Milestones and Alpaca Cake…

I have had such a fabulous week.   

Not only have we celebrated Easter and had  a whole week away from work; I have had a birthday and a graduation! 

What’s more I had a beautiful alpaca birthday cake!!! 

I’m feeling so blessed.

xxxxx

Where I craft…

Day 8 of

#yarnlovechallenge 

it’s not too late join in. 

The theme for today is ‘where I craft’ 

The honest answer is wherever I can.

At the skate park...
At the skate park…

I love this photo and I love that my crochet is so portable.  It is always a conversation starter too.  With 3 active boys I crochet in some strange places, this picture was taken at the skate park.

xxxxx

January…

With life now returning to a more normal ebb and flow following the festive jollity, I feel like I am back on the treadmill!

So I am being very careful to make sure life at home is given the highest priority.  Which of course means in part getting out and walking with the boys and Mr R and of course the dogs.

Special Happy Birthday to Old Alf who was 11 at the beginning of the month xx
Special Happy Birthday to Old Alf who was 11 at the beginning of the month xx
Wellies are my favourite type of footwear!
Wellies are my favourite type of footwear!

Now the photo’s I am going to share with you may seem some what gloomy, particularly if you happen to live in a warmer part of the world.  But, I have taken great comfort from pulling on my wellies and feeling the sometimes quite squelchy ground, and at other times the cold and frozen ground under my soles.

Jack Frost has painted this leaf...
Jack Frost has painted this leaf…
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A little spiders home sweet home.

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There was much fuss made in the media about the UK being hit by a polar storm, we were quite excited at the prospect of maybe being snowed in for a while…

The polar storm
The polar storm was a little underwhelming…

You will be relieved to know that I survived the polar storm of 2017 and even managed to get into work!!!!!

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I think I have enjoyed the walks just before dusk the most, when the mist clings to everything and envelops all…

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because lurking just underneath the ground is the promise of spring.  I can feel it when I’m out in the countryside.  The biting cold is soon to be replaced with a milder air, a warmer breeze and a brighter light. 

But, until then I am happy to stomp around in my wellies, looking at the footprints of what has stomped before me,

wp_20170108_14_40_01_proand exploring trails I have not been down before.

wp_20170108_14_56_16_proGetting cold and breathing in that damp air, because it means coming home is all the more cosy…

crochet by the fireside.
crochet by the fireside.
crochet in bed.
crochet in bed.

Don’t you think?

xxxxx

Introducing the Grandma Mabel Tea Cosy…

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I am thrilled to be finally introducing the ‘Grandma Mabel’ tea cosy to you.  The second cosy in the Grandma Collection

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Dedicated to my Granny Mabel, whom I knew as Granny Jason.  Granny Jason was named so by myself when I was still in terry towel nappies.  Named after her dog Jason, it was my way of distinguishing between my two Grannies. 

Granny Jason was born  in August 1914 in Southern Ireland and in her younger days enjoyed driving tractors.  Moving to England in 1960 when my Mom was a little girl, she worked in factories and finally as an Auxillary Nurse before she became too unwell to work.   I was privileged to have had her in my life for just 10 years before she left this world at the age of 73. 

I have precious memories of my Granny Jason, who although unwell always found a way of making me feel loved.  She was a humble and unassuming woman, who was always busy in the kitchen and always had her hair done and was house proud.  She would always give you the best of what she had and keep the worn out and old things for herself. 

She loved shoes and made daisy chains and made the dog (Jason) a cup of tea with a sugar in, poured into his bowl, each time she made my Grandad a cup of tea…which was often!

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Granny Jason was often unwell, seriously now I realise as I am older, but she tried hard not to let it show.  I remember as a small child counting her tablets into a big medicine jar. There were all sorts of pills; round ones, oblong ones and all sorts of colours…

I loved this job…

maybe it was the beginning of my fascination with public health and my nursing career.

But I think family was the most important thing to her,  because she cared so much about her family and cared so well. 

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This cosy has been inspired by my memories of her.  The buttons representing those many colourful pills that I used to count, not understanding the gravity of how poorly she really was.  The pretty colours of the cosy reflecting her beauty and the lace representing the finest dress a tea cosy could have.

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  I know Granny Jason would have been proud to put this cosy on her teapot, to put that teapot on her hostess trolley and wheel it from the kitchen to serve her guests. 

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So that is the Grandma Mabel tea cosy in all of its glory, I will post the pattern in the week.

xxxxx

 

Wow…

Humph!!…did you hear that…or is it just my tinnitus again?  I think it was the sound of me falling onto the sofa from a parallel universe; where the last few weeks have spun by in a blur and may have possibly been the fastest few weeks in history. 

A fleeting glimpse of the super moon...
A fleeting glimpse of the super moon…

I was hoping to have posted this weekend about the second tea cosy in the Grandma Collection, but that may well be next week end now…so sorry.  It would have happened, but I think that in exiting the parallel universe I left my little pencil case of hooks as  I can’t  seem to find them…most distressing. 

There has been quite a bit of Christmas hooking going on, but that will have to remain under wraps for now, enough to say I am in love with the pattern and can’t wait to share it with you all. 

So, whilst I acclimatise back into the earthly realm, I will leave you with a little snap shot of the last few weeks…

An Autumnul walk
Autumn is slipping into winter
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but glorious colour can still be found
and if you know where to look you can still find cosmos
and if you know where to look you can still find cosmos…
The boys are still being boys...
The boys are still being boys…
getting balls stuck up trees...
getting balls stuck up trees…
I do love them so...
I do love them so…

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taboggoning at the snowdome was pretty awesome also...
taboggoning at the snowdome was pretty awesome also…
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A sneek peek of some of the lovlinesss in store for the second tea cosy in the Grandma Collection….

Oh ok then, just a  very quick look at some of the Christmas hooking…

just don't tell anyone...promise.
just don’t tell anyone…promise.

xxxxx

Alpaca Walking…yes honestly!!!

I have been so looking forward to writing this post; you see I have been on the most amazing adventure.  However, this post should really come with a warning, so here it is…

This post will make you fall in love; quite a bold claim I realise, so it might be advisable to get yourself a cuppa (or a glass of something bubbly!) depending on what hour of the day it is that you are reading this…and if you are sitting reading this and you are in England then oh my, I take no responsibility!

So warning done, now for the adventure. 

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A road trip

It started a month or so a go when the lovely Mr. R booked an anniversary trip of a different kind (don’t worry, this is ‘U’ rated honestly!).  So on Saturday, after counting down the days, we got up early with the boys and headed on a short road trip.  Destination…

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To say I was excited was an understatement, it took every ounce of control I had not to burst through the gates looking insane.  You will be pleased to know that I think I managed to appear fairly normal!

We were greeted and welcomed into the most amazing farm house by Trish, Zoe and Helen

wp_20161015_14_41_13_proWe were made to feel so welcome and were provided with as much coffee, tea and squash as we desired.  The girls allowed us to relax and take in the view as they chatted and answered all of our questions that we could think of about alpacas; whilst Pip and Tavish the farm dogs snuggled up to us for a bit of fuss.

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After a laid back cup of coffee or two we pulled on our boots and headed outside to be greeted by these lot

wp_20161015_11_37_57_proRight to left

Teddy, Zeus, Tex, Arnie and Brownlee…

all adorable and all ours for the next two and half hours, well not quite, I think Trish had sussed that I was verging on gaagaa over them!!

Arnie chose me to be his walking buddy, he led the pack and was well behaved; gentle and funny.  His top lip got all jittery when he stopped to have a scratch.

wp_20161015_11_49_24_proInquisitive and cautious he constantly surveyed the path ahead, peering his neck around corners to check it was safe to continue; his ears a constant twitch.

We wandered and explored and all the time Trish and the girls guided and chatted and generally put us at ease.  The countryside was just glorious…(Mr R. had ordered the sunshine) and walking with these beautiful creatures filled me with an incredible peace.

wp_20161015_12_33_36_pro-1We paused for a long while next to a babbling stream, drank more juice and paddled, whilst these guys watched us.  We had time to take photo’s too

wp_20161015_12_33_50_proand Yarny and Arnie bonded a little more…

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(Did you know that alpacas have the most delicious smell; a bit like popcorn). 

Eventually we wound our way back through orchards and fields back to the homestead, where I tried to put Arnie in the car without Trish noticing.  Alas, this did not work and I had to settle for one more photoshoot in the glorious sunshine.

img-20161017-wa0003Before we were treated to more luxurious hospitality, in the form of mince pies and hot cross buns…we had a little chuckle at the clash of Easter and Christmas nibbles, I don’t think I have ever come across that combination before.

 

wp_20161015_13_51_54_proAt the end of this unique experience,

 I felt like I had partaken in a little peice of heaven and I can’t wait til I can return to  Temevale alpacas   to get up close and personal again with these adorable creatures. 

xxxxx

Grandma Mary Tea Cosy Pattern

captureThis is a very pretty tea cosy, perfect for keeping your teapot dressed in style and your tea hot.  It is the first of a series of tea cosies which make up the Grandma collection.

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Dedicated to the inspiration that was ‘Mary’ the pattern has flowers made on a small flower loom, which are inexpensive to buy and relatively easy to use.  I purchased mine for about £3.

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  The pattern makes a tea cosy that fits a standard 4 cup teapot

I used just under  50g of Rico baby classic dk yarn in colourway (026)

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and scraps of yarn.

  I used scraps of stylecraft special dk in the following colourway (nb/the mint is Stylecraft life dk)

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Stitches used in this pattern refer to English terminology, however a conversion to US terminology is provided in brackets.

Ch – chain stitch 

slst – slip stitch

dc – double crochet ( single crochet)

dc tog – double crochet together (single crochet together)

You will also need:

a small flower loom

a 4mm hook

a darning needle

scraps of yarn to use as temporary tie markers 

scraps of yarn to make flowers 

a string of beads 50cms long

50cms of lace 0.5cms broad

a stitch marker

Top Tip: safety pins make excellent stitch markers! 

Ok, here we go…

Ch 80 and join with a slst to form a circle (before completing the slst make sure chain is not twisted).

WP_20160829_13_15_50_ProIt is a good idea to check at this point that the circle of chains fits around your teapot. (see end of pattern for instructions about adjusting pattern).

Row 1: Ch1 (mark with a stitch marker, does not count as a dc), dc in each ch around

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finish with a slst in ch marked with a stitch marker taking care that work is not twisted when completing the slst. (80dc).

Row 2: Ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, does not count as a dc)

WP_20160829_15_08_41_ProDc in each st around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with a stitch marker. (80 dc).

Rows 3 – 5: repeat row 2

WP_20160829_15_45_36_ProRow 6: Ch 1 (remove st marker from previous row and place in this ch, does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 14sts, mark next st with a tie marker (different colour yarn which will be removed later – I just tied a bow in red yarn!) see picture below.

WP_20160831_11_11_30_Proslst in same st as tie marker and in next 6 sts  and mark last slst with a second tie marker as shown in the picture above.  This is where the spout hole starts!

 

1dc in next 33sts, mark next st with a third tie marker, slst in same st as tie marker and in next 4 sts, mark the last slst with a fourth tie marker. This is where the hole for the handle starts!

1dc in next 21 sts, slst in ch marked with a stitch marker. (35dc, 7slst, 33dc, 5slst). Fasten off.

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This next part of the pattern is worked in rows as side (a) and side (b) and forms the sides of the cosy.

So let’s do side (a) first…

Row 7a: Join yarn in st next to the 4th tie marker and to the right hand side of the stitch markerWP_20160831_11_30_09_Pro

ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 35 sts to next tie marker, turn.

Row 8a: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 35sts to tie marker, turn.

Rows 9a – 25a: repeat row 8a, fasten off.

WP_20160831_13_15_48_ProOK, now let’s do side (b).  Turn over work and join yarn in st next to  second tie marker on the right as shown.

WP_20160831_13_16_27_ProRow 7b: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 33 sts to next tie marker, turn.

Row 8b: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 33 sts to next tie marker, turn. Rows 9b – 24b: repeat row 8b.

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Row 25b: ch1 (does not count as a dc), 1dc in next 33sts to next tie marker, ch5,

slst into 1st st on row 25a as shown.

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WP_20160902_12_43_31_ProAgain, this is a good point to check the cosies fit on your tea pot.  We return to working in the round again now.

So Row 26: Ch1 (mark with a stitch marker…NB/ this ch does count as a dc), dc in next 34sts, ch7,

WP_20160902_12_50_01_Prodc in next 33sts,

WP_20160902_13_13_20_Prodc in next ch5, slst into ch marked by stitch marker. (80dc).

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Row 27: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place stitch marker in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 34sts, dc in next 7chs

wp_20160906_15_14_56_prodc in next 38sts, slst in ch marked with the stitch marker. (80dc)

wp_20160906_15_39_50_prowp_20160906_15_39_34_proIt is now time to start decreasing the number of stitches to form the top of the cosy.  To do this a dc tog stitch is introduced.  Top Tip: each row that uses dc tog stitches finishes on a dc tog before slst in to ch marked with st marker!  Here we go…

Row 29: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 5sts, dc tog in next st, *dc in next 6sts, dc tog in next st*

repeat * -* around,

finish with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (72dc). 

wp_20160909_13_18_43_proRow 30: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in each st around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (72dc).

Row 31: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 3 sts, dc tog in next st,  

* dc in next 4 sts, dc tog in next st *, repeat *-* around,

finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (60dc).

  Row 32: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in each st around,

finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (60dc).

Row 33: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as a dc), dc in next 2sts, dc tog in next st, * dc in next 3sts, dc tog in next st *, repeat *-* around,

finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (48dc).

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Row 34: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc),

dc in each st around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (48dc).

Row 35: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc in next st, dc tog in next st,

* dc in next 2 sts, dc tog in next st *, repeat *-* around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (36dc). 

Row 36: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc in each stitch around, finishing with a slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (36dc). 

Row 37: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc tog in next st,

* dc in next st, dc tog in next st *

repeat *-* around, finishing with slst in ch marked with stitch marker. (24dc).

wp_20160909_14_58_12_proRow 38: ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc in each st around, finish by slst into ch marked with stitch marker. (24dc). 

Row 39:ch1 (remove stitch marker from previous row and place in this ch, counts as dc), dc tog in next st,

* dc tog in next st * repeat *-* around, finish with a slst in ch marked by stitch marker. (12dc).

Row 40:repeat row 39 (6dc).

Row 41: repeat row 39 (3dc). Fasten off.

wp_20160909_15_17_19_proYou should have something that resembles the above …now its time to make the flowers!!!

If you don’t know how to make loom flowers they are simple to make.  I highly recommend you watch a tutorial…I found this one excellent…

loom bloom video tutorial

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Make

x8 white / violet flowers

x10 raspberry flowers

x9 pale rose / plum flowers

all flowers to have the same colour centre…I used mint.  Leave long tails on each flower to make attaching them easier.

Keep back x1 raspberry, x1 white, x1 pale rose and x1 plum flower.

Begin to attach the rest of the flowers to the top of the tea cosy using the long tails and  darning needle.

wp_20160918_19_54_15_proContinue around

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 Evenly attaching the flowers…

wp_20160918_20_32_27_proOnce attached turn tea cosy inside out and tie of all loose ends

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Snipping to make tidy.

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 Next, take the lace. Turning the tea cosy inside out tack the lace around the edge of the opening for the spout and the handle.

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Turn, the cosy back to the right side; you should now have a cosy that is beginning to look very pretty indeed…

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Taking the string of beads, thread a darning needle with some raspberry coloured yarn and tie a large knot.

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 Starting at the bottom side of the handle hole pull the needle through from the inside of the cosy to the outside so that the knot cannot be seen.

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Begin to tack between each bead, fixing them in a line around the cosy towards the spout hole.wp_20160924_13_13_06_prowp_20160924_13_15_29_proOnce at the spout hole, snip the beads, turn cosy over and repeat on side b.

wp_20160925_16_57_02_proFinally, attach raspberry coloured flower at the bottom of the handle hole in the space between the beads.

wp_20160925_17_05_30_prowp_20160925_17_08_50_proAttach remaining white, pale rose and plum flower in space between the beads at the bottom of the spout hole. Weave in any remaining loose ends.

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Just one last thing left to do now.  Boil the kettle and make a brew…enjoy and admire.

NB/ TIPS FOR ALTERING THE SIZE OF THE cosy…regularly check the size of the cosy on your teapot.  The body of the cosy has the same amount of stitches as row 1, if yours is more or less than 80sts then keep the number of sts you have up to row 28  in order to create the handle and spout holes, place around your teapot and mark with tie markers as described then count your sts between each marker and substitute your numbers into the pattern.

xxxxx

 

The Grandma Mary Tea Cosy

captureIntroducing the ‘Grandma Mary’ tea cosy…the first in the Grandma Collection

wp_20161002_11_45_37_proDedicated to my Grandma Mary who was a truly inspirational woman.  Born in October 1916 and christened Vera Mary, she grew up in England in the West Midlands and trained as a primary school teacher.  I was privileged to have had her in my life for 34 years before she left this world at the grand old age of 94.  Granny Mary played a huge part in nurturing my creativity as a little girl, teaching me how to make pompoms and to French knit  using a wooden cotton reel and some nails that my Grandad would have made.  She was a gentle and patient woman, who always had a smile and a piece of chocolate.  I once asked her what the best invention of her life time had been and without hesitation she quipped…’washing up liquid!’ 

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Granny Mary worked hard, but always took time to make things pretty… whether that was pansies in the garden, geraniums in the porch, sugar on a peeled apple, a pretty apron whilst doing the housework or a tea cosy for the teapot.   

Prettiness was important because it was the way she cared for people  and her care was a true blessing. 

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So this cosy had to be pretty, in colours that evoke memories of her and of course had to be covered in flowers.

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  The beads at the bottom of the cosy actually belonged to her.  I  have a bag of broken plastic beads that she gave me – she never threw anything away! 

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I am honoured to put them to good use…I think she would be really very pleased with their new use.

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So that is the Grandma Mary tea cosy in all of its glory, here is the pattern linky thing.

xxxxx

A lovely week

Well put out the crochet bunting….I’ve qualified!…a long hard slog, but it is done. 

So of course celebrations have been ongoing (both alcoholic and non alcoholic), but my favourite (and the one I am going to share with you) was a blissful week at home, pretty much to myself.  Doing this sort of thing…

wet Jess
Bathing Jess…
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she looks so cute once she gets a blow dry…
drinking coffee from my special mug
drinking coffee …
working on a new tea cosy pattern
working on a new tea cosy pattern…
Enjoying suprise gifts left by a neighbour
Enjoying suprise gifts left by a neighbour…
planting out my winter window boxes
planting out my winter window boxes…

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and hiding daffodill bulbs under the ground
and hiding daffodill bulbs under the ground.
Enjoying a fish and chip picnic
Enjoying a fish and chip picnic
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and contemplating what to do with these bag handles??????
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Enjoying the cosiness of home with friends…
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Yes…a lovely week indeed…Now, the hard work really begins! xxx