“Nature’s Walk” CAL

I’m still way behind with the CAL “Nature’s Walk” organised by Cherry Heart . . . but that’s fine.  I’m not even trying to play catch up.  Just crocheting at my own pace, and enjoying the experience.  I don’t have accounts on any of the social media places where other CALers are interacting, so I’m quite happy to crochet along in the peace & quiet of my living room, without feeling pressurised about dead-lines.

For today, I can show you my latest six squares.

CAL gates 01

This pattern is “Gates” and officially the part 1 pattern.  I crocheted in Stylecraft Special DK “Meadow”, using a 4mm hook to keep size the same as my first squares.

CAL gates 01 (2)

Above photos without flash, but one below with flash

CAL gates 03

Which gives a better idea of true colours.  So for the moment I have 12 squares.  Six in “Spring Green” crocheted with the practice “Heart” pattern on a 3.5mm hook.  And six  in “Meadow”. 

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spoiled by La Pie Kikou

I received a lovely surprise parcel in the letter box the other day!  An unbirthday surprise package from a French blogging friend: La Pie Kikou  who makes the most gorgeous things. 

from la pie 01

And here is what La Pie Kikou sent!  The most adorable little needle/pin case, a fabric basket and some bookmarks.

from la pie 02

The needle case is ever so cleverly made . . . it has two little stud fasteners which, once unpopped, means the case unfolds. 

As for the fabric basket . . . it’s gorgeous!  Outer fabric is the perfect print for any needleworker, with wooden bobbins, buttons and thimbles.

from la pie 03

And I’ve already found a use for it . . . it will be my little basket to keep all my CAL crochet squares until I’m ready to start assembly.

crochet & cross stitch

I’ve been busy with two different types of needlecrafts these past few days, alternating between crochet and cross stitch.

On the cross stitching front . . . I have a subscription for Cross Stitch Crazy magazine, and when the latest issue plopped into my letter box recently, I was tempted to sit down and stitch up the freebie kit almost immediately.

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I simplified things a little (leaving out most of the French knots which I hate doing) . . . but I think these two little decorations turned out very sweet nonetheless.

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As for crochet . . . well, I was busy making squares for the “Natures Walk” CAL designed by Cherry Heart (aka Sandra Paul).

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This chart is actually meant to be just a practice square, but I liked the little heart design so much, I crocheted up six, in Stylecraft Special DK “Spring Green”.

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Now the official instructions for this CAL are to use 6 colours, with a 7th neutral for joining & borders . . . idea being to make 8 squares from each of the 6 colours, therefore ending up with 48 squares for the finished blanket.

Being me, I’m going to do things my way, and plan on making only 6 squares of each colour, but to add a 7th colour so my blanket will turn out 6 x 7  (instead of 8 x 6).  My only problem . . . I initially picked only six colours and a neutral, and was then umming and ahhing about what extra colour to add.  One possible combination looking like this.

07

But . . . the husband, whose opinion I do listen to occasionally, thinks it looks too “scrappy” . . . so I’m in the process of revising my choice of colours.   I’m going to need to place an order anyhow, for my border neutral (of which I will need 400g), so I might end up changing my colour scheme completely before I go much farther!

ScrapHappy # October

It’s time to link up with Kate and Gun for our monthly ScrapHappy party!

In August I showed you this

scraphappy august

A small patchwork piece where I was having fun assembling squares with some white rectangles.  I wasn’t really sure where I was going with this, but it’s since grown from

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to

to this 02

It’s now 36” square . . . and I reckon it’s a nice size to stop there.  Stay tuned for next time, when I hope to have this little patchwork quilted and bound.

SAL “Bag Ladies” # 18

I’m very motivated to get this project done and dusted!

Last time I showed you this

SAL 2209

Today, I am pleased to show you progress

SAL 13 10 02

It might not look like a huge amount of cross stitching, but I’ve also been adding more backstitch detail as I go.

SAL 13 10 01

Anyway, I’m well on track to seeing this finished in another 2 updates.

In the meantime, let’s hop over and see what other SAL members have been up to.

AvisGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHelenLinda

HeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborah, Clare, Mary MargaretReneeJenny

CarmelaJocelynSharonDaisyAnne

And meet up again on 3rd November.

“The Cellar “–Minette Walters

Flying home from Birmingham International the other week, and mooching around faced with  a 2 hour delay, I came across a bookshop that was having a closing down sale.  Everything had to go! and books were all priced at £1 only.

I didn’t need any more incentive to nip inside and come back out with 4 new books.

book cellar

One being “The Cellar” by Minette Walters.  I’d never read anything by this author before but it looked very promising.

Text from back cover:

Muna’s bedroom is a dark, windowless cellar and her activities are confined to cooking and cleaning.  She’s grown used to being maltreated by the Songoli family; to being a slave.

She’s never been outside, and doesn’t know how to read or write, and cannot speak English.

At least that’s what the Songolis believe.

But Muna is far cleverer – and her plans more terrifying – than the Songolis, or anyone else, can ever imagine . . .

* * * * * *

Be warned, this is a story of domestic slavery, of mental & physical abuse, with the central character, Muna, a 14 year old girl having been stolen from an orphanage years earlier and brought to live in England by the Songoli family.  Her desperate situation could have continued for many more years had it not been for the disappearance of the Songolis youngest son, which brings the police into their home.  Fear of the police discovering the fact that Muna is being kept as a slave, leads the Songolis to lie during the police enquiry . . . a web of lies which Muna cleverly begins to use to her advantage.

Once I started reading, I really didn’t put this book down!  It captivated me during the 2 hour wait at airport and the 90 minute flight . . . I’ll definitely be looking out for more by Minette Walters!

harmony in the hen coop

hens oct 01

It’s taken a few weeks for the old gals to accept the new gals . . . but I’m pleased to say, we now have harmony (most of the time) in the hen coop – yay!

hens oct 02

Hens do still try and pair off, with Mauricette and Miss Moneypenny keeping together and chasing Florence & Ruby away when there’s anything interesting to peck & scratch but on the whole, they all seem to be getting on quite well.

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In this third photo, you can see Ruby (red) and Florence in the foreground, with Miss Moneypenny & Mauricette just behind.

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They have plenty of grass to strut about on, so there really is no need for them to be fighting.

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I noticed that Florence’s comb is starting to mature a little and turn more red than pink

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so she might actually start laying sooner than expected.

And last photo for Mary, who was curious to know how I could tell with certainty which hen had laid . . .

hens oct 07

This is what my little egg basket looks like at the moment:  9 eggs (collected over 5 days). I know for certain that the 5 light shells were laid by Mauricette while the 4 darker shells were laid by Miss Moneypenny.  Certain breeds of hens lay certain colours of egg shell . . . for example the Leghorn (a pure white hen) will lay eggs with a pure white shell but feather colouring actually has nothing to do with shell colour.  Our old Miss Moneypenny is a hybrid Marans-Cuckoo and the Marans breed is renowned for laying very dark, almost chocolate brown, shells.  Miss Moneypenny, being a hybrid, doesn’t lay really dark shells, but they are always much darker than eggs from my other hens.  Mauricette, despite being a charcoal grey in colour lays a very light flesh shell . . . only time will tell what our two new gals produce.  Shell colour has no impact on the quality of the egg inside although some farm hens can lay very large double yolkers from time to time.  One of our first hens, Miranda, a red hen, frequently laid very large eggs and quite often double–yolkers . . . so it’ll be interesting to see if Ruby does the same once she starts laying.