Thursday, 26 July 2012

Started something new...

After finishing the 'Oh my bear!' sweater (which I love to bits!) I haven't really been drawn to start a particular project on my to-do list.

Last night I went off to my knitting group with about four possibilities in my bag and ended up starting on a chocolate labrador from the Best in Show (Knit your own dog) book and I managed to do the hind legs in amongst all the chatting.

I was nattering a lot with Rosemary, of the Sandcastle Yarns about the BeeKeepers Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits and what was putting me off starting it. We gave a lot of arguements for and against. My main arguement against was that I need to make about 550 to cover my bed!

Anyway, this morning whilst I had a spare five minutes before leaving for the office, I cast on my first hexi-puff!

What have I started!?...

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bears and Puppies

Two happy things happened this weekend...

My friend down the road, her labrador gave birth to six gorgeous black puppies. Four boys and two girls very early on Saturday morning and I was called on to help :)

Just after number four...

Hard to see but all six are here with mum...

The last pup out (a boy) was considerably smaller (half the size) of all the others and he wasn't feeding. We managed to help him to latch on and eventually he started squeeking like the others, it was looking good. Unfortunately the little one passed away early this morning :(

And, the bear! (no not Rigby!)

On Saturday evening I finally finished 'Oh My Bear!' by Tiny Owl Knits.
I love it! so snuggly and warm :)

What to knit next? well in the interim whilst I make up my mind I have decided to knit up some quickish christmas presents to put aside.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Where are you from?

In the last couple of days I caught the bug to pick up the pieces of some hard-core geneology (that's researching my family tree to you and I!) and I made two break-throughs!

I left it all standing in 2008/9 when I hit a brick wall so to speak in the two lines that I really wanted to push on. I had not concentrated on one particular line of my tree but looked at the paternal and maternal for both of my parents.

On these two lines mentioned they just happened to both be on my dad's side. One with the name 'Gillanders' and the other with the name 'White' (oh that's me!).

With Gillanders, I had reached my great great grandfather William Gillanders - born 1863 in Kilmorack, Inverness-shire and died in 1945 in Dunfermline, Fife. With the help of Nairn's Registrar we managed to track down a Birth Certificate which listed him as William McDonald and as illegitimate but born in Upper Dallachy and not Kilmorack as listed in the census's. His mother's name is listed as Margaret McDonald and Grandfather as William McDonald. And I thought that was the end of the line :(

It wasn't until was reading back over a lot of old emails that I saw a glimmer of hope!

When I started my research and hit this problem, I decided to submit a plea for help to the local rag, the Inverness Courier - In my emails, I found one from a lady, Yvonne Gillanders, who I had emailed back and forth with a couple of times. I had told her where I had got to and sent scanned copies of the Certificates together with a scribbled tree. I appeared to overlook her reply which actually included the proper Birth Certificate and listing from the Birth Register. She had found the correct William born in Kilmorack a few months earlier. On the Birth Certificate he is just listed as "- McDonald Illegitimate" but on the Register it reads "William, said by the mother to be son of William Gillanders (Prot.) & Margaret McDonald, born at Shrug 2 June 1863, was confirmed by my 27 June 1863. Sponsor; Mrs M'Donald'. I couldn't quite make out the word I have wrote as Shrug... and I think that Prot means 'Protestant' but I am not 100% sure!

This was looking promising though! I have duly updated my Ancestry tree and the hunt continues :)

The second break-through was with White. This part of the family had been mainly traceable in the Kent area, with mutterings through the family that they thought there was some Irish influence somewhere. I had previously traced back to a generation that were born in County Down but lived in Liverpool. This was my great great great grandfather James White - born 2nd Oct 1835 in Dromore Parish, Down, Ireland and his wife Rose O'Neill - born abt 1843 in Co Down.

Well I have now discovered that they actually got married in Liverpool not County Down and all of their children were born in Liverpool too. Their Marriage Certificate has duly been located and ordered from the GRO! :)

I think that the next step is to find them on the Passenger Lists coming over from Ireland. However, I know that he as he Royal Navy on the HMS Terrible (from 1861 census) so maybe he didnt go back but just met Rose in Liverpool?? hmmm.

I have also found James' parents through FamilySearch and his five sisters too! All from the County Down area.

Irish records, for some reason, aren't as accessible as the english and scottish but fingers crossed their Marriage Certificate will offer an insight into their parents and possible more.

Have you researched your Family Tree?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pin Cushion Swap

So as part of my effort to be more crafty, I joined a swap. More particularly a pin cushion swap run by House of Pinheito and Sew Far Sew Good...

We were each paired up with another pin-cushioner and left to our own devices to chat and make.

I was paired up with Jess of Knitting on Trains (fantastic blog name!)

I already had an idea in my head about what I was going to make and I found out from Jess that her favourite colour was yellow.

I tackled a crochet tea cup :)

Apart from granny squares this is I think my first ever crocheted item, so I am quite pleased with it. 

It is a little wonky donkey so I decided to include a couple of tea related items with it.

A variety of herbal teas - Camomile, Redbush, Cranberry and Mint.


A tea pot and hematite bracelet :)

And here is what I received earlier today...

I love the birdie wrapping paper too.

Jess crocheted this gorgeous pink pin cushion which is also stuffed with lavender. It smells lovely :)

Thank you Jess! :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Knitting To-Do list

Now that the Fawn-Cho is finished, I already had a next project planned.

I am currently waiting on some of the yarn to arrive before I can start, so am stop-gapping with ruffle scarves and a crochetted granny square quilt (they are both quick and I won't get bored!)

I wanted to show you a few things are on my knitting to-do list...

Oh my Bear! by Tiny Owl Knits
This is what I am waiting on the yarn for :)
I am in love with a few of the Tiny Owl Knits patterns (as you will notice below!)

Rams & Yowes by Kate Davies

The gorgeous Beekeepers' Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits
The only thing putting me off this is the fact that I will have to knit approximately 500-600 hexipuffs to make it big enough for the bed! oooo!

Hopsalots by Tiny Owl Knits

Sweet Robin Wristees by Tiny Owl Knits
- in memory of the robin chickadees :(

Cable sweater vest by Debbie Bliss.
I have attempted this once and frogged it.
I will try again as I love it!

Owl wrist warmers from the latest copy of Simply Knitting magazine

I often see things that I want to make and I will stick them in a folder but these are the ones I keep thinking about so they will be done first.

I also have a variety of other things to make too. Including cross stitch, latchwork cushion, crochet mice, etc...

Not forgetting the Pincushion exchange and Handmade Heart Swap! (more on those another day)

Busy bee!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Busy Bee

I haven't posted lately because I have had a lot going on but I am still here :)

Here is what I have been up to...

I finished the Rowan Felted Tweed 'Fyne' sweater vest and I love it.

I wanted to bake a cake! I had recently seen a rather tasty one featured over on One Sheepish Knit of a Zebra Bundt Cake. I have never made a bundt cake before nor what we call a 'marble cake' over this side of the pond but I gave it a go...

And it's rather tasty too!

I won this bundle of crochet goodies in a competition run by Maria of Maria in the Wood There are so many nice things to make in the book too :)

With the sweater vest finished I need a new project and as some of you already know, I had the Fawn-cho from Tiny Owl Knits lined up in readiness...

I can't believe how quickly it has knitted up! I like a challenge and this had a few new ones. Working with circular needles, working intarsia in the round and contending with a variety of colour-coded stitch markers.

But I have to say that they weren't as bad as I anticipated! In fact I loved working on circulars. It never occurred to me that working stocking stitich on circulars meant that you only ever knit (you didn't have to turn to purl). I think this is why it knit up so quickly.

I did make a couple of adjustments to the pattern as it was a little bit short. I added a few rows in under the cute fawn and then several under the armholes too. Now it fits perfectly.

Its not completely finished as yet though. I have to block, sort out the back of the intarsia, add some stitches to the fawn and stitch up the arm-hole flaps too but it is sooo snuggly :)

I'm off to knitting group shortly so am taking this to do there :)

Thinking about the next project at the moment but I may open it to a vote as I have several possibilities :)

What have you been up to lately? 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Its all in the name...

Have you ever found out what you name means?

I vaguely remember learning about names when we were at school and Victory sticks in my mind but after a little day dreaming out the window, I googled 'Nicola'.

Here is what Wikipedia told me...

Nicola is an ancient (but still very common) Italian personal name (from the Greek and Byzantine Νικόλαος) derived from Nichos meaning "victory," and laos meaning "people," therefore implying the meaning "winner of the people." The English form of the same name is Nicholas.
Nicola was a frequently given male personal name among the traditional Italian nobility, and was used often in the Middle Ages. In the UK, Poland, and Germany, the male form Nicola has been used as a female name, which originally came from incorrectly presuming the name's vowel ending 'a' was the female form, as has also occurred with the male given name Andrea (also an Italian male personal name from the Greek meaning 'manly.') The female form of Nicola in Italian is Nicoletta.

Ah my memory serves me well! I am victorious :)

What does your name mean?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Robin Update

For those of you that follow me on Twitter will know this as old news now...

We got home from work at about 7.30pm last night and noticed that the nest was empty. I was a little sad that they had chosen the one day this week that I wasn't working from home to fly the nest.

I started making dinner and could hear daddy Robin screeching from the telephone line above the garden - I knew something wasn't right! I went out with my torch to have a look and ended up chasing a black and white cat out of my neighbours garden where I had found one of the chicks - headless :(

I came back home and wiped my eyes to hear Rigby whining in our garden. I again went out with the torch and he had found and was nudging another dead chick with his nose then looking at me as if to say 'what's wrong with him?'

I am not sure where the other three chicks are but when I hunted round my garden today in the light (before it started to tip it down) and couldn't find them.

Friends and family have said although it sad, its nature.

I have a little solace in the fact that I think the robins actually have a second nest not too far away, as I can hear them calling each other and see them in a tree a few houses away. I have read that they have two or three broods in the spring. So, fingers crossed.

As I said in my post yesterday, to have robins nest in my garden felt like an honour and made me feel very special. I hope that one day they will return.

RIP baby robins x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Tweet Tweet

Ever winter/spring we have a lone Robin who flies around our garden. Well imagine my surprise when in the garden a couple of weeks ago and two Robins perch side by side on the fence.

Robins make me smile.

And at the moment I am beeming, as the pair of Robins have chosen our tiny garden to nest!!

We have five Robin chicks!
(nesting about seven foot from our backdoor in a climber on the side of our shed!)


Mum and Dad take it in turn to feed the chicks (which appears to be constant!!)

The chicks must be about 10 days old now. Their eyes are wide open and they have fluffy feathers. You know when they are being fed by the squawking that comes from the nest!

I am not sure how long before they try and fly but I do hope that all five survive.

I feel honoured to have a bird choose to nest in my tiny gardens but for them to be Robins makes it extra special! :)

Happy Birthday Rigby!!

Today is Rigby's birthday... he is 6 years old.

Here are a few pictures that I took of him the other day. He looks knackered because he had been running round the garden like a loon playing tennis with us!

This is my favourite!


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

MUA (Make Up Academy)

I recently read a blog post of Mrs Thrifty's (a fashionable thrifting icon) about a fabulous new make-up range called MUA (Make Up Academy) stocked in Superdrug, which was not only good but cheap as chips too.
Always one for a bargain, went in search...

I sought, I found, I bought...

Pressed powder £1 - shade 3;
Eyeshadow £1 - shade 1 - pearl;
2 nail varnishes £1 each - shade 15 (hot pink) and shade 3 (mauve)

Well so far so good... I am lovely the eyeshadow, which is staying where it should - always a good sign!

I really like the pressed powder too, great coverage. I am not really one for foundation, I only where powder. My only gripe is that there is no sponge in the compact...

I have only tested the hot pink nail varnish at the moment but the colour is so summery... going to paint my toes this evening :)
Definately worth the £1 price tags! Well done MUA and Superdrug :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Sweater vest update...

I am loving knitting the sweater vest... :)

But as this is a first for Fair Isle I have discovered that you really have to pay attention to what you are doing. I have had to frog several rows once I get to the end and realise that the pattern is out by one stitch. And it is so noticeable, not the kind of mistake you can get away with.

I have just started decreasing for the arm-holes, which means I have to pay even more attention. Decreasing and different coloured stitches eek!

Dresses and yarn

Pay day has been and I needed a pick me up as the last week was a little manic and fraught at work.

So here they are:

M&Co Bird print dress.
I was looking for a mustard blazer that I had seen in a magazine, which upon seeing it in person did not like at all. Then I clocked this dress and loved the print :)

It reminds me of Orla Keily prints.

Apricot floral print dress.

Apricot chunky knit. I have always wanted an oversized snuggly cable knit (I am not that great at knitting cable!)

I first spotted this gorgeous Fawn Poncho or Fawn-cho over on One Sheepish Girl's blog and I fell in love! I ordered the pattern from Tiny Owl Knits and today I got the yarn. I couldn't get the Debbie Bliss Chunky Tweed so am going to try the Rowan Felted Tweed Aran instead.

My yarn

My circular needles (circulars are new to me, so we'll have to see how I get on!)

I am, as always, always looking at the next project but will have to pack these away in the yarn box until I finish the Rowan Fyne vest.

What finds have you recently bought?