Friday, 29 January 2016


I am joining in with Amy from Love Made My Home again with Five on Friday.

My Five on Friday this week is all about my UFO's - no, not the unidentified flying ones, but my unfinished objects (in this case cross stitch ones) that have been stashed away for a few years. 

I used to cross stitch all the time but struggled to get motivation after my Dad passed away nearly five years ago now and all the stress that went with that. Over the last couple of years crochet has become my all consuming passion and apart from a couple of very small designs my cross stitch has been abandoned. However I thought that if I got some of the designs out and photographed them for Five on Friday my motivation might come back - it is not that I don't want to stitch but somehow can never find time for both my crochet and cross stitch.

I have always been a bit of a serial starter, starting on several projects and not finishing one project before moving onto the next as you will see in the photos below - hence the number of UFO's I have (not just in cross stitch but in knitting and crochet as well).

Well here I go with my five UFO's (please excuse their crumpled appearance but they have been tucked away out of sight for far too long):

A long way to go on this one, I really must finish this one day as the specialist threads and beads used in this design cost a small fortune. It is Winter Garden and is a beautiful design but quite complex using several different stitches (not just cross stitch).

 I have the Hampshire village design (not started yet) to go alongside this one.

 This was designed by my lovely and very talented friend Colette Robinson and is a Hardanger design (this is a stunning design so why have I left it lurking in a box for a few years)! Colly - you need to nag me about it, you know if you nag enough I will eventually spring into action (remember the cushion)!!!!

 Perhaps this is the one I should start back in on first because it is a straight-forward design using only one colour of thread.

This is one that I attempted to stitch to get my motivation kick-started again a couple of years back - as you can see I didn't succeed!

Monday, 25 January 2016

Crafting Get-together

It was time for the monthly get-together for our little craft group on Saturday and this time it was hosted by Sarah whose home is in Whittlesey in Cambridgeshire. 

If you are a regular follower of my blog you will know that we love to do various crafts, eat and drink, natter and laugh and have a thoroughly good time. This time was no exception, we all had a super day and were introduced to Jeni, a new member of our group who is as mad as the rest of us so will fit in just fine!

Sarah and Colly, busy eating and i-padding but some crafting was carried out as well!

Tammy stitching up a meerkat that she had knitted

Pam working on the edging of her corner-2-corner blanket and Jeni making felted birds

Sarah working on her cross stitch

Our new member Jeni makes the most amazing felted birds and animals

Here is an amazing owl she sat and made for Colly

And here is Thumper, how cute is he?

And I am now the proud owner of this robin which Jeni made for me, how she makes these so quickly I have no idea!

The crafty gang!

I finished crocheting the squares for my first Sunshine blanket

Although this wasn't made on Saturday I just had to show you this amazing quilt that Colly made for a friend of mine

These days we spend together are so good, we all get along fine and it is good to take time out in our busy lives to enjoy each others company and work on our hobbies. It really motivates me to do more crafting when other people around me are doing the same thing.

My challenge this year is to complete 12 sunshine blankets of love which I am planning to donate to a local residential care home at the end of the year. These are lap size blankets and part of my aim is to reduce my wool stash pile but at the same time do something that I enjoy and which has a useful end product. There are so many ideas whizzing around in my head and this is an ideal way of trying out different designs.

I am waiting for my new toy to arrive so that I can block these squares before assembling them into a blanket. My new gadget is a blocking board made by @daisyboocreations. These squares really require blocking out so I cannot wait for the board to arrive and try it out, it should be here soon.

In the meantime I started on sunshine blanket no. 2 yesterday afternoon after our drive back from Cambridgeshire. I am calling this one Rose Garden and looking forward to seeing how this one looks when it is assembled. 

Well that is all for now, until my next post ......

Friday, 22 January 2016

Favourite books from my childhood

I am joining in with Amy from Love Made My Home blog for the Five On Friday posts. I haven't joined in with this for ages so decided that it was about time I did!

My Five On Friday for this week is all about my five favourite books from my childhood. I loved to read from a young age but what really inspired me to start on a life-long habit of reading were books by Enid Blyton. I devoured most of her many books, far too many to pick a favourite so I am leaving her out of the equation for this post. I know she is frowned upon as an author in many circles today but I loved them and they did kickstart my reading habit so that can't be a bad thing can it? As long as you move on to read other authors and genres I don't see there is a problem.

Anyway to get onto the books I have chosen (in no particular order):-

I still love the illustrations from Beatrix Potter books today, wonderful stories that I shared with my own children

A story about Mary, a spoilt and disagreeable but lonely girl who was sent to live with her Uncle and how she discovered a magical locked and hidden garden

The adventures of Anne Shirley who was mistakenly sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert instead of the boy that they had wanted to adopt to help out on their farm

This delightful story about the Ruggles family who were a poor but happy family who made their own fun and adventures

Cheating a bit with this one as I couldn't just pick one of the series, I loved them all

I know I date myself from the selection I have made here but these are books I read more than once over the years and got something new from them every time. Am I the only person that re-reads my favourite books?

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Weather Vanes and a Telephone Box with a difference

As we were walking this afternoon I noticed that there were a lot of buildings with weather vanes (sometimes called wind vanes or weathercocks). A weather vane is an instrument that shows the direction of the wind and are typically used as architectural ornaments on the highest point of a building. They are generally decorative and the most common ones feature the traditional cockerel with letters indicating the points of the compass.

The six that we saw today all featured different symbols (including the traditional cockerel).

And now to the telephone box. What can be different about a telephone box? Well this one was situated in a small village and had been turned into a library. What a great idea. There was a notice on the box telling you where to go to obtain the combination for the padlock if you wanted to swap a book and in these days when libraries are closing down all the time because of financial implications it was great to see the villagers had come up with their own solution.

I am planning to weed my massive collection of paperbacks, especially as I read a lot on Kindle these days, although I find it difficult to let books go (not that I am planning on losing too many) so have decided I will donate them to the telephone box library.

Until next time ....

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Blashford Lakes

Yesterday on a bitterly cold day we took a trip to Blashford Lakes near Ringwood for some birdwatching. This is a new location for us, my son was told about how good it was but unfortunately for him he was not available to come with us but DH and I had a fantastic day (apart from me tripping over a bramble that was strung across a path about 3 inches off the ground like a tightrope and bruising both knees quite badly).

We saw at least 38 different bird species including some we don't see very often such as a firecrest, brambling, redpoll, siskin and nuthatch. We really should have made a list while we were there as we were trying to think of all the different species we saw last evening and have probably left some off the list. Most of the ducks and geese were too far away for my lens to cope with so I haven't got any good shots of those. When we got home my son said that I could have borrowed his long lens but I am quite glad I didn't take it as I might have damaged it when I fell over, I just managed to save my camera although the end of my lens has a tiny dent in it. 

This lake was partly frozen so not much bird activity to be seen

A general view of one of the lakes, ducks and geese too small to be seen

Included this one as I like the cloud pattern in the sky

The waterfowl were too far away for clear shots ...

but there were a lot of different species on the lakes

I really loved the woodland hide, my goodness what a busy place that was, the birds were on and off the feeders there all the time. My photos aren't the best, the light wasn't fantastic and we were shooting through the glass windows of the hide but at least you get an idea of what a popular spot it was with the small birds. 


Redpoll, Siskin and Goldfinch

Siskins and Goldfinches

A cheeky squirrel came to join in!

Blue Tit

Great Tit


Goldfinch and Blue Tit

Nuthatch and Blue Tit


Brambling, Great Tit and Goldfinch

We will definitely be going back soon for another visit as we didn't have time to cover all of the reserve and next time we will take a flask of coffee and some sandwiches with us to help sustain us (especially if the weather is as bitterly cold as it was yesterday) as there are no refreshment facilities on site although we did find a rather splendid pub just down the road where we enjoyed a lovely lunch.

Birds we saw include: Firecrest, Canada Goose, Greylag Goose, Wigeon, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Shoveller, Mallard, Coot, Cormorant, Black Headed Gull, Lesser Black Back Gull, Herring Gull, Greater Black Back Gull, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Gadwall, Goosander, Dabchick, Siskin, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Brambling, Nuthatch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Redpoll, Dunnock, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Robin, Greater Spotted Woodpecker,  Wren