Monday 30 September 2013

It All Went Well

Thank you for all your good wishes for Daniel as he headed off to university.

We set off nice and early yesterday morning and he was the first one in his house to arrive. He likes his room, he's got both a bath and a shower so he's pleased about that. This is the view from his window.

He'd got speaking to a few people who had arrived before we left and he had an event to attend last night as part of Freshers Week. There's lots going on, both during the day and each evening. Tonight he's going on a pub crawl around York. I think they may be expecting to lose a few along the way as this is the t-shirt they've all been given to wear.

There's a few meetings and introductory workshops this week, and then his lessons start properly next week. It may come as a bit of a shock to many of them after all the partying going on this week.

Friday 27 September 2013

Challenge Update - September

My 2013 challenges are:-

1) Watch one old film each month.

2) List five items on Ebay each month.

3) Have a date night with Mick each month.

I chose a Marilyn Monroe film for September, Bus Stop. I can't say I'm a huge Marilyn fan but I enjoyed watching this film. It's a romantic comedy with a simple storyline which seems quite dated now, but still very watchable. It's not one of the best films I've chosen to watch this year, but it certainly isn't the worst.

My Ebaying is going well and I'm managing to sell most of the things I'm listing. I'm not making a huge amount of money doing this, but it's getting rid of some things which would only go to the charity shop or be passed on to someone else, so any money I do make is a bonus and it all adds up. It will be interesting to see the balance of my Paypal account at the end of the year.

Mick and I went for a carvery for our date night. We both love Sunday roasts, though we don't often cook one on a Sunday, I usually cook ours on a Monday, so it was nice to go out for this type of meal. We both had both beef and turkey and a selection of vegetables. We had a voucher for 15% off both food and drink, so it worked out very reasonable.

It's going to be a busy weekend, we've got last minute university shopping to do tomorrow as well as a food shop for Daniel, and a party tomorrow night for our friend's son for his 18th. Sunday is the big day as Daniel heads off to university. It's all very exciting.

Monday 23 September 2013

Sew & Stitch

I'm not very good at sewing, so when I saw an advert on television for a new magazine about to be launched aimed at teaching you how to sew, I was quite interested.

Over the last couple of years, I've cut down on the amount I spend on magazines as it can really get out of hand, but as the first issue of Sew & Stitch was only 99p, I thought I'd have a look at it.

It's a weekly magazine which has holes punched in the pages to allow each issue to be stored together in a binder. There's a seaside themed quilt project running through the series and a piece of fabric is supplied with each issue to enable you to create the next square for the quilt. Each square has been designed to help you master different techniques. This issue came with three small pieces of fabric to make a picture postcard square, three different coloured threads and some needles.

There's instructions given to make other projects, such as bunting, a cushion and a bag.

It seems as though the magazine is aimed at inexperienced sewers, such as me, as it gives clear instructions on very simple things. A more skilled sewer may find the projects too easy for them.

The magazine is split in to different categories, The Quilt, Recycle & Remake, Gifts & Goodies, Homestyle, Sewing Skills, Stitch School and Patterns & Templates and has clear instructions and photographs.

I think it's a good magazine for a beginner, and the first issue at 99p is a bargain, but like most of these magazines which come in weekly parts, they end up working out expensive. The next issue is also at a reduced price, £2.50, but subsequent issues will be at the full price of £3.99. I'm sure there's plenty of good books on sewing which would cost so much less in the long run, but the magazine does offer the fabric and instructions for making the quilt. I think I'll save my money.

Friday 20 September 2013

Daniel's Ripple Blanket

I started this ripple blanket for Daniel back in April. I thought it would be nice for him to take it to university, so I'm really pleased that I've managed to get it finished just in time, he heads off to York next weekend.

This is the first ripple blanket I've made, and to be honest, it isn't perfect, but it's acceptable. I started with 171 chains ( 12X14+3 ) after I'd measured it on the bed and it looked ok, but what I didn't realise is that the ripple pattern tends to pull it in a little so it could really have done with starting off wider. It does have a small overhang on each side of the bed, so it's ok, but I'll start with a longer chain next time.

I wanted to straighten the wavy edges up at the ends so that I could do a border and had no trouble with the top end which I was working on, but when I went back to straighten the cast on edge, it was a nightmare. It's so hard working out of the foundation row, I really need to tweak my technique there. You can see that you need to make different length stitches on this row in order to make a straight edge.

I used Stylecraft Special DK in Midnight, Denim, Sherbet, Silver and White.

I love the fabric which the ripple pattern creates, it's so much denser than the granny square pattern which I've used for my previous blankets. I can tell that this will be really warm.

You may remember that I put my One A Day blanket to one side after 192 Days. I'd finished all the squares for it but still needed to do the border, and as I was about to go on holiday I decided to leave it until I got back. I knew that I wanted to get Daniel's Ripple blanket finished first, so it's only now that I've picked the One A Day blanket back up. I'm working on the border, so I should have another finished blanket to show you soon.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Colne Valley Museum

Mick and Daniel were supposed to be playing their last cricket match of the season on Saturday. The weather was a bit iffy and we didn't know if it would be called off, but the day dawned sunny so I thought I'd be having a day at home. As it happened, the opposition couldn't get a team together so it ended up being cancelled anyway.

I'd read that it was a Heritage Open Day weekend where free access is given to places which are usually closed to the public or charge for admission. As Mick now had a free day, we decided to head off to Colne Valley Museum.

Colne Valley Museum is situated in Golcar, a village located on a hillside crest above the Colne Valley. Three former 1840's weavers' cottages were converted, in 1970, in to the museum. I'd read that there'd be weaving, spinning and clog making demonstrations, and though Mick wasn't particularly interested, I thought it would make an interesting day out.

Unfortunately, photography wasn't allowed so I'm unable to show any photos of the inside of the museum. The museum is run entirely by volunteers, and they were excellent in their knowledge of the period. They'd dressed up and really looked, and talked, the part. The loom chamber had an impressive range of machinery, though there were no demonstrations of how they actually worked on this particular day. There was a lady doing some spinning though and she was more than happy to explain everything. There were lots of spinning wheels on show. The clog maker was very busy and there were lots of examples of his work to see.

My favourite part of the museum was the period living room and wash kitchen. It must have been a hard life back in the mid nineteenth century.

After visiting the museum, we had a little wander around the village.

There's lots of ginnels, small paths or alleyways, around Golcar and there's now a Ginnel Trail which takes you right around the village and allows you to take in the views. We didn't walk the trail on this occasion though.

The older part of the village has many examples of weavers' cottages built for the domestic woollen industry. These houses have long rows of windows. Living accommodation was on the lower floor, with the loom chamber on the upper floor, just as we'd seen in the museum.

It was a nice outing, but I was pleased to get home really. I'd woken up feeling a little groggy and wondered if I was coming down with something. It's now turned in to a cold. I could hear coughing during the night last night and Eleanor's got up for school this morning feeling a little worse for wear, she's coming down with it too, though there's no keeping her off school, she always manages to drag herself in.

Monday 16 September 2013

Time For Socks

It's official, autumn is definitely here. How do I know? I know when the socks come out of the drawer.

I've tried to hold on to summer for as long as possible, but it's been so cold just lately that I've decided it's time to start wearing socks again. Not only that but I've got a long sleeved top on today too.

I love my hand knitted socks, but of all the pairs I've made, these are the only three I've kept for myself. I think it's time that I got some more on the needles. I'm wearing the pink pair today and my feet are lovely and cosy. Hand knitted socks are pure luxury.

So, autumn for me is when I start wearing socks again. How do you know when autumn's arrived?

Friday 13 September 2013

Third Blog Anniversary Giveaway Winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my Third Blog Anniversary Giveaway, and also for all the lovely comments you left for me. I always host a giveaway on my blog anniversaries to thank everyone who stops by, I'm so very grateful for all the comments I receive and this is my way of thanking you all.

I do wish I could send a little something to everyone who stops by, but I suppose that this is the next best thing, so without further ado I shall announce that the name drawn out of the hat was Gail from Amongst the Wool. Please let me have your address and I'll get your prize sent off to you.

It's the last cricket match of the season tomorrow so Mick and Daniel will be out all day, weather permitting. It's come really cold just lately so I'm hoping to have a day snuggled up on the sofa with a bit of crochet.

Thanks again for popping by and for all the lovely comments you continue to leave.

Have a lovely weekend.

Monday 9 September 2013

Somewhere Behind The Morning

Mick's auntie is a member of the Women's Institute. She often tells me of talks which have been given or visitors they've had at their meetings. It's a while ago now that she told me about Frances McNeil coming to give a talk to the ladies. An author from Leeds, Frances McNeil had written about her mother, Julia, and her mother's sister who grew up on Bread Street in Leeds. The story sounded fascinating, but I've been unable to find the book, The Sisters on Bread Street, as it's no longer availabe to buy. Some of the material is included in another book which Frances McNeil has written, Somewhere Behind the Morning.

I really enjoyed this book. It's set at the start of, and during, the First World War. Julia and Margaret Wood are struggling to rise above poverty, and the fact that their father is German-Jewish at a time when people feel angry towards foreigners just makes things harder for them.

I studied Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for my English Literature O Level. Eleanor is currently studying it towards her GCSE, and although I very rarely read a book a second time, this is one which I though deserved to be read again.

Reading was something I always made a point of doing with both Daniel and Eleanor when they were younger. Even though Eleanor's now fifteen, it's still special to share a book, so we're reading it together. We get snuggled up in bed while I read aloud. It's good to rediscover a well loved book.

If you haven't already entered my giveaway, don't forget to do so. You have until twelve noon on Thursday the 12th of September 2013 to leave a comment on my Third Blog Anniversary Giveaway post.

Friday 6 September 2013

Middleton Park

Last Wednesday, with Mick still on holiday from work, we were looking for somewhere to go. Daniel had gone off to Scarborough to watch Yorkshire Cricket Club in the LV County Championship so it was just the three of us, and Archie, again. I fancied a park, somewhere like Lotherton Hall or Temple Newsam where we often go, but somewhere different. I had a look online at Leeds City Council parks and came across Middleton Park, somewhere we'd never been before.

The write up made it sound fascinating, 470 acres with 200 acres being ancient woodland and a designated nature reserve. We decided this was the place for our outing.

The first thing we saw when we parked our car was the pond. There were lots of people fishing, both young and old.

Lottery funding was awarded to regenerate Middleton Park in 2008 and this visitor centre and cafe was constructed. It was being well used.

A bandstand was also built and there's now regular events staged in the park.

We decided that we'd take one of the many tracks which lead in to the woods.

This is the largest ancient woodland in Leeds.

The pathways are great for those less able. As we had Archie with us, we decided to venture off the beaten track so that he could have a good sniff around.

Oak dominates the woodland, and there's lots of ferms here too.

We found lots of rope swings.

I enjoyed looking at all the different shapes of trees, some were really very peculiar.

There's lots of streams and ponds in the woods and a number of small bridges have been constructed so that you don't get your feet wet.

You could have been forgiven for thinking it was a dull day being shaded by the canopy of leaves, but every so often, the sun streamed through.

Eventually we came to a clearing.

Just a little further on we found Middleton Railway. This is the world's oldest continuously working public railway. It was founded in 1758 and is now a heritage railway run by volunteers.

As you can see, this station is the end of the line.

We walked back through the woods, this time taking a different route and encountering different things to those we'd previously seen.

Middleton Park isn't very far away from us, it's at the other side of Leeds, but still surprising that we didn't know about it. We'll definitely return.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

A Day At The Coast

We had a day at the East Coast last Tuesday when Mick was still on holiday. It was rather murky as we set off, but the fog soon lifted and it turned out to be a lovely day.

We love it at Fraisthorpe, it doesn't get crowded like the beaches at Bridlington or Scarborough, the more popular seaside towns. Archie is allowed on the beach too, and there's plenty of space for him to have a good run around.

There's still lots of WW2 anti-invasion defences in existence, pillboxes and concrete tank blocks.

Archie loves to paddle in all the rockpools. There's many of them on Fraisthorpe beach.

Even though we take towels with us, Archie still prefers his own method of drying off, rolling in the sand. He just looks like a ball of fluff here.

We always like to have a wander right along the beach, and some of us like to have a paddle, if not a swim. Not me, I hasten to add. It was such a lovely day that Eleanor had her bikini on and she got her back burnt. Luckily, it wasn't sore.

I love how the many rocks on the beach are completely covered in seaweed and moss.

Our beachcombing turned up more than sea glass on this occasion. Here's the skeleton of a fish we found. Mick thought it might be a Monkfish.

Fraisthorpe is less than five miles away from Bridlington, which can be seen from the beach.

We spent a good few hours on Fraisthorpe beach, enjoying our picnic and playing cricket. I even did a bit of crochet and read some magazines. Later on in the day, we packed up our things and journeyed on in to Bridlington.

Bridlington is such a built up, touristy seaside town. There's amusements, gift shops, ice cream stalls and fish and chip shops, but we enjoy having a stroll along the promenade. We even ventured in to an amusement arcade and risked a pound each, before enjoying a tray of chips smothered in salt and vinegar as we looked out to sea. We thought better of going on any funfair rides with full tummies though.

All too soon we were back in the car and heading home. I hope we manage another trip to the coast soon.