Monday, March 17, 2014

A Week Without Rain !! Must be Spring!!

Well it looks like spring has finally sprung, we have had a whole week without any rain and the garden is finally coming to life. I had a few days off last week and it was great to be able to potter around the garden weeding and getting the place straight again. Over the past few months we have been gifted lots of garden plants in particular roses, which I love. I have finally found a space for all of them and I can't wait to see them all in bloom. 
It was so warm that after all our labours we were able to sit on the patio and enjoy a cup of tea in the warm sunshine, it was bliss! even came in with a bit of a rosy glow!

The weekend started with a quiz night at school. A once a year event that we have been going to for years and years !  I am the 'maker of the spoons' The losing team win a wooden spoon ! I have been doing that for years as well! Its a great night out a chance to meet up with 'old' friends from years ago ! There is a knack to the evening, you have to aim at coming second, second is respectable, last is acceptable, but winning will bring down a whole load of problems in the form of setting the quiz for the next year!
So the idea is to try very hard not to actually win. We achieved our aim perfectly and came third by 2 points perfect!!! By way of a twist this year they decided to draw straws between the top and bottom team to see who who set the next quiz and the poor old losing team lost again! A great evening out!

Sunday the 16th was the Anniversary of my sister Val's  passing, I know that time flies as you get older but it was 1999 that she left us. We took a trip over to the Crematorium and visited her grave to lay some flowers.

It was difficult to get a photo through the glass, but it has been a few years since I had looked at the book of remembrance. Hard to believe so much time has passed and that her daughter Emily is now a Mum herself. 

While at the cemetery we visited Nan and Grandads graves as well.

I can remember them so clearly, visiting them and having a cup of tea with them. The smell of warm tomatoes in Grandads greenhouse, Nan making cakes that didn't rise!! Happy memories. They really loved having great grandchildren, but sadly never got to see Beth as although Nan knew I was expecting she passed away in the September before Beth was born in the November.
Because it was such a gorgeous day the grounds looked beautiful, a typical spring day in English countryside. 

I hope this weather continues, the papers are saying we are likely to have the hottest summer ever this year, but I have heard that one before!!! Have a lovely week, don't work too hard!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Its been a Beautiful Weekend!!

It does now feel like Spring is just around the corner! This past weekend we have had beautiful spring weather, its nearly been warm (well I have swapped my duffle coat for a fleece jacket!!) I popped in to Tesco and they had some lovely strawberries, they smelt wonderful and when I opened the punnet there was this one enormous strawberry the size of a large plum ! Not only did it look nice it was really tasty. Sometimes strawberries out of season taste very bland and watery, but these were summer in a box, gorgeous!!!

Sometimes I despair at the standards of education and understanding around all things mathematical. I do not consider myself to be a maths whizz kid, being a child of the 70's I only managed a grade C 'O level'.
I was surprised to find these great offers in a store in town.

I spoke the shop assistant who was stacking the shelf nearby and asked why she thought that anyone would buy these fantastic deals? She completely missed the point and told me that they were multibuys and would save me money!! I said clearly they wouldn't save me money, but she didn't get it. So I said if I add up three packets of crisps at 32p a packet how much would it cost? she said £1 !!! There is no hope!!

Today we went out to lunch at my Auntie June and Uncle Ed's, Ed is my Dads younger brother. For years I have been interested in my family history and I was really pleased that Uncle Ed had some photos of my Nan and Grandad that I had never seen before. The photo above of my Grandad was taken in 1945 when he was 24 years old, what caught my eye was the similarity to Carl, the cheeks, the eyes even the hairline and style, its quite uncanny. Carl is roughly the same age as this photo as well. The other striking thing that I remember about Grandad was his bright blue eyes. Nan had Hazel eyes, so all of their sons had Hazel eyes. When I was pregnant with Laura and planning in my head how she would look, I did wonder if we might get a blue eyed baby. (Tom has blue eyes and I thought there was an outside chance that I might have inherited a blue gene from Grandad) Anyway Laura turned out to have very dark brown eyes, but when Carl came along he had grandads blue eyes!! They are definitely Grandads colour as they are a different shade to Toms!! We managed to crack the blue eyed gene again with Beth, although her eyes are closer to Toms in colour!

I love looking at the old photos. My memory of Grandad was as an elderly man, so its hard to see a resemblance, looking at this much younger photo is striking. The similarity between my cousins sons and Carl is also quite amazing, so they are all connected on my paternal line!!

I am looking forward to a few days annual leave at the end of this week, plus the delivery of a bookcase for our bedroom. I think that I will have to start Tom on a new task of trying to sort out the mess in the loft, a few hours a day and we might start to be able to see the floor again!!!
Have a great week. 

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Trying something new.

The advantage of being off of work is the extra time you have to sit and think about things, I like to think and ponder , but even better than that I like to 'do' things, try my hand at things. The advantage to trying things is that it occupies me body and mind!! We have recently redecorated two bedrooms, I say we, I have the ideas and I have been project manager!! Tom has decorated to my command!! I have helped clear out cupboards and under the bed in our room, you know offering express instructions and holding the black bags!! Its taken some time as I have not been physically able to help too much, but we are finally there. We unearthed lots of 'stuff' mainly 'stuff' that is too good to throw away, but no longer required. All that happens with that is that you store it for ten years and then throw it out anyway!! I suppose if you were able to keep it for another thirty years it would become 'vintage' and be worth a fortune. Sadly I end up getting rid of stuff long before it becomes valuable again.

Anyway I found some old curtains that had been in the conservatory many moons ago, I packed it all up with the intention of giving it to the local school, the more I thought about it the more I wished I could put it to some sort of good use. I was looking on the great time waster - Pinterest when one of my friends pinned a picture of a braided rug made out of strips of fabric. I did a bit of research and although I liked the look, it was clear that you would need to braid the fabric and then sew it together in a spiral, it was the hand sewing that put me off, but it had tickled my interest so I eventually found instructions to make a crocheted rag rug, it had everything I needed, used rag strips, grew quickly and did not require sewing up afterwards. So I ordered my giant crochet hook (20mm size) and started to tear up the material into two inch wide strips. 

This part was very satisfying, the quickest way to do it is tearing great for venting your frustrations. I found that if I ripped along the length and stopped around an inch from the end, I could move over two inches and rip back the other way, before I knew it I had a huge ball of yarn !

So the next step was to start crocheting, it was quite easy, I tried several different ways before I settled on a simple strip. I planned to put it by the side of my bed, so it needed to be around two feet wide by 4 or 5 ft long. I unpicked it a couple of times until I was happy with the result. In the end I made a 15 chain and then did a single crochet into each stitch, at the end of each row I added an extra stitch to allow me to turn the corner and crochet back along the other way. I carried on until I ran out of fabric.

I love the effect, its knobbly and somehow rustic!! Its multi coloured effect is much nicer than the dated curtains that I made it out of. 

The finished article!! I have found it quite addictive, it grows so quickly I managed to do the whole rug in two evenings. So once that one was done I started to think about doing a round one for the spare bedroom. 
I had run out of fabric, so again looking on line other people suggested that duvet covers are great for rugs, so I put a wanted on my local Freecycle site and was given two king size  blue sheets and a dozen blue and white pillow cases, all had seen better days, but that didn't matter as I was going to rip them up and it saved sending them to the dump!!

So I started on a circular rug .

You don't have to worry about the fraying on the sides, or making sure that its only the right side showing, the variation of the right and wrong side gives it an interesting texture, the blue looks quite like washed denim.

To make the rug circular its best to work it on a table to keep it in shape, you have to judge the shape and occasionally add in stitches to keep it flat. There is no exact science to it, you just have to make sure it stays flat. If you do it too tight it starts to turn into a shallow bowl shape, which is not what I was looking for!!

Here is the finished article, just right for my 'dressing room' The pale part is made out of the pillow cases and I finished it off with the last of the dark blue. To give you an idea the rug used one blue king sized valance sheet and twelve pillow cases !! 

This afternoon I tore up the rest of the sheets while watching Sunderland come second in the cup final. I actually felt it was a good game, just a shame that Sunderland lost. I just have to decide what to make with these mammoth balls of yarn!! I have a couple of ideas but I think I'll think about it for a while and see what I decide to do with them!!

Hope you all have a good week, as I sit here its pouring with rain yet again, I would love for it to be a bit warmer and a whole lot dryer some time soon!!!