Saturday, 20 December 2014

Hallo from South Africa

Phew! We left for South Africa on the 9 December and although the flight was good my travelling was not so hot and it took a couple of days to begin to feel myself again........I really don't know what I am going to do about this traveling lark, but got to get my head around it somehow.  Still, the journey is always worth it and this year is no exception.   We have never spent Christmas with my daughter and her family in SA so it was lovely to see the house decorated and the children getting excited.  We brought over a couple of gingerbread houses for the kiddies to make.  Lots of fun and I have to say they turned out really well, what do you think?

Just the beginnings 

Don't they look smart and all their own work

Oh so proud

Where do we start

Start with the chimney.....Yummy

 Before the celebrations we have some forest time to catch up on, and a few tourist and seasonal days to 'do'.
There are obviously the beautiful walks in the mountains, which are cooler and not so busy with visitors.

Mr D and I took the children to the fairy forest while J was working to get the last of her orders off before Christmas.  Our plan was the fairy forest then off to 'Deerpark' for lunch.   One of the favorite bits of the forest is the stream and tadpole catching, but silly Nana and Gaga forgot that chasing around the water is always going to end  with wet clothes........ Good job the sun is hot and shorts and T Shirt dry quickly, so lunch was had in comfy clothes.

Great tree to climb

The mountain stream is too tempting

Tadpole catching

Just a beautiful spot

We also had a day practicing putting up tents ready for the holidays.  Mr. D and I used to camp when
our children were small so it's not that we are novices at camping, but of course things have moved
on and the tents of today almost seem like pop up tents, unlike our ones which had poles that fitted together like a monkey puzzle, and canvas that was a lot heavier than the nylon/Teflon, so in just  a few shakes the tents were up, tested, and put down again.  We seem ready for our trip to Beaverlac

A week into the holiday and our first trip to the waterfront.   I love the waterfront as it has everything you could wish for, harbour views, table mountain views, restaurants where the seafood is delicious, shops for the posh, shops for the tourist, shops for the locals, and in the 'Watershed' Cape craft people.   The first
stop though was to find Santa and remind him of the things on the Christmas list.  He was nice and comfy in his garden and the children told me that although he sends his helper Santas to other shopping malls, he likes to come to the waterfront himself!  We shopped a bit, lunched a bit in the food hall, where the choice of freshly prepared and cooked food was so yummy that I think we all overindulged. Then shopped a bit  more before going to the play area for the children to run off some of their energy.  Ending up at The Hildebrand  restaurant for supper......what a lovely way to spend the day.

Ben with Santa

Isabella with Santa

Mr D and I have our wedding anniversary on the 18 December.  I know it's a silly time of year to get married but at the time I thought a winter wedding would be fun, not realising that with Christmas just a week way there would never be enough money to celebrate, but as we are in S,A we decided to go out for a special meal.  We booked into the Round house restaurant which sits above Camps Bay over looking the sea.  We chose the 'taster menu' which was a 7 course meal starting with the 'organic vegetable patch' set as a garden of raw and pickled vegetables with mushroom soil, so yummy!  We ploughed our way through the rest of the food with Mr. D having the appropriate wines with each dish ( I am not a drinker and someone needed to drive us home) a glass of champagne was ample for me.  The last course was a white chocolate panacotta with mulberry sorbet and fresh fruits.......I thought I had died and gone to heaven!! The staff were so attentive they even rushed out and opened the car door for us.....what a treat.

What a setting

Organic vegetable patch

Setting sun 

Last course White Panacotta with red berry sorbet
This was not quite the last of the tasting, we had 2 macaroons each, one violet and the other apple- infused, and a honeycomb chocolate and almond sweet.......we almost rolled back to the car!!
Until next time I would wish a Happy Christmas to everyone.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Maybe last post for a while

It seems to be getting to that time of year when we are all chasing our tails trying to get visits done, and everything bought and made for Christmas, and we are no exception.  In fact I feel like I have been running around for months trying to get everything done before we take our trip to see our daughter her hubby and two children in South Africa...... Yes we are soon off ...up up and away! So I thought I would let you see how my 'quilt as you go' quilt is progressing and a few last minute bits and pieces.

My quilt is not quite finished as I think I may have to try to remove the blue markings on the hand quilted centre before adding my final touches,and for that I need better weather than we are having at the moment...

Basically finished 
I have added some yoyo's to the centre to tie all of the quilt together.

I might need a few more yoyo's, 
I have also been getting carried away with making beaded baubles.  I have put the pattern somewhere safe and for the life of me have no idea where that is, so I have had to play around, but they are all basically the same.

 nice to make while watching T.V. 

And last but never least......my daughter S made a lovely little Santa from felting.  Now, you may remember earlier this year I tried to make a gnome for my grandson and it was so 'naff' and down right rubbish I couldn't give it to him, but after seeing Santa I thought I might have another attempt.  S has made arms, hands, belt, shoes and altogether far superior to mine,

Isn't he a darling
but I am rather pleased with Mr Gnomie.....

Before adding his eyes

Think he will pass muster?

Not sure when I will be back to post anything new, so just in case I don't get to you before Christmas I wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful healthy wealthy New Year.  Take care if you are travelling x x

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Weekend away

We travelled 'up north' to visit my daughter, son in law and their family on Friday morning.  The weather wasn't great, but the journey was uneventful.  We travel to Harrogate, then take the A59 towards Skipton then turn off on the B6451 towards Pately Bridge, this is called 'going over the tops' by the locals, and once on the road you can see why.....you seem to be on top of the country looking down and across the dales, it's truly stunning.  We always travel this route, and each time we make the trip (no matter what the weather is throwing at us) I am always amazed at the beauty of the countryside, it really is "Gods own country".  In the past I have made Mr. D stop so I can take photos for you, but in all honesty the photos never do justice and you would never be able to see the vastness (depth of valleys and height of the hills/ mountains), so all I can say is - at some point in your lives try to make the journey 'across the tops'.  

On Saturday all the grandchildren were busy so we adults went off to Bolton Abbey for a walk along the river.  'S' could not believe that we had not done the walk before when we visited the Abbey, but this was a first for us.  As we left the car the sun was trying to poke out of between the clouds, but further along the mist sort of hung around a bit more giving an eerie feel to the walk (which I hope I have captured on at least one of the photos.

There is a touch of blue in the sky

I might need this on the way back. but it doesn't look too comfy

Is he going to test it....No the seat was wet

Younger ones striding out

Lovely colours

Bit of mist in the distance, but can you see the water is rushing by

It had rained most of the night and you can see where the water has ended up 

Wonder if white water rafting goes on here?

This is the road to fairyland 

Now you can see the mist on the water

This looks totally flooded, 

and this mini island looks like its floating away.

The route completed now we just have to drive the car back across this bridge....look at the width!!

While we were in Yorkshire I did get a bit more knitting done, and as you can see only just had enough yarn Phew!

Just love the patterns that appear

 Last but not least, when I went to Alli Palli I bought a kit from here.  I made a larger bauble about 6 years ago and had forgotten how enjoyable they are to make, and as these ones are smaller and not so time consuming as the large one I might just make a few more.

Love the white on white

This week will see me pleating up some fabric for my lady smockers so not sure I will have much time for anything else, but I suppose there are always the evenings and more socks to knit!.  

Till next time x x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Back to the machine !!

I had a few hours free at the weekend so decided to get a couple of extra Christmas gifts sewn.  Now I had seen a little tote bag that had a drawstring top on line somewhere and set myself the task of looking for it........well, that was easier said than done.   I searched pinterest and other sites but only  came up with a couple that seemed too big for what I wanted.  I just could not get to the pattern  ...how frustrating is that!! Eventually I came across this one by Pink Penguin it was in my files already but I just couldn't remember where.....its a really nice size for small projects, and was  quite quick to make.  I did add a couple of pockets inside for those small bits that always get lost at the bottom of bags.

7.5" H x  7" W x  5"D 

Little Miss I loves dots so hope she likes this

I then thought I would make a small table runner and decided on this pattern  but I was just going to use the start blocks.  I did exactly as the pattern said, cut up all my mini charms then could not get them to sit nicely on the 4" plain fabric and when I looked at the photos, something didn't seem to match up. So I gave up with a grumpy face as I had already cut my fabric and I felt the mini charm pack was just wasted!  I then came up with this one which went together in no time at all.  Unfortunately a second pack of mini charms had to be used, but at least I got another small gift finished.

Mine is much smaller than the original pattern.

My  knitting needles have been dashing away and  I made another 'cardie' but this one is a bit larger (just added a few more stitches at the 'cast-on' stage) and once again I reduced the length as the pattern did say it was originally made for a rather tall lady   

Think this one will work fine for me.
That's about it for now, so see you next time x

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Knitting Nora......

 Firstly let me show you a tiny bit more of my 'quilt as you go' quilt.   I do feel quite happy with this quilt now as I know exactly what I am supposed to be doing to get it finished.   I have added a couple of borders since my little 'slip up' with the scissors.  Firstly, I added a patterned  half inch joining border, then the final border with 'cross hatch' quilting, (mainly because I thought it would be the easiest (big mistake) as I had to unpick about three times before I was reasonably happy!!).  Anyway I am now ready to bind it and add my 'piece-de-resistance' in the center

just getting started
Slowly Slowly
Just a glimpse of the corner
Not a good photo, but as you can see its almost finished

Then the  knitting  took over, and it seems I have finished my 2ply lace mitts just in time......Yes, winter seems to have arrived and they are very handy.   I never did get to grips with the way the pattern told you to cast off, but I could see it would work if you were working on an even rib pattern ie. Knit 1 purl1, or knit 2 purl 2 but my last rows had a mix and I couldn't get to grips with it!

great to wear even indoors

I have also unpicked the kiddies socks that I showed in the last post,  I just thought they were too small.  Firstly I thought I just needed to make the foot longer, but that didn't look right either, so it was back to the beginning......... I unpicked both of them and have re-knitted them having increased the cast on stitiches from 40 to 48.  Its amazing what a difference 8 stitches makes.....just have to hope now that they are not too big and she will have to wait to grow into them.

They now look quite big.

Lastly, I saw my friend wearing a nice 'cardie' that I thought would be great for me, so off I went  to Pinterest looking for patterns and this is the one I chose to use.  Its knitted in chunky yarn, so grows very quickly, but I think the pattern is a bit small for me, so once again I am back to the drawing board.  I hope one of my daughters would like this one, and I am about to start adding extra stitches to the next one and hope that one fits me better.

Keep warm and toastie x x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bit of this, bit of that, and a bit of learning inbetween.

Oh goodness the excitement of Yarndale still goes on......you see  I had played with some of my goodies,  and now have some more to play with. Yeah!  My friend L and I decided it would be nice to order some yummy colours of the carpet yarn so the crochet ladies could make themselves some bright colourful bags etc.  Choosing the yarn was a bit difficult as there were so many beautiful colours but we decided 20 cones was a good number, giving lots of choices.  Once the order came through I noticed there were 26 cones, I had left 3 extra colours as query's and, as L had 3 more she wanted to add, the final total was 20 + the extra 3 each = 26 cones.   Oh my! we must get cracking now.

One thing I saw at Yarndale was  a ceramic yarn container, but the price was £40 and as nice as it was I just could not justify that cost....SO, lets try to crochet one.....

It works well with hand wound yarn.
this bowl is crochet with the three yarns together, it has a hole for your yarn to thread through and a bit of a lip for your needles to rest in.  I now have to go make up a pattern, and hope the ladies like it.

I have also finished the socks for little Miss I.  I couldn't really find a pattern so just adjusted the full size pattern, I reduced it by 1/3rd, but I am beginning to think they may be a bit small.....back to the drawing board..

love the colour

they will fit someone.....
The other thing I have been knitting is a pair of fingerless gloves.  The pattern calls for 2ply yarn and 2mm double pointed needles. Phew!  that's fine and thin.....  I think the pattern is written by someone from overseas and there are stitches in it that I have never used before, so to say it was a learning experience is not an exaggeration (what did we do before Google and You Tube).  I am almost finished the first glove, but now she talks about casting off using the 'kitchener rib bind off'', I have never heard of that before, but she does direct you to a website where  there is a tutorial for the technique.   I'll let you know next time how that goes.

Must make myself some posh markers.

Last but never least.... On Saturday I went off to my lesson on 'quilt as you go' with Jan.  I had a lovely day and really thought I was steaming along, I had ideas of what to do next and Jan helped explain how to do it, Wonderful...what could go wrong!!!!!!  trimming some of my wadding that's what can go wrong! Oooop's!  I needed to trim back some of my wadding on seams already sewn, I had completed three of the sides of the quilt, and almost finished the last side when after a snip of those scissors I thought things didn't feel quite right........ good job it was just the one 'snip'

I decided it was time to go home. 

All repaired, even that little tuck has been fixed