Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Chalky's little flowers

"In Flowers!"
If you love Crochet the internet is a wealth of inspiration. 
For us happy bloggers there is also Lucy at Attic24. 
Not only is she inspirational but she is incredibly generous with her time and tutorials. I loved these little flowers and thought them perfect for embellishing the "Lapacuddlyghans" and the Teddy Puppets.
She actively encourages you to try her ideas to enhance not only your work, but your life.
Well The "Sporty One" had actually managed to get on the computer-- that might sound easy but it is often either welded  to my lap or I have got patterns on the screen that I am in the middle of!
Well I was sure I remembered how to do them and had a really happy evening "hooking!

When I checked Lucy's pattern I had nearly remembered the instructions correctly but another treble and an extra chain resulted in these pretty flowers definitely inspired by Lucy but also with a little Chalky Twist
I think they are really lovely!

If you would like to try them this is what I did.
See if you can spot the differences!

Chain 4 and join with a slip stitch to make a loop

Chain 3 to make the equivalent of the first treble.

Make 8 further trebles into the central ring.
Join with a slip stitch into the 3rd stitch of the first chain of three( the equivalent of the first treble)

If you want to change colour I like to start in a different place as I think it gives a neater finish

In the first space work I dc ,4 chain.1dc
 Continue in this manner in every space 1dc ,4 chain ,1dc.

Repeat this in each space making 9 pretty loops to represent the petals.

Sew in the ends and use for whatever takes your fancy!
I do hope you try one of these and it works for you as this is my first ever tutorial and of course I want to thank Lucy for putting the gem of such a beautiful idea in her blog.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

I opened our front door this morning and ----

" The Other Side of The Door!"

When we are in Spain we tend to relax and greet each new day in a very gentle way. It really is one of the joys of retirement. No alarm clocks, no rushing and longs cups of tea.
Some days are full of plans and some days are not. 
This morning was quite an ordinary day with nothing on the agenda.
So with my mind somewhat in neutral I opened the door and was greeted by these four things. It wasn't an ordinary morning after all!

I hope there was something special outside your front door this morning!

Monday, 22 March 2010

It's all about 15!!

"Love Is Something If You Give It Away!- Again!!
Well after my last post I am going to remember another old saying.
"Speech is Silver,Silence is Gold!"
So with few words I am going to let these pictures tell the story of the Battle Of The Taggies -- I won!!!
15 bags of love made and 15 taggies. One for each bag!

What a lot of cuddling could be done!

Jenn Maruska http://jenn.maruskadesign.com/blog/ has suggested a ribbon swap to me. Well I have never done a swap before so I have had a lovely time sorting and packing and tucking in lots of love. Of course I cant show you the little bundle or it would spoil the surprise. But, I hope she loves it. I am sure I will love mine!

Friday, 19 March 2010

I have learnt something new today!

"Seasons in the sun!"

I have spoken on my blog before that I feel life is a bit like a swing. Memories on the swing back. Dreams on the swing forward.And living life right now, at the bottom of the arc.
A bit of nostalgia here and it is easy to remember being the youngest of the family. I think at times I must have been a real nuisance. Lots of stories come to mind. The toy typewriter that I had for my birthday and my insistence on typing all the way through the Cup Final that very same year. I remember it and me being thrown out the window!
My brothers, one 7 years older and one 4 years older had various techniques to keep me in line. As far as I recollect mostly mind boggling scary. One, if I was being a serious pest was the "Ghost Of Banshee!"
They would threaten that the ghost would come that night if I, for example kept  following them and of course duly report back to Mum with all the technicolour details of what they had been up to !! 
I mean should you not tell your Mum if your brother is hanging out the window smoking a Woodbine aged about 11? 
And should you not tell your Mum that your brother is kissing a girl in the garden shed?
Well on many occasions a scary white sheet would come into my bedroom and float around the room with threats that worse would happen the next night if I did not just play with my dolls and keep as far away from them as possible!!
Another technique I didn't appreciate at the time was to fill my mind with nonsense.But, because I actually worshipped them I hung on their every word.
As a child growing up in the late 50's you really were encouraged to go out to play all day -- especially on Mondays which was wash day !! 
I must have been a funny little scrap because one of my favourite activities was to go to the little churchyard on the hill. I used to find the babies or children's graves and if they were neglected clean them and put wild flowers in the pots. I think I used to invent stories about the tragedy of their demise.
One day my brothers had been sent in search of me. They had looked in all the usual places and were so fed up that I had wasted so much of their time searching for me. So they scoffed at the flowers and told me-
"You see that R.I.P it means Rise If Possible and that baby will have gone by now so you are wasting your time!!" 
Believe it or not I was over 30 when one day I was standing at a graveside and someone said "Rest In Peace" and like a bolt of lightning I realised they had done it again!!!
Actually telling anecdotes of my childhood makes me smile and feel a warmth that comes from being part of a of such a family.
Well today I said " Oh good the 21st of March is the First Day of spring!!" 
No ! That might be what I have always believed but it is not theoretically true. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/allotment/2009/mar/20/organicgardening-gardens
The Spring equinox this year is the 20th!!
Well I don't care Spring is on the way. 
Spring in Spain is different than that in the U,K but my goodness the wild flowers are beautiful
These are just by the road in the village.
Just beautiful poppies waving in the sun!
Bermudan Buttercups everywhere you look!
Cheery Daisies.
And of course lots of gardens with flowers blooming and really making you believe Spring is really on the way.
Iris's to remind us of Iris
And of course only a few weeks since the glorious Almond Blossom.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

A Bit of Clowning around !

" Send In The Clowns !"
Well getting the puppies finished has allowed me to have a little think about where I want to take my crafting next!
I do like to mix and match charity projects with personal ones.
 My absolute favourite activity is crocheting, especially Granny Squares. I can do them almost without looking. 
I have made a start on the Spring Challenges at Loving Hands.
Lou ,the leading light, gives us willing helpers challenges about 4 times a year and this was one that interested me

Lou-------- Challenge two - for everyone! I don’t know if any of you noticed a few weeks back. Some lovely ladies from a church craft group sent us in what they called ‘Bags of Love’. They had taken bags (like kids swimming or gym kit bags) and filled them for new mums and their babies in overseas hospitals where they often have nothing. In the bags they had put a babygro and vest, 2 disposable nappies, a cardie, hat and mitts and a toy for baby - along with a hand towel, toothpaste, toothbrush and soap for mum. I thought it was a great idea - a bit like a shoe box in a bag! I have talked it over with our charities and they love the idea too - there have been so many terrible tragedies in the world in the last year or two (the earthquake in Haiti - terrible flooding in Albania - wars in Kosovo and Afghanistan - so much misery and suffering). Between them our charities will get to most of these areas with the convoys they send out this year so I propose we make our own ‘Bags of Love’. Not just for new mums and babies like the ones we had before. This time we will do them for all ages and both sexes - like shoeboxes in bags. Because we will make up each bag for a specific age and sex it will be easier for our charities to distribute them as they can just pick one out of a box, read the label and hand it to the relevant person. You can either fill entire bags yourselves and label them with age, sex etc before sending them in. Or you can send in items to be put into these bags and we can fill and label them here at HQ as we did the shoeboxes for Blythswood in the Autumn.

Well,I have made 15 bags and am now making a little start on the contents.
Puppet Lady  has been visiting Chalky's World lately and she has inspired me to knit some hand puppets for the bags. I remember so well how the "littlies" responded to all different kinds of puppets. So I thought they would be absolutely ideal. I  can usually manage acceptable features but my clowns were more than a little random and I was again grateful to the Puppet Lady for her guidance.
Well I do love to arrange suitable venues for photo shots but a "Big Top" was too tricky.
The sun was shining this morning and they came with us to do our exercise
Well the Sporty One did the walking laps whilst I did the photos but I did catch up with all the exercise apparatus
Memories of Grandmothers are very bright in our lives and Nana Gilbert used to make woolly things out of every odd bit of wool she could lay her hands on. Unpicking cardigans and jumpers and transforming them into teddies for her Great Grandchildren.
She had been a Land Army Girl in the First World War and her ability to "make do and mend never left her!"

These so reminded me of her and I hope they will delight a little boy or girl somewhere in the world. Sophisticated they are not but a friend they may become!
And it was a morning to welcome the sun and blue skies!
No wonder they are smiling!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Happy Mothers' Day !

Happy Mothers Day!

Of Course we could talk about the origins of Mothering Sunday but I think we all learnt that in School!
Memories of Mothers' Day past tend to be both sweet and amusing. 
The first breakfast in bed made with tea that was in the pot -- from the day before!
Those gorgeous home made cards and little bunches of flowers.
Hand made gifts with plenty of glue and glitter.
Church Services with Brownies giving little posies to all the ladies
How fast the years have flown

I think this says just about says it all!

"The Mom Song!"


I miss my three lovely children on Mother's Day and of course think lovingly of my Mum.
There is also another lovely Mum just a few doors away who I know misses her children so this little package is just for her!

Wishing all Mums and everyone remembering their Mums the happiest of days.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

A Little Bit About Perspectives and The Sporty One and Me!

"Ain't No Mountain High Enough!"
I vividly remember when I was working full time with 3 "littlies" trying to start the car with a banana!My keys were locked inside the house in the fruit bowl! Life was just so hectic!
Thinking time has a really important role in these wonderful retirement years. Time to go on trips down Memory Lane. Time to dream about the future. Time to enjoy this moment,right now.
Over the last couple of days the old saying " opposites attract " has come to mind. A saying so true of the Sporty One and Me!
Nearly 40 years ago an adventure began with a wink. A cheeky London chappie far to trendy and full of himself to attract me. But, attract me he did. Very soon I found myself in a large Gym watching this very same man doing things with his body that I thought warranted an immediate place in the Olympic Team! It had taken me all morning to get out of bed and find the Gym. Here starts the opposites. P.E and me. Not a chance!
I have always followed the Willie Rushton philosophy. All parts of the body should remain in an upright position at all times and if needed moved gently forwards. Or something like that. So, no wonder I was amazed by his antics. Hand Springs,Arab Springs, Flick Flacks and the like. Now to be fair to me I can play a mean game of Table Tennis but under no circumstances is spinning allowed. I like to swim, but my face stays out of the water at all times. Oh, and my Fish Pose in Yoga is progressing well.
So. the rest is History. For many years the Sporty One would launch into a Flick Flack just to please me.

One of the wonderful things about spending the winter in Andalucia is the diversity of landscape. The highlight for the Sporty One is to travel to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range near Granada and go Snowboarding

Now in theory I would love to don a trendy pair of salopettes and whisk down the slopes with a merry little twist to finish at the bottom. But its all about opposites. I have tried it, but to be frank link it with other such dreams about things I would love to excell at. White Water Rafting, Bungee Jumping, Abseiling,and jumping out of aeroplanes. Launching myself down a steep mountain with things strapped to my feet over which I have no control. No! It's never going to happen.The Sporty One would pay good money to to do such things. No-one could pay me enough money to follow suit! I must check if Willy Rushton has ever tried any such activities.
So I am sitting high on a mountain top thinking about my blog. A scrap of paper covered in scribble is resting on top of a good book.
Beside me is a very sporty rucksack that really looks the business.

But peep inside and I guarantee you that I am the only person on this mountain top with a bag full of woolly bits!

The Sporty One of course is off on a ski-lift somewhere and I am very pleased for him.
We stay in a hotel which used to be a Hunting Lodge and yesterday I spent the day there and I had a good look around.

There are lots of horseshoes which have been made into hooks but the hooks are upside down .Surely the luck will all fall out. A Spanish man explained that in Spain the luck is supposed to fall out so that you can collect it. Perspectives again!

I was in a very large lounge on my own. The manager noticed and immediately lit a beautiful fire. Just lovely, and I appreciated his perspective that it was worth it just for one person -- Me!

However, the walls are adorned with hunting trophies of very kind. Animal heads, antlers, skulls  etc and I found myself thinking about this and realised again it is all about perspectives. I know where I stand on this but after all it was a hunting Lodge.

One good thing about having different perspectives is that the Sporty One and I never sit in hotels and have nothing to talk about. I might not understand about the ins and outs of Snowboarding and he certainly has not a clue about Crochet but we talk and talk so those old opposites certainly do attract!
The One thing I am eternally grateful for is that our 3 children have inherited adventurous genes from their Dad and not me or Willy Rushton!
On final note I don't think these Winter sports can be that hard. There were plenty smaller than this little one and I had to take a picture when the skis were off because they were travelling too fast otherwise!

I bet she would love a knitted puppet from my charity stash!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Taggie -- Take Two !!

" Brand New Day!"
The old saying for today was " Things Always Look better in the Morning !"
I got up this morning took Taggie number 1 off the shelf and, because I am not easily defeated and, because I hate wasting things and, it was only yesterday I had bought the ribbons I thought about how to put things right.
So here we have Taggie number 1 metamorphisised into Taggie number 2. A bit smaller, but I hope just as cuddly.
We have Spanish neighbours here and they have been very kind to us. Last Year Salome was born and right now she is cutting teeth so a little bit fretful at times. So who better to have the new Taggie.

And what have I learnt. Well certainly to pay more attention to instructions instead of just thinking I know what to do.Also that "Blogland " is a good place to be. 
Thank you so much for all your encouraging comments and advice all really appreciated. And lastly the sayings probably are true and you just have to keep trying. Now I just need to work at getting the ribbons straight!!! I was so impressed with this gorgeous blog and the lovely showcase of work there.
I don't know how you found me -- It must be that contagious" blog hopping disease" but I am glad you did!

Friday, 5 March 2010

To Err is human, to forgive--- yourself. Very Dfficult !!

"What Kind of Fool am I !"
As I have got older I have realised that there is a lot of truth in the old sayings! That is especially true of today and the saying is 
" Pride comes before a Fall!!"
I have been so pleased to have finished the puppies and all my charity work has been working out well.
To add to the bags of hope I decided to make some "taggies"

I braved the Spanish haberdashery shop to buy the ribbons and tried to think of words like satiny and soft. Quite a challenge but we managed with much pointing and gestures! I came home delighted with my purchases and as always the best bit is taking it all out of you bag and having a proper look!

Sort them into colours
And "oooh" and "aaahhh" over the very pretty ones for "littlies" just perfect for this project!
Next some soft,cuddly fleece. Surely the perfect material for the taggie blanket.
So its measure.cut,pin,tack and get the sewing machine out.
A piece of cake and really quite a quick project. 15 for those bags of love done in no time. Thinks I !
Well "taggies" are supposed to sooth the little ones. They can stroke and cuddle the lovely satiny loops when they are tired ,sad or just a bit grouchy . Well that is the idea. Sew all around, turn the little bag inside out,sew the top to close and all done and dusted.
What a complete fool. I turned mine inside out and where were the loops, on the inside!!!!!
Well I think I would have been able to rescue the situation by taking the seam apart and pulling the loops through but because I was so worried about the babies getting choked if the loops weren't securely fastened I machined back and forth over each loop!
Well I was fed up I can tell you but decided against a paddy or stamping my feet and thought of another very apt saying.
"If at first you don't succeed try,try again!" 
I am sure you could think of some more. So what to do with the inside out taggie. I have no idea--- I shoved it on the shelf in disgust at my moment of foolishness. Obviously not the day for taggies.
I suppose I could always make it my first giveaway. Excellent for someone with a sense of humour.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

There's always 1 !!!!

" Late On Parade!"
Puppet Lady has a lovely blog and she was incredibly observant when she noticed that there were only 11 puppies asleep. I thought one must have crawled under the covers and did not disturb them to check-- " Let sleeping dogs lie" and all that.
But no, This morning still 11. So, off I went in search, and there was this little puppy very late on parade but not a bit worried.
So thank you Puppet Lady I would have hated one disappointed little one at the wedding.