:: 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.

:: My Crochet Blanket love ::

Crocheted blankets

It always  fills me with enormous pride and love when I finish a crochet blanket and can see it in all of it’s glory. I’m really quite good at visualising what my blankets will look like when they are completed, but it’s not the same as when they are there in front of you with all of the intricacies, colour combinations, pulling and tugging of ends, fiddly finger work and endless counting and stitchery combinations finally worked together for the reveal and Ta-Dah. I do so love the blankets I have completed so far on my rekindled crochet journey. I love that I have been able to give pleasure to others by passing them on. I love that I have been able to fire up the crochet passion in my young niece and her desire for making crochet granny square blankets for her dolls, and the maturity of her request for a grown up girl blanket for her newly decorated bedroom.

What could be better than passing on and gifting a beautifully made, personalised handmade crochet blanket to the next generation – a keep sake she will forever know as Aunty Karen’s crochet blanket? It fills me with HuGe amounts of blanket love.

So I decided to embark on a little trip down the last 8 months of Crochet Blanket Memory Lane. Would you like to come too?

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My first blanket ever ever…not from the last 8 months but made by me when I was 11. My next door neighbour’s 17 year old daughter Susan started me off with remnants of baby wool and any other bits I could find in my Mum’s and her Mum’s stash. I remember sitting there all fingers and thumbs but then suddenly getting all the way round and adding new colours, keeping going and then the joy as it grew and grew. I have kept this blanket safe and sound; it has cuddled both of my baby boys and then stayed draped lovingly on my bedroom chair to remind me of the stages of my life.

Then last year inspired by many crochet magazines on the shelf in the supermarket, something just struck a cord with me. I went to the wool shop and I bought some yarn. 18 delicious and amazing colours of King Cole pricewise – a budget DK acrylic- but great all the same. I had a vase of my favourite flowers, tulips on the kitchen table, so decided to use them as inspiration for the colours!

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I found Lucy at Attic24, who inspired me to try other patterns and combinations.There was the festival granny stripe blanket. I started this blanket at the Cambridge Folk festival last summer, our last family holiday before E went off to University.

festival granny stripe blanket

I made a blanket to give to E’s girlfriend for her 18th birthday, a keepsake gift. I love to give presents and one that is homemade with love is always something special I think. She loves Cath Kidston- this was Cath Kidston-esque.

Cath Kidston-esque lap blanket

Then there was the blanket I made for Little Em who requested a big girls blanket for her birthday. I’m really pleased with the retro feel of this blanket, the oatmeal colour sets of the bright and mute colours beautifully.

Little Em crochet granny square blanket

Currently I am working on an amazing project blanket; my lovely hubby got me a club blanket member ship for my Christmas present. I saw Amanda and The Natural Dye Studio projects at Yarndale. I totally and completely fell in love with her blankets and yarns. I did prompt J into the right direction and oh boy, it is beautifully wonderful. Here is where I am up to. I will keep you up to date with my Kaleidoscope Blanket on my Ravelry, Facebook and Flickr.

kaleidoscope club blanket

So how did you enjoy my little journey? I loved looking back at the blankets so far this year – I can’t wait to show you the rest of the projects I have planned, with my double Lucy packs of yarn from Deramores waiting patiently for  blanket or two! Happy hooking people!

::Ta-dah!! Sunny festival granny stripe crochet blanket::

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Ta-dah!!!! It's finished.

What a journey I've been on with this blanket and it has taken 6 months to complete- on and off. Here is the first post when I introduced the idea behind the project. It was a time of transition for my family; my first festival, first holiday without E, my adventure into long distance mummy-hood, and  a period of new beginnings for E, and me with my blog and creation of Mix•Ture43. i have loved the changes and embraced them wholeheartedly.

So…. the blanket.

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I love the colourful and simple border, with my favourite sclloped edging. The colours reflect the main body of the blanket, which is really heavy! It has been an on and off project, always there to pick up and cheer me up when I've needed it. Despite continuing, and starting, new projects, it has always been in my work bag peering out and reminding me it's there.

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I used King Cole price wise from my local yarn shop in these shades; baby lemon, baby sky, larkspur, jade 22, navy 25, gold, cornflour, flame87, orange 144, purple 236, 

grape 265, salmon 174, grass 272, raspberry 305, cerise 268,  a pale green lime from my stash and a couple of other bits and bobs to create the rainbow spectrum of colours. 

They are 100g bals and I used 1 and a half of each one.

I love the vibrancy of the colours, and the yarn works up really beautifully.

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So where will it live I hear you ask? Well it will start it's life on my now crochet-ful sofa in my cosy lounge, along with sunshine granny square blanket and flower burst cushion. At the moment, with this nasty winter wet weather, it is lovely to snuggle up with the blankets and continue my crochet adventures.

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•Cosy,

•Lovely,

•Warm!!

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Multi-mixtures to revisit

::Ta-Dah!!!!! Flower Burst cushion ::
- Whilst the weather…-
-Lovely – Sunny Festival Granny stripe blanket!-
:: Ta-Dah!! Sunshine Granny Square Blanket::

:: Year End Review: 2013: Part Two::

So here it is… part two. In some words (but mainly pictures). It took me so very long to get the pictures sorted I have resolved to organise my photo library for the new year!! A New Years resolution I hope to keep! Enjoy :o)xx

•∆• July

July 2013

Camping at the Cambridge Folk festival, finishing my Sunshine Granny Square Blanket, Ta-Dah post here, and new yarn arrives for Festival granny stripe blanket!

•∆• August

August 2013

Rome and Pompeii was AmAzInG!!! Amazing weather, amazing sights and history and amazing company. Our first family holiday without E was a bit emotional but we moved on and we're ok! Plodding on with new projects.

•∆• September

September 2013

E went on his way to Leeds College of Music and so so so proud we are, you can read all about it in my post here! My studio in the HayLoft was finished. School started back and the old routine of life springs back quickly. Weekends are taken up with visits to Leeds while E settles in. We all miss him. :o( However a super special trip to Yarndale cheers me up no end with my friend Fi!

•∆• October

October 2013

Tutti-fruity lampshade is finished see the Ta-Dah post here. J and I have our birthday, and we splash out on a night at the malmaison in Leeds and visit E at the same time. Half term visit to Saltaire was wonderfully relaxing and a bonus visit to E too! :o)

•∆• November

November 2013

Cold, cold, cold… wet and windy too. But beautifully Autumnal, see here for an autumn walk. Bonfire night, busy with my Autumn Wreath and the little details for that. So happy with it's completion- a new challenge having never made one before.

•∆• December

December 2013

With a deeply satisfying sigh we reach the end of the year. E home from College, end of a challenging school term and a joyous time making and creating presents for friends and family. Chilly hands dug down deep in pockets for a head clearing Boxing day walk.

It is so lovely, happy and satisying to look back over my year – finding crochet again around late spring and beginning my blog and Facebook page. It felt strange 'talking' and sharing my life with the great wide world, but that has now become such a blessing when I look back over my year in print and photos.

Thank you to anyone and everyone who has supported me, with comments, likes, and shares- they mean a lot!

I look forwards to finding new 'friends' and learning more, trying more and challenging myself to even greater heights!

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favourite MixTures from the year 

::2013: Year end review: part one::
::Transition::
-Lovely – Sunny Festival Granny stripe blanket!-
- Whilst the weather…-
::It's great to have a catch up…::

::Transition::

It seems so long since I posted anything of any wordage… it has been incredibly busy getting back to school and sending my big boy off into the world of university, but here I am back and ready to share my thoughts with you all.

What an amazing summer holiday; The Cambridge Folk festival seems like such a long time ago and the start of festival granny stripe blanket held such excitment and anticipation. I am loving still being able to pick it up and continue with the security and comfort of the stripes leading me further on and on.


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It is growing and growing…

However with the emotion of my eldest son leaving home in September for University never very far away, the summer was a mixture of feelings. Rome with my youngest was exciting and yet strange, being at home whilst the eldest was away working was diferent but ok.

So what did I do? I launched myself into lots of yarn-i-licious projects to keep my fingers, my mind and myself occupied.

Cushions…


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Bunting…
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And my ta-dah!! of the season… tutti-fruity lampshade which I still look at with total and utter delight and glee.


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and in close up…


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Little balls to decorate the lampshade…


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Little owls…


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and creating my studio space in the Hayloft at the top of the house…


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This is where I was able to organise all my lovely yarns that had been in the attic (I know really sad) for many many years, but were now free to sigh and snuggle up in their new home, ready to be plucked and worked into new projects (of which I have many planned!)

So after a trip to london with all my Y6 children, a fantastic and positive start to the school year, last weekend was the emotional leaving of my son to university.

The whole family are in transistion with him now gone (and I am totally confident that he will be absolutley fine), Little J will miss his big brother having him around to play X-box, football and bike rides and probably the odd little argument. Although on the whole they are very close as brothers which I am very proud of. J will miss the boy talk; football, bikes, F1 etc and also him just being here with us in our family. I miss having him around as he is a sensitive soul and always can tell when I am sad, down or just need a hug. 

I will and I do miss him. But my week was made this week when I picked up the phone and there he was… Do I need to thaw this frozen chicken Mum before I make a chicken curry? !@$%@!

We'll be fine. 

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::Happy, Homemade, Homegrown, Happy::

•Happy number 1•

Happy… I found an amazing picture on Ravelry on Delquilters profile, of a lampshade that she has crocheted, with an amazing selection of yarn colours,and I knew I just HAVE to make one too.

Standard_lamp_001_mediumIt gives off such a beautiful light when lit and looks absolutley stunningly, beautifully, gorgeous!!

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Isn't it fantastic!! Oh yes I hear you cry – amazingly so. :o)x

So off to the charity shop I went and I got a retro lampshade, crying out to me, yes talking to me… and so I made it HAPPY and me HAPPY and I bought it and he's ready for his new crochet covering!! (Well once I've taken off his old clothes!)


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•Homemade•

Homemade coleslaw for tea – mmm, mmm, mmm! I lurve coleslaw! Shredded white cabbage, grated carrot, spring onion, mayonnaise, (not too much!), chopped apple and pumpkin seeds! Delicious and so simple to make. I remember as a girl having lovely homemade bread, my mum used to make a batch every week, fresh yorkshire ham off the bone (from the local deli) and homemade coleslaw for a cheeky Saturday lunch whilst my Dad and brother went to watch the local football team. The smell of homemade bread, crisp fresh coleslaw and a glass of homemade lemonade, couldn't be beaten and has transported me back to being about 8 years old. Ooooh, I know what I'm going to make tomorrow, YES you guessed, gluten-free bread! Hmmmm, wonder if it will be quite the same?

Now to get the other bits ready for dinner and dig up HoMeGrOwN.


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•Homegrown•

Homegrown new potatoes, you just cannot beat them!! Now I know not every potato wants to spend it's short but worthy life in an Ikea bag, but they make for great potato grow bags!! They sit really well on my paved garden area and homegrown is always better. Great recycling don't you think? Look!


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So fingers crossed there will be a reasonably good crop, having had all that sunshine but not much rain (especially whilst we were away on holiday). So here we go…


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Quite a lot of the happy  little lovelies for one small potato grow bag, some big, some tiny, but all delicious I'm sure.


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And my little potato family…


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and they are ready, all buttered up to go with the parma ham, mozzarella, melon, coleslaw and salad. Yum, yum.


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•Happy number 2•

Happy… I went to Impact Furniture Services, a great place that take away your unwanted but usable furniture and sell it or give it to people who need it, and I got myself a retro chair for my studio that I can upcycle.


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Once it has been sanded, it will get the same treatment as my first deco patching endeavour and be decopatched. Then it will get a new seat and it will look adorable! Have some lovely new Cath Kidston gingham check and some Cath Kidston Rosali fabric to use. Will keep you up to date!

So now that I've got my classroom looking lovely ready for Septembers new year 6's, I can spend a couple of days and a bank holiday weekend getting my studio sorted. It has been painted, furniture has been bought, roman blind kit has been purchased, fabric for said roman blind has been purchased and sorting and organising has been completed. Phew!!

On tomorrows list is:

1. make homemade bread and other lovely gluten-free baking.

2. go to deli for yorkshire ham on the bone!

3. have bread, ham and coleslaw sandwich for lunch – yum, yum!

4. begin to make blind for studio.

What a busy day, when combined with the usual household chores and jobs I need to do. I'll be settling down to some more of festival granny stripe blanket  I think, as it's probably feeling a little neglected!

Sorry it's a bit longer than I'd thought, but got a bit carried away with the bread nostalgia!! Bye for now. :)

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::Summer holiday bits and bobs::

I cannot believe there is only two full weeks left and I'll be back to work, planning my topic and after moving classroom, organising, labelling and theming the book corners and displays! So much to do.

I've been plodding on with Festival granny stripe blanket and it's coming on nicely.


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•BuT• there is still time to enjoy the summer holidays that remain, visits to places that have been on my list for some time and finishing little jobs and BiTs and BoBs that I wanted to do. So here are some pictures of little things that have taken up some happy hours and have been lovely little things to pass the time, between bigger projects.

•DeLiVeRiEs•


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I was VERY happy to take delivery of my new cocoa mugs by Emma Bridgewater, having broken one of my other ones. I do love the polka dots and have a number of these already – but this time I went for a Toast option too.


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Then my lovely new Yarndale bag arrived, only 6 weeks to go and I'm excited at going along to this and meeting lots of other hooky, crochet, knitter people! Lucy @Attic24 has been a key ambassador for this festival of creativity and has worked hard at getting lots of it organised – shout out to Lucy!! Well done!


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My new-to-me printers drawer arrived – it's in need of a clean and a woodworm spray – but otherwise my threads, cottons and buttons are gong to look stunning in it. Ebay – is a wonderful thing! 99p and 2.99 postage! An AbSoLuTe bargain!


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•ALSO• my gorgeous new yarn arrived (of course I'd ordered all of these thigs so not really surpirise but still…) King Cole Merino blend DK 100% British made. It is beautiful, Sharon at Great British Yarns helped me out as some of the colours are low in stock, but fired off an email to her and she is a star, all sorted!

•PrOjEcTs•


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and it works up beautifully too, baby granny squares for a cushion…


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Going to granny stripe the back.

Visited The WoolClip and bought some grogeous yarn, Jan and Cecelia produce it from their sheep Blue Faced Leicester's I think, anyway lovely. I know just what I'm going to do with it! Will tell you later :o)


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Got the Decoptach bug.


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Made some flower bunting for my party…


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 Notice the completed decoptach 'K' on there too.


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Then the PaRtY… my lovely friends from my Stitching group and I have a party every few months or so, where the fmailies get together and we eat lovely food, drink alcoholic things and generally chat and enjoy each others company. Not a bad spread with only a few emails and gluten free, vegetarian dairy free food in abundance!!


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 Before and after….


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Empty plates. It was delish, great company, good food, some laughs some ooohs and some awwwwhs, with some lovely news too. Little girlies enjoyed Just dance and Big boys enjoyed driving on the XboX, (well so did one Extra little girly who struggled to meet the pedals so drove Capri-style!). Great night. :o)x

Decorating the kitchen with decorative stickers,…. boy did it take a while and was it tricky? YES it was tricky but I think it looks stunning. Got the kit from Achica they have some beautiful things, you have to be a registered user but it's free and they have discounts etc. 

What do you think?


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I'm loving it, and it just peels off when you decide you don't want it anymore!

•GaRdEnInG•


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So between the rain I decided to renew my outside planters, I went to the garden centre and bought lots of plants. Lovely colours and flowers and then installed them into the lovely newly painted pots.


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Trying to brighten up the garden, having been scorched in the intense sun, and now drenched in the total down pours!

Looking back over the last two weeks, I have been a busy little bee!!

All that and organising my 18 year old – A Level results day today was a sparkling success – huge sigh of relief and gush of happiness and tinge of sadness and massive amounts of PROUD!!

Trying to keep my 14 year old busy and off his laptop, Xbox and out in something called  fresh air!!

I've also been starting my studio project, reorganising the spare room- snug -hay loft into a workable space for me to use for all my crafty things and maybe even have my stitching group meetings there too sometimes. Sneaky preview on its way!


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Have chosen the paint, J is busy sanding and doing the smelly paint bit so should be up and running quiete soon. Have bought a new-to-me sofa bed from Impact Furniture and then to decorate with lovely crafty homemade textiles, blankets, blind and cushions. Ooooooooohhhhh, sooooo excited! See you soon.

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