Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A sneaky peak!

The scaffolders turned up unexpectedly today.  Actually, it was unexpected for them too, they thought they were going somewhere else!  Then they got there and realised that it was the wrong job and came to us instead.

I will show you the front of the house properly once everything is all done - as we have decided to do a few other things as well - but here is a little preview sans scaffold!


A shoal of fish

Last year I made these fish from a kit.  They didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but I have kept on using them on a keyring at home and I smile when I see them.

I needed to make a little something for a gift for someone, and I thought that I would have another go at the fish and see if I could do a little better this time.

First of all I made this little group.  This time, instead of cutting around the edge of the pattern, I cut about a quarter of a inch wider so that they are a little larger than the originals.  They are quite cute, and much better than the first set I made last year.  However, I wanted to have another go with a slightly different variation.

So I enlarged the pattern by 50%.  The largest of the three fish was enormous, so I decided to use the two smaller ones and the pattern of the largest of the three at 100%.  This is the set that I came up with.

I sewed them slightly differently.  For the largest I sewed around the very edge of the pattern, for the middle sized one I sewed as close to the edge of the fabric as I could to try and make it a bit fatter.  The smallest one is also different as I sort of top stitched it so that it has the extra fabric around the edge.

They are probably a bit large as a keyring, but I will keep them and use them as a decoration somewhere, or I might give them to someone who has a beach hut themed summerhouse in their garden.

Here they are all together.  What a lot of fishes!


Sunday, 27 July 2014

What is important? What is urgent?

Just a few minutes ago I commented on a blog post over at Sarah's blog, Mitenska.  She has been making lists and getting organised.  I reminded her in my comment to make sure that she moves having fun and relaxing up to the important and urgent box, and it sparked an idea in my head for this post.  So I thought that I would jump right to it before going and getting on with all that urgent and important stuff on my own lists!

So, what do I mean.  Well, if you ever did any time management courses at work in the last two decades or so, you would no doubt have been told all about the important urgent plan.  The idea is all about managing your time so that you deal with things in the most efficient way.  You deal with what is urgent first, then what is important.  Then if you still have time left over - the implication was that you will be so busy and important that you won't have time left over - you can deal with the not important not urgent.

By being so organised nothing would ever become important and urgent, because you would have dealt with it at the appropriate time, and the stuff in not important and not urgent wasn't even worth bothering with - because as I said above, you would be to important yourself to deal with such things.

not important and not urgent

Of course this might work all well and good in some areas of work.  If you are an air traffic controller, the urgent and the important are easy to categorise, the same for a doctor, or a politician.  What about the rest of us mere mortals though.

How do you categorise doing the laundry, watering the plants, dusting, baking, blogging, cleaning, tidying, entertaining the family, crochet, having fun, crafting, shopping, family, friends, fun....................

None of these are urgent, none are important, dismiss.  That is the implication from this time management plan.  All of them could move to the not important and not urgent box and therefore be ignored.

I disagree.  Totally.  This is my time management plan.

anything else

Of course I could go on breaking each of these boxes down further, but you get the gist of it I am sure.  The principle can be applied to those of us who aren't holding down some high powered and very important job, and it still works.  The priorities are just different.  Also, to me, Home and Family are important and urgent and must be held above all else and must always exist, so I fill and hold onto that box.  Work has to be done, so it goes into the table too.  Friends, crafting, all of those other things are there too.  I don't dismiss the fourth box either, that holds everything else. 

Things that are there on the list and that do need to be done, but can indeed move down the priorities.  For example, dusting the guest bedroom.  Yes, I do need to do it, but it doesn't have to be done every week, but it does need to be done before someone comes to stay.  A simplistic example, but you get the idea. 

I guess that in a way my suggestion to Sarah to move fun and relaxing to the important and urgent box might not be the most appropriate thing to do.  There are other more important and urgent things that have to come first, feeding the family, doing the laundry, making sure that people get to work and school and so on.  However, fun and relaxing have to be right up there.  It is easy to forget them though even under the weight of other things such as crafting and blogging. 

So today I am going to try and convince hubby that we need to perhaps step away from some of those jobs that do have to be done and have a little bit of relaxing time today.  I hope that you can do the same yourself and with your family too.


Friday, 25 July 2014

Five on Friday

Readers of this blog will probably have picked up the fact that I am a little bit of a worrier.

OK.  OK.  Stop laughing.  Pick yourself up of the floor.  I admit, I am a great big worrier!!

So I worry that you are bored with our building work, but it has progressed apace, so I thought that I would give you an update today and cross my fingers that you won't be bored.  All of these things deserve lots of exclaiming (I think!) so I have added quite a few !!!!!!!!!!!

1. The front of the house has now been painted!!  For comparison here is a picture of how it looked before and how it looks now - you can tell which is which because the now has the scaffold up!  We are so pleased with how it looks and can't wait to have the scaffold down so that we can really see it.  The colour isn't that different, although we hope that it is a bit less yellow than the old colour was as it could look a bit odd sometimes depending on the light.  Of course the lack of stains and cracks makes a huge difference in any case.

2.  The first of the two manholes has been rebuilt!!  The top has been painted too!  This is all the work of my hubby.  No more problems with this!

3.  We didn't have to dig a soakaway or a dry well, the downpipe is reconnected as it was supposed to be!!  A new length of downpipe is in place and hubby has also worked out how to sort out the rest of the gutter so that the water goes into the gutter, not down the wall!

4.  Our new back door is in!!  I think that I told you that before, but here is a picture.  I am still enjoying going in and out with such ease and now have my sights set on someday having a new front door.  Don't tell hubby about that last bit.  He would have a fit!  There are about a thousand other things to do first.

5.  Work on the new edging for the patio/pathway is underway and when it is done we can think about ordering gravel!!  Once the other manhole is rebuilt of course!  Sorry about this fuzzy picture, I hope you can get the idea - it is the wood bit that you are looking at in case you weren't sure.

I know that none of this is exactly wildly exciting, but I am trying to look on the positive side of it after feeling a bit down about it all.  The piles of soil are not exciting at all, and we have to find a way to dispose of them - we are going to ask a neighbour if we can share their skip rather than ordering yet another one - but I can see the end starting to come in sight.

Above is the manhole still to be tackled, and below is some of the debris to be disposed of (the yellow is the hosepipe), it is a larger pile than it looks here.

Also these are some of the slabs that have been removed so far.  We will reuse some of them, but will have quite a few to find a new home for or dispose of.

Well, that is it for the DIY update.  I hope that you weren't too too bored!

I hope that you all have a happy and peaceful weekend with joy in your lives and hearts.


Thursday, 24 July 2014

Crochet Camera Strap Cover

I know, not the most thrilling title for a post, or the most thrilling thing to make, but.....  It is thrilling to have made because now that darned strap doesn't dig into my neck any more!

When I first got my camera I found that the strap really dug into me, it seemed to have very sharp edges for some reason although it is made of that webbing fabric stuff that camera straps are always made of.  I made a small piece of crochet from some acrylic yarn just big enough to go round the strap that was just big enough to go behind my neck.  It kind of worked, but it moved around and started to go bobbly, and also it was very hot, I think because of it being acrylic yarn.

So I decided that action was needed!  I cut off the old strap thingy that I had made - hubby thought that I was mad! - and decided to make something else.

I had some lovely Rico cotton yarn that I had used for making these Mandalas earlier in the year.  I thought that would be nice and soft and cool for my new strap, so I chose three colours for the main part, with a small white accent.  A bit like this Mandala really.

Then I set to work, making this long strip of crochet.  It looks a bit like a very small scarf at this stage doesn't it.

Then I sewed it with some horrible stitches onto the strap.  As you can see, it covers the whole strap so there won't be any moving up and down and not being where I want it to be.  I thought about crocheting it together, but then it would have had a lump either on the back which would not be comfortable to wear, or on the side which the old bit I made had and that didn't look to pretty either.  This way, although the stitches are ugly, it lies flat against my neck and is comfortable, and you don't really see the stitches when it is around your neck do you!  Of course if I had been more fastidious I could have used the same colour yarn as the stripe on the strap (try saying that fast!) and it would have been less obvious.

To make sure that it stayed in place, I tied on a single strand of yarn, wrapped it around the thin part of the strap and tied it back into the crochet again.  I repeated at the other end and this stops it sliding up and down, but allows me to remove the whole thing easily if I want to.

The strap is crocheted (UK terms) in alternating rows of DC and TR crochet, turning the work after each row and going into both loops of the stitch on the previous row.  At the start of each row I CH one (does not count as a stitch) and then into the last stich of the previous row.  I did 17 stitches in each row, it is best to experiment a bit to see what you need for your particular strap.

So there you have it, one Crochet Camera Strap Cover!!  If you see it coming in the future, you will know it is me!  Now, I wonder, what do you think, a flower to embellish it just to make hubby really embarrassed to be seen with me...............


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A bit of this and that

First of all I have a few words of thanks.  I will be putting all of these into my Jar of Thanksgiving.

Thank you for sharing your weather memories in the comments on Friday's post.  It sounds as though lots of us have had some interesting weather experiences.  If you haven't read the comments that others made, some of the stories are well worth a read.  I guess that with the way that weather patterns are changing so much around the world we will all have more stories to share in the future.

I also wanted to say thank you for your thoughts about how to quilt my quilt - if that makes sense!!  I was very kindly offered some fabric for the backing and panels along the sides that I want to add, but I have decided that I want to continue the patchy look.  I thought that I had managed to earmark a few more of hubby's shirts, but he has vetoed that!  So it is on hold for now while I gather the fabrics to use.  As and when I make further progress, I will of course share it with you.

A final thank you as well for all of your kind and lovely comments on my TA DAH! post yesterday now that I have finished my No Two The Same blanket.  I was overwhelmed by all of the lovely things that you said.  It is one thing liking something yourself, but quite another when others like it and say nice things too.  Thank you!!!!

Now, in other making and crafty news...........

I bought a quilting magazine (Quilt Now) to read to get some inspiration (for my quilt!) and it came with a kit to make two strawberry pincushions, one to keep and one to give away.  I decided to keep them both though and joined them with some red and white bakers twine.  I thought they would make a nice charm to hang on a bag or perhaps my camera case.

This months Mollie Makes came as it always does with a kit.  This time it was for a little embroidered bag.  I decided to have a go as I haven't done any embroidery like this before.  Not having a fading ink pen I could not draw the design out first as per the instructions, so I just decided to freehand it.  It hasn't come out looking quite like the picture in the magazine, but I like it.  Plus, it makes a really good bag to store my little scissors in!

I don't buy magazines because of these things, but if they come along, I like to make them as they are generally pretty quick to put together and can be done without the need to buy or find other things to go along with them.
The weather is still hot and sunny here, so  I have enjoyed reading several blogs from the southern hemisphere where it has been cold, and even a little snow in Australia!  It is so odd to think of us so hot here, and others feeling so cold and chilly.  I guess that it all makes the world go round.  Tonight is the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games so a large number of countries from around the world will be joining together.  Let us hope that sport can bring us together, bring joy to all and perhaps foster growing relations between different nations and work towards bringing peace to the world.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

TA DAH!!! No Two The Same Crochet Blanket

Finally my No Two The Same Crochet Blanket is finished!!!  Do you want to see......

It is made up of 210 squares of four round granny squares, joined by the join as you go method.  I used 8 different colours of Stylecraft Special DK.  You can find the details of the colours in my post here.

I then added a border of an additional row of white treble clusters and then two rows of each colour, finishing with another row of white and then Bunny Mummy's Double V Edging.

It is called No Two The Same because no two of the squares are exactly the same.  They are similar, but not the same!

It is large enough to cover the top of a double bed and measures approximately 72 inches by 74 inches, there are fourteen rows each of fifteen squares - or fifteen rows of fourteen squares if you count the other way of course!

I used the leftover coloured yarn to make this cushion, which I don't dislike quite as much as I did when I was making it.

Now I am back to completing my ripple blanket, although I have done a couple of other things too which I will show you tomorrow.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Five on Friday

It is so hot and my grump levels are high right now.  Not because I am in a bad mood or cross, it is just too hot to do anything really with this heat that we are having - no air conditioning in English houses! - and that means that I don't sleep well, which brings on grump.  It isn't the same as moaning, it is more tiredness from lack of sleep.

Last night, well, early this morning actually, I awoke to the most almighty thunderstorm.  Loud bangings and lightning flashing away and then it proceeded to rain.  The air seemed a little less thick first thing, but now it is back to humid and sticky again.  We haven't had any more rain today.  I love it when it rains and everything feels refreshed and lovely.  Perhaps it will be like that tomorrow instead.

Today I was trying to think of five for Friday.  I don't have a lot to share right now as I am trying to sit as still as possible to stay as cool as possible.  The garden is all crispy and dry too, so no pretty flowers right now.  I was going to suggest that everyone "takes five" and relaxes, and then I started to think about weather memories so I thought I would share five weather moments instead.

1.  I think that my earliest weather memory is from the summer of 1976.  There was a heatwave with record temperatures of above 32C for 15 consecutive days in June and into July and five days were above 35C.  There was a drought that went on for a very long time, the previous summer and, autumn and winter were all very dry and in the spring of 1976 some places had no rain at all.  For 45 days in July and August there was no rain at all resulting in terrible fires, crops failed and food prices increased.

The Government appointed a Minister for Drought things were so bad.

The drought finally ended in September and October 1976 with thunderstorms bringing much needed rain.

I remember being so very very hot one day and I guess that I was heading towards heatstroke as my parents put me in the bath with what I remember as cold water and ice, but was probably actually lukewarm water to try and cool me down gently.  We had only just moved back from the tropics in Australia, so in a way it probably wasn't that hot to us, but it was so very hot in England that it did have a big effect on us and I remember the devastation of the fires in the New Forest area especially and still think about that damage whenever I am in that area nearly 40 years later.

2.  By the time I moved to America in the early 1990's that hot summer of 1976 was a distant memory, and I expected it to be hot hot hot living in the south of the USA.  We had air conditioning, thank goodness and it wasn't too bad, but I did miss the rain.  I know that it is a general view that it rains all the time in England, but it doesn't!

Months after my arrival in America and we had still not had any rain I was missing it, the humidity was so high and as soon as you stepped outside you started to melt. 

Then one day we were at a barbeque with some friends and it started to rain.  Although of course we were I guess at 100% humidity as water was falling out of the sky, everything immediately started to cool down and feel refreshed.  I went outside and stood in the rain - much to the amusement of everyone else needless to say - and just enjoyed the cooling refreshing drops of water.  It felt as though I could breathe again and everything wasn't just sticky sticky sticky.

I don't think that I have gone and stood in the rain on purpose ever again, but if it rains today I might just go and give it a try!

3.  Two years ago we were on holiday in California (CA) doing a road trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and back again.  We had a great time.  The weather in SF was lovely, just the right temperature, no fog, not too hot, not too cold.  Just perfect.  It was the same at Tahoe.  The bits in between were not quite so good though weather wise.  We stopped for a couple of days in Sacramento, the state capitol of CA.

Boy was it hot hot hot.  The reason that we were in Sacramento was for my husband to go and watch some drag racing.  Although I am happy to go along to these things there have to be some compensations.  So before we set off to the races we went and did a little shopping.  I bought some scented candles and a few other things, put them in the boot (trunk) of the car and off we set.

The temperature was over 40C.  I don't know exactly how hot, but very hot indeed.  I ended up sitting in the car with the AC on for most of the day.  After a while the car started to smell all scented, and I realised that the reason was that the candles were melting and releasing their fragrance!

It didn't work out too badly though, we had to go back to the mall the next day and buy some more candles and the rental car smelt lovely!

Note to self, do not leave candles in the car when it is over 40C!!

4. When I was a child my parents used to have lots of barbeques with their friends and it always seemed to rain.  Every time.  You could guarantee, if they even thought of having people round, it would rain and rain.  I have lots of memories of my Dad standing under a garden umbrella cooking sausages or burgers or whatever whilst the rain came down all around.  It wasn't just my Dad, his friends did the same.  One time they even rigged up a sort of tarpaulin affair outside the backdoor so that they would have somewhere dry.  I think that was the time that the garden flooded......

Whenever I think of those times it is always the rain that I remember, nothing else about the party, just the rain and I know that you would get much the same answer from any of my family.

Many years ago now one of my parents had a birthday with a 0 at the end and we were all set up, the rain came along so everything had to be moved......... to the garage!!  No one cared and great time was still had by all.

5.  Do you do that thing where you always remember that your childhood summers were always sunny, it never rained, except occasionally at night.  Everything was perfect.  Light fluffy clouds in the bright blue clear sky.  Anything grey or rainy never appeared for even a moment.  The only thing that you saw were contrails from airplanes going overhead.

That is what I remember.  I know that it isn't true.  But it is what I like to imagine.  Of course I can still see the contrails and clouds going overhead, but the weather isn't always perfect, and even if it is hot and dry it is too hot and dry, or the grass is going brown and crunchy, the flowers are crispy.  You get the picture.

Weather is never perfect or what we want it to be or remember it to be for good or bad really is it!

I hope that wherever you are this weekend that you are just the right temperature, not too cold, not too hot and that the weather is kind to you.


Thursday, 17 July 2014

What do you do when you don't like it?

Of course we are still deep in this

and this

and this.

It is an improvement believe it or not on how it was.

We have to dig a new soakaway for the roof to drain to.  Deep joy.  Well, actually, not deep because getting that deep will be impossible.  The painter is coming for some reason on Saturday to start painting the render (stucco).  The builder tells me that the weather forecast is not good.  So why is the painter coming!! 

I am done with this now. 

Except of course you can see that we are far from done.

While all this has been happening I have been crocheting away trying to keep my mind occupied and my fingers from passing chocolate to my mouth.  I had quite a bit of yarn left from the coloured parts of my blanket, too much to do nothing with, but not enough to do anything with if you know what I mean by that.  I don't like having bits of yarn.

So I thought that I would make a cushion cover to use on my hammock - because I have soooo much time for laying in a hammock right now don't I!!  I thought that I would make some squares, joined as I went and covering an old faded cushion from the guest bedroom.  For the last few days while hubby has been digging around in the drains I have been making and joining squares.  There isn't enough space for both of us to dig around in the drains.  What a shame!

Now I have made this cushion cover.  I don't like it.  I told hubby not to say anything nice about it.  It has taken far longer to make than it had any right to.  We are not friends right now.  Me and the cushion, not me and hubby!

In fact, we are such not friends that I didn't want to join it all up and then not be able to get it off the cushion again so I came up with a sort of shoelace affair made of a chain of 200 stitches of crochet and then laced the two edges together and tied a bow.  The other three sides were sort of joined as I went.

The colours in these pictures are rather washed out, but it was so hard to get over the piles of soil and whatnot to the bench to take the pictures I have to include them.  The colours are rather more like this picture that I took indoors.

Gosh, I do not sound like a happy being do I!  Sorry.  I am feeling rather a grump today.

The cushion will be fine, I don't hate it, I just don't like it, but when it is under my head I won't notice what it looks like will I!!

I wondered what you do when you spend ages making something and then you don't like it?  Let me know!


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Shirt Quilt Top

My shirt quilt top is all sewn together now and waiting to be ironed!  I want to sew a border around the edge before I go any further, so I need to do some fabric shopping unless I can find a suitable old duvet cover or sheet or something in the cupboard.  I will have a rootle and see what I can come up with.  Then comes the scary part of the quilting it - eekkkkkkkkk!!!!!!!!!!  I am very nervous, but I will give it a go and see what happens.  I thought that hand tying it might be a good way to go as if it gets ruckled up at all it will be relatively easy to undo, whereas machine stitching would take a lot of work to unpick.  Then I might handquilt some of the squares here and there just to add a different texture.

So, you will be waiting to see it..... 

What do you think?

Just to remind you it is made up of old shirts and few fat quarters, I think that it will be rather larger than a double bed topper size when it is completed.

When I was taking the photos I tried it in three different lights, first in the shadow of the house, but with the sun shining onto the quilt.  Then fully in the shadow of the house and then finally right out in the sunshine with no shade or shadows.  It was interesting to see how the light made such a difference to each photo.  All were shot on automatic, flash turned off.

My crochet blanket is coming along well, so hopefully I will have a Ta Dah! moment in the next day or so.

Thank you for all of your lovely comments on the last post, you are so kind and I am glad that you appreciated the way that I dealt with the passing on of the awards.  I noticed as well that I have been joined by several new followers.  Thank you for joining me!  I think that I have stopped by and visited your blogs, but if not give me a shout and I will!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Around the world blog hop - and versatile blogging!

I have struggled with this.  Not something that would require a lot of struggle you might think, but for some reason I have found this hard.  Firstly, as I mentioned in my post on Thursday I was until very recently a no award and no tag blogger.  This was because I felt that I wasn't really worthy of receiving any awards because I do what I do and don't necessarily consider it to be anything special or different.  I also don't like the passing it on part as I feel bad about choosing one person over another, what if I have a momentary memory lapse and forget someone, or pass it to someone who might have just been given the same award.  Also I know that these awards and things can take a lot of time to write about and not everyone is able to commit to that.  Too fraught with difficulties and stress for me!! 
I have changed my mind though for two reasons, one was because it was pointed out to me that if someone wants to award you something it is good grace to accept it, and also because I found a new way of handling the passing it on part - which was my biggest of the two stumbling blocks.  I kind of agree with the accepting it part, however, as I said above, one of my reservations is that although many might like to accept, they just don't have time to commit to it, it is tricky isn't it.
When Sue over at The Quince Tree was recently passed the Around The World Blog Hop I thought that her post was great and I loved the way that she decided to handle the passing it on bit.  You can read Sue's post here.  Sue decided that rather than passing on the tag to a particular blog or selection of blogs, she would ask her readers to do their own post and to let her know when they had written it so that she could stop by their blog and read what they had to say.
I thought that this was a great idea as Sue didn't feel bad that she did or didn't select a particular blog and also she got to read what others wrote who she may not have selected and perhaps she would find blogs that she hadn't chanced upon before if newer readers decided to join in.  Who knows what the outcome would be, but it would be interesting for sure.
Recently I have been passed the Around the World Blog Hop by Helen at Woolly Bluebells, you can read Helen's post here, and the Versatile Blogger Award by Hazel at Cupcakery, you can read Hazel's post here.
Following on from Sue's great example I am not choosing to pass these awards/tags to anyone in particular.  Instead I pass them on to you all to anyone who wants to participate!  If you decide to join in and answer the questions, leave me a comment to say that you have written a post and I will make sure that I pop by and visit!
Both of these things require the answering of some simple questions - well, in theory they are simple questions!!!  The Versatile Blogger Award is slightly simpler, so you may wish to choose that one.  Simply share 7 random facts about yourself.  The Around The World Blog Hop is slightly harder, and requires the answering of the following questions:-
1. What am I working on?
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
3. How do I write/create what I do?
4. How does my writing/creating process work?
The reason that I found these so hard to answer is because I tend to just jump in and head off without much thought.  Stopping and thinking though did make me think that perhaps I do need to stop and think more rather than just jumping in in the future.
However, here goes with my answers!
1. What am I working on?
Right now I seem to be working on lots of different things.  Regular readers will know about most of them, but just to update here is my list!
No two the same crochet blanket - nearly done!
Ripple crochet blanket - only just started
Blue and White quilt - top is all joined together, I will post more about it during the week.
Nordic Shawl - in a sad state of doing not a lot right now
Garden - new patio to be made, hubby is doing most of the work right now, I am being the design consultant!
Reading - trying to get through probably about 80 - yes, really, 80 - books that are in my pile - well, heaps really.
Blogging - about a million photos to be sorted for various posts.  I am so way behind on this
Tapestry - cushion has been started and I have done a little
I also have a to do list and a would like to do list as long as my arm.  I am trying to do just one thing at a time now though!
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I am not sure that my work differs that greatly from anyone else.  What I do find though is that I tend to have a quite varied and scattergun approach in some ways.  I think that is reflected in my blog and blogging and the variety of blogs that I read.  My interests are quite wide and varied, so I guess that my work differs from others in that it covers a wide range of topics.  I like crafting, gardening, reading, travel, and so on.  Most blogs that I read tend to have a more focussed approach than mine does.  Overall the answer therefore seems to be that my work differs from others of its genre in that I don't just stick to one thing - there will be a little more on this in the random things in a minute!
3. How do I write/create what I do? and 4. How does my writing/creating process work?
These two are kind of the same for me, so after a lot of thinking, I have combined them!
With blogging my posts tend to be based on what I am doing or have done recently.  So if I have gone for a day out, done something in the garden or reached a new stage in my crafting I write a post and share it with ya'll.  Posts with photos tend to be based around the photos.  I edit the pictures into a good story, crop them, delete a vast number of pictures - I probably start out with three to four times the number of photos than end up in the post.  Then I add the words around them.  If it is a words post - such as this one - I start writing and see where it takes me.  I find that the words come much more easily when I am typing than when I write longhand.  I write all that I want to say, all the way to the end.  Then I go back and read and edit and probably do that a couple of times.  Then I preview the post and read it again, checking that the pictures are in the right places and the words all read correctly and so on.  I guess that I am quite persnickity about getting it how I want it and especially spelling and grammar, although like everyone I do make mistakes sometimes.
I don't plan my posts for the week or month as some people do.  However, I do have a series of running topics, Featuring Colour and Retrospectives are two of these.  I am also trying to do my Five on Friday posts regularly as well.  The Five on Friday can be anything, happies, to do list, five pretty pictures, anything really from the week that doesn't necessarily fit anywhere else.  It is also a good way for me to have one post a week that I know I will write something.  When I first started blogging I wrote some posts that I called Wordy Wednesdays - just words, no pics! - recently these have gone by the wayside, but I might return to them as I do love words.
There you have it What I am doing, How it differs, How I do it and How it works!
Now, seven random things!
1. When I was at school we had written reports from the teacher at the end of each term I think as well as a grade.  My geography teacher and I did not see eye to eye.  She wrote - I suspect more than once - that I was "a total scatterbrain".  That probably explains my answer to question two above!
2. I am well knows for my exclamation marks I am sure!!
3. I cannot knit to save my life - it is horrible.  Imagine taking all of the yarn in your stash and unwinding it, throwing your knitting needles in the middle of the pile of yarn and then churning it around in the mixer.  The result is what my knitting looks like.  Crochet is not a problem.  Knitting is a disaster.  I wonder if it is a mental block!!
4. Yesterday I was home alone all day, sewing, and I ate nothing but toast and cake.
5. I don't read books that win awards.  I never seem to get on with them.  I have also decided that if I am not enjoying a book I will not go any further and I stop reading it.  No point wasting time.
6. I have a few guilty pleasures, but I feel so guilty about them that I never share them!
7.  My car is one of my greatest treasures, it gives me great freedom.  I can come and go as I please and would hate not to have my own set of wheels.  My car is 13 years old in a few weeks and I fully hope that she will do at least another 5 years or so.  She isn't anything special in car terms, but to me she is priceless.
Gosh, are you still there after all of that reading!  My fingers are nearly worn down to the knuckles.  If you still have the will to live, I hope that you will choose to award yourself either the Versatile Blogger Award or to participate in the Around The World Blog Hop.  If you do decide on either, leave me a comment and I will make sure to pop by and read what you had to share!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Five on Friday

As you know from my previous post this week has been very busy around here.  So I thought that I would give you an update on my to do list from last weeks post.

1. Trim the hedge.  The hedge is indeed now all trimmed and looks so much better than it did.  It is really starting to fill out and now that it is trimmed you can see the shape that we are trying to achieve.  I think that it will need another go over later in the year, but it looks great again now and that is the nature of gardening isn't it!

2. Research new shrubs for the shrubbery area to be.  I went out with a friend of mine and we looked for some shrubs, but we didn't see anything that I liked the look of.  Although I have to admit that my heart wasn't really in it as we have so much else going on and the patio will take a lot more work than I hoped, so I will leave the shrubs for now.  They can wait for another time!

3. Finish joining all of my crochet squares to my no two the same blanket.  All of the 210 squares are now crocheted together using the join as you go method and all ends are sewn in.  I am currently on the third of seven colours that make up the border.  I am doing two rows each of each of the seven colours used in the main blanket and then I will add a final edging in white.  It is coming along really well and I am pleased with how it is going.

4. Get all of my photos sorted out and into order for my upcoming blog posts.  This has been a total fail.  I haven't even looked at my pictures over the last week.  I really must get on with it and I will, but for this week, nada!

5. Plan a date with hubby to go out for dinner and perhaps a movie.  Although we didn't go out for dinner as such or to a movie, we did go out one evening this week to play skittles and have a pub meal with a group of friends.  It was so nice to do something different and to get out of the house for a while.  So even though we didn't just have dinner the two of us, the objective for a change of scene was achieved.  Also hubby is out tomorrow for the day on his own doing something that he likes to do, so he will have a day away from the patio too!

Overall I guess that makes an 60% completion rate, not high enough to pass an exam I reckon!  With all of the other things that we have done I don't think it was too bad though.

I hope that you have all had a good week and that your weekend will be a nice relaxing time for you, whatever you are doing - or not!!


Thursday, 10 July 2014

I went missing!

Hello, it is Thursday already!  My days seem to fly past at the moment.  In some ways it seems as though so much is happening and then I try and remember what I did and I have no idea.  It isn't that I haven't been doing anything, the opposite in fact, but it seems to have been go go go for ages now.  That is good, but it does mean that I can lose track of time very easily.

Of course we are still having the builders busily doing things.  This morning they were here fitting the new back door right.  I went to see how they were getting on and check that he didn't need anything and of course, poor man as soon as I appeared it all went wrong.  So I left him in peace!  The rendering (stucco) on the front of the house has all been done now.  It look sooooo much better than it did before, and (dare I say it) it now has a much nicer and crisper finish than our neighbours houses do.  The painter still has to come and do his thing, but we have to wait for the render to dry out completely first.  Then it will all be done!

Above is the first coat of render, and below the finial finished coat!  It looks so much better than it did before.

The biggest Ta Dah! is the new back door.  I have waited 10 years for this and since the builders finished early this afternoon I have been going in and out with abandon so pleased that I don't have to push and shove it to get in or out!!

Well, apart of course from having the scaffold taken down and then sorting out the plants again and repairing the lawn from the skip that has been stood on it for 3 weeks already.  I did get the hedge trimmed in the front though and it looks a lot smarter now.

Operation Patio replacement is also still in full swing.  Hubby has now dug out a massive amount of concrete and still has a bit more to do.  Then we need to dig out the "soil" from underneath the old patio to let us level the ground and then we can put down the gravel that we have decided to replace the old patio with.  Sounds pretty simple, but we discovered that we have more drainage issues with the pipes from the washing machine and the downpipe from the roof.  The pipes need to be lowered considerably, and another manhole will need to be repaired/rebuilt by hubby!  It will all get done, but it will take time.  I don't think that we will be repainting the garden furniture any time soon, but we don't seem to have time to sit on it in any case.

Above you can see drain one that needs to be lowered and below are the pipes and in the top right you can just make out drain two that also needs to be lowered and the drain the bottom left needs to be lowered too!

I just hope that there is enough room left in the skip for the rest of the concrete, you can see how full it is getting now!

In the midst of all this I decided to start another crafty project, so my WIP list has increased again.  Although I did get another thing sort of finished, so that is good.  My crochet blanket is going well, I have now joined all of the squares together, and am working on the border.  Although I never feel exactly comfortable saying these things I am very pleased with how it is turning out.

The colours are a bit bleached out in this picture as it was so bright and sunny, but I am not complaining about the sun!

My completed item is the lining for a basket.  I have a large basket that I use for my crochet projects, but it is really quite big so if I am just working on something small or want to take things out with me somewhere it is quite big to lug about.  This smaller one was just what I wanted, but there are lots of sticky outy bits on the inside, so not very good for yarn as it catches a lot.  So I decided to make a lining for it, similar to the one that came with my large basket.

I thought that I had a brilliant idea for the lining when I saw a set of 4 napkins on sale for just £2.50, cheaper than any fabric that I could buy.  Plus I really liked the colours and design and thought they would go well with the basket.  It didn't work out as I had hoped though.  Somehow I made the sides too big and it all looks baggy, plus the sewing of the sides to the base didn't go well at all.  I think that I need more practice!!  My friend told me not to worry though.  As she said, it will be full of stuff so you won't see it and the bit that shows looks really nice.  I'm not sure that I am quite as optimistic as she is, but it is lined and at least I can now use the basket and for the money that I spent it will be OK and I can always make another lining that I like better in the future!

My new WIP is however probably a little crazy.  In addition to the ever growing and never completing list of crochet projects, I started another massive item.  A quilt.  Of course this isn't a little lap quilt or a table runner or anything small like that.  No.  It seems to be turning into at least a double bed size, if not a queen size at the rate that it is growing.  For years I have wanted to make a quilt and had this idea of making one out of my hubbys old shirts.  When he managed to wear out three all at once recently it seemed like an ideal opportunity.  I added a pack of fat quarters in similar colours that I purchased in a sale and before I knew it I had 280 plus 4 inch sort of squares in front of me.  Sort of squares because my cutting out wasn't as good as I would have liked, although by the time I got to the end it was much better.

I have been sewing them into long strips which I will then join together.  I didn't think that I would be able to match the seams well enough for them to be blocks side by side, so I have gone for an offset sort of brickwork pattern.  Then I have to decide how to actually quilt it.  As it all has a rather "rustic" (who am I kidding, shoddy!!) look to it, I thought that perhaps tying it would work as that would also help to disguise the corners of each square.  In addition, I am not sure how I would get a such a large quilt through my sewing machine to machine quilt it.  I might try some hand quilting on some of the squares as well though.  First job is to get all of the squares and then strips sewn together though!

Also I was nominated by the lovely Helen at Woolly Bluebells for the around the world blog hop.  Thank you so very much for your nomination Helen!  I am aware that my post is pending, I am working on it, but it is proving harder to write than I thought it would for some reason.  Some others of you were kind enough to say that you had wanted to nominate me for this, but didn't because of the notice in my sidebar about being a no award and tag blogger.  I was recently asked to accept an award and declined it.  The kind blogger who nominated me understood when I declined to accept.  However, after that I was talking about it to someone and they asked why I didn't accept awards.  I explained that it was because I found it incredibly embarrassing after being nominated once before as I'm not really sure that my blog is anything special or award worthy.  The person that I was talking to told me that I was being silly and that if I was nominated for something I should jolly well accept it.  So, I have now removed the notice and accepted Helen's nomination as I mentioned above.  Thank you to the others who mentioned awards and tags to me in the past, if anyone else is kind enough to consider me in the future for anything, I will accept with good grace your opinion that my blog is worthy!

To return to the title of this post, you can see why I have been missing over the last few days!  Things have been pretty busy around these parts.  Sorry that I haven't been commenting on your lovely posts. I have been and am reading as and when I can though, so I am keeping up with your news.

Hopefully things will be a little quieter sometime soon and I can return to whatever it is that passes for normal in these parts.  Bear with me!