Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Starting as i mean to go on.

I am trying to begin the New year by being more organised and by trying to conquer the dreaded computer. i can write on it, but pictures, flicker, cameras etc fill me with dread. I want to be independent of Martin for putting pictures on Ralvery and this blog. Plus taking photo's then printing them. But my mind was born many years ago and it does struggle so. Hopefully i am getting there.
Whilst i have been struggling with the modern age, my goldies have been hard at work, doing what they do best, Sleeping. It has been a hard day for them, guarding the house, racing around the garden, going for along walk in the fields, and then having to avoid magazines toppling over them whilst i clean and sort. Missy is the one facing, and Simba is by her side. Missy is short for Mishka, Russian for little bear. In the pack, she is the maiden aunt, who grumbles all the time. She likes her food ball full and clean, water ready, yard cleaned. She calls me to bed, shares the bed and my drinking chocolate, and grumbles if the light is not put out on time. She always has to have the last word or grumble, no matter how many times you say yes Miss. A puritan by nature, she is my right hand girl. Yesterday we combed and groomed them, clipping the fur between there paws. Miss went outside in the cold and came back hoping like a gekko, because her paws were cold, and she grumbled letting us know what she thought of us.
Simba, my big male is the easiest going gentle giant you will ever come across. He is the king of my heart, big pawed and clumsy, 47kgs in weight, i adore him. He loves the quiet life, but worries over his pack not eating unless they do. His great love is to get up on the bed at night and to be sung to for 5 or ten mins. Then he gets of and goes to guard the back door. He struts around like a lion, guarding his pack lands and pride. Today after the walk he came hobbling in and gave me one of his giant paws. It was an Androcleas and the lion moment. All his paws were caked in hard dry mud, from the walk, and we had to spend 10 mins giving him a paw clean up .
Life with them is Messy, tireing,funny and joyful, we never have a dull moment or a clean house.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

For Secret Knitty Pal winter warmers

What is your favourite way of keeping your feet warm?
Hot water bottle and Martin and the dogs
Do you have a favourite pair of socks you reach for to keep your toes toasty?
Never wear socks they restrict my circulation
Is there a pair of socks/slippers you have been wanting to make for ages but haven't got around to?
What is your favourite finished object that warms your feet?
Knitted afghan
What is your favourite yarn to use for socks/slippers?
Does not apply, but i love using sock wool to make other things

Hope that helps secret knitter

Saturday, 27 December 2008

The 12 days of Christmas

On Christmas Eve, we went to the pantomine to watch Jack and the Beanstalk.
Going to a panto at 11am seemed a strange thing to do, but we really enjoyed it. The children were great and it seemed to set a Christmassy scene somehow. martin collected his beloved meat from the Butchers and home we went.
Christmas day has come and gone, i hope that those who may read this felt better than i did as i came down with some dreaded lurge or other. Christmas dinner was cheeses and biscuits, but despite that i still had a good time. Martin gave me some lovely knitting gifts, an alpaca coat to knit plus an alpaca bolero, a Rowan cardigan complete with book and wool, a bright scarf and hat kit in various shades of acqua, Debbie Abrahams secret knittted and beaded mystery blanket, Origins wool for a new coat, so i can see that i am going to be busy for weeks to come. The babes all had new collars, a rasta coloured one for Simba, pretty delicate pink for Missy, blues and turqouise for Merlin, purple bones for Tumi and Lily pink bones. they stitted around with very full bellies, like models on a cat walk. They joined martin in Christmas dinner, whilst i watched enviuosly, really not feeling well. Martin was king of the kitchen with his new Jamie Oliver pots and pans and creme brulee set. We sat watching Christmasy films and generally dossed. At night i have been allowed to share Missy's sofa again, but she still grumbles if i take up too much room, i hope to get back to the bedroom soon, but as the bug still has hold of me!!!!
Saturday, the pooches nearly had a heart attack as martin scambbled around on the roof of the conservatory, making them a place to shelter . No not on the roof , but outside we now have a covered area for them and us to shelter under if we want to sit outside. Hopefully it will encourage Simba to stay dry. The rest of the day i knitted and Martin defeated the elves in the role of a vampire.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Further Tales of the Ark

Now that i have trasfered my details for the Winter warmers Swap for my secret pal, i can now write about the further adventures of Lily and the Ark. Today we have been out shopping and i have come home with the most unusual present, a walking frame with wheels and a seat. It's great, i can sit down and watch the world go by as and when i want. No crutches, no back ache, i love it. Bright turqoise and called Tilly, with a small bag and breaks. It has made such a difference today.
Came back to see that the Wisteria has bit the dust, plus large pot.Lily has been bringing the outdoor in again. I shall have to stop her watching all those gardening programs.
At the weekend Martin brought me two knitting kits from Scotsdales of all places, a gardening centre.Both are in Grey Alpaca, a coat called Olvia and a Bolero . The coat is very intracate with lace a plenty . I will need to get advise before i start either, and i must finish them, too expensive to leave half done. I have never had alpaca wool before, but i am told it is really warm to wear. I never thought i would hear myself saying it, but i really have too many projects to do, but then there is alot of time to do them in.
I have not been too well recently and i have spent sevral nights on the sofa, so that Martin can sleep. I have shared said sofa with Missy, who now has taken to summoning me to bed, allowing Martin to wrap us both in, and then grumbling until the light is off. My feet are her pillows and she grumbles if i have to get up in the night. When i do get up, i trip over Merlin, who lays on the floor by my side, then trip over Simba lying in the hall way floor. On the bed is a snoring Martin, with lily and Tumi snoring with him. They say it's a dogs life!!!!even Spohie the cat joins in by walking all over me, on the sofa, to get to her chair!!
Great news in that i have learned i am on the lst for the next Debbie Abrahams Mystery knitted blanket for 2009. I love her beaded work and was dissapointed that i could not join in last year. 5 blocks a month for 10 months and other than bright colours, i have no idea as to what theme we are knitting to. Last years theme was the country side. Knitting really does seem to have taken over my life at the moment.
Well now to bed, yes the Sofa, as i am still not well and need to sleep upright, but i have two Sister Fildelma mystery novels to read, set in ancient Ireland, also Missy is a calling me.

Winter warmer Questionaire

Well, there is one person in the WWW that knows what this is about, the rest kindly skip to the next bit, please.
1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with?
All natural hand dyed yarns, such as cotton, silk, linen, wool etc
2 What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?
Thick nylon sythnthetics, mohairleave me puzzled, I never liked them much I .2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?
Needle cases and boxes
3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?
Intermediate, i am learning lace, can cable use intarsia etc Module knitting, but i am a beginner at lace, freeform and following some of the more complicated patterns
.4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?
no , but i would like a copy of domino knitting or knitting noro
5. What's your favorite scent?
Rose, annais annais
.6. Do you have a sweet tooth?
Not really
7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?
I spin, knit, crochet, silk paint, embroider,textile paint, all things textile based
.8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s?
i love folk music lorain Mckeller and audio books.
.9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?
I love the colours of the sea, turqoise, lilac,jewel colours, greens , ethnic colours, i hate pastels, black and orange
10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?
I live with Martin, my partner, 5 Golden Retrievers, a cat and several large fish
11 Do you wear hats, scarves, ponchos etc
I wear gloves, mittens, scarves,ponchos, but not socks
12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?
I have been knitting a poncho, an afghan and scarves and mittens for friends
13. What are you knitting right now?
A jumper for Martin, a cardigan for me, an afghan and a simple lace shawl { i am a beginner in lace}
14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?
15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?
i use both, depending on the project, I like all types of needles
.16. Do you own a yarn winder or swift
17.How old is your oldest UFO?
Several years old, i am making a real effort to finish off several of the things that are in various stages of being
18. What is your favorite holiday?
I loved Egypt, Morroco, Shri lanka, but i love the English coast as well, i want to visit India and China oh and Africa
19 . Is there anything that you collect?
i collect Angels, beads, buttons, books, thimbles and anything ethnic
.20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on?
I would love some seacell silk, Tilly Thomas beaded wool, 1000 Great knitting motiffs, and the one skein desingner knits
.21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn
Lace freeform ,more stranded colourwork maybe and more practise with beads
22. When is your birthday?
October 23rd

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Book Memw, lifted from Knitting on the Green

Book Meme Borrowed from Knitting on the Greens Blog

Lifted from One of Wibbo's New Blogs : This meme is originally from the Big Read. Apparently they reckon most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

Instructions:1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.

2) Underline those you intend to read (I'm going to put these in red these - Blogger doesn't like underlining)

3) Italicise the books you LOVE. i am going to put these in blue

4) Post your list so we can try and track down these people who’ve only read 6 and force books upon them.

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien, by favourite book ever

3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8. Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11. Little Women - Louisa M Alcott

12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare

15. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16. The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks

18. Catcher in the Rye - J D Salinger

19. The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch - George Eliot

21. Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy, started but to heavy for me

25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams

26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh

27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis

34. Emma - Jane Austen

35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

42. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving

45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47. Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan( saw the film and did not like it)

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel (tried; gave up)

52. Dune - Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60.- Gabriel Garcia Marque Love In The Time Of Cholera z

61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65. Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66. On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones’ Diary - Helen Fielding

69. Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72. Dracula - Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses - James Joyce

76. The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal - Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80. Possession - AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte’s Web - EB White

88. MitchThe Five People You Meet In Heaven - Albom

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94. Watership Down - Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Tales of the Ark

My writings would never be complete if i did not include something about Lily and the Ark. Lily has grown into the most beutiful of pups and remains as inquisitive as ever. She has eaten a mobile phone, a computer, several pots,plants,cushions,socks,and other things. She has learnt to dig for England, has become master of the flying leap,turn and twist, and ditch leaper. She is constantly covered in mud, dirt, plant stain or wrappers, and for some reason we love her dearly. She has become Tumi's soul mate and they are to always be found together, and Simba, bless him, has to play even if he does not want to, its keeping him fit. Sophie our cat, has now deigned to join us, sitting on a large arm chair, with giant cat tv, consisting of a large fish swimmining around in a tank.At night the floor is covered by a pond of goldies lying at my feet. It's now winter, so Missy allows Martin to share the sofa with her, whilst Merlin keeps my feet warm. It sounds quit tranquil and yes it is.

Winter Warmers

So, what is your favourite winter warmer for your hands?
Mitts or gloves
Do you have a favourite pattern or finished object?
What is your favourite yarn for gloves/mittens/handwarmers?
Are there any patterns out there you would love to own?
Not really
Or do you already have a winter warmer and you would like some mittens/gloves/handwarmers to match?

For my secret swap partner for winter warmers and any other groups.
Hi there, i hope the following information will help you in your quest.
  • I love all natural yarns, handyed, etc
  • Please no socks as i have walking difficulties and they will restrict my circulation
  • I would love, something like a bag or mitts or winter elf or something for my long sufferring hubby
  • I love anything ethnic, historical or from nature ie the sea
  • I love buttons, beads,etc as i spin, knit,crochet,sew,embroider,silk paint,textile paint,make cards,weave, etc
  • I also read,listen to audio books,love travel, nature in general
  • I love colours of all kind, but not neon or black,
  • I like most types of yarns but not mohair, it makes me itch, i would love to try some seacell or posh yarn
  • I am about an upper intermediat in levels, and i like to try new things, including free form and modular

Thankyou for the time that you have spent in making up my swap parcel for me.

Christmas Greetings

Merry Christmas to everyone, and a Happy and Peaceful New Year to all.
It has been along while since i have written anything in this blog, mainly because i forgot how to use it, but i have recently been reminded that it exsists and that it is a great way to keep in touch with friends, i promise to be more vigilant next year.
But now to catch up on several months of news and also info for swaps. Firstly my Christmas letter, i hope it helps fill in some of the gaps.
Christmas 2008 Peace, Love and Joy be with you all this Christmas
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light
John Hopkins
Dear Friends and family, outside the frost lay’s heavily on the ground, inside a sea of Golden Retrievers lie like a gold carpet at my feet, Sophie is slumbering on the sofa and all seems right with the world. Christmas has come very quickly this year, it only seems a few weeks since the spring flower’s were in bloom., now the city centre is sporting angels and star banners. We hope that your year has been full of good memories.
Ours has been a mixed year. Martin is still at University; he received his HND, in Novembers and continues to study for his degree. He has done really well and I am really proud of him. He has become very involved in Student Union panel work. (Sort of a court for students who have failed There modules, essays etc and are appealing) He received a certificate of merit for all his hard work. He has about another year to go. He still looks after the students, who continue to come from the 4 quarters of the earth. Our Mexican student Rodriguez has become a particular friend. Martin’s dad and step mum have not been well this year, which has been a worry to him. They live about 300 miles away. Angela is now permanently in hospital, while his dad is in and out of hospital. He really cannot look after himself, but will not admit it. Because of this we cancelled our holiday to Greece this year. He has also become a once monthly platelets donor; he has so much of a rare king of anti body that they ring him up to remind him to come. He has also become involved more in cooking, experimenting with Chocolate mousse and crème broluee, no less. Oh at one point he joined a choir, but soon gave it up, like pierce Bronson in Mama Mia, he can’t sing.

The ark continues to flourish, Sophie has returned to living in the sitting room with us, now that she can control Lily with a swipe of her paws. Simba, bless him, and the others are surviving Lily, and are all well. Lily is a real Tasmanian devil, full of energy and mischief waiting to happen. She has eaten a computer, 2 mobile phones, several plants, pots, books, shoes, trellis, pillows etc. She is master of the flying leap and twist in the air. She is an accomplished sneak thief, window climber and escape artist. Yet we all love her dearly. One look at that face and you are captivated. At one point Tumi’s back was covered in huge bite marks and our garden looked like a tornado had hit it. Yet she keeps all the others young, and us either in tears or howls of laughter. I have become a frequent watcher of the Dog whisperer to find out ways to train her.
We have had surprise visits from our friends in Wales. Re worked the garden so it how has a dog free area. Renewed old acquaintances and generally tried to enjoy life and relax more and generally pottered between visits to Derbyshire. We have also become avid listener to audio books. We can work and hear a story at the same time. The realms of dragons, detectives, ancient Rome and medieval Cambridge all come to life, whilst I sew or Martin writes. There is something comforting in listening to another telling you a tale of great deeds or fantastic journeys. We have been known to sit up till 2am listening to the end of a plot. I know we could turn it off, but the tale does grip you...
As for me, I was part of a contempory quilter’s exhibition in March. I have a piece still on display at a local hospital. I still read, knit, crochet, spin etc. Though I have cut down a lot from the things I used to do as my health has not been good, so I now have days off, and do not travel so far. I have found a craft group on the internet, Ralvery and I have participated in swaps, knit along etc and made friends all over the world. I still do the court thing, plus I still silk paint and embroider. Knitting and spinning are my passion, I live surrounded by wool. I am sure it breeds in the night. I spend time with the babes, each dog needs time with me on my own, and woe to me if I forget it. I help Martin, and visit friends when I can. I am currently working on embroidering Ben hur as you do, and an abstract 3 king’s silk painting. I discovered the joys of bead knitting at a workshop this year, and for my Christmas present Martin has enrolled be on a monthly beaded project, I can’t wait. I knit for charity when I can, and I disappear into my garden room, where I am surrounded by books, crafts, my own TV and computer. Martin waves to me from the conservatory, and in the summer we sat watching videos on the veranda which martin built onto my garden room this year. On the whole we are both content and happy together, even though we are surrounded by dog fluff, dirty paw marks and the results of Lily’s latest adventure. That’s about it for now.
Till we either see you or hear from you, Joyous Noel and a happy, peaceful New-year. Our love and hugs to you all. Frances, Martin and Ark.

Poem for the season
The Christmas Silence
Hushed are the pigeons cooing lowOn dusty rafters of the loft;And mild-eyed oxen, breathing soft,Sleep on the fragrant hay below.
Dim shadows in the corner hide;The glimmering lantern's rays are shedWhere one young lamb just lifts his head,Then huddles 'gainst his mother's side.
Strange silence tingles in the air;Through the half-open door a barOf light from one low-hanging starTouches a baby's radiant hair.
No sound: the mother, kneeling, laysHer cheek against the little face.Oh human love! Oh heavenly grace!'Tis yet in silence that she prays!
Ages of silence end to-night;Then to the long-expectant earthGlad angels come to greet His birthIn burst of music, love, and light!