Thursday 30 September 2021

Little White Cat

I've finally finished the cross stitch which I started many years ago, I'm not sure exactly when it was started but it was definitely more than forty years ago as I know my brother bought it for me one year when he was in the army and that was between 1976 and 1981. I wrote about this cross stitch in my Rusty Cat post and you can also see in that post the stage it was at when I rediscovered it. 

I can't say that I've enjoyed finishing it off, it wasn't a pleasure to stitch with so many quarter and half stitches, and I abhor backstitch, but I've finally done it. I just picked it up for an hour here and there and managed to chip away at it. I actually considered leaving it there once I'd done all the cross stitch but I'm glad I persevered as the back stitch really does make it stand out and finishes it off nicely.

It would have been nice to pop it in an oval frame but I couldn't find one which was the right size anywhere. The next best thing would have been to use an oval photo mount inside a frame but it would have meant that I'd need quite a large frame so in the end I just went with a straightforward 8 X 6 white frame. I think it looks okay. I took the above photo before the glass was added to avoid the glare.

It certainly doesn't deserve pride of place but I'm relieved that it's finally finished and I have to say that it does please me to still have my very first piece of cross stitch after all these years.

Sunday 26 September 2021

Hobonichi Cousin

I've mentioned lots of times in the past that I've kept a journal for many years now. Back in 2019 I bought a Hobonichi Techo in the A6 size. I really enjoyed using this little journal, it was compact and as it was dated, it encouraged me to write something each day. In 2020 I decided to continue journaling in this way and used a Hobonichi Techo again but this year I've gone back to my old A4 journal which I've been using since 2006.

I miss writing something in my journal every day. I know I could do so if I so wished, but I don't think an undated journal encourages this. I've also been watching lots of journaling videos on You Tube and I follow journaling accounts on Instagram, they've inspired me to go back to using a Hobonichi. This time I've decided to go for the Hobonichi Cousin in the A5 size to give me a little extra room as I'd like to have a go at more creative journaling where you not only write but decorate the pages too.

My order from The Journal Shop was delivered last weekend, not only have I bought the Hobonichi Cousin but I've also bought a lovely cover to keep it in, along with a pencil board which you place underneath the page you're writing on to prevent marking the sheet of paper underneath. Hobonichi pages are printed on Tomoe River paper which is very thin. It keeps the book compact allowing one whole year to fit in one journal and it's bleed resistant, ink doesn't show through onto the next page, but as it is so thin, indentations from writing tend to appear, the pencil board should prevent this.

I'm very happy with my purchase and look forward to getting started with it in the new year. Do you keep a journal? Have you started making any plans yet for 2022?

Wednesday 22 September 2021

He's A Flake

I started He's A Flake by Little House Needleworks at the beginning of last year and I actually had it finished quite quickly, or at least quickly for me, but it's been languishing in my craft room waiting to be made up into an ornament.

It's a lovely design which I stitched on 28 count Brittney Lugana. It has a few beads added, beading was something new for me to learn and it definitely adds to the finish. I found it a little bit fiddly but I hadn't done it before and it certainly wouldn't put me off using beads again.

I love the actual cross stitching but I'm not confident at finishing things off properly so I end up putting them to one side for months on end. This could have been made into a lovely ornament in plenty of time for last Christmas and I decided that if I didn't get a grip, it wouldn't be finished in time for this coming Christmas either. I will admit that I chickened out though and it's actually Mick who has done the finishing for me.

I think Mick's done a very good job. He's not the least bit crafty but didn't mind measuring, adjusting and glueing. I got the idea for this on the internet so popped into Poundland to see if they had any of these little wooden serving boards, they're ideal for crafts such as this.

I'm happy with how it's turned out, I just need to have a look at the Christmas decorations appearing in the shops and then I can find something to trim the borders up with. I think it will look very festive.

Saturday 18 September 2021

Strictly Sockalong 2021

The Strictly Sockalong, which is hosted by Ali from Little Drops of Wonderful podcast, starts today along with the first episode of this season's Strictly Come Dancing. 

The last pair of socks I knit was the Aava Socks which I knit as part of last year's sockalong so I'm itching to get some socks on the needles again. I've gone shopping in my stash and come up with this Mad Scientist yarn in the Badgers Mess colourway which I think is perfect for all the glitz and glamour of Strictly. The photo doesn't actually show how bright and sparkly the yarn is, it's a 75% superwash merino 20% nylon and 5% lurex mix so it has silver flecks running through it.

I've always used a pattern for the socks I've knit in previous Strictly sockalongs but I think this yarn speaks for itself and so I shall knit them plain this year. I can't wait to see how the yarn knits up. I've decided to use the magic loop method this time instead of double pointed needles, I'm getting to enjoy this way of knitting socks more and more. I still knit one sock at once even though there's a way of doing two at once with a long circular needle.

I'm really looking forward to Strictly tonight. Will you be watching?

Tuesday 14 September 2021


I bought my little Gloster apple tree back in 2012. It's a patio tree, grafted onto dwarf rootstock to keep it small, but despite its size it's given some good crops over the years, though none so good as this year.

It's only a small tree though the size of the fruit is anything but, they're of good proportions. I counted about thirty apples before I started harvesting. It's a wonder the tree can support all this fruit.

Gloster is a red skinned variety with crisp flesh. They taste delicious.

The green apples are from my Golden Delicious tree, again, a patio variety It's never done very well. Just four apples this year, and much smaller than the Glosters, but they'll be enjoyed by Mick, they're his favourite.

We'll be okay for apples for a while.

Friday 10 September 2021

Granny Stripe Blanket

My granny stripe blanket had been on the hook since January 2015, the yarn was a Christmas gift in 2013 and I was anxious to get it crocheted up into something as I'd been dithering the past year over what it should become. It came as an Attic24 granny stripe blanket pack, though I was thinking of using it for another design, however, in the end I did indeed begin making a granny stripe blanket.

Skip forward a few years and by the middle of 2019 there hadn't been very much work put into it and I did consider taking it to the charity shop for someone else to finish before I reconsidered and decided to finish it off myself. Yes, it's still taken me a long time to do that but I've finally got there.

I have to say that this isn't my favourite blanket, it isn't the most enjoyable blanket I've crocheted and the end product isn't my favourite either. I think it's the colours, it's just too colourful for me. There's seventeen colours all together and it's all too much, they jar.

It's quite a big blanket measuring 75inches X 55inches and it will get used, I think it might be nice for picnics or a beach rug, the happy colours would work well in that setting, it's just a little too big for a sofa blanket.

It's made from Stylecraft Special DK yarn and there's quite a bit left over. I'm thinking of adding this to the other Stylecraft Special DK I've got and crocheting up some lap blankets or doggy blankets for charity. It's good to have a bit of mindless knitting or crochet to work on when I'm watching TV.

Monday 6 September 2021

My Birthday

It was my birthday on Friday. Mick took the day off work but we didn't really make any plans, we just waited for the day to dawn and then decided what to do on the spur of the moment. 

We headed off in the direction of the east coast but this time, decided to travel a little further north than we usually do to Saltburn by the Sea, a lovely seaside town which still has the olde worlde feeling about it. The main attraction here is the Victorian water balanced cliff lift, and though it's still in operation today, it wasn't in use on Friday.

It was a murky, grey day but there were still quite a few people about, I suppose they were making the most of, what will have been, the last day of the school holidays for many. Here you can see the pier. Yorkshire was once home to six piers but sadly, one by one, they've been lost to the sea and the pier at Saltburn in the last one standing.

We took a walk along the pier but only got half way, as you can see by this photo of the sea, it was quite choppy out there.

Instead, we went down onto the beach but even Archie avoided the sea on this trip, he's usually up for a paddle. He's such a good little dog, he comes on all our outings with us and never complains when we traipse him all over the place. He's getting older though now, he's eleven, and I'm mindful not to overdo things for him. Saying that, after our stroll on the beach we headed off to Whitby where the weather improved somewhat and we had a wander around the cobbled streets of the old town. It was a lovely day out and the hours zoomed by. 

We were going to have a meal out in the evening but I've been suffering quite badly just lately with hayfever, something I suffered with terribly as a child, though nowadays I seem to just have sporadic flare ups. I decided that I'd rather stay at home and have a takeaway instead so Eleanor and Jacob came round after work and joined us. Daniel and Jasmine called from Essex to wish me a happy birthday.

I got lots of lovely presents, I'm always so lucky, my family and friends know just the things I'd like and they're always very generous. Maggie from BlackCountry Wench blog sent me a lovely card and this wonderful gift. The 'Sunflowers in Summer' chart is so pretty, I shall enjoy stitching that, and Maggie has been so kind to even include all the thread I need too. Not only that but I also received these three pretty notebooks , I do love my stationery. There was also a box of Toffifee but you know what it's like once the box is open, you just can't resist, or maybe that's just me. Anyway, they're all gone now but they were delicious. Thank you, Maggie, I'm thrilled to bits with this gift.

So that's me at fifty three, I do wish these years would stop whizzing by so quickly.

Thursday 2 September 2021

My Sister's Keeper

I've never read anything by Jodi Picoult before but Marlene from Poppy Patchwork mentioned My Sister's Keeper on her blog and it sounded right up my street. I was thrilled when she asked if I'd like her to send me the book. Thank you, Marlene.

"Sara Fitzgerald's daughter Kate is just two years old when she is diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Reeling with the helpless shock of it, Sara knows she will do anything - whatever it takes - to save her child.

Then the test results come back time and again to show that no one in their family is a match for Kate. If they are to find a donor for the crucial bone marrow transplant she needs, there is only one option: creating another baby, specifically designed to save her sister. For Sara, it seems the ideal solution. Not only does Kate live, but she gets a beautiful new daughter, Anna, too.

Until the moment Anna hands Sara the papers that will rock her whole world. Because, aged thirteen, Anna has decide that she doesn't want to help Kate live any more. She is suing her parents for the rights to her own body."

I really enjoyed this book, though you have to be prepared for a lot of medical and legal jargon. That didn't bother me though. I thought the subject was very interesting and as a parent, it makes you think about the decisions you'd make yourself in a similar situation. 

The ending was totally unexpected, I didn't see it coming at all. I thought it could go in a couple of ways but I have to admit that what did happen hadn't crossed my mind and if I'm honest, I think it's a bit of a cop out and a lazy way of tying thing up. 

My Sister's Keeper was made into a movie starring Cameron Diaz. I found it on Netflix and decided to watch it. Again, the ending was a surprise as it was totally different to the book, and in my opinion, much better. I won't say anymore in case you decide to read it for yourself, which I'd definitely recommend you do if you like this sort of book.