Sunday, 29 April 2012

All-sorts and an Apology

Hello Lovelies,
here I go with a rather odd mixture of a post. I'm starting with a crochet ta-dah but this one also comes with added guilt....I promised you lovelies a tutorial to go with this ta-dah but after uploading tons of pics and gradually adding written instructions something went wrong with the post and it would not save due to "form errors".
I lost the whole darn thing ...arggggh!! I'm afraid I just cannot face re doing it at the moment, it had taken me ages and was nearly finished...I felt like crying when it disappeared !! Instead I will endevour to do a written pattern soon , I hope you lovelies understand.

I thought you would like to see my "Sail Away" crochet decoration any way, so here we are


I LOVE the way it looks so at home with all my previous makes and my Mums colourful painting. It's a favourite corner of my home this area above the tumble dryer :0)

This simple  decoration with it's cute little boats , a shiney sun at the top and a fishy at the bottom really makes me smile when I enter the room.......

I love how the sun turned out , with its spikey rays . Cute buttons in the centre add interest ........

Next subject....baking......

The wet ,cold weather is still with us at the moment and yesterday seemed like a good day to spend some time in a warm kitchen.As does today !
I've had some sad looking,dried up raisins in my cupboard for a while now and on Friday I had a brain wave about what to do with them....make a tea loaf. You need to soak the fruit overnight in tea so that remedies the  dryness . Here are my gathered ingredients , including raisins which have already been soaked and plumped up beautifully.........

I followed this simple recipe , I love this sort of baking....not too many ingredients and a simple technique...bung everything in a bowl and mix :0) My version  was very economical with just raisins, i used ordinary tea too. Next time I might use a mixture of dried fruit like apricots, dates and cranberries.Chopped nuts would also be good I think.

Sadly I'm not an enthusiastic cook but there is something about baking that I love ...probably that it is not a daily task but an optional activity....and I do love having nice baking paraphanalia. My latest modest purchase is this blue melamine bowl, it's the perfect size for loads of uses and I just love the colour ( mine came from T.K. Maxx )......

Once I put my cake in the oven , I had to leave the warm kitchen to the younger generation , who equally seem to enjoy the baking experience :0) these were decorated without any input from me..........

The slightly odd looking butterfly cakes on the right have lemon curd in them ....very nice !!

Here's how my tea loaf turned's yummy , there is no fat in the recipie but I'm sure it would taste great spread with butter :0).......
do you like my cute owl tea towel, it's flown half way around the world and is from the very talented  Claire

Lastly a bit of running for those of you who are interested. I was surprised and delighted with all your fabulous encouraging comments on my last running post.
This week I have been running in the rain , it's been hard to avoid ! but actually I really don't mind it . Once you get warmed up it's quite refreshing especially when the weather is mild. I just have to psych myself up to get out there to begin with.........

O.K. I don't actually go out in a downpour but light rain is not a problem .This picture was taken a couple of months ago and I remember being really elated at the end of this run ,I'd much rather run in the cold than heat...makes me feel ill.

As I've said before I'm not a fast runner , but distance running  is not a sprint, it's about pacing yourself and slowly building up your fitness so you can cover greater distances without feeling shattered.
This running thing is certainly addictive once you see some progress in your ability :0)

I've recently found some excellent advice for those who want to start running here. There are lots of links to follow on this page and I need to heed some of this wisdom myself :0)
And do check with your G.P. before starting any running programme.

I wish there were more running blogs I found interesting . I've been insipred to add a bit of running to my craft blog by the lovely Fleur, who combines the two very successfully I feel.
Here's hoping there will be no rainy pictures in my next post :0)
Jacquie x

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Colour on a Grey Day

Hello Lovelies,
 Well, continuing on with the drippy wet theme I seem to have going on here at the moment ....sigh. This morning was very wet, not just showers , but a real downpour. I was very happy I remembered my's so cheerful with it's bright polka dots.........

Nevertheless the streets of town , with their puddles to dodge and chilly wind were not very inspiring. My feet were damp with a very short time and I was glad to take refuge inside a cozy coffee shop and watch the rain through the window........

And enjoy and hot cup of tea and a toasted teacake, yummy.....

All too quickly it was time to brave the rain soaked streets again, some essential supplies still needed to be bought , but to cheer myself up I tried capturing pictures of some pretty things I had spotted amongst the gloom. These tulips and bellis daisies looked so bright and springlike....

This newly laid paving was lovely and shiny , the rain highlighted the different colours of the individual slabs.......

Plants in a pavement flower stall were enjoying a refreshing drink of rainwater..................

Unsurprisingly no one felt like getting a wet bottom siting on these benches ,but the raindrops on the shiny metal looked striking............

Grey,wet weather is not what I would wish for on a day off , generally it does nothing for my mood , but the reflections and the raindrops are pretty ,and then something like this catches your eye..........

Wowwwwww   sunshine in a box . This intense orange really jumped out against the dull , rainy background ..............and carrying an umbrella makes it easier to take photos of such things without people spotting what you are up to :0)...............

When I got home , amazingly, the clouds had parted and there were a few sunny minutes to take some pictures of my latest make............what do you think?

A cute bunny in a bonnet pushing a pram....a Bunny Mummy :0).....the inspiration for this design mostly came from here.

This little collage is for a banner on my ETSY shop......yes I'm finally getting closer to opening it 

I am  disappointed  with how my little camera struggles to take a sharply focused image of my's much better at capturing crochet and flowers...I wonder why ?

The rain is now falling again outside and the conservatory roof has sprung a leak ! I'm keeping my fingers crossed  for  some  sunshine this weekend ....I need to visit a bluebell wood this year and I recon they will be at their best at the moment.

Thank you all for your running and crochet comments. My tutorial and Ta dah should be ready soon.
Jacquie x
P.S.   My brolly is from Primark                      

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Sail Away Crochet Progress

Hello Lovelies, It's been a drippy wet day today. Not good when you have to venture outside but actually rather lovely crafting weather. I've been sat in my conservatory listening to the sound of rain on the roof and playing with all my favorite making bits and bobs.
Last week I was on Flickr when I saw THIS cute make by the lovely Sue. Isn't it great. A sweet little sailing boat.Oooooh.... I immediately wanted to have a go at  making my own version. A seasidey , crochet decoration how lovely :0)
 I picked up my sketch pad first and sketched some ideas. How did I want my version to look ? ummm , maybe I could add a shiny sun, yes that's something I always like to see at the seaside!
What else? I sketched away , trying out ideas as they popped into my mind.Maybe a lighthouse, or a life ring?

Well, as you can see in the end I decided to go with three differently coloured boats and a shiny sun ( I'm particularly pleased with how that turned out ) .........

Ooooh , I couldn't resist making several boats in different colours. It's a very simple pattern and I've taken lots of photos  to make a detailed step by step tutorial for you lovelies in case you too would like a crochet boat or two :0)

Mine are going to hang one above another under the sun. Today I've been doing the really fun bit....adding embellishments. I though they would benefit from just a little more detail so I added buttons to the hull...they are supposed to look like portholes .........

These are buttons salvaged from worn out school shirts. They also appeared here.

Ummmm, looking better I thought but possibly  still a bit plain. I know, felt......I've combined crochet and felt on may occasions . I love working with this fabric , it's so user friendly. On this occasion I simply cut out some hearts and attached them with a running stitch to the sails of my little flotilla........

I did venture out in the rain this afternoon , to get important supplies like this............

Ooooooh , I've really enjoyed playing with these simple plastic beads, mixing them with ones from my stash to add even more prettiness........

 And I have now finished my decoration . I immediately got out a hammer and popped a nail in the wall for it to hang on , I couldn't wait to see what it looked like hanging up . I'm really pleased with this how this  crochet make turned out. It was such fun to design but the light isn't great for a ta- dah so I'll leave that till the tutorial is ready and I can get some better shots ....sorry about that.

Instead would you like a tour of a rather damp garden ? When the rain eased I grabbed my camera and got up close to some of the plants which look even better when wet.........

Here's one that appeared on my blog last year.....what an amazing colour..........

sweet tiny saxifrage

Another bright pink , I only bought this old favourite recently.......hope it thrives.........

Elephant's ears....Bergina

These are also tiny , I love the way the droplets are sitting in this  interesting foliage.......

Oxalis Leaves

This plant continues to thrive . I love its mixed pink and purple blooms that flower for months......


Stunning zingy green brightens a shady spot.........


So glad to see this beauty return..........

Bleeding Heart....Dicentra

Gorgeous raindrops.....

Allium Leaves
Flowers filled with water..........

Euphorbia Fireglow

Another bright green so welcome on a rainy day.........

Oops, can't think at the moment 

Lets hope all this rain helps a bit with the drought we have in most parts of the U.K. at the moment.
Hope the rest of your week goes well.
Jacquie x

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Beginning Running

Hello Lovelies,
I've been thinking about blogging about my other hobby for some time now. I realise it's not going to be that interesting to a lot of you but I've decided I want to share my love of running this year
It's partly to inspire myself and record my feelings and maybe it could inspire a few of you too.

I will understand if you want to leave now ........... but do pop back soon for my latest crochet project...I'm writing a tutorial to go with it :0)

As you know I love lots of pictures in my posts so I did a little experiment when I was out running on a lovely sunny day  back in January . Would I be able to take pictures as I ran along ?  Amazingly the answer was yes :0)  I took loads and it was great fun. I see lots of great things when I go out and often wish I could share them with you or just take a picture for my own record.
So here are the least blurry .....along with some words ( maybe lots ) about my running journey so far.

Right, where to begin? Well, as a child I was in no way sporty, I hated P.E. with a passion and was a virtual non swimmer.I still hate competitive sports as I always get stressed out about letting the team down or making a fool of myself. That's not to say I hate exercise though.

Two years ago when  I started my little  blog  I was enjoying walking and wrote about it in posts like this.
The other fitness I did was the occasional aerobics class...step was my favourite...I enjoyed getting sweaty to some fun music .

Then in July 2010 I was talking to my friend who is a runner , saying I enjoyed walking but could not run...... I had tried a couple of times and quickly given it up as too strenuous and generally unpleasant . Her reply was " There is no reason why you can't run Jacquie...except in your head."
That really made me think . I am fortunate to be in good general health and my friend is a few years older than me, she only started running in her late forties. Maybe I should try again ?

So I started very gently. Just adding little jogs into my walks. Gradually , oh so gradually , increasing the time spent running.It was hard . Everything wobbled and I would be bright red and gasping for breath within a very short distance.But with reassurance/guidance from my friend I kept going.

After a few weeks I found this  and worked to the 5k training plan you can down load.
I went out every other day , just doing short jog/walks. I still couldn't attempt even a small hill but I was gradually getting better at running on the flat or downhill :0)

Eventually I felt ready to take part in a 3k fun run. Of course you don't need to take part in organised events at all but they are wonderful motivators. Knowing you have to be fit enough to cover a certain distance by a certain date really focuses you and the atmosphere on the day is great. They may be races but just enjoying the atmosphere is my main aim. I don't really care how long it takes me ...O.K. I would like improve in the future but it's not that important . I'm never going to be really fast , but I can still enjoy taking part.

So far I've completed two 10k  events ( that's 6.2 miles in case you were wondering). My highlight so far was my first half marathon ( that's 13 miles ) last Autumn . Thirteen miles ...THIRTEEN MILES's a flippin long way to run don't you think ? But managing it gave me such a wonderful sense of achievement. I was on cloud nine . All those events were with my running friend for support.
I'm certain I would not have attempted such a big distance without her encouragement.
I don't tend to take risks or challenge myself very much so being able to run that far is a very positive thing for me.

How do I feel when I'm running these days.....well, sometimes really shattered !! sometimes bored to death ( I often plan blog posts in my head to distract myself ) but overall I really enjoy being able to finally do it ....the best bit for me is when you round a corner and see a beautiful view after miles of slog and get a wonderful elated feeling, you suddenly have loads of energy and feel like you are speeding along , well , relatively speeding :0)

This year I my running firsts will  ( hopefully) be completing a 10k then half marathon without my friend for support. My first solo 10k is coming up soon and I'm a bit concerned I will get my pace all wrong ....I don't want to get swept along with faster runners and then collapse before the end !

I'm also conscious I'm lucky to be healthy enough to enjoy running . So another big part of my motivation will be raising money for charity.Loosing my friend to cancer earlier this year gave me even more incentive to run for a cancer charity.

Well done if you stuck with this post .....I'm happy I recorded all this for my own reference in years to come. I do hope some of you found it interesting .
Jacquie x

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Crochet Calling

Hello Lovelies,
on Good Friday I bought some Daffodils with my shopping. They were twenty stems for £1 ....what a bargain. They were tightly closed when I bought them but I felt sure they would open Easter Sunday they had hardly changed and I wondered if they would ever open .
Happily they did eventually open up and what a nice suprise ...they were dainty daffs with bright orange centres :0)...........

I've just been checking and this is my seventh post with Daffodils in it this year !! A little bit obssesed ,me?
Well, you all know of my crochet obsession.
A couple of days ago I showed you these yummy circles , my latest little project.......

What was I making ? Well ,a recent addition to my ever growing blog list is the lovely Signed With an Owl.There I spotted these pretty Doilies Kate made.
Ooooh, I wanted one. Luckily there was a link to her tutorial for the "Little circle square" that she used. So I picked some colours from my favourite vase and got started. I used Patons smoothie yarn. I'ts acrylic but has a similar look to cotton.........

After I had made my four squares and sewn them together I looked at Kate's pictures and guessed how she had done her border. Mine is a row of single crochet (u.s.) in red . Then a row of half double crochet in white . Then a row of alternating s.c. and spike stitch , which in this case, is just a single crochet worked into the base of the h.d.c .
I then did a final round of single crochet. Remember you will need extra stitches at the corners..........

It doesn't look exactly the same as Kate's but never mind.
This was such a fun,quick project and I love how it turned out . It goes so well with my little vase.........

I've decided to follow some other bloggers I read and answer any questions I get in my comments section using the "reply" option . So if you ask me a question please check back in a day or so and hopefully you will find an answer from me there .

Another change I've decided to make is to blog a bit about my running. There may be running only posts occasionally but I think mostly I will just add a bit of running to my regular ramblings.
It is becoming an other obsession of mine , along with crochet and Daffodils :0).
I hope some of you may be interested ...otherwise you can easily skip the running bits.

Thank you so much for your lovely chatty comments on my last post....I really enjoyed reading them .
Jacquie x