Hi everyone, are you all safe and well in this wonderful new year?
January has been a very odd month so far, very wet with some snow. Yesterday it snowed all day and it must have got to about 6 inches thick which is good going for the UK urban areas.
We have had some glorious sunny days but they have been few and far between and never two together. It is slowly getting lighter in the evenings, we have gained about half an hour now.
My daughter has had to go back to school for keyworker’s children even though her two girls are still at home. She asked me to make her some masks so I have been busy doing that.
My Christmas decorations are all boxed up but I haven’t got round to putting them in the attic yet. I didn’t put many up this year as I was on my own but it really seems bare now.
I have been preparing some embroidery to work on over the next few months. The blue cushion cover for grandd no.2 has been pieced and is awaiting its embelishments.
I have begun 2021 Beyond TAST and kept the same format as last year. Weeks 1 & 2 are finished and posted.
I have cut some Aida fabric to make this year’s monogrammes and have finished my lockdown multi media project, what do you think?
The Linus UK blanket has benefited by a whole 7 centres
and I am now starting my penultimate name for my family history. So far I have researched Compigne, Carr, Salvini, and now Leaney, only Gillian to go. If you have access to Ancestry you are welcome to have a browse.
I am waiting for my anti Covid vaccine, Boris has promised all over 70s to have theirs by mid February (next blog day)!!! We shall see.
And last but definatley not least – I have MICE in my kitchen cupboard -what more could I ask for?????
Well folks, here is December half way through. We have had snow for half a day and daylight for far less. Never mind, the solstice is nearly with us and things can only get better. My tree has been up for a week although I cheated this year and only did the little pull up one instead of the 6ft monster as my family won’t be coming to visit. I thought it would be too dangerous to me so close to getting the vaccine (I hope). Daughter and her two girls are still at school – no time to isolate. We here in West Yorkshire, UK are still in tier 3 lock down and it wouldn’t surprise me if dear old Boris says “Christmas is Cancelled”!!! The neighbours have been busy putting their festive lights up this week, it is so nice and cheerful to see them twinkling away.
Last week I had to go for my diabetic eye test and, wouldn’t you know, the sun shone all day. Light hurts your eyes after the drops are put in and I needed sun glasses to get home – sun glasses in December! However I took the opportunity to take some photos going through the little park on my way there and I got one of the sun shining on part of Leeds at the end of daylight on my way home. This was taken from my favourite view over my estate but usually at night when you can see miles of street lights, all different colours, it always makes my heart sing.
My TAST sampler is progressing and I am keeping up with each week reasonably well.
I have finished the yellow cushion cover and I am pleased with the end result. I used 14 different materials, 6 fancy knitting wools, 2 pieces of lace, 1 zigzag braid, 1 lemon silk circle, 3 ribbons, 3 metalic threads, 1 glow in the dark thread, various colours and thicknesses of cotton floss, 3 varigated perle threads, approximately 40 2020 TAST stitches (I kept loosing count) plus a few others we haven’t done yet. Can you find them all??
I also have a mixed media work-in-progress piece about lock down. I am not sure how it will turn out as I have never done this sort of thing before – we shall see!
My next Linus blanket is being very slow to make, I can’t seem to be bothered with crocheting. I think I will take a break until the New Year, maybe the lighter days ahead will rekindle my enthusiasm.
Next time I see you all will be another year, a much, much better one I hope. Enjoy Christmas and the New Year, I am looking forward to seeing the fireworks for 2021 on the TV.
Keep well and safe everyone, Happy New Year. Hugs, Gill xxxx
Remember, remember the 5th of November, so the rhyme goes. For those who don’t know, this is when we Brits burn an effigy of a man called Guy Fawkes who tried, unsuccessfully, to blow up parliament in 1605. Normally we have a big bonfire and lots of fireworks, soup – because it is usually very cold, hot dogs etc. and parkin – a strong, gooey ginger cake. This year has been very different but I’m glad to say I did see some fireworks from my lounge window (lockdown again). I made a crazy quilt collection of what I thought most depicted each month of the year to me and Bonfire Night was for November along with Poppy Day, the 11th, when we remember all the people who fought, died and survived in every war.
Again this was curtailed because of social distancing and the ceremony at the Cenotaph in London looked really strange. As we were unable to go out and buy a poppy this year I searched around and found a couple of paper poppies, a glittery poppy brooch and one that I had crocheted a few years back. I hung them on a red ribbon in my window.
This month has been extremely grey an wet so far, I think even the garden is fed up with it I know I am! The only good part of it is the rainbows I have seen, terrible photo but I can never seem to find my camera in time. You can just see it from lower right to top left.
I have been quite busy crafting and have finished my knee blanket.
I don’t know when I will get them to Linus UK, I have quite a few now.
My TAST (Take a Stitch Tuesday) sampler is growing.
I am quite excited about learning all these new embroidery stitches, I only wish I could keep them in my head. It is a good job I have saved each week on my laptop.
To try and accommodate my crazy quilt obsession I am making new cushion covers for the gd’s beds. First up is a yellow/mustard one to match the quilt cover of no.1 to be followed by blue for no.2. I have gone from this –
to this so far.
I decided to do them without using beads or sequins etc. as I didn’t want their faces to get scratched. I’m not doing too badly so far, I am using as many TAST stitches as I can.
This week I have made Christmas cards from materials I had at home, too scared to go out shopping. It is amazing what you can do when it is necessary. I am working at my dining table. I am always messy so it is a good thing that I don’t mind eating from a tray on my knee while watching TV, well who wouldn’t?
I still haven’t finished the monogrammes as I am waiting for some beads to come. Unfortunately the Post Office is having Covid problems and over half the staff and postmen are sick so our deliveries are few and far between. I hope they and everyone else who is working gets well, stays well and safe.
In June my daughter, a teacher, had been at school looking after the children of key workers. By the end of term she was not feeling well so she and her two girls went to be tested for the Covid virus. Thank God the tests came back negative so they packed up their car and headed north. Normally we all get together at Easter but this year was a no go and we had not seen each other since Christmas. They wanted to make sure I was OK and getting out of London for the summer made good sense. I was so excited as I had been shielding since lockdown (March) and had seen very few people since then.
When they arrived the girls still had online lessons and no. 2, who is part of a diving club, also had diving lessons. Now comes the start of the saga. I have a basic Sky contract and we found out that my broadband was very slow and did not reach all of my house. It did not do well in the bedrooms and not at all in the conservatory or garden. We rang Sky and asked to be updated to superfast broadband. Ok, they said, it will take up to 2 weeks. Later an email gave us 7th August. This date came and went with no further contact from Sky. When we rang to ask for information they told us it was not their problem and that Outreach had trouble with the green box?? and this would not be fixed until 13th August. As above, this date came and went, no contact from Sky. Another phone call and they said the trouble with the green box would not be fixed until 17th August. Guess what!! Yes, 17th came and went and yet another call to Sky now gave us the date of August 24th. My girls were going home on the 23rd to get ready for school. We rang Sky and told them this and asked them to cancel the update that had not been updated and continue with my original package.
Thinking no more about this we continued with our holiday until 2 days later the girls came and said they couldn’t get the internet on their tablets or phones. My daughter checked her phone and the TV while I checked my laptop and there was nothing. Luckily she was able to check my emails and there was one from Sky charging me £50+ for cancelling my broadband within my contract time. I only check my emails a couple of times a week as I don’t have that many contacts. We rang Sky yet again and explained everything and were told that it would all be sorted out. A couple of days later, another call to Sky, we were told that they could not reinstate the broadband without cutting off the phone line as well and we needed to authorize something called an Escalation Form which would take about a week. By this time my daughter was so upset she asked to make a complaint and was given a reference number.
The 23rd came and the family had to return to London leaving me with no email and none of the Sky package I was paying for apart from basic TV – no box sets, no catch up, no films, no Netflix, and no Amazon. I was now checking my phone each day and 2 days later it was gone. My very kind neighbour, who is also shielding, rang my daughter for me and arranged to pass on messages for us. September 10th – I am back on line and my phone is working but they lost my number and now I have to contact my family, friends, bank, Amazon etc. etc. with a new number that I have learn as well.
Going through my emails I have 10 messages from Sky regarding my setup and re-connection. WHO, IN THEIR RIGHT MINDS, SENDS EMAILS THAT NEED ACTION TO SOMEONE THEY HAVE CUT OFF!!!!!!!! To add insult to injury there was an automatic message giving me £20 compensation for my trouble!!!!
To my mind I think Sky acted almost criminally leaving a 74 year old woman with Asthma and Diabetes, shielding on her own, without broadband for 5 weeks and also no phone for 3 of those weeks. This is a company who boast about how helpful they are, especially to their VIP customers, of whom I am one, – THEY REALLY COULDN’T GIVE A DAMN.
Spleen vented. I hope everyone is safe and well as this virus continues to climb again. I will be back on the 15th with some nicer things to talk about.
My “holiday” blanket is now finished for this year but I am wondering when I will be able to pass it on to Project Linus – they may get quite a few before this ends.
Summer came and so did my daughter and her two girls for five weeks. They had isolated so they could come ad stay without being a danger to me, I have asthma and diabetes so am at a higher risk of covid. We found out then that my broadband did not reach the back garden, gd2 is a diver and she was having on line lessons from her coach using the trampoline. We tried to get an upgrade from Sky which didn’t happen and they cut me off. A much bigger tale to be told when I am not so angry!
We made the best of the problem but it meant using daughter’s mobile phone which was not brilliant. The weather was quite up and down but we enjoyed the good days in the garden with the paddling pool. English Heritage had opened up some of their sites and we visited a lovely garden and a castle. My son and is daughter came to see me for a couple of days over my birthday which was great. Then, all too soon, it was time for everyone to go home and all was very quiet here.
For the last four years I have been making cross stitch monograms for my friends and family for special birthdays and I had done one for my youngest granddaughter and one for my new great granddaughter. I also have four friends who live in very different places – Lancashire, London, Scotland and Canada and I am now making some for their big birthdays – pictures when I am finished. My holiday blanket now only requires three more squares then the task begins of putting them together.
We have just enjoyed three glorious days of sunshine and the garden has been a godsend again. Today it was coat, scarf and gloves, I hope this isn’t the beginning of winter – Indian Summer where are you?
Everyone keep well and safe, see you next month, love and hugs, Gill.
Well, things are beginning to open again here in the UK and, although this is good news, it worries me as people seem to think that it is now OK to ignore all the rules as though the virus is now dead. I would really love to go into town and look round the shops, have a drink and meet up with friends but it seems no one is keeping to the safe distance rules and the virus is STILL OUT THERE!!!!! I am more afraid of going out now than I was at the height of the epidemic.
Rant over – I am getting quite excited because my daughter and her two girls are going to get tested and if all is well they are coming to see me for 3-4 weeks. It is so long since I saw them at Christmas and London is so far away.
My weekly progress of TAST stitches continues
but I am sad to say my holiday blanket has come to a dead stop. I have run out of cream wool (see the bit I had left) and will not be able to get anymore until the craft shop in town opens again. I am now at 24 and a bit squares out of 40. Still I am sure I will finish it before the end of the year. I am thinking of putting some squares together, I don’t normally do this till the end when I can see what colours I am putting together – we shall see.
Slow (very slow) progress is being made on my other blanket and I think I will need more wool to finish this too. Life gets complicated!!!
I am now on the last book of a series I have been reading about a Roman soldier and his friends by Harry Sidebottom. I’m hoping to finish it before my girls come so I will be doing more reading and less crafting for the next week or so.
We have seen the sun come out now and then over the past week and I am keeping my fingers crossed for some nice summer weather. Yes it is summer!!
Yes, the roses are blooming, the clematis is blooming,
the fuchsia is blooming as are various other plants I don’t know the names of.
All this despite the the rain, and boy has it rained and hailed. Even the house plants that I try to kill every year are blooming.
I am no gardener and I frequently forget to water indoor plants.
Lockdown for us oldies is still the norm and the days tend to merge into one another. I have never used my calendar so much. Each day I do a little crochet, a bit of knitting, machine sewing – I’m making some cards,
embroidery and/or cross stitch, read a little and watch TV. I think when this is all over and I put everything I’ve made together I will surprise myself.
I am just about keeping up with my TAST stitches, some I like, some not so much.
I have finished 3 cross stitch hoops for my granddaughters for Christmas.
Also I have begun a couple of cross stitch initials, one for my youngest grandd – the other two have got theirs and the other for my youngest greatgrandd, yes the others have theirs.
My holiday blanket squares are now half done, at this rate I shall be doing them throughout the summer as well.
Thank goodness for all the firms that sell on line, it means I can still get supplies when needed. Thank you each and everyone.
I am sitting here now looking out at the grey skies and occasionally the sun comes trough and I get so excited!!! What do they say – little things please little minds?
One thing this lock down has done for me is that I am taking much more notice of what is going on in the garden – there is not a lot else to look at. I am NOT a gardener, my idea of gardening is sitting in a chair with a good book and something long and cold in my hand to drink!! Over the last month all the spring bulbs have gone, the Azalea has flowered and is on its way out and the bluebells are making their heroic last stand, so not much to see but green. Then, as I was standing at my kitchen window one morning waiting for the kettle to boil, the sun came out and hit the bank at the back of the garden lighting up a clump of glorious brick red rock roses. It made the day worth getting up for. The proper roses are still tight little green buds but hold lots of promise for the next few months.
My holiday blanket is coming on slowly which is OK as I have another 7 months to finish it.
The red blanket is finished and I am quite pleased with the end result, not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
Before I went on holiday I started a knitted baby blanket for the hospital. This is also finished. It is very satisfying to finish a project.
My TAST work is progressing in a bit of a hit and miss fashion, some stitches I can do without too much trouble, others not so good. Never mind – keep practicing!
I have some large balls of wool, 500g, and they won’t fit in my drawers so I am making some bags to keep them in. This entails crocheting five 15″ squares to make a box. I have a couple of squares done so far. I think they will hold 4 balls each when done.
I am also getting my dancing fix, my line dance teacher is doing a Monday session on line, Yee Haa!!!! and a fun fit hour on Thursdays.
Well, I got to go on my holiday, which was very good. The hotel was wonderful, the food great and lots of dancing, even the weather was good to us.
On our last day we were told that the hotel was closing down for at least two months but the staff were being kept on and given other jobs to do, well done to Warners Leisure. When we got home the Prime Minister announced a 12 week lock down for over 70s and all vulnerable people then extending it to all who didn’t have a vital job. I have not been out now for four weeks, Covid 19 has a lot to answer for.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to say my goodbyes to my friend as by that time the funeral had been reduced to immediate family only. Her husband says he is going to have a celebration of her life when this rotten crisis is over. I think that is a wonderful idea and I hope by then the family will have had a chance to recover a little.
I progressed a little on my holiday blanket and have decided to make one square a week while confined to the house as I would have hoped to make one a day over the Easter fortnight hols.
I am also making a blanket for the nursing home too. I hope it won’t be quite so bright when it is finished as it looks now.
My biggest pleasure at the moment is joining TAST (Take A Stitch Tuesday) on line. It is run by Sharon Bogon from https://pintangle.com and it entails learning embroidery stitches. Each Tuesday morning Sharon posts a new stitch, shows how to make it and gives examples of how to use it. I have a post in my kitchen which holds up the stairs to my loft conversion. It is only 5″ wide and I have decided to make a sampler of my stitches to hang there. I have sewn a line of the basic stitch followed by something nice, pretty, different or just plain daft.
The idea is to share what we have done with everyone in the group and enjoy all the other interpretations of the stitches we would never have thought of. This year there will be more that 40 different stitches so I may get all three visible sides of my post covered!!!
I hope everyone is finding something interesting to do in this time of enforced idleness.
Well holiday season 2020 has begun and here is the beginning of my 2020 blanket.
I really enjoyed my grandd’s visit at half term, we did some shopping, mouching about and some visiting. She also had some homework to do and part of this was an assignment on “Black and White” for photography. We had fun finding as many different things as we could. One of these things was to photograph people dancing so I took her to my Thursday sequence dance and she had a great time taking lots of pictures. I found out the other day that she got 9 out of 10 for her efforts but her teacher wanted to know what she was doing in a ballroom!!
Soon I have a holiday coming up and there are six of us going. I am really looking forward to it. The bitter part of this is one of my very best friends in all the world died last week which makes me very, very sad. We will have to see now if I get to go on holiday and say goodbye to her or not. I will definitely be saying goodbye whatever. I shall miss her lots, I have known her since I was 15.
The good news is spring is here and the flowers are beautiful. I just hope the gales and rain will let us enjoy them a bit longer.