Curling tongs heat proof cover

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A sewing day with Nottingham Patchwork Group and I now have a heat proof curling tongs travel mat. I saw the sheep fabric and couldn't resist it. I used heat proof wadding and reflective ironing cover material and just sort of made up the pattern. I wanted something that wouldn't be too bulky but would protect the wand and be heat proof too. It had it's first packing outing on our Yorkshire holiday and passed the test with flying colours.

Crochet basket

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Another holiday and another crochet project. This actually was a bit of an impromptu crochet job as some yarn in a bin box called to me when I was guarding the bikes whilst waiting outside the fish and chip shop. You know how it goes, it's bank holiday weekend and you are just standing around not wanting to go too far (we hadn't taken bike locks), and the yarn shop is very close to the chippy, and the sale basket is just there and there is some interesting yarn at a great price. It was meant to be. I then had to come up with an idea for 3 balls of superbulky yarn which recommended 15mm needles for knitting. Whoppers then. However, since I happened to have all my crochet hooks with me :) I chose a 10mm hook and made a start straight away. I ended up undoing my first effort as whilst it was making a pretty sturdy fabric I wanted to make something that would stand up on it's own and could be used as a bin liner or similar so the following day I went shopping for a plastic bin or bag of some sort and saw the perfect item; a plastic flexi bag.

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Now I had something to work around for size.  All went swimmingly well until I ran out of pink super bulky yarn with not much hope of getting some more. You see how my projects escalate? So, back to the yarn shop (The Mill in Sutton on Sea) for something to improvise with to finish the basket. I ended up buying 3 balls of chunky yarn to ply together to make the right thickness. It was a bit too thick with 3 strands but this actually worked in my favour because the flexi bag was wider at the top than the bottom so I didn't need to do any shaping. Anyway, it was finished in quite short order with a bit of a flower embellishment to finish off the pink wool. Now I have a lovely crocheted basket that I'm not really sure what to do with. At the moment it is holding my current patterns, books and projects and being both useful and stylish! Just in case it looks like I spent all my holiday crocheting I can confirm that I did a lot of cycling and walking too (and some embroidery, but that is another story)!

Crochet Festival Hat

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This is one of my holiday projects. I seem to be unable to go away on holiday without some sort of yarn or textile project........there are so many things to make and so little time! Of course it depends on how much space there is to pack and since our holidays this year are again UK based and budget holidays due to the barn conversion, I had plenty of room in the car to take some rainy weather activities. Our holidays this summer were split into two separate weeks and two locations. For our first holiday to the North Yorkshire Moors we were largely blessed with beautiful weather and very purple heathery moors. Perfect for walking and photographing.  I did have a day out (!) on a train trip to London for work meeting but made the best use of my time on the train to start crocheting a hat. A request had been made to make a 'festival' hat for a friend of one of my son's in law, who had inadvertently binned his mates favourite festival hat. The only clue to what a festival hat looks like was a photo of a little girl wearing a crocheted girly hat so not really much use.  I was pretty much making it up as I went along. I used cotton dk yarn with two strands together and found a pattern on the internet and just got on with it adapting it as I went. It didn't go quite to plan as I had intended to do many yarn changes to make it look random but I didn't have a lot of room on the train so made do with a couple of colour changes. I did feel a bit silly trying the partial hat out for size on the train but I had to check that it was going to fit an adult, or in fact anyone. I finished the hat the following day and was entirely unsure that it would be suitable for anyone, let alone a bloke, but at least it was finished. I'm cautiously optimistic that it might be ok as the 'mate' has seen a picture of it. Miracles do happen.

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The Yorkshire moors in all their heathery glory. Apparantly the heather was in flower two weeks earlier than usual which timed it perfectly with our holiday.

Pembrokeshire Islands Seabird Spectacular Cruise

We have just had a fab family holiday in Pembrokeshire. One of the many highlights of the holiday was an evening seabird cruise around the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast. This particular trip was run by Pembrokeshire Islands. I did take some photo's but they mostly didn't turn out too well due to the low light levels and the up and down-ness of the boat, so if you follow the link you will see some much better photo's that represent the experience that we had. I wanted to see puffins and we saw thousands. It was really spectacular. Of course we saw many other birds and the guide on the boat was very knowledgeable and really interesting even though we did get a bit confuddled with information overload after a while.

The cruise ended as the sun was going down and it was a lovely sunset, which finished off the trip beautifully.

Pity I felt so sick all the while on the boat. Curse that dratted motion sickness. It was worth it for all the puffins though!

The bacon butty walk

A couple of weeks ago we decided to walk from the barns to Codnor Park reservoir to get some fresh air. It's a walk that goes down the fields, across the steam railway, along the coach road and then onto Cromford canal and then to the reservoir. It is a nice walk, not dramatic, but nice and it harks back to our industrial heritage. The weather started off sunny but we just reached the bacon butty van at the reservoir when the heavens opened. There was no option but to have a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea whilst sheltering from the rain. Well, I have to say it was the best bacon sandwich I've had in ages, and the cup of tea hit the spot as well. The Waters Edge bacon butty van has featured in Derbyshire Life magazine and manages very well without advertising but relies on word of mouth and facebook recommendations. After the rain we turned around and rushed back to the barns before the next deluge.....and almost made it in time.

The reservoir at Codnor park has become a favourite gentle stroll and bird watching venue. At the moment there are many baby water fowl including swans, moorhen, mallard and coot. Checkout my instagram feed for photos. 

Hardwick Hall - more glass than wall

I love where we live, not specifically our temporary rented hovel, but our bit of Derbyshire. It has many attributes but one of them is that it has stately homes all over the place. Today I dashed out to Hardwick Hall - it's only maybe 10 miles from where we live - and it was such a beautiful afternoon and we are members of the National Trust so it's easy to pop over for an hour. I took some really nice photo's of the herb garden in all it's loveliness but have just accidentally deleted them. Oh well, I will just have to pop over again another time and take some more. I did manage to salvage one of my photo's but I've a feeling that I've taken this very view before. One thing I didn't know about Hardwick was that it was featured in Harry Potter as the outside of the Malfoy mansion. When I saw it in the film I thought that it looked very much like Hardwick Hall!

Sutton on Sea.......and relax

We have just had the most relaxing couple of days at the seaside. We managed a little bit of light exercise, a swift pint at the pub, lots of sleep, a trip to the cinema and some sitting around reading and fiddling with new phones. It really could have done with being a longer break but 2 nights away has been marvellous. The exercise part of it included some gentle walks by the sea where there is a lot of digger activity on the beach. Nope, not giant sandcastles, but a lot of beach nourishment. I have always thought that 'beach nourishment' was a strange term for pumping a load of sand from offshore and piling it up on the beach for sea defences, but that's what it is called. It certainly feeds my strange fascination with big diggers which I will share with you in the video below.

Christmas at Chatsworth House

We are very fortunate to have Chatsworth House a short drive from where we live and the Christmas decorations are a special attraction and well worth a visit, although it is really busy. I had a sisters day out - myself and my sisters have a trip out and lunch instead of buying each other Christmas presents. This year we had a bigger party as my niece and her little boy came too and also our dad, so it was extra nice with 4 generations of the family represented. Here are a few photos of the decorations, though they barely do them justice. I've also included a photo of my favourite sculpture of the Veiled Vestal Virgin. This year the theme for the decorations is 'The Nutcracker' so there were ballerinas dancing around too ("the pretty ladies" as described by little Oscar). My favourite room had a tutu tree and a bauble bath :)