31 December 2011

Before the year is done

I have finally conquered a knitting fear.........  Four double ended pins. I have knitted a pair of toddler socks. 

I am so pleased with myself.  I used 4mm needles and double knit yarn and a very basic pattern. They may not be perfect - how do you avoid the small hole at the start of turning the heel? Will the slight ladder effect where you change pins disappear when washed? I tried grafting the toe on one sock, sure its not right, so did a 3 needle cast off on second sock and much happier with that.  Is it ok to do this?

I can't believe I have put off doing this for so long.  The amount of patterns I have discarded when I see the words double ended pins.  I now know there is nothing to fear.  I went through my needles last night and discovered so many sets (I was recently given loads) apart from the one size I need, 2.25mm for a pair of mens sized socks I want to try, so I will have to wait now till Wednesday when I can get to the shops.

I predict 2012 maybe the Year of the Socks

30 December 2011

Looking back over 2011 - a productive year

Its that time of year again - as we fast approach 2012, I have been looking back at what we have achieved, and its been lots.

Our biggest project was turning our old barn into a garden room.  This room has really come into its own.  I never thought that it would be used as much as it is.  The best money we have ever spent.  Lots of hard work to achieve the end result but well worth the time.  A big thanks again to all involved.

Next has been the garden, again a fairly productive year, though some of the vegetables could have been better.  I few changes were made due the the bad weather in the early months of the year but all in all just trying to keep it generally tidy.  Saying that I need to get out and do some of that tidying....... a job for another day me thinks.

We also revamped the kitchen and front sitting room - still awaiting the shelving in there!

And then of course when I wasn't painting or gardening I was knitting.  I just checked out my projects on Ravelry and see that I have knitted/completed 47 items and have 2 WIP's on the needles along with a sock which I am trying out.  My completed projects were:

2 x cowl
6 x scarves
10 x hats
2 x baby shoes
2 x baby dresses
7 x baby cardigans
assortment of decorations
2 x headbands
2 x toddler jumpers
1 x ladies cardigan which I frogged
2 x tea cosy
1 x door stop
4 x Ten stitch blankets
1 pair slippers
2 x egg cosy
2 x Bunny blanket buddies

my WIP's area Ten Stitch blanket and a baby cardigan.  So as you see a productive year.  For pictures of my knitted items go to my knitwear page.

We have enjoyed 2 celebrations this year.  Firstly, Rufus's 1st birthday and naming party, a first outing for the garden room - you may remember it rained.  Secondly, my father's 80th birthday party.  I am pleased to say both went well.  I hope we have many more things to celebrate in the coming year, along with my father's continuing good health.

We plan a quiet new years eve - a dinner in the garden room,  just the two of us, some sushi, seafood and champagne, bit of soft music and reflective conversation, I promise no knitting.

I hope whatever you are doing you have a great new years and see you all in 2012

29 December 2011

Leftovers nearly done..... or are they?

Soup from leg bones - I have 3 batches in the freezer from the carcase and the leftover veggies

Scotch Eggs from sausages and a couple of boiled eggs lurking in the fridge

Chicken and Mushroom Pie - awaiting baking for dinner - thats all the bird gone - thank goodness, we only had a 14lb bird for 6 of us; what do you do with it if you have a bigger one?

There is half a jar of chocolate crunchie, loads of mini Stollen, packets of spiced biscuits and goodness knows what else in the cupboard. 

The Panforte is untouched.  The fruit salad became a smoothie for my breakfast. The gammon is sitting happily in its tupperware in the fridge, at least that will keep for a bit. There is a full tub of double cream, a pack of smoked salmon. My waistband is feeling uncomfortable, though to be honest I don't feel that I've eaten that much, I think its the sitting round and eating pastry and bread, something I don't normally do.  We did get a walk yesterday and when Peter gets back from his platelet donation I guess we will get out again.

On the knitting front - another round completed on the Ten Stitch.  Yesterday I felt the need to knit something else, something quick, so I thumbed through my Simply Knitting #88 and came across the Super Snuggly Cowl.  Quick raid on the stash found some suitable aran weight yarn and hey presto.  Very simple 4 row pattern which is reversible.  I can see a few of these getting churned out for presents as I have loads of aran weight yarn.  A good afternoon/evening spent - keeps the hands busy and stops you eating 

26 December 2011

Christmas with Rufus

Opening the presents...... it took a long time

Christmas Lunch


Boxing Day assembly and no the tray isn't for sitting and climbing on
Look at the beautiful chair Uncle Stuart made for me, isn't he clever

Hope you all had a good time...... now its all the leftovers )-:

24 December 2011

When a bell rings......

an angel gets its wings......

Last night we went out for dinner and to the cinema with Rachel. Our film of choice was It's a Wonderful Life. Would you believe I have been on this earth for nearly 56 years and I have never seen this film all the way through. I was surprised at the age group of the audience, a few titters at the start due to the film techniques from 1942 but those same titters were sniffles at the end.  With a round of applause and a warm feeling we headed home, ready to start our Christmas.  Funny though, I lay in bed this morning thinking about how the choices we make in life touch the lives of others, and that if I had done something differently I could be living a completely different life.  Different husband, different kids, weird.

I have now completed my Christmas baking and my contribution towards lunch - Nigella's Chocolate & Peanut Crunchie - Red Cabbage - Cheese Straws & Twists (bit heavy on the cayenne - oops), Mince Pies - Bread Sauce - Sausage Rolls (Peter is working his way through them already) - Brandy Butter - Cranberry Sauce - and the giblets cooked up for stock for the gravy.

So all that's left to me is to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and to thank you all for stopping by to read my blog.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and that life is kind to you -
remember it really is a Wonderful LifePosted by Picasa

23 December 2011

That plate

I am pleased with the results of my plate, not bad for a first attempt. Though I do think my sheep looks a bit sad.
The baking has started.  I had half a pack of filo pastry in the fridge that needed using, so I made some Serrano ham, goats cheese and sun dried tomato parcels, not sure if they will be around long; I had one for my breakfast!  I have 2 gammon hams currently roasting in the oven, smells are starting to permeate.  I love the smells of the Christmas kitchen.  Next on the list is the mince pies, but not until the gammons are cooked, so now going to clean the bathrooms and run the hoover round.

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22 December 2011

Ribs and wires..... and then those lists

curious about the title? 

Last night I was at the kitchen sink when my husband came in and decided to give me a bear hug, not so bad I hear you say.... well the underwire from my bra poked between my ribs!!!!!  The pain was incredible, I honestly thought he had broken a rib.  I'm sure its just bruised but its very painful, enough for me to be in a sports bra today, the only one I have that is wire free, and lifting my arms up or sweeping hurts.  Its ok I did forgive him but suggested that in future he turns me round for a hug and not be so exuberant.

My Christmas lists are getting crossed off nicely -
I have done the grocery shop, I went early'ish and managed to get in and out in just over the hour, a record I believe. 
Delivered flowers to my hairdressers.
Stripped the beds and remade them
Did the laundry
Ironing next
Have dinner prepared for tonight

Tomorrow I will start the baking.  Right just need to finish my tea then get on with ironing, and maybe take a painkiller. 

Its ok darling still love you x x x

21 December 2011

WIP Wednesday

Happy Wednesday everyone - I'm feeling pleased with myself, I finished work today until 3rd January, all my presents are wrapped, cards delivered and just the food shopping to do tomorrow.  Then I get to do the fun bit, the baking.  As I previously mentioned, hubby and youngest daughter are actually cooking Christmas dinner, so apart from a couple of tasks, I will spend the day knitting until my grandson and his mummy and daddy arrive.

Anyway enough about Christmas -  knitting that's what you've come here for.  Yes, the ten stitch is still lurking around, though I am getting on with it now.  It weighs in at 1220 grams so far, with maybe 4 more rounds to go.

The little cardigan has been put aside in favour of a request, though I have done the back and one of the fronts

The request was for a short row scarf by a friend, happy to oblige, I love knitting these, they are so easy and quick.

Sorry for the photo quality the light isn't very good and with the flash on I kept getting a reflection of my head regardless of which way I stood.

I hope all you WIP Wednesday ladies have a great Christmas and that you get some lovely knitting related pressies.  For more WIP's head to Tami's

20 December 2011

Who knew it could be so much fun

Yesterday evening I joined Rachel, Stuart's Mum, Sister and Aunt for a Create a Plate evening.  I was feeling quite daunted at the thought, as whilst I enjoy crafts I can't draw for toffees. 

Our hostess for the evening was Amanda of Create-a-plate she welcomed us to her quirky home, and what a house.  I have passed it many times and had always wondered who lived there, now I know.  Her husband Wesley supplied us with glasses of mulled wine whilst Amanda told us how our evening would pan out.  We were given a sheet of paper with a plate sized circle drawn on it, we were to draw our design onto this and once happy we would trace it off onto tracing paper, then transfer this to the glaze paper. So far so good.  I had a rough idea of the theme of my plate, and had printed off a few ideas from Clip Art which I showed to Amanda, we discussed what I could do with them and away I went.  Much concentration ensued, lots of rubbing out, sighs and giggles. 

We got to a point where we had a break for dinner and a chance to look around.  Dinner was delicious, Lasagne with dressed salad followed by Plum Crumble and thick cream, yum. 

Aware of the time we headed back to our plates.  Amanda had helped us out with some neat cutting whilst we ate and we were at a point to start laying out our designs onto the plates.  A quick tidy up of all the rubbing outs and a small dish of water was provided for us to soak the glaze paper, once soaked the glaze slides off the backing paper and you are able to transfer to the plate, scary.  I chose to do a knitting sheep, which was quite large and had been chopped into sections so that the limbs would be defined by leaving gaps for the plate to show through.  Once I had the sheep on the plate, I added the sock she was knitting, then went on to decorate the edge of the plate with balls of wool, which Amanda had made cuts into so it looked like strands of wool.  Some fiddly work to get the knitting needles on.  Once everything is in place, you then have to get rid of any air bubbles which means going over the whole thing with a dry cloth - trying not to move everything.

Once done we signed the backs of the plates then cleared the decks so we could view everyones efforts.  I think we were all amazed at what we had achieved.  It was a lovely way to spend an evening, the time went so fast, we didn't leave until 11:15pm.  Our plates are being fired today and will be ready for collection tomorrow.  I'm keen to see the finished article as the true colours will really show up.

Of course I will post some photographs

17 December 2011

can you believe

that tomorrow Rufus will be 18 months old.  He is getting to be such a big boy, he chatters and copies EVERYTHING you say........  We had fun yesterday, I love to watch him play, quite happy to amuse himself.  The dexterity is also amazing, watching him put together the nuts and screws from his work bench, pile things together, working out how items work.  He also has a little temper - gets that from his Mummy - when he doesn't want to do something he sure lets you know!

He helped me make up his parents bed with fresh sheets, ever tried putting on a fitted bottom sheet with a toddler sat in the middle, he thought it was great fun, me not so.  He helped load the washing machine, though you have to watch what buttons he presses! We also had a very cold trip round the market but a few Lincolnshire Plum Bread samples helped; I can't actually get passed the stall now without him creating, so I felt obliged to actually buy a loaf yesterday!  Very good it is too.

Taking pictures of him now is getting harder as he won't keep still so you end up with lots of blurred bits, thank goodness for digital cameras is what I say.  I just click away and hope for the best.

We are so looking forward to Christmas Day with him, though I have a feeling present opening will take some time, as I took up a pre-Christmas gift from Aunty Rachel yesterday and he was more interested in the wrapping paper than the book it contained.  It was good paper though, had lots of hungry caterpillars on it, so we spent ages finding the caterpillars amongst all the other fictional characters - she got the paper in Waterstones

BTW - Can you see the beautiful stockings that Rebecca made for them all

15 December 2011

Facebook no more

That's it folks, I have deactivated my Facebook account.  I am sick of all the recent changes.  It's no longer easy to navigate round.  You find info from friends days after it was posted, which is very unhelpful.  It no longer imports my blog.  So I decided to pull the plug on it......  A bit less time on the laptop, more time knitting.

On the knitting front I am still working on the ten stitch blanket and have started another girly cardigan - its the Little Anna Wrap but with Little Margot sleeves from 634 - The Sixth Little Hand Knit book by Sublime.  I am using Kirkton House Craft Double Knitting yarn in a crushed raspberry which looks very pretty.

Little Margot

Little Anna

On the gardening front, the high winds this week have changed the face of our courtyard.  The privacy panels which a previous owner had erected on top of the walled area finally came down along with all the trellis, a climbing rose, 2 clematis, a winter flowering jasmine and a honeysuckle.  Luckily on Monday evening I decided to put the car away otherwise this lot would have come down on top of it!!  We woke a lovely mess on Tuesday morning.  Peter managed to clear enough to get the car out of the car port and then I spent the afternoon with the cutters and chipper clearing up my devastated plants.  There will be plenty of wood for kindling, but thats a job for another day, at the moment its all just piled up awaiting someones attention. Its all looking fairly bare and open but at least now we can decide what to do with all the extra space.  A wood store maybe.  A chance to sort out next doors guttering which appears to just run down the wall.  There always something to do isn't there?

My Christmas shopping is done, just waiting on delivery of one gift.  I started to do some wrapping yesterday, so I'm feeling pretty pleased.

I have a day off today, so I plan to do a few jobs around the house. Try and find the key to the barn, I had it yesterday.... then I am taking a friend to the last meeting of the year of the Medway Craft Group.  Looking forward to a good natter and knit

12 December 2011

Deck the halls

This year we have got two trees to dress.  One for the garden room and the other for the house.  We went with a real tree for the garden room - its been a while since we bought a real tree and the prices were quite shocking!!  Anyway, we spent all afternoon on Saturday putting up garlands, wiring pine cones and making wreaths.  The tree was dressed Sunday morning, supervised by my young nephew Charlie; he and his mum kindly came to the rescue with a part for our central heating system.  Not nice waking to a cold house on Sunday morning.  Thanks guys.

Not sure if the garden room needs more decoration, but I guess once I get some foliage from the garden it will look a bit more festive.
Mince pies, the first batch of the season, and this afternoon the tree for the house.

Most of my present shopping is done, cards written and posted.  The village cards still to deliver, wrapping to do.  Visiting arranged, so I guess I'm on track.  How are you doing? Posted by Picasa

7 December 2011

Outfit for Amelie

This is the little outfit I knitted for Miss Amelie, its been received, so now I can share it with you all. I am really pleased with how this set turned out.  I teamed it with a cream top and tights. I will look forward to seeing her wear it when she's a bit bigger.

vicarious stash enhancement

Readers I have been very good and not added anything to my stash since October.  Every day I'm at work I pop into the local charity shop to see what's about. They have had yarn from time to time but I have resisted.

A colleague has recently taught herself to crochet and was complaining at the price of yarn, so I pointed her in the direction of the charity shop.  Last week she purchased a few bags, so I promised to let her know if they had any more.  Imagine my surprise when out on the 'bank run' this morning I spied what can only be described as a hoard of yarn in the charity shop (its next to the bank, honest).  Not having my purse with me I couldn't buy anything but hot footed back the the showroom to let her know.  As I was leaving off at lunchtime she said she would come with me for a look in the hopes that it was still there. It was, we went through it all and she came away with four bags full for £10, all 4ply, but in quantities to crochet several shawls and or more granny squares.  Her parting shot to me was that all this yarn made her feel anxious, I just said "this is what's called starting a stash, you'll get over it"....

It was a great feeling to see her buy the yarn, which I clearly could have bought, but really didn't need.  I will be a ripe old age before I knit all mine and that's without adding to it, which I clearly will do...... January sales are just around the corner.

On the WIP front I'm still working on the ten stitch blanket, though I feel another project needs to be started very soon.  I have several patterns put aside, just need to sort through the stash for suitable yarn.....  perhaps after I have written my Christmas cards, as that is the job planned for this evening

6 December 2011

Christmas baking

 I started on my christmas baking today.  First on the list was Panforte or as the girls call it, adult cake.  The first time I made this was when they were much younger and they weren't keen on it at all.  I love the flavours of spices, fruit, nuts and chocolate, just a small slice with a cup of coffee.  This is a photo from the net as mine is still cooling, and I can't be bothered to get the camera out and fiddle about.

We will have one of the christmas puddings I made last year, all the better for a years' maturing.  I don't make a christmas cake as I'm the only one that really eats it and I don't need the extra calories.  I buy mini stollen, which we all love. So apart from mince pies which I make on christmas eve, thats about it for now.  Peter and Rachel are cooking christmas dinner again this year so I get off lightly.

The shopping is going well, just a bit more to do, cards to write and then the wrapping - which is the bit I enjoy.  I am using up the last of this years' holiday so only 3 day weeks for me now til we close for the holidays, yay........

5 December 2011

A cardigan for Faith

Little Ruby Cardigan from the Sublime 634 book knitted in Copley's Double Knit

I have a lovely set on my needles at the moment, more Sublime patterns. I will post pictures once I know they have been received, so check back around the weekend. 

How do they do it

Yesterday we did our quarterly visit to Ikea/Costco/Green Lanes. 

Ikea is where we have breakfast, bacon rolls and coffee, before strolling round.  We always seem to end up going against the flow of people, not sure how, guess we just don't read the signs. Bought ourselves a new duvet set, and various other bits and bobs

After Ikea we popped into Mothercare, then on to Costco.  Managed to resist the multi packs of danish pastries,  but came out with a trolley load of goodies, though nothing really unhealthy.

Then onto Green Lanes for a late lunch - this is where we ask the question every time, "how do they get the meat so tender". We always have a meal at a Turkish restuarant called Gokyuzu, same meal and drink each visit.  We daren't choose anything else off the menu for fear of disappointment, so it's a large Lamb Kebab, a can of Fanta followed by Turkish tea.  The lamb is amazing, always so tender, hardly requires any chewing!! The kebab comes with a large mixed salad, cacik, pittas and rice, and usually a grilled long green pepper which on occasion has been known to blow your head off.  Its such a reasonable meal - £24.00 for the 2 of us.  There are loads on restuarants along Green Lanes but we just can't bring ourselves to change.

So that was our Sunday - some christmas shopping was also achieved so we are getting there. 

3 December 2011

He only has eyes for Pops

Modelling the Teddy Hooded Top I knitted him

Poor Audrey gets a foot in the ear!  And there was her being nice to him. 

From the minute Pops got home from work on Friday, I haven't had a look in, to the point that Pops had to change a nappy this morning as Granny wasn't wanted!!

Mill Road Winter Fair - 2011

Rufus and the Morris Men
Rufus was absolutely fascinated by all the music and dancers at the Winter Fair, even to the point of trying to join in.

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