Sunday, 29 July 2012

A diary of July 27th: Olympics and a sad goodbye

Friday July 27th started with a beautiful sunset (where I was anyway). I should know, as I was up at 3.15 am - a lot of sleepless nights lately for all sorts of reasons. We had a lot on that day, but a lovely sunrise is a wonderful sight to see.

We'd seen the Gloriana in the River Pageant, and didn't want to miss another chance to see both it and the Olympic flame, when it was coming up the Thames from Hampton Court.

It was preceded by three heavily-packed-with-people boats:

The atmosphere was electric... with a helicopter buzzing overhead, and loads of people lining the banks of the Thames.

The Gloriana is an amazing site... a very posh barge indeed, and it didn't disappoint on a second showing:

It must be a heavy boat to row upriver though.

We had a fabulous view, and I'm so pleased we saw it.

 It was followed by a mini pageant:

We then had to go to Grandad's funeral, which was very sad. He's been much loved, and will be sorely missed.

Traffic on the way was no problem at all. Traffic on the way back - a four hour nightmare journey. Travelling on the M25 on the opening ceremony day was never going to be easy.

We then stayed up to watch the opening ceremony. I loved it. And I loved the humour that came into it.

The four hour mega journey didn't stop us wanting to join in with the Olympic spirit and catch a little of the men's cycling race around Boxhill. It's also good distraction, much needed by the family at the moment. These guys flashed by so fast, blink and you miss, but I did manage to get a picture of two of the GB team, which I was pleased about. The crowd's and the enthusiasm was amazing. I used to cycle a lot, and it was exciting to see an event happening so close to home.

The most I managed was the London to Brighton. Don't think I could manage this race! And then we caught the women's race today:

The seemingly endless stream of cars that race to keep up are an event in itself.

So that's my diary for the past couple of days. We're all sad. And tired. Very very tired. But there have been good moments to balance what is always a difficult time for a family.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

NOVICA - a review of my pretty bracelet

What's in the cute packet? I'm so thrilled, because it's ever so pretty. I do receive quite a few offers to review items on my blog, and I most often say no. I just don't have the time, and sometimes I don't like what's on offer, but I positively jumped when NOVICA contacted me and asked if I'd like to choose an item - initially because of the National Geographic tag.

Novica is run in association with National Geographic, who I've always had a soft spot for. I have a huge collection of National Geographic magazines. Their pictures and features are always fascinating, and I've learnt a lot through the magazines. So I was intrigued by Novica, partly because I hadn't heard of them despite having a good knowledge of National Geographic. It turns out that Novica support crafts people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and they do it fantastically well. Their website is fabulous for a browse alone. You learn about each artisan, and there's plenty of videos. I was contacted way back, and have spent months browsing and choosing, as I enjoyed that part of it so much. In fact, I almost met the expiry date on my offer, I'd enjoyed the browsing so much!

In the end, I chose a piece of jewellery, a silver and gem charm bracelet, which I fell in love with.

It arrived yesterday, and is absolutely beautiful. Frankly the pictures on this one didn't do it justice, and I'm thinking I'll probably end up buying the matching earrings when they appear on the site. This is the one I chose: opal charm bracelet

I deliberately chose to narrow my search to artisans in the Andes, as I live in the UK and postage rates are significantly cheaper from there for some reason. (If you live in the States, the temptation to use Novica would be amazing as the postage rates are kept incredibly low.) Another factor to remember, which doesn't happen in the UK, is tax is added at point of sale. Here, we pay the price we see, but prices on the Novica site, like in the US, are exclusive of sales tax. I'm just mentioning this, as it's worth bearing in mind if you are working to a budget. But if you like to shop online, and plenty of us do, and bear these points in mind, this is a lovely site.

Each gift comes beautifully wrapped, with a postcard and mini information booklet. It's a lovely touch. I'm honestly delighted. Thank you NOVICA!

Disclosure: I received the bracelet shown, but the review, my feedback, and the words are my own.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Making fabric!

Thank you for the lovely comments on the last post - it was a fabric I printed, and worked really well, so I'll definitely be doing more fabric printing. The little laces were pleased about comments on their cushions, so thank you!

I've been making up fabric today. I never throw away any fabric, and these strips were pleading to be sewn together, and I'm really pleased with the result. So always hang onto those scraps! I'm not sure what I'll do with the result, but it's growing, so we'll see. I feel very frugal, upcycling like this. :)

Friday, 13 July 2012

A little bit of sewing - embroidery and applique

I wanted to make a little purse to keep some of my sewing bits and pieces in - like my felt balls, which I am constantly misplacing. I found this gorgeous girls dancing print, and printed onto some cream cotton, then embroidered with the machine - I think I'll do it again, but hand embroider next time.

We've also been doing some family sewing. We've finally finished two of the cushions we were making together, which I think I've blogged about before. The children cut and designed (on a toadstool theme), and I machine stitched for them. Here's one:

And here's the other:

They all really enjoyed this project, so we'll be doing it again soon. I love the results - just two more to finish off.

For those who guessed, yes, we were making elderflower cordial. I wasn't that keen on the taste, but the making of it was fun (as was collecting the florets). Give me a bubbling pan of jam or jelly any day!