Sunday, 23 October 2011

And so to bed...for the winter

Warm wind from the Azores apparently made our little space in West Sussex very pleasant today. Big J did a sterling job in the garden preparing the beds for winter and mowing the lawns. I planted out the celariac which have been growing under heavy guard for some time now. We have slugs the size of cats in our doubt because I will not use pellets and they know it to be a safe haven. However, the tables have turned somewhat and for the first time ever, there is a deterent in the soil around the celariac.

My eldest and I headed out of town for a sunlit walk and came across this:

How I wish! But the sunshine today was as bright as any in Queensland in the autumn.

And lastly, I am working on the BORDER of the blanket.....

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Loving London

The more I get to know the city, the more I like it. Today the main reason for the trip was a visit to Australia House to get a new passport for my eldest....She and her sister have THREE each....The High Commission is in Temple and then I walked in the glorious sun shine all the way to Marble Arch. Past the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square where there was some living art on display.

The real thing looked more lush and it was moving in the wind. It reminded me of the Japanese green curtains I wrote about in the summer.

The rest of the walk allowed me to take in more sights and go into shops that usually there is no time for. For the first time I went to Anthropologie. It was funky and inspiring and I would like more time there next visit.

Lots of trying on of boots, some yarn shopping in John Lewis and lunch there too. And I saw this in the window of ZARA HOME

It was the crochet throw that caught my eye. It is called the Melissa Blanket and is in the catalogue. The colours are really calm.

As always, the highlight of the day was a quick visit to Ava and her mum and dad. She is filling out, still looks like a punk rocker, but smiles a lot. How I love that girl!

Home to my own two lovelies, three of us again this week as Big J is up north and Ads is in Hove.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

What would Mary say?

Tonight's attempt at Mary Berry's brandy snaps resulted in these:

More lacy, more crunchy and a better batch all together. Thing is though, I work with women WHO LIKE TO EAT CAKE and this would feed only a very few of them. I will have to bake some more tomorrow to make sure there are enough to go around...

Adding up

Last night Han-solo was counting squares on the baby blanket (yawn - you must all be so tired of this...) and discovered that I had only ONE MORE ROW to finish and here was I slogging on with an EXTRA row. Yip Yip Yippee.

That meant (and means) assembly is imminent and I have decided on the border and with luck there will be a TA-DAH here very, very soon...

Sunday, 16 October 2011


Today was yet another glorious blue sky aumtumn day. Yesterday, this dom goddess dusted, hoovered, wiped, polished and scrubbed the bedroom and the bathroom. Bliss. It was so satisfactory because not only did it look great I then gave myself the day off today. Big J made dinner so no cooking to be done for the hordes. I did though have a go at Mary Berry's brandy snaps Mary does say that if one follows the recipe and if measurements are exact, you can't go wrong. Ha. Not quite what I had envisaged, they were a bit bulked up and would have been better wrapped around a broom handle than a wooden spoon, but they do taste great. Will keep at this one. Worth the effort to get it right I think.

Another thing I tackled today was a crochet geek tutorial on harlequin or catherine wheel stitch. Inspired by this beautiful scarf by Moonstitches. She is a Japan based lady and her work is lovely. I sat for over an hour with a you tube tutorial and this is what I came up with

As you can see it is a bit dodgy on the right hand side (probably a few other places too) but the texture of the material is lovely. This is in my sock yarn, which, now that I have it, confess that I am not too crazy about it. Orange I like, but not white, and there are too many strands of white in it, so this is a learning ball. This stitch would make a great pair of fingerless gloves in sock wool. The rhubarb scarf Moonstitches made is stunning.

The baby blanket is so close to being finished and it is a just pure slog now because my mind is always leaping from new idea to new and totally unrealistic idea. I signed up to ripple stitch along with Lucy, then pulled out all my work....just can't seem to settle.

Last nice bit of news is that we found some sweet chestnut trees on a walk today, so the plan is to collect some for roasting. Foraging is fun.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011


This morning I had a CT scan of my head taken. The investigation is actually for my nose, which looks fine - but does not work. The plan is to see if there is anything obstructing the flow of air; let's hope they do not find something like a bead up there from those days when we all thought a hole had to have something in it! Mouth - fist, ear - crayon, wall socket -finger, nose - bead.

I then bought some more sock yarn online and have been practising all manner of stitches on the ball I have now. Mostly with little success, but it is all about learning.

Bit of damson picking this afternoon with Em and her friend and then they plan to make apple and damson chutney.

At the weekend I made membrillo or quince cheese, to eat with Manchego cheese. The quinces were from the neighbours garden. It took hours, quinces are a hard fruit to peel. The end result looks a little dark, and there is less suger than the recipe calls for, but I am really pleased with it.


The girls got damsons, sloes and plums and this is what they made:

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Addition to the list

In the search for the perfect (that means gorgeous but easy and fast) Sophie Digardesque pattern for a scarf - now how can that be difficult? - I came across this blog. Now this lady can crochet and her strippy blanket is wonderful. Do take a look. Her blog is in my bloglist as well.

Still searching for the pattern, but feel as though it is going to be one of those things in my head that even if there is a pattern, I will wander off piste.


This morning I made up a song about Big J's everlasting wait for departure dates for HK.

'Will he stay or will he go?...Don't ask me, coz I don't know!'

Bit of work to be done on the rest!

Poor brother is in the same boat. Start date looms and no contract.

I am waiting for the men in my life to go away!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Two words - SOCK YARN

I have just had a look at Planetpenny's post about the Knitting and Stitching Show who was obviously clever enough to remember her to take her camera and she has loaded some great photos on her blog. I did not. But it is true to say that some were not happy to be snapped and there were signs up on a lot of the works asking folk not take pictures.

I tended to focus on crochet related bits and yarn and was constantly amazed and thrilled by all the colours and textures of yarn available. Buffalo down was so soft, hard to think of such a huge mammal being downy, but there you are.
There was hemp and linen and wire and plastic as well. Loads of fabulous felty things too. I bought one little felted lavender bag heart for a friend.

Sock yarn is something much talked blogged about and it did not disappoint, so lovely and fine. I decided if I were to buy anything at the show is would be sock yarn. Then I found the work of SOPHIE DEGARD and fell in love. She crochets in hand dyed 1ply marino (two strands together) and the work is exquisite. If you have been to the V&A shop, you may have seen some of her beautiful mosaic like scarfs.

So, somewhere in the future is a Sophie inspired scarf, but made with sock yarn....I bought only one ball and possibly not the best colourway for moi, but I was just so keen to start and did not want to fork out a lot of dosh for something that may be harder to handle than my skills can cope with.

For anyone who can get to this show in a location near you, do try to make it. It is just great to see so much talent and so many possibilities.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Ally Pally

I had to ask Big J what it meant, but now I know, and like some of you in blogland, Celia B and I are off to the Knitting and Stitching Show on Saturday. It would be nice to meet one or two fellow bloggers (but some of you will be there on Friday).

Looking forward to having my eyes pop with all the fabulous colours and textures and to seeing some crochet works and the odd bit of shopping!

Last night we had our little sewing bee and planned the day... To keep me going on the train, I will be making bath puffs! Addictive. And anyway, the baby blanket is too big to carry around now!

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

I have a pinny and a notebook and am moving cautiously

It sometimes feels as if (my) life is a bit of a race to get things done. A juggling race, because there are so many things to get done. The 'have to or we will starve' jobs, food shopping and cooking and washing up...(ok we will not starve if we do not wash up, just including it as part of the process...we could have paper plates and plastic cutlery every meal!!) Then there is the house and its care, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, polishing, loo and bathroom cleaning, to name a few, although I am not too au fait with one or two of those activities. The family and their needs, food, driving around, and those shared moments of odd youtube clips which have them collapsing on the floor hysterically which I just don't get.

The garden, so cruelly neglected this year.

Then there are the WIPs the ever growing pile of yarn that has somehow managed to replace my pile of fabrics. The idea was NOT to accumulate anything. One project at a time.

Many times have I tried to get on top of all of this and have a harmonious calming home, tidy and free from clutter and most importantly easy to manage.

No luck.

I then read about Lucy at Attic24 who dons her pinny and takes an hour a day to care for her home. YES. I have a pinny, all Japanese women wear them and when I put mine on I feel strangely proud of what I am doing. I could really see where Lucy was coming from and enjoyed wearing my pinny again.

I put it on recently and blossomed into an all baking, all cooking, all tidying QUEEN. Then I took it off.....and slumped into my old ways.

Lucy blogs that she has a note book and writes her home loving plans in that. I have always had one - full of lists. Now I have a new one, full of lists, but I also put in what I am hoping to achieve and some of the dreams. It has to be an inspiring book, not a gloomy tally of all those things that did not get done -Missy...

I think what I trying to grapple with here, if anyone has read this far, (bless you, either that or you have cramp and can't get away from the computer screen), is that it is OK to aspire to the perfect ideal of home life but that the life you actually have is OK too. Wanting to change is a positive, but change is a big scary thing and needs to be approached with caution, a notebook and a pinny.

Will keep you posted.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

On this warm and sunny weekend.. a puffy Ta-dah!

I went to Tunbridge Wells to to buy more for wool for the blanket border. I had a quiet coffee over the paper and bought some lovely bamboo yarn which has long fascinated me, and made this.......Ta-dah!:
It's a bamboo scrubbie or bath puff by Bridgit E Burns on Ravelry. The yarn was heavenly to work with and the pattern really fast. It is a bit small, but I did use a 3.5mm hook when a 4mm would have been better. Anyway, it is so pretty and soft. And it was so nice to have a little project to do that was not the baby blanket!
This morning though, while Big J watched the rugby in New Zealand while sitting in our sunny living room, another strip went onto the blanket. Near but not there yet.
Work in the garden ensued and all the raspberrie canes were cut back. First time in two years, they needed it. The shed was cleaned out and 1100 pots (or thereabouts, seemed like it anyway) that I had been stashing were let go, among other things that accumulate when one is not looking. The best thing I have ever found in our shed is a bottle of Dom Perignon!. Ask no questions, it was truly a mystery, but it was good!
A little visit to a plant nursery that also sells chickens. Oh dear, the old longing again and the rational sounding discussion with the owner about keeping them when we know we will drive off without a feathered friend in the car. This time though, there was talk of possibly, maybe, getting a couple as Big J is going to be away for so long, if he goes. We will see.
Home to roast chicken...come on, I am a practical girl, followed by Banoffee pie on the patio by candlelight.