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












28 comments:

  1. thank you so much for sharing your world with us. i live in southern california and i love the UK. i even dream of living there in a cute cottage, with a cute dog. knitting, cooking, walking, fires in the fireplace and all the seasons.

    i love the cover on your bed. where did you get it? what brand is it?

    sending you peace and joy through this uncertain time. xoxo

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    1. The UK is a lovely place to live, I live in the south......but I bet Southern California is pretty neat also!

      The floral bedding is from La Redoute and is called Majari bedding. : )

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  2. Lots of news on this autumn blog entry! So lovely to see your well-known pastel shades again on your blog.
    the Irish Chain blanket is just beautiful. Your new autumn jacket is lovely and in a colour I like to wear myself, though my autumn jacket is ice blue this year!

    After the loss of a loved one, grief takes it time and cannot be rushed. We can only take it gently and learn to live with the loss which does become softer with time.

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    1. Ooooh an ice blue Jacket sounds lovely! Yes I totally agree about grief. It doesn't seem like any time at all really so far, so I'm just going at my own pace coming to terms with it all. xxx

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  3. With anticipation I have been awaiting a new post from you. Every day since August I have been checking, and today, on a day that just seems to want to drag me down, I find that you have published a new post for my eyes to read. I have said it before and I will say it again, your posts call to me; resonate with me. 2020 has indeed been a horrid year, globally. Keep on making your beautiful blankets. You have inspired me to pick up my hook again, and go through my own yarn stash!! Stay strong, stay safe and keep on brightening many with your posts. Already looking forward to the Fall post!!!!
    Your Canadian fan, Dee

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comments Dee, that really is very kind of you. I'm glad you have been inspired to pick up your hook! Likewise...stay safe and have a beautiful Autumn! xxx

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  4. Lovely to see a post from you, such beautiful blankets and colours. Take care of yourself. Clare x

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  5. Your Puna blanket is stunning! I've knitted a capelet with Puna, but I wasn't very much impressed by the yarn. It looks totally different in a blanket! Maybe it's a blanket yarn? ;)
    I also absolutely love your progress keepers. I never have enough.
    Wish you all the best! Keep going!

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    1. The Puna could well be better suited to a blanket yarn. I haven't made any garments from it, only some wrist warmers. I like the shade palette, although it is somewhat limited! After making the progress keepers,I wondered how I managed for so long without them!!!! xxx

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  6. ohhhhhhh, what a delicious post, so full of inspiration and good things! I have loved catching up with you and taking a peek into your beautiful world once again, thank you so much for taking the time to share your journey. 2020 has been (and continues to be) a challenge on so many fronts, I have enjoyed the slower pace of life in many ways, but the constant uncertainty and inability to plan any trips (even simple ones) continues to pull me a down a little. I find such solace in colour and creativity, in our online world, and in our virtual connections and friendships. Such a blessing. I am already looking forward to your Autumn re-cap - your painted pumpkins are extra special!!
    Lots of love to you as always, you are such a sweet gentle presence in Blogland xxxxx

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    1. Awe thanks beautiful Lucy. It always helps to write ones' thoughts down. It's been such a challenging year, on so many levels for everyone I think. Crafting certainly works its magic in helping to create calm in ones' life. It has helped so much, and it's such a special thing to be able to share it with like minded souls.....who just get you!! xxx

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  7. I've just come across your blog and had to subscribe. I have never seen such a beautiful site! It made me happy just to look at it. I'm a sewist/quilter, but not a knitter/crocheter, so I am in awe of your creativeness. Your work is so lovely! And your puppy is the cutest. I wish you well and look forward to more posts! Take care!

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    1. Thank you Denise for your kind words. Gosh you have a talent I envy! My sewing machine really doesn't like me at all! I would love to sew and quilt. Maybe one day I might get the courage to tackle the machine head on and come out the winner for a change! ha ha! Have a beautiful Autumn xxx

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  8. What a wonderful post! It's full of scrumptious eye candy and brimming with inspiration. I like both of your blankets. Definitely the Irish Chain blanket looks splendid as a bed cover but the cosiest I think must be your second no name as yet blanket.It looks so soft and cuddly. I use Drops yarns quite a bit when I can get them here but I haven't used Drops Puna. I plan to because it looks as if it would be suitable for shawls (I'm a shawl person.. ). I have never thought of painting pumpkins before but I have to say they look so decorative as if they were made of porcelain. Crochet is my passion it helps me find relief from stress and anxiety and it curbs my restlessness. In these strange times that we are living it has most particularly been my godsend. take care and stay safe Amanda x

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    1. Hi Amanda, I think the Drops Puna would be lovely for a shawl.It has quite a soft drape to it. I do wish there were more colours in the palette, but I do like the shades that there are so it's not all bad!!!

      Crochet has really helped me also. I think any kind of creativity that can absorb you that you love, can be such a remedy to stress and worry. 2020 has really tested so many people, it really is a godsend to have a craft to help alleviate a bit of stress. Take care and have a beautiful Autumn xxx

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  9. Thanks for sharing your pandemic life. FYI the link for your jacket does not take you a description of it. Sadly there is no guidelines for this virtual year with regard to mourning our loved ones or anything else. In the US, I'm stunned that the creature in the WH would let this happen. I love your treatment of the unnamed blanket especially the yarn color. I will crochet a sample to see if I want to copy yours. Glad your garden and your dog have provided you with some comfort. Always enjoy your posts. Thanks so much for sharing and hope it helped you sort things out. Be well and hope to hear from you again when you feel the need to share♥

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    1. Hi Susan,

      Thank you for letting me know about the jacket link. I have amended it! Have a super Autumn ;)

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  10. Happy Autumn Vanessa! What a treat to see your post. Always a soul soother.
    I absolutely love hydrangeas too but mine are so mean and small. Do you plant yours in pots or directly into the ground? Mine are in the ground, maybe this is where I am going wrong?!
    It has been such a difficult time for so many and your honest, positive and beautiful post is up lifting. Thank you for sharing.
    Wishing you a gentle and warming Autumn. Pamela x

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    1. Hi Pamela,

      With regards to the hydrangeas, my ones in pots seem to grow at a better rate than the bushes in the ground. However, they do seem to need twice as much water in the pots as they are such thirsty blighters! Stay safe and have a gorgeous Autumn! : ) x

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  11. Lovely to read your post. The colors you work with are just so calm and peaceful! It really is such a strange year for everyone. I take it one day at a time. :-)

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    1. Hi Dana,

      Thank you, They just seem to be the colours I am always drawn to. I can't seem to do one without the other! I think taking it one day at a time is really the best plan isn't it? Take care and have a beautiful Autumn xxx

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  12. I think your attitude is just right for this time. We have to be gentle with ourselves and if that means daily fresh baked bread and losing ourselves in creative endeavors...so be it!

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    1. Yes, yes, yes! I'm not sure that anything beats fresh baked bread out of the oven coupled with a fresh coffee. Nothing is greater than the scent of both filling the air (fresh cut grass comes a close second though!).......and I need lots more creative endeavors to get lost in!!!!!! xxx

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  13. oh Vanessa visiting you here in blog land is like a wonderful warm hug! ;)x
    Ive been having issues logging in...i think its because all my sign in accounts i like to use my old laptop which will automatically sign in, i fear i might have forgotten some passwords eeekk...and now my dear old laptop is not being able to keep up with updates and all that techy stuff...and i will have to now move to my tablet, which is just not as welcoming as my old laptop boohoo ;(
    sorry in delay of responding to your beautiful post and your kind comments on my blog...
    theres so much beauty here Vanessa, i just adore your creations and makes, all those pretty pumpkins! and all your fabulous yarny makes...
    i sooo love candles and that snug feel Autumn brings...
    just a perrrrfect time of year...
    glad to see you about in blogland...xxxxx

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    1. I always think of you come Autumn Kazzy. You are Autumn to me. Your illustrations, your makes, your life and your pictures. They are cosy and warm and inviting and comforting. They make me feel a lovely homely glow. I'm embracing this time of year.....I may have gone overboard with the pumpkins a bit! ha ha! With white pumpkins and ceramic pumpkins to paint are readily available, Autumn is now my oyster! ha ha! Enjoy your Autumn my lovely. I shall eagerly await your blog posts xxxxx

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  14. I've been dropping by every now and then to see how things are with you. You say you've done very little, but I'd like to gently disagree. You've obviously been working so hard, and have in addition produced the most stunning blanket (I also prefer it to the previous one though both are lovely). When I first started crocheting I assumed all blankets had to be multicoloured, but your new addition is so chic; I am inspired. Thank you for updating your post, and also for carrying on in your key worker role.
    Gabriella

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    1. Hello Gabriella,

      Thank you for your kind words. It's funny.....I think I was the same. I always seemed to think that home made blankets needed to be colourful. I still love all the colours I have ever loved, but I seem to be wanting to use them singularly at the moment. I fell in love with my latest blanket, and I have my sights set on a couple more plain ones......at some point!Have a super Autumn! xxx

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