Sunday, 3 September 2017

Just stuff

Time seems to be speeding up again, weeks are going by so fast at the moment.

I've been super busy decorating my living room. It was definitely time for an upgrade, but it's not easy when you have no where to put your stuff, so had to do the room in bits, moving furniture, craft supplies, stuff, etc, then paint it. I'm nearly there, painting done - just have to put my stuff back. But there is less stuff than there was. About three years ago I divided my long and narrow living room into two, moving a large shelving unit across. Behind it I made a craft room where I could make and store stuff. I now want my living room back. But in these three years I have managed to accumulate more stuff than one person needs. I have managed to sell/donate quite a lot, but there is still stuff to get rid off. I don't want it to go to landfill. Help is on hand though, the textile group I'm a member of is having a stash sale in a few weeks time. Just got to package some of this stuff up now.

I've noticed that the summer is gradually turning into autumn whilst on my short train journey to work. The luscious green fields have turned yellow as crops mature, two tone green stripes appear when the grass has been cut for silage. The black plastic covered hay bales that dot the fields look like shiny pieces of jet in the sunshine and berries are appearing on the hedgerows and trees. It's good to take time to look (wish i could capture this in a photograph)

Can I announce "I've bought a frock". !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, this is nothing new for most women, but I live in trousers/jeans as they are so comfortable. However my daughter has got her degree after 6 years of part time study with the Open University and I've got a Graduation Ceremony to attend, so a frock had to be purchased. I'm so proud of her as its not been easy. During these six years a lot of life has happened to her

Having a child
Break up of her 10 year relationship (so now a part time single parent)
Moving to a new home
The death of her father
Moving home again (private rented properties offer little stability)
Death of a long time friend

Can I say again, how terribly proud of her I am.

Now a little rant
First Class postage. I thought this meant next day delivery? 
Q: So when does First Class not mean First Class.
A: When its a Friday. (Or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday)

I get a request to make a hat for a new born baby boy who's dad is  DJ. So while waiting for the paint to dry (see earlier in this post) I crocheted a hat.

Rushed down to the main Post Office with my little parcel. That will be £3.40 for First Class, but if you want it there the next day it will be £10.00. The yarn only cost a couple of pounds. So I selected £3.40 and kept my fingers crossed it would arrive on the Saturday. If not, at least it would look like I tried. Well it did get there on the Saturday, phew. And it fit.

A Return
Back in the late 1950s/early 1960s, my father's aunt donated a fire screen to a local church fundraising event. Last weekend my parents attended a social event in Kendal and had a conversation with some friends of friends (you know how it goes). 'Did you know I have your Aunt Mary's fire screen?", "Would you like it back?". My father does remember it being in the front room of his Aunt's house. So here it is in all its glory, safely moved to my parents' home.

Apologies, lots of words and not many pictures in this blog - does this mean I'm growing up?

I hope you are all well. Ta ta for now.

Sunday, 16 July 2017


Living in Cumbria means that it is highly unlikely that I will ever get the chance to get to a Wimbledon Mens Final.  Apart from the distance from here to Wimbledon, there's the cost too.

However, thanks to the good old BBC I get a front row seat.

So to the preparations.  First job is to hull the strawberries. With thanks to my daughter who showed me this neat trick with a plastic drinking straw, this didn't take too long.

A lovely bowl of hulled strawberries (do I have to share these?)

Then make some chilled cucumber water,so I don't have to miss any tennis to get a drink.

Some crochet ready, in case it all gets too tense.

Found this tennis ornament (we used to call these executive toys). Does this count as decorating my home for the occasion.

And finally, this is the view I have when walking home so come to think of it, perhaps I have the better deal.

Got to go now as it's about to start.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Scottish Wildlife

Earlier this year in May I went on a trip to Loch Fleet in north east Scotland. This is my third time in this area of Scotland, and I love going up there.  The weather is usually very kind and I have a lovely time looking at all the lovely scenery and looking out for the wildlife. I hope you don't mind my sharing some of my photographs.

Just a few Oyster Catchers

Seals in Loch Fleet, we were just a little bit too early to see any pups

Hillsides swarming with deer

Duck with ducklings in Dornoch

A 'speeding' snail (well the tide would be back in a few hours)

 Cormorants on rocks just off the coast at Brora

A furry caterpillar, wonder what it will turn into?

Look how close to the shore the seals come.  They seemed to be keeping an eye us.

And for a bit of fun I hope you see what I see in these.....

 A rock with a bit of lichen or a seal swimming in the sand

A reindeer, a moose, a rhinoceros or just a funny shaped tree

And finally, don't let anyone tell you that wildlife are shy.

Here is a cormorant who rushed into shot

Made sure I was looking

And then struck a classic cormorant pose.

That's all for now.


Sunday, 2 July 2017

Bee lucky!

Little did I know that when I sowed some bees and butterflies flower seed mix earlier in the year how successful I would be. Oh look I said on Fathers' day, look how many bumble bees I have enticed into my garden.

A bit too successful ... they have set up home.  Oh crikey, I panicked, Are they dangerous? What should I do?.

A phone call to the local bee keepers association has set my mind at rest, as long as I don't poke it with a stick I should be fine.  The hive will live there for a few months then naturally die out. And he said I was very lucky.

They are living in this bush.

Which means I cannot possible weed the bottom of the garden.

I have done some research and found that they are probably buff tailed bumblebees.  I only have a basic camera but have tried to take some photos while they are busy collecting pollen and nectar from the borage.

I'm also very lucky to live where I do, just short walk out of town,

through a nature reserve,

into the countryside.

Making the most of the sunny summer evenings.

Friday, 16 June 2017

All Change

I cannot believe that it's been 7 months since I last posted, I've had such a busy time, yet nothing of note to say.

Retirement sounded good, all that free time to do what I wanted. But in reality it was too big a change. I'd worked full time, often with more than one extra job at a time, since I was 17. I had a break from paid work when my daughter was young, for 4 years. But now I got bored, so I've gone out and got a part-time job, I'm now in a new category - semi retired.

I'd also flirted with trying a craft business by opening a shop on Folksy, I closed that yesterday. I love making stuff, but running a business is not for me.

Now that a more regular routine has been implemented I'm wondering if I will have more to say and crafty makes to share.

Like, this week I attended a leather masterclass workshop and made this.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

My Crochet Artist in Residence assignment

Since I retired from my full time office job in March of this year, my feet haven't touched the ground. There has always been something for me to do which I have already blogged about.  My latest, Crochet Artist in Residence at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry in Kendal during the town's Wool Gathering event must rank as one of the most enjoyable, so far.

Never having done anything like this before, it was such a great honour to be asked. All the staff and volunteers were so welcoming and I met some lovely people.

Here are my best bits.

Frog Prince Tea Pot Cosy. I think this may have set off my journey as I made it for the Workshops in Peoples Homes project.  It is not my design, it was in a crochet magazine and uses the crocodile stitch pattern.  The Battenberg cake, custard slice, donut and jam tarts I made up as I was travelling to Leeds and back to see family.  The two and a half journey was well utilised and caused a few curious looks from fellow travellers.

 Originally I was going to try to show water pouring out of this tap, but a bigger tap was found (see below), I made teardrop style shapes using thick yarn with a little bit of sparkle in it and suspended them from grey cotton thread.

 The Roast Chicken, my favourite piece, what a time I had making this, the legs seemed to work out just right, straight from the start, but I had three attempts at the body.  My sizes were a little off, so I took myself off to the Supermarket and studied the oven ready chickens on the shelf.  I know it would have been better if I'd bought a chicken to bring home and measure, but I'd already done my shopping for that week.  I coloured the outside of the chicken with some bronze fabric paint to give it the authentic roasted look.

 I am very pleased with this piece.  It is worked in Tapestry Crochet and I mapped it out on graph paper, much as you would do for a cross stitch picture. The room it was in was quite dark and it brightened up the fireplace very well.  My take on flames.  (I have since sold this piece)

 A quick trip to the Wool Gathering wouldn't be complete without Alpacas.  Here are two lovely creatures. They look so gentle and dignified.

 As part of the display advertising the yarn bombing of the museum I made the cheese and buter. The butter paddles and the jelly were made by someone else.

 A couple of bees on the hive.

 And with mushrooms and half an apple, which I also made.

 Little touches like these candle flames were also added.

And here is the little chair I covered in crochet.  It really appealed to the children who came into the museum and when I said they could sit in it they were really chuffed.

As well as my items, the local schools and community groups had also made sheep and they covered most of the ground floor.  They are on offer for donations to the charity 'In the Moment' which supports people living dementia. 

 Water flowing from the pump, the crochet tube worked in double crochet has been held open with a plastic tube, the 'water' hitting the stone bowl at the bottom with bobbles to signify the force of the water.

My hot Mexican stripes blanket, which I am missing a bit since the weather has gotten colder.

What a wonderful experience I have had.  The displays have been in the museum since October but they are changing them soon and I will receive my items back.

Wondering what to do now .....  I'm sure something will turn up.


Tuesday, 4 October 2016


What a lovely bonus weekend we have just had. The sunshine was a real tonic for the soul. But I know our warm sunny days are going away soon for the winter. I think my neighbours knew it too, we were all out tidying our gardens. The grass has been cut, trees and shrubs given their Autumn trim, the flower beds stripped of annuals, perennials tidied up. But I wasn't ready to let all the colour go. I put some flowers in water in a can. They are still there this morning.

There is colour inside too, my gerbera has flowered. I'm so excited as after I bought it I read that it can be tricky to look after. Perhaps I have stumbled on just the right place for it to thrive - my kitchen windowsill.

I just had to start to use some of the Marino wool I purchased at Yarndale. I am making one of the shawls from The Crochet Project book I also bought there. I think it looks a bit like a giant moth at the moment.

I've also found a bit of time to start making items for Appleby Textile Group. We are taking a stall at a craft fair in St Lawrence's Church in a few weeks time and have all been asked to make something. 
Seems strange to be making Christmas items in the sunshine.

Hope you too had a productive weekend.