Saturday, June 18, 2016

Getting smart with my hobbies

I have been super busy the past couple of weeks, the garden is fairly in full bloom and is keeping me on my toes. What with watering every day with the super hot weather and feeding once a week to keep the plants in tip top condition, I'm quite run off my feet but in a happy way.  I'm so pleased with the way the garden is looking, because in spring I was fretting that I had left all my potting of seeds and gardening prep too late. I shouldn't have worried, everything seems to be sprouting at once and every day I'm met with new miracles; first time growing strawberries, on Monday they were green and when I checked them again on Wednesday three had started to turn red.  Well, you can imagine my excitement Paul couldn't stop laughing as I jumped up and down in the garden.  My sunflowers are another miracle, previous years they have been munched and rotted away, not this year I've only put in their second much longer supports and since doing so, they have sprouted a good 4" in a couple of days.  My lettuce plants also just keep growing and growing and every time I pick the leaves they seem to double in size; at this rate I will have to think about setting up a wee homegrown produce stall to sell my veg lol!

The Great British Sewing Bee has also returned for a fourth season (Yahoo!)and is about to go on to episode 6. I love, love, love this programme so much,  I'm quite sad because I record the programme while I watch it so I can then view it again at a later date.  I also bought the book just after episode 3; I hid it from Paul as I couldn't wait until Christmas Time I had to have it now. Paul, had me sussed though with a comment along the lines of 'I hope you're waiting until the Sewing Bee book is reduced before buying it?'  I purchased the book reduced on Amazon rrp £25.00 I bought it for £9.99 bit of a bargain me thinks.  I've had a quick scoot through the book, and I've  highlighted a few items that I want to make but if I ever get round to them is a different matter. I seem to have a head full of great ideas and designs but then chicken out at the last minute as I'm too scared to go ahead with them for fear of making a mistake or a mess.  Even as I type this, my mind is going into overdrive, and I'm thinking 'I don't really do as much sewing as I should, and I have some material that I could turn into a skirt or a blouse. Hmm! Maybe I should look the fabric out and get started.'  (Pause in typing as I run upstairs to locate stuff). I've just laid the material on the bed as a reminder for later and started two headscarves for my mum (pictured).  I've also purchased some new feet for my machine (not the Merritt in the photo this is Paul's gran's machine, just out of storage), and I have big designs about extending the space in my front room to accommodate a table for cutting and a serger purchase.  Shhhh!  Don't say anything to Paul.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Beware of the hunter!

It's been a busy month and a half since I last wrote a blog post and a lot has happened in that short space of time; lots of baking, crafting, worrying about my mum (poor health) and gardening has been taking place.  I seem to have even more flowers this year, most of them started from seed, grown in my little greenhouse and then hardened off, before being repotted outdoors. There is quite an array of colour going on, and I have to say I'm extremely proud of all my hard work.  I  just hope the wet weather stays away long enough so we can see them in their full colourful glory.

Of course, little Bean likes to be a part of the garden action (in the form of a hunter) she's got a real bee in her bonnet about birds.  She can quite happily spend all day staring and jumping up to the sky in the hope that she can befriend one. Well, I'm hoping she wants to be their friend, I'm pretty sure it's just harmless fun as she doesn't seem to have a bad bone in her furry little body.  I just love the shots of her in action, she is totally oblivious of the camera (plant pots, washing posts) and just goes about her thing; one minute she is rolling around, then trotting around and then using the garden as a race circuit. The latter activity usually ends in a warning, three strikes and she's back in the house, she's never hit the three strikes mark yet. Notice I said yet, she has been extremely close.

On the crafting front I've been knitting lace, trying a new craft (Tunisian Knitting/Crochet can't decide on the correct term for it) and swithering on warping my Ashford Rigid Heddle loom. I'm ashamed to say I've never used this guy before, it's only been sitting in it's bag for four or five years so I was thinking it's about time it had an airing, watch this space.  My sewing machine has also been on the go, but only for some garment repairs, I do feel a major project coming on.  I will have to have something on the go, as I'm due to come off for seven weeks summer holidays (this is a first ever in my working life). The schools break up on the 28th of June here, and we don't go back until the end of August, and there is no way I'm sitting around doing nothing for that length of time, as I may go quite mad!


Friday, April 15, 2016

Questions You Should Ask Before Toasting A King!


Yesterday (14th of April) I celebrated my 45th birthday. Seems like only yesterday I was celebrating my 21st. Anway, I was going to write this post yesterday but I didn't have the time, what with opening cards and presents, responding to well-wishers on social media and then getting ready to head up to my favourite city; Edinburgh. The only similarity with turning 21 and 45 is that I spent both birthdays in the capital  (I lived in the city for 8 or 9 years) however, my 45th was a lot quieter and a bit more of a sober affair. I did celebrate this birthday with a few drinks and a meal but I didn't want to ruin my big treat of visiting the Vaults (subterranean city of Edinburgh) through a company called Mercat Tours. I wasn't sure what to expect on this tour and before participating in it I thought I knew a lot about Edinburgh's (dark) history, but boy was I wrong. Starting the tour in 1685 my other half Paul (dressed in blue standing against the wall) and an American friend (Brad) learned the hard way.  You do not toast any monarch during 1685, with a dram or ale, especially the King (Charles II). With jeers and abuse from the crowd, Paul or John (as he had to select a Scottish name of the time) was frogged marched with his friend Brad to a local statue.  Here they were first whipped, salt rubbed into their wounds and then one by one Brad's ears were nailed to the statue,  his spouse was then ordered to pull and tear him away.  Paul (John) suffered a far worse fate; his tongue was placed in a clamp until it started to swell in size and a blood blister formed on the tip (this didn't really happen to him). His wound we were told would then explode showering the crowd in blood. Bleurgh!  If that wasn't enough he was then cut from ear to ear resulting in a grin that would remain with him for the rest of his life. Poor Paul (John) but it does make up for the time I was put on trial as a witch for innocently holding a broom for a woman so she could sort her shoe at the Edinburgh Dungeon.  So back to Mercat Tours, we were then shown the site of public executions; a doorway of the reconstructed Mercat Cross of 1885  that now leads to St Gile's Cathedral. The stairs didn't exist during the time of the executions, which we were told were of a hanging variety (kick the bucket and then custom built gallows).  Saying goes that these stairs are now haunted by a young man who escaped his first hanging when one of the gallows trap doors jammed and the crowd took pity on him and rushed to free his body from his execution.  He was later executed when the crowds were dispersed when met by armed guards from both the castle and church. Now, when I looked at the door during the story telling (19.00) I never saw what I now see in the photo (taken at 21.30); a faint cross in the middle of the door.  How spooky!

This isn't the only spooky experience of the night. During the Vault visit to one of the rooms my left hand started to tingle and tickle and the hairs on my arm stood on end. I don't know why or how this happened, I just remember thinking- Oh! that's odd.  The second room I entered I kept turning around to look at a particular corner of the room because I could smell something sweet. Paul kept asking me what I was doing but I couldn't put my finger on why the corner of the room was drawing me to look. The tour guide overheard me saying I could smell something sweet (no one was standing beside me) they then announced a young woman had been murdered in the same corner. My face at this point drained of colour and I went quite pale.  But, the last room really freaked me out.  I was the last person to enter and I couldn't stop staring at the ground, I felt a tightness in my chest and I then felt a blinding headache come on.  I really didn't like the room at all and wanted to leave.  We were then told this was the 'blood room' where poor women were made to give birth in awful conditions. As soon as I left the room the feelings subsided and I even managed to down a glass of wine whilst listening to ghost stories at the end of the tour. Would I do one of their other tours?  I most certainly would and will be when the summer arrives.

*** I don't know why I experienced the sensations I did, I do believe in ghosts but I never thought I would be as tuned in as much as I was. Was I scared? I wouldn't say so, but thinking about the last room as I'm writing this I feel somewhat panicky and breathless.  Now that is scary. This is a birthday I won't forget in a long time.


Monday, March 28, 2016

How I Made Easter Special

Usually, my perfectionist's head kicks in, and I find myself planning special holidays like Christmas and Easter down to a fine line.  This year for Easter there was no rushing about, no organising (well, other than the food shop for Sunday Easter lunch) I just relaxed, I didn't make any plans and I went with the flow.  It felt odd, but when you organise and work with little one's every day in an education setting sometimes it's okay to take a step back and breath...right?

So, where did this take me?  Well, I woke up at the crack of dawn (so much for a long lie, my body clock had other ideas) on Friday morning did a bit of cleaning and tidying and then I declared to my other half that I wanted my portapuzzle case brought down from the loft. Don't ask me why I suddenly wanted this, I was into jigsaws in a big way about four years ago, but this request just came out of the blue. I then went out to potter about in the garden while Paul took to the loft.  This is really the first time I've been out in my garden this year and boy, it's been hit very hard by the lousy weather; high winds and thrashing rain, the garden wall has no rough casting left as most of it is lying on the ground, and quite a few of the plants are gone (died off) or are in need of some serious TLC, sigh!  Four hours later my garden started to look a little more respectable; no rough casting on the ground, plants pruned, fed and watered and wall assessed for repair. I then headed back into the house and found Paul had located my puzzle case from the loft but there was no jigsaw box. On opening the case I found 450 pieces (I counted them) of a 1000 piece puzzle. Yip! You guessed it the other 550 pieces are still in the loft and Paul won't go back up for them.

By Saturday, I had forgotten all about the jigsaw and spent a wonderful day with my mum. We went for lunch and I presented her with an Easter pamper gift and then we had a wander round the shops. We got caught being silly by two male members of staff in our local craft shop (I'm sitting chuckling to myself as I write this post). My mum and I were caught making faces at each other through a large crafting magnifying glass, you know, big eyes and lips (easily amused) We were so embarrassed that we slunk down an aisle sniggering and nudging each other like little school girls, with my mum declaring that I'm a bad influence. Eh! What! You're the adult, I'm the kid, it had nothing to do with me. All joking aside, I think my mum was quite impressed that I didn't buy anything from Hobbycraft , I usually come away with a piece of stationary, a sewing or knitting item. In fact, looking back I didn't spend any money that day as I bought my makeup treats through my Boots points card and Paul's Easter Egg using a voucher (I was very thrifty).

I'm sad to say my thriftiness didn't last, though, as yesterday (Easter Sunday) I decided to have a browse on Amazon (always lethal) whilst watching King of Kings and eating an Easter Egg.  I ended up buying not one but three books.  I've been having withdrawal symptoms after finishing all my Mark Haddon novels and I've been eager to find an author with a similar writing style. I found the Alan Bradley series of books through Good Reads.  I must have been destined to buy the authors books as on picking up the first novel and turning the pages to read, I was faced with this:

 My Christian name printed on the second page.  Now I know this read is going to be awesome.

Happy Easter holidays everyone


(This post is dedicated to my beautiful orange boy 'Cheivo' who we lost on this day two years ago)

Forever in my heart
little man xx

Friday, March 18, 2016

You won't believe...

Our gorgeous little girl is one! I know one! Where did the time go?  It just feels like yesterday that we picked her up to bring her back to her forever home.  She has been such a joy to have around and has fairly kept us on our toes, what with stripping the kitchen wallpaper (we needed to decorate) and chewing the carpet too, there has never been a dull moment. She is the most boisterous and active puppy I have ever encountered, and I have been around large breed dogs; Greyhounds, Labradors, German Shepherds and Dobermans,  since I was tiny. From the moment, she gets up its mischief, mischief, mischief and more mischief and if she's not getting up to mischief she is trying to sit on us. And I can tell you that having a large Rhodesian Ridgeback sitting on top of you is not easy, especially when they wriggle around a lot.  But, do you know what?  I wouldn't change her for the world. 

Happy Birthday my beautiful little girl!
Love from your human Mummy and Daddy.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

How to cheer yourself up in 3 easy steps!

Yarn, chocolate and puppy cuddles. 

I apologise for not posting last week; Mother's Day. It was a bit of a topsy-turvy day in that my mum dropped a huge bombshell in the form of illness, which I'm not going to go into, as it's incredibly sad.  So last week I didn't want to post or I couldn't find the words to, so I decided to stay off the Internet altogether. 

This week, I've been getting smothered by my large puppy; Bean, eating chocolate (bunny paw), joining a new yarn club and trying out some new dpn's.  I bought the shiny new needles a couple of months ago but never got round to using them; they are Knit Pro Zings. I started out using metal knitting pins when I was learning to knit (aged five) then I stopped crafting all together and later returned to the art when I was in my mid-twenties, again, I took to using metal needles. Then, in my mid-thirties, I noticed my hands and fingers felt sore after knitting and decided to research what was happening.  I found that quite a few knitters, just like me were experiencing painful hands with metal pins and their solution was to change to bamboo or wooden pins.  I really didn't want to give up my returning hobby so I thought I would give the Knit Pro Symfonie (beautiful coloured wood) range a go. They've worked a treat not only for my knitting but for my hand pain too.   So, I hear you ask 'Why, have you returned to metal needles?' Well, I don't plan on using them all the time, I've heard great things about them; so smooth to work with, they are stunning to look at; each size comes in a different colour and fingers crossed (I've only started using them) but so far I've had no hand pain (long may this continue).

The yarn club box is from a British seller called Yarny Love UK, this is the first time I have used this seller.  I did have to wait a couple of weeks for my treasure to arrive, but I think I was one of the first people to join.  The contents of the box; Easter theme coloured yarn, a bag of buttons (sewing variety as in the UK we have something called Cadbury's chocolate buttons), a tealight holder and candle, a flower keyring and a Lindt Chocolate Bunny Paw (which I'm ashamed to say I scoffed almost immediately, as I needed cheering up) (my puppy Bean also sensed I needed cheering up, so she dumped her large head on my lap). Sorry, got side tracked; all in all, I think the box was a winner. Would I use this seller again? Most certainly, yes!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.