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 – having 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 – from 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 – this is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf – we saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December – using a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish – delicate 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 – the first he told me was Crinodendron Hookerianum – the Chile Lantern Tree and second was an Enkianthus.

The next two are reverse views – my favourite view from my favourite place, the Temple of Apollo – and the view of the Temple from the other side of the lake.  This lovely monument featured in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice – in 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, spring, Uncategorized

Spring Crafting the House

Much as I love Winter, taking down the Christmas decorations is always a sad time – I 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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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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You Have To Be Kitting!

What a week I’ve had, best laid plans and all that!

On Thursday I had an early finish from work and was planning to finish a few items ready for my Etsy shop.  I was having a little mooch around the garden, planning for my fences to be put up.

Suddenly I saw this cute little black kitten strolling up the garden path, and he walked straight over and threw himself at my feet.  I knew that he ‘belonged’ to a neighbour due to a recent incident of neglect we witnessed, regarding him and his siblings.  He was outside without being vaccinated, microchipped and neutered, too young (only 12 weeks old) and the neighbours’ children said that he was unhappy at home.

With help from my friend, we managed to get him rehomed with me.  By this time I had to go out to complete a Dementia Friends talk and so I borrowed some kitten food and left him with a bowl, some water and Ella’s litter tray (much to her chagrin!)

 

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Ella is not keen on other cats and I had always planned to keep to a one-cat household.  Of course all of that is up the swanny as he has bonded so strongly with me within minutes.  I can’t imagine life without him now, he is so tiny, sweet-natured and gentle.

I used to work for Cats Protection so have followed their excellent guidelines about introducing him into the house and taking it slowly, to ensure long-term happiness for all inhabitants!  I got a Feliway diffuser which relieves tension in cats, for Ella’s benefit more than his…

 

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Ella is a bit put-out at the moment, but has at least not been aggressive or overly anxious, as these piccies attest to!

 

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So we will (hopefully!) be a happy cat household, he has had a check-up at the vets and his first immunisations, soon he will be free to go out into the garden, safely this time.  He is only 1.2kg but not too underweight for his age, and otherwise the vet gave him a clean bill of health.  Phew!

The only thing left was to pick a name for him, and since his brother is named Brian after the wonderful physicist Professor Brian Cox, my first idea was immediately to name him Patrick after Sir Patrick Moore (the late, great amateur astronomer and TV Presenter of The Sky At Night).

So welcome to Patrick – and lots of fuss and hugs for Ella, to hopefully smooth the transition so that she comes to terms with the interloper and they can live together in harmony.

Hopefully next week I’ll have more time to get on to other priorities including my delayed Etsy shop!

Happy catting!

 

Lou x

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Poppies and Lace – an Odyssey!

Just in time for this week’s hotly anticipated (ha!) heatwave – I have some time off and am going on a little jaunt with my family.

It’s the first time that Mum, Dad, my brother Alex and I have holidayed together in at least 25 years (and no, I’m not revealing my age!)

I’ll give you a few clues as to where we may be going…  Firstly from Mum’s garden…

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Secondly, I expect to be drinking this (in moderation, mesdames et monsieurs!)

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And thirdly, we shall be staying within a stone’s throw of this beautiful piece of work…

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Answers on a postcard, please to:-

Lou (AKA Chester Bunnynuts)
C/O Bayeux
Calvados
Normandy
La Belle France!

Apart from the lovely markets and the Bayeux Tapestry itself, our trip is as a homage to my uncle, Bill Vernon, who fought in Normandy and helped liberate many of the villages around where we are staying.

I hope to be posting some poignant and interesting photos with help from my brother, who should have been a military historian, such is the breadth and depth of his knowledge of, in particular, the two World Wars (although he seems to know a great deal about most historical conflicts).

Needless to say I will be taking a few projects with me…  More on that later!

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Happy crafting!

Lou x

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Bad Cats III – The Final Catdown

AKA cats in places that they shouldn’t be…

As a long-time cat owner, I am never surprised at the scrapes these little devils get themselves into.  And I certainly don’t love them any the less for it.

This seems to be a family tradition – so I proudly present another rogues gallery of naughty cat behaviours for your delectation!

Firstly – Puschka – who has been through a tough time recently with her health, but we are glad that she is now returning to her previous matriachal state.  Note the guilty expression – she has just ordered a lifetime supply of tuna despite supposedly being on a special diet.

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Secondly – Mum and Dad’s cats Timmy and Mimi (really called Timor and Mischa but I never call them by their proper names)…  Laundry baskets, a speciality!

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Also available in cupboards and plant pots…

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Favourite hobbies: bird-watching and world travel…

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And finally, no rogues gallery would be incomplete without Ella – her most popular locations are cardboard boxes (of course!) and, occasionally, the top of the 7ft wall outside my back door.

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So these are our family bad cats named and shamed!

What is your bad cat story?

Happy catting!

Lou x

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