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.

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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!

Crafts · Knitting

Socks need Slippers

As you may (or may not) have notice I have been on about socks. Just the sort of thing to be talking about as the weather is getting warmer and we might be thinking of getting sandals and flip-flops out.

Anyway whilst wandering around the internet and pinterest I came across this website – Joe’s Toes

I had discovered the felt slippers and thought I could perhaps make some and use up my slowly increasing felt supplies. But then I spotted some knitted ones and they just looked like fun.

Simple enough to make, so I sent off for a set of soles.

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They come ready punched and on one set there were some grips.

I therefore just had to start knitting, I did try with some double knitting wool, but could see that chunky was the way forward so chunky it was.

Casting on a set amount of stitches, based on the size of the shoe in my case 12 stitches. Then counting the numbers of holes that the slipper has – simply you knit twice as many rows as holes.

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Now this was in a basic garter stitch, it grew quickly and I managed to knit both in an evening. I made a slight mistake by not leaving a long enough end on the first one knitted. However, it was not a problem.

Once complete you basically sew the edge of the knitting to the sole using the holes, evenly spaced and punched, fixing it in between the ridge bit of the knitting. (Knitters will know what I mean)

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Keep on going round and all of a sudden something begins to take shape. The only thing to remember is when doing the other foot, the wrapover bit needs to go the other way.

Then it is the case of fixing the soles together, I went for something contrasting rather than focusing all on red.

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They are super quick to make – now should I make them for Christmas presents? And shall I practice with some cabling perhaps? Ooo so much I could do.

Crafts · Knitting

Sock it to ’em!

I have whims and fancies when it comes to crafts. And whilst knitting is certainly the in thing at the moment as I have been knitting more than anything else lately. I needed a challenge – knit a pair socks.

It’s not just two needles, it is using different sort of wool and where on earth do you being with turning heels.

Christmas and mum provided me with the necessary equipment.

The wool, the needles and the pattern. And off I went it looks strange when you start and I had a couple of false ones….. but eventually something begins to make sense

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Of course the triumphant nature of finishing my first sock…….

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…. means you have to make its friend

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These are quite loose, I think they will be lovely to put over socks you already had on, to keep your feet even more toasty warm.

I need some more practice before I start adjusting sizes, it is in the length of the foot which there is too much ‘sock’. But let me practice some more with some other lovely wool. The finished pair was the first ball of wool I had, the second variety of wool can be shown in the started sock at the top of the post.

These are all simple knitted socks with a rib cuff and nothing more complicated, I have yet to brave cable, lace or anything else which may require a stiff drink to complete! I have a couple of books which accompanied said wool and needles for when I want to get adventurous. In the meantime, I am taking small knitted baby steps.