Monday, 30 November 2009

Hello everyone!!!

Well what can I say, thank you very much for your comments on my previous post, I didn't expect to get such a response from my little mittens!!! I'm really glad you like them!!! I noticed that quite a few of you fell in love with the cute little buttons. I posted about them a while back, but you probably didn't recognise them since I last used them to embellish some cards! I do think they're absolutely gorgeous and I'm very pleased with them! I actually managed to finish the second mitten at the weekend, which I'm happy about too. Only thing is, I now have absolutely nothing on the needles, which is a little disconcerting for me I must say!!!

Weekend was good, although not terribly productive. I had my work Christmas do on Friday night, and all I can say is that it took its toll: Saturday was mostly spent in bed nursing a horrendous headache (I curse you white wine!!!!). I did manage to finish this secret project I've been teasing you with, but all in good time, I think you'll just have to wait another day to hear all about it!

I did start something new though. Something completely new. Something I haven't done since I was about 15. Yep, that new. It's definitely a work in progress so I can't show you much about it, I'm not sure myself where I want to take it, so this is all I can show you so far...

Anyway, I'll be off now. I've got to find somewhere to dry off my socks and shoes, I got absolutely soaked walking into the office this morning. The weather here in London is dreadful, it's still quite dark and it's nearly 9.00am. Someone take me home now? Please?

Friday, 27 November 2009

Dear knitting needles...

You may have been fooled into thinking the little spare time I have has been taken up by all this Christmas crafting malarkey recently. Well let me prove you wrong ha!!! A couple of weeks ago, my knitting group received a starter pack from Let's Knit magazine. Amongst other things, they sent us some Bergère de France yarn. 80% wool, 20% alpaca. Yes baby. So I took one of the balls and decided to make something which has been in the back of my mind for a bit. Mittens. That's right, mittens. I haven't yet done anything with double pointed needles, so most patterns on Ravelry were out of my league. I'm not one to be easily defeated, so I made up my own pattern!! What's good about it is that you can adjust it fairly easily to the size of your own hand. So I mixed in some of my favourite stitches, firstly some moss stitch...


Then some 2x2 rib...


Add some cute little buttons, and ta-dah!!!!!


Now all I need to do is do the second one!! I'm about half way through, so with a bit of luck, I might even finish it tonight. If you're interested in finding out the pattern, just go and have a look at my Ravelry page (username PetitFiloux)! Edit: pattern now included below!!

Hope you all have a nice Friday and if you're in the US, have a happy Thanksgiving!! xx

Pattern for adult sized mittens

You will need:
  • pair of 3.25mm straight needles
  • just under 1 skein of Bergere de France Lima (or any other sport weight yarn of your choice)
  • sewing needle

Cast on 41 stitches using long tail cast on method.

k1, *k1, p1*, repeat * until 2 stitches left, k2.

Repeat last row 32 times.

Next, decrease in the following way:

  • for the left hand: k2, p2, k1, k2tog, p2, k2, p1, p2tog, k2, p2, k1, k2tog, p2, k2, p1, p2tog, k2, p2, k1, k2tog, p2, k2, p2
  • for the right hand: p2, k2, p2, k2tog, k1, p2, k2, p2tog, p1, k2, p2, k2tog, k1, p2, k2, p2tog, p1, k2, p2, k2tog, k1, p2, k2

*k2, p2* repeat until the end of the row for the left hand. When making the right hand, use *p2, k2*.

Repeat last row 24 times (or for as long as you want the mitten to be up your forearm).

Cast off in rib pattern.

Sew up. Start by sewing up the rib part. Then sew up part of the moss stitch to create closure above the thumb.


Thursday, 26 November 2009

It's chocolate time!!!

Good morning all!! Sorry about being so quiet lately, I feel like I've deglected this little blog!!! But I promise I'm going to make up for it! I have so much stuff to show you, I'm feeling all excited about it!! Today's post is courtesy of my doctors. This may sound a bit weird I know, but basically I had to take yesterday morning off work to go and see my GP/ optician/ dentist for check ups and stuff. Which means I had about 10min at home when it was light!!! You see where I'm going? I've got photos for you!!! Hooray!!!

So. Where is this headed. Well we all know Christmas is fast approaching. Next Tuesday will be the 1st of December. And what does that mean? It's advent calendar time!!! Now, let me explain. I come from a multi-faith family, but am an atheist myself. However, I love Christmas and all the celebrations and family gatherings that go with it. So nothing religious in it for me, just some good times and good food to be had with people I love. So what about advent calendars then? Well, because I come from a multi-faith background, my parents decided it should be left to me to decide which religion, if any, I would want to join when I was old enough to make up my own mind. This meant that I never ever got an advent calendar. And what I could see was that I was missing out on chocolate. This is a kid's point of view ok?!

Since moving to the UK a few years ago, I've realised that around this time of year, supermarkets fill up with lots of alluring advent calendars. However, as pretty as they look, what they hold inside is often disappointing. I'm a 70% dark chocolate kind of girl and what is inside those calendars is not chocolate in my book!!! So, you probably see where I'm going now!! Sorry this has been so long winded!! Well let me get to the point!

I recently read this post and found this website which totally inspired me. That was that. I had to have that little christmas tree looking garland. So guess what I've been doing this week? Printing, cutting, sticking!

And yesterday, between the doctor and the optician, I got it all together!!! So it gives me a few days to admire it before we can finally open the first tree!!! I love it!!!!!

You know what though, I can't for the life of me find the link to the pdf of the little boxes with the christmassy decoration on them. I've got it saved on my computer, so if you want it, leave me a message with your email address and I'll send it onto you!

Have a nice day!! xx

Edit: thanks to Alana from Canada for finding the link for me!!! Here's where you can find the pdf with the numbers and dots on the boxes

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Christmas bunting

Good morning all!! How's your week going so far? All right I hope. All ok here, but you know what, work is getting in the way! My head is seriously buzzing with ideas but there is just so little time to get it all done when I get home! Last night I was super productive. But nothing's quite finished yet, and it was all so dark, I couldn't get any decent photos for you.

Anyway, a while back, I mentionned I had this idea of making bunting. Christmas bunting. Well, it's not finished yet, it's definitely a Work In Progress, but I thought I'd give you a quick peak. Actually, it's going to be a step by step peak. You're either going to think you want to make it yourself or think I'm completely bonkers. Either way, here it goes!

Knit some bunting pieces, the almighty triangles (the pattern I followed can be found on Raverly here) and iron them flat.

Take your favourite (empty) cereal box.

Cut triangles slightly smaller than your knitted triangles.

Cut out enough for your planned bunting. (I should say here that you don't have to use cardboard at all. It's just that I used acrylic yarn that curled - ironing it seemed to flatten it all out, but I thought adding cardboard backing would give it a bit of weight/ substance and prevent it from curling again).

Keep the leftover cardboard for some other future crafty project ;-)

Sew your knitted triangle to a cardboard triangle. Try and do a better job at it than me.

Admire your rubbish handiwork. Honestly, this could have been done by a child. I'm not proud of it. But then, it works, so I don't care! And who's going to look at the wrong side of my bunting once it's hanging against a wall?!

Oh, and I nearly forgot. I'm knitting those triangles plain, and then adding letters with a different coloured yarn. This (obviously) needs to be done prior to the cardboard sewing exercise.

And there. Two done. Eleven more to go...

Right I know, this last photo is rubbish but that's the best I could get!! I can't wait to have it all finished and hanging up. Not sure how I'll connect all the triangles yet, whether I'll try making an i-cord (controversial since I've never done one before) or maybe use some thin ribbon?

Well, to whet your appetite (that's if my lovely wonky bunting hasn't done so already!), here's another project I'm working on, but it's top secret....

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Sunshine in my eyes

You know what the best thing about sunshine is? Apart from a tan, generally happy people and lots of fun? Because it certainly won't be warm over here at this time of year. And it's really really grey today.

Well it's this. Have a look.

A reflection off a crystal. This photo wasn't taken at my house, it was something I noticed while at Boyfriend's parents' house last weekend.

Everytime I look at these photos I just smile. Honestly, is there anything more beautiful and enchanting?

Happy Saturday everyone - hope this brings you a little sunshine wherever you are! xx

Friday, 20 November 2009

End of the week

Well, this is it, it's Friday again!! It's been a pretty busy week here at Petit Filoux. Feel especially on edge this morning as had trouble with the trains going into London. It's raining you see, so guess what, the trains were delayed due to "slippery conditions". Honestly, I've heard it all. This delay then forced me to take the tube so that I wouldn't be toooo late into work. There's a reason why I try and avoid taking the tube and this morning reminded me of just that. It's horrendous. Cramped conditions, sweaty smelly people, and the thought of all the bacteria crawling around, it makes me gag.

Anyway!! Onto nicer brighter thoughts!! Sorry about that folks!! lol - well, as if I weren't busy enough with all this Christmas crafting, I decided to make some more things for my Christmas hampers. If you haven't heard about those before, I've decided to give hampers to people this year with lots of home-made goodies. It's much nicer I reckon, a little cheaper than buying presents for everyone, and it's a lot more fun!! So a couple of nights ago, I started making chutney. Spiced beetroot and orange chutney to be precise. I can't tell you what it tastes like because I haven't tasted it yet, but it smelt absolutely divine!! All the christmasy aromas, it was wonderful!!!

It's made with beetroot, apple, orange juice, vinegar of course, and a flurry of spices including cinnamon and cloves. I remember Boyfriend made a comment that it smelled like mulled wine!!! That's not a bad thing in my book! I found the recipe in the December issue of the BBC Good Food magazine, but it's online here. I've made plenty of recipes from that magazine and they've always been wonderful, so I don't see why this one should be any different. Apparently, it goes really well with cold meats. Hum, I can't wait to try it out on Boxing Day!!!

Not much planned for the weekend so far. It's the last weekend I have with nothing planned until Christmas. Between an upcoming engagement party (not mine!), work Christmas do's, meeting up with various people prior to Christmas, that's it until the end of the year!! Pretty scary honestly. I hope that whatever you're up to, you have lots of fun!!! I'm going to try and finish my Christmas bunting and other crafty goods, so come back next week to see it all!!

Take care xx

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Christmas cake

My lovely lovely Christmas cake. I love you already. Do you think people will mind if I take a slice off you and serve you up slightly wonky on one side? Do you think they'll notice? It's so tempting to try you out, I mean, I wouldn't want to poison anyone... ;-) But I'm a good host, a nice polite host and I can't serve up a half eaten cake. I just can't. So I'm going to have to wait patiently to sample your lovely sherry goodness. Oh yes. You're definitely Not a child-friendly cake. But don't you worry about that, it really doesn't matter, there are no little children to feed. I promise all us adults will be very pleased to taste you :-)


If you want to go mental like me and start talking to your very own Christmas cake, here's the recipe I followed. It's a mix of several, because I don't like things like candied peel so it's been tweaked to *perfection*. Here it goes:


  • 100g blanched almonds roughly chopped
  • 250g sultanas
  • 200g glace cherries
  • 250g chopped dried figs
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 250g chopped dried prunes
  • 200g chopped dried apricots
  • 350g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp almond essence
  • zest and juice of an orange and lemon
  • 4 tbsp sherry
  • 4 large eggs
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • Place all the fruit in a large bowl and add the sherry, zest and juice of the orange and lemon. Cover and let the fruit soak overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 150 degrees  C. Line a 23cm round tin with a double thickness of brown paper and again with baking parchment, both to come up a good 10cm above the rim of the tin.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the almond extract and honey.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift the dry ingredients together then mix the fruit alternately with the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Combine thoroughly.
  • Put the cake mix into the prepared tin and bake for 3-3 1/2 hours, until cake tester comes out clean.
  • When the cake is cooked, brush with a couple of tablespoons extra of liqueur. Wrap immediately in its tin using double thickness foil. When completely cold, remove cake from tin and rewrap in soil, storing in an airtight tin.
Here's the one I made a couple of years ago. I hope this year's is just as nice.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The world is Orange

And I don't mean the phone company. I took a few photos over the weekend and realised a lot of them were mainly orange in colour. And seeing how rubbish the weather is out there, I reckoned you wouldn't mind having a look at them. A bit of colour happiness to lift up our damp and wind-swept moods. So here it goes.

I finished a hand towel for my mum. It's a christmas present, I hope she likes it. I thought it would look nice and cheerful in her kitchen. And I didn't even mean to block it on an orange tea towel. I'm telling you, it must be a sign of blog colour coordination!!!

I saw these little coasters at my Boyfriend's parents' house on Sunday. Thought they looked very happy. Maybe not terribly practical, but hey, there's got to be some compromise occasionally!!

I also took a few photos of a painting they have up. It's quite moderny but I like it. It reflects the sun in such a wonderful way don't you think?

Look at it catching the light, isn't it wonderful?

And finally, moving slightly away from orange to revel into beautiful reds. This is a tree they have in their lovely garden.

Isn't it wonderful? And have you seen that blue sky??!!!! Yes it does stop raining occasionally! Although all we seem to remember is the awful dark rain... so there, before I go, have another look at it, I just love it!! Have a lovely Wednesday all x

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Apples anyone?

What do you do if you have lots of apples? Lots of apples that are slightly too soft to eat?

You make a cake! An apple and cinnamon cake - it went down so well last time, I just Had to make one again.

Had to up the amount of all igredients from the original recipe, since I had so so many apples.

So I filled a 23cm round tin. All I can say is it's absolutely delicious. Have a close look, I promise, you'll be leaving some apples to go soft just so you have an excuse ;-)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Il est 5 heures... Paris s'éveille

Well ok, it was 6.00am and Petit Filoux got up. Not. Happy. Would much rather have stayed in bed thanks very much. Honestly, there should be laws in place that say if it's cold, wet and windy (we're talking wind that blows my umbrella inside out here) you should be allowed to stay and work from home. You shouldn't be made to get out of your oh-so-comfy-and-warm bed and battle your way to work. Ok ok maybe it wasn't that bad this morning (the battling to work bit) but you get my drift!

Anyway, you know what, I finished the shawl at the weekend. I finished it!!!! I'm soooooo pleased, didn't think it would be so quick, but I guess with 5.5mm needles and a simple lacy pattern, easy enough to remember, it was to be expected. And I'm ever so pleased with it. I thought I'd be happy to have it done and out of the way but the moment I drapped it over my shoulders I loved it. Not enough to keep it for myself though, but definitely enough to be happy to give it as a special Christmas present to my nan.



It's being blocked at the moment, so this is the non-blocked version, but it won't look much different as I quite liked it the way it was, so not a great amount of stretching.

Anyway, weekend was very wet and windy. Managed to get some nice flowers at the market though to cheer us up indoors and I can say it helped a little. What helped even more was thinking about my Christmas turkey. This may sound weird I know, but hear me out!!! Basically, I ordered it from a local farm, a free range bronze turkey, a happy turkey you know. And they definitely looked happy on Saturday, in the rain, roaming around in a field. I called to place my order but I just had to go and see them in person. I'm very pleased about my decision, I'm sure it'll taste much better than any supermarket bird. So there, my little bit to help the local economy!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Thank you!

Where do I start.... how about a massive THANK YOU!!!!!!! Your suggestions are all absolutely brilliant and I can't believe I didn't think of any of those myself!!!! No honestly, you've been so helpful, I'm ever so grateful. The Girl, Pink Cat, Jennifer, Liz and BlondeDesign, you girls are brilliant!!!!!!!

I agree with you, my presence should be enough, but she is one of my best friends and I want to give her a little something. I don't know about the diary thing, I agree, I think other people might have the same idea and you only really need one don't you?! But the magazines, that's brilliant, think I'll try and get her one. The ceramic plaque thing has definitely given me ideas. Something to hang in their bedroom would be nice. Ideally I could have made some cross stitch thing maybe, but I was told this morning the party is in 3 weeks!!!! So maybe not!! But you know what, you've put me on the right track. Something thoughtful, handmade, it doesn't have to cost the earth or be big and bulky, just personalised. It'll be perfect. I'll let you know when I make my mind up!!! ;-)

In the meantime, I've practically finished my nan's shawl for christmas. Since my little rant the other day, I haven't made one mistake!! Unbelievable!!! I reckon it must have heard me!! ;-) - so last night I found myself starting another project, the bunting project (only because the TV and the lace don't get on - I need to focus on the knitting and that just can't happen when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is on!). Did I mention the bunting project before? Well if I have and even if I haven't, it's in no state to show you yet! I was quite surprised at how quick I was at knitting one of the little triangles I need for this bunting, so you might not have to wait for too long. Not like I think you're waiting for me to show you things, you all have better things to get on with!!

Well anyway, I'll stop my babbling and let you get on with your day. Enjoy it whatever you're up to xx

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Help please!! (Don't worry, nothing major really!!)

You know what, I'm super mega excited. One of my best friends from university got engaged last week to another one of my friends from uni. At first, it made me feel really odd. Odd to think two of my friends would be getting married. Weird that they were both the same age as me and talking about weddings. Even more weird to think they'd be getting married in less than a year. That is so scary!!!!!

So anyway, I've been invited to their engagement party in a few weeks and EEEEEEEEEEKKKKK!!! I have no idea what to get them!! What do you buy for engagement parties? I can't get there empty handed, but I'm sure plenty of money will be spent on the hen do/ wedding present/ attending the actual wedding. And unfortunately times are a little tight at the moment. So please, suggestions welcome!!! I definitely need some help here, and I feel you might be a little more creative than Boyfriend!!! No offence B ;-) - Oh, and I probably will have to go down by train to where they live, so I need something that can be carried around easily... I know, I know, I don't mean to sound difficult but you know how it is!! So there, I'm waiting for your ideas which I'm sure will be great. Pretty please!!!!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Indoor happiness

I mentionned winter yesterday. There's no denying it, it's Cold outside. Yes, Cold with a capital C. And yes, I'm a chilly person, anything below 15 degrees C and I've got a scarf around my neck. Anyway! It's all cold and grey outside so during the weekend, I felt it was time to bring a little happiness indoors. And it came in the following shape:

Sea shells. Yep that's it!!! I collected a few (ok lots!) during our trip to Norfolk and after some cleaning and drying, here they were a couple of weeks ago:

So what did I do with them I hear you ask? Well, most are patiently waiting in a bag but some got lucky and were selected to take prime place in my bathroom.

  • Step 1: Take some gardener's string
  • Step 2: Identify shells with holes in the right places (!)
  • Step 3: Secure them in place along a line of string with knots

Done!!! Ta-dah!!!!

You like it? It definitely puts a smile on my face every time I brush my teeth ;-)

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

You know...

...winter is well and truly on its way when:

  • you leave the house and it's dark
  • you come home and it's dark
  • you never leave the house without a scarf
  • you heard it was -7 degrees C in Scotland over the weekend
  • you have now added gloves to your daily attire
  • you've bought yourself a tupperware to bring porridge into the office for breakfast
  • you're counting down the days to the winter solstice, after which days will get longer again - it's 41 days if you were wondering

Monday, 9 November 2009

I ♥ knitting

Good morning everyone!!! Bonjour tout le monde!! Ok ok, I'm going to stop there with the languages but I felt it was time I acknowledged the numerous visitors that I've had from around the world! As a few of you have noticed already, I added this site meter count thing a little while ago. And amongst other things, I tells me where you people live. Not only have I been amazed (and oh so very happy) so see how many of you come out every day to read my little blog, but I have been even more amazed to see where you come from!! So far I've had visitors from the UK of course, a few (regulars - thanks!) in the US, some from France, and a couple from Italy, Brazil, Canada, Portugal, Germany - honestly, how did you people find out about me?!! Well, I guess that's the magic of blogland. So there, hello to you all!! Please, don't be shy and say hello back ;-)

Right, onto my current projects. I've got several on the go at the moment - I know, it's very unlike me, I usually like to finish one thing before starting another, but I guess excitation just took over! First of all, I'm knitting a shawl for my nan for Christmas. The yarn I'm using is Posh Yarn and it's lovely to knit with. But you know what, this project is driving me absolutely mad!!!!! It requires my full concentration and unfortunately I haven't always been able to give it that, hence numerous mistakes were made. I had to take it back more times than I care to remember and I can safely say that taking back lace is absolutely horrendous!!!! I absolutely hate it!! But then I like to put as much love as possible in knitted projects, that's what makes them so special, so I'm taking my time and not rushing it. Honestly.

I guess the fact that I'm finding it a little stressful explains why I've started other projects. One of them is bunting. But no photos so far, it's really too soon! But I promise it's going to be a good one. Patience patience!!! I've also finished another little tea towel. I'd made one a while back and liked it so much I had to make another one. Actually two, but only one here today! It's nearly there, I'm just missing a button.

I also received a lovely package through the post the other day - who said there was a postal strike on?! And look what was inside, this...

and this...

This yarn is so lovely, 70% mohair, and it was so so very cheap too!!!! I feel very pleased with myself. Lets have a look at it again, it's just so nice...

But here the surprises end. I have so many ideas in my head but I just can't reveal it all at once, so to find out what I'm going to make with all this nice yarn, you'll just have to come back!! Have a nice Monday all x