Sunday, 29 January 2012

Home improvements and hilltops

Another week has passed us by.  I have a finished object to brag about but unfortunately have completely forgotten to take any photos... doh!

It's an aran gilet.  From the Favourite Arans series of books.  I'm very pleased with it.  Took my time knitting all the bits which were tedious at times.  Especially the back which was entirely in rice stitch and took ages to do.  The cables were relatively straightforward on the front but that didn't stop me regularly cocking them up and having to frog back to correct. I took particular care when sewing up and I feel I can justifiably say it's the best finishing I've ever done!  Just a bummer there are no pics.  Will get some next week I promise.

Usually I would get DH to photograph me modelling my finished garment but he's been rather busy this weekend.  Having got the windows done, thoughts have turned to decorating.
Newly painted stonework
Yesterday he painted the stonework around the windows and the front door.  The window fitters very kindly patched up some of the rendering after putting the windows in - a real favour as the render was falling off in places.   They look very smart now and the new windows look very posh!

We decided to paint the front door a new colour and we decided on "Hot Mustard".  I was expecting a sort of dull colman's mustard kind of hue but this is what we got...
Not so much mustard.... more banana I'd say
I'm sorry but that is NOT mustard.  It's banana yellow! It's very bright and I have to confess that I don't really like it much at all.  To add insult to injury though, it just won't dry properly.  2 days later it's still sticky. Looks like we'll have to sand it down and start again.  Annoying, but also a bit of a relief as we can now pick another colour.
The never dry paint...
Next it was time to decorate big girl's bedroom.  To make life easier, she has moved into her sister's room.  Little girl has the biggest bedroom of all of us (she has the most stuff) so fortunately we've managed to squeeze everything in without too much effort really.
Room for two... spot the crochet blankies...there are 3.
Here's her room all stripped down.  The paper was a darkish red and it was very cosy in there but she wanted a change.  She has picked her own paper which has a bit of a contemporary take on 70s wallpaper but you will be able to see that for yourself when it's done.

The orangey/apricot colour above the picture rail is now a lovely lilac colour. Really pretty. I really like the picture rail but it is a bit of a dust catcher. Looks like N has been dusting with his head!

After 4 years the dust doesn't get any worse - Quentin Crisp

Now Nick needs to be left alone when undertaking mammoth decorating tasks so I took little girl shopping for big girl's birthday next week yesterday.  Today they were invited to go swimming with Little Friend M across the road for the afternoon so that left me twiddling my thumbs.  Got the goulash in the oven and decided to head out on my extra small Giant for a ride.

Puffed and panted up White Hill to see if I could do it.  I couldn't... well not in one go... had to keep stopping and catching my breath.  Whilst ascending I saw one of the mums from school.  You know the one I mean, there's one in every school year, perfectly organised, taller and thinner that you, children always starring roles/head girl or boy, never a hair out of place.  You really want to hate her but she's actually quite nice....grrr... well she was walking downhill with a friend. I was sooooooo glad I was actually pedalling at that point in time and not flaked out on the handlebars gasping for breath!!!
The carpark at the top of the hill.  Snow on the ground
Got to the top and stopped at the carpark to check out the view and congratulate myself for getting there.  Good News it's downhill all the way from now on!  Had a whale of a time on the way down.  And, very gratifyingly waved as I flew past perfect mum on my way back home.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Padiham Wildlife and an extra small Giant

Hello there

Ooh it has been a very busy and exciting week here.

Firstly, new windows.  After over a decade of umming and ahhing we decided it was finally time to sort the windows.  The back two upstairs windows in particular were in a terrible state and on the verge of dropping to bits.  We really didn't think that they would take any more patching up.  The front windows were single glazed and rather  draughty.  They were, however, real sash windows so we were ridiculously over-attached to them.  They were not the original sash but some relatively recent replacements so the wood was not properly seasoned and would swell in the rain making the windows impossible to open (or shut if left open!) again when damp.  The condensation was atrocious and there was mildew forming in places.  During the last couple of cold winters they actually froze on the inside even with central heating on!!  Sadly, double glazed modern sash were completely out of our budget so they have gone but we have replaced them with lookalikes that aren't too bad.  They are wood effect and look really, really nice.  Very pleased. The back windows tilt and turn which means the bottom half totally swings inwards which will be fantastic on balmy summer evenings (you can stop laughing now.... it has been known to happen).

When I was busily showing off the windows to the girls we saw the deer again.  Two of them
mooching around in the back. At about teatime too.  Amazing.  Saw them again this morning.
If you look carefully, in the middle of the picture, you can just about make out one of our deer visitors,.
Hope they stay around as they are almost impossible to photograph but I keep trying!

All the window work happened on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.  As there was a teeny bit of cash left over we have ordered some new paper for the girls bedrooms.  They ripped off what is there when they were little and assure us that at nearly 9 and 7 1/2 they are much more responsible now!  They'd better be.  Anyway, younger girls has picked some colourful flowery paper and older girl has gone for bright hearts.  All very girly but lovely too.  I feel a burst of matching crochet throws and cushions in the offing!

We've also booked a week in a yurt in the Lake District at Easter.
A-glamping we will go in this very yurt!!
 We though it would be huge fun and a lot warmer than our tent as there is a wood burning stove in it.  Also we can't manage to take all the camping gear and the bikes with us in one go.  If we stay in the yurt we can take the bikes and get lots of cycling in.

The above plan does herald some sad news though... sigh... the Duchess, my current bike, is not up to the task.  If all I did was nip to the local shop, then all would be well, but I need to travel along rough tracks, tackle big hills and generally have a bit of an adventure.  So I have a new bike as of yesterday.  It's a Giant bike, only being such a short arse, it's an extra small Giant, of course!!
This it my new extra small GIANT!
It is brilliant and I love, love, love it.  Rode it home from the shop in Burnley yesterday and it was awesome.  Didn't quite have the seat height right so got a bit of the old sore buttocks today but once height adjusted it's just fine.  I am used to a large, well padded and sprung seat so it will take a bit of getting used to the sliver of plastic they call a seat on this type of bike.  I will just have to HTFU.  (This apparently, is a technical term which stands for Harden the F@@@ Up!).

Despite, the tender derriere we decided that we needed a foray to Gisburn Forest.
Gisburn Forest.  We rejected the basic route and went straight for the more exciting moderate route!

So off we went and a marvellously muddy time was had by all.  It was a bit cold at times but the girls were intrepid and fearless and got stuck in.
Quite early on in our ride.  We are all mud free!

I got stuck in too and went flying around the course whooping and giggling and ripping through puddles like a madwoman.  I can highly recommend it!

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Frosty morning and last minute socks

Oops, I forgot to mention this earlier.  Managed to finish the socks for little friend E's birthday just before midnight last night.

Took a few pics before wrapping them for the party this morning
Lost the ball band but I think this is a Rico sock yarn
I've knitted socks for this girl for the past few birthdays. She seems to really like them.

I quite like the way the colours have pooled
Gratuitous arty sock shot!!
Must just mention what a  gloriously sunny and frosty morning it was today.  The third day of decent winter weather.  It was really frosty and I love the way that frost outlines everything in white.

Frosted bark chippings

Everything looks like it's has some kind of photoshop effect applied to it.  Took Sally out on the emergency trip to the shop to get the birthday card I forgot to buy and had oodles of fun jumping on and cracking icy puddles!!
Wintery morning at the back of the house.

A rainbow in my project bag

Top Row: Fondant, Lipstick, Shrimp, Saffron
Bottom Row: Spring Green, Cloud Blue, Bluebell, Wisteria

I am skint as anything at the moment, totally brassic, but decided to splash out on some rainbow loveliness.  It is bargainous Stylecraft Special DK so it's a fairly low key splurge.  I'll be embarking on a ripply blanket for younger  daughter.  It will be a mix of Attic 24/Sucrette in looks.

I've noticed some pain in my hands and especially in my elbow lately.  I think I may have Knitters Elbow (otherwise known as Tennis Elbow).  Eek... I will just have to shovel in the ibuprofen and take it easy.  Can't possibly not knit.  Apparantly, you can get some kind of support bandage.... may have to check that out.  Curse the onslaught of age!!  Bits of me keep giving up the ghost.  My teeth and gums are knackered, my eyes are going and now I have achy joints.  It'll be stay press slacks and incontinence pants next..............

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Sunshine came softly through my window today

Oh at last!  A break from this incessant gloomy drizzle we've had so much of lately.

Blue sky and fluffy white clouds
Took some pics on my phone so the quality is lacking but I just had to try and capture it as it is all so fleeting.  The sky was blue, there were fluffy white clouds and it seemed as though everyone was out for a stroll at lunchtime to enjoy it - just as I was
A fading vapour trail in a clear blue winter sky
I love the long shadows you get at this time of year.  The sun is still pretty low in the sky even at midday.  I took these photos while out for a stroll at lunchtime in Leyland today.
Long winter shadows
I was in early today and able to leave work at 4 o'clock. What a treat to be driving home in the daylight.  Sunset started happening on my way to pick up the girls from after school knitting club and it was blood red, almost apocalyptic.  Had to try and capture it but sadly my phone just hasn't done justice to the light and pink, red and orange light.  It was fabulous.
Simonstone under a blood red sky

Sunday, 8 January 2012

If at first you don't succeed...

Hey ho, and it was all going so well last Wednesday.  Should have finished the week before commenting about it really.  Clouds have descended again, lurgy has struck and those negative voices keep on telling me how hopeless, pathetic and worthless I really am.  It is pants. Big old stinky pants.

I am not going to renew the pharmaceuticals. I need to get my stinking thinking kicked into touch.  It's a destructive cycle to be in and so cruel.  There's no way on earth I would be so hard on another person. It's time I was nicer to myself.

The dog is fed up as I haven't taken her out since last week and this is the face I am greeted with most of the time;
Come on woman! Take me for a walk!!
The girls went to see the Nutcracker yesterday.  Their first ballet and they loved it.  They went with their grandparents and have stayed over.  Nick is working this weekend so I've mostly been on my own.  This is a good thing I think.  Got some time to think and plan and kick myself up the bum.

I have found three things that have made me feel a bit happier today.

  1. Took the dog out for a walk!  She was so chuffed.  Found a discarded pint glass while we were out so that was an unexpected bonus.  God knows what people were thinking when they saw me walking around with a pint glass in my hand!!
  2. The bulbs I planted last year are starting to pop up.  I had completely forgotten about them so that cheered me up no end.  Haven't got a clue what I put where but it will be a pleasure to wait and see what comes out.
  3. Sock yarn blankie - lots of ends need to be sewn in so I decided to keep them in a jar.  They look pretty and make me smile when I look at them.

Sock yarn blankie ends... so far

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Good Start

Wow! We're ready.  Dressed, bags packed and sitting around with 15 minutes to spare before we need to set off.  There must be something major that I've forgotten...mustn't there?

Even got some sock stuff packed for lunchtime knitting. Also got up a bit earlier and took the dog out this morning. Blimey... hope I can keep this up!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Time to get back in the groove

Well that's it then.  School hols finished and the girls are back at school tomorrow.  I'm back at work too so we will have to get our act together instead of lounging around for ages in dressing gowns watching telly and chilling out.  None of that sort of thing tomorrow.  It's all go, go, go!

I am very pleased with myself though.  I've managed to be organised for once and there is a full compliment of clean and ironed school uniform hanging in the wardrobe, bags have been located and made ready for the morning, PE kit washed and ready to go back and lunches done and dusted ready for tomorrow.  Hooray!  Let's hope this organisation isn't a one week wonder.

Nipped to have a look around Skipton today.  It's really not that far from us and it's a while since I had a look around.  Took the girls and the plan was to get chips and find the shop where a friend of ours works.  The river near the town had burst its banks and was impressively flooded which was a matter of great interest to the girls.  Shamefully, I can't tell you which river it is - blush.

The weather was pants.  Bitterly cold and biting wind, hail at times and lots of rain.  We had to keep diving into shops to escape and get warm.  This is how we found the shop of our friend - Emma's Apothecary- and it was full of gorgeous and lovely things.  We also wandered through Rackhams and tried out lots of perfumes so were a bit pungent when it stopped raining enough to venture back out again.

Might try to cycle to Skipton as it's on the canal so should be relatively easy riding.  Will wait for sunnier weather and temperatures first though!

Sock yarn blankie progressing nicely.  It's very, very addictive and has been the perfect way to pass all the stuck indoors rainy days.  121 small squares and 7 big ones so far.

Got some other stuff to finish but it's all on a bit of a back burner at the moment. Must tear myself away from the blankie or limit the amount of squares I do at once.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Blowing away the cobwebs

You can see some sunshine in the distance. Honestly.

Hooray! Not raining this morning.  Almost sure we saw a spot of blue sky.  A walk is planned.  As it is highly likely that this window of weather opportunity may be rather small Pendle is where we are off.
A light scattering of snow on Pendle

It's a bit blustery and there is a bit of snow on the ground but a lot of people are trudging up.  Obviously, they are all as fed up of being stuck inside all holidays as we are.  There's a lot of grim faces and exchanges of comments about the amount of wind up top. But really we are all proud that we made the effort and got out.  Plus there was some remnants of bunting at the trig point.  Bunting? I wonder who put that up there.
Playing with the bunting at the top of Pendle!

The girls and Nick are all kitted out in Bear Grylls gear.  Not fair.  I haven't got any. Sob!
Look at them.  It's like an advert for Bear Grylls clothing!
Windy it may have been, but it was still a fun way to pass a couple of hours and we most certainly got a good old blast of fresh air.  Holidays are over for most people tomorrow but we have one final day left for us girls.  Nick back at work.


Hmm.. not too sure about this new template.  I have been using the same look for yonks now, primarily because I am too lazy to make any changes.  But it is a new year so the change stuff muse is upon me.  I think I will live with this girly template for a while.

Must figure out how to make my own pics small enough to use as a backdrop.. for now the colourful one will do.

Edited to add - couldn't live with all the nicey, nicey birdies so have revamped again to a more subtle and plain affair!!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Sock Yarn Blankie

Oh I am so enjoying this project.  It makes me feel less bad about all of the leftover little bits of sock yarn I've held onto for quite a while.
Do you know what? I can pretty much remember every one of the socks I've knitted with each bit of yarn.  It's a big old sock nostalgia trip!  Hmm... that's a bit sad isn't it? Oh well.  Nothing new on that score!

Starting as we mean to go on

Happy New Year again to you all.

Guess what.  We all awoke to another dank, drizzly and wet day.  So what we all cried.  We have had enough!  We absolutely, categorically, unequivocally, simply must must MUST get outside.  So we wrapped up and headed out for a bike ride together.

It rained, the wind blew but do you know what?  We had an EPIC time.  It was all a bit money supermarket (love that ad!).  The girls were intrepid and no puddles or mud was going to get in their way!  A great time was had by all and a lovely hot bath on our return the reward.

Back home, wet, muddy and happy!

Happy New Year

Welcome to 2012.

Watched the fireworks, had a toast, returned to Jools Holland.

In the midst of a sock yarn blanket addiction at the moment.  I have so many scraps of sock yarn that I've hung on to and hung on to, you know, just in case.  And I have finally found a use for them.

So far 104  small squares and 5 large squares.  It's so satisfying making these little mitred squares.  You can knit them onto each other too. No sewing.... marvellous! Just a few ends to weave as you go.

Pics to follow if this blasted rain ever stops!