Sunday, 31 July 2011

Hardwick Hall

Hello and welcome.  Thank you for dropping by.
Today has been smashing.  We got up quite early and then popped off to the Yorkshire Outlet to buy a Strimmer for the garden.
It's quite unusual to get my husband out shopping but once I've managed it and he's in the right mood, it can be a very enjoyable experience.  Today was no exception and we ended up buying him quite a few t-shirts ready for our forthcoming holiday.  I also bought a rather becoming flowery dress and a pair of pink sudo Converse sneakers.  I love the real thing but these were £4.45 from Trespass and I couldn't resist them.
When we had finished we came home briefly to have lunch and then went to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.  The weather was glorious and the place lent itself to some lovely photographs.

We're back home now and Steve has gone out for a bike ride to work off the scrumcious ice cream that we just had to sample on the way out.  I had the Mandarin and Ginger and Steve had the Blueberry.

Oh changing the subject but still on the subject of scrumcious things Heather now has her own blog called Miss Cakeaholic.  Go and have a look at her homemade cupcakes, they are gorgeous.

Well I'm off to finish painting my toenails.  Bye for now, Paula x

Friday, 29 July 2011

That Friday Feeling

Ah Friday evening.  Don't you just love that feeling when you walk out of work and know that that's it until Monday.  Wonderful. 
Steve's watching cricket and as I have had to listen the my male work colleagues drowning on about it all week I thought I would take this opportunity to pop upstairs with a cold glass of fizzy wine and have a nice long chat to you all.
You will remember me telling you about our recent return to the Chesterfield canal and these lilies were growing on the canal that day.  Don't they look lovely?  I assume they are some kind of wild variety but I don't know for sure, I just thought how natural they looked and how pretty.
I am always taken by surprise at how many different things there are to see in an area which is man made to some extent.  Nature always seems to find a way of thriving in the most unlikely surroundings.  The greenery just softens the hard lines in such a wonderful way.
I noticed today on my drive to Retford how golden the fields are looking with the ripening corn and wheat.  No doubt it will all be gathered shortly and then the landscape will take on a whole new look.

I can't wait for the blackberries to be ready to pick.  We missed them last year, don't ask me how.  Their season just seemed to pass us by so I am determined not to do the same again.  I love making pies and jam and anything else I can think of.  I wouldn't mind having a try at making wine from scratch too.  I remember my Mum making blackberry wine one year.  It was delicious.
OK well the cricket will soon be over and I have reserved my seat for Gardeners World so I had better be getting on.
Have a smashing weekend.  Best wishes Paula x

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Back to the Chesterfield Canal

Hi and welcome.
Before I show you where we have been today I would like preview the finished stitched birthday card I talked about on Friday.
I hope you like it as I loved making it and will be making a lot more in the near future.  My friend was watching me sewing it on Saturday and suggested putting a few on my stall.  I think it might be a good idea.  I'll let you know if they are a success.
Well on with today's visit to the Chesterfield Canal.  Steve and I are trying to lose a few pounds ready for our holiday which coincides with my 50th Birthday and so we decided to have a walk along the canal just to loosen up a little.
We started out at Drakeholes. This is Florence the narrow boat.  This is also the place where I visited the Maid of Fibre narrow boat that Rojer told me about.  I was able to buy a few different wools that I couldn't
have bought elsewhere, so thank you Rojer for pointing me in their direction.  Unfortunately they are now on their way to Liverpool so when they will be back down this way I don't know.
We walked for roughly two miles to bridge 68 passing under bridge 72 which is called The Old Man Bridge.  The bridge has a carving of a bearded mans face on its parapet.
I'm sorry to say that he is looking the worse for wear. I've heard of mud in your eye but that's ridiculous.
We walked as far as Clayworth and stood on Otters Bridge taking in the scenery.

and sat and had a drink of water and a banana here.
On the way back we saw lots of nature including some wonderful butterflies.

There was another boat doing quite a tricky manoeuvre through the bridge with a non too happy fisherman sat on the bank.
So there you have it.  A four mile hike through beautiful countryside in glorious weather.  That's what life is all about.
Bye for now, Paula x

Friday, 22 July 2011

Stitching Cards

Good evening and thanks for dropping by.
A few days ago I popped in to the local craft shop and saw a lady there stitching a butterfly using stitch form design stickers.

What happens is that the sticker peels off and is placed on a piece of coloured card.  Each picture has punched holes in it and by stitching in to each whole an embroidered picture unfolds.
It is very difficult to explain so I think the best way is to make the card and show it to you when it's finished. I'm looking forward to getting started.  I can't make up my mind which one to do first.  I think I will do the dress and hat set with pink underneath.  If it turns out I will send it to Steve's Nanna for her birthday next week.
Oh and finally can you see how much my log cabin blanket has grown.  Here it is but it's not quite finished yet.  I will use up the apple green wool and see if it needs to be any bigger. (The picture is not great I'm afraid.
Well that's all folks.  It will soon be bedtime and in no time at all I'll be selling my wares on the market stall.  These Saturdays come round so quickly.
Bye for now. Paula x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

I Love Knitting (and Sewing)

Hello, Hello
I went back to work after my two day sick leave.  I could get used to staying at home - ah well I can dream, can't I?  I didn't like the poorly bit but the lazing around I could certainly make an art form of.
There was one consolation though.  I had a parcel waiting for me when I arrived this morning.  A lovely, silly sweat shirt.  I just love it even if it is rather corny.  It will be making its first public appearance on Saturday providing the weather is cool which as ever, it is likely to be. I'm sure my customers will appreciate it.
Everything today is black and red.
Here is a hand sewn flower brooch which I have made for a lady in my local Barclays bank.  She saw my friends brooch which I had made quite a long time ago as a birthday present and she asked if I could make one for her.  I like making these as they are fairly simple and as they are hand stitched make a nice portable project for me to carry and one I can work on in my lunch hour.
I have about half a dozen of these on my stall together with a few mouse bookmarks and knitted mobile phone covers.
Well I have bought a couple of magizines this evening and have promised myself an early night so I will bid you all a very good night.  Bye Paula x

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Garden Bouquet

Hi and welcome
I have been a bit poorly these last couple of days.  Unfortunately I have nasty headaches which can last anything up to a week.  My doctor informs me that they are due to my age which is extremely reassuring - NOT.  Anyhow I have been stuck indoors and have been feeling more than a tad sorry for myself.
Today I've felt more like my old self even if I do look rather washed out or wangy as my family would say. 

Flowers from my garden

So as a way of cheering myself up and because I had just watched a lovely episode of the Waltons and wanted to enjoy the simple things in life I picked myself a gorgeous bunch of garden flowers.  They look better than any shop bought bouquet and didn't cost a penny.  I expect I will be sharing my home with a few creepy crawlies for a day or two but that's OK.
Bye for now, Paula x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Miss Cakeaholic

Hello and welcome.
I can hear the gasps from here.  These little fancies taste every bit as good as they look.
My sons partner Heather (or my daughter-in-law as I like to call her) will shortly be launching her cupcake company, Miss Cakeaholic, and she very kindly provided a few samples for us to try.  These are the Coke and Amaretto ones which feature a little almond biscuit perched delicately on top.
The others which unfortunately did not last long enough to be photographed were Mint Choc Chip.  The pale green icing was jam packed with chocolate and were delicious. 
She has a blog which is in its early stages and an extremely clever logo which has been designed by Joe my son.
Well done Heather and Good Luck, not that you're going to need it.
Regards Paula x

Sunday, 17 July 2011

No Sew Log Cabin Blanket


I have just started a knitted blanket and thought that you might like the pattern.  It is very simple and is a way of using up all your odds and ends of spare wool.  I am using a 4mm size 8 knitting needle with double knit wool.

Cast on 20 stitches, knit 38 rows to make the central square.  Cast off leaving the last stitch on the right hand needle.  Pick up 19 stitches evenly along the left side of the square - 20 stitches in total.
When picking up put pick up needle through the 'bumps' instead of the 'loops' as this will give a tighter seam.
Knit 19 rows.  This creates the first 'log' of the log cabin.  At the end of the first row there may be a loop.  If so, knit in with the last stitch.
Cast off as before, leaving the last stitch on the right hand needle.  Pick up down the left side - 9 stitches from the side of the last knitted block and 20 stitches from the cast on edge of the original square.  30 stitches.
Continue in this manner.  The next 2 logs will have 40 stitches, the following 2 logs 60 stitches etc.
When 4 logs are completed on each side (100 stitches) cast off.  Carefully sew in any ends. 
Obviously if you want a bigger blanket just keep going.

N.B. Always cast off with the same side facing up and pick up down the left side of the work.

Happy knitting.  Paula x

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The Cross Stitch Bug

Hello. I love blogging and especially so when I get to meet (on line) people who share my particular interests.  This has happened recently when I was fortunate enough to gain a follower called Margaret.  I decided to visit her blog and was blown away by the sheer beauty of it's design and pictures.  Her passion is cross stitch and she seems to produce master piece after master piece at alarming speed.  Please click here to see for yourself.
As a result of my visit I decided to hunt for my very old CD of Jane Greenoffs Cross Stitch Designer.  I found it in the garage and having discovered it for the first time in about ten years I now look forward to installing it.  I used to have it on my old computer but didn't actually get round to doing anything with it so hopefully this time round I will be a bit more productive.
I really enjoy stitching and find cross stitch very relaxing.  I would love to get as good as Margaret so I better get practicing.
Thank you for visiting my blog.  Good night, Paula x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

My Garden

As you already know, my garden has suffered from neglect this year much to my regret.  I do enjoy gardening but have never been really devoted as many of my friends seem to be.  I would much rather pour myself a glass of wine and break open a new ball of wool.  Each to their own I suppose.
Well the main problem recently has been the distinct lack of a lawn mower.  Ours decided that it needed a little bit more attention than we were giving it and started to kick up a fuss.  We ignored its tantrums but they became out of hand and eventually I gave in and took it to be mended.  Unfortunately I was unsure where exactly the lawn mower repair company was and once in the vicinity decided to ask the friendly mechanic at the motor bike repair company if I was in the right place.  I was told I was but that the repairers had gone out of business.  That could have been quite a dilemma, however Mr Mechanic came to the rescue and offered to have a look at my lawn mower himself.  I was a bit unsure but thought it couldn't do any harm.  I supposed that all engines must look alike so he was welcome to have a go.  Anyway to cut a long story short, I picked up my lovely machine today all spic and span, brought it home and hey presto:-

and after

My little lawnmower ran like a dream and cut through all that long grass like butter.  All I need now is a new strimmer.  I know I'm never satisfied! Bye for now Paula x

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

And now for something completely different.

Good evening folks,
I am knitting like crazy at the moment trying to get together a few samples to display on my stall.  I have two or three yarns which don't exactly show them selves off particularly well when they are just sat in a basket and unless I actually show my public what they look like when knitted up, I fear that they will remain in their basket for a very long time.
Here is an example - I think this looks amazing as it is but when I first saw it I didn't know what on earth I was supposed to do with it.  It was only when a lady came to my stall with what she had made that I suddenly fell in love with it.  It is similar to a length of ribbon but with one edge which looks like a little ladder.  The idea is that you use this edge to knit each stitch using each gap as a separate stitch.  Firstly though you cast on using a standard yarn such as double knit.  This is the ball band so that if you spot some in your wool shop you will recognise it.
It isn't difficult to knit with once you get the hang of it.  The knit row is simple but the purl row is a little bit more tricky.
I stock three different colour ways, this one which is cream/brown.  I also have lilac/purple and bronze/grey.  I sell it at £8.50 a ball and one ball will make a handbag or a scarf or a cushion cover front.  The effect is quite stunning and very different from anything I have used before.  Each loop makes a kind of pleat which then turns in to a ruffle.
Here is a bag I am making and which at the moment looks a bit strange.
I wasn't sure what size needles to use as my pattern seemed to have forgotten to tell me.  I opted for 4mm or UK size 8's but I think I could have gone larger.  I won't really know for sure until it is sewn up.  That will be the exciting part.
Well I suppose I had better get back to it.  It's getting late and bedtime isn't far away thank goodness.
Enjoy the rest of your day.
Best Wishes Paula x

Monday, 11 July 2011

Lavendar Bag Heart

Hello and my apologies for not being here sooner.
I intended writing a blog about my walk at Sprotborough Falls last Saturday evening but unfortunately I left my camera at home and thought that a blog without visuals was like wool without knitting needles so I decided to postpone that one.
Here is a picture of my latest completed project. 
The brief was that I was to make a blue heart and that's pretty much what it is.  Unfortunately I'm not convinced that it's that great.  I only had this grey/blue felt and don't think it is quite pretty enough.  I have passed it on to my mum and if her reaction is anything to go my Auntie is not going to be too thrilled.  You know sometimes when something isn't quite right and this is one of those times.  I may just get it back, buy a paler blue felt and revamp it.  Deep down I just wanted to get it finished and I'm afraid it shows.  All is not lost I will sort it.  Keep your eyes peeled for Blue Heart the second. Bye for now Paula x

Thursday, 7 July 2011

New Knitting Patterns

Good Morning
Here's my latest knitting project.  It has taken me just over a week to finish.  I'm not sure that the up to the minute shade of lime lends itself particularly well to the traditional pattern however this was a commission so the customer gets what they ask for.
I had a devil of a job matching the buttons but as always  the mother of pearl shell buttons came to the rescue.  I have sold more of them than any of the others as they go with anything.  I hope the couple like it.

Moving on, I received an email from the guy who supplies some of my more special yarns.  Here are a few of the new baby patterns that appear in the Spring/Summer 2011 Katia pattern book.
I just adore this outfit.  Look at the cute smiley giraffe.  I'm not sure what thickness of wool this is done in but suspect it will be 4 ply cotton.  I know from a recent visit to a local wool and fabric store that Katia do do a 4 ply cotton.
On that subject I had a long conversation with a rep from King Cole yesterday who was surprised that I was interested in stocking 4 ply cotton.  He said he had never been asked for it.  Can you believe that?
Unfortunately though I won't be stocking King Cole as they demand large minimum orders and I just can't warrant that kind of outlay at this stage.  I was quite sad about it as they do have some extremely nice yarns particularly one called Riot which as the name suggests is a riot of jewel and clashing colours. 
This one is crocheted by the look of it.  When you look closely the only difference between this and a more traditional pattern are the colours.  It got me thinking that any pattern even really old vintage patterns could be worked in modern colours and the results would be incredible.  Note to one's self.  Search through my old patterns and have a go.
I love the vivid and unusual colours and styles available for babies at the moment but I realise that there are still lots of people who take a lot of convincing hence my stock of the more subdued powder pink, lemon and pale blue with a splash of lime, dusky pink and denim for good measure. 
My mums friend is a fantastic knitter and is paid lots to knit fair isle waistcoats for the Scottish market.
She has very kindly offered to knit me a few samples using the patterns I sell, for my stall so I will be taking her up on her very kind offer shortly. I would love to be able to do everything myself but it is quite impossible so I definitely need a little help from my friends as the song goes.
Well it's that time again.  Speak soon Paula x

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Pure Indulgence

Hello again,
Haven't we had some lovely weather these past few days. 
It was great to be at my stall yesterday with the sun warming my back.  It makes a refreshing change from the cold.
You may be surprised to learn that I actually did some gardening today.  I like gardening but this year there hasn't been much time to get out there and I have been so ashamed of my front garden, particularly when we had visitors last night and they literally had to beat down the thistles to get to the front door.  So today I finally removed all the nettles and weeds from the borders and I feel a lot more content now.
Back to the reason for today's blog title.  Please be up standing for my latest purchase.  Three beautiful lipsticks.  One promises to shine, one to be sheer and the other to volumise.  Well aren't they clever?  I just bought them because I liked them.
My stall sits in between a jewellery stall and a gigantic make-up stall.  This is girly heaven if ever there was one.
Lipsticks happen to be another one of my weaknesses and if I see one which I think just might suit me I have to have it.  You see I am not a very good judge of what lipsticks will look good on me so usually for every good one there have been two terrible ones.  Yesterday though was the exception and I now have three brand new lippies that I will be keeping.
Hooray.  Bye for now Paula x