Sunday, 29 June 2014

It's getting there...

So this week I have been true to my word with concentrating on finishing, with no thought of a new project at all...

I continued with making some more little flowers. I didn't have a plan, design or layout in mind, just my usual kind of winging it, gut instinct kind of method!  I wasn't sure whether a minimal or full impact approach was required, so after a few blooms I tried a couple of layouts...

The second I think has real possibilities. So I will come back to that with a fresh eye, I have a feeling some embroidery will be required from me too ( oh dear, why do I dread sewing so)

I've also progressed more with my heathers cushion.  Normally I find the joining to be oh so tedious, but this one has been coming together quite nicely and not been a chore at all.

And I can see the finish line in sight, I could even pop its little pad in to see what it will look like, I just have the last overlap edge to complete, and add some buttons to fasten...

My original intention was to have a go at making a large fimo, decorative button for the front, but maybe a large flower, like on a lily pond, is the way to go? Hmmmm...? Any thoughts? ??

I had some 'happy mail' a little pack of buttons sent from IGer @handcraftedlove, I'm sure they will look lovely on a future project

And so for this weeks mood square. Where the majority of the week has been quite relaxed, and I had a great, positive annual review at work, a couple of stressy bits did creep in...

Red - beautiful hot sunny weather
Peach/pink - relaxation
Purple - unwanted stressiness

Sunday, 22 June 2014

The finishing line...

At the beginning of the week we managed a last minute impromptu trip out with hubby's sister. We've not been able to see her for awhile as getting about is difficult!  We chose to take a little trip to Wisley gardens, only down the road for us, but hard to get to without a car, so we never pass up the opportunity to go! I love looking at flowers and more to the point I have an obsession with photographing flowers!


I love the colours, the shapes, the patterns, individual blooms, or mass displays...

Sadly it was an overcast day, (of course it was sunny and hot when I was at work later in the week!). but it was warm and pleasant.

We went past the lily pond, and various borders and gardens...

Into the Glasshouse

Orchids have to be some of my favourites, with such intricate, delicate shapes

After a little picnic in the grounds, we walked to another lake, where we spotted some people feeding the ducks and fish. When we drew closer, we saw the most amazing sight. A mass of Trout, all lined up in a row at the waters edge, mouths open, waiting for the food, the strength in their tails pushing them forward, and flipping them round if they ended up facing the wrong way. With the ducks muscling in and clambering over them!

We all thoroughly enjoyed our day, and of course we rounded off the day with tea and cake!

For this weeks mood square I chose the Popcorn flower, from the 200 crochet blocks book by Jan Eaton, and I chose some lovely floral pinks and peaches for the colourway.

I have been dying to get started on a new piece, to get into the flow and rhythm of the crochet, but I have been good and just concentrated on sewing in ends, and blocking. Just when I thought I was ready to join my Heather squares, I found a mishap. Somehow, one of the threads had been cut, disaster, it meant I had to repeat this square again! So this has yet to be joined!

I completed the back of my Carnivale cal mandala cushion.

 I'm really happy with the way its turned out... 

What I hadn't realised is that the intention was to make the actual cushion too! Oh dear, I'm afraid that I'm going to back out of this bit and surrender, I will have to cheat and buy an insert! This may be tricky as round cushion inserts aren't too readily available, so until I find the right size pillow, it means I can't get on and finish the pom pom edging...

The good news is that I found my flower pattern book.

 So I did make a start on some cute little floral embellishments for the backing that i'd made previously.

I will need to stay focused this week, I need to reach the finish line on some of my projects. Despite 
whatever issues get thrown in the way, I am determined to have a ta dah moment, sooner rather than later!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

London town...

Last week we took our little trip up to London.
We couldn't leave until after hubby had been to his specialist appointment, but that didn't have the outcome we were hoping for, with more waiting around for an Mri and then a long 7 week wait for results, so we have to put our life on hold a bit longer!

So, we found our hotel easily enough, not far from Victoria station, dropped off our bags and ventured straight out again.

We took the bus to Westminster, and headed to South Bank, as I think its a nice area to relax.

We needed to pin-point certain areas to go to, as hubby's knee was not up to wandering aimlessly! After a stroll by the river, we sat back and watched the world go by.

The weather had a temporary blip with a heavy rain storm, we found a little nook to shelter, and watched everyone frantically dashing past getting soaked.

We tool the bus back to Victoria and found a colourful Mexican restaurant for dinner. We had an enjoyable meal, the food was lovely, just a shame the service wasn't quite up to par!!

The following morning was a hot one, and we had to get suited and booted for our pre-booked Afternoon tea (well morning for us!) at the Ritz hotel. This was actually a prize I won last year at work, this included the travel and the hotel. I felt a bit trepidatious about going but it was an experience not to be missed. The staff were a delight and we felt at ease immediately as our chosen tea was poured from a silver teapot into delicate floral cups.

On the cake stand were a selection of finger sandwiches, little macaroons and cakes

When it looked like we were finished with the first round, we were asked if we would like to try the scones, well it would be rude not to! They were still warm! With a dash of clotted cream and jam, oh my goodness these just melted in the mouth!

Of course whilst eating you were eyeing up the delightful cakes, dying to tuck in, but before then they came round with a hostess trolley with the 2 cakes of the day, and the sticky toffee cake was too hard to resist!

By the time we got to that lovely top layer of the stand we were struggling, didn't know where to put it all, but what a waste, we had to try!
So we had more of a taste test rather than devouring it all
The little cream dome, that turned out to be heavenly, with an oozing peach centre

whilst the macaroons were crisp, yet soft and textured and simply scrumptious. I run out of adjectives, it was all just good enough to eat!!

Of course it was all taking place in the most exquisite surroundings

The room was light, airy and totally decadent

And I've never been so impressed with a bathroom before that I had to take pictures 

I would recommend this experience to anyone, truely high class, but beware of eating too many sarnies, leave enough room for cake!!

We could hardly move we were so full, so we only ventured as far as Green park, just around the corner, and we didn't budge for a couple of hours. The sun was beautiful and warm, and we watched with fascination the steady stream of people that wandered by.

Our next stop-off was to Covent Garden, another favourite haunt of mine. With music, comedy, circus, statues there is always a host of entertainment.
Another rest-point for us was back down by the river again, but this time on the other side

For the evening we had booked the theatre, courtesy of my Mum, who had given us vouchers in the past. We had chosen to see the Lion King, and it totally lived up to all the rave reviews.
The performance was brilliant and the costumes fantastic, the slight downside is that we were surrounded by school parties, you almost felt too old to be there!!! But they were reasonably behaved and didn't spoil the show at all. So thats another attraction that I recommend you add to your to-do list!

Then it was just the journey home, always the worst part, and then back to reality. It may have only been a couple of days away, but it was a break that was much needed, and did us the world of good. 
So enough of my gushing, I will just leave you with this weeks mood square

There was no hard decision about what colours to choose for this week.
Blue - blue skies, the river, and royal blue
Yellow - warm sunshine, happiness, and gold

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Lazy Movie Days

As I worked the last bank holiday, it meant I was able to have my extra day off last week. We weren't really able to venture out as hubby's knee is still not right, so we had a some chilled out home time together.
Unusually we are quite up to date with our V+ box viewing so this enabled us to have some movie moments. We viewed our latest lovefilm disk, Captain Phillips and then dug out some others from the depths of the garage inc Eragon, The secret of Moonacre and Delgo
Meanwhile of course I was working away with my little hook.

This weeks mood square was happy and bright and colourful. I kinda made it up. My intention was to use the stitch pattern that was used around the last rows of the Manadala cushion, but I found it didn't work in straight lines, it curled in to a round. So I went with it and did another row, before turning it into a square shape, hence the flower shape in the centre...

I'm loving how my blanket is turning out. The random colours, and patterns and the fact that it will be such a lovely memory keepsake

We've now got the pattern for the back of the Mandala cushion, so i've made a start on that

I've been blocking my granny cushion. It certainly makes a difference. It was a strange wonky shape until the steam worked its magic on the pinned squares.

I'm determined to actually get some pieces finished!

I've missed out on the lovely weather this weekend, as I've been working, but have now got an exciting couple of days ahead, with a trip to London.
Stopping overnight at a hotel, I've never stayed in London before, so that will be an experience.  The following morning we will be going upmarket, with a visit to the Ritz. I'm not very good at dressing smart and being posh, but with dinky sandwiches and lovely cake to look forward to it'll be worth being on my best behaviour. After some exploring in the afternoon, we have booked to see the Lion King at the theatre in the evening, which i'm sure will be fabulous.

I will tell you all about our little trip next week, and hopefully i'll be brave enough to whip out my phone and take some snaps of our Ritz experience
Until then.....

Sunday, 1 June 2014

May's colourful projects...

Despite being on holiday last week, I did actually take my trusty hook with me. I've not taken my craft on holiday before, so whether this means i've become more of an addict, or because I knew with the unreliable weather, and hubby's dodgy knee, there may be more opportunity. So I wound some tiny balls of different colours, with the intention of doing some extra mood squares and trying a new pattern.

I did my first mood square in a mix of blues / greens to celebrate being by the sea.

I decided to try to do some extra squares for my mood blanket, to extend it from 52 up to 60.

As we'd had a warm sunny day, and I was feeling relaxed I chose warm pastel colours, with a basic circle in a square pattern.

My next square is bright and happy, warm and relaxed

My last square was also a learning curve. I wanted to give a spiral a go, so I searched for a pattern. I found on Snovej's blog some lovely precise instructions, with easy to follow pictures... I had looked at the spiral in the past and thought it looked quite tricky, but with focus and a great step-by-step guide I managed it.

Something else that I wanted to try was a Mandala cushion that I had seen on Instagram. The pattern is by poppyandbliss, an Australian who produces beautiful, bright creations, which was made into a crochet-a-long project on Remember these lovely heather tones, that I didn't have enough to make a big granny cushion, well this was my chance to use these pretty colours together...

On my first attempt i struggled, got frustrated, and gave up, a bit disappointed.

But, on the way home, with facing a 5 hour train journey, I took another look. With a determined mind, I focussed firstly on trying to get the magic circle correct. After that hurdle I needed to figure the invisible join. I'm sure these are basic moves for the average crocheter, but I am well aware that I hold my yarn and hook in a very cack-handed way which made these fiddly for me.

Once I'd conquered those, the rest of it followed nice and easily. I'm not used to following a pattern, as I tend to make things up as I go, but I enjoyed this, and was a great task to make the journey go quicker. I have now completed the front, and I love it!! I'm looking forward to the next set of instructions, for the back of the cushion...

Going back to my Granny cushion that I started before going away, which was based on the heather tones above, I can say that i've now completed the main bulk of the crochet. The next step is to block it before starting the joining process...

I cant believe that May has disappeared already, and we are heading into half a year! Where oh where does the time go!!!

This is a look back at my May projects...