Sunday, 27 September 2015

This is Me

Sunday mornings are as you will already know if you know me at all my all time favourite part of the week.  I love the peace and quiet and the promise of a lovely homely day doing exactly what I want to do and not having to be any place but home.
Here I sit in my comfy bed, hubby having gone to work (poor thing) thinking about nothing in particular other than what I want to do next.  I am already on my second cup of freshly ground coffee.  This is a true luxury and one we allow ourselves everyday.  We have a little coffee grinder, a caffitiere and thats it.  No instant coffee allowed.
As I was contemplating I happened to glance over to the untidy pile of stuff on the bed and like a lightening bolt I realised that what lay there was a snap shot of me.

There was the brand new bedding I intend to put on as soon as I prize myself out of the existing covers.

I bought this set from Morrisons one day when I was shopping.  It was totally on a whim and as soon as I got it home I realised that although it was me to a tee; patchwork, flowers and spots - it was never going to look right in our bedroom which is cream and beige with french look furniture.  However I couldn't bring myself to take it back and so today is the day that it will go on our bed regardless of the clash of trends and colours.

A crochet book I have just found on the bookshelf that I had forgotten I had.  I do this alot.  I buy a book that I just can't live without.  Bring it home and then instantly forget that I ever bought it.  I have on occasion re-bought the book which is utter madness.
This is such a cool book.  I love crochet although knitting will always be my first love.  Mum bought me a piece of Angeline last week.  Apparently it draws the angels to you and keeps you safe.  I like that idea and in this book there is a pretty pendant to make where you crochet round a stone which I think will be a perfect way of using my present.  I will let you see the finished creation soon.

A Matalan magizine posted through the door.
I am not a follower of fashion but I love looking through magizines and leaflets and often find something that I just can't live without.  I don't often go in Matalan although there is a massive store in Worksop (where my shop is) and occasionally I pop in.  I currently have four pairs of ballet shoes from there which were as cheap as chips and look lovely with pretty dresses and skirts.  I have a painful middle toe and can no longer where my killer heels so they are perfect for me.
My favourite healthy eating book.
Gosh I love this book.  My friend actually bought it and brought it in the shop.  I liked it so much I bought it off her and she had to go and get another one.  It is written in such a way that you can't help but want to eat better.  I have gained so much from the information and the recipes are excellent.  I have made several and they are all delicious.  There are not many health books that I have read cover to cover and although I am still only half way through this will be read in its entirety I can guarantee.
Paula's note book just waiting to be opened and written in.
This is where I put all my insights, dreams and feelings with a hope that one day I will hit on the next big thing or eventually find the holy grail. I made this some time ago and have since done something similar for a friend of mine who loved elephants and was starting a new job where she has to write down lots of information etc.
The elephants were in the form of the fabric I used and she loved it.
My glasses which are so much part of me I forget sometimes that I am wearing them and try to put my others over the top of them.  Very silly I know.
My laptop.  I am nothing without my laptop.  I love the internet especially Pinterest where I can lose myself for hours. This was a present from hubby for my 50th birthday and as I am a few years older now I suspect I will soon need a new one.
And finally the book I am just about to start reading.
This was another find this morning.  I absolutely adore self improvement books.  My brother once commented that they obviously don't work.  He was looking at me at the time which I thought was very rude and something I have secretly never forgiven him for saying!
I read my first self help book over twenty years ago.  It was How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie and it changed my life.  I wouldn't say I follow everything in these types of book but there is always something to take away and think about and if just one thing helps to improve your life I think that is just fine.  Hubby says that I always seem to be searching for something but it's not quite like that.  I am not an unhappy person but I have a feeling that there is something more to this life and as yet I haven't found it.  Maybe one day I will but today I certainly found a little bit of what makes me tick right there in a pile of stuff.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Harmony Crocheted Blanket - Work in Progress

Hello and welcome.  It is so long since I checked in I am hoping that I can remember how to do this.
It's been such a busy summer even though as you can imagine the shop has been a little quieter than usual.

 Unfortunately crafters are often gardeners and caravaners which means that my customers seem to disappear off the face of the earth for the six week summer holidays.  However they have thankfully returned with added enthusiasm and are now stocking up on my lovely yarns and fabrics.
I never thought I could be so happy and totally get why you are told to find something you love to do and then find a way to get paid for doing it.  That's what I have done and will never regret leaving the drudgedy of a mind numbing insurance job to pursue my dream of owning a wool shop.  Eighteen months after the shop opened here I am sat at my own table surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of balls of wool.  I love it.
Anyway now I can show you my latest project.
I have long been a fan of Attic 24 the blog where Lucy tells us all about her crochet and love of colour.  I  started her new Harmony Blanket design about three weeks ago just before I went off on my holidays to Winston near Durham in North Yorkshire.  The holiday was wonderful by the way and I will let you have a peak of my photos at a later date. 
I am very envious of Lucy's ability to choose amazing colour schemes that you would never think of and which really work.  I wouldn't normally dream of putting a vile shade of lime with a beautiful subtle shade of sage but she does and they just zing. 
Obviously that is why her blankets are coveted by just about everyone I suppose.  Note to self - I must try harder to think outside the box!
I stock Stylecraft Special Double Knit in the shop and on the website so that made things a lot easier to get started. I then just copied down the basics of the pattern and off I went.  I did mistakenly start with the wrong hook size but after measuring one of the finished squares it made so little difference that I carried on with a 3.5mm instead of a 4.00mm.

I still have a long way to go as I only have eighteen fully completed squares, the rest are at different stages depending on which one I feel like adding a round to at the time.  I can't stand making one complete square at a time and opt to take one set of nine and add on round and then move to a different set and do a different row on that lot.  It means I am forever referring to the colour chart but it just feels less monotonous.  When the 126 squares are all complete I will then start joining them using crochet.  The final stage is a lovely simple border.  The blanket looks amazing when it is done and on the Attic 24 website there are lots of instructions and tutorials so there is no excuse to get it wrong.  A bit of advice at this stage - I strongly recommend sewing in the loose ends as you complete each round.  There are 12 ends on every square x by 126 squares = 1512 + the border ones!
My friend Sonya is doing the blanket too but she prefers to complete her squares and has changed a few of the colours in an attempt to bust her stash.  I haven't seen her lately but will be interested to see how she is getting on.
Hopefully I will get this beauty finished soon and will be able to show you the end result.  I can't wait.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Bavarian Crochet

My very good friend Sonya came to see me at the shop, bright and early yesterday morning.
Now if you knew Sonya you would know that with every visit she brings with her a brand new crafty project.  Up until recently this was always knitting but just lately she has got the crochet bug and when I say got the bug I mean this is viral!
This is my attempt at Sophie's Garden/Universe

She would be the first to admit that she can't crochet although she is currently happily and easily crocheting along with the Sophie's Garden CAL and the brand new only launched on the 7th April Lily Pond CAL (Crochet A Long - for those not in the know).
She really knows how to push my buttons and always challenges me to have a go.  I have been crocheting since I was about nine and even I struggle with the things she brings to tempt me with.  Unfortunately she knows me better than I know myself and takes great pleasure in persuading me to try yet another form of crochet when to be honest I would happily go to and frow doing granny stripes for the rest of my life left to my own devices.
Needless to say yesterday she asked "Have you ever done Bavarian Crochet?" "No" I replied innocently.  She then thrust a brand new book in to my hands and said "Happy Easter".
I must say I was pretty pleased even if a little apprehensive but after she left I had a go, as she no doubt knew I would, and produced this quite lovely square.
Bavarian Crochet

I wouldn't say that this is my favourite type of crochet however the results are stunning and once I got the hang of it it did become quite easy.  There are a lot of double trebles involved (Double Doubles for our US guests) but in its favour it certainly uses up the spare wool stash very quickly in deed.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Newark in the evening

Hasn't the weather been glorious this week? Such a change from the horrible freezing cold we have been subjected to recently.
After work last night hubby suggested a quick run into Newark for a walk along the river.  Needless to say I jumped at the chance to stretch my legs.

As you can see the sky was lovely and clear and believe it or not I wasn't even wearing a jacket, it was so mild.
There were some canoes on the river.  I think there was a lesson going on.
How the other half live!

As a treat we decided to stay and have a meal at Pizza Express.  Wow we were a bit stunned at how expensive that little impulse turned out to be, however it was delicious and the odd indulgence can't hurt once in a while can it? It was lovely and we felt as though we were on holiday. Back to work today though and looking forward to our next excursion.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Rose Flavoured Cupcakes

I don't get that much time off nowadays but when I do I still love to bake.
Like many people I have been watching the Red Nose bake off over the last couple of weeks and as a result I decided to make a few little buns.  Not red nose ones but even so I really enjoyed making them.
I always use the same recipe given to me by my good friend Lucy Murray.  We worked together for about six years before I quit to run my own wool and haberdashery shop.

The ingredients I used are as follows:

6oz Margarine or butter
6oz caster sugar
3 eggs
7 oz self raising flour

Cream the margarine and sugar together. Beat in the eggs and fold in the flour.  That's it.

I added 1 teaspoon of rose water to the mixture to give them a lovely unusual flavour.

I got a bit carried away with the decorations.I made a butter cream icing using 8 oz of icing sugar and 3 oz of margarine.  I didn't use as much margarine as usual because I didn't want the icing to be too sickly.
I also added half a teaspoon of rose water to carry through the Turkish delight flavour.

The flowers were made using fondant icing and flower and blossom cutters.

The cupcakes tasted gorgeous with just a hint of the rose flavour coming through.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Happy 2015

After promising to blog more I seem to have actually blogged less which is very annoying as blogging means so much to me and did at one time seem to take over any spare moments I had.
As ever life gets in the way.  I am however determined to get back in touch with this wonderful pass time as I do love it so.
After a short walk along the Chesterfield canal and the brief taking of a few photos I resolved to start again and try to be a frequent visitor.
I have missed looking with the eye of a blogger at the scenery around me.  I have rarely bothered even to remember my camera lately which is not like me.  In my defence I haven't actually managed to get out much what with the shop and all.  However that should change as my very good friend Catherine has volunteered to work the odd Saturday for me so maybe I will be able to go further afield in the future months.
The newly renovated house at Top Lock
New Years Day was a bit murky but we were just happy to get out in the fresh air having been cooped up for far too long.  We had my 91 year old Mum over for Christmas.  Unfortunately she fell backwards off the last step on the stairs on Christmas Eve damaging her knee ligaments.  We spent boxing day in A & E as the pain got gradually worse.  She then had a TIA (slight stroke) a day later but being a tough cookie she is recovering much better than we could have hoped for and has remained at her home rather than go to hospital.
This has been the house of my dreams for a long time and has recently been rented out. No amount of arm twisting could persuade hubby that we should take it! Obviously there is something better around the corner.  I can but hope.
As you can imagine it has been quite a traumatic time for all of us and therefore we are welcoming in the new year with a little trepidation.  However onwards and upwards as they say.
Happy New Year x

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Our Visit to Newark

I have always enjoyed Sundays apart from when I was a teenager that is.  Then Sundays were the day I had a major lie in coming downstairs just in time for a massive Sunday dinner followed by endless hours of nothingness.  Oh how I wish I had realised then how precious weekends were.
I only get Sundays off now and I guard them with my life.  As an added bonus I get the house to myself every other Sunday since my son has a new girlfriend and prefers to spend weekends with her and not me!
I always get permission from my hubby (not that it would make any difference) to take it easy and do absolutely nothing on my Sundays off but that is easier said than stuck to.  I have already done 2 loads of washing and the washing up left from last night so I have been quite busy actually.
As far as food is concerned I have just eaten a gorgeous plateful of easy prepare snackiness and have a coffee laced with Hazlenut syrup standing by so the day is looking good.

After blogging I intend learning how to use Netflix which is a new addition to our family, introduced by my son and not us you understand.
We do manage to get out and about occasionally when Steve gets a Sunday off work and last week we went to Newark.

What a surprise that was.  Although it isn't that far away for us we have never visited apart from when we went to the theatre there.  The problem was that we entered Newark from another road and I was under the illusion that it consisted of a couple of merky shops and a theatre and that was it.  No No No I tell you.

We entered the town this time and immediately found a Waitrose supermarket.  Now that in itself is quite amazing as neither Doncaster, Retford or Worksop have one of those so I was immediately impressed.
Further down the road we discovered the most amazing castle.

Now from the road this does look very imposing and beautiful.  We later found out that the castle had been dismantled/demolished by invaders at some time or another and as a result there isn't a lot to see from the other side, however this was still impressive.

Before reaching the castle we walked through a very pretty park and came to the river running between both.  There was a lovely big lock which was manned by the lock keeper and as the weather was so lovely we were able to watch several boats passing through.

We stopped at a little river side cafe for a light snack before discovering the town.  There were all the usual shops but also some wonderful little boutiques and gift type ones too.  There were also three vintage shops, unfortunately only one was open.  I must point out that Sunday is not the best day to visit should you wish to enjoy the full Newark shopping experience.
Back to the river to listen to a lovely chap singing his heart out by the floating barge bar and a good walk before returning to the car with our batteries fully charged.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and would recommend you all to go and have a look for yourself. We will definately be going back soon.