I cant quite believe I’ve made it to 50 posts! I very clearly remember setting up my account last October and publishing my very first blog post. I wasn’t even sure there’d be a second! I’m very glad there was. I’ve had lots of fun, learnt a lot and most importantly have enjoyed the organisation this sort of thing brings. No longer will I have to say ‘That thing that I did, when was it?’ It’s very comforting. Long may it continue!
I’m pleased to say that my walking has continued also! We’ve had extreme (for us) heat and heavy weather Vs heavy downpours. Nothing in between. But I’ve been out in all of it. The start of the months started with what can only be described as smelly walks. We’d had a couple of days of hotness and no rain to wash everything down. I headed out passed the humming bins ready for collection in the morning and on to my normal route around our local castle.
In all honesty, we (the people of the town) tend to use it as a big roundabout. But for a big roundabout it’s not bad is it? You can’t tell from this picture, but the moat was very low. It was creating a bit of a pong! I did manage to see some signets that didn’t seem to mind.
Around the other side of the castle, the geese were out in force. Unfortunately so was their mess!
My goodness the smell! The stuff was everywhere. You couldn’t even pick your way through it. It had been literally cooking for a few days with nothing to wash it away. I never realised that fried birds mess smelt like that. I could have easily lived the rest of my life without knowing.
I seemed to have picked a really bad day, as it happened to be flying ant and general flying bug day. I was swatting them away for the whole journey. How do they manage to get everywhere? I was picking them out of my hair for an age. I even managed to find one between my t-shirt and stomach half way along. How on earth did it get there?!?
I’ve also decided to step it up a notch and actually take lunch breaks at work, use them wisely and go for fresh air and exercise. I feel so extremely lucky that we have so many green spaces right in the city centre. It means I can wander without crowds or noise or exhaust fumes. I’ve tried a couple of different routes, and I think I’ve just about got it right now.
This is still one of my favourite views of my ex work. They sell a post card from this view where the trees are a beautiful shade of autumn red. I can’t get a picture anywhere near as good, but I thought I’d take one anyway.
The rolling year of 30th birthday celebrations continued last weekend with food at a fancy hotel for a friend of ours. Now, I don’t like to toot my own trumpet, but I’m something of a specialist on the subject of Afternoon Cream Teas. I’ve had cream teas all over the country and we have ratings for all of them. (If anyone is wondering where is the best, go here.) But I don’t think I’ve ever had a gentlemen’s afternoon tea. Unsurprisingly, I was dubious. I was told it would be mini burgers and Yorkshire puddings instead of finger sandwiches. Call me a traditionalist, if you will, but I like finger sandwiches. They’re all part of it. But no matter, I thought. I also like mini burgers, so it’ll be fine. There’ll still be scones. Well I’m sorry to report that there wasn’t a scone in sight! Can it still be called an afternoon tea without scones? Anyway, lets look at what was there..
Clockwise from top left we have a chorizo scotch egg, smoked salmon blini, prawn cocktail, beef in a Yorkshire pudding, venison burger and a steak sandwich. And for pudding..
Coffee and chocolate mousse and a creamy puff pastry thing.
Don’t get me wrong, it all tasted lovely. The chorizo scotch egg especially. But I was so disappointed. Cream teas fall into two categories in my book. The fancy (see above), and the robust. I definitely prefer a more robust arrangement. It seems that a lot of places have cottoned on to how good and popular cream teas can be, and as you would expect pushed it to top profit margins and capacity. Every table in the large restaurant has some variant of a cream tea in front of them and it was clear the staff and the kitchen couldn’t cope. Just as our server was telling us our pre booked food would be another half an hour, it arrived. A communication breakdown somewhere. Cream tea should leave you so full that you have to take something home in a box, but the mininess of it all was easily manageable without that uncomfortable but satisfying fullness. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so put off if there was at least one slice of cake, but no. I like my teas to look (and be preferably) handmade by a small café and not massed produced and lacking in substance. Mounds of jam and cream and at least two scones, only then will you get top marks. They also got off to a bad start when they said that if I wanted to order a hot chocolate (I don’t drink tea or coffee) then it would be outside of the set menu and it would cost extra. In my favourite place I get a pot of hot chocolate to myself, it makes me feel ever so special.
Maybe my perception is off though. Maybe I’ve just had too many cream teas and the good ones make the lesser ones look lesser still. Maybe I haven’t got an unbiased view anymore. Who knows. I still maintain that they should have a personal rather than a massed produced feel. What d’you think? Have I lost my Cream Tea mojo? What is a must for you for a cakey afternoon?
Anyway, enough ranting about cake. We have another event to celebrate!
Last week officially marked the two year anniversary of kitten ownership. That was one of the first photos of them we took. They were so small. And grew so much so fast! They were always long though..
In those days they used to sleep curled up too..
Now the small one just lays on the big one until he moves out of the way. But anyway, heres to our lovely troublesome boys! May we have many more years of cuddles left to go.
Time for craft yet? I think so.
This may shock you, regular readers, but recently, I’ve been thinking of streamlining my projects. Maybe even working on one at a time. I can hear you gasping from here! I guess it’s easy to get overwhelmed sometimes. It certainly was the way of things at Christmas. I really have no idea if I would be more productive if I only had one project on the go or not. Would this blog be less interesting (Is it interesting anyway?) if it was one long slog per project or two? I wish I knew the answer.
While I’m craving project simplicity at the moment, I know I won’t get it. Especially when I spent all of last Wednesday night playing around with yarn pegs for a new secret present blanket. It was an eye watering 5 minutes doing the maths for it. Not just the total number of blocks needed, but the time breakdown of needing to do say one big block per day for 5 months to give me enough time to join etc.. I may have to scale this idea down. And I certainly won’t be streamlining anything any time soon!
Maybe I need to rotate them evenly? Work on something different every day and then everything gets a fair go. I rotate my bed sheets fairly, why shouldn’t I rotate my projects?
I’ve also had a fair few people ask me about Christmas. In truth, I haven’t thought very far. Yes, yes, I know I was planning and starting by this time last year. I have selfishly, but maybe wisely decided to scale down operations this year. It doesn’t that it will be a handmade free Christmas, but maybe only try things that I can accomplish comfortably. Definitely no time intensive cross stitches! Talking about this stuff I’ve just realised that I might’ve grown in sense from last year. Aww, that’s nice. At least something’s been achieved, even if its only personal growth.
The only thing I have really thought about is my Christmas garlands.
These fell by the way side pretty quickly last year when my deadlines started creeping up. They were stashed away until I had time to do them again. My original plan was to start them in January to make sure they would be ready, but of course other things took over. You can see I got half way through this one without finishing it.
I’m not sure I realised how many I actually did. Of course, I need to measure again, but I don’t think I’m that far off what I need. Then I can get round to the other ones I wanted to do!
I know crafters have to plan like this, but it still feels really strange to be talking of Christmas when it’s been so hot! There was one Sunday in particular, which was productive, yet frustrating. Since coming back from holidays my sleep has been all over the place. I just haven’t been able to get the hours that I need. Combine this with the heat and it makes for a restless sleep and a severely grumpy me. I’d only managed to get 4 hours in the night, so was determined to try and nap in the afternoon. I tried as hard as I could but with no luck. It wasn’t helping that next door were taking down a wall and the whole house shuddered every time I felt myself nodding off. Frustrated and angry at everything I stomped downstairs. Himself very wisely kept out of my way. I was too tired to concentrate on counting, but my c2c scarf caught my eye. Great, something I wouldn’t have to concentrate fully on. I slumped down in the sofa and mindlessly hooked away. It was only when I ran out of yarn I realised I’d been there for some time and had come a far way.
A whole ball gone! And I didn’t even really notice the second half of it. I know I’ve harped on about this before, but I love the way the colours blend into each other. It’s so lovely to look at, and when I actually get around to it, so quick to do. Definitely need to look at this rotation thing and add it appropriately. Two balls left for this one. It’s probably going to end up on the long side, but that’s no bad thing for a scarf. I just need to work out how to add the next ball so that the colours match. Wish me luck with that!
Big but little progress with the sock.
I’ve actually managed to turn the heel! Much easier than I expected. I can now begin to put off the next section! I managed to find an hour in a morning off where I could sit down and dedicate all my concentration to it. Not an easy feat I can tell you. It looks very small and is overhanging a bit, but its done. I think this is down to my tight heel flap stitches. On the whole it was actually a lot easier that I thought it would be, and dare I say it, enjoyable! I don’t know what I was worrying about. Of course I’m still worrying about the gusset and will have to try and find another spare hour to get my head around that.
While everything else has been slow, progress on the temperature blanket and cushion is coming on in leaps and bounds. The back of my cushion is complete!
I even made sure to pause and take pictures of them before they were joined for you.
I managed to get this joined in record quick time. So quick I thought I’d missed a row and had to recheck. But it definitely fits along side the front
So as you’ve probably imagined, here we have the front and back of this cushion. I still need to work out an edging and join. Ill also need to sew a customised cushion pad to slip in there. A standard size isn’t going to work with this one! Plus I’ll need some sort of barrier between the stuffing and the holes in the fabric. I’ll need to put my drawing skills to the test – Or maybe ask Himself who is much better than I am at that sort of stuff.
Still not up-to-date for the blanket, but I managed to get all of June joined.
You can see my birthday, my special birthday extra and the heatwave that followed. July has a lot more oranges and reds to go on where temperatures have gone into the low and mid twenties. You can also see a huge increase of the number of yellows. Apart from a particularly cold day last week, we’ve been green free for a while. Fine with me! Saffron is my go to yellow. It’s not too in your face, but not barely there either. It just looks as if it glows, if that makes sense. Like morning sunlight through a window.
I may have to start finding another area to photograph. Either that or cut some bits off. It’s getting far too big to be spread the wrong way on the bed. A bigger space, or a taller stepladder. Both would be the best option. It’s nice that it actually feels like a blanket now. Its at that stage where I can put my legs underneath if it gets chilly, which is surely one of the best things about making a blanket. The only downside is that I only have it for the first half of joining a hexagon. Then I have to turn it round and they get cold again. It’s a hard life eh?
I think I need to go and plan my craft rotation now. I certainly need to have better organisation in place. Luckily for me, it means making lists which I love! Any excuse to make a list. Even better a list of lists. Wish me luck!
Much love xx