Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Stephen

I posted last year about my partner's nephew Stephen who had been diagnosed with lymphoma, and I thought an update was long overdue.

I'm happy to say that he is doing very well. He's not out of the woods yet, but he has had his stem cell transplant (using his mum's stem cells - only a partial match, but better than nothing!) and seems to be making a good recovery.

You can read about his journey here, and if you live in the Somerset area, you may have even seen him on the local news!

Monday, 8 January 2018

Charity Update

I began last year writing about the fact that I wanted to be more charitable in 2017. I'm happy to say that I stuck to my 10% Ebay donation throughout the year, although a lot of the things I sold only went for a few pounds, so I was only donating 50p here and 20p there. I chose three charities to donate to, but in hindsight it probably would've been better to just stick with one, as sharing out the donations between them meant they didn't get much.

The Ebay donations came to around £50, but I made a few other random donations during the year (I usually do a text donation to Children In Need, and things like that) so in the end I gave just over £100 to charity. I know that's not much in a year but it's probably £100 more than I donated the previous year! The charity function on Ebay is such an easy way to support a charity, although only if they're listed - not many are which does somewhat limit the ones you can choose to donate to. 

There are some things that I decide to just send to the charity shop, rather than listing on Ebay. I take these things to my mum and she stores them in her garage along with her own decluttering efforts, and then every few months she rings the British Heart Foundation, because they will come and collect from you (provided you've got enough to make it worth their while). So hopefully my charity donations have raised money for the BHF throughout the year too.

I definitely intend to continue with the Ebay charity selling this year, but I'm going to have a think about just one charity to support this time, rather than splitting it between two or three.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Pressies

Chris and I gave each other a list of present ideas for Christmas, and I was very happy with his gifts to me.

I've seen a lot of really lovely project bags on Instagram and Facebook, and I'm now the proud owner of these two beauties:

from The Woolly Tangle on Etsy

from Purple Carrot Makes on Etsy
I also got a little notions pouch from GillyMakes (also Etsy) but I forgot to take a photo of that.

My January 1st cast on is in the Purple Carrot Makes bag already. I tried to cast on another sock yesterday but I was so tired after being awake in the middle of the night, I was almost knitting with my eyes closed! Unfortunately, after 15 rows of ribbing I noticed I'd somehow added an extra stitch, but I had no idea when, where or how! So I frogged it all and will start again another day. But that sock-in-waiting is in the Woolly Tangle sheep bag.


Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Wolf Moon

Junior went to bed really early on New Year's Day, which meant that he was wide awake at about 2.30am this morning! Chris got up to check on him, but he didn't settle down, so then it was my turn. I was up and down to him a few times, and I happened to have a splitting headache at the same time, so at about 3.00am I came downstairs to take some paracetamol.

I noticed that the moon was very bright, and it turns out it was a supermoon, also known as the Wolf Moon.


So when you're standing in the kitchen at 3.10am what else is there to do but take a photo of the moon?

Monday, 1 January 2018

Happy New Year!

Goodbye 2017 - Hello 2018!

It's only a few hours old, but I hope this year has started well for you.

We've had a really lovely Christmas, with one very happy little boy who was so excited that Santa Claus had been to his house. We don't really do anything special for New Year's Eve; I was in bed for about 10.30pm and slept through all the fireworks that were going off. My mum came over today for lunch, and Junior loved showing her all his new toys.

I've been continuing with Slimming World since I started it in July, and up to Christmas Eve I'd lost just over 2 stone, which I was really happy with. Unfortunately though, I've put 4lbs on over Christmas because I really haven't held back on all the yummy food, so I really need to get back into the SW mentality. My self-confidence and self-esteem received a bit of a boost when I lost weight, and I've realised that I much prefer the version of me that eats healthier food and looks after my body. All the Christmas goodies have been very enjoyable, but I really need to get back to more 'sensible' meals now. I'm hoping it won't take long to lose the 4lbs again (and more).

I can't remember all of my 'resolutions' from last year, but I know two of them were: to lose weight (check, but ongoing) and to learn to knit socks (also check, also ongoing). I think I made 5 complete pairs of socks last year - three for me, one for the Yarndale Sock Line, and one for Junior. I also made four mini socks to wear as a brooch for Yarndale, and I completed two separate socks (one for me, one for Chris). It was getting close to the end of the year though and I didn't think I'd have time to complete their partners, plus I also wanted to concentrate on a crochet blanket that I'd started making, so I put my knitting on hold. The blanket is still ongoing, and although I wasn't going to start anything else until I'd finished it, I couldn't wait any longer. I really wanted a 1st January cast on, so I've started the second sock of my pair today! It feels good to be knitting again!



There are so many things I want to do this year, craft-wise. Obviously, finish the afore-mentioned blanket (which is a Stylecraft stashbuster). Although I still love crochet, I'm thinking about cancelling my crochet magazine subscriptions because I've been finding them a bit uninspiring lately, and they're getting a bit out of hand. If I do though, I want to work my way through all the ones that I've saved, making whatever it is that I've saved them for, especially if I can use up more of my stash to do it. I'd like to make things like some seasonal garlands, or Christmas decorations (getting a very early start on them!), that kind of thing.

With regards to knitting, I want to knit A LOT MORE socks! I'd like to knit some shawls, and I've decided that I really want to have a go at a Baa-ble hat. I'd also like to pluck up the courage to make a jumper, although I might start small with one for Junior!

I've had a whopping three - 3! - sales on Etsy of some of my stitch markers, so I really need to get on with making some more and stocking up my shop. I might dye some more yarn, but it's very time-consuming and I can't produce many skeins in one go, so I'm not sure about that yet. I might just stick to the stitch markers...

And I still haven't made my needle-felted hare that I bought about 4 years ago at Yarndale...

Speaking of which, I think (hope) that I'll be going to Spring Into Wool and Yarndale this year, and I'm going to try and save any yarn buying splurges for those events. In the meantime, as I say, I'm going to try and do some serious stashbusting, and hopefully not visit Wool Warehouse and the like too often. Unless I really need to ;-)

I'm also going to try and blog more regularly - hahaha!

Bye for now xx



Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Yarndale 2017 - Happy New Yarn!!!

This must be the longest I've ever gone before writing my Yarndale post, but life just seems to have been very hectic. A couple of weeks after my trip to Skipton, we went on holiday to Scotland, so there was a lot of preparation to do for that. Since we came back, I feel like I've spent most of my evenings doing online 'window' shopping, as our little boy has a birthday coming up very soon, and then of course it's Christmas. Speaking of Junior, over the summer he decided that 6pm was far too early to go to bed, and suddenly we found ourselves having to let him stay up till around 8pm. He'd been going to bed at 6pm for ages, and always went straight to sleep and then slept through till around 6 or 7 the next morning, we never heard a peep out of him. We've been so lucky on that front, spoiled even, so it came as a bit of a shock to the system to find that our evenings, our 'me time', didn't start until after 8pm, by which time I, for one, felt too tired to really do anything! So knitting, crochet, blogging, reading etc - it's all taken a bit of a hit just lately. His bedtimes do seem to be creeping forwards a bit though, helped by the evenings getting darker sooner, so I might start to claw back a bit of free time.

Anyway, Yarndale! Another wonderful day out, getting high on yarn fumes! In the weeks leading up to it, I managed to make four little mini socks, one for each pair of socks that I'd made so far. I cheated a bit and borrowed a large safety pin on which I'd actually received some stitch markers, and fastened my socks to that, and then attached it to my bag.




Hooky Hare was present and correct too, although he needed some *ahem* structural work on his floppy ears!



As usual, I picked my mum up and we had a steady drive up to Skipton. I think we arrived at about 9.20, and this time we were directed into the car park at the front of the Auction Mart - I haven't managed to park there since the very first year. It was a short walk to the queue which was already forming at one of the entrance doors.


I could see another queue further around and I had that constant fear that we were standing in the wrong one, but we weren't, thank goodness. They seemed to open the doors and start letting people in a few minutes before 10am, which surprised me. The queue moved fairly quickly, despite the bag checks, which I felt were carried out in a very professional manner.

Every year when I go to Yarndale I go with the intention of taking loads of photos, and every year I fail to do so. I'm so focussed on actually looking at the stalls that I find it hard to remember to take photos, plus I'm not comfortable having my phone in my hand as I'm walking around, in case I get jostled and drop it. If I ever manage to go back on my own on the Sunday, I think I'd be more inclined to take pics then, so maybe one day...

I did take a photo of some of the Creative Hearts (including my own, of course)...


... and I always seem to take photos of the sheep and rabbits.





I also found my socks on the Sock Line:


But I'm afraid they were the only photos I took on the day.

I didn't come away empty-handed, of course, and I did take photos of my haul, so here it is:



Two from Rosie's Moments

Five Moons

Ripples Crafts

Easy Knits

For The Love Of Yarn

Hand Dyed By Kate

Little Fingy finger puppets for Junior!
All the yarn was 4ply sock yarn, so I can either use it for socks or shawls (or maybe incorporate it into something like a jumper if I ever feel brave enough to tackle one). I tried to go for some different/unusual colours, racking my brains to try and remember what I've already got in my stash so I wouldn't choose the same type of shades. I got the usual bits of Yarndale merchandise, and some needle point protectors, plus the two Little Fingy finger puppets as a present for Junior - they went down very well and he still plays with them now.

So another successful mission to Yarndale, and more yarn to try and use up before next year, as part of my New Yarn Resolutions!

Bye for now  xx


Sunday, 6 August 2017

This And That...

Hello!

Thought I'd better have another update, otherwise known as "look through all my photos and see if there's anything I can blog about"!

First, before I forget, you know I mentioned in my last post that I'd lost the dyes that I bought at Yarndale? Well, I found them. Oops. They were somewhere completely unexpected, and I don't know why I'd put them there, but still, it's a relief to know they weren't thrown away after all!

So, let's see.

I finished my second pair of knitted socks, these were made with King Cole ZigZag in Spring Meadow:


Almost a match, until the end...
On the 3rd June I went to the Leeds Wool Festival at Armley Mills, and these were my purchases:

Sock yarn, sock yarn and more sock yarn...
And speaking of socks, pair number three (well, actually four, but they were finished before pair number three, which are still ongoing!) were soon on the needles, but this pair was a little bit special.
There was a raffle on the Winwick Mum Facebook group, raising funds for the Children's Heart Surgery Fund at Leeds General Infirmary. As an adult congenital heart patient, this charity is, well, close to my heart! So I made a donation... and I won a prize!

This was my prize, kindly donated by one of the members of the group:

4ply yarn, Mothy and The Squid stitch markers, and some Soak



In the interests of Paying It Forward, I decided that I'd use this yarn to make socks which I would then donate to the Yarndale Sock Line. I had some lovely al fresco knitting days while I worked on them...

Ever get that feeling that you're being watched?


... and here is the finished pair:

Again, almost a perfect match
So these will be winging their way to Yarndale, as soon as I've made my Heart for this years Community Project, as I understand they can all be sent together.

In between making these socks, I also got back into some hooky, making the Missed Kingfisher Shawl from The Crochet Project Shawl Book Two.

I used my Ripples Crafts yarn in the colours Precious Amber and Copper Beech - they look gorgeous together and my photos don't do them justice at all, as they (the photos) look a bit purple-ish to me, which isn't what the yarn looks like.





I haven't worn it yet, because who makes a shawl and then *actually* wears it, am I right? 😉

On the 8th July I went en famille to the British Wool Show at Thirsk Auction Mart. Chris and Junior had a wander around on their own - I've borrowed a couple of his photos of The Sheep Man



And of course, I made a few purchases, though I was fairly restrained:


The lilac sock yarn is from Yarns From The Plain - I was trying to choose a colour I haven't already got.
The two skeins next to it are from Coastal Colours, who I've never heard of before this show. I'm not sure if they're new, or just not really into social media - I could only find this Facebook group. I can't remember the fibre content of this yarn, but it is absolutely impossibly soft and squishy!!! I must've visited the stall three or four times before I settled on these, but honestly, all their yarn was amazing and gorgeous and quite different to so many of the other brightly coloured variegated yarns that are available. Definitely check them out.
The pencils and pencil case were from Stationery Geek, I've been eyeing up yarny related stationery for a while now.

When we left the Auction Mart, we decided to have a wander around Thirsk, and I just happened to find a little wool shop, as you do! So, purely because I wanted to support a local business, and because the owner had a cute friendly dog behind the counter, I bought - yep, you guessed it! - some more sock yarn!

It was a penny cheaper than I've seen it online!

I might actually get around to making Chris some socks out of this yarn.

A few weeks ago I was so excited to discover that I'd made my first Etsy sale! Someone had purchased a set of my bee stitch markers, and she's left me some lovely feedback too.



My yarn dyeing and stitch marker making has tailed off completely just lately, but I've got enough things in my shop to keep it ticking over, and I'm hoping to pick it up again next month maybe. I just need to give myself a break from knitting socks, but as you may have noticed, I'm a bit obsessed!

In Non Yarn Related News, I've recently joined this:


I lost 4lbs in my first week, 1lb in my second week, but have maintained this week (ie no loss or gain). I'm trying not to feel too disappointed about that, it's still better than a gain, and I just have to look at what I've eaten this week, and see if there's anything I could change. I'm finding the plan quite easy to stick to, because generally speaking, you can still eat whatever you want, but I know I still have a lot of room for improvement, not to mention a lot of weight to lose!

At the moment I'm still getting the hang of the plan, learning which are free foods, and which ones I have to count or measure. Reading all the information, and looking up new recipes, is quite time-consuming, but I think it's just something I have to do.

One of the key aspects of Slimming World is having lots of variety in your meals, so I'm trying to introduce that a little bit at a time. It's only really occurred to me lately that I have something different each day for lunch and tea, and yet I always eat the same thing for breakfast every day (cereal), and have done for years. But I love cereal, and I'm not sure how I feel about having cooked food, like a poached egg on toast for example, that early in the morning. I also seem to have fallen into the same habit of having fruit and natural yogurt as a snack on an evening, where before I would've eaten a bowl of cereal or had some biscuits. The fruit is definitely better for me, but snacking just for the sake of it isn't, so I should probably try and get out of that habit.

I've posted a couple of photos on Instagram of meals that I've made, but I don't want to go on about it too much there, or here. Hopefully the fact that I've mentioned it though, will make me more likely to stick to it and keep it up!

Anyway, I think that's me caught up, but I'll just leave you with this. We went for a walk this morning through a meadow, and I could hear the crickets in the long grass. I was amazed to actually see one, and get to hold it in my hand without it instantly hopping away, until I realised that it - they - were *ahem* otherwise engaged 😉

You can't tell from this angle, but trust me, they were "at it"!

Bye for now!