Summer is here! Last year during the entirety of the school summer holiday I decided to set myself a challenge to do something creative every day (mainly for my own mental health during the 8 week-long summer holiday from school). I rose to the challenge and amazingly managed to do something creative every single day of that 8 weeks except for one, when we spent a rediculous amount of time traveling home from Suffolk to Gibraltar.
The idea was sparked on the very first day of last year’s school holiday and worked amazingly well – the previous year’s summer vacation had been a very long and stressful time (I put so much effort into trying to entertain the 3 Little Postcards that there was little time or energy left for me to do what I love; creating). The new focus on creativity last year worked wonders for my mood, I made sure I had a crochet or sewing project with me on our trips away whether to the beach or park close to home or on our holiday away in England.
Keen to repeat the success of last year I decided to do it again. Last Saturday was 1st July and although the school holidays hadn’t yet started I set off on my epic challenge a week early. Do you want to see how I got on? Here goes…
Day 1 : Saturday 1st July
What better way to start a summer craft challenge than by making a crochet unicorn? The kit and Ilaria Caliri pattern came with issue 54 of Simply Crochet magazine several months ago and has been in my to do list since.
Day 2 : Sunday 2nd July
Allow me to introduce Europa the unicorn. She’s going to be the mascot of the Postcard from Gibraltar summer craft challenge and joining me on my summer long crafty adventure. She’s named after the southern most tip of Gibraltar and will come along with us on our summer trips (all of which will be in Europe).
Day 3 : Monday 3rd July
Day 3 was a bit crazy busy. By the time I picked up my crochet hook it was late at night and I started work on part of a commission I was working on. (Didn’t do much as you can see and it turned out to be wrong too because I was tired – but at least I tried!)
Day 4 : Tuesday 4th July
A change of craft for day 4. A similarly hectic day but I had a window of opportunity to do come thing crafty while I had a cake baking in the oven. I am in the process of making a felted picture and am adding the final embroidered touches. More on that later…
Day 5 : Wednesday 5th July
Back to that commission, and Europa was overseeing the creation of another little creature.
Day 6 : Thursday 6th July
Does this little sheepy head remind you of anyone?
Maybe a little crochet Sheep who had lots of adventures around Gibraltar last summer??
Introducing Llanita the third… here she is hanging out with her new bestie Europa. I was asked back in September last year if I would make a Llanita for someone. Ten months later and I finally managed it!
Day 7 : Friday 7th July
It was a blue sky kind of a day on Friday and I thought as school had officially closed for the summer it was a perfect opportunity to get my Little Box of Crochet WIP Blue Sky Hug scarf out of hibernation. After a short attempt to carry on with it, I was reminded that I had put it away because I need to concentrate when I work on it. The craziness of end of term means my attention span has been reduced to approximately 20 seconds so it was put back into hibernation and I looked for another WIP…
Ahh, that’s better! My Attic 24 designed mug cosy pattern is much easier on this tired brain… Roll on summer holidays!
I’m posting daily photos on my Instagram page throughout my summer craft challenge. Fancy joining in? Just post your photos with the tag #summercraftchallenge2017
Sunday Sevens number 90?? Crumbs have I really been doing it that long? I hope I’m not boring you! Thanks for coming along for the ride! 😊
So here’s this week’s installment of Sunday Sevens…
Another beautiful evening sky
I thought the clouds looked particularly pretty on Sunday evening last week. Unfortunately the camera on my phone didn’t quite do them justice. We are being really spoiled with gorgeous sunsets this summer.
End of term for dressmaking class
I can hardly believe that I have reached the end of my second year of dressmaking classes with the immensely clever Dorcas Hammond (you can read all about Dorcas in this post). It may seem a silly thing to do to end the year with the beginnings of a new project, but for various reasons I got a bit behind with my work this year.
I am now all ready to get cracking in September stitching this gorgeous Kafe Fassett fabric into a blouse.
Last watercolour lesson of the term
Similar to dressmaking I had my last watercolour lesson this week and again I spent my lesson working on a new project. I am attempting to paint a sunset I photographed a couple of weeks ago. I enjoyed playing with the colours to find the right tones for the sky and sea. I do fear that the trial run may turn out better than the real thing though!! You can also see my post about my hugely talented watercolour teacher Deborah M Lawson here.
Life seems to be very hectic at the moment, it shouldn’t surprise me but it always is at this time of year. As the school year draws to a close and we are inundated with notes and emails detailing special days and meetings and a flurry of birthday party invitations for children whose birthdays fall during the long summer break.
There have been days when I am sure I have had steam coming out of my ears and I’ve been contemplating running away and locking myself in a darkened room until September. However, I did make it to the weekend and next week is the last week of term for the Little Postcards. I did realise this week that I need to keep crafting to retain my sanity, so whenever I could, I grabbed a crochet hook and got busy on the border for this blanket.
Something which has gone in our favour this week is is the fact that the wind direction changed. Of late we have ‘enjoyed’ a Levante (easterly) wind which has brought with it hot and humid weather, this week we received a welcome break with Poniente (westerly) breezes bringing much cooler weather.
You could see the North Moroccan coast really clearly on Friday but blimey the water in the Strait was choppy. I don’t fancy being on that little boat!
Another blanket finished
TA-dah! The latest Sixty Million Trebles blanket is completed. This one is the result of a collaboration and was created by the Gibraltar Crochet Collective, I just joined it and added the border. This is a slightly smaller baby blanket and will go with two others to a drop off point in England when I am over visiting family this summer. For more on Sixty Million Trebles, you can see their website here.
Yesterday the organisation revealed the big news that they have reached the 3/4 point in their goal of reaching 60 million treble stitches. Hopefully they will hit 60 by the time the blankets are shipped to help Syrian refugee children in September.
Summer craft challenge 2017
Last year during the school summer holidays I challenged myself to do a little bit of craft every day in order to maintain my sanity. I amazed myself at managing to fulfill the challenge on all bar one day over the eight week long school break.
This year, I have decided to do the same thing. I began my challenge yesterday seeing as it was the first of July and it felt like the start of summer proper. I wonder whether I’ll be able to maintain my challenge again this year? Fancy joining in? If you do, you can follow my progress on Instagram, just use the tag #summercraftchallenge2017 with your creations.
Thanks for joining me this week. Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins
A couple of weeks ago I was very pleasantly surprised to be nominated for a Blue Sky Tag by Jane of the Candelo Blooms blog. Thank you Jane very much for thinking of me! The tag is a fun event which runs throughout June, and requires me to answer 11 questions about myself and Postcard from Gibraltar and then nominate 11 other bloggers for the same award.
It feels slightly self indulgent for me to spend all this time writing about me rather than talking about experiences or events I have visited which is my usual style of blog post, for that reason it’s taken me a while to complete this post. Here goes nothing…
1. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
I love that it gives me an excuse to take loads of photos and ask questions. I’m a naturally nosy person and before having children I worked as a journalist so this gives me the excuse to be more than just someone’s mum!
I also love that it has brought me opportunities which otherwise wouldn’t have happened. I now contribute to an online publication and have become part of a craft group all brought about by my blogging.
2. What other hobbies and pastimes do you enjoy?
Oh my word I have so many hobbies! Regular readers to my blog will know that I love to crochet. I also attend weekly watercolour classes and dressmaking classes. I love taking phtotos, which is probably obvious if you read my blog regularly, and I have recently tried wet felting for the first time (a blog post will be appearing on that soon!) I know, I know, I really don’t need another hobby! 🤣
3. Given your time over, without any restrictions, what would be your ideal job? Why?
Well I did have a pretty perfect job for me, I was a journalist which meant I got to visit special places where the public wasn’t allowed and I got to meet so many interesting people and was able to tell their stories. Aside from the (at times) long working hours and unpredictable shifts it was a dream job.
If I could do anything at all though, I would love to be a craftsperson with a talent great enough to make a living from it. I’d love my own workshop (ideally in the countryside or at the end of a large garden) and be surrounded by my crafty things whatever they might be. As it is, I live in an apartment in the fifth most densely populated place in the world (or so I’m told) so it’s not likely – I’m very happy as I am though.
4. Which new country would you like to visit?
I have had a bit of a fascination with Australia since the magical day I was off sick from school and Neighbours came on the TV in the U.K. for the first time! Back then (when I was around 11 yrs old I think) I started saving 50p of my pocket money each week towards my dream holiday to Ramsay Street and the rest of Australia. I had a page cut out from a holiday brochure I’d snaffled from a travel agents with a 3 week tour of Oz including a trip to Melbourne and was saving up for that (it cost over £2000 back in the late 80s) needless to say I never saved enough!
5. What is your favourite quotation?
I have to confess that I didn’t have a favourite quotation in my back pocket ready for this occasion, it took a bit of googling. This is the one which I think best sums up my view on life: “I choose to make the rest of my life the best of my life” by Louise Hay. I have been lucky enough to have had a great life so far, a happy childhood, a great career until I had a much wanted family, however onwards and upwards…. who knows what lies ahead?
6. If you were an animal, what would you like to be and why?
This is a tricky question to answer, to be honest I am not a great animal lover. I abhor cruelty to animals but I’m just not a huge animal fan. Just the other evening as Mr Postcard and I were sitting on the balcony at dusk, enjoying the golden moment between the cool dusk breeze arriving and the mosquitos arriving we were watching the seagulls swirling around over our heads calling out to each other. Now I’m not saying I fancy being a seagull eating rubbish out of people’s bins and pooping on the people down below, but it would be fab to be able glide on the thermals and take in the views.
7. What is your favourite time of year and why?
Ooh, another tricky one. It rather depends on where I am. In Gibraltar it has to be spring, the days are often warm and sunny, very much like an English summer’s day but it’s not too hot and you can get stuff done without needing several showers to cool down.
In Britain, I love all the seasons and I miss them dreadfully living here in Gibraltar. I love winter for its cosiness, crunchy frost underfoot and Christmas. Spring is so full of promise with bulbs breaking through the soil and the bright acid green of the newly opened leaves on the trees.
Summer is just wonderful when it’s sunny and dry. I love woodland walks and picnics. And Autumn is magical for it’s colourful leaves, conkers and misty cobwebs. Sorry, that doesn’t really answer the question does it?
8. What is your favourite film?
I don’t really have a favourite film as such, I have had a few favourites over the years, The Sound of Music and Dirty Dancing featured heavily in my formative years. As an adult I have to admit to a James Bond addiction….
9. What are the 3 most important character attributes to you?
Honesty, I can’t be doing with having to second guess what people are really thinking. Kindness, there is no need to be mean and a little kindness helps the world go round, don’t you agree? Creativity, nothing fires my own creativity than having creative people to inspire me.
10. What is your favourite book and why?
My favourite book tends to be the one I am reading at the moment. I am a member of a book club and I love that it introduces me to different genres I wouldn’t normally choose for myself. I am slowly working my way through George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series at the moment, in-between my book club books. I am currently on Book 4, A Feast for Crows. I have watched the TV series up to the point where I am reading, but want to read the books before seeing the series.
11. What is your favourite garden and why?
I love pretty much all gardens. My favourite one here in Gibraltar has got to be the Governor’s gardens at his official residence, the Convent. It’s open to the public once a year for the annual Convent garden party and it’s lovely to take a stroll along the shady agapanthus lined paths and enjoy the beautiful trees. It’s a real oasis in a rather built up environment.
Now to my Blue Sky nominees….
I would like to nominate the following people for this Blue Sky Tag:
Living in a tiny place which is surrounded on sides by sea makes this week’s photo challenge a cinch. That said though, my first photos feature a rather choppy North Sea taken at one of our favourite places; Southwold in Suffolk.
Although most of my childhood holidays were spent on the west coast of the British Isles, the temperature and colour of the sea in Southwold are the same as what I was used to as a child. Rarely was it a pleasureable experience to go paddling in the sea, but you still do it when you’re a child!
Now for some waves a little closer to our current home…
Just look at that turquoise water!
Quick! Out of the way!!
Aah that’s better!
I’m linking with Nana Cathy and Wild Daffodil for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.
Hello there, I hope this week’s Sunday Sevens finds you well and happy. If you saw my last post, you will know that Postcard from Gibraltar is now the ripe old age of two years old! In some ways it feels like I have been writing these posts for ever, but in many other ways it feels like only recently I plucked up the confidence to start typing out my first blog post. Thank you to all of you for the positivity you have showed me over this last two years.
Now you see it… Now you don’t
Well, Gib didn’t quite totally disappear, but you get the drift! Last Sunday we had talked about taking a trip into Spain, but we ended up staying a lot closer to home and heading down to Europa Point. We had visitors this week in the form of Mr Postcard’s parents and we went for a walk at Europa Point, the Little Postcards had a play at the park and I took my father-in-law for a walk down to the Europa Foreshore.
While we sat chatting at the park I was watching the Levanter cloud coming and going over the peak of the Rock of Gibraltar. I kept taking pictures in the hope I would catch it completely obscured but this is as close as I got.
In this week’s dressmaking class i actually managed to get some sewing done! I have lots track of the number of weeks I have spent drawing my new pattern. I am currently working on a blouse and boy, oh boy, it’s been a long drawn out affair. Well, the pattern is finished and this week I got the chance to actually sew. I made a sample collar ahead of the real thing. It was a relatively painless process, let’s see how the real thing turns out….
Chocolate cake and watercolours
We had a real treat at our watercolour class this week when one of my fellow students arrived bearing cake. She was weighed down with homemade flapjack and chocolate birthday cake from her daughter’s birthday party the day before. I was ‘forced’ to have a tiny sliver of flapjack and then was presented with this gorgeous piece of cake. It only slightly distracted me from finishing off my mussel shell…
I know I have featured a photo just like this one before in Sunday Sevens, but it never fails to amaze me when I take a seat at the Victoria Stadium for one of the Little Postcards’ Sports Days and see them running their races at the National Stadium with the Rock of Gibraltar as a back drop. It’s such a far cry from the school field behind a row of terraced houses that I competed on when I was trying to balance a clay egg on a table spoon!
Season of sea mists
We have had some belting sea mists this week. I know it is the season for it, and perhaps with the very hot weather we have been ‘enjoying’ of late, it has added to the phenomenon. Some days it has come all of a sudden and taken me by surprise, other days I have been able to watch it slowly creep up the Bay from the Strait and towards land. I love listening to the huge tankers almost singing to each other with their fog horns.
As we had our special visitors this week, we decided to go out on a dolphin boat trip one afternoon when the Little Postcards had finished their half day at school. We were not disappointed as you can see. We saw literally hundreds of them. I took lots of photos on our trip and I will share some more of them in the next few weeks.
Against all odds…
You wouldn’t think that a pavement at the side of the beach would be the most fertile place for a flowering plant to thrive would you? One evening this week we took a trip to Catalan Bay to have dinner on a balmy summer evening and as we walked to the restaurant I spotted this plant growing up in a crack between the paving blocks. I am not completely sure what it is, but it does look a bit like the Hawaiian Busy Lizzies my Mum used to grow on her her kitchen windowsill and a woodier version of the Busy Lizzies I used to have in a hanging basket by my front door back in England (I may be way off the mark with this). Anyway, whatever it is, it made me smile.
I hope that this has been a good week for you, whatever you have been up to. Thank you for stopping by, and thank you to everyone who has taken the time to post comments on my blog and who have responded to my Tweets this week too, that has made me smile as well.
This month, Postcard from Gibraltar celebrates it’s second birthday. I had no idea where it would lead me when I wrote my first post and if I had a crystal ball and could see my life in June 2017 I would have been very pleasantly surprised to see that it is still going!
It’s opened all sorts of doors for me and achieved just what I hoped it would – getting my brain working again after spending over a decade at home with my children. It has led to me being asked to contribute to an online publication and given me the to confidence to apply for a small part-time job which I actually got!
It has given me an excuse to keep taking loads of photos as I wander about, and allowed me to waffle on about all my crafty hobbies!
This past 12 months has seen the launch of another Postcard from Gibraltar series “Creative Gibraltar” to add to my “Stroll around Gibraltar” series and most excitingly I was able to launch the Postcard from Gibraltar Podcast which you can find through the blog as well as on PodOmatic and, wait for it, iTunes! How cool is that?
Blogging has not only helped me build my confidence, I have also met so many lovely people through it both virtually and in real life. Last September I met my crochet heroine Lucy, from Attic 24 at the Yarndale Festival in Skipton, North Yorkshire and through Instagram I met the very talented Marisa, a Gibraltar born crocheter who lives in London and who has now launched her own blog Mariwish.
If you are thinking about taking the plunge and having a go at blogging yourself I can highly recommend it! Do have a go, you never know where it will lead….
As Postcard from Gibraltar enters it’s third year, I would like to say a sincere thank you for coming along on my adventure with me!