:: Blue skies and wild flowers::

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We’re nearly at the end of our half term holiday and what a mixed bag it’s been: whistle stop trip to Edinburgh for a GCSE art project (don’t ask!), crochet, shopping, some school work and catching up with the returned-from-University-for-the-year child! Yes all done for the year! Sitting relaxing in the garden with my Kaleidoscope CAL blanket, listening to the birds twittering in the crab-apple tree above me, the cat purring near my feet and the sun warming my face, made me smile and just pause for a minute to savour life around me.

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As it was soooo pretty, today I went for a pootle around the locality (the village) with my Hubby in the lovely, gorgeous sunshine. What a fantastic day it has been; blue skies, really clear and sometimes just a whisp of white fluffiness to change the view, an abundance of wild flowers scattering their colourfulness in the hedgerows and fields. The hummmmmmm of tractors making their first cut of the season in the grassy fields taking advantage of the sunshine.

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We could see all the way over to Dumfries; it was a little hazy and shimmery in the heat over the Solway but the outline of the hills and Criefell could be seen. Beautiful; it made me smile and wish for the summer months to speed towards us with the promise of long walks along the beach, picnics in the fields near the lake, the rainy days in with the games and the long trip to France in the car, laden with holiday hopes and dreams. Oooooh I can smell and hear the markets now, with their stalls swollen with local produce – the cheese, the hams, the tomatoes!!!

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Now back to our walk. I’ll let you look at the pictures, they tell their own sunny, hedgerow story really. But doesn’t it make your heart swell and jump with delight when you get an unexpected day like today?  I love wild flowers and they last for such a short time, it is lovely to cherish and take notice of them while you can. Long, luscious sweeps of buttercups, wild orchids, clover, wild geraniums and tonnes of tiny forget-me-nots that were just a blur when the picture was taken. I wish you could have seen them. I hope you enjoyed your day. :O)xxx

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:: 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…::

::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

::Handpicked, harvesting and homemade::

This is just a quick post – I promise I'll try – having been very happy and busy harvesting and handpicking and then homebaking.

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It was lovely this morning to go and check on the courgettes – and WOW!! There were loads of courgettes and the beans are coming along nicely too! All that sun and rain recently, and there is no stopping them, turn your back for a minute!! I also picked some of the sweet peas and other lovely flowers in the garden to brighten up the kitchen – and the sweet peas are so fragrant and sweet smelling.

_DSC0011Now to decide what to do with my lovely new crop, I'll come back to that later. Then I set about baking some gluten free scones – cheese scones are Little J's favourite so that's what i did. I must admit to being inspired and left mouth watering at Lucy's scones the other day – they did look lovely. Anyway I got them made, then plain and chocolate fairy buns, then I put some gluten free bread dough to prove. Stilll waiting on the bread buns to have their second prove before going into the hot Aga - then coleslaw and ham (as promised ) awaits. Have decided with the boys, that we will make pizza for dinner later, and use homemade bread dough, homegrown courgettes and other yummy things for the toppings. Will let you know how they turn out! 

Then I made both E and Little J's favourite – flapjack all warm, buttery and sticky, they have it on it's own or with sliced banana. And it is quite delicious. 


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I've been making flapjack for years, since I was little (about the same age as the bread, ham and colelslaw sandwiches in my last post here) and whatever variation we decide on they are always delicious. Banana, chocolate, raisins, fruity, nutty, seedy (with seeds in), there are so many ways to make it. Of course now I hahve to make it with gluten free oats. But it is still delicious.

So now for my snack, and a cuppa! I'll enjoy this.


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Ta-dah!! Kept it short and very sweet! :o)xxxx 

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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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•Yum, scrumptious, delish•

The glorious weather continues, and I'm beginning to feel far more positive about the months ahead. A lovely walk in the fells this morning helped to see the strength and beauty of everything around me, how everything has it's own importance and has an impact on your feelings and emotions. The landscape was breathtaking and beautiful and enigmatic with amazing views across the lake at Bassenthwaite.
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Then home for a lovely lunch. Lots of lovely pieces of •delish-us-nuss• green olives, parma ham, moxzzarella balls, mint, balsamic vinegar, baby plum tomatoes, melon. Yummmmmmy!


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Gardening beckons.

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::Relaxing::

Saturday:: After another stressful and tiring week in a busy inner city primary school, and endless performances of The Jungle Book with my Year 6 children, who I am incredibly proud of, what a wonderful way to relax with a bit of retail therapy with my good Friend D. We enjoyed Starbucks Refresha drinks, shopping for shoes, then Coffee ala Cafe Nero, then shopping for summer dresses, then Ice cream ala Thorntons, then shopping for work night out outfit!

I did spend a small fortune, but the things I got are very wearable, mix and match and will last me aaaaggggeeesssss! At least that's what I'll be telling J! Why do we do that? We all need to buy clothes but maybe its because we feel extravagant, doing it all in one go, out and about with girlfirends or your Mum, sister etc. It feels like covert operations! I have shown J all my lovely purchases and he approves – honesty is always the best policy. ;-)

So that just leaves Sunday. What an amazing day!! Shopping sorted and organised ready for lovely salad for lunch, garden station set up for the tennis watching, and a lovely chat with my Mum in our sunny garden. Wimbledon Mens Singles Finals. Go Murray!!

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So with the beautiful weather, hottest day of the year, I decided to enjoy a bit of outdoor hooky by sorting my granny squares into blocks of four and edging them with their self colour for now. My Mum came over to watch the tennis, from my outdoor vantage point (TV adjusted in the kitchen to accomodate the outdoor blanket position), and have a good chin wag. 


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I have reached a bit of a dilemma now: which ones to put next to each other, and how the overall blanket will look at the end, dark to light, alternate colours, grouped similar colours or totally random? I do love these bright sunshine colours, having looked carefully at the pallette to start with. I have identified a couple of the squares that I think have worked really well, colourwise, and have some ideas of the 6 coulrs I want to use in my next project, a ripple blanket.


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Having laid them all out, it is easier to see how many more I need to make and also the distribution of colours. 


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WOW! GoRgEoUs aren't they? I'm so happy with them and feel very excited about getting nearer to finishing them off. They do make me feel content. They are going to make an amazing Sunshine Blanket.  I've been admiring the fruits of my handy work a number of weeks ago when I was planting and potting up ready for the summer months. I planted these dianthus and was a bit unhappy with them to start with as they didn't look like they were going to amount to much, the wind and the rain had battered them so much. But look at them now! BeAuTiFuL!!


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So next was the fruit salad ready for tea, and Aga-Que, ooooooo. Some gorgeous sausages from the local butchers, burgers, homemade coleslaw, couscous, marinated olives…. ooooh yum yum! Not to forget the lovely little new potatoes my friend gave us from her early crop.


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With meringues, cream and strawberry sauce – it was delicious!! 

What a lovely weekend, such a change to be relaxing and enjoying the simplest of things with my lovely family. J, E and little J all happily cycling, eating, talking and playing football together.

I even got a lovely bunch of Sweet Williams today, they look lovely brightening up my kitchen.


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I have had such a traumatic time at work recently, with one thing and another, but my amazing family and good friends have always been there to support, nurture and hold me when I've cried through the difficult times, and I know I'm a very lucky person. What a lovely little life. x

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Related articles

Crochet ripple blanket, slow progress
How to use up yarn scraps
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Andy Murray Wimbledon win: Watch champion forget to embrace mum Judy as he jumps into the crowd

:: Tulips::

After a difficult week at work, followed by an even more difficult weekend as a result, my lovely hubby brought me flowers home, and knowing how much I •adore• tulips he brought a •Mix•Ture•


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Aren't they beautiful? What I can never understand is why they droop so quickly. I filled the vase up with as much water as possible, as someone once told me that they need it up to the top of the stem if you can. Anyway, they got me thinking about the beautiful tulip fields. I looked some of them up, if you Google Tulip Fields there is an array of amazing images, equally as inspiring as they are lovely. Such an inspiration for blankets, crochet and knitting, the colour combinations and ratios of the patterns are stunning!


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I can just see my next Afghan Blanket!


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Such a range of ideas and beautiful colour pallette.

I'm looking forward to Woolfest this weekend and the array of fantastic crafts people that will be showing. Last year I made my bunting, red, white and blue (for the Jubilee of course), and overall there were over 200m of crocheted and knitted bunting made and lovingly donated by the public. The Woolclip have provided much of the support in West Cumbria and the Lake District region nearby,with skeins and skeins of naturally dyed yarns from local farmers and small businesses.


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I always feel so inspired yet so inadequate when I visit, as there just isn't enough time to do all the projects I want!


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Such a contrasting colour scheme to the strength of colour in the tulips and the tulip fields, but still as beautiful and natural in their own way.

Sunshine blanket is coming on so beautifully, I'm hoping that it will be ready for when we go to The Cambridge Folk Festival in about a months time. We will be taking •BIG• tent and all the camping gear for our jaunt down south, meeting up with D, K and Little Em. I can't wait to see them and also to relax and take a well earned break from the busy life I have at school. It will probably be our last holiday together before E goes off to University and off into the •Big• wide world. Oh well not to dwell on that before bed; too much sadness and happiness mixed up together. Thinking happy thoughts!x

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Related articles

-Brightening up my day-
Everlasting Mix-Ture, yarn and sunshine squares.
New Crochet Toy: Tulip Etimo K Hook

•Garden developments, sunshine blanket and rainbow colours•

•Well what a busy week it has been at school, so much to do with it being the end of term and the school year. But, hey ho, I've always got the •CoLoUrFuL• excitement of my new blanket project and the array of jewel-like colours I'm mixing in my Sunshine Granny Square Blanket.
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They really do look •BeAuTiFuL• ;-)


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We've been working on the garden too and J has built me a wonderful Pergola/Arch for some climbers.


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I'm looking forward to sorting out which plants to buy so that I get fragrance and colour. A clematis, climbing rose and some sweet peas are my first choice, but I'll have a look in the good old garden centre and see. I've also got some Rainbow Mixture bulbs to plant around it in the autumn. (Must remember to fill up the birdfeeder by the looks of it, they're so hungry those Chaffinches!

Happy days!x

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So I've been to the garden centre to look for plants but unfortunatley rain stopped play ;-(  On the flip side it means I get to do more of my granny squares for Sunshine Blanket, and did a bit of sneaky baking too so that J, E and Little/Big J had some snacks and yummy, scrummy butterfly buns. Don't think they'll last long!

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Its amazing what you can get done in about half an hour, that's one of the benefits of •PuRpLe AgA• being on all day long, as well as a cosy warm kitchen in cold rainy Cumbria, especiallly today. Although I love where I live, I can't help feeling the sunny spell that we've just had, may have been our chance at summer!


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I do love my •PuRpLe AgA•! 

• Oh well, If that was summer maybe I should get back to Sunshine Blanket for a cheer-me-up and prepare for the long, dark, cold winter ahead! I've had such a positive response from friends and family about my blankets I think I should stock up on yarn and get prepared for some sustained yarn-bombing!

Happy days again! ;-)

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