No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Please note: this post should be read picturing me skipping around the house.  

I have made something.  An actual article of clothing.  Yes indeed.  LOOK!

I knit that.  Isn't it cute?  It's for a little girl who is 12 weeks old this week.  So it's a good job I finished it, because foolishly I chose the smallest size (3-6 months).  So it was now or never really.

It's from this lovely book.

You can also find the pattern free here on Ravelry.

It was pretty straightforward for the beginner knitter that I am.  I only needed help at the very end.  But I found someone at the crafty group I've joined who showed me what to do.  Such a satisfying feeling.

And I think it really can't be beaten for cuteness.

I've already got plans for my next knitting project.

Will keep you posted.  And thanks everyone for your lovely comments on my growing blanket collection.    I wouldn't be doing any of this without you and I'm chuffed to bits that you take the time to comment on what I get up to.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Making Winter - A tale of three blankets

As no doubt you already know, Silverpebble and Thrifty Household have come up with the wonderful idea of sharing what we like about winter to banish any signs of gloom in the months of short days and long nights.  For me, winter is all about cosiness.  And cosiness requires blankets.

I have lots of catching up to do with all the posts I have in my head.  For ages, I've been wanting to show you this loveliness.

My Mum found this blanket in a charity shop and gave it to me just before Christmas.  Isn't it just beautiful?  It's in pristine condition and made of cotton, so we bunged it into the washing machine to get rid of the old lady whiff and it came out fresh and spotless. It makes me smile every time I go into that room.  And it's got a lovely weightiness to it that you need sometimes in a blanket.

You may remember that I wrote about coveting a blanket from The White Company here.  Well, they had a sale awhile back, just at the point when the House by the Sea was at its most chaotic.  Now, I had no business at all buying a blanket at that point when we were still at the stage of choosing taps, but sometimes a thing calls to you and you just have to answer the call.  This is the opposite of the white blanket; all gossamer lightness but deliciously warm for all that.  It's on our bed at the moment and keeps our feet toasty when the temperature drops in the small hours.

And then there is my blanket.  It's really not there yet.  In fact it's still a fairly random collection of squares.  But if I squint my eyes and ignore all the threads forget about how many hundreds more grannies I need to do to get it to the size I want, then I can almost see that it will be a blanket some day.

I'm trying to be good and do a granny a day, encouraged by the lovely Annie and Laura of Nimble Fingers and Steady Eyebrows.  And I've been pretty good so far and reckon on about 5 a week.  But we'll see.  

I'm also trying not to be too daunted by how big the bed is compared to each little square!  Maybe it'll be done by next winter.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Liberty Book of Home Sewing - Giveaway

Last weekend, I realised I'd been blogging a whole year.  Wowee.  I had no idea when I started whether I'd have anything to say.  Or if I'd even maintain my interest in learning how to do things I'd never done before.  But I have loved everything about the whole process.  I've loved learning how to do new things.  I've loved reading about you lovely people that I'd never otherwise come into contact with.  And most of all, I have loved knowing that you are out there cheering me on in my still small creative endeavours.

I know it's traditional on the anniversary of a blog to have a giveaway of a lovely thing made by the blogger.  But I thought you deserved a bit more than that (maybe next year).  So, it hit me that I could give away a book to celebrate.  (Any excuse for a legitimate break in the book diet.) It needed to be a special book.  And a crafty book.  One that would make you oooh and aaah, but that you might not splash out on yourself.  So, I thought this might be just the ticket.

I got a copy with a subscription to Mollie Makes.  And now I want everyone to have one.  This book is beautiful.

If you don't sew, I guarantee that it will make you want to.  If you do sew (and you don't already own the book), you will definitely want to make everything in it.  Immediately.  If you can sew a bit, it will make you want to have a go.  It has beautifully illustrated step-by-step instructions.

And a touch of quirkiness which appeals to me.

And it's clothbound, in hardback, and printed on good thick paper.

I do hope you like it.  If you'd like the chance to own the book, all you need to do is leave me a comment.  It would be nice if you could follow me but you don't have to.  If you'd like to blog about the giveaway, come back and let me know that you have and I'll add your name twice.  I'd love to know what you think works most about NKK and what you'd like to see more of.  If you remember to include that in your comments that would be fab but I won't exclude you if you don't.  In short, I'd love to hear from you.  Oh yes, and I'll choose a winner on  Saturday 11 February so you can leave a comment on this post any time up until then.

Thank you for all your support over the last year.  Not to put too fine a point on it, the last twelve months has been a challenge in ways that I don't write about here, but it had been delightful to have a place to escape to.  That you choose to read what I have to say and comment on my blog is truly amazing to me.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

When everything looked better in black and white

When I was little, we had an old electric blanket box that lived on top of a wardrobe in the spare room.  Every now and again, my Mum would take it down and we'd go through the piles and piles of photos inside.  My Dad, rail thin with winged glasses and a pipe in his mouth, standing next to his first car, my Mum in satin at a dinner dance, photos of my sisters and me when we were babies.  I remember one of my sisters, smiling and dressed in matching purple crimpline (it was the 70s), and me between them looking worried in a check dress.  Apparently, I hadn't wanted the nice man to take my photo and had had a hissy fit.  In among the prints were the negatives.  We'd hold them up to the light and look at the world in miniature, full of light and shadow.  I thought it was magic.

For years, long after digital cameras arrived, I persisted with film, much the same way people kept their record collections after CDs came along.  But, when we moved to Africa, I traded in my film camera (oh, the folly) because I knew the heat and dust would do no good and the development facilites would be poor.  Now, I don't think twice most days about film.  I love the liberation of taking a chance with my photographs, knowing that the duff ones will disappear with the click of a button.  I think I'm the better photographer for it.  But today, the luddite in me can't help but lament the passing of Kodak.  Was it arrogance that made them think that they didn't need to keep up with the change in how we take photos?  Or, rightly or wrongly, did they think this was all a passing phase?  Will we go back to film like some people are with vinyl?  What do you reckon?

Incidentally, when my cousin was at school, her English teacher asked the class to write out the words of a song that meant a lot to them and bring it into read.  The first few lines of this strike me as the perfect response.

No photos today.  It didn't seem right.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The house of NKK

Hello everybody,

Hope you all had a lovely weekend.  We are having the most marvellous weather at the moment.  High blue skies and crisp cold days.  I just love it when it's like this.

I have discovered the secret to a tidying up.  Have visitors come to stay.  We had a friend to visit on Saturday, which meant that instead of mess in every room, the chaos is now semi contained.  So, at long last, I have some before and after photos for you.

You will remember the kitchen from a few months ago.

There was also a dining room next door.

So we knocked the two rooms into one.  (Glad I wasn't around at the time...)

And this is the kitchen now.

Like it?  Not bad, eh?  I change my mind on a minute by minute basis as to what I like best about it.  But I keep coming back to the pantry.  Really, it's just a walk in cupboard that used to house a hulk of a warm air heating system.  But to me it's a pantry.  No more rooting around in cupboards among the out of date tins.  No, no.  Now, I am a domestic goddess.  Yes, indeed.

Not sure I ever showed you the sitting room, complete with '60s fireplace.

This is what it looked like yesterday.  (Next to where I stood we're still working on some shelving.)

 I don't know about you, but for me, it's the unexpected transition views that make me stop and look when I move around a new space.  This is the view from the kitchen into the dining area at one end of the living room.

My books.  Almost all in one place.  Hurray!  And I get to stare at them bleary-eyed as I eat my porridge in the morning.  Nothing if not inspiring.

Anyway, there'll be more another day, but hope you like what you've seen so far.  Thanks for being with me on the journey home.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

All at sea

Hello everybody,

Thanks so much for all your lovely messages.  It had been so long that I was a bit worried you'd all have moved on.  Do you ever feel like that after a break?  Like if you haven't blogged for awhile, everyone will just lose interest?  Anyway, so glad you didn't.

I know I said I'd show you photos of the house, and they will come I promise.  But the truth is that no room is photogenic enough at the moment.  We've been in the house exactly a month today, but somehow, it's all still up in a heap.  We didn't plan enough storage (plenty of sockets, but no cupboards) so we still have boxes everywhere with nowhere to unpack them into.  And in many, many of those boxes, there are books.  Fortunately, the chippie had now built in some shelves and we're busy painting them, so soon, very early one morning before the chaos of the day sets in, I will have photos for you.

And in the meantime, I thought I'd distract you with images of our voyage home.

First, I have to tell you that this was the perfect way to leave New York.  No rushing to the airport, no taking your shoes off and emptying your pockets.  No excess baggage payments.  No cramped seats and dodgy food.  Instead, this was the view as we sailed out on the East River.

The photos are a bit wobbly.  Partly because of the low light, but also because it was freezing.   It rained soon after these were taken and I wept with the sky as we left New York.

But the weather didn't stay bad for long, and it was all about snatches of brisk walks on deck squashed between the endless bouts of eating that we discovered is what a transatlantic crossing is all about.  Cooked breakfast, morning coffee and treats, lunch, afternoon cream tea, pre-dinner canapes, and dinner.
But waddling slowly on...

An out of season voyage is something is like being at a coastal town out of season.  Some things are packed away, or not used as much as they would be in the heat of mid summer.

But I actually liked it that way.  I had nothing to compare it to, this being my first (and probably only) cruise.  I suspect I am not the cruising type.

But this was just lovely.  Seven days of rest and relaxation with lots to do.  Or nothing.   Mostly, we did nothing.  Oh, we made a token effort and and played some deck games once or twice.

Oh, and we saw dolphins a few times (too quick to photograph).  But mostly, we just read a little, walked a little, slept and ate lots.  And contemplated the enormity of the change the year would bring.

All in all, a very fitting end to our life in New York.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coming up for air

Wowee!  That turned out to be a much longer break than I thought.  Hello everybody!  Happy New Year!  I've missed everyone.  I got a lovely email from a reader today (hello Kathy) asking how life was in the House of NKK and it finally gave me the push I needed to get back at it.

Where, oh where, to start?  I haven't even looked at my blog in the last two months, so logging in today and seeing 5th Avenue in the late Autumn light from my last post made me realise again what a long, long way Mr. P and I have come since last I wrote.  So much to catch up on.  And I promise I will come soon to the voyage home and the House by the Sea and our new adventure.  But I've just looked back at some of the photos and instead I wondered if you'd like a tour of our old apartment before it was all packed up?  (If you're anything like me, there's nothing quite like a nose around someone's house.)

Okay, so we had an open plan living/dining kitchen area which, even now that I see it again, I can't quite believe we lived in (those views!).

 At the other end of the room was the dining area and kitchen.  And the chair I sat in to read or knit.

 We set up an office in the second bedroom with a comfy sofa bed (no, really, they do exist).

And the view from here was breathtaking...

... whatever the weather...

And back in November, the movers came and the whole place got packed up and sent ahead of us...

...until there was nothing left and it didn't feel like ours anymore.

And now all our things have arrived and we have rooms and rooms to put them in (relatively speaking).  We're still surrounded by boxes (we have discovered that we didn't factor in much storage when we did all the building work here).  But we are getting there slowly.  Much much more on that another day.

For now, it's just nice to be back in Blogland.  Looking forward to catching up on what you've all been doing.

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