Sunday, 23 February 2014

Making a start.Window Dressing.

Thank you for all the supportive comments about our gardening pursuits.

Now it's time to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee in the sunshine and become a part of it all. And of course give the plants some encouraging glances.

I added a little Spanish touch to our very tall candelabra cacti on our back terrace this morning. It just makes me smile.



The lovely thing about our house is there are three areas to enjoy. The front garden and two terraces. The sun is usually shining somewhere.

A flurry of gardening,particularly of the titivating kind totally floats my boat.

Then,I am happy to change direction.

I love cooking,walking,reading,sewing,talking,eating, in fact mostly everything.

But,woolly pursuits are my favourite and,crochet is so much quicker than knitting.


When I took my latest blanket to the Cancer Charity Shop here in our little village in Spain they were delighted and quickly asked if I could possibly help with their Spring and Easter window display.

Could I crochet animals?

Well of course I said yes,and as we were coming home my mind was jumping from idea to idea.

First,I got out my needles and some yellow yarn.

But ,oh my goodness. Knitting can be so slow when you have lots of ideas jumping around in your mind.




So. I turned to my trusty hook and soon these little chickens were standing in a line.



Hiding a little Easter surprise of course!



If you want to make one of these,or a clucky clutch. Hook like this...



Chain 24 and work 12 rows of half trebles or 10 rows of trebles. Join your two edges. I do that with single crochet stitches which makes a nice neat seam.



You now have a tube.
Or to be more visually accurate, a banana.
To make your banana pop a running stitch around each end of your tube and pull up to make gathered ends.




Now tuck one half inside the other to make a cosy,cuddly chicks body.




Make two little wings like this....

Chain 8. Working 1 double crochet in the second chain from your hook. Work 2 more double crochet. 2 half trebles and 2 double Crochets to finish one side of the wing. Continue working the other side of your original chains. You make a kind of Paisley shape. So again,2 double Crochets. 2 half trebles and 2 double Crochets. This should bring you back to your starting point. Slip stich to finish. Fold your little wing shape in half lengthways and stitch to make a little crescent shape.


Sew on the wings. Make a topknot of your choice,stick on some googly eyes and embroider a little beak.

Tah Dah !

I actually realised you could make a single thickness chick. Just work 12 chain instead of 24. Everkything else is the same. I just added a little edging to neaten the chick off and make it a litlle more stable.this might be very useful if you are making a lot for a Craft Fayre.





Then I decided to make a bunny and again instead of knitting the square for this clever bunny I just hooked one.



24 chains. Work a foundation row into each chain and then using trebles work enough rows to make a square and then the magic begins .

And as quick as pulling a rabbit out of a hat here it is! I hate making pom-poms . So I just sewed on a little Pom Pom of stuffing kapok.actually it really does look like a rabbits tail and no winding and winding.




An Easter treat tucked between the little ears.

Here is the link to the knitted version of this little bunny. This video shows how a running stitch pulled tight turns the square into a bunny.

Now, that got me thinking about bunnies. And this clever little bunny hopped into my mind.



A flannel folded in to a bunny shape with an egg tucked in its back.if you want to make one here is a link to you tube where the instructions are easy to follow.

Now, of course not everyone likes chocolate. Can that be possible?

So, here is another sweet idea for an Easter Gift. Again using flannels... And also using a pair of socks ... Cupcakes.

There are some lovely cup cake cases on EBay.


These would be so pretty.And maybe a perfect idea for an end of term teachers gift. Or a little Easter present for a special Grandma. Mine would have loved one as she used a flannel and Pears Soap every day.

So,in case you want to make these here us a link.

So my little stash was building up.

Easter last year was so special for us as William had his first Easter Egg hunt. Here's Auntie Lindsay trying to explain silver paper. I think it may have been the first time he had even tasted chocolate!


And there was a bunny hunt . Silver paper too.
I made him his own little bunny to help him find the chocolate treats.
They did not stay in this sweet little bucket for long!



Bloggers are so, so generous with their tutorials and I loved these bunnies so much.

Here is a link to a lovely blog if you have not already found it. The pattern is here.


Of course William is in Dubai at the moment and learning about different ways of life, traditions and customs.

And growing so fast.




By the look of that little tummy he is still enjoying a little bit of chocolate!


So. I am going to make quite a few of those rabbits and use Pinterest as a source of ideas for Easter Egg Hunt ideas. Maybe a basket like this to store the eggs in would be good. Such brilliant ideas makes Pinterest another hobby that I love. Pinteresting!!!!


I think a crochet rabbit tucked in a plastic bottle basket like this would make a perfect addition to the Charity shops window display.

So, my Saturday was spent in my favourite way . Crafting. But,as I worked I noticed rainbows were keeping me company.


And, at the end of my day I stood on the top terrace spellbound by the setting sun. The end of one day and the perfect promise of another. No need to ask for more in my world.



And over the little bridge leading to our village there is a little shop waiting for these little goodies to go in their window for an Easter Draw for such a good cause.

I hope they make people smile.


Friday, 21 February 2014

We have been busy!

We have owned our little town house in Southern Spain for ten years now. These retirement years seem to only have 265 days in each one. They definitely pass more quickly as you get older.

Ten years! How did that happen.

I rarely change things. I love things that are familiar.

And, I love the memories that are linked to things we choose to have around us.

A lemon tree was growing in our front garden when we bought the house.



So was a Jasmine.



They loved the sun so much that they grew and grew and grew.

Every time we arrived the first job on the list was to deal with the trees.

They had indeed become trees.

And,anyone who has got up close and personal with a lemon tree must have come to realise they have very vicious thorns which are hard,if not impossible to avoid.

Pruning became a dreaded task.

The lemons took umbridge and started being dry and pithy.

The Jasmine was full of dead wood in the centre and was taking up half the garden.

They did not respond well to the comings and goings of our somewhat nomadic lifestyle.

So, drastic action was needed.

First the trees were taken out.

Second the walls were covered with stone to cover up the peeling paint and cracks.

And then the nice part began. We have some lovely friends here who were kind enough to raise some cacti and succulents for us.



It was the best home delivery service ever!
Some foraging in the nearby river bed provided the stones we needed.


The sun was shining gently yesterday. Warm and soothing.

It was not long before there was a little bit of placing,spacing and arranging.




Of course debating,discussing and rearranging.





We gave old favourites a new environment where they can hopefully grow and flourish.




And started a little nursery pot to replace them.



We work slowly.

Looking,checking,discussing and comprimising.

Accepting that it is best to work with local materials.

And,by the time the sun was beginning to set bringing the gentlest orange glow to the garden, we were done.

The end nearest the house the Yin.. Unchanged and settled.




And the other end, the Yang.



All new and ready to flourish.



I hope.

I would just like to end with a " Thank You" to all my lovely followers who take the time to leave comments here at " Chalky's" it's so reassuring that the only time I find myself talking just to myself is actually by choice not design.


Sunday, 16 February 2014

Orange,Yellow and Green!

We do try and eat a healthy,well balanced diet. We do try to exercise. We do try to drink sensibly. And we will never stop trying to keep up these good intentions.Indeed after Christmas and its celebrations it is almost a relief to eat more of a rainbow coloured diet than the brown chocolately sort.

We never result to faddy, quick fixes and are far too old to usually fall for gimmicky,quick solitions. I remember the results if the cabbage diet twenty years ago. However,that's old wind!

But this little tin caught my attention.



Super Power Green Organic Matcha Tea from Japan. What a mouthful. A sweet lad told us all about it and we bought a tin. There is no doubt it is expensive but a zip of the brightest green felt a very good idea on those January Days.

I researched it. I emailed a Japanese friend about it. I read the instructions and all sounded pretty good. So we started to think we would take a small scoop full every day as instructed. All fine so far. But, then the dilemma . Taken in hot water as a drink was proven to be vile. Apologies to the Japanese as it plays an important role in their beautiful tea ceremonies. Taken in cold water was no better. So, we waited until we went back to the little place where we bought it. Orange juice is the answer. Of course not too much orange juice as that is acidic and not good for arthritis . Oh! The complexities of life.

Here in Spain in the Springtime the orange groves look like forests of shiny green,with colourful baubles of orange and yellow hanging on every branch. The roadsides are littered with fruit and the markets full of people selling kilos of citrus fruits on their stalls. I could wander around the food markets every day. Selecting produce fresh and tasty.

I absolutely love this plate which I was given a few years ago.

I love it empty.


But, I love it even more as the fruits begin to jostle for their spaces. Grapefruits from our neighbours trees.




Oranges from the market.



Gifts of lemons.



And the sweetest clementines I have ever tasted.



So the dispensing of the effacacious amount of bright green tea becomes a little easier.



Little Pom poms of green waiting for a good whisk.



It resembles the concoctions I used to make in the garden when I was a little girl. Rose petal perfume used to look equally disgusting. But the smell to a seven year old was divine!

So there we have it orange,yellow and Green ....Japanese Matcha Tea.


If you find yourself missing the brown of chocolate too much,try this little trick. It works,lasts forever and scents the house so sweetly !


An orange rolled in Orris Root Powder and studded with cloves . You can prettify it with a ribbon but I keep this one in a little dish and it really does help the house to smell sweet whilst we are away indulging in Christmas festivities.

It waits to remind us to think once again about all the lovely things we are so lucky to be able to choose to eat and drink.