Friday, 31 January 2014

Crochet granny square scarf

Inspired, once again!, by lovely blogs I decided when I first started crocheting that I wanted to make a granny square scarf.  In particular two scarves made by Gillian inspired me.  I have had the yarn for ages, bought half price!, Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino no less.  However, I had a bit of a wobble recently as to what my next project should be.  Scarf, CK inspired blanket - which I had also started collecting yarn for - and then the ripple threw me for a loop as I really want to make a ripple blanket as I think they are so beautiful.

Decisions decisions.  Well, the decision was made for me.  I was informed no more yarn until you do something with what you have.  The ripple would have needed new yarn (!) and I don't have all that I need for the other blanket yet, so the scarf it was!

I have been busy crocheting squares for a week.  Six different colours, four in each square, all different.  36 squares in total.

What do you think?  I love them and have spent ages just arranging them in different patterns and looking at them!  Hopefully that doesn't make me weird or something!! 

I have loved working with this yarn.  It is the first time that I have used it, but having seen it adored on several other blogs I decided to give it a try.  It is so soft and smooth and flows nicely in your hand and is not all splitty!!  If only I could make everything in this yarn.  Oh well, a girl can dream!!

I haven't finished it yet, despite crocheting and crocheting, it is nearly there, just the border to complete.  I will show it to you in a day or two!

What is coming next....  well I can tell you that it is planned to involve 210 squares.  More to follow next week.....

I am joining with Marianne and Chrissie for this weeks Crochet a Long which they both kindly host.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Wordy Wednesday - New things

Thank you ALL so much for your comments, thoughts and ideas about replying to comments that I raised in my last post.  I really do appreciate all of your ideas.  I also want you all to know that I really appreciate your comments, the fact that you follow and read, and most importantly of all your friendship!

I am still not decided on what to do completely, so, I am going to experiment a little and see what happens!  Just so that you don't think that I have gone mad, here is the plan!

For the next week I will of course continue to read all of your comments, if you ask a question, I will respond in the comments as I do at the moment.

Then for the following week I will try replying by e-mail to those of you who have an address to reply to, this will be in much the same way as it is now.  Again if you ask a question and I can't reply directly I will reply in the comments.

I will still be coming round visiting and commenting on your lovely blogs as always, because I love to see what you have been up to and to say hello!

I will still subscribe to the comments of those of you who I know reply in the comments as I have been doing up to now, otherwise if you are not someone who doesn't generally reply in the comments I will leave things in peace.  I am not a no reply blogger, so if you want to reply to me direct you can, please feel free to do so.

After the two different weeks, I will see if you have all disappeared, stayed, got cross, been happy, or if nothing has changed at all and then make a final decision.  I don't want you to think that I am ignoring you, or have just vanished, because I haven't.  However, as many of you pointed out in your comments to me there is no point just replying all the time and not having enough time to do anything to blog about!

If you have anything else to add, please let me know so that I can consider it!


Now, on to some other things!

Many of you will know that I volunteer at a National Trust property called Basildon Park, and that I sometimes blog about it.  After some discussion with Basildon Park, I am going to do some additional volunteer work with them by writing some blog posts and allowing them to use my words and pictures for other social media work.

Having tossed around a few options, my suggestion to them was that I set up another blog just for my Basildon Park posts.  I am still waiting to hear back as to how they wish to proceed, but I am excited about what this might bring, and the fact that I will get to spend more time at the house looking at behind the scenes stuff.  If I do set up another blog, I will of course let you know so that those of you who like to read about the house can continue to do so.

There will be cheers in some quarters as this might bode well for me to change my profile picture to a photo of me, but I might choose something else - I have lots of pictures of my crochet you know!!


You will have noticed that I am still sans photos here!!  Did you spot that, or did all the words just merge into one another in a big blob on the screen....  I have still to get to grips with this photo thing, it is in progress, and it will happen, but it is slow and I have been busy with other things - life! - however, I am hoping for something colourful and fun tomorrow!!


Thanks for bearing with me, we will see where the journey of life takes us hey!

I hope that you are all having a great week, and as I will NOT be replying to the comments on this post, I thank you in advance for what you have to say.  This is going to be scary not replying!!


Basildon Park know that I exist because I volunteer with them, but I only blog about it because I love it.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

The tipping point....

Things have reached that tipping point where some decisions need to be made.  The tipping point in this case is a good one, it is caused by good things, but it makes me a little sad.

On my last post I was amazed to realise that I had received comments from about 45 people, and as Leanne (such a lovely person, check out her blog!) of Paper Moon pointed out this equated to about half of my wonderful blog followers.  So, by the time I have replied to you all that makes over 90 comments.

I decided when I started my blog that I would always reply to your comments as I think that is polite and friendly and the chatting is one of the things that I like most about blogging.  Indeed that has led me to several new friendships that are developing with some lovely people.

I am however finding it hard to keep up with everything.  I read ALL of your comments, and I always will, no matter what because I love them and appreciate them so very much.  At the moment I always reply to comments, but I am finding that because there are so many it is getting harder to get round everyone and find something different to say.  Add to that the fact that I always comment on every blog that I read, as I like to say something encouraging or hello, thinking of you and so on, depending on what is appropriate to the person's post.  Then (because I am crazy), I also always subscribe to the comments so that I know if the blogger has left me a reply, because I think that if they have taken the time to reply it is only polite of me to read it.

This means that for the second time today alone I have over 60 messages in my inbox to read and each one contains from one to ten or twenty or more comments from readers to different blogs.

Added to that I try really hard to visit the blogs of all of those who comment on or follow my blog, and then I usually follow that person's blog as well.

That is a LOT of reading to do.

So, you can see that a tipping point has been reached.  Lots of lovely readers and commenters, lots of lovely blogs I want to do it all, but it turns out that I am a mere mortal and do not have any more hours in the day than any other mortal does.

In addition - oh yes, because I like to make things as complicated as possible!! - I have volunteered to try and do some social medial work/writing for Basildon Park on their social media (not that I know how to facebook or twitter, but I am assured that they will teach me!).  This will mean, yes, you guessed it, more blogging, etc.

That just adds another tipping point.  I really want to do it and am excited about the meeting I am having this week to discuss what I may be able to offer and what will be asked of me, but it is more "stuff" that means less time for blogging.

I wanted to ask what you all think, as you are the people who read my blog and whose blogs I read.

Do you read the comments that I leave in reply to yours?
Do you want me to reply, or does it just add more reading to your already overloaded inbox?
How would you feel if I just replied to questions or to the occasional odd comment?
Would you prefer me to reply "in the comments" as I do at the moment, of would you prefer me to e-mail a reply (which I can only do if you are not a no reply blogger)?
Do you reply to your readers comments, and what effect has any change you have made had on your readers and blog?  Good or bad.
How would you feel if I didn't always comment on your blog?

Perhaps you could share your thoughts and ideas with me, if you would rather not say "in the comments" you can find my e-mail address in my sidebar, feel free to contact me in that way.

Thank you as always for your help, support, advice and interest, I would be lost in the blog world without it.  I really appreciate you so very much.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

A bunting we will go

Pictures!!  I hope - fingers crossed.

The beautiful Wendy of September Violets - a truly lovely lady with a lovely blog - has been trying to help me with my picture and I am working through her instructions!!

In the meantime I have gone about this in a cack-handed way, but I couldn't go on without being able to show you pictures of things.

What I wanted to show you is this - TA DAH!!

One string of heart bunting for my mantelpiece!!  The hearts are made in a mixture of my own (again cack-handed) method and then the method that I learned online earlier in the week.  I think, strangely, when comparing them that the new method might need more work as they are not as even as my own method.  No doubt again, practice will make perfect.

This started out because I wanted to make this givewaway included in issue 14 of Simply Crochet.  Mine didn't turn out like the one on the packet!  Partly because I didn't go all the way and add a back and stuff the heart - because I thought that the stuffing would just come out again through the holes!

I am not happy with this heart, but hey ho.  So, I decided that some cute little hearts might be the answer, so I have made a range of different ones in different sizes and colours.

There you have it, mini heart bunting - with cack-handedly uploaded photos!!

Sorry that I have been a bit of a misery this week - I know that I have!  I will try and do better, in the meantime I am staying inside, hiding, and sadly eating chocolate.  Here's hoping that some cheer will return soon hey!


Monday, 20 January 2014


Ok, words only today!!

Thank you for all of your good wishes and advice on my little computer issue!!  I have been trying to do some work on it today, and....  I managed it!  I produced one whole document and sent it off to the people I needed to and sent some (reasonably) comprehensible e-mails.  After giving it some thought, I think that I was worried about being able to do my work and that was what had me in such a spin.  Having accomplished that is a big weight off my mind.  I can't say that I feel totally happy, but I am a lot happier than I was.  I now have to have a lesson in how to extract documents from some web based software, but I will leave that until later in the week when I really need it and will call a colleague to talk me through doing it!

I have yet to investigate the various photo editing options that you all kindly suggested, but later in the week when I have some time I will, so until then, we may be either on words only or pictures that I can pull from Picassa.  You may recall that I wrote recently that I wanted to do more writing, well, perhaps this is a prod in that direction from the computer gods!!

Thank you so much for your support, truly, it is amazing that there are people out there in the world who leave encouraging comments and suggestions, and I want you to know that, to me at least, they make a big difference.

Now, I may (!!) have done a little skiving today - skiving is one of my expert skills!! - and gone looking online for advice on crocheting hearts - my new laptop needed one!  My excuse was that I needed to work out how to search for stuff online - you agree right!  I found an amazing video by a lovely lady.  Sadly I cannot share it with you because I forgot where I found it and I don't know how to go back on this computer and find where it was!  However, she was great.

I have never actually seen anyone crochet.  I have looked at pictures of people holding crochet, pictures in magazines, books etc, but never seen someone actually doing it.  Turns out, that I have been doing it all wrong.  When I realised, I felt like a right fool.  However!!  I tried making some hearts by the lovely lady's method and it was so easy.  I made hearts and it was so much quicker than my previous efforts.  No wonder you all produce crochet things way way faster than I do.

So, we had not much of a beginning, lots of middle and now it is the end of my post and I need to sum things up.  I think that today has been, again, about learning.  I have learned that I need to learn how to use this computer and stop getting stressed about it.  I have learned how to crochet - properly!!  I have also learned that learning never stops.


p.s. I gave the crochet heart to my laptop - it is hanging on the top left corner of the screen.  It hasn't made any difference to the computer, it is still being obstreperous but it is a good reminder to me.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Computer troubles

I am having computer troubles!!

My laptop died.  Dead.  It has literally fallen to pieces (as in physically, the screen is becoming detached from the keyboard and there are wires coming out and screws have fallen out from inside it somewhere!).  I have been nursing it for ages and using hubby's tablet. but something had to give and I was the one that gave in and let it go!

Yesterday I went and bought, for the first time in my life, my own laptop, by myself.  I asked the questions, sorted out software (well, so I though, more on that later!), and made the decision.

I came home the owner of a new laptop.  All well and good.  Hmmmmmm.  It has Windows 8, and a touch screen.  I haven't got a clue where to begin.  I keep waving my fingers around on the screen.  I have worked out how to read blogs and comment - which trust me was a struggle, and I finally found my other e-mail that I use for work etc. 

I decided that I better try and do a post though, so here I am!!  Terrified may I add.  I have no idea how this will come out, if at all, so please bear with me if it is horrible.

On my old laptop, I had photo editor and a desktop, I could copy and paste photos from my camera's SD card and into a documents folder and from there I loaded them to Picassa and then to my blog post.  I could edit them in photo editor.

The new computer doesn't seem to have a desktop, and it doesn't have photo editor (despite me telling the man (child) in the shop that I am a blogger - first time I have called myself that!) and that I needed to be able to edit and do stuff with photos!!).  After a lot of fiddle faddle around I think that I have managed to load some new photos from my camera to Picassa and I hope that in a minute I will be able to load them into this post.

They aren't very exciting pictures, just a few shots that I randomly took while hubby was out trying to repair the honeysuckle whose supports had come away from the fence.  So sorry about that, but I needed some new pictures to play with!!

Oh, and if you get some weird and random comments from me it is because of the predictive text, it keeps throwing in random odd words.  I think that I have caught them so far, but just in case I have missed or do miss any, please accept my apologies.

Right, here goes, about to try and put the pictures in, I wonder if they are there!!

Ok, there seem to be pictures here!!  Thank goodness!!!!!!!!!!!  Actually they don't look too bad, which is amazing because as I was trying to edit them the computer kept telling me that I had finished.  I shouted at it!!  I wasn't finished thank you very much!!  I will decide when I am done!

So, if you are still reading along after all that massive little rant and moan, and have any advice about how to get photos from an SD card - the new computer has a slot for that just like my beloved old one - and into Picassa without going all round the houses like I did today, please please please share it with me!!  I am in desperate need.

Thank you!!!!

By the way, I know that this might all sound a bit ungrateful that I have a new computer and I am not happy with it, but it is so different that I feel all at sea and very anxious and stressed.  I am very grateful that I am able to buy a new computer, truly, and I know that it will work in the end, but it is just hard right now.  Sorry to moan!!

Here's hoping that I can post this now!!

Amy xx

p.s it just asked if I want a sticky .  I have no idea.  Do I?  Or is it asking for chocolate because I have upset it by shouting at it!!  xx

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Silent Saturday - Basildon Park

Some things that you may or may not have seen from last year at Basildon Park.  I am looking forward to the house being open again in February so I can get back to my guided tours!


Basildon Park know that I exist because I volunteer with them, but I blog about it because I love it, no other reason!

Friday, 17 January 2014

Into the freezer

As part of my eat less better, move more plan, I decided that I really needed to find out what was hiding in my freezer and either cook it or toss it or just do something with it.  I didn't find anything that needed tossing - that was good.  No mystery packets in my freezer!!

However, there were a few interesting finds.  12 salmon fillets, 8 lots of cookie dough and 4 assorted chunks of Christmas pudding amongst them!!  Actually all very useful and cookable, but a bit of a surprise!

Everything has been listed, with a list posted on the front of the freezer for things to be crossed off as they are eaten or new things added.

My plan is to cook the contents of the freezer to

a. get rid of the stranger items - Christmas pudding - which I plan to crumble into apple crumble to add some flavour and texture,

b. to use the things that I don't want to be eating - like loads of cookie dough - I will bake it and give the cookies away and

c. to ensure that we plan what we eat, so we will eat better and then I can make sure that the freezer is stocked with healthy options and also quick options for when we are in hurry - like batches of chilli, home made pasta sauces etc.  I can also store my extra batches of soup in the freezer as well if I make some more space!

I also discovered that there were a few gaps of things that I like to have in stock, such as cubes of frozen ginger, garlic and chilli, and small batches of pre chopped carrot, onion and celery which I use as a base for cooking all sorts of things.  I better get chopping!

There isn't any space at the moment, but I will add these in again as soon as there is a spot available which will also help with meal preparation as well.

The cupboard with dried food, cans, jars etc is next on my hit list.  The last time I sorted it out I found an excess of jam.  I wonder what I will discover this time.  Perhaps I need to get more organised about my shopping habits too!

I have updated the numbers in the sidebar with my progress this week.  Thank you for the encouragement!


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Crochet cowl

Last week I posted about my (thankfully averted) crochet crisis and hinted that I wondered if you knew what the items were.  I said that I thought one might be more obvious than the other, which was kind of true.  Only kind of true (ahem!).

One, looked like a scarf, but now it is actually finished I can reveal that it is actually this cowl.

I used some of the rest of the lovely Rowan wool that I bought years ago but hadn't used for anything, no pattern, I just fiddled around until I was happy with the width and kept going until I was happy with the length.  I wanted it to wrap twice around my neck, or be the right length to just wear in a long loop.

After I got the right length and joined the ends, I decided that a border was needed and after some more fiddling and testing I added this border, which I think is sort of a shell border, but heck, what do I know, I made it up!

I am happy with it considering that I used what I had, made it up as I went along, and had to rescue it halfway through from the spill!

Now, moving on to the other item. I thought you might guess it as the start of a blanket. However, I am really not sure what to do with this. Years ago I bought the yarn when I was having bash (failed!) at trying to knit and I started to make a scarf. Then I used it to start a blanket which went all wibbly, so I frogged it and started again and this is where I am now.

I am not really overly keen on this yarn and I have had mixed reviews about it from other people, which has put me off a little.  As I said yesterday I am now swithering over what to do as my next project and this isn't really helping me decide!

I have thought about making it into a sort of envelope bag, but I have no use for it then.  A knitting needle case - for the non knitter! - isn't much use either.

So probably I will keep going until I have a blanket of some size or other and the darned thing will last forever because it is acrylic!

Any suggestions?

I am linking up with Chrissy and Marianne for the Crochet a Long today.