Monday, 26 May 2014

This last week


This is a bit of a random post - I thought I would share a few photos that I have taken either on my phone or my camera this week.

This first photo I took at work earlier in the week. You are probably wondering "why on earth is this woman taking a photo of a roof?" And I wouldn't blame you. But can you see the little wagtail to the left of the photo, half way up? This roof is within a quadrant and there are 4 floors above me so I only see what the weather is like by looking up. One day last week, we had the window open and I suddenly heard some very happy chirping from outside and there was this little wagtail, drinking water from the puddles and singing happily. I only had chance to take one photo before he flew away but that one moment brightened my day.

Incidentally, a few months ago we had a coot living on this roof for about 2 weeks. We were worried that he wouldn't be able to fly up out of the quadrant so several us were leaving food for Wally (Wally the wading bird, of course!!). But one Monday we returned to work to find he had gone - hopefully he had managed to fly away.

This is our big guinea pig Tuc, waiting to be fed in the morning. He lives in a hutch in our kitchen and each morning he nibbles the side of his sleeping quarters (the grey bit in the photo) and then looks up at us as much to say "can I have my breakfast now please?" We love him to bits!

These lovely simple flowers were the table decoration at the organic farm near us that we like to visit. Such a simple display but delightful. DH and I stopped here for a quick cup of tea.

On Saturday we drove to Sheffield - my elder son has finished his first year at University and we collected him and his belongings. Before leaving Sheffield we visited this cafe just near to where he has been living. It was a lovely cafe with mismatched tables and this fantastic view! This photo just doesn't do the view justice - I loved all the industriousness of the view. The building opposite was called "Global Steel Works" and the moulding above the name included a blue globe. Towards the bottom of the photo there was some lovely brick work below ground level for the canal and in the far background there are cranes and all the usual sights expected in an industrial city. It was raining and yet the doors were open, it wasn't cold and I could have sat there drinking coffee, chatting, reading my book, knitting all day. The scrambled egg on toast with bacon was pretty good too!

(NOTE: so why does a cafe with  mismatched tables looks so trendy and yet my lounge with mismatched furniture just looks..... well, like a mismatch!!)

So it has been a bank holiday weekend here in the UK. Saturday was WET, with heavy rain but Sunday was beautiful - blue skies and sunshine. Three us of decided to have short outing to a park near us.

This park gets very busy at weekends so we left home about mid-afternoon  in a bid to miss the biggest crowds, but as we really wanted a cup of tea in the cafe we marched quickly across the park heading towards the refreshments before the cafe closed.  
Now that elder son is home and with his predilection for hot chocolates I got another photo to add to my collection!

The park looked beautiful in the sun. 

 And after such a sunny day yesterday, today has been dull with drizzle nearly all day. I've been working through my son's pile of washing but some is still looking very sorry for itself, hanging limply on the line. I managed to get 3 loads dried yesterday.

So today was a day for tidying the garage - or at least half of it. I discovered that some mice had made themselves a nice cosy home for the winter in my oasis!

And don't you just love the odd assortment of things you find in boxes! I love the colours and textures.

I hope you have a good weekend! Wouldn't another day off just be dandy though?

Friday, 23 May 2014

Craft books 2


A few weeks ago I posted about a recent purchase I'd made of three craft books. I thought I would share with you another craft book I have - this one a knitting book, and here it is....

The Knitted Home by Sian Brown.
(Coincidentally it has the same title as one of the books in my previous post.)
Look at the cute little green basket by the side of the chair.

 This book was a Christmas present from my eldest son a couple of years ago. I gave him a list of books I'd like and let him choose one to buy - he told me he chose this one because he thought I could knit things for our home.
I love the throw pictured below - those cables look so chunky!

As I said in my previous post, I don't often make things from my craft books - I prefer instead to browse through them and use them for inspiration, but I was determined to make something from this book.
Not long after I received this book we bought some new bedroom furniture and I decided the dressing table desperately needed some mats to protect the surface. Then I noticed the pattern for the placemats below - look at the stitch definition on those mats!

So I decided I would knit a placemat and use it on my dressing table.....
...and here is the result.

My crochet edging is a little ruffled but I'm generally happy with the result.
(The little tin was a gift from my daughter - she brought it back from a skiing holiday with school - she knew I'd love the design and colours of it - and she was right!)

And as I was happy with the result I made another one, this time edging it with green.

 Unusually for me, I even used the yarn that they used in the book, which is Patons DK 100% cotton. I have fallen in love with this yarn.  I am using it to crochet my stripey blanket which I have posted about here and here. So the green and pink yarn edging my mats are the same green and pink in the blanket pictured below, so it will all match.... once the blanket is finished.

 Other tempting patterns in the book include this throw knitted in a very smooth yarn, so different to the chunky throw above.

And we all love this large cushion with larger-than-life leaves (the colours are much brighter in the book than in this photo)

And this is the photo on the back cover - a pile of yarny goodies!!

I wonder which are your favourite craft books.
Wishing you a happy weekend - an extra long one for those of us in the UK!

(Please note: this is not a paid advert, it is just my review of a book on my shelf)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

sorting on a Saturday ....

..... sorting socks, and wondering how is it possible for there to be so many different shades of grey when I am trying to pair grey socks?

..... sorting the last few bits from the Tesco delivery and trying to tell loaves of bread and pints of milk "you will fit in that freezer!"

..... sorting 54.5 pairs of shoes from the utility room. And wondering "where on earth did that missing trainer go??"

..... sorting the end of the patio which doesn't drain properly - although this isn't my job!

.... sorting out all the art and craft supplies we have accumulated over 20 years.

.... sorting a teenage son's room........ you must be kidding!!

Although I confess, I do usually help him to tidy his room because his is so appreciative of my help and he loves his room when it is tidy - so why does he find it impossible to keep it tidy for even one day??

And finally thank you to Birgitta from "handmadeandoffcentered" for nominating me for the liebster award for new blogs. All rather overwhelming but thank you very much. Please have a look at Birgitta's lovely blog.  

Wishing you all a good week!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Two thirds of 84


Yes, I am pleased to announce that I am TWO THIRDS of the way through my 84 stripes of double crochet!!

I am using 7 different colours of Patons 100% cotton DK, each separated by stripes of limestone so that makes 14 stripes, which when double crocheted using a 3.5 hook measures about 12 inches/30 cm in length.

So I am planning to crochet these 14 rows 6 times which makes a total of 84 different coloured stripes to crochet and I have completed 4 lots of 14 stripes (56 stripes) so I am two thirds of the way through 84 stripes - YIPPEE!

This is the blanket that I started some time ago, probably September 2013, and which I have posted about here. Much of the crochet has been done while travelling to and from cross country races and football matches - sadly the season for both sports is now finished so I'll have to find time elsewhere..... ummmm, I'm sure that dusting and hoovering can wait while I crochet a few rows.

Unfortunately, as I said in my previous post, I realise that the blanket is going to be narrower than I intended so I am considering what I can do once I have finished the stripes to widen the blanket, possibly a wide, single colour border.
So even when I have completed the 84 stripes I will still have some serious crocheting to do before the blanket is finally finished.
So please hang on in there - it may be some time before I reveal the finished article. 

Have you a major crafting project on the go at the moment? Do you prefer smaller projects that be completed relatively quickly?

Wishing you a good week

Sunday, 4 May 2014



Recently I spent a few hours on a Saturday making a patchwork cushion, I posted about it here. I had a smallish piece (measuring approximately 22 cm by 30cm) of patchworked material left over which of course I couldn't discard. I pondered over what I could use it for and a small zipped bag seemed the most obvious answer given it's dimensions.

So on Thursday when I was in town I found myself at the harberdashery market stall and without hardly a blink of an eye I'd bought an 8 inch zip in bright yellow. (I hadn't actually measured the piece of material before I left home and I hadn't taken it with me to colour match so purchasing a suitable zip was pure guess work). But luckily it was the right size and colour. So here is my remnant and said zip.

The remnant wasn't quite wide enough so I used my newly purchased patchworking equipment to cut an extra strip of green which I sewed onto the right of my remnant. 
My patchwork class taught me the importance of ironing each piece as you sew.

Then I cut some more of the same green material that I'd used to back my patchwork cushion to a suitable size to act as a liner to my bag.
Wow - it's so much easier to cut accurate strips of fabric using a cutter and cutting board than scissors!

Now to find some cotton. As you can see I have quite a collection/mess of cotton threads, stored in a lovely wooden box. There must be a yellow in there somewhere to match my zip....

Would you believe it, the only yellow I could find was this one below in the middle of the photo! But I reckoned there was just enough to sew in an 8 inch zip. For the remaining sewing I was happy to use green thread of which I have plenty.
And thus my zipped bag began to take shape.

In fact, I became so absorbed in the task I forgot to take any more photos until I had finished!
And here it is!

I'm not quite sure why these photos show a grainy pattern to some of the material.

I like the lining too.
I am pleased with my little bag made out of remnants - and all for the price of a little time and an 85p zip!

Happy sewing!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fresh air


Having said in my last post that we had hardly ventured out during the Easter holidays, later that day four of us made the short journey to a country park - with the promise of a trip to the cafe afterwards. Sadly, but understandably, younger son wanted to stay at home and do more revision. (I think he also quite likes to have the house to himself for a while - well, don't we all?)

So here are a few photos of our leisurely but very pleasurable walk. Above is a statue of King Lear, I always think it looks rather out of place here, despite the lake being called King Lear's Lake.


A rare, quiet moment for my daughter - usually she is challenging us to run to the next bench, the next tree..... did I say this was a leisurely walk?? 

Someone was going the same way as us ... until some cyclists frightened him away!

 A gorgeous coot on her nest

We spent several minutes watching this heron catch fish. 

It stood stock still, waiting for fish.

Until suddenly it dived it's head in ... and success!

It was funny watching the heron swallow the fish, you could almost see it wriggling its way down the heron's gullet.

Part of the waterway here is the Grand Union Canal.  I quite fancy having a week's holiday on a barge, I always imagine that it must be very relaxing, just cruising along a canal at a slow speed, through beautiful, unspoilt green countryside and hearing the gentle lap of water as you fall asleep.

I'm not sure why people are so against wind turbines. To me they represent green energy and appear as sleek and modern sculptures - years ago did people adopt the same antagonistic views to windmills? Personally, wind turbines are almost the modern version of a windmill (although of course serving different purposes), but I appreciate that is just my opinion. 

By the time we got back to the car and had driven to the local garden centre the cafe had closed. 

I apologized for not being able to fulfill my promise of a cup of tea but no-one was bothered. We had enjoyed a pleasant while in each others' company and visited new places. 

Don't you love it when a short walk bring suchs pleasure? And have you ever had a holiday on a barge? I would love to hear what you thought of it.
Best wishes