Friday, 6 March 2015

Sewing Machine Basics

Last November I wrote a post, Learning To Sew, where I told you it was my intention to teach myself to sew. I still haven't embarked on this new hobby, but I've been enjoying watching The Sewing Bee and it's made me think again about getting Eleanor's sewing machine out and having a go.

I've treated myself to another book on the subject, Sewing Machine Basics by Jane Bolsover, which I think will help greatly.

It's split in to two sections, Section 1 is all about Getting Started. It has information on sewing machine know-how, tools & equipment, understanding fabrics and get set for cutting. It takes the beginner right the way through everything they need to know from choosing a new sewing machine right the way through to starting their first sewing project.

Section 2 is split up in to 11 different workshops. Each workshop builds up to a complete course for the beginner and each one covers a new technique with a project at the end of the workshop to put the skills you've just learned in to practice. The workshops cover simple seams & easy hems, simple stitches, bias binding & patch pockets, fastenings, zippers & decorative touches, advanced seams & hems, measuring & calculating for windows, understanding dress patterns, inside pockets & casings, darts & underlying fabrics and gathers, pleats & tucks.

There's some lovely projects at the end of each workshop ranging from an envelope pillow, a lined tote bag, an unlined Roman blind right the way through to a soft long-length blouse at the end of Workshop 11.

The book also comes with pull out pattern sheets.

I really like how the book is a complete course, building up your knowledge as you work your way through it. It assumes you're a complete beginner, which is great because I am, and goes through the very basics at the beginning, but has more advanced projects to make as you work your way through it, so it would be a good book for someone who knows a bit about machine sewing too.

I wonder how many people The Sewing Bee has inspired to have a go themselves. It's the final next week, I'll be sorry to see another series finish but perhaps by the time the next series starts I'll have completed a project or two myself.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Back On The Health Kick

My weight has steadily crept up over winter. I finished the last of my Christmas chocolates last night, three tiny bars of Green & Blacks, so it's back to healthy eating for me as from today.

I set myself the challenge of losing some weight back in 2012 and did quite well losing two stone six pounds in total. I have to say that a lot of that weight has gone back on now so I really need to get back on track.

I don't like to diet as such, I prefer to eat more healthily and this seems to do the trick. Portion control is key, as is cutting out snacking between meals which is my major downfall. I shall continue to eat the same meals as the rest of the family but I shall just eat smaller portions. I do enjoy a glass of wine but alcohol is a complete no no if I want to lose weight so that shall be cut out all together.

I usually manage my five a day as I love vegetables, but I'm not such a big eater of fruit so that's something I shall definitely eat more of, the fruit bowl is stocked up in readiness.

I have to admit that I'm not a lover of exercising, I walk Archie at least once every day and that's about as much as I do, but I shall start using the exercise bike again as I know that exercising really does help to shift the weight.

Of the two stone six pounds which I lost in 2012, one stone ten pounds has gone back on so ideally, I'd like to lose two stones. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Challenge Update - February 2015

My 2015 challenges are:-

1. Read one book each month.
1a. Read Agatha Christie books in chronological order.
2. Watch films from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time.
3. Support charities.

I've had another good month in February. Two books have been read on the Kindle, the first one being Little Women. This is a book I've never read before, I remember watching the film but couldn't remember everything about it so when I saw this was free for the Kindle, I thought I'd give it a go and I'm so glad that I did as I really enjoyed it. I read a post at the back end of last year which Amy wrote on her Love Made My Home blog, Orchard House and Louisa May Alcott, about her visit to the author's house in Concord, Massachusetts which I found really interesting as the book was actually loosely based on Louisa and her three sisters.

The second book I read in February was The Inn At The Top by Neil Hanson. This book has the subtitle Tales of Life at the Highest Pub in Britain, so that should give you some idea of what this book is about. It's packed with anecdotes about the author and his wife's time at the inn, in a remote part of the Yorkshire Dales, back in the 1970's with bits of history about the area thrown in for good measure. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

I read the second of Agatha Christie's books, The Secret Adversary. This book introduces the reader to Tommy and Tuppence, two fictional detectives who appear together in four Agatha Christie novels and one collection of short stories. I'm familiar with Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple but I've never come across Tommy and Tuppence in any Agatha Christie books I've read previously so this was a bit of a surprise. I enjoyed the book and didn't guess the ending.

I've had a bit of a film watching marathon this month, ten in total.

For A Few Dollars More is one of the Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns, the second in the Dollars Trilogy which are a favourite of my dad's. I can't say I was enthralled, it was watchable but not really my thing.

The Shawshank Redemption is number one on IMDb's top 100 and I can see why. It's a film I've seen before and one, I'm sure, I'll watch again. It would definitely make it on to my top 100, quite near the top.

I wasn't looking forward to watching Life Is Beautiful, an Italian comedy drama. I confess that I'm not all that fond of films with subtitles, but this was such a lovely film. A Jewish Italian, Guido, and his family are taken to a Nazi concentration camp where Guido comes up with an idea to shield his son from the true horror of the situation. Bittersweet. I'm pleased I watched it. Roberto Benigni directed and starred in this film and he won an Oscar for Best Actor, very well deserved in my opinion.

I nearly gave Pulp Fiction a miss even though I didn't really know what it was about. I'd heard about the violence and didn't fancy it, but it wasn't at all what I was expecting, I didn't realise it was a black comedy. I actually really enjoyed the film, very clever how three separate stories are connected together, and I loved John Travolta in it. Mick had never seen it before either so I sat through it a second time with him.

American History X is a film I've never heard of before. It's about two brothers, one a neo Nazi skinhead who ends up a reformed character after his time in prison, and the other who seems to be going down the same lines. A very powerful storyline which is bound to stir up strong emotions. This is another film I wouldn't have chosen to watch but I'm glad that I did.

One of my favourites is Forrest Gump. I don't know how many times I've seen this already, but I'm sure it's another one which I'll watch again. I think Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor and is fantastic in the role. This would definitely make my top 100.

Full Metal Jacket is about new Marine recruits, taking the viewer through their basic training and in to combat in Vietnam. I'm not really in to war films and this wasn't my thing, but it was watchable. It wouldn't make it in to my top 100 though.

Another Tom Hanks film, The Green Mile. I think this would make my top ten, a hopeless, tragic story about men on death row, but a beautiful tale too. This is another film which I can watch over and over again.

The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II are number two and three on IMDb's list. They wouldn't make it on to my list, but that's not to say they're not great films. I'm not in to gangster movies at all so these really weren't to my taste. I did enjoy watching Al Pacino when he was younger though, a very good looking man.

Eleanor cleared a few things out of her drawers and wardrobes a couple of weeks ago so they were taken to The Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd clothing bank. These clothing banks are so handy, they're usually situated in supermarket carparks and I know I can take my donations there at any time of day, they don't close like charity shops do.

Lend With Care, part of Care International, allows entrepreneurs in developing countries to make their own way out of poverty with the help of a microfinance loan. Making a contribution towards the loan is a great way to help someone help themselves and this can be in £15 increments. The entrepreneur's profile is regularly updated so you can follow their progress and see how their new source of income is transforming their life. Providing all goes well, the loan will be repaid to your account and you can then decide whether to withdraw the amount you lent or you can go on to help more entrepreneurs in the same way. I think it's a great scheme so I've helped a lady in Zambia with her bakery business this month. It's a very short term loan and should be repaid in July so I hope to go on and help more people in the same way.

It's been another busy month where my challenges are concerned but I'm hoping to have a bit of a rest over the weekend as I'm suffering with conjunctivitis at the moment and I've also done something to my back, I'm not sure what as it came on suddenly without me realising. I do hope it doesn't stick around, a bad back is something I can definitely do without now that the gardening season is nearly upon us.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Photo Medley - February

I usually have lots of photos on my camera which never make it on to the blog, but there aren't very many for February. It's been so cold just lately that I haven't been out much with my camera, so I thought I'd show you a few more photos which I took around the lake at Thornes Park.

You can see how icy it was, the birds look as though they're walking on water.

I'm hoping that the weather is going to start warming up so that I can get out and about a bit more with my camera. Let's see what March brings.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

How Did That Happen?

It's Daniel's birthday today, he's twenty. Just how did that happen? How did my baby boy turn in to a strapping twenty year old in the blink of an eye? I don't feel old enough to have a twenty year old son.

We won't be seeing him today but he's coming home for the weekend with his girlfriend tomorrow so we're going out for a meal tomorrow night, I'm sure he'll have some plans of his own for Saturday and then I shall cook a roast dinner for them before we take them back to university on Sunday.

Happy birthday, Daniel.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Thornes Park

Last Saturday, we visited Thornes Park in Wakefield. The main idea was to visit the Walled Garden for a post for my other blog, The Good Life. You can read about it on my Thornes Park In February post. We had Archie with us so after a look around the gardens we decided on a walk around the park. Archie came off his lead and had a good run around but as we neared the lake, we put him back on his lead otherwise he'd have been straight in the water.

It was a cold day and part of the lake was iced over, there looked to be some quite sharp pieces of ice jutting out.

Lots of birds use the lake.

The Canada Geese can get quite aggressive as you pass them, Archie wasn't very keen.

There was a man with his little boy throwing bread for the birds.

The rest of the Canada Geese couldn't come quickly enough when they knew food was around.

There was plenty for everyone.

This isn't a park we usually visit so it was a change to go somewhere different and Archie enjoyed himself.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Lucky Seven

First of all I'd just like to thank everyone for the lovely messages you left on my last post. Monty was a beautiful bunny and a huge part of our family. We've all been very sad over the last few days and your comments have meant so much to us all, thank you so much.

I'm so lucky, not only to have so many people read and comment on my blog, but also that so many people seem to enjoy my ramblings. I'm thrilled when someone sees fit to bestow an award on this little blog as Lyn from Planner Bug did recently when she awarded me the Liebster Award. This is, in fact, the seventh time I've been given this particular award. If you look down at the very bottom of my sidebar you can see all the awards I've been given previously. I'm very fortunate to have quite a few.

I think that passing on these type of awards and nominating other blogs gives readers a chance to discover new blogs to read as well as getting to know a blogger a little better.

The rules of this award are:-

1) Post 11 random facts about yourself.
2) Answer 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
3) Nominate 11 bloggers to do the same.
4) Let the bloggers you have nominated know that they have been nominated.

11 Random Facts About Myself.

1) I loved watching programmes like The Waltons when I was a child and always wanted a large family of my own. I couldn't have more children after Eleanor so I'm thankful for the two that I did manage to have.
2) It will be our Silver Wedding Anniversary in July but we haven't made any plans to celebrate it.
3) I like watching documentaries, especially those about crime.
4) My favourite crisps are Walkers Cheese and Onion.
5) I rarely wear anything other than jeans.
6) I prefer to take a shower than a bath. I would love to be able to relax and soak in a bubble bath but I just can't do it.
7) I like most food but I don't like advocado.
8) I hate driving. I drive a fifteen year old car and it's fine as I drive it as little as possible.
9) I'm not at all sporty but I was in the school netball, rounders and swimming teams.
10) I love scented candles, my favourite fragrance is citrus.
11) My favourite season is summer, I hate being cold.

11 Questions Set By Lyn.

1) What's your drink of choice?
I drink hot drinks rarely so I'd have to choose water as my non alcoholic drink of choice, but wine otherwise, though sometimes only a cold lager will do.

2) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I could never emigrate and I'm not sure I could ever leave Leeds. I've researched my family tree and my dad's side of the family were living here right back to the 1700's, perhaps that's why I feel such strong connections to it.

3) Who inspires you the most?
My mum. She's been the person I've trusted my whole life, looked to for guidance and asked for advice.

4) Which historical event would you have liked to witness in person?
I think this is a really hard question to answer, there's so many historical events which interest me but I wouldn't particularly have liked to have been there at the time, things like the plague, the fire of London or the sinking of the Titanic. I suppose I'd go for something like the first aeroplane flight or the first moon landing which I only missed by a year, or something which I did witness on tv but which would have been great to have actually been there for like the fall of the Berlin Wall.

5) What is your favourite food?
I like most things but I really don't think you can beat a good old Sunday roast dinner, with Yorkshire Puddings of course.

6) What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I really don't listen to much music these days but I was always bopping around to chart music in the 80's. I do love musical theatre though so I suppose I'd have to say that.

7) What is your favourite tv show, past or present?
There's too many to list them all but a few from the past, Cold Feet, Starsky and Hutch and Fawlty Towers, and present, Downton Abbey and Call The Midwife.

8) What is your favourite pastime when you're alone?
I have lots of hobbies, knitting, crochet, reading, gardening and I've just started cross stitch too. I like watching tv too, but only if there's something worth watching on, I'm not one of these who channel hops until I find something.

9) What is your favourite dessert?
I prefer a starter to a dessert if I'm eating out. I can't really think of a favourite dessert, I'd choose whatever takes my fancy at the time.

10) If you could travel back in time to a particular decade in the 20th century, what would it be and why?
It would be the 80's. I was in my teens and very early twenties then and I'd like to be the same age I was then if I travelled back. I think it was a great decade to grow up in.

11) What was the last thing you bought?
A jumper from Marks and Spencer. Actually, that's not strictly true, I had a £30 voucher as an incentive for applying for a credit card so the jumper cost me nothing.

11 Blogs I Nominate.

A Rich Tapestry
Angel Jem's City Cottage
Granny Smith's Quilting
Hookin' A Yarn
Jumble And Jelly
Lazy Days & Sundays At The Willows
Life At Sylvan House
Love Made My Home
My Blethering Blog
Poppy Patchwork

My Questions For You.

1) If your house was on fire, what one thing, other than family members and pets, would you save?
2) What, other than your children, is your greatest achievement?
3) What would be your dream job and is it a job you do or have done?
4) What is your dream holiday destination?
5) If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you bought?
6) Name your top three films of all time.
7) If you could have a conversation with a famous person, dead or alive, who would it be?
8) What is your earliest childhood memory?
9) What is your favourite season and why?
10) What made you decide to start a blog?
11) What would you like the future to hold for you?

Please don't feel obliged to take part if you don't wish to do so, these blog award posts can be so time consuming and I know that not everyone accepts awards so I won't be offended if you decline, but I think it's a nice way to acknowledge some of the blogs I enjoy reading.

Thank you for nominating me, Lyn, I'm always happy when someone enjoys my blog.

Saturday, 7 February 2015


2008 - 7th February 2015.

We're all very sad here today.

RIP beautiful bunny.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Another On The List

Another project has been added to the list of things on the go. When Amanda from Eight by Six blog showed a photo of the Blackberry Beanie that she was knitting, it occured to me that Eleanor may like this style of hat. I was right, so I printed off the pattern and ordered some yarn.

I'm using the suggested yarn, Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran. It contains cashmere and merino and it's super soft. Eleanor chose a dark green shade known as basil as it will go well with her coat. These photos don't pick the colour up properly, it's actually a lovely shade, not the murky colour that's shown here.

It was Tuesday evening when I cast on and I'm about half way through now, it shouldn't take me long to finish.

You can see why this stitch is called blackberry stitch, the little bobbles look exactly like little blackberries.

My other projects have been put on the back burner for now but it shouldn't be long before I can get on with them again.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Slippery Slope

After treating myself to a box of Tunnock's Tea Cakes at Christmas, I find I'm now on a slippery slope.

This is the second lot I've bought since that box at Christmas.

I can't help it, I think I'm addicted. Does anyone else have a similar problem?

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Challenge Update - January 2015

My 2015 challenges are:-

1. Read one book each month.
1a. Read Agatha Christie books in chronological order.
2. Watch films from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time.
3. Support charities.

I've definitely started my challenges well this year, January's been a very good month.

I received a Kindle for Christmas and the first book I downloaded on to it was A Nightingale Christmas Wish by Donna Douglas. You may remember that I've read books from the Nightingale series before. The books are set in an East End hospital in the 1930's and follow the careers and lives of various girls as they come to train and work at the Florence Nightingale Teaching Hospital. This latest book was just as good as the others I've read and I'm now looking forward to the next in the series to be released.

A book I've been wanting to read since its release is The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen. Amanda was featured on The Dales, a documentary hosted by Adrian Edmondson about the Yorkshire Dales. Amanda lives and works on a remote hill farm and as well as tending to her flock, she has seven children. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down.

The first of Agatha Christie's books is The Mysterious Affair At Styles. This is the book which introduces us to Hercule Poirot, the eccentric Belgian detective. Agatha Christie is so good at keeping the reader guessing the whole way through the book, I must have changed my mind at least three times who I thought the murderer was before it being revealed at the end.

When I chose my challenges for this year, I had the intention of watching every film from IMDb's top 100 movies of all time. Flighty from Flighty's Plot left me a comment on my 2015 Challenges post saying that if he was doing this challenge, it would be to watch films from the list rather than all of them as there's some films he wouldn't want to watch. I have to agree with him to a point. When I've thought about it, there will be some films which I suppose I just won't be able to find, but I do want to watch as many films as I can, even if I don't particularly fancy them as I'm sure there'll be many which I don't think will be to my taste which I would probably enjoy if I gave them a chance.

When I counted up, I realised that I've already seen sixteen of the films on the list, however, I shall watch them again as part of this challenge. I made a good start this month watching eight films.

I was quite looking forward to watching Taxi Driver. I like both Robert De Niro and Jodie Foster, two good actors, but wow, what a rubbish film. This is number 76 on the list, it wouldn't make my top 1000 never mind 100. Sorry but it's too arty for me.

The Silence of the Lambs is a film I've seen before, in fact, I saw it with Mick on our first wedding anniversary, how romantic! It's a film I could watch, and have watched, over and over again. Brilliant performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster. This would definitely make my top 100 list.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird at school and reread it just last year. It's a brilliant book and a fabulous film. I'd seen it before but I enjoyed it just the same. The book would definitely make my top 100, I think the film probably would too.

I've never fancied The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I'm not in to fantasy, but to be honest, I was quite looking forward to watching the films as part of this challenge to see what all the fuss was about. That's over nine hours of my life I'll never get back! I thought The Fellowship of the Ring started off well and I thought I might actually enjoy the films but it was just too long and drawn out. The Two Towers seemed to go on even longer, it could have been condensed in to half an hour for me, but The Return of the King did actually have a conclusion, though again, the film could have been shorter. These three films wouldn't make my top 100, but I can see that anyone who enjoys this genre would enjoy them.

Once Upon a Time in the West isn't a film I'd choose to watch myself. Though I grew up in a house where westerns were regularly watched as I had a dad and a brother who couldn't get enough of them, they aren't the type of film I particularly enjoy. Still, I found this to be watchable, it had a good story to it and it kept me interested. It wouldn't make my top 100 but it was ok.

The last film I've watched this month is Se7en. I've seen this film before yet the only bit I could remember was the very end, which actually spoils the film if you know it beforehand. It wouldn't make my top 100 but 128 minutes of Brad Pitt is definitely worth watching. Actually, it's worth watching even if you don't like Brad Pitt.

I've supported four different charities this month. Firstly, I've set up a regular standing order. Charities like regular donations as it allows them to plan ahead based on revenue. The charity I've decided to support this year is Candlelighters which is a childhood cancer charity in Yorkshire. Having had cancer myself, lost a sister to cancer, had my mum battle cancer and now my dad has cancer you can see why cancer charities are close to my heart. When I was undergoing treatment myself, the childrens treatment room was right next to the waiting room I had to use and it broke my heart to listen to the cries as those children were having to endure treatment for this terrible disease. Candlelighters was formed over forty years ago to help children and their families at a terrible time in their lives. Regular donations don't have to be large, charities are happy with any donation, no matter how small. Don't forget to tick that you want to gift aid your donation, this is a scheme where the charity is able to reclaim tax on a donation made by a UK taxpayer, increasing the amount of the donation with no extra cost to yourself. As I don't work and therefore don't pay tax, my monthly donation has been set up in Mick's name to take advantage of gift aid.

I've been having a bit of a clear out this month so I took this lot to the charity shop. Martin House is a local children's hospice and the charity shop I usually take my donations to supports it.

Sometimes there are things which aren't suitable to take to a charity shop, for instance, this pile of socks which Mick cleared out of his drawer this month. They'd seen better days so I asked him to drop them off at the local Bag It Up clothing bank. Bag It Up collects and recycles unwanted donations to markets in the UK and overseas and this generates vital funds for charity. 'End of life' garments are recycled in to industrial wipers and cloths, mattress filling, insulation and new fibres. Our local recycling bank supports the Yorkshire Air Ambulance but different banks support different charities. There's a bank locator on the website if you have any textiles which have seen better days.

My Christmas cards were dropped off at Marks & Spencer who were working with The Woodland Trust and running a recycling scheme. For every 1000 cards collected in their recycling bins, a tree would be planted. It's good to know that the cards I received this year will go some way to getting a new tree planted.

It's been a busy month where my challenges are concerned. I'm sure the film watching and book reading rate will drop once the better weather is here so I'm making the most of the dark nights and cold weather at the moment and hunkering down with a book or the tv to watch a film whilst I've got the opportunity to do so.

I'm weather watching today. There was a thin layer of snow on the ground when I went to bed last night. I woke up at about 4am and looked out of the window and it had gone, but it must have snowed again before I got up as there was a little more than a smattering making everywhere white again. We've had a few flurries this morning and we're forecast more later on today, though I don't think it will amount to much.

I hope your own challenges have started off well and that the snow isn't too bad where you are.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Photo Medley - January

I often have lots of photos on my camera which don't make it on to the blog for one reason or another, I may take a photo which doesn't fit in to a blog post or I may have taken far too many photos of a subject to include them all in one blog post. I had an idea that I would combine all these odd photos at the end of each month and show them on my blog. When it's come near to the end of January, I've had a look at what I've got and unfortunately, it doesn't amount to much, probably because the weather's been too cold to be out and about with my camera and the light too dismal to get good shots indoors.

There's just a few here for January.

The unused bug house covered in snow. I've had this for two years now and not one bug has taken up residence in it.

My Granny Stripe blanket. It's grown just a little since this photo was taken and I'm loving how the colours are working out.

Mrs Blackbird in the garden. I was counting the visiting birds for the Big Garden Birdwatch.

A Dunnock hoovering up the seeds which had been dropped from one of the feeders.

I hope to have more photos to include in the posts at the end of future months, we'll see how it goes.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

I Spoke Too Soon

I mentioned in my last post how I'm not keen on starting a new blanket. I dislike making the foundation chain and crocheting the first couple of rows, but I'd started my new Granny Stripe blanket, got past those first tricksy rows, and thought it would be plain sailing from then on. How wrong I was.

I used a larger hook for the foundation chain, moving up from 4mm to 6mm. The first few rows went all well and good but as I added more and more rows, the work started to want to arc like a rainbow. It wasn't too noticeable and it was easy to pull it in to shape. I thought that once finished, putting a border on would probably sort it out, but I knew it wasn't right so I started again.

This time I used an 8mm hook for the foundation chain and it seems to have sorted the problem out. I've never had any problem like this with my ripple blankets and I've crocheted the foundation chain in the same way so I'm not sure why it happened this time.

I'm enjoying putting the colours together and seeing how they work out. There's seventeen shades to choose from so there's plenty of choice.

I'm hoping that this time, it really will be plain sailing with no further hiccups.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

New Projects

After finishing my Christmas Knitting, I had a bit of a break. I was knitting gifts right up to the big day and then, after receiving some lovely crafty gifts for Christmas, as well as having other projects waiting in the wings, I just couldn't decide what to start.

While I was thinking about it, I cracked on and made some dishcloths. They don't take long to make and I like handmade ones much more than bought ones. They last much longer too. I always use Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth pattern, it's very easy to knit up.

In the end, I decided that I'd start a couple of projects which have been waiting since Christmas 2013. Mick bought me a huge pack of Stylecraft Special DK, it's made up of the 17 shades which are used in the Attic24 Granny Stripe blanket.

I've been wondering whether to use the yarn to make a Granny Stripe blanket myself or whether to use it for something different. In the end I decided to go with the Granny Stripe afterall. I have two cream leather sofas in my room so I'd like to make a couple of Granny Stripe blankets so that I can have one on the back of each, they will add a bit of colour to all the neutral tones in my room. I love the process of blanket making once I get going, though it has to be said that I'm not keen on those first few rows, making the foundation chain and the first couple of rows after that, but I made a start last night so it should be plain sailing from now on.

Another project which has been waiting since Christmas 2013 is the cross stitch kit which Mick bought me.

I've only attempted cross stitch once before, that was many many years ago and it never got finished. I started this one a few days ago but goodness me, my eyesight is worse than I thought. I'm finding it so hard to see the tiny holes so it's very slow going. This tiny patch which I've completed so far took me a very long time, I can see that this project will take ages to complete. I thought that cross stitch may be a nice winter hobby but I can't see a thing in electric light, I need natural light when stitching, so perhaps it's more of a summer hobby.

I've still got the Yarn From Skeggy to use. I'd like to make this in to a blanket but I'm not sure what style as yet, that's something else to think about. I also think I may add some more colours to those I've already got.

Edward's Menagerie is also waiting to be started. I've decided that the first animal I'll attempt is Emma the Bunny as this is supposed to be the easiest pattern to start off with.

Then there's my hare felting kit which Mick bought me for Christmas this year. I've no idea whether I'll find this easy or hard, needle felting is something I've never tried before.

There's a couple of knitted items I'd like to make. I've been promising myself a hat for the last few years but still haven't got round to making one. My ears get rather cold when I'm out walking Archie, especially when the temperature plummets as it did yesterday. In fact, it was so icy yesterday that I went flying whilst I was walking him. I did that thing that many people do when they take a tumble, get up and pretend it never happened and then have a sneaky look round a few moments later to see if anyone saw you. Luckily, I didn't see anyone about so I hope my fall went unobserved. I didn't think I was hurt at the time but I've got a very sore leg today. Anyway, back to the hat. I've seen a lovely pattern in Issue 128 of Simply Knitting so I'd like to get the yarn for that and I've seen a couple of patterns for scarves which I'd like to have a go at too.

So that's lots of new projects, either just started or waiting to be started. I think I'm going to be very busy.