Knit the royal wedding

March 12, 2011

This knitting book is the best thing ever: a guide for people who would like to recreate the royal wedding in wool.  Awesome!

Tristan is wondering what on earth a person would do with the knitted figures – put them on display?  Reinact the wedding?  The mind boggles.  However, The Telegraph has written about this book and it’s currently sold out at, so I’m sure that there will be a lot of knitted Kates and Williams around the country.  And a lot of knitted corgis, I hope.


Baby cardigan

March 12, 2011

I’ve just posted this sweet little baby cardigan to a sweet little baby girl in Auckland:

My mother knitted the cardigan when she was visiting a couple of years ago, and I added the buttons and the sleeve detail last weekend.

I love baby clothes!

Love embroidery

February 3, 2011

I got this back from the framer last week:

I’ve made it for our friends Geoff and Jane – call it an extremely late wedding present, as they got married many, many years ago and we were unable to attend.  There are a couple of close-up shots on my Craft page (see the top of the page).


January 6, 2011

I’ve been tinkering with my blog and have added two new pages: films, to list what I’ve watched (because I really do seem to watch a lot of films, as you will discover); and craft, to post photos of the stuff that I make throughout the year.

And I’ve started listing my recent reading material on the books page once again.  I’ve added the no-brainer stuff I read at the end of 2010 – the first three Diana Gabaldon novels (the most fantastic trashy historical stuff – highly recommended), and Jump! – the latest from Jilly Cooper.

Now, I’ve written before about my love of Jilly Cooper, but I’m sad to say that I think she’s finally passed her best-by date and it’s time that she was put out to pasture.  Jump! was pretty ordinary and parts of it were terrible.  This was my favourite sentence from the entire book:

“Sheep-coloured hills were covered in sheep.”

I can almost forgive the author for writing something like that (almost – she is getting on a bit, after all), but how did the typist fail to notice it?  And how did it survive the editing process? Astonishing.

Sending cards

December 28, 2010

These days I just don’t seem to be able to get my act together and send Christmas cards.  I think it’s because the weeks before Christmas are always so busy at work, which means that the last posting dates – particularly for overseas cards – always arrive before I’ve had a chance to get anything organised.  I don’t think I’ve sent Christmas cards to anybody for at least two years.

Anyway, I realised this year that, while the weeks before Christmas are hectic, the week between Christmas and New Year is peaceful and relaxed, making it the perfect time to get in touch with friends.  So as of this year I’ve started a new tradition: I’m sending Happy New Year cards instead of Christmas cards.  And – brace yourself for this – I’m making the cards myself (I don’t actually have much choice in this, given that you can’t actually buy pre-made cards).  I dealt with the first stage of my card production today:

I bought everything I needed – plain cards, stamps, ink and stick-on gems – at Hobbycraft, and it cost less than £10 to make 48 cards.  And they look charmingly home-made, of course…

Making things

December 28, 2010

One thing I’ve realised this year is that I really like making things – I find it very relaxing and good fun.  So I’m going to do it more often.  To get things off on the right foot, I’ve made a few things recently.

Here’s the lemon curd I whipped up a couple of weekends ago:

God, what a palaver!  It wasn’t as bad as the elderberry jam making I tried a couple of months ago, but it was still a real schlep – so much stirring involved, and all for the sake of one little jar of the stuff.  It’s yummy, though – very nice on toast.

Yesterday I made these superb chocolate chip cookies:

The recipe came from the most recent Nigella Lawson cookbook, Kitchen and they’re made with both caster sugar and brown sugar, which is why they’re quite dark-coloured (and very toffee-tasting).  They are delicious and if I make them too often I will end up turning into one of those women about whom documentaries are made, on account of their vast size.

On the non-food front, I’ve made a present for our friends Geoff and Jane (and I won’t say any more now, in case they ever read my blog – I’ll take a photo of it when I’ve given it to them).  And I’m making myself an embroidery.  It’s going to be a picture of a Union Jack and it may well take me the rest of my natural life to finish it.  I’m stitching it on 18 point aida fabric – for those amongst you who don’t settle down with some embroidery every evening, that means that there will be 18 cross stitch stitches per inch of fabric.  This is very fine indeed and might send me blind, but it will look great if I manage to finish it before I die.  And I’ve upped the ante by taking the standard pattern and expanding it three-fold, so my finished Union Jack will be a mighty 25.5 inches wide and 13.5 inches high (for those of you who live with me in the modern Metric world, that’s 65cm wide and 34cm high). 

Before I started my mammoth Union Jack, I crocheted a scarf for myself:

The quick-witted amongst you will have noticed that I made the scarf with vertical stripes, instead of horizontal stripes.  That’s just the kind of girl I am – crazy and unpredictable.  I used three balls of Rowan Big Wool, which is lovely stuff to work with.

Finally, I’ve been separating stamps from their envelopes again, with plans afoot to make some art in the near future (as per the NZ stamp picture that I made earlier in the year).  Here are the stamps, just waiting for a second lease of life:

Doing nothing much

December 3, 2010

Party people, it’s so flipping cold in England right now!  You know, just in case the pictures of snow didn’t give it away.  I was at home alone last night and was very well rugged up against the Arctic chill.  I’m talking woolly tights, socks, fleecy pyjamas, a hoodie, and a rug wrapped around me.  And it was still chilly.  This weather sucks the big kumara.

I made use of my night at home by writing an email to my friend Hugh.  He’d emailed me a mere twelve weeks earlier, so I thought that it was high time that I devoted some time and energy to catching up with him.  A prince amongst men, he responded straight away by sending me an outstanding photo of his Movember moustache, making me laugh out loud when I opened the attachment on my way to work this morning.  When I am President of The Whole World, I will make it a law that all men must participate in Movember.  Few things make me laugh more than a good comedy moustache on an otherwise-normal man.

Tristan’s back from Portugal today – hurrah! – and we’ll be able to collect Tui the Wonder Dog from Tina the Wonder Dog Sitter’s house.  After four days there, Tui will have gained a few pounds and will spend the entire weekend absolutely exhausted, sleeping off her excesses.

My rock star life continues this weekend: my St Vincent de Paul group has organised a mass for the sick and housebound of our parish, so I will be attending that and then helping with the tea and coffee afterwards.  The other thing I must do this weekend is make Christmas cards.  I bought the stuff to make Christmas cards two years ago, so it’s probably time that I got around to it.  If you would like me to send you a home-made Christmas card, send me a message at exilednzer @ yahoo . co . uk (without the spaces, obviously).  Having people waiting for the cards might spur me on to actually make them!