Monday, 23 November 2015

Winter's Arrived

I was woken in the early hours of Saturday morning by the wind howling. It was actually snowing too, it had been forecast but I thought it might miss us. There was a thin covering but most of it had gone by morning, just bits left here and there.

We decided to visit a park in Bradford which we've been to before. I wanted to see the botanical gardens there at this time of year and you can read about our trip in my Lister Park Botanical Gardens In November post over on my other blog, The Good Life.

I'm glad I got wrapped up warm, though the sun was putting in an appearance it was bitterly cold. Such a shock to the system after the mild autumn we've had up to now.

I don't think anyone will have ventured out for a game of bowls this weekend.

I'm pleased to say that there's no sign of snow left now, although it looks very pretty when freshly laid, I'm not a fan. Temperatures are set to increase again as this week goes on so I hope that's the last we see of the white stuff for quite some time.

Friday, 20 November 2015

It's Nearly Time

Christmas is only five weeks away now so it will soon be time to send out all the cards and parcels for the swaps I'm taking part in.

The Twelve Days of Christmas Swap which I'm hosting myself should be posted no later than 5th of December. How is everyone doing? I've just about finished with the gift buying now so I've just got to wrap them all up. I've started buying the wrapping paper.

I hope everyone's having fun with this swap and that you're all getting ready to post out the gifts. If anyone's having any problems, please do let me know.

Amy from Love Made My Home published the Christmas Card Swap 2015 partners at the beginning of the week but unfortunately, I've been paired with someone who has stopped writing her blog so it doesn't look like she's going to take part in the swap now. I'm still hoping that she'll answer the comment I left on her blog though, we'll see.

I've bought most of the gifts for the #stitchingsanta Blog Christmas Gift Swap over on Sheila's Sewchet blog. I'm knitting furiously now to finish what I'm making to add to the parcel.

I'm having lots of fun with the swaps I'm taking part in, I hope you are too.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Cross Stitch Haul

I've only completed one cross stitch in my life but I've been bitten by the bug. So much so that when I recently visited Hobbycraft, I came home with a few cross stitch related things.

I was looking for a cross stitch magazine. I rarely buy magazines these days but on the cusp of a new hobby, I thought I'd treat myself. I decided on a Christmas edition of Ultimate Cross Stitch. It was a bit more expensive at £7.99 than the others on sale but I thought it was worth it for the 105 charts it contains. There's some large ones and plenty of small ones so I'm sure there'll be plenty I'll be able to manage even though I'm a novice.

I had a quick flick through the magazine whilst I was in the shop and saw these Scandinavian love hearts designs which can be made in to cards. I thought they were lovely so I decided to buy some aida and some red stranded cotton to give one a go.

I've only even used aida but I'm quite keen to have a go with evenweave fabric, it doesn't seem quite so stiff, so I bought some of that too. I'm not sure how I'll get on with it as it seems harder with this to see where the needle should go than with aida but I'll give it a try. My eyesight is rapidly deteriorating. I was given glasses three years ago but I know they're no longer strong enough so I'll have to book myself an appointment at the opticians. A voucher for a free eye test was pushed through my mum and dad's letterbox yesterday so that will do very nicely.

I also bought a new embroidery hoop as the one I have left marks when I used it. I'd really like a snap frame before I start my next large project so that I don't have to use a hoop at all.

It's quite exciting embarking on a new hobby, I just wish there were more hours in the day so that I had more time to do everything I want to do. One thing's for sure, I'll never be bored.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Tutti Frutti Baby Blanket

It's over two years ago that I started my On The Go blanket. The idea was that the blanket would be made up of granny squares and as they're so portable and easy to crochet when out and about, I would work on this blanket when I was On The Go and away from home.

I started the blanket whilst I was on holiday in Cornwall in 2013 and to be honest, I didn't add very much to the number of squares until I went on holiday, again to Cornwall, in 2014. I wrote my On The Go Update post shortly afterwards but even though I had high hopes of working on the blanket a little more on holiday this year, I just didn't get round to it.

I decided that enough was enough, it could be ten years at this rate until I'd have enough squares to make in to a blanket large enough to cover a bed so, as we'd had some lovely news that Mick's cousin's girlfriend is expecting a baby, I decided to use the squares I'd already made, with a few more which I crocheted up in no time at all, and make a baby blanket.

Mick's cousin didn't want to know the sex of the baby but his girlfriend did. They decided that she'd find out but wouldn't tell him. Unfortunately, somehow it managed to slip out and he now knows that she's expecting a baby girl. I'm actually quite pleased that I know as I've been able to crochet the shell border in soft peach which is a pinky sort of colour.

The blanket has been crocheted in Stylecraft Special DK in Meadow, Grape, Pomegranate, Soft Peach, Lemon, Cloud Blue and Cream, the colours remind me of those Tutti Frutti sweets which I used to love as a child and so my On The Go blanket has now morphed in to my Tutti Frutti Baby Blanket.

There aren't any other babies in the family to buy for so I'm looking forward to going shopping for some little outfits to gift along with this blanket, it's such a long time since I've bought any tiny clothes and there's some gorgeous designs, I'm going to be spoilt for choice.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Start All Over Again

In A Winter Project post, I wrote about the Spice Of Life Crochet Along that I was taking part in and showed how far I'd got at that point. Unfortunately, since then, I noticed that my tension was completely out. This is how it looked. Sorry about the poor light but this was taken at night just before I decided to pull the whole lot out. You can see how it's curving, it's because my work was getting tighter as I went along.

I only got as far as pulling out a few rows. I'd been trying to be good by sewing in all the ends as I went along so I didn't have them all to do once I'd finished and of course, this made pulling it back near on impossible. I decided to abandon the idea at that point. This photo illustrates how different my tension was in the later rows than the earlier ones.

There was nothing for it but to start all over again.

I've never had any problems with my tension in the past, I can only assume that the problem this time has occurred because there's so many different stitches included in this pattern. Anyway, so far so good. This is how it's looking at the moment. It doesn't look very straight here but that's just how I've laid it out.

This time I'm leaving the ends just in case I have to pull it back again, I've learnt my lesson where ends are concerned. It might be a huge job at the end but at least I know it will be easy enough to pull the work back if I have to.

I have to say that I was really enjoying this project when I started it, now I'm on tenterhooks fretting about my tension all the time and it's taken some of the pleasure out of it for me. I lay out the work after every row just to check that it's not pulling and it's quite tiresome. I'll actually be glad when I've got it finished. I know that the first attempt will have to be pulled back at some point otherwise I'll run out of yarn. I'll just have to struggle on and do the best I can with those ends which have been sewn in.

There's one good thing, I know when I sew in ends they're not likely to work themselves loose, they're stuck good and proper.

I'm joining in with Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party over on her Thistlebear blog. Do pop over and take a look what it's all about, and how about joining in with the fun? I'm sure many of you have projects on the go for winter.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Home Is Where The Heart Is

It was Christmas 2013 when Mick bought me a cross stitch kit. I remember attempting one when I was in my teens but I never got it finished, in fact, I've still got it kicking around somewhere. I started my new kit back in January this year and I've really enjoyed completing it. I actually finished the cross stitch back in April or May but put it away over the summer months as I lost my crafting mojo a little and also because I just wasn't enjoying the backstitch part of it. I persevered with it though as I do think it makes the stitching stand out and I've finally finished it.

I'm really pleased with how it looks. There's some marks on the aida which have been left by the embroidery hoop though so it does need a rinse through, I wonder if any of you cross stitchers out there can tell me the best way to wash it and what with.

I'm always curious to see the back of people's work, I know it doesn't really matter what it's like as it's never seen, but just in case anyone out there is like me, here's the back. It could be neater but I don't think it's that bad.

I really fancy having a go at an alphabet sampler next but can't seem to find any I like. It doesn't have to be a kit, a chart would do. Any recommendations please?

Friday, 30 October 2015

Challenge Update - October 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'm still exceeding my target of reading one book each month, this month I've read two in addition to the Agatha Christie book I've read.

I watched one of Caroline's 'Current Favourites' vlogs on her Mrs M's Meanderings blog where she reviewed The New Woman by Charity Norman. It sounded very good so this was my first read of October. The book is about a middle aged man, Luke Livingstone, who has hidden a secret all his life and has now got to the stage where he feels he can't carry on living unless he tells his family, however, he knows that if he does tell his family it will tear them apart. I think the author handled the subject very sensitively, it was interesting reading about the family's reactions to the secret as well as how Luke handled it himself. It was a book I thoroughly enjoyed and I'd recommend it.

Miss Phryne Fisher Investigates by Kerry Greenwood was sent to me by Lisa from Jumble and Jelly. Lisa thought I'd enjoy this book and she was right, I did. It's not a book I'd have chosen to read myself but it just goes to show that old saying is right, you should never judge a book by its cover. Phryne Fisher is a bored socialite who leaves London and travels to Australia in search of adventure. It doesn't take her long to become involved in illegal abortions and drug smuggling rings and there's a few steamy episodes in the Turkish bath thrown in for good measure.

The Murder At The Vicarage is the first Agatha Christie book featuring Miss Marple. I think I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I can never guess who the murderer is in Agatha Christie books and this one was no exception, there's always so many red herrings that I always latch on to the wrong person. Another excellent read.

I've managed to watch three films this month, though now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, I'm aiming for more next month.

I remember Guy Pearce when he played Mike Young in Neighbours, goodness, that was a lot of years ago now, I was in my teens. The first film I watched this month, Memento, saw him playing Leonard, an ex insurance investigator who lost his short term memory in an assault where his wife was murdered. Now he's trying to track down the killer, however, the fact that he's unable to make new memories makes this already difficult task even harder. There's two storylines, one moving forward in time with the other working backwards revealing more each time. I found it quite complicated to keep track at first but it was worth persevering with as it was a good film.

I'm really not in to superheroes, however, the second film I watched this month was The Dark Knight, a Batman film. I actually quite enjoyed it and I think Heath Ledger was fantastic as The Joker. Christopher Nolan directed, produced and co-wrote the film and he has dedicated it in part to Ledger's memory.

Gladiator is my favourite film this month. It's another one I've never really fancied but it turned out to be totally different to what I expected it to be. I didn't like all the fight scenes but it did have a very good story and it's a film I could watch again.

I've cut down on the amount of Christmas cards I send each year, however, I still like to send to those people I don't see very often or elderly relatives so I like to support charities with the cards that I do buy. I couldn't resist these cute doggy cards which were being sold on behalf of Guide Dogs.

There were some old quilts and pillows lurking in the cupboards upstairs which I've finally got round to sorting out. We took these earlier this month to Dogs Trust, I'm sure the dogs there will be pleased to have something comfy to sleep on.


This box of sweets has turned up in the office at Mick's work. He bought a packet of wine gums and in doing so, supported Mencap, a very worthwhile charity who work in partnership with people with a learning disability.

The clocks have gone back now, the weather's changed, lots of soggy days just lately and we're definitely heading in to winter now, though I have to admit that I'm still wearing sandals and the anorak only comes out to walk Archie in if it's raining. I don't know whether to mention this or not, it may set you all off in a panic but it's now only eight weeks to Christmas Day. Eeeek. Where's this year gone?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Photo Medley - October

Not many photos to share with you this month, my camera doesn't seem to have been in use as much as usual, perhaps because I don't seem to have been up to much.

Another photo of the crochet along I'm taking part in. I've got more to share with you about this project but it will wait for a future post.

We visited RHS Harlow Carr earlier this month, they're gearing up for the Halloween celebrations and are selling all manner of pot decorations in their plant centre. They're quite reasonably priced and mean you don't have the hassle of having to carve a pumpkin. I didn't buy one but I was quite tempted.

Apples and pears, a gift from our next door neighbours who have had a bumper crop this year.

I had a trip to Hobbycraft on Sunday where I picked up these little Christmas cross stitch kits and aperture cards to mount them in. A little Christmas project to have a go at.

I must make more of an effort to use my camera more next month.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Passing On The Kindness

At the back end of last year, Sally from Crafty Northerner asked if anyone would like to receive a Random Act of Kindness, or RAK. Never one to pass up on the chance of receiving a parcel of lovely goodies through the post, I said that I would love to. The parcel of happiness arrived in July and you can read about the lovely things I received in my I Received A RAK post.

Sally asked that if we joined in, we were to share the love and pass on a RAK ourselves, so after I'd received my lovely parcel I asked who would like to join in and got lots of replies so I picked two names at random and last week I sent one parcel to Pam at A New Life In Wales and one to Cheryl at My Little Piece Of England.  I now know that the parcels have been received as Pam has done a post about her's and Cheryl has dropped me an email to thank me, so I thought I'd show you what I sent.

As the clocks went back at the weekend, I thought it would be a nice idea to make up a parcel for when the ladies were hunkering down on the darker nights. First of all, four sachets of hot chocolate in different Cadbury's flavours to keep them warm, some yummy chocolatey biccies to eat with said hot chocolate and a packet of cheddar and caramelised onion chutney Yorkshire crisps, I can vouch that they're scrumptious. I know both ladies are crafty so I sent a couple of balls of Stylecraft Special DK to each of them so that they can keep busy knitting or crocheting and a book each. I do love a good read during the winter months. They both have dogs so I popped a little treat in for them too.

They both got the same things except Cheryl got a different book and some treats for her puss too.

Now, as I said, these RAKs should be carried forward so that the kindness spreads so if you fancy receiving a parcel tailored to your own likes and tastes, pop across to Pam's blog and have a look at her R A K, ooh, lovely Friday Surprise post and you could have the chance to receive one. I know Cheryl will be sending one out too so do keep an eye out on her blog too.

I really enjoy choosing little gifts for people so I might even send another myself in the future, I know it certainly brightens up my day when I receive happy mail so I'm sure it must brighten up other people's days too.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

More Swaps

I seem to have got the swap bug, I've joined another two Christmas themed ones this week.

I saw the #stitchingsanta Blog Christmas Gift Swap over on Sheila's Sewchet blog. There's two categories in this swap, you choose which you'd like to take part in, either sewing or knitting/crochet. I've gone for knitting/crochet. I'm looking forward to finding out who my partner is so that I can get buying for them. If you'd like to join in the fun, you've got until the end of this month to sign up.

The other day, Amy from Love Made My Home did a post about her Christmas Card Swap 2015. I took part in this swap last year so I've signed up again. It's a good way to make new bloggy friends and doesn't have to cost very much, just the price of a card and a stamp. If you'd like to take part in this swap you've got until Monday 16th November 2015 to sign up.

Of course, there's also my Twelve Days Of Christmas swap. The sign up for this in now closed but I know many of those taking part are now enthusiastically making or shopping for gifts, it's all very exciting.

I think most people have now been in touch with their Twelve Days Of Christmas Swap Partners but if there's anyone who still hasn't heard from their partner, either by email or a comment on their blog, can you please let me know.

There's going to be so many cards and gifts being exchanged throughout blogland this Christmas, I can't wait.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015


When I saw these comics at a vintage sale I just had to buy them.

I remember reading Twinkle when I was a little girl, I loved all the characters in it but my very favourite was Nancy The Little Nurse. She worked at the Dollies Hospital where broken toys are mended with her grandad who is the dolly doctor, Mr Jingle. I even had a little dress up outfit like Nancy's.

Polly's Magic Painbox. Polly could paint a picture and it would come to life, very exciting.

Witch Winkle created havoc wherever she went, but it always turned out well in the end.

So many old favourites.

I used to love these cut out dolls. I'd cut out the clothes for them and then sit and dress them in different outfits for hours.

These three comics were dated 1977 and 1978, I would have been eight or nine when they were published. Did you have a favourite comic as a child?

Thursday, 15 October 2015


I know my holiday posts have gone on a bit this year, it's over two months ago since we were away, but I promise this is my last one.

Eleanor and I had never been to Scotland before so whilst we were in Northumberland, we decided that we'd cross the border. We didn't go very far in to Scotland, just about eight miles north of Berwick upon Tweed to Eyemouth. Eyemouth is a small town with many features of a traditional fishing village. The reason we chose to visit this place is that someone had left a comment in the visitor's book back at the cottage saying that they'd seen seals here. We thought we'd take a look ourselves and we weren't disappointed.

There's a van in the harbour which sells seafood, they sell fish here to feed to the seals too. You can borrow a pole which has a clip on the end to attach the fish to, it's easier to lower the fish to the seals this way.

The seals attract quite a crowd at times, they must be well fed during the summer season as many people were wanting to have a turn at feeding them.

They had to be quick though, seagulls are opportunists and are so quick at grabbing the fish before the seals get chance.

As soon as they realised the seals were being fed, they were circling overhead.

Many were successful at getting the fish before the seals did.

I think seals are really cute but they can be quite vicious.

As well as the harbour, Eyemouth has a lovely beach.

It's quite small but it wasn't very busy when we were there. We had plenty of room to set up camp.

We spent a few different days here when the sun was shining. We had lots of dull days on our holiday so we made the most of the sunshine.

There's nothing more relaxing that sitting on a beach on a sunny day watching all the comings and goings. There were lots of boats sailing in and out of the harbour.

This cormorant was doing a bit of fishing in the sea, he'd bob right underneath the water before resurfacing in a totally different place.

Archie enjoyed himself too, rolling around in smelly seaweed, one of his favourite activities.

I think he enjoyed the holiday as much as we did.

It was a change holidaying further north this year rather than heading south. As you've seen from my posts, we visited many different places but I feel we only touched the surface. I'd like to go back again some time in the future but we're considering a holiday down south again next year, perhaps we'll venture north again the year after.