Kate's adventures

Friday, November 17, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017; Week 46

Well another week has flown past, so here we are looking back at what has made us smile. I have to say I am enjoying the Autumn weather. We are still enjoying lovely blue skies and sunshine, but the temperatures have dropped to a very comfortable level, so I have spent several afternoons, sitting out on the porch doing my crochet or reading my book.
But the sun goes down soon after six now and suddenly it becomes quite chilly. So the 'summer weight' duvet is now on the bed, and by 7.00 the fire is lit in the sitting room, so we have one place to be cosy.

The animals soon caught on to this idea, and on Thursday night I was in there knitting, and I had one cat on each chair for company, and one of the dogs, Kim, on the settee. My lovely long-haired ginger cat Tango,  would have been sitting on me if I had let him, but the piece I was working on made it just not possible, so he curled up beside me instead. Last night when I went in there I found Kim had got there before me and what's more, he was sharing 'his' settee with Paco. Normally they have a mutual respect for one another but keep their distance, so it was a surprise to see them (almost) curled up together.

I said last week that I had started a piece of knitting. Although I have almost given up knitting large garments because they hang too heavy on the needles, I am hoping this yarn is light enough for me to manage in small doses. It is a chunky mix that I bought in huge 200g balls at Hobbycraft when I was in UK recently. The natural colouration of the yarn means it is knitting up almost stripey, but I am not going to attempt to match the stripes on the other pieces. It will all be used as it comes. The main pattern is a simple double moss stitch, and I am using bamboo needles. I have not got on with them very well before, but they are recommended for people with arthritis so I thought I'd give them another try, and so far they are fine. I am making a fairly shapeless slouch jacket, but it is coming up a little tighter than I was expecting, but I have a feeling it is going to stretch with use so I don't want it to start off too big.
Knitting is nice and easy for me to do if I am watching TV, but when I can concentrate more I have been working on this mandala, and last night I finished it. I just love it.
The pattern was released in three parts as a CAL (Crochet Along) by an Australian lady called Emily, and it is called Connie's Ray of Hope. It was designed in memory of a lady called Connie Johnson, who finally lost her battle after three bouts of cancer. Her brother Samuel wrote an inspirational blog post about her journey, and from that, the mandala was born. I chose to make mine in Christmas colours, and it will make a bright spot hanging on my wall throughout the festive season. It was a fairly complex pattern, but well within the capabilities of most crocheters, but I have to say the last four rounds, from where it was attached to the ring onwards, were very difficult. The galvanised steel ring is 350 mm - approx.14 inches, in diameter, so the finished mandala is around 430mm, so it was stiff and unwieldy to hold, and my poor shoulders and hands were complaining mightily this morning, but they have settled down now and I am so glad I persevered and got it finished.

My other project for this week was a final effort to get Christmas cards made. I ended up getting quite carried away, and made a run of 35 cards, all using the same image, printed and hand coloured, and then made into a card using a variety of papers, die-cuts and lots of glue. I can't show them yet as I will be using them for a Christmas card challenge at the end of the month. I now have enough made to get them all written, so I should be able to post my Uk ones before all the bank holidays start. We have three at the start of December, and I like to get mine posted before this disrupts the system and slows everything down.

When we set out with the dogs for their morning walk today, men were already at work trimming the trees that grow all along our road. The one by our gate looks really nice now. They have stayed so good considering the very small amount of soil they have in these wide, shallow containers. But I have to say, the maintenance department at the Town Hall deserve full marks for the way they look after our streets. In another couple of weeks there will be poinsettias planted around the base of the trees to add some colour as well.

We have had such lovely clear skies this week, but with little or no cloud, there has not been any notable sunsets. But as I glanced out of the window yesterday evening, the sky was such a beautiful colour. It went from a muted golden through pink, purple and  then indigo. I tried to catch it on the camera, but this doesn't really do it justice. It is the best I could get though, so I am using it anyway! How peaceful is that?!
Now it is time to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking Your World, and I'll see you all again next week.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rocking Your World 2017: Week 45

Here is what has made me smile today. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, our sixteen year old grandson Amias was chosen to be one of the front bench speakers in the House of Commons Youth Parliament. This is a real achievement as there are hundreds of YMPs from all over England, Scotland, Wales and N.Ireland, and only around 20 were chosen for the front bench. He was sent on a residential weekend in London last month, to prepare for it, and they were each given the role of 'For', 'Against' or 'Summation' for one of the five subjects to be debated about. The topics were voted for by young people all over the country. I am not sure whether they had any choice about which they were given, but Amias was to give the summarization speech at the end of the debate on LGBT rights.

Well the Youth Parliament sat today. It was the ninth time it has taken place in the House of Commons, and was led wonderfully by Mr Speaker (John Bercow) himself. So as it was shown on Live Parliament TV, you can guess how I have spent most of my day. We can only get that station via Chris's computer, so we made ourselves comfortable in his study, and prepared for a day of watching. As it happened, the LGBT Rights, was the first debate, so we didn't have to wait too long to hear Amias. We could see him for most of the time, because he was seated centrally so he was behind most of the speakers.

His speech itself was clear, passionate and well presented. It earned him a standing ovation and some genuine, good remarks from Mr Speaker. We are very proud grandparents!
If anyone is interested in hearing him you can click on THIS link. It should take you to his 'moment of glory'. I tried it out on my sister this afternoon and it worked for her. The recording starts a few seconds before Amias is introduced, and lasts for about four minutes.

Well that is the excitement for this week.
The other happy event was when, on Wednesday, we were finally able to pick up our 'new' car. It has taken several months to sort out the paper-work to complete this deal. It isn't new at all, and is, in fact, only three years younger than our other one, but it has 90,000 on the clock compared with the 300,000 on ours, and has had one careful owner, so it is a lot tidier and more reliable than our overworked old lady. I am not one of those folk who can jump in any car and drive it, so Chris has taken me out a few times in daylight, while I get used to a very different feeling clutch and gears, and he drove me when I had to go out after dark. But I know I will soon get used to it. I need to, as I do most of the driving! And it is a nice dark navy blue. I was so fed up with having a silver car. There are so many of them out here. It will be a while before I remember to look for a blue one in the supermarket carparks though.

I mentioned last week that I should have been at a coffee morning last Friday but was unable to attend because my hospital appointment was brought forward. But I sent some items over to my friends house. Unfortunately the event was less successful than usual because so many folk were unable to attend due to ill health and other reasons. I guess it is that time of year when change-of-season colds are rife etc. So there were not enough people to man the stalls properly, nor as many visitors.  But some of my little bits were sold, and I took the rest to my sewing group on Wednesday and sold the rest. Putting together money raised from pre-sales of our jam and pickles, and the cards the Jasmine makes, plus the money taken on the day, we did raise around 300€ for our church funds, plus around 30€ for my chosen charity Greenfields Africa, who always get a cut from any money that I make. So in the end it was quite a good result. I also made some sweet little hearts with a Bible text on them and some tiny roses, but I forgot to take a photo of one before I sold them all!

Back in the summer you may remember that I bought a huge jar of jelly beans to put in the favour boxes I made for our son's wedding. This left me with the jar which is really rather nice, and I had an idea of how to use it to raise some more funds. So I lined it with white tissue paper and filled it with bags of sweets and nuts and other Christmas treats. Then I decorated the side with reindeers, trees, snowflakes  and icicles cut from vinyl, using my silhouette cameo machine.
I added a large shiny snowflake on the lid.
Then I printed out a treasure map that I found on the internet, and covered it with a 9x8 grid. I am asking everyone to pay 1€ to write their name on a square, so if I sell all the squares I will have 72€. I have sold 50 so far, and I am sure I can sell a few more after church on Sunday. (I can't show the map because it has people's names and phone numbers all over it!). Then on the 1st December I will use a random number generator to find out where the treasure is buried and someone will go home with a nice jar of Christmas treats. It has raised far more than it would have done if I had tried to just sell it as a jar of sweets, so I do have a good idea occasionally!

And that is really all I have for this week. I have started a good book which means I won't get much else done until I have finished reading it, and I have also started knitting a jacket for me, with wool that I bought in Hobbycraft when I over in UK. It is a long time since I did any knitting and I said I wouldn't make any more adult size garments as they are too heavy on the needles for my shoulders. But this is chunky yarn but very light, and so far so good. I will take a photo of my progress next week.

Here is a picture that I took last night of our little cat Luna. She is a skinny, independent little campo-cat, (what in UK we call a 'moggy'), who, in the summer, only comes in for food. Now it is cooler she sometimes curls up on a chair in the evenings, but she is not a great one for fuss and cuddles.  She was late coming in for her food last night and I was standing over her waiting for her to finish eating before I shut her in the kitchen and went to bed. As I was standing there I was struck by the perfect symmetry of her markings. I don't often get quite that view of her, but she really does match side to side, so I took a photo of her without her realising.

So now I will leave you with another photo of my butterfly that I showed last week. We have had some nice sunny mornings, and she has been back to visit my bougainvillea  most days. Again I failed to get a photo of her with her wings wide open, but I liked the sharpness of the butterfly against the unfocused leaves in this one, and the blue sky behind it is lovely, so I am sharing it anyway!

And now I will link up with Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking your world, and I'll see you all next week.