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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

End of year and "How long??".

This year has been one of those disappearing years... It seems like almost everything has needed to be done twice - including this post!

My time has been sucked up by one thing or another... illness, the needs of others, and then hobbies... Oh, how reading and crafting love to eat my days!

Let's hope 2014 finds me some balance...

Anyway, here's my year in review. I hope you enjoy it.

JANUARY - all about my birthday :)

FEBRUARY - failed bread from the bread maker and (long since failed) plants.

MARCH - a bundle of booties and my first "photo shoot".

APRIL - ripped up sweaters to make a blanket (not yet touched!) and my first go at duplicate stitch.

MAY - all about bracelets...

JUNE - gardeny goodness.

JULY - friends and family.

AUGUST - all about food (and France!).

SEPTEMBER - starting to learn how to sew...

OCTOBER - finally finishing my crocheted sweater, more sewing, and taking up the curtains...

NOVEMBER - more sewing, my finished granny square blanket, and more sewing...

DECEMBER - books, sewing and our tree.

Despite how it looks, I have finished more than two projects this year!

Looks like I'll be adding "Take more photos" to my resolutions list... actually, it's the only item on it!!

Here's wishing you all a wonderful, happy, and healthy, 2014.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The one where she fills up her bookshelves...

It's taken me a little bit longer to write this post than I'd planned. Partly it's because I haven't been feeling well, but mostly it's because... well... I forgot! It's going to take a little while to get back into the swing of things as far as blogging is concerned, but I'll keep at it.

The last 2 week have mostly been about books. Both reading and buying. I get most of my books second hand. There are 2 reasons for this:

1. The cover prices are ridiculous. I rarely buy a book at full price and even more rare is the time when I'll buy a hardback. Supermarkets are a real blessing with their cut price books... but better still are charity shops. Which leads nicely to...

2. Pre-owned books. There's something a bit sad about a book no one wants anymore. I guess I have a bit of a "puppy syndrome" with books - I want to take them all home! When the pages have been softened, and the spine cracked - oh, yes please!

So this is what I've added to my collection over the last 2 weekends:

Some are new (3 of them - thank you very much to Darlington's book clearance shop!), but most are second hand. One charity shop was offering 5 books (Yes! Really! 5! F-I-V-E!!) for £1 - quite refreshing since most charity shops want you to pay an arm and a leg (relatively speaking, of course!). I think I'd rather pay the extra 50p or so and get Amazon to deliver!

I've been doing a little bit of crochet, but not much. Somehow the mood hasn't been right for it.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, J and my dad moved some paving slabs from the front garden. The previous occupants of this house had decided to make a driveway... well, with a 12 inch drop from the street to the "driveway" it was never going to happen!
I had plans for those paving slabs. Big plans... Want to see? You do? Ok then!

Ta da! My little patio. It's perfect on a hot afternoon (yes, we did actually have one or two - if you blinked, you probably missed them!), with a cup of tea and a good book. It's also surprisingly peaceful for a built up area - lots and lots of bird song with the occasional siren or lawn mower thrown in for good measure!

We bought a few plants to spruce up the front and back gardens a bit today. Lots of violas - which I love, and they seem to love the soil here... and this:

I can't remember what it's called now, and the tag fell off somewhere between the garden centre and the car! It reminds me of forsythia - though it most definitely isn't forsythia. I can't wait for it to grow a bit and develop its own personality now it's free if the pot it came in.

I'm not sure if this next photo will be good enough for you to see the hydrangea...

It's pretty small right now. Can you see it? It's tucked in on the right hand side...

I always hated hydrangeas... until we went to France. Wherever we went, every house seemed to have at least one hydrangea - often the gardens were full of them (is it some strange law in France??).
By the end of our week, both me and J agreed - hydrangeas are beautiful... especially the blue ones!

So we got this one today (yes, blue!) to remind us of France... Hard to believe that August (and a return to France) is so close now!

Ok, I think I've rambled on enough for now... I'll leave you with Mr T and Miss E having a snuggle.

Enjoy your week!

Monday, 10 June 2013

It's been a long, long time...

... Since I posted. I'm feeling guilty because I don't have one particular reason why I fell out of the "Blogosphere".

To start with, I think I spent a long time getting over the shock of losing my home, and learning to adapt to life surrounded by neighbours and all the accompanying noises - rather than having near silence all day and night, and the freedom to sit outside in my pyjamas if that's what I wanted to do!

I've also been suffering several crises of confidence. The first being the lack of views this blog has had. It took me until last night to realise that I haven't been tagging any of my posts... DUH!
After I've filled you in on events, I'm going to toddle off and correct that...

My lack of views/sales in my Etsy shop has caused me problems too.
I followed advice and worked hard on my photos, tags, titles and descriptions. My views rose and my sales started to look promising. Then a few months back, it all came crashing down. I'm lucky to get 10 views a day... and I think most of them come to me by accident!

At the weekend, I paid for a stall at a local village's annual Summer Fayre. I hadn't realised it's far more of a classic car show these days. I had lots of people looking, but few buyers. I did manage to recover the cost of the stall, and make a little extra on top, but it was no where near as good as I had hoped.

Saturday evening, I was dotting between strategies for increasing views and feeling like I should just stop right now.

Yesterday was spent feeling angry... mostly with myself.

So, I'm back. I have a new out-look and a new determination! I love what I do, the creativity of knitting and crocheting, and I'm not going to stop just because not many people are seeing my work.
I need to make changes, that much is clear, but I don't yet know what those changes need to be. I'll face them and tackle them as and when I work out what those changes need to be.

One of the things I can do right off is get back to communicating with the world at large. Even if I am just talking to myself right now!

I'm planning to write a blog post at least once a week. News of what I'm doing, what I'm planning... and photos!!

Talk to you soon.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Parcels and purses

I don't have much to show for my efforts this week. It's not that I haven't done very much - I just don't have much to show!
I've been dotting around here and there working on various projects (blankets, a wrap, baby booties), and have only finished these beauties:

They measure a very sweet 4.25 inches (about 11cm) square, and have a twisted cord strap that measures about 62 inches (155cm).
I love these little bags (purses)! The one thing I hate about summer clothing is the lack of pockets, and that's basically what these are - a pocket on a string!

Sitting here thinking about what else I've done this week, I realise I really need to take more photos! Also, I need to learn to take my camera with me almost everywhere I go...

On Friday, I got home to find a parcel waiting for me... A gift from Marina, one of my very best friends!
Want to see what was inside the parcel? Sadly, I haven't managed to take a photo that does it justice yet... I promise a photo on my next post! Until then you will have to be content with a description!

It's the most gorgeous wrap I've ever seen! Knitted with moss stitch and cables in a soft grey. The wrap is so soft and warm, but light as a feather... It's perfect!

Well, I need to get going... The Christmas cards need writing out today to be hand delivered this evening and tomorrow... People will need to be fed at some point... And I really would like to squeeze in a few more hours of stitching!