Monday 31 October 2011

A blogworthy half term?

Well, I really wasn't going to write anything about half term.  No photos were taken, children played out with their friends, jigsaws were made by Sophie, plenty of soft toys were played with, Luke made some wargaming banners for a chap at the club.  We did manage to get to the park whilst looking after a friends lad one afternoon, Luke was went to the cinema with a friend, and we managed to overcome the logistical nightmare of the parent to child ratio when going swimming!  (Admittedly we all ended up in the training pool, and pretty much cleared it, I hope everyone decided it was lunchtime, and didn't disappear because it had been invaded by our four!)

Stuart's brother visited for a day and a bit, which included a meal at our favourite Indian restaurant.  We had an engineer look at the dishwasher, declare it needed lots of parts replacing, and it couldn't be done for another week and a day!  And then we were struck by a horrid stomach upset :( And in amongst all this I did some spinning, knitting and crocheting (and lots of washing up!)

I really wasn't going to post at all, as nothing really stood out at me that made me think that I should either take a photo or blog about it.  But then I thought better of it, because after all, as the title of this blog suggests, it is!

Friday 21 October 2011

Catch up!

 What a busy week!  Sunday, Luke and I took three bags of apples to an apple pressing day at a local craft centre.  2 bags of cooking apples from the tree at the allotment, and a bag of "eaters" we had accumulated from various places, oh, and a small bag of pears.  When I was washing them all, and putting them all into bags, I thought we had quite a lot!  But when we got there it was a meagre amount compared to what most people had brought!!  The apples and pears were tipped into an electric hopper which chopped them up finely, then put into a hessian sack and pressed in the green and wooden press at the back of the first picture.  We then had to decant our juice into bottles.
 We had collected plastic milk bottles to store the juice, as it could be frozen that way.  the juice oxidises very quickly, as can be seen by the colour of it in the bottles already!
 Given how few apples we had taken, I was rather pleased to have come come with 11 pints of homemade apple juice, although that really won't last long in this house!  4 pints disappeared during Sunday lunch!  Next year we will definitely be doing more. and may also venture into cider making!!
 Sophie, with a little guidance from Luke wrote her name, although she would only acknowledge the S as for Sophie, the rest were just shapes!
 Sunday I also decided that the air was getting a little nippy, so I decided I needed a hat that wouldn't look daft with my hair, and that would also fit on my rather large head!  So, I figured a tam, would work quite well.  And in amongst the apple pressing, Sunday lunch, family and everythig else, I was able to sit and crochet a hat, and by the night time, it was finished.  The wool, I had been given, and was using for a cardigan for myself.  But I didn't like the way it was knitting up, so I thought I'd use some of that, and I love how it has crocheted up, it looks jewel like in place, and I think I may just add a tassle to the centre of it with a few beads or gems on.
Blimey, so that was Sunday.  The rest of the week zoomed by so fast no pictures were taken!  Monday was busy preparing for visitors.  Stuart's nephew, Tom, and his partner, Denise, were coming to stay for a couple of days, as Denise had a training course nearby. 

Tuesday was my Grandma's funeral.  Stuart took the day off work to look after the children, and Mum and I went to Northampton to say our farewells to Grandma.  A sad day, one I was not looking forward to, as I still feel rather raw from the loss of Jean. Grandma was buried in a lovely green burial site (I love these places, they feel so alive), and they held a service of celebration afterwards, which was not exactly how I would have liked to say my goodbyes, but is what Grandma would have liked, so I guess that is what counts.  I returned home to our visitors, and Tom disappeared with Luke and Stuart to the Warhammer club, whilst Denise and I chatted about knitting, spinning, crochet and all things woolly, plus she has come up with a solution to the crochet blanket problem, which I will attempt to sort out this next week!  A lovely end to a busy, emotional day. 

The rest of the week has been entertaining guests (Sophie was excellent at this!!), and all the usual stuff.  But we have now reached half term (teacher training day today) and we can all breathe out and relax for a week. 

Friday 14 October 2011

Whaddya reckon?

 Meet Gimli and the siamese cat from up the road.  6 months separates them, and they are best buddies.  This is the scene this morning.

"What do you think is down there?  It smells interesting."
 "I'll check out this other one while you and Sophie-cat keep on with this one"
 "I'm fed up, I'll go and check out those magpies on the green"
 "Darn, they flew away!  Back again, these things not moved yet?"
Bless them, they were there at 8.45am when we were walking up to school, and they are still there at 9.50am!  How long do you think they'll be there?  And what conclusions will they draw?

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Granny Stripe strife

 You know the Granny Stripe blanket I am working on?  Well, I hit a snag!  When I did the foundation chain I didn't think to measure it against the bed!!  So, 16 stripes in I thoughts Id better make sure it was ok, as it seemed a bit big.  Our bed is a king size bed, and just look how much I overestimated the length!!  So I am now faced with the idea of either starting again (which would be heartbreaking) or trying to salvage this one by cutting it, and retying the ends.  I am sure it won't be as easy as it sounds!  I was wondering of any of you more experienced crochet-ers (better than hookers!) could advise me the best way to do this

Some other stuff I've been up to this week is knitting a hat for Sophie for the winter. A rainbow hat, which actually ended up fitting me, but is nice and baggy on Sophie, which is how she likes things.  (Please excuse the state of her face, she had been refusing to wear it, and when Grandad threatened to wear the hat she plonked it on her head, so I quickly snapped a photo, before she changed her mind, if I'd had more time I would have cleaned her face!!)
 Can just about see the green and blue on the top of the hat.
Unfortunately there hasn't been much time for reading, too much produce to try and process from the allotment!!

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things and her lovely yarn along.

Monday 10 October 2011

There seems alot of this about.

Everywhere I turn at the moment there seems an awful lot of pain and suffering.  Whether it be through bereavement, ill health, stress or other things.  I don't know whether it is because I am more sensitive to these things given what has been going on in our lives recently, but I seem to be spending alot of time recently trying to make sense of it all, which to be honest, could drive me a little insane!

I came across a couple of quotes by the Dalai Lama, that really struck a chord with me, and I thought I would share with you, so if you are in need of some comfort, I hope you can find some in his ever wise words.

"It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others."

"Encountering sufferings will definitely contribute to the elevation of your spiritual practice, provided you are able to transform the calamity and misfortune into the path."

Friday 7 October 2011


 These Autumn morning are getting decidedly chilly now.  An excuse to find out my boots, and wear a rather lovely skirt that is soooo warm!

Finding out the bag of woollies that has been living under the stairs all summer!
 More of an excuse to wear new woollies.  A scarf from a lovely mama in a Green Parent swap, and those beautiful wrist warmers from Rosemary in Ireland.  (And I'm afraid a mug shot of me!)
 Porridge with apple butter (yes, more apple butter!)
 Sitting making the blanket is getting more and more appealing as it keeps me nice and warm!
 And finding new uses for fabric to make the house look cosy.  This was some fabric I picked up at the farm shop the other week, thinking it would make a nice wrap, but it is a little too coarse for that, however, it is the perfect size for the dining table, covers all the scratches and paint marks, and looks gorgeous to boot! 
Candles are also making a reappearance, and I can imagine the quilted bedspread will awake from its summer slumber very soon!

How are you keeping cosy as the temperature drops and the nights close in?

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Joining in with Soulemama this Friday.

Thursday 6 October 2011

Alpaca for my Mum

 My Mum is a knitter, so what better present for her birthday than a skein of homespun alpaca wool?  It was lovely that Ethan wanted to help, and he is getting rather good at carding, which is wonderful, as that is the part that I really don't particularly enjoy doing!
 So this last month I have been spinning, and spinning, trying to get as much done as I could in time for Mum's birthday this week.  It was a close call, and it had just about dried in time to give it to her!
It was lovely as the realisation hit her as to what it was.  The alapaca fleece from the farm shop, carded by Ethan, spun by me, and looks like it will be knitted into a scarf by my Mum.  If she ever needs anymore, she knows where to come!!

Happy Birthday Mum. xx

The rollercoaster of life

 It was my Mum's birthday in the week.  Unfortunately it was a rather rushed affair, as we had to go and view a prospective high school for Luke that same evening.  So a tea of fish and chips, followed by the above cake (filled with homemade apple butter, of which I am a bit of a convert to!)  Along with a homemade card (on it's side again, blinkin' camera!) and some home spun wool, which I will talk about in the next blog post.
 We had some sad news the following day though. We had been told on Mum's birthday that my Dad's Mum was very ill in hopsital.  They had discovered she had stomach and bladder cancer, and being so frail, they didn't think she would have long left with us.  The very next day we had that phone call to say she had slipped away in the night, with a Macmillan nurse by her side.  She was a woman with a very strong Christian faith.  My wish for her is peace, and freedom from pain, and for those left behind to find comfort in those around them, along with many happy memories of her time with them on this earth.

Mum had popped over that day so we could spend a bit of time together, and comfort one another, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something unusual out the window.  Closer inspection showed a strange flying insect that was hovering by the honeysuckle, sipping the nectar through it's proboscis.  It flew so quickly it was really hard to get a picture of it.  If you zoom in on the middle of the picture you can just about see it. 

A google later and we discovered that it was this, a hummingbird hawk moth.  I had never heard of such a thing, but was fascinated, and Mum and I were suitably distracted whilst we researched a little more about it.
 Life continues all around us, which I seem to be continually reminded of, even in the darkest of times.  Not really feeling like doing much, I finished off a present for a friends little lad whose 2nd birthday was the other week.  Sophie was the product tester, and very graciously handed it over to Joel, but I have a feeling I may have to make her one too!
 And to try and lighten things a bit, my cello case got transformed!  I had plonked a couple of recently spun skeins of wool on top the other day, and it made it look a little like a grey haired lady.  So I just helped it a little to complete the look.  So meet "Chell" the cello case lady!
 And another lighter moment...
 ...he was like that for a good hour or so!!

Such stark contrasts this week, making me appreciate the good things all the more. 

Monday 3 October 2011

One of those silly questions!

Do you ever get one of those silly questions stuck in your head?  It all started in the week, with an impromptu trip to Aldi.  I know Luke (and I) like those round biscuits with chocolate in the middle that disolve as soon as they touch a cup of tea.  So later in the week, whilst dunking a biscuit, I began to wonder, what is it that makes some biscuits go all mushy so quickly, yet others just don't?

Initially I thought it might be the fat content, so those with high fat content, as the heat hits the biscuit, the fat loosens the structure of the biscuit. Then I thought it might be capillary action, so the finer the particles in the biscuit structure, the more liquid gets pulled in, and makes it mushy.

I can feel plenty of experimenting coming on, but I thought to save myself, and my waistline I would first ask here if anyone had any thoughts or hypotheses on this subject!  In fact if anyone fancies joining me in a fun experiment, or get the kids to join in, (all in the name of science you understand ;) ) then let me know!!

Hope this week is full of fun for you all, and not too many silly, niggling questions!!

Saturday 1 October 2011

A good day!

 When the phone rings whilst you are still in bed, and the person on  the other end informs you that you have won a hamper in a raffle you entered (entered because it was in a wicker basket, and I had been hankering after one of those for a while!), you get a feeling it might just be a good day!

I went to the farm shop to pick up the basket (and a few more things!), it did look prettier than in the photo too, it just got opened for the goodies as soon as I got home!  Whilst I was there they had a stall where you just put in a donation and took whatever you fancied.  So I found a beautiful embroidered folder that will be home to my knitting and crocheting patterns, some fairy wings that have been secreted away, and some material I have had my eye on for a while too! 
 I also managed to fit in a bit of this...
 ...and this (apple butter, never made it before, and rather worried that it says it has to be eaten in 3 weeks!! Hmmm, if anyone local wants to try some, let me know!)
 Some family painting time...
 Added to the mix, a naked toddler running around most of the afternoon (everyone else secretly jealous they couldn't do the same, it was rather warm!), along with Alec and Ethan barely being seen all day, and if they did turn up it was either with neighbourhood children in tow, or they needed a drink or some food!  And Stuart being exceptionally brave and attempting to sort out the attic space so we can try to get straight upstairs, it really was very much like a sauna!

And then to top it off, sat in the conseratory this evening, I hear a roaring noise, and then voices from on high!  Before I could gather my thoughts Sophie (sat naked on the trampoline) points up and shouts "BALLOON"  Sure enough, the lowest I have ever seen a hot air balloon over houses, they were desperately trying to get it to rise, with the heat on virtually constantly!! Sophie was very upset she couldn't get to have a go in it!  The photo doesn't do it justice, it was further away by the time I got my act together and grabbed the camera!
All in all, a wonderful day, making the most of the unusual weather.  Still makes me smile when I am breaking into a sweat just being in the sun, whilst the warm breeze blows through the trees and the leaves all fall off!!