Four Exhibitions

Ashmoleon Museum

A few weeks ago I was in Oxford, the day I delivered the slippers, and I decided to spend some time in the Ashmolean Museum.

At the time they had three Free Exhibitions and I went and looked at each of them.

But first I went up to the roof terrace and had a cup of coffee. cup of coffee

I tried to photograph the whole terrace but the sun was so bright, I just pointed the camera and hoped! The camera was not quite level as you can see. roof terrace

First Exhibition – The Tale of Prince Vessantara

(This exhibition is on till 9th September)

The story behind the pictures, and there were quite a few though I did not photograph all of them, was that of a past life of the Buddha.

He was born as Prince Vessantara who was such a generous man that he gave away everything, including his wife and children. Generosity is a prime Buddhist virtue but I must say that I was rather shocked at the idea of praising a man for giving away his children.

The story shown in the paintings on show was how a man asked the prince for his children so they could be servants for his wife. The prince agrees. Story of Prince Vessantra part 1

The prince’s wife is of course devastated though that is not shown here. The light was very poor so I only took photographs where it was better.

But later the prince’s father recognises the children and pays the man a great deal of money for their return. Story of Prince Vessantra part 2

Second Exhibition – A Century of Women in Chinese Art.

(This exhibition is on till 14th October)

The century in question here is the twentieth.

Here I only photographed a couple of paintings that were different to the norm.

The first show Tibetan women presenting lengths of white silk to guests. Two Tibetan women

The second I thought was particularly interesting because it show a Western style clock on the wall. Two Chinese women and clock

I also thought the garment in the same display case was so beautiful. beautiful garment

Here is a closer look. embroidery close up

And another piece of embroidery that caught my eye phoenix and dragon embroiderybecause it’s theme contains the phoenix and the dragon just like my Chinese laquer plate does. laquer plate

Third Exhibition – Paintings and a sculpture by Ibrahim El-Salahi a Sudanese artist.

(This exhibition is on till 2nd September)

I especially liked his tree paintings. tree painting

and another tree paintingAnd this tree sculpture. tree sculpture

On the wall opposite the sculpture there was a huge painting of Flamenco dancers that he had see in Andalusia. Flamenco dancers painting

Bodleian Library – Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth

(As you can see this exhibition is on till 28th October)

A few days later I was back in Oxford to meet my daughter and husband and go to see a Tolkien exhibition in the Bodleian Library. The exhibition is free but you do need to book tickets for a particular time slot.

Unfortunately it was not permitted to take photographs in the exhibition but I did take a photograph of the display outside. Tolkien exhibition display

If you are interested in Tolkien, I can thoroughly recommend a visit. We spent at least an hour there and could have spent longer. There were photographs and artifacts concerned with different stages of his life, books and paintings and maps he had made.

And the shop had lots of Tolkien inspired memorabilia.

I bought a fridge magnet. fridge magnet

This is much enlarged of course!


Monthly Montage – June

Been so busy lately thinking about health matters (nothing to worry about everything is fine!) that I forgot all about a montage for June.

In June, I told you about the dinosaur I made for my Grandson’s birthday and a Never-Ending card I made for my granddaughter’s birthday.
June montageI also had a post about the tea cosy I want to make for my new teapot, some archive pictures concerned with Sunlight, more bread and garden photographs and the slippers I made for James. No Knitting this month, though I was knitting a pair of socks and am now in process of knitting another pair!

I do find these post very useful if I need to remember when I made something. I just choose at the option in the menu and browse.

Harvest and new bread tin

There is only one thing that I grow to eat in my garden and that is garlic.

I just pop a few cloves out of the fridge in the ground in the Autumn, as the prepared cloves you can buy at the garden centre cost as much as a whole head of garlic at the greengrocers!

So here is my latest harvest drying on the dish drainer having been dug up and washed. garlic

I am also going to show you my latest bread tin. bread tinIt is supposed to create a crisper crust. So I thought I ought to try it out.

I made a white loaf and decided to try using a Stanley knife to cut a slash in the top. dough in tin and Stanley knifeI think I must give up trying as I am just no good at it, whatever I use!

Here is the final loaf. cooked loafI had wondered if it would be difficult to get out of the tin if the dough pressed into the holes but it was okay.

However there were little pimples over the sides and base of the loaf. pimply end of loafIf you look back to photo of the tin you can see there are less holes on the ends where the ‘crusts’ are created: sort of counter-intuitive. The first crust I cut off was lovely and crisp and crunchy but by the next day the crust was just ordinary, as crusts tend to be. So not sure if it makes a difference. I do have tins of a similar size with no holes maybe I need to make two loaves at once and compare.

Just a quickie!

Been busy so just a quick look at my latest finished project.

Some of you may have remembered these. first pair of socksAnd how I said that as they were so short (as requested) that I had almost enough to make another pair.

And so I bought this. sock woolWell here are the second pair! new pair of socksDelivered and appreciated!

A Pair of Slippers

I recently finished the slippers I told you about. crochet slippersI will be giving them to the person I made them for on Tuesday. Hope he likes them. But then he has tried one on before it was finished so hopefully nothing has changed in the meantime.

Here is another view. slippers from another angleThey are made with two strands held together of Drops Alaska in Dark Turquoise and an 8mm hook. The pattern I started from was by Erika Knight. You can find it here – but I adapted the pattern for a much bigger size.

I have not added the leather patches for the sole and heel but I hope someone else can do that.

Here is a final view from above. slippers from above

For those who like such things – more flowers and bread

I took the pictures for this post a week ago but was too busy to put it together.

So here is some views of my garden recently.

I was pleased to find that my Vagabond clematis had a new flush of flowers. clematisbut less so to see that the slugs had been busy lower down. slug damageI was surprised to find that the fuschia seemed a little more compact than last year, fuschia bushthough I prefer it that way.

The lavender that I planted last year had grown into a much bigger plant lavenderand as this is just next to my favourite sitting place, the smell is quite delightful.

I took another picture today, the flowers have really opened. lavender closerThe golden sage is looking very happy. golden sageThis will mean pruning next winter I think, as I know what sage is like!! (Like the card the leaves are more yellow than this!).

My roses were in full flow. patio rosesI bought them because of the scent but they seem to have far more petals this year which is not so good for the bees I believe.

Now Bread

I made another granary loaf granary loafand photographed it this time.

Next morning I cut some slices for breakfast.

Here are two of them. two slices of breadand here is breakfast.breakfastThree slices covered with peanut butter or fig conserve or honey. Yum!

Another Never-ending card

I made my granddaughter an ‘Never-ending card’ for her birthday.

I tried a different way to arrange things than I had with my Easter card and an earlier birthday card.

The birthday card was the first one I made and I kept it simple with coloured edges a bit of writing and lots of stickers. The Easter card was designed and printed on my computer, so I could make several. Both of these cards had four different views to cycle through.

This time as I was only making one copy I decided to try colouring it by hand! Now I am not very good at drawing or colouring: my hand-eye co-ordination and muscle control is just not up to it. However I tried to do my very best and produced a card with eight different views as you can see below.

The outer part of the flames is actually yellow highlighter pen but there is no accounting for what cameras do to colours sometimes! You can see that I did add a few stickers that I had left from the earlier birthday card, more later!

when you open this out you get – Opening the card horizontally shows – Opening this sideways reveals the fourth and final view of this sequence. This is where I wrote the greeting in the four segments of the central button.

Opening this horizontally you get back to the original ‘Happy’ side.

However if you turn the card over and turn through 90 degrees, you see this  which opens onto this – Maybe you saw that coming?

Followed by – And another button – Again, another ‘opening’ brings you back to the ‘BIRTHDAY’ side.

Along the way I also found a version that uses eight pieces of card instead of four and gives four sides which are always square. I saved the template and may give it a try sometime.


Yet another project!

As those of you who have been following my blog for a while will realise, I am very fond of Port Meirion ‘Botanic Garden’ china.

Now, some time ago my daughter bought me these tea cups. I really like the shape as it makes them suitable as coffee cups as well. six cupsThe four in the front are some of the flowers designs that are also on the ‘oatmeal’ bowls. Perhaps for that reason my two favourite designs are the one at the back the scarlet pimpernel and broom ones.

Here is a photograph with my four favourites at the front. six cups other arrangementYou can see the pimpernel and broom ones on the right and get a better look.

Normally they don’t get used except when I have people here for afternoon tea which is rarely. However, in the summer, I do like to take a tray with a cup. a teapot and a jug of milk out into the garden and have two or three dainty cups of tea and maybe a cookie or a piece of cake.

The problem is that in an ordinary tea pot the tea will ‘stew’.

So several years ago I bought myself this glass teapot made by Bodum.

Bodum teapot

It is very clever in that the central part is a bit like a cafetière except that the plunger has no holes. So when the tea has brewed, if you push the plunger down the tea leaves are locked away.


However the teapot holds one litre, so when making tea just for myself, I only fill it half way, which is only just enough for the hot water to reach the tea. And recently the plastic at the top, which holds the filter part in place, has got broken, so when you tip the teapot to pour the tea, the central part starts falling out.

Now over the years I have made two teacosies for this teapot and am especially fond of the current one. You do have to remove it to pour the tea but it is so beautiful and fun!teacosyBecause of the issues with the central part coming loose and the size, I decided that I would look to see if I could get a smaller pot with a removable filter, as I know that these have become available, and I found and bought this one. new teapot

It is called a ‘Stump Teapot’ and comes in two sizes: a one-cup version that holds 400ml and a two cup one that holds 530ml. I bought the two cup one, as the other looked a bit too small.

Being ceramic it should naturally keep the tea hotter than the Bodum glass one or my steel teapot, but I still think that I would like to make it a cosy.

Not sure what but it will be a crochet project.

cafetière cosy
Pictures from earlier posts

Now do I make it in rainbow colours or blues or greens to harmonise with my two cafetières that it will stand next to?smaller cafetière cosy

All my previous cosies have been experiments in different sorts of knitting or crochet; so what do I try this time?

(If I went down the blue/green route, I had thought about using the Drops Alaska, 100% wool aran weight, yarn left over from my cardigan and the slippers I am making.)

Any suggestions gratefully received.


A dinosaur for my grandson

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a dinosaur for my grandson.

First of course I had to look for a pattern. I discovered that there are very few books for knitted or crochet dinosaurs; in fact I only found one of each and reviews on Amazon suggested issues. The dinosaurs pictured were also not quite good enough, not realistic enough. There were some on Ravelry that I was almost tempted by but they cost more per dinosaur than buying a book.

Then I found a FREE pattern that was just perfect.

Well almost: it was in Spanish.

However with a bit of help from Google Translate and a table of Spanish crochet terms for where Google faltered, I was off.

You can also find it here on Ravelry –

So meet the dinosaur. Dinosaur looking at you

I made his head, body and tail first then his limbs.

This was where it began to become more difficult. front limbsTo make his front legs you first make his toes then link them together to continue up the limb. They involve a magic loop then spiraling from just five dcs (US-scs). To work in a circle, especially such a small circle, it is easiest to work at the back of the circle however that means that the right side is inside and it wasn’t until I had finished the legs that I realised that they were inside out!!

So undoing down to toes, turning toes right way out and redoing limb.

At least this meant that I didn’t make this mistake with the back legs. back limbs


Theses toes were fatter underneath and the feet are quite shapely. I had not looked at the diagram that says how to join the toes before doing the feet, But when I shaped the feet I could tell they were not bulging in the right places so more undoing. I had a bit more difficulty when it came to understanding the method of creating the heel but eventually I got it right and then I just kept going following the instructions precisely. Do you like his knobbly knees? So clever.

The instructions for shaping the face were also amazingly detailed. Showing exactly where to insert the needle. head shapedThe dinosaur pictured in the pattern had plastic eyes with yellow irises but I only had all black safety eyes so I added a bit of yellow felt.

Then I had to make the teeth!

I made all the teeth in white acrylic yarn only to realise that they were much too big. acrylic dinosaur teeth

Recourse to the pattern showed that the pattern suggested making the body in an aran weight yarn (I had used DK) and then making the teeth in something that appeared to be about 4-ply. So I decided all that I could do was to try #10 crochet cotton.

Teeth were not easy. Only three stitches into a magic loop then increasing gradually. At first I was remaking each tooth maybe half-a-dozen times before I could get to the end!!!!! This was in acrylic, cotton was even harder, but I did get into a bit more of a rhythm eventually!

And twenty-one in all with three different sizes involved.

But when I had finally made all the teeth and then sewn them securely and evenly in his mouth, he looked suitably fierce. head with teeth

Now it was a matter of joining head to body then back limbs, then tail, which partially covered the back limbs, and finally the front limbs.front view of dinosaurA few ridges down his back and he was complete. (As you can see there were some bits in cream too! The foot claws were a bit like the teeth! and black for inside the mouth.)back view of dinosaurAnother view. another view of dinosaurAnd marching across the plain. dinosaur marchingI had to use him leaning against the chair to take these photographs but using a cardboard cylinder under his tail he can stand freely. dinosaur with tail supported