Sunday, 28 June 2015

Out and About

Sorry, I have been missing from Blogland for a couple of weeks. We have been out and about but life has been busy and I haven't had much time for either writing my blog or reading blogs. I will endeavour to catch up this week although I am working three days this week so time might just run away with me again.

So what have we been up to?

We made a quick afternoon walk to Anton Lakes one very hot sticky afternoon. Here are a few photos that I took on that day.

We have also made a couple of evening visits to Rooksbury Mill, this seems to be a good time to see water voles and patience certainly paid off as we spotted one in the long grass at the side of the river and waited around on the bridge until he eventually came out and showed himself properly. I am really pleased with these photos.

The evening light was perfect for photography.

Time for walking has been in short supply over the last fortnight but we did fit in a morning walk in a location that must have become familiar to you recently. Yes, we were in St. Mary Bourne again on a lovely sunny day.

How about this field full of ox-eye daisies, simply stunning. The photos don't show its true beauty.

The lake was looking as tranquil as ever on this hot sunny day ...

and the roses growing over the thatched cottage walls were at their very best ...

as was this beauty growing in this garden.

This weekend was our usual monthly craft get-together at my friend Colly's house in Long Eaton. We decided to take an extra night in a hotel and go to Brandon Marsh Nature Reserve (just outside Coventry) on the Friday. It was here five years ago that I took this photograph of a dragonfly which I am really proud of. We have been wanting to return ever since. 

This time we didn't see many dragonflies but what a brilliant day we had. The highlight was seeing a kingfisher for more than a usual brief second and be able to photograph it. A longer lens would have been great but I am more than pleased with what I achieved. Here are a selection of photos that I took at this brilliant location.

We reluctantly left Brandon mid-afternoon as we had to make our way to our hotel near Derby in time to check in and shower and change before making our way to the Dog and Duck in Shardlow where we met up with some dear friends and their grandson for a lovely meal before returning to their house for coffee. A perfect end to a great day.

On Saturday I met up with more friends at Long Eaton for our crafty get-together and spent a happy day crocheting and nattering while DH visited a local nature reserve at Attenborough for yet more wildlife photography.

We made a quick visit to Dunelm Mill before leaving Derby this morning as I needed a cushion pad for a new cushion I have crocheted and we treated ourselves to a new duvet set before heading for the M1 to drive back down south. On arriving home we spotted this moth on a cyclamen leaf, we have since discovered it is a scarlet tiger moth. 

It somehow seemed a fitting end to a weekend filled with spotting and photographing all kinds of wildlife.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Canal Walk

Monday this last week dawned bright so it was time to get those walking boots on again!

I wanted to go to Hungerford to purchase a basket to hold the wool for my crochet projects (see post below) so we decided to walk another part of the Kennet and Avon Canal (fairly level walking is good at the moment as DH's back is still giving him a few problems although it is a lot better than it was) and then motor onto Hungerford and enjoy a picnic lunch beside the canal before visiting the basket shop.

We parked up in the same little car park that we used a few weeks back when we walked the canal up as far as Little Bedwyn. This time we set out to walk in the opposite direction.

Couldn't resist taking a photo of these cute ducklings

I love the reflection of these trees in the water

Crofton Pumping Station

We sat for awhile when we reached the lock opposite Crofton Pumping Station and enjoyed watching the house martins swooping over the canal catching insects, they are such agile flyers and were busy collecting food for their young to take back to their nests which they had built under the eaves of the pumping station.

I love to see the narrow boats on the canal - no two are the same, some very smart and others not so!!! Some are very high tech with solar panels and sky dishes, some have miniature greenhouses on the top, and they all seem to have a wheelbarrow (either on the roof or placed on the towpath beside the boat). I am not quite sure what they use these for but I am sure there is a simple explanation.

We were pretty hungry and thirsty by the time we arrived back at the carpark so we motored on into Hungerford where we enjoyed our picnic lunch whilst watching a couple of the boat people working hard carrying out maintenance on their boats while we sat and relaxed in the sunshine.

After lunch I visited the basket shop to purchase my wool basket (oh my, what a choice - baskets in every shape and size) and this has already been put to good use. 

A very pleasant way to spend a day and I am sure the walk helped with my weight loss this week - an amazing 3 lbs which gave me my Club 10 award (10% of my body weight lost), only 2.5 lbs to go to my 2 stone award now!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Crochet Crazy!

I have really got the crochet bug at the moment, even more so than usual. Hence, I have too many projects on the go but I cannot help myself!

I have now completed Part 5 of the Stylecraft Waterlily Crochet-along and it has got to the interesting part where you start joining some of the pieces together. There are still 3 more parts to be released but for now I am happy that I am on schedule.

Part 5

There has also been a little progress on my Cottage patchwork blanket, this is something that I am working on between other projects or when I am watching something on television as these squares don't require any concentration and I can make them without thinking about what I am doing. 

Do you like the basket that I am storing these squares in? I went to Dunelm Mill in Derby the other weekend with my friend Colly and picked up this at a very reasonable price, I like the fact that it is lined so will not snag the crochet.

The next project I am working on is a baby blanket for a colleague. I am loving the way this is looking and hope she will be pleased with it as well. I am crocheting this using Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino which is a lovely soft yarn to work with.

I did actually have a finish at the weekend, I started this cushion when I was on holiday last year and joined all the squares together when I got home and started on the back of the cushion. I then promptly forgot all about it and discovered it again when I was looking for something else and thought I had better finish it. I managed to get a cushion insert when I was at Dunelm and was able to join the back and front and complete the cushion at the weekend.

Now I really shouldn't have started on another new project but I have been totally inspired by reading Heather's blog at Patchwork Heart I have only recently discovered this blog and I have been totally blown away by Heather's work, her choice of colours and also the speed at which she completes projects. The reason why I have started yet another project is that I want to try Heather's continuous joining method that she has kindly described in her blog so decided to make a cushion to try it out before hopefully using it on a blanket that I have got planned for later in the year. I selected colours that I already had in my stash and began work on it this morning.

I am making the squares for this cushion using the sunburst design which are quick to make up so that I can try the continuous join method. Did you spot the basket which is holding my wools, yes, I have been naughty and splashed out on this basket yesterday on a visit to Hungerford (more about that in a future blog post) - my DH approves though because it saves balls of yarn escaping all over the settee! I will update you on how the 'new to me' joining method goes.

And finally, you may be relieved to know, is my holiday project. Nothing like planning ahead as we don't got on holiday until August. I do like to have a different project for when I go away and I have chosen something that is portable and easy to pick up and put down. Again I am planning to make squares using the sunburst pattern, this time to turn into yet another blanket.
The colours I have chosen are:-

The edging for the blanket will be crocheted using cream yarn. 

As you can see I don't get time to be bored and wonder how I ever found time to go to work full-time, we are either out walking in the countryside or I am busy with my crafts.