For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Thursday, 19 November 2015

new pattern: pudding hat!

Well, this past week has been, erm, interesting. 

With sad, shocking things happening across the world, plus life happenings closer to home, I've been glad to be able to catch up with friends and family a little bit and devote a good chunk of my time to making Christmas projects, too. Several things are actually finished and I think I may be almost on track. Are you giving any handmade gifts this year?

In the spirit of all things festive, I thought I'd share a peek at a wonderfully silly project I contributed to the latest issue of Simply Crochet (issue 38). Yep, it's a Christmas pudding hat. When else can you wear a pudding on your head? I'm definitely going to be embarrassing my family by wearing it over the holidays. No shame in my game. 

I'd also like to thank you for your kind and encouraging comments on my last post – we all have gloomier days and it's good to know you guys are out there!

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

what not to share

A rare moment of daylight! Quick, Instagram it!

I'm in that weird November no-man's-land of not knowing what to share online. 
There are a few contributing factors:

1. I'm making Christmas things. I'm quite proud of what I've stitched so far, but don't want to spoil the surprises by heedlessly plastering FO pics on Facebook and the like, especially since discovering a few more family members than I thought are occasional Knit Happens readers (hello in-laws! *waves*).  

2. It's dark all of the time! Well not literally all of the time, but it's dark when I leave for work and dark again when I get back. Urgh. These are not blogger-friendly conditions. 

3. Is it good enough? I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has that voice in the back of their head that witters utter nonsense, such as "You can't take good pictures," "What's the point? No-one reads this anyway," "You haven't finished anything," "That looks rubbish," "Don't waste time doing that, you need to be cleaning/cooking/working," "It will never be as good as that designer/blogger/writer,". Ah, classic gems. And while rationally I know they're not strictly true, sometimes the doubts are more difficult to ignore. 

So while I've not been blogging a whole lot lately, I have been crafting. I spent the last weekend catching up with a dear friend; laughing lots, baking, vegging out and binge-watching Say Yes to the Dress (Randy's eyebrows are everything). While having friends who live far away is pretty sucky, the required long train journeys and companionable vegging out provide ample opportunity for stitching. Even if you do get so excited about catching up and making/finishing/giving things that you commit the ultimate blogging faux pas and forget to take pictures altogether.   

Sunday, 1 November 2015

blog crush confessions

Do you ever stumble across a new blog and immediately become the heart eyes emoji? Pin all the things! Favourite all the things! Follow all the social media! Gah!

I've been thinking a bit about why I love reading blogs so much and have concluded that it's the unique combination of inspiration, learning and a feeling of creative community that you don't find in many other places. I'm a Pinner and Instagrammer for much the same reasons, but with blogging there's the space for so much more personality, honesty and sharing. My lunch break is often when I'll take a dip into my Bloglovin feed and, when visiting favourites, it's like having a quick catch up with friends. And I find the more time I spend reading blogs, the more inspired I feel to post things myself. Yes, blog envy is real - I'll keep on dreaming of a beautiful blog design and amazing photography skills for the time being - but it's what people have to say, through their own combination of words and pictures, that keeps me coming back for more and keeps me challenged and inspired to find my own voice and unique way of sharing. Just feeling all the bloggy feels right now.

And that heart eyes emoji thing been happening to me a lot recently. I read a whole ton of craft blogs on the regular, but have found myself falling hard for some brilliant fashiony blogs of late. Maybe I'm a just sucker for bright colours and quirky style. These are my latest favourites in no particular order. Prepare to freak.

She and Hem 

Bristol-based gal pals Jo and Victoria are big fans of hot air balloons, fabulous frocks and match-matchy dressing. Plus they pun like you wouldn't believe. I love their regular Double Thumbs Dresses feature and their Hem and Away posts when they're off having stylish adventures. Their playful attitude to style is infectious and they make me want to raid my wardrobe for all the colourful things!

A Clothes Horse

Impossibly stylish blogger Rebecca has an incredible head of red hair and some serious vintage vibes.  Her stunning photography, ladylike wardrobe and whimsical outlook keep me reading and feeling inspired to dress a bit more glam and do more than just wash my hair! She regularly shares her own style crushes and fun hair tutorials, which I love.   

Have you found any new favourites lately? This week I've also been finding joy in the thoughtfulness of silverpebble and the pastel gloriousness of Scathingly Brilliant.

Big thanks to Jo, Victoria and Rebecca for kindly providing such lovely images for this post! ��

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

taking stock: October

Guess who got their disposable camera developed? This is lovely Dawlish.

Making: top secret yarny things for Christmas! Already behind!
Cooking: all the eggs.
Drinking: hot lemon and honey in a bid to ward off the dreaded lurgy that's doing the rounds at work.
Reading: Emma aloud at bedtime. And The Guardian's Fashion Statement emails over lunch. 
Wanting: a pair of heels that doesn't hurt. Is there such a thing?
Looking: at our disposable camera pics from the last month - some gems and some hilarious. 
Playing: with fabric again and loving it. 
Deciding: we might be real adults now we've bought a vacuum cleaner. Even if it does have a face. 
Wishing: we were back in Paris. Still not over it!
Enjoying: get stuck into Twitter again. (Say hello! I'm @BeccaLParker)
Waiting: for some news that might be big.
Liking: layering up in the colder weather. 
Wondering: how long we can put off using the heating.
Loving: hearing positive news about close ones whose health is now improving.
Pondering: the appeal of neon. 
Considering: a drastic haircut. I still can't decide. 
Buying: peppermint tea like it's going out of fashion. 
Watching: Buffy again from series one. 
Hoping: I can see my sister over Christmas. 
Marvelling: at nearest and dearest lovelies getting engaged all over the shop! Much excitement. 
Needing: to find the perfect twig for a special project that's a bit overdue. Will share soon!

Posing awkwardly in another country? Nailed it. 

Questioning: unnecessary supermarket packaging.
Smelling: yummy lemon candle.
Wearing: brightly coloured tights and spotty socks.
Following: socalitybarbie on Instagram, poking fun at all the hashtags.
Noticing: it getting dark so early now. It's definitely autumn. 
Knowing: my cuppa is getting cold.
Thinking: about the future is a bit scary.
Admiring: talented bakers. I miss Bake off!
Sorting: endless laundry.
Getting: the urge to do my nails all fancy.
Bookmarking: stuff about Joanna Newsom's new album to read later.
Coveting: the stack of books in my amazon basket.
Disliking: not being able to drive.
Opening: my mind to doing things differently.
Giggling: at witty captions and wishing I'd written them. 
Feeling: guilty about skipping running for the last two weeks. 
Snacking: on healthy seeds and nuts in my mind, but in reality it's biscuits. 
Hearing: the squeaky squeaky washing machine.

As usual, grab the list from lovely Pip if you love lists too and fancy sharing a Taking Stock post. What have you been up to?

Friday, 9 October 2015

5 fab things a knitter can do in Paris

Seize the yarn, seize the day

Last week I was in Paris on a wee holiday (sigh), although now I'm home I'm not convinced I didn't just dream it! Anyhow, it was a brilliant couple of days and I thought I'd share some of my favourite bits with you in case you've got plans to head that way. Or, you know, wanna gawp at some pretty Parisian gloriousness. Been there my friend. Still am there. 

Find Yarn
Other than spending a good lot of time with Mr P and eating an approximation of my own weight in French pastry, seeking out a lovely yarn shop was pretty high up on my list. When I came across L'OisiveThe at Unwind last year, I made a mental note to try and get there if we ever went to Paris. This yarn boutique and tearoom (pinch me) is in the Butte aux Cailles area in the 13th Arrondissement. Not exactly central, but easy enough to find. We had the most incredible eggy brunch there and were given directions to their new sister store around the corner, La Bien Aimee. Wanna see? 

Wall-to-wall delicious yarn inside and painted the happiest shade of yellow on the outside. They have their own lovely hand-dyed yarn brand, too. To commemorate our special anniversary trip, Mr P treated me to some yarn (enabler alert). I had to go for the Bien Aimee Merino Singles. Parisian hand-dyed yarn? It would be rude not to. And it's just beautiful. The colour way is called Direwolf Graffiti. I'm aiming to have a shawl knitted up in this by our next anniversary. 

Get Lost
Before we set off, I spent a whole lot of time reading travel blog posts about Paris. The best bit of advice I read was to set aside some time for aimless wandering. There is SOOO much see and do in Paris that it's tempting to fill up your days, but allowing a bit of flexibility pays off. One day we set off in search of a market and ending finding a fantastic botanical garden and zoo! There's something to be said about getting lost and Paris is the most beautiful city to stroll through. 
The second best bit of advice was to always carry a brolly!

Knit Through the Queues
If famous landmarks and galleries are on your to-visit list, you're sure to encounter some form of waiting time. Being armed with your knitting or a paperback (or Kindle, if you're modern folks) is the stitches way to combat this and make the wait more enjoyable. And boy do I wish I'd prepared for this when we were waiting outside the Louvre for an hour.  

Here I am merrily knitting in the queue for the Catacombs. I got heaps done in this wait and as Mr P had forgotten the Kindle that day, he came in handy as a yarn holder (and reluctant photography). To note - matching your socks to your top won't make you a better knitter, but it will make you stick out like a sore thumb among any combination of chic Parisians. 

Take Tea
Mr P said he didn't have single bad cup of coffee in Paris, but as a tea drinker I was keen to sample some fancy tea and impossibly beautiful patisserie creations that I had no hope of pronouncing correctly. We went to Laduree on the Champs Elysees (when in Paris), where there's a restaurant and a little shop. It's stunning inside and out and Mr P had the world's best tarte tatin. The service seemed was a bit snooty, but then we were British, awkward and a bit scruffy, so fair enough. The sweet treats were really lovely so I would recommend it. 

Live Like Royalty
Or at least, see how royalty lived. Visiting the Palace of Versailles was definitely one of the best things we did. It's about a 40 minute train ride from central Paris and well worth it if you have a day you can spend there. Sooooo much to see. Wear your comfiest shoes and prepare to be overwhelmed by chandeliers and all-round opulence. I'm pretty sure we could have easily spent a week just exploring the grounds (we're talking serious acreage here). There's also a bizarrely Disney-esque, excessively quaint hamlet that Marie-Antoinette had built that has to be seen to be believed. 
Check their website for details of free entry options and special discounts. 

Follow up your visit with a viewing of Sophia Coppola's Maria Antoinette film and you'll have firmly cemented your adoration for the place. And developed some pretty severe macaron pangs. 

In short, Paris is always a good idea. 

Friday, 25 September 2015

The budget bride's guide to a crafty wedding

Our second wedding anniversary will be at the end of this month (crikey, already?), so I thought it was high time we shared some of our DIY hints and spilt the beans on how we got married in 2013 spending less than £4000. Here are 10 ways to get creative and cut costs. 

1. Anything you can do confidently yourself, do. 
Have you got mad calligraphy skills or sewing nous? Maybe you can bake up a storm or perhaps your other half is a wizard at graphic design, photography or making playlists. Using your creative (and let's be real - organisational) talents is a mega-thrifty and satisfying way to put together a day that feels personal to you. And remember, Pinterest can be your best friend here -  search for wedding craft projects based around your skillset. 

2. Call in favours
We're fortunate enough to have friends and family who are passionate about baking, music, sewing, bookbinding, photography, even driving and soapmaking. And said lovely people were kind enough to use their talents as gifts for the day, saving us an unthinkable amount of time and money. 
You're sure to have some talented people in your life. Consider asking them to give you a hand. Special input from people you love is priceless. But remember, if someone's doing you a favour or giving you mates rates, diva demands or a bridezilla attitude are completely out of the question. 

3. Be realistic
Don't give yourself more to do than your time, skills and resources can fairly allow. Organising a wedding takes a lot of work, whether you're crafting or not, so make sure you'll enjoy the process, too. Pulling an all-nighter to do last minute glueing, sewing or painting is no-one's idea of a good time - believe me, I did a textiles degree. Instead, be honest with yourself about your gifts and limitations. If you can't do something for whatever reason, scrap the idea or get some help. It's supposed to be fun!

4. See it as a chance to learn
That said, time allowing, planning a wedding can be a great opportunity for you to pick up or improve a simple skill you've always wanted to master. Basic origami, nail art or even just how to use double sided sticky tape could be on your agenda. I had a bash at doing my own makeup and had a lot of fun learning how to do different stuff to my face (read more here).  

5. A lot can be done in a crafternoon
It's all about sharing and delegation, my friend. Many hands make light work. Are you in a craft group or have some practical pals? Gather them together for an afternoon or evening of making. Whether that's cutting and sticking, baking, or faffing about with glitter, ribbon or yarn, keep the tea and or wine flowing, supply tasty snacks and you'll be amazed how much you'll get done. And your friends and family will have fun spotting stuff they made on the day. 

6. Go local, think small
Your local market, wedding fair or wedding magazine are great places to start hunting down local suppliers or venues that are likely to be much more reasonable! This is how we found a fab local florist and I tracked down a pretty vintage veil for a tenner. 

Picking local, fairly central venues with good public transport links and parking meant we cut transport costs for ourselves and some of our guests. Yes, we had to compromise on some of the more aesthetic things, but it was worth it. 

7. Spend the money where it's needed
Identify the areas where you'd like to splash out or don't have the skills to DIY. For us, this was groomsmen suits, a beautiful maid of honour dress, fresh flowers and a pair of killer heels. I'm pretty useless at hair, so I forked out for a hairdresser on the day. Best. Decision. Ever. 

8. Old, borrowed and (not necessarily) blue
It's a special day but, seriously, not everything has to be new. Borrowing, or using things you already own saves a fortune and adds personal touches to your day. Yes the dress was new, but we used buttons from my Nan's old button stash and the petticoat from my prom dress. Our teacups made cute decorations and my old case for art materials was ideal for collecting cards in. Be resourceful and make the most of your favourite things. 

9. Find your biggest cost and cut it
We quickly realised that feeding our guests was going to be one of the biggest pulls on the old purse strings. We got around this in two ways. Firstly, we decided to get married in the afternoon so we'd only have to arrange one meal (kinda stingy but very necessary). Secondly, we opted for a buffet, doing away with the sit-down-dinner idea. Nope, it wasn't fancy, but it was really fun and relaxed. And we used it as an excuse to scrap the nightmare of a seating plan.

10. Less is more (kinda)
Have a good look at your plans and see what you could do without - it's as simple as that. When it comes down to it, is anyone going to remember the chair backs, how fancy the tablecloths were or how many candles you had? They're not. Yes, making your special day pretty is cool, but not at the expense of your purse, sanity or relationships. And the less you have on your to-do list, the more time you have to relax and enjoy the experience. It's all about celebrating your union with the people you love. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

regency realness

I hope you're not offended by bonnets. As an Austen fan who'd lived in Bath for six years, not taking part in the Jane Austen Festival's Grand Regency Promenade suddenly seemed much sillier than actually dressing up and joining in, so this year we did just that. And it turns out I took loads of pictures of people's backs. But these are Regency-garbed, bonnet-topped backs, so I thought share them anyway. 

The Promenade is a costumed event where over 500 Austen enthusiasts (see also: literature nerds, historical costume lovers, folks who like to do quaint things in pretty English cities etc) take a turn around the city of Bath. I attended with some wonderful fellow knitters and Mr P, who was somehow persuaded and looked unnervingly at home in his get-up. 

It's certainly a bizarre world to enter. You do feel as if you've stepped back in time and ordinary things such as visiting a cash point or using your phone become strangely novel. You find yourself filled with bonnet admiration, pelisse envy, surrounded by people twirling parasols and quoting Pride and Prejudice. The latter was fairly excusable as, due to the inclement weather, our hems were indeed "six inches deep in mud". 

Another discovery was that knitters love Jane Austen, or at least Austen fans love knitting. I was sporting my newly-finished Pebble Beach Shawl and I saw a fair few stunning handmade shawls. There was a Regency market (but of course) after the Promenade and I spotted a whole host of incredible knitted reticules and miser's purses. These pineapples were my absolute favourite and seemed to be selling like hot cakes. Talk about trends coming full circle. I found a knitting pattern for one on Ravelry here - an awesome reworking of a pattern from 1840.

As first-timers, we thoroughly enjoyed the promenade. Everybody we chatted to on the day was lovely. My personal highlights were: a little girl on the train to Bath asking if I was Cinderella, helping Mr P fix buckles to his shoes with kirby grips, eating a slice of apple cake roughly the size of my own head with the lovely knitters and shamelessly strolling around The Circus and along the Gravel Walk in a Empire line gown, lace fan fluttering.

If you've ever thought about going, I'd recommend it. There are all kinds of other events in the festival, but this one's a real spectacle. My frock was from this lovely Etsy seller and we hired Mr P's outfit from here

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...