Wednesday, 17 March 2021

Spring 2021

 



Sometimes, when you talk to the universe.....it answers you back.







I had planned to write two blog posts before this. One for Autumn, and one for Winter. It was my plan just to write up a post each season. Posts to just catch up and remind myself what had been happening in my life. I'm not so sure anyone actually reads blogs any more. The fast paced world of Instagram, Twitter and TikTok leaves blogging pretty much a thing of the past now. It saddens me, when I think of blogging in its hey day and what an incredibly lovely community it was. But I write. I continue to write for me, and if anyone happens to read it and even remotely enjoy it, then that's a lovely little bonus I guess. 


Nothing really has been happening in my little world . It feels like months and months of nothingness be honest. Lockdown, after lockdown it seemed and I just found myself being cooped up in my own little space in the house with everyone else crammed in too for good measure.  One thing I realised whilst we were all stuck in the house day after day together, was that my life just became one big Groundhog Day. Cleaning, cleaning.....and more cleaning. Oh, and food shopping because everybody seemed to be hungry ALL of the time. No sooner was the kitchen blitzed, it was a mess again. There actually never seemed to be a break when someone wasn't eating or using every dish, pan, cup, plate there was. It actually became really quite depressing. Forever cleaning, and having to walk around on tiptoes everywhere in case I disturbed a conference call really just drained me of being able to anything creative and visual. 


The frustration that I was starting to feel was getting bigger and bigger inside. 



Autumn 2020 had been a tale of two halves. A difficult one. One where I had felt alone, tired and frustrated. One where I had felt no desire to do anything other than just 'get through the day'. Eventually the turning point did arrive. I had been waiting for it for such a long while. That moment when I woke, and suddenly felt ready to tackle all that I had previously not had the mental capacity to tackle. 


It felt so good. It felt like a thousand tonnes of weight had been lifted from my overladen shoulders. It felt like peace had once again been restored in my whole being. Weirdly, serendipitous events happened to help bring it about. Do you believe the universe has plans for you? Well, I felt like everything that I had been feeling these past 15 months had come full circle and I could begin see the clear road ahead. 


It was suddenly very clear in my head what I wanted to achieve. The year had been one big write off and suddenly I felt like I could move forward. 






I have felt over the last few years that I have been wading through some very thick treacle. Ever so slowly, the world has been closing in on me. Not knowing how to deal with it and just putting it to the back of my mind has been my 'go to' method. Clearly not the best solution, and the longer you leave it, the bigger it gets. With loss and grief big, big factors in my life also this last year, that helped to just not want to deal with anything.


Finally waking up and the fog clearing was such a blessed relief. Finally feeling ready to tackle happiness and what I need to do to achieve it was such a nice feeling. Deep soul happiness, not just on the surface happiness. 


So, the latter part of Autumn I felt  a great positivity. 






The second and third lockdowns slight dampened all that positivity that had flooded within me. Like I said, everyone crammed in at home working, eating and just generally making mess I couldn't keep up with......well.......I have just been silently keeping my head down and making do until such time as I feel I can begin to spread my wings again.






I don't think I realised just how much I value and crave my own space. That quiet. Just yourself and your thoughts. Not being able to freely potter and be as creative as my mind has wanted me to be has seen the frustration grow within me. It has taken everything in me to keep it contained. Sometimes I have thought how great it would be to go to some remote location and just scream my little lungs out. I think that might have made me feel a little better. However, even being all crammed on top of each other, I am grateful for many, many things. I appreciate it all.






In creative news, I did things that pretty much could be done compactly. I was lucky enough to be given the most gorgeous coat for my birthday. 




The most perfect pink. I wanted to make a scarf or shawl to compliment it. I decided upon the Victoria Shawl by Sandra from Cherry Heart Blog

I used Drops Baby Alpaca Silk in Powder for the main body and off white for the edging. It's so pretty a delight to wear.






Once again serendipitous moments happened, which resulted in a new blanket being born. I thought I was really over blankets.......silly me for even thinking that really.


During the annual retrieving of the Christmas decs from the loft, I came across a crafty tub with a much beloved crochet project in it.  














Started many, many moons ago, it was a project that was put aside. When it was retrieved, I sadly realised that, with my usual lack of planning, pretty much all of the yarns had been discontinued and I couldn't carry on with it in the way that I had wanted to ( a decent sized blanket). I couldn't stop thinking on it though. I was absolutely in love with it at the time. It was made of tiny hexagons, that I was planning on sewing together by hand. I wanted sort of a vintage patchwork piece. Anyway, for reasons explained, it didn't come to fruition (when I ever get round to it, it will become a big floor cushion). However, it really would not leave my head. I had loved working with the pastels in my last Irish Chain Quilt blanket and had some left over, so the thought started brewing. Then, over Christmas I watched The programme 'When Roald Dahl met Beatrix Potter'. Oh my gosh, I adored it. Having long been a Potter fan, this was just a delight to watch. Suddenly the idea was born. A small hexi patchwork blanket using pastel shades that were used in the drawings by Beatrix Potter. 


Pretty much like every other blanket colour way that I use, but a good excuse. Literally as soon as the lightbulb went on........













I just love the shades. So totally me.









Coming along nicely. I made the hexies slightly bigger. I just didn't know if I had the stamina to make them as small as the last lot. The size is okay, but if I'm being honest, I prefer the smaller size. I think they look more 'vintage' the smaller they are in a blanket form. I'm okay with that though.




Minnie, thinking that every blanket laid down is for her use only.














All the hexies are made. I have sewn together half of them with needle and thread. I don't know why it was so important for me to sew them up this way. I don't even think it's such a good idea. Yarn works well to sew yarns together, thread works well to sew fabrics together. I don't think it's the best combination to put together, but I have been determined that it should be done this way. Stupid me and my stupid ideas. We shall see how much patching together will need to be done at a later date. For now though, I am loving it. I did take a break half way through to make myself another shawl. Life events needed me to make something quick and rewarding, and also give me something deep to focus on for a short while.


So, I decided upon this......







It's the Denver Sunset Shawl






I was perusing my pinterest boards for inspiration, and this just screamed at me. Quick and easy. Gorgeous colours from one ball. I'm on it. 





It crocheted up in a couple of days. It was a simple pattern repeat, but it took me ages to get going. I really am not a fan of patterns which don't provide any charts of any sorts. I had to try and read the pattern to try and make up my own chart just to try and make sense of the beginning. I did finally get it and once the first couple of rows were done then it was a fine repeat. It was an aran weight hooked on a 9mm hook so it worked up fast.


Typical me to make something Autumnal just as Spring arrives. I just adored the wash of colours. The pattern is available on Ravelry if anyone is interested. I used the yarn recommended, Lion Brand Landscapes. I love it so much, I'm actually thinking on another one. I made a very very long scarf a couple of years back which I named my Dr Who scarf. I love it so much and the yarn was just so beautiful. 





This was in a Cygnet yarn I believe. Totally my colours and I think it would make for such a beautiful Denver Sunset Shawl pattern. Always me, to keep on making something in a billion colours if I like it. I don't need any more shawls, but, like that ever stopped me.


I seem to be drawn to these colour wash yarns now. I bought the Landscapes yarn and immediately had to text my mum with a picture. Throughout my very early years, my mum knitted me jumpers. Think 70's where everything in that whole era seemed to be made in brown, orange or yellow. My whole recollection was not one of fondness for that era. Otherwise known as #jumpergate, My mum never liked to knit in one colour yarn. She always maintained that it was so boring, so she would buy variegated yarn in brown and yellow or brown and orange. She would knit up a jumper........and not once would the damn things ever fit over my head! I shudder at the memories of my mum trying her hardest to pull them over my head. There would be yelling from me about how much it hurt my head, and there would be yelling from my mum about how she followed the pattern and my head must be incredibly large! I don't think I actually ever wore the jumpers she made me. She never ever managed to get her tension right on the necklines, and I was actually glad. Brown, yellow, orange and ANY yarn that was variegated in any way has been a no no for me for pretty much most of my life! My mum still maintains to this day that my head is a funny shape and she was never in the wrong with her tension........AND......her yarn choices were very lovely! She laughs at my choices to buy any yarn that is not plain and tells me she always knew I'd come around to her way of thinking! I still won't go near anything with just browns and yellows!!!!


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I'll leave with a few camera reel photos of the past few months. Mainly dog photos on my camera feed these days. Through lockdown, she has been my permanent companion, my little sidekick and partner in crime. I am desperate to get my big camera out again. Hopefully, with lockdown nearing its end and spring well under way, there will be the opportunity to snap snap snap away to my hearts content.


Until then.......




I lost the dog one morning. Couldn't find her anywhere. She blends in well with my house decor. The Bears have almost sat on her a couple of times when she is curled in a teeny tight ball on the sofa. She becomes almost invisible.




We have a routine on the days I'm not working. If I haven't left the house and she sees me walk past the living room with a coffee in my hand, she knows I'm off to my bedroom banishment for a couple of hours. Either laptop maintenance or crafting of some type, but the coffee in hand is her cue to whine to be with me and settle down for the morning next to me. I love it actually. She really has been my ray of sunshine on the darkest of days.




I've become obsessed with wearing berets throughout the Autumn /Winter months. I even made a couple of crochet ones too. I don't particularly suit hats in any way shape or form......but I guess I've hit that age where I simply don't care if I look stupid. Bobble hats on the dog walks are essential and berets for general walking. Turns out I like a warm head.




I made a start painting my stairs (Farrow & Ball Light Blue). Very difficult in lockdown with everyone home wanting to go up and down all day. Weeks on and it still needs another couple of coats. I fear it's going to be one of those projects that will take a year to complete........sigh. I like the colour though and it has brightened up the hallway.





Dog walks have helped enormously in lockdown. Getting fresh air......space and a few quiet moments of alone time have been essential.






I was out one sunny, but very foggy morning and I saw the most curious thing. A white rainbow......otherwise known as a Fogbow. Seriously, I never knew such a thing existed. It was pretty spectacular. I have never seen one in all my years, and probably won't again. That made it all the more special. I truly love Mother Nature.




I'm still baking bread. I seriously should stop. Bread is my Achilles Heel. Love, love love it. The Bear's love it too. I tell myself I'm making it for them.....really it's just for me. They have to be quick to get some. I love them to bits, but it's seriously a close call between them and bread. I kid you not!



xxx











Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Summer 2020














Well.....we continue with a weird 2020

Summer........what can I say?





I cannot report that I have done much this Summer. Being either at home on lockdown, or at work.....that's pretty much it. Two places for the last few months. No taking advantage of some glorious weather, getting out and sight seeing.

Nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. However, I know it's been pretty much the same for everybody.





For the first time in what feels like years, we paid particular attention to the garden. It just hadn't been a priority. Our Garden is really no bigger than the size of a postage stamp, so it shouldn't be that difficult to sort and maintain, but for some reason it was just neglected. A small greenhouse was bought, and seeds were planted. It's been the first year we actually had colour in the garden for such a long time. 







The hydrangeas were a particular beauty this year. They really took my breath away. My soil naturally turns the flowers pink, even when I buy blue hydrangeas which are my favourite, So I add more acid to the soil with a Hydrangea Colourant (available in most Garden Centres) and goodness me, they really put on a show this year. The most gorgeous shades of pink, pale lilac to the deepest blue. I picked so many to dry and almost everyone failed......except for three heads which seemed to dry well and retain their gorgeous blue shade. All the others I failed to dry well, I turned into confetti and stored in Mason Ball jars. Goodness knows what I'll do with them, but they were just too pretty to toss on the compost heap.













I grew my first Sweet Peas. Semi success. I planted too many together and they were a bit stunted. Never the less, I got to pick quite a few posies for little vases, and they made me so happy. New rose bushes were planted, I got a second wave of roses this year which thrilled me.......and I finally got some foxgloves in the garden. I have a list of plants I want to grow, and I just have a couple more that I want to get in the ground for next year.

















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Creatively wise, I have almost finished my third blanket of the year. No more blankets.....for this year anyway. I did donate several of my early blankets to charity just before lockdown. It felt good to create space, but it felt like losing a part of me. I have yet to make a medium or small blanket. The blankets I end up making take up such a huge amount of my time. There are often quite a few memories woven in, so it's strange to just let them go. It's like letting go of a piece of your life.





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The last few months on a personal level have been quite tough. My frame of mind could quite simply be described as one of quiet chaos. I've found it hard to settle on anything and focus well. My grief at the loss of my brother is still very much apparent and pretty much still consumes my day. The blanket making has helped to an extent. It has managed to keep me level, but I have no real 'peace' at the moment. I'm working through things little by little, but I'm aware that it's going to take some time.....and I'm okay with that. Slowly but surely wins the race and all.



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I am just finishing sewing in the final ends of my blanket started in my previous post. I started it at the beginning of 'Lockdown' at the end of March. It was a simplified version of the Irish Chain Quilt Crochet Blanket I completed. I don't know why on earth I thought it would be a good idea to make another one. As I explained in my last post.....the only blanket I had ever actually planned......and I still got it terribly wrong! It was okay, I just had to scale it back on repeat rows. It's big.....it's warm.....it's pretty......and I should really really love it......


.....but I can't say that I do.






For some reason it just didn't live up to the wonderful expectations I had in my head. The yarn palette was so pretty......it should have been so gorgeous. Don't get me wrong, it is pretty for sure.....but I think I was expecting it to have that 'WOW' factor......and it just fell short.

Perhaps I felt a little deflated with it......because half way through making the blanket......I started another one!!!!! I'm not sure why I did. I usually am a one project at a time kind of girl.














I had some yarn that I had wanted to make a blanket with. The yarn I had was was Drops Puna. It's one of my favourite yarns. I seem to use it a lot. It has a lovely vintage quality to it. I had bought the off white colour (which is actually more of a light wheat kind of shade). I knew I wanted it to be a lovely vintage style blanket but I had yet to find the perfect granny square. I had tried a few but none felt right. Then one day on a random search I stumbled across a square that looked perfect for the yarn. I made up a square and knew in an instant that I had found the one. Once the brain goes into overdrive, I had to put the other blanket down and crochet away with this new one.





OH MY WORD. I loved loved loved making this blanket. It's definitely got the 'WOW' factor for me. I couldn't get enough of this blanket. It just seemed so perfect in every way. Very very warm. Very vintage looking. It looked perfect on my bed. It was just one of those projects that wasn't at all planned but ended up exceeding all my expectations.


 I truly love it.

So it seems, the unplanned blanket was a tremendous hit and the only ever planned blanket feel short of all expectations.


As usual, I'm quite pants with recording all the details of blankets that I make. The Drops Puna I had bought when it was on sale and I bought 20 50g balls. I literally found the granny square I wanted to crochet ( this one ) and crocheted until I pretty much just had a couple of balls left. I used those to do a border using a row of the granny square and then a puffed scallop to finish. It's a heavy blanket. Very warm. The pup takes every opportunity to fall asleep on it when she can.





























It really is such a pretty blanket. I really would love to make another one, in a pale grey. But enough for now!

Back to the Irish Chain Blanket.....






I do like it. It actually goes well on the bed with the current bedding. It's warm and it'll get plenty of use that's for sure. I did have a piece of paper with all my workings on. I sized the squares, weighed the squares, worked out the yarn quantities, and thought I was doing so well. Now I cannot for the life of me find any of the information. If I find it and get my act together, I'll put it all up on Ravelry with more information. Seriously it's shocking how rubbish I am at recording stuff. I envy the organised!


I haven't even named my blankets yet. I always name my blankets! I'll think on it.



Oh well. Three blankets down this year and I'm done with them (I say that...and at the time of typing this, I REALLY mean it....but come on.....this is me after all!). I have a couple of sewing projects that I want to turn my attention to. It was supposed to FINALLY be sock knitting time......but I just don't think my brain can cope with the whole new learning curve of it. So I think sewing is the way forward which will continue to help with soothing my soul.

I am thinking that I'd quite like to make this though.......




It's the 'Sporty Poncho' by Amanda Tipton

The pattern is available on Ravelry.

I have some pretty yarn that I think would work well with this for the colder months. 

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I have continued to bake throughout Lockdown. I have continued to put on weight. Once again, My brain will have to deal with sorting that out when it's in a better coping mode.



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I had fun making myself some progress markers. I realised whilst making the blankets, just how few progress keepers I actually had. I had made myself a few necklaces using semi precious stones. I don't know why, I just woke up one day and felt a strong urge to make myself some. I find Rose Quartz and Amazonite in particular incredibly soothing for my soul. As I had everything to hand, I made a few progress keepers using semi precious stones, and pearls and some pretty charms. I'm all set now, and happy to do a bit of creativity that wasn't crochet based.


Pumpkins are starting to make a re-appearance and more are being painted. I think this year I may have gone a little pumpkin overboard. Making up for lost time I am telling myself.













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So the Summer moves along into Autumn. The mornings have a nip in the air but the days are still warm and relatively balmy. You can feel nature starting to feel a bit weary after its big Summer show. The feeling of slumber is apparent. I have loved the long days of Summer. Pup has loved the long days of Summer for sure. 










I do like this transition of seasons though. I have dug out all my Autumnal candles (and possibly added a few more!). There is nothing nicer than a house smelling of apple & cinnamon and pumpkin spice. It really is heavenly.




This pink pumpkin was one I painted last year. It's a real squash I bought from the store and painted pink. All the other fresh ones I painted lasted a month or so, but for some reason, this little pumpkin has lasted all year. Only in the last couple of weeks did the paint start to chip. Just in time for me to paint a few new pumpkins!







Jumpers and cosy wraps have made their way to the forefront of the wardrobes and I'm deciding which blankets will go on which beds this year.


I treated myself to a new Autumn jacket.



(It's from here and I got in when it was on a special offer)



It had to be done. It was literally screaming my name. I just need to make some pretty wrist warmers and scarf now, and that excites me. Not that I actually NEED anymore accessories. I'm sure I can find something that I've made in the past that matches perfectly......but new season new accessories! Hats are in my mind too. I made a couple of pretty hats last winter that were real winners, especially on cold morning dog walks. I have an itch to make yet another. Ridiculous I know. 




I have a list of things that need to be done around the house, but my motivation for things like that is still pretty much at rock bottom (not that it was ever very good on the best of days). Again, I'm not beating myself up about it all. I am letting go of all my control freakery this year and accepting things for where they are in my life. Hopefully, by the start of next year, I might have a bit more peace in my head to tackle more.

I head into Autumn with as much a sense of calm as I can at the moment. Let's see where it takes me. As I publish this, there are fears we, in the UK, are heading for a second lockdown. Goodness me, what a year.

So, for now, I bid you adieu, and hope that your Autumn is filled with sweet smelling spice and all things creative.



XXX