Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Back to my Granny Roots.

I have always said to the "Sporty One" that I would like to live in his brain for a day. I would love to know what goes on in there. To be fair it's not only his brain I would like to inhabit. Imagine being in Stephen Fry's brain or Kate Middletons mothers brain for a day right now! Well the list could be endless but the "Sporty One" thinks it a terrible idea. Not because of the secrets he is hiding or the thoughts he is contemplating but because he says I would be totally shocked that nothing is going on in there for most of the time. Now,I don't believe that for a moment but I do know we are as entirely different in our thought processes as we are to feelings about Marmite.

As I have got older I have really tried to work on things in my life. Over recent years I have been working on giving up needless worrying . Oscar Wilde says that 95% of the things you worry about will never happen or something like that. In the main I have had quite a lot of success. But that old enemy is often just waiting,lurking,ready to pounce. One of the things that has helped to stop that ridiculous four a.m manic worrying is contemplation and meditation. Yoga has helped so much.Breathing,visualising and emptying the brain a little at least.

Interestingly for me as the worry has subsided a quiet contemplation has grown. And the sweetest of this often manifests itself most apparently when I am crafting. I now think of it as a creative,growing,moving meditation. It fills me with joy and calmness. Luckily it just seems to happen.

I do not plan my thoughts but they are often full of memories.Memories of when I was a child holding up my arms whilst my Grandma unpicked and rewound balls of yarn. She always tucked her fingers in the growing ball as she wound so the wool was not over stretched. I still do it today. Soft squishy balls.

Woe betide me if I wriggled or dropped my arms, no matter how they ached.

Yesterday I was thinking about modern blanket making. I do love to buy yarn. Stylecraft,Debbie Bliss. Soft French yarn. I love making blankets where everything blends and tones .This one is tucked away in tissue for a special baby one day. The softest French Yarn, perfect for swaddling and cuddling.


And then I thought of the wonderful blanket we use all the time. A blanket which is perhaps 60 years old or more. A blanket worked by Grandma who would have no more brought French Yarn than eat snails!!!

It takes me back so far to those days where nothing was wasted. But even though every inch was worked with recycled yarn the love and care put into the making makes it perhaps even more special. It really is a work of art and great skill. It is big enough to cover a king size bed. What stories it could tell.

The individual squares are colourful and so beautifully knitted.

Little holes appearing that I should darn. Grandma taught me that skill too. But the joins are just amazing. So neat and precise and probably worked when light was not so bright as it is today. I think I almost love the joins the most. I would never have the patience for such sweet stitches.

It made me think about all my little balls of wool. They are tucked everywhere just waiting for some contemplation.

I started. Just using every double knit ball. No matter how small no matter what colour and to make it easier I wound and joined, wound and joined all the ends in to a big ball.


The best part is that it makes you want to keep hooking and hooking to see how far the yarn goes. To see what effect a particular colour has on the whole picture. Just quiet contemplative fun. No worrying at all. My goodness how it grew. To begin with I followed my normal pathway of blends and tones but it had to stop. No more soft lilacs. But I am loving this journey back to my Granny roots. And how clever of me to work one big Granny Square.No joins anywhere. I could never match all those beautiful tiny stitches.

So this riotous Lappycuddlyghan will make its way to the Nursing Home with the one I am finishing for Charlotte.

That one is growing too. I might have made some progress with the level of worrying in the brain of Chalky but I am definitely unable to stop the butterfly tendencies. Flitting from one project to another ....but I am not going to worry about that!!



Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Let's Get Going.

Firstly, "Thank You" so much for such wonderfully supportive comments about my last post.

We are back in South Devon now catching up with a very dry garden which is in serious need of some management. Pruning,trimming,cutting and hacking comes to mind.

A friend is coming to lunch tomorrow and she is a professional gardener and designer. And she can,knit,sew and create. Well, I am not worrying,not one bit. Like me the garden is a work in progress. So we will just talk... What we do best!

I came home from my daughter in laws with a bag of wool for charity work and there tucked in the bottom was this Hexie loveliness.

She has been making lap blankets for the Nursing Home where her Nan lives. Her Nan was a 100 a while ago and she made her a beautiful blanket which was greatly admired.

I think she has finished five or six but is running out of time. A life surrounded by boxes and packing does not leave a lot of time for Hexie making.

I have never made a hexagon blanket before but I would love to get this one finished and back to my DIL before she leaves so that she can deliver it as well. It is far too pretty to languish in the bottom of the bag.

I must google how to straighten the edges. And then I am going to set it as the centrepiece of a vibrant Lappy.

Lots of love everyone.


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Three Generations.

The time is creeping up on us.

Our son,lovely daughter in law and the edible William will soon be jetting off to Dubai to live. Being a Mum and Dad is one of the best parts of our lives and being " Mar Mar" and " Dar Dar" has meant that wonderful memories of when our children little have come flooding back. The little squishy arms reaching up for a cuddle. The strong little legs striding forward. The giggles and the laughter.

We feel privileged and having William has allowed us to see life again through new little eyes.

Everything is such fun. Everything an adventure. Exploration and excitement go hand in hand. Just such a special time.

So, this photo opportunity was too good to miss. Three of my favourite boys!

And soon after I took this photo the news broke that Prince William and Kate's baby had been born. A very special baby indeed. A baby born one day to be king.

An exciting time for everyone. But he could not bring more love than this little man has to us.




Thursday, 18 July 2013

Hot.hot... Just a little post about button love!

I am not complaining. Not at all. We got married in 1976 and it was just like this. Hot,hot,hot.

So I am quietly hooking and sitting in the garden in the evenings.

But ,when I am hot I do not like to undertake big projects. Just little ones that do not require much time,energy or patience.

I bought these pretty buttons on EBay a while ago. I do not collect many things outside the craft arena but I collect buttons just for the sake of it. I am totally in button love. I find myself asking if the Charity shop I am visiting has a button box. I love sorting them.bottling them and admire my glass jars full of their loveliness every day.

Little labels to prettify parcels. And the sweetest little envelopes. The next time I am having a Giveaway I am going to fill one of these with buttons and send them with lots of love tucked inside.

The perfect project for a hot day with a long cool drink by your side.



Friday, 12 July 2013

Photography Lessons. Spreading the love!

The "Sporty One " gave me some photography lessons for my birthday. What a great present. It was supposed to be in a group but sadly there were not enough people to make group lessons viable.Sadly, but not for me. Once he had made up his mind what he wanted to give me there was no giving up.
So he contacted the photographer and arranged for me to have some lessons... just me !!

I absolutely love Blog Hopping and I am so inspired by some of the wonderful photographs people take. Their posts come to life. They seem to shine with light and clarity. A little frustrating when I looked at some of mine.

I faced individual lessons with some trepidation. I am a past master at sitting at the back of the class  and "painting" a " Oh yes, I understand that completely " kind of look. No such hiding space when you are on your own with only a camera to hide behind.

Anyway, I need not have worried Ken Holland arrived ---
If you would like to see his work have a look here http://www.lowenna.co.uk/
And he was kind,gentle and extremely patient. We spent the first 2 hours just talking about what I wanted .. and did we talk!

But, what I was pleased about was his opinion of the cameras I already own. There were certainly,in his opinion absolutely fine for what I want to do. In fact he believes with a session about using Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 it COULD be possible to take and print a photograph of award winning quality.
But hey, lets not run before we can walk!
But, I was thrilled that,at least for now no extra expense was needed. A new brain maybe!!

So I am going to do several posts about my photography lessons. Maybe they will be of some help to other bloggers who would love to improve their photography skills.

The cameras I have are these.
A Canon IXUS 9515
I love this little camera.
It fits in my pocket or handbag.
Perfect for out walking,weddings,parties etc.
This has not been used in my lessons but I am glad I have such a handy camera.

Many moons ago I treated myself to a Canon G9. I dropped it !!!! Luckily it was insured and when I replaced it the G9 had been superseded by the G11. I must say one of the dials in the new model is right by the thumb grip. The settings can be mistakenly changed when you hold the camera to take a shot. Now, I am going to have to live with this but I would advise you to think about this if you were thinking of buying a new camera. The Fuji Finepix HS10 might be worth a look if you were thinking of purchasing a camera in this range.

Ken Holland kindly lent me a book which I am reading -- over and over again, waiting for the lightbulb moment. Digital Photography By Tim Gartside. It really is excellent with easy to read instructions and hopefull an "idiot proof" guide! Available on Amazon.

Another book he recommended from an artistic point of view is ---

Luckily I have that book and love it. I look and want to take photos just like them. Maybe one day.
So, I can only take in so much at a time. 
And I will let this be enough for the first post.
Just to finish 2 pictures I took yesterday when we went out for my second lesson.
I knew we were going to get along just fine when Ken suggested we went to Hannah's without even knowing it was one of my most favourite places.
We wandered and snapped.
Colour everywhere!

Quirky! A new take on the famous Abbey Road Cover by the Beatles.

And this one just made me smile. We talked of reflections and shadows.

This one made me smile if you look closely you can see me reflected in this beautiful ball. And my tongue is sticking out.
A long held habit which happens when I concentrate.

I hope these little snippets might help you follow my journey with my camera.
Next post will feature ideas about composition.
And please don't worry all this concentration means I am even happier when I pick up my crochet and hook away!

Sunday, 7 July 2013


JOY-- The definition of Joy is "The intense and especially ecstatic feelings of great delight and happiness.

We all know how it feels. We can cast our minds back and think of so many things which have brought us unbridled joy. I am thankful for each and every one.

Now, I have a theory. Time passes more quickly as you get older because for example when you are 60 like me 1 year represents a sixtieth of your life. Christmas' and Birthdays come around with the speed of a Ferris wheel. So different than when you were little. I used to make lists for my birthday and Christmas and it seemed like the ink would fade away by the time they arrived.

To watch the Joy of children,especially as they are learning so much about life is a pleasure second to none. The "firsts" of everything are just so special.

Last weekend I do not think William could believe that such fun actually existed.
Now he loves his paddling pool and stayed in this one for the whole afternoon. He happily entertained himself with pouring and splashing without a break.

We love it when he comes to visit because he really is such a happy little boy and we feel so lucky to have spent so many happy hours witnessing his joy.
He loves to explore and has favourite books and toys.

But we decided to go on an outing. William's first trip on a boat. There is a little ferry that travels from Shaldon to Teignmouth. Just perfect for a maiden voyage.

 He loved it. Then we took a little stroll along the prom at Teignmouth and made our way to a fairly new park especially designed for children. And that was when the fun really began. What a lovely Mummy and Daddy encouraging him to try something completely new. Not to worry about wet clothes,wet shoes... wet everything.

I have never seen him so excited. I have never seen him so adventurous. The definition of joy was just perfect for his first visit to a water park. My rates bill did not seem so expensive all of a sudden as this park is free for everyone to enjoy.
Now you would have thought all that water play was enough for one little chap in one day but the purpose of their visit was to help celebrate a surprise 30 th birthday.Our oldest daughter had arranged it all and William was invited! He was still up for a party even though it did not start until well after seven o'clock. Now only an Auntie who has not got children would give a little one an all singing and dancing and very noisy fire engine in a restaurant!

Oh the Joy! As you can imagine some fancy screwdriver work had to be undertaken to get the batteries out before we were asked to leave!
Now you can not have failed to notice that William has the most perfectly rounded football shaped tummy. He loves food and generally,of course he eats a very healthy diet.
Can you imagine his delight when a chocolate birthday cake arrived and he was allowed to help blow out the candles. Sheer Joy!

To crown it all you manage to be moved away from your parents and fed on cake!

I rest my blog/case sheer Joy and this picture encapsulates it all.

Now, I could apologise for William featuring as the absolute star of this blog post  BUT as my son and his family are moving to Dubai next month "The Sporty One " and I are absolutely, --- as my much loved Father In Law would have said " filling our boots" with them just now!

So, Joy is many things to many people. And to be honest I felt pretty joyful this morning when I came downstairs to find the front door had been open wide all night and all our things here at Chalky's were exactly the same as we had left them.
Of course I would only have been worried if there is such a thing as a yarn thief!