Sunday, 31 May 2015

Brooch a Day in May

Well, May is done, and so is my Brooch a Day in May challenge. The time has flown by, and every day has started with the pleasure of picking out a brooch to match my outfit for the day. 
I finished my month with a pretty little vintage brooch that has tiny little pressed flowers trapped inside it, a present from my very sweet little sister. 
It has been a lovely month, a joy to choose a brooch and a chance to enjoy my collection, and be proud of the ones that I made myself. 

My Month in Makes - May

I've had a jolly good month of making, finishing two pairs of socks (chunky and 4ply), a small blanket, some little crochet pots and a feather-and-fan lace scarf that has been on the needles forever.
Row eight and nine of my 2015 blanket are all done and attached to the other seven rows. Still in-progress are two pairs of socks - I'm at the heel turn point for the lovely grey and pink ones, made with yarn that I picked up at WonderWool so they are very special, and my first ever toe-up pair are very nearly done (thanks to my friend Becca who passed on the pattern to me) and I might well start another pair! I will share the pattern for the pots at some point soon, they are rather fun to make!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

My Week

What a jolly exciting week it has been! We had a trip to Ruthin, and a day out in Birmingham, and on Wednesday evening we ventured to Manchester to see Babes in Toyland, and I met lovely Kat Bjelland who was ever so sweet and stood chatting with the gathered fans despite the freezing late night air. The support band were amazing too, called Skating Polly, I think they will be one to keep an eye on. 
On Monday I found myself a lovely thrifty bargain - one to add to the list of all-time-favourite thrifty-finds - a dear sweet tapestry granny-purse. It was £2 and is perfect. It has been a really wonderful week. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Birmingham Art Gallery

Yesterday we popped along to Birmingham to meet a lovely friend for a day of art, tea, cake and good company! We spent most of the day in the Birmingham Art Gallery, greeted by the Antony Gormley statue "Iron Man", and the excitement at finding that the special exhibition was "Love is Enough - Andy Warhol and William Morris". 

 I wasn't sure about the combination of the two artists, but the links were surprising and varied, it was a really very thought-provoking and inspiring exhibition, and the William Morris drawings in particular left me feeling excited to get back into my sketchbook!
William Morris 'Tulip and Willow' 1873 (pencil and watercolour sketch for print design)
Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol, tapestry, 1968
Credit line: The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. The Collection of Marla and Larry Wasser, Toronto, Canada. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London. Image: Maciek Linowski.

This installation in the skylight was amazing, really beautiful. I didn't manage to find out who made it, but it really took my breath away! 

Ruthin Craft Centre

We took advantage of the Bank Holiday sunshine to go on a little trip to the Ruthin Craft Centre. It's one of my favourite places to visit and I always leave with my head full of ideas and inspiration! 
The exhibitions were mostly jewellery based, with some large sculpture too, gallery 1 and 2 were filled with a stunning Fritz Maierhoffer retrospective...

Fritz Maierhoffer from Ruthin Craft Centre website

Gallery 3 had work from Dail Behennah. I really loved the cabinets full of natural objects and how they shaped the jewellery design. 

Brooch a Day in May

These are few of my favourite brooches, the knitting brooch was a present from my mum and the other brooches were so very exciting when I made them! 
As the end of the month approaches I feel a little sad that my challenge is nearly over! 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Brooch A Day in May

I really can't believe how May has flown by - there is just over a week until I finish my Brooch a Day challenge, and I have absolutely loved it!
I am noticing that I naturally pick up certain brooches for certain outfits, I do love to match after all, but I have really enjoyed trying out different combinations.

My Week...

I have had a lovely week - there has been crafty planning and working away in two of my favourite cafes with two of my favourite ladies, and lots of cake and tea to help things along. I have had cosy moments at home with the cats, and made progress with my toe-up-socks. I had my lovely day out in Liverpool and although I didn't take many photographs I brought home a head full of ideas. 
And despite being chilly outside, the spring is plodding along at it's own little pace, and it's lovely to see.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Tate Liverpool...Part Two

I carried on my mooch around Tate Liverpool in the Leonora Carrington exhibition. It was my second visit, but this time I had a really good look around...
 Evening Conference, 1949.  © Estate of Leonora Carrington

"I, as the whole world, yearn for an individual identity. I would like to find it because on finding it, like the truth, it changes and shifts. We only need to sleep to convert ourselves into different personalities" Leonora Carrington 

And Then They Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur, 1954 
© Estate ofLeonora Carrington/Artists Rights Society (ARS)

I loved her work, mostly for the experimentation with materials and techniques, and the amazing colours. I picked up the novelisation of her life in the shop on my way out, it's called "Leonora" by Elena Poniatowska and I am excited to read it! 

Wandering through I found myself in the huge room of Cathy Wilkes installations. The change from bright colours and busy paintings full of immense detail to this stark collection of figures was quite startling! I must confess that I hadn't made the connection to the installation I had seen as part of the Turner Prize in 2008, this work is really very different, and I found this much more thought-provoking. 
Cathy Wilkes Untitled 2013 
Installation view ‘The Encyclopaedic Palace’, Venice Biennale, Venice, 2013

Courtesy of The Artist and The Modern Institute/Toby Webster Ltd, Glasgow (borrowed from the Tate website) 
Cathy Wilkes Untitled 2013
"The Encyclopaedic Palace", Venice Biennale, Venice, 2013 
(borrowed from Trend Tablet)

There was so much happening in this room, so much to see and take in, I was pleased to have a closer look. These figures had something nomadic about them, their clothes somewhat tatty and dishevelled, they were soulful and so human, with their collections of broken ceramics and bits of lace and embroidery. I really found them so endearing, they seemed lost but at the same time, content. I don't really know, it was appealing but also unsettling. It's a hard feeling to describe, and the things I've read seem non-specific on the meaning of the work, so all I have to go on is my reaction to what I saw, I picked up the exhibition guide so maybe I'll find out more there. There are photographs from the exhibition on The Modern Institute website, they are beautiful. 

So that was my Tate Liverpool adventure - and what a lovely adventure it was!

Tate Liverpool... Part One

Yesterday I woke up and had a realisation that I had no to-do list for the day and that the sun was shining - a rare combination of events indeed, and suddenly I caught the scent of adventure! 
I took myself off for a little day out to Liverpool, my main plan was to have a mooch around the Tate and re-visit the Leonora Carrington and Cathy Wilkes exhibitions, and I'm so very glad that I did. I must confess that I like to mooch around galleries on my own, I am an obsessive note-taker, and I am aware that it's a little bit of an anti-social habit. So armed with my notebook and a selection of pens - just in case one runs out, I've been caught-short before so now I go prepared - I set off on my adventure around the gallery. I thought I would share some of the lovely things that I saw...
I started on the Ground Floor, with the György Kepes exhibition of photographs 

Leaf with Leaves and Prism 1939
Lily and Egg, 1939 © estate of György Kepes

I moved on up to the DLA Piper Series: Constellation
Sophie Brzeska by Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, 1913 © Tate

And the Living Room exhibition, which is a really rather clever concept, it's full of the every-day bits and bobs that make up home.

Bathroom Mirror, by Patrick Caulfield 1968 © The estate of Patrick Caulfield

To Be Continued...Part Two Coming Soon!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Brooch a Day in May

My month of brooches is pottering along quite nicely with lots of my bright and sunshiny lasercut acrylic brooches and a lovely wooden brooch from Hesta of Bodkin Creates. My pretty brooches have brightened up the gloomy May days we've been having. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

My Week...

My week started rather well with an evening in Liverpool Philharmonic for Laughterhouse Comedy, the highlights were Mark Thomas, who was the reason we went along, and discovering The Boy With Tape on His Face - he was so funny I almost hurt myself, have a look on YouTube, there's no way I can explain...
I spent Monday planning crafty stuff with a fellow crafty person, as well as getting a quick Toe-Up Sock demo (it turns out that I always cast on using a Cable Cast-on, who knew?!) and working with a self-employed friend for company in a lovely cafe, which helps with self-employment motivation! I took an afternoon off on Tuesday with my lovely dad for a trip to Ellesmere, he saved me from a hissing goose, and although the ice-cream stand was closed, we consoled ourselves with delicious iced-buns from the bakery. Thursday was our Emma Bridgewater adventure followed by Cream Tea, which was really very splendid. 
We have hugged our little ginger cat extra tight this week, after a dear friend lost her little Marmalade companion, my heart is broken for her. 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Brooch A Day in May

My brooch adventures continue, full of happy colours and memories, it's been such a joy to choose a brooch every morning! My "Mega Mix" tape brooch (from Candy Designs) was a lovely present from a friend, when I rediscovered my love of cassette tapes, and my little house brooch was from my first acrylic range at uni, such happy afternoons spent doodling pretty houses in my sketchbook, pages upon pages of them. I wonder if maybe I should re-visit that idea...

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Today was a day for adventure...

The adventure was a trip to visit the Emma Bridgewater Factory in Stoke-On-Trent, and a jolly delightful adventure it was. Everything there is so very pretty, and it is so wonderful to know that all of these beautiful things are made here in the UK. 
 I wonder if I could squeeze a spotty Aga into our little kitchen? Or pretty shelves full of teapots and loveliness? I think we need a bigger house...
Our visit to the cafe was perfect, with delicious tea and hot tasty soup, followed by a trip outside to the lovely garden to meet the resident chickens. It was so very nice to meet them.
I treated myself to two little mementoes of our day, sweet little vases that I will fill with the pretty flowers that are growing in my garden. 
It has been a lovely day.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Taking Stock...May

Joining in with lovely Pip at Meet Me At Mike's to Take Stock!
Making : socks, blankets and sweet little crochet pots
Cooking : noodles and veggies
Drinking : Tea and Chai Lattes
Reading: "#newsfail" by Jaimie Kilstein and Alison Kilkenny
Wanting: to try knitting toe-up socks
Looking: forward to exciting crafty plans
Playing: cassette tapes from my teens in my little car, at the moment Ash "1977"
Deciding: when to go to Liverpool for another look at the Leonora Carrington and Cathy Wilkes exhibition
Wishing: for a day at the beach
Enjoying: the long summer evenings
Waiting:  for the summer weather to come back...
Liking: watching my garden changing
Wondering: which sock yarn to start next
Loving: Orla Keily coffee jars
Pondering: dyeing my own yarn
Considering: some crafty business ideas
Buying: Pretty Cath Kidston skirts, love them
Watching: "Grace and Frankie" on Netflix
Hoping: to go to a car boot sale soon, if the weather improves!
Marvelling: at all the lovely things that people make
Cringing: at facebook, and thinking that I like Instagram 
Needing: more craft time
Questioning: the decision making skills in Britain after the catastrophic election result last week
Smelling: the lovely fresh spring air
Wearing: brooches every day!
Following: lots of lovely Pinterest boards for Summer House inspiration
Noticing: how the year is flying by
Knowing: that I can make things better
Thinking: that I'd like to read my new book on Tove Jansson 
Admiring: pretty shoes and dresses...
Sorting: through my yarn stash
Getting: excited for the summer holidays and lovely days out 
Bookmarking: lots of pretty websites and patterns
Coveting: cake
Disliking: Our shiny new government
Opening: my notebook and making plans
Giggling: at The Boy With Tape on His Face and Mark Thomas
Feeling: a little bit worried
Snacking: on sweet potato fries
Helping: our Big Knit efforts by making pompoms
Hearing: some funny things...

Monday, 11 May 2015

A Brooch a Day in May

My latest brooch choices, a pretty selection of my laser cut brooches and a pretty ceramic bird brooch by Virginia Graham, I love her work so much and picked this up from the Contemporary Craft fair in Manchester a couple of years ago. 
I'm starting to notice quite how much red I wear...

Saturday, 9 May 2015

My Week

I do so enjoy a week that starts with a Bank Holiday, and on Sunday we used the time wisely to pop along to the Machynlleth Comedy Festival to see Rob Newman, and visited all of the lovely shops and a delightful cafe for Butterscotch and Walnut cake and tea - they had the most beautiful teapot and mismatched crockery, it was heaven! I spent the evening finishing a scarf I started a very long time ago, and I feel pleased to have completed my first ever lace pattern. I've also been working on Granny Squares and socks this week, made with my lovely WonderWool haul, I was too excited not to dive straight in! 
For Bank Holiday Monday we went on a city adventure to Liverpool, we went along to the Leonora Carrington and Cathy Wilkes exhibition at the Tate, which was really very interesting and I'm already planning a return visit. We had a lovely wander around the shops and had lots of tea. 
On Thursday we voted in the General Election, and although I don't want to mull on Politics here, I feel more than a little let down by the result. I had hoped that five years of aggressive targeting of the most vulnerable in our society would have been enough to change the way people voted, or that it would have been enough to convince people to take an interest and actually go out and vote. I worry for our NHS, for our elderly and vulnerable people, for the people who can't make ends meet no matter how hard they try. I worry that hateful propaganda has poisoned people who should know better, that we will go backwards instead of forwards in eradicating intolerance. It has taken me a day to be able to articulate these thoughts - yesterday was just too sad. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Brooch a Day in May

My latest "Brooch a Day in May" choices! 
The mushroom was one of the very first brooches I made when I tried out a laser cutter in my second year of uni, almost seven years ago (how time flies...) and is still one of my favourites. I do so love acrylic jewellery, such lovely colours!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Brooch a Day in May

I feel like my brooch a day challenge is off to a good start! I've worn some of my laser cut brooches, and a beautiful Lucite brooch that I bought in January but hadn't worn, and of course that was the purpose of my challenge, to enjoy the beautiful brooches in my collection! 
I'll be back on Thursday to share my next choices, I really am rather enjoying picking out the perfect brooch for every outfit!

Sunday, 3 May 2015


My April books were just lovely, as always I wish I'd made more time to read, but the month just seemed to fly by. 
I read...
  • Denis Theriault - "The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman"
  • Arthur Conan Doyle - "The Lost World"
  • Jojo Moyes - "Night Music"

I'm reading "The Rabbit Back Literature Society" at the moment and enjoying it so far. I've added more books to my "to read..." pile, I can never resist buying a book.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

My Week

I am ever so glad that I made the most of the beautiful weather at the start of the week - today is dreary and rainy and Wintry, but I am making the best of it with plenty of tea and knitting. I spent most of the week in the post-WonderWool wind-down, enjoying my lovely new stash and mooching around the online versions of the beautiful stalls I had visited. I took time to knit with my WonderWool buddy on Monday and we discussed the day and our plans to use our lovely purchases. I spent a little time tending our garden, so pleased that my husband had the foresight to plant beautiful wallflowers and tulips. 

On Thursday I went walking with my dad and his little dog, wandering through the woods and along the canal, stopping to admire the bluebells and wild garlic that lined our way. We mooched along and chatted and managed to avoid the April showers, and it was just lovely.

Friday, 1 May 2015

My Month In Makes...

This month saw a sock knitting innovation - I picked up some Drops Big Fabel chunky sock yarn, and using a combination of two patterns I made some cosy socks! I used the Quick and Chunky Sock Pattern as a starting point, and took some bits from my favourite Beginner Sock Pattern, and now I have two pairs of very gorgeous socks, that take very little time to make! I've started another pair for my sister too.
I finished two pairs of 4ply socks - some stripy ones and some Frankensocks, and I'm working on a third pair, with Drops Fabel yarn that looks like fancy Fairisle. 
I'm making progress with my 2015 blanket, I've finished seven rows now, and I love it so much! I finished my granny square blanket, and it's currently on my sofa being adored by my kitties. At the beginning of the month I started a new stash-buster blanket, I'm not using a pattern, just making it up as I go along, and it's coming along rather nicely. 
It's been a lovely month of makings!