Friday, 24 March 2017

Five on Friday - A Mixed Bag

Welcome to Five on Friday hosted this week by Tricky and Carly at Fast who have taken over from Amy at Love Made my Home. Thank you Tricky and Carly for continuing the Friday round up.

There have been more computer problems this week causing much frustration with freezing screens and difficulties in down loading photographs. I hope to post this 'Mixed Bag' and then it is a trip to our local electronics store for advice and possibly a new laptop. Finally everything has been backed up and I have no further excuse for procrastination. 

Apologies for this random selection of photos. The quality is not great and they bear little relation to each other, a bit like my week - rather disjointed.

There has been more stitching than knitting and crochet recently. A group of us get together once a month to do something crafty and last week Val, who was hosting, had organised some fabric screen print patches by Jessie Chorley for us. I had not come across Jessie's work before and we all chose a patch to work on. It was a pleasure to do some simple hand embroidery around the screen printed bunny I had chosen. The intention was to make brooches but the rabbit reminded me of Spring which I added to the patch and have started to work on patches for the other seasons in a similar style.

The embroidery I had done for my mother has been framed this week. Nothing fancy just a simple square frame from Ikea. We had an adventure together, more of an expedition as going round that particular store on crutches with a 94 year old using a walker takes some planning. We arrived early, as the store opened, hoping that it would be quiet but many young mums with babies and toddlers had the same idea. I shall leave it to your imagination as to the fun we had. Mum loves children and talks to them all and they seem to be fascinated by this tiny lady and offer her their toys. It took a while to get round but we managed to purchase everything we needed.

Today is Red Nose Day in the UK organised by Comic Relief to raise funds for charities at home and overseas. Many large stores and manufacturers get involved and this year Maltezers had a Bake a Million event where they promised to donate £5 for every picture of baking using Maltezers posted on social media with  #bakeamillion up to 1 million pounds. I posted my mice cup cakes on Instagram and quickly had a message from them saying £5 had been donated. A fun and tasty way to raise money! Thanks go to Jacquie at Bunnymummy for the information.

Picture from JST Facebook page
The Jubilee Sailing Trust tall ship Lord Nelson that I sailed on in January (here) arrived back in her home port of Southampton yesterday. After the winter spent in the warmer waters of the Canary Islands she is back home for some maintenance. In May she will be setting sail for Quebec to spend the summer in Canada. I would love to be on the return journey from Saint John, New Brunswick back to London in August/September but the 30 day voyage is just too long to be away.

It has been very cold again here this week and winter is not quite over although we have been spared the snow others have had further North. After the tragic events in London on Wednesday it was soothing to see new shoots against a blue sky yesterday morning in the garden. My heart aches for all those who were caught up in it; the families and friends who have lost loved ones, the injured, and those who witnessed this terrible event. Their lives will never be the same again.  It is so sad that hatred and radicalisation can inspire someone to commit such a dreadful act. Yet I am reassured in the human spirit by the number of people who's first reaction was kindness, compassion and a desire to help in anyway they could. A reminder of how important it is to show love, kindness and care for all those we meet in our daily lives. I am not religious and do not have any real faith despite having been raised in the catholic church but I do believe that love must conquer hatred. 
My thoughts remain with the victims.


Friday, 17 March 2017

Five on Friday - Spring has Sprung in the Garden

Friday has come round quickly again and it is time for Five on Friday with Amy at Love Made my Home and Tricky and Carly at Fast. This is Amy's last week of hosting F on F and I would like to thank her for all her hard work and introducing me to many new blog friends. Good luck and best wishes for the future and I hope you will still join the party some Friday's Amy so we can catch up on what you are doing.
It has been busy week and at last there have been a few sunny days that have made a real difference to the garden. Spring bulbs have been pushing through the cold soil for some time but with sunshine and warmth earlier in the week there is more and more colour to enjoy every day.

The daffodils are now in full flower and are bright and sunny despite the overcast sky this morning.

Every day there are new treasures to be found either hiding in the undergrowth or shouting 'look at me'. 

The Camellia is definitely in the 'look at me' category. 
I do not think I have seen it with so many buds and blossom before.

The Pulmonaria is shy and hiding in the undergrowth of the shady part of the garden.

I pulled back some old stems of the ferns yesterday and there is was all velvety with its pretty blue and pink flowers.

At the front of the house the crocus were in full bloom and the daffodils were just coming through last week.

Today the daffodils are out and the crocus are beginning to go over.
Sadly there is no evidence of life on the potted hydrangea although the hydrangeas in the back garden are full of buds. Perhaps it has had enough and will need to be replaced.

The potted Pieris is full of life and has got it's frothy new clothes on.

 The flowers are almost weighing the branches down and remind me of big powder puffs.

Finally the primroses

They come up every year and spread themselves about cheerfully. The flowers look so delicate but the plants must be robust as they never fail to appear each year. 

We are fortunate to have had a mild winter, so far at least, as it is only the middle of March and Mother Nature may have more in store for us. It is good to see more sunshine after grey skies and the garden is definitely waking up. I am really looking forward to sunnier, warmer days and being able to spend more time outside with the plants. 

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Winter Projects

It had been my intention to join in with the Winter Link Project hosted by Jennifer over at Thistlebear during the darker months of winter. I have been following Jennifer's blog for a while and really enjoy seeing all her projects and those of the other bloggers taking part. Today is the final day of the Winter Link Party and Jennifer has kindly invited anyone who would like to, to join in. Often late to a party I can usually be found in the kitchen so here I am sitting at the kitchen table and would like to share some photos of projects I have done this winter.

This is the third pair of long socks I have made since learning to knit socks last year and were started at Christmas. It has been a long, slow project as I kept putting them down to do other things. Shorter socks and children's socks are much quicker and more fun so it may be a while before there is another pair of long ones on my needles. There is quite a lot of yarn left over so I think some children's socks might be next.

The baby blanket above was also started around Christmas and has now been gifted to my niece for her baby due at the end of the month. This was a real pleasure to make and I enjoyed experimenting with different patterns for the five different squares. I wrote about it here.

This shawl was started while I was on holiday in January and completed on my return. It is the Close to You pattern on Ravelry by Justyna Lorkowska and has been worn almost constantly since it was finished. It is light enough for warmer days but great to wrap round twice when there is a stiff breeze blowing down your neck.  I have some more yarn from the same hand dyer in a rusty red colour that will probably be knitted to the same pattern. 

My lovely sister in law gave me the Edward's Menagerie book by Kerry Lord for my birthday and this is Emma the Bunny. She was supposed to be for my niece's new baby but the alpaca yarn she is made from is a little too fluffy for a new born. Her tummy is over stuffed too (she must have been at the carrots). I shall make her again in cotton left over from the blanket and remember to not over do the filling next time. Emma Bunny has found a home as my Mum claimed her and she is very happily ensconced in her living room.

The rainbow blanket is my current project along with a cardigan for the new baby that was cast on yesterday. It depends on my mood as to whether I want to crochet, knit or sew. There has been some stitching going on too but for some reason there are no photographs of that. Another job to go on the To Do List.

It has been fun looking back at my winter projects and I am very grateful to Jennifer for prompting me to do so. Thank you for enabling me to join in at the last minute. 


Friday, 10 March 2017

Five on Friday - March 8th

The last week has flown by and it is Friday again and so time to join with Amy over at Love Made my Home and Tricky at Fastblog for Five on Friday.

This week rather than sharing craft projects or things I have been doing over the last seven days this Five on Friday is a little different.

It was International Women's Day this week, on March 8th. IWD has been observed on this date since the early 1900's. It is a day to reflect upon and celebrate woman's achievements today and in the past and also the continued struggle for equality. There are many women I admire and who have inspired me, Mary Seacole, Emily Pankhurst, Marie Currie, Malala Yousafzai to name just a few. There is one women who is very close to me and has always been a constant source of inspiration, whose birthday also happens to be March 8th - my Mother. So for my Five on Friday this week here are the five things I most admire about her.

1. Love 
A lifetime of love, care and unwavering support for family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.  

2. Courage
Facing hardship and tragedy with strength of character and quiet dignity.

3. Determination
Always refusing to be bullied and fighting for the rights and opportunities of those she cares about.

4. Compassion
Being able to consider life from someone else's perspective, having sympathy with their experience and empathise with their situation.

5. Positivity
Despite the difficulties life has brought, always facing the world with a smile and looking forward to what tomorrow might bring.

It would be lovely to be able to share a picture of my lovely mum with you but as she is an intensely private person it would not be right to do so. The picture above is from her garden. The daffodils are a little like her - bright, cheerful and full of life. 

I am very fortunate that my mother is still alive, mentally sharp and able to live independently at 94. We have always had a good relationship, which not everyone is lucky enough to experience. My mother continues to be a source of inspiration and I hope I can always live up to her example.

Who inspires you?
Are there women who have influenced your life?

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Five on Friday - A little bit of crochet

I am rather late with Five on Friday as it is now Sunday afternoon. It has been a hectic few days preparing for and celebrating a 94th family birthday. We had a lovely time yesterday and the 'birthday girl' enjoyed having all the family and everyone together. Peace has returned now and I think we are both looking forward to a quiet Sunday dinner later today. 

It is good to be joining with Amy and Love Made my Home for the last few weeks before Five on Friday moves to Tricky at Fastblog
Thank you Amy for all your hardwork and hosting over the last few years. 

My five this week are a new subscription from Little Box of Crochet.

1. Box filled with lots of goodies

2. Nine balls of rainbow yarn

3. First project started

4. Second project in progress

5. Two lovely Lucy mug cosies  

 My God Mother taught me to crochet when I was about 11 years old and I did lots of crochet when I was younger. Apart from an occasional christening shawl I have done very little crochet in recent years until I came across Lucy's blog at Attic 24.  As many of you who follow Lucy's blog will know, she lives close to the Yorkshire Dales and often posts wonderful photographs of the area, as well her beautiful colourful crochet. This is near where I grew up and seeing Lucy's photos of Bolton Abbey and the Dales are like walking down memory lane. Lucy's enthusiasm for crochet also inspired me to start hooking again. 

I had come across Little Box of Crochet through other blogs I read and also seeing lovely creations on Instagram. The subscription box was created by Amanda Bloom and her daughter Jenny and you can read all about them and the creation of the boxes here. I had been tempted to join the subscription for many months but told myself I had enough projects on the go without adding another one to the list. However, temptation overcame me when February's Box featured a rainbow design from Lucy at Attic 24. It was just too much to resist and I am sooooo glad I gave in to temptation because it was a thrill to receive a box filled with lovely goodies. The pattern booklet was easy to follow and the yarn lovely to use and I am thrilled with my Lucy mug cosies. They go perfectly with my new red teapot too.

Here is an extra photo (bending the rules I know but cannot curb my delight)

They look good on the dresser too with the hand painted plates.

I hope you have had a good week and found a few rainbows too.