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.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Granny Stripe Blanket Ta-Dah!

The Final Reveal!!

Now this blanket started with a rather odd beginning. I had been returning home from a hospital antenatal appointment and was exiting the motorway slip road, when to my horror and amazement, was met with the sight of another motorist coming down the slip road in the opposite direction towards me. Panic ensued and after much headlight flashing and sufficient thumping of the horn, the other driver slammed on his brakes and managed to avoid a collision, he also made a hasty U turn and quickly made his escape, leaving me all of a flutter and quite shaken. 

So what did this have to do with the start of this blanket? Well, I obviously needed to calm my shattered nerves and that came in the form of buying wool, lots of wool, then going home and taking some relaxing hours deciding what to do with it all, and hey presto, the start of my Granny Striped Blanket began.

The blanket was intended for my daughter and I choose the colours quite randomly but with a mind to her favourite colours. Fortunately she's not a 'everything must be PINK' type of girl but loves her colours of the Rainbow, so I predominately choose red, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet shades and their closest corresponding colour.

So off I started and firstly I have to admit that my daughters bed is only a single, but as can quite clearly be seen, I 'slightly' over estimated my foundation chain and the blanket began to become the epic bedspread it now is!!

I had absolutely no desire to unravel and start again, a cardinal sin when crocheting is concerned, it absolutely breaks my heart when I have to pull my work out again and I wasn't about to do that now, I just ploughed ahead and let be what would be!! 

Row after row began to form in an array of beautiful colours. I must add that this blanket began its journey on the 24/02/2013. At this time the weather was awful and cold, chilly, frosty and all too often snowy, so each evening as the cold weather closed in, it was lovely to have this blanket over my knees and keeping me warm while I worked away on it. 

Till eventually I came to a length I was happy with and which covered my daughters bed. Then of course came the next task of choosing a border. 

Not long ago I bought this book from Amazon. It has an eye watering amount of different borders to use so I wasn't about to find myself short of idea's. 

I chose this design but the 2 rows of long stitches that can be seen in the picture were called Bullion Stitch and involved the yarn being wrapped round the hook 4 times before pulling up a loop, yarn over and then pulling through all 6 loops on the hook at once. Now I admit it gives a lovely finish, but it was tricky to do and quite time consuming and after only a very short time, I admitted defeat, and started again, supplementing the Bullion stitch for a double row of Treble's instead.

The final round was a simple Reverse Single Crochet, which involved working from left to right, inserting the hook into the next stitch and pulling up a loop, then yarn over, pull through both loops on hook, then again into the next stitch to the right. Again, a bit fiddly to start but I got the hang of this quicker and make a hasty progress. 

I like the effect it gives and finished the blanket beautifully.

The book also covers how to accommodate for corners and how many extra stitches are needed. All in all, a very informative book that I'm sure I will use again and again. 

And, the final challenge complete, the border done and the blanket remained flat - PHEW!!

I really do love this simple border, I think it frames this blanket beautifully. 

And so, for it's grand reveal and in its place of honour, my daughters bed, drum roll please..............


It looks wonderful and already has a great admirer apart from my daughter and me. This is one of our 2 cats, and she loves loves loves this blanket, in fact I think from her expression alone, she seems to be implying that this is in fact 'her' blanket!!! 

So, just for the benefit of seeing the entire blanket it all its glory, I took a picture of it on the floor to give you an idea of it's overall size - in one word, BIG seems to cover it!!

I'm sure in time it will go on to adorn more and more beds as my daughter grows and choses new bedroom furniture and regardless of size of bed, I can be assured that this blanket will fit!

And with the left over yarn, the cats will be pleased to know I am making them a smaller blanket all of their own, now I can't say fairer then that.