Train Stations and Madeleines

When I use to work in Waterloo, the Euro Star was still located at Waterloo station. There were so many people with their little suitcases or over night bags travelling to Paris everyday and I use to be so tempted to just hop on the next train to Paris for a day trip. Now, I work next to Euston Station and I still get tempted to just hop on the next train to Scotland or walk down to Kings Cross St Pancreas where the Euro Star is now located travel to Paris. The trains are sooooo close. I see people so excited with their luggage that I’m so tempted to just join them.

Anyway, I love going to Paris, but after going there twice last year, I can’t afford it this year. However, there are a few things around my home that reminds me of my trips there:

A French tin which use to contain the best chocolate covered almonds from La Cure Gourmande:

My bag, made using French fabric, at Homemade London:

The other day I was invited to a girly get together for chocolate fondue. So I decided to make Rachel Khoo’s Madeleines with Lemon Curd:

I love the fact that she adds a little English twist to traditional French recipes. Lakeland has got the best Madeleine tins (there is a special buy one get one half price at the moment) and the acrylic cake stand is from BHS.

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Pattern Drafting

I went on a dress making beginner’s class, where I was taught how to take my measurements, draft a simple pencil skirt pattern and then sew a muslin/sample.  The class took place at Bermondsey Biscuit Factory, which is secretly hidden behind Bermondsey Tube station.

It was a one day intensive course and covered the basics of dress making .  Although I taught myself how to use a sewing machine (by reading the manual and going on Youtube), I didn’t learn the foundation of sewing, such how as how to control the sewing machine so it stopped exactly where you wanted it to or how to change the needle and foot.  The pattern drafting session was really useful too; I used a French Curve for the first time and learnt how to sew darts (I didn’t have a clue what a dart was before the course).  The teacher also gave us a few hints and tips on improving our sewing.

Taking measurements:

Skirt pattern:

My muslin/sample which fits perfectly:

It was also lovely to spend time with a group of girls (there were no guys there) learning how to sew and just chat really.  I now need to pick some fabrics to sew some pencil skirts (with a waist band) at my favorite craft store.

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Easter Egg Hunt

We had our first Easter Egg Hunt at our small flat on Easter Sunday.  It was more of an Easter Treasure Hunt, where I hid some chocolates eggs, rabbit shaped marshmallows, chocolate bunnies and other goodies around our flat with 7 clues.

Before the hunt we decorated some biscuits which my friend baked with her little girl and  made some origami baskets to store all the goodies.   Then the kids started the Egg Hunt around the flat (one was hidden in the post box outside our flat, which gave me some time to quickly hide the other goodies).

Decorated biscuits:

Egg Hunt:

Origami basket with some goodies:

After the hunt, everyone were pretty hungry, so I made some Jamie Oliver garlic bread and Mum bought over some Vietnamese Spring Rolls:

The kids really enjoyed themselves and one child said it was the best day of her life… sweet.  This little kid also enjoyed himself too:

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Ideal Home 2012

Last week we went to our annual trip to the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court.  This is one of my favorite shows (as well as the Knitting and Stitching Show) and I was looking forward seeing the Arts and Crafts Home and the Swedish Home.

First of all we watched a demonstration of the ‘Home of the Future’ which was very interesting.   Most of the features were controlled by kinetic movement.  I’m not sure about the idea of pointing at the kettle and shouting ‘boil kettle!’   Imagine shouting ‘sew’ at a sewing machine and it would automatically do so.  All very strange, but apparently it is possible now.

We then queued to see the show homes:

The Swedish House was furnished by Ikea, so it was like walking around Ikea.   I was hoping to see some more Scandinavian crafts and decor such as some knitted items or embroidery, but there was a  little craft room with an Ikea sewing machine:

The Arts of Crafts home was fully furbished by British made furnishing.  This had to be my favorite show home.  Most of the decor had a raw rustic look to it.

Apart from the show home we had fun looking at the Queen’s Jubilee Cake Decorating Winners on display.

This has to be my favourite:

We then spent the rest of the day at the Food and Shopping area.  We didn’t buy much, but it was fun seeing everyone carry their mops and cleaning cloths around.  All in all it was a fun day out.

We are going to have an Easter Egg Hunt tomorrow at our small apartment, so I have been busy getting everything ready.  I will show you the photos  in the next blog as I don’t want to ruin the surprise as one of the Easter Egg huntees normally read my blog.

Happy Easter!!!

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Big and Small Knitting

I have been knitting Ysolda’s Coraline on and off for the past few months now.  The plan was to start knitting it last summer and complete it before the winter, but now I have to wait till next Autumn/Winter to wear it (if I finish it by then).   So far I have joined the sleeves to the body and I have started knitting the yoke.   I do love knitting garments, but I’m such a slow knitter.

So I have decided to knit more baby and children garments.  They should be quicker to knit than adult garments.  Most of my friends are married now and hopefully they will be having babies soon.  If I start knitting some baby garments/accessories, I should have some ready-made gifts (here I am trying to be organised).  Lets see how I get on.  Anyway, I popped by John Lewis haberdashery the other day and I found Fyberspate’s Scrumptious Baby Collection.

The patterns are absolutely gorgeous and unisex (depending on which colour yarn you choose).  I love Kyoko’s Temari: 

and Belinda Boaden’s Corlyma cardigan and hat:

If I had the time, I would knit everything from the book.  They are so cute.  The good thing about this book is the size, I can fit it onto my overflowing bookshelf and carry it around in my bag.

It’s a bit late in the night for knitting now, but I must get on with finishing my Coraline cardigan.

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Clapham’s Sewing Cafe and Bakery

I have read lots of good reviews about a new craft cafe, Sew Over It, in Clapham recently, but most of the articles I have seen didn’t show any photos of the inside. So I decided to have a look and perhaps have a slice of cake and tea.    When we got there, the owner kindly allowed us to take some photos inside.  There were two classes taking place that day, so I didn’t take any photos of the classroom area.  Most of the tables were taken up so I couldn’t have my tea and cake, I guess it is a good excuse to come again next time and perhaps try out a class.

Inside the cafe was filled with trimmings, fabrics, and lots of sparkly buttons.  It is definitely a place to go if you need to boost your sewing mojo.  It also has a lovely vintage feel too, I’m so tempted to wear my 1950s dress and pearls to the cafe next time.  The classes are interesting and I heard that there may be children’s after school sewing classes too (yes, I was eaves dropping again).

Here are few photos I took that day:

The pussy bow blouse class sound interesting.

 A table full of buttons in champagne glasses and cake stands.

I like the idea of the Customising Tree.  There also lots of trimmings and ribbons to buy there.

Yes, I must go home and just keep sewing, sewing, sewing……..

I was feeling a bit peckish after our short trip so we popped into The Old Post Office Bakery afterwards for a snack to take away.

The bread looks very rustic

A slice of Apricot Tart?

Have a lovely weekend everyone.  I’m planning on doing some craft supplies shopping tomorrow.

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Snow in Greenwich

If you have been reading my blog for the past few years then you may have realised that I spend a lot of my free time in Greenwich.  It is one of my favourite places in London.  It’s where I went to Chinese School every Sunday and now I take my daughter there too.  It’s where I use to go on dates, to the cinema with friends (I went to see Jurassic Park 3 times at the cinema), there is also the market which sells handmade crafts and several independent shops.  So I was really happy to hear that it has now become a Royal Borough.

Although it was very cold and snowy (first snow in London) we spent a whole day there on Sunday to celebrate.

Throwing snowballs:

Playing with the snowman (with chubby cheeks):

A lovely view of Trinity School of Music in the background:

The restoration of the Cutty Sark is almost done:

My favourite breakfast, Egg Florentine, at The Old Brewery:

One of my favourite independent shops, Lush Designs, where I bought my daughter’s lamp shade.  The designer use to live in the block of flat next to ours.

I also love this old fashion Games shop:

The colourful Refab stall at Greenwich market always makes me smile:

 There is also lots of delicious food stands in the market:

We then picked up our daughter from Chinese School and went to Greenwich Park to do some sledging:

So we had a great day out.  I hope there will be more snow.  It would be so nice to do some knitting in one of the coffee shops.  Have a lovely week everyone.

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