24-04-19 Gaudi pieces
When a plan starts to come together

This morning I have completed all the knitting on Gaudi. Hurrah! I must say, laying all the pieces out on my bed to photograph makes me feel more confident about the finished object than I have been in a fair while. I want to have this finished and wearable by the end of the month, so the next week will see me joining the pieces, putting on the crochet front bands and neckband, sewing on buttons, trying it on, then washing it (I always wash my completed projects before I wear them, rather than just pinning them out and dampening them to block). That still seems like an awful lot of work to achieve and I won’t be surprised if I over-run my self-imposed deadline.

One reason I’ve been working hard at this project for the past couple of weeks is a desire to dispose of the needles I chose to knit it. These are the 30cm length 4mm KnitPro Zing metal needles. I started on these because I mistakenly thought I didn’t have any of my preferred KnitPro Symfonie wooden needles in the 4mm size. I don’t swap needle types once I have started a project because I think I get a different gauge using metal needles compared to wooden needles. However, although metal needles are very good in thin gauges, by the time you get to 4mm, the design of the KnitPro Zing is not so good to my way of thinking. They are incredibly pretty, but I ‘throw’ my yarn which means the needle in my right hand moves about a fair bit and that heavy finial on the end gets very tiring. Funnily enough, the thing I hate about circular needles is that they don’t have an end to provide stability as I am throwing the yarn! Clearly I am very much the Goldilocks of the knitting community!

I think this pair is destined for the charity shop where I am sure they will find a home with someone who will love them. I might bundle them up with some wool to make a gift pack. I am going to have quite decent remnants of wool from this project but I’ll keep them to make a co-ordinating neck-warmer.

That’s all I have been doing on the knitting front.

24-04-19 Inside Vogue
Book co-ordinates with my knitting!

I have been in a bit of a reading lull recently, but have just started Alexandra Shulman’s account of Vogue’s 100th year and I am finding it very enjoyable. I have always been interested in clothes and fashion magazines; I love the film of The Devil Wears Prada and the documentary The September Issue which follows the making of the bumper fashion edition of American Vogue.

I also read Harpers Bazaar when I can afford it; that means not at present, although I do read their website to keep abreast of things. This morning I read a very interesting article on there Introducing Circular Fashion and it gave me much food for thought about making fashion more sustainable. As someone who is (forgive me if I am being too modest) making a brilliantly unsuccessful attempt to sell hand-knitted accessories, I am familiar with the dichotomy of encouraging people to buy less and encouraging them to buy what I want to sell them. On the face of it, paying a more realistic price for work that is going to last for years makes perfect sense. However, when faced with a pair of knitted fingerless mitts on Amazon for less than a pound compared to a hand-knitted pair on my Etsy shop for around £20 it’s hard to think about relative value. I know that I currently have less disposable income than at any time in my life and I am falling into a mindset of buying cheap rather than buying quality. I hardly think I am the only person in this position.

In her book, Alexandra Shulman talks about how sensible it would be to amass a collection of pieces that could be slotted into any issue of the magazine if needed, but how she finds that if she has such pieces she becomes unenthusiastic about them. This resonates with me because it is precisely what I find for my blog. After I publish a post I will, occasionally, be in a mood to continue writing and get part of the way through a couple of blog posts on what seem to be excellent ideas. Sometimes I even know the precise day I could publish them, yet I rarely do. It seems to me that they are not indicative of what is on my mind on that day, they do not appeal to me at that moment, and so they sit in my Drafts folder until I delete them. I applaud the people who can write and schedule their blogs in advance, but it has never been my way of writing and I don’t think it’s a way which enables me to produce my best work. I am thinking back to school when I was unable to write the outline of an essay and then write the essay, so used to write the essay then go back and write a synopsis/outline at the end (but don’t tell my teachers I did that!). Is it that I become too easily bored and once I’ve written the outline I’ve basically said what I want to say and am ready to move on to something completely different? Perhaps it is more that my creativity is greatest when I give it a free rein and an outline to me feels like a fence. And now I am thinking about horses show-jumping – whoa there, mind; get yourself back on track!

I hope the mid-week finds you in good spirits and making progress with your own projects.


Knew this was a one-way ticket…

21-12-18 Moon

As I sat knitting at the weekend, I was pondering the sweetness of sharing things we enjoy with a whole new generation. This specifically related to watching “The Abyss” with my grandson who enjoyed it immensely (and why wouldn’t he?).

So today’s quote is a short and sweet thought from the film, typed by Brigman as he resigns himself to his fate at the bottom of a deep-sea trench, not enough air to get back to his friends and just-coming-back-from-being-estranged wife on the undersea drilling rig, his helmet reflecting the light from the hidden alien city that he has just saved from extinction:-

Don’t cry baby. Knew this was one-way ticket, but you know I had to come.

That seems to sum up life itself; in fact, it would look superb on a tombstone, and if I was intending to have such a thing I would probably request it myself.

So, wherever any of us is on that deep-sea dive from arriving at and departing from Planet Earth, we are all contributing in great and small ways to the life of the universe, and we can all take a moment to appreciate that. Hopefully, not with our last lungfull of air, though!


Scent and Scissorhands

18-01-19 scissorhands avon
I’m not totally sure which one of these I am!

So, this week I have joined the legions of Avon “ladies” and on mentioning this to my daughter, the first thing she said was “Oh, we watched Edward Scissorhands and I had to explain what an Avon Lady was!”

Edward Scissorhands is a great film about being different and about being kind and about being slightly outside the mainstream. Of course the mother in the film should represent the mainstream, but actually she is as far outside it as anyone. I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone is outside the mainstream in which case what on earth is the mainstream? Feel free to comment on that!

Whilst I don’t intend for this blog to become a sales ground, it is inescapable that some of the things I do within the Avon realm will also fit inside my personal life because skincare, makeup and perfume are lifelong interests of mine. When that’s the case I will write about them in my blog. This being one of those occasions.

I wrote in November about finishing a bottle of my favourite perfume and making-do with a couple of Clinique sample bottles as a short-term measure. Well, I consider joining the Avon bandwagon to be the ideal opportunity to try out some different scents and see how I like them. I’m starting off with a bottle of Rare Gold – just because it is the one that arrived in my initial demonstration kit – and I am quite impressed.

16-01-19 rare gold 2

This perfume opens with a sweet, fruity-floral note of white peach and Jasmine, speaking of which does anyone else remember Avon’s Pretty Peach from the 1960s?

18-01-19 pretty peach

Rare Gold is rather more sophisticated and it reminds me of springtime – I can definitely see myself wearing this a lot as we move out of the winter. As it warms and matures, the lovely jasmine part of the scent really comes through. Jasmine is present in almost all the perfumes I really love, not to mention in an unrelated favourite – Jasmine Tea – so we know we’re onto a winner there. The lingering ‘base’ of the scent is the only part that I feel is not entirely to my taste, although that is putting it too strongly, it’s just that that there are base notes that I prefer. Rare Gold has a musk/amber base and I’ve found from my favourite perfumes that I really go for a good, lingering woody note. I do accept, however, that you can’t have everything you want in life or in perfume! This one does appeal to me more than the Clinique Aromatics in White which I have been using, although I should note that I did come to enjoy that one the more I used it.

All in all, this is a good, solid start to my exploration of Avon’s perfumes.

And finally, well it’s Friday – how could I leave you without a quote from Edward Scissorhands?

You can’t buy all the necessities of life with cookies.

A fact that is both sad and true!


Do you love Edward Scissorhands or have you never seen it? Don’t be afraid to comment.

If you are interested, please feel free to take a look at my Avon online store – you can place orders from anywhere in the UK. Alternatively, if you already get Avon products from a local representative, let me know your favourites.


10 Films that influenced me

I have recently enjoyed taking part in what I suppose is a meme on Facebook wherein you post a picture from a film that has influenced you each day for ten days. It has been very interesting to see the films that have influenced other members of my family, and to see where we match and where we differ. It has also been very hard to distill it down to ten films only, and to ensure that I would classify them as influential rather than just being favourites. I thought today I would do a bit of analysis on the ten that I chose and think about what sort of influence they have had and also look at trends where multiple films fit into a particular category.

First off, I have taken “influence me” to cover such things as having led me to follow a particular actor’s later work, or to key into a particular interest of mine, as I can honestly say that I have not knowingly been influenced to do something just because I saw it in a film.

So, let’s begin with the ten films and what about them resonates with me (the stars after each film denote how many relationships it has with the other films which will become apparent in the Themes section):-

Franco Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet – resonates with my love of literature; first saw this on a school visit when we were studying Romeo and Juliet in 1975 so I have a history with this film. **

City of Angels – as a cyclist like Meg Ryan’s character, I can totally empathise with her lifestyle and her death. It encouraged me to think about riding a sportier bike. The angel motif is also quite reassuring even if, like me, you don’t actually believe in angels. **

Die Hard – men’s tailoring and Alan Rickman – need I say more? *

Shenandoah – I have always loved a good western and this one is strong on family which really appeals to me. **

The Great Gatsby – romance, romance, romance, and sorrow; how much better love is when you keep it unreal. ***

Silent Running – this is the eco-film that pricks my conscience and keeps me thinking about my carbon footprint. **

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – it’s good to ride a bicycle. ***

Fahrenheit 451 – you can burn books, but there will always be stories. **

Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves – together with Die Hard, The Barchester Chronicles, and a BBC drama Revolutionary Witness: The Priest, this film cemented a long enjoyment of Alan Rickman’s work. **

Star Trek: Wrath of Khan – “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”; “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.” *


Romances (4) – Romeo and Juliet/City of Angels/The Great Gatsby/Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
Sci-fi films (3) – Silent Running/Fahrenheit 451/Star Trek: Wrath of Khan
Films of books I love (3) – Romeo and Juliet/The Great Gatsby/Fahrenheit 451
Westerns (2) – Shenandoah/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Films with bicycles (2) – City of Angels/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Films starring Alan Rickman (2) – Die Hard/Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
Films starring Katherine Ross (2) – Shenandoah/Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (I wasn’t expecting this actress to show up twice in my ten)
Films starring Bruce Dern (2) – The Great Gatsby/Silent Running (I really wouldn’t have thought Bruce Dern would be in two of my most influential films)

You could play along and think about films that have influenced you, or about books/music/TV shows. I might do a 10 TV shows post because, as you will probably have noticed, these have influenced me more than films.