Friday, 30 September 2016

Five On Friday

Today I have five views from our holiday to share with you!

Where did we go?  The beautiful island of Jersey and a day trip to the smaller island of Sark.  When I share more photos I will tell you more about this lovely place, but in the meantime sit back and enjoy these lovely pictures.

Thank you for joining in, for visiting and sharing and commenting here and on others posts too.

I wish you all a great weekend whatever you are getting up to.  Have fun and tell your loved ones that you love them!


p.s. this was written before our meeting with the hospital about Man, I will update about that next week.


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Thursday, 29 September 2016

Listening to my books - Lake Wobegon Days

The reading my books project is going fairly well, but I have started on something new.  Listening to books.

I have listened to books on tape - or CD - for many years, well over 20, perhaps 30, I am not really sure how long in fact.  I got out of the habit though, other things came along, these days I tend to "listen" to TV shows or podcasts on my computer while working.  The books that I did have on tape or CD languished and I haven't added to the collection for many years now.

The listening to books has had a revival lately though.  We have introduced Lady, who cannot see to read any more, to books on tape.  She cannot cope with CD's as they don't stay in the same place when you turn them off, whereas when you stop a tape it just stops.  She can also operate a little portable tape player even though she cannot see the buttons, she knows where they are.

So the search started for books on tape.  Charity shops, a giant haul on that well known online auction site and being lent or given them by other people.  Each one is carefully checked first to make sure it plays, then wound or rewound to the start of each tape and a large number stuck on each side so that Lady can make out which way round to put the tape in.  Lady loves them. They give her hours of pleasure, she can "read" on her own, at her own pace and in bed if she wants to as well which she likes.

Of course this does mean that there is soon a mound of books that Lady has listened to.  She will probably listen to them again, and in the meantime they sit waiting for her.  So I have borrowed a few of the listened to ones.  They are what now accompanies me as I sit in my office sewing or working.  As I go through them I will give you a brief review a couple at a time.  Here is the first!


Lake Wobegon Days written and read by Garrison Keillor

This was an really interesting listen.  I will always think of it when I look at and use the item that I was sewing as I listened to it in fact, I can just tell!  This was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1989.  It was still just as good a listen today as it must have been back then.

Garrison Keillor is the author of several tales about the fictional Lake Wobegon and you can read more about him and the books here - it is well worth a read!  I had never heard of him or Lake Wobegon before, but if there are any more books by him in Lady's collection I will be hoping to borrow those.

I don't think that a time period for the story was given specifically, but I imagined it in the 1950's small town America in the Midwest somewhere, St Cloud which is in Minnesota is mentioned, so you can perhaps imagine what I imagined.

Stories of a Norwegian founding father of the town, picking tomatoes endlessly during the summer, of Christmases and decorations made by the school children.  All fairly run of the mill daily happenings, but interesting, well written and well read too.

I have no idea if you are ever likely to come across a way to listen to this, but if you do, take the opportunity.  It is gentle and easy and comforting and you will not regret it.


This is one of the posts that I wrote in August to be published in September but publishing it got delayed by my need to take a blog break.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Anything to spare

Tomorrow - Thursday - we have a meeting with the hospital about Man and what the future holds for him.

Right now it isn't looking good.  Of course we knew that things were not good before his stroke and certainly haven't got better since the stroke, but yesterday things fell to a new lowest low and to be honest our hope is fading as quickly as man appears to be fading in front of our eyes.

So this is just to say that if you have any spare good thoughts or prayers that things will go well tomorrow to make sure that Man is cared for and looked after, even if that is against his wishes, to make sure that he is safe, we would really appreciate them.

I have a post scheduled for tomorrow and Friday so I will update you all next week sometime with how things went.

Thank you all as always for bearing with me, and for your support.  I returned to work today and was reminded of just how good good friends are, and you are in that category too, and I am thankful for all of you.

Amy  xx

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Mollie Makes Pretty Rose Cross Stitch -- except it isn't!!

Almost since I started blogging the most popular post on my blog has been this one - here - called Mollie Makes Pretty Rose Cross Stitch.

It was about using a kit that came with a magazine to make up a cross stitch picture.  I actually made it into a pin cushion rather than a picture.  I have no idea why it is so popular, but month after month, year after year, there it is, up there at the top of my most viewed posts list.

When I received another one of these kits, I assume again on Mollie Makes, I still didn't want to make a picture with it and I didn't want to make another pin cushion either.  So it hung around in my boxes of fabric and yarn for a long time.

While sorting through the yarn and fabric early in August I found it again and decided to do something with it.  Putting it together with a plastic embroidery hoop that I had from another - unmade! - kit I turned it into this.

A pretty picture with my initial - because my name really is Amy! - and a little border around the edge.  Ta Dah!

I simply drew the letter on to the canvas with one of those disappearing fabric ink pens and then stitched over it in two colours of the floss that came with the kit.  Then I added little crosses all around the edge to make the border, a little like a ring of flowers.

The back looks horrid, but I have covered it with a piece of felt to at least try and neaten it up a bit.

I have a couple of other kits that I have made up to produce some little pictures which I will also be sharing and then I will hang them all up somewhere in my office or prop them up on shelves around the house.

Do you think this post will make it to the top of my charts.  I wonder!


This is one of the posts that I wrote in August to be published in September but publishing it got delayed by my need to take a blog break.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Swift Cover

Over the years I have been lucky enough to collect various crafting tools and I like to make sure that I look after them and store them as carefully as I can.

One of my treasured tools is my yarn swift.  I love it because it is a wooden one which I think is sturdier and kinder to the yarn than a plastic one - although I have no proof of that!  It is also such a useful tool.  You simply pop the skein of yarn on to it, fix it in place and then you can wind a ball of yarn all on your own with no assistance and with great ease.

Until recently I had stored my swift in a cupboard, but after some rearranging to store other things in a better way there was no space for my swift.  So I decided to make a bag or cover for it.

This is the finished article!  Ta Dah!

You can see that it is the same size as the swift when it is folded up.

In case you don't know, this is what a swift looks like when it is opened up.  The yarn then goes round the outside of the arms and it spins as you make your ball of yarn.

To make the bag I first hand sewed a piece of patchwork.  I cut four inch squares and then pieced them together and then lightly hand quilted them to a backing fabric with some wadding in between.

I then sewed the backing and patchwork into a long cylinder making the bag shape.

Added a drawstring closure at the top.

This is what the lining looks like.

Then I had the finished bag or cover and a safe way to store my swift, it is protected from knocks and dust and it will not open suddenly on its own either as can happen if it is not tied round the middle or secured in some other way.

I really enjoyed the hand sewing, it is such a peaceful thing to do.  Just a needle and thread and an embroidery hoop and I was at peace!

How do you store your crafting tools and your swift?


This is one of the posts that I wrote in August to be published in September but publishing it got delayed by my need to take a blog break.

Linking with Cooking and Crafting with J&J and Mosaic Monday

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Listening to my books - Murder in Mesopotamia

Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie was a little different to the other books on tape that I have listened to because it was actually more of a radio play than a straightforward reading of the book.  Several characters in the book Murder in Mesopotamia were dramatized, including good old Hercule Poirot, and the story was told from the point of view of one other character, the nurse Amy Leatheran.

I have seen a TV production of Murder in Mesopotamia, but didn't really remember the story, or "whodunit" so this was a great listen.  The story was told well, and I found it much more interesting than I do reading Agatha Christie books.  I listened to it in August during one of the days I spent sorting Man's papers.  It was great company and kept me sane and interested in what I was doing.  I thoroughly recommend it if you come across this tape.  It was well told and produced and the story is good too.

Murder in Mesopotamia tells the story of nurse Amy Leatheran who travels to the east to explore life and is employed to look after the wife of archaeologist Doctor Leidner.  Louise Leidner has been experiencing many strange things since the death of her first husband and now it seems that she is being haunted by the past once again.

Why could this be?  Who is doing it?  What will happen?  Perhaps Louise is imagining or making the whole thing up, or perhaps there actually is something going on.  Once Poirot appears on the scene more strange things happen and the story unfolds and is, of course, eventually resolved.

Agatha Christie actually travelled a lot in the middle east with her husband Max Mallowan who was also an archaeologist and so several of her stories are influenced by the time she spent travelling with him.  I thought that you could really see this influence in this story and it added to the realism and interest of the story.

Overall, a great listen and although this tape is going back to Lady to listen to again, I would certainly listen to it again.  I recommend it!


This is one of the posts that I wrote in August to be published in September but publishing it got delayed by my need to take a blog break.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Five On Friday

Hello Five on Fridayers!

Lovely to see you all.  Thank you for bearing with me last week even though I didn't post.  I do appreciate it.

The reason that I didn't post was because we have been away for a few days.  We had booked a holiday before all of the recent events happened and felt that it was important to still go away as we needed a break and change of scene.  I will share more about it in due course.  We had a good time and the weather was good, even though our minds were otherwise occupied.

Normally I schedule a post if I am going to be away for Five On Friday, but I had also been sick for a couple of weeks before we went so with that and everything else that has been going on I just had to let things slide last week.  I am on the mend now, but need to have some dental work done which isn't going to be fun.  Needs to be done though, but I am not looking forward to it.

As for things with Man, well we will know more by the end of next week.  The best that I can say is that he is so so.  He certainly isn't good, could be worse I suppose because things could quite often be worse, but it isn't looking good for him and I can't see that it could be much worse for the long term future.  I won't say more right now though, I will wait until we have more information.

That is all I have to share right now really.  I will tell you more about the holiday as and when as I said already.  Otherwise it is all really rather too emotional to contemplate really.

What I really want to say is thank you so much for bearing with me and for all of your kind thoughts, and prayers especially and little messages in your other comments.  I am humbled by your kindness and generosity of spirit and thankful for you all.  I can't say much else otherwise I will sob, but thank you thank you thank you.

Having said all of that, I do have some things to share this week.  Five of them in fact so that this is indeed a Five On Friday post.  Here we go.

These are all crochet related - what else did you expect!  Despite all that has been going on I have been crocheting when I can, in the car, when waiting for things and recently while travelling.  I haven't done a lot, but these are five things which are in progress or just completed.  All are, or will be scarves or shawls of some sort and are all my own patterns/designs and I will have more forthcoming about these in due course.

For now, just enjoy the pictures!

Oh, and there is a sneaky sixth!  These pumpkins which were made by loom knitting.  I still have to get the hang of it properly, but I like these in the meantime.

Sorry it isn't more exciting, I don't have much else to share right now.

Thank you for joining in, for linking your posts, for your comments and for doing the most important thing of going to visit and comment on the posts of other participants!  We all appreciate it.

Hope that you have a great weekend, whatever you are doing and that the weather is good to you.  Have fun and tell your loved ones that you love them.



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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Reading My Books - The House on Hope Street

It might seem as though I read a lot of Danielle Steel books, and that is because I do.  I get given them and have a big pile of them - along with the large pile of Agatha Christie books - so it seems to be the thing to do to actually read them.

Yes, they are sappy and formulaic and easy reading, but sometimes that is OK isn't it.  They certainly make good summer reading.

I finished this one in just over a week, which considering it has taken me months to read some books is pretty good going so I am pleased with that.  It make a light read, but was a happy story, easy to follow, and yes, with a guaranteed happy ending, but again, nothing wrong with happy endings is there?

I used to know someone who thought that if the book gave you the ending and it was a happy ending that it wasn't a good book because it didn't "challenge" you.

Personally I don't want my books to challenge me.  I want to be interested by them and to enjoy them.  I don't mind if there are some challenging ideas in the book, or things that I have to think about more deeply, but I have no desire to read books that are never happy and never give me the ending!

The House on Hope Street tells the story of Liz and her husband Jack who are both lawyers living and working in San Francisco.  Of course there is then the obligatory tradgedy, and then well, you know boy and girl meet, fall in love, fight, break up, get back together, all is well in the end.  As I said, formulaic.

It was a pleasant story though, and as I said a good summer read and I am happy with that.  Although I wouldn't suggest rushing to get this book, if it comes across your path you might well enjoy reading it.

This one is off to the charity shop, I am not going to read it again, but as I have said before that doesn't make it a bad read, I am just trying to limit the books that I keep to those I will read again and I have been there and done that with this one so it is someone else's turn now.

Another book read!

What did you enjoy about your summer reading?  Do you like your books to challenge you, or do you just prefer to enjoy reading them?

Do share and let me know.


p.s. please read this post if you haven't already done so.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Camera Strap Cover

Most of the time I carry my camera in my hand or my - rather large! - handbag.  I don't hang it  around my neck.

I find though that the strap is very itchy when I do put it round my neck and it is not very pleasant to carry the camera in my hand by the strap either.

Some years ago I made a cover for the strap out of some soft cotton yarn, but it hadn't worn well, it was rather grubby and to be honest my crochet skills have improved since then so all round it was time for a new cover for the strap.

Ta Dah!

This is the new cover.  You can see that it is much nicer than the old one which is below.

I like the fact that the design is throughout the cover, which is all due to the very clever yarn that I chose to use.

You can also see that the join is much neater too.  The first cover was made as a flat panel and then sewed - very crudely - together.  This time I worked in the round and there is no join, and the line that appears where the round are joined is very neat indeed.

I used this yarn by Patons.  It is called Smoothie DK.  The colour is 02019.  The yarn is 100% acrylic, which means it is soft, hardwearing and washable.  That makes it idea for this use.

The striping occurs because of the way the yarn is dyed.  You could not tell how it would work up just from the ball, but I am really pleased with the way it looks.

So now my camera has a new cover for the strap, my neck and hands are comfortable once again, and best of my all, my camera strap is no longer a messy disgrace!


p.s. please read this post if you haven't already done so.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Five On Friday

Hello Everyone!

Lovely to see you again.

Today I am unable to do a Five On Friday post, but I will be back again next week.  However, I have added the link up below so that you can all take part and if I can I will be by to read your posts, but I may not have chance to comment.  Nothing bad, just can't make it today I am afraid.  So sorry.

I am sorry too that I didn't get to comment on everyones posts last week either, again, due to the situation here which is much the same, but difficult and has over the last week bought on some other issues too.  I will share more next week if I can, but in the meantime, I apologise and hope you will forgive me and understand.

I hope to be back to normal next Friday.

Thank you for understanding.  Have fun posting and going and reading and visiting everyone elses posts and leaving them comments.  I have turned comments off here so that you can go and visit elsewhere.

See you soon!



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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Kaffe Fassett Inspired Crochet Hook Roll

My experiences with crochet hook rolls have been very mixed, but also very recent!

I used to keep my hooks in a trusty and very lovely pencil case.  It was a perfectly acceptable way to store them, all in one place, no way for them to fall out and safe from any damage.  However, it wasn't a very user friendly way to store them as every time I wanted one I had to tip them all out and search through for the size that I wanted - which was most often a 4mm hook!

These have been my answers.

I had a kit that I had bought at a greatly reduced price - I think it was about £2.50 from the Great British Sewing Bee to make a knitting needle roll and I thought that I could adapt it for my crochet hooks.  I sort of managed it but to be honest I wasn't that impressed with the kit and also the need to adapt it presented a little bit of a quandary.

It was a good first make though as I had grander plans for a crochet hook roll and I didn't want to break into the supplies for that without having a go with something that I was less concerned about first.

This is the result of the first go!  Not too bad and although it is currently hookless - because of what you will see below - I am still keeping it and can see it in use in the future if - when! - my hook collection increases.

After I shared this first make on the blog back in June - here - a lovely friend got in touch and offered to make me a roll.  They very kindly did and sent it to me and this is what they sent!  I adore it and it is now home to all of my non 4mm hooks.  The person knows who they are and I am very thankful to them!

I still had ideas though to make another hook roll as I had originally hoped to do and that would hold all of my most often used 4mm hooks.  I visited the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the American Museum way back in 2014 - you can read about it here -  and bought a single fat quarter of one of his fabrics, always with the idea of making a crochet hook roll.  The fabric had sat in my stash since them just waiting for attention.  Now was finally the time to make the crochet hook roll!

My idea was to crochet the outside and then use the fabric for the inside.  The crocheted outside would use the colours of the fabric.  This, Ta Dah! is the final piece!!

To make it I used a variety of Stylecraft Special DK colours that matched the colours of the fabrics.  Then I worked out a very complicated chart to give me the pattern for the second round of each of the squares to ensure that there were not two of the same colour touching each other.  The centres were then randomly selected to give non repeating squares as much as possible.

I then worked tiny granny squares in HTR - half double crochet in US terms - for just two rounds, joining as I went.  Once I had the basic fabric I went round the edge working a combination of chains and DC's into the squares and then worked a final round of HTR's around the edge.  Adding a cord braided in three of the greens gave me a tie to wrap around the whole thing.

The colours that I used are as per this picture, but are Aspen, Boysenberry, Camel, Clematis, Duck Egg, Fuchsia Purple, Mustard, Sherbet and Shrimp, the greens were Cypress, Grass Green, Kelly Green, Meadow and Pistachio.

Then I sewed the interior fabric making a pocket at the bottom for the hooks and divided this up to hold the hooks in place, giving space for one hook with a handle and several hooks that don't have handles in each slot.  I made a flap for the top which is stitched down at the sides.  This protects the tips of the hooks and also keeps them in place.

I stitched this in place by hand and voila, it was done.  Hooks added and all complete.  Just two years after I first decided to make this!!

My hook storage needs are now complete.  I have one large roll if I want to take all of my hooks somewhere together, and two smaller ones for use at home.  The pencil case is still waiting a new use, but it will find one.  Perhaps for pencils again!

I am not planning to produce a pattern for this, but if you have any questions let me know and if there is demand for a pattern I will see what I can do!

So, how do you store your crochet hooks or knitting needles?  I would love to know.


p.s please read this post if you haven't already done so.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Fibre East and Elm Tree Yarn purchases

I went to Fibre East at the end of July which is a fibre festival with all sorts of fibre and yarny things happening.  Knitting, spinning, crochet, fibre, spinning, you think of a yarny thing happening and it was there!

I really enjoyed it, it was interesting to see what others were making and working on and producing and of course there had to be some shopping!  I just wanted to share these things with you as I think they are so pretty and you might like to see them.

I have never bought any "indy" yarns before, these are my first and are likely to be my only for a very long time.  These purchases were the result of a lot of saving and birthday money.  I am unlikely to purchase any more yarn for the rest of the year now and these really are rare purchases.  Apart from anything else I cannot afford to buy this yarn normally and I am quite happy with stuff I can throw in the washing machine if I am honest with you!!

First up are two skeins of Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock.  The one on the left is in the Sapphire colour and the one on the right is Tooth Fairy.  I love the name of the Tooth Fairy!  Not sure that it reminds me of a tooth fairy, but it is a fun name anyway.  The colours are what really appealed to me.  These will be a two skein shawl of some kind.

This yarn - above and below - is also Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock.  The yarns above are a gradient set of 5 colours of yarn in the same colour family from dark to light - or light to dark of course!  I also bought the skein below which is in the Shoreline colour.  The plan for these is also a shawl and I hope to stripe in the gradients with the Shoreline in some way.

My final yarn purchases at Fibre East were these five 50g skeins from Five Moons they are in Denim and Sunflower colours.  Again, there is a shawl in the future for these!

So that was all well and good, but then things went a little over the top in terms of profligacy!  I saw a beautiful skein of yarn that Jooles from Sew Sweet Violet purchased from Elm Tree Yarns and I just had to go and have a look at them.

The reason for the attraction was that the yarns were based on Beatrix Potter characters and I do love Beatrix Potter's work.

First of all two skeins of Peter Rabbit colour!  I paired them with my Peter Rabbit Centenary Edition book for the photos.  I am collecting these centenary books as they are issued.

You can see how the colours match the colours in the illustrations so well.

The two skeins of Mrs Tiggywinkle!  Again the colours match the illustrations so very well don't they.

That is it for now in terms of yarn purchases!  I do have a few other new things which were Fibre East purchases and birthday gifts, but I will share those another day to spread out the profligacy!  I really do not purchase that much yarn, or other things for myself, this was my big splurge for the year which I had been planning for for quite some time!

Hope you enjoyed seeing the purchases, I suspect that you will enjoy seeing what I make with them even more and I will of course share those with you in due course!!


p.s. please read this blog post if you haven't already done so.