Wednesday 26 February 2020

...WOYWW (and Seahouses V)

The workdesk is looking very much as it did two weeks ago when I last took a picture of it  for Julia's weekly Workdesk Show and Tell. Very Ugly Baby is still optimistically clutching a ball of pink wool, hoping to make it to the front of the rescued toys queue, the peg doll is still waiting for her custom wig, and the needle-felting kit remains completely untouched. But if we zoom in a little closer, we can see a dozen hand-picked shells fresh from the beach at Seahouses - favourite in top left-hand corner, second favourite in bottom right-hand corner. 
We got back from an all-too-short two night stay about two hours ago, and I'm bone-tired (but happy) following a two and a half hour walk on the beach this morning and the two and three-quarter hour drive home afterwards. So there's not much to show on the workdesk, but plenty to tell about the past couple of days.

The forecast when we left home at lunchtime on Monday was for snow, sleet and all kinds of Weather, but aside from a few hair-raising patches of torrential rain it really wasn't bad at all. By the time we passed the Angel of the North the sky was beginning to clear...
...and by half past three we were making our way through the dunes to the beach at Seahouses, just after High Tide. Sheer bliss.

Yesterday we explored the stretch of beach between Seahouses and Beadnell for the first time. I had to take my boots off (foolishly hadn't worn my wellies) and paddle across a freezing cold stream to get to the main part of the beach, so I walked for a while with bare feet on the sand, much to the amazement of less determined passers-by. We contemplated trying to find a way back along the road, to avoid re-crossing the stream, but I decided paddling would be quicker, so the boots and socks were off and on again!
In the afternoon we went for a wander down to the harbour in Seahouses and had a walk along the quay. Crashing waves on the harbour wall and a bitingly cold wind, but blue skies overhead, so all was well.
This morning we packed everything into the boot of the car and headed to the beach at Beadnell. I wore my wellies this time, but still ended up with wet feet crossing another stream when the water came over the tops. Hooray for wool socks which keep your feet warm-ish even when wet! This was our first visit to Beadnell beach, and it was crazy-beautiful, with glorious blue skies and sunshine all morning. So glad we made that last-minute booking and went!

Monday 24 February 2020

...pre-holiday making

This afternoon we'll be heading North through the driving sleet and snow to spend two nights in Seahouses. I like my holidays bleak! In preparation, over the weekend I've been making like mad - even though I think I've got a touch of RSI in my left wrist/thumb. "No pain, no gain". An extremely foolhardy motto.
  • On Saturday I fell in love with, and made, this Quinn hat. When you have a ridiculously large stash of wool you can always lay your hands on a ball of cream coloured worsted. It fits me perfectly!

  • On Sunday morning I darned  a trusty pair of wooly fingerless mitts that had developed a small hole. 

  •  This morning I've been running around taking photos of my handiwork, and getting completely sidetracked by the view through the magnifying mirror on my workdesk.
Now I just need to go and pack. Good job it's only for two nights!

Sunday 16 February 2020 on Sunday

Today has been a really happy, productive day, and there's still time left to snuggle up on the sofa with my husband, some ice-cream and a good film! Here's what I got up to:
  • I wanted to do something special with the repair to my poor Mum's gardening trousers, after she got swept off her feet by Storm Ciara and they tore at the knee. So this morning I had a look through my fabric stash and found a pretty piece of blue floral cotton and a contrasting scrap of brightly coloured cotton chintz. This was a fairly basic repair:
  1. Machine zig-zag the edges of the tear together. 
  2. Cut a patch from the blue floral fabric big enough to cover the whole knee area from side-seam to inner-leg- seam, turn the edges under once and machine stitch them. 
  3. Cut a simple heart shape from the chintz fabric and position it on the patch (I used a bit of iron-on interfacing to "stick" it into place). 
  4. Carefully machine stitch round the outline of the heart, and then machine stitch the whole patch to the trousers. 
  5. Use some embroidery thread to overstitch round the edge of the heart, sewing through all three layers - this gives the patch a nice homespun, rustic appearance and also anchors the centre of the patch securely to the trousers.

  • In the middle of the patching process there was a knock at the door and a parcel full of woolly joy arrived - a 150g skein of laceweight yarn for making this fabulous Frattali scarf designed by Martina Behm! I'm pretty frugal when it comes to buying yarn, but it seemed like the scarf was designed to show this specific yarn to its very best advantage, so I felt somewhat justified in splashing out. I did manage to avoid paying the eye-watering postage costs from Germany after scouring the internet for a bargain price/free postage deal, so ultimately the finished scarf will only have cost me £20.15, countless hours, and (possibly) my eyesight*! Which seems a small price to pay for such a unique, beautiful thing. 
*This is the finest yarn I have ever attempted to knit with - you can see from the photo below that it is little more than twice the thickness of ordinary sewing thread!

  • Seeing that the sewing machine was (a) already out and (b) not playing up, after finishing the trouser patch and getting a bit Gollum-like about the yarn, I decided to have a go at making a dress for my Sophie Tilley DIY peg doll. Although the fabrics that came in the parcel with the doll were very pretty, I've grown accustomed to seeing her sitting on my workdesk in her pale blue temporary tissue paper dress and decided that blue suits her better than pink. I'm thinking of giving the dress a cold tea rinse to take away some of the stiffness and brightness of the fabric. Next up her hair needs sorting - probably with a knitted skull cap I can attach lengths of yarn to for styling - and then some boots/shoes and a shawl/cardigan.  

Wednesday 12 February 2020

...WOYWW - The One With the Odd Jobs

Joining in with the Wednesday Workdesk Tour, this photo should really be titled "The Calm Before and After the Storm". I have a big "to-do" list today - it's my fortnightly mid-week day off and I need to make the most of it! This morning I've been to a GP appointment and a dental appointment, picked up a prescription from the chemist for my husband, transplanted an amaryllis bulb to a slightly bigger pot on the kitchen windowsill, and put a load of laundry in the washing machine. This afternoon I have a Valentine's card to make, and the sewing machine will be coming out to repair a big tear in the knee of my Mum's favourite gardening trousers. She got literally blown off her feet by Storm Ciara on Sunday, and now that she's been patched up and x-rayed and (thankfully) been given the all-clear - apart from several nasty cuts and bruises - I thought I'd give the trousers a bit of TLC too! 

The Year of the Doodle book is a recent acquisition. I thought it might help me to do a little something every day without feeling the pressure for it to be perfect or even particularly meaningful! As the designer/author (Dawn DeVries Sokol) says in her intro, "I provide the ideas and backgrounds, and you just have to show up daily with a pen." So far, so good!

Edited to Add: Valentine's card - inspired by Sarah this morning!

Tuesday 11 February 2020

...reasons to be cheerful

Last week I looked out of the kitchen window and noticed that a little yellow crocus flower had appeared in one of the pots near the back door, and that there were clumps of snowdrops and narcissi in the flowerbed by the garage. On an impulse I grabbed my camera and went outside for an impromptu 'Signs of Spring' hunt. Closer inspection revealed a whole array of different buds - silvery grey clematis, bright pink rhubarb...peonies, roses, hyacinths and scabious all sending out optimistic shoots too.
Storm Ciara has been wreaking havoc since then - some of the crocuses have completely lost their heads in the wind, and I'm sure the driving rain and sleet isn't helping any of those tender shoots, but the llittle burst of happiness they gave me has lingered. 

A couple of other happiness-inducing things that have been lifting my spirits:

I finished another 1-2-3 Chickadee Shawl  in the most ravishing purply-blue-green yarn - soft and warm and now a constant feature wrapped around my neck...
...and I started work on my Sophie Tilley peg doll kit at the weekend, making a conscious effort to put my paralysing perfectionism to one side, allow myself to experiment/play with materials and generally go with the flow. She's a long way from completion (her hair is just loosely pinned to her head, and she has no clothes yet) but she already has a hint of character and a little twinkle in her eyes. I think she's going to be imperfectly lovely!