Sunlit Sunday 3

January 31st

Some weeks are easier than others to search for and find the sunlight in your own life.  This has been one of those weeks for me.  I am being totally self centred and all my problems are first world ones and so really I should just shut up and put up but sometimes it's hard.  Do you know what I mean?  I continue to be grateful for Sunlit Sundays because despite the way my week panned out it made me really search for and look for the brightness and lightness around me, and even when feeling blue, it worked and it began to cheer me up.

On Tuesday I had a mad idea that I missed nature too much and so I dashed outside in the dark to find a couple of leaves and to play with them along with some yarn.  In my enthusiasm I slipped over the very wet grass, it has rained here for weeks on end and ended up hurting myself quite badly.  Not to be beaten I did start to crochet around the leaf but my heart wasn't in it by then and it was harder than I expected. Nature and yarn did not want to play with me either. 

Nature and crochet?!?!?
In searching for happiness and 'sunlit' thoughts and ideas, in a twisted way these old 'should have been thrown away before' tulips actually made me smile.  You see I am not my normal self this week. I love the shadows that the dried opened out petals created below though... 

Modern art in flower form?

But truly I found my one and only 'sunlit' moment on Thursday.  When after having three quite disastrous things happen to me, the sun came out in all it's glory.  It was still cold, but there was no rain, there was however lots of cold wind but it didn't deter me.  I donned on my down filled jacket, made my lunch and moved the chair and table onto the middle of the lawn and sat eating peacefully all alone in the sunshine.  It was sheer heaven.  I may have been a tad cold but my face raised itself up to that elusive yellow ball in the sky and I drank in the vitamin D.  This was the best I felt all week and thank goodness for it. 
I found my sunlit moment. 

The sun created such crisp shadows

Joining in with Karen for Sunlit Sunday. Pop over and see what others are sharing:

        ❤️ Hoping the sun shines for you            
           wherever  you are this week  ❤️

Heart review

January 29th

With Valentines Day only two weeks away my mind has been full of hearts so I decided to share with you some of what I have found 'out there' on the big wide web.  Where I can I have given each pattern a test and have showed you my results, not all are completed...

Crocheting in the round like armigurumi
This you tube video has over a million views with only (at last look) 210 dislikes, that's pretty good, so I decided to watch and crochet at the same time.  The lady in question crocheted a little faster than I did as I was using different yarn, splitty cotton so I cursed a bit here and there and had to put her on pause to sort myself out and have a good talking to the yarn to behave.  But all in all, this is a simple pattern to follow in real time and produces a quick puffy 3D heart in no time at all. I will use this pattern again.  Crochet 3D small heart As you can see this is still to be completed, I've not had the week I was expecting, but will update the post when it is finished! 

A fiddly beginning but soon began to look like a heart

I thought I should test out a 3D knitted heart too and came across this 12 minute you tube video.  As long as you can increase stiches on the front and back of a single stitch and SSK, you should have no trouble at all.  There is the Kitchener stitch at the head of the heart but she shows you how to do this very well that I think even if you have not attempted this before or have previously been put off, you will be fine here.  I did find her gentle voice a little annoying at first I must admit, but soon forgot about that as I become more involved in the knitting.  Give this a go, the end result is so sweet.  If time permits I hope to make lots of these and hang them on bare twig branches as a centre piece for the dining table on Valentines day.  3D knitted hearts

These hearts could rapidly become addicitive

I am imagining bare twigs full of these knitted
hearts as a centre piece on the table for Valentines day
Quickly the shape begins to form

For a 2D brilliant knitted pattern you couldn't do better than this easy to follow knitted heart.  It's so quick to knit up that you can make several in an evening.  This will definitely be a pattern I shall be returning to again and again.  Watching it grow so quickly was fun and the instructions are super clear and easy to follow.  2D super quick knitted heart pattern  You should pop over to Julie's blog to see what other lovely knitted goodies she has.  At the moment she has lots of knitted square patterns with animals on too, just adorable.  And I can vouch that she is very approachable and replies to communication very quickly, always a bonus, thanks Julie for this wonderful knitted heart pattern.  These hearts can be used for a variety of things and Julie recommends them as coasters,
what a neat idea.

Perfect for my glass of red at the end of the day...

A few have commented that this
could be the beginning of a mini bra,
but keep with it, the heart
will reveal itself soon enough

Ta-dah! Lovely heart in super quick time

And another one...

A pair of hearts...

And a third, they
just keep multiplying

And in no time at all there was a whole lot of love flying around

A great slouchy heart hat is also to be found on the web and I admit to falling just a little bit in love with this pattern too.  Using chunky yarn it makes up in no time at all.  Saying that I am not completed as I only began making it last night, two hours later and it is almost finished, but not quite in time for this post!  I will add in the finished hat as soon as it is!
This pattern is just a click away, designed by the clever Bethany, I shall be visiting her blog again to see what other treats she has to share.  Heart slouchy hat pattern

Crochet the band as a narrow strip and
then slip stitch together, very effective

Testing out for size

Such a clever crochet pattern

Almost done!

And finally the fifth heart I share with you is made by the sweet Monica and is perhaps one of my favourites.  I made these heart pillows and mini hearts a couple of years ago now and we still love them to this day.  Again another pretty quick make so there is still time before Valentine to make them...  Crochet heart pillows Monica has stopped blogging which is a huge shame but her blog is still up and patterns are still available. 

I'm joining in with  Amy  sharing my 5 heart patterns that I like with you today. 
Pop over and see what others are sharing too.
   Hope you week is filled full of hearts   ♥

It's all knitting to me

January 27th

Cuff number 2 for the sleeves on my first
knitted jumper in over 20 years!
Suddenly I'm all about knitting and crochet has firmly taken a back seat.  This is a first.  Truly, I never thought I would see the day nor horror of horrors when  picking up a crochet hook last night to test a pattern I was all fingers and thumbs!  Can you relate?
I have so many ideas floating in my head at the moment that I'm like a useless excitable thing and not actually achieving very much.  Time to take a deep breath, slow down and focus.  Maybe I should join the bandwagon and colour in for some mindfulness and peace...

This week I have been continuing on with the surprise 50th birthday jumper for my husband, but all has now come to a standstill as I had not the right size of needles for the next stage, am therefore awaiting delivery of more knitting goodness in the form of wooden colourful dpn.

Not wanting to be idle I have been testing out a few patterns ready to review and share with you all on Friday as the jumper was forcibly on hold, want a sneak peak...

Can you see what it will be?

An almost complete knitted heart

It's been an interesting week so far.  Starting on Sunday, does your week begin on a Sunday or a Monday?  Which camp do you fall into?  Usually I'm a Monday girl but for the sake of this post and what I am about to share with you, it has to be a Sunday.

Sunday I literally began to crack up, I mean literally.  I broke a tooth.  Tears were shed, the family kept their distance and all was not well in our household.  Monday saw  an emergency appointment for a temporary solution with the dentist.  Tuesday in my eagerness to bring an idea to fruition I dashed outside in the dark and slipped on the very wet grass, thus hurting my hip and ankle.  The crochet inspired idea did not work well, so I hurt myself for nothing.  Wednesday (having already cancelled a meet up with Phil from the Twisted Yarn) I returned to the dentist and a splitting headache ensued could have had something to do with the mention of the cost for solution to my broken tooth meaning I had to cancel afternoon work and my glass class.  The week can only get better right...

  Keep knitting and keep calm
will be my motto for the rest of the week 

Sunlit Sunday 2

January 24th

Fundraising again
Those that follow the blog may remember that my 15 year old daughter travelled to Kenya last year to help in an orphanage for 10 days. Kenya experience at 15 Along with 11 others they had to raise the money for the 12 months leading up to their visit to fund their travel, accommodation AND any charitable projects they wanted to help out with.  Every week for a year there was some form of fundraising and they managed to raise over twenty thousand pounds.  It was hard work and the youngsters learnt much about themselves, each other, working alone and in teams.  They began to realise the value of money and once they travelled to Africa, began to realise how privileged they are.  This is of course just scratching at the surface about what they learnt, did and experienced and how it changed, I think all of them, from youngsters to young people.  The next generation. 

Why mention it again?  This group of exceptional characters, I am of course biased, are the first group that this ten year old charity have led, have decided collectively as a group to return to Africa. To continue fundraising and to help as much as they can.  I am immensely proud and tearful about it all. Many who have been return as individuals, but not one group has returned in it's entirety.  These young people are now not led by a teacher or mentor.  They are now not reminded about deadlines for fundraising or helped to think of ideas, but as a group of now 16 year olds they are organising everything from flights, dates and money raising.  They have worked out how much each individual has to raise a month and how much as a group on top of that they need to raise a month to reach the dead line of returning in the summer of 2017.  Fundraising has begun again in earnest and they are in conversation with the charity about which projects they will undertake this time. 

My daughter as her monthly individual fundraising is offering to paint people's nail with gel polish and needs to make sure that every  month she has a minimum of five 'clients'.  So far she is on track having also painted several teachers nails, friends and family.  One lovely teacher posted a picture of her nails on Instagram recommending her and from this she has a few more orders.  All the money will go directly into the fundraising pot.  This may not be the 'norm' for a sunlit post, but it warms my heart that there are so many more 'good' people in the world than not and I just need reminding of that sometimes. 

Elsewhere in life it's the small things that cheer me.  We've had a mixed bag of weather this past week from crisp clear blue skies to -8 degrees and deep frost, that's not so usual for us.  Each brings it's own beauty.  It's looking out for these small things that help my well being, are you the same?  They are so easy to miss, but Sunlit Sunday posts really focus me in.  Below I share with you my photos from out and about and at home that have warmed my soul for one reason or another.  I hope they do the same for you...

Saved some of the daffodils from
 the garden before the heavy frost

Tulips are now in the shops, I love these flowers

The sun streaming in through the windows

Crisp cold clear blue winter skies
The snowdrops are out in abundance and Snowdrop
walks with afternoon tea are advertised everywhere around
here, a great Sunday afternoon treat
Amazing colours in the sunset and the days
 are slowly becoming noticeably longer!

This week at school we gathered all the children into the hall and watched the 'live' space walk. It brought back memories of my childhood being marched into the hall in anticipation of big world events to watch on the screen.  Memory making moments.   It's so magical and frightening at the same time to think that someone is up there on that beautiful moon.  It generated much talk amongst the children all week. 
This week saw the first UK space walk by Tim Peake, but
let's not forget Helen Sharman the first UK
person in space in 1991 though
And then the cold came in and we lit the fire... although I may just have
put on a log slightly too big for the study fire place, oops!
...and just yesterday I noticed the first buds of blossoming opening up.  I have mixed feelings about this though, on the one hand it means Spring really isn't far away but on the other it is far too early and nature really has been confused by the mainly mild winter we are having...

The blossom is bursting out

Joining in with Karen for another sunlit post. Pop over and see what everyone is sharing to brighten up the winter months:  Karen
   Until next Sunday, have a very 'sunny' week    

Baby it's cold outside, put on those mittens!

January 22nd  

My favourite mittens
Brrr, winter has arrived and I'm glad for it.  The days are crisp and cold and mostly the sky is that clear blue colour, hurrah.  But it does mean all of a sudden the fires are on constant, the heating is cranked up and when we venture outside we need to wrap up warm.  For me that means mittens and not gloves.  I feel they are much warmer when all the fingers are encapsulated in one area and not separated as gloves are.  In our home we have several mittens, many plain but a few patterned and these are my favourites.  Mittens are obviously easier to knit than gloves too, huge bonus.

I have never actually crocheted a full set of mittens but have made many a pair of fingerless mittens and wrist warmers, best give that a go...   The pattern that I have searched for and think looks simple enough to make is this one, as said I've not made it, but it's on my to do list... Crochet mitten pattern

I have however made crocheted fingerless mittens as mentioned and in case you wanted to make some, here is the pattern I used.  In fact I loved it so much, I made 3 one after the other... Puff stitch fingerless mittens

Unfortunately I cannot share with you the pattern for my absolute favourite knitted mitten pattern as it is a bought pattern from and it's in Norwegian, but thought I would show you my favourite pair... those in the close up with the Norwegian flag!
Just some of the mittens in our home...
To make the other traditional Norwegian knitted patterns this is a great pattern, free and in English... Norwegian knitted patterns Again this is not the pattern I followed but I've looked it over and it is very similar, hope you enjoy!

BUT and hold on to your hats, the very talented Christine over at Winwick mum fame, has designed her own mittens with a twist.  In fact they are so genius that I am definitely going to be making a pair this year.  Her tutorials are brilliant, did you follow her sock making tutorial, so clear and easy to follow and understand and I have no doubt this will be just the same.  Why are her mittens so great?  She has split them in two so you can just whip the tops off to take photos, go foraging, answer the phone and a million other things without getting your hands too cold, just take a look...

Christine's genius split mitten design!
This is Christine's photo from her blog post

Fancy giving them a try, here is her free pattern... Split mittens pattern

If the four above patterns do not take your fancy or time is short, isn't it always?!?!  Then I did make an uber quick pair of wrist warmers last year for my sister, you could make these in a couple of hours... Quick make wrist warmers and if you scroll further down on the post you will find my daughter's wonderful flapjack recipe too, bonus!

Sharing 5 patterns with you today to keep you warm if you are in the northern hemisphere,
those in the south, this post was here to attempt to cool you off a tad
from the heat you are experiencing you lucky lot!
Joining in as always on a Friday with Amy  for my 5 on Friday,
pop over and see what everyone else is sharing...

  Keep warm out there  
I love reading your comments and having a 'conversation' with you. 
I will always reply, even if it takes a day or two, come and have a chat with me...

Sunlit Sunday 2016

January 17th  

Last year at this time I joined in with Karen to share happiness and inspiration in these dark months.  Each week looking for and thinking for something to post suitable with the title 'Sunlit Sunday'  And do you know what?  It made the dark weeks and months sunnier.  I loved and looked forward to this year.  Without further ado, here is my first 2016 Sunlit Sunday post...

After weeks and weeks of rain as if by magic
the sky changed and blue was to be seen

View from my bedroom window

I decided to venture out as the sky was blue taking a walk with Sunlit Sunday in mind, come follow with me, but wrap up warm, it's cold out here... 

As I left home I spotted my shadow immediately,
perfect for the Sunlit post

It's been a while since I saw my shadow...

Looking back I spied the warm glow of the sun

The longer I walked the higher the sun rose

Until I ended up at the church...

...and popped into the churchyard on this sunny morning to visit a famous grave

Agatha Christie, died 40 years go this month, on 12th January

She is buried under her married name
but her grave is easy to spot as you can see...

Notice the posy of flowers, left there earlier this
week in memory of her dying 40 years ago this week

Several celebrations of Agatha Christie's life have taken place recently in and around where we live in rural Oxfordshire and more is on the way... Agatha week end

Returning back, the nodding daffodils
(out much too early) welcomed me home

♥   Wherever you are in the world despite any weather you maybe having may your week be 'sunny' 

So joining in with Karen for the first Sunlit Sunday post of 2016
see what other sunny posts there are:  Sunlit Sunday

Inspiration, inspiration, inspiration

January 14th 

They say location, location, location but I say inspiration, inspiration, inspiration.  Today I have sourced five inspiring finds that I share with you in hope that it sets off a spark and inspires...

Wherever we look these days, certainly in the UK there is talk of mindfulness and the benefits of living in the moment.  Something that is becoming increasingly hard in this fast paced world we live in and we should take a little more down time and refresh our brain.  Hence this year's big seller at Christmas were colouring books for adults.  Did you get one?  Did you buy any as gifts?  The talented duo of Kay and Ann over at Mason Dixon Knitting came up with the genius idea of creating a book for knitters. Hit the link and have a look.

Colouring for knitters

In case you are interested here are a few free sheets to down load for mindfulness colouring though not specially for knitters or crafters... Mindful colouring

Instagram as I have mentioned many times is a source full of inspiration, it's fabulous and someone I have been following for a while is Sam over at Sam She has an innocent charm to her drawing and draws mostly on beach stones.  Often making a collection and putting them together in little bags as story prompts.  A wonderful gift and idea for little ones.  Just take a look.  It wouldn't be difficult to create this for yourself and a small person in your life, or even just to sit on your own desk, no, no, no, I wouldn't do that, would I?

Sam is now branching into producing colouring sheets

Perfect blend of nature and man made

Sam is known for making story stones.  A set of stones to
create your own stories with, how great an idea is this

There are stones for all occasions, look a Christmas set...

Continuing the theme of colouring and beaches look what Barbara has been up to...
Using a sharpie pen and shells
Clever use of a single colour, Sharpie pen and shells she collected from the beach. She has somehow created almost a Ming dynasty of shells.  This wonderful picture was shared on the Facebook page Darn Good Yarn Lots of inspiring things happen over on that page too.
And finally, although I mention them a lot, they are Norwegian after all, I need to remind you about Arne & Carlos.  My first post about them can be found here and a perfect post for Spring makes can be found here These knitters extraordinaire have now begun YouTube videos showing various makes, patterns and stitches.  Their latest share was the 96 stitch hat, its worth a look... video and pattern

Wearing his 96 stitch hat

As an odd little snippet, I thought I would share with you the latest trailer form Midsomer murders, this episode, as many others before is filmed in and around our market town and surrounding villages.  Can't wait to see the episode later this month, especially as we were in town the day of the bike race and saw the filming...   Midsomer Murders Trailer

Joining in with Amy  today sharing five inspiring things with you. 
Pop over and see what everyone else is sharing.

  Hoping this post fills you with inspiration,
what are you crafting these days, can you inspire me back?  

Thank you for all your comments, I read every one and always always reply back. 
I love the communication that blogging brings...