Billy Rocks

My yarn room *slash* guest room has always been a bit of a mess. Okay okay, a lot of a mess. But over the course of last week it’s finally getting into shape – helped not in any small way by Billy. Yes Billy of Ikea fame. Who knew all i needed were extra shelves to help make sense of my chaos?

I wish I had before pictures to show… but those of you (esp FIL & MIL!) who have stayed know the total chaos that is our spare room. Weirdly it didn’t feel like a lot of work to tidy up… maybe it was the Shanghai flu messing with my mind. Anyways, here it is, our new & improved study/Socktopus HQ/spare room for important guests (after all, I wouldn’t share my stash with just anyone!)

Enter the Lair

We’ll come back to my mini library of yarn shortly. My work area is in the far left corner, the other side of the sofa.

My corner

Facing the sofa is hubby’s desk where he does his thang on the most ancient laptop ever.

Hubby's desk

Coming back to my Billy shelves – here is my yarn library. It doesn’t really look that tidy in the photo, but really, I promise, it is. I can actually find things! I can see at a glance where everything is. Thank you Billy!

I love Billy! But I love my yarn more

And a little teaser for the Socktopus Cornwall Retreat attendees (there are still 9 available spots if you’d like to join us – click here or button on the right)… these are photos from Ruth Robinson, the ceramicist making our special edition retreat mugs. The mugs are hand thrown porcelain with a hand cut logo – Ruth made the stamp for the logo, stamped them in clay then cut them out with strips of metal.  They look so cool.  The process is pretty time intensive: the logo is stamped, then hand cut. The mugs are thrown, the handles pulled. Once the logo and handles are attached to the body the mugs are wrapped up for slow drying.  Ruth says the slower they dry the better, especially with porcelain.  Then comes bisque firing (which should take place in a couple weeks). The final step is to glaze and stoneware fire them up.

Ruth pulling a handle

A handmade stamp, and the logo in clay

A handcut logo

Fantastic Mr Fox

Last weekend was my goddaughter’s 5th birthday party. M & I (joint godmothers) were recruited to help chaperone a group of 16 children ranging in age from 5-8 years old.

It was like a military operation – each child had a sticker placed on their jacket with a phone number lest they should get lost. The kids all had serious conversations about the colour of ink on their stickers – most of whom were super pleased that they got their favourite colour!

There were 6 adults, each of which were allocated 2 or 3 children as their charges for the day. I had the cutest little boys – Oliver & Benjy. We were to take them by bus to the see Fantastic Mr Fox at a local theatre. My little ones were stars – they held hands, made sure they could always see me, and were sweet as pie. Sophia looked like she was having a fabulous time with a huge posse of her friends. The play was fun – a bit scary at first but the second half lightened up and was all about how Mr Fox outwits the nasty farmers.

On the way home, Oliver & Benjy entertained me with tales of how high they could jump and climb, and their favourite foods. I forget how non-linear conversations with kids are – they are all stream of consciousness. Climbing on top of a building segues naturally into eating spaghetti at their friend’s house, then into a conversation about their shoes having lights or lego attachments so you can build bridges on them. Very amusing though slightly hard at times to follow exactly what is going on. On the bus a third little boy joined in on the conversation. I have no idea what they were talking about but they were so enthusiastic it was hard not to get carried away by their exuberance.

Back at HQ Irmgard had made macaroni and cake, and the wee ones were greeted by their parents who took care of making sure they ate and were watered. M was tricksy – telling us the adult cake Irmgard made (she’d made two – one for kids and one flourless one for adults) had rum in it, which I duly repeated to every parent there. Bad Melissa! It was funny though – offers of ‘Cake?’ were met with indecision, but as soon as ‘it has rum in it’ was uttered, indecision became a resounding yes please. I guess a modicum of alcohol takes the edge off!

A long cup of tea

Grandaunt

My Granduncle and Grandaunt

My grandaunt – my grandpa’s sister – passed away on the 5th November. She was 95. She was teeny, but full of spirit. She and my granduncle came to my wedding almost 3 years ago, and being full of independent spirit, did a runner on their caretaker (my uncle Kai) as soon as they arrived.

My poor Uncle Kai nearly had a heart attack – one for fear that two 90+ senior citizens who spoke next to no English might truly have gotten lost, and two for fear of the wrath of my mom who asked him to look after them (normally my mom is pretty easy going, but the wedding had fried her nerves somewhat!). Thankfully, the absconding pair only went so far as the local pizza place driven by hungry bellies.

I’ll remember her for the twinkle in her eye, and her ready smile. And of course, her streak of independence and mild rebellion.

Back in Blighty

Post holiday blues suck! But it is fun writing up our food posts from our stay in Shanghai. I’ve got to do the day posts too… will do that in sections. All our food posts are post dated, and there are more to come! lol. Shanghai rocked. I think we need to make it a regular girls week out there. The shopping is FABULOUS! and I have to get back to Glamour Bar. Most creative cocktails I’ve had in a long while. Yum.