Crafts

A Suffragette Saviour

These strange times mean that some people are finding their hobbies are a great distraction. That has always been the case for me, it is just I have not shared much of it on this blog in the last few years or so.

However in a change from books I thought I would share what has been keeping me occupied (one of the many things) in recent weeks.

Please let me introduce you piece by piece to Emmeline Pankhurst – in the form of a slide show (I hope it works on whatever device you are using)

 

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Full Disclaimer – I simply followed a pattern, not that clever to make something up such as this. But forever grateful to Kerry Lord of Toft who creates such things.

In honour of International Women’s day we are launching a brand-new club!

This club is all about celebrating the remarkable women who changed our world for the better. Once every four months, a new crochet pattern and yarn bundle will be released to make the next inspirational female in this series. Based on the doll standard form in Kerry Lord’s best-selling crochet book Edward’s Doll Emporium, these amigurumi creations will become an heirloom collection for you to treasure. Along the way you’ll meet some of the world’s most influential women – some who you’ll have heard of, and others that will be new to you. The perfect gift for the great women in your life.

I am really pleased with how it has turned out and I did follow the pattern with some slight adjustments to hook size for the dress and I missed the bun off the hair as I felt the hat and the hair were just perfect for me.

It took me roughly four weeks, but that is with me making other things as well. I look forward to seeing what remarkable woman is next in the series – and I might just share it with you too!

Witterings

Parish Notices

 

Well it is three weeks since I lasted posted a little notice and how our lives have changed since then. At that point it was the day before we were told, this is it. Everything is to close and we are not to go far from our homes unless really necessary. My normal routines have been thrown into disarray and I am now finding others, like a lot of others probably have yet to find one that works.

I have still gone to work, I have reduced my hours considerably and I am now on leave. I needed a rest, my heads was full and I was starting to suffer from it. I recognise the signs. But of course when I go back everything will still be up in the air. I there again need to find another work routine.

The reading as I might have mentioned before took a bit of a dive, it has picked up, I think because of the books I chose. Agatha Christie, Poirot and some Katie Fforde have been wonderful places to escape into. Also reading without thinking about reviewing can be a blessing. I am so glad that I made the decision not to review every book I read anymore.

Keeping busy is of course important (as is not eating your body weight in food every day). I go out for my prescribed exercise, I have a rather steep hill (it probably isn’t that steep) to climb where I can look across the Solent and can see the formation of Portsmouth Harbour and beyond if it is clear. It has become my nemesis and I am determined to walk up there without getting out of breath!

I needed something to listen to on these walks, and whilst music can be great, I have the radio on most days for most of the day. I wanted to be educated so I have got into Something Rhymes with Purple Podcast with Susie Dent and Gyles Brandreth. Great fun, interesting and I am learning as I am pounding the pavements, looking out for rainbows and signs in windows. I have come across some knitting on a lamppost, books being offered in boxes outside houses and a general sense of we are all in this together.

As keeping the hands occupied (and away from the chocolate) I can turn to my knitting, crocheting, sewing and anything else in between, I present to you a selection of some of the last few days efforts.

It has been a while since I have shared so much of my craft stuff on this blog. There was a lot more in the early days of the blog and I am also still looking back through 2012 posts so I can do a review of that year soon. That could be my project for next week?

How are you all managing? What are you up to?

Books · Crafts · Jottings · Witterings

Ten Years of Lists and Reviews – 2010

This year marks 10 years in August since I started this blog and posting out into the unknown. And as it is a new decade as well, I thought it might be good to reflect back at the last ten years of posting and see how much has changed.

To be honest when I have gone back and looked at some of the posts I have wanted to cringe – did I really say that, did I share that nonsense? I did share a lot more about my crafts in the early posts, which I do not seem to now. Mainly I think because I no longer have a laptop and the only access for a computer (other than work) is when I visit my mum and dad – I have yet to master WordPress on my iPad successfully enough to warrant using it all the time. Perhaps I should endeavour to do more of that in 2020?

The first post I want to link back to is from August 2010 and funnily enough does feature some craft. These were also the days when I had a digital camera and photos were uploaded that way – then along come iPads and iPhones and it all seemed a bit more easier and less of a faff. So much has changed in 10 years.

These are some of the finished projects from that post –

As for the books I read in 2010 – an eclectic mix for sure. Not all of them were reviewed on this blog as I did not start it until three quarters of the way through the year – some of the reviews were originally on Amazon. That said I have looked back and randomly picked out two books (click on the book covers to be taken to the review)

Definitely a different sort of crime novel, not your average detective novel – no goody and baddy with the other one the victim. A novel with many layers, and not necessarily ones where the truth is going to be made clear to all, including the reader.

This is the story of Julie Jacobs who upon the death of her Aunt, her guardian since her mother and father died in a tragic car accident, learns the truth about her name, her place in life, her background and her history. History which goes back to the 14th Century and involves a familiar story to Julie, in fact her favourite – William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

If you are a fan of Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet and theories about where Shakespeare got his stories from and where they fit into today literature then this is the book for you.

So that is a look back from the posts of 2010 and if anything I have picked up a reminder of the lovely stitching designers I liked and have patterns of galore in my home. The books I read were very varied and I picked up an author I have not read anymore of since 2010 – Deanna Raybourn so I think I might have to rectify that and also share the reviews of the first three novels that I read.

I am going to look at 2011 next, so please pop back at some point over the coming weeks and months to see what I have rediscovered.

 

Crafts · Jottings · Knitting

Parish Notices

Hello all – what’s been happening round your own little parishes?

April has been a month of reading, resting, Ragdale Hall and spring cleaning. Two weeks off can do that for a girl you know!

I have all these great ideas of blogging about other things and I even hinted as such in my last Parish Notices post – that has yet to come to fruition. I think maybe the lack of access to proper computer and not quite there with blogging on my iPad means I only use the computer blog when I am home with my parents or if I can sneak a few minutes at work to knock up a review or something and then email myself for editing later on.

The other thing that could be stopping me writing these posts is the reading – do check out these recent reviews and recently published books

I found this book such a joyous and uplifting read and showed you that you can diversify when you need to and keep those around you as close as you can – they will love you the most. A great read and if you like your stories, full of cake and countryside then this is a must. Think Countryfile and Mary Berry mixed together!

 

An enjoyable read which has everything you want from women’s fiction – to take you away on holiday, for romance, for laughs and for some wonderful food.

Phillipa Ashley has done it again and she is fast becoming an author you can rely on for great reads.

Then there is the wonder that is Ragdale Hall – one day from the return of one of my visits I will write all about it.

After a lot of clearing out and dusting, I made space again for the jigsaw and also found that the spare room is much better than the living room in terms of light. Many an hour has been lost….

Then there is wool, colour, crochet, knitting and blankets galore!

What has been keeping you occupied in your part of the parish?

 

Books

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club – Poppy Dolan

Dee Blackthorn is ruthless when it comes to the corporate business world and she strives for one hundred percent success. She works hard and that is all she does, there is no stop, there is no pause. Dee lives for her work.

That is until one day she finds herself without a job and back living with her brother, JP. Suddenly working all the time is not the priority.

Which is not necessarily a bad thing because JP has managed to break both his wrists. JP becomes Dee’s priority but also in some ways her project as she wants to help him get on better. JP is not any normal brother though.

JP runs the local haberdashery and has found peace and pleasure in his knitting. He is popular online and regularly helps anyone that he can. But how can he now when he can’t even hold a knitting needle. Dee has to help him but there is a problem…..Dee cannot knit….

When she bumps into an old school friend, Becky in the supermarket who has just given birth to beautiful boy prematurely, she persuades JP that knitting little hats for premature babies would be a great way of just not helping Becky but lots of people in the same situation.

When Ben turns up looking for Dee, he becomes involved in the whole knitting furor and becomes friendly with JP. Trouble is Dee remembers what Ben was like to work with and thinks that there must be some ulterior motive. Ben becomes a surprise natural with the knitting, much to Dee’s irritation but he does embrace the whole idea of expanding the premature baby hat campaign.

Dee’s skills from her work life are in their element and what she can do is organise and make something small and successful, huge and mega successful. Is that what everyone and JP wants especially when it begins to hurt the people Dee loves. Dee cannot always see the real meaning sometimes of something so small and the pleasure that can be gained from a small number of people working for a bigger cause.

I loved this book, certainly one of my favourite of the year. Without a doubt because of the story but also because as a fellow knitter I can relate to all the yarn stories and the varieties of yarn, the difficulty in learning a new technique and being able to find someone to help you when needed.

This is a book which refocuses on the small little things in life because they are the most important and that sometimes having a big impact does not leave a lasting one. It is a great read and if you are a knitter as well, then this book is certainly a great read. Perhaps it might inspire you to pick up a pair of needles and knitting for someone.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

The Woolly Hat Knitting Club is out now. 

As you may (or may not) know I am a knitter as one of the many crafts I like to try my hand at. I already knit for the premature babies at my local maternity hospital. My mum always did long before she had me and continues to do so, I have just simply followed tradition. So here are a couple of hats and a selection of the cardigans as well. 

 

 

Books

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses – Carole Matthews

I am still fairly new to Carole Matthews books and what I have read so far have been good reads. This book was no exception.

Christie Chapman, single mother who commutes two hours each way to London to work as a legal secretary is simply living but not necessarily alive. Everything she does is for her and her son Finn. She has the love and support of her parents who are near by. But life for Christie seems to be one long commute.

When not at work, thanks to her mother she has developed a rather obsessive interest in papercrafts. She makes cards and little gifts for friends and for people at work. She sometimes sells some, but she is really just a good hobbyist whose dreams of doing such a thing as a real job are firmly locked away because of the reality of the life she has.

When her mother entered her designs into a competition and she wins the chance to turn a hobby perhaps into something more. Part of the prize is to go to America to learn more about crafting.

Christie comes back from America with crafting ideas in abundance but also the possibility of love. However reality bites and her son is not very well and she needs to devote her time to him as much as she can.

Can she do this, commute, work, craft and have the possibility of romance? Surely something has to left behind?

Is the decision Christie makes the right one? Is the right decision her happy ending?

This is a joyful novel in parts and sad in others, but through that emotional depth, Carole Matthews has created a story which shows you how people support each other, stick together for a common goal and have faith that the decision you make is the right one for you. Do not let the fact that the novel is about crafting put you off, that is merely the vehicle that is used for expanding Christie’s world.  I was drawn into the story even if perhaps I knew how it was going to all turn out. But who cares! Not me!

A good read.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel 

Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses is out now.

Books · Cooking · Crafts · Jottings · Knitting · Witterings

Sunday Snippets and Stuff

It has been absolutely ages (July 2015)  since I posted about what I was doing as opposed to all the reading and reviewing that has been going on.

I have plenty I have wanted to share, but for one reason or another have not got round to sharing it. I want to say that will change, but I cannot promise. So I thought perhaps a little update would be good.

Watching – 2016 started off as a cracking year for drama on the telly box. I loved Silent Witness, Death in Paradise, War and Peace, Midsomer Murders, Vera. I was drawn right into Happy Valley and I am awaiting for The Night Manager to end, despite knowing what happens in the book. Grantchester is keeping me entertained and I do so enjoy this series of books if you have never got round to it. I am watching Dr Thorne and I have nothing to compare it to, as I have never read any Trollope but I am enjoying it all the same.

Reading  – slowly so it would seem to my Goodreads count. No doubt I will gain some momentum with bank holidays in the distance.

Knitting – Remember this

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Well it has now turned into this (excuse poor quality photo)

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and even though in the photo, the ends are still hanging about I can assure you they have been sewn in and I am wearing it as I type.

It was my very first attempt at making something to wear. Most of my knitting, consists of scarves and toys, the odd pair of gloves and some socks.

Still Finishing – the socks, the cross stitch I had mentioned in November last year.  Though I did finish the Christmas Decoration I was making so 1 out of 3 is good – isn’t it?

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Starting – After something big to knit, I needed something small to keep me occupied. You cannot get much smaller than a premature baby and so I am adding to the local maternity unit vast need for premature baby hats.

2 finished, 1 to make up and all 3 need buttons on.
2 finished, 1 to make up and all 3 need buttons on.

Eating – too much. The weight loss has gone, I now need to find the part of my brain that switches me off from comfort eating.

Solving  – The Mousetrap. I knew who the culprit was but it was the first time I had ever seen it on stage, more about that in another post. I promise, because I have written about it already!

Worrying – Trouble with having a pet, even if it is vicariously through your parents animal, is worrying when they are ill. Little Stanley has had Gastritis and was proper poorly, it is only in the last day or so he has perked up and his little personality is starting to shine once again.

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So how are things with all of you?

Books · Cooking · Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings · Knitting · Witterings

Now where was I……..

Remember this list

  • have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
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Lizzie Kate Designs – using up all the threads I have acquired in the past years.
  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
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This is sock 2. Sock 1 just needs to be re-grafted as I did it wrong. I am nearly at the end of this one so perhaps a finish soon…….
  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……

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  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 26 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!

This was the day he arrived:

Stanley

This is him today:

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  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

So whilst I have not crossed anything else off my list, I have at least shown you some works in progress.

Which means I need to rethink my list:

  • Finish the socks
  • Complete another part of the cross stitch – it will eventually look like this I hope

  • Finish at least one Christmas Present and make it up from the pieces you can see from the photograph earlier on in this post
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • More of my jigsaw that I started needs to be done, this one cannot possibly take 3 years!
  • Baking pictures. Although I am debating this at the moment, due to having got on the scales and seen that whilst I managed to lose an impressive 5 and 1/2 stone in 2012. I have seriously failed to maintain this weight loss. I readily admit to myself that this is probably one of the reasons for the lack of momentum with many things in life at the moment, this blog included.

Trouble with crafting is you start other projects and therefore I picked up a free pattern, the needles and bought some wool and then……..

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Whoops! Another thing for the list then

  • Finish the V neck cardigan.

Think that might be enough for the list for the time being.

You may or may not have noticed, but I have made no mention of books on this list. I probably should because whilst I am reading, I am not writing reviews. Not having enough time at the moment, work has turned busy as I have had to increase my workload and probably will be like this until I finish for Christmas on the 18th December. Also I refer back to my lack of momentum. But I am reading and enjoying it so please be patient. My only challenge will be to perhaps actually write a November Roundup post and see where that takes me.

Crafts · Cross Stitch · Jottings

The Library

I seem to be on a bit of a roll at the moment in finishing things off and crossing items off lists. I do like the satisfaction that crossing something off your list can bring.

  • I have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……
  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!
  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

This time I am sharing some stitching. I dread to think how long I have had Little House Needleworks ‘The Library’ on the go.

Looking back I posted this picture in July 2011 – yes 2011!

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And there was an update in December of the same year, yes still 2011.

The Library - July 2011

And then it went a bit quiet clearly for around 4 years. Anyone who does any sort of craft will probably know this, plenty is started and plenty hangs around. Which is why periodically I go through a finishing off phase. I also think because Cross Stitch is not as popular as it was, it takes a back seat. Just like phases, it will become popular again I am sure.

So if you have waiting to see the finished picture for the last 4 years I can only apologise but here it is

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Please excuse the photography it is not one of my many hobbies!

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And a bit more of a close up. This was literally hot off the needle.

It will now transfer to the tin where I keep all my finished but unframed items… who knows what for but one day it may have a frame and reside happily upon my wall.

The trouble is when you get to the end of something, you are inspired to start something else, especially something which has been hanging around in your baskets,boxes,drawers etc for a while. I am drawn to particular designers and ideas and very much like pieces that contain words.

But for what I have started next….. that will come in another post.

 

 

Crafts · Knitting

Hog in my Hedge

At the end of September I posted about how it has been perhaps a bit slow round here and that not much was being posted about. Despite how much I wanted to share with you all.

I might (it is a small might) have found a bit more of a mojo (and time) in terms of posting, so I went back to the list I made then and pared it down a bit. And I can now cross something out as you can see.

  • I have finished a piece of cross stitch, a book related one too, that has been on the go for a while.
  • I have started and finished a knitted hedgehog.
  • I have started another piece of cross stitch…..
  • I am busy trying to finish a pair of socks…..
  • I have completed a jigsaw which had been hanging around for over 2 years and is now complete, so I started another one…..
  • I am now starting to think about Christmas Presents, and ones that I could possible make……
  • I have been away to somewhere new and would love to tell you all about it….
  • I have watched the latest adaptation of An Inspector Calls on the television and I want to share my thoughts about it and the play which I reread before it started…..
  • Stanley is still delighting everyone and is now 17 weeks old, with teeth as sharp as razors and a personality to match!
  • I want to share some of my baking virtually of course……

This was a free kit with a knitting magazine that mum bought. I do not normally make such things, but I thought it would be a relative quick and easy make.

Then I remembered how I hate knitting with that hairy yarn especially when it is not straightforward knitting and you have to decrease.

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Of course the yarn provided is never enough and it is always cheap. It really is not nice to knit with and something that should have started off as a simple quick project hung around a bit too long. But I cracked on as I am trying to finish things off before I start even more and so after some debate about feet and how many I should sew on bearing in mind the wool only gave me enough for 3 of them I finished it.

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And as for those feet – well you would never seen them at the back under all that hairy yarn. That is my story and I am sticking to it!