Monday, 19 January 2015

An expansion of my reading horizons ...

I came across this challenge for 2015 whilst reading Very Berry Handmade last night.  I am an avid reader but do tend to only read in bed at night so generally pick safe bets that are easy to read and fall asleep with!  So I am hoping this will expand my horizons and introduce me to some new authors and genres.

The girls and I went to the library this morning and I picked up four books that might just tick off a few of the categories.


I will be looking forward to seeing what other people read and using their recommendations for some of the categories.  I looked in various books in the library this morning but didn't come across one with a great first line (Number 21) still I aave the rest of the year to find one! x

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sunday morning walk ...

Everything was crunching under my feet as I set off into the mist .....


and spotted this amazing fungus growing on the tree.  


There were two locations and they were tiny ....


I have no idea what they were but they certainly made me stop a while.


This tree always catches my eye with its extensive root system covered in moss and algae ....


and in the light this morning it seemed to glow.


The mist was lifting and gave way to clear blue skies which was the perfect backdrop for these winter trees.  It always amazes me how these empty trees burst into life each spring.


Blue skies one way ....


still misty the other.


The Welcombe Hills obelisk standing proud in all its glory.


All in all a beautiful walk and a wonderful way to start the day! xx

Monday, 12 January 2015

It started with this book from the library ....


which the girls quickly spotted and started making their lists!

Some for them, some for their toys to have as toys, names given, priority numbers issued, houses discussed and materials gathered to make said houses ......

It ended with 4 crocheted amigurumi animals ....





the menagarie will have to wait because I didn't enjoy making such little things. 
 However, the looks on their faces on Christmas morning were worth the discomfort, frustration and, yes, occassional cursing!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Our burrowing cat ....





We can't remember what life was like before Smiggle joined us.  One thing that has changed is you have to check the beds before you sit or lay on them because there's a good chance Smiggle has burrowed under the covers! x

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Time to get things finished ...

I was reading the Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle blog yesterday and saw that she had linked up to the 2015 Finish-Along with Adrianne at On the Windy Side.  What a great idea!  I have many things that need finishing, both quilts and crochet projects, so I thought I would sign myself up to.  Hopefully this will give me the motivation I need to get them done.

Unfinished items to be included in the first quarter are:

1.  A quilt for my niece for her 21st, which was at the beginning of December .....  Whilst I pieced the top in three days I've been stumped with what to back it with.  Nothing suitable in my stash or in local shops so will need to get my thinking hat on.


2.  A quilt for my daughter.  I started making this one from her old brushed cotton pyjamas when we were still living in New Zealand - we've now been back in the UK for 2 years!  I have the backing, some new brushed cotton quilting fabric, and the wadding so no excuses really.


3.  This is a quilt my daughter started when she was 5 - she turned 10 last September.  All that is required is to attach the binding and show her how to sew it on by hand.  Surely this can be a relatively easy finish?

4.  This was my first quilt made via a Virtual Quilting Bee, The Anzac Bee and I love it.  Being relaltively new to quilting I just sent out the fabric and said a block with hearts on - no design brief, no sizing, in fact no criteria at all.  I wanted to see what everyone came back and I loved them all, but what I received back were all different sizes and shapes.  I didn't feel confident at the end of the Bee to tackle it so it sat on my shelf for a while until I was able to lay them all out and make the necessary filler blocks.  It has been pieced together now since August 2010.  I didn't know how to quilt it because of the variety of blocks, patterns etc but I think 4 1/2 years on the shelf is long enough and I just need to get it done.


5.  A crochet ripple blanket that is my current project and was only started in November - a far more respectable time scale!


6.  A crochet bag that was started so long ago I would hate to admit it.  It has travelled from the UK to NZ and back again ..... twice!  I can't even remember where the pattern was from but I have everything there to finish it.


If I managed to get these 6 items finished, along with other projects started, before the end of March I would be delighted.  So here goes! x

Saturday, 3 January 2015

A passport to the world ...



They already possess two real passports so did they really need another one?  

Well I was feeling very inspired tonight after spending some time reading through a Facebook Group called Passport Round the World.  I travelled quite a lot before getting married and having children and have inspired the girls to want to do the same.  For now it's from the comfort of home, which is currently in the UK, and so I thought I would make these to record the countries that we 'go to'. Having both UK and New Zealand citizenship in real life made me merge the two passports for a hybrid World Traveller version.

I vividly remember doing a project on New Zealand when I was 7 and having to take a suitcase into school on the day I 'flew' out.  My teacher, Miss Parker, was fantastic - she was the check in lady, the passport control and the air hostess.  Everyone waved me off as I set off on my journey ....... to the corridor outside the classroom!  The Home Ed community online is such a source of  inspiration and information that has fired me up for the New Year.

All that's required now is the first destination ... x

Friday, 2 January 2015

A great end to the year ...

New Year's Eve also happens to be Mr C's birthday, for better or for worse.  This year it was definitely for worse because we have all been struck down by the flu virus that is doing the rounds so Christmas was really a shadow of what was planned and a week later we were still lacking energy from the bug.  However, two young girls had recovered quicker and were ready and raring to do something for Daddy's birthday.  So on the morning, after the obligatory birthday breaskfast, we decided to go to The Cotsowld Wildlife Park & Gardens.

The day was sunny but freezing, I'm not sure how the animals out of their normal habitats survive in such conditions, even the penguins seemed to be shivering!

A turkey vulture preening his magnificent wings


The meerkats seeking out the sun


A scarlet ibis - captured by  Little Miss C - I didn't actually notice it on the day!


A conspiracy of ring tailed lemurs enjoying the sun on the hill.  It truly looked like they were meditating or doing yoga!



A close up of the two at the back, just love the way that one has its hand on the other's knee.  Later on they were holding hands!!


The otters


The magnificent male rhino on the front lawn



One of the 29 Humboldt penguins - who were sliding all over the place on the ice when they were out of the water.


Such magnificent giraffes



An asiatic lioness - she was truly beautiful.  She had been wandering around outside and then came inside where we were separated by inch thick glass.  The detail with which we could see her was remarkable and when she yawned right there you really could see how fearsome her teeth are!



Whenever we visit zoos or animal parks I am always left in two minds about it.  Whilst it is amazing to be able to see such animals and nowadays they do a lot towards conservation of species it is still hard to see animals and birds in captivity.  There were two beautiful blue macaws, which I had never seen before, but I would much rather see them flying through the jungle canopy.  Again two keas, which are mountain parrots from the south island of New Zealand seemed a sorry sight in a very small enclosure.  But to see how it ignites a passion in the children and lends itself to much discussion of animals, conservation and the environment afterwards tends to make it worth it.  In fact its sparked a fully fledged investigation into the penguins of the world and the gleaning of many new facts.  One of which is that New Zealand is the country which has the most species of penguins in the world - I think that made Mr C's birthday actually! x