Puttin’ on the Ritz

When Mr Snail asked me where I would like to go to celebrate my birthday this year, my reply was unequivocal: The Ritz. I wanted to go to the Palm Court for afternoon tea… and so, Mr Snail made it happen…

I decided that a new dress was in order for the special event. Had I seen the video below before now, I could have been inspired by the dancers’ outfits (and oh, those hats!), but in fact I decided to go with something simple in a silk and wool mix. The pattern isfrom a company called The Assembly Line – it’s the second of their patterns that I’ve made (the first was my recent pinafore dress) and it was really lovely to do. One of the things that I like about these patterns is the finished edges and neatness of the final garment.

Anyway, the fabric was beautiful to work with – it’s black with little blue palm trees (none of the photos really do it justice), which I considered very appropriate for the location. Initially I planned to line the whole dress, and I had cut out and partially stitched the lining, but at the last minute I changed my mind, and I’m glad I did because it would have made it far too warm. I did adjust the pattern to fit me and Mimi was invaluable for this.

Teamed with boots, it was a comfortable and classy outfit for our day out, which also included visiting the Tutankhamun Exhibition, Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, at the Saatchi Gallery. I think that Mr Snail and I were probably the best-dressed visitors to the gallery. And then there were tiny sandwiches and champagne and cake… a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as the cakes for all of us celebrating were brought out, and my own very special cake… one of my best ever birthdays!

The music was rather more genteel than that featured below, but the quartet providing the background to our afternoon tea did finish with ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’.

Three Things Thursday: 5 January 2017

Inspired by Emily of Nerd in the Brain (note her new self-hosted web site) here are my Three Things Thursday. As she says…

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

First, my birthday (even though it was a big one). I had a lovely time on Monday going out to lunch with my family plus Mr Snail bought me these:

Can you spot the theme?

Can you spot the theme?

Second, I finished knitting my jester work bag. It’s currently in the washing machine on a hot wash so fingers crossed the felting works. In the mean time here it is stitched together before felting:

Big and floppy... soon to be smaller and firm!

Big and floppy… soon to be smaller and firm!

Third, threading my overlocker. Despite everyone telling me how difficult it would be, I successfully rethreaded my overlocker after two of the threads broke the other day. Now, I’m not saying it didn’t take me a few attempts, but the diagrams in the manual were clear and once I had worked out why the first thread had broken (a bit of entanglement in one of the thread guides), it wasn’t too bad. I’m feeling rather less intimidated now.

Not as bad as it forst appears

Not as bad as it first appears… look, there’s even a little colour-coded diagram inside the machine on the right

So, those are three things making me smile this week – what about you?

Happy birthday, blog

Compost on the bed in the foreground, potatoes in the bed in the background

Compost on the bed in the foreground, potatoes in the bed in the background

Well, apparently it was The Snail of Happiness blog’s second birthday yesterday. In those two years, there have been more than 25,000 visits from 118 countries; I’ve written more than 300 posts and there have been more than 3000 comments. Oh, and the filters have prevented more than 7000 spam comments appearing!

I’m not sure what the appropriate way of celebrating is, but perhaps spreading compost on the garden and planting potatoes (which is what we’ve been doing today) is appropriate for a blog about sustainability.

Some of my diploma work

Some of my diploma work

I started writing this blog at round about the same time I embarked on my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design, partly as a way of sharing some of the information I gathered. It was a happy coincidence, therefore, that yesterday I finished drafting my ninth design for my portfolio. My tenth, and final, design describes my learning pathway and really just needs tidying up and rounding off as this has been an on-going project throughout the diploma. In addition, the Masterpiece blanket, and associated scrapbook, are going to form a tangible representation of my learning. My tutor, Looby Macnamara, is going to give me her square for the masterpiece at our final tutorial on 15 May. I have, therefore, decided that I won’t add any more squares to the blanket after the end of that week… so that’s your deadline if you are planning to send something for inclusion. My final presentation (assuming that all goes well with the assessments) will be in September at the UK Permaculture Convergence… where the masterpiece will have a starring role!

The end of my diploma does not, of course, mean the end of blogging, but it might free up a bit more time for the garden… which has been somewhat neglected over the past two years what with studying, family illness and voluntary work. I am hoping for an abundant summer in 2014 – lots of fruit and vegetables and lots of crafty activities, so lots to write about here. I hope you will keep reading!

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