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Stop terrorizing the playground, make your own indoor swing

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Step 1
An upcycle mission

You may have seen these colours on the high-street, lining the windows in technicolour lattice of one much-adored brand of the people… Uniqlo! (Although I’d have taken McDonalds for an answer too – McCheese-strings can totally be a thing.) Celebrating their 100% Extra-fine Merino Wool collection, Uniqlo had their windows bedecked in an installation that involved meters and meters of elastic strings – seven boxes of which ended up in my cave of a flat early last week for a rather exciting upcycling collaboration.

Now, don’t let the breezy number ‘seven’ fool you, because the boxes held over four hundred rolls in 65 different shades, which is naturally 64 more than my hamster brain can compute. Mind-boggled, I called Gyu (a CSM knitwear graduate, who, for long-time followers should be familiar from previous posts) for advice. ‘Oh jeez we can build an Oompa Loompa village with all this‘ was her greeting when she stepped into my apartment blanketed with a layer of awkward-shaped rolls of rainbow strings… We flirted with ideas like tents, trampolines and canopies, and tested the strings with various tension swatches (double-crochet, knitting, weaving, braiding…). Finally deciding on building a hammock, she left me after a few lessons on macramé techniques (promptly forgotten the moment she was out the door…)

Turns out one needs a company of veteran knitters to accomplish anything as big as your body. Well, I should’ve known, I have troubles applying body lotion.

So that’s the story of the swing.

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Gyu testing single-crochet in a swatch

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Step 2
What you’ll need

Extra-strength yarn (I used three colours – 1 skein of the main colour and a bit of the other two) · knitting needles (appropriate for the choice of yarn, I used 6mm) · crochet hook or yarn needle · 7 meters sturdy rope (before purchasing, make sure to determine length by measuring height to ceiling) · 2 x stripwood (cut to 25cm long. Make sure they’re wide enough to fit the rope with enough room around) · 2 x D-rings · Optional and depending on method: Sandpaper · drill · 2 x ceiling hooks.

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Now, I really do recommend testing elastic tension for the swing seat by knitting up a square swatch before starting the project, and putting your entire weight on it. You might find that your yarn, or even knitting tension calls for some mini problem-solving/improvisation. Alternatively, this project can be done with cotton fabric, which can easily be sewn around the stripwood.

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Start by knitting the swing seat – cast on 30 stitches and knit in moss stitch (Mine shows garter stitch) until work measures the width of ONE thigh – the seat will expand when sat on. Cast off. (If adventurous, try the herringbone stitch and knit until work measures about 30cm)

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1. Drill two holes big enough for the ropes at each end of the stripwood, leaving at least 1.5cm space around the hole. 2. Bind the knitted work to the stripwood using the Crocet hook or knitting needle. 3. Insert one end of the rope through the hole, and make a knot. 4. Loop the rope into the D-ring and hang onto ceiling, then repeat step 3 once the length is determined. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 4
Swing & tips

The best way to determine how high the swing should hang is to measure it about an arm’s length higher than your normal dining-room chair. That way, the swing seat will extend to a natural hanging-length. Adjust the rope knots for length if too long. Depending on the type of rope, you will need to secure the edge with duct-tape or seal with a flame. For mine, I wrapped a bit of yarn in a different colour over the duct tape for visual effect. Consider adding tassels or wooden beads to your swing if that’s how you roll.

I personally live in a flat with a mezzanine so I hooked the D-rings to the upstairs bars and let it hang it that way, but do purchase a strong ceiling hook if you wish to hang on the ceiling. Alternatively, skip the D-rings and simply loop the rope around the hook or bar.

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In collaboration with Uniqlo; Photography – Park & Cube aka tripod

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Three ways I wear Nike LunarElite Sky Hi

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Look 1: Lace dress – Zara. Sweatshirt – Nike. Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi. Clutch – Chanel. Sunglasses – Mango.
Look 2: Coat – Nanushka. Sweater – COS. Skirt – ASOS. Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi
Look 3: Cardigan & skirt – Peter Pilotto for Target (via Net-a-porter). Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi. Bag – JinYoo103684. Bag – Kurt Geiger. Turtleneck – Uniqlo. Puffer Vest – Gap.

I don’t know what it is about my late twenties but boy am I working up a collection of trainers, each bought with the same reasoning technique that accounts for the thirty bags of jumbo peanuts in our pantry: THIS MUST BE HANDY DURING THE APOCALYPSE. It’s odd because 1) I am a hamburger when it comes to exercise (i.e I do not put the ‘train’ in ‘trainer’), and 2) I held a crusade against flats all throughout my teenage years and stuffed tissues, not only in my bra, but in my trainers as well for the wedge effect. So I came across these Nike LunarElite Sky Hi‘s, I reasoned that yes I needed another pair of trainers because APOCALYPSE, but also revelled at the fact that it was my teenage crusade manifested (Waterbra? check), in perforated neoprene and all the essential lightweight, cushioning technology of a classic Nike running model. Plus, neon yellow because I’m biologically hazardous like that.

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Broadway Market, E8

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Sweater – Gap. Grey skinny jeans- Gap. Heels – Kurt Geiger. Watch – Guess. Doorknocker ring – & Other Stories. Bag – Couronne.

Forget bed, this is what you’re doing tomorrow. Throw on a nice cosy turtleneck, pick up a flat white at Climpson & Sons (No. 67) at the bottom of Broadway Market, and work your way through the crowd. 9am in the morning is probably the best time to go for some peace and quiet, but if you like the buzz and would like to eventually end up at The Cat & Mutton pub (No. 76) for a pint later in the afternoon, then a lazy Saturday start is fine. Sourdough bread is a must, so pick one up for the week; the fruit can be a little overpriced, but they look like something out of Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook so whatever floats your boat. Drop by Hansen & Lynderson stall for a the best smoked salmon (Norwegian-caught, locally hung) on bread with sourcream and dill snack – £3 a pop – just enough to whet your appetite. My lunch is pork steamed buns from Yum Bun (Broadway school yard market), or a pot of beef pho from Cà Phê, depending on weather – the latter has a little seating area if you’ve miscalculated your outfit like I always do and regretting those heels. Post-lunch, before you make a bee-line to the salted caramel cookies (yes, those), do a little detour to Strut (2b Ada st) for the best designer vintage in the East, for it may put you on a wee diet before the day’s end. Forget Brick Lane, Strust is where the fashion-savvy East Londoners’ Chanels, McQueens and Margielas come to rest and find new owners (Sunday and Mondays are their buying days). I always have dessert anyway, a gluten-free brownie from the Happy Kitchen stall, or a red velvet from Violet Cakes. One for now, one to have later at home.

A couple more recommendations: L’Eau à la Bouche for people-watching, over a pear flan, best around 3pm. Lucky Chip (31-35 Coate St) for the best burgers in town, Rebel Rebel (5 Broadway market), for great range of flowers if you know you can’t make it to the flower market on Sunday. Off Broadway (No. 63-65) when the sun goes down and home still can wait – a New-York style bar with great cocktails and Tex-Mex nibbles. Oh and don’t forget to visit the fish tank in the bathroom. Last but not least, Noble Fine Liquor (No. 27) for natural wine and craft beer – go back for wine tasting every Wednesday eve.

All makings of a good weekend!

Outfit: Part three of styling series with Gap‘s Styld.by platform. Check part one and part two here!

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Heels – All Saints

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Heels – All Saints. Coat – Club Monaco. Breton top – Uniqlo mens, stolen from hubby. Leather trousers – Hoss Intropia. Bag – Couronne. Scarf – Johnstons of Elgin. Straw basket – Chloé

Some people run marathons, I go to the flower market. By bus. I know I’ve featured it on this blog enough times to make it seem it’s a weekend ritual, but hey this is captain of Lazy club we’re talking about here – I get medals for doing the laundry. Marzipan medals if I hang them the same day. Sometimes the hubby smears BB-cream on my cheeks like battle-paint so I can get things done outside the house during the weekend, flower market included. On some days he accompanies me and we attach a rope between our bikes so he can pull me down the road. It really is just a quick cycle away, and whenever I do manage to make it down I ask myself why I don’t visit every weekend because I fall in love each time. The seasonal flowers and their cheerful sellers, the occasional puppy weaving between the happy crowd, the pastry reward at the end of the market… what’s not to love! Some pansies were starting to make an appearance, as well as some really stunning lilies. But since I’m still pretty much a n0oB when it comes to flower species, I brought home a bunch of hydrangeas and a fistful of eucalypti. Although, not sure what I can do with them really, maybe I’ll make soup of it.

Hope you had an exciting weekend, what did you get up to?

Oh, speaking of weekends, if you’re into taking pics of your feet on Instagramthis is one quick and easy competition you could take part in for a chance to travel to London with All Saints. I need someone to pull my bike to the market again, actually, if you want.

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Chairs from Fashion for Home

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Wearing: Cashmere sweater – Iris & Ink (exclusive to The OUTNET.COM). Check trousers – J Crew (via The OUTNET). Shoes – Tory Burch (via The Outnet). Necklace – Mikimoto. Rose-gold watch – Guess. Wrap-around bracelet – H&M. Boyfriend Jeans – ASOS. Booties – Alexander Wang (via The Outnet). Shirt – Uniqlo.

Welcome to my casa! my office! my casa! Oh, I don’t even know anymore. I’ve been freelancing ever since I was about 17, I have a feeling the Home/Office boundary never existed in the first place. I built websites in bed and they still ran fine, bed-bug free. In fact if I remember correctly, a part of this blog was built tangled in sheets – tell me, does it smell of Doritos/down feather when you access this site? It’s only quite recently that I felt the need to allocate a certain corner for ‘work’ purposes… I suspect it’s something to do with the rise of pinterest, or maybe the fact that I am always home working making sandwiches, not necessarily of the good-wife sort either. I’ve been renting this flat since my third year of uni, and throughout the years it has gone through many identity shifts. The trouble mainly being the fact that, while divided into two floors, the flat is technically a studio, so the foyer is our dining room, shoe-storage, and our living area. Upstairs, the desk is in the bedroom, which is also technically the closet as well. And regardless of how many corners I fill with IKEA Linnmons to ‘work on’, I’ve always managed to end up in bed. Or by the fridge, eating out raw dinner ingredients.

What I’m currently finding particularly useful, is to get up in the morning and slapping on a bit of BB-cream, and getting dressed as if going out, heels and all. Figures I’ll be sitting the whole day anyway. That way, when I pop out for snacks the local Turkish don’t remember me as that bum that has a serious TWIX addiction. These days I’ve been drawn to wearing more cashmere, perfectly delicate enough to avoid aggravating eczema, my current favourite being the Iris & Ink cashmere sweater (exclusive to THE OUTNET.COM). I’ve worn it to countless fantasy board meetings, and lunch dates with Mr fridge & Mrs oven.