Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 knitting

Surely there must have been more!

A year in some pictures

Nearly the end of another year.

I don't really know why I stopped blogging - I enjoyed it. It almost feels like a friendship breakdown. The longer you leave it, the harder it is to pick up the phone.

2012 brought a year of consolidation, really. No huge excitements, but steady contentment, I suppose.

We reworked some areas in the garden, but got hardly any use from them as the summer weather was so bad.

We enjoyed the Olympic coverage, but less so the Jubilee.

One of our neighbours decided to tackle the squirrel situation with a gun, to our horror. However, they came back, which makes me very happy.

I eroded my fear of heights a little.

Our woodpeckers had a baby, who continues to visit most days, but is very difficult to photograph.

J and I explored more possible escape locations across Yorkshire.

I decided it was time to go grey disgracefully!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reclamation and refurbishment 5 - finally!

Well, we finished the garden rennovations ages ago. Unfortunately, we have had the coldest May in years since then. It has also rained. Lots! I think it was the drought warnings and hosepipe bans that did it.

The deck is nice seating area again, now:

We did manage to use it in the cooler weather, too:

But it is much better now.

We finally had an excuse to get the parasol up, too:

We're very pleased with this new seating area. It extends the time we can spend outside, considerably.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reclamation and refurbishment 4

A little while ago we bought some garden furniture from a local seller on eBay. It was by Firmans and made of teak, but had seen better days, but it was very cheap, so we thought it might be worth a bid.

We stored it on our new patio/sitting area and decided we liked it so much we would put some effort into restoring it. J stripped off the layer of treacly brown stain that the previous owners had splashed on in places, cleaned it down with wire wool and gave it a couple of coats of teak oil. Looks like a completely different set of furniture now. Even nicer than we could have hoped for.

Finding shower-proof seat cushions for the chairs was trickier than I imagined. I expected that every UK garden centre would be full of the things, given the kind of summer weather we usually get, but no. I contemplated making some out of oilcloth, but I'm not sure that the combination of heat, bottoms and plastic is what I'm really going for here. So, eventually found some in Next. Didn't get the matching parasol as I wanted something a bit bigger.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Reclamation and Refurbishment 3

More during:

It goes on.

We finished the reroofing yesterday evening and then, seeing it was dry and the forcast for the next couple of days is rain (just to coincide with the start of the hosepipe ban season), decided to give the decking a coat of protector. It was getting on and the light was fading by then, but halfway through we actually read the instructions and realised thatthe second coat had to be applied NOT MORE than 2 hours after the first (not at least 2 hours as we had interpreted it)!

Job eventually completed by the light of the fairy lights and ships lanterns out there by 9:45pm.

Glad we did it now, as it's raining again and the 12 year old timber is looking pretty good. We have to leave it for 24 hours before we can start putting things back on the timber, which is a good excuse for not doing DIY today. The house needs cleaning and my knitting is calling to me.

Happy Easter!

Friday, April 06, 2012

Reclamation and refurbishment 2

J and I have been doing a spot of DIY. We try to avoid it when we can, as we don't work well as a team under pressure and tend to bicker a bit. It always works out ok in the end but the process can be difficult. J has OCD leanings and I can be a bit slapdash.

The roof of our deck area needed to be replaced as the plexiglass had seen much better days. This meant that everything had to come off in order to get at the roof. J over-winters his tender plants there and his horrible cactus collection lives on there permanently. Oops, that was a bit of a giveaway, wasn't it?!



 We're using this as the opportunity to have a good clean, retreat the wood and have a general tidy up. P, who used to work for J, came to help.


The tender plants have a new, temporary shelter on my new seating area! Better looked after than me!

J's collection of 'weird shit', as j calls it, has been revealed in its true g(l)ory. Some of the pieces are lovely, some are horrible, some just weird. All have been a bit hidden. Now we can begin the 'what goes back' discussions...

Can you guess what J used to do for a living?

Reclamation and refurbishment 1

I don't often buy knitwear. I knit a lot and have so much yarn stashed in the house that I've taken to calling it insulation and am contemplating getting Kevin McCloud round to do a feature on my sustainable approach to tackling keeping the house warm.

But, I do love a bargain and a poke around in a charity shop. Not going to tell you where my favourite ones are in case you get there before me. Last year, I was almost attacked in a branch of Age UK. I found a size 10 merino dress from East. Still had the £97 price tag on and was still on the website. AgeUK price :£9.99. I picked it up and continued to browse, when a larger woman tried to take it our of my hands.
'Are you buying this?' 
'But I like it,'
'I like it too, it's in my hands and it's my size,'
'I don't care what size it it, for that price, it can stretch! Are you sure you're buying it?'

I've had a lot of wear and pleasure from that dress this winter.

Anyway, last week's bargain was a sweater from Pachamama. I've always had a love for their sweaters, but they are expensive, usually too big for me now, and (shhh, say it quietly) quite badly made.
I bought this one - looks like it was never worn - for less than half the price of a ball of Malabrigo (which is the closest I can get to the yarn.)

Needless to say, it was huge on me.
So, I frogged it.
Do you know how horrible frogging badly-knitted intarsia is? Very horrible.

I reskeined it, washed it and rewound it.
I've got more than 700g of the pink and about 200g in total of the other colours.
I'm just waiting for inspiration, now.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Oh well, a touch of grey

I'm deciding to 'transition'.

Actually, life is one long transition, isn't it?

I've discovered that this is a term for the process of deciding to give up dying my hair and go grey. I may have actually gone grey years ago. My brother has had greyish bits since his 20's. I have dyed my hair assorted colours since I was about 14. I have no idea what my natural hair looks like.

Recently, though, I've decided the reddish brown I've been using for years doesn't work with my skin tone any more. I feel that I've started to look like Hilary Devey. Don't get me wrong, I love the woman. She's amazing. But she makes no pretense that that is her own hair. Then I was sitting in a meeting at work and one of the other women there had really solid, unnaturally dark brown hair. It really didn't work with her age or colouring - and it could be me.

I had the reddish brown dye removed, which left me with light gingery hair and lots of grey sprinkles. Then I had it all covered with a light ash semi-permanent colour, which will tone down the red and make the first growing out bits easier, apparently. The colour works better with my skin, but there is still a lot of grey at the roots. 

So, I'm transitioning. Real photos when I can get j to hover above me with a camera. In the meantime, this is how I will be seeing myself:

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Weather magic - a personal apology.

J and I are personally responsible for the change in the weather this week.

How it happened:

We created a new patio sitting area:

We teak-oiled the garden furiture:

We bought a new garden parasol:
We stocked up on anti-mosi outdoor candles:

 We bought new outdoor unbreakable 'glassware':

And then, to put the final seal on it, I dug out my summer clothes and ironed my white, linen trousers.

Sorry folks!