Friday, 30 September 2011

Life begins...

 As mentioned (quietly slipped into a sentence) at the end of my last post, I recently turned 40. Some people find this launch into their forties quite difficult to cope with. Me - well I am the youngest of most of my friends so everyone else has already been there, done that. Also, to me, age is just a number - I have never had any issue with telling people how old I am, luckily. But birthdays are a problem for me in other ways as I just don't enjoy being centre of attention. I love going out for a meal with my husband and girls, but that's all I want to do for a birthday. So we went for a delicious meal at my favourite local pub (reportedly the oldest pub in England) and came home, full, tired and happy.

My gorgeous girls made me cards (I love a homemade card - it did make me giggle when I saw the OMG sign!) and I had a nice relaxing day. Perfect. The wonderful Alison from Gingercat  took me out for afternoon tea (with champagne no less) on the Friday before my birthday. The weather was glorious so we sat outside on the terrace, drinking champagne and tea and wolfing down sandwiches, cakes and scones. It was tops! Then I went out for lunch with my Mum and Dad at another lovely local pub, which was fab. I do like a nice meal out, can you tell?

As for presents, this was the star attraction - I have wanted an Eames rocker for years and I managed to get this original beauty for a very reasonable price.

Unfortunately, I am the only member of my family who likes it. My husband calls these chairs yoghurt pots on skis and the girls wrinkled their noses when they saw it (they dislike anything second hand - I'm trying to change their ways, honest). However, recently I have seen them sat in the chair, rocking whilst watching tv. I think they may be coming round, slowly.

So that was my birthday. It felt quite Autumnal on the day but the weather in the UK is like the height of Summer at the moment. I checked the forecast this morning and it's due to stay all over the weekend until Tuesday. We will be out in the garden enjoying it while we still can. Hope you all have a fab weekend too. x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Mollie Makes blanket

 Remember this blanket from issue three of Mollie Makes? Remember how I was inspired to have a go at making my own? Remember that I'd made a few blocks in my chosen colours and laid them out on the not suitable for close ups lounge rug? (Really must get it cleaned.) As below -
Remember how I wasn't happy with the distribution of colour compared to the inspirational blanket. There was just too much colour and I wanted to tone it down with a few more blocks of the paler colours, namely parchment and silver (Stylecraft Special DK). Well, I made a few more blocks in just these colours, ordered more yarn to make sure I had enough, and yesterday I decided it was time to lay it all out and see how it was looking - and also to see how big this blanket was getting.

It's starting to look like a nice lap blanket size. I was thinking it would probably live on my small grey sofa, which is a very small 2 seater. It would be ideal if it were wide enough to span the back of the sofa. I think I just need to make a few more blocks to make it big enough, bearing in mind that it will grow a bit once it is joined together by double (UK) crochet. My only problem now though is that I think I have overdone it with the paler colours. Looking back at the magazine photo, there seem to be more pops of colour than the above photo. I am therefore going to make a few more of each colour, a few more silver and no more parchment. Then I hope I will have enough to start joining. I am quite excited and nervous about the joining bit - excited as it will be one step closer to finishing this blanket, which I know I will love, but nervous as I am not good with keeping blocks in the right order and joining long rows of them will cause me major headaches.

But before all this happens, I really need to finish a blanket I started a while ago - the one with the Patons Eco chunky wool that I got for Mothers Day. It's half finished and very quick to make up but as it has grown, it has just been too warm to crochet with it draped over my lap. I need to finish it as a certain little mister has taken to sitting on the back of the sofa, which is already covered in claw marks from our old cat. We need to protect the sofa from further damage. BTW, no more clawing from Gerard (yes, an r has disappeared from his name all of a sudden, at the request of my husband - he wanted no relevance to the footballer!) since we let him out, but that's another story entirely. The name Houdini has been mentioned more than once.

I'm sorry to say that I haven't even got any photos of this blanket yet. Really must drag it out, take some photos and start work on it again.

So it would seem I am fairly behind with posts - more updates on Gerard, my birthday (a 40th no less), crochet and a little something that popped through the post today. Oooh, the excitement. xx

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Butter wouldn't melt

 Could he look any cuter? He really is settling in nicely and gets on well with all of us. He even loves visitors. No accidents, only one breakage of an ornament (he is spending a considerable amount of time on windowsills, longing to go outside and there were a few too many ornaments on E's sill. Oops). But because he is longing to go outside so much - especially at night - this is happening...
 ... and this. Gerrard has scratched the pine dresser in four different spots. Just as well it is easy to sand down and wax.
 We stuck some tin foil on the corner of the dresser after he attacked it the first time, but obviously he has just scratched another area instead, and I couldn't see us draping foil over the whole cupboard. Also there was a risk of him just moving onto destroying the kitchen cabinets which I have recently painted.
 Of course, we bought a scratching box (he didn't know what it was) and also a scratching post (still pristine, fresh from the packaging it came in) so we are just biding our time until he is allowed out and hoping he will claw the trees from then on.
He really is a sweetie. We're all so glad we got him. And he still loves his blanket, which makes me happy. BTW, the reason his bed is inside an upturned toy basket is because he was used to sleeping in a covered cat bed at the pet rescue centre and spent the first couple of nights with us sleeping on top of the kitchen wall cabinets, where he was close to the ceiling. He feels a lot happier and safer in his bed at night now. Not long til we open the cat flap...

PS. Sorry you had to see close up photos of our kitchen floor - hopefully it will be gone within the next couple of months.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Back to crochet

 Finally, another crochet post! This is the mini project I was talking about. I have used pretty much the same yarn as the Mollie Makes blanket I am making, give or take the odd colour. I needed to make something quick and easy so chose to do a large granny square. I say large, but this is just a mini blanket really, only about 65cm square.

Here it is completed - not very large at all and extremely speedy to make. I started it on Sunday and finished it on Tuesday. I needed to make it in a hurry as we had a special visitor coming on Wednesday this week. A VIP - very important PET...

 Yes, this little chap came home with us on Wednesday from the local pet rescue. We visited on Sunday and looked at two cats in particular, but saw so many beautiful moggies. It would have been so difficult to choose, had we not looked on the website at all the cat profiles before we went. We chose to see only black cats as they are not so popular at the moment (didn't know that certain cat colours were out of fashion - shocking). The two we chose to see had both been at the cattery for the longest period of time out of all of the cats there. They were both so adorable, it was very difficult to choose, but we decided on this little chap as he was affectionate, a little bit shy but also a little bit playful. The day I picked him up I found out that the other cat had already been rehomed - the next people to look at cats after us decided he was perfect for them. This made me feel very happy as I was quite glum about leaving him behind.
 As you can see, he is loving his new blanket. There were crochet blankets for every cat at the rescue centre so I donated three crochet blankets that I bought from the charity shop a couple of years ago. I seem to be making so many that I don't think I will need those ones any more. After making this blanket and covering it with my scent in the process, I gave it to the kids to rub all over them. I think that may be helping him to settle in and get to trust us.
He has been getting very tired whilst posing for the camera! He really is a little sweetheart and has been following me around like a puppy. Unfortunately he has to stay inside for the next 3 weeks, which is a problem for him as he is desperate to get out and explore the garden. It's also a problem for us as we have had fantastic sunshine over the last couple of days and we have been sweltering in the lounge, unable to open any windows or doors.

And guess what his name is? Gerrard. Yep, I wouldn't have chosen that either! After spending ages trying to think of a different name, the kids decided that they would much rather keep his name just as it is. Cats usually end up being called several different nicknames rather than their real names after a while so we are pretty much ok with that. I think. I'm sure you will be seeing more of him on here soon. If he ever stays still long enough to have his photo taken. x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Operation Lawn

 I've been meaning to post since the kids went back to school last week, but I've been catching up with various bits and pieces that needed doing (mainly housework related, nothing exciting) so it's only been now that a chance has arisen to get on here. Anyway, here is a photo of the old veg patch as it looked at the end of July, above.
 This is what it looked like after my nephew came round and did some serious weeding (fuelled by bacon + fried egg and cheese + pickle sandwiches, french bread pizza, plus gallons of tea. Apparently I overfed him.) He cleared the weeds a lot quicker than I would have managed, especially with two kids distracting me!
 Once the weeds were cleared, he levelled the soil as much as possible - the front and side of the patch are lower than the back. All ready for the turf...
 It was my job to load the turf into the wheelbarrow and wheel it round to the back. I didn't realise how heavy turf is and had to keep having frequent tea breaks to give my poor back a rest!
 My husband laid the turf, whilst I danced around on the scaffold plank. I was told this was to help the turf, but I did often wonder whether it was just to make me look silly.
And this is what it looks like now. We have never used our sprinkler so much, in fact I'd forgotten we even had one. The kids can't wait to run around on the new lawn and it definitely makes the garden look much tidier. Still lots more to do in the garden but so so pleased we don't have to worry about weeds on this bit any more. The front garden is also looking fantastic. I forgot to get some photos - we've planted some sedums in the front border and reseeded the lawn.

Hopefully the next post will not be garden related. I've started another project (another!) and it's nearly finished - it needs to be ready by Wednesday. Will let you know soon. x