Monday, 30 September 2013

Yarndale 2013

Yarndale, what can I say other than I loved it loved it loved it! At the sight of all the long queues to get there, I knew it was going to be great. In fact, when I finally got to the front of the line of traffic I was met with an exhausted car park attendant who looked fraught to say the least. Sadly he informed me that the car park was now full and I would have to find an alternative parking place!  Anyway, apart from the slow start, I finally arrived and it was worth the parking hassle. There was colour everywhere, a complete transformation from the usual Cattle Market. Strings of crochet bunting strung from everywhere, it was crazy!!!

An absolute riot of colour and yarn everywhere you looked! It was on the walls, hanging from the ceilings, in every conceivable nook and cranny, crochet, wool, pompoms, tassels, beads, buttons, flowers, the lot! And of course, the lovely Betty the Sheep, the mascot for Yarndale itself. 

Each stall was an Aladdin's Cave filled to bursting with such incredible displays of colourful skeins of yarn, I just wanted to touch them all, they were all sooooo soft. Row after row of stalls all offering something different. Everyone had put so much though and effort into their displays and everyone was so helpful and happy to spend time chatting about their products. 

I spotted these Attic24 crocheted houses and thought they were lovely. They were created by the talented 'hooker' at Little Tin Bird.  Her blog goes into detail about how she created these houses, I think they would be great as wall art, I know my daughter would love it in her bedroom.

Aside from all the lovely wool for sale, there was also the kind donators of some of this wool, including angora rabbits (soooo adorable and surprisingly MASSIVE!!) and also very cute alpaca's 

My daughter even managed to get her mitts on one of the baby bunnies, it was so soft and really snuggly, well, so she tells me, she wasn't letting go and so I didn't get to hold it for myself!

The alpaca's were incredibly gorgeous!

Right in the heart of all the stalls was the Knit & Natter Lounge, this is based on the cafe Lucy at Attic24 visits to drink frothy coffee's and crochet with like minded friends, I think every town should have one!!

Inside it was adorned with all the wonderful and colourful pieces created by Lucy at Attic24 and the lampshade from one of her recent posts was also there. I couldn't help feeling that her house must really be feeling a little less colourful without all her pieces of hooky magic brightening the place up!

Such inspiration everywhere I looked. These 3 blankets had to be some of my favourites, I couldn't even begin to imagine the length of time it must have taken to finish each piece. 

Aren't they incredible?

I wish I had the skill and patience to complete such a mammoth blanket, one day maybe!

I loved loved loved the colours, very close to nature I thought, almost autumnal don't you think?

All in all, it was a lovely day. There were so many people there and so many things to look at and try. My daughter enjoyed the kiddies corner and made herself a pompom monster! The hall with all the bunting looked amazing and the 'market stalls' with it's crocheted wares were brilliant, there are some really talented people out there. I can't wait for next year and hope it is blessed with such lovely weather as well. One thing I will remember to do though, will be to take the train!!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Simple things to simply make me happy

1. Making pretty things for my girls to wear.

2. Spending time out doors in the beautiful countryside enjoying lovely weather and beautiful scenery.

 3. Walking really long distances till my legs ache and I'm hungry like a horse.

4. Watching eldest daughter run and run and run, getting lots of exercise and enjoying herself

5. Eating lots of homemade goodies, this weekend was Oat & Raisin Cookies

6. And lastly, seeing my little girl give me big gummy smiles - priceless

Enjoying the simple things are what really matter, enjoy yours.

Back soon.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Granny Squares

What a difference a week makes, I think I blinked and Summer was over. I sure sign colder weather is on the way is when I finally relented and switch the heating on. I've also had to dig out some fluffy socks to keep my feet warm and the slow cooker has even made a few appearances in this last couple of weeks!

One thing I did think was fast disappearing was night feeds, but it would appear that after sleeping through from about 9 weeks, my daughter has suddenly decided that she wants to wake for a feed not once but twice in the night.  I am quite literally feeling like I could fall asleep standing up. I suppose my smug smile needed wiping off my face for all the times I happily told anyone and everyone that I was getting a full nights sleep and what an easy baby I have. Now, don't get me wrong, an easy, wonderful and happy baby she is and she's probably just going through a growth spurt and hopefully (with fingers crossed) she will soon start sleeping through again!

A result of feeling a little dozy these last few nights has meant that hook and yarn have rarely seen the light of day.  My stack of granny squares has not been greatly increased and they sit there looking hopeful at me from the bureau. 

In a bid to try and cast out the 'dead on my feet' feeling, I have been donning the baby papoose and setting out with baby and dog for some lovely long walks. The sky is looking a lot more grey and gloomy these days and rain showers can be seen in small pockets moving across the hills, it's often a race to get back indoors before being soaked to the skin with these passing downpours!

I have found a little energy to try and continue with my own challenge of making something from 'The Great British Bake Off" programme. I am such a huge fan of this series and admire the contestants for putting themselves through the pressure of baking such amazing cakes, breads and biscuits etc all the time being filmed while also being under the intense scrutiny of Paul and Mary. I love to bake, I spend a huge amount of time in the kitchen looking for things I can make. I love to read food blogs and enjoy looking at a recipe book as much as I do reading a good novel. However, I could never imagine having the amount of bravery it must take to appear on that show, quite simply, I would break under the pressure, especially with Paul Hollywood's steely blue eyes staring critically at anything I managed to cook!!

So, in moderately less pressurised surrounding, (my own kitchen) I set about making something from this weeks show and tried my hands at Macron's!! I searched the Internet and found this recipe which didn't look too tricky to follow. I must admit that I tried unsuccessfully on 2 occasions before I made a batch I was happy with. They were lovely, if maybe a little on the big side, more Grande Four then Petit Four! My hubby and eldest daughter demolished them in no time. I imagine they would make a lovely present all boxed up and tied with ribbon, must make a note of that for Christmas maybe (oh, how even more depressing thinking of the C word already!!!)

My baby girl is getting a little older now (a whole 14 weeks now) and she enjoys spending short periods of time sat in her bouncy chair playing with her toys. At this stage she loves looking at black and white objects and can literally shake with excitement at her Lamaze toy. It's amazing how something so small can have so many things. Our front room is fast looking like an aisle of Toys R Us. As much as tripping over brightly coloured toys all day fights with my urge to have it all tidied away, I do love to watch her giddy with pleasure over all these things, it's worth all the sleepless night and messy house - honest xx

Wishing you all a hooky full, sunshiny warm, relaxingly chilled week. 

Monday, 9 September 2013

September Picnic's

September Picnic

The first week of school passed very quickly. My eldest daughter is loving her new school and has made friends with lots of girls in her class. You can't imagine what a relief it was to hear that she is enjoying herself.

The weekend was here before we knew it and Sunday turned out to be better than expected. I packed us up a quick picnic and headed to the local park. I love eating outdoors, it's so much more relaxed. As a kid I always thought picnics were a real treat, but in theory, it's a lot easier than preparing a meal that is eaten indoor. There is no washing up involved, not setting the table, no clearing away and tackling the kitchen mess afterwards. 

The picnic was a simple affair, sandwiches, fruit, crisp and homemade chocolate and banana bread. A sign that the weather is cooling though was that I also brought a flask of tea and not the usual bottles of squash that has been the norm until now. 

Because it was Sunday, the park was full of football matches and so while hubby, eldest daughter and our dog, Sasha watched the game, I could spend a bit of time relaxing and doing a spot of crochet. I'm currently on with a project designed to use up some of my yarn stash. I've an assortment of balls of wool of different sizes that on their own wouldn't be enough to complete an item, so instead, I'm doing granny squares, in single block colours, making as many as each ball of wool will allow. 

It's a great little project to take out and about with me. I'm going to join the squares together at the end, instead of joining as I go, that way, I won't have to take the blanket out and about with me. So currently, my change bag that I take everywhere with me now holds the usual nappies, wipes, change of clothes, bibs, spare dummies, sun hat, purse, phone, crochet hook, ball of wool and scissors. It is fit for bursting and nothing can ever be found in a hurry. There has been more times then I care to mention when the bag has been in danger of being up ended and all the contents thrown out when I have lost something.

I'm not sure what the finished blanket will be used for. I think it would be nice to be used as a picnic blanket. All the current blankets we take with us when we do picnic, are all quite small. I hope I have enough wool to make a pretty decent size one so that we can all sit comfortably on it as well as the food, drinks and usually Sasha who likes to spread out right in the middle!!

I imagine this blanket will take me some time as my baby girl needs my attention more at the moment. For such a little thing, she's certainly nosey and wanted to be sat on my lap watching all that was going on around her. Her blanket that I made her is a hit, we've noticed that she likes to hold things in her hands as a kind of comforter when she's tired and this blanket is one of her favourites. 

After a while, once the football matches had finished and we were all eaten up, we took a walk along the hedgerows. This time of year blackberries are ready for picking and after the year we have had with early rain then lots of sunshine the blackberries have done really well. We collected so many and our intention is to turn it all into jam once we have collected enough. It's certainly a sign autumn is on the way when I start thinking of making jam. I'm already beginning to think starting this blanket now will be just at the right time as it will keep me warm as the nights begin to draw in and the evenings get colder.

Now, I'm off to see if I've unpacked my jam pan!!! Will be back soon. 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Summer Holidays

Summer Holidays.

Well, that's the summer holiday's over, I can't believe how fast the time has flown. The weather has been so hot, it was even lovely for our time in Cornwall this year, not something that happens a lot, if I'm honest. We spent most of our time on the beach, enjoying many hours just relaxing, sunbathing, building sandcastles and crabbing.

One thing I have been missing though, is time to sit and do a spot of crochet, but with moving house, having my daughter and generally needing to spend time just trying to get sorted and settled, crochet has not really been at the forefront of my mind. 

While in Cornwall though, I did find time to go to one of my favourite shops, Coastal Yarns. It is a shop that sells wool belonging to their very own alpaca's. They also sell a variety of other yarns as well and this was where I bought the wool I used for my first baby blanket last year. This time I bought some baby rooster merino wool and some 4ply superfine alpaca wool as well as some little wooden buttons. As yet I still have to find something to use these wools for, but I just couldn't leave the shop without buying something.

Since getting back from our holiday and slowly beginning to get back to normal, I have begun to start picking up my crochet hook and doing a few rows of a blanket I started for a friend who had a baby girl last month. I again chose a ripple blanket, like the pattern I used for second baby blanket, but this time used interlocking colours of pink, blue and cream. 

It's only a small blanket, more of a keepsake really. I am really please with how it turned out and love the colours. The wool I used was sublime baby cashmere merino silk and I bought it from a great shop called Baa Ram Ewe in Leeds. 

It's been great to get back into crocheting and I'm now desperate to find a pattern to use the wools I bought in Cornwall, I'm thinking of probably making something for my girls to wear, like hats or mittens. But before I can start on that, I'm on with another little project which I hope to get finished soon. 

Hope to be back soon xx

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

How Time Flies!!

Wow, that was some break, but in the time I have been away, I have managed to fit in some of life's biggest milestones!!! In these few short weeks, we have moved house - stressful enough, but with the addition of a new born it was certainly interesting.

My darling newest addition to our family arrived on the 11th June in the small hours of the morning and is an adorable little sister to her very excited and attentive big sister.

Slowly I am getting the house sorted and working through packing boxes and finding places to put everything. 

My camera is still packed away somewhere so I have had to rely on my mobile phone to capture a few precious photos of my little girl while she is still so little.

Having a newborn leaves little time to indulge in anything other than caring for a newborn, but my addiction to yarn has been somewhat appeased by some of the beautiful gifts some of my friends and family have made for her.

This dress is absolutely adorable and was made for her by my dearest friend. I can't wait for her to wear it some day soon.

My sister in law knitted this little collection, she is still quite new to knitting and this was her first cardigan she had made. It's so diddy and has been worn several times as I know my daughter will soon  be too big for it. 

My obsession for blankets knows no limits so I was very pleased to receive this beautiful ripple blanket. It is made using the ever versatile Stylecraft yarn so is 100% washable, which is great for all the little spillages that comes with having a newborn!!!

And it certainly has been a useful blanket to have.

I hope to dig out my many bags of wool and once I have got back into some kind of normal pattern to life again and can even perhaps fit in a few moments to complete a couple of crochet projects I currently have on the go, I will report back on my progress. 

Hoping it'll not be as long next time!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Lazy Weekends

Lazy Weekends

It's not often we get a whole weekend together as a family and so when this weekend saw that was exactly what was happening, we indulged in doing the simple things in life and planned ourselves a Lazy Weekend.

Firstly, we prepared Friday night with proving sour dough ready to be turned into bread for Saturday lunchtime!

I rustled up a tray of Millionaires Shortbread, using the recipe I found here and cut into small morsels and left in the fridge so could be munched on at whim!

The task of reclaiming back the garden from the ravishes of winter was fully instigated.

New plants installed, and unfortunately a lot of casualties of the harsh snow we have seen this Winter were removed.

Fortunately my bearded Irises survived and this week saw them all bloom magnificently in the growing hours of sunshine we have been getting!

A few additional bedding plants were added to the somewhat barer borders after the cull and added a bit of cheery colour.

Lots of delphiniums were once again planted to replace the ones we lost. I love these plants and as I try and keep a cottage style garden , Delphiniums are an absolute must

The beautiful blossom was still very much in abundance, even though I got a sprinkling every time I tried to weed underneath.

It was also lovely to reinstated the herb garden. We have always had one but although it survived the Winter, it was more its age that was its downfall, a lot of the woodier varieties like Rosemary and Thyme were no longer providing tender shoots and were looking a little bedraggled and sorry for themselves. Other herbs such as the Lemon Balm and Chervil had kinda taken over and needed reigning in again. 

Sweet Peas were planted at the bottom of the pyramid trellis and allowed to get on with doing what they do.

This little guy has been adopted from a neighbours garden and has happily self seeded and popped up in a corner of our garden. Because he's a cheery little fellow, he's been allowed to stop but usually I don't have a lot of yellow flowers in the garden, no real reason really, but that has now changed!!

The rhubarb has triumphantly returned and has already provided us with our first rhubarb crumble of the year.

In our house, we don't need a barometer or weather forecast to tell us if it's going to be a nice day, our Siamese cat will always be found basking in the sun if the temperature is right, and this weekend has shown glimpses of nice weather (even if the rain did put in frequent but short blast of wet conditions)

But, alas, the blue sky was occasionally evident and all in all this weekend, for us as a family is how we like to spend it. 

Wishing you an equally enjoyable weekend too.

Will be back soon.