Chester day trip

Last weekend, when Gavin and I went to Stoke, we took Friday off of work so we could spend the day in Chester which is Gavin’s favorite town in the UK. It’s a really pretty town that was founded by the Romans and was meant to be the capital of Britannia until the Norman conquest (thanks Wikipedia!). It’s really pretty with Victorian-restored shopping galleries and (almost) fully complete medieval city walls. All along the high street there are 2 levels of shopping – the upper level is like a gallery that you get to by climbing some super steep stairs and the lower levels you descend into. They are really cool and are very crypt-like.

Basically, it’s a very romantic little town. Well, I guess “little” isn’t the word, but it is very pretty.

Some pictures you ask? But of course!

Apparently, that clock is the second most photographed clock in Britain, after Big Ben. I’m just doing my part to help it overtake Big Ben ;)

He was so happy to be in Chester and not at work!

After absolutely chucking it down the whole drive from Gavin’s parent’s house, we got out of the car to this.. it was a sign that we would have a lovely day.

And we did.

WIP Wednesday 2 – Advent Calendar

It’s amazing how being busy preparing Thanksgiving dinner followed by being sick can keep you out of the blogosphere. From between last Friday and today I have over 300 posts to view… luckily work offers the perfect opportunity to read them all! I kid, I kid.. kinda..

The good thing about being sick (not the kind of sick I was on Sunday but how I was Monday and Tuesday) is that I got some time to work on the advent calendar I’m making for Alfie and Kitty. Here’s where I am now:

As you can see, I only have one pocket done. Out of 24. I do have more of the numbers done than it shows here. I have 1-13 done, as well as 21-24.

So now, I need to finish the numbers, stich up all the pockets, trim the flaps to make them fit, cut and sew the fabric (not shown) to make it a garland, and sew the pockets onto the fabric… whew! And that’s all before filling it with chocolate! Did I mention I am planning on giving this to them Friday? And I can’t work on it Thursday as we’re driving so I can’t have the light on.. Busy night for me tonight! But really, if worse comes to worse, I can work on it at Gavin’s parent’s house up in Stoke and let the kiddos see me making it for them. It just means I have to lug all the sewing crap with me to work, then on the train to the rental car place… no thanks! Tonight it is!

To recap from my last WIP Wednesday, I am almost done with my headband/earwarmer. I ran out wool with about 2 inches left and the shop was out of the red! So I used white for the end and the flower that I’m knitting – oh yeah, I’m so into knitting now, that I’m knitting a flower. Get me. It has taken the backseat to the calendar. As has the jacket. That’s also taken a backseat because I want to measure Kitty to make sure the jacket will fit like a glove! Or least be able to be let out/down! The quilt top is still not quilted nor does it have a back. I might be going to Ikea to check out some cheap/fun fabrics. Woohoo!

Linked up to Freshly Pieced.

What I’m working on

This is the beginning of my advent calendar for Alfie and Kitty.. So far I have the numbers on six of the envelopes and this much stitching of the pockets. I have a lot of work ahead of me! It doesn’t help that the disappearing pen seems to just be absorbed into the felt rather than staying until it gets wet… annoying.

Tomorrow I am cooking our Thanksgiving dinner. Since the British clearly don’t celebrate it, we don’t have a holiday next week. We would do it next weekend but, alas, we are at a wedding were Gavin is the best man. Should be fun as we are having people total! I have already brined the turkey and I’m totally cheating and roasting the turkey and making the gravy tonight! That way tomorrow I just have to worry about reheating it – 20 minutes! Woohoo! So I won’t have the Norman Rockwell moment of setting the whole turkey on the table, but as no one really knows how to carve the turkey properly anyways, I figured no one would care. I’ll just make sure everyone has enough to drink!

Twelve by 2012 update

One month ago, I posted a list of things I wanted to accomplish by December 31, 2012 – my 12 x 2012 list. Here’s where I stand now:

1. Paint the entryway with yellow and white stripesdone! I did this over the Halloween weekend. 2 days. A lot of work.

2. Finish my quilt for Tyleein progress. I finished the quilt top, but still need to assemble the backing, quilt, and bind it. Good ways to go yet.

3. Make a jacket for Kittyin progress. So far the structure is done, it’s just the million and one finishing bits that need to be done..

4. Get a table lamp for the living room – Found one! Just need to buckle down and buy it, or find one that’s cheaper… And honestly, it looks so much better in person than it does online! My favorite lamp online wasn’t very nice in person, so there you go.

5. Finish the landing page and portfolio pages of my website – haven’t even started. Soon.

6. Learn to knit or crochet – done! Boom! Will have the finished photos up soon!

7. Make a piece of art to go over the bed that doesn’t look cheap, temporary or homemade – nope.

8. Design and make an advent calendar for Alfie and Kitty – Fabric bought, calendar designed, just need to make it…

9. Plant my bulbs for next spring – done! 1 box of tulips and 1 box of little daffodils.

10. Find a New Year’s dress – found it, not purchased. Yet. Sparkly shorts… oh yes.

11. Make a donation to a different, non-denominational charity – I made 2 for December… That will count enough for me. One to Oxfam East Africa Appeal and one to WaterAid Christmas Appeal. Is it hypocritical to say that I wanted non-denominational and then donate for Christmas? If so, I’m sorry. Not really.

12. Figure out a savings plan to get a down-payment on a house – I might be getting there… 5 year plan is being hashed out.

All in all, I don’t think I’m doing too bad!

A (sort of) Surprise Package

During Blogtoberfest, many bloggers had giveaways. One of these lovely people was Miss Yarnwrap, whose giveaway I won! I got her package the other day and I was so happy! As she is in Australia and I’m here in the UK, we decided to do a mini-swap. I sent a few things and she sent me this:

It’s a sweet book of Japanese embroidery, a fabric printed with Aboriginese designs in a sparkly gold color, a fun orange printed panel, 2 crochet hooks and a magnet (not pictured). She also had a little note included that informed me that Australians have a form of Cockney rhyming slang (but clearly not Cockney) where Sydney is referred to as “steak and kidney”. Gavin thought it was quite funny and he now refers to me as that…

Norway circa 1890

I found these photochrom images on Live Fast a long time ago and pinned them. They are beautiful and vibrant. And about 120 years old. Seriously, I am still blown away.

They look like they could have been created yesterday, they are just in mint condition. They are a part of the Library of Congress’ archives. There are all sorts of photochrom photos from 1890 – 1910 of Europe, the Middle East and North America.

I think these would be so beautiful printed, framed and grouped together in black frames. Maybe in the hallway or maybe as a replacement for the art in the stripey entryway.

As it would be nice to find some that relate to Gavin and myself, I’m totally going to have a good search through the images available! See what England/California images there are!


Sunday Songs

Another musical collection that currently rocks my world. These are my (mostly) light hearted, quirky, feel-good songs. Seriously, I could listen to all of Cut Copy’s albums on repeat.. Or The Fair Ohs. Or Bombay Bicycle Club. Or any of the following really:

Everything is Dancing – Fair Ohs

Something Good Can Work – Two Door Cinema Club

Bruises – Chairlift

Drumming Song – Florence and the Machine

The Love Cats – The Cure

Hearts on Fire – Cut Copy

Your Eyes – Bombay Bicycle Club

Sweet Disposition – Temper Trap

Quilt top – DONE!

In June, I decided to do a “stich and quilt along” with Clover and Violet to improve my (non-existent) embroidery skills. I ordered the kit as I hadn’t found any good local fabric and haberdashery shops around anywhere (I have since, so don’t worry!) and when it arrived I started in! I sewed all the blocks first and then dealt with the embroidery after. Gavin hates it when I sew because the machine is kept in the living room as we don’t have a spare room – yet! There are 9 blocks in total and each one has a hand embroidered middle bit. The spacing between the release of each pattern was nice because it really gave me time to catch up on the last block(s) make the block and then come back and add more if I wanted to.

When I started, I wasn’t sure who it was going to be for. It was a little girly for my taste and I was kinda hoping that Gavin’s brother would be expecting girl, but no dice, his girlfriend is having a boy. Oh well.. So I decided to give it to my friend Becca in San Diego whose daughter is 5. I thought this was particularly nice for a little girl. Becca is also someone who totally deserves it. Single mom, working full time AND getting her master’s degree at the same time. She also got approved to buy a house! Get her! She was my big sis in my (short lived) sorority days and we have been really good friends ever since..

Whoa, hey there sidetracked. Anyways, the quilt. When Gavin went to Estonia, I was super bored to say the least. To me, boredom = productivity. I decided to add white cotton lawn sashing to my quilt a la Echinops and Aster but I used the color of my binding as the boxes in the middle. Seriously, I had never done this before and it was such a pain in the ass! About halfway through I though “F it. No sashing. It’s doing my head in!” But in my stubborness (I mean, I bought fabric for it! Couldn’t let it go to waste!) I persevered! I had no idea how to add sashing and figured I could just wing it. (Anyone who did the QAL or knows Moda will see what I just did there… The fabric line this quilt is made from is called, you guessed it, Just Wing It!)

So I dove in and had at it. Overall, I’m quite happy with it! While I was at the fabric shop, I found a pattern I loved but then I looked at the price tag – £17/meter! Yeah… As I needed 3+ meters, it wasn’t happening. Instead I got fabric for my niece’s jacket and the cotton lawn for the sashing and some coraly-salmon cotton for the binding/intersecting blocks. I think it looks alright!

Edit: I have linked up here and here and here


I must have some issues with myself… I just finished Blogtoberfest (which I totally didn’t post everyday) and now I go and sign up for NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month for all of you not in the know. So let’s see if I can keep this ball rolling for all of freakin’ November! There will be lots to talk about… I finished a quilt top – BOOM! That’s a post. I started Kitty’s jacket – BOOM! Another! I painted the entryway! Oh my goodness, another! Two babies have been born in Gavin’s family in the past week – That’s 4 posts in the pipeline already!

I know that you guys were all so sad thinking that I was going to be going back to my irregular postings.. “oh no, whatever are we going to do without the constant flow of Sydney’s randomness and nerdiness?!” Yeah, I caught your brainwaves. So you’re welcome. I’m doing this for you.