Hello there, I hope you’re enjoying your bank holiday! We’ve been enjoying the most glorious sunny and warm weather this weekend – it’s almost felt like being back in Gibraltar!
The wildlife has been enjoying the sun in the garden as much as I have!
Since I last wrote a postcard the fair came to town! Littlest was the only one who was interested so we had a trip on the dodgems and got wet bottoms from sitting in a puddle and then got whirled round on the twister. This though, was a step too far for us…..
In podcast news, Making Stitches is up for an award! If you have listened and think I deserve a vote, the voting is open until 19th June and you can vote for Making Stitches in the Specialist Interest category here.
The latest episode of Making Stitches featured the inspiring Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet. She told me all about her creative journey from a career in law to full time crochet designer. You can hear her episode here.
It’s finished – the vintage granny strip cardigan designed by Fran Morgan for Simply Crochet Magazine. My shortest creation (for me) from start to finish of about 6 weeks. I love it, and got it finished just in time for….
The Crochet Sanctuary!
On Saturday morning I drove to Knutsford in Cheshire for the Crochet Samctuary. I had wanted to attend a sanctuary for ages, I interviewed Lisa and Lynda-Rose the organisers back in March last year for the first episode of Making Stitches Podcast and on Saturday I got to meet them in person for the first time.
It was a wonderful day, full of crochet, lovely people and just chilling! I loved every minute and can highly recommend it if you get the chance to go yourself. The theme was cherry blossom and we made a lovely tea-cosy, napkin rings and egg cosy. I opted for two napkin rings in place of the egg cosy and am very pleased with them.
That’s all I’ve got for you this time. I hope life’s treating you well and that the sun’s been shining where you are.
Hello there! It’s been a while. I hope you’re ok. I went missing in action for a while there, there was no big reason, just didn’t feel the need to check into blogland. But I’m back, I just thought I’d pop in and say hi!
So what have I been up to lately? Well lots of stuff and nothing too. There has been some progress on unpacking the house (6 months after our move) thanks to a couple of trips to Ikea. However, despite this, the house seems to be a bigger mess than it was before for some reason. I guess we will get there in the end. There just seems to be so many other things which need doing too and progress on everything is slow. Here’s a quick recap on what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks…
I’ve been jabbed!
Last month, round about the time I went missing in action, I had my first Covid jab. I have to admit I didn’t have a great reaction to it as I was pretty unwell for a day or so – it felt a lot like when I had Covid last year – but I guess that means it’s working so I’m not complaining. Fingers crossed my next dose won’t have the same effect.
Football seems to have taken over my life in recent weeks. Littlest used to play for a team when we lived in Gibraltar and recently he got involved with a team over here in Manchester. We now have training twice a week and the possibility of two matches a week too to try to make up for lost time during the most recent lockdown. That may have had some bearing on my lack of visibility on here!! He’s loving it though, and the prospect of away matches means we have the perfect opportunity to explore some new locations not too far from home! This was my view from the touchline yesterday morning for his first ever match.
I have been taking part in the Instagram challenge by the talented amigurumi designer Ilaria Caliri called AmiguruMay this month. It’s given me the perfect opportunity to look back through my old photos to find my amigurumi creations of old! Here are a couple of old friends Rocksy & Gib! You can read about their exploits up the Rock here.
Blimey, I’ve been away so long that I’ve actually published not one, but two episodes of Making Stitches since I last checked in. The first was with a fellow blogger and hugely talented crochet designer Rosina of Zeens and Roger. Rosina and I started blogging around a similar time and have followed each other over the years, although Rosina has done very good things and achieved such a lot in the meantime!!
My next episode, which was published on Friday this week, features my conversation with the inspirational Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective. I found our chat so inspiring and utterly fascinating. Sarah’s method of ‘gentle protest’ has had amazing results and she is keen for lots more crafters to get involved in her new project ahead of Cop26 in Glasgow this year.
You can listen to both of these episodes via this link.
In other news… I’ve been published!
I have been a fan and a subscriber to Simply Crochet magazine for years, and recently was given the opportunity to write an article for them. It was a call to action for crocheters to support their local yarn shops after this dreadful year of lockdowns and restrictions. I spoke to some lovely shop owners who were so generous with their time, and I feel very proud to have been published in this super magazine. Thank you Simply Crochet!
And that’s just about it for this postcard. Sorry I was away so long, I will try to do better next time! I hope life has been treating you kindly, and that you have a good week.
Hello there, I hope you’ve had a good week. It’s been a gloriously sunny one for us which has been a delight. Here’s what we’ve been up to this week…
Back in February/March I started planting seeds ready for summer, I now have two sweet pea wigwams planted up, broad beans, kale, dahlias and sweet corn seedlings. Plus I added to my crop with some baby bedding plants which are all sheltering in the summer house until the frosts have passed. I’m hoping for a colourful and tasty garden ahead.
Last Sunday we simply had to get out to enjoy the beautiful blue skies. We popped out for a walk to our local nature reserve. Isn’t the sky glorious?!
Beside the sea
In August last year, we made our first trip to Crosby on the coast just north of Liverpool. It’s just an hour’s drive from our home in Manchester. On Monday, we went back – our first trip out of the local area since well before Christmas. As you can see, we were so lucky with the weather.
We took a picnic with us and found a bench amongst the dunes. We had the place very nearly to ourselves. It was perfect!
I even managed some alfresco crochet for the first time this year!!
Littlest returned to school after his Easter holidays on Wednesday, so that gave us the perfect opportunity for a teenaged clothes shopping trip to the Trafford Centre (everyone had grown so much during lockdown!). The crowds of Monday shoppers had passed and we were in and out before midday. That was enough for us!!
We also managed to get three young men’s hair cut as well… it was a successful week. I can’t wait until my own appointment next week!
Matthew Downham, a textile artist from Wales was my guest on the latest episode of Making Stitches. Matthew, who spoke openly about the struggles he has had with anxiety told me how when he discovered sewing, he was able to channel his creativity. If you would like to listen to our chat, you can hear it by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.
And that’s just about it for this week. I have one more day with two young men at home before everyone heads back to school. Time to get on with boring household jobs and less fun trips out. I fear the next Sunday Postcard won’t be quite as picturesque!
Whatever you’re up to, I hope you have a good week. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello! I hope you’re doing ok. It’s been a funny old week hasn’t it? The last one of this stage of UK lockdown and the news being dominated by the death of Prince Philip. I can’t imagine what it must be like to lose your partner of more than 70 years. My thoughts are with the Queen and her family.
Closer to home, we have tried to make the most of our Easter holidays in spite of a mixed bag of weather. As I looked out of the curtains after midnight last night – it was snowing here in Manchester!! No sign of the white stuff this morning though. Here’s a little look back at our week…
We had such a lovely Easter weekend last week, the weather was kind to us and the eased restrictions meant that we were able to spend time with loved ones who we hadn’t seen for too long. To celebrate, my Mum made this yummy cake! It was delicious!
Easter Monday walk
Despite a forecast of snow and ice, we woke up to more stunning weather on Easter Monday and made the most of the sun with a walk around fields near our home. Little did we know, the snow and cold weather would still be heading our way…
Snowy treasure trail
Last summer, we went on a treasure trail around the centre of Manchester as an activity to get us out of the house amid the severe restrictions we were facing. During the recent months of lockdown I have long wished we could do another one, as there are several within easy reach of where we are in south west Manchester.
On Tuesday, despite the grey skies and the drop in temperature, we paid for and downloaded another treasure trail – this one for the nearby village of Lymm in Cheshire. It took us along paths we had never visited before and taught us a little about the history of the place. In spite of the snow and cold, it was a fun afternoon!
We were glad of the hot drink back at home though!!
If you fancy a go at a treasure trail yourself, you can find them here. (This is not an advert! We just enjoyed it and thought you might too).
This was supposed to be finished by Easter, but life and lack of room in my brain to figure things out have got in the way of creativity. Hopefully, she will be making an appearance soon!
Reacquainted with an old friend
On Friday morning we headed into Cheshire to visit a place I haven’t been to in years – Tatton Park. Unfortunately we were too late to book to visit the gardens, but we did get the chance to wander around the deer park. It was lovely, in spite of sibling bickering and a passing snow shower!
The aviation geek amongst us was even able to watch the planes taking off from nearby Manchester Airport and passing overhead.
New garden delights
One of the joys of seeing a new garden wake up for spring is the delight of watching new things appear. Just two weeks ago, this small tree was simply a tree with new red leaves, now it is covered in the most beautiful, perfect, white blossom! It’s definitely a keeper!
It’s been fun to be able to get out and potter about in the garden. I was also able to get my brand new lawnmower out for a spin and potted on a few seedlings. Fingers crossed the threat of frost passes soon so I can actually plant them out in the garden soon!
Second National Trust visit of the week!
So yesterday we managed to get into our favourite and nearest National Trust property- Dunham Massey. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great and we were only able to get a parking entry for late in the afternoon. We managed a short walk in the park and then out towards the village of Little Bollington before the rain and sleet came!
We didn’t hang around for long once the sleet arrived – it looked set to stay (and it did). Never mind, it was a nice trip out to see some green space!
That’s all from me for this week, I hope the coming seven days are good to you. A couple of our household are particularly excited about the prospect of going clothes shopping next week before returning to school. I think my standards have dropped since Covid first started because I’m not bothered about clothes – it’s yarn shops I want to get into!!
Hello there, I hope you’re doing ok. Didn’t get this ready in time to be a Sunday Postcard, so it’s an Easter Monday one instead.
I hope you have had a decent Easter weekend – we have had such lovely sunny weather in Manchester which meant we were able to have my brother and his wife over to see us in our back garden – the first time we had seen them since Christmas Day. It was the perfect day – lovely weather and lovely conversations. You couldn’t have topped it.
Here’s a little look back at the last couple of weeks in our world.
We’ve been able to pop out for a few walks lately, as the weather has been kind to us. Mostly dry and sometimes beautifully sunny. We headed back to the banks of the River Mersey for a walk and lovely takeaway hot chocolate from the Riverbank Café.
Internet safety model
Littlest came home from school with this kit to make. It was made by Google and involves you answering questions about internet safety and as you get them right – you are given assembly instructions. It was a very informative half an hour or so, and was amazed how much he knew already. A very good idea for young ones and old ones alike.
A new tree
When we last lived in the UK (and weren’t planning on leaving) we planted an apple tree in our back garden. I imagined the Little Postcards would be able to watch it grow as they grew. Of course we left that tree behind when we moved to Gibraltar, so I always intended on getting a tree for our new garden.
I took a trip to the garden centre while the boys were at school for something else and spotted this tree, it was an impulse buy and I had a slight panic that it wouldn’t fit in the car – with a bit of jiggery-pokery I got it in!
I got some super happy post a fortnight ago, I have long wanted one of Cathy from Dear Emma’s fabric pots with little houses on. They are so cute! So I spent some of my birthday money on one. Isn’t it beautiful?
I also took delivery of this inspiring and very well written book by Sarah Corbett – ‘How to be a Craftivist’. I have long watched the Craftivist Collective at work on Instagram and wanted to know more about what they do. I can highly recommend it.
A new amigurumi person…
I’ve been taking inspiration from my own garden for my latest amigurumi make. Can you tell what I’ve been making?!
Introducing Dave, the King of the Daffodils!
He’s looking a bit lonely though isn’t he? I think he needs a friend… watch this space!
Heading out of lockdown
It’s been lovely for the past week to begin doing some more ‘adventurous’ things. Now we are on the way out of lockdown (hopefully) Littlest has been able to join a local football team for training – which is brilliant after so long trapped in our own home and garden.
I’ve also been able to have a couple of friends over for coffee (and a glass of wine) in our garden – what bliss after so long apart!
Last Friday on Making Stitches I published the latest episode featuring Hayley from Dotcraftstudio who spoke about her experience on Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and how her craft of amigurumi faux animal heads has developed over time.
You can listen by searching for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or via this link.
That’s all I’ve got for you for this latest Postcard, I often find it hard to find things to include as life isn’t quite as picturesque as it once was for us when we lived overlooking the Bay of Gibraltar! However, inspite of the lack of sea views, life has been very good to us and we have been blessed with the kindness of friends and family who more than make up for any sea views!
Until next time, I hope life treats you kindly. Thanks for stopping by!
Happy UK Census Day! I’m feeling rather historic, I do like family history and feel quite excited that at some point in the future one of my descendants or distant relatives may read what I put in our census return today.
I wish I had something exciting to tell you about, but alas lockdown life has a rather predictable plod to it and life has been rather samey of late. One big improvement has been the fact the Litle Postcards have been back in school for two weeks and my word, that frees up an awful lot of time to get some long-awaited jobs done!
In the last two weeks I have managed to unpack a few more boxes since our move and we now have another room which is totally box free. There’s still a good way to go with other rooms though, but that depends on being able to buy furniture to put the box contents into!
Spring has sprung
There’s no doubt about it, we have past the spring equinox and nature is waking up. I loved watching the brand new episode of Gardener’s World this week – that can only signal good things. I have been admiring this Crocus strewn lawn while out and about for the past few weeks – it’s so cheerful.
A new crochet project
I treated myself to some new yarn and am loving working on a new project. It’s something I’ve been thinking about making for years and finally I thought, ‘what am I waiting for?’ So just bit the bullet and ordered the yarn.
It’s going to be a granny stripe cardigan which appeared in Simply Crochet a while ago. Unfortunately I left it so long to make it that some of the shades of yarn recommended in the pattern have been discontinued so I’ve had to swap them out for alternatives! It was designed by the super talented Fran Morgan.
In other crochet news I made an Emmeline Pankhurst especially for International Women’s Day on 8th March! The pattern for Emmeline comes from the Crochet Iconic Women book by Carla Mitrani. She was my first make, but I’m sure some more will appear before long!
I’m loving being able to enjoy the bird visitors to our back garden. Since we first put food out for them in January, we have had starlings, wood pigeons, sparrows, blue tits and this rather cheerful robin. It feels like such a privilege to have so many little visitors over.
Signs of spring
A couple of weeks ago we had a lovely sunny Sunday walk over some open ground near our home. The last time we made the trip, there was snow on the ground and it looked so different.
Another sign of spring is that my sweet pea seedlings are up! I’m itching to plant them out but can’t take the risk yet in case we have another frost.
This week, Making Stitches made a reappearance with a new series (it’s amazing what you can achieve when your children are in school!!). The first episode of the new series features my chat with Louise Armitage aka Gini, from Gini’s Dorset Buttons. Gini won the Handmade Decoration trophy in last year’s Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas and spoke to me about how she first discovered the craft of Dorset Button-making as well as her TV experience.
Hello there, I hope this postcard finds you well this week. We’ve had half term and then another week of home schooling since I last stopped by.
Half term brought with it a bit if a virus (I think) not THE virus I’m very glad to say, so the ‘holiday’ was even more underwhelming than anticipated! I’m now well on the mend and looking forward to just one more week of home schooling before the Little Postcards all return to school next Monday- hurrah!
As a consequence of feeling a bit meh for a big chunk of the last few weeks, this week’s postcard is a little bit lack lustre…
Sunday nature reserve walk
We began half term with a walk to a new place for us. Less than half an hour’s walk from our front door is this nature trail which was created back in 2000. By that point I had moved away from the area with work so as a result I had never visited, so it was a first for all of us.
It may have been a cold, damp and grey day but the ducks put on a bit of a show for us which made me giggle. You can’t beat a bottoms up duck can you?!
Introducing Hope the Snowdrop
I did say a few weeks back I would be publishing a pattern for Flora the gardener, but things have got in the way of that. In the meantime, I shared this photo of Hope the Snowdrop onto Instagram. I made her back in January before Flora as a matter of fact.
On cue I received a lovely present in my doorstep, a bundle of snowdrops to plant in my own garden courtesy of my Dad. Thanks Dad!
I also shared Saffron the Crocus, who I finished this week…
If the neighbours saw me out in the sunshine playing with crochet dolls they’ll be wondering about what home schooling has done to my marbles!!
As the weather has improved lately, I’ve been able to get out into the garden, not only to plant my snowdrops but to cut back a few shrubs which were getting a bit big. I’ve also started planting seeds ready for the summer ahead. That’s my first batch of sweet peas.
I’m so looking forward to my first summer in my new garden, oh the possibilities!
Gift from a friend
My lovely friend who lives across the road dropped these beautiful daffs off to me when I was feeling under the weather last week. They have been looking beautiful all this week. The perfect sunshiny yellow boost to remind us all that spring’s around the corner!
That’s all I have for you this week from sunny Manchester. I hope you are well and beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.
Hello there, happy Sunday to you. Sorry I went missing in action last week with no postcard. It’s been a bit full on with home schooling and everything else so I took a week off.
I’m very pleased to say that we have survived six weeks of home schooling relatively unscathed (apart from my blood pressure and sanity) and we are now at the beginning of a week of half term holiday. Ooh what shall we do? A trip to the seaside? A walk in the country? A trip to the shops? No, no and no, we will mostly be staying home, walking round the block and eating too much – no change there then!
I will though, hopefully be spending a lot more time on my crochet. I am within touching distance of publishing a pattern for Flora my amigurumi gardener, and I’m trying to get some more podcast episodes sorted so Making Stitches can return for a new series before too much longer and I have a few other bits and bobs going on behind the scenes – oh so much to do and so little time!
Anyway, here’s a brief peek at what I’ve been up to during the past 2 weeks – warning – it’s not that riveting!!
Work moves on apace with pattern writing
So I have started remaking Flora and taking pictures as I go so that hopefully I can publish a pattern.
A trip to the waterside
Last Sunday we took a half hour walk from our house to…. the Manchester Ship canal! We used to be able to walk to the Bay of Gibraltar from our home… how times have changed! 🤣 It may look a bit bleak, and it was bitterly cold, but we saw lots of wildlife, it was late in the afternoon and we saw a murmuration of starlings coming in to roost near by, there were also lots of seagulls and even a heron. Plus there was a rather dramatic whirl pool on the opposite side of the lock gates to where we were standing…
More snow ❄️
We had a couple of days early this week when it seemed to snow off and on all day, I stopped counting at the ninth snow shower. It was lovely to glance out of the window in the midst of improper fractions or history and drift away watching the flakes float down. Unfortunately none of our showers came to anything unlike elsewhere in the UK this week, but we did have our snow over Christmas and New Year so I’m not complaining!
In amongst the lessons this week, there was a knock at the door and the postman had a parcel for me. It was a kit for an amigurumi Harry Potter sent by my lovely friend Nikki in Liverpool. Thank you Nikki, I will be starting on this very soon!!
I have been seeing some beautiful photos of banks of snowdrops over on Instagram lately, and I have to say I think they are my favourite post-Christmas plant (I can’t say spring because it isn’t spring yet is it?!). They always herald the beginning of the gardening year and hope of what is to come. I have hardly seen any on my walks around our neighbourhood but spied this rather weedy clump in our local municipal gardens. I will try to do better for the next postcard!!
Flora now has carrots in her basket. I’m bursting to show you something else I’ve been working on but want to share my Flora pattern first so I’m biding my time. Flora #2 had an unfortunate accident with a cup of coffee and a young man’s foot this week which didn’t help progress, so she had to have a rather drastic plunge into a washing up bowl and a toast on the radiator which added to the delay… But suffice to say, I’m so enjoying my crochet at the moment, it’s what’s giving me focus and a reward to my day to day lockdown drudge.
I’m afraid that’s all I’ve got for you this week, sorry it’s been a dull one, but I guess that’s the same for everyone at the moment.
Please excuse this flight of fancy, it may be lockdown isolation which is getting to me, or perhaps the home-schooling but my mind has wandered off into a fantasy land where my alter-ego Flora lives.
Flora lives for her plants and adores her garden…
She has all the gear (and no idea) and can’t wait for the spring flowers to fully appear once the snow and frosts have passed. Flora is like a tightly coiled spring ready to burst into action once winter loosens its grip on her new garden.
After years spent living abroad without a proper garden to call her own and all that time spent watching Gardeners World from afar and dreaming of having a huge garden like Monty’s she now finds herself living in the suburbs with a rather smaller plot than ‘Long Meadow’ but it’s hers nonetheless.
What will this year have in store for her as she sees shoots of new life appear in her new plot?
Hello there! How are you doing? I hope you are bearing up in the circumstances. We’re doing ok and I’m pleased to report and my parents got their first dose of the Covid jab last week so that feels like the first step towards something a bit more positive.
It’s been a couple of weeks since my last postcard and nothing much has really been going on as I’m sure you can appreciate. We have completed 4 weeks of home schooling – which I’m feeling rather proud of achieving. It hasn’t been easy but it has given me the excuse to sit next to youngest and supervise his work and during bits he can manage on his own, I have been able to crochet.
I mentioned last time that I had been playing with amigurumi and attempting to design something of my own. I have been crocheting ‘properly’ for about 7 or 8 years now and I never felt I had the ability or creativity to create something that other people might like to make. However, towards the end of last year a germ of an idea started for a collection of amigurumi ‘dolls’ and I just can’t stop thinking about them, so I have begun designing.
There have been a couple of odd looking prototypes (which the Little Postcards say give them the creeps) but I’m hoping I have ironed out some of the quirks and I’m getting there. I hope to be able to share them with you very soon. The first is ‘Flora’ and here’s a sneaky peak of her….
Wintery weather continues…
We started the week with another wintery spell of weather. It looks so beautiful and bright and crisp but I was very glad I wasn’t having to get out early and scrape the car windscreen to drive anywhere! I could enjoy it from the warmth of the house!
I didn’t used to like hyacinths because of the perfume they give off. One positive of my post-Covid wonky sense of smell is that, that no longer bothers me, so I have greatly enjoyed this trio of hyacinths in the house this last couple of weeks. They blossomed quickly in the warmth of the dining room / makeshift classroom!
A tour from your armchair
Yesterday I enjoyed my third virtual tour around my home city of Manchester. The tour group ‘New Manchester Walks’ has been hosting virtual Zoom tours around the city and other places in lockdown. So far, I’ve been on a virtual tour of Underground Manchester, followed the Pankhursts on a suffragette tour and yesterday took a spin around the Northern Quarter and heard many fascinating stories about the history it holds from the Manchester Martyrs to the Beatles’ first audition for the BBC and Sean Ryder firing a bullet into the wall of a bar owned by the Haçienda’s Anthony H Wilson. I can highly recommend seeking them out if you have an interest in the city or just social history in general.
The subject of the latest edition of Making Stitches Podcast is textile artist Janet Browne. Janet makes the most beautiful pictures of journeys she has been on and places she has visited using hand-dyed fabric and stitching. She was a fascinating person to speak to and I’m sure you’ll agree if you listen to her chat with me. Just search for Making Stitches on your favourite podcast app or follow this link.
And that is it for this postcard, as I said there’s not an awful lot going on, as I’m sure is the case for many of us. I hope the coming week is a positive one for you. Until next time, look after yourself!