Thursday, 28 August 2014

Challenge Update - August 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 decided that all the hats I knit for The Innocent Big Knit from now on will be Innocent Big Knit Hat With Brim which can be found on The Creations Of Crazy Dazy blog. I love this pattern and the hats turn out so nice. It's a five week month so there's been five hats knit for August.

My nice thing for August was a family meal last Sunday. I traded in some of my Tesco Clubcard vouchers for Bella Italia vouchers so we went out for pizza. I haven't seen much of Daniel over the summer as he's stayed in York where he's at university so family time means so much more to me these days as it's rare that we're all together. Not only did Daniel join us but so did his girlfriend, Jasmine, and Eleanor's boyfriend, Ollie. It was nice to get to know them a little better too.

I've never really been a forager so I thought a book on the subject might be the place to start. The Hedgerow Handbook by Adele Nozedar covers lots of different plants and provides information on culinary uses, medicinal uses, tips and recipes.

It's illustrated beautifully too.

Mick's taken a week's holiday from work so we've been out and about quite a bit since he finished last Friday. Eleanor's in to her last week off school now so she's making it count, though she's looking forward to being back in to the swing of things and can't wait to get to grips with the new challenges which await her. I'll be quite sad to see the end of the summer holidays, I've loved having Eleanor at home with me for an extended period this year owing to her GCSEs, I've never understood those people who moan when school holiday time comes around.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Ooops! Sorry Eleanor

Yesterday, I told you about Eleanor's GCSE grades. I actually told you wrong. It's only come to light today that she's done better than we thought.

Eleanor took a Certificate in Digital Applications, an ICT subject. The grades given for this are Distinction, Merit, Credit or Pass and are equivalent to two GCSEs. She was given a Merit, which I wrongly thought was equivalent to a B, however, it's actually an A, so instead of the 1 A, 8 B's and 2 C's we thought she'd got, she's actually come out with 3 A's, 6 B's and 2 C's. She's even more over the moon with her results now.

I thought I'd better set the record straight.

All three of us went out for something to eat last night and it was really lovely. Eleanor rounded off her meal with a huge slab of chocolate fudge cake, ice cream and strawberries, a great way to celebrate.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


Today is GCSE results day and Eleanor was at school bright and early to collect her brown envelope containing her grades.

She put so much effort in to her revision and is very pleased, as are we, with her results, 8 B's, 2 C's and an A in Maths, which I'm especially pleased about.

We spent eight months arguing with the school about Maths as they wanted Eleanor to take a Foundation exam paper, which would have capped the grade she could achieve at a C. We had to fight so hard for them to allow her to take the Higher Tier paper and I think this grade proves that we were right to do so.

Eleanor's had a meeting with a sixth form tutor this morning and she's been offered a place on all the A level courses she wants to take, English Language, Psychology, Sociology and Biology.

We're taking Eleanor out for a meal tonight to celebrate. Well done, Eleanor, we're very proud of you.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

More From Kettlewell

I thought I'd show you a few more of the scarecrows we came across when we visited the Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival at the weekend. I took so many photos but didn't want to jam them all in to one post, so here's a few more.

The Tetley Tea Folk. I loved this.

The village store had put on a great display of Mrs Brown's Boys, not a programme I watch but I know it's very popular.

Mary had a little lamb.

I found this one rather scary.

Frank Sidebottom peering out through a window over a door.

Some displays featured many scarecrows. There were seven attending this tea party.

Bottle feeding the lambs. Awwww.

Ladies who lunch.

The very hungry caterpillar.

Aleksandr Orlov.

Wallace from Wallace and Gromit. The sign shows The Wrong Trousers with Trousers having been crossed out and Brother written in its place, referring to the Millibands.

This lady was taking her pet cow for a walk.

Fit as a butcher's dog. I can see why, they're eating all the sausages.

A lady attending to her beautiful garden.

I'm sure you'll agree, there's some very creative people living in the village of Kettlewell. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and it's on my list of places for days out in the future.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival

This is how Mick would usually spend his Saturday but he took this week off so we could go to the Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival.

He was in good company though as Dickie Bird was also there.

Kettlewell is a quaint little village in the Yorkshire Dales. It has some beautiful cottages and is surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

It's wonderful how the whole village seems to join in with this festival. It's been taking place since 1994, originally to raise funds for the village school, it now also raises funds for the church and village hall.

Some of the scarecrows are staged along the streets but some are set out in people's gardens. I love this camping scene with the dog stealing the sausages.

The maypole is in the centre of the village. We saw Warwick Davis and his family filming here later on in the day. I know there's recently been a programme on television where he takes his family on weekend breaks around the UK, giving viewers an insight in what the country's tourism industry has to offer, perhaps he was filming on Saturday for his next series.

There were some funny poems beside some of the scarecrows:-

If you want to look good like Kate
Put nothing on your plate
Pretent to eat
Forget the sweet
The Cambridge Diet's great!

It was poignant seeing the soldiers positioned beside the war memorial with the Last Post playing.

The bride, her bridesmaids and page boy were in the lane leading to the church.

Unfortunately, the vicar was late for the wedding, he hadn't yet arrived at the church.

Mick and Archie had to get in on the act.

A Sad Scarecrow

I stand alone and cannot smile,
So step right up, linger a while,
Pop on your head and take the place,
Cheer me up and be my face.

If you're standing nearby,
And feeling sad and glum,
Pop on your head, smile and laugh,
Pretend you're having fun.

Your friends will gather with cameras ready,
Pop on your head and keep it steady,
Grin, frown or laugh, smile and say, "Cheese",
Keep a momento that's sure to please.

There were lots of scarecrows which the younger visitors were delighted to see.

This Frenchman was a few weeks too late for the Tour de France.

There's a trail right around the village with over a hundred scarecrows to see in total and trail sheets with a quiz for both adults and children to complete as they come to each clue.

The Railway Children was this years winning scarecrow display.

Well done to the village for making this such a fabulous day out. We've visited a few times before and we always enjoy it. It also helps that it's so well organised with plenty of parking spaces and helpful car park attendants. Parking is just £2. I should also mention that the village has three pubs and several cafes and refreshments are also served in the village hall. Alternatively, you can always bring a picnic and eat it by the river.

This year's festival has now ended but I can thoroughly recommend a visit next year, a wonderful day out.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

On The Go Update

It was last year when I told you about my On The Go Blanket and it hasn't been mentioned since then. That's because it hasn't grown very much.

The idea of this blanket is that it's made up of small granny squares which are very portable and easy to carry around, so it's an ideal project for on the go. None of the squares I crochet for this blanket will be made at home, it's a project that I can take from place to place and work on when I'm out and about. Once it's all made up, it will remind me of some happy days out.

This was the project which I took with me on holiday this year, and though I didn't get many squares made, I did crochet a few. I'm now at a total of fifty squares.

I'm loving the colours which I chose for this blanket, Meadow, Grape, Pomegranate, Soft Peach, Lemon, Cloud Blue and Cream. They're all from the Stylecraft Special DK range.

I can see this becoming a very long term project but I don't mind, it's great to have something there ready to just pick up and go with when I'm heading out the door.

Eleanor's ripple blanket is still on the hook too. It's been neglected lately as I've had my knitting needles out rather than my crochet hook but I'm starting to feel a tug to return to crochet so it may get a little attention this week.

I used to be a one project at a time kind of girl but that changed when I learnt to crochet, I'd have one knitting project and one crochet project going but now I seem to have at least a couple of each. I suppose it's good to have different things to pick up and go with as the mood takes me.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

A Sunny Sunflower Giveaway Win

It was just before we went away on holiday that I discovered I was one of the lucky winners of Mitzi's Anniversary Giveaway on her Lazy Days & Sundays at The Willows blog. Mitzi knew that I was due to go away on holiday so she kindly delayed sending my prize until I returned home, it was something to look forward to when I came home from Cornwall.

On the 19th of June this year, Mitzi had been working for the NHS for twenty five years and on the 1st of July, it was her first blog anniversary, two very good reasons to celebrate so Mitzi decided to do just that, with her giveaway.

There were two prizes, one sunflower themed and the other poppy themed, each with a poignant meaning behind them which fitted in with the two anniversaries Mitzi was celebrating. I was very lucky to win the Sunflower prize.

It's always exciting opening a parcel, everything was packaged beautifully.

Even the card had sunflowers on it, and there was a very touching note inside it from Mitzi.

All the things I'd won were inside this gorgeous jute bag which just happens to have a photo of a sunflower on it, not any old sunflower but one which was growing in Mitzi's garden last year. How special is that? It's a fabulous photo.

Here's all the things I won, didn't I do well? Two balls of Woodlander wool, I haven't decided what I'll use this for yet, it needs to be something a bit special I think. A Tibetan silver charm bookmark of a sunflower, very pretty. A packet of dwarf sunflower seeds called Big Smile, they'll definitely be grown in the garden next year. A pretty A6 notebook with owls on, I'm a sucker for stationery. Sunflower ribbon, some of the parcels were tied up with it so there's lots of it. Two coasters, that gorgeous sunflower photo again. A packet of delicious strawberry sweeties, they didn't last long.

There was also this beautiful Garden Of Sunflowers poem.

Thank you so much, Mitzi, I'm absolutely thrilled with everything, such a wonderful giveaway, and many congratulations again on your two anniversaries.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Pounds For Hounds

Yesterday, we were helping raise pounds for hounds at the local Dogs Trust open day and fun dog show by supporting the event.

We'd popped down beforehand with some buns I'd baked for the cake stall. I'd normally put smarties on the top of the chocolate ones but I didn't have any. They look a bit plain but I'm sure someone will have bought them.

It was very well attended by both two legged visitors and four legged ones, most with waggy tails.

All dogs were given a pretty yellow ribbon to wear as they arrived. Archie was a little miffed at having to look so pretty, he's a boy afterall.

There were lots of different games and stalls around the field. Actually it was a much larger event than I'd imagined, it's heartening to see so many people supporting these unfortunate doggies.

There was even a doggy tombola. Archie had a go and won a packet of treats.

Then he had a go on the doggy bran tub and won a bag of marrowbones, they're his favourites so he just couldn't wait to have one.

There was also a fun dog show. Archie didn't enter but we met up with some friends who got their beautiful Staffie Cross from Dogs Trust a couple of years ago and they'd entered her.

To the side of the field where all the action was taking place is the Dogs Trust building where all the dogs are housed. There, in the car park was the refreshment stand. It was a lovely day, though a little breezy, so people were picnicking on the lawn.

The mobile microchipping van was parked outside offering free microchipping. Better to be safe than sorry. It looked like there were plenty of people taking up the offer.

Archie wasn't allowed inside the building to see the dogs so Mick stayed outside with him, but Eleanor and I went in to meet some of the beautiful residents.

This is Jake, a Beagle/Labrador cross. He's a beautiful boy, such a shame that he's been at the Dogs Trust for a long time now.

Winnie's an old girl who just wants someone to love her. She's such a cutie.

If you're interested in giving a dog a home, do check out the Dogs Trust website where you can find the details of some of the dogs who are waiting for a new owner to come and find them. If you're not in the position to offer a home to one of these beautiful doggies, you can still sponser one, in fact, Jake is one of the dogs you're able to sponsor. Again, details are on the website.

Just a few of the success stories.

One of the attractions of the open day was having a portrait of your dog drawn. Well, we couldn't resist. Archie sat as good as gold modelling for the artist.

The finished result. Not bad to say it only took ten minutes.

It was a lovely day out and great to know that all the money raised was going to help this charity which does such wonderful work to help dogs all over the country.