Friday, 30 September 2011

autumn is ... springing?

Although the summer has come to a close (officially, although the weather this week has been HOT!) my little collection of plants have been doing very well indeed. Here is a little show and tell of all their new shoots - i am so pleased. I have never really been one for plants so am feeling very happy about their success:

First i will show you my hoya (wax plant) this was really touch and go over the summer as these are some cutting's from my mum's plant - but there are so many new shoots on there now I think she is out of the woods.

I really love the flowers on this so i really hope i will get some next year.

Next i must show you this photo I took back in july of a spider plant i rescued from work:

not so hot back then.
but NOW look.
the same plant on the magic windowsill:

It has even got a branch with flowers! and little baby spider plants. i've had a lot of spider plants in my time but none of them have ever done this! Perhaps it was the tasteful pot i put him in. Although i think a lot of my success has been finding the right windowsills for the right plants. This one as been on the south facing side all summer and must love the sun.

Next is my christmas cactus (on the north side!)

there you can see the little tiny bobles of growth (the darker bits). I am pleased this is growing - it is just some cuttings from Rich's mum and some from my mum so i like that this plant runs in the family. Although not all of the leaves have new growth yet, they all have new roots so I am happy with this one.

And do you remember the tomato plant?

Well, it appears that little root was no fluke as now there is quite a lot of root from that tiny shoot!!

I decided (on Deb's good advice) that it was perhaps time to pot them so they could reap the nutrients of the earth. So here he is in his new home. Not looking so healthy i suppose, but i know that below ground he is doing well! He is on the magic windowsill now with the spider plant so i hope there will be some more magic.

This week also i ordered some paperwhite narcissus bulb. I heard that this is the right time for planting bulbs into your garden for the spring and it got me looking about for something i could grow indoors. I thought it would be nice to have some bulbs over winter which would flower in the spring to give me a sign of hope. However, i think with these ones growing indoors, i might have flowers for christmas which would be even more lovely i think. I hope my chirstmas cactus will flower too so i have a home full of blooms in the deep mid winter.

I have quite a lot of plants now, even more than i told you about here - they are a lovely new hobby to have. And lovely for making the house a home. My cousin has started a blog now and she has a whole garden so you must definitely take a look! We have a lot of shared interests I think.

Yours horticulturally,
Emilia. xxx

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Dressmaking once more

Tonight I had my first dressmaking for beginners and improvers class. It looks like a lovely group although i didn't really get to speak to many people yet. There is a very sweet one though called Iris. I want to be her friend a lot. She just seemed to be doing what she liked and setting her own agenda for discussions so i think she is a good influence. And she had a lovely apron for sewing - something I think I would like myself.

this is the sort of thing Iris wore - probably from her younger days

The class i think is about half and half with beginners and improvers so it will be nice to see what everyone gets up to. There are three of us from last year's pattern cutting and our teacher is the same as before so she said we can do what we would like. We have been set the task of buying a skirt pattern and the fabric for homework (Julia says she will be stricter on homework - I think this will be good for me) so this means really I need to find a good pattern or draw one sharpish and get my fabric and everything else too. The beginners are all so keen I fear I won't keep up!

I had in my mind that I wanted to do a dress, but as everyone will be doing a skirt (except Iris - she's doing a dress) I think I will put my dress idea on hold and use this first term to sort out a really simple and well fitting skirt pattern and practise making it up to perfection (or the best I can). I think this will be a big challenge for me as I do have a tendency to cut corners and rush the stages.

I think one problem with the projects i took on last year was that they were a bit too fussy (especially the Fendi style dress), and not really the sort of things i like to wear which are really quite simple. This is probably not good for the class where I'm meant to be pushing the boat out, but i think there is enough challenge in achieving a beautiful finish.

I will need to get a move on, but am pleased to find my toile from the blocks i made last year fits much better than i remember and it should be a very easy alteration to create a pencil skirt pattern. I started to do a little research and found this picture which i think is nice:

It is called a reeba pencil skirt and I found it here on the channel 4 style page - good for an hourglass shape apparently (i am hoping good to create one - not that you need one to start with)

This would really fit the bill as is so simple, but with a little bit of design in the darts and waistband. I will do a little more research though to see what i can see. It's not really so different to the skirt i made last year so perhaps that pattern will be the one to use again (although i have not worn that one so much - i think it has needed an iron for a while!)

As for the fabric - well, i knew what i wanted there, and now have bought it! Some black wool crepe from linton direct. I know it doesn't sound very exciting at all, but I have been needing to make a black skirt for a long time and I hope that this will really be lovely stuff to ensure it is the nicest black skirt it can be. I also rather impulsively got a little bit of grey white and blue houndstooth which was on sale (it is nice to buy a couple of pieces to help justify the postage costs) I had seen this before and i love this style for a skirt. Also this is silk and viscose blend so i am really looking forward to seeing what it's like. I'll give you a peek when it arrives too!

wow - a lot of activity for one day. I feel like this is the kick start my inner dressmaker really needed.

yours back in the swing,
Emilia. x

Sunday, 25 September 2011

a new house for mouse

here is my mouse (Roberovski he's called) in his NEW crocheted den.

He is warm in there.

Now that the nights are beginning to feel chilly it is very important for mouse to have a warm place to sleep, especially since his brother, Robert, died - no one to cuddle. He has a lovely knitted house, but sometimes it needs a wash so i made this one with a bit of crochet as a stand in for those occasions.

When i gave it to him, he knew what to do straight away and climbed in and went to sleep. I was happy about that.

He also sits on the top of the house to eat his dinner! I think he really likes it a lot.

Goodnight mouse,
Emilia. xx

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Miracle grow

Hello and let me show you something really amazing.

A few weeks ago i was looking after my friend Beth's tomato plant when she went on holiday and took a little stem to try to propagate (with her permission of course) This was a good few weeks ago now, and i just put the cutting in some water and left it alone as much as i could (i am very impatient with plants - rate of growth is so slow ) I knew that it would be a couple of weeks before anything happened.

This week I have been looking at it and beginning to feel hope was gone.


But i looked at the stem a couple of days ago and there was a little blob of white at the end. I thought perhaps it was decay.

BUT LOOK! (i don't actually know if you can see) it's grown a ROOT.

I am so excited. There has been a lot of tomato plant action amongst friends this summer and I am keen to get in on the action for next year. I am not sure if this little shrivel will ever produce - but now i feel that if it just survives and grows even one leaf I will be triumphant.

Perhaps it is since i have been putting the radio on in the morning?

Yours green cross fingered,
Emilia. xxx

Friday, 23 September 2011

new look

did you notice?

Happy Birthday Deer Eleanor

On wednesday it was Eleanor's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SPECIAL FRIEND!

We had a really lovely celebration - a lovely italian meal with friends, and a little bit too much complimentary limoncello. oops.

I have been really enjoying handmaking gifts just recently. it's lovely when you give yourself lots of time. i think i was previously traumatised by a handmade christmas - but I am feeling encouraged once more.

I found some lovely soft cream wool in Yorkshire, a little while ago now, and (as Rich said it best) it is the perfect combination of Nanna and Baby which made it good for Eleanor's tastes.

I made her a scarf knitted in blackberry stitch. It's a lovely bobble effect. I will write a small lesson on blackberry stitch below - it is a nice one for scarves. I found it in my book, Mary Thomas's book of Knitting Patterns. She also recommends that it is good for jumpers, borders, hats and bags.

I wish you much warmth and comfort with this item dear friend.

Much love,
Emilia. xx

(ps. and of course there was cake - dolly mixture galore)

ps. can you tell i have been using photoshop?? perhaps a little obvious with this neon cake!!

Blackberry stitch (also known as bramble stitch and trinity stitch):
Here is how to achieve this effect (thank you Mary Thomas):

Cast on stitches in a multiple of 4 plus 4 edge stitches
(start with a wrong side row)
Row 1: k2, *(k1,p1,k1) into next stitch to make 3; pass yarn to front of work and p3tog; pass yarn back * and repeat from * to * across row until 2 stitches remain; k2
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: k2, *p3tog; (k1,p1,k1) into the next stitch* Repeat from * to * across row and k2 to finish.
Row 4: Purl

Repeat these 4 rows.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Today i had my first photoshop experience!

I signed up to use photoshop online, just for a little experiment really. I am not all that good with photos and technology, but really love all the great banners and pictures i see on blogs and online shops and thought it might be a good thing to look into.

The online version is really very basic i think, but still a bit better than the photo editor i have - i think because each option (things like exposure, saturation, enhance) gives about 6 different variations of the effect so it's really easy to just choose the one you think looks the best, even if you don't really know what it means (like me). There is also a retouch tool which was confusing me to begin with, but did start making a bit more sense.

Look what I managed to do for my etsy shop banner:

^ before and after v

This was just a photo of one of my labels but the retouching and brightening has made it much nicer- don't you think. I like how much more shiny the gold is - it's like it was washed!

Now i am playing with the colours too. lots of things i can do.

I am hoping it means i might be able to jazz up my blog too. that would be grand.


Technologically yours,

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


I just really wanted to show and tell these gems i found on an etsy browse (/binge) Knitting needles! As bracelets!

I really love the vintage plastic knitting needles - i am always on the look out for them in the charity shops - they are so much nicer than the modern design and it does make a difference i'm sure. It's like my inability to knit anything black - just too dull.  I am not sure why so many knitting needles are grey? answers on a postcard.

I don't even know the name of the lady who makes them, but her shop is called sewnewthings so do have a look! I have no idea how she can make a knitting needle curl up like that! maybe some sort of magic?

Now I must get ready for ice cream for dinner in honour of Eleanor's Day of birth (maybe i will have a pizza for starters)


Emilia. xxx

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Little cakes

Oh my dears - the weather has turned and so have my spirits. I can not believe this summer is ending? However - I am working on many bright and beautiful things to help cheery up my days. They are for my shop - but as I keep starting things and not quite finishing them there's nothing to see here yet.

lots of ends to tie up! 

However, I am very much enjoying myself at etsy at the moment. Although i am not really being much of a salesman - i am enjoying some window shopping (and some just normal buying type shopping) and have found some beautiful shops and blogs because of it.

Today i am happy because i am learning french from Stephanie on her blog Petit Plat. She is an absolute genius (genie absolu) making tiny little foods. i love the tiny christmas cookies (although i know i need to quell my festive excitement for a little while yet - at least until after bonfire night)



Little black dress

Last week i was overcome with inspiration, and in rather a hurry, I cut into the black linton tweed i purchased a little while ago.

This one made lots of mess on our sitting room carpet due to much of a fray. I was a little nervous that the seam allowances would fray right down and the whole dress would just come apart when i wore it. But luckily this hasn't yet happened and has been an all round gem. 

it seems to be a little difficult to take a picture of a black dress... 

I am really pleased - the fabric is thick and woolly, but with a lightness and drape to it - you can see that the weave here leaves it almost a little transparent. It is lovely stuff!

Soon I am starting my dressmaking evening class on a wednesday (next wednesday!!) it is with my same teacher as pattern cutting so she said it would be good to be able to still get help with patterns, but also develop with the dressmaking side too. I am looking forward to it, not just for the learning, but also to be able to put aside some time for dressmaking.

i have an idea for my first project already!

Yours, lady in black,
Emilia. xxxx

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Lovely Gloves

In the summer I went to stay with my nanny and granddad in yorkshire. It was so lovely to spend time with them. I have a lot on common with my nanny as she also loves to make things. 

As a present, she said i could take some of her old knitting needles (i love the old coloured and plastic ones the best!) and also this book, Knitting for all (illustrated!)

 it's a little bit grubby on the cover - but it think it's in good condition for 66 years old

Inside is such a delight - so many vintage gems and so many great pictures  - the captions are amazing!

My first project from the book is a pair of gloves. I liked this pattern a lot because they were knitted on just two needles, and had a lovely pattern on them. I've never knitted gloves before so a good one to try.

I also chose these because they are made in a 4ply and I really love Rowan pure wool 4ply at the moment. I used it for my christmas moss detail jumper and also my raspberry cardigan and also the socks i made for mum. This time i used the same blue as the jumper again as it's such a lovely vintage shade.

And the result is most pleasant i would say. I have decided to put these ones for sale in my new shop (a new project for me!) but definitely want a pair of these for myself now so has gone on my list of projects. I am still working on my little shortie for myself at the moment. I have noticed that the season now is changing a little so i think the knitting pace will be picking up momentum very soon.

Yours cable hands,
Emilia. xxxxx