Thursday, 27 October 2011

Random Post - Thursday 27th October.

I seem to have spent the last week running around like a mad thing. I must have jinxed myself by putting up a post on doing nothing as I haven't stopped being busy since!

I have knitted 2 more scarves and am getting faster! I love the knitting group that I go to as everyone is so friendly. I do spend more time chatting than knitting though but it is so lovely. 

My certificate from my management course has arrived. I'm not sure what to do with it but my parents want to put it on the wall! I didn't go to the ceremony but I would have loved to have dressed up in the cap and gown to receive it. I can't believe I have a Master's degree! It seems crazy that I actually finished the course. It was so much work and time but it is all worth it now! Not sure what to do next ......

I have started a cake decorating course which is so interesting. I am taking notes and think that it will become a long term hobby as I love baking and making things pretty so it is a perfect fit for me. Here is a rose I made in my first week. Please ignore the cracked edges as the room was really hot and the sugar paste dried out so fast! 

The Christmas pudding is now made! It took 8 hours to cook in a steamer and is now all wrapped up. All it needs now is a little top up of rum for the next few weeks and then it is all ready for Christmas day. I am excited already - this was the first year that I have made a Christmas pudding and I am going to make the Christmas cake next. Well, maybe two cakes as I need one to practice on in my cake decorating class. 

I went on a one day patchwork course which was so great. I always thought that patchwork was really complicated and beyond my sewing skills but when the teacher broke it down step by step I actually managed to follow and understand it. I want to make some Christmas decorations and some sewn gifts this year. There is so much adorable festive fabric about at the moment! 



Saturday, 22 October 2011

Doing Nothing.

Every so often I just need time to do nothing. Perhaps to relax after a stressful week at work or as part of the recuperation for a spell of being ill. Now I don't mean that I sit and literally do nothing or watch a trashy television show. I just do something that I enjoy and isn't stressful at all. Simple pleasures! 

I love being around people and being busy but I still appreciate those spare half hours to myself when I can just be quiet. I generally like to be productive but these moments don't have to have anything to show for them at the end of them. Except a calm and refreshed me! 

My favourites are:

Reading a book I love - maybe a childhood favourite. Not an educational one! 

Going for a walk and just wandering. Not having a set place to go or time to get there. 

Listening to music. I tend to listen to music while doing something else - it is nice to just focus on the music once in a while. 

Doodling or just sketching. Not trying to draw something perfect. No pressure just enjoying the drawing itself.

Sitting and watching a whole film. I have an awful habit of starting a DVD then pausing it to go off and do something else. 

Having a little nap during the day. This seems a little selfish and decadent to me but when I am ill it makes me feel much better!

Somehow when I stop pressuring myself or worrying about everything it puts the world into perspective again.  Those huge tasks are less daunting and my creativity is restored. 



Sunday, 16 October 2011

Feeling Thankful.

I have so much to be thankful for and so much that I just don't appreciate enough. When I have a bad day it is so easy to dwell on that day rather than all the good days before it. I am counting my blessings! God has given me so much. My life, my faith, my family, my talents, and most importantly He gave His own Son for me and all of us. 

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God for you in Christ. 

1 Thessalonians 5 : 16 - 18

I have a loving family, my health, a home, a job and my education so I am better off than a lot of people. I feel as though moaning about bits of my life that perhaps are hard is diminishing the suffering of others. There are people in the world with real struggles, without food or family or hope, so how dare I complain about a bad day at work! Even my struggles with my faith are minor compared to the struggles of others - those that are persecuted for their beliefs and who don't have the freedom to express their faith. 

I am thankful for:

God and His continued love and support of me. Also my Bible which comforts, encourages or cheers me dependant on what I need.

My family - they may not share my faith or ideas but they love me and support me. 

The freedom to love God and not having to hide my faith away. I have been teased for my beliefs but never truly persecuted by any stretch of the imagination and I am thankful for that too. 

My health - I am healthy and well. I don't always appreciate how amazing it is to get out of bed each day and just walk around. Or that I can take care of myself and be independent. So many people don't have this. 

My talents and skills. I am still discovering all sorts of things I enjoy and I love that I have the time and ability to practice and learn. 

I feel as though by not being grateful I am failing to acknowledge all that God has done for me. I want to praise Him and to share this thankfulness with others. 

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; 
give thanks to him and praise his name. 

Psalm 100 : 4

I challenge you to find 5 things that you are thankful for right now! 



Saturday, 15 October 2011

A Little Walk.

I love walking in the countryside! There is so much beauty in the world and also I find it peaceful to be alone sometimes and just to think and pray to God in a more informal way. It feels so natural now! I truly love being able to take my worries and thoughts to God. 

Walking in the same place so often I notice all the changes of the seasons. The conkers are on the trees, the leaves are turning and the many fruits and berries are ripening. 

I adore walking by the river and try to do so as often as possible, especially now as it will soon be too dark on week days to do so. When it is dark when I leave the house and dark when I return, I restrict myself to walking around the town. Oh but on a sunny day when the breeze makes the clouds run across the sky all I want is to be outside! 

Often I take the dogs with me to give them a nice long walk but other times I go alone. Just me and a book. The dogs get far too bored if I try to stop and read! Sitting in the sun on the river bank reading something by Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott and listening to the birds singing - sounds pretty close to perfection to me. 

I don't think I could ever be a city girl! 



Monday, 10 October 2011

Starting to Garden.

This coming year I am planning to grow vegetables and fruit. I know that my tomatoes didn't work out well, or at all really, this year but I intend to prepare this time!

This is my little patch! Not big or impressive at all really. It is about 8 feet squared. I removed a big buddleia bush from the edge. A lot more work than I expected as it went really deep!  I have also dug over all the soil as it was well compacted down and is quite a heavy soil. The vague plan I have is to have an columnar apple tree and maybe a cherry tree too as well as some vegetables such as runner beans, potatoes, tomatoes, peas and carrots. I also would love to grow salad and maybe a little blueberry bush. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself though and I plan on treating my first year as a time of learning and practising. 

Here are two books that I found on sale. I think perhaps the storing produce one is a bit optimistic! The kitchen garden book is really interesting though as covers what is to be planted each month as well as garden tasks like building raised beds. Each month has one or two practical projects such as tackling weeds, sewing seedlings, watering and planning your kitchen garden. I need to work on preparing the soil for plants. Maybe a compost bin would be a good idea! 

There are a lot of magazines around on the topic of growing fruits and vegetables. Many come with free seeds each month as well as offers on reduced price plants to buy. I won't buy every magazine every month but I will look out for the ones with relevant topics in them such as starting out in gardening. 

My dream would be a little house in the countryside with a vegetable patch, herb garden, fruit bushes and chickens! I just love the idea of eating something that I have grown from seed. I can't keep chickens here but I intend to make the best of what I can do. There are so many options of what to grow!  

Do you grow food for your family? Any tips for a beginner would be appreciated! 



Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunlight in the Garden.

Trying to develop my photography skills! I am very much a point and shoot type and there are all sorts of features on my camera that I haven't used. I really need to read the guide book. 

I wanted to see if I could capture how sunlight makes flowers and leaves look brighter, warmer and almost enchanted. These are the results! 

 I don't know why but I find red flowers hard to photograph. There have been some gorgeous roses in a deep ruby colour in the garden this year but I just can't get the same sharpness to the photographs as I do with paler flowers. 

Watching the leaves changing colour for Autumn is providing more inspiration. I love all the fiery reds and golds and these leaves have an almost glossy texture to them. 

Playing about with a blurred background. Normally I have the lighter part of the plant in focus but I quite like this effect. All I seem to do is close ups! 

I actually really like this photograph! The sun has highlighted the glossy tips of the flower which emphasises the deeper tones within. They look like tiny flames. 



Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Winter Predictions.

There are all sorts of signs in folklore to predict whether a Winter is to be harsh or mild. So many quaint old wives' tales! These include geese and ducks migrating earlier, thicker hair on a cow's neck, extra large quantities of acorns, heavy fog in August and an abundance of berries on trees. 

There are certainly a lot of berries on the trees and bushes here. I think that may have more to do with the weather in Spring rather than the weather yet to come in Winter. I have seen many geese flying too, honking and calling in their triangles! I can't say I have been inspecting any of the nearby cows though! 

The Winter last year was rather worse than we are used to here. Of course it was mild compared to many places! There was snow up to and over my knees though - that made for interesting walks! One thing I have noticed from the letters of my Amish pen pals is that they really prepare for Winter. They can and can until they have a pantry full of food! 

They are more isolated there than I am here - living in a town I am unlikely to get snowed in for too long. It doesn't hurt to prepare a little though and I intend to have a well stocked first aid kit as well as cold medicine and some tinned food. Just in case I am ill when the weather is bad. I doubt I would feel like dragging myself through the snow with a terrible cold!

Do you prepare for Winter where you are?



Monday, 3 October 2011

New Wool!

This is similar to the wool I have already used for my scarf but it gives a different sort of ruffle. It is kind of hard to explain but it looks like lines of ruffles running horizontally across the scarf. 

I love the colours! The different tones mix so well and I am excited to knit more scarves. Once I am more used to knitting I will try with normal wool and also to learn to follow patterns. I do love the effect that these "fancy" wools give. 

Here is a close up of the wool. Again you knit the openings at the top and the wool forms the ruffles by itself. Casting off is done in the normal way but casting on is so easy! You simply slide every other stitch onto the needle until you have the correct number and then knit. When the scarf is completed you just have to sew up the end pieces in a matching thread. 

I love that I am learning a new skill! 



Sunday, 2 October 2011


I took this photograph this morning. I was just wandering around the garden looking for inspiration when I noticed the sun shining through a nasturtium flower. It looked like it was lit from within! 

Nasturtium flowers are also edible but I can't say it appeals to me! I suppose they would add colour to a salad but it seems a bit odd to eat flowers.