Thursday, 25 February 2010

Yarn, Snow, Cakes, Crochet.

I really enjoyed making my round crochet cushion and was rather missing making one now it was finished. I've decided therefore to make one for A's bedroom, this means I can go a bit more crazy with the colour...

... and these are the yarns A and I have picked. They're all DK but are a mix of cotton, acrylic & acrylic/wool mix and are all from the pound shop or an ebay bundle - I wanted to make sure I was actually able to crochet before investing in any more expensive yarns. As it is, I rather like the mixture of textures and for me the colour is the most important thing - if it was for something to wear I expect I'd probably feel differently.

While on the subject of yarn...

I come across these while out on a big walk with the pram. The pack of 6x50g cotton balls was £3.99 from Lidl and seemed too good a bargain to miss. The huge acrylic ball was £5 from poundstretcher, I just loved the colours in this one.

I also pop into the charity shops while I'm there. No treasure to be found in two of the shops, but in the third I come across all these books, £2.50 the lot, excellent!

Before embarking on the new cushion cover I have a go at making some of Lucy's little flowers just with yarn I have to hand. I think I'll be making a few more of these in more colours!


...made into a plum tart using a recipe from Sarah Raven's Garden Cook Book. Very sweet!

Yesterday it started to snow...

... and snow...

It was also hubby's birthday. This cake tastes better than it looks (I forgot to chill the icing before spreading it on). The recipe is from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, I was a bit sceptical while making it as to how it would turn out (there is no butter in the cake, instead grated butternut squash and ground almonds are used), but it's quite delicious! I would definitely make it again.

Even more snow this morning. It's wet soggy snow - not as nice as the snow we had at Christmas time.

And I'm loving the bright colourful colours in this cushion cover!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Yesterday morning dawned fair and just a little frosty. I consider not going for a bike ride and cleaning (or starting to clean!) the house instead... ummm what a choice - let's see, I think bike riding wins! Fresh air and exercise are both badly needed. I missed my cycle last week as I spent the morning partying on down with 4 and 5 year olds - the grown ups were practically forced to partake of the abundance of party food on offer so not a healthy alternative to cycling really.

I put on my woolly socks (nice to have them back - they'd been missing for a while having disappeared into a stuff pile which is now no more - sorted!), so with toasty toes I set off up my favourite road out of the village.

Pesky power lines rather spoil this view overlooking a pond in one of the fields along the top.

My bike poses beside the Clochoderick Stone just before the crossroads where I turn right...

... along what has to be my favourite little stretch of road. It's only a few miles long but holds many lovely views. Prior to taking up my weekly cycle rides last summer I had driven this road several times and thought nothing of it, it's only since cycling it that I appreciate all it has to offer.

Once Spring arrives and the temperature is a little warmer there'll be lots of lambs out in the fields round here, I can't wait!

For now though there are just mummy-to-be sheep...

... and frosty fields.

Now we've reached the little knoll of trees which I always like to photograph. A beautiful bare winter branch arches over it, silhouetted against the pure blue sky.

And here it is again, fronted by a lovely old gate with the red gate post. The last five photos were all within a couple of miles of each other... this point I've left my little road, cycled a couple of miles along a B road, turned off back onto unclassified roads for perhaps another 5 miles before I stop at the little loch in the woods for some more photos. It's covered with a just a thin layer of ice. I make sure I don't go too close to the edge as I'm a little clumsy and seem to get easily tripped by brambles and other evil branches so don't want to risk falling in!

After the little loch I'm approaching one of the other villages close by to ours. On the way I pass the farm of the Vietnamese pot bellied pig (himself nowhere to be seen) and spot these four geese walking towards me down the road.

They turn into a field and show me their bottoms as I pass.

Agnetha pauses from his/her breakfast to give me a look...

As does Annifrid. (I was an Abba fan in my early years)

The morning's too nice to head home straight away, so I take another loop round the back roads before ending my run. I wish I'd realised just how lovely the morning was to have been and I would have gone for a longer and better planned ride. As it was I just toottled around the back roads fairly close to home, but at least I escaped out for a while!

Friday, 19 February 2010

On The Kindness Of Strangers and A Crochet Cushion Cover TaDa.

When a package with one of these labels on it arrives you know there's going to be something special inside. This package though was extra-special as I hadn't actually ordered anything from The Linen Cat...

...Inside were not one, but two beautiful turquoise birds. I'd merely commented on Beth's blog (a couple of time I admit) as to how much I liked the look of her new turquoise birds, and she sent me two, just out of the kindess of her heart.

They're lovely, I know it's an overused word, but in this case I can't think of a better one. It was lovely of Beth too to send me them. Blogging has opened my eyes not only to the talent and creativeness of people I've never met but also to their kindness, this little package certainly made me very happy.

I've hung them on the mantlepiece, they're perfect there.

While in the living room I took some photos of my finally finished round crochet cushion cover...
Here are the two sides before being joined together. I introduced three extra colours in the second side (on the left) and this is the side I now prefer though it's good to have a choice!

Talking of choices, I need to decide where to put it...
On the armchair...

...the green sofa...

...or the purple sofa...

...the purple sofa it is! (Yes, it's not actually purple, the throws hide fading red upholstery which I have fallen out of love with, at some point I'll look into getting fitted covers made for it and the armchair (also a faded red with gold roses - lovely!)). N doesn't like the cushion there though, it's in the way of him reaching his toys on the bookcase so he flings it off onto the floor. No appreciation of the hours of crocheting it took me to make it! The pattern is based on the flat circle used by Lucy @ Attic 24 for her crochet bird. I just kept going and made the circle 16" in diameter (only increasing every second row after about the tenth row so that it would start to curl up round the cushion pad) and bought an 18" feather pad on ebay to fill it.

On the mantlepice: the ends.

Sparrows were twittering away on the bush outside the window while I was busy in the living room photographing my sofas. You've no idea the amount of tidying up that went on before taking even these carefully edited pictures! Sparrows have better things to do.

Well, that was yesterday. This morning we had a little fall of very fine snow, it was just like icing sugar being dusted from the sky. Earlier in the week I did manage to start tidying the garden and uncovered my dragonflies which had been hidden behind dead brown foliage, now they're out on display again and this one looked particularly pretty with the snow dust.

It's the afternoon now and the sun has made it through the mist and melted all the frost. Sunny days are here again!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Charity Shop Finds

Some not very good photographs of recent charity shop bargains. I do like a good old wander round the charity shops...

First up, a nice bright flower for A which is now wrapped round the foot of her bed.

Next, a completed tapestry canvas which I'm going to make into a cushion cover. It will be a practice run in preparation for finishing off this one which I've yet to do despite my promise. I think I was a little scared to start it incase I messed it up - it did take me ten years to complete the needlework after all! The one above was in a bundle of things including A's flower, a cuddly toy and some books for £2.50.

I took this photo to show the bowl that the hyacinth pot is in, then realised that everything in the photo (except the hyacinths & pot) originally came from charity shops. The hyacinths are now past their best and I need to remove them. They looked nice but were surprisingly scentless - perhaps a blessing as sometimes they pong just a little too much!

My first Persephone book: "Someone at a Distance" by Dorothy Whipple. I first heard about Persephone books via Jane Brocket's "Gentle Art of Domesticity" and Jane appears to be a huge fan of them . I've yet to start it, though at first impressions I am impressed with the physical quality of the book itself.

I'm currently slogging my way through this book. It's an easy read, it's only a slog in that it's not terribly exciting and though it's supposed to be amusing I can't say I've laughed out loud at it yet. I have the sequel which I'll read next then they're off to the charity shop themselves.

I liked the shape of this dish (£2). It'll be kept for best - I'll certainly not keep it in the cupboard with my other casserole dishes as a certain little person likes to raid the cuboards and we've already had some casualties. I may even use it for bulbs next winter.

I'm a bit of a sucker for handmade pottery items, I need another candle holder like I need a hole in the head. It was, however, a mere 99p so I succumbed.

A close-up from the table cloth that the casserole dish and candle holder are sitting on.

£1.75. It has a little stain in the middle which is good(!) as it means I can use it without worrying about spoiling it.

One of two appliqued tray cloths. 40p each. I don't need any more of these either! Ill find a use for it though I'm sure.

Off now to try and get some tidying up done. I do need to have a good clear-out as we're rather disappearing under piles of "stuff" (I wonder why!)

Monday, 15 February 2010


It looked like it was going to be a nice afternoon, so once N was down for his nap A and I ventured outside to start tidying up the garden.

We got all the stuff we needed out the shed and set to work.

Within five minutes it started raining reasonably heavily.

We put all the stuff back in the shed, went back in the house and took off our jackets and wellies.

Within five minutes the sun was back out again...


Here are some garden photos from last week when it wasn't raining.

(I take a photograph of all my mirrors before posting them. If I can (ie when it's not raining!) I like to photograph them outside)

Now N has decided his nap is over so I'm away to get him out his cot. The sun is shining. We're going to try again...


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