Thursday, 17 September 2015

Blanket love

Well, you might think you could get bored of doing the same thing.....but you know, no matter how many blankets I make, I still want to make more!

About three months ago, we bought a caravan, in a bid to make family holidays a little more affordable, having three school aged children and dogs makes for an expensive getaway always.

Our first caravan holiday went swimmingly, it was so relaxing.....yes, we forgot things, but it was lovely having all your own things to hand.....and who knew that you could carry so many crochet/knitting projects when you have a whole caravan to fill ;-)

Well, it wasn't long until there were 'caravan blankets' being crocheted frantically!

This is middle boy's blanket who has a liking for  yellow and blue....and was so excited when I finally sewed in the final lose ends....doesn't that make you so warm inside when something you've made is so wanted?

This is biggest boy's (as seen on the last post)....far more grown up and sophisticated!

This is littlest boy's....I had already made this, so it has been re-purposed as a 'caravan blanket'

And if I haven't made enough, I find myself making another at the moment, this one a car seat blanket for a new baby girl....I am really enjoying it, as it's a totally different design to the ones I have made previously....I'll show you next time.

On other yarn news, I bought the above from a lovely etsy shop Mothy and the looks amazing, you can't see all the rainbow colours in it, but it is called Summer Skies Rainbow.....I think it will be a shawl....hhmmm shawls, just mini blankets eh?!  The delivery was next day and I got some lovely stitch markers to boot!  How thoughtful is that!

On non-yarny news, this is my mad hubby, finishing his first Iron Man....that's 2.4 mile swim, 122 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run....I was too stressed at the time to take it all in, but I've shed a few tears since.  He raised £500 for a local food and clothing bank.....MY HERO!

Just to leave you with more happy thoughts, here's the caravan blankets, littlest boy, middle boy, biggest boy and mummy blankets....hubby denies needing one.....will it stop me???

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


Well, as ever, my life can hardly be described as uneventful.  These school holidays have been filled with all sorts of bits and bobs.  I often think I haven't done much until I look back through my pictures.  It must be the sign of a blogger (up-to-date or not!) who always takes photos of everything!

So a quick look at just a few makes, the above ripple is for biggest boy, and actually is now finished, ends sewn in, border added and in situ on bed (I must go and rescue it to take some pics before it is too lived-in)

The below toe up socks are Lousie Tillbrook's Have Fun Socks, and were started rather haphazardly, ripped out after realising I wasn't concentrating and have gone so far and been put down in favour of crochet....I'm sure they will come back in to their own when I am back on the school runs again next week.  It is nice to have a take-a-long project.

Biggest boy has been away on a church camp with friends and was part of a nativity dress-up (he was dressed as Michael Jackson....don't ask!) and a last minute non-delivery of wings meant that I was rustling up these at midnight before they left early the next morning.  I love a challenge....I also love the fact I have one of everything in my craft cupboard!  

I've had my sewing machine out a few times recently and have rustled up a number of cushions, which is a great short job that I enjoy.  Cushions that I have made for our caravan.

This is a patchwork cushion cover made up with wool blanket remnants from a local woolen mill.  I made this for an old Welsh friend who now lives in America.  The word 'Hiraeth' is a welsh word for a homesickness for Wales.  I really enjoyed making this....such an enjoyable make.

I have done loads of baking, actually, I think I've truly bought up much of the baking section in our local supermarket.  We've had friends to stay and I've baked until I've dropped a few times for various get togethers.  This cake below was a requested pig birthday cake....hhhmmm...

What with all the baking, there has had to be a bit of activity too.  I have taken up a bit of running again, although the term running  is used loosely!  As a family (even the dog) we have done a couple of Parkruns which have a weekly 5k run about an hour away from us.  My hubby is a runner and a nutter so he cycles the 30 or so miles to  the parkrun and then runs at snails pace with me at the back, and then cycles back home....impressive on his part, less so on mine...but hey, its an effort in the right direction!

Middle boy wanting to be like his Dad in everything has done a couple of kid's triathlons and this is him after the most recent one, which was a mudbath but much fun was had despite taking a good slide along a muddy field and landing flatout....up he gets, grinning from ear to ear and came in third in his small group.

And here he is, the hubster himself after completing a middle distance triathlon Ocean Lava Wales. This is a pre-cursor to The Big-One which is Iron Man in three short weeks' time.  The Iron Man is a 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike and a 26.2mile run.

I'm so proud of him, its only 18months since he did his first run, a half marathon on a foggy beach.

If only I had some of that determination....can you imagine how many things I could crochet and knit!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Catching up....again....

It always seems to me that I'm trying to catch up....ever have that feeling too?

We are now a week and a bit into the children's big holidays, and everything is passing-by even quicker than it was before.

But I figured rather than try and cover all the news, I will at least show you my latest finished shawl.

Der Querdenker  by Petra Neumann....translated into English from German (I think my next German pattern I should try in German, could make the knitting so much more of a challenge!)

The yarns were ones I had on my shelf (I was sorely tempted to splash out though!) the blue and the green were both bought in the Waterfront in Cape Town, both spun and dyed by Nurturing Fibres. The Pink was a bought from Perran Yarns left over from a previous make,,.,,,and there's yet more still to make something else too!

This was a lovely shawl to make with a swing knitting short row technique that I had not done before. The technique made sense, was easy enough and actually to me, was a better way to do it than I've done previously (which was always a bit hit and miss).  All in all, a really nice project.  This is now packed up and winging its way across the pond to a lovely German teacher in America who helped me so much in my recent German exam......but that's another story!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Make-along #2

So two weeks and a bit into Crafts from the Cwtch's Make-along and I am making fairly good progress, I can't tell you how lovely it is to be knitting seems like I've been away for years (which isn't true of course) but it's a happy reunion.  I've even managed to do some knitting-on-the-go, the best thing about doing a small project like this is I can chuck it in the car and hope that I'll find a spare few minutes  to fit some knitting in....and I have!

Der Querdenker

It isn't exactly the best choice of colours, and actually the photos don't really show them as they are....but I am enjoying the design and the colours work with it I think.  I wanted to show you my inspiration....when I first started with the blue and green, they so made me think of the bluebells, although try as I might, I have not managed, on many occasions, to capture the real deep blue I could see.  Anyway....the pink made me think of the pink campions as it started to work in.....

I'm enjoying this one....I'm also looking forward to doing another shawl as soon as this one is off the needles....I think I have certainly discovered my weakness.....I've always had a huge blanket obsession, but shawls are just mini-blankets right?  Comforting, warm, pretty and quicker to make than blankets.....what could be better?

Monday, 4 May 2015

knitting again!

I've been rather 'stuck' in a crochet rut recently, the offending article being a teeny-tiny baby blanket that should have been finished in a week, but actually ran to two months....ooooppppssss!

Anyway, the blanket is now hopefully, wrapped around its new owner....although, I am a little bothered that the weather has vastly improved since I started it!

So with blanket gone, I turned my attention to the yarn I bought in Cape Town....a multi-coloured dk with a lovely sheen....a bit fat chunky brightly coloured yarn....some pink banana yarn.....some deep green merino....

I seem to have caught a bug for knitting shawls at some stage, so I've been itching to break into the green lace-weight, looking for the opportunity, so when Sarah Crafts from the Cwtch  announced her make-along I was there!

So I've made a start, after much deliberation on Der Querdenker  I was tempted to download the pattern in German, but figured I may get myself into a real tangle.  The pattern uses a new-to-me method of doing short rows, swing-knitting, which I will let you know how I get on!

While I've only just begun, I am enjoying the colours so much, the blue yarn, is also one that came back from Cape Town last year when my well trained hubby bought me some back from his holiday.

I will be adding in another colour, but at the moment, it so reminds me of the bluebells in the garden.

After a grey and wet weekend (in which mein Mann decided to do his first trail run competition on the coast paths....28 miles later...wet, muddy and cold) today has been a pretty good Bank Holiday, so we got out with boys and dogs and did a 7-miler.

It has been busy, busy, busy around here....I have both my French and German open university courses finishing this month, with a final examiner assessment.  For the German, I have a live spoken assessment, that if I think about for too long, I start to feel queasy....learning a language is all very well and good....but actually speaking and being asked questions....a whole different ball game!

I've also been doing a huge amount of baking, unfortunately not for us all of the time.  I do love to cook, almost as much as I like to eat...

Anyway, one final picture of one of the puds I've made, lemon, mascarpone, frangipane and cherries....yum!

Saturday, 18 April 2015

...and everything in between.....

Easter this year has been a lovely time.....the weather here has been glorious.  Doesn't it make everything just right?!

We set out walking on a new route this week, an area that we haven't been to before, where there are the remains of an old slate/shale quarry It was established in  the 1840's, but has been out of commission for some years now.  The remains are spectacular, eerie and in some places quite sad.  Silent and empty.

I spotted this little archway above where we were walking on a  slate  bank, so we all clambered up. Well worth the effort as there was a sight to behold captured by a torch and a mobile phone camera.

 (photo care of hubby's phone camera and middle boy's eerie is that?)

There was a secret just around the corner

A perfect picnic spot

I love getting out in the  wilderness with the boys and dogs.....I find it puts your body right somehow, especially if you are otherwise cooped up a lot during  the week.  I can't put my finger on what happens, but being outdoors brings balance, I was feeling quite out of sorts and a bit despondent when we got back from our hollies, but getting out on a good long walk, put me back to rights!

Biggest boy turned twelve,  his birthday was guitar focused, guitar cake and a guitar to go with it.  I am so pleased to encourage my boys in music and creativity, I am so thankful for all my creative exploits, especially the music....even when the going is tough, losing yourself in music puts everything in perspective.


(this post has been lurking in my edit list for an age, landlines down and then very slow broadband, it is surprising how much we have all got used to having google at our does life continue without search engines I wonder?!  So it is far less than everything in between, there has been much food, more walking, some crafting, lots of learning...)

Sunday, 29 March 2015

South Africa - our first family visit.

Last month, as you already know, we had a family adventure......we travelled to South Africa to spend two weeks in the sunshine, visiting all the places that my husband (who was born near Cape Town) used to go to as a kid.  

We did a fair mix of everything, the touristy stuff, catching up with friends and a good deal of eating good food and relaxing.

Here are a selection of memories...(this is very abridged, and I won't bore you with details of all the lovely food we ate!)

We did the long haul, Birmingham to Dubai...Dubai to Cape Town...17 hours in total.

Unfortunately not everything went quite as swimmingly as it should and we ended up just missing our connection in Dubai as it was a bit cloudy  to land.  This meant us spending a day in Dubai.... as it turned out, it was a great experience for all of us, a chance to look around this spectacular place....Its all about the wow factor, interesting to see, but I'm happy if that is my one and only visit there.

(us wearing all the wrong clothes, but not having our suitcases meant no other certainly makes me realise I will never pack the same again!)

 The tallest building in the world

So after we finally arrived a day later than hoped, we slept, caught up and then hit the road...

This place is just so beautiful....I didn't go with any  ideas what it may be like, and therefore was just blown away by the scenery....especially the mountains, rising up out of the sea....the blue-green seas the whiter-than-white sands.

This is Misty Cliffs, breathtakingly beautiful...

 Littlest boy holding a croc (with it's beak well and truly shut tight!)

Cape Point (which actually isn't the lowest point) a beautiful nature reserve with the Indian Ocean one side and the Atlantic on the side somewhat cooler.  We had the most amazing meal in a restaurant overlooking the oceans, a memory hard to beat, and as one of the boys pointed out when I said how romantic the setting was, we were there on Valentine's day.

We looked out for baboons the whole time when we were in South Africa, but right at the end of the holiday, we finally saw them here.  (They have been a real menace in the past, and with tourists feeding them they can be fairly aggressive, they are not as dominant as they were thankfully, as people have been employed to keep them in the mountains where they are safer and people are not in danger of being attacked).  While we were at the reserve we saw ostriches and dassies also

 Around every corner there were views like this one....white sands and turquoise seas....stunning.  This is Noordhoek beach where my hubby went dogwalking when he was a young lad.

This is a photo taken from Chapman's Peak, a breath taking view across to Hout Bay where my Father-in-law used to work (which we later drove around to and saw seals on the dock)

This is the catwalk at Fish Hoek where my husband grew up.

Boulders beach where they have resident penguins.  While we were here, there were baby penguins, all fluffy and brown sitting in dug out holes in the sand....sooo cute!

We visited Cape Town (I bought some yarn!) and then we took the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain.

The views from the top of Table Mountain are glorious....what an awesome day it was.

The beach at Fish Hoek has people shark spotting in the high places.  When a shark is seen, a siren goes off to warn people.  The day after the boys were surfing, this happened and it really was quite chilling.  The shark had come in with the fishing boats.

When my husband was a little boy he regularly went surfing after school, but in the last fifteen years or so there has been a big increase in great whites.  I was relieved I  admit when the surfing finished!

 Middle-boy who turned out to be a real natural.

Littlest boy taking a break from the surf!

Mastered! (and thankfully I got the photo when they were both up at the same time!)  This day will remain with the boys, as they had a wonderful time.  This was a surfing masterclass from my hubby's old scout master who believe it or not is still doing the job today....we took the boys to cubs and learned about how the South African cubs run things.

This wasn't the trip of a lifetime, as we hope to go again, maybe even soon.  The husband took part in a marathon while we there, and hopes to do 'The Two Oceans' ultra-marathon next year.

I loved it....we only saw a small part of it, but it is an amazing country, and I can't wait to go back!