::Kaleidoscope blanket- progress::

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Lots of pictures for my colourful Kaleidoscope Blanket Mystery CAL from The Natural Dye Studio, I’m just completing the attaching of the motifs for February and have started to hook the ones for March. I’m a little behind, having been rippling along on my ripply blanket for a little hooky break, but I’m love, love loving the progress and therapy of this blanket. I introduced this blanket back in March after making some progress with it and finishing other WIP’s.Image

It’s beautiful hand-dyed merino wool and I’m working it on a 3.5m hook, so that my tension matches the size the triangles need to be. The beauty of this blanket is the mysterious nature of receiving a package in the post, filled with the scrummiest and loveliest yarn, winding it all up, then exploring and figuring out the colour combinations for the motifs. The Photo album on my Facebook page has the very beginnings of the blanket and shows the progress made, even with the travelling motif making in the car!ImageImage

Anyone not familiar with the Natural dye Studio, should have a peep over at their Facebook page (there are links to their website too) and revel in the colour, designs and magnificence of Amanda Perkins’ designs. I first saw her at yarn dale and I will be meeting up with Amanda at Woolfest this June. She has some fabulous ideas, including the completed and cryptically photographed finished Kaleidoscope Blanket!

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This is her recent Supernova Blanket.

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So I’ll be hooking away at my colourful Kaleidoscope Blanket for the next few weeks, winding the newly arrived package of yarn and watching the pattern unfold. We even have a Ravelry group to see each others progress- but no peeping at the next stage. Spoiler Alert!!!!!!!!

::Easter Simnel Muffins::

ImageHappy Easter everyone!!

Here is a little treat post, won’t be a long one I promise, for those of you who enjoy a Simnel cake but find the cooking of it takes an age! These Simnel Muffins are amazing and are from the BBC Good Food cookery Book. I discovered them through a Facebook friend, who posted a picture of her muffins fresh from the oven. Ooooooh I wish I was able to smell them as they promised to be AmAzInG!!I have included any dairy or gluten free adaptations.  Anyway here are the recipe and the pictures.

They really are easy, peasy, lemon squeezy!!!!!Image

Soak 9oz Mixed fruit for an hour with the juice & rind of an orange, (keep back 2tbsp juice for the icing) – or microwave for 2min if you forget!

Beat together:
6oz butter (or free from margarine)
6oz golden caster
3 eggs
1tsp mixed spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
10oz self raising flour (I use gluten free)
5tbsp milk ( I use rice milk)

Add in fruit.

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Half fill muffin cases then put in a flattened ball of marzipan ( I put in small chopped chunks). 6oz will do all 12 muffins
Top with remaining mixture.

25 – 30 min 160-180C

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Make a thick ish icing with 8oz icing sugar & the orange juice then top with Mini Eggs

Then you can have your very own TA-DAH!!! moment and once the icing has stuck a little bit, enjoy them. They are really delicious!Image

:: Wasdale Part One::

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Remember in my post, Weekend Relaxing, I mentioned purchases? Well the big purchase we made was a new-to-us Caravan. Meet Doris, she is my latest makeover project, (well the house is nearly finished), and as E said, “You’ve run out of places to crochet in the house so you need more space?” Maybe…. was my reply! Having camped in our super-large family tent since the boys were 5 and 8 years old, we have enjoyed many holiday trips, to the sea in Norfolk, Exeter and the Jurassic coast, and also to other parts of The Lake District. Getting a caravan seemed like the next step for us.

Our new-to-us caravan Doris. Now she is 30 years old, so classed as Retro or Classic instead of Vintage, and is in need of a makeover and a bit of a Mixture43 treatment, but she’s perfectly roadworthy and habitable. Lots and lots of beige… I’ll leave it at that!

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I used my Festival Granny Stripe Blanket and my Sunshine Granny Square Blanket to cheer her up for this trip and it certainly did the trick, along with a couple of homemade crochet cushions.Image

Ooooh did you spot my new book? It has some lovely inspirational caravan makeover pictures (but more of that later).

Once we’d got her ship-shaped – well caravan-shaped I should say, we settled down for an evening view of the area. It was a lovely Gold rated David Bellamy caravan and camping site near to the west coast at Seascale, so lots of flaura and fauna to look at and of course being in an Area of Outstanding beauty you wouldn’t expect anything other than beautiful things to look at!

 Just look at the view from Doris’s window!Image

Wasdale and nearby Eskdale fells and mountains were only a few miles away, so we plotted and planned our walking and ascent. We had such beautiful weather on our trip to the South Lakes Area of Wasdale. J and I visited there over twenty years ago (was it really so long ago?) and I have always thought it would be lovely to return, I hoped it would still be as beautiful as I had remembered. It is breathtakingly stunning. We looked out at the view over a homemade supper cooked on Doris’s stove top. We are going to have many adventures, it’s going to be great!

A little bit of morning snuggly ripply hooky in my Doris bed…Image

We decided that we would walk along the side of the Lake. As I was just recovering from an acute episode with my back… lets just say half an hour to get off the floor in excruciating pain and not standing up straight for what seemed like eternity (bottom out like a duck and sideways slant is never a good look), we thought that a flat-ish walk would be better. To be honest I really needed to move about too so I gritted my teeth and off we went.Image

It was such a lovely walk, peaceful, tranquil, silent even at times but for the flowing and rippling water and rustling leaves in the gentle breeze.

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The light casts such beautiful shadows on the fells and mountain, it’s quite Scandinavian to look at, well so I’ve ben told. I haven’t been there… yet!

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Skimming stones… you just have to at every opportunity, always a competition! Dad and son… who won? Not so little J of course!Image

You can see how far the water rose in the recent months with all of the wet and windy weather, in fact one of the locals told us it had been pouring down until only two days before, and he was heartily sick of rain! I’m not surprised with this much water , however it’s not called the Lake District or nothing!

Then there were the damaged trees…ImageImage

I was so proud of myself for walking along an undulating road and not a flat one as promised and my back did very well. In fact at times I forgot all about it what with the beautiful Wasdale scenery and sounds to look and listen to.

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After a little rest, some buttered hot crossed buns and a slurp of coffee, that we had in our rucsac, we set off back the other way. My back had warmed up by now and was actually beginning to sort itself out. I was feeling so much better and enjoying the chat, jokes and banter that was flowing back and forth from Little J and J. Oh my, how 15 year olds, (really my baby is 15?) can talk of such random things!

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I knew I wanted to go to the sea. I love being near the water, lakes, sea, streams, it is always so calming and reminds me of caravanning trips with my parents to Great Yarmouth, Poole in Dorset and Western Super-mare. I loved caravanning as a girl, the joy of hitching up and getting off, the waking up and remembering where you were in your cosy caravan bed. The return from school on a Friday evening and seeing the bags packed and ready for the off. My children are too old for that kind of excitement, but I have to say I was so overjoyed when little J decided to come with us, no wifi, no Xbox and all those other teenage boy toys. But he was very pleasantly surprised. He is outdoorsy too, I might add, so enjoys a good walk. And he does love water… he’s my water baby.ImageImage

Seascale is a quiet place, although being one of the starting places for the C2C cycle ride, it can get busy from Easter to October.  Last year E and J made that self same ride across the country cycling 142 miles in two days, they did Seascale to Whitby. Little J and I followed in the car with supplies, flapjacks and coffee. It was quite the adventure!

Anyhoo….  Seascale and the beach. Lots of lovely bits and bobs and ripples!!Image

Fish shaped stone, in a gorgeous shade of blue.ImageImageImage

We enjoyed an ice cream sitting on a bench looking at the sea. Then, with weary legs and a hungry tummy, we headed off back to Doris for the night.

The evening view from Doris was spectacular.

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The day ended with a Very satisfying ‘CLUNK’ as I laid down and snuggled in my Doris bed. The relief in my back was fantastic and having not slept so well for a week or more, I slept like a baby. Wasdale and Doris the Caravan had lived up to every dream and expectation I had and more.  Great times ahead.

::Returning::

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It is always with a hint of sadness when returning from a holiday or short break, such as the one we have just had in Wasdale in the South West Lakes.  It feels strange to be travelling back home, without the excitement and anticipation that I left home with, but with my mind wandering to the jobs, ahead. Maybe not travelling so far away, only 50 minutes, makes the journey home, which never seems long after a holiday, seem returning that bit shorter. Wasdale and Eskdale were breathtakingly beautiful, the above picture, taken from the window of our new-to-us caravan Doris, really doesn’t do it justice.

Returning always has a tinge of wistfulness.

Returning with the thoughts of the unloading of the car, the bags and the caravan this time, and the umpteen loads of washing! It seems to happen every time, I have romantic notions of savouring the time away but end up returning with more work than when I went. It always takes me a few days to settle back into the swing and flow of home life again, to get back to normal.

Returning to work. It has been such a short holiday, not the usual 2 weeks at Easter for the children and for me as a teacher. It is a much needed time for recharging those tired and worn out batteries, and the main reason for getting away is to have that mental break. I don’t suppose anyone reading this thinks that teachers have a dreamy amount of time off, or an equally easy working day, especially we are now into report season and planning classrooms and classes for the next school year. I must admit, but very quietly, to gazing off out of the car window, thinking about how I’m going to theme my classroom before the return to school with children present. We’re doing a topic on Australia. My thoughts also return to planning for work, before I return to work!

Returning to Wasdale. Who knows? i usually have an unwritten rule about not returning or going back to somewhere as there are so many places to discover. But, J and I were at the very same spot 20 years ago, (wow that makes me gel old), and we climbed Great and Green Gable then. It is such a beautiful place, how could I not return?

So, I have lots of pictures to sift through and ideas and notions about our next caravan break. It’s so lovely to deck her out with homemade cushions and blankets for now, and to up and off. I’ll show you a few pictures now, but the rest will follow in a proper post about the adventures of Doris and the South West Lakes.

Here are a few to enjoy. :O)xxx

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Can you see the beautiful Scafell Pike over there? At 978m high, its the highest mountain in England and was first ascended by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.. how about that! I love the way the light and shadows play.

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The seaside at Seascale on the West Coast.ImageImage

Seaside ripple inspiration.

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My new crochet ripple blanket for when Doris has had her makeover.

:: Weekend relaxing::

What a beautiful weekend it has been, and how lovely to get out and about, with the promise of the Easter holidays just around the corner. We break-up on Wednesday for not quite two weeks. Relaxing this weekend has been lovely.

This weekend I have been::

::Making bunting for my friends newly adopted children – a welcome present from stitching group for their new little bedrooms. A boy and a girl. I have completed my crochet contribution- I hope they like them.

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 ::Visiting Cockermouth, it’s very near- home to Woolfest - for supplies, new glasses for J and a pop into my favourite bookshop, The New Bookshop

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::Perusing. Isn’t it just a wonderfully welcoming place to browse, relax and loose yourself in the books? I love it. Then for the coffee and of course cake. J and I shared two different cakes, me with my Americano and him with his Earl Grey and lemon. Such a beautiful coloured tea!

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::Admiring. The Maryport Quilters had an exhibition in the church hall so we had a little look see in there. Some beautiful quilts.

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::Relaxing and walking along the river, the daffodils are almost at their end but still brighten up the bank and look lovely.

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::Homemaking. More of my kaleidoscope blanket motifs.

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::Mothering. Cooking a lovely Roast beef dinner (especially for my returning student who is home for Easter) and then enjoyed a little relaxing walk in the village.

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::Cherishing. My gorgeous cherry blossom tree is beginning to burst with beautiful pink buds, and it won’t be long before it’s candy coloured confetti is floating around the garden. A gorgeous Sunday evening here in the West of Cumbria with a beautiful Solway view.

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::Planning. A holiday at Wasdale with J and little J, whilst E its off to Rome with his girlfriend L. His belated 18th Birthday present. There is also something else I’ve been doing….

::Purchasing:: but I’ll tell you more of that next time!!

Happy Weekend.

 

:: First Quarter ::

It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that I was putting together my end of year review photos, of colourful makes, practical projects and little bits of my creative life. Here I am with the First Quarter of the year flashing by in images!! What a treat it is again, even though it wasn’t that long ago, to refresh, recap and revisit these happy snaps.

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What an amazingly colourful and creative first quarter it has been; there have been trials and tribulations, illness, difficult weather and changes to our working lives. But as a family, and with the support of good friends and trusted colleagues, we have weathered it all and are happy, safe and positive about what the next quarter will bring.

Many new projects on their way, new yarn purchased and also my kaleidoscope blanket to continue- it’s a lovely surprise every month! And I can’t wait to start my poncho with my beautiful Cascade peruvian yarn too. Busy busy!!

Happy hooking people!!

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