Saturday, 29 April 2017

I love it when a plan comes together...

A break from our regular programming!

So, my sister is the big knitter in the family - she has the patience to just churn out vast swathes of knitting that become blankets, baby clothes and toys. I, on the other hand, whilst a very competent knitter, always preferred putting the final creation together which is why I ended up moving into sewing as a dominant hobby. But I do still dabble with wool, as you can see!

Anyhow, with the Inkling (my newest nephew-to-be) due to arrive within the next 6 weeks or so, I decided to send down a variety of blankets. Whilst they may not look the best, the knitted blankets are the perfect size for in the car, and the pair allows for one to always be washed. I previously made a set for my niece Felix (all cats, no surprises there!) and my sister used them so much that she actually asked for these. Felix now has both of hers sewn together (which was always the intention, which is why there is no border) and it fits a single bed perfectly.

A nautical theme was picked as, firstly, I personally love the theme. I'd have my whole house decked out to look like a beach house if my husband allowed me. And perhaps if Scotland had slightly less than ten months of winter. Secondly, as the nickname applies, Inkling has been given an affinity to sea creatures - his early scans had his hand at his mouth, so he had Cthulhu-esque tentacles (my sister is a massive Lovecraft fan and she made the association!) and it kinda all came from that. I love the song 'Wave over Wave' (there are many versions, but Great Big Sea have probably done the most famous one) so I went with that for filling in the middle of each blanket. Once linked, it will read the first two lines of the chorus.

Lastly, is my proper sewn quilt! Gotta admit, this is possibly the best quilt I have ever made. Its on a diagonal and everything! The bulk of the fabric was from a fat quarter set, and I got the fishes material separately to just make it a bit more my own.

Here's a close up
And that's about it! I posted these off earlier in the week and got confirmation it had arrived today - I'd have shown them off sooner but didn't want to spoil the surprise! 

Back to regular programming next time!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Belated Easter

Well, Easter has come and gone and I have been very good and not put myself into a chocolate induced coma (yet). Whilst I do not celebrate the religious aspects of Easter, I understand its importance to many and respect the symbolism. I also understand the practical aspects of Shrove Tuesday and Lent. Truly, its an odd little holiday - whilst I always got eggs growing up, there was never really more to mark the day than that (no egg rolling and the Easter bunny was a novelty and not a thing, I suppose my parents felt that, like Christmas, Easter has the possibility of getting completely out of hand), so its something that's uniquely become personal to me as an adult.

I digress. My favourite traditions of Easter are simple. My husband and I have, for the last ten years now, enjoyed 'dippy eggs and soldiers' as our brunch (a tradition Missy terribly enjoys - I don't know why, but she is daft on boiled eggs). This is Missys third Easter with us and we always try and get out to Beecraigs for the Easter trail. We managed that on the Monday this year (sadly no organised trail, but they have just opened a new information centre) and watched all the families rolling eggs down the big hill and Missy did her best to eat up all the discarded pieces!


I always go overboard with baking. This year I didn't really bother with eggs (my niece and nephew received some house warming bits as we were meant to be going to see my sisters new house, but that plan was cancelled last minute). I made mini-egg rocky road and creme egg tiffin, as well as the classic birds nests. I made them on top of cupcakes this year as, though I really do enjoy the nests, they can quickly become too much. There was also some chocolate cupcakes, but I didn't photograph those.


We did have our Easter Bonnet contest! Now in its second year, my family are keen to make a tradition of it. Sadly my nephew had picked up a stomach bug, hence the venue change, and couldn't join us (his hat was brought along in his stead and, no, it wasn't too much chocolate - I jokingly suggested such and received such an affronted tirade from my sister that next time I will stay silent!) To everyone's delight, my Manchester based niece also joined in with a photo entry. My brother agreed to be the independent adjudicator this year (it was such a hit with the kids that he wants to do one next year, so this years winner will judge next year) and I'm afraid to say that Missy and I came in joint last. 

I like to think that Missy and I have better taste than he! With my mother having won, and her love of tat, next year I'm going to have to do something really ridiculous. I have some ideas, but none seem overkill enough.

Although Missys bonnet I'll keep neat and pretty and simple.

Much like the traditions I enjoy most.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Strolling in the Sunshine

After the better part of £300, Missys odd limping hop has finally been resolved - she has had a knee injury and the resulting bone growth and inflammation basically means she has very mild arthritis in the joint. The vets happy that it shouldn't get worse provided the supplements that they've given us do their job and everyone is very keen for Missy to fully have her bounce back.

On that note of good news, this weekend we manged to finally get training for the Kiltwalk that we are doing in September. Bearing in mind that Missy is still technically in recovery (try telling her that) we decided on the nice flat and well paved Union Canal. 
Google informed me that the park and ride to the end of the canal in Edinburgh and back again was ten miles, so it seemed a nice starting point. We were accompanied by a friend who is also joining us on the Kiltwalk and had arranged to meet another friend at the halfway point for the picnic who was then going to accompany us back.

We were phenomenally lucky with the weather and as a result the canal was incredibly busy - we saw people rowing, kayaking, running, cycling and, those on the same wave length as us, plenty of other dog walkers. Missy got a little too curious about a swan and made a swift retreat at its hissing, so no one was harmed except perhaps for her dignity!

The Union canal runs right through Edinburgh and, despite the fact that you can literally walk over a main road, is incredibly scenic with little impact of noise from traffic. If you know what to look for, there's plenty of wildlife to spot - though you'll need to make it a dawn or dusk trip to see the foxes. 

After our picnic we all headed back to the house for an evening of board games and enough cake and ice cream that any health advantages of the walk were well and truly neutralised. 

Then the ninja sunburn struck.

So, when we had all gotten back to the house, everyone was fine, it was only a few hours later that the redness started to develop. No one had brought sunscreen as the weather had turned out much better than forecast (you'd think being married to a red head I'd have learned my lesson before now). Nonetheless, I seem to have gotten off the lightest and the pinkness has now passed with no real agitation, but weirdly my friend who was out with us the shortest amount of time has ended up with the worst.

So, note to future self. In addition to the rain coat you'd brought as a just in case, and the thermos of tea which was a just in case, now pack sunscreen.

Saying that, this is Scotland. That one day was probably our summer!

Monday, 3 April 2017

An Easter Throwback

Easter this year is quite late it seems - my Facebook has spnt the last few days showing me all the goodies I've made and baked over the last several years, and I feel that I'm going to have to pull something spectacular out the hat this year.
The irony that I'm competing with myself from last year has not been lost on me, dont worry!

So, its kind of become a tradition since Missy arrived in our lives to gather the clan together and do an Easter dog walk and picnic (and eat copious amounts of cake and chocolate!) Last year my older sister led the celebrations and Missy gatecrashed the Easter bonnet competition.

That's right. Gatecrashed and won.

It took some convincing, but my niece and nephew did eventually see the funny side of it! Especially after I provided lots of baked goodies and explained to them that I had wanted to do an Easter photo shoot with Missy for her Easter cards (another tradition, after receiving so many cards with my nieces and nephews photos on it, I started to do the same with my fur-baby, the satire backfired and everyone thought it was brilliant!)

Anyway, this was last years Easter card picture:

I don't know why this makes me think of Van Gogh...
I'd like to pretend that it was a really easy and simple process to put together, but in reality there is much bribery and waving of squeaky toys. I wont make Missy do something she doesn't want to do, and even then, I keep what she will tolerate to very short 2-3 minute sessions. 

Bit of a rambling post today, I'm in the process of picking out some doggy recipes for Easter and prepping Missys new Easter bonnet as a rematch has been called!

Till next time!

A behind the scenes view