Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chilling out in Stockholm

Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

Steve has been working over in Stockholm for the past couple of weeks and I got to go for a visit on the weekend.

Stockholm is rated in the Lonely Planet as one of the most beautiful cities in the word and although it was cold, grey, raining and dark most of the weekend, I could see the potential. It tried to snow most of Saturday but failed miserably. Anyone who knows my aversion to being cold and damp will be impressed by my determination to get out and see the sights in the freezing rain. I did have to stop in at H&M (clothing store originally from Sweden) for gloves and hat to cope. But it was worth it.

Stockholm is small but perfectly formed. Set on a harbour with beautiful grand buildings (I am assuming remaining neutral in WWII has helped in this regard) with different pockets to explore - all easily doable on foot. We meandered through the old town and ended up in the groovy, "bohemian" (as bohemian as an area with about 3 H&M stores can be) Sodermalm district. Wandering around the backstreets we ended up on a hill with a fantastic view overlooking the harbour and main city area.

My radar for ridiculously expensive, not very useful things was immediately alerted by this amazing gallery / shop Konsthantverkarna a collective of artists. I couldn't leave without some of the pottery - was very taken with a plate with impressed roses on the border in a delicate cream glaze. Steve couldn't quite understand the purpose of such an object and I don't think I really got across my vision of serving delicately pastel coloured iced biscuits and cupcakes on it. But I certainly didn't let that stop my buying it. It totally lived up to my preconceptions of gorgeous Scandinavian design style.

We had diner at Stufehof, seafood restaurant and I went for the "local" option of steamed haddock on a bed of egg and prawns. After dinner we attempted to go to the Ice Bar - literally that - a bar made of ice - but its obviously a tourist draw and no go without a booking so we ended up at the Spy Bar. It was empty when we arrived at about 11 which would have bothered me once but now I just appreciate being able to get a drink and have somewhere to stand (I know I sound about 80). But it was gratifyingly packed when we left in the wee hours so was obviously a pretty hip place to be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Boy Twin done

I finished this quilt - Safari Animals (aka Boy Twin quilt) on the weekend. I’m really happy with how its turned out although I would do bigger patches to give the animals more space next time. It’s a petite 35” x 39” (89 x 99 cm) and the backing is a pale blue Kaffe Fasset fabric – very soft.

I recently discovered “Kaffe Corner” in Liberty and decided to pop in there on the way home on Friday (before going out raging of course) to pick up the backing. Who should I run into but Pauline who was stocking up on Kidsilk for a Very Cute Project. One thing led to another and we ended up at the Champagne and Oyster bar at Selfridges. Pauline has the evidence here (beating my post by daaaays).

The Christmas lights are on and the department store windows in competition for attention. I think Selfridges is trying to be avant guard but I’m not sure. Its not quite the same as the Meyers animated fairly tales of my childhood.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

a bit crazy

Work has suddenly got really busy and its seriously cutting into my blogging time and also even crafty time a bit. The work trip to Glasgow was fairly uneventful. Just the usual dry presentations, admin girls snogging IT guys and random liqueurs consumed. Apparently we went through 12 bottles of Bailey's. Odd choice but didn't seem so at the time.

On Sunday I did part one of a travel writing course. I don't have any aspirations to be a travel writer professionally but i thought it might help with this blogging thing. But I have a feeling it will take awhile to have effect (if ever)! It was fun meeting some other people anyway - a couple of photographers who do portraits for mags like Heat. Good gossip.

On top of a busy weekend and work, I am getting the pre-Christmas jitters - too much to do before we go home for a couple of weeks. Gifts to make (buy?), parties (yay), and maybe even a bit of wedding planning (unlikely).

And I just have to add that Smithy has cooked me fantastic dinners three nights in a row now including his famous chicken lasagne (I just have to add that to encourage this type of behaviour).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Manos Scarf

Manos Scarf
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

This is me smiling at the bus stop this morning with my brand new cosy scarf. I had a burst of knitting during Wednesday TV night. Am still persevering with Lost and am totally enthralled with the new BBC "Rome" drama. Don't understand what's going on but it doesn't seem to matter.

Our office is away to Glasgow tomorrow for a company get together and Christmas Party. Giddyup (anyone else think its a bit early?)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Secret Pal 6 Goodies

Secret Pal 6 Goodies
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

This photo taken in winter morning light doesn't do the colours justice. My Secret Pal 6 sent me a lovely package for the weekend. The chocolate truffels are long since gone and I've pretty much read the book cover to cover. Now I just have to decide what to do with this fancy yarn. Start another scarf perhaps?!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Pincusion & Quilt dilemmas

Secret Pal Pincusion
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I made this little pincushion on the weekend for my secret pal. I was wrapping up her parcel (some luverly goodies) and thought it needed a little something extra. You may recognise the design - I was more than a little inspired by Cassie's at Bella Dia.

This was just a fraction of the craftiness that happened on Saturday - left to my own devices for the whole day I also almost finished Boy Twin quilt top, Manos scarf and started a new scarf (in red – very warming). ie I started more things and didn't finish anything. I got stuck in total indecision paralysis as the Boy Twin top has worked out significantly smaller than Girl Twin. Can such inequality start so early? I think not. Therefore my options are (a) order more fabric and make Boy Twin bigger or (b) make a whole new smaller Girl Twin (and KEEP the current Girl Twin - I have developed a bit of an attachment). So of course I couldn't come to any conclusions and finish anything. Nor could I decide how long to make the Manos scarf (if I keep going till the yarn runs out it might be a bit long) but I can't seem to stop. Its so nice to knit.

ps - I tried to explain all this to Smithy and his eyes glazed over in about 2 seconds. I'm hoping my crafty readers will have some understanding of these dilemmas.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Baby showering

Beanie for T's baby shower
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

We had wine, food, a chocolate fountain (!!!) and games, setting the bar pretty high for my first baby shower. We even had a ferry ride from Blackfriars down the Thames to the venue at Woolich - through the Thames barrier - all quite an adventure and fab to see London from a different perspective.

I ended up deciding to make a little hat for the new arrival and wanted to decorate it - harder to embroider knitting than I thought. But I was happy with the little design in the end....after about six attempts and ruling out anything with curves.

And mum to be loved it so I was v. happy.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Terry Gilliam at London Film Festival

Terry Gilliam - London Film Festival
Originally uploaded by Hells Bells.

I had a great day yesterday. It started early when the bus driver was pulling away from the stop as I ran up AND ACTUALLY STOPPED for me. Then I got to the train station just in time for the train.

With a start like that to the day Nomes and I decided to really push our luck and queued up at Leister Square for tickets to the London Film Festival preview of The Brothers Grimm. Of course we got in (although we did freeze for half an hour waiting) and THEN we got free t-shirts and an icecream. But the coolest part was the director Terry Gilliam introducing the movie and answering questions afterwards. And the film was pretty good too. Can't complain about two hours of Heath Ledger and Matt Damon.