Friday, 28 November 2014

Images that haunt you.

Over 50 years ago I was staying with my cousin on her family farm in Mid Devon. I loved to go there. Freedom,horse riding, saffron cake and spending time with the animals. I just loved it.

But one day I wandered into the barn to see my uncle bent over a bucket. A weather beaten,tall,somewhat austere man. He was drowning kittens in a bucket. I think he was sorry I had witnessed it, but he just said " we can't be over run with cats!"

I went back home to my Dad who was a vet and told him what I had seen and how sad it made me. Now, he was a farmers son and he had seen just the same himself.... And he simply gave me a cuddle and said. " Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind." I did understand those words but that image of those drowning kittens has never left me.

Last Sunday we went out into the foothills of the mountains opposite our house here in Spain. It was a new walk for us,way off the beaten track. As we walked we talked and looked at everything surrounding us. Mountains, valleys, tracks and woodlands. But, as we walked we were suddenly met by the sound of ferocious, noisy barking. And there beside the path were rows of concrete sheds with runs attached. And in every run was a dog. It did not take us a minute to realise we had stumbled upon a pack of hunting dogs. Of course you can not fail to be aware that wild boar hunting goes on in our area. But this was our first encounter at first hand. The dogs sounded crazy and that upset me. But, worse, behind a car nearby was a dog lying on the ground. It looked ill, thin and wasted. I have been told that Spaniards do not believe animals have souls. What a generalisation. But, I think the person who owns this dog does not gave a heart or soul. Or perhaps it's just a stray living nearby hoping to have scraps thrown to it when the hunting dogs are fed.


I realise that in a foreign land, walking on private ground, and not knowing if the dog was vicious or rabid there is little you can do. Andy was certainly not going to let me stop. So, we walked home. We both felt miserable and that image of the dog has haunted me all week.


I think that poor animal would rather be put to sleep than look like that but of course vet bills are so expensive. People are struggling so much with poverty. The charities that help with animals do a sterling job but are totally overwhelmed. To take food or water would not help because soon we travel home for a month and such kindness is misplaced. So, my dads words come back... I wish someone would be "cruel for a moment, to be kind to that dog."


We visited Assissi when we were in Italy .


It was beautiful and the work of St Francis, the patron saint of animals amazing. On our return to Turre I realised the local church in the village is dedicated to Assissi.



And right by the fountain in our village there is a little Charity Shop. The Assissi Charity of Turre.



I went in this morning to be greeted by a lady who was very keen to tell me all about the work she does to help people and their animals. She has a folder with pictures of all the dogs she is helping. The Spanish are actually coming to her. They may be out if work, they may be ill or very poor but they do care about their animals and she is providing food to help from the money she is making in the shop.

So, it's a strange old world. I felt lost to know how to help. But, after having a lifetime surrounded by animals and a Dad who devoted his life helping them, I am going to take some things I have made to the shop and hope at least some of the dogs will be helped. And even better their owners may be educated about illness, castration and spaying

So, here we have it. Embroidered felt Christmas decorations.




Mulberry paper gift tags.


Baby bibs made from microfibre cloths.


A crochet hat that has been tucked away waiting for a good home

And some Shabby Chic bunting.

Of course I will add some books and bits and pieces to the bag and hope it raises some much needed Euros.

Of course it will not totally remove that haunting image but at least it's something.



Saturday, 22 November 2014


Sewing is a great love of mine. But, no matter how hard I try gremlins often come into my sewing space uninvited.

My eldest daughter loves cuddly pyjama bottoms. Cuddly,warm,soothing and soft. Her favourite pair came to pieces when she was staying with us a little while back.



So, I thought how hard can making a pair of pyjamas be? Surely not hard. So, I set to work carefully unpicking the well loved pair to use as a pattern.




I ironed them flat and carefully pinned them on some new material and thought I was on a definite roll!

Ok, I worked with the door closed. The Gremlins were not invited in!

I even tacked them carefully together and thought I just had to get the sewing machine out to finish them off!

But, as it folded them up I thought they looked a bit small. But how could they be?

Well my daughter and I are more or less the same size.

Umm . Well the gremlins must have moved the pieces because no matter how I tried to pretend they were fine. They are not!!! Too small,too skimpy too underwhelming. What a shame . I am going to finish them and pop them into the Charity shop here. I hope a size eight pyjama lover walks by .



Bottoms! Bottoms!! Bottoms!!!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Tips! They work for me! Could you join in?

Tip number 1

I was thinking the other day as I was making my home made yogurt how much I love cooking at home. A friend was in the kitchen chatting and she watched with interest as I carefully warmed the milk and then put it to one side to reach blood heat to start the culture. I initially use one shop bought pot and mix it with a litre of milk and that makes just over a litre of home made yummy yogurt. Perfect for adding to my fruit and cereals at breakfast time and also in sauces or dips.


She laughed and said " But you are using UHT milk. There is no need to boil that at all." Well what a brilliant tip. All that time saved. We only use UHT milk in Spain but I am going to buy it specially for yogurt making in the UK.


Tip number 2.

Anyone who follows life here at Chalky's must be aware of my love of yarn. I like to keep it organised and ready to use. And here in Spain Andy converted the garage into a Craft Room for me. Amazing I know and it has proved to be the perfect cosy place when the football is on!!

My days with the " littlies" is so obvious here with everything in boxes. But I love this basket I bought in a market in France and I keep my favourite colour palette in here.


I had a bar of soap which smelled delicous and I dropped it in the basket. It is so lovely to have a waft of sweet smelling soap when I pull out a ball of wool.



Tip number 3.

Spend some time/ hours and hours getting to know Pinterest. I bet you do already. But I wanted to make some home made Christmas cards for friends and neighbours here. And I loved this simple idea.

Just perfect as they will think of me and my love of crafting when they open the envelope.

Button love. What could be better!




Tip number 4.

Have Crafty friends. I have met the most creative,lovely friend here. Look at these cuties she is making.

She will fill some with cacti. Some with herbs and some with sweets. I just love them.





And Tip number 5 .

Keep your eyes and mind open to opportunities. Of course Christmas is getting closer but I try not to rush or panic.

I keep my eyes open and try to spot things that really match the person rather than buying a random present or worse still something I like rather than thinking what they would like. A huge difference there!

Well of course one of the people I love buying for is young William. He had his first riding lesson the other day on a horse called Prince. Actually I think he looks like a little Prince too.




And this morning at our local market I was delighted when I saw these. Perfect for a budding cowboy. They will be tucked away ready for his stocking on Christmas morning. Could be " Yee Haa " all day !



I would love it if anyone wanted to join in with this ideas of 5 useful tips. Please blog about yours and link back here to mine. We could spread some great ideas around Blogland.

I am so glad I dipped my toes back into Blogkand. I was thinking maybe I was going to dry them off and pop my blog away. But,it's only when I resume posting that I realise how much I would miss it and you all if I were to stop.

So Thank You for making me feel like that. Communicating is so important in this world of ours and friends are even more so!


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Cutting cactus!

I have come to love cactii and succulents so much since we have spent time in our little Spanish house. Their patience and fortitude fills me with gratitude.

They wait patiently for water and they endure the blistering heat. Our garden here is so,so different than the one we love in the UK. But, I still get the same pleasure from walking around daily and seeing how things have changed,grown and developed.

Simple pleasures that I love. When we have been back in the UK for many months I often wonder how the plants will be. And one of my rituals on our return to Spain is to walk around our little garden and terraces as soon as we return.

Here were some of the things I saw this morning.

First a little wander around the back terrace with the sun trying to shine weakly through the clouds.

I have grown nearly all the ones in these pictures from small plants people have given to us.

Our newest cacti looking resplendent on the tiles.

This one in the Moroccan fountain is a climber and I am hoping to train it up the Yucca nearby.
Gorgeous verdant green.
And a relative with gentle maroon leaf tips.
I tried herbs in this little box but they did not survive the temperatures at all.
So this trio soon took up residence.



And then a wander in the front garden. Just this year we took out a very old lemon tree and a crazy Jasmine that thought it was a triffid in a sweet smelling disguise!



A new bed in the corner. And here it is so easy to see how forgiving these amazing plants are . The Cathedral cactus ( because they remind me of organ pipes in a Cathedral) on the left was a broken stump when we put it in and just since May it has been on a mission not to be left behind in the race to the sky.
It is clear to see these three have loved coming out of the pot they were in and going into the stony ground.the darker green growth is just what has happened this summer. And it's been a hot one!


And I love the different textures,colours and architectural shapes in this little group.


My nursery pot. Where I tuck in baby plants and hope they grow.


And sometimes it works so well.

This beauty started as a tiny, tiny offshoot.


I am always on the lookout for unusual containers and these are my latest. An old bicycle basket put beside the rubbish bins and a strawberry box making me remember the juicy fruits of summer on the market. The Yukka fronds are just baby ones from the big Yukkas on the back terrace. I just pop them in compost and give them some Reiki!

I just love the spotty appearance of this little cacti. And one new part is in the shape of a heart!

And after rain I always make a move to the garden early because magical raindrop jewels will have tucked themselves in amongst the fleshy leaves.


This morning as I was wandering and perusing I noticed one sad little pot.

Patiently waiting but confined in far too small a pot. I think this little feller will soon become about eight new cacti plants. But, my goodness some serious preparation is needed before I start on that job.

Thick gloves,cutlery and some new pots. And plenty of time with the tweezers afterwards because no matter how hard I try a prickle always seems to find its way into a new home in my thumb.

The only downside of cacti I can think of!

I hope you gave enjoyed a prickly, succulent wander with me this morning.

Love Linda x



Monday, 10 November 2014

Tiptoeing back to Blogland!

We seem to have been racing at a breakneck speed through this Autumn with celebratory days. But now as the gentle dawn awoke me this morning I realised I could lie in bed and give thanks for a new day and not have to worry about anyone else.... The whole little house here in Spain sounded as if it had a tiny puncture ..... pffffff .... shhhhh ....and the air was just sighing.

I went to Yoga and practiced my brick like postures. Lots more gentle breathing and calming thoughts. And then to top it all off I had a Shiatsu massage from a dear friend. It felt like a feather of peace was slowly weaving its way downwards from my crown to my heart.

I am just going to do more of these gentle pursuits for a few days.

I am going to sit and read more than a few pages of this great book.


Dream of fabrics,India, and Kashmir.

Eat simple food.

Scrambled eggs always fit the bill for me.


And this healthy,hearty soup full of vegetables makes the perfect anecdote to the rich food we have been eating of late!

Give it a try. So easy,healthy and delicous.


And, I need to think about a new project.
I would love to try these .. But need to be full of energy to attempt a new technique.

Tablet weaving.

There are lots of sites on You Tube if you would love to give this a try.

And in the back of my mind That Christmas word is stirring.

These stars look like fun.

But, also I am going to catch up with all the lovely blogs I follow. I have missed your news,your photos,your lives. So, if you see some tiptoeing footprints across your words you will know its me tiptoeing back in.