Friday, 27 November 2015

I Dreamt In My Favourite Colours.......

.....Have you ever had a dream within a dream? I never have......until last night. I dreamt I was in a shop. It was a friend's shop and I was helping her out. It was a quaint little shop that sold all kinds of pretty jewellery made from gemstones. I took my time to display the rose quartz and amazonite, as they are my most favourite coloured stones. But my mind kept wondering to the other quaint little shop next door......owned by Dame Judi Dench. 

And why not?!!!!!!!! 

Anyway. To get to my friends shop I had to walk past Dame Judi's shop each day. It was mysterious, and my friend told me that because she was so busy with acting, that she only opened her shop for half an hour once a week. In the window, hidden amongst some treasures was a beautiful big blue whale. It fascinated me; and for days I would walk past and stop and just look at it. One day in the shop, my friend told me that Judy's shop would open later that day for the half an hour, but I was tired, oh so tired, so I lay my head on a chaise lounge in the shop that was littered with gemstone bracelets. I dreamt of the whale in the window, the deep blue sea, and golden sands and the scent of the sea air. The pebbles were rose quartz and the seaweed, amazonite. I suddenly felt a tap, and it was my friend, telling me to wake up. She asked what I had dreamt about, and I told her I had dreamt in my favourite colours and I felt happy and content. She told me the shop next door was open and I got up and walked in the door to find the whale. Then there was a sound of gentle birdsong......... was my alarm clock and I woke. I never did find out if I was to get to see the whale....or even see Dame Judi! What a bizarre dream. But I woke so calm and happy to have dreamt in my favourite colours......whatever that meant.

My days are full at the moment. I am a little weary if truth be told. I am trying hard to keep on top of everything that this time of year brings upon me. I have been itching to create something. For some reason I am hankering to do another ripple blanket. I am trying so hard to talk myself out of it. I keep saying to myself.......'oh but it will be a teeny tiny one'........then I reply to myself with 'Don't be so stupid Vanessa, small and blankets don't seem to go together in your world'. 

So, to keep sanity between my battling brain, I made a start on a shades of rose quartz, amazonite, the sand and the sea. I thought if I dreamt in my favourite colours, then I should at least crochet in them. This pattern was from Emma Lamb's 'Crochet Home' book.

I'm not so sure on it though. Maybe blocking will help. I stuck exactly to the pattern, but my instinct from the beginning was to go a hook down and change a little bit on the rounds. I didn't and I think that's why I think I am not so sure. I think I would have liked it a little tighter. It seems a little bit too floppy for me. The elder Bear's were home today, so I got Big Bear to take a pic to see if I viewed it differently I would feel differently. Well, hopefully blocking will steady it out a bit more.

I thought it would be nice to change around my kitchen and have a sort. Bad idea. One of those things you do, when you get to the messiest point and totally lose enthusiasm. The trouble with the Bear's home all day is that the fridge and the cupboards are always open. Middle Bear decided that at 10 in the morning it was time for lunch. I muttered something about it not being lunchtime. His reply was that he'd been awake a while so in his world it was.....and he'd come down for a second sitting when it WAS lunchtime! Teenagers!

So, a coffee I think with a big shot of caffeine, and make headway so that I can at least cook tonight. 


Monday, 23 November 2015

Somebody Stop Me........

......I'm outta control.

Last week it was trying, but failing miserably to resist Christmas decorations in shops. This week it is cake.

Baby Bear's Birthday cake. Oh my word, a seriously chocolate fix going on here (sorry Sandrine, no tank baking expertise only got as far as this!). 

I've only just recovered from my seriously indulgent Birthday Cake....then some seriously indulgent coffee cake (of which was such a favourite here, I noticed the ingredients to make another are back in the cupboard). Now this. It's Big Bear's Birthday in a few weeks, and he declared he wanted one of these too. Middle Bear's Birthday follows not long after, and he's declared this is his dream Birthday Cake (he hates sweets and only likes two types of chocolate......guess which two types?!!!).

This thing is staring at me. It's so rich that only tiny amounts can be eaten at a time.

Oh go on then......just one Malteser with a cup of tea........yeah right.......


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Random and the Everyday......

Wow, the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag. I know it's a great topic of conversation for the British folk, but mainly grey, wet and really windy this past week.

There was brief glimpse of sunshine yesterday.....all for about an hour.....then grey and wet and howling winds.

It has meant cosy for me. To tell you the truth, I am loving candles, fairy lights, evening hot water bottles and frothy drinks. So, can't all be doom and gloom!

The usual thing to do after the school collection, is get in, make me a hot cuppa and Baby Bear gets a sandwich. Then we sit on my bed with fairy lights on and spend 10 mins chatting about our days and what was great about it. We usually then go off on a tangent having funny laughter from silly made up words, then the Bigger Bear's are home and it get's more lively. This week though, all chatter has been on Tanks. Yes, Tanks. Baby Bear is quite obsessed about them. Not sure why. He played a computer game with them in and from that day, he is obsessed. We have tank pictures galore in the house and for his Birthday we are all going to a Tank museum. That dude is SO excited......his brothers not so. They are teenagers, and it's embarrassing hanging out with the baby brother and the elders, but he is so desperate for them to join his day of Tank fun. I'm sure it will be an interesting day!

I have been putting a christmas scent on the hob most days and there is a lovely christmassy stinky in the house. I have to tell you, it really does make for a happy, mellow mood. I witnessed some rather mean spirited actions yesterday. I hoped karma would come round and bite them back in the bum, then I came home and the scent of christmas hit me and I thought how lovely and calming. I just ADORE the christmas scent of orange rind, cloves and cinnamon.

I also made rhubarb compote to go with my yoghurt........and CRAVED stodgy Rhubarb Crumble with lashings of custard.Comfort food is quite essential on old and wet days.

I have come to the conclusion that online Christmas shopping is the way for me to go. Heading into town yesterday to do a little bit and finish up for Baby Bear's up and coming Birthday, I realised I was shopping more for myself than other people....which kind of defeated the whole object. They get me.....EVERYTIME. Seriously....I'm a total SUCKER for Christmas decorations.......and unusual chocolates. If you are a 'Friends' fan, the episode after Monica and Chandler's wedding with Monica and the Wedding presents springs to mind. One of my favourite episodes. Urgh, I cannot be trusted in a shop with Christmas decs. I came home with a snowglobe (was seriously planning to make my own having gathered a ton of inspiration on Pinterest - See my Christmas Board here ), but the skiers were just too cute to pass up. I will make some of my own. I'm searching for the best jars I can to fit the bill. I got some dark chocolates....well just because. I thought they might be good for my Christmas eve ritual, of doing last minute wrapping, whilst knocking back the mulled wine and watching the movie 'Chocolat'. I'm not sure they can last that long to be honest.

I seemed to be obsessed with Caravans. I went for understated, and then full on bling! The christmas lights around it sold it for me. I'll find it hard to put him away. The Santa mug made an appearance. I'm trying hard to resist using him yet. I thought I'd wait until the 1st of December, but his jollyness is calling out to me.

I got a big pile of books around my Birthday, which I have yet to fully relax and read. I am loving the inspiration though and have so many projects of all types I want to get cracking on. 

I have some cushions I want to crochet, some cushions I want to sew, some cushions I bought plain so I can do a bit of needlework on them. I want to make some of these and I would love to make one of these. I love these and these, although I do not like the price. Wowzers. Lovely inspiration though, so I'd love to make my own hand made versions. I do, however like this as an alternative to a stripey stocking. My ultimate dream would be to learn to MAKE something like this (the fair isle colourway). For now though, anything like this would have to be shop bought. Sigh.  I want to make a gingerbread cake and a house to decorate with Baby Bear. I still need to re-cover some hot water bottles, I want to knit another Bella Wrap and have a go at some socks. I have 3 very different patterns that I want to try to see which is the easiest. So much wanty crafty making....and so little time.

I have some plans to make some wrist warmers for my Narnia Coat. I was thinking blue plain ones, and then some whispy and whimsical Narnia-esque ones. 

I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas magazines. I love the 'high' they give me form seeing all the lovely christmas joy, then I come back down to earth with a bump when I look at the reality of never achieving anything, and subconsciously feeling like a total failure.

I have to say though that I succumbed to the only mags I really buy these days, simply because they were just so cheery (and you got a gorgeous floral calender with one for next year. One I might add that I may even put up!).

So.......the day is grey and wet. I have that smug feeling (which is virtually unheard of I might add), that I am up to date with the laundry and the whole of the downstairs is all clean and tidy. I have had my frothy coffee and my 5 mins of mag flicking and I'm about to tackle boys bedrooms (wish me luck), whilst I have a batch of soup on the go. Warming broth seems so apt to have on a cold, wet and windy day.

I cannot bring myself to move Mr Grizzles and little Miss White from my kitchen shelf. She has the stunned look I have when I open the Bear's bedroom doors, and he has the look I have to adopt when I go in to tackle them. Oh dear, the silly little things amuse me the most.........

Until next time........


Friday, 13 November 2015

Ray Of Sunshine Scarf........

My little.......

Ray Of Sunshine

I tend to gravitate towards Pastel shades in the summer months. Maybe it is because there is so much colour out in nature that I feel the need to keep things calm in the colours that I wear and in my house. The opposite happens in the Winter months. The grey, dull, depressing days call for bright colours to chase away the winter blues. I think it's only in the last few months I realised this colour cycle that I have. It's always been there, I just never really picked up on it before. 

Working on pastel blankets, as soon as the Autumn started to approach, I started to hanker after colour. Strong, vibrant colour.

I ordered some yarn trying to find the brightest shades that I could. Some were bordering on neon, which was a touch scary. I just wanted bright and 'in your face'. I wanted zing and wake up colours. I wanted colours that made me feel alive.

I know it was to be a scarf or shawl or cowl of some type but actually I wasn't sure what on earth I was going to make. I didn't have a pattern in mind, I just thought it might be fun to make something up as I went along. Errrrrrr, not such a good idea.

I started with a shawl, but after several hours of working on it, I didn't like it. I just liked a chunk of it. So I took that chunk of it and made a scarf. But after several hours of working on it, I didn't like that either. So I took the bit of it that I did like and the Ray Of Sunshine scarf was the result. I just sewed in the ends and I just couldn't decide what I wanted for the ends. I toyed with a fringe, or a lacy border, or even little pom poms. In the end I just left it plain, and it will probably remain as so.

So, the shell pattern was what I ended with, and I have to say, I think it was meant to be just that. I did the lines long ways which I think turned out better than having short lines.

I love it. It's gorgeously bright and uplifting. Quite 'in your face' but it makes me smile and it really is a little Ray Of Sunshine on a horridly grey day.

Today has been high winds and grey and wet, but then the sun came out for 5 minutes so I took it outside for a few snaps. I just managed it before it went grey and wet again.

I used Stylcraft Special DK as they seemed to have the best colour range of bright colours. Nothing seemed to beat them for colour except some cotton styles, but I didn't want to make this in cotton.

I used:

Lipstick 1246
Sherbert 1034
Fondant 1241
Grass Green 1821
Royal 1117
White 1001
Citron 1263

Do you know, I'm still not 100% convinced about this yarn. I LOVE the colour choice, and it's nice to work with, but there is still something, which I just acannot put my finger on, that is making this not a perfect yarn for me. I know it is so well used here in crafty land, but, as much as I love the pattern and the colour of this scarf, there is something about the yarn that has not put this scarf up there in my laminated list of scarf favourites.

However, the colours more than compensate for it, and it shall be a 'go to' when I am in the need of a complete colour boost and pick me up.