Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Some more chooks, some more stitching, but not much

Animals shouldn't be kept as singles, except perhaps cats and dogs that have a lot of interaction with humans. When the little ginger hen died that left me with only one as Will has taken the little Silkie hens to his new house.

On Monday I set off for Durham Hens to pick another two laying hens
I chose a White Leghorn and a Black Rock which lay white and dark brown eggs respectively.

He asked if I wanted their wings clipped (like trimming toenails) but I said no they were going to be in a completely enclosed pen. Oops.

When I got home Will helped me to unload my precious cargo. The white hen jumped out of his hands and ran down to the bottom of the garden. We managed to corner her but she got into some open space, took off and landed on the garage roof from where she could spy a neighbours hens. She flew into the garden and 'mingled'. To cut a long story short we had to wait until dark when she was roosting and pick her off (she turns out to be very feisty). So now she is where she should be and I am going to clip her wings this morning. They are busy establishing their pecking order at the moment which is quite a noisy affair with much feather ruffling and some serious pecking.  They will settle down soon and I look forward to about ten eggs a week. Plus of course the pleasure of seeing these lively little creatures pecking and scratching happily for grubs. The Black Rock has the most gorgeous iridescent green/black feathers on her back, with gold speckles on her chest.

I'm suffering that time honoured state of winter blues at the moment and am finding it hard to motivate myself to do most everything each day. I feel anxious and sad and just want to curl up in bed and sleep the winter through at the moment. Hey ho it will be the Winter Solstice soon. Moods are so hard to control aren't they?

I don't know what I would do if I didn't have stitching to keep my head in that gently lovely place. I made a pattern for the class and did a sample for a Christmas Pudding Placemat. They are 10" across.
I have enough fabric to make a complete set so I thought I'd give them to Alex and Will for their new home, because, happily for me Alex likes that sort of thing. It's also spawned a few new ideas for Christmas table settings which I'll be developing over the next week.

I must, however make a little project bag for my friend which will need to be sent off this coming week too, together with the stockings that are ready to be posted. I have more orders but they are being hand delivered, which takes the pressure off a little.
I've reached the 'solstice' on Ben's little corner to corner crochet blanket and am now working on the shortening rows. I bought six balls of variegated yarn and then just crocheted  with increases until I'd used three of the balls. It'll be about 42" square when I've finished.
The pattern is so simple and rhythmic that I'm going to make a little triangular scarf with the silk yarn I have left over from my Linden Bee Shawl. (note to self - get the tassles done).

I went to a rugby match last Friday with my friend Janet-who-can-talk-for-England.
The match wasn't bad and the Newcastle Falcons won, which is good, but I managed to trip over an uneven paving stone on the way back to the car and went flying through the air, landing heavily on one knee. I managed to limp my way back to the car and could drive the car (clutch leg affected) back home via a huge detour because the A1 was closed for resurfacing. I didn't get back until midnight, way past my bedtime.  I got an ice pack from the freezer and hobbled up to bed. Luckily I didn't have any plans for the weekend and very happily it doesn't seem to have affected my back which can go click at a drop of the hat. Other than being a bit stiff everything seems to be ok.  I kept my leg elevated and watched the last F1 of the season with my crochet on my lap.

I've been watching the Attic24 for her annual Crochet-Along (I have done two of the five).  This one again looks really lovely and I happen to have most of the colours - Sweet Pea Stripes.

I'll have Ben's blanket finished an should also have the second little chair back blanket finished too. (Part of my Summer Crocheting) This is the first one. The second will be the same, but different if that makes sense.
The chair will be outside my back door which faces South and I am dreaming of soaking up some rays even though the cloud is thick and the day is grey now.

But for now I am off the the shops to get a cat-litter box to use as another nesting box for the hens.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Where do all the weekends go?

Stitching was put on hold this weekend as the demolition squad  Ben and Max came to stay. We dropped John and Steph off at the station for a day/night in London. (Birthday present for John).

They visited Camden Market; had a wander around; went to see Stephen Fry; ate dinner and chilled. Usually I stay at their house when they are away overnight but this time I had the boys at mine. They were little angels of course although I am constantly reminded why women can't have children after a certain age!
I dropped them off at nursery and school on Monday morning and went home to fish the entire contents of my sitting room out from under the sofas. Max swishes everything off the surface of tables, shelves sofas etc and then systematically pushed them under the sofas.

So - stitching went on hold but I got a little done on Saturday afternoon,
The entire 12 months of Mini Quilts is now done.  I will photo them next to the original quilt I made (a wallhanging). Some are the same but most are slightly different as they needed more to be stand-alone quilts. Some, as in December are completely different.

Stocking orders are coming in so I've been working on those off and on over the past couple of weeks. The fronts of three are completed and will be ready for despatch over the weekend.
I'm always nervous to post them though!

Will took Scruffy the Rabbit (aka Bunzilla) up to his new house and the two silky chickens will be moving up as soon as he has finished the new henhouse for them. I will be left with a single white hen as the ginger one (an old lady) died last week. She was a Columbine and laid blue/green eggs but nothing on the scale of the white one who is still laying the odd egg after nearly seven years. At the weekend I'll go and get another couple as the difference between eggs from your own hens and even the most expensive, free range organic eggs from the shops is still vast. Two hens will give me about 10-12 eggs a week. Enough to eat, bake with and share.

I'll soon be off to work but I have the ingredients measured out ready to bake some nutella oat traybake - a new recipe I found/adapted.
Next weekend will be short as I'm working on Saturday and also covering on Monday for holidays so I only have Sunday this week for stitching - question is, when do I do some housework?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Picture the Year Mini Quilts are done

The last stitch has just been made on the December Mini-Quilt. Happy/Sad! They have changed from the original Picture the Year Wall Quilt that I made a few years ago.  So here is November:
In England we celebrate the 5th November - Guy Fawkes Night - I love the sight sounds and smells of this night (or in this case a whole weekend).  It also provides scope for seasonal quilts. I know in America November is represented by Thanksgiving Quilts. This is the British version!

At the weekend I made the December Mini-Quilt but you will have to wait for this one as it will go to my class first.  I've really enjoyed making these and now have a hole in my quilting world that needs to be filled with some seasonal loveliness next year.  Wall quilts, mini-quilts, cushions, what next?

Since my last post we have also celebrated Halloween.  This is becoming more of festival than it was (does my cynicism put it all down to a commercial opportunity?)  I have the same attitude to this as to Christmas, I mark it in my own way.

Little chocolate cupcakes this time. I did actually buy some little sweeties for trick or treating but I was at work on 31st until about 8 so I didn't get any callers. Will and I heroically ate the little bars of sugary stuff.

I'm going to make some toffee apple cake for this Thursday night because that is a Bonfire Night delicacy.

My quiet day on Monday was not so quiet this week. John was doing some work in the house and Steph was at work so I collected the boys from school/nursery and they came back to my house for games and tea.
The place looked like a bomb site after they had gone. They are staying over this Sunday/Monday as John and Steph are going down to London to see Stephen Fry. Once they are at school on Monday I'll be able to recoup!

The last few days have been very dull and I'm getting that sort of crushing feeling you get without sunshine.  The sky feels slightly brighter today but there has been a sort of yellow/grey light all day for the past couple of days. 

A haircut on Friday will cheer me up and a quiet Saturday is planned before the demolition squad arrive on Sunday. I've chosen to stay in my house rather than theirs this time and if the weather is kind we can walk to the park. 

Will and Alex are moving this weekend so I might make them a casserole so that they don't have to worry about cooking. Will is taking the little hens and the rabbit and I will be getting a couple of new layers as my other two are quite old ladies now.  The difference between bought eggs and fresh laid home eggs is indescribable. 

So in a week when my youngest is 31 and my oldest is 33 I'm feeling my own age a bit more. But let's not grow old gracefully eh?