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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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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Andalusia, architecture, art, photography, Spain, spring, travel

Andalusian Art and Culture

Having been to Andalusia a few times now, I have a real appreciation of the lifestyle and culture, the laid-back attitude and, of course, the need for a siesta in the middle of the day…

Marbella is a lovely resort which has been revived and refreshed to something more like its 1960s heyday (although, thankfully you don’t need to be a millionaire to go there now!

Apart from the miles of golden beaches, the main draw of Marbella, for me, has to be the Old Town.

The Old Town is a winding maze of cobbled streets, cafes, restaurants and shops, selling everything from linen and cotton clothes and home furnishings, to local artisan shops and designer handbags, with wisteria, bougainvillea and hibiscus spilling over you from the balconies above.

Only 45 minutes away by a very reasonably priced direct bus, is Malaga, birthplace to the artist Pablo Ruiz y Picasso.  A beautiful city with architecture old and ancient a-plenty to feast your eyes upon, including this beautiful former Hospital and the Roman Amphitheatre ruins.

As Picasso’s home town, there are a number of Museums / Art Galleries – we decided to go to the Museo Picasso Malaga – which appeared to be the largest, but also had an additional exhibition on which we wanted to visit.

I must admit to never having been a big fan of Picasso, from the few pieces that I have seen, but my view has definitely shifted now, having seen the range of oeuvres including sculpture, ceramics, print-making and his early, more naturalistic paintings.

The additional exhibition was a touring exhibition called Energy Made Visible, focusing mainly on Jackson Pollock’s Mural which was commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim for her New York abode.

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Although I love¬†Pollock’s drip painting, it was one of the rare occasions when the other exhibits¬†–¬†including those who both inspired and were inspired by Pollock – were more interesting than the main feature.

There were works from artists and photographers that I did not recognise, such as Barbara Morgan, Herbert Matter and this painting by Antonio Saura – La Grande Foule (the Great Crowd) which made more of an impression on me than Pollock’s work.

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Initially this looks a bit bleak, but in reality the faces vary from comical to the downright scary. ¬†Being a complete geek, I couldn’t help but see a misshapen Darth Vader in the figure on the bottom row, just before the half-way mark. ¬†Can you spot him?

My final surprise was to see a work by Andy Warhol, another artist who I have always thought was over-rated.  This work, entitled Yarn Painting was so eye-catching and bold.  Regular readers will know why I laughed when I found out the name of the work Рas a mad-keen crafter, I spend half of my time looking at or working with fibres and yarns!

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This exhibition is on in Malaga until 11 September so, if you get a chance, take some time out and enjoy Andalucia!

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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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Very exciting news…

My Etsy shop is now open for business… ¬†Visit me¬†here!

Here are a small selection of some of the items you will find on there.  I would very much welcome any feedback on Etsy from shoppers and sellers alike!

A selection of hand knitted and crocheted scarves and wraps in beautiful yarns…

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Hand quilted Japanese-style patchwork bags in gorgeous colourways…

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Scandi-style bunting in soft muted grey/blue, red and white.  Ideal for Christmas but lovely for all year round!

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I’m off for a rest now – very excited but also exhausted from the effort of uploading all of the pictures, finalising the policies and working out all of the measurements!

Happy snoozing!

 

Lou x

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My Etsy Shop is now open for business!

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Etsy Countdown Revisited… 3!

My Etsy plans are finally back on track…

After a longer than expected hiatus due to illness, I am raring to go and very excited about restarting my Etsy Countdown!

I have begun taking some photos with my fancy new camera and coming up with descriptive and accurate details for my sewn, knitted and crocheted goods – there’s certainly more to it than I expected when I initially came up with the idea to sell my wares online.

So whilst I’m working hard on this I will leave you with a short and sweet post with some of my tester photos, trying to offer different views of the products. ¬†Any feedback would be gratefully received, but be sure there is a bit of cropping and other tricks to be applied before they go live!

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Happy crafting!

Lou x

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Wiltshire and Somerset Travels

I am very lucky to live in the beautiful county of Wiltshire.  Within a few minutes of my home is beautiful countryside Рheading north, the beautiful Bradford-on-Avon and the spectacular Roman city of Bath.  Heading south there is the world-renowned Stonehenge and Salisbury, dating back to the iron age.

To the west, my best-loved town, Frome (OK so it is technically in Somerset!), with its arts and crafts and to the east the even more magical stone circle of Avebury and the up-market Marlborough.

This weekend has been a wash-out so far (typical British weather!) so I have been limited to a quick trip to Frome. ¬†Visiting Mary Kilvert’s fabulous shop I bought a few goodies (can’t spoil the surprise on those by posting piccies!) and enjoyed my chat with her very friendly and helpful staff. ¬†I also visited a little Italian cafe called Paccamora¬†opposite Mary’s shop, which was full of character, and the tea’s not bad either…

I also just happened to, ahem, pop into Marmalade Yarns, which is fast becoming my go-to yarn shop.  Maxine very kindly offered knitting advice, and I got a sneak peek of her latest ideas for the next window display.  I treated myself (quelle surprise!) to some lovely yarn Рsome for more makes for my forthcoming Etsy shop, some to make a fancy scarf for Anna, and a bit of beautiful lace to perhaps make myself a wrap or shawl.

My camera has given up the ghost so I have no piccies sadly, but have now treated myself to a new one Рyay!  So that means I will have to go back.  And, perhaps, buy some more yarn?

Despite the current inclement weather, over the last week or so, I had time for a couple of trips to one of my favourite local destinations РThe Courts Garden in Holt Рa National Trust venue.

 

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The borders were jam-packed with beautiful specimens – unfortunately I only had an hour to walk around so i didn’t get to enjoy it fully. ¬†The pond is my place of solace and reflection¬†(well, not in it, you understand!)…

Another day I met up at the local Country Park, for a long walk in the sunshine, with my friend Anna and her little boy Mikey, amiably and ably assisted by their bonkers dog, Dave (known to me as Dave-a-roo).

 

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As you can see Mikey is incredibly photogenic.  Dave, on the other hand, is a Rottweiler in a Chihuahua body whilst out and about.  I have promised him that I will never reveal his secret.  When at home he is known to me as Shaky Dave Рhe literally quivers at the slightest approach of my cat Ella or anyone else.

Oops Dave – sorry – the secret is out…

Happy weekend all!

 

Lou x

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