Friday, 29 October 2010

Same Same, But Different

This is a phrase you will hear/see often should you happen to be travelling in South East Asia (mostly Thailand, I think); when you ask the salesman 'Is this a real Rolex', he'll say 'Yes, madamsir, same same, but different'.
Anyhoozles, I'm not trying to sell you a Rolex here, honest guv. I just thought the phrase was very apt when it comes to describing the "pair" (used in the loosest sense) of wristwarmers I've knitted. Because they are, you see, very same same, but different.

In evidence, I give you wristwarmer no.1 (apologies for out of focus and generally rubbish photos - they were taken with the iPhone because I was too lazy to get my camera out):Wristwarmer no.1 was made following the pattern almost to the letter (admittedly I used slightly larger needles for the ribbing because I knit very tightly and made them only 10inches long where the pattern called for them to be 11inches.) In order to make the thumb "hole" you simply put a few stitches across the cast off edge at the top:This is the ribbing at the bottom edge of the wristwarmer.And this is wristwarmer no.2: Can you spot the difference(s)?I knitted no.2 in exactly the same way as no.1. What made the difference was when it came to the sewing up. I cut the yarn too short and was left with an approx. 1.5inch gap in the seam. It struck me that this would actually make a great thumb hole

And, indeed, it does. The only trouble is, the hole is nearer to what should be the bottom end of the wristwarmers, hence the thicker area of ribbing is now at the top and the thinner area ia at the bottom.So, I now own a pair of same, same but different wristwarmers and I'm now knitting another pair which I will make up according to wristwarmer no.2. Sometimes going wrong is actually a good thing!

Monday, 25 October 2010

Laa Laa's Secret Santa Swap

I've signed up for another swap! This time it's a Christmas one. I know who I'm sending my gifts to, but I can't tell you or it wouldn't be a secret now, would it?! Suffice to say, the person I've been given doesn't live 'down south'. That's all I'm saying, so don't try and fool me into giving the game away with your crafty little questions. Now I need to read back through this person's blog and try to glean as much info as possible about her/him (ha!) from what s/he's written about what s/he likes, dislikes, wants, needs, desires, etc, etc. And then I have to beg, borrow, make and procure suitable gifties. Sounds like fun?!
I sent off my Pumpkin Patch Swap gifts to Tracy at Mad About Bags a few days ago and she's emailed to tell me the parcel has arrived. She's being very, very good and not opening her gifts until I receive my parcel from her; I hope she likes what I've sent. Just as soon as she opens up the parcel I'll post a photo of what was in it.
Oh, and last night I finished the other wristwarmer; just a little more sewing up to do and then I can show the pair in their full glory.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A Few Child-Free Days, A Lot of Shopping and Some Knitting!

Ah, bliss. Although of course I miss the little blighter! Luckily Daddy kept me well abreast of his movements - here he is on his way to nursery (with George) on Weds morning.
And here is relaxing with the Sunday papers
On Tuesday evening I caught the train to Bristol; I worked out that the last time I did this was Christmas 2003. That's quite a while. Anyhoozles, I headed out of the door leaving hubby and DC behind, feeling guilty at abandoning them but knowing that on Thursday they would be heading up to Wigan to spend the weekend with Grandma and Grandad. Luckily, the guilty feeling didn't last that long...
The purpose of my trip to Bristol was to play nursemaid (although re-reading the following paragraph, it would seem that the purpose was actually to go shopping.) On Weds morning Mum & I were up at the crack of dawn (earlier than I have to get up with DC - ouch!); we walked down to the hospital and at 9am Mum was taken to the operating theatre to have her gallbladder removed. Cue my dash back to Mum's to fetch her car and drive to the mall. I looooooove the mall at Cribbs Causeway. So much so, that from Weds-Friday I managed to spend a total of 15 hours there. Sad, but very, very true. And, boy did I shop up a storm. I totally and utterly made the most of being child-free. I bought trousers and a coat in M&S; yarn and a knitting pattern for wristwarmers (for me) in John Lewisdungarees, pjs and a t-shirt for DC in John Lewis; a long cardi in Monsoon; a big cardi in Next; toys for DC from ELC; toiletries in Boots; and I had the same lunch in John Lewis three days running - brie and courgette soup - delicious; not to mention a coffee/biscuit break in Starbucks on day one, a coffee/cake break in M&S on day two and a coffee/shortbread break in John Lewis on day three. Could it be that I'm a little bit in love with John Lewis? I also saw Nigella Lawson in the flesh in Waterstones on Weds afternoon, but couldn't be bothered to buy her book and cue up to have it signed so I meandered round the shop trying to make it look as if I wasn't really interested in the fact that she was there and then snuck out the old iPhone to take a photo.

I will hasten to add here, that the hours I spent at the mall were while Mum was a) in hospital sleeping after her op and b) while she was at home resting. I didn't just abandon her; honest... In fact she made it quite clear that she felt more able to relax knowing that I wasn't sitting at home waiting for her to wake up - so that was fine by me!

Anyway, when I wasn't shopping, I was knitting! Now that the weather has turned, my thoughts have turned to chilly fingers. I popped into Accessorize to look at the gloves and my eye was taken my some wristwarmers (yes, I know they're not necessarily going to keep my fingers warm, I just fancied trying them), but at 14.00 a pair I did wonder if I might be able to make some myself, hence the trip to JL's haberdashery department where I found the fab pattern and yarn for a grand total of 5.80. And since Thursday evening I've barely stopped knitting:
By Friday evening one wristwarmer was done!Saturday afternoon I knitted on the train And today I knitted in Costa.
I'm officially addicted to knitting these wristwarmers!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Architect's Plans

Last Thursday while DC was in nursery, we hot-footed it down to the Somerset house to meet the architect and see his plans for the very first time - we were VERY excited! I know hubby & I both had/have ideas in our heads of what we want the house to look like come the end, and we were hoping that the architect would use all his powers of telepathy and mindreading in order to present us with plans that would exactly match ours.

Unfortunately, mindreading clearly isn't the architect's forte. Luckily, explaining exactly what we (I) want is one of my skills and, after nearly two hours, we (I) had battered the architect into submission so that he realised our (my) ideas we best.

I'm putting the photos of his plans (edition no.I - we are awaiting the new plans) on here but I'm not sure if you will actually be able to see them very clearly.

Proposed front elevation:
this will change slightly as we are having a window to the right of the garage door in what will be the downstairs shower room.

Proposed rear elevation:
This will change slightly as we will lose the window on the far right at the back of the garage; the window to the far left in the 'living' end of the family room will be slightly smaller, the doors will move along slightly to the left and there will be one large window to the right of them, making the rear elevation more symmetrical.

Current ground floor plan:

Proposed ground floor plan:This will change quite dramatically. The wc to the left of the front door is going, making the entrance hall larger and more symetrical; what the architect calls here the 'kitchen' (at the front left of the house) will be the dining area and the door that he has through to the larder will not be there, instead that area will become a downstairs shower room/loo and will be accessed through the utility room. The extension at the back of the house will run further across to the right and will become the kitchen and family room. There will be a wall built across the middle of the living room on the right of the house; the front section of this room will then become the 'snug' while the back section becomes part of the family room. Are you still with me?! Hopefully we'll get some new plans from the architect soon and it will all make a lot more sense!

Current first floor plan:

Proposed first floor plan:This will change very slightly in that the wall of the master bedroom will come further out onto the landing and we will lose the linen cupboard as the space is incorporated into the bedroom.

I've not included the plans for the second floor as nothing of any interest is changing up there.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Starting to Feel a Lot Like....

...the countdown to Christmas has begun. And I looooooove Christmas. I get soooooo excited when the shops start bringing out their gift catalogues. So far I've got my grubby paws on this little number from a gorgeous bookshop/stationers in St Andrews; two of my favourite things in one place - Christmas + Books; could I ask for more?!
this one from Boots; a bog standard offering, nothing to get excited about but handy for ideas

Waitrose; a bit disappointing at first glance, will have to give it another read to see if it improves

ELC were kind enough to send me this in the post; clearly word has spread about my little catalogue addiction.

Next; only picked this one up this morning so have no idea what's in it/if it's any good
and M&S; again, only picked up this morning but assume will be full of cashmere jumpers and hampers.
How many more will I be able to collect, I wonder? I do hope Waterstones produce one this year, they didn't last year and it is a favourite in this house. Sad, but true.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

A Whole Year

I don't want to be morbid and gloomy, but I also don't want it to look as if I don't care or haven't noticed the date. Today it's an entire year since Dad passed away. It's odd because rather than feeling that he's gone for good, it mostly feels to me as if I just haven't seen him for a while, as if he's still there, somewhere round the corner or at home and I'll see him at some point or chat to him, but just not at the moment.

Mostly what makes me sad about him not being here is that he won't get to see Arthur growing up, and Arthur won't know/remember his Grampy - he'll have to rely on us to tell him how Grampy would have a fit if he had to pay more than 50p for a cup of tea, how he'd ask me if I'd brushed my hair before I went out even when I was old enough to be living away from home, how he fussed and flapped over the smallest thing, and how his rewiring skills wouldn't pass muster these days.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Very Bonny Scotland!

Just got back from a week's holiday in Scotland. We had such a lovely time and I feel relaxed and refreshed. I would also claim to be ready to start work again with renewed vigour and verve, but I think that might be a fib, so I shall just work with my normal level of enthusiasm and leave it up to you to decide at what level that might be...
Hubby's parents live in Wigan so we were able to break what would otherwise be a very long drive with a couple of nights 'oop north' on the way there and another one on the way back. We set off on Thursday evening with a fully-loaded boot plus DC and Granny in the back and arrived in Wigan at about 9.30pm. On Friday, International Businessman (a.k.a. hubby) had a meeting in Manchester so Granny and I decided to head into the city too (leaving DC to enjoy some quality time with Grandma and Grandad.) Unfortunately it rained pretty much all day so we were quite literally forced to spend time in the shops. Bum. And to have lunch in Harvey Nicks. Double bum.
View over Manchester rooftops from Harvey Nicks food hall.
Saturday we set off at about 11am for the drive up to Nine Mile Burn, a hamlet about 12 miles south of Edinburgh where we were renting a converted coach house. We had a stop en route in Moffat so DC could stretch his legs and the grown-ups could have coffee and cake, and arrived at the coach house mid-afternoon. Glorious setting up a long, bumpy lane and a lovely conversion, although getting a little worn round the edges as rentals invariably do.

Sunday we headed into Edinburgh to show Granny some of the sights. It was a little damp when we arrived, but luckily soon stopped raining as we walked up to the castle via lovely Victoria St with its boutique-y shops (below), along the Royal Mile (where I spotted Jane from Snapdragon), over to Princes St and then away from the hordes slightly to the rather more up-market shops on George St.

Monday we drove out to the coast at North Berwick. What a lovely, lovely little town. I'd like to move there, please. Or at least have a holiday cottage if you can arrange it? A wonderful beach where life and seaweed could be contemplated, cutesy little harbour and some great shops - what more could you ask for?!

Tuesday we headed out to St Andrews. Again, fabulous beach (where scenes from Chariots of Fire were filmed), magnificent ruined cathedral and castle and more fab shops. I'd also like to move there, please. Or another holiday cottage? Or perhaps I could go to Uni there? It's not too late, is it?! Made me kick myself for the decision I made when trying to whittle down which uni to attend where I resolutely refused to consider anything in Scotland or Wales or any polytechnics. Snob.

Wednesday was Granny's 70th birthday so we had a leisurely walk through the chi-chi Morningside area of Edinburgh before Granny & I headed to the Balmoral Hotel for a manicure before meeting up with DC & hubby for afternoon tea in the Palm Court.

Thursday we headed to Peebles for the day, with a quick stop off in lovely little West Linton so DC could play on the swings on the way home; Friday it was back to Morningside and then on to the Ocean Terminal in the afternoon. Saturday it was already time to bid farewell to bonny Scotland and head home, with an overnight stop in Wigan to break the journey again.
And now we are home :( Time to start planning our next holiday, methinks!