Victorian Crafting: What is an Antimacassar

Dear Readers,

I have recently been working on translating some Victorian knitting and Crochet patterns into instructions that my contemporary crafters might be able to follow. As I go about my research and collection of Victorian era women’s magazines I do sometimes come across words which are foreign to me. I thought that I would begin to share them here with you.

Continue reading “Victorian Crafting: What is an Antimacassar”

Introdcution To A Victorian Crafting Series

Dear Readers,

I recently shared on my Instagram that I had taken Cassell’s Compendium of Victorian Crafts out of the library and was finding so much inspiration in it even if a lot of the crafts were rather frivolous and maybe a touch ridiculous!  Continue reading “Introdcution To A Victorian Crafting Series”

Book Review : Cassell’s Compendium of Victorian Crafts

Dear Readers,

I have recently compiled a very long list of books that I want to take out of our local library. They are actually mostly contained at Edinburgh City Library but I am so fortunate as to be able to request the books online and then go and fetch them from my local library which I think is absolutely fantastic.

Continue reading “Book Review : Cassell’s Compendium of Victorian Crafts”

The Week of the Autumn Equinox

Hello again dear readers.
I don’t usually say it each week but I want to thank all of you who come back week after week to read my blog. It really means a lot to me.

So to start off Monday was not the most interesting day to talk about. As I said last week, our flat inspection was scheduled for Tuesday so this meant that I just spent Monday cleaning and faffing about the house stressing about everything being just perfect.

So all I have to show for Monday is this cute picture of our Basil plant which Husband bought on sale for 34pence.


Yes I do realise that my windows look dirty but I am on the 1st floor (not ground floor) and the dirt is on the outside. I am too afraid to lean out to clean them.

Tuesday was the dreaded day. I woke up early with Husband and left the house at the same time as him. First I went to the Doctor’s Rooms to go and book my first appointment where they will hopefully either sort out my prescriptions or refer me to a psychiatrist. That is booked for Wednesday the 27th.

Then I took my knitting and went and sat in a Wetherspoons. This is because they serve bottomless coffee until 2pm! So I got my coffee and sat and knit for a long time. I did buy some food at lunch time because I was feeling a bit guilty about sitting there for so long. However they were pretty empty until lunch time so it is not like I was losing them revenue or anything. I did have a minor freakout when the waitress brought me my soda and said that I had forgotten it. I felt so guilty. (this is why I need to get a psychiatrist or counselor ASAP) You see in the UK it is pretty common that you order your food and drinks at the bar, then you pay right away. Then they give you your drink and you go back to your table to wait for the food. I was not really thinking about the drink because it came included with the food otherwise I would not have ordered it (4 cups of coffee later). But I also asked the bartender where the bathroom was, so after I paid I just left to go to the bathroom (4 cups of coffee as I said) and then went straight to my seat… aka forgetting my soda. I know it is irrational to feel guilty because I was sitting quite near to the bar and the lady was not grumpy with me, but I just felt irrationally guilty about having made her walk there. Then at about 1.30pm I decided to leave and go somewhere else because I was feeling too guilty about sitting there.

Then I went to a yarn store which shall not be named. This is because I had a bad experience there. I went in to have a browse and the lady who was working there was nearby. I asked her if I could take a photograph of the yarn (this was because I want to make some socks for Husband but I do not know what colour he wants). And she snapped at me, “No!” This took me by surprise because I have asked and then taken photos at all the other yarn stores I have been too. And I don’t mind the shop having a no photo policy but I was quite upset about having been snapped at as though I had just asked if I could have a skein of yarn for free. So I apologised and explained that the socks will be for my husband and I want him to choose the colour and she just gave me a dirty look. So I left the store and in the road I fought back tears and resolved to never ever go to that shop again. Which considering how many socks I knit is really their loss. But anyway I was super upset. I was probably feeling more sensitive because of the house inspection stress but I still feel that that was a really bad way to talk to a customer.

So I still had time to kill so I went to Prince’s Street Gardens. It was a sunny day (anyone who tells you Edinburgh is never sunny is lying!) so I thought knitting outside and getting some vitamin D about be good for me.


While I was siting knitting on a bench I suddenly heard an odd noise. I turned around and saw what looked like the bottom half of a lawnmower with a little white box on top (presumably the computer) busy zooming around gobbling up leaves!

I took a quick video and sent it to a bunch of people because I have never seen one before. (neither had a lot of people there evidently)
My sister said that I should pet it and then take it home and put cat ears on it and keep it as a pet. 😛 Haha. (She was joking)


At about 4pm I decided that it was time for me to brave going home. And when I got there the inspector had left a lovely note saying that the flat is in good condition and thanking us for looking after the place.

On Wednesday I photographed my art prints in a frame so that I could do some etsy listings for them.


Then once I had done my photography… I was seized by an odd desire to open a library account! So that is what I did. I went to the central library and opened an account. It was super quick and the staff were very friendly and helpful. I am allowed to take out 12 books, however I doubt I’ll ever do that since I wouldn’t be able to read a book that quickly. I can take the books out for 3 weeks, and I can return them at any library in Edinburgh! I don’t have to go back to the one I took them from. They also have a cool self service checkout. You dont even need to scan the books, you just put them in this large slot and it must have some sort of radio signal or chip scanning thing because it just senses which books are there.


I got a book on bread making because the Autumn Equinox was on Friday and I wanted to bake some bread to celebrate. I got a book on sock patterns, no explanation needed. And I got an Indian Vegetarian cook book. I mentioned in my last post that I want to cook more vegetarian food and I have found from experience that Indian vegetarian is usually very flavorful.

Then I carried on knitting my sock. I was on the cuff on Tuesday and knit the whole leg and heel flap while in Whetherspoons and the Gardens. And then I did the gusset on Wednesday.


On Thursday I started off the day by painting a leaf. This was not done from a real life leaf, instead I painted it from a photo which my sister took.


Cellphone photos really don’t do art justice.

Then in the afternoon I started knitting a pair of gloves for my husband. He actually asked me for them in March but I had so much knitting to do for family in South Africa that I never got further than purchasing the wool.


In the evening husband regrettably informed me that he had work leaving drinks for a colleague on Friday evening. This was regrettable because he knew that I had planned a whole dinner thing. I was going to bake bread and make butternut soup and then also bake an apple and Rhubarb pie for dessert. All Autumnal foods to celebrate the Equinox. But I decided that I was not going to let that ruin my plans so I invited Friends E, I and R over for supper instead. They all work in a different part of the company so they did not have these leaving drinks.

Friday was basically non-stop preparations for the evening. I started off by going to the shops to make sure I had all the ingredients which I needed. Unfortunately none of the shops near me had Rhubarb so it landed up being just a plain apple pie.

Then while I was waiting for the pastry to defrost I made a paper leaf bunting for the lounge. I got pre-made pastry because I was already baking two loaves of bread.



There were lots of periods where I had to just wait around where things were either baking or rising so I chatted to my mother and she sent me lots of cat photos.


And no that empty wine bottle was not there due to day drinking 😛 I don’t have a rolling pin… so I use an old (CLEAN!) wine bottle.


I celebrate the 22nd as Salty’s birthday because that was the day on which we found her. She is my Equinox baby. Although in South Africa it is Spring.
I love seeing bread rise! It is amazing.


So I actually made a little mistake with this loaf. I misread the instructions and didn’t knead it or shape it properly after it’s first rise. So I just sort of shaped it without folding it. It looks fantastic but it is very very dense. More like a ciabatta.


The second loaf however I shaped properly and folded the outsides in for a minute to make it a circle. And this one rose much better and was much more light and airy. Although I think that I put too much egg glaze on the top because I think the top hardened and didn’t let any of the air or steam escape. So the top of it had a 2 or 3 cm air bubble which then cracked and softened. But it was delicious so who cares!


Last cat photo.

Everyone loved the food and decorations! And after we had finished our food but before we started Dessert Husband came home and had some food with us too. So that was lovely!


Saturday and Sunday I pretty much recouperated from the full day of baking and cooking. My arms ached from all the kneading of dough and my legs ached from standing all day. But it was totally worth it. We had such a great time. I only wish that we had a slightly bigger place so that entertaining people wasn’t so cramped.

Oh and I did go to knitting group on Saturday. That was lovely too, I love catching up with my friends there. And friend E came as well. She said that she had forgotten how to knit from the last time I taught her in March. But I only had to show her once and muscle memory kicked in. 😀

I hope that you had a great week.
Love Diella


The Week of packing madness

I am sorry that this post took me such a long time to write. I have been settling down at my parents house, visiting people, and fighting with my laptop keyboard which is still a bit sticky after the tea accident.

So without further a do, Sunday!

Last Sunday I was thinking about how many of the Knitting Podcasts I watch talk about Harry Potter or knit Harry Potter related things. So I decided that I needed to go onto the PotterMore Website and discover which Harry Potter House I belong to. So I did. And I discovered that I am a HufflePuff.


T got Slytherin.

I also started packing my bag that afternoon.

On Monday I went out for the last time to the yarn shop to buy some last minute balls of wool. It was 8 degrees C but it was a nice sunny day so I wore a dress, leggings and a cardigan.


I also discovered that when I knit myself my first ever pair of socks I knit the one leg too short and as a consequence it now keeps slipping under my foot! I have not had this trouble with any of my other socks and T doesn’t complain of this. It’s just this one sock.


These are the three balls of wool below that I bought. They are all going to be socks. the one was for my airoplane knitting. I also bought some little pink rubber stoppers to go on the ends of my needles and make them look less dangerous for when I went through security.


After packing some more I started freaking out and just sat on the floor.


If you recall T had bought me a chocolate Easter bunny. He had also given me an order to finish the bunny by the time I flew to Cape Town. He didn’t want the temptation of eating it. So After freaking out about the packing I decided to have some chocolate.IMG-20170411-WA0013

I just ate the carrot and then packed him away neatly. I sent a picture to my friend E and asked him if he thought T would notice. E thought not.


E was wrong. T noticed as soon as he walked into the lounge.

Tuesday I did more packing and I cast on my airoplane socks.


I also did a whole lot of ironing for T so that he would have as many ironed shirts as possible for while I am gone.

I also chatted to my friend E about being in Hufflepuff. He went to discover his house, he is Ravenclaw. He said chatting about Harry Potter made him want to reread it. I decided that I wanted to read it too as I have mainly just watched the movies. So we decided that we should read it together.


I also tried to use up all the puff pastry that was in the fridge that evening. I made a mince meat pie and then used the rest for jam pastries.


After supper I ate the poor bunnies ears. I felt really bad like I was just leaving him there to suffer.


On Wednesday my sewing patterns arrived. I had decided that I wanted some sewing patterns because fabric is cheaper in Cape Town so I would make the dresses there and fly them back with me.


I ate bunnies face and didn’t feel so bad about just leaving him anymore. I also did my podcast early so that I didn’t have to film it the day before I left for Cape Town.

I also packed in a Text book that we bought for my sister-in-law. It weighs 6 kg!


Cuddles on the couch with T.


On Thursday my real panic about leaving set in. I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. I couldn’t eat any chocolate because it made me feel ill.
I downloaded the Harry Potter Books onto my Kindle.


That evening I went out to our favourite Pub with T and Miss E. There was a doggie in the pub who I petted a lot because it was super friendly and wanted attention. Being pet starved I was happy to oblige. T pointed out that all the people at the bar were staring at me.

Friday my podcast posted as it was scheduled to.


I got dressed and did my last checks.


We had some time to kill at the airport so we went to Wetherspoons and had something to drink and some deep fried haggis balls. They were surprisingly yummy.


I got through security with my needles fine! It was a huge relief. Especially as my bag was put in the suspicious line but then it turned out that my laptop bag had fallen onto my laptop by accident.

Then I chatted to T on whatsapp while he gave me moral support as I found my gate and boarded the plane on my own for the first time.

The flight to Heathrow was uneventful.

Heathrow was massive and I had to take a bus to my terminal but it was okay because it was really well sign posted and I did ask an attendant for some directions.

Then I got through security a second time without any fuss over my knitting.
So I went to find the boards which showed the gates and I sat and knitted for quite a while. I had a 5 hour lay over. I also went and bought a neck pillow. I had to buy two as one was 13pounds and 2 was 15 pounds. The black and white stripy one is for T.


My flight to Cape Town was pretty good. It was 11 hours and 30 min.
I watched a whole lot of movies although after the first two my thing broke and it wouldn’t let me select the movie and start from the beginning. It only let me scroll through the channels and I had to watch from where it was or wait until the movie had finished and restarted. But since I had almost 12 hours I just watched a bunch of half movies. If it seemed like it wasn’t yet halfway through I just started watching.
I also discovered that I can’t knit in the dark. I counted my stitches and discovered that I had icreased. I tried to tink back but couldn’t because my personal light thing also wasn’t working. We landed at about 10am in Cape Town. they only served food at about 8.30 and by then I felt ill from hunger so I couldn’t eat. I was really worried that I was going to vomit but I didn’t.

When we landed I changed my sim cards and discovered that my mom and sister were already at the airport. By the time I got through arrivals I didn’t feel sick anymore.

I went back to my parents house and got ready for my cousin’s wedding.

Coo’s first photograph in Cape Town

My sister and I got ready together. It was not a super formal wedding.


My mom insisted I’d need a long sleeve top even though I was dying of heat.


The wedding was lovely. But in the end I was grateful for the long sleeve top. It got pretty windy and it was actually quite chilly.
We slept over at the wedding venue with some of my family.
The venue was on a Nature Reserve and the rooms we were staying in were quite dusty so I got really bad hayfever that made my eyes itchy and puffy and my nose ran and I had an asthma attack in the middle of the night. And apparently I had a conversation with my sister in my sleep. She asked if I was having asthma and I said no it was hayfever.


There was a skylight in the room we stayed in.


Itchy face plus makeup = panda


On Sunday it was Easter but it was also My first anniversary of my marriage to T. It was also the day that my sister-in-law was leaving to go back to where she studies in Pretoria. So I spent the day with my family in-law instead of my family because I really wanted to see my sister-i-l. It was really lovely to see everyone again. I have more photos but I don’t know if my family-in-law want to be on my blog so I won’t post them.


And that is it for what felt like a really long week!

Love Diella ❤