Friday, 23 May 2014

Over the last seven days I have ......

.......... visited the gardens at East Ruston Old Vicarage. Mr JK and I have season tickets, and love to go there. There is always something new to admire. The lupins were just coming into bloom and their regal spikes looked magnificent.

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Bees were buzzing around the lavender too, the petals look like little purple bunny ears!

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...................received a gorgeous swap package from my friend Janie, who lives in the USA. The swap was organised in the ThreeBagsFull group on Ravelry, and included one of Michele's newer bags - the Tater Tot!
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Janie and Michele got together to pick out the most perfect fabric for me - it's one of a little back cat, hiding amongst the flowers. Take a closer look. Aren't those little kitties just the cutest things?!

Flo close ups from Tater Tot

Flo liked the box that everything came in too, needless to say!

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.......... sent off my skeins of hand spun yarn for this year's Fibre East spinning competition.

Fibre East yarn

................received an unexpected gift of some beautiful spinning fibre from my friend Kat. The colours just glow!
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..............fitted in some hooky time on a ripple blanket I am making for Julia and Henrik's baby. I'm using Rowan Milk Cotton yarn which is a little splitty, but I love the sugared almond colours. It will be perfect for a little girl!
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......................and packed my knitting ready for a week's holiday in Greece! Mr JK and I are flying out for a week of sunshine tomorrow, so I won't be back blogging for a week or so. See you when I get back! xxx
holiday bags!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Early morning walk

Pretty much every morning and evening, Mr JK and I have taken to walking around the country lanes close to our house. My old friends would laugh if they knew how much I enjoy these walks, because in days gone by, I was rather a reluctant walker! But nowadays, I find myself relishing the peace and quiet of the half hour or so at the start and end of the day - it's the perfect opportunity to catch your breath and clear your mind.
We set off and pass Mabel's house; I think Mabel is probably a dog, although she might be a hen!! A cat lives in the house too, but I don't think closing the gate is going to stop her, do you?!
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Round the corner we go, and down a single track lane. There are a couple of farms down here. One of the barns has definitely seen better days, the ivy is beginning to claim victory as it clambers its way across the old door.

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The sun comes up and the fields of grain almost shimmer in the light of the dawn. A silvery green sea, rippling in the light breeze.
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An archway through the hedge leads to another pathway, along the edge of the field. We decide not to take this path and keep to the lane.
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We notice that seedlings are starting to appear in clearly marked rows. Maize and sugar beet are popular crops in this part of the UK.
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We spot a snail crossing the road, he's almost halfway across by the time we see him. I hope he makes it all the way over safely!
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Nearly at the corner of the lane, the hedgerows are full of wild flowers. The cow parsley is all show, with its froths of white lace.

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Buttercups have suddenly appeared. They remind me of being a little girl again, holding one under a friend's chin to see if you could see yellow; that meant they liked butter! Did you do that too?!
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We turn the corner and keep our eyes open for wildlife. Last week we saw a fox cub emerging from the verge, his breakfast in his mouth. Today we don't see anything, although I expect plenty of wildlife saw us! The birds accompany us all the way round with their tweets.
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We walk past hedgerows that will be laden with delicious blackberries later in the year. The hawthorn is covered with blossom, some white and some pink.
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Almost back to civilisation, we walk past a post box dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria. I bet it could tell a few stories from letter that have been posted in it over the years!

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The lowing of the cows tells us we are nearly back home. I think they are complaining that they are waiting to be milked!

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Just a few more steps and we are back home again, refreshed and recharged after our walk. I feel so, so lucky to live somewhere so beautiful. xxx

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

And the award goes to .......

........... josiekitten!! Well, sort of, anyway! Una over at Great Balls of Wool has nominated me for a Liebster award. It's awarded to bloggers with less than 200 followers and there are a number of 'rules' to follow:-
  • post 11 random facts about yourself
  • answer the 11 questions that the awarding blogger has asked
  • nominate 11 blogs with less than 200 followers to answer some questions
  • post a list of questions for your nominated blogs to answer
So are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!
To kick things off, here are 11 random facts about me:
1) I love old fashioned puddings with custard - rhubarb crumble, steamed syrup sponge, bakewell tart - and my absolute favourite is sticky toffee pudding.
2) My paternal grandmother was French.
3) Two of my cats have appeared on cat calendars in the past.


4) I have never smoked a cigarette, not even a single puff!
5) I sing in a chamber choir.
6) All my childhood holidays were spent in Cornwall. I have very fond memories of a rather beautiful beach, Daymer Bay.
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7) I enjoy listening to The Archers omnibus on Sundays.
8) My favourite colour is purple.
9) I was in my school tennis team and once lost an entire game by serving double faults!!
10) I would love to be able to sew better and use a sewing machine properly.
11) I eat porridge with honey for breakfast every morning.

Here are my answers to the 11 questions set by Una:

1) What is the last thing you knitted or crocheted?

I have just finished knitting a pair of socks for one of my Uni friends, Diane.

plain vanilla socks for Diane (1)

2)Where would you go on holiday if price was no object?

I would love to go to the USA to meet up with all the friends I have made through my passion for all things yarny! It would be fun to go from coast to coast and stop off along the way!
3) Do you think there is intelligent life on other planets?
There might well be. I find astronomy fascinating and wish I knew more about it. I can't believe we are the only planet with brains!
 4) At what age did you learn to knit or crochet?

I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I know I was still at primary school. My Mum taught me to knit and the lady over the road taught me how to crochet. I still have a little scarf I made for a teddy somewhere.

5) What is your natural hair colour?

My hair is dark brown, although there's rather too much grey in it now for my liking!! How did that happen?

6) Which is your favourite season?

Spring, I think! I love watching the garden come back to life after winter. Our new garden has been amazing as something new seems to appear almost on a daily basis! This is what it looked like last weekend.

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7) Are you a books or an e-reader fan?

I actually like both! I never thought I would use an e-reader, but having got rid of so many books when we moved house, I can see just how useful it is to be able to store lots of books in one small space! I'm taking it on holiday this year, rather than my usual pile in the suitcase! I still read books, but tend to buy the digital version of  any paperbacks I want to read these days as we have very little room left on our book shelves.
8) Do you prefer curtains or blinds?
Definitely curtains, I think it makes the house seem much cosier!
9) Are you wearing earrings right now?
No! I have become very lazy about wearing earrings recently; I think I am in so much of a rush in the mornings, I often don't bother to pick out a pair and wear them!
10) Do you have a special crafting area at home?
I use our third bedroom as a storage room, and my stash is kept in there, along with other crafty bits and pieces and all my craft books. I do have to share this room with Mr JK's vinyl LP collection and his guitars though! It's not exclusively mine!
11) If one person could rule the world, who should it be?
Crikey, that's a tricky one! I think it would have to be someone with a sense of humour, so how about Victoria Wood?!
I am not going to specifically nominate 11 blogs to answer my questions, as I know that some people don't like this kind of thing. But if you are interested, consider yourself nominated by me and answer these questions?
1) What's your favourite fool proof recipe for entertaining?
2) Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 14 year-old self?
3) Country walk or beach walk?
4) If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be and why?
5) Is there some crafting skill that you would like to master this year?
6) Would you ever consider plastic surgery?
7) If you were on a desert island, what 3 items would you want with you? (Assume you have food and water!)
8) What languages do you speak?
9) What is your greatest extravagance?
10) What station is your radio usually tuned to?
11) Who's your favourite author?
If you decide to answer my questions, please let me know so I can come over and read all about you! xxx

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Briefly on a Sunday afternoon

Mr JK and I have been away this weekend. We went up to Manchester to see a concert. Mr JK is a wild child of the 1970's and loves the music of Yes; they were playing his favourite album (amongst other things) at the Manchester O2 Apollo, so a trip 'up north' was arranged.

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We stayed out at Salford Quays and spent Saturday exploring the local area. We visited the Imperial War Museum North and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibitions about World War 1. So much so, in fact that we spent much longer there than we had anticipated and didn't get to visit the The Lowry. Halfway round the IWM, we stopping for sustenance. I tried a chocolate whoopee pie. Oh. My. Goodness!!! I don't think I have tasted anything quite so chocolately and yummy for some time. Mr JK let me try a piece of his caramel shortbread, so I felt duty bound to offer him some of mine. I was extremely relieved when he declined my offer! What a piglet I am, I did NOT want to share even a crumb!!!!

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The four hour car journey from Norfolk gave me plenty of knitting time and I managed to knit pretty much one entire sock! This fun striped pair are for one of my University friends, Diane. It's become a tradition for me to give each of them a hand knit gift each year. Socks always go down well, hats and mitts too. One knitted gift done, three to go! Mind you, I have plenty of time to get everything finished as we are next meeting up in October.
plain vanilla socks for Diane (1)

It's been quite blustery and wet here this weekend, so I was surprised to see that a poppy had flowered. The plant is covered with buds, so it's going to look stunning over the coming weeks. This one is already a little windswept!
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The lilac is just coming into flower too, the scent is just beautiful. And some other purple irises are just out. I have always loved these flowers, my Dad used to grow them and I was fascinated with the velvety petals when I was little.

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I will be back soon to share a couple of new projects with you. Have a good week! xxx

Monday, 5 May 2014

Bank Holiday Monday

We have been enjoying the extra day off work today, starting off with an early morning walk through the local countryside. The hedgerows are awash with froths of cow parsley; they look like they are all decked out for a rural wedding!
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We headed up to Blickling Hall after breakfast for a walk through the Park. The bluebells are truly magnificent, with great swathes of woodland carpeted in these spring flowers. The dappled sunshine made it perfect.
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I wore my new sweater, Vodka Lemonade. I love it, and can see me knitting another one! It was plenty warm enough in the shelter of the woods.

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There were plenty of sheep and lambs on the Park - there are tenant farmers on the Estate. The lambs are getting quite big now. Mint sauce, anyone?!
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I have been working on my 64 Crayon blanket recently and finished another strip today. I decided to lay out what I have done so far to help me decide how many more pieces I need. The blanket is perfect for my stash of single balls of Noro Silk Garden yarn. It was the bright colours of Noro that lured me back into the world of knitting a few years ago. By my reckoning, I need at least one more wide and one more narrow strip. It's good car knitting!
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We have been playing with Mr JK's new toy - a coffee machine. It's an early birthday present, and I couldn't resist these gorgeous rainbow espresso mugs from Le Creuset!
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I am not a coffee lover, but don't mind the odd cappuccino, especially when it comes with a delicious, homemade chocolate and ginger cookie! Mmmmmmm! (I had to buy a couple of special cups for cappuccinos too!)
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Hopefully the sunshine will hold out so we can enjoy afternoon tea in the garden later on. Hot buttered crumpets and the last slices of our Christmas's stollen are on the menu. (Fear not, it's been kept in the freezer and still tastes every bit as good as when it was first baked!) I hope you have enjoyed your Monday too. xxx
PS The computer randomly selected Lynne as the winner of the crocheted tape measure cosy. Congratulations to you Lynne and thanks everyone for entering. If you didn't win, you might like to follow my tutorial and make your own!