Wool, Wiltshire and All Manner of Wonderful Things!

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Snow Sunday

All it took was a bit of snow and everyone was so happy- sledging, snowmen, blokes showing off, dogs doing mad circular runs, and us quieter types with our cameras, everyone was so happy- it won’t take much to resume normal when we are able, we are all so poised for the off. Enjoy my walk..

The Stitchbook

For the last 18 months I have been taking part in a Stitchbook Collective. I wrote about my progress on my other blog, and have just written my final review for the book as a whole- should you be interested it can be read here-https://avoicethroughstitch.wordpress.com/2021/01/22/the-stitchbook/

If you pop over do please let me know what you think- please be nice.

Scrap Happy day- January 2021

This one’s a bit different. I’m trying to keep myself amused during Lockdown the third, and I have turned to a list I wrote when reading the early chapters in Julia Cameron’s book about being creative in retirement. The list begins If it weren’t too late I would…. well that list has grown over the weeks and some things I can do during lockdown in lieu of ” an artist’s date” ( an outing you take by yourself to kindle interest in life). So last week I tried chopsticks. Then I was faced with what to do with the leftover pineapple chunks which had gone into my meal, and there underneath 1 Learn to use chopsticks, was 2 Make a pizza. Many years ago when my sons were little I had supervised them with a ready made pizza base and toppings, but never had I made onw from scratch. Time to get to work.

One pizza base made, off to rise for 15 minutes in the airing cupboard.
Leftover pineapple chunks, scraps of ham, grated cheddar.

I remembered many years ago chatting to a fellow student in my college days and him explaining to me that Pizza in Italy is a peasant food, made from leftover scraps of food from the week before, so there is no right or wrong way to make one, everyone has their own preferred method, and anything can go on a pizza, you jst use up your scraps.

One ham and pineapple pizza.
with leftover tomatoes and cucumber from my Christmas fridge.

I quite fancy making another with mushrooms- do they have to be leftover mushrooms, or could I just buy some…

I wondered what everyone else likes on a pizza, do you make your own or buy one?

Please pop over to Kate to see other scrap happy projects- link here-https://talltalesfromchiconia.wordpress.com/2021/01/15/scraphappy-january-5/

Yarning Along – January 2021

I took this picture ready for Yarn Along, But Ginny being otherwise busy ( she announced a new baby is on the way ) , meant she didn’t put up the link this month. That however doesn’t mean I can’t share my lovely yarning, so here it is.

I am really enjoying this Kate Morton book- The Secret Keeper, set in London and WW2 and the present day, we have a story of love and mystery, perfect Winter’s reading with a nice mug of something hot.

As to knitting, this is to be a sleeveless cardigan for my granddaughter, who doesn’t like sleeves. The pattern is an 8 row repeat and I have to concentrate or I get lost! But at least it’s not scary, unlike cutting fabric…… you can’t frog a cut piece of material.

The above are the two paragraphs I wrote last week, since then I have finished the book and returned it to the library, read another book and started my current read “The Children of Jocasta”- early days but shaping up nicely.

As to the knitting I finished the left front and started on the right side. Clearly the pattern writer and testers found it a confusing pattern too- they got it wrong- several pieces of paper, some head scratching and a good nights sleep later I got it sorted. I shall write and tell them in due course.

Meantime the January blues started, which happily coincided with the Winter sales. Hurrah.

BOXES OF GOODIES FOR ME.

Inside enough yarn and patterns for two cute dinosaurs.

Inside the other, something to brighten the days for grandchildren and some yarn to make a Harry Potter bobble hat.

Happy Days!

I wondered how everyone else had cheered themselves up in Winter?

Playing with my food

I am not sure when I got so scared of new things, but undoubtably at some point I did. One thing that always terrified me was Chopsticks- not the plinky plonky chopsticks, because somewhere along the line at school someone taught me to play that, but I forget now. No, I mean the eating kind- the no knife and fork kind. I never tried them so frightening were they, after all I manage to get food down my front all the time. Then in the Autumn when we were allowed I shared a Chinese take away with my family- humilation was mine- my 9 year old grandson can use chopsticks. So for Christmas Mr E kindly gave me some, and this week the time had come, after all how hard can they be, and I was still high on my ability to cut four strips of fabric, and I was searching for an “Artist’s Date” which is jolly hard during lockdown. No more excuses.

You tube to the rescue- chopsticks to the ready.

They make it look so easy!

Right start cooking.

Ready, steady, EAT.

Undoubtably easier with the spring loaded sticks, but I did use both.

One clean plate, and only one noodle down my front! No knives or forks either.

I almost feel I could challenge a monster to a fight! Getting braver..

Love to know if anyone else is trying new things this year, and being a little bit braver. Do tell. And can you use chopsticks?

First walk of the Year

All by myself- Lockdown Three cometh.

Taking in a river

A bridge

A lake- Mouldon Hill, Swindon

A field

Wonderfully shaped trees

Some survivors.

My favourite Silver Birches and

Whatever this is. Any ideas?

And Lockdown three has come……………………….

First Finish- 2021

One upshot from doing morning pages is that I have been tackling a reluctance on my part to make progress on projects. When you move house, or rather when I moved house, I was slightly, no incredibly, shocked by the number of stalled and not yet started projects I had hidden away in boxes and bags.

75 days of morning pages, and some heart seaching has led me to know that if things look a bit difficult I panic, big time, that is why constructing the spice rack a nut at a time was such a big deal. So after the success of that- and it is still up, I moved onto thinking about the quilt I promised my oldest grandson a year ago featuring the Oxford Utd football mascot- namely the Ox.

One Ox

And the part I had stalled at for nigh on nine months- cutting the binding- not stitching the binding, but cutting it. Cutting four strips of fabric threw me into turmoil- when it comes to measuring my mind goes blank. It’s hard to describe to anyone just how hard for me it is- but it is. So I decided to take baby steps, and summonsed up courage to bind the coasters I had started for my last Scrap Happy post.

Not so hard after all.

Deep breathes then, and one morning later I had the yellow binding strips cut out. And on the following day, I had them sewn on.

Needs a good press.

But there we are, one finish! What next I wonder?

2020, A Year in Photos

Well, no doubt about it, it’s been a rum old year, and yet by making the most of what one could do, I for one have some wonderful memories.

January- began with early snowdrops

and Winter Walks.

The millenium wood and lake in Pickering, North Yorkshire

We also put in an offer on our new home, and began for the third attempt, a house purchase- would this be the one that went through?

I optimistically compiled a list of 20 things I planned to do in 2020, and got off to a flying start with a visit to the Scarborough Art Gallery to an exhibition of embroideries/ art works to celebrtae the 200th Anniversary for Anne Bronte.

Pages from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

February- all was going well with the proposed house move

A Garden Visitor.
Walks on the North Yorks Moors- Skelton Tower.
First of four vintage fabric boxes made.

March- Covid 19 and the threat of Lockdown looms- our house move progresses and we start to fill boxes left by the removal firm.

First daffodil of the year gracing the kitchen window
Quilt for Grandson underway

April- Move on hold, caught between exchange of contracts and completion. Our life is in boxes.

My knitted creatures in lockdown.
Family quiz by zoom- photo by my son
Rivers and trees lift our spirits

May- and the move is on again.

Packing resumes
Sad farewells
New beginings
New walks

June- Lockdown eases further and unpacking continues.

How long before we can entertain here?
Family walks

July- Getting to know the new area

Exploring- Barbary Castle- Wiltshire Hill Fort on the Ridgeway
The lane to the local church- sadly locked.

August- finding a wider community

Making a blanket for a local care home
Trying my hand at pottery .
The black cat bird takes up residence .

September -Settling down

Finding my local connection
Tackling the forlorn patch
Avebury ring, and the last chance for coffee outside for us
Scarecrow trail in a nearby village

October- Autumn Colours

Bibury the prettiest village in England according to William Morris
Finally an open Church for quiet contemplation and prayer
Halloween on the Ridge

November- Lockdown 2

Last family walk before Lockdown two
Solo explorations again.

December- Christmas as we have never know it.

Sunset over the Ridge

2020 has been a year like no other- a year to appreciate what you have and making the most of life, and learning to adapt. Maybe we will be nicer people and the world a better place.

Happy New Year,

Cathy x

A year in books- 2020

I have read far fewer books this year- mostly due to Covid which closed the library for months, and we moved house. I had set myself the challenge to read my way across Europe, and whilst I did read some new authors and some very good books, I could have done better. Here’s what I managed.

Dostoevsky- Russian- Crime and Punishment- very hard going.

Edith Eger- Hungarian- The Choice- Surviving the holocaust, coming to terms with what happened and choosing to be free from the past and live life to the full. A truly wonderful book, which made it into my top 100- the first this year.

Henning Mankell- After the fire- my Swedish writer- themes of old age, loss of friends, career, health, home, but new life and birth.

Louise Phillips- The Doll’s House–Ireland- satisfyng murder mystery story, very well plotted.

Peter Hoeg- Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow- Denmark– Isaac falls from a roof to his death- Miss Smilla can tell by his footprints in the snow that it was no accident, he had been chased, but why and by whom? First part a delight because of the humour- second part set on a ship was one fight after another and rather dull.

Tove Jansson- Sculptor’s Daughter-Finland- depictions told through short stories based on the authors childhood in a bohemain household with a sculptor father and artist mother. Didn’t warm to the format.

In total I read 47 books. My favourite five of this year were:-

Edith Eger- The Choice- see above, and I have added it to my Top 100 ( see pages )

John Fowles- The Collector- good psychological thriller, Fred collects butterflies, and lacks social skills to make friends, so when he wins the pools he buys a house, coverts the cellar and collects the girl – Miranda-of his dreams, but she doesn’t like being collected and keeps trying to escape. First part and ending written by Fred, middle section the same ground from Miranda’s perspective.

Sarah J Harris- The Colour of Bee Markham’s Murder- a who dun it with a twist as the only witness is Jasper who can’t recognise faces except by the colours he sees. Well written and plotted with humour that stays the right side of laughing with and not at the condition.

Kate Morton- The House at Riverton- Grace a former housemaid, now retired archeologist, tells the story of the family that lived at Riverton from the first world war to the tragedy of a poet’s death by the lake in the 1920s. A wonderfully enjoyable read, that has made my top 100 list for its evoction of the period.

Beth Underdown- The Witch Finder’s Sister- The imagined life of Alice Hopkins- sister to the notorious Matthew Hopkins- witch finder in Essex in the 1640s.  Full of growing menace and horror- well plotted and written.

I am currently reading another Kate Morton, and have a good big stack of library books to last me a while, with more on the way. I’d like to keep reading Europen Authors, but my challenge in 2021 is all to do with a TV programme which I watched over Christmas on Channel 5- the 30 best British Books as voted for by viewers from a list compiled from the best sellers list by Channel Five. I’d read 20 of them, so that’s 10 I’d not read. So sometime in the Spring of 2021 I will start on these, and will share the full list here, that’s if I can find the notebook I wrote them all down in by then.

Have you read any of the books I mention here- what did you think?

Meantime Happy Reading,

Cathy

Surprising Myself

I asked for a Spice rack for Christmas. I did not expect a construction kit.

Panic Stations!

I don’t do constructions, screws, screwdrivers, scary instructions. But it looked straightforward, maybe I could. I had a good nights sleep, and set to work on Saturday.

Once I worked out that the front and back were different despite looking the same, I was off
Oh my
One spice rack.

Surprised Myself.

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