Skyscrapers and String


Deep Blue Something

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a jolly week and looking forward to the weekend.

Today is my day off and I love the peace of a long weekend. It is seriously good for the soul.

I have a lot of things to get done, my list is long, but they are all fun things in the main. Or productive tasks. For example, the week after next is a week off for Jon and I, and today we decided what we needed to get for the decorating we plan to do, so, tick!

The poppies were all sold, we raised over £1200 plus £4£ matched funding, which was amazing.

Amber got the Internship she had applied for, and was also asked to speak on a Panel debate on children’s human rights, which was being filmed, and, according to the reviews, and to us the proud parents, she stole the show; giving a passionate, thoughtful and rousing call to action which moved everyone, confident and strong even though she was speaking alongside some very eminent and respected experts, including a High Court Judge.

On the knitting front, Club met several times this week, we have been making plans for a charity christmas sale, so the juggernaut never stops. Accordingly, I have been racking my brains as to what I can contribute. Hmmm.

One of the sillier work projects on my plate has been removed, so I am very pleased, and I finished another that I thought would never end, so today feels like a celebration day all round.

Also knitting related, I have finally started my “Deep Blue Something” project. It’s the usual story. Stash builds up, colours sing to each other and I put them together, a random acquisition of gorgeous yarniness gets added, then you end up with a basket of woolly harmonies singing to be knitted next!

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I took them after Poppying and shawling this week, and swifted the 1200 grs of yarn into mini balls. Then I ordered the colours until I was happy.

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I loved the stripe pattern of the Alder Shawl by Kaffe Fassett; and thought I’d take that as the basis for my design.

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I’m using totally different yarn, in different colours, it’s a different size and a different construction, so is my “Deep Blue Something” an Alder or something else?

How do you decide if you have altered something enough for it to be your own design?

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Baking Bread

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re having a super weekend. It has just turned sunny here and I’ve had to open a window!

My tummy is very happy as we’ve had fresh bread which I started yesterday, and I’ve put on some chicken and tomato casserole for dinner, it has loads of fresh fennel, peppers, wine, garlic, onions and tomatoes. It smells delicious!

Amber is studying hard for her physics mock exam tomorrow, but seems in quite good spirits as much as you can be under so much pressure. We swam yesterday then had duck for dinner which is her favourite.

My knitting is coming on well, the patchwork wrap is speeding off the needles, all the little crochet squares are done and I’ve picked up stitches to make the wings of the shawl, and these are coming along nicely.

Here you can see me knitting on the bus yesterday:

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Here are some pictures of the wrap in progress:

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Also, this morning I walked over to Asda to pick up my new iPad cover, here you can see it, yet another product under the Woozle brand…

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Tomorrow at work I have too many meetings, and too much desk work to complete. Also, the “Big Announcement” is due. Ho hum.

Right! Back to my knitting!


The Red Garden and Patchwork Progress

Hello everyone!

I finished the book “the Red Garden” by Alice Hoffman this week. It is a magical read.

The chapters each focus on a different family generation living in Massachusetts, from the pioneers who settled it, to the modern day.

It is rich, sumptuous, gripping and beautifully written. I loved it .

The title of the book references the garden in the first house built in the new town, it has red earth which colours the flowers red of anything planted there.

This book is so worth reading, I highly recommend it. You might have seen the film “Practical Magic” starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, this was also based on the book of the same name written by Ms Hoffman. The soundtrack is wonderful too , songs by Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks and Sheryl Crow. I listen to the album a lot.

My working week of two days has been both short and stressful.

Due to the management changes which are afoot but not communicated, people are leaving in droves and to be honest , it is hard for even the most resilient and upbeat person to keep smiling after two years of uncertainty and a second reshuffle which is due to be announced.

Also, a note came round advising who the colleague reps are now should there be another round of redundancies, which means there is definitely another wave of it on the cards, also evidenced by one of our bosses announcing a 20% staff cut in the papers last weekend.

I have a major project to accomplish with no assistance. Tenfold bigger than anything I have attempted previously. And what date will it be ready by?

At least crocheting squares is nice and simple.

Here you can see my wrap in progress. Do you think I should write it up? I hope it turns out well. It would be lovely to be on Ravelry as a Designer!

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Winter Musings

Hello everyone!

It’s Wednesday and the weather is truly dismal, yet it isn’t too cold, it’s just rainy, and unlike previous recent years, there’s been no ice and snow, so I am thinking Hooray on that note actually!

I woke up today to the most gorgeous birdsong I have ever heard. It was raining and pitch black outside at 6 am and I listened to the little bird sing whilst I got ready for a good hour or so. The RSPB website suggested it may have been a Robin, as they are not daunted by gloom, and they are the first to start singing their morning song each year.

I felt the magic of the beautiful song from my dear Robin in the garden all day long, I can honestly say it has lifted my heart.

What I wanted to write about today is how today has been so full of emotions of different kinds. I have suffered annoyance, exasperation, rage, pity, tenderness, kindness, support, humour, irony, teasing, both sisterly and brotherly affection and it feels like it has been a very long day as a result. And it’s not even tea time yet!

How come some days are so straightforward and pass in a blink, yet others are filed with brilliance, rudeness, love, wonder, and destructiveness and seem so different? Today was the latter kind of day.

We had Knitting Club, which was great fun as always, what wonderful friends I have to come together and the glow of sitting with knitters. In the afternoon we were looking at patterns online for knitted Minion hats from the Despicable Me films, I think they are so adorable!

How is your week going? Are you wrestling, as I am, with systems that crash, workflows that don’t work, baffling announcements from on high and a sense of general weirdness.

At least I have my blog, my friends, my cat and my family. And dinner is on it smells really good! Ribs tonight!


10,000 Reasons To Be Happy

Hello everyone!

I finished work today, and as tired as I might be, I am ridiculously happy!

My little blog has had 10,000 hits! Thank you everyone for dropping by!

This last year has been such an upward curve for me, you’ve watched me find my feet and helped me understand what is truly important, and you’ve been there for me, like sisters and brothers, friends and neighbours.

Work is finished now for me for 2013, I go back on January 6th. Apart from visiting the hairdressers this weekend (my hair is sadly in need of attention lol!), that is the limit of my engagements.

Jon has to take Woozle to the Vets, as she has started kicking her neck again, that’s tomorrow, but for me, I’m going nowhere.

Here are ten fabulous things to share with you about today:

  1. I was invited to a slap up lunch at Carluccios, there was bread and olives, wine, lasagne and pannacotta
  2. My friend Sindhu invited me to her house for food, chatter and knitting
  3. Dear Mary had rescued our Knitting Club Secret Santa and had solved the mystery of the missing gift
  4. I got everything done at work and wished everyone a Merry Christmas
  5. With delicacy and great skill I delegated various tasks so nothing will fall over while I am OOO
  6. I had a lovely chat with a colleague who I like especially and haven’t seen much of of late
  7. Louise brought dear Frankie in and I got to give him a cuddle
  8. I have been given a wonderful Secret Santa present, my mystery friend from Knitting Club made me a wonderful Christmas tree and bought me a Charbonnel et Walker choccie tree to go with it – the pic is below
  9. Jon has made dinner tonight and I had a Mojito before dinner
  10. oh! And my Blog had 10,000 hits! Yaay!

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Wednesday Hump Day

Hello everyone!

I am in a very jolly mood today, I went back to work, things there are great fun, I got loads of stuff done and we had Knitting Club. You know I love Knitting Club and the manager at Costa loves us back, he gave us free cake, a nice ginger muffin, it was so yummy!

We sat knitting and laughing and chatting about the funny events in the world. I am making some socks for my lovely Auntie, Russ and Helen were crocheting squares, and we were all looking at our giant collection of preemie hats. We had 26 in the end, which is not bad as we were riding on the back of our huge poppy charity binge. Louise is taking the hats to the premature babies ward at the Royal London hospital on Friday, when she takes her Nipper for his one year check up.

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This morning, as I stood at the furthest bus stop, sweating and cursing myself for going back to work, a woman appeared with her three offspring in tow. The smallest one had a whistle, and was trying to play “Jingle Bells” over and over and over and over, using one screeching note. I glared repeatedly at the child and the mother to no avail, apparently no one cares anymore about how their children’s behaviour is appallingly irritating to strangers.

When I got home tonight and told Jon, he suggested I should have taken the whistle and stamped on it. I love him! Wouldn’t it be liberating to just do that!

My place of work is undergoing a lot of change. Some folk think not for the better, I am keen to see what transpires. It is very satisfying to feel happy in myself, and not in fear of change. I know that whatever happens I will be ok.

It’s two years yesterday since I lost my Grandad, and I do miss him still, however I’m ok, my grief no longer provides a cloud across my life. If I wake up in the night, it’s not guilt and regret, it’s just, “wow this bed is soft, I like it here”.

I have a very jolly day in front of me tomorrow, and then it’s the weekend! My pink cardigan is nearly finished. It is such thick aran weight yarn it knits up really quickly.

See, even my cat is relaxed, my germs are clearing, everything is fine. I hope things are good with you all too.

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Cross Stitch, Shawls And No Voice!

Hello everyone!

I hope you’re all well and having a jolly week.

After spending all my birthday sick in bed and cancelling my tea party, and being bedridden and I’ll since then, I ventured into work today because I wanted to see a decent GP, and there are private GP’s at work, and I had run out of nurofen, and even worse, I had two training courses today that I needed to attend.

After I made it in no problem, I attracted all sorts of comedy remarks about my husky croak. It made my throat worse trying to speak all day to be honest. I’ll be working from home tomorrow, so at least I can rest my voice. I felt so sick I couldn’t even make it to Knitting Club!

Anyhow, I owe you some photos, my crafting has diversified since kitting out my little knitting cupboard!

Here you can see my cross stitch robin, Jon bought this for me a couple of years ago from Liberty and it sat in a chest by my side since then, and because I had to open the box and get it out, I hardly worked on it. Since it went into the knitting cupboard, I have done some every day, and it is getting done very quickly! Woozle helps by holding my wool!
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Since this was taken, I have completed nearly two thirds of the blue sky!
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Also, my shawl for my hairdresser and dear friend Katy is coming on apace, I have just started the second 50g ball and it is growing huge. This shawl is in dk weight yarn, and patterns in my collection call for 350g for a triangle shawl, however I think 150g will be more than enough!

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Knitting Ambitions

Hello everyone!

So nice to feel better after ghastly germs.

This year so far has been a real learning process. Coming to terms with losing my Grandad, learning to sort out the stuff cluttering my home and my mind, and building new routines to gently bolster my world so I can live happily and productively.

You often hear it said that life is a journey, and my take on this is that it is a bit more like an obstacle course, and you have to look after yourself well, and recognise who and what is holding you back if you are going to make it across without getting horribly stuck.

I have observed that people who take care of themselves well work hard at it, and have discipline and they make extra effort and do additional tasks in their routines to make sure they get a consistently good result. They do not get sidetracked by other things and they put themselves first.

Funnily enough, some of the people who have taught me have been complete strangers I have just observed. For example, I am the kind of person who takes an hour and a half to get out the door in the morning, however even though I have lots of time, I still leave the house with wet hair tied into a ponytail. This cannot continue. On the train recently, I saw a very pretty girl in her twenties, fully made up with fabulous hair, wearing a gorgeous dress and flat sandals. As she sat applying yet more eyeliner to her already fabulous face, I thought to myself, this is ridiculous, why am I sitting here with scraped back hair?

If someone needs something doing, I’ll immediately become distracted and spend time and effort I don’t have into thinking how to fix it. Who else does this? It’s crazy! I love to do nice things for others however I am getting lost in it. I have spent the last week stepping over a skirt I was thinking I could give to someone, because its too nice to take to the charity shop. I need to stop being a people pleaser and please myself by getting the right things done for me instead.

Take my knitting. I spend a vast amount of time knitting. You would think I was entered into some kind of Oscar nomination for the amount of knitting turned out in one lifetime. What has that done for me? Well, I can confess here, that I think knitting has been a comfort activity, in the same way as other people drink too much or whatever to comfort themselves. Yes, I have learned loads, and now I am quite good at it, but seriously, my house is now full of knitted goods, and I have acquired enough yarn to keep me going for several years, you could argue I have enough materials to withstand a substantial siege. I need to diversify back into real life. I will still knit but not as a from dusk till dawn continuous activity.

But now I feel better than I did. I can do better for myself.

My marbles in a jar exercise has been a great learning tool. Since I made my list of points and filled my jar, I have learned another important lesson. It’s not so much the accumulation of marbles earned, it’s the remembering of all the different extra jobs I am trying to install as habits. I am trying to improve my daily habits so I achieve my goals and live in the way I want to live. It’s the discipline to order my time so I take care of me properly.

I think a post it note in the bathroom will help me remember to floss. The rest of the daily jobs will need grit to become properly installed as habits. All I can say is, “Watch this space”.

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Another Sunny Day and Getting There!

Hello all!

Another sunny day in London. When I left work tonight all the Canary Wharfers were drinking and eating dinner in the sunshine at All Bar One. I really wanted to be part of it, there is such a buzz.

Today has been smashing. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, but I am Co Chair of the Firm’s Disabilities Employee Network. About seven of us who do the main organising met for lunch today at Carluccios. One of the guys is blind, another is in a wheelchair, some of us have “hidden” disabilities, such as Autism or mental illness of different kinds, such as anxiety or depression. We have about 1000 members in total.

I sat next to Paul, who can’t see, and he asked me to read the menu to him. Being very fond of Carluccios, and of Paul, and knowing both well, I suggested he have the chicken escalope, which is delicious. He loudly scorned me and teased me for railroading him and not reading it out as he asked. We all fell about, because it is fair to say I am bossy, and he has a kind and very comical way with him. I read out everything except the salads and the fish, as he admitted he would never eat these, and in the end he plumped for the chicken escalope which tickled us all greatly.

The food was wonderful, and conversation over lunch varied across our mutual business of improving the working life of employees with disabilities, and for disabled and elderly customers too, as well as holiday plans, the Commonwealth Games, Art History, our kids, Classical Greece, oh, and tv, we raved over the most excellent Hannibal and Game of Thrones.

This afternoon I really made progress with some important projects that had been held back due to resistance and entropy, it has been the second day running when I have truly felt like doors swung open at my slightest touch. Some of these issues I have been hassling for nearly a year.

Amber had her penultimate exam today, the last one is tomorrow. We are so proud of how hard she tries, her work ethic, her commitment and passion to be the best she can be. It amazes me, and inspires me, as her attitude is consistently faultless.

I came home in warm breezes and yellow sunshine. My door is wreathed with jasmine, and the scent was amazing as the sun warms the flowers the scent intensifies I think.

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It is super to be home, apart from the fact we have 4 loads of washing to do, but I have a fair bit of knitting to get on with, and my cat has already given me big hugs, all is well really!

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Day of Planning

Hello everyone!

I hope you’ve had a good week so far! I am looking forward to pay day next week! Not that I need more yarn, however, I am very keen to knit a particular jumper and it specifies a certain yarn I don’t have…..

This week has been a week of planning. You’ve seen me slice through a giant magazine pile and now I have a huge clippings pile. So many inspiring things now to make that were hidden from view.

There is also my huge Ravelry queue, and my library of knitting books. I need to work out how to incorporate these additional designs into my folders.

I am thinking I could print the Ravelry page for those designs and put them into the folders as a placeholder for the patterns I don’t have. Then I could take a photo from the books and print these off as placeholders also. If I did these over a period of time it would be manageable.

Jan recommended I prioritise the patterns I really love, that will be last, although I am putting the real favourites at the front of each folder. My selections are making me quite surprised, in a good way! It is tremendously exciting.

The feeling of abundance is very satisfying, I feel like I am starting to get a plan together.

At work, all week I have been planning my priorities as well. By the time I left the office tonight I had a smashing spreadsheet, slots in my diary allocated for next week, and a proper plan. I hope I’ll be able to better cope with all the demands on my time.

My Nipper is doing her AS levels and has two tough exams tomorrow. She has worked so hard and she has a tremendous attitude to her work. I can honestly say she has given her all to her studies. This evening we sat together, I was slicing the magazines up and she was studying; I really enjoyed it. I am so proud of her. Good Luck darling!

Tomorrow I shall be doing my pattern filing, sewing my blue jumper which Jon blocked last weekend, and the shed saga is still chugging along, I have a man coming to give me a quote. Perhaps this time it will come to pass.

Here you can see my happy cat helping me with my shawl. I am nearly onto the lace part.

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