Sunday, 14 December 2014

Sewing Book Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway to win a copy of Emma Hardy's My First Sewing Machine Book.

A winner has been drawn at random and I'm pleased to announce that Alison from Life At Sylvan House is the lucky winner. Can you please let me have your address so that I can get the book posted out to you.

My own learning to sew plans have been put on hold until after the new year. Daniel came home from university on Friday so the house is full once again and it's very busy in the run up to Christmas. I still haven't finished my gift knitting for Christmas so I shall be concentrating on getting that done in amongst the rest of the chaos this week. At least we trimmed up last week so we're ahead on one thing this year, I've been known to be putting up the tree on Christmas Eve before now.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Little House In The Big Woods

Little House In The Big Woods is the first book in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I used to love watching Little House On The Prairie when I was little and have now started collecting each series on DVD but I'd never read the books so I thought it would be nice to do so.

I've so far read Little House In The Big Woods and Little House On The Prairie and I'm half way through On The Banks Of Plum Creek. I'm enjoying reading them very much.

Before I started reading the Little House books, I read One Day by David Nicholls.

After meeting on the 15th of July 1988, the day of their graduation, One Day tells the story of Emma and Dexter with a snapshot of their lives on the same day each year for the next twenty years.

Eleanor's watched the film version of One Day numerous times so I've caught bits of it, but it didn't spoil the book for me.

I'm hoping to find a Kindle in my Christmas stocking this year. It will be handy to use when I'm awake during the night but I'm sure I'll continue to read proper books too.

Don't forget to enter my Sewing Book Giveaway if you haven't already done so. You've got until twelve noon on Saturday the 13th of December 2014 to leave a comment on the appropriate post.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Sewing Book Giveaway

Do you remember the book I told you about in my Learning To Sew post? I bought myself My First Sewing Machine Book by Emma Hardy as I intend to have a go at learning to sew. It's a book which is really aimed at children, 7 years +, however, I think kids books are great for adults too as everything is usually explained really clearly.

I actually bought two copies of the book as I thought it would make a great giveaway prize, so one for me and the other for one lucky winner.

You can read more about the book itself if you click on the link to my Learning To Sew post.

You might like to learn to sew yourself or have a child or grandchild who would like to learn, or you may already be able to sew and fancy having a go at some of the 35 fun projects which are included in the book.

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning this lovely book, just leave a comment on this post by twelve noon on Saturday the 13th of December 2014. A name will be drawn at random soon afterwards and I'll endeavour to get the book to the winner before Christmas.

Good luck.

Sunday, 30 November 2014


Eleanor has been performing in Scrooge at the Carriageworks Theatre in Leeds this week with her theatre group, it's the musical version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. We went to see it last night and had a lovely evening.

Eleanor had quite a big part, she took the role of Ghost of Christmas Past and Ghost of Christmas Future. Christmas Future didn't have any lines, she just had to point and gesture but she had lots of lines as Christmas Past and a solo too, Love While You Can. She performed beautifully, as did the rest of the cast.

I asked her to to get some photos in her costumes but they haven't turned out very well. Here she is as Christmas Past.

Christmas Future is a Grim Reaper type figure.

Here she is as one of the townsfolk.

It's hard to remember that the youth theatre which stage these shows each year are made up of children, some of them very young. The shows are extremely professional and well rehearsed, but most of all, you can tell that the kids really enjoy themselves and have a brilliant time.

I'm looking forward to hearing what next year's show will be.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Challenge Update - November 2014

My 2014 challenges are:-

1) Knit one hat each week for The Innocent Big Knit.

2) Do something nice for me.

3) Choose a non fiction book from the library.

I've reached my target of knitting fifty hats for The Innocent Big Knit. Here they are, all together. They have to be in by the 12th of December so it's time to send them off.

My nice thing for November was a meal out with Mick. Last year, I set myself the challenge of having a date night once a month. It was nice for just the two of us to spend time out somewhere together, but this has rather fallen by the wayside this year so I thought I'd do something about it this month. Eleanor's at the age now where she rarely comes out with us if we're going anywhere and Daniel's away at university, so we do get time together, but it's not often that the time is spent just talking and enjoying each other's company, we're usually quite busy so it's lovely to just pause for a while and talk. We went to the local pub and enjoyed a delicious meal whilst we caught up with each other's news.

I wrote about the non fiction book I chose from the library this month in A Bygone Era post. This Was Garforth was published by the Garforth Historical Society and shows many old photos of the town. It was fascinating to see buildings which are still standing, yet other areas of the town which are now unrecognisable.

It's quite hectic on an evening here at the moment. Eleanor is in a play at the Carriageworks theatre in Leeds so we have to get her there by 6pm for a 7.30pm start, it's no fun in the centre of Leeds during rush hour I can tell you. We're then back around 10pm to pick her up. She had a technical rehearsal and dress rehearsals at the start of the week and the first performance was last night. She's singing a solo so she was a little nervous, but she said it went ok. One performance down, another three to go. We're going to see the show tomorrow evening, I can't wait.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Project Pouch Giveaway Win

Pam from A New Life In Wales recently hosted a giveaway and I was one of the lucky winners. I won this beautiful project pouch which Pam made herself, isn't it beautiful?

I was thrilled to win as I've been looking for something to keep my sock knitting in and this fits the bill perfectly. It's lovely and roomy inside so it's large enough for when I've got a pair of Eleanor's favourite socks on the go which are knit on two needles rather than dpn's.

Thank you, Pam, it's a wonderful prize.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Cuteness Overload

Eleanor was messing around with my DSLR camera yesterday and I just had to show you these photos she took.

This is her iPod. It has The Fault In Our Stars case with quotes from the book, but just look at the cute schnozzle in the background.

There's nothing cuter than dog paws.

"Please get that camera out of my face, I'm trying to snooze here".

Eleanor's decided she might like a new camera for Christmas. I wonder if Santa's listening.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Jumper Day

This is the third year in which Save The Children will be running its annual Christmas Jumper Day. It's to be held on Friday the 12th of December and people are encouraged to wear a Christmas jumper for the day and make a donation to this deserving charity.

George at Asda is the official retail sponsor and Christmas jumpers are now on sale in their stores and online with a percentage of each sale going to Save The Children.

Eleanor will be taking part at school, though I think it's just the sixth form which is joining in. She wanted something gaudy and we came across this jumper in the men's section at Matalan. It's a little big but she likes her jumpers to be baggy.

I think this fits the bill perfectly, especially when the lights are turned on and are flashing away.

Other partners besides Asda are supporting this year's Christmas Jumper Day too. If you fancy knitting yourself a jumper, patterns can be downloaded from with selected patterns carrying a donation to Save The Children. How about getting your dog in on the fun? Doggy jumpers are being sold at Pets at Home with a donation going to Save The Children. I'm not sure it's really Archie's thing.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Nice Weather For Ducks

On Sunday, we went for a walk in Golden Acre Park, a public park in North Leeds covering 55 hectares. We'd had some heavy rainfall the previous couple of days and there were lots of puddles. The ducks didn't seem to mind though.

We started off with a stroll around the lake before setting off through the woodland.

There's lots of pathways to follow so it doesn't get too muddy, even after so much rain.

Golden Acre Park runs alongside two nature reserves, though we stayed in the park on this visit.

I think autumn is giving way to winter now, many of the trees have lost their leaves and the intense autumn colours are fading fast.

It was good to get out and about after being cooped up indoors because of the rain. I try to make the most of any good weather we have at this time of year as it surely can't last much longer.

Archie had been to the groomers on Saturday for a trim. I always get him cut very short underneath as he tends to get leaves, twigs and general woodland debris tangled underneath him otherwise. I thought he might be a little chilly so he wore his coat on Sunday.

We veered off the beaten path and took ourselves in amongst the trees.

There's so many things of interest to be found at this time of year and getting away from paths and areas with heavy footfall increases your chances of finding them.

In among the fallen leaves were all different types of fungi. These red ones are my favourites.

Take a look at what else we came across.

As we made our way out of the park, it was nice to see some roses still flowering.

The hydrangeas have now faded, but they're still a thing of beauty.

Dogwoods (cornus) are known for their vivid winter stem colour. They literally glow.

There's so much to see at this time of year. Let's hope for many more nice days before winter really does set in, it's good to be out and about enjoying nature.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A Bygone Era

Garforth is a town on the outskirts of Leeds. I have lived here for the past twenty one years, and lived just a mile or two away for eighteen years prior to this. I'm always interested in local history, I've lived in this area for such a long time that I like to know about things from the past relating to it.

Whilst tracing my family tree, I learnt that my dad's ancestors all came from different areas in and around Leeds, but have traced one branch which lived in Garforth, so I've got connections here from long ago.

Garforth, like the surrounding villages, was a coalmining area, though the pits are now long gone.

On my most recent trip to the library, I picked up a book which has been published by the Garforth Historical Society. It shows old photos of the town which I find fascinating. I love to look back and see what an area was like many years ago.

This is Main Street, or Briggate as it was called then. The buildings were mainly domestic at this time and some of the terraced houses on the right of the photo remained until the 1950's.

This is Main Street as it is today, it's about a twenty minute walk from my house. There's a small Co-Operative supermarket, The Original Factory Shop, Subway and Greggs, but lots of the shops are independent. There's quite a few charity shops and more hairdressers than any small town really needs to my way of thinking. Each time a shop closes down, a new salon seems to pop up.

Taken a little further back, on the left you can see the junction with Barleyhill Road.

The buildings on the left are still here today. We have a lovely Italian restaurant on the corner where the white building once stood.

If you turn 180 degrees, you can see Lidgett Lane. Here is the view from Main Street looking towards it.

Today, the library stands on the left hand side. We're very lucky, so many libraries around the country have been under threat of closure in recent years but Garforth Library has recently been refurbished after the Big Lottery Fund awarded over £1m of funding to extend and refurbish it.

Lidgett Lane was rural back then, not a building in sight.

There's lots of buildings today, and the secondary school can just be seen in the background.

These old photos fascinate me. It was fun taking photos from the same position and seeing just how much everywhere's changed.

There's many more photos of Garforth taken in a past age in the book. It's been a very interesting read.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Eleanor's Ripple Blanket

I've finally finished edging Eleanor's Ripple Blanket so I'd like to share a few photos of it, though I should apologise first of all because the photos aren't all that good. The light just lately has been awful and as it's raining again today, there's still no chance of getting any better ones. I'm having to make do with these which I took earlier in the week.

I'm really pleased with the size of the blanket. After making Daniel's Ripple Blanket, I knew that I wanted this one to be a little bigger, and it's turned out just right.

It's a good size for Eleanor's single bed. I started off with 213 chains (15 X 14 + 3).

There's a good overhang on each side of the bed, something which is missing with Daniel's blanket which was started with only 171 chains.

Eleanor chose the colours for the blanket herself, Khaki, Meadow, Spring Green, Pomegranate, Fondant and Candyfloss. They work well together and compliment each other well. It matches her bedding perfectly.

Lucy from Attic 24 wrote a Ripple Blanket Know-how which I followed to straighten the top and bottom edges.

Trebles are used up the sides to match the colour of the top and bottom of the blanket before edging.

I used Stylecraft Special DK, the same yarn I've used for all my blankets so far. It makes really snuggly blankets which wear and wash well and it comes in such an array of delicious colours.

It's a year since I started this blanket but I've really enjoyed every stitch that's been put in to it. I like having long term projects, something which can be picked up and put down again. The ripple is so relaxing, there's a rhythm to it and once you get going, it just seems to flow from the hook.

Eleanor's really pleased with her blanket and she's already putting orders in for more, she's got lots of ideas. I'm not sure what I'll start on next. I was bought a pack of Stylecraft Special DK for Christmas last year which I wrote about in my Christmas Yarn post. I haven't used that yet, though I'm still debating what to use it for. I also have my Yarn From Skeggy which I haven't broken in to yet either. I'd like to start another blanket but I'm not sure what style I want to make. I think it's time to put my thinking cap on.