27 August 2008

Bird Song

Ever since I can remember, I have loved birds. First chickens, then the love spread to encompass the visiting neighbourhood birds (song thrush, sparrows, blackbirds) and finally to parrots, or rather parakeets.

What started with one bird has now, over the years, become a full aviary. Most (if not all) of the birds I have are rescues or adoptions. One elderly lady decided she couldn't care for her two cockatiels, Tinny and Tammy. When I drove over to collect them, her elderly husband said she had gone to sit in her bedroom so she wouldn't see them leave.

Other aviary residents have disappeared for a time to finally emerge with little fluffy offspring. I keep telling them there's simply no room now for that carry-on. I have a cockatiel, Clencie, who is 24 human years - amazing. I adopted her a little over 12 years ago. Every morning I wake up and look out the window and am delighted to find she is singing for another day.

Today was (not so fun) aviary cleaning day. Lucy can't resist helping, but as it turns out she isn't entirely sure about Hobson, the singing cockatiel, on her head and then her shoulder. He really took a shine to her, much to her dismay.

Nosey-Parker Margaret

17 August 2008

Rainy Day Contentedness

Constant slow dribbly rain, grey skies and breezy temperatures today makes my recent purchases all the more thrilling:

Carla Bruni's latest album, Comme Si De Rien N'Etaito (As If Nothing Happened), to listen to

September issue of UK Vogue (always lovely and plump) to read, and a soy flat white to drink

All I am missing is the roaring open fire. It's funny; when Lucy's Dad is away I don't think of lighting it myself.

It doesn't take that much to have me feeling content.

14 August 2008

Lovely LBD

Karen Walker's super take on the LBD.

13 August 2008

Wee Birdy

Thanks, Wee Birdy, for featuring in your 'Etsy Loves Babies, Too post my Little Parisian skirt.

Wee Birdy is a 'blog about London shopping, style, design and beauty'. I think the cutest thing about this blog is its animated banner. Bird tails flash and wings flutter - supersweet!

12 August 2008

The Pitts

I'm not a pap-shot loving person (my mother actually sent these to me) but these photos are rather sweet. And isn't Shiloh adorable?

9 August 2008

Delicious Colour

Aren't these Virginia Johnson fabrics just so edible?

I'm loving yellow at the moment. It started with a thrift shop find on my recent trip away of a Scottish-made soft yellow wool jersey in great condition. I rarely wear black. There are so many delicious colours (like Virginia Johnson's above) why would you go for black?

Wouldn't it be interesting if you mapped your colours throughout your life - what was going on when you were wearing say predominantly blue or green. Apparently if you sight the colour yellow each morning you give your spirits a boost.

The Author of the fantastic book Clear your Clutter (Karen Kingston) said she went through a purple stage and people knew where she lived because of all the purple laundry hanging on the line. If you haven't read that book I highly recommend it. It's one I won't lend out. If someone shows interest I'll buy it for them. I will not give up my copy!

I also read of a musician who used to keep monthly tapes of his favourites songs over many years, said it was like a diary for him.

6 August 2008

Identifying Fabrics

I've been to a couple of designer fabric workroom sales this year and for the most part I know the composition of the fabric I am buying. But I do have pieces which I am not entirely sure - one being a wool blend. I need to know what the fabric is before I begin sewing a garment to ensure it is appropriate for its intended purpose, how to prepare it for sewing, and how the resulting garment will be cared for (wash, handwash, dryclean, etc).

I've been caught out before with a beautiful piece of fabric I bought off the internet from a private seller who told me it was cotton. After receiving it a burn test revealed it was rayon - highly flammable and totally unsuitable for children's clothes.

I've been meaning to share this - such tests/charts are widely available on the internet, but maybe you didn't know it existed?

Fabrics that are pure (e.g. 100% whatever) are much easier to determine. I have just done a burn test this morning on a fabric (the wool blend I mentioned) and it took four matches and examinations to figure it out. It's just a matter of studying how the fabric ignites, the quality and colour of the flame , the odour, and the resulting quality of ash or cinder it produces.

How to test your fabric:

Cut off a piece of fabric approx 1" x 2-3". Holding with a pair of tweezers (or a steady hand) light the fabric over a non-flammable source (e.g. outside on the concrete/driveway, grass) in a well-ventilated area.

Click on chart for larger version

And this nifty and succinct sum-up from here

Cellulose (Cotton/Linen/Hemp/Rayon/Bamboo):
• Ignites and burns quickly, may flare, leaves a glowing ember after flame is extinguished. Smoke is white or light colored and smells like burnt paper or leaves. Ash is light gray or white and very soft.

Protein (Silk/Wool, Cashmere, Alpaca etc):
• Burns slowly and shrinks or curls away from the flame. Will not stay lit after flame is removed. Very little smoke is produced but it smells like burnt hair (wool) or feathers (silk). Ash is a gritty powder or a dark brittle, easily crushable bead.

Synthetics (Nylon/Polyester/Acrylic):
• Ignites and burns quickly and can continue to burn after a flame is removed—exercise caution. Fiber may shrink from the flame, melt, and can drip (DANGER) leaving a hard plastic-like bead. Burning these fabrics will produce black smoke and hazardous fumes. Nylon smells like plastic when burnt but can also can produce a celery-like smell; Acrylics burn with a strong, acrid, chemical smell. Polyester smells slightly sweet, also with a chemical odor.