Thursday, 30 January 2014

A Grey Day

Hello everyone, thanks so much for all your lovely comments on my last post, very much appreciated as always.  I hope you are managing to stay warm today.  Here we have seen rain, sleet, and on higher ground, snow, it hasn't got light all day and it is so cold it feels raw.

But, there are some things that are definitely cheering up my day...

The scent is intoxicating...

This one should have been blue, but hey, it is still stunning....

Hyacynths... so beautiful, and especially on a day like today...

Little reminders that Spring isn't really too far away.  

Have a great evening!


Sunday, 26 January 2014

Crochet Blanket Challenge - week 4

Good morning everyone - a very dull and dark start to the day here in the middle of the British Isles, after horrendous thunder and hail storms yesterday.  At least where I live we have thankfully been spared the dreadful floods that have so badly affected other parts of the country, my heart goes out to all those that have been caught up in that over the past few weeks.

Well, even though it has been an extremely busy week I have managed to make 2 squares to contribute to the steadily-growing blanket project.

Would you like to see?

Loving the colours...

Surprising just how soothing some hooky time can be, the gentle repetition of the stitches and the satisfaction of making progress on yet another square...

Here are the two squares completed this week....

When I was having a little walk down memory lane looking at some photos from 2 years ago I found this, my first attempt since the 1980's of making granny squares:

After making these (for a bloggy swap) I didn't make any more until last autumn when I hooked some to make up into cushions.  And now, somehow, I have become quite addicted to them.  Never thought I would say that as I had previously found making them quite, ahem, boring.  Not tiresome, just boring.  But I think at the moment what I need is a nice, soothing, crafting project like running up squares for something that, in the end will (hopefully) be a large, reasonably impressive outcome.  While making them I can really let my mind relax and wander .  I find myself thinking about a lot of things whilst hooking away, but not stressful thoughts.  I can concentrate on how the yarn feels, the scent of the hyacinths blooming on the windowsill, the sound of the rain (or indeed hail!) on the window, the sound of the cats purring as they sprawl on the carpet at my feet.  All very soothing, very necessary things to be aware of - the simple, little things that form part of the pattern of my life.  And yes, I can think to myself, it isn't all work, work, work, there are so many precious moments to be made the most of.

Hope you have the chance to appreciate the simple things today!


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Reasons to be cheerful - part 2

Hi everyone!

Thought I would share a few things that have made me feel cheerful recently:

 A walk through the park on my way from one appointment to another.  A great chance to grab a bit of fresh air and appreciate some very welcome sunshine.

A bit of window shopping - I love this craft materials shop, the staff are very helpful and friendly, I have attended a couple of their evening workshops too, always a lovely treat.

I love the skies at this time of year just before dusk.  And I also love the skeletal outlines of the trees against the sky.

And finally, how could this little chap not bring a smile to my face?

One of the training providers I visit regularly has a small holding, where some of our more challenging students find working with animals and the land really rewarding and calming.  This little chap always comes along to say hello to me, and his face was just so cute I couldn't resist taking a quick snap!

What is making you feel cheerful this week?


Monday, 20 January 2014

Crochet Blanket Challenge - week 3

Good evening everyone - wow am I feeling tired today!  I only had about 4 hours sleep last night, my brother in law had arrived back from his 4 week break and called us from Heathrow to announce he would drop in for a coffee and a break - this is all great but he arrived at our house just after midnight!  I then drove 90 miles today for my job, and have an evening of thesis writing to look forward to...but thought I would just drop by and share my progress on the crochet square front for last week.

Even though last week was very hectic, what with work and study, somehow I managed to make 7 squares - not one a day, one day I made three and other days I made none.  But I am really chuffed I managed to make so many...

I now have 26 squares made, here they are all together:

I can now see a blanket taking shape!

At least I know my efforts will be appreciated, here is my cute cat Tiger asleep on a cushion I crocheted a couple of years ago:

Have a lovely evening!


Saturday, 18 January 2014

Crochet Blanket Challenge - week 2

Good morning!  A very grey and damp one here, but as I have to do a morning's work on the final analysis of my research project I don't really mind - I'm aiming to wrap up working on that for today at around 2pm so if it could brighten up a bit at that point that would be nice :)

I realised that I hadn't posted about last week's crochet square progress.  I managed to knock out 4 (3 above target, sorry, couldn't resist putting that in, as an education co-ordinator I am always tracking "added value" regarding the grades and qualifications achieved by the students I manage!!).

Here they are together:

The colours in the photo are not quite as they are really, the blue of the top right square is much more subtle and "washed out".  Teresa had noted a similar issue with her camera when taking photos of some beautiful purple irises - must be something about that part of the colour spectrum.  But have no idea what!

Anyhow, here are all the squares made so far:

...that makes 19!  As the squares are made from 7 rounds of treble clusters and one finishing row of double crochet they are quite a decent size, the length of this little group together is around 1 yard (or about a metre for those of us who work in metric measurements).  So a good start has been made even when things slow up a bit.  And they might, as just before Christmas I ordered myself a little crafty treat, it arrived this week (all the way from the States).  And it will keep me out of trouble for many, many, many hours!!!!  So crochet squares will be made in and around that new project.  It will take a lot of concentration and effort, and progress will be, by the very nature of the project, a lot slower than crochet.  Crochet will be reserved for those times when I want to craft but don't really have the energy for strict concentration.  Any ideas, dear friends, what the new project could be?

Well, had better make a strong cup of coffee and get those research sheets out.  Will treat myself to a bit of hooky time once I have finished for the day (my poor old brain will be too worked out to tackle my new project!).

Have a lovely Saturday, Helenxx

Monday, 13 January 2014

A Birthday and a Bloggiversary!

Hello everyone, hope you had a great weekend.

I certainly did as it was my birthday yesterday (btw thank you so much to all of you who sent very kind greetings).  I had a lovely day being totally spoiled by my loved ones.

I ate this (made by Darling Daughter, oh my word it was a scrummy confection!)

spent a lovely day at home, surrounded by cards, flowers, candles

got lots of lovely gifts, and managed to get some of this done:

DH cooked us a fantastic meal, and I even had a visit from a dear bloggy friend!  All in all a wonderful day.

And, today it is the 3rd Birthday of this little blog!!!  I cant believe that I have been blogging three years, my goodness, where does the time go??

Will be back later this week to update re the crochet blanket challenge, it is going quite well at the moment I have to say.

Have a lovely evening, Helenxx

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Reasons to be cheerful - part one!

Good morning everyone, well, we have made it through to the first weekend after the return to routine!  It has been a very hectic week, and I must admit to going to bed at 10 o'clock last night as I was exhausted!

Mind you, I was up at 3 in the morning the night before hoping to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights...I did see some very pale streaks in the sky on the northern horizon that definitely wasn't cloud or con-trails from a plane, but whether these actually were the aurora borealis I cant truthfully say...but I would like to think that they were.  I have always dreamed of seeing the Northern Lights since I was a little girl, hopefully one day I will be able to travel to one of the Nordic countries to see them  in their full glory.

Anyway, this morning I got up bright and early, glad to see that the rain has cleared away for the time being. 

Those of us of a "certain age" (and my age goes up tomorrow as it is my birthday!) will remember the Ian Drury song "Reasons to be cheerful" so may well smile at the title of this post.  Today's post is just that - things that are making me feel cheerful today!

First up, pots of spring bulbs - I usually buy these on my return to work after the holidays to cheer me up. 

Hyacinths, these are the pink variety:

and my favourites of all, the blue:

I love the wispy, mossy covering on the soil.

Some sweet little daffodils to complete the collection:

these cost £3 all together for the three pots, bargain!

Loving these little USB lights arranged around one of my Moroccan lamps:

Certainly a cheerful, cosy sight on these cold days of winter.

What is making you feel cheerful this weekend?


Monday, 6 January 2014

Crochet Blanket Challenge - week 1

Hi everyone.

Well, it was back to earth today, back to work and school for four of us, the eldest two lads don't start back at uni for another week (but they do have lots of coursework to do so its not really a holiday for them).

So I thought I would post my progress for week 1 of the One Square a Week Blanket Challenge.

I started my first Granny Square on January 1st, and, as I was on holiday, have made a grand total of Fourteen!! 

Here is a picture of them all together:

I'm really loving these calming, Nordic Winter shades. 

Progress will definitely be slower now I am back at work, but if I can make at least one square per week I will be happy as that is the challenge I have set for myself.  And I have made a good start!

Would love to hear if you are joining in the challenge!

Have a great week, Helenxx

Friday, 3 January 2014

Crochet Blanket Challenge

Hello everyone!

Quite a few blogs have talked about a granny square blanket challenge to keep crochet peeps busy this year - some are doing a granny square a day (too much for me I'm afraid) or one a week (much more realistic for me).

Many bloggers are going to crochet each square in a colour that matches their mood as they are working.  This year I am trying to simplify as much as possible, and have committed to using up as much of my stash as I can.  Therefore I have chosen colours from my yarn pile that make me feel calm - the washed out colours often seen in Nordic homes.  Pale pinks and blues, greys in different shades (no improper comments here please ;) ) etc.  So it is a mood blanket, but carried out in a way that will be a bit more suited to me.

Hazel has created a facility where those who want to get involved can link up their blogs - great idea!! I am off to link up shortly.

In the meantime, I have managed to make 9 squares this week while I am on holiday - this will give the project a jump-start, and will also buy a bit of time for those inevitable weeks when even one granny square is just too much to fit in. 

If you are a fellow-crochet fan, why not give it a go?


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Hearts in Cross Stitch

Good morning everyone, lovely to see some sunshine today, yesterday it was windy, wet and grey all day.  Mind you, not that it stopped the fun, we were tucked up cosy and warm at my Darling Mum's house enjoying a New Years Day meal together.  A great time was had by all!

During those in-between days I love so much at this time of year, I reverted to an old favourite craft of mine, cross stitch.  I learned to do this craft while at primary school, and whenever I have any decent amount of time I always go back to it.  You may remember my post from last year where I stitched up two cross stitch hearts supplied as free kits with a magazine.  I really enjoyed doing these little projects, and they have hung from what I lovingly call my "twiggy vase" all year.  So I got to thinking...wonder what freebies that magazine will do for this Christmas and, guess what???  Another heart kit!!!!!  So I bought the magazine in early December, and hid it away until the holidays.  My fingers were itching to get on with them, but I remained patient until December 27th.  Would you like to see the results?  Here we go then...

Each one depicts a snowflake, with each one being slightly different in colour or design:

and here are all three together:

I absolutely loved sewing these, they will join the two from last year, hanging from the twiggy vase. 
Although the festivities are now sadly over for another year, DH and I don't have to return to work until next Monday, we are really fortunate.  So still a few more days of being at home with the family.  We really appreciate these times as when back at work/school/college/uni it is really hectic around here.
Hoping all is well with you and yours!

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Hello 2014!

Good morning everyone - and a very Happy New Year to you all!

Hope you had an enjoyable New Years Eve - we had a lovely time at my bestest friend Sue's house where we had yummy nibbles and a good time catching up with what we had been up to during the holidays.  We watched Big Ben and the big firework display from London on TV, and popped open some non-alcoholic bubbly and fired off some party poppers.  All in all a lovely evening - thanks again Sue for inviting us, we really enjoyed ourselves.

I always make a New Year's heart for Sue as a little "thank you" present for inviting us round for New Year's Eve - here is this year's model:

As usual Sue had the most amazing Christmas Tree

I spotted a particularly lovely glass ornament tucked away within it's branches

can you see the glass dragonfly peeking from behind the baubles?  So pretty.

This morning it is only me and #3 son up, the rest of the gang are still fast asleep.  Later on we are heading to my Darling Mum's house for a New Year dinner, cant wait!!

But before I go I thought I would share a photo sent to me by one of my relatives via Facebook - I rather like the sentiments expressed.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, full of blessings and happiness.