Friday, November 29, 2013

Rocking my world Friday.

My how the weeks are rushing by! I seem to be busy every day trying to finish one project or another. But I did manage to finish one this week, and that was the making of Fatty Lumpkin.

He is made from crocheted African flower motifs, which are then crocheted together. You may remember that a few months back I also made a hippopotamus in the same way. They are firm friends now. Here they are chatting together in the garden like two old folk on a park bench!

It almost seems a shame to separate them, but they will go in my Gallarte sale next week, and I doubt they will both end up with the same owner. (I have already shown these pictures on my craft blog, but I make no apologies for showing them again, as this blog tends to have a different readership).

I finished making the pony sitting out in the garden earlier this week, in a lovely sunny sheltered spot, and it was really warm. But winter has suddenly come with a vengeance since then, with heavy rain and a big drop in temperatures. I have even had my fire on in here, and I only did that about twice last year! But the rain is something most folk around here are truly grateful for. This is an agricultural area, and the water was badly needed.

What else has rocked my world this week? Well last Saturday our choir made their first public appearance of the season. We were invited to attend the British Legion Christmas fair, and we sang about half of our concert programme which was very warmly received. The fair was in this somewhat unpromising building.
It is in the village of Alfoquia and is a part of the old railway buildings. The wide open space to the left was the track, most of which is still there, and over the other side of that is the station building. There was a good crowd at the fair all looking very festive. 

There were a variety of hand-made products on sale, from jewelry to jams, and fudge to flower arrangements. We bought some lovely baked goods which kept our tea-plates filled for a few days. We have five more concerts to fit in between now and Christmas, as well as one early in January.
When the sun was still shining earlier this week, Chris decided it was time to cut the roses hard back for the winter. Before he did, he rescued three beautiful flowers for me, and two of them are still looking good today.
Late roses give me a real moment of nostalgia. Mum

used to save little quotations she saw and pin them to picture frames or stick them to the fridge. And the one that I have never forgotten said "God gave us our memories that we might have roses in December". We hardly need our memories for that now as many of the modern roses go on blooming late into the year, but seeing my vase of flowers there, brings Mum straight back to me. As does the calendar you can see hanging behind the flowers. It is an Apples of Gold calendar, so named from a verse in Proverbs that reads " Words aptly spoken are like apples of gold on settings of silver". Basically it is a picture, (which always used to be a basket of apples, but they no longer adhere to that), with a block attached that gives a verse of scripture for every day of the year. Mum had a very good friend whom she kept in touch with all through their lives, and every year this friend would send mum an Apples of Gold calendar. When my sister and I were small, we would fight over whose turn it was to pull the page off each day. And Mum's motto being "Never take a day until the Lord has given it to you", woe betide us if, in our enthusiasm, we tore two off. It would be put back on until the next day came. So that calendar has been a part of my life as far back as I can remember. When we all left home, mum started to send us our own calendar every year. She passed away in her ninetieth year, some twenty years ago, and then one of my sisters continued the tradition, and she now sends our calendar every year. If a verse particularly struck mum as being apt at the time, she would pin that up along with her other quotations, and I do just the same! So that little picture behind my roses is very special, as it keeps alive one of my memories or my 'roses in December'. Family rocks my world.

Well that is enough sentimentality for today, so I'll end with this photo that rather tickled me. I was out shopping this morning and I went to a supermarket that is difficult to park right outside, so I usually park in a lay-by and walk up to it. This involves walking across a wide strip of rough land, I suppose it is an empty building plot really, but it is covered in rough scrub and wild flowers. If you cross it on a hot day you are surrounded by a cloud of grass-hoppers. I have never seen a small area so densely populated with them. But as I crossed it today I was amused to see this white bird wandering around ahead of me.
I don't know what it was. it had a long neck and looked more like a young goose than anything else. I couldn't get close enough to have a proper look, but I did just get this quick shot on my phone. It is mostly a very built-up area, with lots of housing and a school right by, so I have no idea where it came from, but it seemed to know where it was going!
And now I am off to link up with Virginia's blog at Celtic House. See you all next week.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Something to Smile about.

Hi Folks. I am starting this week with something to really smile about. I have mentioned before that we have a lady in our village who has set up, and runs almost single-handedly, a charity for the disabled children in our area. I help where I can, by making my jams and pickles to sell, and this year I was able to introduce Cati to the Vera Lions Club, who adopted ASADIS for their annual charity. Between the Lions, my jam sales for the year, and donations from the concerts that our choir held, we were able to buy a special walking frame for a little girl with cerebral palsy. Well this month the Lions have also funded the purchase of a special touch-screen computer, mainly for one twelve year old boy, but there will be special workshops set up so all the children from ASADIS can use it. As neither of the officers from the Lions speak any Spanish, I was asked to go to the shop with Cati and the boys mother Fina, to act as interpreter for them. My Spanish is still far from fluent, but I was able to help and I was pleased to be involved. All went smoothly, so here we all are, looking very pleased about everything! As soon as it is set up and in use, I shall go to take some photos of the children using it, and share them with the Lions.
I shall link this to Annie's Friday Smiles.

So what else has rocked my week?
I have been getting into the Christmas spirit,

wrapping up lots of tiny boxes of smarties, and bars of chocolate, to make these jolly fellows. They are for our vilage's little art and craft open day in a couple of weeks time.
I also made a Christmas pudding; not something I
have done for years. Now there is only the two of us, and Chris is not fussed about it anyway, it doesn't seem worth it, so I usually buy a tiny one just for me. But this year he said he would probably eat it if it was home-made, and also my son and his partner are coming over for a couple of days, so I ferreted around in the garage-cum-store-room, and found my old steamer, and set to. I got to the part in the recipe where it said, "Now is the time to gather the family, have a stir and make a wish.." so we each had a go.
Last week my life Group met at a house I had not visited before. It was up a steep hill at the side of Turre - our nearest 'town'. As I reached the top there were such lovely views that I knew I must return with my camera. So I did!

The whole of Turre, nestling below the Cabrera mountains. It is only a very small town, but it has a good supermarket that I often use. I also go to Turre for my Wednesday morning sewing group.

The view just around from the village. It shows what I mean when I say I live in rural Spain! There is a lot of empty land, though there is more agriculture going on than you see in this photo. I love these mountains. They are smooth and rounded with no jagged edges, and they ripple with light and shadows. They look as though someone has dropped a piece of soft fabric and it has had landed in deep folds.

Looking down the hill beyond Turre, you can see the white Moorish village of Mojacar. Beyond that is the sea.

On Tuesday we had our usual choir practice in Huercal-Overa, and as Chris has a 4.00 appointment at the hospital there, we did not have time to go home, which is a half-hour drive away, so we went into the town to find a late lunch. It was a lovely day and we found a nice bar/restaurant at the side of a patio. It was hidden away from the main road, and was surrounded by elegant apartment blocks. It was a real sun-trap, and with an arched pallisade to shield us from the wind, we were able to sit and eat our meal 'al fresco'. 
And then, for the first time ever, there was no queues at the hospital so we saw who we needed to and were home again an hour later!
This week I embarked on the mammoth task of sorting and re-arranging my craft room. Here is what it looked like before.                                                

And here it is now! Suddenly there is so much more floor space. My chair has moved away from the draughty window, and I can swivel between the work area and the computer. I am so lucky to have this room just to craft in, even if I do share it with a furry friend, which means I have to tidy up every time I leave the room!

And just to prove I do get in there to do something
most days, I was commissioned to make a card this week. You may remember that a few weeks back, a lovely Romanian couple from our church held a 'second wedding' ceremony, that we did our best to make special for them. Well yesterday Florentina was safely delivered of a baby girl, a little sister for Andra, so here is the card I made for everyone at church to sign on Sunday.
And finally, there is, of course, another sky photo. The weather has become rather more wintery this week, with a sharp drop in temperature, high, chilly winds, and lots of clouds. I saw this sky just before it was properly dark, and I loved the contrast between the deep blue sky, the brightness of the setting sun catching the edge of a bank of cloud, and the darkness of the coming rain.
Well that is all my news for this week. I am just off to link up with Virginia's blog, Celtic House, and then I shall go down to the sitting room and do some more of a knitting project I am trying to get finished.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Rocking my World Friday.

With the awful news we have been watching all week it is perhaps difficult to stay positive, but it should at least make us all very thankful that we have sufficient food and  drink, clothes to keep us warm and a roof over our heads. We are blessed!
I was also very pleased to read blog posts from two ladies (sisters) who live in the north Philippines, and to hear that both are safe and well, though, of course, traumatised by what has happened to their fellow countrymen. Our love and prayers go out to them all.
While I know many are struggling with the results of flooding, I was actually quite happy that this week we had some significant rain. We really needed it. You could almost hear the ground greedily drinking it. It rained steadily all yesterday evening and into the night. I had done washing in the morning and got it all dry by lunch time, so that was another blessing.
I did some late afternoon food-shopping yesterday, which is unusual for me. I like to get those sort of jobs done in the morning. Friday is my normal shopping day but I knew I was going to be busy this week. As I loaded up the car I looked down the road from the supermarket, towards the beach and there was a pretty, pearly, lilac haze across the sea. I tried to catch it on my phone camera, but it didn't take very well. But by now you know I can't resist taking photos of the sky, so here it is. (It was probably the clouds roling in ready for the rain that came later!).
Each Sunday morning I go to my church in Huercal-Overa which is about a half hour drive from home. It is almost all on the motorway so it is fairly straightforward, but just look at the traffic I have to contend with!

And it was much the same behind me as well. I think everyone else stayed in bed! It is a little busier mid-week and picks up as you approach main towns and cities. But on my Sunday morning run, there is never much at all.
I have had a fun crafting week this week, making Christmas decorations. I was making two different sorts of decorated glass baubles. Here they are, but if you want to know how they are done, you can read all about it on my other blog by clicking here.
I had lots of fun making these, even if I did make rather a mess with all the glitter. It made a change from making cards anyway.
I finished my week on a high note as I spent this morning among friends at a coffee morning to raise funds for our church. One of our group holds these two or three times a year at her house, and they are always good social occasions. Indoors there were tables of home made jam, cards, knitted items and this time - cakes! There is a fly free area attached to the house and there we could browse through lots of books, bric-a-brac, plants etc. There was some beautiful hand-made jewelry on sale outside.
As you can see, it was a sunny morning, so I took my cup of tea outside and sat at a table out there to drink it, but there was a chilly wind. Jasmine's house is a lot higher than our village and there was a noticeable drop in temperature as I drove up to it, but as yet, there is no visible snow on the distant mountain tops.
I did buy a very pretty necklace but look what else I came home with!
Two Cornish pasties, two Eccles cakes and some chocolate chip shortbreads, and two yummy raspberry pavlovas. These suffered a bit on the journey home but they still tasted great. So that was today's lunch sorted and I won't need to bake for a few days.
I also came home with these. 
Another friend arrived with a big box of limes and pomegranets. I don't eat a lot of these but I do like to have one or two each season. They have such a lovely rosy colour, inside and out.
But I wonder if you know what the other fruit in my photo are. A few years ago I wouldn't have done, as they are not seen very often in England. Well they are quince. Jasmine took me into her garden to pick them from this tree.
It is only a small tree but see how many fruit it has on it. And they are very solid and heavy too. They are difficult to peel and cut, but once stewed they taste very like apples. They are very rich in pectin, and I use them mainly to make a traditional jelly called membrillo. It is a very stiff, fruity jelly that you can slice, and it is usually served with cheese, though it it also goes well with cold pork etc.
So that just about sums up my week. I will will link this up to Virginia's blog at Celtic House now, and I'll see you all next week. Have a good one!

Friday, November 8, 2013

More Friday Fun.

I bet you thought I wasn't going to make it this week. Well here I am, and I am starting this week with another photo of my rascal Kim. I showed you last week that we had just bought a bed each for the dogs, so I dug out Miki and Foxy's favourite blankets, which slightly resemble Gruyere cheese, as they have had them since their puppy chewing days. (That is when they were puppies and chewed everything - not when they chewed up puppies!!). As this is Kim's first winter he didn't have a blanket so I found the last piece of the sheepskin bedspread I had used to make the other two. The next morning he dragged all three onto the yard and promptly set about making his match the girls' ones! For now we are keeping their house closed during the day so his blanket survives until it is really cold!

Other positive things that have happened this week:

I did some gardening and replaced a dead geranium with these winter flowering pansies. Aren't they sweet? Pansies always remind me of my sister Brenda because they are her favourite flowers. I love their little faces.

On Wednesday, at my usual craft group, one of our ladies had made up kits for us to make this padded tree, wall decoration.

Here are some of us hard at it. There were a lot of little triangles for us to stuff and stitch across, but that didn't stop us all having a good natter and a laugh together, though we are all concentrating very seriously here!

I dipped my knife into a new pot of Marmite! I wonder if anyone else appreciates the little 'tingle' that gives me. It's the little things in life.....

Today I tackled my dining room. The table looked like this!

But that is very positive because this is all the things that generous friends have knitted for my Knit for Africa project. Aren't people great! I sorted it all out, and then bagged it up, ready to take to my courier friend Phil. He is so kind, and whenever he has space in his van, he takes our knitting to UK and delivers it, free of charge. In fact we couldn't keep going if we had to pay postage on it, so his generosity has made a world of difference to us. When I counted everything I found we had 28 blankets, 72 jumpers and cardigans, 64 beanie hats, 9 teddies, and 21 cotton vests and T-shirts. They make a lovely colourful pile don't they?

If you would like to know more about my project, there is a link in my right side bar. At the end of the file there is a link to my photo file with some lovely photos of the families receiving our work.

I waked into the sitting room the other day and two of my cats were curled up together on my chair. They looked so comfy that I didn't want to move them. The little tabby Luna, rarely stays in the house by day, but it was windy and even Paco came away from his usual sunny patch, and dozed indoors.

Then in the evening I looked out onto the porch where the dogs were and two of them were on the cane settee! Foxy is a little in awe of Kim, but she was obviously comfortable enough to share a bed with him. Poor Miki is on the floor, but she jumps up on the settee too when one of the others moves. It is a wonder we have any furniture left. It will us sitting on the floor soon!

And finally yet another sky. We have had some beautiful sunsets just lately. The best one was Monday night, but I was out with a friend and for once I didn't have my camera with me, so I couldn't get a photo. But I quite liked this one. It reminds me of the song 'I see the bad moon rising' only , of course, this is a new moon not a bad one! It's just the way my mind wanders!

I shall post my naughty Kim on Annie's Friday Smiles again this week, and also link this to Rocking my World on Virginia's blog.  Have a positive week everyone.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rocking my World Friday.

Hi. I am a bit last minute again this week. I sat down to do this, this morning but I kept getting side-tracked. I am feeling blessed this week because actually I have not done a lot, so I haven't got a lot to write about, but sometimes it is good to be able sit back and just take it easy.
So I am starting this week with a photo of my three furry friends, Kim, Miki and Foxy. 

I can't help smiling at this picture so I shall be linking it up to Annie's Friday Smiles later. Don't they look innocent? But if you look behind them you will see the havoc they caused to my fly-free netting,(currently shored up with bits of wood until they are better behaved!), not to mention the yard broom and several plastic milk bottles. Kim, on the left of the picture, is only ten months old, so he is really still a puppy, and we sometimes forget that when he chews his way through something. He has already grown bigger than the other two, who are both around four and a half now, and he still has six months or so to grow in. They are all rescue dogs so we don't know much about their parents, but the vet thinks Kim is an Alsatian-Mastiff cross. He is really a gentle giant, and very affectionate, but like all  'toddlers' he has a stubborn streak!
They usually only sit together like this when they think I have some treats in my hand for them. They were wrong! But I did give in and fetch them a biscuit each for posing so nicely for me.
Kim's favourite toy is an empty milk bottle. He will

play with for it for ages. But sometimes Miki will sneak up and take it, and she will guard it for hours and not let him have it back. Which explains why there are more than one littering our yard in the photos!
We have had some fun with the dogs this week. Kim suddenly noticed the old TV aerial on our roof. It is obsolete but as it is in a difficult place to reach, and is very securely wired in place, we have left it there. Kim can't have seen it before, but he was attracted by some noisy birds that were perching on it, and he decided that he didn't like it. So he sat near the corner of the house and just barked at it none-stop, and nearly drove us demented. 
In the end, Chris borrowed a long ladder and climbed

onto the roof to cut the wires holding it. It is now safely down where it no longer bothers Kim, but I was very happy to see Chris safely down on ground level too. We may live in a bungalow, but we are getting too old to be climbing ladders these days. I was supposed to be making sure the ladder was steady, but I am not sure I could have done anything if he had fallen!
Also this week we decided to buy a bed each for the dogs before the colder weather comes. They are out-side animals, and sleep in a wire enclosure all year. Last winter Miki and Foxy had our two old cane chairs to sleep on, but they were beyond use by Spring and we got rid of them, but they need something to keep them off the ground when it gets colder. After much deliberation we bought a medium size bed for Miki and a smaller one for Foxy and put their blankets in them.

Miki was straight in hers and she stayed there for most of the day as well as all night. (Note she took her milk bottle in there with her!). Foxy needed a bit of coaxing, but in the end she did settle into hers. For Kim we bought the largest one they had, allowing for a bit more growth, but so far he has shown no interest in it. However we put all three into their 'house' and they left very little floor space for him to lie on, so I am assuming he did eventually get in it to sleep. He had certainly had a good chew on the blanket in it by this morning! But every time he got out, one of the others jumped in. They obviously liked the idea of a 'king-sized' bed too, but we would never have got three big ones in their house. So now we have to try and teach them which one is theirs'. 

I did a bit of gardening this week and was rather upset to discover this. They are the caterpillars of the red saw-fly and they just love eating rose leaves. We do spray the roses several times a year and I thought we had got rid of them, but there must have been a later hatching that I hadn't noticed, so they are back.

It is time to cut the rose bushes back hard now anyway, but they are still flowering. It is hard to cut them back when they give such beauty.
This one is covered with water droplets because we did have a couple of little showers this week, though the sun was soon back out to dry it all up again.
On Tuesday night we had a spectacular light show as flash after flash of lightening lit up the sky. The thunder was rolling round the hills all around us, but we only had one lot of heavy rain that lasted about half an hour. It was our first proper rain since April, and really we needed it to go on for all day, though no doubt we would have moaned if it had! I stood outside for ages trying to catch the lightening on camera, but I don't have the knowledge, nor a sufficiently sophisticated camera to do it. I took around forty photos but none of them were any good. I have since read a few tutorials on it, but I still don't think my camera is quite good enough. I will probably have forgotten what to do by the time we have another storm anyway!

Although I have had a relaxing week, I have spent some time in my craft room, because that is my hobby so it is how I relax. As a result I have now got about eighty Christmas cards made. 

Last night I finished another run of a dozen, which you can read more about by clicking here.

Another blessing was to hear that our son had arrived safely in Denmark on Monday. I didn't expect him to go because of the storms, but his work is there so he needed to get there if he could. His Facebook status read "...the flight wasn't too bad, just a bit bumpy, but I think we landed sideways!" I was worried about him going, so it was a relief to know he had got there.
I will leave you with another sunset. I do love the sky and this was so dramatic and beautiful, I couldn't resist taking another photo.
Now I am off to link this to Celtic House and see what everyone else has done this week. Be Blessed!