Friday, 31 August 2012

Change of season

Well, the boys' school holidays are drawing to an end and it's not with anticipation that I look forward to school runs and rushing about.

The past week or so has felt a little odd, and honestly, I've felt a little 'flat'.  We've done a spot of entertaining, which I always enjoy, but these occasions have been 'goodbye' meals and they've made me feel a bit heavy-hearted. 

My sister and her family have moved to pastures new and our friends have returned to Kuwait for a few more months until hopefully they come home permanently......I know neither of these things are reason to feel glum, but coupled with a feeling of.....well.... I'm not quite sure.....I'm feeling a bit unsettled.

My knitting and crochet have lacked 'buzz' and I'm suffering from need for a change of scenery....oh, dear....I do sound like a whinger!

So what am I doing to kick myself into gear? 

Trying to get some long-awaited jobs ticked off the list.....look.... my bunting from last year's swap finally sewn up and labelled with the places it came from. Very cheery it is too, around our bed.

Starting new projects.....mainly a new sweater, which being for me, I've indulged in some stripes (more of that on my YOP post on Sunday).

Doing a little sewing.

This was a house-warming gift for my sister, which I really enjoyed doing, but does remind me to invest in one of those free-style foot thingies.......working with the foot up is not the way!

Planning for the next few months.

I'm sure six weeks of next to no routine is one of the factors of my bleeauuuggghh-temperament.  I'm not looking forward to the return to school, but I think it will be the positive 'shove' I need.

So I'm going to make like a student on my first day back at school, with newly sharpened pencils, starting the first page in a new book....

I hate to write-off the summer, but it seems to me that I am starting a new season, and I'm going to jump in feet first!  Care to join me?

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Silver linings

This year, the boys' school holidays have been markedly different from other years....with the introduction of Chester our beagle puppy to our home, we have got out of the house everyday for a good walk, come rain or shine.

This particular day was one which was drab and rainy and didn't seem to hold much promise of a nice walk.

We jumped in the car, suited and booted and headed to a beach about ten minutes away.

We were to discover untrodden sand, crashing waves and space to run.

There were definitely silver linings in those clouds!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Year of projects 19.08.12

Well, going through this week's photos, I have about ten posts worth of pics to share, but not many of them are yarny, so it would all be very off topic!

My ten stitch twist is still lurking in the background, although it hasn't had as much love this week as previous weeks.

At the beginning of the week, I finished off my Not So Big Snowy Owl

What a nice knit, a few new skills learnt, mainly using DPNs, which turned out ok.....lots more practise needed though! 

I also learnt Kitchener stitch, using the brilliant tutorial on Purl Bee webpage.....this is super clever, and although mine is not perfectly neat, its hard to see where it starts or ends, which I'm guessing is the idea!

I am enjoying some knitting break on a new crocheted blanket, following Little Woollie's crochet-a-long, but this isn't strictly on my YOP list....ooopppss.

Anyway, totally off-topic, yesterday was our friends' daughter's first birthday, and the barmy parents asked if I would make The pressure.....all turned out well....but I was completely stressed out!

As well as The Cake, I made about 50 vanilla cupcakes and a batch of mini rose-flavoured cakes....oh, and a batch of malteser squares, as it would be rude not to, wouldn't it?!

The party was just perfect, and despite it being a bleak morning, the sun came out and everything was just glorious.....such a lovely afternoon....remembered for many years to come I'm sure......if I ask our friends, I will share some more pics in another post.

As I said it has been a busy week, lots of things to tell, but I may be pushing myself with so many non-YOP pictures!  I would like to share just one though, taken at the beginning of the week, when we all enjoyed a day out in a beautiful garden.

Middle and Littlest boy enjoying the sunshine and freedom, in such a beautiful garden...........isn't this how everyday should be when you're a kid?

Another full day, making the most of seeing our far-flung friends all visiting for yesterday's beach afternoon sometime this evening when all has settled, I will look forward to catching up with everyone else....thanks for your lovely wonderful you all are!

Hope you all have some carefree moments in your weeks.x

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Ruby's birthday

This weekend, we have all been invited to a tea party to celebrate our friends' little girl's first birthday.  I've often done a painting as a present for various people, but since discovering crochet, knitting  and blogging my painting has been tucked to one side, and to be honest, I really miss it.

Painting for me is very reliant on my mood, and not something started on a whim.  I thought I would ease myself back in with a small fun present for the birthday girl.

I've done a handful of these pictures before, as christening presents....hopefully, its a present that gives enjoyment for years.

I start of with a faint sketch onto heavy watercolour paper, and then when it starts to take shape, I use watercolour inks to 'colour in'.

What starts off looking a little unpromising, can soon start to come together.

Until, you are able to look at it and feel the balance is there.

It's always surprising how adding the mount and frame is all it needs to make it look good enough to give away.

Last year, I sketched up some ideas for a local branch of agricultural advisers, they encourage farming that takes care of rare plants and wildlife.

A simple sketch became a banner that is used when they do agricultural cool is that!

On other subjects....of the more woolly kind......I have a confession........I'm not sure how it happened, but last night.........

....I started another crochet blanket.  I am joining in with Little Woollie in making one of her gorgeous multi-stitch blankets..........awful I on earth am I going to fit this in!

I've got to say though, it felt wonderful to be zipping along the rows.......ooooh, I do love a crochet blanket!

Well, we are having an away day to day to the local agricultural show.....we are going suited and booted as the past week has been torrential rain and wind (as is to be expected when it is show week!)  The boys are champing at the bit to go and I'm sitting here typing. 

I have a fraught couple of days ahead, as the deluded parents of Ruby, have for some outlandish reason asked me to make the birthday girl's cake and a big batch of cupcakes......I have no idea what they have based their decision on....but anyone with any great tips.....step right up!

Catch up soon with pics of THE cake!!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Year of projects - 12.08.12

Well, it is Sunday again, so time for the week's update on my YOP work.  This week has been full of all sorts of activities, but maybe not so much knitting.  I am keeping on with my ten stitch twist, although this week admittedly, maybe not a complete rotation.

I am nearing the end of the first ball of King Cole Riot, so ordered a couple more..... incidentally, this website I've used a few times, has an offer on Riot at the moment....very handy, and quick delivery too.

Other knitting this week, has been a new project from my list, which has taught me a brand new skill.....I can now (kind of) cope with DPNs....

This is the main body for the Big Snowy version will be a Not Quite So Big Snowy Owl as I'm using aran weight not the super bulky called for.  I am pleased as punch with my new found skill....I would never have guessed that DPNs were used like that......thank goodness for google.....who knew you had to.....stand on your head before you could do it......actually, I did think that all four needles held the stitches and you went round from needle to needle....I've got to say to all you sock knitters, I'm not sure how you do it, I was definitely all fingers and thumbs!  Do you ever find that one of the needles you are not holding, ever falls out?  That would be reason for a small meltdown in my mind!

Well, that's about it for this hubby and kids are drumming their fingers waiting for me to finish so we can get out walking, so I must tarry no longer.

Just one quick pic of the fruit I put into another summer pud yesterday........doesn't that just scream summer?!

Looking forward to sitting down later and reading about all your  progress too.....thanks for being such a great group to be part of!  Hope you all have a great crafting week.x

Friday, 10 August 2012

Five go adventuring again!

Biggest boy and I have been reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five books recently.....I do enjoy them, the words seeming so familiar from my own childhood....and don't get me started on some of the quite frankly weird books that pass as childrens' stories these days.....Enid Blyton is just fine by me!

Well, in very Famous Five-esque style we took our own family adventure today to an island.....not too unlike Kirran Island......complete with a picnic lunch..........

The boat trip was about 20 minutes, just perfect for fidgety boys, on sparkly water with blue skies to boot.

I had been to this island when I was a young thing, but as I remember, it couldn't have been more different on a grey, cool was just perfect!  The beaches were soft pale sand and the sea was beautifully clear.

The island is home to some Cistercian Monks, who live and worship in this big abbey

Here are my boys looking through the gates, most of the monastery is not accessible to women....I wonder if my hubby is thinking 'imagine how much simpler life could be!'

There are a couple of churches on the island and one of them housed some beautiful stained glass.

Tree of Life, designed and made in 1924 by one of the monks...Theodore Baily.

This glass depicts Mary,  baby Jesus and St. Helena

Also made by the same Benedictine monk, this fish glass has a very modern feel I think.

After taking a leisurely walk around the island, we headed back to the beach for a roll around in the sand.
Sand Angels

A couple of glances back as we get back on the return boat

Who needs Caribbean holidays?

We didn't wash our sandwiches down with lashings of homemade lemonade, but we did round the day off with some rather delicious ice-creams (sorry, no pics, I was too busy eating!)

Such a wonderful day....thanks for stopping by to share it with us!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Year of projects - 05.08.12

Ten stitch twist in King Cole Riot

I'm not sure if my progress has slowed on this, or if its  just that it takes longer to go around now..........still loving the colour changes and I think I will aim for blanket size, rather than just cushion size.  The answer is probably to do it alongside other projects and say to myself there is no I've said before, I'm not a long-haul kinda gal, but I think this one may be worth it, as it's rather lovely.

So to keep me going, I decided to make a little birthday gift for my niece who will be two next week....can you guess what it is yet?

She is a massive Peppa Pig fan so this was an obvious present!

I was a little disappointed with the patterns I found on ravelry, so decided to give it a whirl myself, and I'm really pleased with the results....I can't help looking at it and laughing!

Anyway....that's about it for today..... we have a party to go to this evening with a childrens' entertainer, which having done lots of 'scoot and skate' and 'ruff and tumble' parties recently, I am really looking forward to....Ooooh, I do hope he does balloon animals :-)

When I get back this evening, I  am looking forward to sitting down with my Sunday night cuppa and  catching up with everyone else....until then....hope you have a great week!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

High tea and holidays

So the boys are now nearing the end of week two of their summer holidays....the pace has definitely slowed a lot and relaxing the routines has certainly been welcome.

With  dog-walking normally done while the boys are in school, Chester's walks have been varied and noisier recently!

Rain or shine, we've been at the beach which has been great fun taking time to 'see' the things the boys see.  We've collected pebbles, shells, fossils, smoothed glass.......

(I have quite a growing collection of little pebbles of glass now, with no real thought as to why!)

Yesterday, to ring the changes, we invited some family for a high-tea......I do love to sit and look through my cookbooks and plan a meal or party......aside from eating, it is one of my favourite things to do.....maybe it is the anticipation of the eating!

The boys got involved by making a menu for our guests.........

While I got on with the baking....Chocolate biscuit bars, Rose flavoured  cupcakes, Courgette, walnut and cinnamon cake and Mixed berry muffins

All of the recipes came from this many lovely things to choose from.  I also made cheese muffins from the recipe page on Nattie's lovely blog Florence and Rose....these have become a family favourite (and famously, some months ago, Chester, the constantly hungry beagle, ate one in less than a second off an unattended plate!)

The cake above had a mystery ingredient which I purposely left off the menu, as I knew one middle sized boy would refuse to eat it if he only knew......

Needless to say, it tasted jolly good and middle boy even tried a bit after he heard there was courgette in it!

We went the whole hog with cucumber and smoked salmon sandwiches.....washed down with a nice cuppa!  I wouldn't mind eating like this every day of the week.

What about you.....what is your idea of a perfect meal?  I like the tradition of high tea, with  crust less cucumber sandwiches, dainty cakes (to be honest none of my cakes were delicate or dainty!) and tea in a china tea-cup.

Thank you for all of your thoughtful comments on my previous post....we are blessed indeed that everyone was safe and any losses will be covered by insurance.