Tuesday, 28 April 2015
It's been very blue at home today. Not in mood or atmosphere, but in the garden. Dad commented a few weeks ago how Spring starts with yellow (Daffodils, Crocuses, Primroses) and then as those colours die down, blue leaps forth- Hyacinths, Forget-me-knots, Bluebells, Rosemary.... I wonder if that is an intentional part of nature, perhaps it has evolved that yellow flowers are best to wake the bees up ready to start pollinating again or something along those lines. Perhaps it is just a coincidence.
Today has been lovely and bright, if a little chilly with the wind. I have had the day off and busied myself with some ATC making that I will get to later. The sky has been spectacular and has almost changed colour over the hours, going from a dark blue to a bright zingy blue with puffs of clouds.
In the front garden we have a 'blue bed'. The giant Rosemary bush flows effortlessly into our own small-scale version of a Bluebell wood. The bees and early butterflies are loving this section and it buzzes and hums all day long.
We still have some Grape Hyacinths, although they are starting to die down know. Dad has begun thinking about hanging baskets and pretty planters full of little flowers- these Violas (I think) look a little snail nibbled but are still super pretty.
I had great fun this afternoon trying to take photos of my little wind catcher whirling round. It is surprisingly difficult to catch the motion without the whole photo being blurry, but I think I managed it in the end.
And to round of the blue-ness of the day, what could be nicer than a mug of coffee in my blue spotted mug!
One thing that hasn't been blue today is my ATC making. I have been so busy with other projects, work, travel, family that I rather left this until the last minute (it is due to my swap partner on the 30th!!). The theme is 'Five Golden Rings', the fifth in the 12 Days of Christmas collection.
I actually really struggled with this one, I just couldn't think how to do it, what materials to use, how to position the bits on the card... Eventually a glimmer of an idea struck me although I'm still not 100% sure about this design. The 'rings' are gold painted felt, stitched onto my favourite crazy patchwork background and of course, I had to add my trademark French knots.
I think the trouble is, because I have started this collection with all of my cards made with patch-worked backgrounds, felt embellishments and embroidery, I now feel the need to continue the rest of them in the same way- which I'm not sure will work for all of it (8 Maids A Milking???)- but I love these techniques so much I have to carry on with them.
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Hello!! I have really gone to town with a rainbow theme for my commissioned blanket. I hadn't started out thinking that it should kind of be a rainbow, but after the photo shoot I did last week with the block squares all pleasingly laid out in colour formation, a little bubble of an idea started forming, leading to a great Pinterest expedition which has resulted in a rainbow. Crochet blanket style.
There are obviously lots of squares I still have to make, and I would like to include some more variations of crochet blocks, maybe a solid double crochet block or even a striped double crochet block. The friend who I am making this for said that she really liked my pink patchwork blanket so I am taking inspiration from that as well.
Currently I think I need to find another green (although not lime) to put between the dark green and the yellow, everything else kind of flows colour wise but that bit needs something in my opinion.
But the basic premise is there and I am thrilled with how it is looking!!
Tuesday, 21 April 2015
Welcome to the third and final day of my Leicester visit. One of the reasons for going up there was to see the new house and also to say hello to their kittens! The little lady above is called Bee, and she actually lived at Sweetbriar with us for a time, although was much smaller and less fluffy then. She has grown so much and is a beautiful young cat now with super long whiskers!!
Her little friend is called Electra and is at that great kitten age of being super brave and attacking everything that moves....as well as everything that doesn't. They are great fun to play with, although were really hard to take photos of as they didn't often stay still long enough.
After a lazy morning in bed playing with the cats (the shark game is great, lots of attacking my hand under the duvet), we decided to go out for brunch as there wasn't really enough time to get stuck into anything touristy, my coach home being at 3.30pm.
I have to say, it was one of the best brunches ever!! A highly impressive big English breakfast, in the sunshine, with a huge mug of coffee and good conversation- what could be nicer?
One of the fabric shops nearby had yarn bombed some posts outside their shop. They looked fab, although the tree didn't stay upright for long...
We wandered round a nearby park (a park a day!) and had a look at the hugely impressive war memorial which had the most incredible view over Leicester.
Until finally it was time to say goodbye and get back on the coach for the long journey home. It was such a fantastic end to the holiday, revisiting old haunts and finding new parts of Leicester I had never been to before. Spending time with old friends and making new (small, furry) ones. It's their turn to come and visit me next so I shall look forwards to that!
I actually have to get two coaches up to Leicester as there isn't a direct one, and we have to go via London where I could see the sun going down over the Thames whilst settling back in my posh leather chair and working on a couple more crochet squares for my commissioned blanket.
Back at home, I have laid out all of the squares done on the coach (there are loads!) and will let you know more about it next time. Thanks for joining me in my trip up to Leicester. Ciao for now!
Monday, 20 April 2015
Hello! And welcome to part two of my Leicester visit. It seems like just as I left university, exciting things started happening in the city- namely the confirmation that the skeleton they had just dug up in the carpark was definitely Richard III, the building of a new museum to commemorate his life and death, the funeral procession and reburial, and the re-landscaping of the Cathedral garden.
Therefore, all of this section was new to me and I just had to go and have a look!
The garden was very pretty. Before it had been a grassy jumble of headstones and ivy, whereas now the stones had been moved into little bordered hedge sections, trees had been planted with seating areas and there were lots of brightly coloured tulips in the new flowerbeds.
Inside the cathedral was Richard III himself, buried under a new tomb stone. I was slightly disappointed in the stone, having thought that it should be slightly more ornate than this very modern block of marble, but I was cheered by the sight of a beautifully stitched piece of cloth known as a funeral Pall. It was made by Jacquie Binns, who was specially commissioned to design and create a cover for the coffin. The Pall consists of a series of figures sewn onto black velvet, and features groups of medieval figures as well as modern people associated with the discovery of Richard.
It was absolutely beautiful, with amazing stitched details and shiny golden threads.
After a highly historical morning, we hopped into the car and drove to Bradgate Deer Park- another place steeped in history, and, as we discovered in the visitors centre, with a link to Richard III.
The connection of this place to Richard III is through the family of Lady Jane Grey. She was the Great Great Grandaughter of Elizabeth Woodville and Kind Edward IV, who was the brother of Richard (as well as being the Great Great Grandaughter of Elizabeth Woodville -again- and John Grey of Groby- oh what a tangled web we weave!). In the visitors centre they have a great section on the Grey family and their connections and history, well worth a visit.
I love how the above photo seems to show the stag laughing!
I have been here once before, when my friend Emma came to visit me, and learned a little bit about the history of Bradgate House which was one of the earliest brick built houses in England, and also the birthplace of Lady Jane Grey (Queen of England for 9 days). It was nice to visit it again, even if it was blowing a gale!!
There was one tiny little group of ducklings paddling about in the choppy stream, they were so cute! They weren't going to stand still to be photographed though.
We wandered along for a little while and then decided to stop and have our picnic lunch at one of the provided benches. Someone (above) kept a close eye on us the entire time, just in case we left any leftovers.
And even Elvis popped out to share in some Lemon cake- the poor chap has lost an eye, I will need to make him a patch I think.
Although I know that Bradgate is a deer park, the amount of deer there still surprised me. There were hundreds and hundreds of them! I don't remember there being this many last time I visited but there was one particular field which must have had about two hundred, and that was only one field in the entire park! Mostly Fallow Deer although there were a few herds of Red Deer mingling in.
There's the Old John Tower up on the hill, one of Leicestershire's most famous landmarks.
At the end of our long walk to the centre of the park, we stopped at one of the bird watching hatches overlooking the reservoir. There wasn't much to see though, a Blue Tit pinching bits out of the wall on the other side, a few Moorhens, Coots and Ducks and a confused Cormorant who couldn't decide which way it wanted to go and kept swimming between the trees in the above photo.
Eventually we had to say goodbye to the deer and made our way back to the car. But even on the drive back home there were things to see. This beautiful reservoir, whose name I can't find, caught our eye and we had to stop to take a closer look. It was so still and peaceful.
I had such a lovely time in the outdoors. It's amazing what natural beauties you can find so close to a city, and somehow it makes them all the more special. Join me tomorrow for the third and final day of my trip.