Wednesday, 29 January 2014

An unhappy start to the new year :0(

The first few weeks of 2014 certainly have not been kind to me, I've had the most diabolical cold I've ever had the misfortune to catch which made me really poorly for well over a week, although thanks to the power of echinacea, sumbuccol, honey, lemon and ginger mine only lasted 9 days whereas my poor hubby who unwisely poo-poo'd my attempts to stop my cold in its tracks is now into his 3rd week of it and still rough. Then to add utter insult to injury the muscle in my shoulder went into spasm, I have never experienced pain like it, and have to admit I think it may have been worse than labour! Thankfully though I have an amazing Osteopath who worked hard on it and a very understanding GP who gave me kick ass pain killers and a tot of diazepam and it finally seems to be easing, but by gosh was it painful.

The weather here in good old Somerset is still diabolical and it is still raining! So many places are completely flooded out, some have even become marooned on islands of high ground amid metre deep floodwater unable to leave without the aid of a boat. I'm beginning to think that if we have much more rain poor Somerset will sink without trace beneath the waves never to be seen again and will become England's first Great Lake!!!!! 

Water, water and more water, far more water than you can shake a malacca stick at!

The upside to all this rain and pain, is that I've spent lots of days at home, sleeping, watching daytime TV, (what an eye opener that was!) and of course crafting. I finished the minion mittens to his masters exacting specifications: they had to be flip over at the top so he could use his fingers and he wanted his thumb sticking out, the minions had to be smiling and he wanted one of each, so with these instructions in mind I set to and brought a pair of minions to life...............

I handed them over in trepidation while little H with his very exacting standards inspected them carefully then he looked at me very very seriously and I was dreading hearing the words "I don't like them" but to my relief, he grinned from ear to ear and beamed, "I love them Mummy" and gave me a big sloppy 5 year old type of kiss and a fabulous great big hug, the kind that are reserved especially for Mummies :0) xx

I also wanted to try my hand at some patchwork, I used to do hexagon English paper piecing patchwork when I was about 18, it was my babysitting project that I took with me every time. If I dug around in the cupboard above the stairs I'm pretty sure it's still lurking in there, half finished, somewhere.

I had a bag of oddsies of fabric that I had saved for such a project, so whilst stuck at home not wanting to spread the evil cold about I decided to give it a go. I didn't really have much idea of what I wanted to do, all I knew was that I wanted a new cushion cover to replace the tatty one that kept letting the feathers out, so I just spread it all out on the floor and made it up as I went. 

I stitched all my squares together, and added a border and corner pieces. It looks great, the colours and patterns work well together and I was happy to leave it as it was and make it up into a cushion, then my friend showed me her Belle and Boo book Craft Book and I fell head over heals in love with Boo the rabbit. Its inspired from Mandy Sutcliffe's books about a little girl called Belle and her toy rabbit Boo and is absolutely delightful (yet another book to add to my 'I want' list) 

I particularly loved this picture of Boo

So here's the cushion cover so far:

And then decided I just had to add Boo as an applique onto my cushion. And Ta-Dah.........

Here's Boo!

Isn't he just gorgeous! I made him out of felt and flipped him to face the other way and he has made my average patchwork cushion simply AMAZING.

I'm almost finished now, I've just got to finish constructing the cushion by adding a back panel and stitching the two together and my scratchy old feather cushion will be transformed into something really rather special, all thanks to a lovely fluffy bunny!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Baby it's cold outside!

Golly gosh was it cold this morning, I was genuinely shocked when I drew back the curtains and discovered a hard frost coating everything. It was so cold even the wheelie bin was frozen shut until the sun defrosted it. I know it's nothing like the big freeze being experienced in America, but it's been so mild for the last few weeks I just wasn't expecting it to be -2.

I am the first to admit that I am sooooooo lucky to live where I do. Rural Somerset, in my opinion, takes some beating and on a frosty cold but bright sunny day I wouldn't care to live anywhere else.

After wrapping up warm, including Jasper Puppy in his smart red jacket we headed out, dodging the icy puddles and dropped little H to school and then Jasper and I headed off for our usual morning stroll. The frost where it forms on car bonnets is so pretty

It's like a frozen fern............

And freezing spiky hair all over the roof of my car

Spread all over like a mystical fairy has waved her magic wand. So pretty.

As we walked, the patterns made in the frozen puddles were like something from another planet.....

It looks like they were snap frozen and I wonder whether the temperature suddenly dropped and the water froze very quickly making these amazing patterns.

Up until now it's been very wet and mild but even still I was shocked to find catkins frozen solid, glittering away in the early morning January sun. They don't normally dangle their little lamby tails of the branches until the end or February at the earliest......................

Poor things, they'll be in for a shock when the cold weather hits us, normally anytime from now until the end of February, snow, even this far south isn't unheard of.

Everywhere I looked, it seemed as if everything had been suddenly snap frozen producing beautiful patterns.............

Even the poor Daisy's looked like they'd been frozen in time.................

And then as quickly as everything froze, the weak winter sun shone down and it had all melted away by 10am.

When I collected little H from school, he complained that his hands had got very cold at playtime and he informed me in no uncertain terms that he needed some warm mittens, but not just any old mittens, oh no, he wanted minion mittens, with tops that fold back so he could still get his fingers out if he needed to use his hands. Yes Sir! So this evening I set to and started a pair of minion mittens, I'll add some pictures and the pattern once I've finished them. Oh and by the way, the minions have to be smiling and have 2 eyes and not one!!!! 

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Changing weather

It never ceases to amaze me quite how quickly the weather changes in our country, one day it can be clear blue skies with glorious wall to wall sunshine and the next it's gloomy, overcast, pouring down and blowing a gale. 

Yesterday, was beautiful, crisp but sunny. I had to go to Clarks Village in Street (you must visit it if you're ever this way, its a shoppers paradise!) to buy some shoes for my daughter so we drove in via the scenic Somerset Levels to make the most of the glorious sunshine. Lovely Lady M and I joked on the way there that if we pretended hard enough we could fool ourselves into thinking it was actually summer outside. We had the car heated up all warm and toasty and the sun streaming in, beating on our little faces like it was a mid summers day, for a few moments I think we actually believed it, that was until we parked up and opened the doors and the howling north wind wrapped itself around us and promptly dropped us right back into the middle of a British mid winter! But for a minute I could but dream!

This avenue of trees is right out on the moors, I love driving through it, for me, it has a very French feel to it for some reason?!!!

It was about 4 pm when this was taken and you can just make out the moon rising in the clear sky.

At this time of year the levels always flood, it's what they're naturally designed to do. All the way across them are very very scarily deep ditches which at other times of the year carry water, but when we have masses of rain like we have recently, they spill over and the whole of the moor floods. It's an amazing sight, if you get onto high ground and look down it really gives you an idea of how much land is submerged.

Glastonbury Tor looked fabulous standing tall against the clear blue sky

It's funny, I've lived around here all my life, but the Tor never ceases to capture my imagination every time I see it and it has a strange magical ness that surrounds it, it has a very mystical aura that imparts a real sense of happiness and well being into me, makes me feel all yellowey orange iside, full of happiness and optimism, that's the only way I can describe it!   The whole town of Glastonbury has this feel for me, it's a lovely place to visit, like it revitalises your soul. Maybe its the ley lines that all meet at the Tor itself, bringing positive energy through them, I don't know, but its one of those places that if you visited it, I'm sure you'd feel it for yourself.

The high street is full of amazing shops many with fantastic aromas from burning incense floating out the door as you pass by. There is a rock and gem shop in the middle of town that I love called simply "Crystals"  ( occasionally I allow myself a visit to treat myself to a new stone necklace and I was in there one day talking to the owner about all the properties of the different stones whilst running my hands over them. Some seem to draw you in whilst others seem to seriously repel you. I don't really know much about stone properties, I tend to just go by whether I'm drawn to them or not and I always seem to have a real draw to amber and turquoise, yet on this occasion I decided to go against my instincts and buy myself a very pretty pink stone. I can't remember exactly what it was, I think it may have been pink tourmaline. I normally spend ages feeling the stones in the palm of my hand until one "feels right" but I didn't do it with this pink one, I just grabbed one that looked good and asked the shop owner to string it onto a lace for me. As she placed it over my head and it hit my skin for some reason I had a huge negative reaction to it, everything seemed to cloud over black and I had an awful feeling of foreboding and an inner sense that I was doing something very wrong, I had to take it off immediately, there was no way I could wear that stone. The second I removed it, everything returned to normal, but it really left me feeling very shaky. I don't know what happened but I knew to stay away from that stone and even though I can't remember what it was I know that if I ever wear it again I'll know exactly what it is! I exchanged it for a beautiful piece of yellow citrine and the second i led it against my skin harmony was restored!

It's funny how these things affect you. I'm not a psychic or anything like that but I do believe that stones and how colours interact with us are really quite misunderstood. Maybe one day when life's not quite so hectic I will sit down and look into it more deeply. I think I'll just have to trust my gut feeling until then as it seems to know what's good and what's not!

But for now my busy life dashes on through, school runs to do, tea's to be cooked, lunchboxes to be filled, dogs to be walked, stories to be read, cats to be fed and so the list goes on....................but actually I love my busy family life and I wouldn't have it any other way :0)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Super sample blanket

I'm really enjoying this newest project, although its testing my brain having to recall how to do some of the stitches! I'm plodding along with it, picking it up and putting it down again, and it's one of those lovely projects that doesn't require too much counting or following of a pattern so it's easy enough to spend half an hour here and half an hour there on it.   It's grown somewhat since my last post:

It's spread out across my lap here so looks a bit bumpy and wavy, but it's actually quite a good shape. I think the bottom will need a bit of blocking but other than that its looking pretty good. I wasn't sure on the size of the finished article and lost count so many times while doing my starting chain that I gave up counting. I thought I'd done 250 chains but upon counting I have since discovered that I actually have 246.

I'll give you a little bit of a description of the rows of stitches as I progress in case anyone else fancies having a go at making on, just beware, it's pretty addictive! (I'm in the UK so all my stitches are described in UK terms)

Rows 1 to 5 are basic single crotchets in pale blue, raspberry pink, lemon yellow, lilac and sage green.
Rows 6,7 and 8 are cluster stitches in dark red and dark pink.
Rows 9 and 10 are trebles
Rows 11, 12 and 13 are a kind of zigzag and I direct you to LITTLE WOOLIES blog to see how to do this as she describes it far better than I can!
Rows 14 and 15 are half treble crochets in purple and lilac.
Row 16 is a shell stitch in raspberry
Row 17 is a half treble with a treble worked in between the shells in mint green.
Row 19 is a shell stitch in turquoise.
Row 20 is worked the same as row 17 but in sage green.
Row 21 is a half treble in sunshine yellow
Row 22 is worked as 1 treble followed by 1 chain, and missing a stitch each time to give a ladder effect.
Row 23 is half trebles
Row 24 is a row of trebles
Row 25 is dark pink bobble stitch and mid blue trebles
Row 26 is trebles worked in a mid blue

Phew 26 rows already, however looking at the size of it I think it'll take at least 200 rows to complete, I could be here a while!!!!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A belated Happy New Year 2014

Sorry it's a bit late but I've finally made it into 2014, we've all been enjoying being home together and doing things together. I love it when everyone is home, but sadly it's drawing to a close as the kids return to school and Mark goes back to work, it's going to be a bit quiet and lonely around here when they do, but ooh what an excuse for a new project! (Well actually I've already started in but more from that later)

The weather here has been FOUL, constant rain, gusty gales and to top it all off hailstones and inch across

I have never ever seen hail stones this big! It sounded unbelievable and unfortunately our poor caravan roof looks like someone's beaten the roof all over with a hammer, all I can say is its a good job it's insured as Mark's pretty sure it's a write off :0(

The South-West of the UK has been battered really hard by the huge Atlantic storms hitting us, and has caused terrible flooding with rivers bursting their banks and storm surges of up to 13.5 metres in the Bristol Channel.

This photo was taken locally of the Cob in Lyme Regis

And this is beautiful West Bay just around the corner

The harbour floor is about 10 metres below!

On the plus side however, it's been the perfect excuse to snuggle up inside with the pretty Christmas lights twinkling and finally finish my rainbow blanket that was inspired way back last year by the beautiful rainbow I saw coming out of the sea in Burnham On Sea. 

And here it is in all it's finished glory......................................

Woo-hoo finally complete :0) 

I've got mixed emotions about this blanket, it was one of those that I just wasn't sure about when I was making it and nearly abandoned it on several occasions but in the end it came good! I was going to put a border on it but after I'd put it all together decided that it was good just as it was so left just a plain navy edging on it. I made it on my lovely Clover amour 5.5 crochet hook and used Robin Acrylic for the lilac, purple, blue, green, pink and navy, Stylecraft for the orange and King Cole for the yellow

I also made 2 pairs of slippers as Christmas presents for my friends children Elizabeth and William...............

And then I started my new project, it's something I've had my eyeing for ages and finally I've got the chance to start it. Firstly I have it admit, unfortunately none of it is my design, but oh how I wish it was, no,  the design is all down to a couple of my favourite bloggers Little Woolie and Another Vegetarian, find them here:  

I think I'll be using the pattern from little Woolie and the colour choices from Another Vegetarian, with a few of my 
own colour choices and adaptations to the pattern as I go along.

This is Little Woolies:

 And this is Another Vegetarian's

Very similar but I love the colour's in another vegetarian's blanket.   I'm hoping mine will be as amazing as both of these as they truly are works of art in their own right. I started mine 2 days ago and this is how far I've got.......................

He he, only about 7cm's wide but it's a start! I'm using lots of different yarns from my ever expanding stash and am working it on my trusty green 5.5 Clover Amour hook, watch out for updates xx