Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Oh No You Didn't!

Last night we went to Pantoland. We discovered the delights of this theatre last year and so I booked for another post-Christmas outing. Goldilocks and the Three Bears were played out against the backdrop of Gertie Glitters circus in this wonderful Edwardian theatre. The setting is as much part of the excitement for us as the panto itself. For half the price of panto's where the stars are all well known faces there is more of a treat on offer.


 The building is a feast to look around at. I find the bar where we buy our pre-panto drinks and nibbles so cosy and inviting with walls covered in posters of shows long gone. Apologies for the hazy snap of those beautiful art nouveau tiles and lack of other photos.

Drinks bought we take them to our own small table, rather than sitting squished in rows (which is painful when you all have very long legs). I've found I'm partial to sipping a G & T while shouting "Behind You". In fact it's really liberating to be able to yell and sing loudly for a couple of hours. The table beside us was full with young men. They whooped and hollered to the point where I think they thought the gorilla was real when they were pointing and shouting where it had gone. I'm so glad that everyone gets the chance to be as daft as a brush now and again.


Now on to knitting news as I want to squish in my last make of 2013 before the numbers change. I finished knitting my new hat on that quiet day you get just after all the festive shenanigins. I chose a Rowan Tweed yarn speckled with gold to knit up Rakes Moss from an old Lousia Harding book called Little Cake. The band of the hat was fun to knit as it makes for a very stretchy fabric by moving the yarn back and forth and slipping stitches inbetween.


Afterwards I embellished with a few French knots and lazy daisies in 4ply cotton. I fancy adding the feather suggested, but have still to find that - my man is keen that I don't find it.

As Mrs Bertimus asked for a picture of me in said hat, I've obliged. Miss Rosey took a few, but I kept talking or laughing too much so this is the best we had. I'm not being vain really, it's just I never look how I think I look in photos so it throws me completely.


Here's another wee someone who had a new hat for Christmas from Miss Rosey, plus a special tin from Little Bun to keep all his treats in.


As I collected together photos for my new year and fifth blog birthday post (I'm trying to be organised) I noticed that winter is very much a time of knitting and summer more for crochet and sewing. In true tradition I've started various things in my need to try everything at once. 

I've looked at the pictures in this book for too long now and so I decided to get some cobweb yarn and jump in. Now I like a lot of the patterns in here, but I really don't enjoy knitting on small needles. I get bored easily if it's a big project in stocking stitch alone so that helped me make my choice. Actually I got the yarn before I chose. I'd popped out to refill the food cupboards and found myself in the yarn shop instead. It's a proper old style shop where you can put your yarn away and buy it each week as you need. I found a lovely dirty snow colour I liked which is actually called parchment, but had no idea how many balls I'd need as I didn't know what I'd be knitting. Therefore enough have been stashed and I'll see how I get on with this new knitting challenge of fluffy yarn and teeny needles.


I've chosen, perhaps too ambitiously, to knit this short cardi with a cable pattern. Wish me luck.

Far more simpler was the other yarn I chose to knit up some simple garter stitch wristwarmers.
Alongside these I had a rootle in the stash and have started two head warmer thingies for the girls. One in cable for Miss Rosey and one in rib with the request of a bow just like her friends one. In other bags I have a sleeve to be finished on a pink cardi started this summer and the beginnings of some fairisle mittens. 

Whilst it's lovely to finish up these projects and get to wear them, a large part of the joy for me is the making. I love trying out new yarns, techniques and seeing how colours work together. I think there's most definately enough knitting here to keep me going for the next few months don't you.



Well that's me done for 2013.

Thank you so much for all your kind birthday wishes. Indeed I must thank you for stopping by, saying hello and leaving me a word or two aswell. It means a lot to know that you enjoy reading my blog and seeing what we've been up to. As much as I might write this blog as a snapshot of our days, I also write it with you in mind, wondering if you might be interested in what I am sharing.

Now all that remains is for me to wish you a Happy New Year and to say I'll see you once more in 2014 with a birthday giveaway to celebrate.

Monday, 30 December 2013

Older Still

I had a wonderful birthday yesterday and miraculously don't feel any different being a year older. 
The girls jumped into our bed carrying cards and gifts to add to the ones from my love.

I had all manner of daft and sweet things including a bag with two pugs on. 

When I felt a small squelchy parcel Little Bun squealed. Neither her nor Miss Rosey were too keen on the wee boy's head wrapped in the paper.


My man fell for him hook line and sinker when he found him and knew I would love him too. I'm not exactly sure what he would have been used for, but I'm guessing he would have been some kind of 1930's shop display. Now he'll live amongst all the other dollies and creatures in our room. If you have any idea what he might have been used for I'd love to hear.


The girls gave me hand cream, a douggie dog pen and a critter for my pencil amongst other bits and bobs.

I also have some beautiful Polish postcards to frame.


A new to me piece of pyrex and two beautiful tins. Little Bun found the anenomes for me, knowing I'd love it. These ones are so hard to find so I'm thrilled.


We headed off early after breakfast to the small picture house to catch the last showing of Saving Mr Banks. The seats are so squishy and comfy, but it was freezing so we headed to the nearest bookshop afterwards to warm up. Temptations of two books were hard to resist. My man found one about eccentric houses which includes pictures of Julie Arkell's home and I bought a copy of War Poetry which I'd been reading in there months back.

Warmed up we headed off to meet my mum for lunch at an Italian restaurant. 
Once our tums were full we had a quick stroll to the Cathedral and lit a candle for our loved ones.  

At home I'd asked for a sandwich, crisps, cheese and pineapple on sticks and cake kind of a tea. I cosied up with my knitting while they laid the table. We munched our goodies, pulled the leftover crackers and played daft games. A perfect birthday indeed.


Once the tea party was over it was time to snuggle up with Miss Marple and the sweetie tin - Bliss. 

Friday, 27 December 2013

Jollities

I was badly remiss this year in showing our pre-Christmas shenanigins. On January 1st I'll have been writing this blog for a whole five years so there are quite a few Christmases to look back over to be sure. 

This Christmas has been the calmest ever, all preparations were chilled and we just had the best relaxing, fizz fuelled fun time. I hope you all had just as lovely a Christmas too.


We decorated the tree and house the moment the girls broke up from school on the 13th. Bing Crosby sang his heart out while we rustled through boxes oohhing and aaahing at old loved decorations.


The week before christmas we met up with friends for cinema trips, lunch and walks in the woods. We made sure mid-week there was cosy time for stitching and just being. Little Bun planned a hoop hanging for Grandma. In art they are tackling embroidery at the moment. I made a sampler with her to help her choose her stitches and she loves it. Seems satin stitch is her favourite at the moment. I added French knots for snow later on as being left handed they were a bit tricky.


Miss Rosey chose christmas puds to hang on the tree and I made one as a brooch. Then inspired partly by a decoration from a friend and the ones in CK's book I got the bug for making tiny felt houses.


In all I made four, but I know I'll be making more for the tree for next year as they were seriously addictive. All sewing stopped late afternoon as we had to get ourselves ready for a pizza date with my man and our mates who were already getting fired up after work in the pub.


By the end of the week it was the first Christmas birthday when my man got a bit older. We went to see the Christmas show at the end of the pier which we love doing each year. This year it nearly didn't happen after the storm tore up half the pier. I booked an afternoon show as the girls were a bit nervous, but it just lacked the same atmosphere as sparkly nightime shows.


Next in the festive round-up we had a visit to Santa planned at the steam museum. We rode the Gallopers, dodged about on the elderly Dodgems and had a great time. Little Bun at 11 still wanted to see the man himself, but at 13 Miss Rosey was deemed too old, although she still knows he's real. We've always told our girls that if you believe in magic it exists. It only goes away when you stop believing.


The day before Christmas eve Little Bun and I had a fabulous bake up of trifle, mince pies, cheese nibbles and chocolate mousse. It was lovely spending time with her just chatting about this and that. 

On Christmas Eve Miss Rosey had our time and made the Butternut Squash Soup, Chestnut Wellington and pate, although the wee cook in the family couldn't help but join in.

Once Grandma appeared that evening we headed off to church. There's something so magical about walking to church with the bells pealing out.


As usual that night the girls couldn't sleep for excitement, but managed to be awake at 6am. How does that happen? Stockings had been filled so fears that they might have been even a tiny bit naughty this year were put to rest.


At breakfast we teased them that we'd wait and open the presents after lunch. When I was young all the washing up had to be done first and it was about 3 o'clock before we opened anything. Suddenly the dining room door swung back against the wall (it's a door that never moves on it's own as it's pretty stiff). Little Bun jumped at that but I told her it was fine. After we cleared the table, Miss Rosey went to the sitting room alone. When we walked past the door my man was in there with the girls and the woodburner fire was lit. I'd laid the fire a few hours back, but not lit it. When I asked no one else had lit it either, my man said he'd walked in assuming I had. Then I had the most intense feeling of buzzing in my head and at the same time my mum said my head feels odd. I called out Happy Christmas Dad. 

This may all sound strange to you, who knows, but this is all very normal to us. Little Bun told me while we were cooking that she believed when you die you can choose to stay with your loved ones or you can move on to continue your spiritual growth. Several times I've sensed my dad with me, heard his advice and so has Little Bun. For some this probably sounds nuts, to others creepy, for us it's comforting and makes sense. 

Anyways lets's get back to normal blogging chat. Here are the two secret makes that I was busy working on for my lovelies.


A Daschund for Miss Rosey and a Deer for Little Bun. They were fiddly, but I really enjoyed making them even though I was stitching late at night as they just won't go to bed early when you want them to.

We've still lots more festive fun to go yet though as there's still another week of holidays, yay. On Sunday I hit my mid-40's, which I've been told is quite near 50 by my lovely man. I reminded him that I've avoided wrinkles so far (which I put down to Irish skin) and don't feel very grown-up as yet so I don't know that 50 will be any different really.

My next post or maybe the one after (depending on when I get on here again) will be just in time to celebrate five years of blogging. I think a giveaway birthday celebration will be in order don't you?

See you soon.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Back in the Saddle

Life did an about turn recently. A couple of weeks ago I was just finishing my mornings class when my phone rang. It was my mum's friend calling to tell me not to worry, but mum was in an ambulance heading to hospital. She had had serious chest pains and nearly passed out. This same friend was with her when dad died and had called me to come quickly. I felt calm when she called, but sick in the pit of my stomach. Luckily my man was teaching there that day too, so we both headed off. Fortunately no heart attack was detected, but mum stayed in overnight as her blood pressure was too low. I took the next day off and mum stayed with us. She only had a week to go before her angioplasty op so we told her to stay off work and not overdo it. For once she listened (she's stubborn).

The night before the operation was the girls school carol service in the Cathedral. It was a beautiful candlelit service with the various school choirs singing throughout. Afterwards I stayed the night with mum and took her to hospital the next day. I only realised how worried she was when she made sure I understood her final wishes and had promised to carry them out. I'd seen it as a fairly routine procedure, but afterwards a friend told me of her friend who had had a massive heart attack after hers. 

I was left feeling exhausted by it all and so blogging just fell by the wayside. I feel a bit out of the loop with it at the moment as I've not read any blog posts either. Today I just felt like stepping back in, so we'll see how it goes.


Around all the emotional hoo ha, I've been feeling pretty calm with the Christmas stuff. The girls broke up last Friday so we got our tree at the weekend. Grandma then stayed all weekend after she came out of hospital, which the girls loved.

Lately I've finished one major knitting thing which completely took me over for two weeks. Now I've got this jewel bright Rowan tweed yarn on my needles to knit me a christmas hat. Once done I'll be embroidering knots and flowers over it. It's a joy to knit with, I just need to plan some yarny thing for after christmas knitting cosied up with the choccie tin.


My big knitting thing was this beautiful textured shawl that I saw on Harmonie and Rosie. I used up some Rowan Cocoon I had so it's extra thick and snuggly soft. I fancied making it for me, but as I went along I decided my mum would like it more. No decent shots of me modelling it I'm afraid as they were all blurry. Just a snoozing Lily cat and a sofa to give you the general idea.


Other makes have been the secret kind that happen when girls are in bed and some Santa stockings for classmates. Each class has a secret Santa and the girls asked me to make something special to put their gifts in. In my head I fancied bright fabrics, but the lazy me wanted something I could sit by the fire and sew so the felt came out.


Other quick makes have been inspired by a picture in this months Country Living. Jam jars, rock salt, a bit of ribbon and three pretty night lights were ready to sparkle.


 I took advantage of an offer and grabbed new toadie plates for christmas too.


 Next in my head is an idea to make a shawl from this tartan I bought years ago to make a dress. I also love the feathery crown which has got me thinking. Usually we make crowns for Epiphany, but Christmas crowns would be ideal.


Around the time my mum went into hospital we had someone new come to live with us. 

Let me introduce you to the lovely Marmalade Monkey.


I first saw Marmalade on Ellie's IG feed. She was posting different lovelies for sale and when I saw a pink monkey I was smitten. Others asked if they could buy him, but luckily I was first to ask.  Poor Marmalade is missing a hand and foot at the moment and so limb surgery is booked for after christmas.

Ellie also really kindly popped in a couple of lavender pillows for Miss Rosey and Little Bun. An Alfie Blue look alike and a lamb are spot on and very loved.


Now as I write this a cooker mending man has just finished with my broken oven and it looks like we'll be back to making more yummy things again. These Peanut and Choc cookies from the Hummingbird Bakery book were very scrumptious indeed.


Now I'm off to watch films, do some felty sewing and eat sweets with my lovely girls. Later on we're meeting friends for pizza. Can't be bad can it.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Clickety Click

The weekend just gone was ours to savour a bit more than usual. Miss Rosey had netball training on both days, but she was just too plain knackered to go on the Saturday. After a couple of weeks of class tests and lunchtime panto rehearsals she hit a brick wall.  It's traditional for her year group to perform their panto to local primary schools and old folks homes. She's got the plum part of Ugly Step-Mother in Cinderella which she's thrilled about. Much more to sink your teeth into when you love making people laugh.

Anyways, back to Saturday. No netball meant we could be leisurely and then head off to look at things and meander about. When we ended up in the Old Stuff Shop there was much I fancied, especially the religious print that announced He Made a Noise and They Knew He Was There. I keep thinking about it and that means I want it, so does my man who often announces "He has Been" to give me the eebeejeebies, aswell as laugh a lot too.

In the old stuff shop I was re-strained as needs must sometimes. Pennies really meant it was more of a looking kind of a day, but out of the corner of my eye I spied a little doll. I'm not sure if it was her zombie like stance or her staring eyes that made me fall for her, but fall I did.


I just love her, my man loves her, even my mum annouced she was sweet. She gives the girls the Creeps. Therefore, she has become a downstairs dolly. She seems happy with this arrangement.


With a little bit more free time and utter laziness beckoning me, I flopped in front of the fire when we got home with a plan to knit (after a few endless chores of course).


The other day I saw a shawl that just shouted out to me on Harmony and Rosie. As these things do, I couldn't get rid of the need to make this textured shawl even though it looked like a fair old bit of knitting was needed. Luckily Kate has provided links to the pattern on Ravelry and tips about how she went about knitting her beautiful shawl (I'm afraid I still can't fathom how to do post links on blogs, but if you just scroll down a bit you'll be able to find it if you want).

I decided to use up the Rowan Cocoon I bought years back to become a cardigan. Stupidly I lent the Rowan knitting book the pattern was in to someone I was teaching to crochet. I never saw her or the book again and as I was halfway through my cardi it became another not to be finished thing. Now this yarn is being revived and it's a joy to knit with.


So much so that I just couldn't stop clicking away and by Monday I was over halfway through. With it's merino and mohair mix it's an incredibly soft, yet thick yarn. My favourite bit are the textured parts, I love knitting with different stitches and it just feels good in my hands. Mind you, now with over 200 stitches on my needles it's starting to make my hands ache slightly.


My hands will have a rest over the next few days though as tommorow night after work we'll be doing a hotel evening. We won a free night stay plus breakfast at the school's sports dinner raffle. I plan to sample cocktails, chill and make the most of not getting up at 7am on a school day to enjoy breakfast in bed. My man's meetings have been cancelled for the next day, I think it's an unspoken rule that knitting will stay at home so I'm hands free.


In my head I'll still be dreaming about the next things I'm thinking about trying out very soon. Tartan and fairisle works a treat for me.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Custard Delights

Midweek I had a girlie night, just me and my mum. No spas or fancy resorts, just the two of us with good food and a lovely bottle of Hendricks. Now we know the source of her troubles (which turns out to be angina) a wee balloon has to be sent to the right place just before christmas and fingers crossed all will be well once more.

That same night I found I'd won something. I was so surprised and thrilled. I usually pop my name into the hat never expecting to win. Turns out that both Ada and I were the lucky winners of Jennys giveaway over at The Custards.

We got home late in the dark last night so it was only this morning that my man found my parcel propped by the front door. Very exciting to have a parcel at 7am when it's not my birthday I must say.


The parcel was wrapped in true Jenny style. Whimsical panache with Robins a plenty.

Now I'd had to guess the colour of a table, a bit like how many sweeties are in the jar really. Yellow was the colour I guessed and for that I won a gorgeous purse made by Jenny herself. The parcel I received had far more than just a purse in it, which was naughty, but very nice of Jenny indeed.


Just all sorts of lovely things to be sure. I'm thrilled with each and everything and it even smelt beautiful too. There was a wee lavender sachet inside which is a smell that reminds me of christmas. That with the paper and the gifts has got me in the mood I must say.


Isn't this fabric just wonderful? As for the purse. The purse has been given over to hold my lippy and powder. It's a very big purse and I have a very small amount of pennies to put in it.


As today was a home day, I had the chance to move my parcel bits around when I got back from school depositing. Florence's paperweight got re-united with empty Bubbles Flo. 

Then when I was writing this post, my man said that's not right, you're missing a Florence and so he went off in search of most elderly Florence.


She usually sits on the bookshelf with Action Man whose grippable fingers are slowly breaking off. Now she's been put to make up a three.

Once the important stuff was done, I hunkered down by the heater, surrounded myself with all sorts of fabric and had a think about what I was going to make from my headlist.


I could have made a warm curtain to keep out drafts, stitched some cushion covers, started a tartan skirt or a floral dress, but instead I  made patterns and cut endless felt for a few hours.


It suddenly dawned on me that the Buns break up in three weeks, that being the case I'd best get a wiggle on with all handmade gifts.

Wishing you all a very lovely weekend and be back soon.


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Just Noticing

I'm braving the cold to jot down another post. You see my laptop doesn't like being moved about anymore and refuses to work properly if it leaves it's corner by the window. Leaving a cosy woodburner to tap out my tale is getting harder and harder as the nights get fresher. Also like an old dear I keep nodding off and then wake startled about 1am knowing I'll feel like hell six hours later when my man yells get up as he and Alfie head off for a blast down the lane.

I noticed I've hardly posted in November and thought I needed to re-dress the balance as it were. It could be down to time slipping away - or it could be down to there being very little to say. I know the latter can't be true because I can talk endless nonsense if necessary. Therefore, I think it must be down to time rushing ahead and leaving me in it's slipstream. I have been trying of late to slow time right down. I've felt an urge to squeeze more out of it and so I've stopped, rested and looked around me some more.


When I find myself pinned behind our evil ironing board I love to gaze on this scene balanced on our dead as a dodo Rayburn.

Even getting the milk out of the fridge is a joy now the gardener lady will turn to look at the chef. Each morning I'd find her spun away from him in disgust.


This cupboard just makes me happy to gaze upon and you should feel happy with your everyday stuff shouldn't you.


I even manage a smile when I wash up, having a look to see what's been added to the swans lately.


Amongst these things that I love is one of my treasures. A tiny pill box, the purple velvet inside slightly stained and faded adding to its charm all the more. I'm unsure which of dad's relatives it belonged to, but it somehow became mine.


Well all of these just make me plain happy, I refuse to have favourites, but the cheeky slant eyed grin of the fish makes me giggle each time I see him. I bought him many moons ago now from Daniella at one our Pick 'n' Mix Makers Markets. He reminds me of something I wanted to do and did, of people I met and great times to be sure.


The ladybirds were added to as we grew as a family. I like the dogs even if they are a bit grumpy of late, my man adds to these for me.


Just above the low doorway out of the kitchen, where I'm always whacking my head, the Spice Family sit trying hard to remind me to duck.


I've always been a homebird, luckily I married one too. Just about everything in our home is handed down, rescued and plain worn out but we love it all. 

I loved reading your comments about my blanket, thankyou for stopping by to say hello. It is always really appreciated. Heather of Pink Milk made a great suggestion about doing a blog shout out if I ever ran out of yarn again. I think we'd all be up for those kind of swaps, mind you I was relieved not to have to make another twenty squares.

Tommorow my mum is having tests in her arteries to see what her chest pains are. I'll be stopping the night with her to make sure all is as it should be. I had thought I might take my blanket along to start sewing those ends in.  Then I suddenly realised it will be the first time either of us have gone to the hospital since dad died there. Now I feel awful that I can't get the day off work to take her in. Sometimes a teaching job just doesn't allow for real life stuff does it.

And on a brighter note - I found out tonight that I've won Jenny's giveaway along with Ada. Well that was a lovely turn up for the books indeed.