Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Ooo blog thing

I don't know why but i suddenly remembered I haven't bothered posting anything for what is now - er - apparently two and a half months. I'm not sure why. I think I ran out of things to say. 

Maybe i'm trying to relieve it all now and give this all another bash. slightly i'm sure this is because we're on the verge of a brand new year and its a year that i'm looking forward to. Holidays in March to Edinburgh with the man, a trip for a visa, hopefully moving to America, getting married. Crazy fun times. 

With hating my job a bit atm, the dream and the somewhat organisation of the wedding is keeping me on the right track at least. somewhat. 
i've fallen in love with red sparkly shoes. I'll be getting married in some. We're quirky, i'm random. Might as well make the wedding reflect us, be unconventional a little and have some fun in the process. 

They are the shoes of my dreams. Oh how I want them. 

Quirky quirky quirky.

Monday, 13 September 2010

"America in Color "

I've developed an obsession with all things American, i'm wanting to know anything and everything. I stumbled across this photographic collection "America in Color" - a series of images showcasing the effects of the depression upon America's rural and small town populations, upon project365
Backstage at the "girlie" show at the state fair. Rutland, Vermont, September 1941 
Boy building a model airplane as girl watches. Robstown, Texas, January 1942 
Bayou Bourbeau plantation, a Farm Security Administration cooperative. Vicinity of Natchitoches, Louisiana, August 1940 
Women workers employed as wipers in the roundhouse having lunch in their rest room, Chicago and Northwest Railway Company. Clinton, Iowa, April 1943.
Children stage a patriotic demonstration. Southington, Connecticut, May 1942.
More pictures can be found here 

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Trying to find THAT dress ...

... and our plans are going really well. It's weird how quick you just know what you want. We want our "do" to be simple. That's the key, that's who we are. I don't think we could do with everything all flashy and large and loud. That's just not us. We've picked our witnesses [even if they themselves don't know it yet], we're hoping for a little ceremony with just our witnesses and married by a judge and then onto our little vintage afternoon tea reception made up of numerous unmatching teacups and saucers, mini cakes and sweets, cake stands, traditional flowers  [very English ones] and a music list made up of Glenn Miller, Fred Astaire, Bing Cosby and Louis Armstrong to name but a few. 

The hardest task at first was thinking omg what kind of dress. I know some girls daydream for years about the dress they want, be it huge or tiny, meringue or a line. However, I have a bad relationship with dresses. 

THE dress was one of the thing i've started to really search for intently, being an hour glass shape it kind of adds to the issue - just seems like no dresses seem to fit this kind of style typically on the high street anyway. The tend to fit in one place and not in another. Me and shopping don't tend to go well on the average kind of of day, yet alone for a dress this important. The internet therefore is my saviour, and I will be risking it by buying a dress on the Internet - why because i'm willing to risk it, i'd get to try it on in my own time, in lighting that's natural [rather then fake lighting that makes you look fine in something at the time until you get home and your like "why the hell did I ever buy this?!"] also because of our budget. I really can't justify spending loads on a dress that probably isn't "me" and i'll only wear once. Plus loads of dresses you see in shops and magazines tend to be all the traditional kind, i'm not really one for traditional, i like breaking the rules at times. The net offers me all this at a fraction of the price.

So i'm opting for a 1950s halter-neck, mid length dress in white maybe even with a bit of fancy patterning or lace. Perfecto me thinks, jazz it up with some accessories and it'll be perfect!]. But i'm loving all 1950s inspired and original vintage dresses

I utterly love the last image, I love the idea that the dress doesn't have to be red to make it a wedding dress, and the shoes are just yum. I've also developed a thing for bunting! 

BUT .... I could just do with ideas for accessories [ie jewellery] do I do with the colour of the dress - so your going down the route of white beads/pearls or go with the colour theme [currently pale blue/purples/pinks]. I'm asking this mainly because i'm having a lot of issues trying to find pure white beads at the moment, everything seems to be off white/cream.

All ideas highly welcome!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

My name is rayray, i'm nearly 24 and I still live at home

One of the things I wish I could change about my life right now is living at home. I was one of those birdies that fluttered away to university when they were 18. I moved from Yorkshire all the way up to Newcastle and absolutely loved it. It was my haven. After living and growing up in the countryside in a middle of nowhere, going nowhere town, Newcastle had everything. It had bars, it had people, it had noise, it had things going for it. It was my escape. I lived there for four years while doing my degree and my masters. I think one of the reasons for doing my last minute application to do an MA was just to get away from living at home.

After that though, I was leaving university in the middle of that R world - the old recession. Bugger. Apparently all was going to be okay though because I had a job lined up, but sods law and everything fell through and well, a year later i'm still at home.

Don't get me wrong I love hardly paying any rent, and yeah i'm a little spoilt. But it depends on what way you look at it. All my meals are still made for me - and it's food thats buggering up my stomach. My mam has the habit of overcooking and solving everything, I haven't seen a salad or a jacket potato really since leaving university. That's all I ever really use to eat, and its why I lost two stone. Now that weights coming back and every time I look in the mirror I hate myself a little more. I've tried over and over to say i'll make my own food, that she don't have to bother reheating tasteless food, but even under her watchful gaze she'll think I just don't want to eat.

I really can't win. I feel like I have to clock in and clock out every time I leave home. If my bus is five minutes late its like hell's broken loose. And yeah I know its "only because they care" but i'm nearly 24. To be honest i'm scared of my mam too. She has this habit of twisting things to always be against her, everything has to be personal. My dad just sits there and just don't won't the get on the wrong side.

This is the crisis of being an only kid. If only there had been another kid to distract them from me. You hear of people returning from university and STILL living at home when they are in their 30s because they can't find a way out or get a mortgage or whatever. That scares the living daylights out of me.
I know I could move out but with saving for holiday and getting married and moving to the states I need all the money I can get. And I probably sound utterly spoilt and sulking because I can't get my own way.I wish I could run away and jump on a plane to JJ in the States but the visa people wouldn't like that.

I would just like my freedom back. Or maybe i'm super ungrateful

Monday, 30 August 2010

My wedding shawl

Being engaged has become the perfect excuse to start crocheting my wedding shawl. I know I blogged about it ages ago when I first saw the pattern within the Crochet Today magazine which was just wow and totally stuck out to me. It was something I wanted to keep and to make for myself, for my magic day and to keep as a memory of it. 

The finished orginal article is meant to look something like this;
Its made in two halves with pineapple and a million trebles and chains but its a really easy pattern to follow even though to do a row seems to take forever due to its width. I'm making mine with some free wool, my mam gave it to me months ago because she had no use to it so, seeing its free its even more great [seeing we're working with a £2000 budget to get married with]. We're planning an autumnal wedding so this shawl is going to be the perfect way to keep a little warmth.

It needs pulling into shape a lot and some of the chains are a bit iffy - not sure if its the yarn or me but it's fine. I wanted to make and finished this first, the dress has to go around this for which I have a million ideas!

Amineko cat

I was wondering where else the crocheting lark could take me, alongside the squares, doilies and what not. Raverly is my godsend for free stuff and patterns and there was this cat that just said "make me" from the screen. Its made up from scraps of ginger 4 ply wool, stuffing and stones from the drive - it asks for pebbles but we have none of them so i was making do and mending as the saying goes. 

His arm went slightly funky not too sure why other then I sewed it on wrong and i totally couldn't handle the design they suggested for the face, so I just back stitched my own idea and added whiskers. Without the whiskers it looked more like a bear.

Saturday, 21 August 2010

An afternoon wedding tea

I'm not sure many people have "themes" for their weddings, maybe the go more for show or for colours. But we want a theme. We both, well probably Joe more then me, huge tea lovers and after having an amazingly fun and posh time at Betty's in York the other week, the "afternoon tea" idea has been something overly running through my mind when it comes to the decoration, food, drinks and atmosphere at our wedding. With myself being English and us hopefully marrying in America, I hope this theme brings a little bit of an English countryside feel to some little place in Michigan next year. As well as making a scrapbook of ideas myself, I thought i'd make a virtual one too. 

So things like;
Cupcakes, lavender, china, tea, pinks, purples, gardens, cakes ...

Friday, 20 August 2010

YORK: Heart of Yorkshire

Rumour has it, well the Pullman Bus Tours state that if lovers kiss under the "Heart of Yorkshire" officially known as the Great West Window they'll stay in love for the rest of their lives. Me and JJ were all up for trying that!

Its only when you play at being a tourist you realise how much the Minster dominates the city. But its expectantly pretty at night, all lit up. Was the perfect spot and sight on the slow wander home back from our floodlit boat trip. I went for a peek inside the Minster last week - I kind of wanted to get away from the world and be quiet for a bit. I might not be religious but you can't mistake the beauty inside such a place. 
Hope you all have fabulous weekend, i'm back to sorting and mending the crocheted blanket while fixing up me and Joe a scrapbook of our holidays and messing with that wedding wrap I blogged about ageeees ago.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

YORK: Afternoon Tea at Betty's

Betty's Tearooms were opened as a haven to offering traditional meals, cakes and teas mixing influences from Switzerland and Yorkshire. The first tearoom was opened in 1919 in Harrogate by Fredrick Belmont, a Swiss confectioner with later additions opening in York. The naming of the tearooms as "Betty's" however remains a mystery. Some consider them to be named after the former Queen Mother; a former Harrogate Spa owner Betty Lupton, a previous daughter of the sites former owner who had died of TB and/or perhaps a small child who is said to have interrupted a meeting and suggested a name. 

Opening in the 1930s, the York St Helen's Square branch of Betty's became its flagship tearoom. During WWII the "Betty's basement" downstairs became the hangout of American and Canadian bomber boys located over here. Overall the design of the tearoom is inspired by ship RMS Queen Mary after Fredrick sailed upon its maiden voyage. Impressed by the design that much he commissioned the same ship's designers and craftsmen to provide a setting for his latest branch.

Me and JJ decided to pretend to be posh and opted for "afternoon" tea at Bettys.

Least its given me one idea for our wedding - a basis of "afternoon tea" for the buffet, little sandwiches, little cakes all on vintage cake stands. With posh tea.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Holiday snaps

Thank you to everyone who's given us there's congratulations and best wishes for getting engaged. It still feels like an amazingly good dream. I guess we should pretend to be all grown up now?! So here's just some piccies of us on our holiday together in York. No doubt there'll be countless other blogs about what we got up too. 
Lazying in the sun just by our special place where we got engaged
Snuggles behind the Minster
We're right posers, I know.
My guy :D
No more piccccccies!
Best week of my life. Loved it.
Thank you all again

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Riverside Romance and an Engagement to Boot

The Thursday before last me and Joe took what just seemed to be a normal little wander through York. After spending the early evening watching Funny Face with Fred Astaire and Audrey Hepburn and eating Spag Bol and endless quickly melting Ben and Jerrys [because there was no freezer and it was melting too fast] we headed towards the river. We found a perfect little bench just by Skledergate Bridge just sat watching the world go by, the river cruises, the geese and the ducks.

And then somewhere out of the dream Joe asked me to marry him, mid kiss. The whole world seemed to stop, my heart went giddy up. And everything went amazingly perfect. We finished off the evening with a ride on the floodlit river tour down to Bishopthorpe Palace and a stroll through the city.

The women at the jewellery store was surprised at the tiny sized fingers - saying that she's given me a complex about it now. We choose the ring together, its everything I could ever want, small, pretty and shiney. I love it and I really really can't wait to marry Joe - he makes life so fun and amazing.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

LIFE: 43 Things

There's an amazing website doing the rounds if you love making lists. Especially to do lists, of things you really want to get around to doing someday. I know i've posted a list like this before somewhere upon this blog [can't really find where] and I know it revolved around having proper holidays by the seaside and visiting Hye on Why. But like I'm inpatient, my head jumps, ideas fly and my ideas and lists always change. I guess anyone's to do before they die list is somewhat always reflecting the point where a person is in their life. A wish of things they might of done in the past and a hope to do in the future. 

So here is mine, in reflection i'm surprised just how American my ambitions are heading already

1. See a Broadway musical [New York]

2. Collect seashells from around the world

3. To see a musical in London's West End

4. Try and keep my blog going which is rather hard to do at times, especially at the moment. But I am trying.Honest.

5. To like myself more, probably one of the hardest things on this list.
6. To get married. I think this is one of the big and more doable and planned things i'll be doing in the near future [hopefully]. Yet getting married totally wouldn't of appeared on any to do list of mine even as recently as a year ago, it's a wonder what meeting an amazing guy does when it comes to changing your stance about romance. 

7. Visit Virginia, especially Williamsburg

8. To carry on collecting my vintage powder compacts and figure out some impressive and more affective way to store and display them.

9. Make a huge Afghan crochet blanket for long romantic snuggles, another for the back of the car for picnics and one for edders.

10. To be happy, generally.

11. To go and watch a PGA golf match, somewhere, some place.

12. To crochet more, doesn't really matter what. Just crochet and get better at it. 

13. To finally see the Backstreet Boys live, been "into" them for 14 years and still haven't done it. Must try harder. 

14. To own and give a home to more rescue cats. I'm slighty bias to ginger and white cats, but i'll take any! 

15. Own and do up my own house. Have dreams of a little yellow ranch house in Massachusetts, but just any little place that needs a bit of loving, a hammer and some paint.

16. Road trip to New York, maybe up through Canada via Buffalo. Just to walk along Fifth Avenue, see the Statue or Liberty, watch the big lights.
17. Visit and travel around Italy staying in gorgeous quaint little villages, see the sites of the Romans, soak up all the culture.

18. To move to America.
19. To honeymoon up in the Laurel mountains in PA and especially visit Falling Water. 

20. Road trip around Pennsylvania [at least the western part] up into the Mountains, the caves, snuggle into a cabin and watch the world go by. 

21. Develop my photography skills - slightly my new snap happy addiction. Need a "proper" camera but we'll get it some day.

22. Visit Chicago and see the Chicago Fire Soccer team play seeing they are the closest to the big time you get closest to Detroit.
23. To learn how to knit. I can crochet, sew, embroider. But can I knit - no chance!

Okki, so there's room for 20 more ideas. It's hard to focus and think of things you want to do when you have to actually think about it! Always room for more though.

What are your things to do?

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Pretty little cardi

My friend at work is having a baby and that just happened to create the perfect excuse to try and crochet something fitting for a baby girl [the blanking mending went on a two day hiatus]. I stumbled across this pattern, the Princess Cardi on Lion Brand and being a "novice" at crocheting clothes I thought why not. After having a few technical difficulties with the tension  [it stated it required a 4mm hook but my version wasn't getting anywhere near the stated size, being over an inch and a half short so a move to a 5mm hook was perfect] it ended up being a gorgeous little coat in this pomegranate pink. 

It was a very simple pattern made up of half trebles throughout [UK term] so I messed around and created a half treble come treble curving edging around the collar and bottom. Just finished off with a cutey little pink button thifted from the HUGE button tin we keep. It took less then a day to make [it was just stop start due to work].With the pattern being free and the two 100g double knitting wool only costing £2.90 just made me realise how much more cheaper it is to make baby clothes into comparison to buying an equivalent. Plus I have 3/4 of a ball of wool left [more for squares!].

But the result has made me rather broody and wanting babies ... oops.Or maybe it is utterly rubbish? Who knows!
Still a work in progress ... I like my long ends
The finished front
My thrifted button which was lucky enough to be the perfect colour match
The fancy shaped edging I added at the bottom of the cardi just to jazz it up a little.

And if you have any ideas for the York trip [see yesterdays blog] please share them! We need ideas!!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

How cute?!

How cute is this crocheted Noah's Ark blankie?!
I found it while searching around on the Raverly website [it's under Noah's art blanket]. Its so cute, it makes me want to have babies just to make it. I love how neat the above blanket is, very professional!

It's cute to see all the other peoples versions of it too. It's what I love about Raverly, not only for its community but to be able to share your projects and see different versions of the same thing. I just end up queuing a load of projects every time I log on!

Just another project to add to the future to do someday, one day list!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The next BIG project

I learnt to crochet way before I was properly interested in being crafty. I'm not really sure why I wanted to learn, or even how it came about. I tried learning to knit countless times but I couldn't and still can't get my head around it. Maybe crocheting seemed the better alternative at the time. 

I can't remember how old I was either when I started learning but i'm thinking I was somewhere between 12 and 15. My minds rubbish enough that I can't really remember making my first crocheted "thing" - a blanket made up of granny squares, all I remember is running out of my first lot of background colour and having to get the next nearest shade. The final result, this blanket [right] is how I learnt to crochet. I finished the blanket and at the same time I finished crocheting until I inherited the hooks and books from my gran last autumn. 

What I made was this huge 345, 4 inch piece granny squared blanket to fit a just over the size of the average single bed in 15 X 23 length rows. To be honest it's a bit too big and it weights a tonne but it keeps me warm on the coldest of Yorkshire nights and was one of the things I loved looking forward to getting into bed and snuggling when I was coming home for visits when I was away at university for four years. 
However there are some problems with it these days. I made this blanket without the proper understanding that you only get with time and experience for the need to fasten off and leave a decent [yet sewn in] end to your yarn. Night time pulling and being kicked around as seen just a far few of the yarns parting company in a number of ways. 

A far few of the squares have lost their insides, their edges just flapping open. One had its trail of wool still dangling, another had totally parted from the corner with only one edge still intact.

So as of last Sunday while watching The Open I began unpicking the poor thing. So far 20 odd squares have been regulated [no worries the wool will be reused]. Luckily most of the injured squares lie weirdly on the last two lines around the blankie. Bar about three so very close to the centre [gutted]. Patches will be hopefully reused with a new strip added around the edge in a gorgeous variegated pink yarn.  But do I keep the squares granny in design for the new strip? Or favour one of my favourite square pattern that i've used in my recent Americana cushion cover - I've heard the pattern being termed under numerous definitions from the Afghan to cluster square [but its the one in the picture at the bottom].

Its going to be the pretty little BIG project to jump back and forth between my work days, one thing I hate about not being a lady of leisure is missing out on all the days I could be busy crocheting and making things! And hopefully one day it'll still be lasting the test of time for perhaps my own children to curl up underneath.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Step into a secret garden

One of the things I enjoyed the most about Dumfries and Galloway is that it really is a hidden gem. Not being overly touristy and therefore not heavy advertised places along the "tourist" trail are relativity quiet and compared to the rest of the UK overly cheap [think £4 entry in to a garden and castle here - Castle Kennedy, compared to perhaps double that back in Yorkshire].

Hidden away on the road to Stranear is a hidden little former castle and it's landscaped gardens. When Castle Kennedy was originally built it was constructed upon a natural island, surrounded by loch's. Now the same lochs proved a micro climate influenced by the gulf stream offers the environment a changing a fresh landscape of plants in comparison to the rest of the UK. 

Destroyed by fire in 1716, rumour has it by a maid which failed to put a fire out properly, Castle Kennedy now is the focal point of the estate. One that holds acres of woodland, a walled traditional garden, a monkey puzzle run and a huge, huge water lily pond.
[Bottom left & top right] although I loved the creeping trees and brushes growing up, out and into the tumbling castle, it seemed somewhat more of a Victorian folly, as a focal point for gardening rather then what it formally was. Which I guess is why it never got rebuilt or made more visitor friendly. I guess in a dream like, favour the tourist it would have been somewhat more romantisied if they could have made the castle more open to creep and crawl inside rather then closed off. But in the era of "health and safety" I guess this is a long gone occurrence.

What makes a walled garden traditional is its sense of your basic, floral and gorgeous smelling plants. Approached through a a creaking iron gate reveals its sound of buzzing bees, a gardener seeing to his weeds, and the shade of the nearby woods. Hidden behind a large stone wall, its act like a huge sun trap, sheltering the visitor from the breezy Scottish wind while offering a clay red backdrop for flowers and trees alike. 

If you fancy a castle, some romance, miles of wooded walks and pretty flowers you can't go much wrong.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The highlands of the low lands

They claim, well the tourist information and boards claim that Dumfries and Galloway is the Highlands of the Lowlands, and you can more then see why. Think the Highlands meets the Lake District but with a hell of a lot less tourists mingling around and getting in the way. As a totally undiscovered area it's not the best if your wanting a break filled with museums and inside things to do, it's more of a back to nature, get up into the hills, forests or beaches while being blown and more often then not, drizzled on.

As a landscape it was gorgeous as the pictures show
The view over the Loch towards the site of King Robert's defeat of the British Army in 1307. This is reputed to be the first battle in English history to use guerilla tactics with the Scots throwing stones down the mountain upon the heads of their English rivals. A huge marker stands at the site of the above photograph in the Glentrool Forest Park north of Newton Stuart. [click on the above image for a larger copy]
One of the great things about Scottish Forest Parks, or at least the Galloway version is that they are free to visit. They are a hive of activity for walkers, mountain bikers and tourist alike. Often with a small tourist information place and miles of car drives, view points and footpaths both on and off road.
It is landscapes, environments and wildlife like the above that is influencing my love for photography and getting a "proper" hi-tech camera. Here is for dreaming for the time being.