Sunday, August 31, 2014

A new item to make

As if I don't have enough knitting and sewing to do, last week I ordered this purse-making kit from U-Handbag. This is the same company I bought my bag handles from. I reckoned I would need a purse to match my handbag (once I get round to making it). It's been a while since I made a new pattern so looking forward to trying it out. I got fabric glue as well - something I've never used.
I cycled to Tesco today to buy essentials (chocolate and cat food). There's an almost direct cycle path as I'm not keen to cycle on the road. I love cycling, and it gave me a chance to use my bicycle basket. 

I had a lovely three days off. Looking forward to next Thursday night.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Sewing Frenzy

Today I decided to sew together all the outers for my four skirts. I'd already done one, and spent the morning sewing the other three.

I think the material above is my favourite. 
Though I like these orange trees as well.
I'm not so keen on this material, even though it is in my favourite colour combination - purple and green. I bought it because it was half price. A skirt for £7, what a bargain (not including zip and lining!).
I felt like I'd set up a production line. 

Inserting zips into skirts provokes a similar reaction from me as sewing together knitted jumpers - I hate it! Actually, the three I did today are probably three of the best I've ever done. Perhaps I finally have a winning technique. It usually bulges where the seam meets the zip, but today I changed a couple of things and they are all almost perfect.
My first attempt at inserting the zip on this had me sewing it onto the wrong side and having to unpick. It has been a while! 
And to finish, a gratuitous shot of a perfect paw. I have so enjoyed being at home for the past two weeks and being close to my animal friends. I just love my animals. 

I'm back to work tomorrow and am feeling trepidatious. I just have to remember I have every Friday off from now on, so that's a bonus. 

I got quite a lot done in the house, creatively and housework/admin type stuff. And saw friends, went to a few events at the Book Festival. It's been so nice letting my brain wander. And not just have to wade through a load of stuff I had to do. Looking forward to Friday already.

Monday, August 18, 2014


My knitting is growing effortlessly. This is the front. It is such an easy and satisfying jumper to knit. 

I still have a white winter vest/jumper to sew together and knit the neckline of, and the second sleeve of my chunky jumper to finish. I think I have enough knitting to keep me going through winter. I'd also like to knit a cardigan or a dress for friends who are due a baby in November, but I'm not sure if I'll get that together. Could be a quick knit. I've really gone off knitting for other people! When I started knitting I only ever knitted for my Godson, Felix. That was the impetus for starting knitting, when he was born. I think the first cardigan I ever knitted was a blue cardigan for him, and I knitted FELIX in bright green into the back! 
I've been to see a couple of writers at the Edinburgh Book Festival. Above is AL Kennedy. I hadn't initially bought tickets to see her, as I've seen her a few times now, but when I went to see Rebecca Hunt a couple of days before I caught the 'Book Festival' bug and there were tickets left for AL. Both events were great. I miss being in that atmosphere of discussing ideas. That was the best part of the masters degree I did - spending a  whole year talking about writers and books and ideas. 
This is my funny brood of poultry friends. I have grapes in my hands, which is why Duck has jumped onto my back. The chicks are in amongst the older hens, but particularly now (a couple of weeks after this photo was taken) it's difficult to tell the difference in size. I often mistake one of the chicks for a similar-looking hen. And there is Swann, the goose, right at the front. I'm so glad we let her free range. We would probably have got round to releasing her much sooner if the other goose we rescued hadn't made such an upsetting run for freedom (she succeeded) just before Christmas, a day after we rescued her. Such a shame. Anyway, Swann seems happier and has various buckets and bowls of water that she guddles around in with her sticks and mud. 
This photo was taken soon after we released her from her pen. I was still spending a bit of time with her to encourage her to be anchored to the area/us.
We're still waiting to be revealed to us which chicks are hens and which are cockerels, but we think Bread is most definitely a cockerel. I've developed such a good friendship with him, though. He lets me pick him up and cuddle him every day. I pop him on my lap and he settles down and sometimes has a mini-nap and sighs and snores. I think he likes the warmth of my body heat. It isn't too long ago they were all still popping under Delphis for a cuddle/heat up.
We went to the Peebles Agricultural Show on Saturday. I was really looking forward to it, and we had taken a large group of friends and their associated children/relatives. I love the colour of the eggs above. We could definitely win with some of our eggs if we could encourage all of our girls to lay in the laying boxes! Squeaky Cheese's eggs are beautiful.
Always good to see the alpacas. Love the natural colour of their fleeces.
I've been missing Turkey recently. I often wonder what Turkey and Swann would have made of each other. Turkey wasn't keen on any new birds coming into her territory, especially if they were reddy-brown in colour (she particularly seemed to hate the Isa Browns, until they were fully integrated and then they were best buddies, sleeping next to each other on the perch). I think Swann would have won the pecking order game between the two of them though but I don't know. Turkey could make herself puffed up and impressive when she was annoyed. I particularly miss cuddling Turkey. For six months of the year she was in her cuddly phase. I liked putting my face next to hers because she was so HOT. The other six months of the year she skipped away when I tried to touch her. She was an absolutely beautiful creature. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014


Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons. I like the changes in the countryside, and the feeling of progress. The Great British Bake Off has started (two weeks earlier than last year!) and it is perfect viewing for knitting yet another TV jumper (an amended version of Sarah Dallas's jumper from Vintage Knits). I LOVE this warm yellow colour. 
I have an expensive new habit - teapigs earl grey. It is SO nice. 
Yesterday I spent a mammoth day digging up onions and potatoes. The potatoes were back-breaking: pulling the plants, trawling for the potatoes, laying them all out in the sun/fresh air to dry, dusting them off, bringing them inside and laying them all out again to further dry but not expose them to too much light so they turned green and poisonous, and finally sorting them into three hessian sacks - perfect, almost perfect, and scabby. We'll eat the scabby ones first. The scabby potatoes are edible but they don't store. All in all a much better crop than last year. I think we have a higher yield, and last year ALL the potatoes were scabby and after all the work we'd put into growing them it was quite upsetting when we pulled them and they looked awful and we knew they wouldn't store over winter.
The onions are a semi-success. They took up a whole bed and I think in total we have about 30 onions. Some of the sizes are a bit small. 
Now that the two beds are clear (we still have maincrop potatoes to pull up) I'm hoping to plant turnips, and wondering if I still have time to plant Brussels sprouts and even broccoli? Will visit the garden centre tomorrow.
Last Saturday my eldest nephew, Stuart, got married. His son, Calvin, is the boy on the left. And on the right is my other nephew's son, Keigan. They both look so cute in their kilts. They were most impressed with having a pretend dagger, which you can just see sticking out of Calvin's sock. When I look at Keigan I can see my sister, my dad and my grandmother in him. They all have/had a sunny disposition. Keigan's sister Lucy is the same. It was a great day.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Bread and Butter

This is Bread. I love him. We've got into a routine of having a cuddle on the grass when I get home from work. I pick him up, plop him on my lap, and he settles down and sometimes sighs. He's the sweetest chicken. 
I sewed together my Turkey feather skirt. It looks better than the photo shows. I'm really pleased with it, though it did take me six hours in total (and it was already cut out). I decided to do French seams as I'd seen them on the Great British Sewing Bee, but of course I hadn't factored that into the seam allowance, so it came out an inch too small in the waist and I had to unpick the WHOLE seams, both sides.
I just love this photo. A misty morning photo.
And this. I love spring and autumn, and am looking forward to the season changing.
Another shot of Bread, with Butter on the left. They hang around together a lot. Butter is such a shockingly beautiful colour.

This is my first week of working four days a week. I dropped a day. I have to keep reminding myself I only work four days now. I feel like I've been in a work tunnel for the past two and a half years, so I'm ECSTATIC I have an extra day off a week. Hoping to redress the work/life balance. I also moved to a new office and so far I'm really enjoying it.