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      Photo a day Challenge

      April 29th 

      Today is D-day and I will gift my knitted jumper and scarf to my husband, I am a tad nervous but very pleased with it, have you had a peak...  Scandi knitted jumper

      But onto the penultimate crochet a day photo challenge post.  Those that follow will know that I have been joining in on IG to post crochet photos and it has been so much fun.  Here are my next 5 entries...

      Day 21:  UH-OH !

      This was a big uh-oh! Moment in my crochet life and taught me so much.  A large crochet blanket wide enough to fit a double bed and each row comprises of different stitches.  What I forgot to do was to check the tension on each row and see how it corresponded to the other rows.  After a week or two of crocheting every night, I laid it out flat to show my friend when I realise that actually it has crept in at the sides and I had lost in actual fact about a third of width, it was starting to look like an A line skirt!  I almost cried as I had to frog over 40 rows, all those wasted hours....

      Day 22:  GIFT IDEA

      Men!  I find them very hard to buy for and to make for, but I hit upon the idea of crochet cuff links and so far so good.

      Day 23:  BEAUTIFUL BLUE

      This little bag hold my cotton wool in the bathroom and the small square is my super soft
      cotton face cloth. 

      Day 24:  CHUNKY OR LACE

      I like to crochet with mostly chunky yarn as then the project tends to be quick!


      I am not a big fan of making toys but after this commission last year I am more tempted.  He was made in the amigurmi style where you just crochet round and round.

      Joining in with  Amy  to share my five pictures with you this week. 
      Do pop over and see what others are sharing. 
      ♥   Have a great week   ♥

Out and about

April 27th

This time of year when the colours burst out it's like an awakening from hibernation.  Nature is so clever and I love where I live.  Take a stroll with me in the fields around our village...

Rape fields start green and slowy slowy become more yellow...


Who can resist a bluebell walk?


Here in the south of England for the past two days our temperature has dropped and we've truly had all the seasons not just within the day but within a couple of hours. Fire is lit again and the heating has had to be cranked up   Brrr, hoping for the return of a warmer Spring ...

♥  Happy 'hump' day to you all  ♥

And breathe, it's finished!

April 25th

I knew this jumper would take a long time to knit 1) it had to be done whilst my husband was away as it's a surprise birthday present 2) it's the first large project I have knitted in over twenty years, yes you read that right, 20 years!!!  What was I thinking? 

Anyway, it's done, I'm relieved and in actual fact I really enjoyed it, well not towards the end as it became a chore to make sure it was completed in secret and on time! I managed with 10 days to spare, not bad eh?  Let's forget I began at the end of January and it has taken me weeks and weeks of intermittent knitting.  It seemed as soon as I began this project my husband decided to not be away on business as much, do you think he knew and was trying to thwart me?!!?  Only just thought of that...

Would you like to see?  Just don't look too closely as my tension is all over the place, I wouldn't win any prizes and thank goodness for blocking, because doesn't that hide a multitude of sins...

Love knitting on dpn

Checking for size as I couldn't try it out on John

Frogging for me is part of the course, sigh

Starting the coloured work

Stitch markers make life so much easier

Hoping the blocking can sort out the tension

My daughter trying it on for size for me

Phew, blocking helped the tension

My first knitted jumper in over 20 years

Ready for wrapping

  Let's hope he likes it 
 Just realised it's closer to 30 years since I knitted a jumper
or anything so large, *gulp* where did those years fly to?


Our front garden for the Queen's 60th jubilee celebrations
April 21st 

Happy  Birthday  Your  Majesty 

Today the Queen of England celebrates her 90th birthday.  Unlike the majority of us she actually has two birthdays, this is the day of her birth and in June we celebrate her official birthday when there will be street parties, trooping of the colour, pubs will be open and a grand picnic on the Mall for 10,000 invited charity workers.  It's a big affair. 

There are many discussions about whether we should have royalty but putting that to one side, this is not the time or place on this little blog to discuss that.  But what I love about these sorts of celebrations and I think is quintessentially British, and let's face it there have been a few in recent years, is that it seems to bring neighbourhoods and neighbours out from the woodwork and people appear friendlier and happy.  Street parties are fun and everyone pitches in.  The last one I attended was for the Queen's 60th jubilee and it was magical.  Forget the Queen for a minute,  it was the people around me that made it special.  Our village was decorated, people dressed in red, white and blue, the local school opened it's doors and everyone brought food, there was a real feeling of togetherness.  If today and the official, birthday in June are anything like that, then bring it on,
I love it.

Shop fronts often go all out for major royal celebrations,
this is in Covent garden

Not usually a nation of flag wavers, we do bring them
out for royal occasions and major sporting events

Telephone boxes in Windsor have been known to be decorated,
today and tomorrow the Queen will be here in Windsor

Even I have been known to dress up in red, white and blue

Decorated food to share at the street party, homemade focaccia

If you do not hear from me again today its because I will be out and about in search of fun! but in the mean time I took the liberty of finding a few fun snippets for you all, click the links to have a 'gander' as they say x

Online message book, so far there are over 300 pages
An online book has been opened up whereby anyone from any country in the word, should they so wish can leave Her Maj a birthday message: The queen's birthday book

This year's Chelsea flower show will have the theme The Queen at 90.  I do not know if you have been, seen it on TV or even know about it but the Chelsea flower show is spectacular and this year I'm hoping for a show stopper:  Royal-Horticultural-Society-Chelsea-celebrate-Queen-90-birthday-celebration and those that love knitting and crochet there will be over 300,000 poppies lining the entrance to the show:  Field-of-poppies-at-Chelsea

Anyone keen to getting making and crafting before the official birthday, it's too late to make anything for today, have a look at this clever collection: 

Knitted Queen pattern from Deramores

Knitted tea cosy pattern by Teacosyfolk

This book includes patterns for all the royal family up to Kate and William's wedding, I include it as I think the knitted Queen is rather good.

Book by Fiona Goble
...and here is the Queen in close up from the book with Corgis in tow!  Brilliant design by Fiona .

Not forgetting children like to be involved the following link has much for all ages, I think if you printed off masks for everyone to wear you could have a real hoot! But there are many more other things on this link to do too: 

Many activities for children

Here in the UK there are the odd times that we may go a little over the top but my goodness I love it, take a look at these terracotta busts that made it onto national news from Fifield House Farm near Windsor, totally brilliant and quirky:

The official portrait of the Queen with the 3 next in line to the throne, each of these faces from this portrait have been used for stamps that will be issued today to mark her 90th birthday:

And just as an aside we had the privilege of climbing up the stairs to the top of this tower a couple of years ago, such an iconic London building.  Did you know that the name is not Big Ben, but that it is in fact the nickname of the bell inside the tower, known officially as the Great Bell and the name of the tower is actually known as Elizabeth Tower in honour of our Queen?

So out with the flag bunting today and I shall be wearing red, white and blue!
  Happy birthday Your Majesty  and any others celebrating their 90th birthdays today   

Crochet continuation

April 22nd  

I am in my element, somehow I misunderstood and the crochet photo a day challenge was not just for the first half of April, but for the whole month!!  I cannot tell you how happy that has made me feel.  The first whiff of this news came when I saw Ashley's post...

It's never to late to join Lazy Daisy Jones


As I have not made a toy, I included International Ted's
string vest that he commissioned me to make for
him whilst on a Mediterrean cruise


This is my favourite, yet unfinished blanket,
I love all the stitch combinations


I love a good granny square, shown here with a
photo of mamma as a little girl, she is still
my inspiration and go to person if I am stuck

Day 19:  MANDALA
My first ever mandala, post all about it   here  and
what a mandala actually is!
Day 20:  HOOK HOLD
I look very awkward in this shot but holding my
hook is so comfortable that I was shocked at how it looked!
In case you want to see the previous 15 photos that I entered for the
photo challenge,  they can be found Week 1 Week 2  Week 3
Joining in with Amy at http://lovemademyhome.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/five-on-friday_22.html?m=1 sharing my five photos from this week, hope you have
enjoyed them, pop over and see what other's are sharing.

Meditative mandala madness

April 19th

Ok so I'm late to the party, so shoot me, no please don't take me literally.

Spring colours
I'll stop being silly. This post is all about mandalas.

If like me you are ignorant about Mandalas, then let me share with you what I have gleaned over the past year.

What is a mandala? 
They were first mentioned around the 4th century in Tibet and in Sanskrit the literal translation means circle. But what is a mandala? A mandala has its origins in the spiritual world and Buddhists see it as a journey from suffering to joy.  The circle is to represent a balance of unity and harmony, thus it is a concentric structure.  The detail within the circle helps to absorb ones mind and is an attempt at almost being hypnotic in its complexity and design.  The aim is to slow the mind down and to allow it to be still and calm and to try to focus the analytical mind to take a nap.  A mandala is a tool to help serve us on our spiritual journey of healing within.  Tibetan Monks after 9/11 travelled to NY  and began creating a sand mandala.  It took ten days to produce the mandala, made of many colours of sand to help New Yorkers begin their journey of healing.  Today we crochet mandalas, knit them even and more popular has become the 'mindful' colouring in of mandalas, all with the same goal, to slow us down and give inner peace.

Last year whenever I looked at my blog reading posts or delved into the world that was Facebook and glanced at IG, crocheted mandalas were popping up everywhere.  If memory serves me correctly it was the wonderful Zelna in South Africa that first drew my attention to the crochet craze of 2015.  Next up was Lucy over at the Attic and I promised my self I would whip up a mandala and send it along with the hundreds of others that whizzed their way over to her for the Yarn get together that is Yarndale in Yorkshire, but I failed miserably.

So it was with great irritation that I learnt that the latest photo challenge I am in was to have us all posting a crocheted mandala today.  Not to be left out a second time, the weekend just past saw me beavering away in the corner determined to have a completed mandala by today.  Knowing how many beautiful ones there are out there and how intricate and colourful they are, I realised that time was not on my side and for once was sensible and decided to make a quick 'granny' based mandala in the hope it would be speedy to hook up. So not a traditional intricate mandala able to absorb the mind, I tried for the hypnotic feel.  And for once I was right, it was super speedy to make!  I even finished it a day early, the sun graced me with it's presence so I was able to utilise it as the now intended table cloth for the small patio table and ate my lunch, albeit with a coat on outside.

Want to see?

A close up of the granny stitches that
made up the majority of my mandala

Fits the table perfectly, I toyed with making
it larger but decided against it in the end

I have not posted how to make it as I think it relatively straight forward, but if there is interest I'd be happy to add in the instructions, just let me know...

♥  It's almost time to eat every meal outside, yeah!  ♥