Monday, 30 April 2012

Wonderful Weekend

DH and I got back last night, from a great weekend with my family.  My sister hosted my 60th birthday party, my two wonderful DDs and great SIL, plus both my brothers and families, and my Mum and aunt were able to be there.  It was such a precious time.

 DD2 (Kate) and me

 DD1 (Jenny), Kate and my Mum



Jenny and my lovely niece, Katherine.

I was so blessed by their generous and thoughtful gifts.  My brothers and sister clubbed together for a mega-bucks Amazon voucher, and my brother Richard had carved these for me



It is about 14" square.  He said just to hang it outside on the side of the henhouse, but it's too precious for that - it's going to take pride of place on my kitchen window ledge, where I can look at it whenever I wash up.


I can't decide whether this sweet birdhouse will be too low down on the shed wall, or whether it needs to go higher, on the house wall.  I reckon he's really clever, and Rich - you've come a long way from the 'bear-dog-pig' we all admired last year!!  Heehee!!  I really was overwhelmed that he had taken so much trouble for me.

Kate gave me two tickets for the RHS Malvern Spring Garden Show next week, plus lots of little goodies and this lovely idea (I haven't seen these before)


 It's a journal with a different topic on each page - childhood memories, favourite things, and so on., as well as things about her - what she was like as a baby, etc.  The idea is that I fill it in and return it to her as a keepsake - what a lovely idea.  I'll take my time over doing this - might even make it a first project when I retire.

Jenny had already given my my pressie.  When she, Kate and I had our girlie day last weekend, she paid for my hair do, and outfit for the party, as well as them treating me to lunch that day.  They are such thoughtful daughters - I couldn't ask for better.

Anyway, we had a great time and - the piece de resistance - my brother in law asked what I would get with my voucher, and I replied an electric hedge trimmer (what every girl needs, eh?!)  He just said 'you don't need to do that - I've got one you can have!!'  They moved house recently, and the new one doesn't have a hedge.  How lucky am I?


On the journey home (3.5 hours) I knocked these up, ready for a cushion.  They really are quick to do, once you're in the swing of them.



Well, that's it for now.  I'm off to prepare to paper the shower room ceiling but need an extra pair of hands for some of it, so need to wait for DH to come home first.

While we were away, my neighbours Simon and Steph kindly looked after the cats and hens, and Simon has just popped round to measure up, offering to put a shelf in the henhouse, to lift the next box off the ground, and give them more room indoors - how kind is that?!

I'm posting this over on Handmade Monday http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog/2012/04/handmade-monday-64/ so pop over there for a mooch round some great blogs.

Love for now,

Chris

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

WOYWW

I had a lovely meal out with my friends Helen, Liz and Mary - thanks, girls! - last night, and they surprised my with this pretty crab apple tree for my birthday.

Thank you so much - it's really beautiful.  With the April showers we're having just now, not to mention the March winds that have suddenly come back - it's going to stay somewhere cool in the house, in the hope it can keep its blossom for as long as possible.

My war wound has scuppered the decorating plans for another couple of days so, in the meantime, as I can't get outdoors, I'm going to give the house a good going over but, in between jobs, I'm wrestling to get to grips with the crochet roses over at Apple Blossom Time http://appleblossomdreams.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/cal-granny-rose-week-2-of-5.html  I couldn't master them from the pics but managed by using the video, step by step.  They are really worth trying as they're very pretty.  You can see on more recent posts over there, what some clever crafters have come up with - really lovely!

Anyway, can't put off the housework any more.  I'm putting this on WOYWW, with the lovely Julia, over  at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-151.html  If you've got time, why not make yourself a cuppa and pop over there for a browse at what others are up to today?

Lots of love,

Chris x

Monday, 23 April 2012

Procrastination, blood and more!

Posting my good intentions here certainly worked.  After just one extra coffee and a chapter of my book, I emptied the shower room and stripped the ceiling paper and border.  I was going great guns until the very end, when this happened (look away if you're squeamish!) 


Just as I came to dismount the steps, I caught my finger on a nail in the wall!  Luckily it's a narrow cut and the nail was clean, so I'm sitting with my hand raised and hopefully it will close over and heal quickly, but that's the end of decorating for today, anyway.  Coffee and novel again it is - and I can honestly say I'm not procrastinating now!

On a lighter note, I knocked this off last night, pattern compliments of Brianna Asaro http://briannaasaro.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/tutorial-loofah-pattern.html, via Sara, at Tangled Happy http://www.tangledhappy.com/2012/04/crochet-loofah-pattern.html


Thanks, ladies!  It was so quick and easy.  I slightly altered it by adding an extra round of 2dc in each ch.

Signing off for now, and back to the book!

Chris x

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Confession Time - Handmade Monday

Hi - I'm hanging my head in shame, showing you these pics but I'm relying on you guys to keep me on the straight and narrow, over the next two weeks.

I'm at the start of a fortnight's holiday from work, not just because it's my birthday next weekend, but mainly because I need to tackle these problems -

 These first two are the small en suite shower room off the second (guest/craft) bedroom, and you can see it has just become a dump store for all the yarn I brought down from the loft but without anywhere for it to go.  It is a functional (when empty!) little room but with no colour or interest.  It had white paint splashed all over when it was first created (having been 1/2 of a little third bedroom) and really needs a facelift as well as de-cluttering.  I'm going to soften it by painting it caramel cream, with a new border around the top, as well as re-papering and painting the ceiling.  Sorry if I'm boring you, but even if no-one else reads it, I'm committted by putting it in writing.

Once upon a time I'd have thought nothing of decorating a room in a couple of days, but tempus certainly fugits and these days, just the thought of doing it is daunting!


These last two pics are the room itself.  As you see, it is very blue, and I've got some sweet wallpaper to soften it, and tidy it up.  It's looking rather tatty and not very inviting for guests.  At Ikea we found this -

It's the Antonius range, and you can put another of these units on top, and there are wire drawers to go with it.  It's white and quite dainty in style, so won't look out of place in a guest room, will store a lot of my stash (but I'll be able to see what's in each) and best of all, it's cheap!

 I'm going to start with the two units and later, if need be, will get another two.



We also found the Lycksele sofa bed (no, I'm not on commission from Ikea!) at at sensible price of £179.99

LYCKSELE LÖVÅS Two-seat sofa-bed Width: 142 cm Depth: 100 cm Height: 87 cmbut seemed very comfortable, and will fit nicely on the wall above, below the wall lights.  It's got a plain white cover but I wasn't going to pay another £60 for a coloured cord one - I'll use a big throw to go over it.  It won't get much use as a sofa but, hopefully, we will be able to invite people to stay over!

Anyway, not very exciting on the crafting front, but that's what's happening for my Handmade Monday (Tuesday, Wednesday ...!!)  Pop over and get inspiration from some much more organised bloggers at http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog/2012/04/handmade-monday-63/

Love for now, Chris x

Saturday, 21 April 2012

The Perfect End To A Perfect Day!

Hi - I was thrilled tonight, to read that the lovely Mich (http://mcrafts-theblog.blogspot.co.uk/ had given me this award - thanks very much, Mich.


I'm now trying to decide which of all the scrummy blogs I read, I should nominate.  It's like asking me to choose my favourite ice cream flavour!!  Anyway, I'll ponder it overnight and decide tomorrow.  Hope you've had a lovely day - I had a wonderful time out with my two DDs, retail therapy, hair do and lunch - what more could a girl ask for?

Night night for now, see you tomorrow xx

Friday, 20 April 2012

Flower Power

Remember the little amarylis sprout I showed you a few weeks ago?  Well -
 here's the not-so-little beauty now!!

She measures 24" high from the pot, and 7" across the bloom.  They really are majestic flowers.

 You can see the garden behind, how much rain keeps falling.  We desperately need it in the UK, but I'd rather not have it all at once!  Everything is shooting up now, though - lovely to see all the new growth, when you get a chance to venture outside.

Inside, I've had another foray into the loft, and came across these beauties stashed away from years ago.  This top one reminds me of the styles of Lisa at http://attic24.typepad.com/  and the girls at http://dutchsister-s.blogspot.co.uk/ among others.  This is another 'to do' to stash away for my retirement!  I can't see myself getting round to any of them yet.


Tonight I've made a cheese and onion flan for dinner, to have with salad and new potatoes.  The flan is very substantial, having rolled oats and wholemeal breadcrumbs in, and I think it's the tastiest I've tried.  I was introduced to it by my sister in law, and it comes from this book -

 which they kindly bought me for my birthday.  There are some scrummy meals there.

This one got rather more brown than I'd have liked, compliments of my fan-assisted oven (aka the furnace!)
Luckily I rescued it before it burned, and it still tasted yummy.

Anyway, I need to get some shut-eye now.  I've got to leave the house at 7am (on a Saturday!) to be at DD1s by 8am.  She is treating me to a haircut and blow-dry for my birthday, followed by a shopping expedition with her and DD2, and a girlie lunch out.

I love it when birthdays spread over a long time!  On Wednesday there was a surprise birthday cake at my church housegroup, made by my friend Eve (how does she get her sponges so light?!) then the outing tomorrow, followed by being taken out to dinner next Tuesday by the 3 friends in my prayer group, followed by a party next weekend down with my family in Southend-on-Sea!  When I return to work after my 2 weeks holiday, the girls there are taking me out to lunch.  I wouldn't mind being 60 more often!!

Anyway, night night for now,

Chris x

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

WOYWW Simple Pleasures

Hi - I was just thinking how easily - sometimes - I'm pleased.  I bought a drainer for the kitchen sink a little while ago and, it was only when I started using it, realised it didn't have a section for cutlery to stand upright and they tend to dry blotchy otherwise.  The new basin & drainer are black, so I wanted a black one, but no luck.  Then, when we were in Ikea on Sunday, I found this

 I got more pleasure out of spending 59p(!) on this than anything else for ages!  Isn't it great when you find just what you were looking for.

On the crafting front, I've been making these - these flowers are even quicker to make than the crochet ones I've done before.  Just sent off for another 200 brooch pins on the net - I don't reckon you can go wrong with 100 for £6.99 with free P&P.  The birdie was slower, and I think I will add an eye on any future ones.  I should have had more finished ones to show you, but DD2 came for tea last night and went home with several that caught her eye.  Good job she's worth it!


I've got two weeks' holiday from work starting Friday, and am planning what to do.  If I don't discipline myself, the flutterby instinct takes over and I just drift from one thing to another, and never really get anything done.  A fortnight sounds a long time but it will be over before I know it.

I hope all is well in your world today.  I'm adding this to WOYWW with Mrs. Dunnit http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-150.html- why not pop over and nosy around some great blogs?

Love for now, Chris x

Sunday, 15 April 2012

O Happy Day!

It has just been one of those days when I've got loads done, it's only 8pm and I'm not tired yet.

Earlier DH and I went to Ikea, after I pegged out 2 wash loads.  We were looking for a sofa bed - reasonable price, not too big, but comfortable.  And we found just what we wanted.  We have a two double bedroom house, and the second is my craft room.  That means that no-one can ever stay (we recently got rid of the old bed in there) so this sofa bed will be brill.  I'm at work this week but then have a 2 week holiday (with my 60th birthday in the middle) and I've got the wallpaper and paint to do that room and paint its en suite (used to be our tiny third bedroom).

The sun was still shining this afternoon so I got out and mowed the lawn.  Then we had dinner (thanks to Polly Polkadot http://pollypolkadotblog.blogspot.co.uk/ I've discovered that purple sprouting is delicious - and is 'cut and come again').

Since then I've been playing with felt scraps -

 They are all postcard size, and I've been experimenting with flowers

 and birds

and plan to mount them on brooch pins to give away at our car boot stall (see earlier post http://teddywaresandflutterbies.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/good-news.html ).  I'll take and post pics of the finished articles.

Does anyone have any ideas for small felt gifts for boys and men?  Other than bookmarks, I can't think of anything.  There's some blog candy for the best idea, if you can help me.

Anyway, better get back to stitching the birdies.

Love for now, and I'll catch up with you over at Handmade Monday at 1sy Unique Gifts - http://www.1stuniquegifts.co.uk/blog/2012/04/handmade-monday-62/

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Not so much WOYWW

- more what's in your potting shed?!  I spent most of my 5 days Easter holiday in the garden and managed to get loads of weeding done, plus putting in all the new plants bought last week.  Down at the bottom of the garden, the beds are ready for new veggies to go in.

The nearest bed has got broad beans in, and when the hail storms stop flying over, I'll sow the peas on this side and later, when they're big enough, with no danger of frost, put the runner beans down the middle.

The second bed has got onions in the right hand side and purple sprouting on the left.  I'd never grown (or eaten) this before, and don't think I will grow it again (I was given these plants).  They take up a lot of space and, if what they sell on the market is right, you only eat the purple florets. 
The other two beds are waiting for the rest of these to go in them


so I'm off now, in to the lean-to shed to my potting table (aka the chest freezer!) to pot them up.

I hope you don't get caught out by this very changeable weather!  Don't forget to visit Mrs Dunnit and all the lovely bloggers over at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/whats-on-your-workdesk-wednesday-149.html

Love for now

Thursday, 5 April 2012

New Bloomers!

... of the flowering and crochet variety.  DH and I went to a local very reasonable garden centre (few and far between, I think).  Anyway, I got a bit carried away, using the excuse reason of my soon-to-be 60th birthday to splash out (but DH said we needed to invest in the garden anyway) - and this is what we bought -

 From the left, one each of spirea, berberis, philadelphus (mock orange), hypericum, doronicum (the yellow daisy flower), ceanothus, pieris and a buddleia.  Then (sheepishly she admits to)

 spirea no. 2, a tree peony (how could I resist that pink beauty), a different buddleia, euonymus, solanum (to climb the Drumbeg corner pergola), and a choisya.  Then (well, it is nearly my birthday, they will save shopping money)
 there are a black, a red and a white currant, a logan, a tay and a blackberry, and a red, a yellow, and a green gooseberry.  Ironic that, ever since, it has been raining and very cold here - so they're still sitting on the benches.  Hopefully tomorrow (Good Friday) I'll be able to get out and plant them after church.

Meanwhile, inside in the warm (we lit the fire yesterday and today), I've knocked out a couple of crochet brooches for the DDs for Easter (less fattening than chocolate, and last longer!)

Anyway, back to the fire and the crochet for now - I need to crack on with the never-ending cowl.

Love to all,

Chris x