Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New title

I have given my blog a new name ie created a new blog.It is crossed it works!!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Happy Christmas to everyone

Happy Xmas!I havn't blogged much recently due to moving,Xmas etc.I shall start again in the New Year but I think under a new name.I am being iundated with adverts and can't find any way to get rid of them.Thanks for the advice people have given me but nothing has worked.

Anyway have a lovely Xmas and a healthy and happy New Year.We are off ,in the morning ,to our son's in Cambridge ,come back Saturday.Saturday afternoon our daughter and family come to stay for two nights so a great family time ahead.See you in the New Year.

Friday, 19 December 2014


Is anyone else finding adverts for computers are flooding their in box and how do you get rid of them?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

We have moved house.

Five weeks ago we moved house.Normally people of our age downsize and move to a bungalow.Not us!!!We have gone from a bungalow to a bigger house.Two reaons fo rmoving really.We wanted toget nearer to town.Now we are just a five minute walk(on the flat) from the shops and we have four bedrooms.The move totally exhausted us but we are thrilled with the house and it's position.Above is a photo of the garden.Not your usual patch of lawn but little paths wandering across the lawn.Very little crafting has been done since the move but now most of the xmas shopping is done and energy levels restored I shall be off again.Watch this space!!!

Friday, 10 October 2014

My latest blanket.......almost finished!

 This is my latest banket.You all know I am addicted to making blankets.This is not quite finished in that I have the edging to do.Quite a daunting task but I wanted to show you how it looked so far.The granny square pattern is from Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Knitting(I know it is crocheted but there is a crochet section!)It gobbles up the wool but makes for a thicker blanket.I used Stylecraft Special D.K.which is quite cheap but very soft and comes in 54 shades.I must say I am thrilled with how the colours have gone together and as the nights get colder working on a blanket is lovely and cosy and warm.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

It does my soul good...

 It does my soul good to go to Ness Gardens on the Wirral.I had a lovely long shot of the gardens but it has disappeared!Ness Gardens was born of one man's passion for plants and his desire to share it with others.When Liverpool cotton merchant Arthur Bulley began to create a garden in 1898 he laid the foundations for a wonderful botanic garden.He was responsible for introducing plants from China and the Himalayas to Britain.After his death in 1948 his daughter presented the gardens to Liverool University along with £75,000.
We are friends of Ness(less than £40 a year for two of us) so we can go any time.Every time we go we see things we havn't seen before.The picture above is of fruit on a magnolia tree.New to me.You can harvest the seeds and try and grow them yourself.
 This a fruit from a Japanese Dogwood(Cornus Kousa Chinensis).So unusual and new to me again.
 There were masses of these Colchium alongside tiny cyclamen.Colchium are strange.They have leaves in the Spring,they die and then the flowers come along.
Look at this sunflower!10 foot high.
 "scarlet" kale.
Why can I not grow nasturtiums like this?I have tried numerous times and always fail.
We had a lovely afternoon walk.It is a wonderful garden to visit.So tranquil.We just sat and admired the view(the photo that disappeared) and enjoyed the peace.All we could hear were the birds singing.Lovely.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Zentangle.Have you tried it?

 Zentangling is something I have recently discovered,The idea is that it is a form of relaxation and a kind of meditation.You are so involved in doing the patterns you don't think about anything else.I bought this book"One Zentangle a Day".It is a 6 week course in creative drawing for relaxation,inspiration and fun.
 First attempt.
 Second attempt.
you end up being able to do patterns like the one above.
Unfortunately I never seem to find time to do it every day.I am not artistic at all so this appealed to me.I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have done so far and intend as Autumn arrives to fit it into my daily routine.
Has anyone else had a go at this?

Monday, 8 September 2014

Two holidays cancelled,one salvaged(partly).

                                         Early in June my OH started passing blood in his urine.We spent 6 hours in A&E,tests were ordered but from then on our lives were on hold.We were about to go to the Loire valley in France but had to cancel.Following the tests it was decided that he needed "mega urgent" surgery.This was scheduled for Sept 4th.The last week in August we were due to go to France again way down the west coast.We didn't think we could risk that ,going so we opted instead for a week in Normandy on the north coast.
Wehad a gite just outside Dieppe(pictured above).
 This is our cottage.It was very comfortable but we didn't have very good weather but we ate out every day.The food in France is sooooooooooo good and very reasonable.
 This a starter,just my first course!I mainly ate seafood and loads of fish.
 This is typical of the scenery around Dieppe.Tall cliffs.
 Of course I always take some craft with me.I made these socks knitting in the car or listening to podcasts in the evening.
I also crocheted lots of squares for my latest blanket.

Update on my husband.It turned out they thought he had bladder cancer but thank goodness they were was prostate problems again.He had his op last Thursday and came home yesterday.He feels really well and let's hope that is all behind us.We should have been going to Spain on the 19th Sept but he can't fly for 6 weeks so another holiday cancelled.
This is the first time I have blogged in three months but I intend to blog more.A lots of people I follow seem to be tailing off with their blogging too.I wonder why?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

The laburnum arch at Bodnant,North Wales.

 We had a free day today so decided we would pootle down the coast to Bodnant.Bodnant Gardens are just outside Conway in North Wales about 45 minutes by car from our house.Bodnant is famous for its azaleas and rhodedendrons but also its laburnum arch.This week is the week to see it.It is truly magnificent and the photos don't really do it justice.If you can see it on a sunny day it is amazing but today was cloudy.
                                                   A closer look.
 Today we went in a part of the garden that hasn't been open before called the Yew Dell.This is looking down into the dell.
                                  Back to the main part of the garden and some beautiful irises.
                               They are part of this circular garden.
                                 A view from the Rose Garden over the lily pond.
                                 I wanted to share these photos with you as it is such a special place.I just 
                                 wish we had a sunny day for better shots.It was very busy,lots of coaches and
                                 cars.We then had a pub lunch and home for a quick snooze as I was so shattered
                                 with all the walking!!

Sunday, 1 June 2014

My mandala for Yarndale 2014.

Last year we made bunting for Yarndale.This year we have been asked to make a mandala.Only one.These are going to be put together to make a huge wall display,I think.I have chosen what I think will be colours that are not quite so common so I can recognise it when I am there.I didn't spot my bunting last year.There was just so much of it.I was quite pleased,well really pleased, that I could follow the pattern!I couldn't understand why my cross bits were going the wrong way and then realised I am left handed and going the other way.
I have painted my mandala with PVA but it isn't rigid.Does anyone know whether it should be?

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Yarn bombing my garden.A start...

                          I thought I would share with you what I have made this week.I had a busy,busy week but managed to fit in a bit of knitting.It is amazing the patterns you can find on Ravelry.
This is Mr Owl.I think I might make a few more of these-different colours and sizes.
                                         Two cute ladybirds.
                                          A couple of butterflies.
                                          I think I need more baby hedgehogs.This pattern is
                                          from Little Cotton Rabbits.
                                          Hopefully more to share with you soon.A much quieter week ahead.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Our little Ruby has got scarlet fever!

We should have been spending today with our daughter and family but we had a phone call to say Ruby(6) has got scarlet fever.She has to be in quarantine for 24 hours and on antibiotics for ten days.We hope Emily doesn't get it but also Sarah our daughter who is Type 1 diabetic doesn't get it.My OH has no spleen so he has to keep away too.
We survived our busy week but I was very tired!I did manage to take some photos of some of the azaleas and rhodedendrons in our front garden.The photos don't really do them justice.They are gorgeous this year.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

I love being busy.The week coming up.

I do like to be busy and every so often we get a week that is packed full like the one coming up.
Social History Group meeting.The subject is Industrial Archaeology by Fiona Gale a local archaeologist in our area of North Wales.
In the afternoon meet my Welsh speaking friend for a cup of tea in town and a catch up.(Must walk and not be tempted to jump in the car.)
TUESDAY.9.10 am appointment at the doctor's.I have throbbing noises in my ear and the pharmacist told me to get it checked out.I also have sciatica and eczema which nothing can be done about.I have had the ear problem for weeks but have had to wait two weeks for an apptmnt.Typical it is not as bad as it was.
P.M.Final planning meeting for Weds Science conference where I am involved with the catering.
Be at the conference early as I am doing tea and coffee for 80.Two speakers.Amazing Space followed by an Audince with Charles Darwin.Conference finishes at 1pm.
45 minute drive to pick up Emily and Ruby from school,give them tea and take them to gymnastics.
THURSDAY.My Reading Group in the morning.The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard(must finish the last 100 pages before then but am quite bored with it.)
6.30pm.Eleven of us are going to the local Chinese restaurant.In before 7pm get a special deal.It is always a good night out with this group of friends-5 couples plus a widower.Lots of laughter.
FRIDAY.Tea and a toasted teacake with my best friend and knitting soulmate.
P.M.May need a sleep this afternoon before Quiz Night at 7.30pm.
Need to find some knitting time in between to do more for yarn bombing our garde.I have aleady made two hedgehogs,two ladybirds and a butterfly and half way through an owl
Pictures next time.
So for those of you who thought retirement was not for you I hope a glance at my week will show you it is anything but.
Enjoy your week.Barbarax

Monday, 5 May 2014

Yarn bombing.What do you think?

 This is what we saw when we visited Anglesey Abbey just outside Cambridge a month ago.It seems covert crafters created these as a prelude to the Tour de France cycling race which is going to go through Cambridge this year.Knitters are being asked to make miniature jerseys which will adorn the city.

 My two grandsons,Finlay and Angus,by the tree house.(That's not our pushchair!)
 This is the front view of Anglesey Abbey.I am afraid Grandma and Grandpa were too tired to go round the house having walked ,what seemed like miles,to the Discovery Area with the boys!
 This last weekend we had a few days up in the Lake District.On the way we stopped at Sizergh Castle near Kendal.Yarn bombing again on The Knoll.This is a community project involving schools,groups and individuals.This was a pretty convincing owl.
 How about this bullfinch?(We have a resident pair of bullfinches in our garden).Yarn bombing here included knitting ,crochet and felting'
                                          Sizergh Castle garden.Beautiful.So what do you think about yarn bombing.?I think it is a bit of fun that brightens things up.I am thinking of doing it in my garden.The grandchildren would love it.Giant ladybirds,owls,butterflies,flowers.My mind is buzzing.Any other suggestions welcome.Will the neighbours think it is a bit of fun or will they think I have lost the plot!!

Monday, 31 March 2014

Amsterdam etc

 A week yesterday we went to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.We love art and one of the main reasons for going was to go to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijks Museum to see great art.We were very well organised and booked our tickets ,on line, and in advance.Unfortunately our plans were scuppered because President Obama was in town ,en route to The Hague for a Nuclear Conference.He was visiting the museums on the day we had booked our tickets and all the museum area was closed!Much  panic followed but we did manage to go the following day.The van Gogh museum was interesting but a little disappointing as most of his famous  works are elsewhere(all his sunflower pictures are in London).We were more impressed with the Rijks Museum especially the Night Watch by Rembrandt.There were more works by him and also Vermeer.
We had a hotel just  off Dam Square which was very handy but in an expensive area.Two glasses of lager were 9 euros!
Above is a photo of me with the famous "tulips fromAmsterdam"
 A typical Amsterdam scene.
 Looking the other way from the same bridge.
Typical houses and bikes everywhere.I tried to upload more photos but they disappeared.
While in Amsterdam we visited Anne Frank's house.This is a fascinating story and so humbling to read it and see where they hid.Anne died in Bergen Belsen just before the end of the war.Her father,Otto,survived and in 1947 found a publisher to print the diary.If you havn't read this you should.
We also visited Rembrand's house.This was so interesting.It is a three storey canal house built in 1606.He bought it in 1639 using money from his wife Saskia.The top floor is dedicated to his etchings and there was a man there demonstrating how it was done,also someone showing how he mixed his paint.You see his living quarters as well as his studio and get a real"feel" for Rembrandt.
It was a great trip.We walked miles and miles and my knees were great(thank you Mr Wooton for my replacements).We got back on Wednesday evening at 10pm and on Thursday at 11am we were off to Cambridge but that is a story for another day.............

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Happy St David's Day.

It's March 1st today-St Davids Day.So Happy St David's Day from North Wales.Lots of daffodils in evidence around town today,Welsh cakes being given out,choirs singing etc
.Last night we went to Theatr Clwyd to see Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas.It was a Terry Hands production so we knew it would be good.It was originally written for the radio and as such is quite difficult to transfer to the stage.Terry Hands did a great job.How do these actors remember such long speeches?It amazes me .The Guardian gave it 5 stars.It was good to see the main theatre full.It holds 550 people and we are only a town of 10,000 population.Under Milk Wood is on for three weeks and has been a sell out most nights.We are so lucky to have this theatre five minutes from our house.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

I have had a review published in this magazine.

I subscribe to newbooksmag which is a magazine for readers and reading groups.I have reviewed books for them before but havn't had the chance to do one for a while.They e mail to say what is coming up but I seem to get pipped to the post as I only tend to read e mails in the evening and by that time others have got in before me!!However, this time I hit lucky.The book I reviewed is The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander.It is to be published at the end of March.I get an uncorrected proof copy.You are asked to be totally honest and if you don't like it say so.Luckily I really enjoyed this book.It is set in New York and includes a number of fascinating characters- bag lady Rosa originally from Latvia who owns the ruby slippers which were worn by Judy Garland for the Wizard of Oz,Mr Markinkus of the Sunrise Deli,a bitter old billionaire and lots of others.I do recommend it.
It is quite a buzz to get your copy of the magazine and see you name in print.I really enjoy the magazine.It contains interviews with authors,reviews and every time there are free books on offer.You just pay the postage.I have had some really good reads recommended in the mag.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Scary weather

Scary weather here in North Wales.Gale force winds are battering against the back of the house.I could hear something banging outside ,went out to investigate and two fence panels are out.We drove back earlier from our daughter's in Cheshire and what a hairy drive it was.Fallen trees,branches and debris in the road and as well as the wind ,torrential rain.It seems to be easing a little now but who knows what we will find in the garden tomorrow.Living in the flooded areas of Britain must be an absolute nightmare and no sign of it getting better.We should be driving to our son's in Cambridge on Friday(three and a half hours away) but the forecast is terrible and the river cam is rising!!!Roll on Spring.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Show and tell.

 While I have been "projectless" I have been making some of these for a hospice in Manchester.You send them in and they put a creme egg inside and sell them.I have made about 20 so far.
 Another thing I have made is a lap blanket from bits of wool left over from other projects.this will go to an old people's home.
 In one of our spare bedrooms we have two single beds with these duvets on them.Whenever our two local granddaughters come to stay,especially in the winter,I wish I had matching blankets.So you know I have an addiction to making blankets,out comes my Stylecraft Special DK colour chart.I bought this chart from Afan Crafts for £1.99 and it has been invaluable.Yarn colours on the internet can't be trusted.I have been disappointed so may times.This Stylecraft yarn comes in 55 colours,yes 55!So I chose my colours to match the duvet covers.
In this photo the colours look darker than they really are.They are a pretty good match.A new colour palette for me as well.On the other side of the covers there are stripes for when our grandsons come to stay..So I am happy .I can indulge my obsession with two more blankets.So snuggly to do in the winter watching TV.