Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Glamping? Only in the garden... and a book for sale.

I bought this book last year; I don't go camping, don't own a caravan (although would love one to play with on the path) and have no VW camper to outfit, but I do like the whole ..... vibe? Is vibe too 70's a word? It sounds better than millieu (pretentious) oeuvre (too Fine Arts at home) or look (too plain). Yes, I like the vibe. It's relaxed, happy and on the whole very family friendly.

So I had this book and used it as a pretty picture book. Seriously, it sits and gets looked at now and again, but I have very few plans to follow the instructions. I like the projects, I just don't think I need the step by step lists. I like just doing it.

 I plan to make a rag rug, I really do, but I don't need the instructions, really.
 Don't you love this camper van? It would be really brilliant if it were red. That's one of my top choices the next time I buy a car. I'd love a camper van so I can be a proper eccentric. It will have to wait, though.
 I love the tea cosy, but I cannot bring myself to knit one. I don't know why, I think I'm suffering from lack of patience; it just looks like it would take a long time, ergo I have no time to make it. Oh, and all the threads passed across the back of the work just look too fiddly. I'm a coward.
 The food covers, that's a definite on my list, but again, I have a pattern for it elsewhere. Do I keep a book just for one set of instructions, or shall I use blogs and ravelry to find the answer?

 The idea of making tea outside on a small stove take me back to the few camping trips I have done, when a warm cup of tea is all that stands between you and hypothermia on the day when you set off for a walk, to get rained on heavily (This Is Britain!!) and come back to a damp, smelly tent with moist socks to replace the sodden ones and a sleeping bag covered in mud after you caterpillar out of the walking clothes to grasshopper into the last set of almost dry clothes you have. And then it rains. Again. I like the vibe, love the mug.
 Crochet bunting; high on my list to make for the garden. The book is full of pretty things that you want to make. I really enjoyed looking at it, but the time for it in my life is over. Time for it to move on.
 And again; I love this idea for edging. If I had a van or a caravan every shelf would be edged. Mr AJ would hate it, absolutely hate it!

 Draughts is a necessity. I'd make mine with chess pieces on the other side. I might get Mr AJ to play chess.
 This blanket is calling to me; this is the inspiration for my Noel blanket, in shades of green, red and white. I'm saving the idea for this one.
 I do like the book; I really do. But I don't need it. I'm thinking of putting it on Amazon, but I wondered if anybody wanted it first. I'm putting it up for sale at £7.50, with £2.80 postage, but I'm happy to sell it including domestic postage here for £7.50. It's in perfect condition, and ready to read. If you're interested, just email me.

I am clearing out my cupboards, getting my house clear, making space for the next good thing. I was reading about John D Freyer who sold stuff on ebay, and then went to visit the items as part of a Master's degree, and Ian Usher who sold his whole life on Ebay. I don't think I need to be as extreme as them, but I definitely want to clear space, mentally and physically. I need to list on ebay, sort out stuff and sell on what I no longer need or find pleasure from. I am seeking meaningful minimalism. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

It's another Bank Holiday weekend, so it must be raining....

Golly! I hope this weather today isn't the pattern for the rest of the summer; dark, dank, wet and miserable. I'm quite glad I didn't save my garden plans for this weekend on the idea that I would have a week of half term break to do it!
I got a lot done last weekend; gravel, building, planting some of my ideas in the garden. It was a very busy weekend and I had lots of plans for posting all about it, but of course by the time I came inside and sat down it was time to cook and then to sleep. There just isn't enough time in the day, is there?

My garden has been growing wild for about 3 years, since my Dad was ill, and I chickened out of it last year and the year before as Too Big A Job to do. I wish I hadn't sometimes, but I suppose what I really was waiting for was the inspiration and the idea to do something to the area. That came this year, and I have beavered away. There was a lot of cutting back, a lot of cleaning, and a lot of thinking.  And a lot of my brilliant Dad doing so much to help. Thank God for fathers.
I changed my mind several times, kept looking at what I had and then trying to think about what I wanted. And all on a shoestring budget.

The garden has been a play space for so long, it was hard to think past it. We had plans for a summer house once upon a time that proved too expensive, we had all the toys a family accumulates and we had playbark, balls and slides all over the place. This year my garden grew up. I've sold the slide, will sell the play house and I've moved on. My garden actually has a seating area, ready for sewn cushions and crocheted blankets, a fire pit that is pleasant to sit around on cool evenings and now looks like a grown up garden. It took me the whole of last weekend, but it was worth it. I need to buy some logs, get me some cider and await the warm, golden, dry evenings I long for. I still have to photograph some more of the little touches and I'm desperate for hot days to show you the other things that I got for my birthday that will MAKE our summer so COOL!!! but..... I live in England. Be patient. Be calm. The sun will shine again.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Spring into summer; my granny square blanket.

I love crocheting blankets. Hey, I've made two in the last six months alone! (well, 9 months actually) with my granny stripe and my ripple blanket and I still want to do more. I have a plan to make a set of 4 seasonal blankets, with the colours reflecting the seasons and the styles chosen to suit the time of year. I did want to do a summer ripple blanket full of seascape blues and sand dune yellows. with zinging seaweed shades of green.... but Attic 24 got there first, and to start with my seaside blanket would look like copycatism, which it so should not because I really did have my plan before she posted hers. And I know it shouldn't matter, that mine will be mine and I should just go ahead but... still. I think sometimes we like to be ourselves. So my seaside ripple will wait. A little longer. Perhaps after Christmas next year, when I have made my Noel candy stripe blanket with popcorn stitch and poinsettia red edging and my Autumn leaves granny stripe blanket made from palest sky blue and every shade of gold, red, yellow and brown I can find. There. Now my plans are laid if anyone comes up with the time to start them first I won't feel too bad about pressing ahead.
But back to now; because my summer blanket is on hold, I have decided to start my spring project. The weather this year is going to be absolutely fabulous (I say confidently as I look out at the rain. The green grass does look lovely in the rain.) so a big, all in one blanket is not the one I need to do first. Enter the granny squares.

They are made with Stylecraft special DK, a whole load of colours, with the first three rows being a random selection of bright and pastel colours. It's a cracking way to use up all the left over bits from my other projects so it's even economical. The last two rows are cream, with a final single crochet border of meadow green. I haven't decided what border yet, but I really like pomegranate and meadow green so it may be I use them.

I love the order that these squares have introduced to my life. I pick 5 colours and work the inner three rows in a sort of assembly line loop, before mass-hooking the outer two rows, tidying up all the loose ends and adding the green edging.

I'm keeping them in a plain basket in the corner of my living room. Somehow the cream edges have a beautiful illuminating effect, so even though the weather outside is somewhat lacking in spring zing, my living room is lovely and spirit-lifting. Time to hook some more!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Saturday slow down...

The door is open, the birds are singing rampantly, I have already been up 4 hours and working in the garden. I'm ready for breakfast (well, it is 10 o'clock) and then more gardening. No pictures, no long ramble today. I'm taking the pictures as I go along and planning a post for later this week. For now, have a good weekend, y'all, and enjoy the sunshine.