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Choo choo!

23 Jun

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Storm’s birthday was over the Jubilee weekend, so we postponed her treat for a couple of weeks as everyone was away on the big day. Something tells me we won’t get away with that next year…

I’ve wanted to go on the Avon Valley Railway (real steam trains!) for yonks, so this was my perfect excuse, haha.

We packed a picnic, roped in some family and friends, and somehow secured the only sunny day in a fortnight of rain. Hurrah!

I wish all train stations still looked like this…

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They swap the engine from one end to another half way through the journey so we got to see this…

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And this…

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Everyone seemed to like it…

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I loved watching this…

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And seeing this…

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(expert tickling by Abby)

And then we had cake (lemon – yum)

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And went home. Job well done I think.

Happy birthday chickie!

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Hello Mollie! Crochet flowers and egg cosies galore

10 Mar

Happy weekend! After a morning spent beavering away in the garden, getting ready for spring (hurrah!) I gave myself permission to tear open the wrapper on my yummy new issue of Mollie Makes. Thanks Mr Postman!

Even better, there are several patterns in this issue that I lent a helping hand with on the tech editing front.

First up is this month’s star project …

These lovely egg cosies by Suzie Johnson of The Wool Sanctuary, are lickitysplit quick to knit up, and will give you a nicely sample sized challenge, with a little bit of Fair Isle and intarsia knitting needed to make them up.

I also provided a little assistance with the adorbs (as Mollie would say) cover gift – a pretty crochet flower brooch in pink cotton yarn, designed by Anna Rakoniewska, who has a super-cute Etsy shop.

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You only need to be able to do double and treble crochet (single and double in US speak) to put this together. It really is very simple – don’t be scared!

The garden is waking up to spring, so I spent a lovely hour outside after I’d finished digging, weeding and re-potting, sat in the warm(ish) sun with Mollie and a nice cool drink.

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Ooo, look, buds! Hooray for sunny days! Ttfn xx

Secret birthday project 2: The nesting box

28 Feb

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The second half of dad’s birthday present was a bird box (!) Storm and I built it together during National Nestbox Week in a free workshop at Arnos Vale.

Apparently birds are uber fussy, so our box, with its 32mm hole, is suitable for house sparrows, tree sparrows, and nuthatches only.

Storm only hit my thumb with a hammer once, so I figure I got off pretty lightly! You can find out how to make your own nestbox here.

Dad was really chuffed, and I was really glad to give him a present that should bring happiness to him (and the birds) for many years.

Third secret birthday project coming soon!

O’ Christmas tree!

17 Dec

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I have been poorly and so I had to put the Christmas countdown on hold while I was busy feeling very sorry for myself and distinctly unChristmassy.

No more! Yes, I still feel rather rubbish, but we dragged ourselves out of the house today to get our tree, and I am really glad we made the effort.

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Our tree was from the brilliant Riverside Garden Centre (playground, lovely cafe, friendly knowledgeable staff, and lots of little extras, like a working beehive and bird spotting area).

I love Scandinavian red and white, so perhaps our tree is a little cliched and twee, but I love it!

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Our live tree from last year is looking a bit poorly, so I thought I’d give it this Christmas off so we got a traditional cut Norwegian spruce instead. Part of me wishes we had an artificial one, so that we could put it up much earlier, but it wouldn’t be the same.

I also thought you might like to see Storm’s Christmas throne. I don’t really like tinsel, but I know kiddies do, so…

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The garland is based on the Peppermint Hearts Garland in Alicia Paulson’s first book Stitched In Time. Storm’s face was an absolute picture when she saw it for the first time! Heck, we can’t have everything uber-tasteful now, can we?!

 

The Holly and the Nativity

9 Dec

Lots of lovely Christmassy things today!

Storm had her first Nativity play at her pre-school. She was one of the angels, having been demoted from Mary due to constantly pointing out in a really LOUD voice that Baby Jesus must be ‘cold because he hasn’t got any clothes on’. Haha.

She looked super cute in her little costume, plus big boots. Very punk fairy. One of the mums made the most amazing glittery cupcakes as a treat for after, which Storm was besotted by, so we did a little cake decorating ourselves when we got home, although ours were nowhere near as posh. Aren’t they pretty?!

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I’ve now finished all my little Christmas ornaments. Here are some of them: a few crochet snowflakes, a polar bear, a mitten, an ice skate, and a little red pom pom. There are some more things I’ve been sewing, but I’ll show you those next week.

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Yesterday I went on a holly hunt and found quite a few branches with red berries (don’t worry, I left lots for the birds). When I got home I just stripped off the lower leaves and  poked a few pieces behind the top of our living room mirror (a v generous wedding present from Bristol Guild) and then wound our little red lights around it. It looks so festive!

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OK, here’s another gratuitous Nativity pic. Next week I think it’ll be time for some presents! Have a lovely Christmassy weekend!

Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland – in pictures

26 Nov

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Well, we did it! 50 knitters and crocheters (including children from the local school, who made the lovely sign), a huge pile of yarn, donated by The Knitter, Simply Knitting, and very generous local people. And hours and hours of work.

This is what you get when you put it all together. Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland is still up in Arnos Vale cemetery, and there are no plans to take the work down. Instead, the cemetery volunteers will remove pieces when they start to look a bit tired. As people seem to have been adding to the original pieces which were put up, I suspect there will always be a few trees with woolly decorations in this much beloved cemetery.

Anyway, enough words. Just take a look…

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IMG_6110We spent the actual weekend of the Front Room arts trail hosting a tea, cake and pom pom making party at Hannah’s house, and raised £30 for Refuge.

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What we didn’t really foresee, was how much the kids would love it all…

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And did I mention? The sun shone ALL weekend!
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There are too many people who contributed to thank individually, but rest assured, every scrap of work was appreciated and used.

We’ve been asked what’s happening ‘next year’ and the honest answer is, it’s been so much work, we haven’t thought that far ahead. Ideas on a postcard perhaps?

One day to go til Totterdown is a woolly wonderland!

17 Nov

Wow. Well, after three months of knitting and crochet by the lovely people of Totterdown and Knowle, this weekend is IT. It’s time for Totterdown’s Woolly Wonderland at the Front Room!

Hannah, Violeta, Ange, Jean, Pat, myself and a few others were at Arnos Vale cemetery this morning, finishing a few things off and hanging up the first of the pieces. We hope to be finished by early afternoon tomorrow, so that the children at Hillcrest School can see all their hard work sparkling in the autumn sunshine.

We’re not going to spoil the surprise of what everything looks like in situ, but below are just a few pictures of the project, in progress over the past few months, and some of the amazing people who’ve made such a generous contribution, of their time, skills, materials and enthusiasm.

If you’re not on here, it doesn’t mean we’re not grateful, we just didn’t take your picture!

Do come down to the cemetery over the weekend to see everything up in place. There will also be a knitting and crochet cafe at 19 Summer Hill on the Saturday and Sunday from 12noon to 6pm both days, when you can come and do some crafting, and have some tea and cakes.

The cakes are being sold in aid of Refuge, so if you have time to make a few, or fancy contributing some shop-bought ones that would be absolutely fantastic. Just drop them by 19 Summer Hill any time over the weekend (although maybe not 5.55pm on Sunday or we’ll be forced to eat them ourselves!),

As well as our crafty cafe, Hannah’s house will feature photographs by Violeta and screen-printed T-shirts by the Bristol Hospitality Network.

As an aside, you may have heard that there was an arson attack in Arnos Vale a few nights ago, which destroyed all the seasoned logs which the cemetery normally sells over the winter. This means a loss of about £2,000 in income for the cemetery, so if you feel like you want to, you can make a donation to buy a virtual log.

OK, here come the pictures! If you have anything ‘last minute’ to give us, just email woolywonderland@gmail.com with the details, or come down to the Spielman Centre in the cemetery on Friday morning where there should be someone who can collect it from you.

Jean making a giant crochet flower
A pom-pom finger knitted snake, made by one of our younger members
Violeta gets Pablo crocheting early…
Frances, with just a few of her beautiful garlands
Ladybirds in progress…
Sarah and Ange with their accidentally coordinating projects – and outfits
Betty and Pat enjoying some alfresco crafting
A beautiful garland posted to the project. Thanks!
Knitting in the pub!
Val and some other knitters at The Oxford
Linda and her amazing snake

With thanks to Emma Turner for the lovely pictures from The Oxford, Hannah for her sterling work with her phone camera, and absolutely everybody else too!