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Monday, 7 October 2013

Testing Testing...Ask Me What I am Knitting...

I know...long time no see.  I do think about Blogland but I just don't make time to write.  I am not sure if I will or if I won't but it is all ok.  I have wondered about moving Blogs...fresh starts are always, erm...refreshing?  I do miss my Blog buddies but I know you are all still out there doing your thing.

If you ask me what I am knitting, I will gently correct you and say 'actually this is crochet'.  I am currently working on a pink Granny stripe piece for this Peace scarf.

I absolutely love a peace protest, especially when it involves yarn...and so much the better if it is pink.  As the mother of two boys, I like to work in pink!  The more lurid the better.  If you click this link it will take you to the website 'Wool Against Weapons' and it will tell you all about it.  I am happy to have my crochet Mojo back.  I can't photograph my bit yet, because my camera cable has disappeared. I still need to have a quiet word with the dog and ask her what my phone charger was doing in her basket, along with a stolen 'Apple and Cinnamon' muffin.  She is a very clever dog, I never catch her in the act of being 'naughty'.
I have finished making and collecting Premature Baby clothes for now, I have not forgot I need to update you with photographs of the lovely bundle of makes that I have to donate.  We have a holiday in three weeks I will try and drop it off at the hospital then.  Hospitals are always in need of these things...I guess my timing is not crucial.
           If anyone did feel particularly motivated to crochet or knit a square or two in a lurid shade of pink, I would be more than happy to piece them together and send them off to 'Wool Against Weapons'.  You know how to get in touch with me.  It would be great to hear from you.  XXX

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Things That Go Bump In The Night...

I had a bit of an exciting visitor to the garden last night.  It was exciting for the dog who alerted me to it by non stop barking, late!  I went outside to see if it was a cat or I half expected a rat.  I hoped it was not a fox as the internal door from the chicken coop fell off in my hand on Sunday night so the girls are barricaded in at bedtime until I can repair the coop.  (I will repair it asap!  Jeesh, first the sewing machine, now I will be let loose with a hammer and nails).
      I had my camera at the ready, always a great form of protection I think when your 'guard dog' goes off in the night, yeah grab your camera and venture outside.  I have the attitude that an intruder would have to be pretty brave or daft to choose our house.   I had a bit of camera trouble in the pitch black.  I took nine shots identical to the one above because it was too dark for me to see what all the buttons were on my camera and the flash kept being silly.  The shade of black in each picture maybe slightly different.  I couldn't see what I was pointing at in the dark.  I thought that taking photographs of chickens and camera shy dogs is tricky.  Taking photographs of nocturnal, wild creatures, late at night is in another realm altogether.  I think this one may have been poorly.  I also think the three times that the flash did decide to go off was not appreciated.
It is a shame the flash reflected in the Hedgehogs eye.  It ran away and hid for a while and was very still.  It didn't curl up in a ball though.  It was a big Hedgehog.  I wonder if 'it' was a 'she' and she is in the 'family way'.  Usually Hedgehogs are pretty fast this one was slow.  I put some water down and I put a small amount of raw beef down.  It seemed interested but too frightened while I was out there.
Very cute.  I don't know if they bite?  My Mom told me when I was small that Hedgehogs have lots of fleas.  It looks like it would be like picking up a cactus.
This is my third and final hedgehoggy shot, it is very similar to my first two hedgehoggy shots but I am proud  three out of twelve photographs actually included the subject.  The Hedgehog turned around and ran to the wall by the garden shed.  It jumped off the wall with about a half meter drop.  I did not know Hedgehogs could jump,  perhaps blinded by the flash, it fell!  It made a lot of snuffly, snorty noises, maybe it bumped its nose in the fall and then I heard it scamper off and rustle in some leaves.   Lots of slugs and snails used to live by the shed and I only thought the other day that they have all gone.  I think this hedgehog may be in residence rather than just passing by.  Maybe we could have hoglets in the garden.  The dog will love that.   I love the word hoglet. 


Friday, 31 May 2013

Colourful Crochet

Things have not gone to plan this week.  We have had a wet Half Term week.   It means cabin fever creeps in and the floors get muddy.  We have been quite happily housebound.  When we have popped out we have got soaked for our efforts.  Today it is sunny with blue sky.  The chickens are on the lawn as even they have been cooped up for a few days.
         'Every cloud has a silver lining' they say.  While I was tidying, ahem, well attempting to tidy but there are too many distractions.  I found the thimble, it was in the vicinity of the sewing box.   We like thimbles back in their rightful place.
I also found a whole pack of 'Rico Creative Cotton' that had fallen behind a cupboard and been long forgotten.  So the housework got forgotten too and I played with colourful yarn instead.  It was a nice, neat new pack but I forgot to photograph it.   I still have plenty left to play with.

   I have wanted to explore crochet mandalas and had a go at Crochet with Raymond's free pattern for the 'African Flower Mandala'.  I think my colour choices were adventurous to say the least.
I followed this tutorial from 'Beckycafe'  the other Mandala.  Mandalas are the perfect procrastination project.  They are quick, cheerful and if you use 100% cotton they make functional pot holders.  I think there is something kaleidoscopic about them, as I was unsure what effect the next round of colour and stitches were going to have.  ( I still have all the ends to sew in but shhh don't tell anyone).  If you search Google images for crochet Mandalas there are some amazing ones out there.  You can get lost for quite a while just looking.          
          The following collage should probably carry a health warning.  Due to the shocking colours, the mismatched stripes and the not very round Mandalas, it seems to be triggering motion sickness for myself if I stare at it for too long.  I don't recommend scrolling up and down.  The 'stripes' are washcloths, you can't beat a 100% cotton, crochet wash cloth in my humble opinion.
Wet holidays are not all bad.  I really should go, too much yarn and too little time and a laundry mountain to tackle.  XXX

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Nemesis and Hunt The Thimble

  This photograph makes me laugh with it's unlikelihood.  The kitchen table.  The Iron and the Sewing Machine together in one shot, (and a Basil plant).  I got the ironing board out today and the dog ran away.  That is how accustomed she is to me ironing.  I think the ironing board is older than me though and it does open with an ominous creak and clatter.  I can count on my fingers how many times I have used the sewing machine and I have managed to break a needle already.   I have decided this machine has to be called 'Nemesis'.
         I had the brainwave that 'Napkins' for my trusty 'Picnic Basket' would be a good beginners project to teach myself how to sew.  With the help of the foolproof diagram that is actually printed and numbered in sequence on the machine, I can 'remember' how to thread her up.  Sometimes I could just lie down and quit at this stage though.  Threading a machine/needle can be as lucky as a 'hole in one' and then there are times when you really would think it would be easier to get 'a camel through the eye of the needle'.  I think I may need an eye test, threading a needle is getting increasingly challenging over the years. NB:  I have found the light!  On the sewing machine.  It makes threading the needle a lot easier! Tut!
 These fat quarter bundles found their way into my basket. I thought sewing 'napkins' would be 'a breeze'.   The penny has finally dropped about 'sewing'.  Measuring and ironing can outweigh the actual sewing part in time consumption.  Nobody told me that!  I spent hours measuring, pinning and pressing a 1/4 inch double hem on each napkin.  (I don't even know what quarter of an inch is as I am fully decimalised).  Ironing can be quite good fun when it is in preparation for sewing and the material is pretty.  Work clothes and school uniforms are almost impossible to iron.  Nemesis is allegedly capable of sixty different stitches, I am still at the stage of praying for mastery over just one of those stitches.
I would like to be able to show you six completed napkins, I really would.  This 'simple little napkin project' is dragging on a bit now.  I am not brave enough to machine sew the trim on each napkin.  It would be futile to try as I cannot even sew in a straight line.  The trim is to hide the 'bad bits' on some of the napkins on the others the 'bad bits' are already sufficiently disguised.  I decided Napkin No. 1, needed to be 'double trimmed' with ribbon and ric rac.  The ribbon has the white stitching already on it which kind of gives the illusion of some straight lines to the napkin.  Hand sewing never entered into the plan at the the start of this simple 'learn to use the sewing machine' project.  I really needed to use a thimble to help me sew through a double layer of trim and a double hem.  (Ouch, one finger is still recovering).  I found my silver thimble that was my grandmother's 21st Birthday present.  In fact it is my only thimble.  It makes sewing a lot less painful but much more awkward.  I think my grandmother was born in 1902, so it is an old and much loved thimble.  I last saw it a couple of days ago!  I found Euan wearing it. I took it off him and told him it was very old and I would not be happy if he lost it. I have not seen it since.  We are on Half Term break here for the week and today will include housework, a 'game' of 'Hunt The Thimble' and hopefully some more sewing later. . .

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Too Eggciting!

I was not really expecting an egg any time soon although Euan and I have noticed the 'girls' have suddenly grown up in the last week.  Instead of being nervous they have been coming out of the coop with a 'swag on', hens with attitude. Their combs have really grown and are bright red.  I also heard their first proper 'cluck' this week and it was rather noisy and assertive.  I went up the garden last night with a torch to say goodnight and fox proof the coop for the night.  These girls have high security living conditions!  I shone the torch into the nest box to complete the head count...yep both chickens present and correct and an egg!  It is very exciting to find the first egg, well I think so anyway.  It was a very small egg but none the less an egg.  'The Egg' is the one on the left next to a commercial egg,  Euan couldn't quite believe me this morning when I woke him up and showed it to him.  He shot out of bed, donned his dressing gown and wellies (rather a good look) and ran up the garden.  He was delighted to find two more eggs.  Chickens are the perfect pets with benefits.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A Ramble About Bluebells And Blossom (and maybe some other stuff thrown in for good measure).

Last weekend we enjoyed a scorcher of a Bank Holiday.  Very unusual for the UK.  We are usually washed out ( a bit like this weekend).  I got up nice and early to walk the dog.  I was rewarded by seeing my first Bluebells of the year.  I do love Bluebells. I used to pick great big bunches of them when I was a little girl and give them to my Nana.  She would patiently tell me that she preferred to see wild flowers growing and not in a jar but I was a one for picking flowers.
I have no idea what this flower is but I like it, what a deep colour.  I have some Merino fibre dyed this colour somewhere.  It is left over from one of my first handspun projects.  I blended Natural Grey Gotland fleece with dyed Merino and crocheted a very warm shawl.

   I have used 'Wild Flowers' as inspiration for creating handspun yarns, Daffodil, Beaded Flower Meadow and a Beaded Cherry Blossom yarns. I will write a separate blog post about them.  I would like to spin a 'Bluebell yarn' one day but I have too many projects to get on with for now.
The dog loves the meadows and so do I.  We know about the wildlife down here, especially the fox!  I have seriously gone off foxes.  Lacey likes to chase the rabbits, squirrels and birds.  She never comes close to catching anything but it does not stop her from trying.
This May blossom stretched right around the meadows.  Today one week  later this blossom has all gone.
Lacey simply will not pose for a photograph, but I worked out the best way to photograph her is not to want her in the shot,  then she will pop up all over the place in front of the camera.  I wanted to photograph the Horse Chestnut trees, or Conker Twees as they are commonly referred to in our house.  I have seriously lost count of the amount of times Euan has got stuck in these very trees.  It never seems to stop him from climbing them again and I always know what is coming next.  'Never work with children or animals' they say.
My Mom used to walk to this church for Sunday School,  from about the age of four, with her older brothers and her friends.  My family have been walking around here for decades.  Times have changed, Euan will soon be nine and I would not let him go so far from home.
I really was pleased to see my first lone clump of Bluebells for the year but nothing beats a woodland carpet of Bluebells in my opinion.  They have a really lovely fragrance too.
 Wild Garlic in contrast to the Bluebells don't arf pong.  It seems to be having a great year this year and is growing in abundance.  I harvested some, finely chopped it and sprinkled it over tomatoes, aubergine and courgettes, drizzled with olive oil it was delicious roasted.  Henry made the mistake of picking it and putting it in his coat pocket once when he was little and the smell seemed to intensify, it was rather aromatic!
I usually pause on the bridge over the river and see if I can spot a Kingfisher.  I have seen one a couple of times here, but not for a long time.  I would love to see the flash of bright, electric blue again one day.  For the whole walk the birds were busy singing.
  Back home I am greeted by this llittle apple tree.  My Mom gave it to me about five years ago for my birthday.  The variety is 'Greensleeves'.
My Mom is a 'musician' although I have not heard her play for years.  When she was younger she played the piano and clarinet in an orchestra and performed in concerts.  She worked as a music teacher in a school and we would also have students come to the house.  I can remember her playing 'Greensleeves' on an old piano that used to be in our living room.  She would  hum 'Greensleeves' as a lullaby to me when I was small.  This may be too much information but she actually hummed it to me when I was in the throws of labour having Henry.  I am not sure it did much to calm me down but I can remember her trying.  It is one of my favourite pieces of music.
             I have never seen so much blossom on one little tree.  My Neighbour has two apples trees and they have hardly any blossom.  Apple trees are a bit like that, you have to make the most of the good years.
Most of the buds are now open and the petals will soon fall like confetti.  I am glad I remembered to photograph the blossom before it is gone.  I will be sorry to see it go but after a patient wait for a few months the apples will be delicious.  I am rather getting my hopes up there will be loads of them.  I have plans for those apples.  To the left of the apple tree is a plum tree.  I was really disappointed as it has only had two flowers this year.  You can't win em all.  I am going to have a very long wait for some plum jam.
           I really should give you a quick update on my other 'Bluebell and Blossom'.  I am pleased to report they have settled into the coop happily.  They are no longer terrified and they are more than happy to oblige me in some 'chicken chat'.  They seem to be growing well and I am not surprised as they are packing away enough food.  I can pick both of them up and they do not mind at all.  I have not let them 'free range' yet because I think they are still too young and flighty (yes contrary to popular belief chickens can be flighty).  I don't want to lose anymore chickens.  I think we are still a long way off any eggs as they are so young.  They were sold as at 'point of lay' but I think I was a bit naive.  These girls can't even cluck in a grown up fashion let alone lay an egg.  They do make the garden feel like a happier place though.

About Me

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"Lived in this town all my life an‘ I’m goin’ on forty-three years old. Know everything that’s happened here since before I was born." Sheriff Tate - To Kill A Mockingbird, Worcestershire, United Kingdom
I'm Lucy,I am the other side of 40, I am not sure what I think about that! I have two sons, a teenager and an 8 year old, phew I always wanted girls! I guess these two will have to do :) I have a lovely dog and a special budgie, the budgie and I have some real heart to hearts, he talks to me more than anyone else does in this house :) I have also added three chickens to my 'brood'. Now I regularly sit in my garden having coffee with the 'Girls'.