September 2020 Making Review

It’s a bit of a late round up of last month and I hope to get back into blogging a bit more now. Life is starting to settle into more of a routine with our new puppy, Cosmo, and Faye going back to school. I’m still working from home and I love it. There are parts of working in the office that I miss but I must admit, I prefer being at home.

Life just feels so much more relaxed in lots of ways. I realise that is not the case for everyone and I feel very lucky to feel this way. But for me, home is my happy place and I get to be in it every day. I’m getting to spend all this time with Cosmo that in normal life, just wouldn’t have been the case. It’s so peaceful sitting in my kitchen and getting on with my work, then I can just shut down my laptop, pack it all in a bag and start the dinner! I can also go to my craft room on my lunch break or pop out into the garden or take Cosmo for a walk. An office lunch break is sat at your desk or walking around the town and is definitely not as nice as this.

It’s so easy to feel despairing with the way life is currently. There are many things I miss. But I think it’s crucial to also focus on the little gifts this strange time can give us too. One day, we will look back on this and it will be this major historical point that changed so many things. Living through something is so different to reading about a past event. I’m finding it hard to say what I mean here… I suppose if you consider how people just got on with their daily life during the World Wars and didn’t stop to think about how generations later, people would marvel at how they coped and what they went through. They just got on with it. Each week, each day, each hour, each minute… living with that new normality. That’s what we’re doing now. It’s not the same situation, of course, but it’s comparable in that it is something that is affecting the whole world and it’s changed the way we live.

I wonder how Faye will remember this time in her life. How it could affect her future. The uncertainty is the anxiety-inducing thing. But it’s something we will just have to roll with and deal with things as they come up.

How are you feeling about everything? Are you able to take time to focus on the little delights in your new normal life?

Finished Projects

So onto all things crafty after that deep and meaningful start! With a new puppy in the house, crafting time hasn’t been as fruitful. I tried to work on small projects that wouldn’t be tempting for him to chew on and only got my knitting out when he was asleep to begin with! I do have some FOs for you though, so I’m pleased about that!

I started and finished my Apple Gradient socks for August (ahem) this month. I got a bit behind with my one pair of socks per month goal for 2020, but it’s fine. I’m almost back on track now.

I shared this yarn in my last review blog. I purchased it from Sophie at Pixie Yarn. This was the ‘Hey Little Apple Blossom’ mini skein set of 5 x 20g merino nylon sock 4 ply. It’s so soft and beautiful. I really like how they’ve turned out. I sort of wished that I had continued into the foot with the heel colour to make the gradient blend better but I didn’t.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I joined in with a community craft group over lockdown to help out with knitting and crochet and sewing. I made face masks for them back in July and I’ve also knitted a few bears. This month they wanted to create a Community Quilt to display with the them of ‘Lockdown’, so I completed two squares for it. I really enjoyed embroidering as I haven’t done any for ages. I think it may have woken up a sleeping craft desire and I may have more embroideries in my future!

I was sorting in my craft room as I like to do (all the treasure!) and found a box of hexies that I made for Faye’s quilt but when I laid out all the pieces (a long time ago now!), I realised it was too big and I needed to remove some. I knew I would use them for something one day and I just had the urge to whip something up quickly, so I made Hexies Bookmarks for gifts for my Aunties birthdays at the end of the month. They both enjoy reading so I made these to go with the book gifts.

WIPs

I tried so hard to get my Ice cream socks for September finished before the end of the month but I just ran out of steam. Having a new puppy is hard work! So unfortunately, this is still a WIP but very close to being finished. I shall give the yarn details next time when they are finished.

I cast on the Sonder Shawl at the start of the month, but only made it about halfway as the weather warmed up and it was too warm to work with that very chunky yarn. Also, as it got longer, I couldn’t guarantee that the end draping down my legs wouldn’t be too tempting for Cosmo to chew, so it’s been shelved until it’s colder and my puppy training is better. Although, I must admit, he is a clever little sausage and is learning soooo quickly.

I wrote about the Battenberg Blanket in the previous blog post but it’s essentially a free pattern from Sandra at Cherry Heart and is beautiful and mindless. Perfect for puppy watching! I’ve made quite a few squares so far but this will definitely be a very long-term project to pick up and put down whenever I feel in the mood for it

Knit and Natter

I thought I’d add this little section to my monthly blog review so I could have a space to chat about some of the projects I’m thinking about. As I said earlier, I really would like to do some embroidery. I’m thinking some pretty wall art in hoops to start me off.

I’ve also been thinking about trying do some more sewing. Sewing all those face masks in the summer made me more comfortable with my sewing machine. Perhaps I need to do more simple sewing like this before I try more dressmaking. Having said that, I did enjoy making Faye’s dresses in August as they were really simple too. Now I’m working in the kitchen (perfect situ for the inevitable puppy house training), I have my craft room back and can leave projects out on my desk.

I always wish I had more time for making but I doubt there would ever be enough free time to enable me to make all the things I’d like to.

My main goals for October will be to get back on track with my sock knitting and to finish my Disney cross stitch. Here is where I was when I last worked on it:

I still have a long way to go but I think it’s doable. Famous last words!

Until next time, Happy Making! xx

All of the Blankets (and a Quilt)

I have a number of large projects on the go at the moment and as I’ve not been blogging regularly, I thought I would catch you up on where I am with them. I don’t think I had shared all of them before.

Cath Kidston-inspired Granny Square Blanket

In February, I decided that I’d like to crochet something in Cath Kidston colours. In particular, the colours of my beautiful ironing board cover which is the Wells Rose print.

I wanted a mindless project that could be picked up and put down at any moment, so I chose a giant granny square blanket. 

I’m crocheting with a 3.5mm hook and the yarn is Stylecraft Special Double Knit. I did a lot of swatching until I decided on the following colours:

  • White
  • Lipstick
  • Soft Peach
  • Fondant
  • Cypress
  • Buttermilk
  • Storm Blue

It’s still not finished but I love to have a long project that I can pick up whenever I don’t have the capacity to concentrate too much.

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The start of the blanket with the inspirational ironing board cover behind it
Current progress

Battenberg Blanket

I had started knitting the Habitation Throw from Knitvent 2019 (a pattern collection from Helen Stewart) and although I liked the pattern, I wasn’t really enjoying how it was turning out.

I tend not to enjoy random colour selections. I still wanted a project where I used up all my leftover beautiful 4-ply yarns so I decided to start the Battenberg Blanket by Sandra of Cherry Heart. I frogged the Habitation Throw and used up all the yarn to make the tiny little crochet squares. I am really enjoying working on this project but it is going to take me a very long time.

I will also be using some pretty mini skeins but I don’t have a huge stash of these. I think I need around 530 coloured squares and the same again with my contrast colour which I am yet to decide on though I have a few ideas.

Cosmo’s Blanket

I have lots of leftovers in Stylecraft Special DK so I decided I’d like to crochet a blanket for Cosmo. He won’t be getting it for a while, partly because it will take me ages to finish, but mostly because he would probably chew it at the moment!

I gathered together all my blues, greens, greys and neutrals and did a long chain (no idea how many stitches) and then I’m treble crocheting (I think) to create a striped effect. I worked on it quite a bit before he arrived but as it’s a big project and dangles on the floor when I’m working, progress has halted while I teach him not to chew my projects. I’m focusing my efforts on handheld/fit neatly in my lap projects at the moment!!

Faye’s Hexies Quilt

Talking about long-term projects… this one was started in January 2018!

The first hexies

I knew it would take a long time and I have to be in the right mood to dig it out and work on it.

I think I have about 5 rows left to sew on and then I need to figure out how to do the edges. I haven’t chosen my backing fabric yet as I wanted to have all the hexies sewn together first before I made a purchase. I think I might treat myself to some Liberty fabric as this is such a special project and will hopefully be an heirloom. I’m thinking of a blue colour but will keep you updated!

So there we are, all my big project WIPs. I’m in no rush to finish any of them but I would like to get all the hexies sewn together before the end of the year and maybe finish the CK Granny Square blanket but we shall see.

Do you have any long-term projects? I’d love to know.

June, July, August 2020 Making Review

Hello! It’s been a while since I updated my blog. The summer has gone by in a blur! I was suffering with my back for a large part of it but I’m feeling much better now. At the end of August, we brought home our new puppy! Introducing Cosmo…

The day we brought him home

He’s a border collie and we are all madly in love with him. He has sort of hindered my making but in a good way!

10 weeks old

I thought I would catch you up on my finished projects this time.

If you can recall, I am aiming to knit 12 pairs of basic socks this year to fill up my sock drawer. I’m a little off track having not yet completed my August pair but I think it’s still perfectly manageable before the year is over.

My June pair were knit using ‘Impromptu’ Merino Nylon 4 Ply from Stranded Dyeworks with the contrasting toes, heel and cuff knit in West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in ‘234 Honeysuckle’. I love them!

My July pair used up some leftover West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 Ply in the colourway ‘Peacock’ and I did contrasting cuffs with the ‘Juniper’ colourway. I really love this wool. The balls seem to last ages and even with my big feet, I can get one normal and one shorty pair out of a single ball.

For Father’s Day, I made my dad a scrapbook. I had so much fun making it. Faye and I spent an entire Saturday making them (she made on for Rob too). They were very well received as well!

I finished a shawl during June and July. It is another pattern from the book ‘The Shawl Society Season One’ by Helen Stewart (also known as Curiously Handmade). The Amulet Shawl was knit using a skein from Lay Family Yarn in the colourway ‘Jack Frost’ and another skein from Stranded Dyeworks in the colourway ‘Gloom’. Both 4 ply yarns. It turned out beautifully. I love Helen’s patterns!

I’ve also joined a local community group helping out with crochet, knitting and sewing items. We have been working on Buddy Bears (free pattern on Ravelry). I’ve only made two so far and I’m not sure the little yellow one was allowed as I think he was too small for the Buddy Bears scheme but he will have been used in the ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ project.

There was also a request from the community group for face masks, so I made 59 (miscounted for 60!!). It’s been really lovely to be involved.

Faye’s birthday was in early August, so I had made her a few bits: her birthday brooch (an annual tradition); a crochet polar bear that she’d requested from Ravelry; and two Suki dresses from the latest Tilly and the Buttons book: ‘Make it Simple’. She is just about in a ladies size 6 now so I will be able to make her more things from the patterns I already have. She chose the fabric and absolutely loved them.

Faye wearing one of her Suki dresses

I have been working on a few different crochet blankets but I think I’ll save that for next week as this is getting a bit long-winded now!

Acquisitions

As July is my birthday month, there have been a few acquisitions. I treated myself to some birthday yarn from two new (to me) Indie dyers. First up is Molly from The Mimo Yarn Co. I purchased some sock yarn in the colourway ‘Mint Choc Chip’ and I couldn’t resist a few minis to go into a blanket.

The second purchase was from Sophie at Pixie Yarn. I bought a skein of lace yarn and a set of gradient minis as I want to try my first pair of gradient socks. This was the ‘Hey Little Apple Blossom’ mini skein set of 5 x 20g merino nylon sock 4 ply.

I’d love to know what you have been working lately, if you want to leave a comment below.

Corona Diaries – Days 72-78

Sunday 31st May – Saturday 6th June 2020

Making

I have finished my May socks this week! Ta dah!

I love the colour choices for my June socks. The main colour is MCN fingering weight yarn from ‘Stranded Dyeworks’ in the colourway ‘Impromptu’ and the contrast is West Yorkshire Spinners  Signature 4-ply in ‘Honeysuckle’.

I have also cast on a brand new project this week – the ‘Amulet Shawl’ by Curious Handmade. I’m making the large shawl using two beautiful stash yarns: Lay Family Yarn in the colourway ‘Jack Frost’ and Stranded Dyeworks BFL Nylon in the colourway ‘Gloom’.

Baking

This week I made Rock Buns from a Mary Berry recipe.

We had some bananas on the turn so I also made chocolate banana bread using an online recipe from BBC Good Food. It turned out really nicely so I would definitely use it again.

Gardening

It’s been quite a rainy week here so I haven’t done as much in the garden, aside from some weeding and deadheading.

I didn’t have any tomato seeds when we went into lockdown and despite ordering some plug plants about 6 weeks ago, they still haven’t turned up. So on 23rd May, I took some seeds from a few shop bought tomatoes and dried them out on kitchen paper. I sowed them in seed trays with compost the following day and by 31st May they had germinated! They are now developing their true leaves and I will pot them on when they have a few more leaves. I’ll be honest and say they might be too late to get a good harvest now but that really depends on what kind of autumn we have. In years passed, I have been picking red tomatoes into October because it was still warm and sunny. Often, gardening can be all about luck!

Reading

I haven’t read much this week, just a reread of ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell which I last read in high school!

General Chit-Chat

Our new table and chairs arrived on Sunday afternoon and I love them.

It’s been a busy work week and I have felt like this week zipped by so quickly and I didn’t achieve much, but then I write my blog and realise that I did manage to do quite a bit!

I hope you had a good week xx

 

Corona Diaries: Days 65-71

Sunday 24th – Saturday 30th May 2020

Making

I’ve made almost no progress on any of my projects this week. Some weeks just go that way. Every evening, I’ve found that I’m too tired to pick up my socks.

I feel as though I have been stuck on the same projects for weeks now and want to inject a bit of oomph back into my making, so I might cast on a shawl soon. I’ve also made my yarn choice for my June socks but I’ll talk about that more next week!).

Baking

No baking either this week! I now have fully stocked supplies again so there will be baking again in the near future.

Gardening

We have done lots of gardening this week. We have painted our fences, lots of weeding, more seed sowing, and potting on.

Faye and I have created a new border in preparation for our raspberry canes which are on order. It was really hard work and we haven’t quite finished yet. Faye enlisted the help of our digger-in-chief, Sirius. It was quite funny and he actually did help!

We took our first visit to the garden centre on Monday and it was just absolutely lovely to walk around. I bought a new David Austen Rose, ‘The Ancient Mariner’ and Clematis ‘Samaritan Jo’ that I want to climb up and over my front fence. I planted it behind my elderflower so I’m hoping it’s not too dark in that corner – only time will tell.

I finally set up my peas and beans structure as I managed to get some seeds. These were direct sown on Monday so now it’s just a waiting game.

I’ve not had a great experience this year with posted plug plants so far. They arrived very dry and some had been squashed. I’ve potted them on as soon as they arrived and I’m hoping they will revive.

I’m still waiting for my garden ready annuals that I ordered two weeks ago. All of my pots are prepared and waiting their arrival.

The garden is really coming into flower now…

Reading

I’ve mostly been listening to the audiobook of ‘Lethal White’ by Robert Galbraith this week while gardening. Much like the knitting, I have been too tired to read in the evenings.

General Chit-Chat

In normal times, this week was Half Term. For now, this meant that Faye had no home school and Rob had a week off work. Sadly, I was still working and things have ramped up a bit this week as we look into new forms of training.

I know this will sound crazy given that we’re now over 70 days into this new life routine, but the visit to the garden centre really hit home about just how weird this whole thing is. Do you ever have those moments of absolute clarity as if you are the omniscient narrator of your life, looking down on the scene before you? It’s not that I want to go out shopping or to the cinema or the swimming pool, or that I’m particularly missing any of those things – it just sort of hit me that I can’t. They’re closed. I realise I’m stating the obvious here but I’ve been loving life in my own little bubble so much and had just accepted the way things were. I think that’s how I cope with big changes. It takes me a few days to accept it and work out how to make the best of it, and then I get on with it. I knew I loved being home but I don’t think I quite realised just how comfortable I am being in it constantly.

We have been doing lots of house rearranging, sorting and organising this week. I have some new furniture on order and we have given our old table and chairs to a new home. I was sad to say goodbye to them as they were my nan’s and I have repainted them twice…

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The table and chairs have been well photographed over the years and hold lots of lovely memories.

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We wanted to get a smaller table that could be extended when needed to create more space in the kitchen. Our new set should be arriving next week!

So in conclusion, this week has felt really busy and productive but not very creative. I’m looking froward to having more craft time next week! xx

 

 

Corona Diaries – Days 58-64

Sunday 17th – Saturday 23rd May 2020

Hello and welcome back to my blog! It’s been another productive week here. I feel this is going to be a long blog post so you might want a nice cup of tea before you dive in!

Making

I was hoping to get my May socks finished but I’m not too far off. I really like the colour combination and West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4-ply is really lovely to work with and makes a robust sock.

 

At Easter, I bought Faye a Sequin Art set. She absolutely loved it but has found it so tricky to do because she is sadly a nail biter and this is one of those crafts where nails help enormously. In the end, she threw down tools in frustration and it has been sat looking at me for weeks, so I asked if I could finish it. She is very happy with the finished product. It is very fiddly and takes an absolute age to fill which for me was the perfect project. However, if you are thinking of buying for children, I would suggest to consider if your child has lots of patience, likes doing things that are fiddly and is prepared to spend lots of time going back to it over a period of days or even weeks. On reflection, this is not Faye and I should have known better. Did I possibly buy it more for myself rather than for her?

 

As longer standing readers will know, I am scared of my sewing machine. I have been trying my best to get over this and last week I started work on the Mimi Blouse for Faye. This is a pattern by Tilly Walnes from her first book ‘Love to Stitch’. Honestly, I have not enjoyed making this at all and I have made so many mistakes (not the pattern, just my incompetence). After a lot of work and unwork and work again, I’m at the stage where I need to do the button holes to finish it off. It is very far from perfect but thankfully it does fit the intended recipient! I’m not sure how long it will take to work myself up to attempt buttonholes for the first time, so I won’t promise that it will be finished next week!

 

Last week, I did a bit of doodling but I forgot to include it in the blog. I decided to start an art journal and improve my drawing skills by watching some online tutorials. My first was a flower drawing tutorial on YouTube by Shayda Campbell. I really enjoyed this and getting back to drawing. I haven’t done much of it since I finished my papercutting business about 5 years ago, but it’s always something on the list to get back into and try to improve my skills. I definitely drawn more to flowers than anything else, so I thought that was a good place to start.

 

Baking

On Monday, it was my Rob’s birthday. Unfortunately, it was also the day he was unfurloughed (again!) and sent back to work with a lovely 5am wake-up. It was only fitting that we made him a cake to cheer him up. I finally managed to get my hands on some flour, although it was plain, but I did have some baking powder, so was able to muddle through. He loves ginger cake, so we baked him a ???

 

We get our eggs delivered our lovely milkman – 12 every Monday. Last week, we hadn’t used any and still had a few stragglers from the week before that, so on Monday i was faced with 27 eggs that needed using. Some went in the cake, more for hard boiling for sandwich filler, boiled eggs for breakfast and a homemade chicken and chorizo quiche! I have only made a couple of quiches before. I made some shortcrust pastry (more practice required as it was very short and crumbly!) and the filling was made up on the spot taking into consideration what we had. For anyone interested, it was 325g shortcrust pastry with following filling:

  • 1 chopped onion,
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed,
  • approx 2 inches of chorizo chopped up (these were all cooked off in a frying pan with a little oil),
  • leftover chicken, chopped,
  • handful of chopped garden chives,
  • 1/4 pint semi-skimmed milk,
  • 4 large eggs,
  • lots of grated cheese,
  • salt and pepper.

It was absolutely beautiful and enjoyed by everyone.

 

On Friday, I baked a jam and coconut sponge cake using my faithful Mary Berry all-in-one recipe to enjoy over the bank holiday weekend.

 

Gardening

Last Sunday, Rob helped me to clear and clean out my long-neglected polytunnel. It was in a sorry state – grass growing up the inside, spiders and webs everywhere, even a few self-seeded foxgloves growing up through the matting! Now though, it looks lovely and I can’t wait to garden properly again.

 

I have done lots of seed sowing this week. It’s probably too late for lots of it but they are old seeds so I thought I might as well give it a go! I let you know how I get on. My spinach and rocket in their washing up bowls are doing well and we have been eating them this week. I’ve sown some more to make sure to keep up a good supply.

 

Reading

This week I finished ‘One of Us is Lying’ by Karen M McManus. I enjoyed it, although it did take me a while to get into.

I’ve also finished listening to ‘Career of Evil’ by Robert Galbraith on audiobook. I like to listen to Audible when I’m gardening.

I’ve also been dipping in and out of ‘Down to Earth’ by Monty Don. Like most gardeners, Monty is my hero and we were all so sad to here about Nigel passing away. We all shed a tear watching his best bits of this week’s Gardener’s World. He was such a darling. Faye watches the programme more for the dogs than the gardening.

 

General Chit-Chat

I really feel that this week my true love of gardening has finally returned. I’m absolutely loving being outside every evening and this weekend, we get three days and I have PLANS!

For part of my work this week, I did a free social media course on FutureLearn. It was really interesting and helpful, so I would recommend it to anyone finding themselves suddenly in charge of their work’s currently non-existent social media and not really having a clue. It’s one thing to post pictures of hand knit socks on Instagram and quite another to represent a professional services business that definitely is devoid of pretty pictures! As usual, I have a lot to learn!

Wishing you all an enjoyable and productive week! xx

 

Corona Diaries – Days 51-57

Sunday 10th – Saturday 16th May 2020

Making

I have managed to finish a sock this week!

Sometimes, I like to split down the process into 8 sections: 1) the cuff; 2) 25 rounds on the leg; 3) 25 rounds on the leg; 4) heel turn; 5) gusset decreases; 6) 25 round on foot; 7) 25 rounds on foot; 8) toe and sew in ends. Most of the time, it is possible for me to complete one of these in a day (in between everything else).

This was my focused project for the week. I don’t know about you, but I enjoy having a few different projects to pick up, so while I might try my best to complete a ‘sock section’, I can also pick up any other project I feel like doing once this has been completed. I know this might sound weird but it does work and help me to get things completed. I’m making it sound like a chore, but I don’t mean to. I think I just work best with goals!

I haven’t done much more work on my Disney cross stitch this week. I looked up where I bought the pattern from and it was on Etsy: Stitches Lovers Shop. There are lots of lovely pdf patterns and I have my eye on the next one!

I’d like to try to do a cross stitch or embroidery every year to hang in my hallway. I’ll have to show you some that are hanging there now but I’ll need to check back through my photos to find out the years! Officially, this Disney cross stitch will be my 2019 hoop as this was to commemorate our trip to Florida, so I still need to do another for this year. I might do a Corona Diary style embroidery for 2020!

Baking

For this week’s baking treat, Rob made some Portuguese tarts as we are struggling to get flour at the moment. They don’t look particularly appetising but they tasted great. With him being furloughed he’s taken over in the kitchen and I’ve missed it a bit, but he is back to work next week so I’ll be doing a bit more of the cooking and baking again.

Gardening

Flowers are starting to pop up everywhere in the garden now. I feel as though I’m getting my gardening mojo back now. I lost it completely last year and let the garden go a bit wild. It’s been hard work getting it back and there is still a lots to do, but I have been out weeding at 5pm every night (as soon as I finish working from home) and while at first is was a chore, I now find I look forward to getting outside again. This makes me very happy!

I have put straw under my strawberries and covered with netting this week to protect them from greedy pigeons.

Reading

I finished ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’ by Holly Jackson on Monday night. I really enjoyed this. It was a sequel to ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’ but I thought it was just as good as the first one.

Next, I read ‘Transcription’ by Kate Atkinson. I loved all of her Jackson Brodie series and think she is a brilliant writer but this one fell short on plot for me.

Now, I’m reading ‘One of Us is Lying’ by Karen M McManus. This is another young adult book about a crime. I’m really enjoying it so far!

General Chit-Chat

Some days have been really difficult this week. Since the announcement that people who can’t work from home should go back to work last Sunday (in England), Rob has been messed around so much being furloughed for a few days then back to work. It’s such a worrying time and now his company are saying there will be mass redundancies coming so it’s frightening times.

At other times, I have felt like this new way of living is completely normal. It’s crazy how you start to get used to things. Every day, we get up and begin our work and home school. I’m someone who needs a routine, and I have constantly tweaked this over the last seven weeks to find out how best to get things done and still enjoy life as much as possible. Some days it goes to plan and others you just have to put down to experience. You begin to wonder if life can ever return to the way it was before. I think with all the new ways we are having to do things, we are discovering that the old way perhaps wasn’t always the most efficient and therefore I can see that the future will hold lots of changes for us all. We are living through a big historical point in time that future generations will discuss, as we do the World Wars. It’s hard to see it when you are living it, isn’t it?

I hope you are muddling through okay and taking solace in your crafts, your garden, your kitchen and your books xx

 

Corona Diaries – Days 44-50

Sunday 3rd -Saturday 9th May 2020

Hello, how are you doing? I hope you’ve had a lovely week. We’ve had another productive week here with work and home school, and I’ve squeezed in as much crafting time as possible too.

Things have picked up a little for me with work this week so I have been busy fitting it in around home school. Faye has learned a lot this week, some of which has been about the Battle of Stamford Bridge; volcano case studies; back to basics in French; squared, cubed and triangular numbers in Maths; writing a script in drama; science was reproduction, atoms, and magnetism; creating colours from plants for experimenting in art; designing a logo in technology; and focusing on His Dark Materials in English. And that was in four days as Friday was a bank holiday! They are certainly keeping the work coming in, and she is doing brilliantly.

I have one finished object to share with you this week, and as usual it’s a little late… but I finished my April socks! Ta dah! I love how they have turned out. For the main colour, I used ‘Fetching Draped Against the Wall’ from Truly Hooked and the heels, toes and cuffs were knit using spare yarn from a previous project (more information in this post).

 

I was really stuck on which colours to use for my May pair so I enjoyed getting out all my yarn and giving it a good squeeze before selecting the West Yorkshire Spinners ‘Peony’ for the main colour and ‘Poppy Seed’ for the contrast heels, toes and cuffs. I love the combination of grey and pale pink but I don’t think I would have put them together if I hadn’t got all the yarn together, so it was happy accident.

 

I’m already making good progress. I think I can comfortably make a sock in about 8 days, fitting it around all the other things and having around two hours of knitting time each day. I’m going to try to work this out properly when I cast on the second sock and I might put it in my Instagram stories.

My other main work in progress this week has been my cross stitch. I have loved working on this so much that it has hindered my reading progress as I have stayed up later stitching instead of going to bed to read!

 

Speaking of books, this week I have read ‘Dear Mrs Bird’ by AJ Pearce. I think it was the perfect book to read at this time as it really puts into perspective the whole ‘stay at home’ thing. It’s set in World War II and whilst I did enjoy it, I felt short-changed by the ending. It would have to be 3.5 star read for me.

I’m now about halfway through ‘Good Girl, Bad Blood’ by Holly Jackson and I’m really enjoying it so far.

 

In the garden, I have sown some seeds finally this week. I’m using compost from my garden compost bins and it wasn’t really ready for use but I can’t seem to get any compost so I decided to just give it a whirl. I only have seeds from previous years too and not much so it’s just going to be a mishmash of whatever will grow this year. I’ve sown kale, purple sprouting broccoli, courgettes, cosmos and dahlias. The rocket and spinach I sowed a while back is growing okay (not brilliantly) and I may try to sow some more this week.

 

The alliums are just starting to open and it looks highly likely that we’ll have our first blackcurrants this year. I bought a cheap plant in Morrisons last year but it was far too tiny and bashed up. I just planted it and thought I’d see what happens.

 

I baked some lemon cupcakes this week and sadly used up the last of the flour and caster sugar, and we didn’t manage to get any more on this week’s food shop. We froze half of them for enjoying another week.

 

On Friday, it was 75th anniversary of VE Day and my neighbour posted through some colouring in bunting sheets so we had fun doing those. I also attempted to curl my hair for the occasion.

 

Early on Saturday, I took a walk on my own along the canal and it was so beautiful. I didn’t see many people as it was so early, just the odd dog walker.

 

I feel as though I have rambled on a bit this week as there was a lot to share. If you managed to read down this far – very well done and thank you! See you next week xx

 

Corona Diaries – Days 36-43

Saturday 25th April – Saturday 2nd May 2020

Hi! Hope you are all doing well. It’s been nice to have a rest from blogging every day. This is the first of my weekly round ups.

I don’t know about you but the passage of time feels very strange at the moment. It feels like time drags minute by minute but the month has also gone by in a flash. It doesn’t really feel like I’ve been at home for six weeks. Perhaps because my brain is always occupied with work, home school, crafts, reading etc. I’m beginning to wonder if I’d ever get bored! Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have low mood days but then I would in normal circumstances too, as we all do.

This week I have focused mainly on Faye’s home school and this has helped her tremendously. I’m continuing to work but there isn’t any new work coming in for me so I’m basically on call if needed, checking email, answering phone calls and working on bits in between.

I’ve always been a bit of a geek so it’s been really enjoyable helping Faye out with home school. It must be so strange for her. In the ordinary world, she would be getting inspiration and tips from all of her different teachers and her classmates, not just on the work itself but in how to approach it. Home school means they get the work from the teachers without any of this and I think for a first year in high school these things are pivotal for building a good work ethic. It just so happens that I really enjoyed being organised and working hard in school so I do feel on this occasion that I have something useful to offer her. This week we have focused a lot on doing work we are proud of. Although there is a lot to do, it doesn’t mean we can’t work neatly and make things look nice as well as answering questions in full, planning answers out using mind maps and taking notes while watching a video. I’ve seen a definite change in her as a result of this and she has enjoyed school work so much more. Of course, we do have difficult days when perhaps the topic isn’t something she is interested in or she doesn’t feel much like working (we all have those days!) but on the whole we have been making the best of it!

It was my dad’s 67th birthday this week and I had made him a couple of gifts over the weekend. He’s been building a bar in his summer house since lockdown began and he has finished it so there was a definite theme in gifts this year. He loves the phrase, ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ which basically translates to any time is acceptable for a drink! I embroidered a hoop for him to hang in his bar, and Faye and I made him some bar mats too. He also loves Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ so I themed his card with this and referenced the bar again. It was actually a lot of fun to make…

I haven’t been knitting at all this week but I have worked a little on my crochet blanket. I remembered that I had a Wool Jeanie that my mum had bought me as a gift. It’s really useful for big blanket crochet as I’m constantly pulling the yarn and having it roll off under the sofa.

I’ve been working mostly on my cross stitch in the evenings. It still doesn’t look up to much but I thought I’d share my progress anyway…

I had a little go at crocheting some bees for my hanging tree. I only just took down the Easter decorations so now I need some things to put back on for Spring/Summer. This is something I’ve been meaning to do for years as it’s now the only time of year I have nothing to hang on the tree. Hopefully, I’ll have more in the coming weeks.

As it was the end of April on Thursday, I thought I’d share my monthly book wrap up. I managed to read 9 books in April so I’m still fairly on track for my goal of reading 100 this year (a little behind but still definitely a chance to do it). My favourites this month were ‘Wonder’ by  RJ Palacio and ‘I, Cosmo’ by Carlie Sorosiak – both children’s books. I’ve said before that I love to read children’s and YA fiction. You’re never too old to read a good book in my humble opinion! Cosmo was adorable. He is a golden retriever and he is trying to save his family. I would recommend it if you want your heart warmed.

The only other thing to report this week is that the first poppy has opened in my garden and although my pretty tulips in pots have begun to open, they are sadly very stunted.

Hope you have had a nice lockdown week! xx

 

 

Corona Diaries – Days 34 & 35

Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th April 2020

I’ve just spent the last two days working and helping Faye with home school followed by a bit of stitching or crochet in the evening and some reading, which means I don’t have anything much to share with you over here that you haven’t already seen.

I’m going to take a little break from the diaries now and return to blogging when I have something to share. It may be in a few days or weeks!

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This is me

I hope you have enjoyed a little of what I have shared in the last 35 days. Thanks for reading.

Stay safe xx