Friday 31 January 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Happy Friday - Happy Friday Chat Day!

A fairly quiet week in my world but incredibly
I still have some waffle for you,
here goes...

The 'Yarn' tab at the top of my blog as been updated,
I've switched it around a little bit so that works in progress are at the top
and completed projects towards the bottom.
I thought that might make a little more sense.
And this is still one of my WIPs - the yarn busting blanket.
Ironically I'm running out of yarn in these particular colours so I'm possibly
going to have to buy more which sort of defeats the 'yarn busting' objective!

The pattern is very simple (although I managed to get it a little wrong)
rows of double and treble crochet, perfect for TV watching.

Another stash busting project and an addition to Bella's wardrobe,
I think it is a little to big so possibly some alterations needed.
Bless her she's a very willing model.

And talking of willingness...
The Emberson pets have been picked to be taste testers.
A small business Tia and Co - 
(please check them out and give them a follow 
on Instagram and Facebook here)
Their Instagram feed is absolutely beautiful - so organised,
I'm dead envious! 
They make wonderful bandanas for pets and are now venturing
into healthy, natural treats.
We received some packs of coconut hearts and they were an instant win.

If you follow me on social media you may have seen the video
of Pixel eating his, not as dainty and delicate as Lily above.
Bella loved hers and Darcy is doing her taste testing this weekend.

I do like to try and support little businesses, I appreciate how hard 
it is establish awareness, drum up custom and get established.

And in that vein I would like to share with you 
Top Its Cards ran by the lovely Lisa.
I came across this business when Bella had her teeth out
and this lady's dog Ted also had gone through the same thing.
Mutual tooth support!
She designs cards and imagine how thrilled I was 
when she announced one of her latest designs is based on Bella! 

Bella checking out the original print and here are the cards created
from that print and a couple more designs - perfect Valentine's.
They are a good size, A5 and have cute little wooden hearts too.
Click on the image below for more details and today only she is offering free postage.

This week I made a start on the 'put off' list, do you have one?
Those things that you keep meaning to get around to and 
say, I'll wait till the weather improves or I'll do it next month.
One of my things was to address all the green algae on my 
garden paving. I have, in the past, borrowed a jet wash (just the once),
my memory is way too much water for my little garden and
I was covered head to toe.

So, inspired by some online reviews I've opted for a surface cleaner
that works with the rain to clean/reduce the green.
Both Wet and Forget and Patio Magic had the best reviews.
This is it just after it was sprayed 
(all pets kept indoors until it was dry and then safe for their paws).

Hoping it works because it was effortless compared to jet washing.
You can also use it on fencing, UPVC and more so quite a bit got a spray.
I'll keep you posted - riveting stuff eh!

Today it is this one's birthday - Mitchell (not Bella).
Can't quite believe he is 26.
To celebrate I'm taking half day at my city job and we are all meeting
up in Covent Garden for a meal and a little wander.

And because I'm pretty certain  he doesn't read my blog I can confirm
that the birthday cake is a caterpillar cake - family tradition.
(Sorry Mitchell, I've spoiled the surprise if you are reading this, 
although you've pretty much had the same cake since you was 5!)

Other news - I've been in my cabin this week.
Glad to report it is still tidy, I fear I've become a little OCD with it now. 
I'm quite ruthless both at home and in the 
cabin as we are short of space in both,
lack of items definitely helps to keep things tidy.
Are you a hoarder or a chucker-outer? 

And finally, thank you for stopping by the blog.
Jackie - I was very envious of you laying on a beach and 
LittleLamb - glad you are healing well.

Please stop by again on Sunday as it is Charity Kit Day,
despite January feeling the longest month ever 
it has come around quickly.

Take care friends - have a wonderful weekend.

Friday 24 January 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends,  

I'm pleased to be reporting back to blog duty. 
Thank you for the kind get well messages. 
It is blooming restricting having a bad back isn't it? 
I'm pretty much running around now, well 'running' might be an exaggeration. 
I don't think I've done any running since about 1975! 
I am capable of some brisk walking so Bella walking and 
back to city work is now possible - those placed in order of priority. 

In between I've been hibernating from the cold in a world of yarn.
This little pile is next to my armchair, a few works in progress.
Bottom left is my stash busting project that is growing... slowly.

This stripey blanket is Hydrangea by Attic 24 and whilst in progress 
serves as a very efficient dog warmer.
Bella loves the blankets and is amassing her own little collection.

When I did tear myself away from crochet I ventured into my cabin to ensure
this set up is how I want it to be.
My new desk, chair and PC that the boys organised a few months ago.
Shelves need some more items but I quite like the clean lines.

This is one of my 2020 plans, to sit here and do some fiction writing.
Over the years I've dabbled in writing and before I discovered the
world of die cutting I had a few items published. 
I also have a  poorly kept writing blog - Desk Adventures.
(Must address that at some point!)

I have, on quite a few occasions, attempted to write at home but I lose focus. 
It can be quite noisy with barking dogs (not Bella), cars going back and forth and
before I know it I'm jumping up to put the washing on, 
answer the phone/door etc.
The cabin is a perfect escape for what I have planned.

What am I planning??

Not a bestseller that's for sure!
This is a little venture/hobby/ambition.
Along with a Christmas story (that has been on the back burner for 10 years +),
I have in development a series of short crime stories that feature a fictional village.
There's even a map! 
Here's a little sneak peek.

The map is loosely based on where I live.
We have a rather quaint area in Gravesend that still has traditional 
shops, a tea room, sewing shop, florist, bridal shop and it is also where I 
wait for my commuter coach on city work days. 

But that is as far as the similarities go, everyone I know is safe,
you will not be in a book and bumped off! 

Elliott has secured a domain name and at some point will be creating
a little website for me - he's quite handy like that!

Although I've had this in the back of my mind for nearly a year
it has made January easier getting this underway.
Anyone else find January a tricky month?

I will still be crafting, the February charity kit is nearly finalised and
I'm already thinking about March so please continue to stop by 
 (in case I've scared you off with my writing plans!) 

In addition keep an eye on the 'boxes' tab at the top of the blog,
more will be added and many thanks to those who have ordered.

This weekend, no big plans - I'm willing the weather to improve
to get out into the garden and start tidying it up.
Bulbs are sprouting, a sign of Spring on the horizon - 
it cannot come soon enough.

Take care friends, have a great weekend
whatever you are doing - hope it is lovely.

Friday 17 January 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

Hope your week is going well.
It's a brief Friday Chat Day this week as I've been a little poorly
so I haven't got a great deal to report.
It appears I've got dodgy discs in my back
so I'm popping painkillers.
I'm beginning to feel an improvement but I can't quite see me 
doing any abseiling or skydiving in the foreseeable future,
good job I like crochet! 

I did want to mention a couple of things:

Charity Kit nominated charities - lots of thanks for the suggestions. 
If you made multiple recommendations then I have tried to pick one 
and I have then carried the others to a waiting list for 2021. 
Hopefully that way we will get to them all and also have 
a balance of human and animal charities.

Secondly: a new tab at the top of the blog entitled Boxes.
If you purchased a Charity Kit this month you will have 
found your gift box inside.  There's the option to purchase 
more if you wish in a choice of card. 
I'll be adding more boxes to the list as we go.

I promise normal service will resume
and I'll be back before you know it with 
a full week's worth of waffle!

Take care friends,
have a super weekend.

Friday 10 January 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

It is time for my Friday natterings and I'm kicking things off with a huge

I was bowled over by the response to the Charity Kit last Sunday,
they sold like hot cakes and within hours were all gone.
I am sorry if you missed out but February's kit is already underway
and I'm making extra! 
February's kits will go on sale Sunday 2nd February.

The Christmas tree came down last weekend,
I really don't like doing that job.
January is a difficult month, the come-down after Christmas,
the weather, the resolutions and targets we set ourselves.
In fact the 'January Blues' has been 
recognised as an actual medical condition.
I'm fortunate that I do not suffer but I do feel sad packing away 
the tree and especially the lights.  
I go mad with candles for at least 2 weeks,
the boys are convinced we have regular power cuts!

I also feel the need to inject colour so I've started a new crochet project. 
This is the Hydrangea Blanket from Attic 24 
(last week I shared a blanket that I had made using this pattern).
This is from a kit - Attic 24, that consists of 15 different colours and it 
is colourful.  Same pattern each row so it works up quickly
especially if you have a row checker too (aka Bella).

And because I haven't got enough projects on the go, I thought I
would use up some yarn to make another blanket.
It's a made-up pattern using a mix of basic stitches and 
five of my favourite yarn colours.
As you can see, I've started 2020 by sitting on my bum and crocheting! 

OK, I did move around a little bit and ventured out to the woods to take 
Bella for a walk, she was sporting her new haircut, 
which incidentally costs way more than my haircuts!

The woods behind the cabin were coppiced last year and most areas
have been left with deep ruts from the plant machinery tracks,
these have now filled with water and it is mud galore.

If you are a nimble Yorkie-Poo you can leap around and avoid 
the quagmire.
If you're a middle aged Yorkie-Poo Mum you do a lot of 
sliding about, swearing and lose your wellies! 

Returning to the Charity Kits...
I've updated the Charity Kit page (at the top of the blog)
and you can now see the chosen charities for each month.
In light of the devastation in Australia and in particular
the animals that need help, I've opted for WIRES
to be next month's recipient. 

WIRES is rescuing and caring for animals suffering
from the fires and drought in New South Wales.
Please click the logo above to visit their website for more information.
It is heartbreaking ...

There's still a couple of months without a nominated charity so 
please keep suggestions coming, it is so nice to be able to help
organisations that you have an personal affinity with.

And I think that wraps up this week's chatter.
Wishing you all a wonderful weekend,
I hope you are doing something leisurely.

Take care friends.

Sunday 5 January 2020

Charity Kit - January 2020

Hello friends

Happy Sunday and happy re-launch day!
I'm really pleased to be returning to the charity kits and if you caught
my blog post on Friday you've already got a little bit info
(and you can skip some of this!)

Kits will be available first Sunday of each month here on the blog.
There is a limited amount so I would advise not to delay *smile*!

Each month a donation will be made to a different charity,
and this month it is The Brain Tumour Charity
We felt it very appropriate to start with this one.
Going forward I've already received some brilliant charity suggestions.
To keep track there's a new tab at the top of blog here with lots more info.

Now how about this kit...

This month it is a Winter themed thank you card.
It uses some of the newest Spellbinders dies - 
Candlewick Circle and Doily Round.
I've kept it fresh, white with a touch of silver.
The sentiment is optional so if you've got a 
winter birthday/anniversary coming up you could switch it out.

What's included in your kit:

Card blank and envelope,
Die cuts including white mat, large circle, Doily Round x 2,
Candlewick Circle, Flowers and Leaves
Stamped Sentiment
Full instructions
Additional die cut - Box - Keeping Tabs 

A little box...?

With each kit there will be an additional die cut included - a gift box.
You can, if you wish, match this to the card or keep for later,
perhaps collect them and create table favour boxes for Christmas?
This month the box is a rather nifty design called Keeping Tabs.

The kits are packed in a cello bag and in a 'do not bend' envelope so they
arrive in pristine condition.
To make up the kits you just need a basic craft kit including 
adhesives, scissors, inks/pens, pearls and gems.
Everything else is pre-cut and included.

The kit cost is £6 - I've tried to keep this as low as possible but still 
taking into account payment of the supplies,
the packing, postage, PayPal fees etc and, of course, the charity donation.

Payment is via the PayPal link below and it is 
free UK postage and packing.
If you wish to purchase but would prefer not to use PayPal, 
please email me:  
I'm happy to help with alternative payment arrangements.

Here's the link and it is possible to purchase multiple kits,
there's an option for that too.

Also, a new feature: printed instructions are included with each kit but
if you would like a copy to download as a PDF to view/print at home
please click here.

I'm holding my breath that these links work, I'll be up and
checking first thing!

It remains for me to say lots of thanks for your support
and I hope you like this month's kit.

Take care friends, have a super Sunday.

Friday 3 January 2020

Friday Chat Day

Hello friends

2020 - sounds strange doesn't it? 
I guarantee I'll get it wrong a few times when typing/writing.
Nonetheless, Happy New Year to you!
May it be just the way you planned with only nice surprises.

I confess I'm not a big fan of New Year's Eve,
I think there's an incredible amount of pressure to be out and partying 
when I'm very happy staying in on the sofa - with crochet - and a Bella.
This year the boys felt the same (possibly due to them both coming down 
with a horrible lurgy) so our New Year's Eve was incredibly tame and all 
of us in bed by 10pm! 

One of my New Year traditions is to open up my memory jar.
I started this a few years ago and I print off little photos of events etc
throughout the year (good and bad).
My jar is a kilner storage jar but you could use anything,
doesn't even have to be a jar.
I like to use photos and write on the back of each,
but there's also the option of writing on little sheets/cards,
so many free printables online including this one.

On New Year's Eve I open it up and remind myself of everything than has 
happened in the previous 12 months. It is good for the soul.  
It's so easy to think you haven't achieved/done anything and this is a firm reminder.

So a little of my 2019: 
I did some telly work, learned how to crochet, tried my hand at gardening,
had eye surgery, we lost our beloved Imogen cat and Bella lost a lot of teeth!
I had wonderful days out with friends, theatre trips, cinema, concert.
We decorated the lounge, got a new fence and more! 

For a brief moment, back in December I wondered if I would continue
with my jar of memories but I'm now inspired to do it all again.

Some little finds over the Christmas period:
I often stumble across things and think 'I'll pop that on my blog'.
I discovered this image and was instantly (and obviously) drawn
to the Bella look-alike dog - turns out this is Agatha Christie! 

I am a mahoosive fan of AC,
 (I bet she would never use the word 'mahoosive'!)
Especially at this time of year I cram in as many TV adaptions and novels
that I can, even though I know all the 'whodunnits'. 

And I'm probably very late to the table with this find:
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by 
Charlie Mackesy

I chose to buy this amazing book with my Christmas money,
beautifully illustrated and poignant.

I can now share with you a blanket I completed a few months ago.
This was for a friend's birthday so I had to keep it under wraps.
It is the Hydrangea Pattern by Lucy at Attic 24 and I've chosen
to use a combination of silver, lilac and purple.

Delighted to say the birthday girl loved it.

I'm now doing the same pattern with multi colours and I'll be sure to 
share that with you.

More listings of my Dad's gorgeous birdhouses are now on Etsy here.
We are coming into the perfect time to install birdhouses
so he has been extra busy in his workshop.
This beauty is on my cabin and has visitors each year,
I know because I can hear the babies chirping! 

The birdhouses make such a lovely gift or a treat for yourself,
and sent by courier free of charge.

Other stuff: 
In  the downtime approaching New Year 
I made all the arrangements to close down the 
Hope and Chances website. 
It was finalised by a click of a mouse button and I admit it
felt very strange and quite emotional.

But I was then instantly bouyed by the fact that I have made the 
charity kits ready to go on Sunday.

A few things about the charity kits, some details and minor changes.
I'll be mentioning this again on Sunday but thought I would give
you a heads up.

Kits will be available first Sunday of each month here on the blog.
Payment will be via a PayPal link and free UK postage and packing.
(If you wish to purchase and would prefer not to use PayPal 
then please message me:  
happy to help).
If you subscribed to the website an email reminder will be sent out 
and kits will also be advertised on Facebook.

Here's a tiny sneak peek...

Oh yes, something new with the kits: 
each month a donation will be made to a different charity,
(sharing the love).
If you have a charity that is close to your heart then please 
let me know, I would like to compile a list.
I'm looking for both human and animal charities please.

So I think that's it for chatter,
I truly hope you can stop by on Sunday for the relaunch 
of the kits, until then have a wonderful weekend.
I'll be taking down the Christmas decorations which I really 
don't want to do! 

Take care friends.

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