Showing posts with label day2day. Show all posts
Showing posts with label day2day. Show all posts

Sunday 25 April 2021

Happiness is … Auriculas in bloom, socks that match their stripes and Ric Rac on steroids!

 Happiness comes in a terracotta pot, brimming full of auriculas. It's so satisfying to compare their performance with last year, and see how they're filling out and prospering. 


Friday 24 August 2018

High Summer Makes

It's a strange experience knitting with wool on the Costa Brava in hot, steamy August, and then trying on your knitted whatsit, in the bright sunshine, all kitted out in your bathers. I'd say it's a bit surreal, but autumn is coming, and I know I'll be very grateful for my woolly whatsits in the fullness of time and in the depths of the autumn chills. That said my fingerless gloves with bikini combo was downright weird.

My neighbours think I'm a bit strange. Everyone else is lounging by the pool, or soaking up the rays on the beach or fingering their way through a dog-eared paperback whilst wallowing in the shallows. I'm reclining in the cool of the shade having a party all of my own, knitting and sewing with headphones on listening to "The Prisoners of Geography", an interesting take on geopolitics, and how everything is the shape it is because of geography. This is the life!

I've been working on a design for my guests in October. Our project is going to be all about colour-work. This autumn I've got big ambitions to design a Fair Isle jumper that will channel my inner land girl from the 1940s. I'm thinking of lots of autumn golds and russets and browns; fiery earth colours.

Here's my project palate, which is all 4 ply merino that I've dyed myself from natural dyes.

I've found a great pattern book by Mary Jane Mucklestone, which is full of colourful inspiration. I've also found a great programme on the internet called StitchFiddle, which is fabulous for designing your own cross stitch and Fair Isle patterns. I had been using another quite expensive design software (which I won't name in case they sue me), but I think StitchFiddle is much better. The other (nameless) software kept needing upgrades, for which you needed to remember a lot of abstract details from when you subscribed, which made the whole process feel like it was just too much trouble to be bothered with.

I've stitched together a little cushion from the last cactus design that I stitched, and its been trimmed  with a really joyful turquoise trim. If the WonderDog were a better behaved animal I would use it as a scatter cushion on the sofa, but, despite being five years of age, the WonderDog still likes to chew things with the result that much of what I possess has frayed edges and comes emblazoned with teeth marks.

I found a lovely suedette/ faux suede upholstery-weight fabric on-line in the Yorkshire Fabric Shop, which I've used as a backing. They send out samples before you commit to purchase a serious length of anything. In fact I used the sample that they sent to back a couple of the little key-rings (also photographed above). It's a really opulent, chic fabric and I've got big plans for a whole set of cactus-inspired cross stitch cushions all backed in this marvelous faux suede.

I'm tempted to swap cacti for boats as my go-to design fetish. Down in the town they've decorated the streets for summer. One street is shaded by the most colourful parasols ever, all suspended in the air. Another has an armada of little boat kites, which bob up and down with the wind.

Anyway, Happy Friday, and all the best for the weekend,

Bonny x

Sunday 1 July 2018

Ivy leaf wool wash

OK ... you're thinking. She's finally lost the plot. The sun has addled her brain.

But bear with me. There's been a lot written across the internet recently about how you can use ivy leaves as a wool detergent. With all this warm weather I don't have much need of my woollies, so it seemed the perfect time to get things laundered and try out this crazy idea.

I went off into the wilder reaches of the garden and gathered myself a big bowl of ivy leaves, which I washed under the tap to rid them of their cobwebs and dust. Next I tied the leaves in an old T-towel so that they wouldn't escape and mess around with the inner workings of my washing machine. I placed my trial woolly jumper in a mesh wash bag, and placed it in the machine along with the bundle of leaves and popped them on the wool-wash cycle.

Wednesday 13 June 2018

Sew Sunday ...

I'm enjoying a lot of peace and quiet at the moment, perhaps rather more peace and quiet than I'm totally comfortable with. By some strange alignment of the stars Mr B and the child are both away: Mr B is the Far East with work, and Emi is in Wales on a geography trip. So it's just me and the WonderDog holding the fort.

I enjoyed it enormously for the first day or two. Whaow! I got so much done ... but now I'm finding excuses to go and visit people. I've had enough of my own company.

On Sunday we had a glorious day here in London: all blue skies and sunshine. I devoted my afternoon to sewing peacefully on the terrace.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

The big yellows ...

 Okay. I am now officially fed up with the weather. It feels more like February than May here in London. And in my book that's bad - really, really bad. 😣

So morose did the weather make me feel today that I went burrowing into my photo archive for solace. And that's where the big yellows came in ...

Friday 13 April 2018

From indoor rain to Macbeth ...

It's been a funny old time out here on the (not-so) sunny Costa Brava. We've had the very worst weather imaginable.

On Tuesday night it rained cats and dogs. Curled up in bed I was vaguely aware that there was a storm kicking up a hullabaloo outside. But you know that nice, cosy feeling you get when it's miserable outdoors and you have the luxury of not having to go anywhere ... well, I had that in spadefuls. I very happily went back to sleep and thought no more about it.

Fast forward to the following morning when I stepped into ankle deep water in my dining room, and it was another story. A river ran down the staircase from upstairs and the rain was still falling outside ... .

Friday 8 December 2017

Internet can-do

It's a funny business growing up in the digital age, awash with information on any subject you care to google. Emi, affectionately known in the family as Sprocket - owing to his love for fixing things, or at least taking them apart so that they really need someone else to fix them - is soon to be 12. He came home from school yesterday with a sore throat, a headache and a high temperature.

Back in the analogue age that would have been a recipe for me to collapse onto the sofa and leave my mum to minister to my symptoms. But things run differently now, and I'm a lot more easily distracted than my mother ever was.

Poor Sprockers, I said absent-mindedly, not really paying him much attention. I got a brief grunt of appreciation for my sympathy, and he settled down beside me to get on with his homework.

I carried on working and paid little regard to the snuffles from behind his computer screen as he made a start on his maths prep calculating internal angles in triangles. For reasons that I don't understand he loves trigonometry. And whilst he'd never admit to enjoying homework, I knew he was happy to get on with it regardless of how he felt.

I could hear him adding up internal angles and minusing them from 180º. Ignoring the odd wheeze and snort I felt fairly confident that he wasn't about to expire.

At length a small voice inquired whether we had any camomile tea.

Camomile tea?

No we didn't. Mummy doesn't do herbal teas; she only drinks builders' tea the colour of creosote.

He got up from the desk, went into the kitchen and came back with the towel that hangs on the radiator wrapped around his throat. I ignored him, thinking that he was being dramatic.

Several angles were calculated without further comment.

I'm going for a hot shower. 

He shuffled off upstairs. I passed no remarks. He often takes a shower when he comes in if he's been playing games.

Do we have honey and lemon? His voice croaked down from the landing.

Honey and lemon? 

It finally dawned on me that he was acting a bit weird: normally he's more of a chocolate and juice guy. I peered over at his laptop, and there it was, the Google search results for how to get rid of a headache and a sore throat. Having not received much attention from a mother who'd been more concerned about meeting a deadline of her own, he'd been working his way down the list of suggested steps on the Beechams' cold and flu relief page.

And that struck me as a commendably practical, thoroughly 21st century response to the situation. If your mum fails you, keep calm and google the answer.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Thursday 30 November 2017

Succumbing to the C-Word ...

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas ... We've even had five flakes of snow in London today!

I know. I know. It's still November. But if I can just hold my nerve for another day we'll be there: December with Christmas (almost) the next stop.

December is a busy month for me. I've got our wedding anniversary, Emi, my son's birthday and my husband's birthday as well as Christmas and trips back to the family in Ireland to fit in. And, of course, I've not done nearly enough preparation for any of it. Crazy days.

To distract me from the madness that is almost upon me I've worked up a new pattern for a mid-sized project bag. I've got one made up, and a few more cut out and ready to sew.

Monday 6 November 2017

Reflecting on a seasonal change ...

Last week I was pootling around in the sunshine, feeling as though summer hadn't really gone anywhere, and could safely be relied upon to hang around for the indefinite future.

Thursday 27 July 2017

The White Lough on a sparkling summer evening ...

When we're back home in Ireland our default dog-walking venue is the White Lough, which is just a hop, a skip and a jump away from my parents' home. It's a firm favourite for an after-dinner romp on bright summer evenings when we need to walk off a few calories.

Tuesday 25 July 2017

Evening Daisy ...

I happened to be in the garden last night at the bewitching hour when the sun was setting and the garden was filled with the most amazing golden light. Here in Northern Ireland, at this time of the year the days are longer than they are back in London, and it's a joy on a sunny summer evening to sit outside and admire the play of light and shadow under the foliage canopy.

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Friday 14 July 2017

School's out ... and it's officially summer ...

It's been a long time coming, but, finally, Emi's got his summer hols. Not having to get up at the crack of dawn this morning was blissful. And today is quite possibly the best day of the year: this first day of the summer holidays, when we can wind down from all the day-to-day stuff that usually has us rushing around trying to keep up, and savour the several weeks that lie ahead of not having to do very much at all. Call me lazy, but from where I'm sitting right now, that's a sweet, sweet prospect.

My black hollyhock -  summer on a stem ...

Friday 7 July 2017

Ode to June ... and TGI Friday ...

Crumbs it's way too hot down here in the Big Smoke. It's been like this for ages, and for some reason all this hot, hot weather has inspired me to sew. Perhaps it's because I've felt the need of some relaxed summer dresses - the kind that fit loosely, and help keep you cool when the mercury's way up. This is what I've been up to this week:

I rustled up these summer dresses over the course of the last few days. They're all pretty easy, and made from wonderful summer cottons that I bought on the Goldhawk Road. The red one was cobbled together when I discovered that I didn't have enough of either the red or the green flowery cottons to make the entire dress, and I have to say, necessity being the mother of invention and all that, I'm really glad that my erratic fabric buying forced my hand. I'm rather pleased with the not-so-matchy contrast.

My purple dress just involved following a pattern. And, whilst it's perfect for hot, dusty summer days in Spain, it doesn't enthuse me as much as my improvised dress does.

It's sewn from a fabulous Liberty Cotton that I bought on my favourite shopping street last year. And it's an absolute delight to wear: really light and floaty. I know I'll wear it to death from here on in.

As I've sewn, and ripped, and pressed out seams and tacked up hems I've listened to the wonderful alternative version of world history that I mentioned last week. It's an epic read (or listen in my case) that runs from the days of the mighty Persian Empire to the fall of Saddam Hussein. Maybe I got so much sewing done because I was totally engrossed in the narrative.

It's been a busy old week all things told, and I didn't get around to much restrospection on what I got up to during June. I've been trying to take a review of the month just gone as each new month of the year kicks off. It went really well for January through March, but then my wagon came off the tracks as other demands on my time left little energy for retrospection of any kind.

But June deserves to be treated differently. June was a big month for me. You see Mr B, my husband, had surgery to replace the ligament of his left knee in June. It wasn't a huge deal: it was never going to kill him. But it could have turned out badly. He could have been left with a long, painful recovery, or a permanent limp. As things went he's made a splendid recovery, and I'm feeling really blessed that he will be restored to full health and will be able to do all the things that he used to do. We're tennis buddies for one thing. We both play a really rotten game of tennis: he's a bit portly and I'm as blind as a fruit bat. But that doesn't matter because we play as badly as one another, which means that we're perfectly matched. We have epic battles on court. Any decent player would destroy either or both of us in the flash of an eye, but pitted against one another we're stiff competition for each other, and every victory is hard won.

Together we ski, cycle, hike and swim. None of it is done to any great athletic level, but it's fun and it's life-affirming. It would have been sad to have lost all of this from our lives. So I'm feeling very grateful.

And I'm also feeling grateful for long summer days with nothing very pressing to do. For lazy walks in the park, the locomotive panting of the WonderDog who invariably finds the coolest, darkest corner of every room we enter, the semi-meditative delights of cross stitching, the soft berries ripening in my garden and the long stemmed beauty of my hollyhocks - I can't tell you how much I love my hollyhocks. Summer totally rocks!

All the best for a fabulous weekend,

Bonny x

Sunday 2 April 2017

Makey Makey March ...

Happy April! I hope you got through April Fool's Day yesterday without falling for any pranks.

I've been looking back over everything that we've got up to in March. It's been a very makey makey month, packed full of baking, sewing, knitting and gardening. There's been the odd afternoon when I've managed to escape for some dog-walking, but it's been pretty full on with projects galore.

Some old pins and a broken necklace got recycled into a swanky set of stitch markers. Barcelona Bears were given smart tweed waistcoats for spring, my never ending spring stole complete with chains of hearts has got longer and longer - it seems to grow like Rapunzel's hair, and I've been sewing up a whole new wardrobe of spring dresses in the prettiest lawn cottons.

Do you ever wonder what to do with all those bits of fabric that get left over when you've finished making whatever it was you set out to make? They always call out to me, and, terrible hoarder that I am, I can never manage to throw them in the bin. This week I was working on a little gingham number. Someone told me gingham is very in this spring, which is lucky as I just happened to have some in my stash! I've got big gingham paired with smaller gingham in a nice, clashing sort of summer dress combo. I decided to not bother with the elaborate flappy facings that the pattern thought I should make. I'm not a big fan of facings; I much prefer to use some bias binding for finishing off.  I'd bought some bias binding for the job earlier, but when I looked at it ... well it just looked a bit work-a-day dull ... plain red binding ... snore ... zzzz.

So I got to thinking about how much nicer my (fairly plain) dress would look if I made some contrasting bias binding out of a lovely floral print that I'd got left over. To be honest it's the second round of left-overs for this particular print. I'd bought the material to make a dress, and then managed to s-q-u-e-e-z-e a sleeveless top out of what was left over from the first time around. So now, second time around, I've cut it on the bias at a 45º angle to the selvage and made the loveliest binding to finish off my neckline and armholes. It's not difficult to make. I cut mine at 2"/ 5 cm wide, so it was easy to turn in the sides with the iron to get it into the proper bias binding configuration without one of those binder-making gadgets.

It's been a real light-bulb moment for me, as I can now think of a hundred other things that would look so much better with some of my home-made binding. And the lovely cherry on the top of my cake is that it's costing me nothing - nada - not a centimo! Happy days!

Anyway, whatever you're up to, have a ball!

All the best for now,

Bonny x

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Ode to February ... how was it for you?

I grew up in Northern Ireland, where we have proper winters with frosts and sometimes snow and cold, cold nights. And I like it that way. I like having seasons. Life would be boring without them ...

And this February we've had a flavour of full-on, proper, old-style winter weather. In London we've had some wintery cold courtesy of weather systems blown in from continental Europe, and then we upped the chill quotient with some skiing in Andorra. The ski season in Europe this year has been really good. They told me in Andorra that it arrived a bit late, but, when it came, it really delivered.

It's been fun muffling up for lots of outdoors activity. I skied with Emi, up and down, those lovely mountains every day. In the late afternoons on the way back to our hotel we'd stop off by some snow-logged fields and play. We built snowmen, we made snow angels and we waged snowball wars. None of it was wildly new or out-of-the-mould, but it was totally brilliant. And it carried a sense of doing exactly what we were supposed to be doing in this season of the year.

Indoors I've been curling up with my needles, enjoying some really good drama on television.  Did you watch Taboo? Whaow! We've enjoyed comfort food, and celebrated the simple pleasures of the everyday with bowls of steaming soup, spicy chai tea (Twinnings - delicious) and cupcakes aplenty.

So here's to March, and the simple pleasures of the everyday!

All the best,

Bonny x

Friday 24 February 2017

The quiet after Storm Doris ...

Yesterday we really had to batten down the hatches and lie low while Storm Doris passed through town. She was a bit of a hell-raiser, old Doris. Normally I find windy days rather exhilarating, but Doris was on another level.

After the school run I normally take the WonderDog for a run in the park. Yesterday the sky was that steel grey colour that always comes before rain, and I decided to give it a miss. The WonderDog came into the kitchen with a hurt expression on his little doggy face, but within 2 minutes the heavens opened. I offered him an open door to the back garden, which he shrugged his shoulders at and immediately thought the better of his sulk.

Then this morning, in a moment of perfect blue-sky calm, we went for our usual jaunt around Walpole Park, and this is what we saw :

I'm so glad that I wasn't under that tree when Doris split it in half.

Tuesday 10 January 2017

January ... bleugh!

At around about this time of year, every year without fail, I pause and think that I'd really like to do a re-wind, and go all the way back to the beginning of December again. You see the thing is I really enjoy Christmas with all the excitement, the getting together with family and friends, the parties, the fairy lights, the simple pleasure of time spent in front of the fire, happy and cosy, with loved ones. And so it follows that I'm always pretty reluctant to let the good times go, and get back to business as usual.

Friday 30 December 2016

Hygge ...

I have to 'fess up to never having been to Denmark, and to have a knowledge of that country, its language and its people that has largely come to me as a by-product of my enthusiasm for crime fiction. So far, so good. These days however there is one aspect of Danish culture that I find myself drawn to, and that is this thing called hygge. Everyone seems to be talking about all over social media.

Now I certainly don't pretend to totally understand what it's all about. For one thing the internet tells me that hygge is a concept incapable of direct translation into English, which is a bit daunting. Apparently we simply haven't got any words to express it.

The Danish word, hygge (pronounced “HUE-gah”) is translated by Babylon as cosiness, which is, I suspect, an over-simplification. Other sources elaborate on it being the art of enjoying life's simple pleasures, such as family, friends and warm homes in cold weather. It could, for example, be the pleasure of taking off your unwieldy ski boots, massaging your cold feet and slipping them into the furry embrace of a comfortable pair of Ugg boots. Do you ever feel elated when you finally get those cumbersome ski boots off? Me too! Well, I'm pretty confident that what we're recognising here is a warm, happy moment of hygge.

Whatever the sense of it I'm probably not doing hygge in a way that many Danes would recognise, but out here on the Costa Brava I'm making a valiant attempt to nail it. These sleepy down-days between Christmas and New Year, when the holiday mentality carries on regardless of whether there are bank holidays or not, seems to present the perfect opportunity to achieve moments of hygge.

Tuesday 22 November 2016

Ealing's swamp cypress ...

Today I'm loving a swamp Cypress - native of a mangrove swamp in the Florida Everglades, - that's made its home in Walpole Park. Who'd have thought? A swamp cypress? In Ealing?

Walpole Park, Ealing, London, W5
Ealing's Swamp Cypress