Site moved to mirrormirrorblog.com/2010/02, redirecting in 1 second...

« January 2010 | Main | March 2010 »

25 posts from February 2010

26 February 2010

REALLY Cool Printed Fabric – ManoAllaMano

 

Or Benetton ads in quilting cotton.

Goodness but you guys are clever sometimes.

A regular commenter round these parts is Designer Mama – ManoAllaMano who lives in Seattle and has a young daughter adopted from Haiti. She is also a very talented photographer and graphic designer.

kids-fabric

She couldn’t find any fabric that reflected her particular situation, and so, as you do, decided to design some of her own. It was such a big hit with her daughter, that she has come up with other permutations reflecting other variations of ‘non-typical’ American families – two mommies, two daddies, adoptive families, single parents, multi-racial etc.– and has just launched an Etsy shop, selling both quilting and upholstery weight fabrics.

This fabric seriously makes me want to learn to sew. I’d love to make the Minx something with this. It would also look fabulous framed (which may be the route I decide to go). Isn’t it just too cool?

IMG_0242

C3

E

H 3 small for etsy

I small for web

Brasato al barolo

or, as it’s known chez us, ‘Italian pot roast’.

The beauty of this dish is that it really is p*ss easy to make and yet so very splendid that you could honestly serve it next time the Queen drops in for supper.

The recipe is a classic from my mother’s home region of Piemonte, though the actual recipe I use is from the fabulous The Food of Italy by the incomparable Claudia Roden, which I’ve had in my collection for years and is to my mind one of the very best books out there on Italian cooking.

IMG_3741

Roughly chop an onion and three-ish carrots and crush a couple of cloves of garlic.  My mother (and Claudia Roden concurs) would also chop and add a couple of stalks of celery.  However, since I consider cooked celery to be the work of the devil it is resolutely lacking in my version. 

Saute’ the chopped vegetables in a tablespoon or three of olive oil until soft.  Then add a sprig of rosemary and a big lump of beef suitable for potroasting.  My beef lump was labelled ‘chuck’ and ‘ideal for pot roasts’ in my US supermarket.  I’m not sure what the UK equivalent would be.  The most important thing is that it comes marbled with fat, as in the magnificent specimen above.

Brown the meat on all sides and then throw the meat, vegetables and rosemary in the slow cooker.  If you don’t have one of these, this can also be made in your finest Dutch oven/casserole dish.

IMG_3746

Then add a PINT of red wine. Barolo – the magnificent red wine of Piemonte – is recommended, but it is also fiendishly expensive, so probably best reserved for when you actually do have the Queen coming over. I referred myself to Google for the best substitution and was pointed in the direction of either a cabernet sauvignon or zinfandel.  I used a nice-ish Californian zinfandel for my version - the wine is quite prominent in this dish, so you may want to take a step up from really cheap supermarket plonk.  I also add a tablespoon of tomato puree/paste at this point, because my mother would, but Claudia doesn’t and you don’t have to.

And that’s pretty much it.  Cook for 6-8 hours on LOW in the slow cooker, or 2-3 hours in a casserole dish, or until the meat is meltingly tender.

When it’s done hoik out the meat and rosemary and whizz the juices and vegetables together with your hand blender to create a smooth unctuous deeply flavoured sauce. Season with salt, pepper and a little freshly ground nutmeg to taste.

IMG_4454

I like to serve this with some mashed potato to which a little truffle oil has been added and some carrots, which have been sliced thinly and gently sauted in olive oil and garlic for about 20 mins until soft and browning at the edges.  This is the way Italians cook carrots and is by far my favourite way of preparing them.

Buon appetito!

24 February 2010

Fancy Hotel of the Week – the Wickanninish Inn

 

aka (by the uber-geeky Husband anyway), the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

IMG_4107

This is where we were lucky enough to stay last week in Tofino. The Wick is a 4* Relais et Chateaux hotel perched on the most glorious and enormous beach way out on the westernmost tip of Vancouver Island. There is something utterly beguiling and sobering about looking out to sea and knowing that the next stop is Japan or something.

IMG_4130

The view from our balcony

We went in February with the intention of hunkering down and ‘storm-watching’, instead, we had the most incredible sunny weather and were truly able to enjoy the beach and the stunning natural surroundings.

Which you can do without ever leaving the bar thanks to the amazing nearly 360 degree views from the restaurant.

IMG_4237

The other thing which sets this place apart is the food, which was insanely good, some of the best I’ve eaten in North America.

Everything we had, from different freshly squeezed juices every morning, to the homemade breads, to the wonderful seafood, to spaghetti and meatballs for the Minx was utterly delicious and clearly made with only the freshest and best ingredients.  And it was so nice to come back from a grubby afternoon at the beach and drink paradisical cocktails/hot chocolate. 

IMG_3954

Breakfast! Just the best smoked salmon bagel I’ve ever had in my life

As for the decor, it’s all pretty standard North American ‘lodge’ stuff  - all hewn timber and earth-toned textiles (which frankly were looking a little tired round the edges, why not replace them and add some colour next time?) – which, as you know, is not exactly my cup of tea.

However, this was really well done for the genre, with lots of local art and thoughtful touches everywhere – art glass, Native American wood carving,  driftwood furniture, a soaring copper fireplace, stone statues of local wildlife and a gorgeous copper screen of swimming salmon.

Sleeping Beauty

As an aside, and for those of you who care about such things,  the hotel was also super child-friendly, but in a very grown up way.  The staff could not have been friendlier and kinder to the Minx, who fell in love with the hotel the minute she found the basket of beach toys they had thoughtfully supplied in the room. Best of all they provide complimentary babysitting, so parents can go and have dinner in the restaurant. Other hotels please take note.

But at the end of the day it was mostly all about this

IMG_4168

and this

IMG_4162

and this

IMG_4197 

and this

IMG_4229

23 February 2010

A Walk Up My Street

This comes with huge apologies for all those of you struggling with yet more snow in the UK and on the East Coast.

tobefiled

This is what has been happening in that crazy parallel universe we call Seattle, where we’ve been having an unseasonably mild and rainfree winter. This is all happening within a block of my house – you can smell the heady perfume in the streets. Have you ever seen so much insane loveliness in February?  More on Flickr.

22 February 2010

The Office Project

I’m horrified to admit that this is the current state of mirrormirror’s intergalactic headquarters.

 IMG_3720

I’m the first to admit that I’m not the world’s tidiest person, but even I can see that this is ridiculous and severely hampering my productivity.

IMG_3723

IMG_3724

I’m giving myself three weeks to sort this out and turn it into a haven of tranquillity and humming productivity and doing little blog updates along the way.  Does anyone care to join me?  Just think how much happier you’ll feel. Link to a ‘before’ post on your blog below, and let the tidying and filing begin!

If you need inspiration take a look at Nicole Making It Lovely’s office.  I’m just going to read that and weep. 

If this gets a lot of interest, I’ll see if I can sort out a prize for the tidiest and most beautiful office.

Tweet, Tweet

sandp2

Being at the forefront of technological innovation as I am, I’ve just arrived in the world of Twitter. Still trying to figure it all out but my handle is mirrormirrorxx (yes, very naff, but the best I could do).  Who are good/witty/amusing people to follow? Do you guys find Twitter useful? Or is it just another huge time suck? (Like I don’t have enough of those in my life). Will I be seeing you there?

Tweety stacking salt and pepper pots above by Hannah Tofalos are from mirrormirror.

19 February 2010

A New Me - the Bald Hobbit

 

IMG_4374

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been a bit worried that I might have to give up on my running before I’d really even got in the groove.  Each time I’ve gone out my knee (with its torn anterior cruciate ligament) has been getting more and more sore and has been needing tons of ice after a run.  Even more worryingly even walking was becoming increasingly painful – which it never normally is.

I started fishing round the Internet and found more and more information on ‘barefooting’, which says that humans have evolved to run barefoot and that many sports injuries are actually caused by the heavy cushioned sports shoes we wear. More on the science here

I read that running barefoot was particularly good for plantar fasciitis, which you might recall I’ve also been suffering from, and for knee injuries. So as a bit of a last resort I bought a pair of Vibram Five Fingers KSOs (Keep Stuff Out), which have been designed to mimic the effects of running barefoot while providing a layer of protection against hazardous terrain.

They were waiting for me when we got back and yesterday I went for my first run in them. And what a revelation they were.  For the first time in years, my run was pretty much pain free and really quite delightful. It’s great to feel more connected with the terrain. Who knew how soft and pleasant grass and mud can be to run in? And I’m sure their lightness made me run a little faster.

They are of course just a teensy bit embarrassing (though the Minx finds them hilarious). Next time you see someone lumbering past like a geriatric buffalo with hobbit feet do stop to say hello.

Sunny Days are Here Again

 

Oh, but we had the most fabulous time in Vancouver Island.

The clouds parted as we arrived in Victoria and after that it was sunshine all the way.  We are so lucky to live in this part of the world.

IMG_3824

 

IMG_4163

Yes, this is the Minx.  In her swimmers. In the ocean.  In Canada. In February.

IMG_4291

IMG_3846   IMG_4204

IMG_4249

 IMG_3835

IMG_4024

 IMG_4220

IMG_4284

 IMG_4276     IMG_4184

IMG_3893

IMG_4345

LOTS more where these came from on my Flickr and on Facebook. It truly was a photographers’ paradise.

14 February 2010

Go Vancouver!

IMG_8544

Watching the Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver Games, I was reminded again what an incredibly stunning corner of the world I’ve accidentally ended up in.  Many of the themes of the ceremony – the Native American imagery, the salmon and whales, the juxtaposition of mountains and sea, would equally apply to Seattle, which is, after all, only 150 miles to the south.

IMG_8549

We’ve been to Vancouver a few times since arriving here and love it to bits. Lots of pictures of Vancouver and Whistler here, here, here and here

IMG_8565

12 February 2010

Happy Valentines’ Day

 

Don’t you just hope you’ll be getting one of these?

A New Me – February 2010, BodyBugg Here I Come!

 

IMG_1966 IMG_3697

              November 2009                                    February 2010

So, my body is a perfectly calibrated precision MACHINE. Perfectly calibrated, that is, to remain at 172 lbs (12 stone 4lbs) whatever I throw at it.

To be fair to my body, I did lose a couple of pounds in the first half of the month when I was working out a lot and being good, but slacked off a bit on the workouts and ate rather more than was necessary in the middle (which coincided with a certain time of the month, isn’t that always the way?) to get back to precisely where I started.

I definitely think I’m looking more toned though.  My workout regime this month has mostly been a mix of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred  DVD and continuing with Couch25K where I have now just finished week 4. Is anyone else still C25King along?

The Jillian Michaels DVD came very strongly recommended by Megan Not Martha and it is really good.  It’s a pretty tough workout which seems to cover all the bases (I’ve been alternating workouts 1 and 2 recently, haven’t yet plucked up the courage to try workout 3). The best thing about it though is that each workout is only 20 minutes long – so just when I’m really hating it, it finishes.

I’m REALLY enjoying C25K and can feel myself progressing from run to run.  I still run like a crippled geriatric buffalo but can now actually keep going at a slow but steady pace.  Week 5 is supposed to culminate with a 20 minute run which would have seemed impossible a few short weeks ago.  The really good news is that my plantar fasciitis has not got any worse and the torn ligaments in my right knee are just about keeping together (every run is painful, but not excessively so).  Of course, it would help enormously if I lost some weight. Do you hear that body?

In other fitness regime news, I have bought a Body Bugg!  You know those strange armband thingies that contestants wear on the Biggest Loser? What they do is precisely measure exactly how many calories you are using during the day (though if you still want to measure your daily calorie deficit you still have to upload intricate details of exactly what you’ve eaten).

I initially just bought the armband, which you wear all day and from which you upload your calorie usage and the number of steps you’ve taken to your computer. I was given a target calorie burn of 2250 per day (and 10,000 steps) which, if I ate around 1750 calories per day, a not excessively strict target) would mean losing about a pound a week.

I’ve been using it for a week or two and the results so far have been intriguing. Working from home as I do, and particularly now that the Minx is at school so I’m not running round after her all day, I can be INCREDIBLY sedentary.  On a normal sedentary day I only burn around 1700 calories, and one day burnt as few as 1450.  No wonder my weight has been creeping up slowly over the past few years! Every morsel I ate over 1700 calories was going straight to my humungous boobs (there have been a LOT of sedentary days in the last year or so).

Even 30 minutes of exercise added to my normal sedentary lifestyle only gets me to around a burn of 2000 calories a day, which would mean a very small loss if I exercised every day and maintenance if I exercised 3-4 times a week, which is EXACTLY what was happening. (And there I was wondering why a few hours of desultory exercise a week weren’t having any effect).

In order to get to 2250 calories, I either have to work out for an hour EVERY day, or add a lot more movement to my normal lifestyle (running up and down the stairs a bit more, taking movement breaks when at my desk, doing lunges in commercial breaks, going out for walks etc).

Capfsdfasfure

Here’s yesterday’s chart. I slept until just gone seven.  I spent the morning running errands and tidying up the house, went for a run around noon and then spent the afternoon at my computer and the evening watching TV.  

The only problem with having just the armband is that I wouldn’t usually upload my data until the end of the day, so it was very easy to have a bad day and then think ‘oh sod it’ at midnight. So a couple of days ago I took delivery of the ‘digital display’  - a watch like thingy which you wear on your wrist and which tells you how many calories you’ve burned and how many steps you’ve taken – which has transformed my level of engagement with the device.  I’ve been using it the last couple of days and have hit my ‘burn’ on both days, by exercising and generally running around the house and walking in the neighbourhood a bit more. It’s scary to see how slowly the calories tick by otherwise.

So my aim for this month is to hit 2250 calories ‘burn’ EVERY. SINGLE. DAY and see if that gets things moving. Onwards and upwards! (It better work because it was pretty expensive).

It’s going to be interesting next week as we’re heading off on Sunday for Vancouver Island firstly to visit my friend in Victoria and then off to Tofino to stay at the Wickaninnish Inn. I’m hoping that walks on the beach will be enough as I find it doubtful that I will only be eating 1700 calories a day. Bloggery might be a bit sparse over the next few days as well.

11 February 2010

500 Pencils – Social Designer

Like Happytape, these have probably been all over blogland several times already, but it’s the first time I’ve seen them and they make me spectacularly happy.

500 Pencils from Social Designer is a subscription service where you’re sent 25 coloured pencils a month over a period of 20 months, which builds up into this incredible collection.

aurora_4

They also sell acrylic display cases, because of course you wouldn’t want to use these pencils, just gaze at them in awe and wonderment and gently rearrange them. They even have five hundred beautiful names (my dream job would be naming paints, or lipsticks or nail polish or something). I’m trying to persuade the Husband that, in comparison with most art installations, they work out to be incredibly cheap.

orchestra_5

color_wave_1

Lonny Magazine – or The Art of Arranging Clutter on Trays

 

So I peeked at the latest issue of Lonny magazine this morning. The good news is that it is better than the first issue. The bad news is that it still isn’t very good.

The layout and general design has improved and is cleaner and crisper. They’ve got rid of the fussily ornate boxes round various paragraphs and all the different fonts.  The houses featured are perhaps slightly more varied and eclectic - though they’re not exactly ground breaking in their originality. The photographs remain fabulous, and now you can click through to the stockists. They’ve got rid of the execrable fashion pages and the cover is slightly more appealing. In short they’ve worked on many of the things we pointed out when it first came out

But some major problems remain.  Firstly no one is editing the photos. They’ve still got a bad case of the  ‘just because it’s online we’ve thrown in every picture we took and you can choose which ones you like best’. Caagapture

OK, so it’s Prada, but why exactly is this arty close up of someone’s makeup bag doing in an interiors mag? Are you inspired by it? Or could the fact that you can click through to Saks Fifth Avenue from it be making for some clumsy product placement?

And the stylist has been working overtime – everything has been ‘styled’ to within an inch of its life. And I use the word stylist in the singular advisedly, because, with the exception of the Kelly Wearstler hotel spread (which is actually, incredibly, almost OK), every house ends up being full of exactly the same stylists’ tricks.

First up there’s, ARRANGE PRETTY CLUTTER ON TRAYS.

Capereture

The stylist even points that one out for us, and yes, it can be useful trick round the house. But there is such a thing as overkill. (And yes, these carefully styled images of pretty clutter on trays are all supposed to be from different houses).

 Lonny3

Another trick is PILE UP BOOKS AND MAGAZINES, PREFERABLY ON SOMEWHERE IMPRACTICAL LIKE A CHAIR OR WITH SOMETHING HEAVY LIKE A PLANT ON TOP SO THAT THEY CAN NEVER BE READ. (On this basis my bedside table is a work of stylistic genius).  Again this trick is somewhat overused, and again these are supposed to be different people’s houses.

Lonny31

Other tricks I noticed.

ARRANGE LOTS AND LOTS OF LITTLE PICTURES IN CUTE GALLERIES ON THE WALLS

COVER EVERY CHAIR OR SOFA THAT ISN’T COVERED WITH BOOKS WITH CUSHIONS

HANG LOTS OF NECKLACES ON THINGS

but I’ll leave you to find examples of those for yourselves.

In other amazing coincidences. Most of the people whose houses are featured seem to have a penchant for turquoise necklaces.

Lonny32

And Lonny people have very similar drinking habits. (Bar trays or ARRANGE PRETTY BOTTLES ON TRAYS is obviously a subset of ARRANGE PRETTY CLUTTER ON TRAYS).

Here are three different bar trays in three different houses. Notice any similarities?

Lonny33

Other spooky similarities include the astonishing love of Ikat shared by the owners of different houses (particularly for Madeline Weinrib Ikat pillows it seems), the love of lucite lamps and light fixtures,  and the fact that they share many favourite brands, such as Diptyque and Louis Vuitton.

And therein lies the crux of the problem – Lonny is the product of a husband and wife team (and kudos to them for putting it together), but ultimately it shows. It reflects one person’s taste in interiors, one person’s photographic style, one person’s (somewhat cliche’d) approach to styling, and one person’s hamfisted approach to product placement, which ends up giving it a very bland uniformity throughout. They desperately need to get other stylists and photographers involved pronto quick (preferably ones that don’t have such a love of clutter, even if it is arranged prettily).

Having said which flicking through the pages finding all the amazing coincidences has been the most fun I’ve had with a shelter mag in a long while.  What stylistic cliches did you spot?

09 February 2010

Aminals

 

Aren’t these just fantastic?

aminals

Fabulous eco-friendly, organic and compostable soft toys made from kids’ drawings.  Above are Sistur, Liun, Small Bayr and Brothr. Meet the rest of the family here.They look satisfyingly large and cuddy too.

home_image

I’d love to do the same with some of the Minx’s efforts {via If It’s Hip It’s Here}

Wanted to get some of these in the shop, but it looks like shipping will be prohibitive.  Waiting for Aminals to get a European distributor.

08 February 2010

Is This My Blog?

 

IMG_3686   

Oh but I’ve had a fun morning. Our homework for Holly Decor8’s ‘Blogging Your Way’ course this week was to put together an inspiration board that summed up our blogs.  We weren’t allowed to put it together on our computers but instead had to use things we had to hand. 

As you’ve probably realised I fight continual battle between my childish love of bright colour and my desire to be more chic and sophisticated.  On this occasion I just thought, f*ck it, and let my inner child take over.

Here are some individual elements.

IMG_3689

Funnily enough the board began with this moody shot of Pixie Geldof from a recent British Vogue. I’ve always wanted to have very short platinum blonde hair (I have the short hair and have been blonde, but never done both at once).  I think I’m too old for it now.

I cheated a bit and printed out some photos. I know this wasn’t supposed to be a digital board, but I thought it would be OK since photography is becoming an increasingly big part of the blog/my life.

I also wanted to include some mirrormirror products – the Interiors Colouring Book, Karin Eriksson small bowls and Abigail Percy earrings.

The Illy coffee cup and picture of spaghetti speaks to my Italian heritage and my love of Italy, Italian design and PASTA.

IMG_3691

I included some favourite room shots, including some favourite chairs. I do love chairs. And the paint chip is supposed to encourage me in my home renovation endeavours.

The cookies cutters, dayglo cake candles and sprinkles reflect mine and the Minx’s love of tasteful baking.

And have you noticed how much I love graphic daisy shapes? I’d never really realised how much until now.

IMG_3693

And if nothing else this exercise has made me realise that I need to hang the beautiful Mexican embroidery I brought back from our trip there two years ago, which is currently just folded up in a cupboard.

And here are more daisies, a cute Ossie Clark sketch on a postcard from the V&A which I absolutely adore, and a photo of houses in Portobello Road, because a little piece of my heart will always remain in Notting Hill.  And a cute Marimekko tin.

And there’s yarn. Because at the moment there has to be yarn.

All pics also on Flickr. I’m reviving my commitment to getting stuff up on Flickr, so do come and be my friend. I’d love to see your pictures too.

07 February 2010

Today I Am Mostly…

 

…walking round the lake

IMG_3651

IMG_3641

06 February 2010

Spread a Little Love

 

This is so inspirational I just had to share.  If I can be bothered to get the tape and the cutter (which is admittedly quite a big ‘if’), the Minx and I might just go out and do this round the nabe.

This is the sort of thing that Brooklyn-based street artist Katie Sokoler gets up to in her spare time.

IMG_4283a

IMG_4240a 

IMG_4192a

IMG_4252a

{I’ve just discovered (via Whorange) her crazy wonderful blog Color Me Katie and it is FABULOUS}

05 February 2010

Momiji

 

I’m obviously having a thing for colourful kitsch Japanese cuteness at the moment.

Blog Pix

These little dolls even come with little secret messages tucked inside them. What on earth could be better than that?

Definitely one for the Minx’s Christmas stocking next year.

{From Momiji via The Bedlam of Beefy}

Update: The Husband has just emailed to say that he’s going to get the Minx one for Valentines’ Day. Sometimes that man is just too sickeningly cute…

04 February 2010

Interior Styling – January Challenge

IMG_3273

So here’s the photo I finally ended up with for Holly Decor8’s January challenge in her Interior Styling group on Flickr. The challenge was as follows

‘Put 3, 5, or 7 of your favorite things on a tabletop. Only 3, 5 or 7, no more, no less. Arrange them in a triangle style - highest in the middle and work your way down. Try using a framed picture leaning against the wall for the middle, or a tall vase, lamp, flower arrangement, or anything else that is tall and centered.’

I don’t think what I came up  with is too great – it’s trying too hard and doesn’t have that effortless throwaway chic that the very best stylists achieve. But it was fun to do and it’s making me realise how difficult styling really is. I’d welcome all constructive criticism. I want to get better at this and you’re all so discerning.

For the record, this grouping features a little bird picture by Amy Ruppel, a vintage teacup and saucer from a beautiful harlequin teaset we were given as a wedding present, a wooden candlestick from Jean Pelle, a vintage glass soda bottle and my knitting (see below).

Adventures in Knitting – First Lace Wrap

 

I’m so proud of my little self.  I should probably retire from knitting now.

Topaz Wrap

I also have NO CLUE where I will ever wear this.

LeechBlock

Site Blocked - Mozilla Firefox 232010 45319 PM

You may be seeing a bit more of me round these parts, and a bit less of me on Facebook. And, you never know, I might even be getting some productive work done on the shop.

I’ve finally faced up to the fact that I have absolutely no self-control WHATSOEVER and have a found a little app which rations my usage of ‘time-leeching’ websites, such as Facebook, The Huffington Post, Ravelry and er, Perez Hilton. LeechBlock is pretty easy to set up though it only works with Firefox and not Internet Explorer.

It allows you to restrict the amount of time you spend on a site or a group of sites and even set up times when access is totally blocked.  You can easily add sites to the list by right-clicking (or doing whatever it is that Mac people have to do).  The whole thing is password-protected and the Husband holds the keys to the kingdom.  It’s amazing how much more time I seem to have, and horrifying how desperate I am to access the sites during the short periods when they’re available to me.  My name is Paola and I’m an Internet addict.

Now they just need to invent something like this for the fridge…

03 February 2010

Musings on Knitting and Life

IMG_0683

Remember this?  I started knitting this lace shawl/wrap thingy back in April last year after finding myself in Portland with nothing to knit and a fabulous yarn shop close at hand which sold lots of colours of Seasilk.

Well, here it is today, washed, pinned out and ‘blocking’.  And utterly and completely and totally FINISHED. It just needs to block and dry and then you can see it in all its glory.

IMG_3585

It’s the first bit of true lace I’ve ever knitted and I must admit that it’s been somewhat of a struggle. The actual knitting wasn’t that tricky, though I did have to learn how to cable without a cable needle, but keeping track of where I was in the pattern was hard (the cable edgings had a pattern repeat of 8 rows and the diamonds in the middle in rows of 12) and managing laceweight yarn is a nightmare, with stitches dropping all over the place. It didn’t help that the main times I knit are either when watching TV, knitting socially or keeping an eye on the Minx. This job required FOCUS and tons of it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to rip back to a lifeline, undo several rows or spend ages dropping back through the pattern to fix some silly little mistake I hadn’t noticed at the time (and being a Virgo I’m afraid I just can’t leave mistakes). On several occasions I had to abandon the project for weeks or even months on end, so fed up was I by the slow progress and the repetitive pattern.  On more than one occasion I wondered whether I would actually ever finish.

But I kept plodding on, picking it up after it had been abandoned, relearning the pattern, knitting a bit here and a bit there and forcing myself to tink back to fix mistakes.  In December last year I vowed that I wouldn’t start anything new until I had finished all my works in progress. I’m not normally so persevering, and this could so easily have ended up as a tangled ball at the bottom of my knitting bag, but the silk yarn was beautiful and expensive and I really wanted to wear the finished article.  And so I pressed on.

And it occurs to me that knitting is a bit like life – if you keep going; if you keep adding stitch after stitch after stitch; if you pick things up and start again however difficult things may seem; if you force yourself to go back and fix mistakes; if you keep doing the right thing however little progress you appear to be making, if you just take a deep breath and apply some focused concentration to the job in hand, then one day, instead of a tangled mess, you will find that you’ve created something special and beautiful, of which you can be very, very, very proud.

Proper pics soon. More details, as usual, on my Ravelry page.

Funnily enough when I was researching my family tree last year I discovered that I am descended from a long line of Spitalfields silk weavers. And here I am 200 years later, still ‘weaving’ silk.

02 February 2010

More Nice Mentions

 

il_fullxfull.115576943

(And believe me, when you’re as amply chested as I am,  you need it… )

I  haven’t done a More Nice Mentions for a bit, but I do like to share the link love.

My interior styling post was mentioned by Whorange and Shelterrific.

Not Martha is thinking of buying a Nook.

The Times (the real proper London version, not that New York based upstart) Online’s Alpha Mummy blog mentioned the Hello Kitty plane, as did A Modern Mother.

Urban Casita found us through the Homies. (UC is great by the way, do check it out).

Bushra at Fudgeit threatened to bake cupcakes using cupcake wrappers from mirrormirror but we never found out what happened in the end.

Anna Burns at Oh Hello Friend loves the Stacking Egg Cups and Stacking Storage pots.

Liz at Violet Posy thanked us for sponsoring her blog.

The Steel Cut Garland found its way onto House to Home (the website of Ideal Home, Livingetc, Homes and Gardens etc). It also appeared on Rdekko.

And some old links I’ve only recently become aware of. Design Crisis likes peacocks. Urban Nest also likes peacocksOhdeedoh likes Miffy. My Pretty Penny wants a shower cap.

Thanks everyone for the mentions! I really appreciate all the support – especially those of you who link to the shop (links are SO precious for an online shop). If you’ve mentioned either the blog or the shop recently and I haven’t linked back to you, please let me know, so I can include you in the next round up.

{The card above is from Etsy-based Letterpress artist Kirtland House Press.}

01 February 2010

Separated At Birth

 

I’ve just caught up with Glee (I LOVE it – have become a total Gleek) and all I can say is.

sue-sylvester

                               Sue Sylvester                                                              Candice Olson

 

This will of course mean beans to anyone who is not a watcher of dreadful HGTV decorating shows.

Today I Am Mostly…

…watching things unfurl

IMG_3560

It is ridiculous how excited I am that last year’s orchid has taken it upon itself to bloom again.  My orchids never ever ever rebloom despite a lot of cajoling. It has been overwintering in our bathroom and of course I have no idea what triggered it off this time.

If you’re not a green fingered orchid growing genius such as myself (ha ha!) then you may want to take a look at this comment thread on Shelterrific, which has loads of wonderful orchid advice.

For advice as to whether orchids have any place in interior decorating at all, I refer you to Decorno here.

And I can’t work out whether I like these Boskke sky planters available from Velocity – (I think I’m coming down on the side of ‘like’).

The images, from Sunset magazine, sure are pretty though.

image

image