Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 - the Curate's Egg

Bishop: "I'm afraid you've got a bad egg, Mr Jones"; Curate: "Oh, no, my Lord, I assure you that parts of it are excellent!"

Pretty much sums up my year.  I refuse to say it's been an annus horribilus... there have been some really excellent bits but sadly, there have been some not so good bits.  Much of it my own doing but not entirely... at least I don't think so. There has been over-reaction, a few moments of too much to drink and a bout of depression.  I am proud to say that even with all of that I am still not smoking.  Hurray for me!!  

But there was cycling, walking, camping, beach-combing, the two deer we saw in our garden this morning, birdsong, a cosy home, lovely children, a fantastic husband, good friends (even if I sometimes think that everyone hates me), lots of knitting and crochet, some good reads, a cow attack, laughter, tears, views, paddling, a new hairdresser that I really like and so many things that have slipped my mind at this moment.

Aims for 2012
  • attempt to use up stash
  • learn to sew properly
  • lose the weight I've gained since giving up smoking
  • more cycling
  • more walking
  • walk the dog every morning!
  • have an adventure
Well off to watch the hootenanny shortly

I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Gloomy but we do love to be beside the seaside!

Oh how miserable the weather has been these holidays.  We were so full of plans to get out and about but it just isn't any fun at all in this incessant rain we've been having.  It makes the days short, dank, dark and strangely tiring.  We are all clawing the walls with a desperate desire to get outside.  Having to resort to checking out the IKEA sale as our only excursion of the day.... sigh...

However, having said that, we did get over to Morecambe to visit Nick's dad earlier in the week and decided to have a walk along the promenade. Despite the gloomy looks of the day, it didn't actually rain so we set off.  There's been a big project to regenerate the promenade that we didn't know about so it was a really good walk.  There's lots of bird-themed artworks to see and the Stone Jetty is full of interesting bits and bobs.

Love these bird posts
A rock island. Art Deco Midland Hotel behind
Boats on the Stone Jetty
Looking out to see
Colourful fishing boats
It was great.  Will go again with bikes as you can cycle right along the front to Hest Bank and into Lancaster so could be a good day out.  Ice creams, picnic, sounds like a plan!  Only when it's a bit better weather.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Early Christmas

Oh I have been rather spoiled this week.  I am taking part in a couple of swaps on Ravelry - the UK Sock Knitters secret santa and the UK Swaps Falling into Winter swap.

Both of my parcels have arrived this week.  Both left at oddball neighbours house who left them in vestibule without knocking or anything and therefore freaking me out a bit!  They are a funny bunch but that's a whole other story that I may tell one day...but probably not....

Anyway, the first parcel was the UK Sock Knitters secret santa....

Lovely Christmassy parcels

Willing opening package volunteers who know that sweeties are often involved in mummy's parcels!
Under such massive pressure from the girls opening had to happen straight away... no waiting under the tree until Christmas if sweeties might be involved... sigh...

So here's what arrived: some lovely mitts which have already moved into my coat pockets and are in use!  Two skeins of scrumptions sock yarn in colours I really like.  Old fashioned sweeties... yummy... all gone now! A little lip gloss/balm shaped like a russian doll.  A mini sock blocker kit and some stitchmarkers.  Awesome.  Feeling super spoiled.

 Been out and about visiting as usual on Saturday and found that my next lovely parcel from the UK Swaps Falling into Winter Swap had been hand delivered while I was out. I missed the lovely lady and am so sorry.  Very impressed with the dedication though!
What a lovely collection of treats. Enough sweets to open a sweetshop (according to the girls) lots of lovely yarn including some rather special hand spun.  Some jolly yarn for the girls too!  There was a delightful mini-shawl which has come in handy quite a lot of late.  A pencil case and contents.  A fantastic piece of hand made glass too which is difficult to see on the pic but very lovely and just needs a well lit home.  Utterly spoiled for the second time.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

First Snow

Just looked out and it's snowing.  Sleety snow but snow non the less!  Really feels like winter now.  Good job I am prepared and have knitted new hats and scarves! Yay!!

Also started an item for me.  A snug gilet in the nice James C Brett Rustic aran that I used for Little Friend M's cardie recently.  Same colour too.

Only problem is, there's no picture of the back and it's all textured so is taking AGES to knit.... sigh.... It will all be worth it I'm sure.  Eventually

Here's where I'm up to so far.  Just decreasing for the armholes.
Never ending back of gilet
This is described as "Rice Stitch" in the pattern. 

If you are interested it's a design from the Favourite Aran Knits 3 book by Sirdar.  Last design in the book.

Come, come thou bleak December wind, And blow the dry leaves from the tree

So said Coleridge.  Mind you there aren't many leaves left to blow off around here anymore.  It's been a dank and dreary sort of a day here in Padiham.  The only reason we got out at all today is because it's the annual Toy Service for the girls' school.  So we went to that.

Nick wanted to go out on his bike but the weather just deteriorated.  Lots of rain and hail today.  Really nasty stuff and no fun to cycle in.  So he's been like a lost little boy for most of the day.  Looking out of the window and sighing a lot.

As it is now December we have put the Christmas tree up.  The usual routine ensued.  Phil Spector's Christmas Album and plenty of chaos.  But it's done and we all think it looks lovely.
Typical Christmas tree silliness
I even managed to crochet some little stockings for the tree.  There was meant to be 24 of them and they were going to make up an advent calendar but I didn't do enough of them in time so we'll just gloss over that one shall we.  Pattern courtesy of the lovely Monde de Sucrette blog.
Cute crochet stocking
Another cute stocking
Despite all of the festive stuff, it was still a pretty dull old day.  We should bake a cake was the general consensus.  However, we were a bit short of ingredients so we managed to cobble together a ginger cake.  Total comfort food fix.... it's got treacle, golden syrup, dark brown sugar and oodles of ginger in it.  A sure fire winner.  We had it with some custard and it was most definitely comforting....
Mmm... sticky ginger cake