Is it Winter?

April 5, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  9 Comments

In my last post we were basking in summer temperatures and this week we are back to winter temperatures in style.  It snowed all morning on Tuesday with us and it’s been freezing cold with wind chill.

On Saturday we had a day trip to the Lake District in England and although it was cold we enjoyed it as we always do when we visit the Lakes.  I took some photos, including the one above.

Derwentwater.

The mountains.

This week I’m enjoying being on annual leave and it’s given me time to do a little more crafting.  I managed to finish the needlebook – it’s not perfect but for me it’s okay.

I’ve also been working on “Flock” which is turning out to be quite a fun stitch.  I’ve changed a lot of the colours and am happy with the way it looks so far.  The next chart is out and it won’t be long till I move onto it.

I’ll leave you with a few photos of my little friend.

The Bag Lady

I have teeth.

And finally this one where she looks like she is smiling.

Thanks for popping in today and  have a lovely Easter weekend wherever you are.

Is it Summer?

March 28, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  5 Comments

Well the plants certainly think it’s Summer.  It’s been an amazing spell of weather since the weekend with temperatures reaching twenty degrees.  Records have been broken for March temperatures in Scotland and the UK.

This magnolia, along with other plants and shrubs, is coming into blossom way too early.  If we get a cold snap, which is almost guaranteed, then we will lose the flowers.

I’m hoping the weather might hold for next week as I am taking a week of annual leave leading into Easter weekend.

I’ve made a start on “Flock” which is a fun stitch. The only problem I’m having is that I’ve changed the fabric colour as I couldn’t see me stitching on red pear linen and it’s giving me thread colour issues.  The colour choices look different on my choice of fabric so I’m having to change out some colours to suit.  You wouldn’t think that the linen is off white from the photo.

I don’t usually do this type of design where it builds up over a year of charts but I’m hoping that I will continue to enjoy this one.

I’ve also started to “finish” the florentine needlebook.  I’m not using the silk lining that came with the kit as it’s very stiff and crinkly, not my type of fabric at all.  I hope I don’t regret the fabric choice that I’ve made – it’s an old Hoffman fabric that I’ve had for a long time.

As a follow up to my last blog post, I’ve now had my Kindle for almost a week and can honestly say that I am enjoying using it.  It’s so light to hold and the print is an excellent size.  I chose a very soft cover for it – the inside of the sleeve feels so soft and the Kindle slips into it very easily but wouldn’t be able to fall out.

My view is that for novels it’s an excellent tool but for needlework, knitting  etc I will still be buying traditional books.

In some ways it’s renewed my pleasure in reading if that makes any sense.

Thanks for popping in today and thanks to those of you who say hello when you stop by. I’ll leave you with a photo of Poppy – she’s grown quite a bit of late and is turning into quite an athletic and acrobatic cat.

Shades of Purple.

March 22, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  8 Comments

I love this time of year when colour starts to appear everywhere.

Today I’m on a day of annual leave and it’s good to find time to just “be” instead of rushing around with work, chores and errands.

This morning I took the plunge and ordered a Kindle e-reader.  I’ve debated long and hard about this as I really do enjoy the feel of a book in my hand.

The thing that tipped the balance is that quite often new paperbacks come out in a larger size format and I find that both my wrist and hand become painful when I read in bed.

I decided that the new smaller and lighter Kindle might be the answer as I currently have around six E V Thompson books sitting waiting to read and I know that I’ll just end up with problems if I try to hold them.  Most of the books that I currently want to read are available for the Kindle so this made the decision easier for me.

I’d love to know how other people feel about the whole e-reader debate as I find that people have very strong views for and against the concept.  My husband has had one for ages now and loves it but my son won’t have one (mind you he has an i-pad) as he says he prefers books he can hold.

On the stitchy front, I’m almost finished the florentine needlebook and then it will be the scary stage of finishing it.  I’d like to make a matching scissors sheath and cover for a pincushion that I use often.

I can honestly say that I have enjoyed stitching this more than anything for a long, long time.  Mind you, it’s not stopped me from buying several new designs which I couldn’t resist.

I’ve made a start on one but not enough to show a photo.  It’s the new Samsarah monthly series titled “Flock” – I love the idea of the verse running across the design and the simplicity of the birds and shapes in it.

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Scotland – I hope the sun finds you wherever you are.

It certainly found this pair.       Thanks for popping in to visit.

Choosing fabric.

March 13, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  7 Comments

When I visit other stitching related blogs I’m always impressed by the way other stitchers seem to choose fabric and threads with ease.

Why do I have so many issues when it comes to choosing fabric?  I recently started a Lizzie Kate design and I began by stitching on 32 count Lambswool –

– after getting this far, I decided that, firstly, I didn’t like the way it looked and secondly, the fabric wasn’t a pleasure to stitch on as it was very uneven in it’s weave making it difficult to work on.

I then did a test piece last night using 32 count Flax which I think looks better but I don’t enjoy stitching on “floppy” linen as much as the starchy linen.

I didn’t have a problem choosing the linen for the Florentine needlebook as the pattern will cover the whole area and it had to be 35 count permin to keep the shape etc.    I’m really enjoying this piece, it is so relaxing to stitch as the pattern is so simple.

I have been knitting but I’m not going to show any photos as every time I post photos of things I knit, it’s the kiss of death and the project invariably ends up in the bin.  Suffice to say that I’m having a go at a cute monster by Rebecca Danger and if it works out okay then I’ll post a photo (fingers crossed).

This little one is still causing havoc with her antics, she’s such a full on little character and recently we’ve been debating whether or not she needs a little companion.  We’ve always had two cats in the past but this time we’re not convinced that it’s the right thing to do so rather than make the wrong choice we’re holding off for the time being.

It’s such a hard life, is it not?

I’ll leave you today with a photo I took a few minutes ago of a lovely hellebore in our garden.  Thanks for dropping by and welcome to the new visitors who’ve dropped in recently and said hello.  Thanks too for taking time to comment.

Bargello or Florentine?

February 22, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  11 Comments

We were in Edinburgh at the weekend and I took some swan photos.  I never tire of seeing swans.

Landing Gear Down.

Splash Down.

A plane coming into land at Edinburgh Airport.

At the other side of the water is a large open space where people walk their dogs.

A grey day in Edinburgh.

I’ve not posted of late as I seem to have no needlework progress to show.  I have started so many projects and then abandoned them for various reasons that I’m getting very frustrated.

My knitted camel was a disaster – once I reached the head, you would have needed a degree in knitting to follow the pattern.

On the stitching side of things I’ve just not been inspired – I begin something and then it feels meaningless.  I’ve never felt like this before.  As a result, I decided to have a complete change in type of design and I’ve opted for a few bargello (hence the title) designs.   The one below is the simplest and when finished will be made into a needlecase.  I am really enjoying it and find it very relaxing.

Bargello or Florentine ?

This little one is still causing chaos and also a degree of worry too.  She spent last Wednesday at the vet being spayed.   She was a sorry little one for several days and only perked up at the weekend when we returned to the vet and she was given a couple of injections.

Snowdrop?

Flower Girl ?

Hopefully, my interest in stitching will pick up again and I might just find something to knit that doesn’t need such advanced skills.  In the meantime I’m going to continue with the bargello and see where it takes me.

Thanks for popping in today, hopefully I’ll be back sooner next time.  I’ll finish with another photo of Poppy (I can’t resist).  Take care, no matter where you are.

Scotland midweek.

January 25, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  9 Comments

(These berries are an amazing colour – I couldn’t resist this shrub which I think is called Callicarpa.)

I didn’t post Scotland on a Saturday as I decided to wait till today so that I could share a Scottish poem with you to celebrate Burns night which is today.

Many of the poems by Robert Burns can be hard to follow because of the language used so I chose one that I thought was a bit more reader friendly.

“Up In The Morning Early”

Up in the morning’s no’ for me,

Up in the morning early;

When a’ the hills are covered wi’ snaw,

I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

Cauld blaws the wind frae east to west,

The drift is driving sairly;

Sae loud and shrill’s I hear the blast,

I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

The birds sit chittering in the thorn,

A’ day they fare but sparely;

And lang’s the night frae e’en to morn,

I’m sure it’s winter fairly.

by Robert Burns (January 25th 1759 – July 21st 1796

I’m not going to a Burn’s Supper this year.  As you probably all know the main food served is haggis and along with it “bashit neeps” and “champit tatties”.

Which translated means mashed turnip and potatoes.  I quite enjoy turnip mashed with butter and black pepper but I tend not to eat haggis these days.  I don’t dislike it, it’s more of the case that it doesn’t agree with me.

All this talk of Scotland has got me thinking of what is in the news at the moment about a vote to decide whether we split from the United Kingdom.

I don’t usually mention anything political on this blog but it’s so topical just now that I thought I would touch on it in the passing.  Although I’m Scottish in that I was born in Scotland, I am first and foremost a UK citizen and don’t want this to change.  I like being part of Great Britain as a whole and feel that the union of the four countries is important to all of us living here.

I’ve made some progress on the stitching and knitting front.  The camel is coming along fine, it’s fun to watch it take shape.  I’ve started a new stitch on 35 count lambswool – it’s a needlebook which should be stitched over one on 28 count but I’m just not comfortable with over one so hopefully it will still look okay.

The shaker box in the next photo was the other craft gift that I received at Christmas.  It’s made by a gentleman in France and is a really neat design with a lift out tray for your tools etc.

I’ll leave you today with a couple of sunset photos that I took a few days ago.  We’ve had some lovely skies this month which is unusual for this time of year.

Thanks for popping in today, I hope you enjoyed a little flavour of Scotland.

PS Karoline – I’ve visited many bakeries in England and I’ve never encountered fruit slice – I think it is a Scottish recipe.  It’s very easy to make though,if you would like the recipe.

Scotland on a Saturday

January 14, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  10 Comments

I’ve not featured Scotland on a Saturday for a long time so thought I’d try to get back to it.  There’s not much to take at this time of year as the weather has been pretty dull so far.

We were at Falkirk and Stirling this morning and I bought a couple of plants to add a sprinkling of colour.

I also had to collect my framed finish.  I’m pretty pleased with how it looks framed and now I have to package it to mail it to the extreme south of England.

I thought it might be nice to share some Scottish words and quotes with you when I do a Scotland on a Saturday post.  There are so many words that are specific to certain parts of Scotland and many of the words are no longer used by the younger generations.

I remember most of them well as my mum and my granny used to sprinkle their sentences with them regularly. Hopefully, some of them will make you smile.

Fruit Slice or as the Scots would say - Fly Cemetery

This week’s word is “bahookie” – it’s a light hearted word for your “derriere”.  For example if you were complaining about something you might just say it was a “right pain in the bahookie”.

This week’s quote was by Dorothy Wordsworth …………..

“Scotland is the country above all others that I have seen, in which a man of imagination may carve out his own pleasures;  there are so many inhabited solitudes.”

Finally for today as a follow on from Poppy’s last photo:-

What big teeth you have ……………………….

................... all the better to chew you with.

Thanks for stopping in today and also for your comments, they often make me smile.

Gifts and knits.

January 11, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  8 Comments

Help Is Always At Hand

As you can see, I’m never short of  help these days.  I’m still knitting the scarf even though I’m not convinced.

I’m knitting it for my mum but feel that it isn’t what I wanted so yesterday I ordered a scarf from a company that I’ve bought from before.

Cobweb Lace from the Shetland Isles.

It is a cobweb lace scarf from the Shetland Isles – I thought it was more suited to my mum and what she wears.  It’s very fine and very pretty.

The basket with the knitting in it was one of my Christmas gifts.  It’s a Nantucket basket with a lovely embroidered lining.  It’s great to use as a knitting basket.

Talking of knitting, I’m just starting a camel with the wool you can see in the next photo.  The wool that came with the kit was too crisp for me so I changed to what suited me and had to adapt the colours to the closest match I could find.  I always find this very difficult to do.

A Camel In The Making.

I’d like to share a few words with you that were written by William Blake –

“He who binds to himself a Joy

Does the wing-ed life destroy

But he who kisses the Joy as it flies

Lives in eternity’s sunrise.”

Thanks for stopping by today, I’ll leave you with a photo of Poppy that I took a few minutes ago.  She is the cheekiest little kitten who seems to have a way of endearing herself to everyone she meets.

What big eyes you have ..................

……………………………………….All the better to see you with !!

New Year Wishes

January 1, 2012  |  Featured Posts  |  11 Comments

Happy New Year from Poppy

and from

Brandy

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and that this coming year is a happy one.

I’ve managed to spend some time stitching and knitting at last.  Kitty is still inquisitive but can be distracted by her toys fairly readily.

The SB piece which was supposed to be ready in November is almost finished and will be heading to be framed shortly.

I started this scarf last night but I’m not sure if I’ll continue with it or not.  It’s knitted with the Rowan variegated Kidsilk Haze which is lovely but I think it would be a bit ticklish to wear.  I’ll maybe knit a bit more and then make a final decision.

I got some lovely craft gifts for Christmas which I’ll show over the next few posts.  I also received a couple of orchids – one was a really large one and the deeper pink was a miniature one.  Both are very pretty.

I know it’s the time of year everyone makes new resolutions and I enjoy reading what people are hoping to achieve over the coming year – however, I find that I prefer to set more immediate goals throughout the year – I find this easier to achieve than looking a year ahead.

My goal for January is to be more productive with my time and to stop frittering time away each day.  I’m going to try to set a goal for each month and then at the end of the month take stock and be honest with myself about whether I’ve achieved it or not.

Thanks for stopping by today and thanks for all the visits and comments over the last year too.  Take care wherever you are.

Early Christmas Wishes

December 18, 2011  |  Featured Posts  |  8 Comments

I did try to add a Christmas bow to Poppy to make her look a bit more festive but she turned into the Tasmanian Devil!!

Mind you, this seems to be a daily happening as I’ve lost count of how many things she’s broken since she joined our family.  She reminds me of a previous cat we had who did much the same thing.

Poppy on her Dad's lap.

She loves to sit on Alan’s lap, he is the favoured one at the moment.

The tea cosy girl.

Poppy's favourite pastime.

We have never had a kitten or cat who will eat just about anything.  She will open packets herself and eats more food than any cat we’ve had.

I probably won’t have time to post before Christmas so I’d like to stop by to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season wherever you are in the world.

I’ve had little time for anything recently as my mum is currently in hospital and Christmas is racing towards us at a frightening pace, but I’m off over Christmas for a week or so and I’m hoping to sit down and stitch as I’m really missing it.

Thanks for dropping by and take care.