Sunday, 13 April 2014

Seven snaps for seven days - fifteen

Busy finding homes for some treasures that I was given a while ago. This is a lovely old game where each player has a card and has to find the matching pictures on a face down set of tiles. Only one tile can be picked up and looked at per go, remembering where you have seen your tiles when it isn't your go is key.

Beautiful tulips, one of my favourite flowers. Bought by friends coming to stay for a few days.

My mum reading to my niece. A fabulous day full of family and great friends. Lots of catching up and laughter.

Spotted on a walk. I love seeing cheerful Spring flowers.

Relaxing with my husband, watching a film and knitting the sleeve of my cardigan. I have yet to take a photo of this project which shows the true colour of the wool, in reality it is a beautiful shade of green.

Lovely walk along the canal whilst catching up with a friend.

The beginnings of my first ever granny square. Thanks very much to my friend for teaching me.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Seven snaps for seven days - fourteen

Laughing with my husband at our dog's antics. He is hanging off the sofa after play fighting.

Another fabulous Crafty Tuesday with an Easter focus- my finished egg cosy.

A marvellous set of finds from the local second hand market. Embroidered linens, crochet and vintage pillow cases.

I just threw this fruit into this bowl as I couldn't find a space for it and was then taken by the shapes and colours.

Having a good laugh with friends at this shoe/sock combination that happened during a shoe trying on before buying session.

Wonderful textures of bark and moss on a tree. Found during a lovely woodland walk with friends.

Marvelling at my friend's amazing colourful, stripey blanket during a fun knitting afternoon.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Royal Exchange, Manchester

This amazing building is the Royal Exchange in Manchester. I visited it few weeks ago to see a production of Orlando by Virginia Woolf. The production was fantastic, only 4 actors playing all the parts and the staging, props and costumes so cleverly done. I had walked past the building many times but had never been inside. When I got in there I literally gasped in amazement. So here it is!

The Royal Exchange building was built between 1869 and 1864 and was modified between 1914 and 1921. It was built as a place for Lancashire mill owners, cotton importers, yarn agents, dyers, bleachers, shippers and salesmen to trade in commodities, cotton and textiles being the main ones. It was said that it was the largest place for trade in the world and the trading floor could hold 11,000 members. By 1968 the means of trading had changed and there had been some trade slumps and the exchange closed.

This is the original trading board, showing the prices of various commodities on the day that trading ceased. Trading days were Tuesday and Friday. Manchester was a centre for the trade in cotton which was spun in its many mills and in those of the surrounding towns. It was so important it was known by the name Cottonopolis. Queen Victoria visited Manchester in 1851 and was received in the exchange, highlighting its importance and giving the title of the Royal Exchange.

The trading hall has three beautiful glass domes and huge marble neoclassical columns. Look at all the intricate detail.

In 1976 the Royal Exchange Theatre Company was founded and it's theatre spaces are found inside the exchange. The main theatre seats 760 people on 3 levels, in the round. All seats are less than 9m from the stage so the views are really clear. It is the largest theatre in the round in Britain. Watching a performance in the round is amazing as there is nothing at all that the audience can't see. I think it means the use of space, the scenery and the movements of the actors are even more carefully thought through. You feel really close to all the action.

The theatre is like a large pod, it has 7 sides and is made of steel and glass. The floor of the exchange was not strong enough to support the weight of the theatre so much of the pod is suspended from the huge columns. This contrast between modern and Edwardian is fascinating and is one of the things that makes the building such an interesting place to look around. All the period details are so beautiful, yet the modern structure doesn't jar with or distract from them.

I am going to have to go again to really take it all in. It is possible to enter the building without going to the theatre. There is a shop and a couple of cafes on the trading floor. It is such an amazing space, it is definitely worth a look. It really pleases me that although the building is no longer needed for it's original purpose all it's beauty has been saved, it is still of importance to the city and it is still a place where people go to meet and enjoy themselves.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Crafty Tuesday - egg cosies

Crafty Tuesdays came about some months ago when some friends and I decided that we would like to make some Christmas cards. We had so much fun, and so enjoyed adding some extra crafting into our week that we decided to make it a monthly thing. We tend to choose a theme, often seasonal, scout about for inspiration and patterns, use Pinterest to share ideas and then turn up at one of our houses with a bag full of fabric, yarn, needles, pins, thread, card, glue dots, scissors and ribbon and get crafty. We generally have a pizza and a chat, get done to some crafting, have tea and cake and do some more. This is how Crafty Tuesday's were born.

I realised after last week's Crafty Tuesday that although I have shared the results of these sessions in my Seven Snaps series and in the Simple Christmas cards post I have never shown one in it's entirety. So welcome to our Easter themed Crafty Tuesday where we made egg cosies. We are aware that they are, in essence, totally unnecessary, but they are pretty, cute, make nice gifts, quick and fun. So we don't care about necessity!

The original plan was to make felt egg cosies and to decorate them. This is M with her hot pink felt going straight into cutting it out with no template! Mantra - you can always cut it smaller but can't make it bigger.

J was inspired by some egg shaped felt decorations and decided to make her own version but turn it into a brooch. She cut out her shapes and appliqued them onto her egg shape. It was going to be stuffed and a brooch back attached.

I was all up for making felt cosies until I found this pattern in a knitting magazine. Then I decided that I needed these. This caused consternation to K, who fell in love with the woolly stripes whilst having lots of felt cosy plans.

I raided my stash beforehand and then chose my yarn from the pile I had bought along with me.

K decided to go with the knitted cosy and raided M's yarn stash without seeing my colour choices. Bit of a 'whoa' moment as they are freakishly similar.

M pinned her cosy into shape and tried it over the egg cup containing a creme egg that she had thoughtfully prepared earlier.

Stripes! My cosy in progress.

The past few Crafty Tuesdays have been interrupted ( in a good way) for The Great British Sewing Bee as we are all avid watchers. This week it also involved a bit of a house swap. Crafty Tuesday was at M's house. Her television is normal sized to small. M lives a few doors down from K. Her television is normal to large. So at 8pm we gathered up our craft projects (not necessarily what we had been making) and nipped out to K's house. We did laugh as we scuttled down the street without our shoes properly on, trailing yarn.

We love the Great British Sewing Bee. The final is on Tuesday. Very excited!

K had made a yummy pineapple upside down cake. Old school pudding's are just the best. We continued with our alternate craft projects. We had to do this so that GBSB could get our full attention!

J hand stitching her Regency style apron, made without a pattern! Clever! She was getting it ready for a re-enactment event. M was knitting a lovely sock. K was knitting cute heart bunting. I was knitting my cosy.

A lovely cuppa! Crafting is so very often fuelled by tea. (and cake, but we won't go into that)!

GBSB finished we packed up and went back to M's. This is my finished cosy before being stitched together and before the darning in of those pesky yarn ends.

M's finished felt cosy. It is decorated with a strip of polka dot fabric, cut out with pinking shears and tied in a bow. So jolly!

My finished cosy! I was very pleased with its woolly stripeyness.

The top of the cosy is stitched together to create this pretty effect.

I can't wait for the the next instalment of Crafty Tuesday!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Seven snaps for seven days - thirteen

I did not manage to get seven snaps this week, for some reason nothing caught my interest or my eye on a couple of days. This is the first time it has happened and I said when I started these posts that I would just go with what came up over each week. So I feel a little unhappy to have not got seven snaps this week but I would feel very unhappy to make it up just to reach a self imposed target. So here they are:

A happy time playing with pipe cleaners with my friend and her toddler. This is my creative effort!

Lots of fun with my niece and my sister. Loving her stripey legs!

A successful pattern hunt in a charity shop.

Trying to get our very old family cat to pose for the camera when visiting my parents.

Coastal walk with my parents on a lovely sunny spring morning. Admiring the jolly chalets along the sea front.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Seven snaps for seven days - twelve

Learning how to make balloon model dogs at the 3rd birthday party of my Women's Institute.

Getting honked at by hungry geese whilst walking my dog.

Glorious Spring day, branches making beautiful shapes against the blue sky.

One cheerful daffodil and a shaft of sunlight brightening up a very dull patch of ground.

Vintage china and a hand knitted tea cosy making for the perfect restorative cuppa in my friend's lovely shop after Boxercise.

The beautiful ceiling at the venue for my friend's 40th. Great music, company, cake, dancing and curry.

Fun afternoon at patchwork group. My little pile of hexagons has grown a bit larger!