Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tuesday 21 October

I think I've mentioned my parttime dog in the past on this blog - I can't be bothered to scroll back to find if I have! (parttime dog belongs to my elderly neighbour who can't walk him anymore, so we take him for regular walks).

He turned 15 in July and his age is really showing now. He's completely deaf, he's stiff, he can't go as far as he used to and he definitely doesn't run anymore. Every time I knock on my neighbour's door, I'm scared she'll tell me that he's passed away. But every time she opens the door, he's there pushing her out of the way and giving me an excited bark, because when he sees me, it's time for walkies! So now we do slightly shorter, slower walks and I keep a close eye on him in case he's having a bad day and can't go as far as I'd hoped.

These photos are all from a walk that I start from my own doorstep. It's about 3 miles in total and mostly downhill (parttime dog really struggles uphill), it has views, a pretty country church and quiet paths. Enough to feel I've been out in the fresh air and got some exercise, but not so long that parttime dog can't cope.

I'm on a bit of a roll finishing off craft projects at the moment. After my last crochet class in Ipswich, I popped into Zoe's brand new fabric shop. And of course it's nigh on impossible to leave a fabric shop empty-handed. I knew straightaway that this fabric combination wanted to be a bag. I've had two or three Amy Butler bag patterns for years but never got round to making any of them up, as I always found the pattern pieces a pain in the neck - the patterns I have, are for quite big bags, so you need a lot of fabric.
Well, with a bit of juggling and some creative thinking I managed to cut all the pieces from the fabric I had, leaving very few scraps. It took me a few hours during a couple of home-alone weekends but then the bag was together and I'm really, really pleased with it.

And yes, that last photo was taken at the church on the walk that I talked about above...!
I think the bag might become my ferry bag. Stupidly enough I forgot to take photos of the back, where there are two pockets on the outside too. I tend to carry far too much onto the ferry and usually in several bags. This bag is big enough to fit a book, our passports and tickets, keys, phone, laptop and knitting. What else do you need on a daytime trip really? O yes, camera. That might fit too.
12yo found the bag on the side of the sofa the day after I'd finished it and said 'where did you get that?' So I told him I'd made it. 'Really?! It looks like you bought it from a shop'. High praise indeed!

Last but not least a new crochet cushion. My sofa cushions had long seen better days - you know the sort, flattened, stains that won't wash out anymore, and just a bit meh. But I'm not one for going out and buying replacements, no, I wanted to knit or crochet a cushion. Aiming for a 40x40 cm square, it turned out much bigger than I'd intended to and so it took much longer than I'd wanted. But it's done now, it goes with an Ikea fabric remnant that was too small to be any good for anything else. I even made the inner cushion myself from an old sheet and the stuffing from an old sofa cushion. It's comfy and squishy and matches the other cushions.

My next project is, gasp, Christmas presents... Only 66 days to go!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday 14 October

O blimey, more than 2 months since my last post!

I keep thinking about giving up the blog. I love Facebook and use it a lot. It feels like a point of contact with the outside world on days when I'm working from home - days which can get very isolated, even if it is handy that you can hang the laundry out and be in for a parcel. I've made friends on Facebook, I like keeping up with friends who have moved abroad, I've found old friends back, I like posting on Facebook. It's like a diary really.

But then I read back through blog entries from the past and this is a diary of sorts as well. I've had it for 7 years now - I don't even need to go back to check because this November it will be 7 years since mum had her operation for pancreatic cancer, and I used the blog a lot in those days to keep people up-to-date with what was happening.
I can see the kids growing up through the blog entries. I can go back and see things I've made. I suppose it just supplements my Facebook entries. (and I'm one of those people who trusts that whatever is put on the internet, will be there forever - I never knowingly put anything out there that will hurt other people or that I'm ashamed of, so I'm happy for it to be out there forever).

So, I think if I gave up on this blog completely, I'd regret it. But not writing very often feels wrong too. I want to write more, but find it hard to find the time. I don't know what the solution is - write shorter blog entries, set a time aside specially for writing? But I do know that I want to keep going.

Anyway! Enough of that rambling. It is October and we're well and truly settled into school routine. 15yo is in her GCSE year and doing well, working hard and regularly coming home with A*s. We're beginning to consider her options for 6th form college and even thinking about universities. She's got her heart set on going to London right now.
12yo is now at the same school which makes school runs much easier (read: non-existent for me!). He settled in well, considering he's gone from a school with 350 pupils to one with 2000 kids. We had a fairly eventful first week with him unexpectedly developing appendicitis and spending two days in hospital. Expecting that we'd be sent home again that evening when we went into A&E, I hadn't brought any clothes with me (I did bring my knitting!), so I spent two days and nights in the same clothes and felt probably as grotty as him when we returned home. He's made a full recovery though and is happily playing squash with J. again and enjoying the longer PE lessons at his new school.

Although I don't sew nearly as much as I'd like (just not enough hours in the day and too many hobbies fighting for attention!) I do now pretty much always have a project on the go. This skirt was a fairly simple one, but I figured the fabric didn't need a complicated pattern. I really like it, it feels very 'me'. Trying to figure out how to wear it now that it's turned colder (and wetter).

This scarf was my second attempt at a Hitchhiker. I'm way behind, everyone else seems to have made one, or two, or even more already. I'd wanted to make one for ages but never got round to it, and when I did I actually found it an extremely boring knit! I used yarn that my mum gave me ages ago, it's sock wool really. I loved the colours, they were really the colours of a wood, lots of greens and browns, but they were very much her colours. So as soon as it was finished, I packed it up and sent it off to Holland where it now has a very happy new home!

I'm still doing regular bike rides and visiting little churches. There is nothing better than getting out there in the fresh air, discovering little country lanes, seeing the seasons change, spotting a bird of prey or an owl or a cat out hunting, riding around a corner and coming upon a small country church. I've lost count of the number of miles I've covered but I get grumpy if I can't get out for a few weekends. I hope to get a blog post up with church photos soon - I did 47 miles last weekend so plenty of photos to share!

And on that note, I've eased myself back into blogging, I hope :-)