I Knit, I Sew, I Colour!

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One of my first current colouring examples!

One of my first current colouring examples!


Recently, I noticed that colouring for adults is the done thing. And I have all those loom bands to use up! That didn’t deter me from buying a book and some pencils and start my artistic endeavours! Actually, many years ago, I coloured 2 whole books of mandalas…I think they were both from Dover publishing as they were the only ones who did that sort of thing back then.
One of my recent mandalas

One of my recent mandalas


The first book I bought the other week was from Amazon, called Art Deco Designs. I found most of the books to be quite “busy” in the design department. I’m more the kids type colouring book person! But I do like Art Deco, so went for it. Then I was in the Works shop and saw that they had quite a selection and bought a Meditation Colouring book there…more mandalas. Then it was back to Amazon and the Flower Fairy ABC colouring book, it actually came from Book Depository through Amazon Marketplace.
For anyone who is interested in being artistic…without having to actually draw anything, I have a few tips.
From the Flower Fairy ABC

From the Flower Fairy ABC


Most important, buy long pencils. For some reason I’ve had a set of 50 Crayola coloured pencils for several years, never used. I got them out and did the first few pictures with them. They were short and hurt my hands. Probably good for kids with little hands, but not my arthritic ones. Also, buy the best ones you can afford. I am bewailing the loss of the Venus Paradise pencils of my youth. I found that Faber Castell had bought them out and was hoping they would have the colours that I remember….not! But they are a decent pencil. Not the cheapest and certainly not the most expensive. Different makes of pencils might have the same colour names on the pencils, but they will most likely be different shades, so it’s not wasteful to have a couple of sets from different makers. (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)
The bold, striking colours I wanted are only available in markers and they aren’t really that great for colouring. Use them to make signs. The colour you see on the pencil wood and the colour the lead looks like are not the colours you will actually get. If you go to a real art shop, you can get single pencils in the colours you want that didn’t come in whatever set you bought. My set of 24 came with a lovely silver metallic pencil, which made me crave, gold, copper, bronze etc. I got Derwent pencils in those colours singly. I also ordered a set of 12 supposedly metallic pencils from ebay very cheap. They don’t quite do it…example…
From the Meditation colouring book from The Works. Done with my cheap metallic pencils

From the Meditation colouring book from The Works. Done with my cheap metallic
pencils


I am thinking of getting the Crayola box of 64 crayons…if they still have it. Maybe they have even more colours now!
From the Art Deco Design book

From the Art Deco Design book

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Going “Up North”

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A few months ago my best friend here in the UK moved from lovely sunny Kent back to Lancashire. I miss our Friday lunches and trips through all the Charity shops in town! Luckily there is email to keep us connected.
Last month my husband and I drove up for a short visit. We really only stayed one full day, drove up on Saturday, and back on Monday. But a good time was had by all, at least I hope so! It is always good to see a friend in person!
She has a lovely house and an overactive, sweet Jack Russell Terrier.
The only full day was Sunday and we went for a ride on the local heritage railway. atstation
We didn’t travel the whole line, just to Bury which I found to be a nice town to visit.
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A splendid church
burypark
A lovely park,
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And some rather large flower pots!
We had a nice lunch and walk around. Then back to the station-autumnlanc
Then home again!
So, a big thank you to my friend Pat, and her little dog, too! Can’t wait to go back and spend more time!

Got My Mojo Workin’

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I haven’t had a space to sew for years now! I have finally made one, its messy, but at least I can sit at my machine and make little things for my doll collection. Ok, I admit I did try to make something for me, but since I’ve lost weight, I seem to not be able to judge properly and it didn’t work out at all! I can buy things that are fine, but since the patterns are American and I’m wearing British sizes I couldn’t work out which one I should make! But I got a simpler pattern and am willing to give it a go again…now that I’ve had some practice on doll clothes!
I started making simple skirts and trousers for the dolls, just a rectangle gathered onto elastic and one seam for the skirts and a simple two pieces of fabric pj type of pants for the trousers.

I then felt brave enough to do some test sewing for a friend who was drafting a pattern for our small dolls.
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Then I made the boys new shirts and a simple dress and pinny for one of the girls, the other one is modelling the simple reversible skirt I made earlier.
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I also bought a few things made by a friend, and got some helpful hints from her.
We are doing a KAL…knit along…in Ravelry, for dolly sleepover. I have resisted making nightwear for my dolls, since they mostly stand around and look pretty, but I decided I would join in. I didn’t want to knit everything, it takes a long time, and with my newly acquired sewing mojo I decided to sew the big stuff and knit slippers! I still have one nightie to go, but here is the one complete night time outfit I’ve made so far.
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Soon it will be time to get the dolls ready for Christmas! I love Christmas fabrics and decorations! I even found a re-release of a sewing pattern for decorations that I used to have many years ago! Who knows what I will get up to in the next couple of months!

Weekend in Wales, pt. 2

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Sunday morning! Another lovely breakfast and another day out on the coach! This was an extra trip, not everyone signed on for it, but only one couple stayed back at the hotel!
We went to Llanberris, which is just down the road from Snowdon! We had been there before, but mostly rode the little Victorian train to the top of Snowdon. We had visited the little park in Llanberris, there is a small train ride there as well. This time we didn’t ride that train, we visited the Slate Museum…I know, almost too much excitement. But it was interesting, a very nice, funny man gave us a demonstration about how slate is cut and split. Also a lot of information about what it was like to work in the slate mines. Boys went as apprentices and didn’t get paid for the first year! They even had to provide all their own tools, and pay expenses if they needed to use the hospital! It was dangerous, unhealthy and basically slave labor!
The building itself was rather nice to look at from the outside.
slateminellanberis

slatemuseumllanberis
While we were inside, I looked up and saw the side of the mountain that had been mined…I felt incredibly sad, besides the human suffering, the mountain itself had this huge gash all the way down, and this was just one mountain that had been savaged. I felt like it had been wounded…ok, I’m weird! I know it provided some livlihood for lots of people…but they were hardly getting enough to live on, some fat cat who owned the company was living the life of ease. I do admit the mountains of Snowdonia have an effect on me!

Our time there was up and we got back into the coach and went down the road apiece to Rhyduu where we were getting on the West Highland Railway to Canaervon. (again, I hope I spelled that right!) This was what we were waiting for as we didn’t do that the last time we were there. This was a newer branch that had been restored and reopened as a Heritage line. So, the landscape was new! The train station in Canaervon is right in town and once you walked out of it, there was the castle looming!
canaervoncastle

canarvonstation

castle wall

townsquare
There is a lovely, big town square there. Even though it was Sunday, there were plenty of eateries and some shops were open. We had lunch there…I had a craving for cheese on toast! A typical Welsh dish! LOL! And some lovely local ice cream! It was a pleasant couple of hours, before we had to board the coach, yet again!
Back to the hotel, another good dinner and restful night!
The next morning we left around 9:30 after fuelling up with the usual good breakfast. Monday traffic wasn’t quite as stressful as Friday and we had an uneventful journey home! We were back to Felix the cat by 4 in the afternoon. He was happy to see us and demanded food immediately…even though Sid’s son had come by a few times to visit him while we were gone!

Weekend in Wales!

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The end of September we went on a coach trip to Wales, my birthday was on the 25th and we left the next morning, a Friday.
I wish I could tell you that the journey was uneventful, but the coach was 45 minutes late, which is to be expected since it was morning rush hour. Things were going ok, but then we hit some road works, so that was a bit slow, but at least we were still moving. Then, we were at a standstill! A lorry had caught fire somewhere ahead of us. It took awhile, but it was finally clear and we were on our way again. Our inconvenience was nothing compared to the lorry fire! We passed the ashy remains collapsed on the side of the road, I said a silent prayer that the driver got out ok. I think the site of it also silenced some of the mouthy people who were moaning about the delay!
Coach drivers have very stringent regulations to follow about how long they can drive before having a break and so on. Its a good thing, really, after all, we are putting our lives into their hands! So, even though we were running behind schedule quite a bit by then, we still had to stop for breaks. We were supposed to have checked into our hotel around 4, but it was almost 9 when we got there. They were very nice, they usually served dinner at 7:30, but they gave us a full meal and it was very nice!
The hotel was called the Westminster and it is right on the Rhyll seafront. We did go and have a short look around the next morning, but there wasn’t really much time to investigate as we had a tour schedule to keep!
rhylmorning

After a good night’s sleep and a lovely breakfast, we set off in the coach once again, going to Llandudno to catch a train to Blaneau Ffestiniog to catch a steam train that would take us down to Porthmadog. (I do hope I’m spelling all these Welsh names right!)
alicellandudno
Sid and I had been to Llandudno a couple of years ago, good thing, since we didn’t really have any time to spare. They have added a few things, I was able to snap a quick pic of the new Alice wooden sculture, it is across the street from the rail station. Lewis Carroll met the little girl who inspired his writing in Llandudno.

We had also been on the Ffestiniog train before, but a steam train ride is always an acceptable way to spend some time! The scenery in Snowdonia is amazing! I love the mountains, and seeing them out of a train window is a most civilized way to experience them!
Once we reached the end of the line, the coach was there to meet us and take us the 10 minute journey to Portmeirion. Fans of the original Prisoner TV series will know it! Its a lovely little village built in an Italianate style, nestled along the shoreline. All the buildings are unique. Quite a few are privately owned, by millionaires! Some house shops and eating establishments. There is a pottery line called Portmeirion, it is actually made somewhere else, but was designed by the daughter of the man who designed the village. Its worth a google to find out about this place!
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As you walk through the village, there are little gems hidden all over, beautiful arches, statues, paintings. Its the best art museum ever!
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portmeirionportal
Lots of fountains, and there is a hotel down at the beach. It is my dream to go there and stay!
After an afternoon of walking around there, we headed back on the coach to another lovely meal at the hotel and an evening of telly and knitting! And sleep, ah yes, sleep!

Weekend Away, Pt. 4: Harrogate and home!

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harrogatewarmem
We left the hotel around 10:30am, got to sleep in since we got in late the night before and the drivers have to have a certain rest time by law…that was ok by us! Had the usual breakfast buffet and got our baggage down to the reception area and loaded on!
Harrogate is about 1-2 hours from the hotel, so we were there in time for lunch. We opted to not eat, just had coffee and some shortbread, as breakfast had been quite filling. We had another rest stop before hitting home, so figured we would eat then.
We were dropped off in Harrogate right across from this war memorial. Its a lovely little town, I didn’t take that many pictures as we were mostly in the shopping area, a nice pedestrian area. Had a good look around, but only bought coffee, a magazine and a pen that had owls on it that was reduced! We didn’t actually buy that much on the whole trip, mostly lunch and/or dinner!
harrogate
This is the only other picture I kept, a lovely planting and view. I had taken a few others, but they were not that great, and it got dark and started to drizzle just as it was time for us to go!
So, we were on the last leg of the journey home! We stopped at the motorway services and had dinner, just a short stop that time as we were all anxious to get home by then! We got back to Dartford around 8:30pm, and had contacted Sid’s son to pick us up as the local bus service runs only once an hour on Sunday evening and we had missed one by 12 minutes! He was right there, so an uneventful trip from Dartford to Gravesend!
Felix the cat was glad to see us home…regular feedings! LOL! He was looked after for the 3 days, but is used to getting fed on demand rather than once a day! He has a bowl of nibblys and big bowl of water at all times, but seems to think he should have wet food every hour or so!
So, now laundry is all done, everything put away, and life returns to normal…for now!

Weekend Trip,Pt. 3: Edinburgh Royal Military Tattoo

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castleesplanade
This is where the magic happens! Its finally time for the show, the reason for the whole trip! I have to say, we have all the DVD’s of all tattoos that have been recorded! It was nice to see one in person and the weather cleared up nicely for the performance! The place is well set up and even though the stands are not permanent, they are sturdy and even have handrails along the long steps up! I have an issue with heights, so that meant a lot to me!
The bus left us off down the hill from the castle, traffic was cordoned off because of the long line to get in. So, we had a little trek up. It rained a bit going up the hill so we had our plastic ponchos on. I was also impressed when we got in that they had ample toilet facilities, much better than any permanent stadium I’ve been to!
Luckily for the performers, the rains stopped. They had no cover, and would have had soggy costumes, uniforms and instruments, this does not get cancelled due to weather! drummersdrumming

piperspiping

massedpipes

finale

I only took a few pictures of the goings on, mostly because I made promises of pics of men in kilts to friends! We will buy the DVD of the performance when it comes out in October.
As I said, the weather cleared up and it was brighter out at 9pm than at any time during the day! We were at the early performance, there was another to go, so I’m glad the bands didn’t get soggy!
We had to race back to the bus, as we had another 3 hour drive to get back to the hotel. Got there around 1:30am, told to be ready to go by 10:30am, so right to bed!
To be Continued!