Monday, 30 January 2012

Ships & Shoes.

Zooming through...

I have a new pair of boots. From the Moshulu sale (again!). They now have an extra 20% off sale prices and today is the last day of the offer.
A better picture of the boots from the website (link here). Half price with a further 20% off - great value, they're sooo comfy and a lovely colour too.

This morning is frosty and sunny, yay - so nice to have sunshine again.
I have a new favourite spot in the garden for photographing the morning sun.

Yesterday was also cold though not sunny. There were some interesting ice formations in the garden...
...can you see the fish shape bottom left?

...a fairy garden, spotted by A.

Also yesterday we went for an excursion...

We visited the Tall Ship in Glasgow, the Glenlee, built in 1896.

Arriving early we pretty much had the whole ship to ourselves, indeed A was a little worried as to whether we were actually allowed to be there as there was noone else around. There was lots to see, some random impressions include... the cosy looking cabins for the officers, the impressive tween deck, ringing the captain's bell, loading & unloading cargo, a short film where the narrator spoke with such enthusiasm about his memories of being a merchant sailor, a sense of just how different our cities and rivers were back then.

"The Glenlee is one of only 5 Clydebuilt sailing ships that remain afloat in the world. The other 4 are also visitor attractions: Balclutha (San Francisco), Moshulu (Philadelphia), Falls of the Clyde (Hawaii), Pommern (Finland)." This, from the website, caught my eye as it was another mention of "Moshulu", a word I'd never heard before other than as the name of a shoe shop. After a quick search for a definition online I can only find a slang meaning: "To have a drunken one night stand in the city of Philadelphia", so there you go!

We also visited the Transport Museum which is right next door. As it was free to get in the museum was much busier than the tall ship though of the two attractions we all preferred the ship.

Lastly, I have a new favourite biscuit/cookie recipe, modified from the Good Food 2012 calendar - reduce the amount of sugar by about 1/3 and add 100g of 70%+ chocolate instead of the apricots and raisins. Delicious! The one on the plate above was the last one, I'll need to make more.

Now though, some housework is badly needing done...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Daisy Connection.

I started joining some of the daisies together...

... and I'm liking the effect so far very much. It's a wonderful pattern (link here). It's simple, logical, easily memorised, produces a wonderfully bold flowery effect and is great for playing around with different colour combinations.

Yesterday, after a lovely sunrise we had some...


Even the humble doormat is made beautiful by a snowy blanket.

We enjoyed a fun, snowy walk home from school.

This was as much as we got and it didn't last long.

A recent drawing of A's. I love how children just get on with it and draw a picture, just like that! I always seem inhibited by a fear of making mistakes which they don't seem to worry about at all, not at age 6 anyway - long may it continue.

The subject, "My friend Molly", wasn't popular earlier this week though. On hearing a commotion in the hallyway N went to investigate to find Molly "playing with a birdie Mum!" She'd managed to catch a collared dove and bring it in the cat flap and there were feathers everywhere! I managed to get the cat and the bird in separate rooms, and the bird was well enough to fly out the french windows. I have since seen it in the garden and hope it continues to survive. It's certainly a step up from the earth worms and mice we've been getting. The cat has now got a collar and bell back on, hopefully that will help.

And finally... that he's not left out, here's a recent installation by N.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Crocheting Daisies.

Yesterday was a lovely sunny day so I took the opportunity to photograph some recent crochet happenings.

Since finishing my little ripple (which I forgot to photograph), I've been faffing around trying to find another project. I find crocheting quite relaxing and soothing and find I like to crochet as much for for the process itself as for the end result. Not any old project suits though. I started a big granny square (pictorial evidence to follow), one of the reasons being there would be fewer ends to deal with. However, once beyond a certain size I grew bored with it and wasn't happy with the colours I'd used earlier on - too far back now to change without undoing almost the whole blanket. I relalised then that (despite the ends) I prefer to work by adding blocks of colour and pattern together as it's easier to change your mind (which I do often!). A few more wrong pattern and colour combination endeavours followed. Then while browsing Pinterest I came across this pattern by Karen @ ColourInASimpleLife. It's magic!

Here are my daisies made while watching Birdsong on Sunday night.

MollyTheCat feigns interest for a photo opportunity.

These were my original colour choices. Seven of the balls are a recent Stylecraft purchase, the rest are from my stash (one problem I'd had in starting a new project was that I wasn't happy with the colours I had available in my stash, not surprising as I'd used up the ones I like best already). Although there was a nice variety in colour, the tones were too similar.

Some more lighter tones now added to give better contrast to the flowers and backgrounds.

Then I went to Lidl who are stocking yarn this week and bought some more colours (in cotton).

Finally! (though there may be a few more bits and pieces added - tiny remnants from previous blanket efforts)

I did try adding a red (we have a red armchair), but to me it's completely wrong, somehow it just shatters the colour harmony I like to think I'd achieved. It's been removed (for now).

So there we go, blanket #4 is now underway (I've still to finish sewing in the ends of blanket #3 before doing a tada for it, I've not blogged about it much, it's not the ripple as it's not a blanket...)

While in Lidl I also bout this sock yarn, I intend using it for crochet shawls, I bought two packs so I could make some shawls/scarves as gifts.

And here we have the granny square beginnings, all still optimistic atthis stage...

...but by this point I'm not liking it. I'm not sure what to do with it. I've almost run out of the green I used six rows from the end and particular greens seem to be hard to come by, so I may frog it as far back as that just to acquire the yarn.

Back to yesterday, I had to look hard to find a cloud in the sky (not the case today, we're surrounded by cloud - horrible wet, grey, drippy stuff it is too!)

I spent a happy few minutes photographing bits of a hydrangea.

One of my pots of pebbles, love the colours.

A lucky charity shop find (makes a change from children's books which is all I seem to recently find worth buying). I like the wonkiness of it and the fact that it's so obviously handmade but is still pleasing, and perfect for my crochet hooks.

OK, I tried to take a decent photo of the hairdo. This is the one I was least displeased with. I like how my coat collar hides my chin (a facial feature I wasn't bothered about till seeing it in self taken photos!). I'm not entirely sure about the hair. It's the best one I've had from a salon for a long time and I would actually go back, but maybe with a few tweaks. It's not much different lengthwise at the front, but it's been thinned out a lot and cut shorter at the back. Definitely less effort to wash and condition!

The daisies are blooming!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

So, I (and my new hairdo!) set off about 9am for yet another January Saturday Morning Bike Ride.

The weather was not particularly appealing. I even considered switching to an indoor rowing session instead of a cycle. But no, a three hour cycle in the rain (with camera) was greatly preferrable to a one hour row. I think we'll be selling the rowing machine...

I like these silhouetted trees cresting the hill.

Lots of rain recently so lots of extra water around.

Lovely little tree silhouette, shame about the overhead wire (which seems to be getting entangled in its branches).

On the route today are three reservoirs. This is the first one. At this point all is a little grey and gloomy.

Then out comes the sun.


What a beautiful sky. I popped this photo in the Sky365 Flickr pool being run by Knitsofacto that I found via Mrs Micawber.

I'm sure this little hut didn't look quite so run down the last time I passed this way.

Looking up at the branches of a larch decorated with little cone baubles.

Then it started to rain.

Looking at this view the wind was behind me so it was still possible to take some photographs without getting the camera wet.

Shortly after here I sheltered beneath a bank of trees for a while till the rain went off. Just a shower. Then on my way again.

The end of the road, so it seems.

A last view of reservoir #1 (actually, it's two reservoirs joined together but I'm not sure where one ends and the other starts).

More sun beams. The sun itself is also visible through the clouds - just about to break through the hole in the clouds at the top of the picture.

Another abandoned building on the left of the road, another nice little row of trees on top of the hill.

Beech tree.

Reservoir #2, complete with a pair of swans.

Right next to it on the other side of the road is reservoir #3, complete with rainbow.

Further on, a look back down the hill. Beyond the big puddle is reservoir #3 away in the distance. Someone has stuffed pinecones into the gate post - nice!

This is the view over the other side of the hill.

Then I pass the photogenic but dilapidated farm wondering if I'll be brave enough to photograph it this trip, but nope, someone is there yet again. It seems to be the dingiest, dampest but most densely populated farm around.

I like to photograph this little trailer if I'm passing this way (sad?). Today I have company over the wall.

To the right of the last photo, the road ahead. Lovely dykes, hedges, trees and sunshine!

Another few miles and I pass the snowdrops from last week, they've come on a bit more and are now at their best. Last year there was no sign of them till February, it's definitely been a much milder winter this year, though rather wet and windy for my liking.

Looking over the loch towards the sun.

The past some ducks in a row. I like their orange legs.

This swan was approaching for some food, I didn't have any.

A perfect rainbow. It was actually a double one but the secondary rainbow didn't show up well in the photos I took.

Along the cyclepath past the folly.

A bike shot, then home.

Another surprsingly enjoyable ride. Strong winds (often it was hard to hold the camera still) but I made sure I cycled out against the wind so that it was behind me coming home. Sunshine and showers - I did get wet a few times but the wind quickly dried me, and gentle sunshine is always a pleasure.


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