Saturday, 10 January 2015

Funny face challenge

My friend's brother in law has been diagnosed with Parkinson's at the age of 32.

One of the more distressing effects of the disease is loss of facial muscle control.

In order to work towards a cure him and his family have started the #funnyfacechallenge

Pull a funny face, post it on Twitter or Facebook and get your friends to join in!

Donate £5 for each face by text or just giving.

Text TFFC82 £5 to 70070 or go to donate.
Thanks for reading and for your funny faces!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Two more baby blankets!

Two more baby blankets off to their new homes.

For the first, we don't know the gender yet (although that will change any day now!) so I made a rainbow blanket.

It's worked in a blackberry / bobble stitch as well as rainbow colours.

The blackberry stitch is really easy, you do 4 or 5 of your stitches into the same base stitch, each time leaving the final loop on the hook. Then to complete the stitch, pull the yarn through all of those loops on the hook.

Do you like my tag? It's a made by me tag to try and make my work look that little bit more professional. I used a freezer paper stencilling technique to create the design on fabric (and made a cute bag from it!). From that fabric I took a high-resolution photograph and printed it onto some shiny card. I'm really pleased how they turned out, and with the effect on the overall gift.

The second blanket is for a lovely new baby boy. I hope the colours are boyish enough without being overpowering.

This blanket is worked in half trebles all through and looks and feels lovely, I think perhaps my own baby will get one of these! See how nice and even the blanket looks without being too fancy.

It folds up pretty small, too, so will be good for the spring.

I packaged this one with a bunny bow too, but I am afraid I did not take any pictures of the parcel before it was posted.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Glassblowing in Bristol

I have been bought for my birthday a voucher for a trip to Bristol Blue Glass to try out glassblowing.

Unfortunately the voucher company 'Go Vouchers' went bust last April and hadn't paid the glass company.

Still, my hubby wanted me to go (and I was enthusiastic to do so too!) and paid (again) for me to do the course. No chance unfortunately of getting our cash back in any way. Boo and hiss, and a massive rip off.

So I booked on for August (they're popular courses and were booked up for some while). Unfortunately I really was not well the day before the course and had to defer.

I began to think that perhaps fate was telling me glassblowing was not for me!

Anyhow I re-booked and the staff at the centre were so nice about it. I eventually got to do the course in November.

I took a lovely train trip down to Bristol and set off for the course. It's not far from Temple Meads train station, but I took a taxi there as I wasn't too sure of how to get there.

The day itself was great. An introduction first on how glass is made and a tour of the furnaces and tools of the trade, as well as a safety briefing.

From there we moved on to gathering glass out of the furnace and controlling it by gently rotating it on the glassblowing poles, and then shaping it to try and get into a position to be able to take the blown glass off the active pole. This is apparently called a patsy!

The tutor then showed us how to make a small vase, which we all did.

We then moved on to making a bauble for Christmas.

All in all we were guided through making 4 pieces, and each got to keep one of the demos.

I collected my items the next day, still warm from the annealing (slow cooling) process they had undergone overnight. They were really well packed for my journey home.

All in all I was really impressed, the tutor was engaging and capable and we got to take home far more items than I'd have thought we would be capable of in a day. We were all independently able to gather and shape a patsy and take the blown glass off a pole on request by mid way through the day which is amazing.

I'd definitely recommend it!

Here is what I made:

I have a friend who lives in Bristol and had a lovely evening out. We went to a beautiful golden restaurant which is apparently part of a department store, but had a lovely view of the Christmas lights from the window. The dinner was really good, I had a braised beef dish.

We also went to a really popular bar, underground and serving a really wide range of beers. It's called the beer emporium. Not being much of a beer drinker I had some Orchard Pig apple juice with various minty additions (really like a non alcoholic mojito - result!).

A really great weekend over I caught the train back to Notts, although I did have a 40 minute wait scheduled in Derby. My lovely hubby therefore came and got me from Derby train station so I could get home quicker. He was impressed with my glass, and the big wine glass I'd made for him.

Life's good.

Friday, 24 January 2014

A season of DIY

I'm impressed with my DIY this season!

Before winter truly kicked in I made my porch and front door weatherproof and shiny, see:

I found some tiny pots of actual paint (not testers) which were sufficient to do the job without having a gallon of paint left over and useless, slowly deteriorating over time under the sink.

Then Dad and I laid a lovely new carpet in the spare bedroom. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, especially since we'd had no end of problems in B&Q with the carpet coming off the roll wonky. We actually managed to get the carpet nice and straight in the room without too much messing about. My Dad was paid with the usual DIY currency, a dinner out at a local pub.

See the results below, I'm impressed even if you're not!

And over christmas I fitted a new tap to the sink (I must admit I used this you tube video to do it, but still you've got to learn somehow!):

I've been quite lucky with the DIY, the tap went well once I'd gone to B&Q to get a new spanner to fit the nut. I did have to put it together and take it apart again though. It was really wobbly when I tested it for use. I rattled the box round and found that I'd missed including the plastic support underneath the sink. I managed not to curse and went through dismantling the tap and starting over again. Grr.

Still, the finished article looks good and is performing well!

Long may DIY lead to success not disasters. Cheers.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Granny square baby blanket in blue

I have been working pretty long hours recently as there has been a lot of staffing changes in the department.

I tend to feel the need to get creative under such circumstances and have been quite busy lately with crochet baby blankets and some homemade cards.

It's hard to find the time around work and the general running of a house but I find a few stitches a night go a long way.

So here's the first one for the maternity leave of one of my friends at work a baby boy giant granny square blanket.

Worked exactly as you would a regular sized granny square - but I just kept on going!

Sunday, 5 January 2014

A spiral crochet scarf, or two

I saw these on pinterest and thought that I would have a go at making one.

One turned into two (they're slightly addictive!) and I am pleased with the outcomes.

I'm currently selling them on ebay as despite being lovely, I have more than enough scarves to last me a lifetime, and sometimes the pleasure is more in the making rather than the wearing.

Look me up - I sell as kew20k - and I had a massive clear out on the weekend so have many items up for grabs, including some of the rather lovely but unfortunately unseen and unpurchased items from our disastrous Summer Fair. But back to the scarf for now...

Scarf 1, the original. I followed one of the many tutorials that are available. I can't find the specific one - but the one at the link here looks similar. It looks great on.

Scarf 2,  the skinny. Worked using the same pattern idea but in a silkier thread and with fewer rows of crochet in each spiral. This one is more of a necklace / scarf combo as it won't do much for keeping the cold out but looks pretty good on.

Hope you're enjoying the blog catch up posts!

I'll include some contemporary restaurant visits in the next few posts too, just to make sure it's not all historic.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Holiday in France, and a bit of Switzerland

Ok, so Summer holidays were good. We had a lovely time around Morzine.

Mountain biking, walking and making the most of our Summer season multi pass for the ski lifts was good fun. We got over the border into Switzerland one day, thank goodness the bar for lunch took credit cards as we'd not got any Swiss francs with us.

You know it's a steep ride when it takes 3 hours to climb to your lunch, and 20 minutes to get back down the valley.

In the swimming area of this beautiful lake I swam with tadpoles just getting their little legs. They're called 'tetards' in France.

We stayed in clean and basic accommodation with Alpine Elements and were fed really well. Cake every day to accompany watching the Tour de France and a varied 3 course evening dinner menu.

Good fun had by all, and a few achy muscles to remember it by!