Friday, 27 January 2017

Foggy and Frosty

I am joining in with Amy's  Five on Friday link up today and my five are photos
from our walk in Graves Park near the girls' school this morning. I try to go for a
brisk walk on weekday mornings, for about half an hour, usually in this park or
in the woods near our house. It started off as a way to get more exercise but it's now
an important and enjoyable part of my day. I look forward to it every morning.
It's the fresh air and being outdoors, it's also a calming time, a space for me to think
or just clear my head and I feel happier and better for it. This week I've been out
there every morning, in the weak winter sunshine, in the drizzle and rain,
and today, with my husband, in the fog and freezing temperature.

It was a good, bracing walk, a really great pick-me-up on such a very cold and
grey day. It took us through the woods, up the path to the playground and down
along the frozen pond. I always find fog a bit eerie but there's also a stillness
and peacefulness to the gloom that I've come to like and appreciate, thanks to
wintry morning walks like this one today. We went home cold and a bit tired
but glad we made the effort. The rest of our day had been pleasant, restful
and warm and I'm hoping for more of the same this weekend.

So that's my five this Friday. I hope you're all keeping cosy this evening.
If it's nice and sunny where you are, enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Winter Stitching

Hello, how are you? I hope you're well and enjoying a bit of winter sunshine today.
It is sunny here this morning and it's actually not that cold which is a nice change
from the frosty and icy weather we've had this week. Anyway, today I'd like to
share with you my cross stitch project. I am making a spring-themed sampler
with motifs drawn from three different cross stitch books, most  of them from
Jo Verso's Cross Stitch Year.

This is a bit of a stitching adventure for me, actually. I've put together these
motifs to create my own little design which is new for me and I am also using linen
for the first time. I'm not sure how this will turn out, it might be a disaster,
but I am really enjoying myself and I am getting more and more used to working
on linen, so it's all good, so far.

The whole inspiration for this is Jo Verso's wonderful book, a Christmas present
from my parents in law. It's full of fun motifs and it encourages you to pick
your favourites and make your own design.  It's been a long awhile since I've done
any stitching or embroidery - I crochet a lot more these days especially in the
colder months - and this has been an inspiring way to get back to it and challenge
myself a bit too.

It is happily bringing back the simple joys of working with fabric, needle
and thread. Even in the gloomy daylight of January, I always still have a pleasant time
when I can sit down and do a bit of my cross stitch, especially when my radio
programmes are on and there's cake and a cup of tea next to me.

Hopefully all the motifs and colours I've chosen will come together nicely and
it will be finished and ready when Spring time comes around.

It's still sunny and bright at the moment so I'd better make the most of it and work
on this while I have the time. Thanks for stopping by here and for your comments
on my previous posts. Take care and have a warm, happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Weekend Things

These are some of my favourite moments from last weekend. We didn't do anything
exciting or unusual, just the usual weekend things - chores, errands, homework. A walk
on Saturday afternoon and church on Sunday morning. I got a lot of things done but
I also had time to read my book, enjoy a cup of tea, listen to the radio. It was really nice.

There's a dramatization of the second of the Neopolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
on Radio 4 and I listened to the first episode on Sunday. I've recently discovered
radio plays and I now find myself tuning in more and more often to Radio 4 instead of
Radio 2 especially now there's also the new Little Women serial on weekday mornings.
Sorry, Ken Bruce.

I'm cross stitching on linen for the first time. It is slow going; I'm still getting
used to working every stitch over two threads. Sometimes I miss the clear blocks
of aida fabric but I like how the stitches look so far and it is starting to get easier.
I'll keep going and show you more of it next time.

I hope you've all had a good start to the week.  Thank you for all your comments
on my crocheted buggy blanket. I'm glad you like it. I wasn't too sure about the
colours when I first started the project. I did a lot of toing and froing over stripes
and colour combinations but in the end just picked out the ones I liked from the
whole range. They seem to work together - phew! And thank you Christina
for the pom pom idea. I'll try it next time!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Crocheted Buggy Blanket

This is the baby blanket I was working on over the holidays. I didn't manage to
finish it before Christmas as I was hoping to but I think I knew that when I started.
There were just so many things going on in the run up to Christmas and crochet time
was a bit limited. It's now going to be a very, very late Christmas present for our
friends' baby boy. Still, better late than never.

The blanket measures about 22in x 24inches, just the right size I hope for when
he's in his car seat or buggy. It's worked in suzette stitch which is currently my
favourite crochet stitch and all the yarn I used is Drops Muskat (DK). I was going
to finish it off with pom poms on all the corners but it turned out that mercerized
cotton yarn is not great for creating lovely, fluffy pom poms. I had to give up after
a few tries. So it's just a simple, no frills sort of blanket but fingers crossed it feels
nice and cosy and it will help keep baby warm especially this winter.

Speaking of which, I hope you haven't been badly affected by the snow and wintry
weather we're currently having. Stay safe, warm and cosy. Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

City Break

We had three fantastic days in London just after Christmas. It was the girls' first ever
trip to the big city so we were very excited. We packed in so much in our three days.
We did a lot of sightseeing, revisited favourite places and old haunts from when
we lived and worked there, and met up with family and old friends we haven't
seen for years.

One of our first stops was Covent Garden and the the church in Maiden Lane
 where we got married seven years ago. It was really lovely to be able to take
the girls there. We went in and had a look around. It's only a short walk away
from the noise and crowd in the main market but it's always quiet and peaceful
inside. I'm really glad we took them there.

The Cutty Sark on a foggy morning

We went to a few art galleries with them but we kept those gallery visits short and sweet
and that was perfect for everyone. Lulu said that was her most favourite of the whole
trip, seeing all those paintings. Maybe there's a bit of a culture vulture in her,
who knows, but that was very pleasing to hear.

Sunset at the Mall

We stayed in Greenwich and it was very convenient and easy to explore
the city from there. The girls loved the Tube and were very amazed with the DLR
(a driver-less train?!?). On our second morning we were going to go on the River
Bus wanting to get to Westminster and Big Ben but heavy fog scuppered our plans.

We had our boat ride the next morning. It was very frosty but bright and clear and
we had a wonderful view of the city's landmarks as the boat sailed up the Thames.
I'd suggest this to anyone visiting London. You can board from any stops along
the river and you can use your Oyster card to pay. It's also a comfortable ride and
an exciting way to see the city. Highly recommended.

For all our sightseeing and socialising we managed to squeeze in a bit of shopping
as well. We took the girls to Hamley's to spend their pocket money. I was shocked at
how overpriced so many of the toys were; it was just ridiculous. Luckily we managed
to steer the girls from much of those items and they made very sensible purchases -
Lego Friends, a jewellery box kit, a small Trolls doll and a board game. I don't think
there will be a repeat visit there. Anyway, my husband went to his favourite Italian deli
in Soho and stocked up on anchovies, etc. - those are his sort of treats. Mine was
Liberty's. I only had a little time and spent it looking around the haberdashery floor.
Oh, those beautiful fabrics! I was quite content to just browse, but I did buy
a few small things for myself.

We've really enjoyed our little city break over the Holidays. We loved being tourists
with the girls. They were interested and curious and were very good with walking and
getting out and about. We were also lucky with the weather ( it was cold but dry
the whole time) and the dreaded city parking and motorway traffic were not too bad.
I really hope we can do this again this year. Over Christmas again, hopefully. That
would be very, very nice. 

Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year

Hello again and a very happy New Year to you! We started off the new year yesterday
with a calm, quiet day at home. We had plans to go for a walk in Derbyshire but the rain
put paid to all that so apart from church and a quick stop at a local grocery store, it was
a home day for us. It was a good day to stay in. My husband made a delicious tomato
and bread soup for lunch. I sewed in all the ends of the little blanket I've been working
on over Christmas. We talked about possible holidays, looked things up online, prices,
dates, etc. Hopes, plans and dreams for the year ahead, exciting things to look
forward to.

Today was bright and crisp and we headed out to Derbyshire for the walk we
didn't have yesterday. As ever, it was beautiful. I think this was the most challenging
walk/hike we've ever had with the girls. It was icy underfoot with boggy patches here
and there and some tricky paths but we managed to cover a good distance and enjoyed
some wonderful views. We were all tired this afternoon but it was a great morning
to be outdoors and we really enjoyed it.

So that's how we've ended the holidays and started the new year - with a day at home
and then a bracing walk in the winter sunshine. I will not let the awful events of 2016
stifle my hopes and my outlook for the future. There's a bright year ahead and I am
ready to get going.