Monday, 8 July 2013

Camping and Wimbledon

We were promised a hot, sunny weekend, so we both booked Monday off work and on Saturday headed down the M5 to a favourite camp site near Woolacombe. You can't book pitches in advance so you have to just drive and hope. We were in luck and pitched in an area with fantastic views over the Bristol Channel.
We treated ourselves to a lazy afternoon with beer and BBQ...
(The anaemic looking steaks are turkey)
Our restaurant for two :)
This place really lets you enjoy the rugged north Devon coast. You don't need to walk all over it, swim in it or sail past it. You can sit and watch it's moods change as the sun sets.
Sunday 7th July was one of those days you know you're going to want to remember where you were and what you did. We'd foregone breakfast and got down to the beach early to spend the morning surfing the challenging waves 2 ft (!) Lunch was a terrific roast in a nearby pub followed by a wander round the small town to find which pubs would be showing the Wimbledon final. We chose Captain Jacks as probably the coolest on that blistering hot afternoon.
We found a bench right in front of the screen and I vowed not to leave until Andy Murray won. (I was certain he was going to).
Three hours later the crowd in the pub erupted and the cheering and clapping was heart felt. We had a new champion and more importantly Andy Murray had created a new legacy for those of us from the same small Scottish town as him. It would have to taken something on that scale to keep me in a pub for 3 hours. I get bored very easily!
The early evening was spent recovering from achy muscles, trying to find somewhere to dry off our wetsuits and wallowing in the huge sense of contentment after an emotional Wimbledon final.
Rather than try to describe how pretty this area is, I took loads of pics for you of the views you get as you drive to the beach.
The roads are narrow,
and steep,
and twisty,
and worth it.

Back to the office tomorrow!

Friday, 28 June 2013



I enjoy learning German and for the past few weeks, each evening I have listened to a little German radio (B5 plus or Bayern 2) or watched some online TV. (Last night there was a programme called "Tierish' Tierish" and since there were lots of cats and dogs on it, I'm guessing it was about pets.)

Earlier on this year my energetic, warm and very funny German tutor died after suffering a massive stroke. The little local church could not hold all those who came to pay their respects to this lovely lady. A couple of weeks later I was allocated a new tutor but I found it hard to apply myself. Over the months since she took on the task of teaching me I have found her also to be warm, funny and supportive of my laborious attempts to understand cases, reflexive verbs and modal verbs.

(Even though as soon as I conquer one subject and learn another, I forget the first subject.)

Under my new tutor's care I've found my enthusiasm creeping back. Having the right teacher goes a long way to making you want to emerse yourself in the language or surprise them with a new word (my lessons are sadly full of surprising new words but I'm getting better!) I'm lucky to have had two tutors who know how to fire that enthusiasm :)


Saturday, 22 June 2013

The village fete

Each year the village holds a fete to raise money for the local church. Considering how small the village is, 2,000 people, there's always plenty to look at, listen to and throw things at.

Such as the skittle alley...

No win this time.

Or you can listen to the local brass band.

Or admire the view.

Or win a coconut.

Or have a nice cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake while you admire your coconut.

And when we tired of the fete, we went to collect no 1 son who had arrived back in the UK after a week away on a school exchange trip to Germany. Apparently it all went very week and we don't know how he did it but he managed to bring back a gift to warm any father's heart.


Thursday, 20 June 2013

Handmade Silk Paper

Nearly a year ago, I bought some silk fibers at the Malvern Quilts and Needlecraft Show with no idea of what I was going to use them for.  Luckily, my ever enthusiastic sewing teacher Catherine at knew exactly how to use them and she kindly turned the usual weekly sewing class into a silk paper making session. Within an hour we had transformed a bunch of loose fibers into the papers below ready to be stitched into and used as if it were a piece of fabric.

We added a few thick pieces of wool across this piece.  Once it was fully dry I sewed some French Knots along one of the pieces of wool and added some beads along another length of wool.  I'm not sure exactly what type of silks we used on this. 

The piece pictured below was made with 2 textured silk fibers called Carded Cocoon Strippings and White Noil bought on the internet.

I'm already thinking of ways to use this new skill perhaps to make cards or as covers for handmade scrapbooks. We have lavender growing in Himself's garden which I'd like to try adding for texture, colour and if I'm lucky maybe scent too.  

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Father's Day

Our tradition says that on birthdays and Father's Day, the person having the day gets to choose the activity and everyone has to join in. And no one is allowed to complain.

The cards were from one very organised son

And one less organised and slightly confused son

The day began with a trip to not one but three motorbike shops

Where we played the "how much?!" game on the price of accessories

And guess where it ended? I'm hoping this much patience around motorbikes has earned me a lot of brownie points the next time I want to visit a craft shop :)


Saturday, 8 June 2013

Bird search

Up early this morning to look for kingfishers near Slaughterford. We didn't find any but we did find a beautiful walk along side a river.

And this pretty bird....

And then some more walking.

We are really making the most of this weather, more time is being spent in the garden and very little on the Internet or blogging or crafting. Our activities at the moment are focused almost exclusively on the country house because...we are finally moving in together! After 5 1/2 years of weekends in the country house and week days at the week day home so I can commute to work, we've decided we will both live in the country house. Putting two (fairly full) houses into one is taking time, thought, sacrifice and wall plugs and doesn't leave any time or space for crafting. We've cut back on camping and not gone anywhere so far this year because our weekends are full of painting, sanding, packing, e-baying and trying not to feel too daunted by all we want to achieve while still working. This morning's escape to spend time soaking up some scenery blew away the cobwebs, even if we didn't find our kingfishers.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Busy times

The relaxing break from crafting continues while other things take over my time so recent weeks have been filled with de-cluttering the Week Day Home. Books were spilling everywhere and I've tried to weed out those I know I'll read again and those just taking up shelf room. Anyone else who crafts will know how easy it is to drown under papers and stuff you bought years ago with an idea in mind which has been long forgotten.

This weeks distraction from uber spring cleaning has been a work trip to Glasgow for a couple of meetings. The first morning's view from the hotel....

And a view of the trip home to more extreme tidying....


Friday, 22 March 2013

Scrappin' Books

It's been a busy few weeks and I've been juggling work, housework (!) and interests which has lead to me neglecting my blog and I must admit, I half expected everyone to have deserted but you didn't!  In fact - there are loads more of you so hello!  Grab yourself a cuppa, make yourself comfortable and I'll bring you up to date.  

Mostly the past month has been about making scrap books.  I've nearly completed one about our recent trip to Morocco in these fabby hot colours which I rarely use so it was nice to drag myself away from my usual blues and greens and explore something so vibrant.

The front cover with my favourite paper flowers ....
And a couple of inside views....still got some work to do.
These look like loads of slippers but they're magnets.  When we were trying to make sense of the maze of Medina streets we nicknamed places Magnet Corner or Carpet Alley to help find our way around.  Didn't work.
And having spent some time with hot colours, I wandered back to the soft shades and made the shabby, demin and lace inspired book below.  This isn't for anything in particular but when I've got a shabby, lacey, denimy theme it will be perfect :)
And once again - you guessed - more of those flowers made with the papers used for the pages.  I just love these, you can make them as pretty or as grungey as you like.
Other activities have included trying to be better at my German studies.  (Fail)
And trying to learn how to use this camera.  That's going to take some time.  There's sooooo many buttons :(  But regular readers of this blog know how much I love photography and that I take pics of everything.  Upgrading to this is a challenge but once I am more confident about it (and have developed bigger muscles to lug it about) I hope to share the results!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A camel called Ray

I really wish I had a photo of the funniest Berber we've met but I haven't so I'll just set the scene...
We'd been hanging out, lounging around and drinking mint tea on the beach about a mile south of Essaouira.
We were heading back to the Medina, weaving and dodging the beach sellers offering us genuine Rolex watches and rayban sunglasses at knock down prices when we met Mr Berber. We'd developed a good dodge. Whenever a seller approached us, we'd part and walk either side of him. He didn't know if he should persuade Himself to buy for me or chase me as the likely decision maker on purchases and by the time he'd worked it out we'd gone and the next tourist/ victim was coming along.
So we did the swerve on Mr Berber who immediately spun round and called "Heyyyy, where you go?!" His reaction was so surprised I started laughing and turned back to say we weren't buying today. That was all he needed to start a conversation. Pointing to some distant palms he told us that was his Berber village where he lived with his 2 wives and 9 sons. Of course we looked sympathetically at him about the two wives and he looked sad too. "Yes, I marry the first one and she very pretty, very slim. Then too much cous cous and..." He puffed out his cheeks and made a fat gesture. "So, I get another wife. She very nice, very pretty but then the cous cous..." By now we were laughing and he asked us if we were English, we said we were and he looked surprised. "You English? But you laugh, English not laugh, English are miserable!" Then talking to Himself, Mr Berber asked "Your lady, she very pretty, she your secretary or your wife?" Then he pulled out a raggedy wallet, "Look, look here, is a picture of my camel." I blinked and asked why he carried a picture of his camel and he explained he worked for the local hotel and they made him carry a camel passport to show he was official, not just a street hawker. "My camel is beautiful, he is called Ray and he has big blue eyes." By now I was more than happy to sit back and enjoy the show. "See how he smiles? I give him chewing gum and it makes him smile, he loves chewing gum." Then he very gently tried to persuade us to buy some jewellery but we moved off thanking him for his time and he waved cheerily to show his pic of his camel to the next tourists....