Terry Wogan, Personal Hero

I just read some interviews where people were asked about their childhood heroes. I had to laugh at their choices of cartoon characters and the like – mine was Terry Wogan.

For the non-Brits/Irish (he’s famous in Ireland, right?), Terry is an Irish TV presenter who has lived in the UK and been on the BBC for as long as I can remember. His chat show was on the telly three evenings a week for the first eight years of my life, and he presented my gran’s favourite, the Eurovision Song Contest each year, so it’s not surprising that I was quite attached to the man.

The book above was owned by every household in my family. I assume they all bought it for each other one christmas, hoping to remind themselves of the old country. Look at him – so smooth, so casual! Would you look at that jumper? I think most members of my family owned one of those delights, too!

When I was six, I made up a game which was, surprisingly enough, titled “Wogan”, where I would line up all my cuddly toys on the bed and interview them. One especially exciting “show” featured Superman, Prince Charles (who had recently broken his arm playing polo), and Mozart. A bit of fiction, a bit of reality and a bit of history and music – I presented a well rounded show there! 

Ah, Terry Wogan. Such a lovely, lovely man. He’s 75 now and just down to presenting a radio show each Sunday as well as a few other bits throughout the year. He’s still way up there on my list of people I would be extremely starstruck if I met.

Who was your childhood hero? Do they still live up to your expectations?

A Belgian Weekend

This was going to be a post about one of my two (two!!!) new makes from last week, complete with photos taken in Brussels. Sadly I fell down some stairs on my first night there and smashed my chin open on the pavement. Yes, alcohol was involved. I’ve decided that the world isn’t ready for pictures of my manky chin, so you’re just going to have to wait for the clothes posts.

In the meantime, I offer you this picture of a pig outside the Berlaymont (European Commission headquarters). The pig is called Hope, and she’s part of a campaign calling upon the Commission to uphold laws protecting pigs from inhumane treatment in Europe. It’s all very interesting, and you can find out more about the campaign here, and the other work Compassion in World Farming do here.

This is one of the more sedate demonstrations I’ve seen in Brussels. The dustmen’s protest involved setting fire to all the street bins within a kilometre of my office, and I had a firecracker thrown at me while trying to get through the annual farmers blockade near my work (they then sprayed the European Parliament with milk and partied in the square outside, apparently oblivious to the smell).

We spent most of our trip trying to catch up with as many of our friends as possible, and generally eating and drinking too much. It would be a lot easier if all of our friends were friends with each other, but we have diverse tastes, so we just had to cram everyone into any available gap. It was great to catch up on everyone’s news and I was pleased I could fit in a lunch with my old office buddies at Lunch and More, a brilliant Polish Restaurant close to Arts Loi specialising in pierogi (yummy dumplings).

Of course we couldn’t come back without some of our favourite Belgian treats (and a bottle of Soviet Champagne, because we found a Russian supermarket).

It’s a Wrap!

I decided to add a more casual and multi seasonal skirt to my wardrobe. Something which I felt was lacking. I chose a Miette, because I think it’s an interesting take on quite a classic design. Also, other people had them and I was jealous.

I really enjoyed making this, and found the pattern and instructions very clear. I made this a few months ago now, and at the time, it was really helpful to be guided through the process in so much detail. I’m probably a bit more capable now, and could whip this up with slightly more confidence!

I chose a grey linen for this skirt, mostly because I thought the grey would be easy to dress up and down. I didn’t really take into account that linen would fray and crease like crazy. Next time, I’d finish the seams differently. I’ve just had to come to terms with the fact that my lovely skirt will look really crumpled within ten minutes of putting it on. It’s not too bad as long as I don’t sit down. 

The biggest issue I’ve found with wearing this dress is that Brighton is super windy. Although the overlap at the back is very large, I still think I might end up flashing someone. These pictures were taken on a moderately breezy day, and it seems to be ok, but I don’t know what would happen in some of the more extreme weather we’ve had recently. It’s a fair-weather skirt, really. And if I flash you, then maybe you shouldn’t have been looking, peeping tom!

Happy Shopper

When my auntie came to stay recently, she admired both my curtain, and my tote bag. “Aha!” I thought, “Aha! I shall combine the two!”
Can we call this a self drafted pattern? I mean, it’s only a tote bag, but I did make a pattern for it all by myself (with a slight pause to watch a video on how to make a square bottomed bag on youtube). Yeah, lets call it self drafted and make me feel very pleased with myself indeed. 
I was so happy with it, that as soon as it was finished and photographed, I headed straight up to the post office to send a nice surprise all the way to Yorkshire. Hopefully she’ll like it; you can fit A3 paper inside, so she should be able to get her Daily Telegraph in, as well as some groceries (which won’t fall over thanks to the flat bottom – yeah!! ). 
I used the curtain’s natural resources (massive eyelets) to form the strap holes, and used french seams for added strength. They make it a little bit bulky, but I think it’s ok. The cotton is pretty thick anyway, so I don’t think it’s a fold-up-and-keep-in-your-bag-bag. Ben thinks it looks like an owl.

Oh, and by the way, I learnt from my mistakes and used a denim needle, which made all the difference to my sanity with this project.
The two dressmaking projects I’ve been working on at the moment have come to a bit of a standstill after various blunders on my part. The 70s tunic is just a disaster partly through strange instructions, and partly through stupidity (let’s call this version a toile). The Kelly skirt is probably too small for me, and I’m disinclined to finish it – also, sewing that corduroy is akin to punching myself repeatedly in the face. Today it began shedding wildly all over the flat. It’s everywhere. I have corduroy up my nose. Does decent corduroy do that? Is this what I get for buying cheap shit?

It’s Snood Easy Being Green

The snood is complete! Huzzah! It was actually completed aaaaages ago, but the weather was bad at the time, and I was disinclined to be photographed in the rain, so this shot of me wearing it with a hoodie and one of my prettiest faces in my sitting room was the best I could manage. I wanted to do better for you. 

Since then, I’ve managed to add a picture of me wearing it with my coat and a normal face in my bedroom to the mix (see below). It does get worn outside, but not when I have a camera to hand, apparently. Just pretend the background shows some nice trees or something.

I’d reduce the circumference by about 20% next time, but I was working with a River Island snood which I’d measured against my arm in the shop (just don’t ask), and I was also a bit worried about it fitting over my big old head coat collar.

As you can see from the first picture, it’s really tall, but it can be folded down to half the size for a more subtle look. It’s nice to have both options, making it practical for cold and less cold weather. I’m actually pretty chuffed with it!

It was a really easy make – perfect for a beginner or a lazy person. Here’s one of the least helpful how to guides in history (British crochet terms):

1. Teach yourself to crochet a little bit

2. Decide how tall you want your snood to be and crochet a foundation chain to that length

3. Double crochet about 80 rows (depending on preferred circumference/head size)

4. Crochet the last row onto the first row, creating a loop – make sure the snood isn’t twisted up before you start

5. Wear that massive snood with pride!