Blogging101

Shiny New Blogs on my Reader :)

Day 3 of Blogging101 was to get to grips with the Reader topics list and find some new and interesting blogging neighbours to follow. Having branched out of my usual ‘knitting’ or ‘crafting’ tag search I spent a large chunk of yesterday evening reading and following some brilliant blogs that I am really excited about. Here are just a few of them:

Young & Hungry – a great cooking blog with some fantastic recipes! I am not a brilliant cook and it’s something I really want to improve on. The blog tagline is ‘Delicious doesn’t have to be difficult’ – so that’s good news for me!

As a sideline, Mr A. and I went to the Garden Centre at the weekend and being rather late in the day we arrived at the end of a Chilli Festival. Our lateness may have caused us to miss the Mexican Pan-pipers but it turned out ok in the end as they were selling loads of chilli plants for just £2 each – bargain! So we got 3, ‘Ring of Fire’, ‘Scotch Bonnett’ and ‘Joes Long Cayenne’.

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And also some of this…

Chilli Beer

So after finding the Young & Hungry blog I feel super inspired to impress Mr. A with a surprise dinner. First up will be….Chilli Chicken! 🙂

Helen’s Journal – Helen’s photos are simply stunning. The latest post includes some soft image photo’s taken in New York and I love the abstractness (is that a word?) of them; the images appear as if they are made up of little balls of coloured light. I’m not explaining myself very well am I – probably best you go check them out here, you’ll see what I mean!  Some photos on the blog are also accompanied by a poem or a quote. I am looking forward to following Helen’s Journal and seeing some more beautiful pictures taken on her travels.

paris: small capital – Having spent an amazing weekend in Paris earlier in the year this blog totally captured my imagination. The author is Kim who moved to Paris in 2009 and through her blog explores the back streets of Paris and the places lesser known on the tourist trail. It is brilliantly written, very funny and full of interesting stories about Paris. I will be returning to this blog soon with a cup of tea!

White Elephant in the Room – this blog actually made me laugh out loud,  I love this post about wine tasting – brilliant! The author is someone who finds fun in the everyday things and I also love the fact that each post is individually illustrated with a white elephant to tie in with the post, very clever.

Today I have been filling up my reader with lots of  interesting new topics; there will never be another dull moment 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! x

knitting

New Pattern! Whispering Pines Beret

I am pleased to announce the Whispering Pines Beret pattern is now available on Ravelry!

Whispering Pines Beret

Whispering Pines

 

The beret is worked in the round from the bottom up in a 2 ply laceweight yarn and is made up of a lacy bead stitch and embossed leaf stitch pattern.

Originally inspired by a trip to Paris back in February, the pattern evolved after much swatching and getting to grips with the maths! I used Envisioknit to help with the written instructions and charting. I really do rate Envisioknit, I have been using it for a while now and it is easy to use and has always done everything that I want it to do.

Another great outcome of this design was finding such a great tech editor, thank you Amanda for your help with making the pattern so clear and easy to follow!

And thank you also to Meg, Malena, Sabine and Lisa for test knitting the pattern. This was my first experience of using a test knitting group on Ravelry and your feedback has been really useful.

The pattern is available to purchase here

Art, Travel

Bonjour Paris!

Not so long ago my husband and I spent a magical weekend in Paris. We caught the Eurostar early on Friday morning and by midday we were checking into our hotel.

We stayed at the Opera de Noailles, situated near the Opera House. We chose this hotel mainly due to the great reviews on Trip Advisor and we weren’t disappointed. Not only is the central location perfect (10 min walk to the Louvre) but the hotel is full of interesting pieces of modern art such as:

The turtles behind the reception desk

Opera de Noailles Paris

The snails in the main lobby

Opera de Noailles Snail

And the group of bears in the courtyard which became more and more sinister as daylight faded!

Opera de Noailles Bears

 

Our room was small but very clean, it was ideal for us as we spent most of the weekend out and about.

One of the places we visited was the Les Catacombs, which I have to say I was a bit apprehensive about at first. The catacombs are a series of disused quarries that run deep under the centre of Paris. In the late 18th Century, due to overcrowding and disease it was decided to transfer the bones of those buried in the city centre graveyards down to the mines; the tunnels hold the remains of as many as 6 million Parisians.

The way the bones have  been displayed and arranged makes for a pretty strange experience. I have to say I am glad that we did visit as it was unlike anything I have ever seen before, but I’m not sure I would rush back to do it again.

Paris Catacombs

 

In the evening we took a wander down to the Notre Dame and the Seine.

Notre Dame

The Seine Paris

 

It was late when we got back to the hotel and unfortunately the bar was shut so we couldn’t have a drink with the bears! On the Saturday we headed over to the Louvre to check out this little lady.

Mona Lisa

The Louvre is such an amazing, inspirational place. Everywhere you turn there are opulent halls lined with exquisite pieces of art. It really is something else. It also made us want to watch the Da Vinci Code again!

The Louvre

 

The only thing that I really wanted to see that we didn’t get chance to was a Surrealist exhibition at the Pompidou Centre – we just ran out of time. However, some of the artwork back in the hotel could have given the surrealists a run for their money!

Opera de Noailles art

I also really liked this chair – the jacket on the back was made up of strips of paper but you couldn’t tell until you got up really close.

Opera de Noailles

And check this out – the hotel has a really unique way of displaying it’s thank you notes!

Opera de Noailles Thank you

It really was a great weekend and I hope we can go back again soon – 2 days really isn’t long enough to explore this beautiful city.

 

 

Gardening, knitting

Hello Sunshine!

I’ve been a bit rubbish at blogging lately, but now I am back I would like to share some of the fun stuff I have been up to 🙂

Firstly, I finally finished module 3 of the C&G knitting course – hooray! Big lesson learnt there is to start writing things up as I go along and not leave it to the very end and having to decipher my notes. It took me twice as long to write the module up then it did to knit the samples! Anyway, that is all done and posted off and I am now on to module 4. I am quite excited about this one as it is all about Colour. Having a look through the activity contents this one is more heavily weighted towards design than knitting and the first activity is to gather a selection of inspirational images to reflect the theme of colour.

Whilst I am doing that I am also in the middle of knitting up a hat design inspired by a recent trip to Paris. Here’s a progress shot.

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I hadn’t intended to design another hat at first, the pattern I was working on kind of decided it for me. I was inspired to try a travelling stitch pattern as I had knit a couple of samples for module 3 and one of them was the ‘Tree of Life‘ from the afghan by Nicky Epstein.

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I like the way you can ‘draw’ with a travelling stitch, like Nicky has done with the tree branches so that is what I am exploring in my next design.

And what about Spring Haze? Well, I have resigned myself that my Spring Haze wrap is going to be a very long WIP, I have changed the design for the main part and it needs a lot of attention which I haven’t been able to give it lately. But I am still working on it, even if it is very slowly…

I am super excited about about is the return of summer – which starts officially next weekend when the clocks go forward! This weekend has been typical of the weather in England, woke up yesterday to glorious sunshine so my husband and I hot footed it to the garden centre for supplies for our yearly garden overhaul.

We got some lovely plants including this:

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It’s called a ‘Fritillaria Meleagris’ or ‘Snakes Head Fritillary’. I love the snakeskin pattern on the petals – so pretty!

We also got some of these:

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A ‘Senetti’ plant. The actual colour is more purple than this but my phone camera made it bright blue! This one is definitely going in my colour file 🙂

On the way back we stopped at the shop for BBQ supplies, our reward for a hard days work in the garden. But as you have probably guessed, on our way home the skys clouded over the heavens opened. Typical!

In other news I have been getting out and about over the past month, I had an amazing trip to Paris, visited the new Birmingham Library and caught the Hannah Hoch exhibition at Whitechapel last week, all of which I will write about soon.

I also have a trip planned for New York and Boston coming up too which I am sooo excited about. If anyone has any suggestions as to interesting places to visit please do let me know!