For any of you Gocco addicts out there you might recognise my 'home-made' Christmas baubles... These are made from used Gocco lightbulbs. For those not in-the-know a Gocco is a Japanese screen printing machine, now unfortunately discontinued - to burn your screen you use two lightbulbs, and once you've used them they are done.
I've gocco'd this year's Christmas cards - will do a post about those once I've sent them all - and then I re-used the light-bulbs to make some baubles for the tree! Playing with glitter for the first time in about 15 years... it's a bloomin' pain!
Thanks to my parents we have two nights of freedom, Coco is away! Our evenings are NOT starting with trying to force-feed healthy food with the bribery of pudding, negotiating lengths of bath time, chasing a naked child with her pajamas and being guilt-tripped into reading a series of bizarre children's stories...
So yesterday after this spectacular sunset I headed from West to East to do some late night shopping in Cheshire Street and to meet H from work for supper at Hawksmoor - yes I'm having a red-meat week (GREAT burger at Bob Bob Ricard earlier this week with the Urban gang).
If you are in London and looking for a more relaxed way to do your Christmas shopping (with mulled wine and minced pies giving extra shopping incentive) I'd highly recommend a wander around the 'Shoreditch Christmas Triangle'. They are doing two more late night shopping evenings on 16th and 23rd December.
More fabric to be cut and stitched. This time for our bedroom blinds; this will add some colour and a maybe a bit of a tropical 70's vibe? Hmmm not sure that was what I was aiming for, but I just love it.
It's on a roll, which for some reason seems more exciting than just plain old folded. Me and Hugh picked this up from Liberty and bought it home on the bus over a month ago, but I only just unwrapped it now I'm ready to start sewing. I'm amazed at my own self discipline!
I'm feeling the love for lights by Original BTC. It's almost like now I've found them I can't seem to go for anything else. Latest addition to my workspace is this desklight, plus we'll also have to find a home for two 'teapot' lights, well, more than two actually if I get my own way! Shown on display at Liberty's below.
In the background of the desk photo are four slightly indulgent Anthropologie purchases. Classic children's books from Puffin with cloth covers designed by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini. Unfortunately it was impossible to just buy one when confronted with the collection. I got Huckleberry Finn, Anne of Green Gables (which as Jess pointed out yesterday doesn't actually have the most appropriate cover as Anne is well known to be a tomboy and the cover is pink with bows and teapots on) Peter Pan and The Secret Garden. I think these must be an Anthropologie exclusive at the moment as I couldn't find them anywhere else. They'd make beautiful gifts, but these are going to be staying put here for the moment!
Yep, Christmas is on its way - first day of advent tomorrow, and as I currently have enough wallspace (around the oh-so-elegant fireplace) I thought why not just put up all my advent calendars? A slightly weird addiction I know.
A few years ago I felt like it was really hard to find a good traditional advent calendar so when I saw good ones I felt justified in buying them... now there are LOTS of really lovely ones around, so I have to limit myself to one (or two) a year.
Both the National Gallery and Liberty do lovely advent calenders of their buildings. I have a Matthew Rice (Emma Bridgewater's husband) one from last year, his new ones for this year are temptingly quaint, but my favourite ones have got to be the Kreuter Advent Calendars. I have the one of Venice and one of Schloss Neuschwanstein. I'm hoping I don't see too many more for sale this year as I'm not sure I can trust myself.
Of course I know I SHOULD be making an advent calendar... I'm just not as convinced by all these felty/Christmas tree pocket creations. And also, lets face it, advent starts tomorrow, so I've missed the boat on that one for this year.
Spent a pleasant morning in Brixton - best described as mooching around. Before my sister opted for chickens and a life in rural Wales she used to work at a veggie cafe called Cafe Pushkar in the market - this is long gone, and I can't really remember spending much time in Brixton since those days (late 1990's!?). The market still has an amazing range of veg and meat stalls but in addition there are some seriously tempting shops and an array of very photogenic cafes. Unfortunately I only have a few iphone photos to show for my morning, was too busy browsing and eating delicious food. Above Cornercopia (full for lunch unfortunately) and Federation. No photos of my lovely lunch at Rosie's Deli either. I'll be back and will take my 'proper camera' next time.
I got slightly over excited in the crafting department for Coco's birthday. I made these goody bags from left-over lining fabric and used some transfers from the Mike Perry 'Iron Me On' book to personalise them - I know, probably wasted on three-year olds, but I couldn't resist.
Other faff, including a month-by-month banner of Coco's life so far* and the loot for the party bags which included colour-in cards based on the guests names, an edible digital watch (was pretty chuffed with finding those) a cookie cutter and some chocolate money.
The cup cakes in their tea cup bake-ware from Urban Outfitters and the 'picnic' boxes. Despite having her birthday in mid-November Miss C had requested a picnic for her party.
Finally - can you guess what we gave her!?
Thanks go to; Eric for cake baking, Iain and Grandma for picnic box assembly and Mel for bike wrapping!
* Three hours well spent in the hospital waiting room!
So I'm now the mother of a three-year-old. Makes me feel old and it's only going to get worse... oh well! Coco had a great birthday weekend, all her friends on Saturday for a 'picnic party' - more info on this to follow. Doting family on Sunday. This is some bunting that I made for her first birthday - above in our 'new' house and below as it was when she was just one, amidst the clutter of our old kitchen. Feeling nostalgic now.
Every now and then as an Urban Outfitters employee I get a bit of an extra discount at Anthropologie; which is where I recently bought these two beauties! They were meant for Coco's room but I love them so much that I've put them above my desk - they'd probably cast enormous looming shadows in the middle of the night that would be sure to scare a nearly-three-year as well (good excuse)? When I saw the display in the Regents Street store I literally gasped out loud I was so excited. I'd been looking for some fake trophies for a while; am in love with the ones below by Emily Warren (first seen via Shelf). Am saving for the bear, or fox, or hare... hmmmm can't decide.
Seems to be a little mini-trend for animal heads as I've since seen felt lamb heads made by Andy Cordy in Abode in Chiswick, who also stock a wicker bull's head on their website. All a little bit more my style than the real thing which I feel really would spook me in the middle of the night.
Our house has a great view of the fireworks at Chiswick Park and this year we invited a few local friends round to enjoy the view from inside, rather than having to endure frozen fingers and toes and crowds of people (although, maybe that is just part of the fun of Guy Fawkes Night)?
It was also a good excuse for me to use try out the Paperless Post website where you can make a posh-looking e-card. In mere minutes you make and send your invitation/card and then you can manage your guest list online. My invitation felt like it was as near to Smythson stationery as I'm going to get - until I become a 'proper' grown up - quality looking envelopes (even with lining paper), traditional type-faces, speaking as someone who has a slightly unnatural obsession with stationery I think they do a good job.
I've a feeling that the party is going to become an annual event - having a bonfire in the garden, kids running around and causing mayhem due to all being up way past their bedtime, hearty food* and mulled wine**... and a free firework display. Yep, it was fun.
*Hotdogs and minestrone soup followed by my first attempt at treacle tarts (not that good - but I got some advice from the Just Deserts man at the market on the weekend; so I'll be practicing for next year!)
**For the mulled wine 'we' (H) used a Jamie recipe with very good results.
FINALLY - thanks to Rob for the great firework photos!
A window of opportunity is briefly open. My maternity leave has started, so for the moment this is my new workspace (thanks to the girls at work for the flowers)! I've - hopefully - got two months until our lives are turned upside-down by the arrival of baby #2. My to-do list is unrealistically long, improving this desk area is somewhere quite high up. And yes, I'm going to clear up my desktop too.
My super-capable sister has been staying with me and on Friday she prepared our first carved pumpkin (and made a delicious pumpkin and ginger soup with the pumpkins innards)! This will be gracing our doorstep ready for local trick-or-treaters.
We made some biscuits (slightly random and non-halloweenish) that the little blighters will get. Next up a costume for C - sheet over the head I think, a ghost is about as good as it's going to get for her this year! We're only just beginners at this parenting lark.
A little bag I stitched up for Maja's birthday... can't believe she is three already - and C will be joining her in a few weeks. The main fabric is from a Designers Guild warehouse sale that I fought my way around a couple of years ago and the 'M' is from the fabric I'm using to make C her blinds (STILL in progress)! I'm wondering if it's worth making a few up for my etsy shop?
Two mirrors for £15! Bargain... surely I can hardly have got one unmounted mirror that cheap? We've got some house guests for the next two weeks so it's been a good incentive to get a few things around the house sorted and these mirrors that I bought a while ago at the market have found a home above the bathroom basin. Not sure if this will be their final destination, but for the moment they'll allow our currently homeless friends to check themselves out in the bathroom!
Baby Isla was born ten weeks early while her parents were on holiday in France. She is doing well and back home in London now and is 12 weeks old today... meanwhile her bunting gift actually ended up taking me more than 10 weeks to finish, but it's packed up and ready to post now. Phew. Another item I can cross off my list.
Two of these cards are currently in the royal mails hands making their way to friends (and only a couple of days late... hopefully). They are re-made from my 34th birthday cards, which for some reason were all very 'pretty'... that's what happens when you get older maybe?
The Cloth House in Soho is like a grown up sweet shop... I had to go and get some ribbon for a little project, a good excuse to peruse their wares! Ooh, so much lovely fabric and ribbon and loads of quirky buttons. They always have inspiring window displays too... often a variation on some kind of bunting which is ticking my boxes right now!
These are some rosette/bunting/washing line windows they had a couple of months ago. I'm mulling over making C a reward chart with felt rosettes to collect. I like the idea of cute rosettes, but I'm not sure they'll be the best way to coax a toddler into good behaviour?
Toddler and I made a massive batch of flap-jack on Friday, it was so big that I didn't really notice how much of the ingredients were eaten pre cooking! (Who knew that she loved figs)? It was an adapted version of a recipe that my friend at work found on BBC Good Food we swapped out some oats for figs and added pumpkin seeds too. Yum - and they feel 'almost' healthy. We took some to the Booker family when we visited their new arrival (CONGRATULATIONS!) and I even tarted up an old box to pack some in for some other friends who kindly let us use some of their loft space! Beware... a bunting theme is afoot.
A couple of weeks ago we headed down to East Head for a day at the beach... we had a typically English day, pretending we didn't care about the rain. The hardier members of the party swam (my Mum even bought her yellow swimming hat) and C paddled and collected shells. We had a lovely picnic with only a little bit of added sand and then headed home feeling refreshed from sand, sea and wind. As Autumn sets in I'm trying to fight off the gloomy feeling of impending grey days and remember that you don't need sun to have fun.
These wooed me at the market - I'm imagining them in a cabinet in our bathroom at some point. I bought them purely on aesthetic value, not sure from where or whence they came! This is what they purport to have once contained: Bi-Chroma Potassieus Eucalyptus Cichorium Intybus Chiendent coupe Angelique Semences
I love collections - problem is I've never really settled on one thing to collect. I was traumatised early; I used to have a collection of small glasses that were displayed on a shelf in my bedroom. One day when I was about nine years old I came back from the Saturday morning roller-disco to discover that my brother had accidentally knocked the shelf down and broken all but a couple of my glasses. I've never been able to commit to one collection since, but my market trip on Tuesday might have put an end to that... I bought an instant collection of glass jars (which I'll post later) but I could have gone for tins, cross-stitch pictures of cottages, silver shell plates or old maps (in too-lovely marbled envelopes)... tough decisions!
C was introduced the the wonders of the rubber stamp today! For our fourth wedding anniversary I wrote H a love letter (in the loosest sense). I was inspired by a wedding poem that I saw on 'not on the high street', but instead of just writing the letter I actually hand printed each of the 1955 characters individually by hand... it was a labour of love, and one that I enjoyed... sometimes a monotonous task can be quite therapeutic.
Today I was making some friends a card in the same style and C really wanted to get involved, so I gave her a box of animal rubber stamps that had previously been packed away for when she is older (I'm a sucker for premature present buying). So we had a happy half hour stamping away... group therapy for toddler and me.
If I were ever to cook well enough to have a signature dish then this Bakewell tart from Jamie Oliver's book Jamie At Home would be it... it's quite a hassle to make - but when plums are in season it's de-lic-ious! Warning: it uses up a whole month of butter rations in one go.
I probably only make it once a year - this time I made it so that we could give some to H's work mate as a thank-you for lending me his sat-nav. The rest of the year, we go to the 'Just Deserts' stall at the very intimate Chiswick Farmers Market... This guy really knows how to make a spectacular tart! Yesterday I went a bit over-board and bought three, one raspberry, one fig and one lemon.
You can see why I couldn't resist non? I forgot to take a pic of the tarts at home, too busy tasting! But this little piece of fig tart was saved for a few hours before it was devoured!