Introducing…Monty (aka Chunky Monkey)

This is Monty…my latest knitting project. He is from the fabulous book, Cute Little Knits by Jem Weston. 

This will be the 3rd Jem Weston project I have made.

First there was Edmund, he is a free pattern available from the Knitrowan site.

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And second was ‘Theodore’ Teddy Bear, also available to download free from Knitrowan.

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The pattern for the monkey was very easy to follow, mainly stocking stitch with some M1 to increase and knit/purl 2tog for decreasing. The trickiest part I found was sewing up the tail…as it is very thin!

I chose to do the fairisle scarf for Monty and I love how it came out…but it did take me a while, probably longer than Monty himself!!

I really like the Rowan Felted Dk to knit with, it has a nice texture with flecky bits, however, I could not sew up using mattress stitch with it…I don’t know if it was me but each time I pulled it tight the yarn kept breaking. So I used some brown Dk I had in my stash. My favourite Rowan yarn was also used in his scarf – Wool Cotton, it is so nice to knit with and has a lovely soft texture when knit up.

I love the Cute Little Knits book, it has lots of lovely projects to knit including toys and accessories for the home. It is a book which I think I would (and hopefully will) knit a few of the projects included in it.


Do you like to knit toys? Or do you prefer bigger projects?

Emma x

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cinderellas castle

My Walt Disney World Tips

As anyone that reads my blog knows I am a huge Disney fan, so I thought I would write a post  with some of my tips for planning and enjoying your upcoming trip.

Before your trip

  • Make a plan – I like to use Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets
  • Check opening times & refurb schedules
  • Download the My Disney experience app
  • Plan your Fastpasses (FP+), this can be done either on the app or the website, you can book FP+ 30 days in advance (unless you are staying on property, when it is 60 days) – I would advise that you book the popular rides (Seven Dwarfs Mine train, Anna & Elsa meet and greet, Soarin’, Toy Story, Everest) early to guarantee good return times
  • If you really want to see specific characters, see if they have FP+ available and build them into your plan
  • Make Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) before you go, however don’t plan ADRs for both lunch and dinner – you only need 1 big meal a day
  • Visit the Disboards, there is a wealth of information and knowledge and if you have any questions lots of people who can help.
  • Subscribe to Disunplugged Podcast, available on amongst others itunes, youtube, mixlr
  • Look into purchasing the Memory Maker – for a one off cost you can download all your photos which are taken by the Photographers in Disney, you can even add borders and stickers before downloading them.

Once you arrive

  • Be prepared for storms in summer and cold snaps in winter
  • Do take time out and don’t try to do everything in one go
  • Pick up a map and times guide as you enter the park
  • Play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom  – Become an apprentice sorcerer at the Firehouse on Main Street, or behind the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square. Using Merlin’s mystical map you then complete missions throughout the park. Unlocking portals and challenging Hades and his henchmen using Spell Cards. Each day you visit MK you can get a new pack of cards and each time you defeat Hades Henchmen you can get another pack.
  • Do a shop at Walmart/Publix for breakfasts/snacks/water/sodas…if you have a refrigerator use it
  • Buy a cheap toaster from Walmart so you can have toast/bagels for breakfast, most accommodations have fridges so you can buy butter, jam, peanut butter, milk, OJ

After your trip

  • Make a scrapbook and include momentos from your trip, such as park tickets, room keys, park maps and time guides
  • Start planning your next trip 😀

my favourite useful Resources

Walt Disney World
wdwinfo.com
disunplugged.com
Disboards

Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World
Brits Guide to Orlando
Passporter

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa – My Review

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa is located approx. 3 miles to the gateway to Walt Disney World on Epcot Center Drive. It has condominium-style accommodations with 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments.

Lake Buena Vista has lots of amenities which include spa and fitness centre, shop with Pizza Hut, Outdoor Pirate themed swimming pool and also a quieter pool. There is also Frankie Farrell’s Pub & Grille onsite. There are meeting facilities and a business centre for people staying here on business.

Check-in was fast and efficient.

We stayed in a 2 bedroom suite in the main building, due to this in order to go up in the lift we had to use our key card each time – this reassured us that no one could just walk in and wander around the floors.

The living room, dining room and Kitchen are all open plan, the private balcony is off the living room via large patio doors. There is a glass topped dining table with seating for 6 people. A breakfast bar leads to the kitchen which has plenty of kitchenware, including a huge fridge/freezer with ice maker for preparing those meals you may have at home.

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Dining area as you enter
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Living Area

The Master Bathroom is huge! With a Super King (Queen in US terms) size bed, spa bath, walk in closet, shower 2 wash basins with under storage and separate toilet.

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Master Bath

There are ceiling fans in all rooms and air conditioning.

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Second bathroom
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Second bedroom

High-speed wireless internet is complimentary, we had no problems with it during the 2 weeks we stayed there.

The decor is looking a little tired, the rooms could do with a rehab to freshen and modernise them.

I would highly recommend Lake Buena Vista, it is a fantastic location for Disney for off-property accommodations and close to Walmart for all your provisions.

Have you ever stayed here, what do you think?

Emma x

My Day Spinning (and I don’t mean the exercise!)

I had such a great day! The sun has been shining…it feels like Spring is really here 🙂 and I did a spinning workshop at Black Sheep Wools. Run by Cathy (Lazykate) and assisted by her mum Jean. We even took away a skein of our very own spun wool. IMG_1507 First thing was to get acquainted with the wheel…so we had a go at treadling (turning the wheel with the foot peddle)…not bad, seemed quite easy really, next up was to add the fleece…we were using a massam top, all the fibers go in the same direction and it felt pretty soft. A piece of yarn attached to the bobbin is used to attach the fleece to, this is done by spinning the yarn so that the fibers ‘knit’ together, then you pinch, draft and slide. It is very important to keep the pinch firm so that the fiber behind your fingers does not twist, by doing this technique and treadling at the same time you should achieve a lovely even spun yarn…well once you put all these things together that’s where it all went wrong!! IMG_1504 Time for a confession…a few weeks ago Cathy was at the Black Sheep doing a demonstration and I had a little go…so it felt a little less daunting as I had a slight idea of what I needed to do. I was pretty good at Pinching, Drafting and Sliding…when someone else was doing the treadling but as soon as I put it all together I just got a twisted mess…the wheel kept going in the wrong direction or I was going too fast…there was no middle ground. After some help I started getting the technique and felt more confident and tried to treadle too…well after some issues and lots of twisted fibers I did have some good runs…it felt great! After a lovely lunch provided by Julie from the Black Sheep Tea Shop it was time to get going again…oh dear it all seemed to be going wrong again…over the break I had lost the momentum I had managed to get going beforehand. Again after some twisted starts I got going again and got a second bobbin filled. IMG_1512 Next was time for the plying…this is where you spin the 2 bobbins together to produce a lovely textured yarn. For this technique you need a new bobbin on your wheel and a Lazykate to hold you 2 bobbins of yarn. Holding the 2 yarns…one in each hand you spin the wheel in the opposite direction (anti clockwise) to when spinning and feed the fibers in. Well I started off ok…even though the wheel still kept going in the wrong direction…how could that be it seemed that it just wanted to go the opposite to what I wanted!!!! After a while my fibers stopped feeding in, turns out my wheel had had enough (apparently they do this!!) I changed wheel and this decided to give up too 😦 so with the help of Cathy I managed to get enough fibers to make a skein. IMG_1512 To make a skein you use a Niddy-Noddy (isn’t this a great name for a piece of equipment), you then wind the fiber around the niddy-noddy in  particular way, tie it in the middle, pull off, twist from both ends, relax it and tuck one end into the other…hey presto! I was really impressed with what I had produced in such a short time. I am not sure spinning is something I will take up at the moment but maybe it is something for the future…I would love to spin yarn and dye it lots of lovely colours. I am definitely a fan of the thick n thin texture. I’m not sure what I am going to make with this, if anything, I might just frame it 🙂 If you are interested in Spinning why not visit the Black Sheep Craft Barn on the 2nd May for Love Your Yarn Shop day as Cathy will be demoing spinning and also dyeing, there will also be lots of other great things happening. Plus she will also be doing more workshops later in the year. Emma x

Afternoon Tea at The Grand Floridian

On our last visit to Walt Disney World we had Afternoon Tea in the Garden View Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian.

What can I say…it was fabulous! The Garden View Tea Room is located on the ground floor of the main building looking over the Courtyard pool area and Gardens.

There are various different ‘Teas’ to choose from, varying in price.

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We both chose the ‘Princess Kate Tea’, this is the most expensive item, however it does include a glass of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, a pot of tea and 4 courses.

Potted Shrimp or Tuna Poke

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A Selection of cheeses, fruit, nuts Cheese Scones and Honeycomb

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Buttery Scone and Jam Tart

A Selection of Pastries or Trifle

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Each course was delicious and I loved the China and the velvet tea cosy.

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Unfortunately, I was too pre-occupied and didn’t take photos of everything!!!

We are planning on returning for my birthday treat when we are back in Florida in June…I cannot wait 🙂 I will try and take more photos next time.

There have been some changes to the menu…the guys over on the Disney Food Blog have written a great summary of the new menu.

Have you experienced Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian?

Emma x