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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Knit & Natter...

...has become a bit more "Craft & Chatter".

The knitting & crochet are still going strong...
...as you can see from this beanie hat that has been completed on a knitting loom. However, we now have quite a few folk pop in just for a bit of 'colouring in'...
 ...often for just 10 or 20 mins but they are enjoying being able to get away from their desks to do something a little creative.
Most folk who come along to knit have their own projects that they are working on but over the months we have managed to complete these squares...
...and there are another two almost finished so we will have our first cot blanket completed by the group. The squares tend to be something that folk 'pick up' out of our supplies box to do if they have forgotten to bring their own project with them.

The group is continuing well and it is lovely to see that we have some regulars as well as a few folk who only pop in now and then. It was well worthwhile starting this group and so lovely seeing what folk have made over the time that we have been meeting.............................................................

Friday, 21 April 2017

Fundraising for the RNLI...

...is still going strong.

I sent out an email to everyone at work asking for donations that we could use as raffle prizes and folk certainly 'stepped up to the mark'.

These were the photos I took just before the Easter weekend...

...and there have been a few additions since. People are so very generous.

What with end of year performance reviews and a complete restructuring of our line of business things have been a little slow on the charity front. However, even with just the trickle coming in from book & craft sales we have managed to almost reach £900. It is hoped that our raffle will boost interest and we should make the £1000 by the end of May - fingers crossed.

I have to say a very BIG thank you to everyone who has contributed to the fundraising.

It has been an interesting year of fundraising - book sales, craft sales, shipping forecast sweepstakes, raffles and afternoon cream teas - all done without any 'hard sell' as I didn't want folk to feel pressured into participating.

I will be continuing with the fundraising for the RNLI as I think it is a very worthy cause - I just need to come up with some ideas for the coming year to keep interest high..........................................

Thursday, 20 April 2017

A stitch...

...in time.

I said that I'd done some more crochet over the Easter weekend...
 ...isn't this yarn pretty. The green & lemon combination is perfect for the season.
The knitting needles got a fair bit of exercise too...
 ...with this yarn being more for the Autumn. Such a lovely 'Fall'  combo of shades...
...even when fuzzy photos are taken LOL.

I really wasn't going to buy any more yarn until I had used up more of my stash but these were a temptation I just couldn't resist...................................................

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Easter...

...in true British weather style.

The weather forecast for the Easter weekend was not great and in parts of the UK there was even the promise of SNOW. However, in my neck of the woods the temps certainly dropped but we didn't get the terrible rain storms that we had been threatened with.

On the whole, the weather in the UK has been pretty good for the last few weeks but it has taken the day a little while to get going with mornings often dull & chilly.

The other end of the day has been quite muted too.

What warmth there has been during the day has caused many evenings to be hazy/misty...
 ...but this creates quite a lovely effect when looking at the Sun going down...
 ...through the shadow of the trees...
...and the colours of the sunset have been quite soft.

The biggest problem I have had this weekend has been trying to decide whether to risk making a start on some more of the outside painting. However, with the forecast for my area being so unfavourable I really didn't want to start on something that would have to be left mid-way. I did consider painting the front door as it is sheltered from the elements but who wants to have all their heating disappearing outside as the door would have needed to stay open whilst the paint dried.

So the Easter weekend has seen nothing in the way of outside d├ęcor and to be honest not much has gone on inside either - other than dipping into a few Christmas movies. Yep, you read that right - True Movies had a whole day (Easter Sunday) of Christmas movies...go figure.

No decorating achieved but I did get a lot of crochet done.............................................................

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Sunny days...

...chilly nights.

We have been really lucky the last couple of weeks. The weather has been very kind.

It seems quite strange seeing folk out & about in t-shirts & shorts during March/April.

Mornings have been quite chilly and often foggy and yes, we have had the odd spot of quite heavy rain...but on the whole things have been rather lovely. Lovely enough to switch the heating off.

However, later evening time I have been tempted to put it back on a couple of times but this is where my current crochet project has been a boon.

Using a variegated yarn in shades of blue with a hint of lemon, I have been making a throw for my bed...
 ...and as you can see, it currently covers the top of the double bed...
 ...but needs to be a bit bigger so that it hangs over the sides. The colours are really pretty...
 ...and I love the effect created by the random shading of the yarn.
This is the bundle folded...
...and I can assure you that it has quite a bit of weight to it.

With the evenings still being a bit on the cool side it is lovely to snuggle under this lovely soft blanket as I continue to crochet around the edge. No chance of feeling cold under this lot.

Today is our knit & natter group at work and the blanket will not be going with me as it is now far too big to carry easily to & fro on a commuter train. So I have a newly started blanket to take and a few little knitting items to get stuck into.

The weather tis morning is very bright but a lot cooler than it has been. Let's hope we don't get the suggested snow for Easter....................................................................

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

I did say...

...the fencing was looking a bit tired.

This is how the back gate looked....
 ...very shabby and scruffy where the previous coat of stain had faded & worn.
The two pots of pansies...
 ...dropped neatly into the two planters by the front door...
 ...and a drop of water soon had them looking perky.
However, here is the back gate after its coat of "Forest Green"...
...it certainly looks a lot tidier but it will probably need a second coat.

I have to say, I'm quite pleased with the new colour (despite my doubts) so it looks like I'm going to be busy for a while. Let's hope Mother Nature is kind and provides a few dry & bright weekends over the next few weeks. Good job Easter weekend is coming up soon.........................................................................

Monday, 3 April 2017

What a week...

...so much to do, so little time.

It is the end of the performance year at work and everyone has been busy putting together their self-appraisals. It is not a time of the year that anyone enjoys as there so much pressure to get everything you want/need to say into 500 words.

For me as a manager, there are 12 x 500 words to read through and 12 x 1-2-1 chats to carry out.

It doesn't tend to leave a lot of time or energy for much else.


However, despite everything that has been going on - Mother Nature decided to grace us with s few lovely days with temps more like Summer than Spring.

The grass got a trim and I started to look at fence panels & planters that had become very shabby over the Winter.

Probably the easiest thing to do would have been to just stick with the current fence colour - Red Cedar - but no...I decided I needed a change and ended up spending far longer at my local DIY super store than I intended.

I decided to change to Forest Green.

I got home, unpacked the car. Then the doubt kicked in.

So instead of getting stuck in on the fence at the front of the house, I had to 'try' the colour somewhere it wouldn't really show if I didn't like it.

I went for the back garden side of the back gate.

One & a half hours later...

The back gate is newly stained and looks very nice but I had forgotten how long it takes to get a good coverage as there are lots of nooks & crannies on the fencing.

This is not going to be a quick job.

Let's hope Mother Nature is generous with a few more lovely weekends so that I can actually get the front fence done.

The planters got a tidy and a couple of pots of lavender pansies but I have my eye on some sage coloured planters.

The next thing will be to give the front door a new coat of paint. Do I go for "Forest" or "Sage"?

Decisions, decisions...............................................................................

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Shh, do you think....

...anyone will notice me?

I wonder what I can get up to.

I see that 'Mum' has a new mug for her breakfast coffee...
 ...but there doesn't seem to be a picture of me on there.
Okay, so the seeing out of the windscreen isn't a problem...
 ...but I'm not sure I can reach both the steering wheel and the pedals. Perhaps it's better if I sit here...
 ...then I can navigate.
Help!!!!...
 ...I'm being swallowed by mum's bag (I wonder what she does with all this stuff).
Phew, managed to get out of the bag...
 ...let's see what is on the 'web' today.
Oops...
...I didn't mean to drink it all - do you think she will notice?
I wonder what is in here...
 ...gosh it's dark!
Look who I found...
...looks like Sniffer wanted an adventure too. Perhaps if we both climb back into mum's bag we can have a snooze (and we can hide because it looks like she is coming this way).

Hi everyone, I hope you all had a fun Red Nose Day on Friday. Didn't they do well raising over £73million. They had a cake competition at work and then sold the cakes and I know some folk had children taking part in various things at school so it looks like everyone had a great time for a very worthy cause. Now I wonder where that monkey has got to as I was hoping to take some photos....................................................................................

Friday, 24 March 2017

Have you got...

Image result for red nose day...your Red Nose?
 Yes, in case you had forgotten - today is "Red Nose Day". The day when folk do something 'funny for money' to raise cash for good causes.




There have been some weird & wonderful performances by celebrities on the BBCs dance & sing programme and I'm sure there will be plenty more fun things to watch tonight.

Image result for red nose day

There are 9 regular noses to collect this year and then there is the 'grey' limited nose of a Frankenstein type character. I've managed to get 7 of the main 9 noses but no sign of the limited edition.

A colleague kindly gave me a PG Tips Red Nose Monkey (PG Tips is a teabag brand). I must remember to take some photos of what he gets up to today.

If you have events going on today at work or at school, I wish you all well with your fundraising and hope you have a fun time..........................................................


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

When did 'creme' eggs...

...get so small?

I wanted something quick & easy that the "Knit & Natter" folk could make as fun items ready for Easter and this is what I came up with...
 ...a little knitted egg-cosy made into a character by adding some big eyes. Inside the cosy & eggcup would be an Easter treat...
...but it came as quite a shock when I popped the chocolate egg into the eggcup - it disappeared right down inside **frowny-face**. Gosh they really have shrunk over recent years (but the price hasn't).

Still, the general idea was sound.

The folk at "Knit & Natter" loved the idea and have been merrily making little hats to decorate so they can hide them around for the kids/grandkids to have an Easter hunt over the coming holiday.

I found packs of assorted coloured plastic eggcups at my local bargain store - a pack of 4 was just £1 and there were blue/pink/green/purple. Their suppliers sometimes pack them as 4 colours to a pack or 2 colours to a pack so it depends on what they have as to what I can get.

The cosy uses very little yarn so is a great way of using up any scraps that you have.

You need DK (double knit) yarn and 4mm knitting needles.

Cast on 30 stitches.
Knit 4 rows in garter stitch (each row is knit/plain stitch).
Then starting with a knit/plain row...
Knit 10 rows stocking stitch (alternating - one row knit/plain, one row pearl).
Next row, knit 2 stitches together right across the row - this leaves you with 15 stitches.
Next row pearl.
Next row, knit 2 stiches together until the last odd stitch which just gets knitted - you now have 8 stitches.
Next row, pearl.
Leaving a long tail (enough to stitch up your cosy) cut your yarn from the ball and using this 'tail' threaded into a tapestry needle, thread the yarn through the remaining stitches and remove from the needles.
Pull gently to gather the top and with the wrong side facing out, stitch up your seam to create the little "hat".
You can add a little loop or a pom-pom to the top if you wish.

To create the 'face' I just drew some large eyes onto thin card, cut them out and applied using 3D foam pads.

There you have it - a quick little idea for Easter.

Although, I intended mine to contain 'creme' eggs you could put any type of treat in these as a surprise......................................................

Monday, 20 March 2017

"Spring is sprung...

...the grass is riz.

I wonders where the birdies is.
The birdies they is on the wing.
Now ain't that absurd?
I thought the wings was on the bird."

I learnt this rhyme when I was young and never knew where it came from. A quick search of the 'interweb' shows that there is some debate as to whether this is one rhyme or two that have become linked over time. The author(s) is another question that seems to cause debate.

All I know is that I learnt it as a child and thought it was fun.
 
The "Thurrock Blooming Marvels" have been hard at work getting the town planting ready for Spring...
...and this bed is already starting to catch the eye...
 ...the mini 'tete-a-tete' daffs are bobbing about in the breeze...
...and providing a lovely splash of colour.

Spring is one of those times when I wish I had a dash-cam in my car because the 'Blooming Marvels' have done a wonderful job around the area with masses of daffs of all sizes & shades on roundabouts and along the duel-carridgeways - if there was somewhere safe to stop I would take some photos but as this is the route in & out of the Gateway Port it is a 'Clearway' so no stopping.

So I can't share all the wonderful planting in the area with you but I can assure you, the 'Marvels' have done a fabulous job and it certainly makes me smile as I drive by these 'fields' of daffs.................................................................

Friday, 17 March 2017

In between the...

...knitting and the crochet - a couple more cards were made.

"Fabulous Fashionista" is a super paper pad from Craftwork cards.

The only additions to this card...
 ...was gold mirri to matt the image and some gold coloured gems.
The flowers were all punched from the same background paper...
 ...and the gems added as centers to the blooms.
There is gold foiling on the papers which the mirri helps to pick out...
 ...and the image was actually cut from one of the PPs in the pack.
This card used a couple of the images from the same sheet as the previous card (there are 4 characters on the sheet - I haven't used the remaining one yet)...
...again the gold mirri to pick up on the foiling and some gold gems.

I was very pleased with how these two cards turned out and will be playing with some more of the papers from this pad..........................................................

Thursday, 16 March 2017

More photos...

...from our walk on the beach.

You might want to grab a cuppa as this is quite photo heavy.

Considering we had downpours all morning, when we went to the beach...
 ...the sun was glorious and the skies beautifully blue.
Camber Sands is known for its drifting sands as it tends to be very windy...
 ...so I'm not sure I'd want to have a property right on the beach like these ones.
Although Rene had her hat on she was still struggling with the wind blowing her hair all over the place...
 ...but that blue sky was not to be missed.
Alison was trying to get some shots of the horses...
 ...not easy to do when you are facing into the sun (see her shadow).
Despite the wind, it was so lovely being down on the beach...
...but the photos of the horses were pretty much a case of 'point & shoot' and keep your fingers crossed. I didn't quite get my timing right with Alison & the horse...
 ...but this one was much better even though it was the result of more luck than judgement.
We were all having fun trying to get photos of shadows...
 ...some came out better than others...
 ...especially as the sun had started to come and go as the wind blew more clouds in land.
Here was one of the better results of pointing the camera towards the horses...
 ...and just hoping that they would be in frame.
Rene & Chris looking a bit worse for the blustery wind...
 ...but still enjoying the bracing sea air.
Folk in the UK may remember that there were a few serious accidents at Camber Sands last Summer...
...one of the problems is that folk don't keep an eye on the tide as it starts to come in. There are gullies that fill behind sand banks and if you don't stay alert you can get cut-off by the tide.
Some more shadows...
 ...this time in the reflection of the sand pools.
As you can see here...
 ...the tide was starting to work its way in land.
Another shadow on the water...
 ...and more...
 ...this was about the best I could manage...
 ...of a shadow showing all five of us.
The beach ahead of us was gradually being covered by the tide...
 ...and the gully in front of us was starting to get quite deep so we started to make our way off the beach.
Just a short distance from the beach we came across this...
 ...it looks a bit like something out of the Hobbit...
 ...I wonder if anyone ever sits there?

The clouds were certainly starting to roll in and we timed it really well because it was just starting to spit with rain as we arrived back at the house. Within a short space of time the rain was chucking it down.

No more venturing out for us. A phone order to the Indian take-away and we were settled in for the night..................................................