Friday, November 27, 2015

Rocking Your World 2015; Week 48

This could be my shortest post all year. I am super busy for the next three days so it is now or never, so here goes. 
Here is my smile for this week.
Yes, last night, when I was at the end of a day of baking for the church Christmas Fayre tomorrow, I had this spectacular failure. I was making one of our favourites, lemon drizzle cake, and decided to double up the ingredients and make two. But I did something very wrong! I still don't know what it was, but when I got them out of the oven, I called Chris out to see them and we both just burst out laughing. After all, there was no point in crying, and if we can't laugh at our own mistakes, we will never be able to move on from them. So share a smile at my expense.
And just to prove I don't usually mess up in the kitchen to quite this extent, this morning I had another go, just making one, and it turned out fine.
I have salvaged most of the others. I know they are full of good ingredients which it seems a shame to waste, so some of them will be appearing under a blanket of custard for us to enjoy this week. 
And the moral of this story is, stop baking before you are too tired to know what you are doing!!

I have very little to show you this week as I have been busy preparing for all the events over this weekend, and the next couple of weeks, so no doubt there will be more to tell next week.
Yesterday, as the cooker had been in action for mincepies and cakes all morning, Chris suggested we went out for lunch and first we drove up to Bédar, the little white village in the hills just behind us. The scenery is lovely up there. It was sunny and the sky was bright blue, setting off the green of the hills, so I took this one quick photo on my phone.
Unfortunately the restaurant we were heading for was closed, so we turned around and went to another one in Turre and had a very nice lunch.
Again, I have managed to sit out on the porch with our dogs, and do a little of my crochet most afternoons. It is quite sheltered there, and even on windy days it is usually nice for sitting for a few hours. I need that little break from whatever I am doing and I am enjoying seeing my pile of completed squares growing. I have done one and a half this week, and I doubt whether the second one will be finished before Sunday, but I am not too far behind, so hopefully I will catch up again soon.

So now it is just some sky photos. We have had a lot of strange shapes in the sky this week.
Yesterday we started off with some smoke signals.
Then some little golden whisps came drifting across.
Then they joned forces to make this glowing mass.
But the best sky was on Wednesday, and once again I was driving to choir practice and couldn't take any photos. By the time I had left the motor way it was receding behind the hills, and I knew it would be gone before I arrived at our practice room, so I pulled into a garage forecourt and used my phone to catch the last few dying moments.
Right at the very last minute the whole sky turned red, and then it was gone.
It was quite dark when I arrived at my destination a few minutes later.
So now I am off link this to Annie's Friday Smiles and Rocking your world at Celtic House, and then I must go and change into my black and purple for our first proper public appearance with the choir this evening. I have a singing practice at church this afternoon though, but as they are both a fair drive away, I will stay over there and find some tea somewhere, so I expect it weill be quite late when I get back. But I will be visiting you all sometime over the weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Rocking your world 2015: Week 47

My smile today is actually a photo of me. I don't do that very often as I don't often like what the camera shows me!

Anyway, here I am around 9.00 this morning, enjoying a cup of tea on a beautiful sunny day, and look out over a really green, green zone. 

It is really hard to believe that it is mid-November. We have had a lovely week weather-wise and today is the warmest with a temperature of 26º, so we are making the most of it as it is due to drop around 10º on Monday, and send some rain our way as well. But it is lovely to still be comfortable in a summer dress when my home town in UK is expecting snow this weekend!

In keeping with enjoying the last few days of sunshine, I have sat out on the porch to eat lunch and then done some of my crochet most days, so I just have one more round to do on my second blanket square for this week. Hopefully I will get that done tomorrow, ready for when Lucy posts the colour order for the next two squares on Sunday.

Apart from that it has been a funny old week because we have the painters in now, so we had to get the main room, and the hall and passageway, cleared ready for them. Anyone who has visited me will appreciate that that is no small task. I have far too many ornaments etc and out here, where everything is so dusty, it is not a good idea. So for now, everything is in boxes in the garage and spare room, or piled under dust sheets in the main room. Even the ceiling fan is wrapped in plastic.

The poor man's first job was to fill all the holes where the hooks were removed, (including at least thirty six right up at ceiling level where I had my collectors plates hung!) When the painting is done I shall select just a few pieces to go back on the walls and shelves. That's the theory anyway!
It is quite fun in a way because the painter, who came highly recommended by a friend, is Moroccan, though he has lived here for a long time and is fluent in Spanish. His name is Racheed and he has brought a friend to help him who is French, but who has worked in Algiers for many years. So he talks to Racheed in Arabic while I talk to him in Spanish, and my husband Chris talks to the friend in English! Somehow we are all understanding what is going on, and we are impressed with their work so far. 
As most of the house is out of action, I have spent my mornings in the kitchen and my evenings in my craft room, so I have made my Christmas cake and today I mixed up the puddings. 
In the Anglican church, the collect for this coming Sunday, starts with the words "Stir up we beseech Thee, O Lord,.....", and this has led to it being known as "Stir-up" Sunday, and is traditionally the day for stirring up the Christmas puddings. So I am a couple of days early, but here is Chris having his turn with the spoon.
I had to smile because when I turned Facebook on this  morning, it reminded me that  I posted this photo today-two years ago.
Same place, same bowl, but at least he is wearing something different! I guess I am a bit of a traditionalist, especially when it comes to Christmas.

I have also managed to get most of my 'overseas' Christmas cards written and addressed. Some are left open ready to have a news letter added when I have written it. Maybe that will get done while the hall and passageway are being painted, especially of the rain comes. Normally I am rushing to do this at the last minute. We have two bank holidays here just at the beginning of December, and they throw the postal service into disarray, so I like to get my cards posted before this if I can, and I might just achieve it this year.

One other thing that pleased me this week is to do with our choir. We are hoping to do a concert of our own next summer, but this Christmas we have been invited to sing at a few local events, so we needed to sort some stagewear so that we all look more or less the same. The choir colour is purple which is very hard to find this year, so the men are wearing black trousers and white shirts, hopefully with a purple bow tie. The ladies have opted for black trousers and a black top and we were hoping to have something purple to lift it. Well I was up at a big open market near Albox two Saturdays ago and one stall had one purple scarf. It was glittery and just the right shde of purple, so I asked if she had any more as I needed twenty of them. She agreed to travel to her supplier in Murcia to try and get some and a few days later she phoned to say she had them. So this Saturday I went over to collect them and took them to choir practice on Wednesday. I was happy because everyone loved them. 
They are lacy and sparkley and very pretty, so I am
glad they met with everyone's approval. Here is Chris acting as a scarf-hanger for the purpose of the photo. It doesn't show the sparkle, but you get the idea. As we are singing outside at some of the events, we have also ordered a purple fleece for everyone to wear, with our logo on the left side. Hopefully they will be ready for our first singing session on 27th.

Apart from that there have been some nice long chats with some of the boys on Skype, which always make me happy, and a little parcel of some new craft materials in the post. I also received a prize from one of the blog challenges I entered, so I have some nice new dies and stamps to try out soon.

Now I have just got three lots of sky photos to show you. This one was taken on Sunday morning on my way to church. It was a bit overcast at first although sun was forecast for later, and suddenly the bank of cloud in front of me opened , and rays of light shone down. It was so lovely I had to stop to take a photo.
The next two were taken earlier this week. I love it when the sun's rays can be see quite distinct from the clouds and sky.
It gets dark soon after 5.30 now, but when I had taken the photo above, I turned around and behind me the sky was still almost blue, and there was pile up of little fluffy clouds, catching some of those dying rays.
And this last set were taken this evening. At first the sky was particularly clear and so pretty. Then the light and colour deepened, and gradually the low cloud started to turn pink. Eventually there was just a bright light low down and above it a line of red with wind-whipped grey lashes all along it. I just had to stand and watch until it had all faded away. The Master Painter sure has a way with colours!
Now I will be off to link this up at Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World at Virginia's blog. Then I shall have an early night, as Spanish workers are used to an early start, so we need to be up before they arrive. I'll be back tomorrow to do some visiting. 
Thank you to all the lovely people who have continued to visit me regularly and leave lovely comments. I really do appreciate them all. I feel I am back in circulation again now, so I will make sure I return the compliments, and visit you all too.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rocking Your World 2015: Week 46

My animals are always making me smile. Arwen is growing her winter coat now which makes her look huge. She has been fed up with me lately because I actually want to use my craft room to do some craft in, and she thinks it is all hers'! But today it is reasonably tidy, so she perched on a box of envelopes so she could look out of the window.
But she hates having her photo taken and knows the little sound my camera makes when I turn it on. I spent ages calling her, trying to make her turn round and look at me. When she finally did, 'If looks could kill.....!'
As usual for the week or two following my Christmas market, this has been a quieter week, with not too much going on. We have had some beautiful days, with blue skies to lift our spirits, and as long as you are in a sheltered spot, out of any wind, it is still quite warm. So we have been able to sit outside to eat our lunch every day, and when I have had nothing more pressing to do, I have stayed out on the porch to do some of my crochet, until the shadows come creeping up on me and drive me indoors. As a result I have managed to make the first two of my squares for my 'Log cabin style' blanket. Lucy, from Attic 24, gave us the pattern for the sunny granny square centres last week, and on Sunday she gave us the stitches for all the other squares with the colour arrangement of the first two. She will give us the order of the stripes for two more squares each Sunday until the New Year. I would love to think I can keep up with her, but I know some weeks there will not be enough time. But at least I am off to a good start.
Together with next Sunday's squares these will form the centre of the blanket, with twelve more squares to go around them. I love the way the colours all mix together. Even when two touching colours would normally clash, they look right. You can see how the warmer colours are forming the outside of the centre piece, while the cooler colours are forming a cross in the middle. The two little tags of wool are colour coded telling me the number of the square and its orientation, which will make it much easier to set the blanket when all the squares are finished.

I had a happy surprise this week when the postman brought me a card from one of my 'blogland' friends. It was one of her lovely zentangle drawings. I love RAKs and half their fun is the element of surprise. We get very little mail here, and most of what we do get is bills, so a surprise card was a real lift.

Another nice surprise appeared in my e-mail inbox this week. When I write up about something I have made, especially on my other blog, I always try to give credit to the designer of a file, or the maker of the stamp I have used, and this week I used some cutting files from a new designer. A friend of hers had spotted my blog where I had mentioned her name, and told her about it, so she came to read it, and she sent me a free cutting file as a Thank You. It is for a wreath of poinsettias, and has a lot of pieces, but I shall definitely be trying it out very soon. Isn't it pretty?
A few years ago, when I was visiting in UK, I bought a black dress with an all-over pattern of poppies. It is not a style I usually wear, so it doesn't get used a lot, but I always put it on for the Remembrance Day service at church, and again on Armistice Day. I showed you the dress in my week 46 post last year. This year I decided I would like to make a crochet poppy to wear on it, so I dug out a book of crocheted flowers, bought many years ago, and sure enough there was a poppy pattern in it. It was for an oriental poppy, so it came up a bit bigger than I had intended, but I rather like it, and it got lots of appreciative comments from my friends.
I am always warmed by the generosity of folk, and I had another example of this when I received a call from a lady at the Lions club, asking me to contact another lady who lives on a nearby camp site, who holds various charity events and wants to donate some money to ASADIS. I didn't know her at all, but I phoned her and we arranged to meet in a bar in the village when she came in for the market on Tuesday. She was a bubbly, Irish lady, who was impressed because I could spell her name - Siobhan. (The only reason I knew this was because it was the name of a little girl in my nursery and I spent many months teaching her to write it before she moved on to 'big school'. Phonetics don't work with that one!!) Anyway, Siobhan is holding a carols by candlelight, to include lighting candles for people whose names are in her book of remembrance, and the proceeds will be passed on to ASADIS. So kind from someone who knew very little about the organisation, but who just wanted to help.
Yesterday, Chris suggested we should go out to lunch, and we decided to try a restaurant that was new to us, but had been highly recommended by various friends. And we were not disappointed. The room was nice and had a lovely view, and the food and service were excellent. The standard was well above many 'menu del días' that we have had. It was another lovely sunny day with a bright blue sky. We opted to eat inside in case it was windy out on the patio, but after our meal we took a drink outside and sat in the sun for a while.
Chris has started wearing a light jumper but he feels the cold more than I do. I am still in summer dresses, which is pretty good for the middle of November. But I have slipped a cardigan on when I first get up some mornings, because as usual, it is often colder indoors than it is outside.
As you can see, there was a huge terrace out at the back of the hotel, and I walked all around it taking photos of the amazing view. It is fairly flat around Vera, so you can see for a long way. This was the view at the back, and right in the distance, I could just glimpse the sea.

Over to the side I could see the Cabrera mountains that are clearly seen from our front gate, and they slope gently down to Mojacar.
The campo is fairly green after all the rain, but as the sun was going down it cast a lovely pearly glow over the hills, and showed up the rusty brown that is still there in between all the new growth.
Ad that just leaves me with a couple of sunset photos taken at around 6 o'clock tonight. I took this one because I thought it looked like a giant hand reaching out of the clouds. It wasn't until I put it on the computer, that I saw the birds flying across to find their resting place for the night.
The shape shifters were around up there, and my hand soon became a big pair of pincers, or maybe a dolphin playing in the waves. I think I preferred the hand!
Right, I'm off to link up with Annie's Friday Smiles now, and Rocking my world at Celtic House. Do join me and share some positivity from others that link there.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Rocking Your World 2015: Week 45

We are running out of weeks this year aren't we! As the first part of this post is about smiling, I thought I would share this with you. I saw it on the internet this week. When I was little, my mum used to say "You smile, and others smile, and soon there miles and miles of smiles; and life's worthwhile because you smile" This made me think of her, and yes, it made me smile!

And while we are in a good mood, here is another picture that made me smile. This is my two lovely, little great-grandsons, enjoying playing with the Autumn leaves. I can't believe little Alfie is ten months already, and Isaac is a proper school boy. How the time flies. Their mum's friend Nesta Lloyd, who is a professional photographer, took this for her, so all credit goes to her. Thank you for allowing us to share it Nesta.

This week hasn't been the easiest one, not so much for me, but for many of my friends. One dear friend had her house burgled while the family went out for supper on Friday night. They lost a lot of valuable items as well as credit cards and cash, and understandably they are feeling very violated and upset. They also experienced a small earthquake in their area. Fortunately it didn't send waves out as far as us. And to cap it all, while we had severe thunderstorms and heavy rain all through Sunday night, they had an horrendous storm, with hail stones big enough to cause damage to plants and paint work, and the road to their village was cut off all through Monday by flood water. This is the village where my church is, so a lot of my close friends were affected. But of course, in this post we try to find the positives in every situation, and the positive that came from this was a real sense of love in the community, with everyone helping out where they could, taking food and flowers to those affected, and helping with the clearing up in the aftermath of the storm.  We try to make our little church a real source of light in the area, and it was seen in the reaching out from one to another.
We then had a bit of a worrying time with our big boy Kim, the German Shepherd-Mastiff cross dog that we took in as a pup three years ago. Last weekend I treated all the dogs and cats with anti-parasitic spot-ons and Kim seemed to have a reaction to it. He 'lost his wag' and was very sad. He hardly left his bed, and slept for most of the day. Every time I sat down he wanted cuddles, and although he is around 38 kilos, he still thinks he is a lap dog, and kept trying to sit on me! He was scratching the area where I applied the treatment, but he has never reacted to it before. He may have just been disturbed by all the noise on the street for Halloween, and the constant ringing of the bell and banging on the door, but fortunately his 'wag' came back yesterday. He did just about get out of bed to greet me in the morning, and today he is back to normal.

However, there have been some good things this week as well. Today, my same group of friends gathered together at Jasmine's house for her twice-yearly coffee morning cum charity market. I had my craft stall with the items I showed last week, and this week I managed to get a few more items made. I used my silhouette cameo cutting machine to make vinyl decals to decorate some sweet jars, and candle plates.

Next I used some bought cutting files to make these hanging ornaments. I thought they were an unusual shape, and I enjoyed making them.

My last project was something I have been meaning to have a go at for the couple of years since I bought the file for it. It was an image that I cut from vinyl and added to the front of a shadow frame. Then I put some glittered linen and yellow vellum behind it, and a string of ten lights behind that. I was very pleased with it when it was done. I sold it at the market today, so sometime I will have to make another one as I want one for myself too! I just love the imagery.

Once again, there are more details of how these were made on my other blog which you can see by clicking HERE. I also printed off five calendars which I designed using my own photographs to illustrate a Bible verse for each month. I shall be making a few more of these as I sold the ones I had made and took a few orders.
Of course, my Christmas stall woudn't be complete without some packs of mince-pies, so on Monday, which was a public holiday here for All Saints' Day, so there was no point in going out anyway as everywhere was closed, I had a baking day and made nine dozen mince-pies.

We were really lucky to have a beautiful day today for the coffee morning, so there was a good turnout, and there was plenty for them to see. Jean had her jewelry stall and Jasmine had her knitting and sewing, and lots of 'recycled' cards.

Anthony had done his usual amazing baking with delicious pasties, raspberry meringues, and cheesecake among other things, and Sue and Fran were kept busy in the kitchen, making tea and coffee.
Margie looked after a big bric-a-brac stall and Sylvia and William ran a tombola.

And here is my stall, looking a bit untidy because I had already sold quite a few bits and pieces. You'll have to excuse the cups of tea. My friend Eileen came to help me out. We were out in the fly-free porch area and the sun was streaming in on us, so we needed a tea break.
I took 92€ on my stall, which I was pleased with, and altogether we raised 420€ which will be shared between the church funds, The Barnabas Fund, and my Knit for Africa project.

There was a table and chairs set up out in the garden, for people to sit and have a break, so when all the
clearing up had been done, Eileen and I sat out there and ate one of Anthony's pasties for our lunch, as we were going on to a singing practice later in the afternoon, and we didn't have time to drive home, and then come back again. It was really warm sitting there, and I think we could both have done with a nap rather than a singing session, but we managed it all, and got home in time for tea!

One other happy moment this week was when the post man delivered a big squashy parcel to me and inside was  bright coloured balls of wool. I had ordered this pack to make a lovely crocheted blanket featured on the very talented Lucy's blog, Attic24. There were eighteen balls of wool in a mix of warm and cool colours, and they arrived all tucked neatly into an organzie sack. Isn't that a lovely way to send it?
I have now transferred the wool into a plastic crate, as I need to get to the different colours easily. Don't they look lovely all together? I shall use the sack to store the squares as I make them until I am ready to assemble the blanket.
The blanket is made up of sixteen squares in the style of traditional log cabin quilts, and they each use all the colours, arranged with the warm colours on one side and the cooler ones on the other, and are then sewn with like touching like. This photo of four squares joined together might explain it better than I can.
Lucy has given us the pattern for the sunny granny square in the centre of each large square, and she is going to feed the rest of the instructions to us each Sunday up until Christmas, with the idea being that we crochet along with her. I think it might take me a bit longer to finish mine, but I am looking forward to making a start now the market crafting is over.

And that's about it for this week. I do of course have some sky photos to close with. We have had some high winds this week that have 'shredded' the clouds in interesting ways, and they then pick up the colours from the setting sun. So here they are.

Now I shall link these up with Annie's Friday Smiles, and Rocking Your World over at Celtic House, and then I think I have earned an early night. So I shall go to bed, but I will be back tomorrow to see what has had you smiling this week.