What was I doing on Saturday?

I met up with my eldest and family and had a couple of meals and had fun in an Escape Room. After we escaped!

Although this is not my photograph and therefore I do not own the copyright I am sure the Escape Plan guy won’t mind as this can be considered  an advert. He was keen on us passing on the word.

The Escape Room is located in SE London in Iliffe Yard.

We had great fun. We had been there previously for a Second World War prisoner themed escape and this one if anything was even more fun.

If you are interested in learning more here is a link – https://escapeplanltd.com/ Highly recommended.

I also took with me the socks I had made for my granddaughter (which I have shown you previously). socksand the hat I made for my daughter. hatMy camera really didn’t like this yarn. The colour is much more of a vibrant peacock blue. Imagine the above but brighter and a little darker. The above has been edited by me for colour but nothing I could do would get it the correct shade.

Here is another photograph of the hat standing up. hat in the roundIt is alpaca and merino wool, wonderfully soft.

The pattern for the hat came from Debbie Bliss and here is a closer look at the stitches. knitting stitchesThe hat was very popular and my daughter put it on immediately!


A very Welcome Womble

This year I made two Christmas presents one of which was a womble. 0544-orinoco When my eldest was young the Wombles were on children’s television and my daughter’s favourite womble was Orinoco. She had a cuddly Orinoco which she loved and so when I was offered a knitting pattern to make a womble that was clearly Orinoco I said “Yes!” becuse I thought it would be fun to make it for her. 0544-womble-pattern(As you can see the pattern is a little worse for wear having been carried all over the place while knitting him.)

I decided to replace the white mohair of the pattern with eyelash yarn for greater authenticity. I have never knitted eyelash yarn before or the chenille needed for the face and hands but in the end it wasn’t as hard as I imagined and I could count the stitches which was important.

I am pleased to report that my daughter was really over the moon to receive him (even more than I had anticipated) so it all seemed very worth the effort, though I had regretted it a bit when it came to the sewing. (Never my favourite part.)

I also made a little blue bear for my granddaughter. 0544-little-bearI have a little blue bear that I made when pattern testing for another blogger which sits on my computer tower unit 0363-littlebearand I had asked my granddaughter whether she would like one ages ago but had never settled down to actually making one.

With Christmas on the horizon it seemed the ideal time.

I used the same wool as before because it needed aran weight and I generally use double knitting but still had a small ball of the blue aran.

However I decided to use a 2.5mm hook because I had one with a comfort handle in this size but not for 3mm which I think I used for the original. 0544-two-bearsYou can see that the latest bear came out a little smaller. But no bad thing and he apparently has joined the pocket pig 0033pigand a Christmas angel 0290-angelwithsashI had made previously!


Photo Challenge – Music

As music is something one hears rather than sees I wasn’t sure at first what to do here but in the end I decided on this. photo-challenge1651-musicThese are a tape and CDs that my son has made for me over the years of him playing the piano.

I am very proud of my son because, from xylophone to mini keyboard to bigger keyboards to piano he taught himself to play.

When he went to university I missed his playing. We had a proper piano now. We had bought it cheaply but it had a lovely tone.

Photo copied (and stretched to proper dimensions) from CD cover

So he put a microphone on the piano and made the ‘Decimations’ tape. Later with an electronic piano

Electronic piano in his Council flat because other was too big to move

it was easier because you could use line out and he made me CDs for various occasions.

The Greatest Hits Vol 1 is actually a compilation I made of my favourites from the “Decimations”, “When I’m 62” and “Mother’s Day 2007” CDs. Michael then went off and replayed all the pieces (plus a couple of extra ones) and made the similar looking CD you can see below it! (I made the covers for these two.)

The DVD case contains three (and now four) CDs of different sorts of music! My latest gift. And the “When I’m 62” CD didn’t work anymore and it was one of my favourites so he made me a new copy! So happy.

Photo Challenge – Above

Maybe I am taking the easy way out ( I still seem so busy and tired!) but here is my offering for ‘above’. photo-challenge1639-aboveIt is the cake I made for son on his recent 41st birthday.

For those who might be interested it is a coffee and walnut cake with chocolate butter icing decorated with walnuts and giant buttons and just one candle! Maybe forty is a good time to start counting again. Forty-one candles might be a fire hazard!

(I liked the look of the cake so much that I took a few pictures not realising it would do for this week!)

(And my son said it tasted good, though it might have been better if he hadn’t sounded so surprised! He normally tells me to buy shop cakes to save effort.)

Photo Challenge – Deep

Deep is a relative term but when is deep too deep?

Maybe this. photo-challenge1638-deepEspecially when you consider that this 0509-paddlingHad all too soon become (apologies for the bad photograph but it was taken quickly to capture the moment!) this. 0509-earlier-photoI had refused the offer to join them as with the wild waves I feared that rolling up trousers would not be enough to keep them dry and was not keen on wet feet with no towel to dry them.

Photo Challenge – Home

Even though I was the one who sugested this as a prompt, maybe as someone who lives alone this was an unfortunate topic for me to dwell upon.

When I reflected on the meaning of the word ‘home’ I realised that what makes a place a ‘home’ is the people who share the space, not the place itself. I do think the plural is important here.

Now had I been due to visit my daughter, I might have been able to photograph something there that epitomised home but, as I am not, I decided to look around my house to see what was most evocative of ‘home’ in my mind.

My best memory of ‘home’ is when I lived together with my children and so I chose this Photo Challenge1607 - Homewhich is the bookcase in my study where I put cards that I especially like. All the cards you can see, except for the two landcape ones on the top shelf, are from my children. Some of the many I have received since I moved to this house.

They say “Home is where the heart is.” and I suppose my heart is with my children always!


Photo Challenge – Vintage

The photograph I have chosen for this week is one that I have already used for Monochrome Madness as the photographs that form the montage are all monochrome, though one is tinted. But that is allowed for Monochrome Madness if used sparingly. Photo Challenge1603 - Vintage This photograph is a montage of postcards of the boading school my mother went to when she was six plus a photograph of my mother.

The school: St Rose’s is now a school for children with disabilities but then it was a normal boarding school. The thought of my mother going to boarding school at six may make you pause but the reason for it was that as a (Roman) Catholic in a small Welsh mining village she was being picked on at school.

It may not have helped that her mother as a child had laid one of the foundation stones for the Congregational chapel but on her marriage to a man of Italian extraction had converted to catholicism. The inscription on the foundation stone she had laid has been defaced. Such ill feeling may seem strange in these ecumenical days but this was the early part of the last century.

The photograph of my mother in the centre is not of her when she was six obviously but one taken and tinted when at about the age of seventeen she was the village carnival queen.

I can do cross stitch too!

I’ve been wanting to have a go at cross stitch for a long time.

Some time ago when someone was giving away things they didn’t want I acquired a small cross stitch kit to make a notepad with pretty cover. I thought that it seemed a good place to start, though I was a bit worried if the stitches would be too small. There were six different coloured threads. Two green and two red and two orange.

Kit labelI was very pleased when I finished the first green portion, having decided to start in the middle. StartThis is 14 count. I was however happy to discover that I could see well enough to do it even in the evening.

The only guide I had was the photograph of the finished design on the sheet I showed you above. I did struggle a bit to decide which colour I should be using for the red and orange part but decided that as long as I made it symmetrical it didn’t matter too much if I got the odd stitch in the wrong colour. MotifI was very pleased with the finished design. (I was also pleased at the result of using a piece of white polystyrene to reflect the light so that it was more even as advised by Deborah of Circadianreflections)

Here are the pieces needed to make up the notepad.KitI normally give my children money as the main present but I like to give them a little something as well. I decided to give this to my younger daughter for her birthday which is this month, so here is the finished present with the birthday card. Finished present

I hope to find time to do some more cross stitch in due course but my list of other things, expecially knitting, seems to be getting longer and longer!

Danube Adventure – Dürnstein

On Wednesday we awoke at Dürnstein for a day when we would visit Dürnstein and Melk and travel through the Wachau Valley. This post is just about our time in Dürnstein.First view of castleDürnstein is best know as the place where Richard the Lionheart (King of England at the time of the third crusade) was held captive by Duke Leopold V of Austria.

Hence climbing up to the castle ruins high above the town was what my daughter and I were most interested in. And since I love walking and nature even more than interesting cities, it was something of a highlight of the trip.

We had been given a map and instructions on how to reach the castle but we didn’t really start thinking about such things till we were wandering along and realised we were at a bit of a loss. Getting lostWe did find this little gift shop however Gift shopwhere I bought my son a T-shirt.

There were lot of tourist/child interesting displays about Richard the Lionheart along the way which I didn’t bother to photograph.

But I did photograph the other notable thing in the town which is the blue tower of Dürnstein Abbey. Blue towerRemember this blue tower you will be seeing it again.

Eventually we found steps up to the castle. I say steps but as you will see they were very uneven and non-existant in places  so we clambered as well as climbed.

With my daughter striding ahead and other people on the steps there wasn’t much opportunity for looking behind Looking behindor ahead Looking aheadand taking photographs.

However, after a while, my heart was pounding so hard, I stopped and took my pulse and when I got to twelve before I got to five seconds, I decided that a short rest might be in order.

This allowed me time to take a few photographs.

Back down to the town. Looking down to riverLooking up to the castle. Looking up to castleand out to the valley beyond the river. Looking out across the riverMy daughter was happy to rest for a bit too but eventually we started again and reached the castle. Taking photgraphsYou can see my shadow and hers in this photograph.

I took her picture against the ruins. My daughterand another view to show how high we now were.Blue tower down belowAs we left the castle and looked for the alternative route back, I photographed this arch Archwayand this plaque of the three leopards of England. 3 leopards of Englandamong other things.

We decided to return by the path we were told was the way up to the castle.Path back down(The steps being the way down). [Personally I was much happier climbing up those steps than I would have been trying to go down them!]

This was a much easier walk but not so picturesque and exciting as being among the trees.

The last photgraph I took before returning to the ship. Grapes and cartYou can see the vines and an old cart for transporting the grapes that had been decorated as a garden ornament.

Next Thursday I will be showing you a little more about the river, the locks and the Wachau Valley.

Something I couldn’t show you before!

Both cosiesA while ago for my daughter’s birthday I made a couple of cafetière cosies. Why two? Well they have two cafetières.

I had promised a cosy years ago but my daughter had never told me the measurements so on a recent visit I surreptitiously measured them and brought the measurements home on a scrap of paper.

She had liked my rainbow tea-cosyTea cosyand I had tried out the Jacob’s ladder pattern on a small cosy for myself,My new cosy on cafeteireso I decided to use those patterns.

In fact the latter had been a sort of trial run for hers as I knew, with the green walls in her kitchen, that was the sort of colour palette she favoured.

Here is a closer look. (Photographs taken just before I packed them up – it was obviously a dull day!)

FrontRainbow cosy frontBackRainbow cosy backFrontJacob's ladder cosy frontBackJacob's ladder cosy backAs you can see I decided they needed pretty buttons.

She really likes them but I think that I may have to take my crochet hook when I go there in a few weeks and make an adjustment to at least one of them.

This is because, since I took the measurements, one of the cafetières got broken and has been replaced (looked about the same size and design though when I was there recently) and I realised that with the other one the handle is actually joined at the bottom not the top! I seemed to have missed that fact when I made the cosy.

Since acrylic yarn stretches with time I have already reinforced the top with some shir elastic so it keeps up.