I’m not exactly what you’d call a shopaholic these days. That’s not to say I didn’t spend a good proportion of my younger days trolling around the shops, but our location and lifstyle don’t really fit with that anymore. Apart from anything else, there aren’t usually the funds for it. This has made it even more pleasurable over the last few days to do a bit of guilt-free shopping. Why no guilt? Because I was spending Christmas present book tokens and birthday present money. Hooray!
First, the books. Since we love and get so much use from the River Cottage Family Cookbook we thought we’d add the Everyday Cookbook to our collection, having enjoyed the recent TV series. We’ve already tried making versions of its digestive biscuits, honey roasted root veg and ‘Tupperware Chorizo’ all with great success. We’ve also invested in the River Cottage ‘Veg Patch’ Handbook, which is lovely for it’s textured cover and neat little format alone, but is also inspiring us with all sorts of ideas for what we hope will be our first real venture in ‘grow your own’ this year. Finally, we’ve bought a DIY book because with this house there’s lots to ‘Do’ and noone else to ‘Do’ it for us! As we were using Book Tokens we decided to get all of these from a local independent bookstore. This meant we didn’t get any of the money saving offers we might have done from a chain store, but fits with our ethos of trying to support local businesses. Also when there was an issue with a stitching fault in our first copy of ‘Veg Patch’ it was an easy and pleasant experience getting it replaced.
Next up, I took advantage of only having one tiddler with me this morning to go on a bit of a charity shop trawl. As always I ignored the clothing in favour of homewares and textiles- my favourite charity shop buy is home-embroidered linen tablecloths but alas no joy on that front today. Instead I found this lovely little teapot- cheap, charity shop and using birthday money…perfect, basically! I originally thought it would be destined for the Folksy Shop, but I think I’ve rather fallen in love with it, so it’s probably going to become our regular small teapot. The plainer Brown Betty we’ve been using can go to the shop when I get around to some more knitting- I think some Union Jack teacosies in time for the upcoming Royal Wedding would make sense, and would be really cute as a smaller version.
Last but by no means least, behold our new dining room ‘gubbinet’. Never heard of a gubbinet? Well, it’s a cabinet for all the gubbins that end up lying around downstairs- envelopes, sticky tape and other posting stuff, phone chargers, table linens etcetera. As I write, C is (carefully I hope!) drilling some holes in the back of the top bit so that the stereo can be hidden away, rather than overhanging a shelf as it currently does. I think it’s probably from the first half of the 20th century, as it has curved edges that look a bit 30′s and is pretty solidly made from wood. I don’t really mind to be honest, as it suits our dining room really well and fits the space on one side of the chimney breast just perfectly. Found hidden under some boxes and behind a chair at the back of a vintage shop in Ulverston it was pretty cheap to buy with more birthday money. The only hairy bit was getting it home. I’d taken M shopping with me and couldn’t put her seat in the front due to the airbag, so we couldn’t put the seats down. Of course, when we tried to heft my purchase into the hatchback, it was about 6 inches too long. The only plan we could come up with, apart from coming back another day, was to tie the boot shut with string and for me to drive home ‘not too fast’. Eek! There’s nothing like a large piece of furniture held into your boot with string to make you notice just how many hills there are to go up to get home! Actually, put me on a bicycle and I’ll tell you about every hill, but that’s another story. Anyhow, we made it, I love it and our new (old) house has its first custom bought new (old) piece of furniture. Happy days.
Having been very neglectful of teacosies for months and months, I’ve suddenly got all re-invigorated for a number of reasons. Anyway, the result is that as I mentioned in the previous post, I uploaded my Union Jack teacosy pattern on Ravelry and have been very excited to see it added to more than 75 favourites lists and 20 or more queues! Meanwhile, I’ve completed what I’m calling my ‘High Tea’ collection of teacosies, each with a vintage teapot, to restock my Folksy shop. ‘Battenburg’ has been joined by ‘Cucumber Sandwiches’ and ‘Lemon Drizzle’. I love the soft retro colours and can’t decide which is my favourite!
So here is the birthday request that took all that cabling. I prefer to think of it as an homage to the Burberry version, rather than a rip-off! I’m really pleased with how it came out. The cabling pattern was from the ‘Helsinki’ wrap in Rowan magazine 42 and I made it using Sublime organic merino- so soft! Apparently the birthday girl is pleased, and I’m looking forward to pics of her modelling it.
Next up was the hat promised to my brother. If you’re reading this T I’ll get it in the post tomorrow! The request was for dark colours and stripes. I know red is a bit of a bright, but the tones of Rowan Felted Tweed (I know, again! And wait until you read on, you’ll think I’m sponsored by them or something!) are quite soft and subtle and it knits up very soft but with a sort of…integrity I suppose, certainly a good structure. Any way, hopefully it will fit and will please the wearer to be.
So then I should be cracking on with the tea-cosies I’ve been planning for oh, ages then? Well yeeeesss, but noooooo. The thing is, the red of the above hat was so lovely, but I had quite a lot left over. Then I got to thinking that I was pretty sure that the slipover that I really liked in Rowan 42 had some red in it and I was fairly certain it was in Felted Tweed. It was, so somehow on a dark and dreary night I found myself ordering a rainbow-ette of other colours and then a few days later scooting out to Williams Wools in Kendal for some new 3.75mm Brittany needles and before you know it, I’m tackling some serious fairisle. Well, I haven’t knitted anything for myself for ages, so those little brown teapots are just going to have to stay chilly for a bit longer!