Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Locked in a box apartment, sewing-depraved

… I could feel sorry for myself and watch ‘housewife’ TV programmes all day (which I do occasionally – you’ve got to love ‘Houses under the hammer’).
But the good thing about living in a box apartment is that the housekeeping is minimal and it leaves me plenty of time to explore the countryside.  And the autumn colours are just beautiful.
Autumn in watford1Walk by the canal
Autumn in watford
Life is not bad.  I enjoyed a bit a knitting.  I can’t show too much for the moment, I’ve started working on Xmas presents.
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Speaking of Xmas, I bought this book and I just want to be able to start on it now, I know I won’t be able to finish it for Xmas but it might keep me satisfied until I can unpack my sewing room.
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Saturday, 13 October 2012

Spreek je Nederlands?!

I fell in love with this knit from Phildar.

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But sadly, I could not find the booklet for the pattern on the French website, so I ordered it from a shop in the Netherlands and guess what the pattern is in… Dutch!

Do I speak Dutch? No, but still I think that with of persistence and the help of Google translate, I might be able to tackle it. Optimistic! I did not realise I was an optimistic.  So far, I think I understand how to start with the ribbing and how to set up the pattern, but it might be a long process.

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Otherwise, I’ve been knitting a very easy, no brainer project since we are back in the UK.  To be honest, I’ve ‘stole’ the inspiration from my friend Marina.  I’m knitting a blanket in Fern from Moda Vera.  This yarn seems to never end.  Once knitted in garter, it is quite soft.

I’ve started with a garter square: 12 stitches on 24 rows then picked up 12 stitches on each of the 3 remaining sides, then knitted one row with 2 stitches increase at each corner and purled the next row. I’ve used almost 3 balls of yarn and from what I gage the blanket might measure 140 cm across before blocking (and Yes, it’s our bed, very cosy!).

Garter blanket

An on a very different note, my little Juliette has now been in her new school for 2 weeks now.

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This was on her first day! Quite cold, but looking very smart.  This girl amazes me always.  She’s so fast at making friends and settling into new routines.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Not ordinary week-end

 

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   That was last week-end.

Our first days back in the UK with Juliette, we arrived at 5am in London, drove to pick up Alice and back and then dropped in bed.

The next day, we went to pick up Victor.  Have a look at his school! Isn't it beautiful!

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And even better, look how happy my kids are to see each other again.  OK the honey-moon period did not last all week-end and they were fast back to nagging each other, calling names, but for a while they enjoyed each other’s company.

Ordinary Week-end - 29 Sept

And then, it was like any other week-end.  Watching Doctor Who while eating on the bed; waking the oldest sister gently; having dim-sums at our favourite Chinese restaurant (not so good compare to S’pore); wandering in Soho where we found a Whole Food (Yes!).

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Doing some homework… sorry ‘prep’ as they say in Boarding School.

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And then, the week-end was finished and they were gone….

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Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Holiday production

I don’t think it will interest anybody what I was thinking, doing when I knitted…
So here is what fell from my needles this summer.
Vitamin D in blue
Vitamin D – I like it although with my choice of yarn the cardi ended up much longer that planned.  It drapes nicely and this is MY kind of colour.

Effortless for Alice
Effortless with Madeline Tosh bought here! Lovely, lovely yarn… I knitted the body longer than required so Alice could wrap herself comfortably.  Once wash and block, the yarn is even more drapy.

Orange cable socks
And lastly, socks for Alice so she’s not too cold!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Some new starts

For once I know what happened and why I’ve been away from my blog!  I had all the good intentions to post during our holiday in the States, but we had so much fun that I never found the time.  Then we went to my parents’ and there I thought I would be able to blog.  My parents and the kids leave upstairs and I’m downstairs… but again too much fun, nice weather, Olympics to watch on TV…

Anyway, I though it was necessary to mark some important changes at home.  September is normally punctuated with new starts, new organisation, and this year is no different. And since we came back from our long holiday (mid-August!), we’ve been living in the middle of a storm…

My 2 oldest kids are now in Boarding School (that’s part of the storm…). This is where Alice lives.

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Alice's boarding

And now handsome Victor (and Yes, these are army boots and camouflage combat jacket!)

Victor's boarding

It is a strange feeling to have only one child at home, but I’ve decided I won’t feel old and sorry for myself.  Alice and Victor seem to enjoy themselves and from what we discuss together, I think that they are on a good path.  I’m not an expert on Education, but from my almost 17-year of experience, I’m tempted to say: have trust in your abilities and your guts feeling, speak and listen openly, worry about the small things if you must but don’t forget the big picture.

My job as a mum is not done yet with them, but I’m pretty proud of the young adults they are becoming (and I now need a paper tissue, because I’m about to cry).

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Post card

We are on holiday! Yes, and our first stop was New York.

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View from our room

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Same view at sunset

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View of our room – it used to be Barron Hilton’s apartment.

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It is not every day that we get a grand piano in our room.  Juliette was ‘aux anges’ (in heaven!)

Soon some pictures of New York.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

In Alice’s suitcase–Part 1

Alice is in Australia for a week, visiting her God-mother and her God-daughter and the boys. I’ve put a few things in her suitcase.

Vintage cardi for GaiaVintage cardi for Gaia1

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Good bad boy T1

  • A cowl for MP’s Bbs’ daddy, so he does not get cold when he goes working in Winter (no picture of this one, but after blocking, it looks like a gigantic boxer)
  • Another cowl for the Mummy, for the same reason (no picture either)

And there’s more to come, so you now understand why we had to buy a big suitcase.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Where I’m being selfish and mainstream

Yes, this is about me!

I finished quite a number of projects recently, including an orange knit that I started for myself more than 3 years ago.

I’ve so many things I want to start on my ToKnit, ToQuilt, ToSew lists… but I’ve decided on something totally different:  I’m starting a project for MYSELF! Yes, selfish I know and I don’t even feel (too) bad about it.

Vitamin D, it’s been all over Ravelry for the past year (1214 projects), and now I’m jumping in the band wagon.

imagesource – knitting pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier

It is not as bad as the Lady February (12086 projects, 4 of them being from me, like this one or this one)

I’m OK with this too! The kids can call me ‘mainstream’ all they want, I will ignore them and keep knitting away.

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Once I’m finished with this I want to:

  • knit socks
  • knit a cable cardi
  • knit another wrap cardi
  • knit a few scarfs/shawls
  • quilt my 3-year old mystery quilt
  • finish my 6-year old very scrappy quilt
  • quilt my 7-year old ribbon embroidered quilt
  • sew a couple of tops to go with my new pair of jeans
  • take Japanese cooking lessons
  • take baking lessons
  • make time for a couple of hours at the spa
  • organise my pictures and make fantastic photo albums
  • organise my craft supplies/sewing area
  • start a mini-garden on my balcony
  • refurbish an old cabinet I rescued
  • sew some new table-clothes
  • read all the books in my reading list
  • make time for more Pilates
  • Get running seriously

…. did I forget something?

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

A guilty looking cat :)

… and an approved, test drove quilt.

Yesterday, when I finished quilting this top, one of the girls mentioned that it was surprising that Lao Shi was not sleeping on it yet.

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She was just waiting for us to look away.

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A few more stitches on the binding and it will be finished.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mother-Daughter club

It’s Monday already, and we are already in June… that’s the trouble when you live in a country where there are no seasons.

I’ve been working on my Vintage Squares quilt.  This quilt measures 130x130 cm (51”) which is an odd size when it comes to get the right amount of batting: either you’ve got to buy a large one and therefore be happy with a lot of waste or use this clever method (thanks to my friend who showed me this).

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It also works for backing although you must make sure to use small print otherwise it won’t look look nice.  The full instruction and calculator can be found on MultiPatch.com.

Top, wadding, backing were sandwiched together, square test done, and off I go, quilting happily… until I ran out of thread. Annoying…

Anyway, I made good use of my spare time and went running… with my partner, with Alice; we started running together when we arrived in S’pore, but then she got bored.

IMG_1358I’m not fast.

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She did actually run! But she has also received a reading list from her school.

We ( I ) have decided to have our own ‘family/mother-daughter’ book club.  And I am so excited.  I love her reading list, there are modern, contemporary authors, different nationalities (a few French, but I’m not sure whether she/we should read them in French!).

Here is part of the list, in Goodreads.  Have I mentioned I’m excited!

Now back to the revisions’ table, ‘we’ have Latin and Maths today.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Happy Diamond Jubilee

I know my passport says I’m French.
I know I leave live (thanks Marie Pierre for the spell check) in S’pore.
But honestly, at the moment I would love to be at home in England.  I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of parties in the street where we lived.  I would have loved putting nice flowers at my windows, Union Jack decorations…
Oh well, today I backed for the Diamond Jubilee Summer Fete for our School: a Victoria Sandwich with berries jam and butter icing (recipe from Mary Berry – Fool proof cakes, probably the baking book I’ve been using the most) and some Jubilee Cupcakes with more berries jam and more butter icing (recipe from Jamie Oliver, in Jamie issue 29).
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Saturday, 26 May 2012

Good (bad) boy Sweater

When it comes to baby knits, I tend to stick to my favourite patterns: Sublime.  I’ve done so many things from the Sublime booklets.  They always feature the cutest babies.  I think buy them more for the babies than for the projects.  After a while the projects are very similar from one book to the other.

In terns of yarn, I always use Sublime DK, either the Cashmere Merino Silk ore the Baby Cashmere Merino Silk.  The reasons for this are simple: I know my gauge is spot on, the yarn is lovely to knit with and finally I know how it’s going to react: stretch very slightly with each wash but keep nice and soft.

So for the baby boy who just turned 1, my choice what pretty easy: Matelot Sweater with Sublime Baby Cashmere in light cream, blue and red.

Good bad boy T

This was a very fast knit, very simple.  The shoulder and collar shapes will make it very easy to put on.

And here is the back.

Good bad boy T1

I have a bit of yarn left over, I might knit a hat too.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Re-centred

This is how I feel at the moment.  For the last couple of weeks, Alice has been at home revising for her GCSEs exam: 22 papers to go through until the end of June.  She does not really need my help, but she likes (or I like to think that) to have me around her so she can concentrate better.  Every day, we sit at the dining table, she studies, I sew or knit.

I like the feeling of her needing me, and I like the idea of staying at home and concentrating a project for a few hours at a time.  I feel more focused, more ‘in charge’.

So far I managed to finish a few knits (one of them having been in process for more than 3 years), and I sewed 2 tops, one of them has even been quilted and binded.  I hope to finish the other one next week.

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Waves quilt1

It feels very, very good.  However, I don’t think I’ll be as productive this week, the 3 kids are at home with more revision.