animals, cats, home, Uncategorized

Kitty Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted about my kitties…

It has been a hard year and a bit since Paddy (AKA Sir Patrick) joined us, since Ella prefers to be the only cat.  But he had to be rescued from his horrible situation, and in time, Ella has grown if not to completely accept him, then at least reconcile herself to the fact that he is staying!

They are extremely hard to photograph at this time of year, mainly as they are both out a lot, but also because, as you can see from Paddy above, he never stays still long enough!

He’s a really happy little chappie and always wants to be around me, he is such a baby, in contrast with Ella, who is very independent but loving in her own way.  We have progressed to the point where they can eat together, although Ella still grumbles away if he gets too close!

During this cold snap we’ve had this Winter, they have both wanted to be on, or near, my lap.  Paddy has never been a lap cat, but he loves it now, if I dare sit down with a blanket or throw on my lap he’s on there in no time.

I have (albeit very poor quality!) photographic evidence that they can live together in harmony.  Here they are on my lap, Ella to the left and Paddy on the right, sat on my blanket.  It was such a breakthrough for us all, I have to admit that I had a little cry!

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Paddy is so fascinated and in awe of Ella, when she rolled over, as you can see, very relaxed even though she knew he was there, he couldn’t quite believe it.  It was a lovely moment in what has been quite a difficult time in getting them both settled.

Clever old Ella has proved elusive today – she must know that I’ve got the camera out…  So I will have to go and seek her out later.

Paddy’s brother was also rescued by my friend and neighbour Anna, and he is doing so well…  Here he is in all his glory – (Professor) Brian.  I love his little nose and bow-tie combination markings and his long socks at the back and fingerless gloves at the front!

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Autumn, charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing

Seasonal Plans

We are now coming into my favourite time of year – Autumn.

I love Autumnal colours, smells and the darker evenings where you feel happy snuggled up with a project or a book and some music on the stereo.  I would say also the lovely crisp sunny mornings but, well, the UK is going through a bit of an Indian Summer and the heat is rising rather than abating, even Patrick can’t take it…

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It’s a hard life, isn’t it!

Last year I didn’t do many Craft Fairs and I really missed it.  I’ve been thinking about some ideas and have a few days off now to take them forward (as well as relax…)

Firstly some Wreaths – firstly I was just thinking about Christmas, but once I got started I couldn’t stop!  I’m trying to decide the decoration for these (apart from ribbon to hang them with) – I’m thinking something simple and not too fussy.

Over the last few years I have made some Halloween baskets, and even shared a pattern here last year.  This year I decided to focus on four of the designs and have been asking for votes on which people like the most… Comment below by 5pm Sunday (GMT – UK time) with your four faves and I will enter you in the draw to win a set of four!

Finally, I am still struggling on with my brother’s scarf – reversible half-moon stitch in this gorgeous wool – Katia Basic Merino Flash – going from bright crimson to a dark rich red.  Hopefully it’ll be finished soon-ish…

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With more to do I’ve started looking at a couple of local Christmas Craft Fairs so I will soon have to start making my very popular Christmas Puds and stockings, and maybe a few more ideas to come.

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cats, travel

Cute Cats on Holiday

OK, so the cats aren’t on holiday, but I was!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I had a few days down with Mum and Dad in Worthing, on the South Coast.

They have two gorgeous Balinese rescue cats, Mimi and Timmy (well, technically Mischa and Timor, but I’ve always tweaked their names a bit!)  Mimi is the pretty Burmese-looking Seal Tortie Point – she is very intelligent and careful but sweet and Timmy is dopey and loveable.

Mimi was amazingly attached to me during this visit – she hardly left my side – and started doing all of the things with me that she does with Mum – like sitting on my lap and trying to get into bed – which is very unusual, she’s never done this with me before.  As you can see from the picture below right, she is also very talkative!

So a lovely time was had by all…

Finally I had to finish with another cat who I met on my travels this week – in a tea shop in Steyning, my favourite little village near Worthing, was this very relaxed girl, Maisie.  She doesn’t live there, but comes in every day and sleeps on the same chair!  When she gets hungry she wanders around the tables to find someone to give her the odd little treat.  The staff all seemed to love her and she was a very happy little kitty…

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.  Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.  I was amazed they went with it…

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I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).  It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir  Patrick’s monocle.  I met the real Sir Patrick once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).

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Two – Opening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

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Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.  Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.  For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

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Four – Yarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

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Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.  Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there.  Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

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Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.  The first time we’d all been away together for several years.  Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky goats producing the softest mohair)

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Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.  I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.  Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

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Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom has been bookended by Star Wars.  In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars soundtrack – I have never departed a cafe in such a hasty fashion before…  In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family.  There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!

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Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves – art and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).

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And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting, thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

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cats, craft, crochet, knitting, Uncategorized

Feeling Festive and Feline Fun!

Since my last post, so much has happened.  Having had nearly a month off from posting due to a mad few weeks at work which has consumed all of my time and energy, I’m finally having some time to myself and am able to get back to my crafting (and blogging!)

I completed two Craft Fairs, the one in Devon went really well and I enjoyed the mini-break, meeting some lovely folks.  I then did a small Christmas Fair locally which was not so successful, but great fun nonetheless.

Adding to all the madness is the preparations for a certain festive period – I have done most of my Christmas shopping, and am now moving on to last-minute gift-making…

First off is a crocheted scarf for my Dad which I am making in Katia Kathmandu – a gorgeous colourway in blue/green/grey which hopefully keep him toasty warm through this winter.

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Next up is a scarf for my brother – I am trying to decide whether I have enough time to knit this or if I should crochet it a bit more quickly.  Again I have decided on a Katia yarn – Basic Merino Flash, a soft wool/acrylic mix with a soft variegation in colour from bright crimson to a more mellow maroon.  My brother looks fantastic in red and as both he and Dad loved the scarves I made previously, I hope they do also with these.

 

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My Mum is also getting something, but as she reads my blog I am not putting anything on here about it – she will just have to wait and see!

Another present in the making is an upcycled project that I made and then was never happy with.  It is a lovely pattern and the first major item I made when I learnt to knit.  It is from the book Knitty Gritty by Aneeta Patel, whom I wholeheartedly recommend as a knitting teacher.  I wish I could have made it to one of her classes, but the two Knitty Gritty books gave me a firm foundation to start from.

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I am going to remove the pink flower (which I only put on as a tester) and am going to crochet some pretty embellishments around the shoulders of the hot water bottle.  This has been sadly sitting in a box since I made it, and Anna has remarked on it a few times, so I hope she likes the final result.

I will then turn my hand to a secret project for my little friend Mikey, who turns 5 on Boxing Day.  I may not complete it in time, so will save it as a January present…

And finally, a project for myself – Mum and I had our annual pilgrimage to Peter Jones in Sloane Square (part of the John Lewis brand) and we saw some beautiful yarns.  I bought some for myself which I am going to knit up on different sized needles.  This stunning yarn is Debbie Bliss Angel Prints, Kid Mohair and Silk, as soft and strong as you would expect with that gorgeous mix.

I have never made anything for myself so this is going to be fun.  I am going to try it with 3 1/4 mm and 5 mm needles and adjust it if I am not happy with the result.

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Finally, a little update on Sir Patrick, who is now 7 months old and a real purr-sonality.  He doesn’t ever stay still enough to take any pictures, but I managed to snap these today.  He is fascinated by all the knitting and crochet activity and has a penchant for lace (he has excellent taste!).

The final picture is just typical Sir Patrick.  He was checking out the camera lens and managed to fog it up with his breath, in true soft focus style…  Ella is just beginning to cope better with him, and he is calming down a little, which is a relief for us all!

 

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craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

What a week! Thank heaven for Devon…

 

I am so looking forward to next weekend after what has been a rather stressful week…

Sir Patrick the kitten has been ill and undergoing various tests – thankfully it all seems to have resolved and he is now his usual – completely mental – self.

I have have some big changes afoot at work – these will involve periods of anxiety and increased workload for my team.  Luckily, I have a positive outlook, so with the support of others, I am sure we will overcome!

There is one piece of news, though, which has perked me up no end…  I have a small Craft Fair to attend in Chagford, a beautiful village in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor National Park.

 

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My crafting buddy Anna and I last attended this Craft Fair back in April – hark back to this post, where we met the tiny ponies, lambs and where I bought these lovely felting bits from Jean at Kaeravel Krafts (and had a free drop spinning lesson into the bargain)…

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Last time we enjoyed our trip so much that we gladly accepted the invitation to come back for their Christmas Fair.  I have been busy making some festive items (along with a baby blanket I have been crocheting for a friend – more of that later…) – here is a sneak peek of some of the goodies I will be taking with me!

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Christmas stockings – mini sized but big enough for some festive treats.  Just need to be sewn up and a sweet Christmas star crocheted on to the front.

 

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Christmas puddings – they are festive treats for place settings – hiding a chocolate underneath. I always sell out of these, so am attempting a factory production line of them (total staff: me – with ‘help’ from Sir Patrick).  I will only have time to make about two dozen of them for next weekend.

Finally two new ideas – this appears to be white but it’s actually a lovely soft cream colour – thought I might try to make a festive wreath…  Not sure how it’s going to look but experimentation is half the fun!

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Lastly a bit of a strange idea I had, based on an idea from Craftseller Magazine (sadly no more…) of making gift tags in the shape of Christmas presents.  The original idea was of birds with lovely embroidery, but it was too labour-intensive – this is a bit quicker, but I still find myself spending ages sorting through my stash to find all of the sparkly bits I am after!  The back has a pouch for a piece of card to be slipped in with the name of the recipient…  These are a bit of a work in progress but I like the concept.

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More news when I return from Devon!

 

 

 

 

 

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craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

Works in Progress…

Just a quick update whilst I am incapacitated – had a little accident today whilst cleaning my carpets – I didn’t realise how wet my feet were and walked off the carpet into the kitchen and went down with a slap bang, onto my knee.

Massive bruising and swelling – luckily I can recall some of my nursing basics – just need to get some RICE…

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Ice

Compression

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Also a bit of Arnica cream which brings out the bruise but also helps reduce swelling and pain.

So whilst RICE-ing I have had a look at (some of) my works in progress…  As always I have got many things on the go…

These little orange treat baskets are the foundations of my recent posts regarding Halloween Crochet Patterns – I am going to take these into work for an order I have received from a colleague.  She has yet to decide whether they are going to be spiders, cats, bats or skeletons.

I will be making a few extras for others at work as they always go down a treat (see what I did then!!)

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My second work in progress is my annual fundraising by selling crocheted poppies for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal (find the pattern here).  These just need the backs sewn onto them and they are ready to go!

 

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I have a piece for my Etsy shop nearly finished – a few adjustments to be made before I put it up for sale though!  Lovely yarn – Katia Peru – very easy and enjoyable to crochet with.

 

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Finally I have some lovely yarn (Katia again!) this time Katia Azteca – in a lovely soft variegated colourway.  I bought this with a view to making a present, but again I may pinch it for my shop, as I have had another spend-up at my local yarn store to replace it already…

 

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Fingers crossed I get some of these finished!  Have a great weekend all…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Uncategorized

Cat Politics!

Morning all

What a manic couple of weeks… After Sir Patrick the black kitten had his ‘op’ I’ve started letting him out in the garden. From the start I knew introducing another kitty into the household was not going to be easy for Ella, my black cat.  Luckily I used to work for Cats Protection so I used their leaflets to advise me. It appears to be a mix of time, Feliway and Dreamies cat treats work for them!

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Ella (above, left) very much loves her garden and is not thrilled about the interloper in her midst (above, right), especially when his two sisters live next door and his brother next door-but-one!  All in all, including the other neighbours, we now have eight cats within four houses.  Cat politics are playing a huge role outside.

We seem to mainly have periods of calm, with the odd stressful moment.  Take Ella and Sir Patrick below, for example.  He is so fascinated by her and often forgets to keep calm and rushes at her.  She of course takes offence to this, but doesn’t ever strike him, she just warns him.  At other times he goads her and stalks her, which can be funny to watch, especially when you know what the outcome is going to be (let’s face it, Ella will always win!)

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They are both very loving and sweet cats, and I fully understand that they may never be friends (although he would really love that) but Ella is top cat and always will be.  I think the best I can aspire to is grudging acceptance.  I’ve been working on the garden so they’ve had more time to mingle and get used to each other.  I love the two pictures below – firstly Ella asserting her dominance, calmly for once, with Sir Patrick doing an about-turn when he realises she has the (literal) high ground.  And the second – where’s Sir Patrick?  Check out the blue pot – the two of them are actually quite physically close without any arguments.

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They are both such strong, but sweet and loyal characters, so I’m sure some sort of compromise will be worked out between them.  I’ll leave you with some typical Sir Patrick poses – ‘I can’t stay still’ and ‘catch-the-lens-cap’

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Happy catting!

Lou

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Uncategorized

More Free Halloween Crochet Patterns

Morning all

I have a lovely week off at home now – time to kick back and relax, and enjoy my birthday week.  Poor little Sir Patrick the kitten is having his “operation” on Wednesday, so he will have a bit of recuperation time before my Mum arrives on Thursday.

You may have seen my Halloween Crochet Pattern for the Spooktacular Halloween Cauldrons last week.  This got me thinking of further Halloween designs for these simple crocheted baskets.  I’ve amended the pattern this time for advanced beginner / intermediate crocheters…  working in the round instead of finishing each row.

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Please note that all terms are written in UK style.

DK yarn in orange (alternatively make in black, white or any colour you fancy!)
3.5mm crochet hook
Embroidery thread in black, green and white or invisible thread
Offcuts of white, green and black felt
Offcuts of cardboard (I used a cereal box)

SS = Slip Stitch
DC = Double Crochet
st = Stitch
CH = Chain stitch

NB: mark first DC in each round with a stitch marker whilst working in the round

Start with a magic circle, SS into circle, CH2
Row 1: 8DC into circle = 8 sts
Row 2: 2DC in all sts = 16 sts
Row 3: DC, 2DC, rpt to end = 24 sts
Rows 4-9: DC in all sts = 24 sts
Fasten off at the end of Row 9 and sew in all tails.

Alternatively you can continue on for a row or two – this is a good idea when working with taller or bigger chocolates or other presents you may pop inside the little cauldrons.

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Cut out shapes from felt according to the pictures.
For the Spider – embroider around the outline with black thread, add the white felt for the eyes with a bit of black thread for the pupils and fill in the spider legs.
For the Skeleton – embroider around the eyes, nose and mouth edges with black thread and fill in teeth with black thread.
For the Cat – embroider around the eyes with invisible or green thread.  Add the black pupils, embroider around with black or invisible thread.  Add the ears and mouth and finish off the inscrutable kitty smirk with black thread.

Fill with festive Halloween chocolates and enjoy!

As with my previous pattern, please clearly credit all designs and finished projects to Louise Robbins and/or Chester Bunnynuts, and provide a link to either my blog at https://chesterbunnynuts.wordpress.com, or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chesterbunnynuts.

Commercial use DOES NOT permit mass production or factory manufacturing of any kind.  Please do not reproduce any part of my patterns.  Thank you for your consideration, and happy hooking!

Lou x

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Uncategorized

Unexpected Absence

Well, that was a rather extended absence, it’s been a challenging, and at times difficult three weeks.

I was at the Shoreham Airshow with my family last weekend, when the Hawker Hunter jet crashed.  It was a huge shock and we were all very upset and horrified, even more so later finding out that 11 people had died as the jet crashed over the main A27 road.  It has taken a bit of time to reflect and reconcile what happened, but after a while you have to put it aside.

Good news regarding my new charge, Patrick, the seriously cute but cheeky kitten, he is doing really well.  He has put on 50% of his bodyweight (considering he was previously neglected, this is a particular relief) and his latest vet check up has been very positive.  So he’s gone from this slightly anxious kitten…

 

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To this super-confident little chap with a lovely glossy, sleek coat – apologies for the quality of the photos – took these on my phone as he rarely stays still!  It’s amazing how quickly they grow – he is clearly going to be very tall and is very solid and muscly.  All that has been built up in the three weeks he has had good nutrition and most of all, lots of love and care.

 

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Last week I was away for a few days with work, which was a very exciting challenge.  As a Nurse it is strange to be based in an office and advising patients over the phone.  I had the opportunity to travel to Kent, the other side of the South of England, to train staff at a Hospital on our feeding pumps.  I really enjoyed the challenge, but it was quite exhausting!

So now I’m home, everything is settled and back on track, and I hope to get on with some lovely crafting this Bank Holiday weekend (which I can only do when Patrick is sleeping!) and open up my Etsy shop soon…  It seems to have been a long time coming.

Happy crafting

 

Lou x

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