art, craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, photography, sewing, summer, travel, yarn

End of a Lovely Crafty Week

This week I’ve been off work – holidaying at home – with some lovely days down on the South Coast with Mum and Dad and then back home via a day-trip to London.

It’s been super-busy but then again the time has flown by – can’t quite believe I’m back to work on Monday…

The start of my week was with Mum – I wasn’t feeling great so we did a bit less shopping / visiting and a bit more crafting which was¬†fine by me. ¬†I started on a crochet shopping bag and Mum showed me these clever little pouches which hang on a door handle and can be filled with anything you don’t want to lose – i.e. keys, crochet hooks, cat biscuits, or whatever!

I then travelled back to Wiltshire and had a day trip to London (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on the train) to see my cousin Cathy and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  As a keen amateur astronomer, I was desperate to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition Рhaving meant to go every year for the last few years.  This view is from the steep climb up Greenwich Park to the Observatory.  In the distance is Canary Wharf and the edge of the City of London.

The rather unimportant-looking line below is the Greenwich Meridian Рfrom which all time zones are measured here on planet Earth!  This is the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), although technically we are now on BST (British Summer Time) which is +1 hour and will revert to GMT in October for the winter months.

Greenwich is a lovely part of South London – very near where I used to live, but as often happens, I only visited it once in the 9 years I lived there! ¬†There are lots of cafes and meeting places and the park was spectacular. ¬†Nearby is also the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the only surviving 19th century tea clipper) but we didn’t have the time or energy to visit this (it was a really warm day!)

Finally I was back to Wiltshire with some crafting and catching up with friends. ¬†I went to Frome with my friend Anna and bought this cute bunny pencil sharpener (I won’t reveal where the hole for the pencil is!) ¬†We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe and these gorgeous ferns appeared to be creeping up the wall as if to make their getaway…

I bought these glow-in-the-dark Toadstool lights for the garden in Worthing and can’t wait to try them out (the garden needs a bit of work first!)

I couldn’t get away without doing some yarn shopping – in Frome I happened to ‘pop in’ to Marmalade Yarns and buy these gorgeous fibres… ¬†Firstly some Autumnal shades – Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply silk/merino mix in a shade called Burnt Orange but that I would describe as more of a conker / nutmeg mix – and secondly Skein Queen 4ply merino in Squash which is a slightly more red / orange – both delicious and perfect for a delicate shawl / wrap or scarf.

Finally, some Debbie Bliss Angel Prints laceweight in a blue/green/red/grey-brown mix Рthis is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf Рwe saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December Рusing a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish Рdelicate but effective.

I bought myself some Angel Prints in December, but never got started on it.  Perhaps this weekend will be my time to get another knitting project on the go!

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craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, summer, travel, Uncategorized

Stourhead Revisited

Part of my plans to get fitter (and therefore feel less guilty when I sit down to knit / crochet!) has included a new exercise regime.

As I had a couple of days off last week, I decided to go to Stourhead, one of my favourite National Trust gardens¬†and only a short drive from home. ¬†The grounds are absolutely beautiful – so much so that in my many visits, I haven’t yet ventured into the House!

There are many buildings around the lake, which all offer a different view of the surroundings.  The gardens are most famous for their rhododendrons and azaleas, but there are many other wonderful trees and shrubs to enjoy.

I was much later visiting this year than previously, but the show of colours did not disappoint…

Stourhead Head Gardener, Alan Power, was very kind to respond to my Tweet asking what these two lovely and unusual specimens were Рthe first he told me was Crinodendron Hookerianum Рthe Chile Lantern Tree and second was an Enkianthus.

The next two are reverse views Рmy favourite view from my favourite place, the Temple of Apollo Рand the view of the Temple from the other side of the lake.  This lovely monument featured in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice Рin the proposal scene.

All in all it was an inspirational visit, and a lovely start to my new regime.

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craft, crochet, knitting, nature, photography, travel, Uncategorized

New Discoveries

Do you sometimes feel like you are getting stuck in a rut and do the same old things every weekend?  Working full-time, my leisure time is very precious to me.

This Bank Holiday weekend I formulated a plan with my friend and neighbour, Anna. We decided that we would try to visit somewhere new at least once a month and started this month with Shaftesbury in Dorset.

We did have a teensy¬†ulterior motive, in that¬†Hanson’s Fabrics and Crafts, a massive craft warehouse, is a few miles¬†south of Shaftesbury…

I even managed to persuade¬†Anna’s son¬†Mikey that buttons are magical… (have you ever seen a cheesier face?)

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After buying a few bits and bobs there we moved on to Shaftesbury.  It was a beautiful day but I needed to get some shelter from the sun as I am photosensitive due to my Lupus.  We stopped at the Ugly Duckling cafe and what do I spy next door, Knitting Well, a yarn shop!!  Both places gave us such a warm welcome, so I think a return journey will be on the cards.

We then headed off to the High Street, with lots of quirky little shops, I can heartily recommend a visit here.

Finally we found, almost by accident, Gold Hill which is the site of the Hovis ad from the 1970s which ran for many years and was directed by Ridley Scott (no aliens around¬†thankfully). ¬†It also featured in the 1960s adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd and is your archetypal ‘chocolate box’ scenery…

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It was such a lovely day but by this time I was quite exhausted, so I didn’t get to walk down Gold Hill but I will save that up for another visit. ¬†Now we just have to plan where our next trip¬†is going to take us…

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craft, crochet, knitting, nature, spring, Uncategorized

Spring Crafting the House

Much as I love Winter, taking down the Christmas decorations is always a sad time РI usually make a big effort with my two mantelpieces, which seem to look bare and a bit sorry for themselves when the festive season is over.

This year, I decided I would do something about this (as opposed to just moaning about it…)

So, I resolved to¬†make a seasonal display¬†of my living room mantelpiece for each season. ¬†I have started with Spring – there’s still a bit of work to do but it’s a start! ¬†My friend’s Mum found the deserted nest in her garden (don’t worry – she waited several¬†years for someone to claim it but they never did)

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It’s a bit of an eclectic mix¬†and¬†I feel it needs some handmade / crochet loveliness to jazz it up a bit, but it’s a start!

I can never do anything by halves, so I then cleared my new shelf (opposite the mantelpiece) and decided to make this¬†British woodland scene (which will be permanent but with perhaps some seasonal visitors…)

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I have some work on the set-up of this to do, but I think the foxes kit which Mum bought me from Kidsonroof¬†works really well in this setting. ¬†Apologies for the picture quality – it is¬†very overcast today so even my ‘proper’¬†camera struggled to take a clear image!

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My little crochet Toadstool looks sweet but a little lost on the impromptu wood stumps, again a few additions are needed so I think I should get crafting…

What would you like to see added to the scene?

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nature, spring

Springtime in Wiltshire

This week I’ve been¬†holidaying at home, and what a lovely week it has been!

I’ve managed to get in some fun days out and shopping trips as well as getting some of those long-overdue jobs done at home…

On Thursday I had a lovely trip out to Lacock.  This is a beautiful village owned by the National Trust, and includes a beautiful Abbey and grounds.

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The village is beautifully kept and as most of the buildings range from 14th to 18th Century, it is heavily used as a filming location for many period dramas, including Downton Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Cranford. ¬†The Abbey cloisters have also been featured in many of the Harry Potter films. ¬†It is a film and TV buff’s dream destination!

We’ve had such a mild winter here in the UK that strolling through¬†the Abbey grounds, I found a wonderful carpet of spring flowers as far as the eye could see…

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Carpets of yellow and purple Crocuses, Cyclamen, my favourite Snowdrops, and even the odd patch of Daffodils and Narcissi already in bloom.

 

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I then wandered into a part of the garden that I have not visited before and found this wonderful Botanical Garden.

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What a lovely way to finish my week off.  And to top it all the Fox Talbot Photography Museum at the Abbey had an exhibition of Icelandic landscape photographs Рa year from now I am hoping to be back in Iceland, probably one of the most beautiful places on this planet, and certainly one of the most fascinating.

One of my earliest blogs was about Iceland, so I may have to revisit that one now and ramp up the excitement factor for next February!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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