::Ta-Dah!! Pretty Poncho happiness::

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Oh my goodness! It is with great pleasure that I am FINALLY sharing this with you. After the planning, designing and deciding stages, then months and months of making, tweaking and finalising, it has to be the most favourite thing I have ever made and I ‘m so happy with it. My Pretty Poncho.

CAM00189It all started when I saw a beautiful Pretty Peruvian pPoncho in a magazine and was umming and arhhing about whether to make one. I began collecting images of ponchos that I loved here on my Pinterest board Poncho Love. Then to top it all off, I saw my blog friend Lucy’s Home Poncho over on Attic24 and I decided YES! It can get a bit chilly here in the Hayloft especially when you move away from the Aga in the kitchen. Many evenings working on school work, sometimes blogging and catching up with my Facebook friends, can get a bit shivery. A poncho would be just the job. It wouldn’t slip off my shoulders like my blanket sometimes does!CAM00191So it started back in February with this post. It started when I spotted this amazing yarn from Deramores Cascade 220 solid in it’s amazing range of about 150 colours. Yes approximately 150 colours of pure peruvian wool. Poncho heaven.

20140420_190606There was some designing involved, taking me back to my design roots. I have a Bachelor of Design degree in textiles, bet many of you don’t know that! Yes I do! I worked freelance in the textile industry designing knitwear and attending trade shows around the world before my two little bundles of joy arrived. So with my pretty poncho project, I gave myself the opportunity to design, to play with the scrumptious colours, to mood board, sketch, create shade cards and to play! I explain about all of this in my entry for the blog awards.

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I made a start; with no pattern to go from I felt my way and tried to keep to the image in my head of how I wanted it to turn out! Not an easy task, really, especially when you want it to be finished like yesterday! I can be so impatient and rush ahead. But no, I wanted my poncho to be beautiful, and I didn’t want to have to pull it out; frogging can be so tiresome!

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As you can see I started with a square ‘hole’ for my head! Wrong!! I pulled it out and started again, this time with 42 foundation chains, then I slipped stitch 3 into the end one before returning 42 chains back and slip stitching it together and making 3 slip stithies into this end too. Then there was that tricky first row of double crochets. Tricky because you have to make sure the chain doesn’t twist! Careful now… no twisting! Yay!! Phew

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As I got to the ‘points’  I made two stitches into the point stitch, then slip stitch and then two more stitches into the point stitch. This gave me a new point and a space in the middle of it to make a new point on the next round. I hope that makes sense! This gave me the classic ‘v’ shaped poncho with a point at each side- front and back. Oh it made my brain hurt for a bit, but once sorted I was off!

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I know some of you will want to know about the colours I chose – a very tricky job when there are almost 150 amazing Cascade colours to choose from all singing and zinging. However, I knew my palette would be based on my favourite colours of teal, raspberry, lime and purple, with some peruvian poncho red, orange and a hint of blue. There were many colours that I introduced and only used once or twice, one of them was yellow, it just didn’t please me. Then there were others that went together in a stunning way – of course there were others that got rapidly pulled out because they didn’t quite ‘click’. Overall I am blissfully happy with my colour combos and there are little areas where I have taken colour inspiration for other projects. My ripple blanket for example.

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It was extremely satisfying to se my poncho grow before my eyes. The Cascade 220 is a chunky yarn and is so wonderfully easy to crochet with no splitting or squeaking, it just flows off the hook in a wonderful rhythm. I used a 5mm Addis hook, I like the way it fits in my hand, especially for this chunky yarn. The pattern for the poncho is of my own making, based on a kind of granny stripe idea. I made it up as I went along; rows of trebles and doubles, some treble clusters and there is a kind of repeat, of pattern anyway not colour combos! Getting through the rows didn’t take so long really. All 73 beautiful rows. The rows basically go like this; {dc- single trb – dc – single trb – single trb – dc – single trb –  dc – dc – trb clusters – single trb – trb clusters } and back to the start. There was a point half way where I did two rows of treble closers back to back to mark the halfway down point!

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Outside evening hooky is so wonderfully relaxing, and I whiled away the hours sitting in the garden over the late spring into summer, entertaining friends and sometimes just entertaining myself enjoying the early summer. I wanted to get my poncho finished to wear in France on our holiday and the stitches found their way through the fabric and the colours began to blend; it has been so admired.

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Then there was a row of picot edging around the top edge and the tassels! Oh wow, they took a while. 126 perfectly formed shamrock style flowers – just because I liked them. Oh I loved making them. I took both of these patterns from my Edie Eckman book Around the corner. They were pinned and blocked so that they would hang beautifully and not curl up and yes, that did take some time, but it was very worthwhile. They swish and tassel and swing in style!

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Finally there were the ends! I sewed each one in individually as I find it gives a better finish and they are firm: I am more confident that they won’t unravel and twist out. Again time consuming but very worth it, having spent so long on this project, it was the right thing to do.

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20140726_230441So there you have it. Are you ready for the Pretty Poncho reveal? It was ready to go to France and I had great fun prancing about in the maize fields (sadly the sunflowers were passed their best) with Mr Mixture wielding the camera. Work that poncho Mrs Mixture!

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There you have it. My Pretty Peruvian Poncho. I love it. I have given as many nuggets of help as I can in this post so if you want to have a go-please do. I would love to see any peruvian poncho inspired makes. However I won’t write up the pattern – it grew organically and it would take me a very long time to get it written up into some kind of order. I am very willing to help anyone who would like a try. Go on- have a go. You won’t regret it! :O)xxx

::Liebster Award nomination- woohoo::

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I have been lucky enough to be nominated by Amanda at Amjaylou for a Leibster award. This is a fabulous idea; you can get to know a little bit about your favourite blogs and also to find new blogs. I love it!

So here are the answers to Amanda’s questions, some random facts about me – (steady now!) and my nominations for awards of blogs I love, love, love.

1. How many WIP’s do you have at the moment?
I currently have 3 wip’s that have actually been started, but many many more in my head! Cushion love, blanket love, and bunting for my new nephews bedroom is a must before christmas!

2. What are they?
I have my kaleidoscope blanket Cal from The Natural Dye Studio ( christmas present from my lovely Hubby) which is coming along nicely, but takes lots of 3mm hook size concentration!20140510_094442

My ripple blanket for Doris Caravan in style craft DK Attic24 pack – which is a great pick up and carry on project.CAM00359

My peruvian poncho in Cascade 220 – which is a joy at 5mm size chunky, fabulous colours and grows so quickly.20140526_094026

I’m currently catching up with the May section of my kaleidoscope blanket (yes I know we’re in June, hence the reason for catching up!)

3. Regarding days out what would be your idea of heaven?

I love to visit the seaside and collect shells, stones, sea-glass and just to breath in the salty fresh air. Lying on my back on a beautifully crocheted blanket, guessing the shapes of the clouds, with the warm sun an a gentle breeze. We live 20 mins away from the West Cumbria coast so it’s great on a Sunday morning to plod along the beach, collect the Sunday papers and sometimes have a cheeky ice-cream in the local shop!20140615_113954

4. What would be your idea of hell?
End to end football, cycling, rugby- or actually Golf. I cannot stand Golf! Having to go and watch it , a whole day or more of it (the TV is bad enough) would be absolutely awful! Yuck! Argh!

5. What book are you reading at the moment?
As a year 6 teacher, I am constantly looking for great inspiring rears for my class and to motivate my reluctant boy readers to get into a good book. I have just completed Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve ( it was fabulous) and I am currently reading The Knife of never letting go by Patrick Ness and I LoVe LoVe it. My favourite personal text favourites are Tess of the D’Urbervilles and anything else by Hardy. Carlos Luis Zafon’s The shadow of the Wind is a firm favourite as is The Book Thief.

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6. What is your favourite tipple? ( can include non-alcoholic!)

A Mojito Mocktail – complete with lime juice, elderflower cordial, soda and a secret non-alcoholic ingredient from a bistro I love in my nearby town.

7. What’s been the best holiday you’ve been on so far?
A few years ago we took the boys aged 15 and 11 to Barcelona- it was amazing. I had been before 20 years ago and desperately wanted my family to see this wonderful city. It didn’t disappoint and they all loved it too. The Sagrada Familia was still unfinished and just as spectacular as I remember. Gaudi has always been a design inspiration to me and I felt quite emotional revisiting these beautiful buildings, Parc Guell and the amazing mosaics. The boys were thrilled to visit the Football stadium. Later, we travelled by hire car to a quiet fishing village up the coast and holidayed there with the french and spanish holiday makers. It was wonderful. A close second was our family holiday in Rome and Pompeii last year. As you can see- I love architecture!

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8. What is your dream destination?
I really want to visit Sydney, Australia and walk along the harbour, visit the opera house and take in the sights before travelling up to Cairns to the rest Barrier reef. We’re hoping to go next year.

9. What would you put into Room 101?
Tin openers and garlic presses. They never last very long, always break down when you need them, and become worse than useless right at the wrong moment!

10. Do you have a favourite TV chef?
I don’t have one chef that I like in particular- they all get a bit samey after a while I feel. But I do absolutely love watching MasterChef- the normal ones not the celebrities or the chefs one. Also, I’m a real Saturday Morning Kitchen fan- I rarely miss it.

11. What is your all-time favourite cake?
It has to be a good old fashioned lemon cheesecake- it just can’t be beaten. My mum makes an amazing cheesecake with preserved lemons chopped up into the creamy mixture and it has chocolate digestives for the base. It is divine!! (Note to self- get the recipe from my mum!)

Now to the 11 random facts about myself.
1.I am a trained textile designer and worked as a textile designer for The Burton Group before my children were born.
2. I play the cello and all three descant, treble and tenor recorders.
3. I love tulips- very, very, very much.
4. My favourite chocolate is Green and Blacks 75% dark- closely followed by Lindt salted caramel.
5. I run- and completed The Cumbrian Run in 2011 a long 13.1 miles in 2hrs. Very proud.
6. I have raised just under £5000 for Cancer Research in the last 4 years.
7. I have cycled the Coast to Coast cycle route- 142 miles in 3 days.
8. I have been a teacher for 10 years and a deputy Head for 2 of them.
9. I am still best friends with my child hood best friend who I met when we were 12.
10. I drive a VW Beetle.
11. The first album I bought, aged 14 was hatful of Hollow by the Smiths- I still have it as a very treasured possession.

My chosen favourite blogs.

Loopy Freak with a list
Little Room of Rachel
Fox’s Lane
Little Red Squirrel
Little woollie
Lulu loves Crochet
Haken en Meer
Eclectic Gypsyland
Little Tin Bird
Betty and Annie
Poppy and Bliss

My 11 questions for them
1. When and why did you start to craft (crochet, knit, sew, make?)
2. What are your favourite colour combinations?
3. What have been the last 3 things you have made?
4. What would be your dream holiday destination and why?
5. What is your favourite food?
6. Who do you most admire – past or present?
7. Who would be at your dream dinner party?
8. What advice would you give your 10 year old self?
9. If you could live in any country which one would it be and why?
10. what would be your favourite film?
11. What will your next project (s) be?

I hope my nominees enjoy this as much as I have! Wishing you all the very best of weekends. xx

:: 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.

:: Keep calm and breathe. It’s half term!::

Half term – longed for and needed desperatly as the cold weather and long darkness takes its toll on my asthmatic health. Soooo very tired…need sleep and crafty creative time to recharge my batteries.

So my lovely hubby and big boys decided to take me out to my favourite eatery ‘Green’s of Grassmere” on Sunday, before E returns to Leeds after being home for ‘reading’ week. (Not sure any reading was actually accomplished!!) 

We had a lovely bistro-type meal, mine of course gluten, dairy free- but so tasty and lovely. They make you feel so welcome and Grassmere is so beautiful. 

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We only need to travel 35 minutes to get there but through the most glorious scenery.

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Yes, we have a sprinkling of snow and it is CoLd!!

So after eating my fill, it’s back home to my crochet project- Little Em blanket. You might remember little Em is my best friend D’s daughter, we went to Cambridge last year, we visit them around 5 times a year and since it takes us a long, long 5 hours in the car just to get there it’s a feat of amazement that D and I have been friends for over 30 years, through secondary school, A-level college, University, marriages and babies!! Em has just turned 7 and of course wanted Aunty K to make her a crocheted big girls blanket.

Little em blanket 7It’s beautiful Stylecraft yarn in a bunch of lovely shades. Emperor, meadow, parchment, raspberry, violet, silver – Style Craft DK from the Wool Warehouse.Little em blanket 3These pics are a bit better than the other ones!

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_DSC0159So far I have hooked about 35 squares and so I have a long way to go before it is double bed sized, however each square will be bordered with two rounds of parchment, then joined with parchment and then the whole blanket witll be edged and bordered with something pretty- don’t know what yet.

THEN…

I have a number of projects on the go afterwards. My lovely kind hubby got me a blanket CAL for Amanda’s beatiful kaleidoscope blanket over at the Natural Dye Studio, you can check it out here.

My January pack, complete with pattern arrived and the February pattern update as been emailed. I’m so excited about getting started- just need to get the Little Em blanket finished and I’ll be off!

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Then…. sneaky man that he is, this arrived shortly after as a cheer me up January present! Awhhh. Cheer me up it definitely did!! A subscription to the website, magazine and two balls of delicious kidsilk. Discount on the yarns in stores and workshops! How to fit it all in! 

_DSC0154I’ve always loved Rowan yarns, so soft and gorgeous and I have a number of the books dating back about 20 years! Time to dig them out  me thinks!

So with the weather being nasty and horrid, I am loving that my tiny weeny baby narcissi are trying their best to shine and add delight to my kitchen table, although some of them have exhausted themselves!! Will be visiting the market tomorrow to purchase Tulips – I love tulips!!

_DSC0152My bundles of Lucy stylecraft arrived for my pending ripple blanket- yes I know eventuall I will get it done!! It was on 10% off so thought now was a good time to buy from Deramores – see here.

 

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As you can see my studio needs a little bit of attention with all these parcels and projects waiting patiently!_DSC0158A Well, it’s been lovely chatting but a scrummy cup of coffee and a gluten /diary free raspberry and lime muffin await (made them on Saturday – don’t know how there are any left!)- and a bit of hooky for little Em’s blanket, and a read of one my very favourite books, Ashlyn Gibson’s Creative Happy Home, you can find it here.

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Happy hooking and enjoy half term!!

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More MixTures!!

:: Tulips::
::Busy, busy, busy – lampshade and pizza ::
-A happy ending-

::2013: Year end review: part one::

So here it is… my year end review part one and what a rollercoaster of a year it was too, both personally and professionally. It is always sentimental and lovely to look back over the year – normally looking back is a tricky place to go, as inevitably there may be regrets and wonderings about the path that was not taken.

However I can honestly say I haven't anything to regret, only lovely, happy family memories and times spent with my lovely bunch o 'boys' before our family entered a new chapter. With E leaving home for University and Little J beginning his GCSE's in September, and my work place changes, we have weathered the changes remarkably well and are very much intact. 

Here it is in pictures; some happy reminders of times spent with family and some of blossoming projects, blossoming confidence and blossoming gardens! Enjoy :O)

•∆• January •∆•

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•∆• February •∆•

February 2013

Very wet, lots of snow and then the glorious fire of the garden in full flame!

•∆• March •∆•

March 2013

Mother's day, family walks, snow and then the gloriousness of beautiful daffodils!

•∆• April •∆•

April 2013

E's 18th Birthday, walks at Glaramara and Loweswater, picnic's in the car, music exams and the beautiful practising that went with it, and the ever so sleepy awakening garden.

•∆• May

May 2013

The beginnings of a Summer Sunshine granny square Blanket and the tiny idea for a personal blog, explorations, cake and new kittens arrived in the middle of the night, behind the bath of all places!! Oh so cute.

•∆• June

June 2013

Tickets for The Cambridge Folk Festival arrive, more cake (another family birthday) crocheting projects and growing mischievious kittens.

From Little J's birthday at the start of the year (2nd of January!!) all the way to Christmas and family times together, it has been an amazing year full of delights, trials and tribulations.

So far so good… more tomorrow.

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More mix-tures!

-Garden developments, sunshine blanket and rainbow colours-
- Whilst the weather…-
Tickets for 50th Cambridge Folk Festival go on sale

::Saltaire and Salts Mill::

Hello blogland!! I'm back from a very hectic first week back to school after the relaxing and thoroughly enjoyable half term holidays. We went to Saltaire, near leeds, which of course is where E is at University.

What a beautiful place it is too.

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I have wanted to go here for some time, as I have heard so many wonderful things about Salt's Mill and the history of the area, so it was great to be able to go with all of my little family. E got the train in Leeds and met us at Shipley station, before we walked along the canal towards Saltaire. It was beautifully autumnal and quiet.



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Fabulous barges, house boats and lots and lots of ducks!!!


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Lots of strolling, running and dog walking going on and it was lovely to greet and acknowledge people going about their business.


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There is also a lovely art work trail; we saw two of them on the route we had taken.


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In the mill itself it was fabulous to see the permanent Hockney exhibition, the amazing array of books in the bookshop and the textile exhibition current in residence. I browsed through all of the lovely books.


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I loved that they have used throughout the site, lots of the pieces of furniture and equipment to display things. 

It is such a beautiful place.


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There was a textile Exhibition running  and it was fantastic – so much talent, interpretation and beautiful work. It took me right back to my textile student roots and made me feel all emotional and warm to look at them and think about the qualities in the variety of work. Just beautiful. Cloth and memory 2, you can check out the webiste for this here.


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The mill has an amazing roof structure that provided the most fabulous backdrop for these installation pieces.


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These next pictures were my absolute complete and utter favourite – they brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. Totally beautiful. They are by Jeanette Appleton her website is here. The description read…

"A highly experienced artist, her response for Cloth & Memory will use the 'silencing' context of felt as a metaphor for the absorption of sound and memory. Intimate works based on the original ledgers and sample books are placed in the wall cavities originally used by workers to store bobbins."

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A spectrum of colours.


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The idea that all of the muttering, conversation and productive noise that occured when the women were spinning the cloth and winding the threads on their bobbins really resonated with me. I loved the idea of them being silent recorders in the gap where the bobbins should be. Evoking many ideas and thoughts of working conditins, hours worked and expecations unsaid.

You can tell I loved it can't you! Well I did.

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We lunched in Salt's Diner, which was InCrEdIbLy busy but I had a gorgeous chestnut and butternut squash rissotto. J, J and E all had soup and a sandwich (but no gluten free food so I plumped for rice). Coffee was very good, and then we went to see the Hockney's. WOW!! Loved The Rake's Progress prints – so much we bought one.


David hockney print

Loved the humour of this, and the referrence to Hogarths work  fromthe original series he did. So it now needs a frame to grace the walls of my currently being decorated hall and stairs.

I totally loved my visit to Salt's Mill and having a gorgeous family day with my little guys (well ok they're not so little now!) It fed my textile creative, artistic brain. It filled my family bucket of love and hugs to the very top seeing all of my boys together. I loved that they enjoyed my glee, delight and giddiness at being a textile nutcase again, if only for a day – surrounded by art they didn't understand and explanations they weren't sure they agreed with.

Great art does that; it makes you think, wonder and even disagree. Having an opinion is what counts!

A lovely, lovely visit.

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::This week so far…::

WOOOHOOOOO it's the half term holiday!

Lots of jobs and bits and bobs to tick off my list!

Well half term in my house generally involves lots of sleeping (me), eating (me) and catching up on housey type jobs (everyone) that I either can't be bothered to do or haven't time for in term time. These include (in no particular order):  pulling out the sofa for hoovering, refolding the towels in the airing cupboard so that they all fit in again, putting back the increasing pile of shoes, boots, scarves, hats and gloves that pile up on the hall settle, moving winter clothes out of storage and summer ones back into for another year!

Tick!

The half term week started for me in Edinburgh!! Yes, I went with a couple of work friends and we ran the Race for life twilight around Arthur's Seat.


EdinburghIt was amazing and we LOVED it. I have done many runs but not one in the dark- the atmosphere and the twinkly lights were fabulous. But we did get VERY wet. 
Really enjoyed the weekend and pootling around Edinburgh on Sunday morning – christmas shopping in Jenners is always a treat.

Tick!

I went into school at the beginning of the week to get a few bits and pieces done, and it's so much easier when there are no children around – although they are kind of the point of it all anyway!!! You know what I mean!

Tick!

That done, time to concentrate on recharging my batteries and doing some family things.

With all of those jobs done and dusted (yes I did that too), time to snuggle down and get on with some crochet. The weather has been very hit and miss- in fact more miss than hit!


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Lovely coffee ( a Starbucks Christmas blend – I'm testing it out you see!!), walnut whip (oh how I love a walnut whip from M and S), candles, a warm glow, gorgeous yarn and lots of ideas to get on with!! Heavenly!


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and with a few more leaves and a marigold…


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Tick! Tick!

Then the task of cooking and making and with an Aga that decided to get hotter and hotter yesterday – lots of cooking, baking and making was needed to cool it down and regulate the temperature again.

So here you go, as you can see the oven was very hot as a couple of the next items got a little 'flashed' as Mary Berry says in the Aga cookbook!!


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 Yorkshire puddings LOVE a hot oven, but it was even a bit hot for these little guys! Still they'll freeze well enough.


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The choclate cake will get icing, and a chocolatey top in time for tea! Also made HUGE pans of chilli, soup and a very large ginger parkin ready for bonfire night.

Tick! Tick! Tick! Lots of jobs done there then!

My favourite though is the cherry, gluten and diary free flapjack- Yes I can actually eat it!


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The recipe is here if you would like to make a gluten free and diary free person VERY happy!

350g (12oz) sunflower margarine

3 generous tbsp golden syrup

175g (6oz) light soft brown sugar

1tsp valilla extract

75g (3oz) Doves farm plain flour

375g (13oz) Gluten free oats

Mix marg, syrup, sugars together in a pan and melt until smotth, add vanilla. Add to the flour, oats and stir to mix. Pop into a lined swiss roll tin, 25x38cm and into the oven for about 20 -25 minutes. Cut into squares, fingers or triangles – what ever you fancy whilst it's still warm and allow to cool completely on a wiire rack. I add 100g of natural glace cherries into mine but you can add 100g of banana, sultanas, chocolate chips. Anything at all!! 

Enjoy with a lovely cuppa!


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Oooooh forgot to tell you, my new book arrived. I've been following Arne and Carlos for a while and their book came out in English!!


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So what's next for the rest of the half term week.

Well we've booked a lovley hotel in Shipley, you can have a peak here. We're going to visit E in Leeds and I've wanted to go to the lovely and exciting sounding Salts Mill for AgEs and so we're heading there on Friday together. E will get the train over from Leeds and meet us there, we'll have food, look at the exhibition, hopefully have a wander around and genrally relax! Phewwww. Deep breath! There is an exhibition of Rock and Roll music etc that will appeal to my two big boys VERY well, and even to J too.

There are the Hockney paintings which will appeal to me VERY much and lots of things to pootle about at. I'm really looking forward to going.

Then we will be visiting my Brother's new little family and Baby M before we travel home and back to the prospect of getting back to school. 


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Hopefully as ell as ticking off lots of jobs and things off my list, I'll feel refreshed and ready to take on the run up toChristmas in school – that's no mean feat I can tell you!

So, that's my week ahead and so far. What about you?

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