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Wednesday, 23 May 2012

London's Hidden Beauty

Hi again everyone!
The weekend before last (when it was still sunny), I took a friend who had only just come to London a few months back on a tour of London's hidden beauty. She had seen all the main things, so I took her out for cupcakes at my favourite cupcake place and then on an impromptu tour of all things I thought she should know exist in London. We came across so many gorgeous places and had a great day taking pics. So yes, this post will be a little photo-heavy, but I've tried to resize everything to a good size so the loading won't take forever. Ready to join my on a tour of London's hidden beauty?

 First stop: cupcakes at Bea's of Bloomsbury! We managed to get a table for an hour before a big group arrived and as usual it was so worth it :)

I'd never been upstairs at Bea's but look at this amazing lighting scheme! I love it, it is so original! And fits perfectly with their business of course :)

On the way to Leadenhall Market for a very special sighting, we walked past Bank and passed this window display. This one particular window always has great displays (remember the handbag on a cupcake) and it didn't disappoint this time either. Plus I love how I managed to get the little poles in the reflection also.

We had arrived at Leadenhall Market. My friend had never been there, so after taking the usual pics, the search commenced for this exact door. Do you recognise it? No? OK, image this door in black and ignore the fact that it is now an optician. It's the Leaky Cauldron!! I can't seem to find a link to the movie-version online, but this is definitely it :) I've been to this market so many times and never managed to spot this. But now I finally have :) Very pleased with this find of course!

While walking back to Bank, we passed this really beautiful tiny church with amazing architecture.

More buildings near Bank tube station

And we also passed yet another old fashioned candy shop on the way from St. Paul's Cathedral towards Fleet Street. I had to go in of course and found M&Ms in all flavours that they don't even sell in M&M World! Am keeping them for a special occasion though but will let you know how they were.

One look back from the candy shop and we had the best view of St Paul's Cathedral

Yes, we had a reason to get to Fleet Street as I wanted to show my friend the house of Dr. Samuel Johnson who wrote the dictionary and was a famous doctor who pops up throughout London history in the 18th century. This is a statue of his cat and the dictionary. Sadly the house itself was closed, but it's not like it's going anywhere...

 
No, this is not the Tower, it's a building when we kind of got lost on the way to Smithfield Market (good thing I had a map) but it did take us past some fantastic buildings.

OMG we spent so long here trying to get the ultimate picture! We only have point-and-click cameras but it was so much fun! We wanted to get the fence, the booth, the church, and the trees and all in a cool artsy-fartsy type way... I think I managed ;)

This one is just for fun. You think they placed enough cones here? ;)

We also passed several pubs (and did NOT go in!) with great signs. See that the one on the right is an actual pie? Very cool!

We finally fund Smithfield via Chancery Lane and Farringdon, and spotted these interestingly painted concrete slabs. My friend took some great pics here, including one of me a la Captain America on top of one. Hahaha... will show you once I have it ;)

The iconic 4 phone booths at Smithfield Market. This is a wholesale food market so closed on Sundays, but always pretty and great for photos. Yes, I'm a bit of a bag lady here... I had done some shopping along the way ;)

Door at Smithfield Market. My friend said that this looks like a button. Now that I see it, I can never unsee it! Argh!

Across the road from Smithfield Market is the William Wallace memorial. Yes, this is the site where William Wallace was executed. We went past here a few times on the walks and I really wanted to show this my friend who is a movie buff like me :)

 
St Bartholomews Hospital. This was built on top of the actual site where William Wallace was executed. I like the look of this building though and the fact that it is very symmetrical.

We also visited St Bartholomews church, which was small but gorgeous. I took too many pics to share with you here. If you're ever in London, you must visit this. It's only £5 so a lot cheaper than St. Paul's which I still need to visit...

They also have this lovely little cafe which sadly is closed on weekends, but it did give me this great photo opp :). This was also when my camera battery died and of course I'd forgotten to charge my spare battery. Oops... 

With no battery and hundreds of pics taken and aching feet, my friend and I went back to our area of town, called the bf and had a lovely dinner to end the day. All in all the perfect Sunday :) And yes, posting this in the middle of week is making me want the weekend even more!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Knitting My First Ever Sock

Heyhey everyone!
How was the first day of the week back at work? Monday's are always interesting, mostly as I always find something I had to finish on Friday but just didn't have the chance... oh well... but let me share my newest project with you. I told you I haven't been sitting still! Just the blogging part of things was on hold... ;)

After all my squares, I got a bit bored and when I went to meet with the craft group for the sock knitting meet (where no one HAS to knit a sock but it's just to give a theme), I decided to actually knit a sock. My first one ever! I had bought some needles a while ago, and armed with my trusty acrylic leftover wool, I started on my sock. With a lot of help of one of the girls there as of course it didn't all go smoothly at once, hihi...

 Once I was all installed with hot chocolate, I got started on my sock. Look, this is my first row!

 One of the other girls was just finishing this very cute knitted bird. Isn't it adorable?!

And this is the sock of the girl who was helping me. Yeah, it will be a long time before I will be able to knit anything as pretty as that!

 
 But at the end of the evening, I managed to get a little bit done. The stitches are tiny (needle size 2!) so this isn't going to be a very fast project. And knitting with 4 needles is a challenge, mostly in not poking my eye out, but I'll get these in the end. I'll keep you posted anyway!

I've told myself to do something after work every day, so let's hope I can stick to it ;) For now, let's try to continue working on this sock. Have you ever knitted socks? Tips and tricks are more than welcome!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Upcycled Storage Tubes

Hello again!
I hope you're enjoying the weekend :) The weather in London is quite un-summery, but after my post from yesterday about the knitting, I wanted to share the storage tubes I made and also show you that it CAN be sunny in London sometimes also. Hihihi...

 Check these out, aren't the the coolest! Let me show you what they were before...
 
 The bf likes to drink scotch and the bottles come in these really cool containers. For some reason, we have always kept them so after about a year we had several containers lined up on top of our fridge. So I picked out a few I wanted to use. I only used the two round ones fr this project, the other one is still waiting for its turn.

 I had bought some really cute wrapping paper a while back, and had found amazing ribbons at various shows and even the 99p Store (5m of ribbon for 99p, excellent!), so this project was completely free! I covered the tubes in the wrapping paper, MP'd the whole thing with my Paper MP, and added the ribbons on the top and bottom.

The tops were tricky as I wanted to make them nice also. One was black and one was a horrible brownish colour. I spray painted the brown top white and mixed some (=a lot!) glitter with some more MP and covered the lid in with that. Another layer of MP and that top was done. The black lid I kept black and added a smaller amount of glitter and a rim with my solid purple glitter. I also covered it in MP afterwards to make sure the glitter would stay put. I still had some yoyos lying around that were assembled and ready to use so I just picked two that would match and stuck them on while the MP was still wet.

 Once everything was dry, they looked amazing :)

I really like them! At the moment they are proudly standing on my desk holding my cross stitch threads and my knitted squares. And the best part? Completely 100% free as I only used stuff I already had :) Now THIS is the kind of project I like *big smile*

As you can see, it was really sunny when I took these pics, so yes this was a few weeks back. At least I spent my time between jobs crafting in a very budget friendly way. And I had a ton of fun, got rid of some supplies while making something useful. More projects like these will surely follow :)

Yay I was featured on Crafty Confessions! Whoohoo!

Crafty Confessions

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Still Crafting and Knitting WIPs

Hi everyone!
OMG it has been forever since I last blogged... I am a little bit behind on my posts and sadly also on some creations... have become a tv-addict the last few weeks now that I'm back to working full-time. I now spend a good 40 mins in transit every day getting to work and as that is not on foot I needed a carry-on craft thingy to do on the tube. So I started knitting. This was weeks ago and somehow because I knit on the tube, I feel that I've done something and the pressure of doing something in the evening is off. That sadly includes blogging or even sewing! I haven't continued my cross stitch past the first block of 90 stitches either so yes, I am really behind. On the positive side though, my knitting is getting better!

Am not quite sure if I've told you this, but when I went back to NL in January, I found my old knitting basket and in it lots of wool remnants from stuff my mother used to knit. In wonderful 80s colours... bright pinks and blues and yellows... so not my colours right now (not a single bit of purple!), and acrylic also but grat for practice. So I took out my tiny children's knitting needles and started knitting squares in the tube. With so many colours, I could make a few ;) It takes me about 2 trips to and from work to finish a square as I'm not a fast knitter yet and also depending on if I can get a seat. So this is what I've done so far:

 Plain squares, no exiting stitches, no patterns of any kind. Just practicing really.

 Starting to experiment with colours and patterns. Still very simple though.

Got the tip from someone on FB to check a video on youtube on how to carry wool to make stripes. Had to be tested. I love the one on the right, they're all blues but somehow it looks like purple :)

 Finally started with stitch patterns also, albeit only squares. Some girls at the knitting group said I should do the top right one in pink and yellow to make a Battenburg cake piece, haha. I love the little square on the bottom, it's bu far my favourite!

As you can see, I have been busy :) I've put all the squares in my storage tubes (ah yes, another post I have to write) and once I have enough, I want to sew them all together for maybe a baby blanket or something. I'll see. For now at least I feel that my time on the tube is productive :) For all those non-UK, the tube is the London Metro system. I will try and share all my other projects with you soon also, but first I have to make my desk more craft friendly and get rid of a ton of paperwork on it...

Have a great Saturday everyone!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Surprisingly Crafty Combo

Hi everyone!
One more day and then it's the bank holiday weekend! Yay!!! Ok, enough exclamation marks there, hihi... I have plans to see some more of London, though there is so much going on that I'm not really sure what part I want to see first. I know there are some nice exhibitions going on and one of the craft groups I belong to are visiting a museum also, plus there is a crafty thing happening in Kingly Court so who knows... As usual we're too late with booking anything (yes, totally my fault) but I'm sure I'll have fun. I'd love to actually stay home and craft a bit, maybe finish a few projects? A lot is part done which is why I haven't been able to show you anything recently. 

But tonight I had a nice surprise as I discovered that a pair of earrings I made fit perfectly with a shirt that I adjusted last year and the hair combs I made last month :) Want to see? 

These earrings I made a few weeks back match perfectly with...

This top that I adjusted last year :) 

And these lovely combs for in my hair also.

Whoohoo! Don't you just love it when things come together? Sadly I dont have a picture of the whole look, but I'll try to remedy that soon :) Though I still have to find a way to get it all in the same shot ;) Ooooh with mirrors! An idea is forming, I'll try to get the bf to take some pics soon. And I really hope to be able to finish some stuff soon also so that I can show you!
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