Monthly Archives: October 2012

Hexighan

Today is an exciting day. Two years ago to the day my darling hubby and I were wed and what a two years it has been! I never expected that we would be spending our second wedding anniversary sitting in our own lovely home whilst our gorgeous little man sleeps upstairs. So many happy memories of this special day and so many more happy memories have been created over the last 24 months.

I have loved looking through the photos to choose which ones to put on here. Maybe I shall share some more sometime. Would you like to see some more snaps from our wedding album?

Anyway, moving on. The weather man must have been listening yesterday as the grey finally broke up and we had a really beautiful day weatherwise. The morning was bright and sunny but, by early afternoon, the clouds had set in and were making amazing patterns over the blue.

What is more, the sun soon reappeared low in the sky, illuminating the clouds.

Just beautiful!

Now, I promised you some hooky talk today. This was the Hexighan last time I shared it with you here:

and this is how it looks now:

Not exactly stellar progress you may say, and you would be correct. But there is more to the story than meets the eye! Now, you may remember that this blanket is part of a Patchwork Granny CAL but I was somewhat slipping behind. However, I got up a wake up call after watching the lovely Fiona over at Knit Knat Knot quickly complete her adorable Cath Kidston inspired afghan by taking part in a ‘One a Day’ challenge (check out the finished item here). Hmm, I thought, I can do that. One little hexagon each day? Easy!

So, ‘Where are they?’ I hear you cry! See that squishy bag at the back of the picture? That is choc full of four round hexagons waiting to be attached to the blanket.

You see, what takes the time is not the creation of the hexagons but the colour planning. I can sit and hook whilst chattering to the little man but I cannot concentrate on balancing colours whilst ensuring that he is safe and happy. So I now have a bag of hooky shapes waiting to be joined together. All I need is an hour in daylight to create my plan of attack and photograph it so that I can blitz the joining. Hubby is working long days this week so this will have to wait til Friday. However, I hope to make real progress in the next week and have a sizable blanket to show you next week. That’s the plan anyway!

Why this must wait until hubby is around became apparent within minutes of taking the above photo:

As I have told you before, little man does love yarn and he decided to join in the party. My poor blanket was treated quite roughly.

Hexagons were unravelled:

Yarn was snatched…

chewed…

and generally smooshed:

*Sigh*

Yes, blanket planning is going to be a mommy only job! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Advertisements

8 Comments

Filed under Baby, Blanket, Crochet, Snapshot

Seasons Change

There can only be one word to describe the weather around here of late: DULL

The view from my window appears to have lost its colour. This photo was taken at 12.31 yesterday. Midday yet it looks like nighttime is imminent.

It all started last Sunday. This was the third foggy Sunday in a row but, unlike the previous two weeks, the view was not temporarily shrouded in an ethereal mist but completely obscured by a dense fog.

This picture really plays with my mind. The trees are so clear then there should be a view but there is…Nothing! Weird.

It did not feel like my lake. It was so bizarre – I felt like I was on a film set. The ducks looked as if they were fleeing and the cawing of the crows seemed ominous in the quiet cloud.

Fast forward one week and I do not think the sky has been seen since. Yes the view has reappeared…

…but the rich vibrancy of Autumn is losing its grip.

The leaves are falling and the colours are muting.

Over this last week the light has not so much been bouncing off the shimmering ripples but has been consumed by the murky water.

Do not think I am complaining. There is something comforting about this metamorphosis from sapphire blue skies and the diamonds dancing over the lake to these steely grey skies and crunchy brown floors. It indicates a transition from trees shrouded in gold to bare, sculptural branches. After a Summer where the weather did not behave as it should it is good to know that we are passing through the seasons as they should be.

Sometime soon the dull skies will lift and the blue will return. Admitedly not the deep blues that denote the warmth of the Summer sun but the light, icy blue that will herald the beginning of Winter and I personally cannot wait. A new season, new skies, a new view.

To finish I wanted to enhance the rather dismal palette of this post by injecting a splash of vibrant colour:

There is no reason for this photo. He is just too cute for me not to put him on here! (Yes, I know he has a pink top on but it came in a pack of 5 and I wanted the other colours. Waste not, want not and all that).

The Little Man is an eBay baby and here he is showing off a few of his new trinkets from a toy bundle that I recently purchased. I felt that, as he is getting older, he needed some more stimulation from his playthings. He I was getting bored with playing with the same few rattling animals day in, day out. This was all well and good but have you seen the price of baby toys these days?! Ridiculous. So for the princely sum of £28 we are now the proud owners of a vast quantity of noisy, flashing, colourful bits of plastic that should keep him/me occupied for a while. That’s Christmas sorted anyway!

Come back soon to find out what’s the news in the world of woolly hexagons. 🙂 xxxxxxxxx

2 Comments

Filed under Baby, Snapshot

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah

My oh my it is chilly around here at the moment. There have been plenty of evenings spent snuggling under my Ripple Blanket for warmth whilst working on my hexagons.

My mother bought us a pack of lebkuchen, our first of the year. I do love these biscuits. They just scream cosiness – some sweet and spicy warmth to see you through the Winter months. They remind me of childhood as I remember eating them at our friends house when we were younger. We used to visit them every Sunday after Church and their mom would always bring out some sort of biscuits or chocolates to feed us all. Sometimes homemade buns or Welsh cakes, other times packets of Wagon Wheels, Tea Cakes or, around Christmas, lebkuchen or mince pies.

My mother does not understand snacking – she is the sort of person who would take out a box of chocolates and just eat one. We rarely ate between meals and never had more than one or two biscuits. Here though we were allowed to have two, three or even four biscuits. Oh the excitement! However I am grateful to my mom for teaching me some restraint. Although I could never eat just one teeny chocolate, I can stop at two or three so that a box lasts for a week, not just a day.

I really should try to make my own lebkuchen for Christmas this year. I’ve never tries before. Does anybody know of a good recipe?

I do enjoy a slice of something sweet and tasty with my afternoon cuppa though and this week it has been this rather attractive carrot cake. I will be returning to this cake soon as there is a story behind it so, if you fancy having a nibble yourself, fear not, I shall post the recipe soon (made it up myself, I did!).

Thank you so much for indulging my last post. I am pleased to announce that I have managed to quieten my mind and am feeling full of beans, hence the title of this post. I sound quite hysterical, up and down like a yo-yo. I am not unbalanced, honestly, just a little enthusiastic sometimes. I like to indulge in the feeling of the moment!

It’s been pretty busy around here and I have a lot of pictures to share so hopefully you should be hearing a lot from Rosy Hill this week! I have a crochet update, a day trip, cakey news and, most exciting, a Halloween party to tell you all about.

This last event required a costume. After quite a lot of dithering I decided on an outfit which necessitated a pom-pom.

More specifically, a red pom-pom. Can you guess who I went as?!

I haven’t made one of these for years and, I have to say, I really enjoyed it! Very soothing. So much so that I got a bit carried away and the quality of the final result somewhat exceeded the what was required – that is one substantial pom-pom! Over 1/3 of a ball of Stylecraft DK in Matador (1010).

I have really enjoyed talking to you today – my blogging voice has returned and I have found myself able to waffle on with ease. So much to show you, I look forward to seeing you again soon.

Ta ta for now! xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

p.s. I had to create a new category to file this post under – Waffle. Is that bad do you think?!

4 Comments

Filed under Waffle

Busy Minds

Edvard Munch – The Scream

I love this picture. My husband doesn’t – he feels that it is unpleasant and unsettling. However I have always identified with it. It visualises how I feel when the voices inside my head start shouting at me. This does not make my husband appreciate the artwork any more – he feels that this analogy is unpleasant and gets concerned when I start talking about my ‘voices’. I think this may be a boy/girl thing. I do not find my voices upsetting, they are just my inner monologue, the list of things I have to/want to/meant to do. They are my way of rationalising my ideas, oraganising my days, keeping my life on track. My husband does not work like this – he is thinking about what he is doing at that moment and everything else is forgotten.

Over this last week my mind has been working in overdrive. Before becoming parents, I do not believe that anybody can really appreciate how a little one can eat up the days. Don’t get my wrong, these are the most wonderful of days. The little man smiles whenever he sees me, he laughs and chatters and plays all day long and I cannot get enough of of those little hands clawing at stroking my face. I love it all. Then 8 o’clock hits. He is asleep, dinner has been eaten and I begin to panic. The washing is still piled in the corner because I could not put it away when he was asleep in the bedroom. That bookcase still has papers piled on it. There is clutter on the windowsill in the kitchen. Chatter, chatter, chatter my brain is spinning and I just want to cover my ears to stop the noise.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am not unhappy – quite the opposite in fact. I am loving life at the moment. However, in times like this I find it hard to to find the calm that I need to organise my ideas. I cannot blog when I am like this – I have so much to share that it feels like too much. I walk away and wait. Wait for those voices to slow and the noise to quieten down.

Aw, when I look at that none of it matters. My boys. Perfect.

It will all get done. One day. 🙂

3 Comments

Filed under Baby

Shugborough

Greetings all! Hope you are all well. How is it Thursday already? This week has been one of those speedy ones where I find myself losing track of the days. However, I did say I would show you the second part our Sunday so here goes!

As hubby had a long weekend we decided to make the most of the return of warmth and sunshine by taking a day trip. As members of the National Trust we often find ourselves turning to their list of historic houses and estates when we fancy a change of scene. On Sunday we chose Shugborough Estate as our destination.

Actually run by Staffordshire County Council, Shugborough has come a long way since I visited it on a school trip over ten fifteen years ago and I can thoroughly recommend it as an enjoyable day out. It is split into two parts – the park farm, walled garden and craft workshops in one area then the house, gardens and arboretum in another.

As we had paid extra to visit the Georgian Park Farm we spent a lot of time around here. There are a whole host of friendly and knowledgable staff dressed in costume demonstrating traditional crafts including cheese making, spinning, cooking, crochet, woodwork, basket weaving gardening, glass blowing and ironmongery (does this sound better than blacksmithing?!).

There is also a working water mill, complete with miller and a rather bizarre and extensive museum about all aspects of historic country living. I loved their displays of Corn Dollys:

I thought I had taken loads of photos to accompany this account. I realise now that what I actually have is lots of photos of my gorgeous little man and a slightly strange, patchwork collection of snaps of the some items that I managed to focus on when I was not talking to/playing with/feeding/changing/wrestling with the baby!

Having him in tow does change day trips like this. It slows us down, means we cannot linger so long, cannot read all the signs, need to pause to deal with his needs. However for anything that is lost he adds ten times more enjoyment. He is so lovely, so cute, so much FUN! I am lucky to have such a wonderful husband who also feels like this and is besotted with him so, what used to be dates, are now fun filled family days out and all the more enjoyable they are for this.

Next it was picnic time. Hubby does love a rummage through the going off counter and so today’s fare was reduced price pizza (with extra cheese, peppers, anchovies and olives) and cookies. We have got into the habit of sharing a small bottle of bubbly on these outings. A very enjoyable touch of decadence, especially on a wonderfully sunny day like this was.

After a very long, lazy lunchtime we decided that it would be a shame to waste our last couple of hours in the house when the grounds were beckoning.

You all know how I feel now about leaves and water so this walk was the happiest time of the day for me. So peaceful, so beautiful, so happy.

We had a marvellous day and we shall be back soon to discover the delights of the house and servants’ quarters. For now though, this trip was pretty perfect. xxx

3 Comments

Filed under Trips and outings

Misty Morning

I looked out of the morning yesterday and a beautiful sight greeted my eyes. The lake opposite was shrouded with a cloudy mist. This was not the thick fog that was about last Sunday but a much more delicate haze. I grabbed the little one, wrapped him up and popped him in the wrap and off we went.

I must admit that our morning routine is usually pretty relaxed. The little man wakes up around seven before joining us for a feed and a cuddle for as long as he is happy. By the time we are all fed and dressed and nap time’s done, it is often late morning before we get moving. To be out and about for 8 o’clock is pretty good going! This was a morning not to be missed though and I am so glad we made the effort.

The mist was rising off the lake in swirls – the effect was positively ethereal. It reminded me of the hot mud pools in Rotorua, New Zealand, as if the pond was full of boiling water.

As usual, little man was mesmerised by the shapes moving all around him, watching the light twinkle on the water and the reflections dance around.

As we walked down towards the river the mist was still lying thickly over the playing fields as the sun was rising higher in the sky.

It was so quiet and peaceful down here, even more so than around the lake as it feels more secluded. The little man and I met only a handful of dog walkers the whole time we were out.

This was the first frost of the season so the grass was twinkling and crystals were clinging to the leaves. The scene was so beautiful but shining silvers can come out as nothing more than white and grey when photographed. What is more, good snaps require getting down close and personal with individual leaves and branches which is not easy when I have 20 lbs strapped to my front. For some reason he does not appreciate being flung around and turned upside down in the name of photography! Ah well.

We finished out stroll on the edge of the second lake as I was in dire need of revival in the form of tea and toast! The surface was covered in ducks and geese, all calling good morning to one another. The noise was incredible!

As we arrived home, the sun had burned through the mist and the lake was clear. A wonderful day was dawning, warm and bright. All of that beauty and we were back before 9 o’clock, ready for a day full of glorious weather and family fun.

That, however, will have to wait as my bed is calling (once I have done the washing up and hung the nappies out to dry!). See you soon, xxxxx

1 Comment

Filed under Snapshot

Cheese and Apple Scones

Aw, aren’t they gorgeous? We’ve been out and about today again. My friend and I have been giving our arms and legs a workout trying to push our buggies around a local park. When I was younger, I lived in the north of the city and some of my friends lived in the south. There was never any reason to venture into the east of the city (except to visit our Grandad, of course, but he always came out with us towards our house). Since moving here we have continued to visit the haunts of my childhood and adolescence but now I am getting to know the local area a bit better. So today we visited the small farm nestled amid green fields and muddy, tree-lined paths. We had a lovely five and a half hours of buggy walking, animal viewing and picnicing. Marvellous.

My friend had made these Peanut Butter Brownies by Rachel Allen (slightly modified as her partner took it upon himself to ‘adapt’ the shopping list!).  I love peanut butter and these were the height of decadence. Dangerously moreish, hence the little corner missing!

However, she was not the only one that had been baking…

I awoke this morning feeling full of energy and ready to go so I left hubby and the little man snoozing and rushed into the kitchen. Before I went to sleep last night I was overcome by a sudden desire to bake cheese and apple scones. I had never had these before but a quick Google search brought up this promising looking recipe.

A further search taught me that cornmeal is sold as polenta in Britain, of which I had none, so I used wholemeal flour as a substitute and added in a teaspoon of dijon mustard for extra flavour. The only other change I made was to leave a bit of the cheese to sprinkle on top of the scones before baking.

These scones were incredible. Seriously, the best savoury scones I have ever eaten (even if I do say so myself!).

Even little man enjoyed some for his dinner.

I’m not sure we burned more calories than we consumed but it’s better to break even than indulge whilst sitting still, don’t you think? That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

6 Comments

Filed under Cakes, Food, Trips and outings

Lazy Strolling

I apologise for the lack of hooky business around here lately but, truthfully, I have not got much to share. Time is at a premium and crochet cannot compete with other more pressing needs at the moment. However I hope this picture will assure you that there are precious moments of wool appreciation going on in the background when I can snatch a minute.

image

As you can see, slowly but surely one hexagon joins another and a psychedelic beehive is appearing. I love the shape and all of the colours singing together. I am not going to stress about the slow progress – it is a marathon, not a sprint.

As the little man gets older, I recognise how important it is for him to socialise and be stimulated in a variety of ways. I am therefore attending more activity groups, which he loves. New people, new places, his eyes light up and he wants to explore everything. Tuesdays, however, are free days. For me, this was wonderful as last week was so action packed I welcomed a lazy day. I can sit at home and amuse myself quite happily. Some days, the little man does not mind. Not today though. His teeth were obviously annoying him and, when playing on his mat, he would roll over onto his front and sob into the floor, too exhausted to flip himself back over. Bless. I had no option, we had to get out.

The weather today has been a mixed bag but, to be fair, the sun has appeared at regular intervals, the rain has held off and it was not particularly chilly so a good day to get out and about. Indeed, I should have been out and about. Although I originally did not want to move, once I had heaved myself outside I was really pleased to be in the fresh air. Having a baby is a bit like having a dog – they have to get out of the house which in turn means you have to get out, even if you otherwise wouldn’t, and you end up appreciating your daily constitutionals (although at least with a baby I can skip it if it’s pouring!).

Our destination was predictable – round the back of the lake opposite and down to the river which leads to the larger lake. Little man was looking this way and that, staring at the leaves. He was so happy, grinning away when I sang to him and laughing out loud when I sneezed! It was brilliant fun. We didn’t go for a walk like this at all last week, just the two of us, just for the sake of it. We had so much going on so it is lovely to be back to our slightly calmer routine, however much fun last week was. A bit of Mommy/baby time.

The lake was full of ducks and geese and we saw lots of birds too. All of the usual blackbirds, starlings, jackdaws, seagulls as well as several jays and herons and even a kingfisher. Unfortunately all of these were spotted as they flew away from us – it is rather difficult to approach anything stealthily when crashing through the undergrowth with a buggy!

Good photo, no?! This place is a heron haven. They are amazing birds, so large compared to the other birds that are usually seen around Britain. It makes me laugh when you see them perching precariously in the trees. They look like they’re about to fall out.

Two hours of gentle strolling in the fresh air. Wonderful.

2 Comments

Filed under Crochet, Trips and outings

Dinner Disaster

Edited to add photo – things seem to disappear when I blog on my phone. Must get a computer again!

image

Hello! It’s been a little while since I’ve shown you an update of my lovely lake. This was at ten o’clock this morning. 30 minutes earlier and the view was obscured by mist but this was just lifting to reveal a beautiful day. Most of the trees are still green but the colour is different to that of high Summer – there is a yellowish tinge that give a clue as to what is to come next.

image

I’ve had a busy week and got such a shock to find Sunday upon us already. Little Man has been going through a period of change recently. He can now roll both ways with ease, sit unassisted for a few minutes and has two front teeth. Yes, my little baby now has two white toothy pegs peeping out of his gums.

He has also grown suddenly and this, accompanied by a noticeable change in temperature, has necessitated the purchase of a new wardrobe. After months of vests and nappies, (okay, most days it was just a nappy!), trousers, socks and long sleeved tops are now called for. Maintaining a comfortable temperature, especially overnight, has become somewhat of a fine art.

image

Tonight, as is our Sunday custom, we were due to dine with my family and this week it was my turn to host. Not a problem. I may not be a gourmet chef but I can rustle up Sunday dinner without too much fuss. Or so I thought…

Anticipating that I would be out all day (more about that next time) I had planned ahead and prepared and cooked half a lamb shoulder in my slow cooker yesterday. There were many recipes online for Greek style lamb online and the basic idea was place browned lamb and veges in crock pot, cover with hot stock and cook on low for 7-8 hours so that is what I did.

Today, having removed it from the fridge earlier, I placed it in a moderate/high oven for 50 minutes. This was then turned up high for the final 10 minutes to cook some rustic bread whilst the lamb rested.

Okay, time to serve and what do I find? Raw lamb with uncooked potatoes. 9 hours of cooking and we have a feast of carrots, cabbage and a small flatbread each. Marvellous.

I have no idea what went wrong but I have six hungry adults and a baby to feed and bread and veg was not going to cut it. Cue a quick call to the local Chinese takeaway for some Hoi Sin Duck and ribs to accompany our sides.

What can I say? You’ve got to laugh.

4 Comments

Filed under Food, Snapshot

Crochet Coral

image

It is so still and calm outside this evening. The sunshine earlier was accompanied by some spectacular rain which led to some wonderful rainbows. Now this has cleared and the air is fresh and still. The sky is such a beautiful colour and the clouds are gentle and fluffy, not ominous.

image

It’s calm inside too. I’ve had a lovely relaxed, friend filled day with the little man providing the entertainment. A few too many cookies, a bit too much dip, lots and lots of natter. All good.

Notice that rather impressive bunch of flowers? It was a gift from my wonderful husband last week. So many lillies! I decanted them into a variety of vases that are dotted throughout the house and their heady scent now fills the air. It greets me in the morning and reminds me how lucky I am.

image

Not a brilliant photo but this is the view in front of me right now and it is making me smile. It conveys warmth and cosiness and contentment. I love our house. It is small and frequently messy and there are 101 jobs on the to-do list but it is our home and we are happy here.

image

Anyway, I believe I promised to share the exciting surprise that I found lurking within this building so I shall keep you waiting no longer!

image

This rather superb glasshouse is the ‘Sheffield Winter Garden’. It houses a wonderful array of plants from around the world.

image

This one looked like a firework exploding! I felt like I was in a rainforest surrounded by these tropical plants. It is so tranquil (I seem to be seeking a bit of peace at the moment. It appears to be a recurring theme!).

image

There are various pieces of artwork hidden within the greenery. Little man was transfixed watching the leaves rustle above him whilst I sat and listened to the water trickle into the pool.

image

The Winter Garden is connected to another Sheffield landmark – The Millennium Gallery. Divided into four sections the gallery showcases the metalwork that the city is famous for. The Cutlery Monster stands pride of place in the centre of the rather marvellous gift shop. Have a look at it close up:

image

image

Fantastic!

And this stand was particularly hard to resist:

image

So pretty!

Finally I decided to take a quick peak in the ‘Craft and Design’ gallery and what do you think met my eyes?

Can you guess?

Okay, I’ll show you – tah dah!

image

A crochet coral reef! Isn’t it exquisite?! I could not stop gazing at it, marvelling at the hours of work that had gone into its creation.
Further reading led me to discover that this is actually the labour of many people as it is part of a larger ‘Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef’ project. Originating in LA, the initiative is intended to raise awareness of the destruction of marine habitats across the globe. Communities worldwide have been/are creating satellite reefs that are displayed in galleries to generate more awareness of the issues. For more information see here.

image

Edited to add missing picture!
I had to sneak these pictures so they are a bit rubbish but you can see some amazing examples online.
I would love to be part of a work of art like this and was delighted to find that they invited you to have a go at hooking up a piece of coral, even leaving a bucket of wool in the corner of the room. Unfortunately sticking out of the bucket were six knitting needles. It is not possible to crochet coral with a knitting needle, believe me I tried. I was less than impressed and recorded my disappointment in the visitors’ book.

I do not want to end on a sour note so I shall leave you with a picture of my favourite part of this masterpiece!
image

4 Comments

Filed under Crochet, Trips and outings