Saturday, 31 August 2013

21 today

No of course it's not me who is 21, I'm just a bit older than that...

It is my wonderful eldest son, who came into the world 21 years ago today at 6.03am.  I cant believe it - where have all those years gone?  I have a photo frame in my room with photos taken a few minutes after he was born and one taken on his first birthday.  And now he is so much taller than me!  He is a great lad (I know I would say that but it is true!) who helps out lot around the house, helps his younger brothers and sister with their maths and science homework (although I am a teacher neither of these are in my skills portfolio) and dotes on his grandmother - she is a marvellous 87 and if ever she needs any help he is straight on his bike to see to whatever she needs.

Together we enjoy watching a variety of sports, with our top favourites being football (soccer for my American bloggy friends) and Formula 1 Motorsport.  We are great fans of the Brazilian football team and have been together to see them play on a few occasions.  We have yet to go to a Grand Prix together but I am really hoping to sort that out next season. 

He is a very laid back person, very patient and kind.  And I am very, very blessed to be his mum.

Happy 21st birthday eldest son!


Thursday, 29 August 2013

Autumn Cushion - the story so far...

Hello again! 

I thought I would just drop by to give an update on my Autumn Cushion

Work is definitely in progress...

I love making little piles of the granny squares...

And here is the proposed layout...

I so love this simple project - the squares are so easy to do.  I can cheerfully hook these up AND chat away to my bestest friend when she visits me for our crafty evenings.  They are also great to do whilst watching The Great British Bake Off.  The only bit I'm not so keen on is sewing in all the ends, but into every life a little rain must fall I guess!

And, still on the autumn theme, the partners for the Autumn Glow Swap, so kindly organised once again by the lovely Blueberry Heart have been announced - and I am highly delighted to be partnered with Amanda from Crafty in the Med!  I love this swap so much, and have already started squirelling around finding things for my parcel.  Speaking of squirreling and Great British Bake Off, did you see the Secret Squirrel Cake - it looked amazing!


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Just around the corner...

Hello everyone, hope you have had a good start to the week.

As regular readers will know, Autumn is my favourite season.  And at the moment it is so close I can almost feel it.  Darker evenings, cooler mornings, grass covered in dew in the mornings, even the air smells autumnal.  And over the weekend the weather was grey and dull (I have to admit to enjoying that after all the hot weather we have had during the summer). 

On my way to work the other morning I enjoyed taking some "almost autumn" photos.

These elderberries are almost ripe but not quite.  I really would like to go foraging for elderberries - does anyone have a good recipe for elderberry jelly?

Rosehips - just tinted with a blush of the red which will make these beauties sparkle in a few weeks time.  This particular shrub must be at least 45 years old, I remember gathering hips from it as a child with my Darling Mum.  She used to make rosehip syrup from them - full of vitamin C.

Late summer sunshine slanting through the trees...

Blackberries ripening nicely.  I love to gather these little treasures, yummy crumbles ahead.  One of my favourite autumn meals is a vegetable stew, cooked all day in the slow cooker.  I add some dumplings to this about 1.5 hours before I want to serve it, adding thyme to the dough, scrummy.  Then a yummy fruit crumble for dessert.  Warm, simple, homely, comforting and delicious.

As you saw in my last post, I have completed my summer cushion, and so I am now working on my Autumn Cushion - here is some work in progress:

I am so loving working with my favourite colours!


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Summer Cushion - completed!

Good morning everyone - here we are on a British Bank Holiday weekend!!  The last one before Christmas - there, I have said the dreaded "C word"!!  This year seems to have flown by so fast, must be getting old or something ;)

I completed my Summer Crochet Cushion earlier this week - what do you think?  Here it is, nestled on "my" chair:

The colours are, of course, much more vibrant, but the weather is so dull it is difficult to get a decent photo!

And here is the back, much plainer, very simple...

I have really enjoyed working on this project, so easy to pick up and put down, so essential when life is so hectic!  And here is my little friend with the cushion, evidently life is very hectic for him too!

He likes to sit on my "crafting" chair when he gets the chance! 

Well, I need to dash off for now as I am going up north to Bradford to visit friends.  We lived up there for many years and regularly return for a visit.  My DD has been there for the last few days staying with her friend up there, sounds as if she has had a great time judging by the text messages!

Hope you have a relaxing Sunday!


Saturday, 17 August 2013

Summer Crochet Cushion - work in progress

Well, the weekend is finally here, and I thought I would share a few photos of my progress with the summer crochet cushion I am currently working on.

You may have seen this post where, due to enforced rest I picked up some yarn and my trusty crochet hook and started making some granny squares.  These have now been sewn together to make a cushion front....

I love the colours - reminds me of summer gardens.  The squares are bordered by 6 rows of granny stripes to make the size right for a cushion - here is a collage I made of the four corners to show the detail:

In my original post I flirted with the idea of sewing the cushion front onto a plain, ready made cushion, but then changed my mind and started to make one large granny square for the back.  I think the back needs to be much plainer, thus the decision to make only one square with a touch of green in the middle, with the rest being white.  Here is my progress so far (only had an hour free to work on it this week, hoping to finish it this weekend in and amongst everything else happening)

and here we have everything together to get an idea of how the colour scheme works

I'm really enjoying this little project - it is so easy to just pick up and do a bit on it without having to concentrate too much.  What I like to call "chillin' crochet" (oh my word I have been working with teenagers for too long, I'm starting to talk like them now...someone call the men in white coats ;))

I love this time of year as we get to the end of the summer and I can really start thinking about my favourite season...Autumn.  Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, how I love you....I know so many of you really feel sad as the summer slowly draws to an end, but for me this is a real time of excitement and anticipation.  Autumn is often seen as melancholy time, when the best is now over but for me it is exactly the opposite.  I love the fact that the weather gets cooler and crisp.  The blueness of a sky on a beautiful autumn day is, in my opinion, the best of all blue skies.  The flowers at this time of year seem to be even more vibrant, delightful dahlias, colourful chrysanthemums, astonishing asters.  And as for the leaves - words fail me.  I love the smell of bonfires in the air.  Plenty of excuses for making delicious vegetable casseroles in the slow cooker.  Halloween.  Bonfire Night.  Our local street fair.  And yes, the fact that the evenings are shorter and we get to light the lamps and the candles earlier.  All of these make Autumn my favourite season of the year. 

This week I can really sense that autumn is just around the corner - quite cool in the mornings, squirrels in the park really busy squirreling away, and some autumn colour is starting to creep into my garden:

So, although the summer cushion isn't quite finished yet, I popped to our local market on Thursday and bought this little bag of goodies:

I have decided to make a set of these cushions based on each of the four seasons - and here are my autumn colours. 

And, if any of you are lovers of Autumn as I am, take a look at this autumn swap, organised by the lovely Blueberry Heart.  Entries close tomorrow (Sunday).  As you can imagine, I put my name down as soon as I saw it!

Have a lovely weekend!


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Maybe its because I'm a Londoner...

...that I love London so...

Actually, I'm not a Londoner, I hail from the Midlands in the UK, but I absolutely LOVE London - whenever I get the chance to go, I am in the car and heading for the M1 in a heartbeat!!

So, as part of our mini-break, when DH casually mentioned "do you fancy a day out in London this Saturday?" I had the sandwiches packed and camera charged before he had barely finished speaking!

We arrived in the capital just after 12 noon, all ready for a grand day out.  And yes, I did get through 2 camera batteries!  This time I have made some themed photo collages, I hope you enjoy looking through them as much as I enjoyed making them. 

So, are you all sitting comfortably - then I will begin

Some of the traditional London sights you can enjoy on a visit to the city:  St Pauls, London Eye, County Hall, Tower of London, Victorian Postbox (spotted near London Bridge), BT Tower (and London Bus!), Tower Bridge

One of my sons is totally fascinated by skyscrapers, I have to admit that I do share his fascination.  Here we have a range of London's finest examples:  The Shard, The Shoehorn, The Midland Building and The Gherkin (great names I think!!)

Borough Market - I wish that I could somehow transmit the wonderful smells coming from all the food stalls we saw there!  Just look at all those handmade the old Potato merchants sign..

These are scenes that Charles Dickens would have been familiar with.  I have love his books since starting to read them when I was 7 years old.  The clock is mentioned specifically in "David Copperfield".

London by night - Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square, Mews on the Mall, Admiralty Arch, the Star Flyer ride on the South Bank, London Eye and Wellington Column.

And finally, some more unusual finds:

both spotted in shop windows!!

loved the name of this sculpture!

And who knew I was THIS famous ;) 

Thanks so much for taking the time to read through this post, I think, lovely readers, you all deserve this:

Have a wonderful Sunday!


Thursday, 8 August 2013

A short break from routine

Good evening everyone.

I have managed to get a few days away from work - just a couple of days but added on to the weekend that makes four whole days so I am very, very happy!

So this afternoon DH and DD and I pottered off to one of our favourite places to have a gentle stroll - Matlock Bath in Derbyshire:

Lots of water...

 ...lots of greenery...

...and a wonderful Victorian bridge, marking the Jubilee in 1887...

I love to got to this little village, it is lovely at any time of year.
We treated ourselves to some chips, sitting outside the café watching the world go by, then also had an ice cream....
A lovely afternoon, very much needed!!!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Crochet therapy!

Hello again everyone, well the enforced resting is certainly working - not only is the painful toe condition improving steadily (yay!) I have had some serious, and much-needed crafting time (yay again!!)

So I had a little look through my yarn collection and found a bag of yarn that at some point had been a giveaway with a magazine.  The quality was quite reasonable (some of the magazine freebies can be quite dire) so I had a little browse through some patterns I had tucked away.  And, after all my previous comments on granny squares being boring, what did I do?  Yes, you guessed it, started making grannies!!!

However, in order to keep me from glazing over, the grannies varied quite a bit, both in design...

...and size

Here is the little collection I made

And here they are arranged in sequence - I'm making a cushion cover!

So far I have sewn all the squares together and added three rows of edging.  It needs another 4 rows of edging then the front will be complete.  I think I will just do one big granny square for the back in white as I don't have enough left of the coloured yarn.  OR, if gout allows, I might just pop to the shops and buy a cheap, plain coloured cushion and slip stitch the crochet front to it - that would certainly be the quickest fix...

Have a great Sunday!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Diamonds are forever...

Good evening!

Well I'm pleased to report some improvement on the painful toe front - have been totally resting, reading and generally taking it easy.  Just the ideal time for some crochet therapy...

Armed with my favourite crochet mag, "Simply Crochet" I began running up some diamond shapes...

I didn't want to start on a big project, and these were ideal as it didn't take too long to run up the amount I needed...

They were quite interesting to make as each round used a different combination of stitches...

And - ta dah!  A star shaped pot stand...

I just had to try it out with my latest charity shop find, a vintage coffee pot (in my more usual favourite autumnal shades) probably from the late 1960's or early 1970's I reckon (not that I'm an expert in these things!)

I will give the mat a once-over with the iron once I'm properly back on my feet again, but in the meantime I feel really happy having finished a little crochet project this afternoon. 

Have a great weekend everyone, not sure what the weather forecast is like, we have had a few downpours here this afternoon, but glorious sunshine in between.


Thursday, 1 August 2013


Well, there I was, minding my own business when...

...overnight I developed gout in my big toe!! 

Yes, yes, yes, it is very funny, especially when the Dr says "did you drink a lot of red wine recently?"  Me - "no don't drink any alcohol at all."

Dr -"ah ha, you have been eating a lot of red meat then"
Me - no, have been a vegetarian for about 35 years".

But my Dad and brother both had it and apparently it can run in families - although "run" is a silly word to use in this context as I can hardly walk!  It is so ridiculously painful.

I struggled into work yesterday, but today have had to work from home as I just could not stagger in again.  Which was great actually as I got loads of work done.  I have tomorrow off (work gave us an extra day off due to the excessive pressure we have been under recently) so a long weekend up ahead.  And I just have to sit and let people (AKA children on holiday) look after a bit of crafting and reading (in the garden if weather is fine again tomorrow) I think could be in order. 

Hope you are all keeping well and enjoying the summer.