My New Toy

The vintage Dutch yarn swift I bought off Ebay arrived yesterday and it is so much more beautiful than I hoped – a beautifully carved and lovingly constructed work of art.  I love it to bits.

Here it is posing with some new yarn.  Ravelry is going to bankrupt us.

Why is all the equipment and stuff associated with knitting just so gorgeous?  It used to be so much easier to resist in the days of utilitarian metal needles and scratchy acrylic yarn.



We Have A Winner!

In its wisdom the all powerful Random Number Generator chose Jessica from Esthetic-Eclectic (which is a very fabulous new blog BTW) as its victim and she will shortly be receiving the four pretty puzzle books.


Jessica, if you’re reading this, get sorting your receipts and please get in touch with your postal address (I’ll also email you)

The rest of you – go and clean out your handbags and manbags immediately.


Making An Easter Tree

People have been wondering what an Easter tree actually is.  I think it’s originally a Northern European tradition (Swedish? German?) but is becoming increasingly popular in the UK.  We never had one when I was a child but I’ve made one every year since the Minx was born.


They’re very easy to do.  Just put some florists’ oasis/foam in a bucket; stick in some branches, (either flowering tree branches or some twisted willow as I’ve used here); cover the top with sphagnum moss; decorate with little wooden pastel-painted eggs and ornaments, and finish off with peculiar pompoms.


I found our little decorations, by Gisela Graham, a few years ago on Ebay, but I see that for US peeps Williams Sonoma is getting in on the act with some pretty wooden eggs, which are even on sale if you want to snap some up. If you were one of the crazy people who doesn’t like my pompoms, I sup-pose some pastel satin bows would do at a pinch.



Seattle Chocolates

Talking of pretty patterns, I know I’m supposed to be doing Weightwatchers, but a couple of these chocolate bars from Seattle Chocolates just happened to fall accidentally into our shopping trolley at the weekend.

Of course I only had one or two squares (who are you kidding? – Ed) but I’m pleased to report that they taste just as gorgeous as they look.

seattle chocolates

Oh and the below would make an extremely acceptable Easter egg substitute.



The Pompoms from the Black Lagoon – Another Adventure in Felt


507-1_mediumI don’t know quite how I got to this page on Ravelry but when I saw this pattern for peculiar Easter tree decorations, I knew I had to give them a try.










I used a yarn called DROPS Eskimo which is a super bulky (super chunky) 100% wool yarn from Norway and simply wound the yarn round mine and the Minx’s hands to create not very prepossessing bundles of yarn, tied in the middle with cotton thread. 


Six minutes each in the Wonderful Wonder Washer transformed them into furry alien pompom creatures.

Here they are drying out and basking in the sunshine.


The Husband thinks they look like these


I, on the other hand, am trying to decide whether they’re really really cool, or really, really naff.

I’m tending towards the former, but can see that from a certain perspective they might look like very chewed and disgusting dog toys.

Are these cool or crap?


Giveaway! – Pretty Puzzle Books

Everyone seems to be doing pretty patterned bookcovers nowadays – I posted recently about the Virago special editions and Penguin has recently got in on the act with foiled hardbacks designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, which I would dearly love to own. (More images here).


You too can now jump on the patterned book bandwagon with the new Spring collection of gorgeous little puzzle books from Andrews McMeel and the Puzzle Society


Each book is about the same size and shape as a Moleskine notebook but features a different, beautiful, embossed, foiled or flocked cover. It makes sense really – we take care to find pretty notebooks and pens to stash in our handbags, why should puzzle books be ugly?


To have a chance of winning all four of the books pictured, just tell me in the comments below what is the prettiest or ugliest thing you currently have in your handbag.  I’ll keep the competition open for a week and choose the winner using an unbribable random number generator (though you are welcome to try bribing ME). I’m also happy to ship anywhere in the world. You will need to make sure you leave an email address with your comment so I can contact you if you win.

Good luck!

I am so tempted to keep these for myself, as they really are rather attractive, but the chances of me finding a spare moment for puzzling, are, shall we say, somewhat remote.


The Dilemma of the Sh*t Brown Stairs

Slowly but surely, the colours for the main room are coming together (yes, I know it’s been ages but I’m still searching, vainly so far, for the right pink- and yes, I know you told me to paint it green).

One question on my mind at the moment is what to do with the stairs, which face directly into the main living room and are currently painted the most revolting shade of diarrhoea brown.


I’ve posted up a couple of ideas here and here with other staircase inspiration, but was flicking through an old Livingetc yesterday and came across this picture of Orla Kiely’s staircase in London which I rather like (though it is intrinsically a much more beautiful staircase than ours).  Though not in red.


What do you think? Have you seen any other good painted staircase ideas anywhere? I’m worried that painting a stripe will add an extra layer of complexity that the room doesn’t need, but it IS much more fun than just painting the stairs white.  The other option of course is just to find a door to replace the one which is currently missing, which we may still do whatever we end up doing with the stairs.


In the Background

Yesterday we went for a walk in Seattle’s rather splendid arboretum (say what you like about this city, but it is incredibly good at trees).

It’s been a long snowy winter in Seattle terms, so the spring flowers are only just unfurling, but it was a lovely day for a walk with my newly cleaned 60mm lens, which I am very happy to have back in my arms.






I’ve been using some of these images as desktop backgrounds and if you’d like to do the same, please feel free to nab them (got to my Flickr, select the image, choose ‘All Sizes’, open the ‘Large’ size, right click on the image and select ‘set as desktop background’).  Please remember that all images are my copyright.

Speaking of desktop backgrounds, check out the Kindred collaboration between Holly Becker and Heather ‘Ez’ Pudewa, who have collaborated with a number of artists to produce free artist desktop backgrounds (also downloadable notecards and gratitude notes).