Sunday 31 October 2010

It's a whopper...

You know when I said that doing 2 rows of my ripple blanket a day was a do-able goal?  I don't think I mentioned that the blanket is over six feet wide!  I think, on average, it has taken me about an hour and a quarter to do my daily quota, but I have managed it.  I'm running out of yarn now and so in a couple more days I think I will have to put it back on the back burner until I can buy some more.

I am loving it though.  This was the first time I had actually laid it out on my bed and it is now clear where this blanket is going to live.  My bedroom is completely white so it will add an intense block of colourful snuggliness...

While it's in the WIP pile, there are a couple of other more manageable crochet projects that I'd really like to get done with the yarn I bought ages ago.  Then I'll be ready for winter.

Thursday 28 October 2010

My creative space...

Has, at last, been all about the garden.  I have been planting bulbs in the hope that come the spring I am blessed with glorious colour again.

I have spent many hours scouring catalogues and websites and put together three schemes for some tulip beds.  I bought all my bulbs from here, for the first time and it comes highly recommended.

No2 did the digging (and copious amounts of moaning about it, I might add) and so, for the first time, I have planted my tulips in trenches.

If my garden looked anywhere near as beautiful as this one, I will be in green-fingered heaven next year.

I had some very enthusiastic helpers as well as the more begrudging one too.  Ignore the tin can, if you don't mind.  I have unearthed all manner of debris from party of the year outside...

Right, I'm off for a soak in the bath.  My fingernails are disgusting and my shoulders are aching from the bending and digging.

More creative spaces here.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

October rain...

Hmmm, so typically, this morning it is raining and my garden plans have been temporarily (I hope) thwarted.  Strangely, No2 has yet to emerge from his bedroom too.  Funny that, when I mentioned that we'd make a start today...

So I thought you might like to see the new bed I made for Pip last week.  I am in the process of having a major sort out at home and in the process, came across a big bag of fleece that I think I bought at a Knitting and Stitchery show quite a few years ago.  It turned out, I had already cut out the 3 pieces needed to make a simple Oxford-style cushion cover to fit in his basket.

I always use these really cheap (£2.59!) duvets from Ikea for his bed.  They last a couple of washes and I don't mind throwing them away when they are too dog-eared.  (Sorry!)  To make his new cushion really comfy, this time I splashed out and used two together.  The convenient thing is that if you fold them into four, they fit perfectly in his basket.  I tied them together using some embroidery thread so they keep their shape as he does like a fidget about.

As I had a couple of hours to kill, I thought he might like to know that his new cushion was, indeed, his.  Of course, he can read!  I raided my scrap drawer and used some bondaweb to cut out his name.

I then used a narrow zigzag stitch to complete the applique.

I used the same stitch to make the Oxford-style edge to the cover and lazily kept the lime green thread in the machine!

Now he knows his place and it is making everyone smile when they notice it.

Look at him, all soppy.  He is a ridiculous dog!  He takes that toy everywhere with him.

Ah, well... I think it may have stopped raining...

Monday 25 October 2010

October sun...

It's been a busy weekend:  kitchen cupboards have been sorted out and family has been fed and watered!

There have been glorious blue skies and the morning sun makes the fence round the decking steam from the dew that has collected there overnight.

I am still quite obsessed with capturing droplets on camera - always looking for that twinkle to be recorded forever.

There are quite a few bunches of grapes on my vines but they are not particularly sweet and despite their small size, are full of pips!

I have bought No2 a new game for his X-box with the promise of some serious help in the garden this week while he's off for half term.  I need to bring the hens up nearer the house again for the winter and there is lots of tidying up to do around the rest of the garden.

I bought these mini cyclamen at the nursery and they have replaced the faded geraniums outside the back door.

I hope the sun continues to shine, for a few more days at least, so I can get to work outside.  Today, though, I need to recover from the busy weekend...  some gentle sewing and rippling, I think.

Thursday 21 October 2010

My creative space...

Finally, I have embraced plain fabrics in my quilts.  I think I've avoided them purely because I love fabrics with designs on; I love the colour combinations within each fabric and I love mixing them up.

I am working on some quilts that will be gifts this Christmas.  One of them has some zingy Kona bright pink as sashing (another new thing for me).

One of them has the most delicious pile of deep Kona solids as the borders to each block.

I'm being deliberately coy here as I really don't want any surprises spoilt!

More creative spaces here.  What's going on in yours?

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Colourful Kew...

At last, Kew was showing off its autumn colour!  It looked hugely different from when Kristina and I visited last month.

We couldn't resist tramping through the leaves!

Japanese anemones always signify autumn to me too.  I particularly love the pink ones.

We obviously wandered off piste this time as we discovered things we had not seen before.  Most memorable, these wonderful willow sculptures by Tom Hare.


Lotus seed head

Horse chestnut

 Star anise


Aren't they stunning? 

Thursday 14 October 2010

My creative space... all about the ripple.

I have set myself what I consider to be a realistic challenge and that is to do just two rows a day.

Two rows is about an inch, therefore in a month's time, it should have grown thirty one inches.  See?  I'm a maths genius!

More creative spaces here.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Beyond the yurt...

...there are places to revisit.  This time Oxwich Bay on The Gower.  Saturday morning was windy and so the perfect day for flying a kite.

We had to make do with some more sedate beach-combing.  When I was small, every Sunday my Dad would go to the Shellfish Stall and bring home pints of shellfish for tea.  I used to love peeling the prawns and pop them straight into my mouth.  I could never bring myself to eat a winkle but I would pick them out with a pin for my Dad to eat, fascinated at the way they spiralled out of their shell.

The tide had left empty rock pools with wonderful stripes of sand...

...and seaweed clinging to the rocks.

It had exposed heart-shaped stones...

...that I was unable to resist embellishing!

The sea wall by the hotel where we warmed ourselves up with a large latte was covered in Maidenhair ferns.  I am endlessly fascinated by the way they grow out of seemingly nothing.

* * * * *

On Sunday, we made a flying visit to Castle Carreg Cennen, which looked magnificent as ever.

Just enough time for a quiet sit down to take in its beauty before heading back to real life!

Monday 11 October 2010

A different way of life...

I could get used to waking up to this view.  The soft misty light clinging to the hills in the distance.

I spent the weekend in another fabulous Under the Thatch property, this time, the Black Mountain Yurt.  I don't have enough adjectives to describe how much I loved it!  Hopefully, the pictures will speak for themselves.

It was tucked away in the top corner of a field, the perfect spot for some peace and seclusion.  The shepherds wagon on the right of the photo housed a mini kitchen and shower and toilet, so there were a few basic essentials. 

The yurt itself was authentic and traditionally constructed.  The wooden lattice which formed the walls were joined using leather thong that was knotted either side.  Thick felt then covered the walls and roof.  Traditionally, this would be made from the wool of the sheep that accompanied the nomadic people.

I loved the attention to detail everywhere. 

The roof structure was simple but precise.

All the ropes that held it together were made of horse hair.

Inside, there was a wood-burning stove.  I lit it on Saturday afternoon, but it soon warmed the yurt up to the extent that the door had to be flung open!

The bed looked like it had been made just for me!

The most vibrant patchwork quilt that had some wonderful vintage fabrics in it.

It was bliss sitting out in the late afternoon, having made a fire in the brazier, just taking in the view...

...smiling at our neighbours grazing contentedly...

...such a pretty foal, almost as big as the ponies in the next field.

While I was cooking dinner in the wagon, I glanced out the door only to be delighted to see two young fawns gambolling around in the same field.  They spooked a little when they spotted me, but soon forgot and carried on chasing each other around! 

Time spent like this is so important to me now.  I have developed an overwhelming wanderlust and the need to get out of town as much as I can.  To be able to sit back and feel content in the landscape.  This part of the world is like a magnet to me.