Friday, April 29, 2005


Just a little update before I away for the (long, yippee!) weekend to Frankfurt.

I now have another little project on the go – I’ve signed up for the crafty notions holder swap over at back-tack. I have to choose some fabrics, send them off then watch as they are transformed into a notions case. In turn I’ll get a little package of fabric and come up with something nifty to make. Then everyone ends up with someone else’s creation at the end. V. cool. I think the hardest part will be choosing some fabric. I’m not sure if I can part with any I have….more shopping?!!! Hee hee. Like I need an excuse really.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

little houses

houses quilt top
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I spent a cosy evening in my kitchen studio last night finishing the top of the houses (miniature)quilt. It now has a colourful stripy border which makes it slightly bigger. It’s now about 60cm x 70 cm. I used the paper piecing method that Amy showed on her Quilt Monday this week. This was the first time I had used it and could probably refine the method a bit eg ripping off the backing before sewing the blocks together perhaps. I’m not sure if I will be in a huge hurry to do this style again as its quite fiddly – although I have to admit the results are good and can be used for some interesting patterns.

Now I need to get hold of some batting and choose a backing (am thinking the sky blue fabric) and then do the quilting. If anyone has any suggestions for quilting design please let me know – I’m a total novice in this area.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

An afternoon in South Ken

Bibendum - Conran restaurant
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Sunday was a lovely day and Tim and I went on an excursion to South Kensington. We quickly bypassed the cultural and education museums and headed for the aesthetic delights of the Conran Shop. Sir Terrance is famous around these parts for his design and restaurant empire. The flagship store on Fulham Road is next to the restaurant Bibendum, housed in the old Michelin factory. The place is too fab to describe – the pictures speak for themselves!

Conran Shop Window
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Bibendum & Paula Pryke Flowers
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

After drooling over gorgeous furniture, cushions, throws and too many other things to mention we wandered up to Hyde Park in search of Diana’s memorial. We knew it was somewhere near the Serpentine, but being in the ground rather than above it made it a bit tricky to find. We walked along one side of the lake – no sign of memorial. We turned back and walked around the other way. I was getting more tired and more in need of the loo. Tim was getting more determined to find it. We walked right around the lake the other direction, finally finding it just past the point where we had turned back the first time. It was closed for renovations.

Tall Tim and Tall Chair
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

One of the many fab pieces of furniture in Conran.

Monday, April 25, 2005


I popped in to the Cancer Relief shop around the corner at Gipsy Hill on Saturday morning. It’s a great little op shop and I was very excited to find TWO pure wool jumpers ripe for boiling and shrinking. I felt a bit guilty as I bought them wondering what they would think if they knew their intended fate – to be recycled into Monsters!!

I headed home to wait (and wait) for someone to come and look at my heating again. In the meantime I got to work making two perfectly good jumpers into felt. Which involved putting them in the washing machine on the hottest cycle with some detergent. (I vaguely remember seeing the instructions for this easy method on one of the many crafty sites I frequent – if anyone knows where that is please let me know as I can’t find it now!)

Anyway as hoped, an hour later out came two significantly smaller jumpers with a fantastic soft fluffy texture. I didn’t have much inspiration really but Smithy (Softie guru) suggested a dinosaur so I started with that. Meet Danny.

Danny the Dinosaur
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

After a few sketches I came up with this little fellow. Perhaps you’ve met him before….the Green Eyed Monster.

Green Eyed Monster
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

You can see more pics here. Oh yes, and if you are wondering what brought on the sudden urge to make recycled Monsters check out Month of Softies.

Friday, April 22, 2005

what to do?!

I’m feeling a bit strange – I have no plans this weekend! It seemed like a good idea at the beginning of the week to keep it completely free but as it gets closer I’m starting to feel a bit uneasy. What will I do? Will I get bored? Lonely?

I’m thinking a foray to Kings and Fulham Road for a spot of window shopping might be in order at some point. Maybe a little visit to the Tate Modern and I might check out the fabric shops in Berwick St. I also want to put the border on my house quilt as I’ve made some good progress on that the last couple of evenings. And Tim is coming over for dinner tonight. Yeah – I’ll be fine!

Plus I need (want) to make a monster for MOS. My half made likeness of myself as a child is still forlornly lying on the window waiting for the other leg to be attached so I’m keen to actually submit something this month. I want to find a wool jumper or cardy at a charity shop to make into felt and then transform into a monster. I’ve never felted anything but am keen to experiment. The only problem is that finding a pure wool jumper is almost impossible. They’re all either acrylic or I’ve seen the occasional cashmere one. But I don’t really want to spend £25 on something with the objective of boiling it and cutting it up! So some op-shopping will also be on the agenda.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Bliss is...

…being able to set up my sewing machine in the kitchen, spread out my stuff EVERYWHERE and not have to pack it away.

Last night I made some progress on the houses quilt – finishing all the blocks and sewing rows together. Am feeling virtuous as I painstakingly tacked the blocks together before sewing to make sure corners and rows line up.

But at that stage I got confused as it seemed to be much smaller than I expected. The instructions said it would be 39”x 40”. But the rows without the border are only 15”. So I went back to the directions and in the summary it said the blocks are 6” but then the pattern and the step by step instructions say they are 3”! And I’ve only just noticed this discrepancy. So I’m going to have a miniature quilt that will be very cute but possibly not much use for anything!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

crystal palace

crystal palace
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Yesterday after work I decided to explore the huge Crystal Palace Park which is about 10 minutes walk from home. It will definitely be a good place to run in the evenings although it has a bit of a deserted air about it.

As I found out from Phil on the weekend it is named after the massive glass and steel structure that was reconstructed there in 1854 after the Industrial Exhibition of 1851 in Hyde Park. According to a reliable source (BBC website) 293,655 panes of glass were used in the building, 4,500 tons of iron, and 600,000 cubic ft of timber. It must have been an impressive sight to see.

Unfortunately it was destroyed by fire in 1936 and about all you can see at the site now are some rather forlorn, graffiti-ed Egyptian sphinxes. There is also a museum and Dinosaur park which I am yet to check out.

Monday, April 18, 2005

view from the kitchen window

view from the kitchen window
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

This is the main reason for my excitement about my new flat – the lovely view from the kitchen window.

Moving in on Friday and Saturday went smoothly – we picked up a rental car on Friday and packed it to the roof with my stuff. On Saturday we went out and had a spree at Argos with the car again groaning under the weight of everything from ironing board to the telly. Steve and I spent the afternoon in Flat Pack City as Kirst put it, constructing lamps and wardrobes. So after a weekend of work the sticks in the nest are pretty much in place.

Being an old house I’ve been discovering a few 'interesting' quirks such as my bedroom window having inbuilt ‘air-conditioning’ (no latch and a inch gap at the top!). And in the other bedroom theh windows have been painted closed! Hopefully I’ll be able to sort it out with the landlord this week as its still pretty chilly at night here.

In the meantime I’ll enjoy the views and the nice ambience. And layer up.

"The Penthouse"
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

New Home

I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas this week. One more sleep to go before I can pick up the keys to my new flat tomorrow. Apparently the landlord has organised for the new furniture to be delivered this week so I’m hoping for a good surprise when I see it tomorrow. Then I get to lug my various garbage bags and assorted odds and ends across south London to their new home.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Steve and I are that childless couple that go to other people’s houses, stir up their children to distraction then leave as soon as they start to cry! I’m sure their parents love it!

We had a lovely lunch with J&J and the kids on Sunday sitting in the brand new conservatory. We played rasberries (Sam was the best at making disgusting noises by far), colouring in, and of course the all time favourite tick tock. I’m not sure who had more fun playing – the kids or us.

See some more pics from the weekend here.

Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Garbage bag luggage

What a week TGIF if ever it was.

After finding my dream flat on Friday, I then put the proposal to my flatties that I move out in two weeks and we find someone to replace me then. They were happy with that which was a relief as my months notice would have meant double rent for a couple of weeks. Tuesday they called with the good news that their friends wanted to move in but they needed to discuss dates. Uh oh sounded ominous. But it turned out they could move in THIS weekend. So that meant for the past two nights I have been madly packing my even bigger pile of stuff to free up the room as I’m away for the weekend (surprise!). I have left a pile of about 8 garbage bags sitting in the corner waiting to collect on Sunday. The lovely K & C have come to my rescue again and offered their spare room for the week. What with that, negotiations with estate agents (managed to knock a whole £50 off their fee – wow!) and crazy work its been quite a week.

So I’m looking forward even more to a weekend at the cottage with Jo, the lovely K&C, Smithy and kiwi Clarkie who I don’t know but am sure is lovely too. Unfortunately the promising summer weather has turned baltic again – snow and winds coming from somewhere north and frozen. A good excuse to light up the fire.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Half of a Half Marathon

at the start
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I wasn’t intending to participate on the basis of not having done any training. But the rest of the crew weren’t having a bar of me skiving off to bed while they ran on the basis that I had organised the whole thing. Which I’m not sure is true but am easily convinced.

I ended up running the first 10k then having a nice (power) walk through Berlin with Smithy for the last half. It was a gorgeous sunny day so there could have been worse things. But just quietly I think there may have been better things (like a lie in and leisurely breakfast for example).

Everyone did really well and reached their goals – Sally 1:39 (wow), Krissy and Ole at 2:10 convincingly within their target time and Jo, Nat, Steve and I finishing before the road opened. Well my goal was to get out of it altogether, but never mind. The big bowl of pasta and red wine afterwards tasted divine.

Monday, April 04, 2005

House Hunting Again

Last week turned out to be action packed on the home front. I decided that I’d look for my own place as the whole living with newly-weds thing isn’t turning out to be a barrel of laughs. But mostly because Mum and Dad are visiting over the summer and I want to have somewhere they can comfortably stay. The “bathroom sink sms” incident only served to accelerate things (I won’t go into it but anyone who has lived in a share house can probably imagine only too well).

I started looking around with the idea of getting a feel for a few locations I hadn’t checked out before but not really committing to anything for a few weeks. But the problem with that approach is that anything good gets snapped up instantly. I was completely put off the Docklands by the first dive I saw there and decided to look further south.

The South East is way cheaper than west as there’s no tube down that way and it’s a bit patchier, but the area around Dulwich is really nice so I started looking there. One of the agents I got in contact with showed me around three places one evening and they were all much nicer for the price than anything I’d seen in other parts of London. I had a look at a few other flats but had fallen in love with the first one she showed me which was further out but HUGE and totally newly refurbished, on the third floor of a Victorian house overlooking a big green park. A lovely neutral, airy bare canvass of a flat. And it has really cool details like original fireplaces and stained glass windows. I’m not sure what the commute to work will be like but I think it will be okay if I’m organised and get the faster trains. I went to have second look and just couldn’t go past it so I put in an offer. If all goes smoothly I’ll move in a couple of weeks.

With all that excitement, I was a bit distracted on Friday afternoon. As I headed from Putney to Stanstead for my flight to Berlin (a good 2 hour + trek) I realised around Vauxhall I had left my passport at home. After the few near misses at Easter I thought I was leaving so much time spare and my stomach lurched when I realised my mistake. Thinking there was a good chance I could still make it, I backtracked home, grabbed my passport and headed off again. Although I made it to Stanstead half an hour before the flight, Ryanair weren’t having a bar of such tardiness and it was a no go. A few others who missed it as well and I tried to get on a later flight with another airline, waited around for a couple of hours hoping people would no show for it. Which they did and we were told we could go – yay! And then one minute later they turned around and said no, sorry, too late! Boo!

While waiting for them to make their minds up I had been chatting to another girl (literally - she was only 17) who had missed her connection from a different flight and had been travelling all day. So we ended up booking on the 6:30am flight the next morning and going to the airport hotel for the night. A bit of an adventure I could have done without – but I made it to Berlin in time to wake up the crew for brekky so didn’t lose too much of the weekend in the end.