Wednesday 24 February 2016

Wendy's Week - Photography & Films

Hello, hello, I hope your week has been a glorious one! Mine has been full of friends film and photography which means it's been another busy one for me, since I started these posts I have actually been out and about more that I have over the last year, which is great, I hope it continues!

~ Photography & Films ~
-15th - 21st February-
Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Insta Collage

-  The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I finally watched this for the first time this week after years of putting it off. I think I heard a BBC the radio adaptation of the book a few years back, but I'm not really sure if I had actually listened to it or someone had told me about it, either way I had an idea of what the film was about and it was for that reason I put of watching it, I just was not sure I could handle it. This week I spotted it was being shown on BBC4 and so I decided it was time. I am sure by now most of you will have already seen it, but if you haven't all I will say it is a very moving, powerful and horrifying film, which utterly broke me, days later I was still thinking about it, which to my mind is the mark of a good film.

- Went to the cinema, again! This time I took along my good friend and ex-work colleague Alan to see Dad's Army. Neither of us were expecting very much from the film, but we both came out having really rather enjoyed it, it's the kind of silly humour that the British do best and as long as you don't think to much about the original series, it really is rather fun. The biggest surprise of the evening was when Alan told me that the last time he had been to the cinema was in 1994 to watch Four Weddings and A Funeral, yes that means it is 22 years since he last set foot in the cinema, and it so happened to be the same cinema, oh and the time before that was to see Ghostbusters in 1984! Blimey and I thought I didn't get out much!

- Ogled the Knitwear in 'The Imitation Game' and blogged about it. Oh and then had to watch the film again, just for good measure! I have been working on a film fashion post about 'The Imitation Game' for a while now as from the moment I first saw it in the cinema I was smitten with the Fair Isle woolly wonders it contained!

Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Daffodils

- Flower Power. As a thank you for taking him to the cinema after 22 years (still can't quite believe that!) Alan bought me some Daffodils, which after Sweet peas are my favourite flowers! They have been sitting pride of place on my mantle piece for the last few day and they have really made such a difference to the grey winter days, they are so cheerful it's impossible not to smile when you look at them, oh and yes that is a pint glass they are in. I don't own a vase, I know, I'm all class me!

Drinks with a friend. After work on Friday and a quick change in to my newly finished Miette, I headed up to Westfield in Stratford to meet up with another ex-colleague, this time from my days working at Snappy Snaps, Phillip. We meet up every few months or so for a catch up on what's been going on our lives, to commiserate how old we have gotten and for a drink, or two. or three, yeah three is nearer the mark, which is lovely, and usually results in a fuzzy head the next morning. Didn't I say I was not much of a drinker!

Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Julia Margaret Cameron at the V&A

- Took a trip to the V&A. The highlight of my week was on Sunday when I went up to the V&A in central London to catch the last day of a photography exhibition of one of my favourite photographers, Julia Margaret Cameron. I first fell in love with her work whilst on one of our family holidays to the Isle of Wight, we visited her home and now gallery Dimbola Lodge, I was instantly entranced, the way she captured her models was fleetingly beautiful and very striking, her work inspired me so much that I decided to study photography at college.

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Julia Margaret Cameron Exhibition at the V&A Red Room

Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Julia Margaret Cameron at the V&A

We are now so used to capturing the minutia of our days that it's easy to forget how magical and modern photography once was, and it's also impossible not to admire her achievements during a time when women were supposed to know their place. She had many well know sitters which included the likes of Tennyson, Darwin and Rossetti, also the fact she only took up photography aged 48 and achieved so much when photography was actually quite a dangerous pastime (those chemicals were quite toxic) is a testament to her determination.

Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Artefacts at the V&A

Oh, while I was at the V&A I had intended to get a few nice pictures of my new Miette cardie, but as you will see from the below picture, it was not meant to be. The fact I had dressed in about 50 layers to brace against the cold (it was actually quite mild out, so it was utter overkill) meant that once inside the museum I was boiling so I turned into a very un-photogenic sweaty mess!

Wendy's Week - Photography & Films - Me in my Miette Cardigan despite the heat!

None the less I thought I would share this ever so glamorous bathroom selfie as it reflects more what I usually look like, which is, ever so slightly dishevelled, ha ha! Despite the hot flush it was a lovely way to spend a Sunday, the V&A is a great museum full of wonderful artefacts, beautiful (mostly naked *blushes*) sculptures and best of all it's totally free!

Have you been up to anything fun? Or seen any good films lately?
Wendy x

Sunday 21 February 2016

Film Fashions - The Imitation Game

At the first mention of a film about Alan Turing, I was as keen as mustard to see it, once I learnt that Benedict Cumberbatch was going to be playing Alan I was chomping at the bit - am I the only one who watches Sherlock on a loop? So the very week it hit the big screen, I booked my ticket, grabbed some popcorn and headed off to my local cinema.

Movie poster The Imitation Game

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Wendy's Week - UFO's & Flashing Lights

Hello, lovely people, I hope you have been having a fabulous week!
Mine has been another busy one which I must say is actually quite unusual for me, but I'm really not complaining! So here is what I got up to.

~ A UFO & Flashing Lights ~
8-14th February
Wendy's Week - UFO's & Flashing Lights - The Butterfly Balcony Instagram Collage

- My Favourite mug. This week I nearly broke my favourite mug, the horror! So I decided it was time to get myself a spare, you know just in case my utter clumsiness finally gets the better of it! It's decorated with the poster from one of my favourite 1940s films, 'The First of the Few' (AKA 'Spitfire'). The film tells the tale of R J Mitchell an aeronautical engineer and the designer of the Spitfire, it's quite an uplifting film but it always makes me teary towards the end, so when I saw this mug on Ebay last year I knew it had to be mine, it's been a firm favourite ever since, tea always tastes better out of your favourite mug!

- I treated myself on Valentines. This year I decided to treat myself rather than wait for someone else to treat me and so bought myself a big bottle of Babycham, ok it was a bargain basement treat as it was on sale for £3 in Asda so I just couldn't say no! I didn't drink it all as I am a real lightweight when it comes to alcohol, but what I did drink was delicious and worth every penny, even if I did have a fuzzy head come Monday morning!

Wendy's Week - UFO's & Flashing Lights - Hand sewing in the ends on my Miette Cardigan

- Finished a long overdue UFO. Shortly after writing up my UFO Hall of Shame post I started yet another project, I'll never learn. This time, it was spurred by an attempt to use up some of my yarn stash. I'd had my eye on the free Miette Cardigan, for a while and so chose this wonderful mustard yarn, to knit one up. I have been knitting it on and off over the last few years, eventually finishing all the knitting in October while at my parents on the IOW, but it's taken a few extra months to get the ends sewn in and the buttons sewn on, but now it's finally actually ready to make its first outing soon!

Wendy's Week - UFO's & Flashing Lights - Seamed Stockings from UK Tights

I bought some Seamed Stockings, ooh fancy! Being a lover of all things 1940s I have long wanted to be confident enough to wear some seamed stockings, I have bought them in the past from various sellers but they have been a bit hit and miss, but after reading Rowena from The Vintage Lady Of Lincoln fabulous and extensive review of some stockings she had bought from UK Tights, I decided it was time to give it another go! After a lot of perusing the multitude of styles and brands (who knew there was now so many to choose from is great), I decided upon some Pretty Legs Luxury Back Seam Stockings, in both nude and black which were £3.50 each and a pair of Jonathan Aston Seam & Heel Stockings which were a tad more expensive at £8.99, but they have a more authentic self-coloured seam and heel. I have not had the chance to try any of them out yet, but I will say the Jonathan Aston stockings have a lovely soft quality feel, though the nude colour is more 'American Tan' than my 'Bleached Brit' completion is used to, but I am going to give them a go and see how I get on, I shall let you know! Oh I used this AW15 discount code which I found online, just enter it at checkout and you'll get 15% off your order!

Wendy's Week - UFO's & Flashing Lights - Pimped my ride with Bike wheel lights

- I pimped my ride. All without the help of Tim Westwood! I have been cycling to work on my fold up bike for about 4 months now. For the most part, I love it the freedom, the downhill stretches, the almost easy exercise and the fact that I can get to work in about 40 mins rather than the bus time of 90! The parts I don't enjoy are the hills, I'm still not fit enough yet to get up them without puffing like a steam train (last week a chap walking up beside me - yes, we were going the same speed - actually asked me if I was OK, the shame of it!). But my least favourite bit is the traffic, most drivers are great, but there are many drivers who just don't see cyclists at all! The number of times I have nearly gone into the side of a vehicle, as it takes a sharp left in front of me or pulls out of a side road straight into me, is a little scary. So in an attempt to make myself even more noticeable I've got myself some wheel lights from eBay Yes, they are immensely childish (and yes, I love that) but they also make me feel a little safer and a little more visible to the traffic, so it's certainly worth a try! Though if they don't work I am very tempted to give these a try!

- Went for a movie date with my best friend Diane. We have been waiting ages for Goosebumps to hit the big screen, and so this week finally we were able to see it, in an almost empty theatre which felt very luxurious! It really was a fun movie, though we both found Jack Black's odd accent & overacting in this film a tad peculiar, but none the less we enjoyed it, reminded us both of Jumanji and that's no bad thing!
Wendy's Week - UFO's & Flashing Lights - My Cat Beau helping me sew my 1950's Box Pleat Skirt
That little face! "What do you mean I'm in your way?"
- Made progress on my 'Sew Over It Vintage' Skirt. Despite the best efforts of the furry faced one! I spent most of Saturday working on overlocking and stitching all the pieces together and can report that, my measurements were correct and the blighter fits! There are a few discrepancies with the instructions in the book which I'll talk about when it's finally finished, but other than that it went together quite smoothly! I only have the hand stitching of hem left to do which I am struggling with a little as hemming the crepe on a curve is proving more tricky than I had expected, but the end is in sight!
Have you been up to anything fun or crafty this week?
Wendy x

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt

After a bit of soul searching I have come to realise the reason I don't post very often on this blog is that I tend to only post when I have finished something, be it a book, a jumper or even a cake, and as these things take time to achieve and even more time to write up, it can be months before I have anything ready to publish. So today I am starting a new feature which I am calling Wendy's Week (you know I love alliteration and lame titles, haha). It's my effort to make this blog a little more personal and give you more of an insight into who I really am and what I actually get up to!

I can't promise that it will always be wildly interesting, I mean I am an ordinary lass so my life is a little dull most of the time, but it will at least give me the chance to talk about some of the things that happen each week (the good and the bad) which are worth documenting, but are not quite important enough to have a whole post dedicated to them!

A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt
- 1st - 7th Feb 2016 - 
butterflybalcony on Instagram:  Self Draft Skirt // Stegosaurus // Zumba // Old Family Photos // Current Read // Best Nine 2015
butterflybalcony on Instagram: 
Self Draft Skirt // Stegosaurus // Zumba // Old Family Photos // Current Read // Best Nine 2015

After a bad start to 2016, I decided to write January off as a false start and have determined to make February and the rest of the year as good as I can make it!

 - I connected with a long lost school friend. Thanks to the power of Facebook my best friend from senior school found me and got in contact! Despite the 12 years that have passed since we last spoke and the completely different paths in life we have taken, we were able to laugh and joke exactly the way we had back at school, it was wonderful and we have made plans to meet up soon!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt  Zumba

I attended a Zumba class, on my own, and didn't hate it! I am not going to lie, taking this class pushed me right out of my comfort zone and triggered all of my anxiety buttons; going somewhere on my own, talking to people I don't know and dancing around in public. But I did it, and actually despite my utter lack of coordination I really enjoyed it, it was actually rather liberating and the ladies (that I had the courage to speak to) were all lovely and put my mind totally at rest. One small step to finding some more confidence!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt 'A woman in Berlin'

- I started reading a new book. A Woman in Berlin is a diary account of a young woman's life in Berlin in the days during the fall and occupation by the Russians in 1945. It truly is a gripping account which is eloquently written by its anonymous author. I have only read a few chapters but it's already proving to be a very moving, shocking and if I am honest eye-opening book, which is certainly worth a read, if that's your thing!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt  - Natural History Museum

- I squared up to a Stegosaurus. On Saturday I went on a day trip into central London with my friend Christine and her beautiful little daughter Kiera (you will have seen Kiera on the blog before here). We headed to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaur exhibition as both me and Keira love Dinosaurs! Unfortunately, once we got there we realised it was closed for refurbishment, or as one of the lovely staff told Keira because the T-rex was tired needed a little holiday, adorable!

The Butterfly Balcony: Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt Natural History Museum

Despite the lack of Dinosaurs, we sill had a truly lovely day and spent it tracking down any other Dinos we could find amongst the rest of the museums exhibits. It was a day full of fun and lots of laughter, Kiera was so well behaved and genuinely relished in the experience, which made it all the more enjoyable, though I must confess to feeling utterly worn out when I got home!

- I finished my first project of 2016! And blogged about it, finally finishing my Stained Glass Granny Square Blanket, was a wonderful start to February, I have lots of  projects which just need a little attention to finish them off, so fingers crossed I should have more to show very soon!

Wendy's Week - A Stegosaur & A Self Draft Skirt  - Sew Over it Box Pleat Skirt 1950's

- I started work on a new sewing project. I bought myself Lisa Comfort's Sew Over It Vintage, book back in November and I've been eyeing up her self drafted 1950's Box Pleat skirt pattern ever since. After a bit of a sort out of my sewing stuff I found I had enough red crepe left over from my disastrous 1950's Jubilee suit to make up the skirt, which is even more of a result as it matches the original in the book perfectly! So far I have managed to draft the pattern and cut out all my fabric pattern pieces. I just need to add the pattern markings to the fabric and then I will be ready to start overlocking, hopefully I will be able to do that one evening this week so that I can get stitching at the weekend!

What have you been up to this week?
Wendy x

Sunday 7 February 2016

Crochet It - Stained Glass Blanket

Hello, I hope 2016 is being kind to you!
Today I want to introduce you to my first finished project of 2016, it's been a long time in the making so I am very, very glad that I can finally call it finished!

~ Stained Glass Granny Square Blanket ~
Stash Buster & UFO

I first blogged about this project back in 2013, as part of my UFO Hall of Shame, but that's not when I started this project it was actually way back in 2011 that this project first came to life!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

 Pattern: None I winged it! 
Essentially 24 Granny squares joined and then bordered with rows of granny square shells 
(two double crochet stitches then a single chain - triple chain on corners) 
until the desired size is reached then a scalloped edging is added.
3mm Crochet Hook
Lots of yarn in various thicknesses
Stitches Used:
Puff Stitch // Granny Square // Scalloped edge
Joining Granny Square

It began as a way for me to relax whilst living amongst the boxes shortly after moving home. There was no TV or internet access for about a month and so in the few minutes each day, after reorganising boxes, cooking dinner and falling asleep on the uncomfortable (all we had) dining chairs, I did a little crochet!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

Now you might not notice it from the finished object, as it is a little different, but my inspiration actually came from, one of my favourite TV shows, The Big Bang Theory. Amy Farrah Fowler has a lovely Granny Square afghan on her couch which is all edged in black and it seemed like the most suitable project for using all the granny squares I had made!

Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2012 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
( Image Source and Pattern from the Geek Mom blog )

It's worth noting (probably because I didn't have the internet to hand) that rather than doing a double/treble crochet stitch shell typical of the granny square, I mistakenly did a puff stitch square instead. I can only think to blame muscle memory, as the last thing I had turned out with a crochet hook was my puff stitch beret so my hands just naturally resorted back to this stitch! My mistake was realised only once I began joining the squares together, and though it's not a massive problem the reason a  puff stitch suits beret making is the fact it creates a slightly domed rather than a flat fabric and so my little granny squares have created more of a lumpy (or as I have been referring to it nippily) fabric than I had desired, but heck it's just as cozy!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

After crocheting 24 squares I got a bit bored and so decided to just get cracking and start joining them together (which I did 2 New Years Eves ago). I then to make the blanket a more useful size I decided to encompass the squares with rows of double crochet, mostly using black but occasionally adding a couple of rows of one of the colourful yarns from the centre, I think it's worked out quite well it's certainly striking and the border thankfully has certainly helped to flatten down the puffy squares a little.

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

And that was how it was left for 2 more years (I don't like to rush anything!). It was only on New Years day, this year that I finally added my last few rows of black to the border and then added the pink scalloped edging, which is something my mum showed me how to do and I must say finally makes me feel like I might have a hope of getting better at this crochet malarkey!

The Butterfly Balcony - Stained Glass Granny Square Afghan Blanket Pattern

Now it's finally finished I am rather in love with it, I just adore how striking it is it and it's certainly helped brighten up a rather dull beige sofa! In hindsight I wish I had made it just a little bigger, so that I could swathe myself in it on chilly evenings, but it fits the sofa nicely and keeps my knees warm while watching TV and plotting my next project, and lets face it seeing as it's taken me five years to get this far I think I should count my blessings that it even covers my knees!

Wendy x