Wednesday, December 27, 2006


At last! A knitting post! Here are some socks recently gifted.
Yarn: Regia Royal Collection Bristol
Needles: Addi Turbo Bamboo 2.5mm 120cm
Time to Knit: Ohh, ages, they had to be knitted covertly!
These were James' birthday socks, given to him whilst we were in New York. He loves them. In fact, the day after his birthday we had this conversation:
James: Do you know what the worst thing about these socks is?
Nell: !!! What???!!!
James: I only have one pair so I can't wear them again today!

Pattern: Knitty's Universal Toe Up Formula
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Irving Park
Needles: Addi Turbo Bamboo 2.5mm 120cm
Time to Knit: Again, ages, although the second one I did in a week, I left myself a hard deadline!
I came up with new idea for presenting them too, by wrapping them up in the same way as bought socks only with a handmade label. I wrote the washing instructions on the back too.
These I gave to Dad yesterday for Christmas. I think he was pleased! I will be calling him for the verdict.
I love love love this knitty pattern. I don't care what anyone says about toe-up patterns, I couldn't do socks until I tried this! Of the two yarns, I would definately buy the LL's again, it was lovely to work with. The regia was nice, and cheaper, but was a bit scratchy, although after washing it improved. James didn't wait for me to tell him the washing instructions, and threw them in the machine. I think the label said handwash, clearly it doesn't matter!!

Christmas at Nell and James'!

The first Christmas at Chez james and Nell was a good one. All went well, thanks to help from Mum, James' mum, and Delia.
Here is a taste of our Christmas. The company was obviously thrilling....
James was up until 2am wrapping and tidying but Daphne has no excuse...

Christmas Eve was clearly a big one for James' big brother Richard.

Velma can never resist a lap, especially since my sister was the second guest to our house this week who wanted to cat-nap her!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Deck the Halls

Our decorations are up and photographed! What do you think? I like a minimalist tree as you can see. Although now, it's even more minimalist - the cat have pulled off and broken many of the balls! Even as a Brit (well she is an American Icon), I feel able to go a little bit 'Martha' with my card display! James wasn't overly impressed, and there are even more cards to go on now!!

I love a wreath on the door - so festive and welcoming and appropriate for our Victorian front door. This one is hand embellished by me. In the top photo it looks like fairy lights entwined in the twigs but actually it's little gold beads.

I feel especially christmas-y today, after seeing 'The Holiday' last night with Sarah and Karen. We've been trying to get an evening together to see it since it came out. Speaking of my favourite girls, they haven't appeared here yet and they deserve to. Firstly, this is me and sarah and secondly Karen and Rich, whom she met at Sarah's wedding in the summer. They are blissfully happy! Both were taken last Friday at our work christams do (partially organised by moi!)

I thought as I was driving home last night, that these are happy days and its all thanks to them. Anyway, the film, Brilliant. Totally brilliant. We all feel in love with Jude Law, who is surprisingly brilliant (sorry have I said this film is great?). Did I say my Mum saw him in the street, shouting st someone at a window the other day?? Anyway, the portrayal of the Brits in this film is slightly annoying, but only mildly so, especially as it was so affectionately done. For example, since when does a twenty-something who writes up wedding announcements in the Telegraph live in a cottage like that?? The cottage in question, in Surrey (didn't look like Surrey to me!!) is probably worth over half a million. But anyway, it doesn't matter. And when does it snow at Christmas here, IN THE SOUTH??? Anyway, this film was just lovely. It has a happy ending (very happy), what more could you want for christmas? It is funny, heartwarming, and, well, just nice. If you like a good squishy film, go see it!!

I bought 'Australian House and Garden Hand Crafted' from Waterstones - I love their craft section. So watch this space for FOs from it!

And here is the scene at work on Tuesday evening, before it went all foggy. What's all that about anyway??

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Splosh! Yeeeooooowwwllll!

Daphne fell in the bath last night. She got very wet and felt quite silly. I had half run the bath and had turned it off to watch the news (this horrible serial killer in Ipswich of all places). All I heard was Splosh, yeowl! And a little bedraggled tabby came running into the bedroom and looked at me pathetically. Unfortunately I laughed at her (she didn't seem hurt, just a little confused!). She looked baffled, and her legs and tummy were absolutley soaking. Unusually for Daphne, she enjoyed a cuddle in a towel, and then she was fine. And then when I got into the bath (with some yummy Lush bubbles, see below!), she sat on the loo and watched me. So it hasn't scarred her for life. I wish I had a photo. Here are some others from last weekend.

I've just realised how dark and out of focus they are, sorry! I'll do better next time!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Winter Cheer SP Goodies!

My Winter Cheer SP goodies arrived! And luckily, I was at home yesterday - it's rare that I don't have to pick my packages up from the post office. And what a package, I am such a lucky girl! Thank you Magses! Or at least I think it's you..........

Firstly, There was some beautiful chocolate-y themed stuff from Lush - yummy! I swear I nearly ate one of them, it looked like a big slab of chocolate cake! And the new lip balm will now reside in my handbag - perfect!

There was also a super stylish Moleskine notebook, some lovely bamboo sock sized dpns, yummy apple and cinnamon flavoured black tea (very unusual and delish) and some scrumptious ginger biscuits! What better way to incentivise my working-at-home day (yes, for me, that usually means authorised skiving!).

And, last but not least some SOCKS THAT ROCK! Yes, you heard me, Socks That Rock! I've never even seen this in the UK, let along owned some! And in a very appropriate Jingle Bell Rock colourway. Thank you so much Magses, I feel totally spoiled!

Monday, December 04, 2006

How did I celebrate my weekend??

Well, this is how. Gu make the best chocolate puddings. Just yum. So I bought a pack of two. One for me, one for James, so we could have a really nice pudding, as a treat. Instead, James went to Hooters to be served his dinner by a skinny lady with big boobs and small clothes. Am I at all bothered? No. Instead, I just ate both pots. Do I feel bad? Nope. I'd do it again in a heart beat. Even though he came home and said 'Where's my pudding?'.

To be fair, they didn't even go to Hooters. Well, they went but had failed to book a table. I should point out that what really irked me about this is not that they wanted to go to Hooters, I don't mind that, but it's this. It was Judge's birthday and they were going to eat. But, the girls weren't invited to come until after the meal. What is this, 1906? If you're having a boy's night, fine, don't invite us. If you want us to come, invite us for the whole evening. Grrr, mutter mutter.

Anyway, look what else I bought in Sainsbury's.

Someone clearly put so much effort into these. I stood there for ages choosing. Someone at Innocent needs a big pat on the back, this is such a great idea. I wish I had manged to get my bum into gear to make some.

And now, I feel really christmassy, we went to John Lewis yesterday and I bough fabric to decorate our table for christmas day. Woo! I especially love the one on the left, it's actually all shimmery.

Friday, December 01, 2006

No Extra GoCat for you Two!

If you are squeamish, don't look any further. You guys asked for more cat pictures but nevertheless you have been warned......

This is what I found in our living room when I came home from work yesterday. This is the first cat/yarn explosion we have had in this house, and it will be the last. Believe me they did not get extra GoCat last night.

In case you're wondering, Yes, that is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock prentending to be a (cat-made) spider web on my living room floor. But to be fair, I was tempted to roll around in it too.

Please ignore the carpets, they were filthy like that when we moved in, they are next on the list of things to be replaced.....

After an hour and a half on untangling, I'm only half way there. Luckily, they hadn't attacked the half knitted sock. For that they may well have been dead. Although I held up Velma to the window this morning and showed her the bin-men. I threatened to feed her to them if she ever did it again. I think she was scared.

Anyway, how can I stay cross when they look like this.....

Velma and Daphne, the Telly Addicts.

Our vet warned us that tortoiseshells are known to vets as 'naughty torties'. I told him not to be silly, I'd never known a bad one, and we've had a few. Maybe he was right......

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show

So off we went on Friday afternoon. Good job it's indoors, it was bucketing it down. Sarah and I had originally planned to go, and Baldeesh, from out knitting group decided to come at the last minute. Good job she did, she fed us! She kept saying, 'I know, I have children, you need to bring a picnic on a car journey'! 'Have an apple', 'Have a banana', 'Have a cheese sandwich', 'Go on, have some Pringles'! She's AMAZING!

Anyway, we also met up with the lovely Prrrl (technically, Kat) from Knitty. It was a shame we couldn't stay longer. She was super friendly with an amazing grin!

Here's my (mini) haul.

Firstly, some beautiful silk from You should definately try them. Their website is a bit higgledy piggledy and some words have got lost in translation. I can't vouch for their mail order but the products are gorgeous. They also had one of the best looking stalls at the show. The whole show was a bit disappointing. I had hoped to see Colinette Jitterbug, Lorna's Laces, that kind of thing. A bit too much novelty yarn. Maybe we were in a rush and missed stuff. It would have been nice to stop and talk to people too. Next year I'll make the effort to go to London. Anyway, silk. I bought two hanks, for about £9 each. One is a dk weight and has 300m! The other is an aran weight. The paler one is going to be combined with some orangey hipknits silk for a scarf, the other, who knows!
Also shown above are some handmade ceramic buttons for Pat at the group.
I am quite excited about this fabric though. I am told that it was from the end of a bolt from Paul Smith. Only £4 per metre! Whether it is PS or not doesn't matter, it's lovely, woven cotton shirting and will make PJ bottoms for James for Christmas. That sounds like he's 85, but hopefully they will turn out like this. Do you think we'll be transported to a beautiful beach house like that too?? I quite fancy a matching pair, but Sarah threatened never to talk to me again if we started wearing his and hers!

Monday, November 27, 2006

You got me Annie!

A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Waitress
2. P.A
3. Finance Office Dogsbody
4. Barmaid

B) Four movies I would watch over and over
1. Lost in Translation
2. Pearl Harbor
3. Hocus Pocus
4. Four Weddings and a Funeral

C) Four places I have lived
1. Nottingham
2. London
3. Rural Leicestershire
4. ........

D) Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Eastenders - what will it be like without Pauline!
2. Friends
3. Antiques Roadshow (!!)
4. Invasion

E) I have been on vacation:
1. France
2. America
3. Thailand
4. Australia

F) Websites visited daily:
1. Knitty Forum
2. Blogs at right (and a whole load I'm meaning to add!)
3. Google
4. email

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Chocolate
2. Crumpets
3. Cherries
4. Starbucks Very Berry Scones

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. At Sally's holiday place in France
2. On my sofa with James and the Kitties, knitting
3. Lying in the sun on my bed, napping
4. Riding

I) Four people I’m tagging with this questionnaire:
1. Scary Bez
2. Linda (of twopinkpossums)
3. Lilith
4. Liz (of everwhelming)

I really shouldn't have admitted to half those things. 'Antiques Roadshow' I hear you laugh! You know you love it!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What I did with my Saturday.

I had a busy Saturday. I sat and knitted a little pouch for my Mother in Law's birthday. I filled it with her favourite chocolate covered ginger. If you read my post on Knitty, you'll realise why I needn't have bothered. Anyway, I enjoyed knitting it, and it was vaguely appreciated. I think next time, I'd knit in in finer yarn, with a taller portion above the drawstring. I had adapted it from a pattern on scrumptious living's blog. The pattern suggests a picot bind off which is lovely and a knitted drawstring. Neither I had time to do. I was pleased though with my twisted yarn drawstring, a mega-quick alternative. Thank you Seven for pointing me toward the pattern.

I've just noticed that you may be interested to see Ted's attire too. He is wearing a jumper my mum knitted maybe 20 years ago? It matched one that she made for me. Its actually a lovely pattern, with moss stitch cuffs, yoke and hem. She used up all her odds and sods for the middle section for mine and ted's.

This is the other thing I did on Saturday.

I chopped all Monty's hair off! Remind me next time that I really shouldn't wait until November to clip him. His hair is so thick and long by now that the clippers struggle to get through it. At one stage a had a panic that I was going to have to leave him half clipped. It really wouln't have been a good look. Especially for Monty who is concious of these things. Someone even described him this morning as being a 'Womaniser'. And at the grand old age of 17. Doesn't he look cute with a short back and sides though? Although I don't think he's terribly impressed, it means he now has to wear his PINK pj's!
And this is the Blue Sky Cotton mentioned in the previous post. Yummy!

Monday, November 20, 2006

So you wanna see Yarn on this knitting blog!!??

Well, here it is!

Whilst in New York we visited three Yarn shops. The first was Seaport Yarn, in the Wall Street area. I was told by some Knittyheads, that it was a must, just to see the bizarre location. So, we went to the address that I had, and couldn't find it anywhere. We went into the building (and office block) given as the address. The front desk guy said we had to sign in. 'We're just looking for Seaport Yarn' I said. 'That's fine' He said, they have the whole fifth floor!'. So up we went in the lift. And when I say this place is bizarre, I mean, this place is bizarre.

One of the ladies (co-owner?) met us at the door and showed us where everything is. It is literally room after room, after corridor of yarn. I've never seen anything like it. Mum bought some Blue Heron something or other and some Garnstudio SilkeTweed. Mum, Fan and J got bored after about an hour (although Fan got some photos of J reading Knitting books!) and went to Starbucks. This is what I bought (also not shown, are some items that I have left out for SP security reasons, a chibi and Vogue Holiday 2006).

Firstly, some Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in colourway Irving Park. I love love love this yarn. I've only got as far as a tension sqaure, but it's beautiful. Soft, but with a cotton-like sheen. Just awesome. I'll buy this again.

This is Noro Lily, which I have never seen before, a blend of Solk and Cotton. Again, lovely. I'm going to make another Icarus type scarf (because I wear the current one all the time!) as I'd like one with a bit of sheen.

Later that day (it was J's birthday, he was MEGA patient considering!) we found the Point, which to be honest, I was a bit disappointed with. It's a lovely shop though, and had we not stopped at a bar five doors down for drinks and fries we would have had tea and cupcakes. Next we went to Purl, which was a bit busy to fully appreciate. They also have an overload of Sheperd Sock, I thought, and it's all a bit pricey. Howver, I fell in love with Blue Sky Cotton, and I bought two skeins, one purple one grey for a scarf. It's so soft!! Blogger is not playing ball, and won't post these photos. Maybe later.....

Altogether the trip was sucessful, yarn wise. Mum and Fan stumbled across the Yarn Tree in Brooklyn, and bought me a really lovely tote (which was lucky because my suitcase was overflowing on the way back!) with their signature tree on the side, and a copy of Interweave Holiday 2006.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


*Please read the next post first!!*

Also on the same topic, we went to Ellis Island, to the American Museum of Immigration, viewing Liberty Island on the way. This is what Hilda would have seen first!

The reception building is so impressive. I got a copy of the Ship's Manifest that brought her over. One of the curators told me that she was second class, therefore may not have come through Ellis Island, as these passengers were pre-approved and went straight to Manhattan. It's nice to know that she went over in relative comfort. She left her parents (in Derby - 20 miles from where I live now), but was born in London, (just like me!). How odd to go from living with your parents, to moving thousands of miles to get married (my great grandfather paid her passage) at just 20. Amazing.

This post is for you Great Grandma Hilda!

New York New York!

We're back! And we had an awesome time. I have lots of photos, including lots of yarn-related! Its going to take me some time to show them to you, so today I'll start with the highlight of my trip. When I have good light to take photos that do my new yarn justice, I'll post them.
We were staying in Tribeca, in downtown Manhattan, which was perfect. However, next time, I'd stay in Brooklyn. We fell in love with the Heights, the first bit you get to if you go over Manhattan or Brooklyn bridges. Mum and Fan went off to have a wander about (and found the Yarn Tree!). James and I walked down to Bay Ridge, it took about an hour. These are some nice, typical, buildings we saw on the way. We stopped for cream cheese and smoked salmon bagels on the way. The man behind the counter was baffled, until we realised we needed to ask for 'Spread and Lox'!!

Bay Ridge is a strongly Hispanic, less wealthy area (in comparison to Manhattan) in South West Brooklyn. It seems to have an amazing spirit and strong community. It is also where my Grandfather was born (to British parents) in 1917. Firstly, we went to the address where his parents lived at the time (or at least the address he has from letters from the time). They lived in several addresses in the same row of buildings, for several years, with close relatives. This is it!

Secondly, we went to the church where my great-grandparents got married in 1912, St Micheal RC church. Now, I am not religious at all, but I can appreciate how stunning this church is. Built in 1903, it would have been relatively modern then. They must have been terribly proud of it. The inside has beautiful mosaic floors and painted ceilings, with so much gold! It is unbelievably huge, with massive ceilings! I desperately wish I had photos, but Mass was in progress when we got there, so it wasn't possible. This part of Brooklyn would have been predominantly farm land then, so I suppose these buildings were significant.

Across the road is now a Police Station, but presumably would have been there, if very new. It is the first thing they would have seen coming out of the church!

Blogger can't cope with too many photos so this will be continued above...........