Tuesday 31 May 2011


I am so happy to be back!! After over a week of being unable to add new posts my son discovered it was a simple time and date problem and fixed it for me. Hurray! 

I had even started a brand new blog but now I'll concentrate on adding a new post every day to Handmade Happiness.

Btw I made the bunting to see how hard it was to make bunting. Answer - not very hard especially if you don't bother with the bobbles - but as with all these projects it just takes much longer than you think it's going to!!
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Monday 30 May 2011

Knitting Roses

These rose brooches are fun to make and give me a good excuse to buy more yarn.

My favourite place is Peter Jones in Sloane Square. They have a great selection of cottons, yarn made from bamboo, yarn made from milk (well a constituent of milk anyway); silk and wool mixes and I admire the textures of Rowan tweeds and the fabulous colours of Noro that change as you knit.

If I meet my daughter we enjoy a cup of tea on the fifth floor looking down over the roof tops of London.

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Sunday 29 May 2011


 These pretty bottles contain healthy tea drinks. You wouldn't want to throw one away would you?
When travelling I love to collect colourful food packaging papers to re-use in collages later.

Monday 16 May 2011

Keeping Chickens

 When I was younger I used to  think I'll keep chickens, grow vegetables and be self-sufficient once my children have 'flown the coop'.
 But now, living in Petersfield, in the countryside where a lot of people  run small holdings, have an allotment and/ or keep chickens the idea has lost its appeal. I hear about the many ailments chickens are prone to. Of how it just seems to be a matter of time before the fox gets in and kills the lot.

During the war my grandmother kept chickens - for eggs and for the pot. And when rationing is in force I can see it makes sense to keep chickens. But now when Tesco does a good free range egg for around £1.50 a box it seems energies are better focused on growing expensive fruit or vegetables.
 Last night I traded rhubarb with my neighbour for my spinach. Right now I have lots of wild strawberries and the raspberries are coming on well.
Actually, what about quail? I've just heard that quail are more or less problem free ...!

Sunday 15 May 2011

Bloomin' hayfever season!

 Has anyone else got a dry cough that keeps them awake at night? Someone told me it's (allegedly) caused by rapeseed pollen. Those rolling fields of bright yellow. If I'm going to get hayfever I generally get it in June but everything seems to be a month early this year.

Saturday 14 May 2011

New Deryn Relph cushions

Deryn has just delivered this colourful pile of knitted cushions to Tricot Too, Petersfield. She is also currently exhibiting at the Theatre Royal, Winchester.

My favourite piece is this lampshade. I can imagine it in my hallway. One for the Christmas list sugar daddy?...!!

Friday 13 May 2011

Tricot Too and powder blue ekta

 These clothes are so pretty and summery. The blue tops are by ekta; white cardigans by Lauren Vidal and white skirt and cut off trousers by Ultimate Mik's.

Thursday 12 May 2011

Wild Damson

 A new shop has opened in Dragon Street, Petersfield this week. Wild Damson sells painted furniture at reasonable prices. I particularly like the little kitchen table on the left.

Nice lights

Saw these lampshades in a cafe in Amsterdam.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Van Gogh Museum

 When we saw the length of the queue outside we nearly didn't go in.

 Van Gogh 1853 - 1890 was  determined to be recognised as an artist.He eventually went into an asylum and then shot himself in the chest, dying at the early age of 37. His younger brother, Theo  always supported him both morally and sometimes financially. Tragically, Theo died just three years after Vincent. They both seem like heroes to me.

It was interesting to see at the museum how Van Gogh tried to copy the popular artists of his day, and that when he developed his own style (The Potato Eaters) it just wasn't appreciated. He was good friends with Gaugin for a while but maybe Gaugin didn't battle with poverty the way Van Gogh did when nothing he painted would sell. Theo gave him the money for paints and I wonder whether some of the very dark work is just because he couldn't afford a range of colours.

Would he be pleased if he could see  hundreds of people now queuing and then paying 14 euros each to see his work today?
 Why are artists often only appreciated after their deaths?

Monday 9 May 2011

Puccini, Amsterdam

We shared this delicious chocolate cake in Puccini's as part of a wonderful lunch on day one.

We would never have found this cafe if I hadn't been navigating.  Searching for the Pancake Bakery (west) I confidently marched my daughter east - to completely the other side of town.

We had already found Puccini Bomboni, a handmade chocolate shop with so heady a smell of quality chocolate you wished you could bottle it for sniffing in life's not so good moments.

At Puccini we ate toasted foccacia sandwiches stuffed with grilled vegetables, freshly made pesto and pine nuts. Heaven on a plate for vegetarian me. Then the cake with the best cup of tea we had in Amsterdam.

Aren't British people strange, always wanting tea to be just the way we make it back home?

Sunday 8 May 2011

Lauren Vidal in Tricot Too

 The top picture is all Lauren Vidal designs.
 In the picture above the top is Lauren Vidal over an Avoca vest and Out of Xile trousers.

Where we stayed

 This gorgeous old poster was on the door to our room at the Hotel Keizershof in Amsterdam. Our room was called the Rita Hayworth. We could have had the Mae West.

The rooms are clean and comfortable.Very central, overlooking a canal on one side and gardens the other, I would recommend this bed and breakfast to anyone fit and active. It's the stairs you see. We were on the third floor and the steep stairs go steeply up and round. It feels a bit like climbing a bell tower. But it's worth it.

The breakfasts are a credit to the friendly owner. Pancakes with stroop - a syrup a bit like maple syrup; all kinds of cereals with fruits. Tasty toasted fruit bread and mini croissants and pain au chocolat. Lots of energy for walking round the city all day!

Saturday 7 May 2011

Amusing sights

 Amsterdam is an easy place to walk around.
We saw the line of ladies in a market. They'd be scary in an episode of Dr Who don't you think?
The life-sized  upside-down penguins are on a shop ceiling. I practically fell down the steps into the shop trying to take a good picture of them!

Friday 6 May 2011

Amsterdam shopping

We did a lot of looking, not much spending, but we did actually part with our money in the two stores above.

The pretty gift shop pictured top, had a fine selection of gifts and cards.

The fabrics in Capsicum were a delight. Crewel work, ikat, block printed linens, embroidered sari silks; patchwork throws; all carefully chosen. I saw a brightly coloured necklace each bead made of sewn fabric which I had to have. I was almost as pleased with how it was then wrapped and put in a newspaper handmade gift bag.   http://www.capsicum.nl/

Scotch and Soda clothes

 Soft, soft cottons displayed in a funky way.This Amsterdam shop inspired me.
Men's shirts hung with the hanger hook through the sleeve; t-shirts folded in triangles; jeans on butchers' hooks from a belt loop. Items bulldog clipped to hangers. Upstairs the soft colours and New England style made us want to try everything on.
 See the clothes at http://www.scotch-soda.com/

Thursday 5 May 2011

Come to Amsterdam with me!

After two days away I am buzzing with all I have seen!

Amsterdam buildings overlooking canals. Our hotel was like this.

The city is full of bikes, like swarms of locusts they pay no attention to traffic lights, people text and speak on their phones whilst pedalling. Pedestrians must keep their wits about them to avoid being run over!

 The tulips - I wanted to photograph tulips but apparently with the long hard winter it's not been a good year for them. The floating Bloemenmarkt was more a testament to the popular fabric and wood flowers than to the real thing. But walking through it - it's easy walking everywhere, was a joyful experience. People are relaxed and friendly, it's clean. Highly recommend it.
 Next post - the shops! 

Monday 2 May 2011

A special stamp

 Can't wait to share what I find on holiday.
Back in two days with lots of fresh inspiration. Take care and be happy while I'm away!

Sunday 1 May 2011

Flowers and Birds

 The view from my front window.

Yesterday I visited my mother's house that overlooks a pond. She had spoken about the heron that sits on the rocks. As I gazed across from the garden I was lucky enough to see the heron take flight with a raven in hot pursuit. As they circled overhead I admired the wingspan and the trailing legs of the heron. Telling my mother about it she said, 'Oh yes those ravens are a pest. They see off all the other birds.'
Question: Are ravens and rooks the same bird?