Saturday, April 28, 2012

My new BFF (Best Friend Forever)

This is Bill, my new Best Friend Forever. To cut a long story short, he was stranded in our neighbours' field, two fields separated from his own field and his mother. He lay down on some straw for a while but then tried getting back through the fence and couldn't and he was bleating. So, Hagos and I tried to get in touch with the farmer and couldn't. The only option left was to gather him up and repatriate him ourselves.

Our first attempt resulted in him running towards the road, so we enlisted the help of our friends Iain and Robin and looked everywhere. We had just given up and were heading home when we heard a little bleating and turned to see him hiding behind a tree. So we chased him back into the field and shut the gate, then me, Hagos and Iain shepherded him (me with a blanket - which was a great tip, James, and became a crucial part of the rescue) and while he was trying to jump through a five inch square gap in the fence I threw the blanket over him, bundled him up and then we climbed three fences and finally got him back into his own field. He was much bigger than I expected him to be, close up, but I completely fell in love with him while I was carrying him.
So I went looking for him again today, to check he wasn't wandering alone somewhere he shouldn't and at first I thought this must be him back with his mum, because he had a sweet little black face and black legs, though I thought this lamb looked lighter in the body than I remembered.
It was only when I was almost home I saw a lamb by itself in the middle field, realised it was Bill and understood how he'd got through to the neighbours'  field in the first place.
So, he seemed happy enough, and so long as he remembered his route back he still had direct access to the rest of the sheep if he wanted it. I got the impression he was a bit of an intrepid explorer though, and liked to be by himself.

Hagos thought he looked like William Shatner, hence the name. Isn't he gorgeous? I'll probably go and check on him again tomorrow.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Making Frenzy

This last week I have been on a Making Frenzy. Sometimes I just have an urge to make something and I can't settle to anything else until it's done.

Today I decided to make scones and lemon curd. The scones turned out at 1 Weightwatchers point each, which is great. I did them in conventional and heart shapes.

And this afternoon I finished knitting the second thumb of my new mittens, and I sewed in the ends of my new scarf. So, the new winter accessories kit is complete: mittens, hat and scarf. 

I had planned to cast on a new pair of bed socks today, to knit on the bus, but I'm not sure I have the energy now. Hagos is cooking dinner (chicken fajitas) and after that I think I'll only be fit to read and watch a bit of telly.

I have just started reading To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I am enjoying it more than I expected. 
This was our coffees and cakes at Whitmuir yesterday. That chocolate cupcake was divine. Sadly I could only eat half due to how many points I figured it must have. But the half I had was delicious. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pyjama Bottoms Part II

Yesterday I made a second pair of pyjama bottoms. I almost had enough material from the sparkly hippos to make a complete second pair, but just didn't have enough length. I considered making 3/4 length pyjamas, which I quite like, or adding other material to the bottom, which is what I did. It took me a while to decide which material to add and I eventually settled on the grey bicycles because, you know, that whole connection between sparkly hippos and bicycles :)

I just have to hem the bottoms and they're finished. I managed to buy pyjama elastic in John Lewis yesterday (was very pleased to discover such a thing existed!) and I've used that for the waist band. I'm still planning to buy other material from Ikea to make more pairs.

I've started running again and yesterday I reached the point where I thought about going out for a second run of the day. My wintery, lethargic body is now craving exercise and physicality. I'm even now thinking about blowing up my exercise ball and pulling my weights out of the cupboard. 

Today is Saturday, the loveliest day of the week. We will go to Whitmuir for coffee, then come home and read and knit and sew and play Scramble (a new game my friends and I have gone crazy over on iPad/iPod) and watch a film together in the evening and eat home made pizza. Bliss.  

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Most Fun Thing I've Ever Made!

So I finished my sparkly hippo pyjama bottoms and I absolutely love them. I gave them a spin in bed last night and they were great - so comfortable. They only took about an hour and a half to make. I'm already thinking of stopping by Ikea today to get more fabric! Though I will also be passing through John Lewis today so I might be tempted there. But I'm sure this will be the first of many pairs.
I didn't bother with the bottom trim, or with making button holes for the waist band so I could make a pull-tie. I just used elastic for the waist.
And this is just a cute shot of Meg perched on Haggis's granny's stool. She's really too big for it but it was getting the full sun yesterday. I'm restricting her food at the moment because she seems to be getting bigger. She isn't very happy about it and badgers me for treats. But I'm sticking to it as I don't want her to become obese. She's still very agile and active.

Talking of which, I went for a run yesterday for the first time in about a year. It mostly felt good. I'm at the point where I need to turn the emphasis from inertia and surplus calories to exertion and limited food intake. I'm on the brink of fatty-dom again and I need to rein it in.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wednesday is Pyjama-Making Day!

I've been wanting to make Amy Butler's Wide Leg Lounge Pants for years, to wear as pyjama bottoms. And finally, yesterday, I went to Ikea and bought this material:
I think they're a kind of hippopotamus with a sparkly tail. Anyway, I really like the material and I got 3 metres for £6! Huge bargain, and it's just the right weight for pyjamas. So this afternoon I plan to clear the kitchen table and get as far as I can with cutting out and sewing together. I know what I'm like once I get sewing, I find it difficult to leave a project part-way through. Very excited about this.
And yesterday I finished knitting my scarf. I steam-pressed it. And while I really like the design and colours, I'm wondering whether I need to do something about the curliness of the sides. Stitch-stich always curls but I had hoped pressing it would sort it out. I think my options are to either line it with black fleece, or just line the Norwegian Stars with black fleece so they are flat. And I have to sew in the loose ends, always a chore.
I'm back onto percolated coffee, and it is so delicious. And I'm trying to be back on my Weightwatchers' points, so all food and drink is counted and measured. Five Maltesers equal one point. Two After Eights equal one point. Hopefully I'll have a photo of my pyjamas to upload tomorrow.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

My birthday, by Lynsey Burns

It was my birthday yesterday, the first proper one celebrated since we moved to Scotland as last year we moved house and country on my actual birthday.

I had planned to have a little party in our garden with friends and neighbours dropping in, but the weather forecast said non. It even forecast snow at one point.

Our friend Lynsey very kindly offered to host the party at her house, as she has a good-sized open plan kitchen/dining/kids' playroom area.

And when I arrived I was greeted with: PAULA written in Lego. A beautiful interpretation.
A birthday greeting, and a line drawing of myself :) That's me top right with the big head and spaniel's ears :)
A table already full of wonderful things - a parsnip birthday cake (when Lynsey asked me what my favourite cake was a few weeks ago I said I liked unusual cakes, not run-of-the-mill. I was in a particular mood that day), along with a most delicious lemon cake that had lemon curd running through it, oh, it was delicious. AND home-made scones, which were incredibly fresh and light and perfect-sized. (And strawberries and jam and mascarpone.)
I love the concertinaed paper decoration above the table. And there was tea and coffee and later we had sparkling wine. And lots more stuff. But I was totally blown away by the effort Lynsey (and her helpers) had gone to to make the room special. The birthday napkins and tablecloth and the balloons. It was all so incredibly sweet and completely played to my sensibilities.
The core birthday celebrators. Others came and went but we were there right at the very beginning until the very end.
And as much as I love dark chocolate - will I ever be able to eat this bar of HONEYDUKES? I really don't know.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Lots of knitting, and a beautiful ginger cat

I love the sheer abandonment shown by Meg when she sleeps beside me on the couch in the evening while the log fire keeps the room nice and toasty. She is relaxation personified. 
I finished both uppers for my slippers. I really like this pattern, and remember how lovely they felt on my feet when I last had them a few summers ago.

Though I am thinking of lining them either with some black fleece I have, or with a dress-weight cotton. The fleece would make them very warm and the cotton would make them look amazing (I love gorgeous linings), BUT once I'd finished knitting them I remembered how lovely the moss stitch felt against bare feet - really good, and like a mini-massage.
But in super-exciting news, I began my scarf last night! I'm really happy with it so far. I didn't have a plan or pattern when I began, just knew I wanted to knit the Norwegian star into the ends, and have occasional stripes of yellow to save on black wool. I had to increase the number of stitches by six on the second block of black as it was feeling slightly too narrow. It's wider than my previous scarf but that is knitted in rib and stretches whereas this is just st-st.
I did all of this last night so I anticipate being finished quickly. And not a moment too soon. My old hat, scarf and mittens are looking decidedly GRUBBY. I'll be able to salvage and re-use the green Rowan Cocoon from the ends of my scarf but the rest of the wool is too well-used to have any life left in it.