Wednesday 28 August 2019

...What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - The One With the Caterpillars

I was snipping round the edges of the overgrown jungle that is our front garden at the weekend, and spotted these handsome little fellas happily chewing their way through some weeds. Google informs me that they are Cinnabar Moth caterpillars. When they eventually emerge from their costume-change-cocoons they will be sporting red and black wings that look a bit like fancy Dracula cloaks. Not sure if they are endangered in any way, but if anyone raises their eyebrows at the state of the garden after this discovery I think I'm just going to explain that it is actually a wildlife sanctuary!
Joining with Julia and friends, here is a glimpse of my workdesk today - or more accurately, my work-knee. The bathroom refurbishment project has entered its second week, and my normal work space is still swathed in dustsheets. Turns out that I was mistaken last week when I thought that the worst was over once the ripping out/plasterboarding work had been done. Two days of tiling left every surface, including me, coated in a thin film of ceramic tile powder. Knowing that demolition would start on the upstairs bathroom this week, we spent ages at the weekend pre-emptively covering every inch of the spare bedroom (new bath-tub storage point), hall, stairs and landing in protective sheeting. My husband said it reminds him of that scene in the film E.T. when the evil government agents have quarantined Elliot's house! 

So I'm reduced to working on small scale projects in the sitting room, which is the only dust and/or dustsheet free room available. This is what I got up to today - a little green woolly cardigan for a baby Sasha doll. I love making jumpers for small people - babies, dolls, teddies - all just the right size if you ask me. For some reason I just don't have the patience to knit adult sized stuff - unless it's hats, scarves, gloves etc!

I've included a couple of photos of the almost-completed shower room. We've moved in already, because work has now started on the bathroom, but there are still a few little fiddly bits (just out of shot) that need finishing off. It may not be to everyone's taste, but we're really thrilled with how it's turned out - having lived with the very old, very basic, and increasingly delapidated shower room for 20 years it was definitely time for an upgrade. Now it's officially the most fancy room in the house! 

Wednesday 21 August 2019

...What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - The One With the New Shower Room

What's currently on my workdesk is one of two last-minute, optimistically-placed* dust sheets (*in hope that plaster dust and dirt will be attracted to the sheet-covered areas and repelled from all the other - let's call them "exposed" - surfaces). The room is being used to store all the materials for the downstairs shower-room/toilet refurbishment, and I hadn't anticipated the amount of space this would take up - and thus hadn't applied the dust-repellent covers prior to delivery like a sensible person might have done. As I wasn't prepared to climb over mountainous boxes of tiles to rectify the oversight, I just had to waft the gossamer thin, sail-like sheet in the general direction of the desk, and then try and tweak it into position from afar with my handy post-hip-replacement grabber tool. Sadly, in terms of offering protective coverage, it is still more bikini than kaftan.
On the bright side, this is Day 3, the worst of the messy destruction construction work is (hopefully) behind us, and (thankfully) the dust levels really haven't been that bad. The tiler is coming tomorrow, and we may even have a functioning shower and toilet again by Friday! While we're on the subject of tiles, look at the irridescent dragonfly-wing gorgeousness of these mosaic 'accent' tiles! I can't wait to see them in situ against a background of dark grey slate-effect wall and floor tiles...I'll be in the shower for hours!

In the meantime I've occupied myself by busily knitting away at my second Nurmilintu shawl/scarf - see below in yet another chucked-in-a-hedge artfully posed shot. It was very overcast and grey when I took the photos, so they don't really do justice to the lovely colours in the yarn. The bottom left picture probably represents its rich turquoise/blue tones most accurately.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

...What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

One of the upsides of my post hip replacement recovery period is the amount of time it has allowed me to while away (guilt free) on blog browsing. I came across Julia's blog at the weekend and I so enjoyed taking a virtual peep over other people's shoulders at all their different workdesks that I decided to join in with the fun by offering a glimpse of my own. 
The desk is in a comporatively tidy state today, in that there's enough clear space for me to just sit down and pick up where I left off (apart from those pincushion flower heads that I picked this morning and left to dry for seed gathering). I'm having another low energy day so have just been knitting this morning and catching up with a friend from work this afternoon, but you can probably make out the teeny-tiny footballer waiting for his Subbuteo team mates to join him when I'm feeling less fatigued again.There's quite a lot of stuff just out of shot in the photo above, so for full disclosure here's what the end of the desk currently looks like ... might appear very cluttered but there's a place for everything and everything's in its place. I've been listening to First Aid Kit on the CD player this week - highly recommend their gorgeous silver-voiced harmonies for a relaxing musical accompaniment. Tucked underneath is one of the several XXSCat dog beds we have scattered around the house so that our pampered little pooch can always keep us company in comfort. She makes a great foot warmer in colder weather.

Monday 12 August 2019

...teeny-tiny footballers

Recently my husband and his brother have been spending a lot of time constructing a wooden frame/base for their old Subbuteo pitch - ostensibly with a view to introducing my husband's 10 year old nephew to the thrills and spills of this table-top game (but actually a very thinly veiled opportunity to take an extended nostalgia trip down memory lane). Given my own fondness for childhood memorabilia...
 ...(ok, so every spare nook, cranny, corner and shelf in the house is crammed with dolls and little creatures in hand-knits) I feel it's only fair to support him in this project. So last Friday I started the Herculean task of hand painting his favourite Hibernian home kit (from 1991, as any self-respecting football anorak will instantly recognise) onto 11 miniscule model footballer blanks. This little fella took over an hour to bring to life, but my husband was thrilled to bits with him when he got home from work, and I'm hoping to adopt more of a factory-line-assembly approach for his team-mates. I was quite pleased that I even managed to get a slightly wobbly approximation of the iconic Adidas '3 stripes' on the sleeves, but had to admit defeat when it came to the top of the socks!

On Sunday I managed to walk a little further at the park, and was rewarded by the breath-taking sight of one of this year's wildflower meadow beds in full bloom. I'm obsessed with these gorgeous lilac thistles - 'Blue Eryngo' - and will be returning to collect seeds. I NEED them in my garden!

I was very achy after the extended walk (hip replacement recovery is two steps forward one step back in my experience), so I was more than happy to curl up with some knitting for the afternoon - another 'Nurmilintu' scarf in a different Lang Yarns 'Milton' colourway that will get a lot more wear than the last one

Tuesday 6 August 2019

...pretty little things

After my successful experiment with the decorative prosecco glass for my daughter's best friend's wedding, I started looking for opportunities to put the special oven-bake glass pens to use again. Of course it wasn't very long before one presented itself. 

It's a well-established fact that I have hoarding collecting tendencies, and it just so happens that one of my weaknesses is the dear little miniature jam jars that so often accompany a fruit scone when one is indulging in a cream tea. More often than not I end up slipping them into my bag or pocket and bringing them home "to store tiny things in". This is how I came to have a miniature jam jar pyramid containing beads, buttons, safety pins etc.on my craft room windowsill (and, on reflection, may also hold a vital clue as to how my waistline disappeared). 

At the weekend I was collecting some pincushion flower and cosmo seeds from the garden to store in my miniature jam jar pyramid (for planting next year) when it occurred to me that I ought to store the white cosmo seeds and purple cosmo seeds seperately, as it was highly unlikely possible that I might want to plant them in accordance with some kind of colour scheme. Since white and purple cosmo seeds are indistinguishable from one another, there was only one thing for it - labels - and what better way to label a miniature jam jar than with a special glass pen doodle of the flower in question followed by a brisk 25 minute bake in the oven? They're a little rough and ready, I'll admit, but very cute nevertheless.
I showed them to my friend when she came to visit yesterday, and one thing led to another, as the saying goes. My friend runs a small business in her spare time, hiring out wedding reception accessories  - large illuminated letters (L-O-V-E, and M-R -&- M-R-S, M-R-&-M-R, etc), candy carts, prosecco carts, card/letter boxes - all the kind of one-off, decorative, extra stuff that adds to the 'ambience' of the occasion and provides a nice back-drop for photos and so on. She adds little jars and vases of artificial flowers that match the colour scheme of the wedding as a finishing touch. What better way for me to while away an hour or two of my convalescence than by decorating some jars for a rustic wild-flower-themed wedding? Sooooo pretty!

Monday 5 August 2019

...reaching milestones

It's now been six and a half weeks since my hip replacement surgery and I'm beginning to feel more like myself for longer periods of time. I can now watch TV in the reclining chair downstairs reasonably comfortably (without my leg going numb) and have managed to complete a little Nurmilintu shawl in a cotton mix yarn (Lang yarns, 'Milton') whilst watching the 'Patrick Melrose' box set on Netflix. It's a great pattern for convalescing with, as the garter stitch panels require no concentration whatsoever, and the simple lace panels are created using a three row repeat. I like everything about this scarf except the colour. It looked gorgeous in the skein, but I'm not a big fan of the relatively large expanses of tan/beige in the finished fabric. I will wear it, but I don't think it will become a favourite.

The front garden is an absolute jungle, having been left untended in alternating summer sunshine and heavy rain for the best part of two months. I know I'm on the mend because I'm planning to get out there with the secateurs this week, if only to cut back the trailing brambles and hawthorn shoots now threatening to block the path to the front door. It is attracting plenty of bees and butterflies, and I spotted a bright eyed frog hopping through the wet grass yesterday, but some judicious pruning would definitely not go amiss
The hardest part of the recovery process has been dealing with the level of fatigue I've experienced, and the setbacks that have occurred when I've try to do too much too soon. Last week a minor mis-step on the stairs jarred my hip horribly as I landed awkwardly on the operated leg, and resulted in two days of pain and several sleepless nights. 

So I'm trying to take a leaf out of the Tortoise's book, and remember that "Slow and steady wins the race." Today I handed my hospital issue walking sticks back to the physiotherapist, and reverted to my snazzy blue folding stick for outdoor/longer distance use. Progress indeed!