December 1st

The first day of Advent, spent suitably. This morning I finished knitting another Christmas present, socks for a friend with sore feet. The socks are soft and will I hope be comfortable. When that was done I got the Advent calendar down from the high cupboard where the Christmas decorations are stored,  I made it when my son was a baby. I used a pattern in a German handicraft magazine, it has Father Christmas in an embroidered sleigh and reindeer flying through the night sky towards a snow covered village.  There are 24 brass rings to which we tie a small parcel, one each day until Christmas. In the past I would wrap up pieces of Lego, small pencils or rubbers, stamps, sweets or tiny toys. Latterly I’ve wrapped more useful items like boxes of matches, pound coins, book tokens etc but this year with two children to help open the parcels there will be toys again. image

This afternoon was our school nativity play, I mended three donkey costumes, a camel costume and sewed the tail back onto a sheep. Then I helped small wriggling children get into their outfits and walked with them into the hall to perform in front of their parents and friends. After that it was off to Year 5 to design a meal for an astronaut.

This evening after the usual round of marking work and preparing for tomorrow’s lessons I started a tiny pair of socks for my granddaughter – red and white to match her liten fuggel mittens.

The time between the 1st of December and Christmas always seemed endless as a child, now it is the beginning of a busy time that seems to get shorter every year, but it still invokes the same anticipation and joy I’m glad to say.



Liten Fuggel.

Cold weather and little hands are not a good combination. Isabelle has grown out of her baby mittens so I started looking for some cosy toddler mitts.

Jorid Linvik designs wonderful knitting patterns, see her website at

I was torn between the Tango Elefant mittens and the Liten Fuggel ones but the possibility of knitting matching socks won the day for the Liten Fuggel. The mittens were great fun to knit, enough pattern to be a challenge but small enough to be a fairly quick knit. image image image

My only modification was to change the thumb colour to red instead of white. I think white would soon look dirty.

On Friday we tried the mittens on Isabelle, she was not impressed but will hopefully appreciate the warmth on chilly days. She loves wearing hats (just like her Daddy) but likes to be able to wriggle her fingers without gloves. At the moment gloves and socks are removed and discarded as soon as possible, fingers and toes are much too interesting to keep covered up!

More baby sewing

Cold days need warm clothes, a cosy needlecord pinafore dress over some lovely Frugi tights.The pinafore dress has a faced scalloped hem. The pattern is the MiniKrea Spencer dress, the needlecord from Truro fabrics. image

Leggings are quickly sewn and keep little legs warm, the jersey fabrics are from Kitschy Coo. The pattern is Brindille and Twig’s baby leggings.



And finally a bit of knitting, the pretty Alouette pattern by Frogginette, knitted in Rico wool double knit shade Rose


Baby things are such fun to sew.

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My friend is expecting a baby in a couple of weeks and we are going out for a meal tomorrow to celebrate and give her presents for the little one. I’ve had a lovely time sewing a few things -firstly this little suit made from a French pattern by Citronille. The top and trousers are made from very soft cream needlecord, a joy to cut out and sew. The tulip buttons are so pretty and not too girly in case the baby is a boy (I’ve included a set of blue buttons in case she prefers a more traditional finish to a boy’s outfit though.)

I then started playing around with some cotton jersey fabric, Isabelle has some little bandana bibs that she has worn a lot while teething and I decided to try to copy them. I used an organic cotton sweatshirt fabric for the backing and scraps of cotton jersey for the fronts. The puffin jersey is brilliant isn’t it! The puffin and one of the striped fabrics are a pale blue but photographed looking grey, the pink is the correct shade. They are so easy to sew and will I hope be useful as well as decorative. They are fastened with nickel free press studs, which I had to insert with a hammer as my special pliers have disappeared. I’m very very tempted by a KAM press but for the number of press studs I use in a year can’t justify the cost so a hammer it is! image image image

Please excuse the state of the kitchen table which desperately needs to be sanded down, although it’s “patina” does reflect its usefulness as an all purpose dining, sewing, diy station and generally useful space. Next week I’m back to sewing for Isabelle, she is growing rapidly and needs some new pinafores – I’ve ordered some cherry red and some navy needlecord for her and some very funky tights to go with her new dresses. She also needs new leggings for crawling about, so she’s getting stripey ones and puffin ones and some very pretty Liberty print jersey ones.

Summer holidays

and I’m decorating the hall stairs and landing. I began by thinking I could paint over the existing wallpaper, mistake number one as it had a wipe-clean finish (which I might add was singularly unsuccessful) so the paint didn’t dry properly. I then began the lengthy process of removing the paper which was of course well glued onto the walls and covered in tacky emulsion paint. Under the paper I discovered some new cracks in the plaster and an area of blown plaster which disintegrated under the power of the steam stripper.

When decorating it is traditional to keep spirits and energy up with cups of tea and either Chocolate Digestive biscuits or Cafe Noir biscuits.

Chocolate digestives can be a bit of a liabilityimage especially in the later stages as chocolatey fingerprints on newly hung wallpaper are not a good look so Cafe Noir are my usual biscuit of choice. But what has happened … the normal packet has been replaced by a cardboard box and a “new recipe” label warns me of changes inside. imageNot only has the coffee taste been altered to a sweeter and weaker flavour but the biscuits have shrunk to approximately half their usual size – bah this is nonsense. I do not wish to have a mini biscuit with an apologetically mild coffee flavour that is too small to dunk in my mug of tea. Whatever were you thinking Mr McVitie, please return to the full size and full flavour biscuits before I am forced to find new decorating snacks!

Vivianna update 1

The watch arrived last week, there was good news and bad,good news first: what I had thought to be rust is in fact just a sticky deposit, probably just accumulated sweat, dust and general dirt – ugh – but relatively easy to remove. A clean with an old toothbrush and a disinfectant wipe removed most of it. The glass although dirty is less scratched than it looks in the photos and again cleaning has made a huge difference. Best news of all, the watch is working and keeps perfect time. Now for the less good news, although the auction house valuers assure me that it is a genuine Georg Jensen/Vivianna watch there are no makers marks at all on either the watch casing or the bangle. This is very unusual as Georg Jensen pieces normally have the Georg Jensen oval stamp at the very least. Even tiny earrings have it. I have the auction house letter of authenticity, when the watch is being worn the marks aren’t visible anyway and most  importantly I love the style and design, they are what matters rather than a stamped mark. The other concern is that the rear case is clipped onto the casing




, other examples I’ve seen have four screws holding it in place, note there is no makers mark on the back casing of this example either but the bracelet is stamped. image


The dial is very dirty/stained, it should be a silver mirrored finish but is almost copper imagecoloured. I took it to a Jeweller yesterday who is going to send the dial off to a dial restorer to get his opinion about cleaning it. This involves taking the watch apart to remove the dial so my watch will be away for at least a couple of weeks. Once the dial restorer assesses it I will get a quote for restoration and move on from there.

So how do I feel about the watch? Despite some slight concerns about its provenance I love it, when all the cleaning is done I’ll have a beautifully designed watch that looks elegant and keeps good time.

On being 60, and Vivianna

I have loved the designs of Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe  imagefor many years, I’ve looked longingly at jewellers’ windows and coveted the watches in particular the bangle watches, the necklaces and the earrings. Actually the watches have been a constant obsession since I saw a very elegant friend wearing one many years ago. I’ve told myself many times that I would have a Vivianna watch  for this or that occasion.imageNow and again I’ve saved up some money but then inevitably other needs took priority and the savings would be spent on necessities. This year I reached the milestone of being 60, a number of friends and family asked what I’d like but I didn’t feel that asking for a present costing thousands of pounds was reasonable. Just after my birthday I spotted a vintage Vivianna watch for sale in an online auction house in Denmark. Calling it vintage is being kind, really it is a very old very well used watchimage

that is going to need some serious restoration but it’s price was well within reach so I bid on it fully expecting someone to outbid me by the closing date, today.

When I got in this afternoon there was an email waiting to say that the poor old battered Vivianna is mine. It should arrive in about 10 days and then the work will have to begin… but I am finally the owner of a Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe watch and I can’t wait to start restoring it to its former glory. Vivianna Torun Bülow-Hübe had quite unusual views about watches, she didn’t like the idea of watching the progress of time so most of the watches she designed had mirror faces to reflect the present instead. They don’t have numbers on the dials and sometimes only had a second hand and no minute or hour hands. Thankfully this watch has both minute and hour hands and currently the mirror face reflects nothing but dirt and rust. It is apparently in working order though so the damage is surface damage only.