Sunday, 29 March 2009

I LOVE lunch...and other people's birthdays

in a concession to our new found position as parents of a combined total of six smallfry and the incompatibility of such a situation with late night dinner parties (with smallfry in attendance) the Dinner Circle has recently mutated to Lunch Circle. Inaugural meeting today at the home of my good friends Ms. D and The Wolf. The King and Queen of the Dinner Circle, Anna (who totally stupified me by at the initial DC meeting by whipping up from scratch only the damn finest ever chocolate brownies for pudding WHILE we were sitting around the table relaxing after our main course - I tell you - that's a hard act to follow!) and Fraser were there too, along with their adorable new addition, Ms Martha. Cue gratuitous photo of me with Ms M...(cause it's always nice to have a baby photo when you can)

though she is wearing the kimono cardi I knit her so maybe not so gratuitous after all...
(aside :: the knit I am sporting is a 20 year old creation by Ms D...I am a cold body and had to snatch it while's an amazing fairisle which has worn incredibly well over the years)

Ms D claims she has been suffering a dearth of home entertainment opportunities of late and so in a frenzy of making up for lost time presented us with the following ::

  • Jamie Oliver's Caponata as a starter starter while the kids were tucking into their mini version of our main course (see below) - this alone would have made me thought I'd died and gone to heaven
  • Fresh beetroot and mozzarella Salad as a starter proper
  • Home made tagliatelle (yes, you read that right, the pasta was hanging out in the garden to dry when we arrived - I cursed when I realised I didn't have my camera to hand) with melt in the mouth Lamb Shank and ragout as a main course
  • Fig and Almond tart (with thyme...very interesting, not to mention totally delicious) for pudding
  • Milk and White Chocolate Easter Egg ring for the kids pudding...somehow I find myself able to vouch for its deliciousness too...hmmm
I am telling you all this as the Lunch Circle members demanded a blog entry of their own...happy now folks?!

It's Ms D's birthday on Friday (Happy Birthday my darling friend) so I rustled up a little soya candle in vintage teacup gift for her...

see that cake in the background there... that was only the bloomin' children's pudding (can you tell I am in total awe of people who can bake?)

Other other people's birthday news ::

I finally sourced the yarn for Nich's socks (which I mentioned in the last post)...

super chunky araucania, in a suitably hippyish hue

finished the dropped stitch scarf for another dear friend's 40th (we are falling like flies I tell ya) - whose name I can't mention in case she reads this blog - made from handspun handdyed yarn from Rosalinde the alpaca which I sourced here...

the yarn came with some photos of Rosalinde (which my animal mad pal will love) and wrapped in with it were two organza bags full of dried lavender...I tell you that scarf was the most relaxing, enjoyable knit I ever had...I was swooning on a cloud of heavenly lavender scent with every stitch...mmmm

Final installment (I promise!) on my own birthday news ::
Lovely, thoughtful, perfect gift from my ex-workmate Midori who I met for sushi during the week (random factoid - I managed to get out for Sushi three nights out of six last week, a record, particularly for me...)

Midori lived for six years in Japan so when she discovered my new found love for Japanese tea knew exactly what to get me...

Tea Tray with Green Tea Caddy and Genmaicha

isn't that tea caddy simply the most gorgeous ever seen?

Thanks Midori, you ROCK!

I'll be back to show what I made for the Time for Tea swap and my Project Improv log cabin square as soon as I know they are safely delivered. In the meantime enjoy yourselves, whatever you are up to...

Monday, 16 March 2009

jammin'...and yarn searchin'

so... there I was Saturday night hanging around in the kitchen at the birthday party of this really lovely man I know...drinking, chatting, getting a bit drunk (it's this thing I do at parties) thing Mr G introduces me to a pleasant man wearing a nice blue scarf (don't think it was handmade, unfortunately - that would have been really good)...we emerged he was ONLY ONE OF MY ALL TIME MUSICAL HEROES...blimey, knock me over with a champagne cork.

I've loved the high llamas since I was knee high to a llama myself (and I suffer a bit from musical amnesia so only those close to me know what a miracle it is for me to even recognise a piece of music nevermind remember who is responsible for it)...believe me when I tell you this man is a genius. Anyway, we chatted somemore and then my friend whose birthday it was called us all into the living room where he had gotten his guitar out and had started a singsong. Being the natural shrinking violet that I am I didn't immediately start shaking a jingly shaker in time (NOT) to the music. Nor did I appear to be enjoying it all so much that a random (very sweet) stranger went and found me a tambourine so I could make an even bigger noise. Nor did I then decide it would be a great idea to press gang another poor soul into joining me in an official capacity as backing percussionist up next to the birthday boy who actually has musical ability. Nor were we then joined by the man himself. NOR DID I END UP JAMMING WITH SEAN O'HAGAN.

well, er...I did actually. Last Saturday night.

Enough of all that, back to the crafting. I am looking for recommendations for a good, bright, hippyish variegated chunky yarn (he wants them bright and cheery) to knit these socks for my friend Nich who so nicely requested some in exchange for the "1 Hand Knitted Item Of Your Choice" voucher I rather lamely presented him with for his birthday.

Your recommendations, please...(all the ones on ravelry seem to be done in yarns more easily available in the US)

Monday, 9 March 2009

feeling happy...and Project Improv

after all my wailing and gnashing of teeth yesterday vonnie found me a partner for the time for tea swap (many thanks m'dear) so I can breathe again...imagine if I'd been left out of that one...doesn't bear thinking about...phew!

I'm swapping with the equally tea-obsessed Laura ...looking forward to this one immensely

I've been noticing this ProjectImprov thing around blogland of late...I stumbled upon the source today and lo and behold the lovely Jacquelyn who is the brain behind the operation tells me I am not too late to join

read more about the ideas behind improv over at Jacquelyn's me it's a wonderful idea...gets me loosening up and sewing improv-y (not that much I do is non-improv-y but I do tend to hit a bit of a brick wall with patchwork) and also results in some quilts (which I am sure will be stupendous) for charity. It's a year long thing so plenty of time to improv (or even improve!) though the blocks for the charity quilts need to be done by April 1st

Jackie at CantonVillage has volunteered her services to do the actual quilting...the generousity of the blogfolk never ceases to amaze me...

you know what, it's not to late to join in...

and now, just for my sister who asked so nicely...

me'n'him doing our own projectimprov
(I don't look that much like a I?)

Sunday, 8 March 2009

the owls have landed...and other ramblings...

apologies for long absence, this being 40 lark is very tiring. There were parties (well, one) to arrange, new hairdos to dream up* , vintage frocks to dust know the sort of thing. All that, added to very stressful work schedule and the exhaustion that comes with being a woman of such advanced years rendered me incapable of doing anything other than collapsing into bed with the kids on a nightly basis thus making impossible the night-time art of blogging (or indeed crafting - I am starting to have withdrawal symptoms if I am honest) However here I am, Sunday breakfast time, having already shrieked at the children that Mummy has been wanting to do this for over two weeks and she HAS TO DO IT NOW in such a way that they didn't argue, not even once...

So, to my lovely swap partners whose swap parcels I received weeks ago and never reported on, I say a meek sorry

but look, just look, at the lovelies I got in the post...

first up, from the wonderful vonnie# in MeridianAriel's Owl swap

such beautifully wrapped parcels - almost couldn't bring myself to open them they looked so special...but am glad I managed it because look what was inside...

owl stitch markers, can you believe that?!

an owl bag for my knitting, in the most scrumptious shade of orange

owl mitts (incredible eh?)

AND matching beanie hat

there were also some little nesting wooden shapes for me to decorate which one or other smallfry has managed to away with, for now...and some delicious Jaffa Cakes.

I felt thoroughly spoilt. It was lovely!

Vonnie had told me how much she loved the Owl and the Pussycat story

so I made her some soft toys/cushions to remember the tale by

I also sent some yarn, some chocolate and some lush stuff for her bath so I hope she felt she got a somewhat fair swap . The girls were loathe to let the owl and pussycat go, which is always a good sign I think.

In Imagingermonkey's FQ swap I was teamed up with the lovely Amy. I forgot to photograph what I sent her (things have been hectic, didn't I say?) but you can see them here. Amy, obviously telepathic as well as extremely generous, included some gorgeous owl fabric in her parcel.

Along with other great fabric choices, some rather smashing ribbons and a bar of delicious chocolate.

Hmm, did I mention feeling spoilt?

Thank you to my brilliant (and patient) swap partners.

The feeling of being well looked after continued with the plethora of truly wonderful, thoughtful birthday gifts I received during the week, including more yarn, a cath kidston sewing basket, vouchers for my local yarn store, tea related recipe books, a retro pinny, fabulous vintage lamp and vase, gorgeous jewellery etc etc etc. As if all of this wasn't enough, I was also gifted not one but TWO spa days where I get to go and be pampered and lay about in hot rooms a lot with my very best friends. I have one word to say and it is...Hallelujah!

I highly recommend this turning 40 business. Now if only I could get away with doing it again...

*at work they have accused me of being inspired by Star Trek in the hairdo's very Romulan apparantly, I have no idea whether this is good or bad but the boys seem to have enjoyed themselves tittering... hmmph

# just visited vonnies blog and am GUTTED to discover she is running a time for tea swap and I have missed the closing date. So that's what I get for letting work and celebrations of the inexorable march of time take over my blogging time. Lesson learnt!

Editted to add - can't believe I neglected to say THANK YOU for all your lovely happy birthday comments on the last post. What wonderful blogger friends you are. And thanks also to those who have given my blog awards over the past months. I really appreciate them and will do a post about them soon...I promise...