Thursday, 29 April 2010

Parcels in the Post

Don't you just love receiving parcels in the post, even when you've bought them yourself and you know what's inside? It's so exciting. My friend and I send each other's birthday presents through the post even if we're getting together because we both love receiving packages; the extra money for postage is part of the gift - daft I know.
My parcel today was from Kemp's Wools on Twiglet's recommendation. They have some excellent reductions and so I felt duty bound to buy this Regia sock yarn at £1.20 a ball . It's guaranteed for ten years can you believe?
Apparently it self stripes too!
The needles were another bargain at 99p with fab little rubber socks on the ends to keep them all together - how cute!
My other parcel was more jewellery supplies: smaller package, significantly larger price tag.

I'd love to say I'm off to create, but I've got some serious gardening jobs to get through first...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

The View From My Window

I am very fortunate to live overlooking a 1930s park and the view from my lounge window at this time of year is stunning:

In a couple of months'time, this will be loaded with cherries. Passers by get to pick what they can reach and the birds get the rest. It makes for interesting coloured splatters on the cars parked nearby - if you know what I mean.

I bought some lovely looking tulip bulbs last year but because of the snow, I only planted them about 7 weeks ago. Imagine my delight to see them flowering already:

Remember my pink bags that I really didn't like here ? Well I overdyed them and although they're still not my first choice of colours, They look much better and if they don't sell, I'll be giving them as Christmas presents - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Finally to all you cash-savvy shoppers out there. Buy a Telegraph on Saturday or Sunday (£1.80) and there will be a Body Shop voucher inside to the value of £5 with no minimum spend.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Calling All Crocheters & Knitters

I'm in urgent need of pattern ideas. I bought this gorgeous yarn a couple of years ago and I'm desperate to make something with it.
As usual with greens, the photo doesn't really do it justice. It's a gorgeous rich colour, 2 ply, 50% lambswool & 50% cotton which is incredibly soft. Pictured also are my newly purchased crochet hooks just itching to get to work, but for the right pattern I would knit with it. All suggestions gratefully received.

I also fancy making something with this lovely random-dyed cotton DK for the summer.

 I knitted a pair of socks here with it and now they've been washed, I think the yarn would look lovely with faded denim in the summer. Again, any suggestions please?

Finally, on the subject of fibre, here I asked for ideas with the coarse shetland-type wool I had. Poppy Cottage kindly sent me some bag patterns. One that she had knitted with a pointy bottom (the bag, that is, not her) sounded good, so I adapted the pattern slightly to include a flap and a shoulder strap. This is a photo of it drying after it's 2nd 60 degrees machine wash, stuffed with a football for shape. I've got a nice button to finish it off and still got loads of wool left. What do you think?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Green Fingers and an Aching Back

I've spent the lovely sunny days lying on my sun lounger, soaking up the rays. Well in my mind I have, in reality my body doesn't know what's hit it. The spring-like weather has had a similar effect on me to that which it has on mole. "Bother spring-cleaning!" Actually, I say that every year, whatever the weather, but the last two weeks have seen me digging, weeding, sawing, shredding, barrowing etc. so pockets in the garden are looking almost respectable:
Waiting to burst into growth.

One of my jobs involved digging out a bed by the patio that was overrun with couch grass and had too much soil in it. Ten barrow loads had to go to the top of the garden (100ft long, on a slope with two sets of steps!) My poor back.
This is it now, waiting to be planted with things that will lend a mediterranean feel to it and be fragrant. The trouble is, because it's at the bottom of a slope, it holds the water well and so I'm not sure if things like lavender will be happy there. Any suggestions?

This was part of the original garden and has these lovely rusted plaques - not sure what they were - just ornamental? That's the edwardians for you.
I've managed to move part of a conifer we had taken down last November and put it to use as a seat with ready made cup-of-tea shelf for the poor old gardener (me) to rest awhile:

The weather has obviously got to Missy who has decided she's pregnant and is furiously pulling bits of fur out to make a nest:


Monday, 12 April 2010

A.W.L in the Sunshine

I've been away for a while and you've all been so busy blogging, I've much to catch up on. We had to delay our trip to Scotland for a day because of the dreadful blizzards, but when we got there, there was very little sign of the snow:

Although actually, when we tried to do a bit of hill walking, what we thought was a dusting of snow, were in reality drifts that were knee-to-thigh height:

The other half fell into one that had a stream cleverly disguised underneath and I was reliably informed by my eldest that he said a naughty word - tsk tsk!
It was really hard work walking throught the drifts, but spectacular views and good clean mountain air. The call of the coast was too much for me, and although we were inland and some family members protested greatly (you know who you are!), Good Friday saw us beachcombing in glorious sunshine, albeit with a biting wind. ( Child labour saw my stocks of sea glass replenished) :
We were staying overlooking a river. One of the few times I've cursed double glazing as it blocked out the river's incessant chatter which was so meditative. It even moved me to go running along its banks with my eldest- don't worry, I had the emergency services on standby. On one of my sorties, I discovered a fabulous disused water-powered mill (sorry, no photo; hauling my huge mass was enough without the weight of extra equipment) which I will buy and restore if I ever come into a load of money. There was info about how they used the river to power so many mills within a mile of where I stood - producing flax products such as rope. Apparently this particular mill was the first to convert flax into linen production - all powered by the river - how green was that. I just can't figure out why it's not used in production now. I'm sure fossil fuel does it quicker, but speed at what cost to our planet...shame!
The river called me out for more than just my morning run, youngest pixie face enjoyed looking for merrymaids, fairies and trolls in the river:

Along with hide and seek

I'd read about a small museum in a place called Meigle housing  a collection of Pictish stones that I just had to visit. They were so good I'm tenpted to blog them all ( but I won't, don't worry). Some of them were well over 7ft tall and had been ripped out of the cemetery and used as foundation for the local church. here's a sample:

One huge stone had been taken from in front of a mound in the church cemetery, believed to be the grave of Guinevere, who having apparently been abducted and raped by Mordred, was killed by Arthur. The guy at the museum was explaining that the previous year, some expert dowser had come to the graveyard and the mound had sent his rods "haywire" indicating that something undesirable lay there - spooky! (Although the very nice curator's name was Blair Kerr & I couldn't wait to get outside & point this out to other half in a very childish fashion)
The only wet day we had ( I know, Scotland as well, better weather than we've had on our summer hols for the last few years), we went to Dunkeld and visited the ruined cathedral. In the not-yet-ruined part was this fabulous celtic cross made out of driftwood. It looks like part of the fabric of the builing, but is only a few years old

Sadly, we had to return home, but what fabulous weather - I've managed to get all of the holiday washing dry, host an-almost-teenage, end of easter holiday barbeque which turned into a water fight (I should've known).
Also had little preschoolers around who made a magical ladybird house- look closely, you can see them giving the place the once-over