Monday, 6 August 2018

A New Handbag

The happy event of my friend Lucy marrying her fiance, Jamie, last Friday, meant that I had an excuse to purchase a rather beautiful dark, peacock green silk dress to wear to their wedding. I had a pair of shoes (Boden, leopard print heels, I LOVE them) but needed a bag. I didn't want a clutch bag because, while I like a clutch, they are a pain when you are trying to also hold a drink, canape, camera etc, and so a bag with a strap was necessary. It also needed to be big enough to hold a pair of flat sandals so that I could change shoes and do some dancing later. Can you tell I thought this through? Honestly, if only I was this thorough when planning everything in my life.

Happily, while browsing Instagram recently, I found this lady and then the pattern for this, her Half Moon Bag. It looked perfect, and I knew that I could use it time and time again after the wedding, so I bought and downloaded the pattern. 

It calls for Bobbiny 5mm Cotton Rope, which I'd not used before, but comes in a great range of colours. I chose peach which I thought would go well with the dark green, and bought mine from here.

The pattern is really easy and clear and, with a 10mm hook, fast to make too. You could easily make one in a couple of hours from start to finish. I always love the stitch definition you get from a large hook and chunky yarn.

The strap I ordered from eBay  and, with pattern, yarn and strap, the whole thing came in at around £20 which I thought was pretty good for a new bag.

Something I really liked about this pattern was the inclusion of a free, extra suggestion for the leftover yarn. Around a quarter of the ball was left, not enough to do anything with, but the designer had given a simple pattern for a crocheted basket which I thought was a nice touch.

Without that, it would've sat in my leftover yarn basket until I forgot all about it. 

But instead, I have a pretty peach basket for my little succulent.

I foresee more moon bags in my future, in different colours too. I like their cross-body, slouchy style, but could do with one slightly bigger. I wonder if I could modify the pattern slightly....

For now I'll leave you with a couple of photos of me and my bag. 

The wedding was completely and utterly lovely by the way, in the most beautiful setting deep in the West Sussex countryside, and I had so much fun sharing their happy day. 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Sky Watching

We've spent a lovely few days in Durham this week, visiting family and taking the opportunity to explore some of the surrounding area. I will admit I was looking forward to the slightly cooler temperatures up north, but was totally unprepared for the drop to around 12°C when we got out of the car at the service station at Wetherby. We were all shivering and looking for coats, stepping over puddles, it was comical. Once the rain stopped it warmed up a little and for the rest of our time away we were treated to a mixture of sun and cloud, and some spectacular clouds at that.

This was Ziggy's first long journey and he coped much better than expected. Never the happiest traveller, he settled down once we were on the motorway and slept a lot of the way there. We took him out and about with us as much as possible which was lovely, and he seemed to enjoy Warkworth Castle, sniffing a lot but thankfully not peeing up against any historical monuments.

Warkworth beach was wild and huge, and not overly warm either. I love the beaches of the Northumberland coast, they're so vast with their miles of sand and wide open skies, quite different to the crowded, shingle beaches down here. 

Angus, John and Ziggy played football, Bella hunted for pebbles to paint, I took photos. Everyone was happy.

Inland, the wild flowers were in full bloom and I was struck by the soft purple and gold tones everywhere from the heather and grasses. Ziggy was spoilt for walks while we were away with the moorland and beaches, and the cooler temperatures meant we could walk for much further and longer than we have been in the heat. 

 We couldn't visit Durham without a trip to Seaham beach to hunt for sea glass. 

John and the kids always roll their eyes and make out like I'm dragging them all there (it's a twenty minute drive!) but, once we're there, they all have as much fun as me. 

Bella got really into it and collected a bag full, and John found some gems. Angus explored the caves and searched for interesting pebbles and stones to add to his Interesting Things box.

 And Ziggy was happy just to wander between each of us, occasionally having a paddle in the surf or going to say hello to another dog, but I think it's safe to say he had as much fun as I did.

 I find searching for sea glass very soothing. You can just lose yourself in what you're doing and let your mind wander. 

I sat myself down on the sand and looked out to sea, then ran my hands through the sand around me, and unearthed so many treasures. I could have sat there all day. And these were the afternoon's treasures: mostly green and white with a few bright jewel colours and a couple of gorgeous, large pebble-like pieces. They've been added to Bella's collection.

So a brief trip but a nice one, and we enjoyed the time together. Today has been busy as we did errands and jobs like laundry, ironing, washing the car, and getting ready for a break in Devon next week. I'm out all day tomorrow at my friend and colleague's wedding so I won't get anything done then. Everything happens at once and this summer holiday is filling up rapidly.

I took lots of crafting projects to Durham with me of course (I needed something to do on that long journey) and I have made a start on an EPP hexagon patchwork quilt (much, much more on that another day) and crocheted a bag which I will show you soon, but the main thing I was working on was this gift for my friend, the bride.

It features flowers from her bouquet (cream roses, green hypericum berries, white bouvardia and baby's breath/gypsophila) and around the bouquet, I have embroidered their names and the date of the wedding. 

I've backed it with cream wool felt and tied a velvet ribbon to the top of the hoop so it can be hung.

It's not my usual style of embroidery but I went with it and just embraced the bridal frothiness of it all. I'll show you a finished photo of it soon. I hope she likes it.