Sunday, 29 July 2012

Scandi Stitches

Now that I have given this to my pal I can share it here!

During my week off I made this teatowel from the 'Scandinavian Needlecraft' book that George gave me for my birthday.  I'm really chuffed with how it turned out!  It was all done on the machine, using 2 very fine lines of zigzag stitching in blue and green.  I love the pattern - it was inspired by Scandinavian ceramics from the 50s and 60s.  Luckily the scribbly design was very forgiving, it's the first time I've tried machine embroidery and the circles in particular took a while to get the hang of!

I have all sorts of plans for my own designs now using the same technique, it's very simple but really effective I think.  I also want to put this pattern on a table runner.

Last week in pictures

It has been good times in the Harvey-McKenzie household!  And outside of it too...
Mainly outside of it in fact, for the sun has shone hard on little Bristol.

So there've been trips to Avoncliff for river swimming ( I was brave and entered the water the extreme way by leaping off a rope swing), an unexpected jaunt to Ashton Court to soak up some vitamin D, and many nice candle lit suppers outside after the sun has gone down.  Just lovely.  Even with all the bitey insects that seem to like our little garden (and our bare arms and legs) so much.

In other news I am making PLANS.  An Autumn trip to Stockholm, and some very early and tentative plans for a recipe book, who knows what will come of that but thinking about it is fun, not to mention tasty.

Stockholm plans are making me very excited, it is joint my favourite place in the world (with Bristol!) and at the moment I am missing it very much... I am trying to bring as much of the Scandinavian into our little house as possible to ease the withdrawal symptoms.  My lovely friend Rosie pointed me in the direction of Krims Krams, a beautiful blog written by a Brit in Norway, her pictures are truly stunning and make me long for wooden beds in the roof and dips in the fjords, not to mention all manner of beautifully designed Scandinavian homewares.

Photo by Lisa Kjellerod
I shall have to make do with a trip to Ikea to stock up on coffee and a wander round bargain corner :D


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

There's nothing like the sun

Yesterday was the most perfect day!

A lazy lie in, cider with a much missed friend in a lovely beer garden, then a jaunt to Portishead Open Air Pool in the world's tiniest car, rounded off by a chip supper and Uno battle in our garden.


Sunday, 22 July 2012

First attempts at lino cutting

I did some lino cuts!  They may not be the best prints ever but for a very first time attempt I am pretty pleased with them.  And the main thing is I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The cutting was easier than I thought, and the printing harder!  I've signed up for a workshop at Paper Village in September which should help me along a little.

I've had the whole week of work and rather than going away decided to have a 'creative holiday', which meant investing in art, craft and sewing material, and it's been really fantastic.  I'd forgotten how much I love just getting totally absorbed in making something, it is the best way I can enjoy my own company - something I sometimes struggle with.  I realised I spend a LOT of time on the internet looking at prettty things I want, or reading craft books and just passively consuming things, in theory it's supposed to be 'inspiration' but so often it is just another way of not doing things myself.

And I want to change that!

I tend to think of myself as not artistic or creative enough to have a go myself, but I've read a few books lately that have really inspired me to just get on with it and learn through having a bash.  'Lotta Prints' is particularly excellent (have I mentioned before how much I love Lotta Jansdotter??) and I highly recommend it for someone with no knowledge of printing processes who just wants to have a go.  Not featured on this blog are the potato prints I did to build myself up to the lino cutting!

I also have something slightly more sophisticated that I've made and would like to share, but as it is a present for someone I think may read this blog I will have to hold off for now....

The best thing of all is that it is Sunday night (just! So very nearly midnight), but there is no Sunday night feeling for me as I'm not back in work until Thursday, woop!  Summer has finally arrived in the UK which I'm hoping means the next few days will be all about picnics, walks, suppers outside and hopefully a trip out to this lovely place to jump in the river - one of my all time very favourite things to do.  It's the first time this year that it's even seemed like an option due to the weather being so rubbish, but the forecast for Wednesday is 28 degrees(!) so leaping into cold cold water could be just the right thing to do.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Al fresco

On friday night it stopped raining long enough for us to have dinner outside!

I have the next 10 days off work, it would be really helpful if it could be good weather for those too.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Walk, don't run

I love my walk to work.  I have carefully refined my route to include as much green space as I can, and it's really one of my favourite parts of the day.  I used to walk another way which was greyer and busier and generally a bit rubbish, until I found out I could walk along the river almost the whole way and now I love it! I try to vary my route slightly to keep things interesting - at its best I walk through 3 parks and hardly any roads.

This week we had some rare sunshine in between all the rain and clouds and so I took some pictures of my favourite bits to share.  Bristol is such a good, green city - I love how lots of the green spaces are a little bit wild, not all carefully maintained lawns and flower beds, but overgrown hedgerows and long grass.  It's really easy to forget you're in the middle of the city sometimes.  Hurrah for Bristol!  And hurrah for walking to work.  A zilllion times better than sitting in traffic. 


Sunday, 8 July 2012


I'm an accidental collector of teapots.

I'm a bit bored of the one I mainly use (Cath Kidston), so currently covetting any of these guys:

Top L-R: Vintage Denby, Dahlhaus Ceramics, Orla Keily. Bottom L-R: Marimekko, Vintage enamel, House of Rym. 

Sadly they are all either rather expensive (I  L O V E  the Marimekko one but just couldn't justify £60 on something I am damn likely to break!), or vintage pieces not widely available.

More affordable options would be

Vintage Denby - more common than the one above!


Not too keen on the Ikea one as it is, but for £6.99 it could be worth seeing what I can do with some bake on china pens?  I've been wanting to give those a try since getting my new Lotta Jansdotter book, 'Handmade Living' - not sure my designs would be as good as hers though!