Sunday, 25 December 2011


Jonathan has tinkered about with the computer to try and make it go slightly faster so this is all hit and miss on an unknown format for Blogger.
Anyway, I bet you are either beginning the slog in the kitchen or gathering everything to go visiting - my Christmas was 23rd with Stuart and his family and yesterday with Teresa and Jonathan so I'm back to normal, whatever that means!
A few days before today my parcel of wool arrived from a lady I found on eBay but this was, in effect, a private purchase. I'm pleased with all these bright colours and can't wait to start using them...
This is my current crate of wool which is holding the remains of already used balls so the colours above are a real boost.
These are four balls 'in waiting', so to speak, including two of those multi-coloured efforts; I don't know what the trade name is for these. The muddled one at the top right is something Kath gave me before she moved, a ball of oatmeal/beige which I use to crochet the strips together on knitted blankets. I had to make a new band to hold it together as the previous one was spoiled. I'm always taking in tucks on the bands so they keep holding the outsides together - I start from the middle - being Lazy Libra I know this means the wool unravels (usually!) without any problem such as falling over or needing to be twitched back into place. James, Stuart's son, gave me 5 balls of wool to add to my stash, bought by himself, too, very brave for a 22 year old lad...
This is a batch of 48 Granny Squarres which have d-o-z-e-n-s of tails waiting to be stitched in and then, when I can find enough wool of one colour, will have an edging round each before I try crocheting them all together in an 8 x 6 formation to make another blanket - plus an ouside edging, of course.
Here's the afghan/throw I made for Sarah's Christmas present after she said how much she liked the charity blanket I made. It measures 40 x 52 1/2 so larger than the previous one, and it has a fancy edging, too. Didn't take long, crochet grows exceedingly fast...

Now for something completely different -
This morning I went down to the bottom shed in the gloom to fill up some of the sunflower seed holders and saw these signs of spring arriving - a few spidery crocuses just poking through here - and
daffs under bracken with an out of focus spray of cat mint- and

some pretty and tiny fungus growing on a stump, left over from when Gillian and I chopped down a viburnum  but couldn't get out the last few inches of the stump (which, cross fingers, hasn't resprouted, yet).
More daffs by the badgers hole under the fence and
the ones I spotted first, beside the shed door, which made me look for more signs of Spring-come-early.

Finally, I have to finish on another notice with a problem...

Have a good day, see you again later.

Just a quick 'Hallo, Ria' to Jonathan's Mum who doesn't speak English but looks at the pictures - she's really into the gardening side of things, but I hope she sees her name and knows she's remembered.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I was wondering what to post for Christmas and looked through the book of Christmas poems I had when I was teaching - nothing there. I turned to 'The Christmas Reader' compiled by Godfrey Smith and would have liked to use the poem that's been used as a basis for alternative versions, 'Christmas Day in the Workhouse', by George R. Sims. However, it has 21 verses and each has 8 lines so it didn't seem a good idea! The alternative version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' by John Julius Norwich, which I can 'hear' in Penelope Keith's voice as she once broadcast it was also a contender but the same problem as above - rather long!- Her lover sends her all the items from the verses until in the end she reverts to a solicitor's letter to make him stop.
Then I thought there might be something in my collection of extracts from Victorian newspapers, or rather, from The Bucks Advertiser of 1854. These are extracts from January of that year telling of the charity of various do-gooders in the villages. Mr Cox in Haddenham sent his groom and footman round with a load of faggotts for distribution amongst the poor and the Rector of Quainton gave 8 tons of coal to the poorer inhabitants of Quainton and Shipton Lee. The Countess of Jersey distributed a large quantity of blankets, sheets, flannels etc. to the poor of Middleton, Somerton and Chesterton. I hadn't noted any more acts of charity from the great and the good.
So I settled for the cutting above, which is from the Bucks Herald in December either 2002 or 2003. I thought it was comical when it first appeared and I like the times of Midnight Mass - just one of those linguistic giggles I find from time to time.
Now, I have had to change to Mozilla Firefox to be able to post at all as plain old Google, which I've used since I began blogging, refuses to let me post a blog without using Google Chrome, which I don't understand and don't like - that's how there's a piece which needs deleting appearing underneath this post - assuming I don't 'disappear' it somehow. So, having apologised in advance - Have a good Christmas, hope to 'see' you next year.

Friday, 2 December 2011


I made this doll in 1995 for Sarah's 4th birthday - and she still has it. I remember a friend of mine during the war had one of these Upsy-Downsy dolls and I so wanted one but never got it so made one for my little granddaughter instead. She'll be 21 next May, how time flies!It's not an ordinary doll because it has no legs. This is the 'awake' version but turn her upside down and another doll emerges, one which is asleep.

The pattern came from, I think, a Womans Weekly magazine - and I still have it. There are two head and upper body pieces to join together waist to waist and then stuff; the skirt is made from two quite large circles where one side is the 'awake' skirt and the other the nightie's skirt, stitched together round the bottom and handsewn to the respective waists. The joins are covered with lace, ric-rac or other trims. The little cap is a circle of material gathered and sewn on to conceal the bald head and wool stitched on to make hair poking out from the cap. It's not easy to make satisfactory hair with a needle and wool but perhaps there are different methods these days. The features are just stitched on and (probably) coloured pencil applied for the rosy cheeks. I think the big black eyes are probably penny-sized circles of black felt.

I wouldn't mind betting it's stuffed with offcuts of quilt batting!