Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year!

How quickly time has passed!  It was a good Christmas all round.  I had some lovely presents ... Gemma made me a lovely scrapbook full of lots of treasures and photos which Dan had painstakingly   scanned - a very special present .

We've been out and about antiquing.  Apart from the lovely pocket watch bought for Dan's Christmas

I found a couple of my favourite children's books

Found a lovely selection of kitchen memorabillia

... and a girl can never have too many pinnies for the washing up liquid bottles ...

Christmas lunch spent with our good friends who live just round the corner ....

It's also been my birthday 57 already!!

More lovely presents ... a jug I absolutely lovely from my friend Katie.

Another present is a macro lens for my camera which I need to practice with but which means hopefully I can photograph things more closely


We had afternoon tea at the Brewery ...

... and then as is traditional on my birthday evening went to the cinema - this time to see the Hobbit - which was quite good though it feels a bit of a cheat making 3 films from quite a small book.

I've just managed to sneak in a late ta da .... finally finished my jacket - which I will photograph on - I'm sort of happy with it, the trouble with knitting is that you just can't do anything with the fit (unless you are prepared to pull loads  back and I'm not) so this is a bit short and rather big around the waist.  I like the collar and the colours so will hopefully feel OK wearing it.

 I'm writing this on New Year's Eve, which is the first one I can ever remember spending on my own. Dan and Gemma are out at a party, but its OK - I've got the various pets to keep me company ... I've been catching up on Downton Abbey (I've only just watched last year's Christmas special) and I will have the odd glass of wine!

I hope 2013 is a great year for you all - its been lovely to read so many lovely Christmas blogs and I'm looking forward to many more next year!

Monday, 24 December 2012

... it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

It's the holidays and I'm so glad.  Some time to relax and do some of the jobs which have been building up.  I've been up to a bit of final christmas crafting.  I was inspired by Sandra's lovely Xmas pudding hat and luckily enough a friends new grandson arrived on Friday, so I got to work.  Sandra didn't give a pattern so I looked on ravelry and there was one there, but it wasn't quite right.  So I found an striped baby hat pattern in a Debbie Bliss book and then changed to the colours.  Then I knitted a couple of berries and finally used Lucy's tutorial for crochet holly leaves (Lucy has great crochet tutorials so detailed and clear).

I'm very pleased with the final result, hope mum and baby like it too!


I've been enjoying visiting antique shops looking for presents  ... and bought Dan and Gemma these Victorian picture backrounds which were only £3.50 each ....

Some final Christmas preparations .... putting up a couple of my cross-stitch pictures ... I love this one which was a Helen Philipps design
I found a place for my cross-stitch hearts
And with some Xmas fabric ....
I made my first bunting.  Can't tell you how silly I felt having cut out my triangles with crimping shears and I was trying to match up the notches ... I now realise I should have cut out a rough triangle sewn it together and then neatly trimmed with pinking shears .... oh well next time!
Gemma has been making lots of Xmas foodie presents and we made  a chocolate marble cake
There was a Christmas Eve pamper session
.... and all of this has left us rather tired ....
Jess found a particularly cosy spot with a Christmas teddy as a pillow

So it only remains to wish you a Very Happy Christmas and hope that you are safe and warm at home when so many have had such difficult times recently.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Busy ... busy

I can't wait till tomorrow and I can start an almost 2 week break.  The run up to Christmas has been frantic.  The good news is that Dan came home on Saturday and its been really lovely to have him home!   I  had a great weekend ... I have mentioned my love of a good crafty read and I had given myself an early Christmas treat

I particularly enjoyed Love Embroidery which I think is the same series as Love Patchwork

I want to do a lot more embroidery next year as I have only done  little bits.   I particularly love the freestyle embroidery.   Anyway this magazine has loads of advice, all the main stitches and is a good resource for when I get round to it .... so many projects and so little time.

We also enjoyed a woodland walk 

I think you can guess what came next .... a bath!

I've been dashing to the shops in dribs and drabs as I am not one of these lovely organised people who have everything ready!  Even my crafty pleasures have had a rather intense feel.  Last Christmas I made a little cross stitch picture for a friend

 A rather cross-looking kitty and I thought that it would be good to make a matching one for her this year, as I had a pattern.   It might have been a good idea to start a bit earlier as I actually got it to the framing shop yesterday .... just in time.   I thought I would show you the picutre before the back stitching first, as initially I used to be quite reticient to do the backstitching and even left a few pictures without.  So here we are without any embroidery

As you can see quite bland and definitely unfinished.  Although, I do worry that having spent hours on the cross-stich bit I will spoil it with the rather more challenging and free-style backstitching I think it is clearly much better like this ....

Well all for now.  I'll have a bit more Christmassy news before the actual day!  So until then .... happy preparations.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Normal service has been resumed!

Well hopefully I am back and on track.  After almost 12 months of weekly blogging, as you know, I have had a few disrupted weeks.  My old laptop is hopefully working again (won't go into detail but it invovles rejecting the new windows software, then having to use encrypted software for a while - which never worked and then the google rejection of photos.  Thanks for your advice and I have just gone ahead a paid for some more memory - more profit for Google not to give any tax on!.  I've also had a really tiring couple of weeks which included 4 days away from home working - I really don't envy jobs where you have to do this a lot.  Anyway things are getting back to normal.

I still haven't finished my jacket (next week maybe) but I am in the middle of blocking it.  Tess thought it might help if she added her weight.

I have done a little Xmas crafting.  First a photo of the advent calendar for Dan and Gemma, which they still haven't got ..... and here's a confession ... I've eaten most of the chocolates and I'll have to buy some more.

We have also dressed a tree at Kendal Parish Church for work so I thought I should make a few ornaments.  I used waste canvas  for the first time to cross-stitch some snowflakes onto felt hearts. 

Then you have to pull out the strands with tweezers ...

Then just stitched round the edges, added some gingham ribbon and a button.

They turned out quite nice and I have held on to a couple for my own tree.  I'll definitely use waste canvas again.

As I can now add photos again - a couple of belated ones from a great trip to the antiques centre in Lancaster.    Its a massive antique market with lots of wonderful things.

We were rather taken with this jacket on Dan ..... can't believe we couldn't buy it though because it didn't have a price on it.

Meg has taken her transformation into a dog a little further ... you may remember she goes on the dog walks when she can ...   (this was in May in case you're thinking our weather is great .... it's not!)

now she had pinched one of the dog beds for herself ...

though speaking of dog beds Tess has found a new hobby - eating them -  this is the second one!

Its been a lovely sunny weekend - so much nicer than the rain even if it is cold.  So lets hope its a good week and that your Christmas preparations are going well.  Dan and Gemma are home next weekend, so can't wait!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Wet November

Having reached my 50th post this has now been the longest time between blogs for me .... many apologies, it's been a combination of IT problems and lots of work commitments ... but anyway here I am now!  So the result of the giveaway is that Jilly is first (email me your address Jilly with your book choice) and second is Trudy (yes lucky again Trudy!).  Hope you both enjoy the bits. 

So what else have I been up to.  I've made an advent callendar for Gemma and Dan from a printed sheet (as demonstrated by Rosie)   which was quite good fun ... though the pockets took ages to sew on. 

Apart from that I've spent a whole week weaving in the ends on my Rowan knitted jacket.  Not very ispiring but hopefully I should finish the jacket sometime next weekend to show you.

There have been many wet walks - you may have seen some of the images of the floods round where I live last week, fortunately none affected me too much ..... and wet walks mean only one thing ... lots of dog washing.


It does at least make you appreciate the 2 dry days we have just had.
The next bit of bad news is that Google won't let me upload any photos because I have had my limit!!  This isn't something I knew about - and it will cost me per month to increase this.  Has this happened to any of you and did you then take out the paid option!  Anyway I've decided to post without any photos ... which is a shame but I won't be able to sort it out till next weekend.  Have a great week.

Monday, 5 November 2012

50th Post and Give-away

Well here I am on 50 posts already and as promised a bit of celebration by sharing a few goodies.  First you may remember I knitted 2 Isis and Giotto shawls and I knitted two because one is to give away.  Hopefully one of you will enjoy a bit of snuggly warmth.

By the way if you ever want to see all my knitted projects pop over to my ravelry page here.  The winner will also get a choice of books, either Helen Phillip's lovely cross-stitchn projects or a rather wacky Alice in Wonderland (which you will like if you like Mollie Makes.

There's also some fabric, a vintage tray cloth, chocolates and some buttons and binding.

 There will also be a second place which will have a book, two balls of wool (enough to knit a scarf) and some other suprises.

To enter all you need to do is leave a comment - and if you are a follower you will get an extra entry!  Good chance of winning so have ago.  The draw for the winner will take place on 19th November.

What else I have been up to.  Still working on my cross-stitch, which seems to be taking ages.  Sometimes I have enjoyed making a project and not been too happy with the result, when I've been really lucky I've enjoyed the making and the result.  This one, I love the result, but not enjoying the process as much because it is very slow.  Using 18 count Aida rather than 14 has really slowed me down (not to mention not so easy for my poor old eyes to see!) but I think it will be worth it in the end.

I've also finished my Mollie Makes pinnie!  After getting MollieMakes for over a year this is the first thing I have made!  I really loved this fabric which is by Michael Miller  and you can get from here.  I  enjoyed making this - though I think you can probably spot the bib is a little big.  I also did get a bit lost with the instructions and sort of made it up in the end.    Good practice too, as I intend to have a bash at making clothes soon (wide-leg trousers here I come!)

And because I had a new pinny I thought a bit of baking was in order.  I used my lovely new vintage TG Green mixing bowl, bought at the vintage fair last week.

.. and whipped up a batch of sticky toffee traybakes (this is a great recipe) and from the TV series I've been enjoying (The Home of Fabulous cakes) some blueberry, yoghurt cupcakes ... displayed on a vintage cake stand (also bought at the fair).

I didn't eat these all myself and there have been a few cakes given to friends and colleagues.  I also enjoyed a trip to the cinema to see Skyfall (the lastest Bond).  Theres something about Bond films which take me right back to being young!  Lots of action, quite a few laughs, a good baddy and of course Daniel Craig isn't bad either!

.... and we've had every season here in Cumbria   ... you can just about see the snow on the fells here and the rainbow after the rain (not to mention the sleet which had just fallen and some spots of lovely sun).

Hoping you have had some sunny, crafty spells to enjoy too!