It’s Friday already!

Already Friday and nearly another month, the weeks are flying by.

There have been gorgeous sunsets of late, I spotted this urban skyline on my way home from work.

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There are early spring flowers in the garden, including these vibrant golden crocuses.

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Healthy dinners, some mixed grains and lentils, with mushrooms and grilled halloumi, delicious and comforting on a cold evening.

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A bit of hooking in the evening; a puff stitch hexagon in lovely pink lambs’ wool ( I found the pattern here, a lovely blog with lots of fab crochet)

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The view across to the hills has been great of late, with snow on the hilltops

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Just some peeks at the week that’s been 😄

 

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2014 – review of the year

I’ve been looking back over this year and all the photos I’ve taken

In the garden

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Crochet – 2 unfinished projects and some test squares below but they look lovely and colourful. I haven’t always had time to pick up my hook but I still love it when I do. I don’t make resolutions but I do intend to make more time for hooking in 2015!

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The view from the top of the hill over the last 12 months and 4 seasons

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Miss Tara,  lovely happy bundle of fun, a delightful companion ❤

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Cakes and baking, food and produce from the garden

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Places I visited; clockwise from top left, Inverness, Liverpool, Skipton, Liverpool (the interior of the Central Library), West Kirby on the Wirral and Belfast.

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Family feasts, a big birthday and some music making which I was proud to be part of

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Good times!

Let’s hope 2015 will bring lots of goodness to all, Happy New Year!

 

Handmade Christmas 3

It’s nice to make a few edibles for Christmas. I didn’t make a cake this year, because I don’t really like Christmas cake, if I’m honest. But I did make mince pies-these are a new recipe with a frangipane topping full of ground almonds

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I also made my own mincemeat – it has rhubarb and vanilla in it and is very good (a tried, tested and loved Nigella Lawson recipe which I tweak by adding cherries and omitting currants)

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This went into the aforementioned mince pies!

I made my own fruit liqueur, a variation on sloe or damson gin. I made raspberry flavoured gin. It’s very easy to do, just wash and dry your fruit, put it into sterilised jars with sugar, fill the jar with gin(or vodka), pop the lid on and put in a dark place for about a month, giving the jar a shake for the first few days to dissolve the sugar. Then strain it through a sieve lined with kitchen paper(as in the second photo below and pour into sterilised bottles, seal and then enjoy at your leisure. Nice in a shot glass or diluted with lemonade or soda water!

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A grand day out to Yarndale

Last Sunday, I drove a 380 mile round trip to go and look at yarn. No, I haven’t taken leave of my senses, this wasn’t just any old yarn, but a big, beautiful yarn festival in the Yorkshire Dales, hence the descriptive moniker, Yarndale. I’ll try and describe it for those who haven’t heard of it.  Imagine being in glorious quintessential English countryside; green fields, heather covered hills, a bustling market town surrounded by farming country and having the idea of transforming an agricultural livestock mart into a yarn, fabric and craft market for a creative and colourful weekend. This is the ethos behind Yarndale, and the team behind it have worked magic to bring about its great success.

I decided to nip down for the day on Sunday, with my mum.  A lovely, autumnal drive down on quiet roads, 3.5 hours and we were there for the afternoon. Despite reports via Twitter of long queues to get in and hoards of people crowding  round stalls, I need not have worried, it was just fine. Busy enough for there to be a bustling,excited atmosphere but in a relaxed and friendly way.  The venue was so big that it made it easy to wander and browse, and chat to the vendors. Lots of places to sit and rest awhile too which was a big bonus once the feet started to ache!

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There was some colourful yarn bombing outside in the park and in the entrance area to the mart, including this fantastic crochet bunting

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And these mandalas which decorated the railings above the ground floor

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I couldn’t fit them all in, there were almost 1200 of these! A feast for the eyes! All the work of Lucy at Attic 24 and her blog readers, it looked amazing and added such colour and vitality to the venue. Lucy is one of the team behind Yarndale and she was in the building, surrounded by fans. I couldn’t get near to say hello! Probably just as well, she must have been exhausted after 2 days non-stop talking.  Maybe next year?

What else did I see?

Alpacas!

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Sheep!

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I didn’t take many more photos because a) my phone’s battery died and b) really I was there to look at the wonderful and many goodies on offer,  to get some inspiration, to chat to other yarn and craft lovers and to spend some cash! All of which I did……

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My haul of goodies, lovely yarn from Gam Farm Rare Breeds (those are their sheep in the photo above), Teeswater Wools, Ripplescrafts, Littleowlcrafts and Strathearn Fleece and Fibre, buttons from Skybluepink Designs, a case for bits and bobs (I can’t remember who I bought this from, sorry:-( ) and some gorgeous cards and a picture from H-anne-Made.

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It was a real treat to see so many exhibitors under one roof selling so many beautiful and high quality items. I could have spent even more than I did! It was also lovely to chat to all those exhibitors who I bought from and other visitors to Yarndale. There was a warm and happy atmosphere and my mum and I left feeling it was so worth the long trip as we’d had such a great experience.

A grand day out indeed 😉

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Autumn colours

The end of September, the beginning of autumn, Indian summer days with chilly nights, the season has changed here in Scotland.

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The garden has some beautiful shades of deep pink, red and green just now

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Blackberries, a present from next door’s overgrown hedge 🙂

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I dug up some of my potatoes today, even they match the pink tones in the garden

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Someone loves being out and about!

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Enjoying the blue sky days while we still can.

Days to cherish and remember when the dark, gloomy winter clouds come.

Good times 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything’s rosy in the garden

July, the month when roses bloom.

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I have 2 of these ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ roses, and they flower all through June, July and even August, if I’m really lucky.

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This rose is called ‘Peace’, the plant was a bargain buy from a well-known UK discount shop, and it is one of the healthiest and most productive roses I’ve grown. Beautiful.

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The rose I bought for my darling cat Oliver is covered with flowers, stunning orange with delicate perfume. ‘Orange Abundance’ is its name-how apt!

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‘Nostalgia’, lovely cream and pink petals.

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These last 2 roses flower on and on for weeks….but I don’t know their names. Pretty and pink, anyway.image

 

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I found this rose hiding away in the front garden, behind lacy fennel fronds.

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It’s called ‘Ferdinand Pichard’. Last year it didn’t flower at all, I think it was having a rest, so I’m delighted to see this rose make a comeback.

All looking lovely and rosy in the garden, right now.

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a bit behind

Real life gets in the way sometimes. At the start of this year, I resolved to do a photo collage at the end of every month, but I never posted April or May. Too busy. So here they are, better late than never.

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April, spring flowers and blossom, getting back into my shed after a winter break and Tara continues to enjoy living here and being thoroughly spoilt.

imageMay, the garden coming to life, some interesting skylines and colourful crochet.