Sunday, 31 January 2016

Our January

Our January was pretty much a quiet, steady sort of month. We settled back into our usual everyday routines after the Christmas holidays and plodded along until here we are at the very last day of the month. It
didn't actually feel as long or as dark as I had anticipated and it wasn't
that cold either, all of which I'm grateful for knowing what a struggle
January could be at times. And I am also grateful for all the joyful things that came our way this month, from simple pleasures like baking with
Lulu, listening to Markie reading, going out for walks and getting engrossed in a new book, to big, exciting events like our pop up
restaurant going well, my husband getting a secondment at work and booking our flights to the Philippines this May. These things cheered us, brightened our days and kept us going. Of course it wasn't all rosy.
 There were tiring, grump-inducing days too, as well as illnesses that lingered for many days. But it still wasn't such a bad January, not at all. In fact, it's been kind to us and I feel we're blessed to have had a very good start to the New Year.

So on now to February. There's half-term in two weeks' time, new books
to read, WIP's old and new to get on with, pancakes to make and enjoy.
 Lots of good things to see us through another winter month and then, hopefully, it will be Springtime.

How about you? How was your January?

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Winter Trees

Hello again. How are you? Last time here we had snow and I was feeling a bit worried, although seeing the heavy blizzard in the East Coast in America, what we had was nothing. Nothing! Anyway, it was almost all gone by Monday morning and we've been snow-free since then. Today we had sunny, spring-like weather and it was really lovely. Unfortunately we weren't able to enjoy it much. My husband was working and I spent most of the day cleaning and tidying away the things from last night's pop up restaurant. We had another one last night - our third - and it went really well, but we're always so knackered afterwards. Good thing my husband truly enjoys the cooking and everything and we're making some profit, so it is worth the hard work. Even then I am very glad he's off work til Tuesday; we need the next two days to recover.

The photos here were from my walk at a local park near school on
 Wednesday morning. I love winter trees. I usually feel a bit sad when
leaves start falling in autumn because it signals the end of summer and the start of colder, shorter, darker days. But after awhile I get used to
the changing season and naked tree branches like these become familiar
and beautiful. They are one of my simple wintry pleasures.

It's early-ish bed time for me here. I hope you've had a good week and
it's been a lovely weekend. I feel mine is just about to start. Thanks
for your visits here, as always, and to new readers, hello and welcome!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Snowy Sunday

We're having a very wintry Sunday here in Sheffield - we have snow!
It started snowing around tea time yesterday and continued til after midnight. It wasn't heavy but there's enough snow on the ground this morning to delight the girls and start me worrying. I don't like it when it
turns icy and we've got the school run tomorrow. My husband walked
to work today instead of driving but that's not really an option for taking
the girls to school. Hopefully all the snow would have thawed by then.
Setting aside my snow worries, I have to admit that this is a very good day for hot chocolate, board games, crochet and watching films snuggled under a blanket on the sofa. The girls spent nearly an hour playing outside earlier and it was great to see them having so much fun.
And it does look beautiful out there. It reminds me of a poem from
A First Book of Nature called 'Snow Song' :

Snow has covered up the dirt and muddle;
It's made the world look new and neat and clean.
You forget the other seasons and their colours;
For now, white seems more
Beautiful than green.

Just for today, though. Tomorrow I hope the usual browns and greens
outside will reappear and life will resume as normal. We're keeping
out fingers - and cosy toes - crossed! 

Have a lovely, warm, cosy Sunday day, everyone!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Winter Projects

My crochet blanket, which is my big project this winter, is still
a work in progress. I picked it up again after Christmas, after all
the festive bustle had calmed down and added three more rows
of colours.  I was working on a white row when I ran out of yarn and
so it had to go back to its basket while I waited to get some more.

The yarn stash has been replenished but the blanket remains
 folded away on top of the basket (shown here being held up by Lulu) because I'm currently distracted by another project.

I have been planning to start on this particular project after
the New Year and the couple of days when I didn't have the right
yarn for the blanket gave me the chance to do so.

As you can see it's a cushion cover with big, bright colours which
I love. The making hasn't been so straightforward though. I realized
as I crocheted the first petal that the finished cushion might be a
bit too big. I looked at the pattern again and sure enough it says
21 inches across. It is too big! So I've had to unravel most of it and
start again. I've had to adjust the pattern and it's taken me awhile
 to figure it out. I've written it all down in my note book and that's
been a great help. That and stitch markers. I'd be lost without them.

Once I've made all the petals I'll take a break from this and go back
 to my blanket which is just perfect timing because the weather's
going to turn much colder next week. It's now long enough to cover my
lap and drape down my legs. So it might still be a work in progress,
but it's already quite useful- the perfect winter project!

I'm joining in with Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party.
Have a lovely Thursday evening!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Making in 2015

I'm having a look back at all the things I made last year. I think
 I did well. I didn't manage any dress making as I'd planned to do
at the start of 2015 but there was still some good sewing. I made costumes and I hand quilted my patchwork blanket. Both tested and improved my sewing skills and I learned a lot from making them.
I'm also very pleased to have made a tea cosy. I still use it everyday
and it's certainly one of my favourite makes from last year. My crochet
got better too. Amongst my crochet projects were shawls, pot holders and several cowls but I'm most proud of my bear bag. I adapted a triangle pattern for the ears but the rest I just made up as I went along.
My crochet confidence grew from from making that little bag. It's
another favourite from 2015.

As always I feel lucky to have had the time and resources to make
all these things. Getting crafty and being creative bring me a lot
of enjoyment as well as comfort, pride and satisfaction and I hope
there will be more in 2016.

Wishing you all a good week. It's back to work today but school
doesn't start till tomorrow for the girls. They're playing nicely at
 the moment so fingers crossed I can do some crochet this afternoon.
My unfinished blanket is calling out to me. See you soon!

Friday, 1 January 2016

Happy New Year

We welcomed in 2016 with a walk in beautiful Derbyshire this 
morning. It was cold and not as sunny or clear as forecasted but
we had a great time and we loved the wonderful views all around us.
We were home for lunch and we'll be staying in for the rest of the day.
Sound of Music is on the telly right now and we're all sat here
 enjoying the songs and story so far. There's a lamb roasting in
the oven and there will be more television viewing this evening.
We are warm, cosy, safe, full, relaxed and happy. A good start to
the New Year, I think!

I hope your 2016 is off to a great start, too.
Happy New Year!!