Saturday, 28 March 2015

By Osmosis?

Everywhere I look, everywhere I read, so many of us are walking the same path. 

Overwhelmed by too much. Too much information. Too much stuff. Too many ideas. Too much inspiration. Just too much. 

I want less. Less stuff. Less "must make". Less "need". Just less.

I don't know when it started. Weeks? Certainly. Months? Most definitely.

Along the path I had decided to walk I found a book that addresses one aspect. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. I'm not following it slavishly, wouldn't suit me.

The part that speaks to me is giving yourself permission to discard and to keep only that which brings you joy. What a great feeling to just let things go. To let the house, and us, breathe. Mostly books and clothes but also other possessions. 

Still a lot to do (e.g. the loft!) but determined to continue to be ruthless. No need to keep things just because they were gifts or have sentimental attachments. Things you used to love but now no longer care for, let them go. Let someone else enjoy them and at the same time charity shops benefit.

The other benefit of discarding is you get more space, and when you get it you don't want to fill it. So you stop acquiring things. It might not suit the continuous push for the goal of "economic growth" but I'm getting off that bus. I'm walking a simpler path.

Are you?

Carol xx

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Do You Mind If I Knit? Vanessa Cabban

 Remembering today the wonderful, inspirational and talented Vanessa Cabban who recently passed away.  

I loved her blog, her joy in life and her creations were, for so many years,  a privilege to share.

Rest in Peace lovely Vanessa. 

Carol xx

You can read further tributes at

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Have I been busy?

There has been knitting

of lovely warm socks

and cosy shawls.

some very small squares which, one day, will become a patchwork blanket. I started the Beekeeper's blanket (the hexi-puff one) but, after making a few decided it wasn't for me (couldn't get my head round what would happen to all the stuffing when the blanket was washed!). So patchwork it is and a it makes a great portable project.

There has been lots of crochet to create

more cosy shawls

A blanket  for our new great granddaughter who is due within the next few weeks.

There are 36 assorted squares which were hiding in boxes and bags, all neglected. I was going to combine them to make a "Gypsy Blanket" 

but when I put them together I didn't like the effect so they are now the basis 3 separate projects!

There has been some cross stitch

but not very much.

There has been some sewing

a pound phone case received a "Julie Arkell" inspired makeover and, probably my favourite creation

a "Day of the Dead" softie. The pattern was in an old Vogue magazine (when I say "pattern" it was just the body parts and then the instruction "decorate as picture", now I know why some call them "Vague" patterns) and a friend liked it so I offered to make her one. It was immediately claimed by her young daughter as she said it would "keep bad dreams away". I am happy she loves it.

So I have been keeping busy, trying to craft every day and loving it!
Thank you for visiting.

Carol xx


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Yarndale 2014 Part 2

Well that was a surprise, my post published. Blogger and Ipad aren't the best of pals.

More eye candy from Yarndale

Isn't that a gorgeous shawl?

Some very sweet contributors

Well someone has to provide all that gorgeous yarn

and it definitely wasn't these weird creatures!

Not just yarn for sale, some very useful ideas especially this upcycling of an old jumper by the Yorkshire Branch of The Stitch Society.

On the Sunday, together with my friend Bev, (Cannycrafty blog) I went to a mini workshop at the Embroiderers' Guild stall. They were providing ideas to show that the Guild is not old-fashioned and that it welcomes all skills and ideas. We were given some hessian, a needle, threads, some guidance and ideas and then allowed to do our 'own thing'.

We passed a very enjoyable hour stitching, chatting and drinking tea. Perfect.

I love this photo of (from the left) Bev,  me, Luci and her Mum, Marisa taken in Lucy's studio. We had such a good time together. A friend looked at this and said "you look like a family" and we were - a crafting family. 

Luci must take the record for the quickest project bought and completed at Yarndale. Look at the beautiful pink cowl she arm-knitted.

I'm sure you will have realised that I post more on Instagram than I do here so it was wonderful to meet up with friends I have made through IG. 

Quite a gang on Saturday.

A few less on Sunday but on each occasion we were all so happy to put faces to names. One thing I have found is that the friends I have made on-line have turned out to be just as lovely in "real" life. I feel very lucky to know these fabulous ladies (well just look at the big smile on my face)

All too soon, the weekend was over but not before a great night out with with my friend, Jacqs and her lovely daughter.

Cheers friends and cheers to Lucy and all the Yarndale team who organise this fantastic event.
Here's to 2015, my hotel room is already booked, hope to see you there too.

Carol xx

Yarndale 2014 Part 1

Time just flies and already Yarndale is drifting away but not without leaving happy memories and friendships forged which I hope will last a lifetime.

What a thrill it was to have my giant Mandala on display. I felt guilty that I hadn't produced one by the deadline so, when lovely Stiana (Cosmos and Cotton blog) wrote that Lucy (Attic24 blog) need a few larger Mandalas I jumped at the chance to make a contribution. The pattern is Starflower Mandala and can be found on Zootyowl's blog. It measured some 26", Lucy added a couple more rounds and fixed it to a hoop. Don't I look happy with my creation?

Once again the bunting was on show.

As were all the amazing Mandalas created by lovely crafters from all over the world.

There were visitors from many different countries.

Some, like me, attending for a second time.

Last year I regretted not buying a shawl or scarf kit from the Natural Dye Company so this year I, together with lots of other visitors, made a beeline for their stall. 

I bought a Lula scarf kit and, as you can see, I made one or two other purchases over the weekend,  including some very lush yarn from Laal Bear who, sadly, is retiring.

I could have spent a fortune.

So much beautiful yarn

I think I was very restrained!

More brilliant displays included this one to benefit the Alzheimer's Society

There was lots of Yarnbombing to enjoy as you walked through the park to the show.

Including bikes which had been decorated by pupils from local schools. A real community enterprise.

Aren't they brilliant?

A few more displays from the show

I know so many would have liked to attend but live too far away

So I hope you are enjoying this little tour.

Back with Part 2 very shortly.

Carol xx

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Helmsley Walled Garden - A Very Special Place

This week we have been house and cat-sitting for friends in Pickering. If you have followed my blog then you know this is one of my favourite places. I have lots of photos to share but wanted to show today's first.

It has been a glorious sunny day and we went to Helmsley to visit the Walled Garden. A place we have been to several times but often thought it needed an extra bit of tlc. It is about 3 years since we last went, what a difference! I knew they had a new Head Gardener and it shows.

Would you like to visit too? Of course you would. Lets go into the garden

There is such a variety of plants so sit back and enjoy the view

(Look at those wonderful old brick walls!)

That is Helmsley Castle in the background.

Love this seat made out of an old haymaker.

This will be a deep red sunflower when it opens, these yellow ones were at their peak

The simplest flowers can be the prettiest, on the other hand Crososmia Lucifer dazzles

As does this Potentilla "Gibson's Scarlet"

Now these are "shout out" pink

More to dazzle

Also there are wonderful vegetable gardens

The plants in the greenhouse/conservatory were pristine

Mainly Coleus and Begonias

Not a single leaf was damaged 

Just wonderful

Everywhere you looked

Just such a wonderful place

One for friends in the USA - the American Pillar Rose.

Finally one I don't recognise at all, a bit like a black bulrush. Anyone know it's name?

One of the very best things about Helmsley Walled Garden is that it has a Horticultural Therapy programme.

Their web site states

"Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (shortened to Horticultural Therapy or simply STH) is the process of using gardening to facilitate individuals development at vulnerable stages in their lives, which includes those with physical disabilities, learning difficulties, mental health problems, social isolation and long term unemployed.

Through carefully structured programmes we aim to:

  • Provide the work experience, skills and practical qualifications that can lead to permanent employment.
  • Bring individuals who are alienated – for whatever reason – back into a caring and sustaining community.
  • Help rehabilitate individuals by building confidence and social skills.
  • Restore strength, self-confidence and mobility after illness, trauma or accident.
  • Provide a peaceful, restorative haven for those recovering from illness and for those whose illness is terminal "
It is a "nor for profit charity" so, if you are in the area join the other 10,000 people who visit annually. You will not be disappointed, it is a very special place.

Carol xx