Friday photo challenge (week 13) Rainbow

This week’s photo challenge prompt is ‘rainbow’. I’m rather partial to a rainbow, in fact I love them, so this week’s challenge was rather easy… My first photo is a close-up of my first Sixty Million Trebles blanket.

Next up is one of my current WIPs, my rainbow ripple.

And then, there’s this… my next portable project – a rainbow Scheepjes Whirl by the name of Jumpin Jelly ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

And here’s a double rainbow which appeared outside our front door a while back…

I think this photo may have appeared in a Sunday Sevens once upon a time. In fact, as I was looking back through the Postcard from Gibraltar archives to find a photo of a ‘real’ rainbow I realised that almost exactly a year ago I wrote this post, which seems very apt to include today.

Fancy joining in the Friday photo challenge? You can do that on your blog or on Instagram:

Next week, our focus is ‘sweet’. Just make sure you tag me (@postcardfromgibraltar) or #postcardfromgibfridayphoto so I can see you on Instagram and leave a link to your post in the comments below this post. Happy snapping! 😊❤️🌈

Sunday Sevens #90 2.7.17

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.

Crochet therapy

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. 

Poniente breezes

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

Sunday Sevens #87 11.6.17

Hello there, you may be forgiven for thinking that this week’s Sunday Sevens is rather reminiscent of last week’s. For the second week in a row I climbed aboard a plane and flew out of Gibraltar to visit family in England. I normally go at least 6 months between such trips but happy circumstances meant I was able to make a quick return visit to the North West of England.

Summer’s here!


Last Sunday was a bit of a scorcher – summer has definitely arrived here in Gibraltar. We went for our first dip of the season in the pool. My latest Sixty Million Trebles blanket came with me too.

World Environment Day

Monday was World Environment Day, and Gibraltar put on a series of stalls in Commonwealth Park to highlight the work being done by the various environmental organisations, governmental and charity. The TV cameras were down there filming while we were passing through.

 
Here we go again!

Tuesday evening saw me heading back onto the tarmac to catch a plane to Manchester. A long awaited solo trip back to see my parents without children…. bliss (although I did miss them a little bit 😉).

Cheshire & crochet

Wednesday was beautifully sunny and we headed off into Cheshire, which is pretty close to where I was brought up. I just love the wide open green spaces – so different to what we are used to seeing each day in Gibraltar.

We called into my new favourite wool shop: Black Sheep Wools. My goodness the yarn, the colours, the inspiration… I could spend all day and a fortune in here! I love it. 

I added to my stash and even convinced my Mum into dusting off her knitting needles and buying a pattern to make herself something. I don’t think she has knitted since my eldest (now a teenager) was very little, I do hope she enjoys her new project.

So here’s my stash, which includes a very nice surprise of a belated birthday gift (pink & white Sugar n’ Cream yarn and my first ever Caron Cake) and my missing April edition of Little Box of Crochet which I was able to collect thanks to the lovely Emma at Little Box of Crochet.

Homeward bound

All too soon it was time for me to board another plane to take me back to Gibraltar and my boys. Bye bye Cheshire countryside!

It was only the next day that I discovered I had had a very close call. The plane I was travelling on and the next departure to Malaga were the last two allowed to takeoff from Manchester before the airport was evacuated because of a suspect package. It was two hours before planes took off again. As far as I’m aware no one was harmed thankfully, just a lot of waiting around for passengers and staff.

En route to Gibraltar I carried on working on my Sixty Million Trebles blanket, it’s working up really fast. Very quickly I could spy the Rock out of my window!

Calentita!


Yesterday the 11th annual Calentita Food Festival came to Casemates Square. It’s got to be 6 years since we last attended due to small children. We had a nice evening and ate some interesting food. I will share some more photos very soon…

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from the  Threads and Bobbins blog.

Sunday Sevens #80 23.4.17

Hello there, this Sunday Sevens has come around quickly. I have had a quiet week in Postcard terms with no midweek posts, I figured that after four posts last week, you wouldn’t miss me too much! 

Schools started back here on Tuesday after just over a week off for Easter, so it’s been a bit more like normal again. We’ve had a vey mixed bag here weather wise with warm sunny days to begin with and gale force winds to end the week!

Bitten by the Med Steps

My Med Steps training hasn’t gone too well this week. On Monday afternoon I tried to repeat my two times round from last week, but failed. It was a gorgeous warm day and the heat of the sun was just too much. I got to the top in superquick time on the first lap but nearly wilted. A second attempt would have been silly. The views were lovely on the way down though…

Lent crochet update


So, finally on Easter Monday, I completed my Lent square Sixty Million Trebles blanket. The blanket will go to help Syrian refugees. 

Also this Lent I have managed to make a couple of baby blankets for Cherished Gowns, who support bereaved parents and I’m part way through another Sixty Million Trebles blanket too – this one is being worked corner to corner. I’m pretty pleased with what I’ve managed to make.



Naughty bunny

Hmmm, this bunny is in the dog house. Every evening we let Diamond out of his run for a bit of freedom in the lounge. Each day we move all hazards away from his level so that he can’t eat anything he shouldn’t. This week we failed…

In the corner where the phone and internet router live there’s a rats nest of wires, which although it annoys me, I hadn’t found a solution to. That was until Diamond chewed through the phone cable!!! I saw him go for it and in the time it took me to get off the sofa and walk less than a metre, the deed was done.

The wire has been replaced, and the incident was incentive enough for me to sort the wires out. Some electrical conduit, a hacksaw and drill later and the wires are rabbit proof! Diamond was none the worse for his evening snack.

Sunset


On Wednesday evening there was a lovely Saharan Dust enhanced sunset. The way the clouds were lying across the sun was lovely so I grabbed my camera with my big lens attached and realised I had a flat camera battery – grrr! This shot was taken on my phone, but isn’t a patch on how the camera would have captured the image. The battery is now charged and ready for the next snap…

Cruise ship season 


Now Easter has passed, cruise ship season is well and truly upon us. There have been several large ships in this week and the difference it makes when you are in town is quite dramatic. It’s great for Gibraltar’s economy, but it can make negotiating Main Street quite a slow affair!

Crochet reward


I was so determined throughout Lent to only crochet things for other people (gifts, Sixty Million Trebles and Cherished Gowns baby blankets) that I abstained from looking at all other things crochet. My monthly subscription from Little Box of Crochet remained unopened, as I knew I would be desperate to make a start on it straight away. 

On Tuesday I had the time to start my blue sky hug scarf from Little Box of Crochet, and on Thursday my monthly Simply Crochet magazine subscription appeared in my post box – oh how I enjoyed immersing myself in both!

Med Steps failure part II 


On Thursday morning I attempted the Med Steps again, but failed to even start them. The wind was so gusty as I climbed up to Jews Gate, where the Steps begin, I was almost blown off my feet. Perhaps not the best conditions to attempt scaling the side of the Rock of Gibraltar…

A more tame walk was undertaken instead. Just look at the wind whipping up the water out in the Bay! Apologies for the blurred focus – I didn’t realise that I’d focused onto the wall – doh (slaps forehead) another photography fail this week!

The stormy weather continued into Friday too. The Upper Rock was closed for safety due to high winds and we had literally hours of thunder rumbling from mid afternoon and into the evening. The first dramatic boom came just as I was heading out on the school run so I had to dash back in to pick up raincoats for us all. Thankfully the shower was light so we didn’t get soaked!

That’s all for this week, not the most inspiring edition of Sunday Sevens I’m afraid, let’s hope next week brings more good photo opportunities!

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Natalie from Threads & Bobbins blog. It features seven (or maybe more) photos from the past seven days.

A springtime rainbow

This part of the world seems to be very colourful at the moment, from the geraniums and nasturtiums by my front door…


To the bright yellow and acid greens of the wild flowers growing alongside my regular walking routes to school and up the Med Steps.


The blues and purples of the native Scilla Peruviana (impressed? I have the Alameda Gardens to thanks for the name) and decoractive Osteospermum. 

Even some of the trees are putting on a show!


Just look at the calming pastel hues of the Gibraltar Candytuft and more Osteospermum (also known as Cape Daisies). 

Even the sunlight is joining in…. I spotted this plethora of rainbows 🌈 while I was waiting for a lift in the Mid Town car park.

I must have arrived at just the right moment for the sun to be in the best rainbow producing position. The louvred glass window was the perfect vehicle to produce these technicolour stripes.

Even my Lent granny squares for my Sixty Million Trebles project blanket are joining in on the act… 


And please tell me I’m not the only one who finds the arrangement of these recycling bins pleasing to the eye?

What ever you’re up to today, I hope you have a bright and colourful one!

Crafting for others…


I make no secret of the fact that I do crafty things to keep myself sane. When things get on top of me, as long as I have a little bit of head space free to craft, I can find a way to negotiate myself out of my pickle. When I am in a stinker of a mood, it’s generally because I haven’t been able to create anything for a while.

I have been interested in making things all my life pretty much and was taught to sew, knit and crochet as a child by my Mum and Gran. My making was rested a bit while I studied, although I did manage to knit a cardigan for myself during my second year at University, mainly because it was far cheaper to knit one than to buy a ready made one.


Over the years, as friends and family got married and had children I got back in touch with my crafting side as I made gifts to mark the special occasions but when I was working full time I didn’t feel the same need to make for myself when I was relaxing at home.

Once I’d had my first child, that’s when the crafting bug bit hard again. I bought a sewing machine and started making bags to be sold in a craft co-operative near to where we lived at the time. Just as a space came free for me in the shop, we were forced to move areas with my husband’s work and unfortunately nothing came of my bag making (I did go on to sell some of them at craft fairs once we landed in Gibraltar though).


Wherever we have lived (and there have been quite a few homes over the years) my boxes of yarn, stash of fabric and sewing machine have travelled there with me. I’ve tried my hand at quilting, embroidery, dressmaking, card making, crochet, knitting, tapestry, watercolour painting and glass painting, but there are so many other crafts I would still like to try (stained glass making really appeals to me.)

I feel incredibly privileged that I have been able to put my career on hold to have a family and now that my boys are at school and need me a little less, I can turn my attention now to indulging my passion for creating. Regular readers to my blog will know that I attend two lessons each week during term time, watercolour painting and dressmaking. I love this time I can dedicate to improving my skills, but it does so much more than that. It gives me the chance to expand my mind and use my brain after 13 years as a stay-at-home-mum. In short it does wonders for my sanity.


I believe that like so many other things in life your craft muscle needs to be exercised and the more you exercise it the more your creativity grows. I am making and thinking about making so much more these days than I ever thought I possibly could. Of course the internet has a lot to do with this, I try to stay off Pinterest as there is just so much wonderful stuff on there I get frustrated that I can’t do it all, but Instagram and other blogs provide me with such amazing inspiration.

It is through Instagram and the blogs I follow that I became aware of several opportunities to get involved in crafting for a cause far greater than just making something pretty for myself or my family. Over the past few years I have been able to contribute items I have created to fundraising and awareness raising events which have much further reaching benefits than just keeping my brain ticking over.

Llanita at Catalan Bay
In recent years the Yarndale festival organisers have called on crocheters and knitters to send in items to be raffled off to raise funds or to raise awareness to the good causes they support. Yarndale 2016 was the year of the sheep, hundreds and hundreds of little yarny sheep were sent in to raise money for the Martin House Children’s Hospice (you can read about the 2016 Woolly Sheep Project here.) Do you remember Llanita the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep who went along to the Yorkshire Dales?

Llanita & Lucy from Attic24 at Yarndale
Last summer, Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs was organised by Kate Eastwood at Just Pootling. Kate appealed for crocheters to send her squares which were made in a strict palette of colours and to her design to be made into a special blanket for Jenny, the daughter of Amanda Bloom (the lady behind the Little Box of Crochet). 

Squares for Jenny’s Blanket of Hugs

Jenny has terminal cancer and the blanket was made to show solidarity for Jenny and her Mum. In the end enough squares were created all over the world and sent in, over 1,000 in total, that both Jenny and Amanda received blankets and five extra blankets and cushions were made and given to charities to raise funds. You can read all about the Blanket of Hugs story on the Just Pootling blog.

Last summer I also became aware of the Sixty Million Trebles project. At the end of 2015, the UN announced that there were 60 million displaced people in the world. The team behind Sixty Million Trebles decided to take action and use crochet to raise awareness about the plight of refugees as well as raise funds to help those affected. 

A Sixty Million Trebles blanket in the making
They are asking for donations of square blankets which measure 36 inches x 36 inches which will be joined to create a record breaking blanket totaling sixty million trebles stitches (one treble stitch = one life). The Gibraltar Crochet Collective is currently working towards the goal of sending more blankets to the cause from Gibraltar.


We are currently making a square for every day in Lent in an attempt to boost our blanket production process!

Another ongoing appeal is through Cherished Gowns UK, the organisation takes donations of wedding dresses which are then made into tiny gowns for babies who are stillborn. They are currently appealing for 2500 knitted or crocheted blankets to be made during the month of March. 

#wrappedinlove blanket for Cherished Gowns UK

Having seen friends of ours go through the pain of losing a baby, anything that can be done to help comfort bereaved parents at this terribly difficult time has to be a worthwhile cause. If you would like to support the #wrappedinlove appeal, please click on the link below.

So there you have it, crafting doesn’t need to be a self-indulgent passtime (although there’s nothing wrong with that!). There are so many opportunities to help contribute to good causes through your craft if you want to and there is very little cost involved other than yarn, time and postage.

If you would like to join in with one of these initiatives, please click on the links below to find out more about them and help spread the crochet love ❤️

For more information on how you can support these great causes, please click on these links:

Sixty Million Trebles

Cherished Gowns UK (wrapped in love blankets)

Review of the year : 2016

As the clock ticks inexorably towards midnight on 31st December and we close the door on 2016, I thought it was time to take a look back at the year we have just had. Most of the newspaper reviews I’ve read so far have focussed on the negative aspects, celebrity deaths, the seismic political changes afoot both in Europe, America and the rest of the world, and general doom and gloom.

I am very fortunate in that for us, in our little corner of the world, apart from the uncertainties of Brexit and what that could mean for us in the years to come, we’ve had a pretty good year. Looking back at all the interesting things we’ve done makes me think about how fortunate we are. If your 2016 has been a difficult one, I sincerely hope that 2017 will be better for you and your loved ones.

January 2016

The New Year saw us spending a few days up the coast from Gibraltar on the Costa del Sol, but we were back on the Rock in plenty of time to see the Three Kings Cavalcade. It was also back in January when I went for the first of my strolls around Gibraltar the first one was an homage to the many beautiful balconies, the second one paid tribute to the many steps we ‘enjoy’ here!

February 2016

February brought us some misty and stormy weather, but there was plenty of indoors activities to keep us busy here in Gibraltar. The second annual Gib Talks event saw speakers from all walks of life take to the stage for short talks on a huge range of subjects. Later in the month, the extraordinary Gibraltar Womens Association celebrated their 50th Anniversary, I found  their story fascinating.

March 2016

In March, we were blessed with some beautiful sunny days with bright blue skies. Along with completing a tin man outfit for World Book Day, I finally managed to finish my Attic 24 Cosy Stripe Blanket after a year of hooking! We made the most of the lovely spring weather and took a dolphin trip out into the Bay of Gibraltar. There was also a beautiful exhibition in Gib celebrating  women’s creativity.

April 2016

During April we made another short trip up the coast and headed inland to Ronda a beautiful Andalucian town. I was very productive at my dressmaking and home furnishing courses inserting my first invisible zip and producing curtain tie-backs for the public transport fan in my life. A tall ship called into port at Gibraltar and members of the public had the chance to go on board and have a snoop around.

May 2016

May meant Med Steps for me big time as I completed my final training sessions for, and then finished, the Med Steps 5 Challenge with my two stepping buddies. It was a rather intense day but we were so proud of ourselves for climbing to the top of the Rock five times in quick succession. We also managed to raise a fair amount of sponsorship money for the brilliant Cancer Relief Gibraltar. Some of my sponsors are readers of this blog and I am so touched that you took the time and effort to support our fundraising efforts – thank you.

As I spent so long prattling on about the Med Steps during my training, I figured I should tell you all about it:  The Med Steps: a few facts & figures . May also meant saying goodbye to a good friend to me and my blogging adventures. One of the sad things about living an expat life is that many of the friends you make are in the same boat as you and therefore may not be around for long Saying goodbye…

June 2016

June was a very eventful month not only for me but for Gibraltar and the rest of the UK as a whole as BREXIT loomed large (this post was my most read of all time and by a very long way). Six months on, we are still no further forward knowing what it all means.

Another unexpected thing to happen to me in June, was when I chose to go back up the Med Steps one foggy morning. I thought that the mist would make the climb cool as the summer heat had begun to build. I was wrong. As I climbed up the Rock, I climbed out of the mist and fog. I was nearly roasted alive, but I did manage to take a rather good photo of the Rock emerging out of the mist below (see second left image on the bottom row above). I got loads of likes and shares and retweets with that picture taken on  A mini stroll in the mist!

11th June 2016 marked International Yarnbombing Day 2016 and I had a little go myself with my first guerrilla crochet project as I attempted to Yarnbomb the Alameda Gardens to celebrate the park’s 200th anniversary.

July 2016

July equals the beginning of the very long school summer holiday in Gibraltar. As I stared down the barrel of 8 weeks of no school and the prospect of entertaining the three Little Postcards I felt a little overwhelmed. In an effort to find some way of surviving (with my marbles intact) I decided on day one that I would set myself the challenge of doing something crafty every single day of the holidays…. and the Summer Craft Challenge was born. One of our summer holiday outings took us up into the Upper Rock Nature Reserve to visit one of Gibraltar’s newest attractions, the  Windsor Suspension Bridge .

August 2016

August, for us, was mainly spent in England. I travelled back with the Little Postcards to spend two weeks based in the North West with my parents (with a lovely trip down to Berkshire to visit friends) and then two weeks with Mr Postcard visiting his family in East Anglia. We were blessed with the best of English summer weather. When the sun shines – there really is no better place to be. Our East Anglia holiday base was Southwold in Suffolk, it gave us the perfect opportunity for multiple visits to a special place for us Southwold Pier .

The end of the month brought the school summer holidays to an end. After eight weeks of full-time kiddiwinks and eight weeks of the summer craft challenge, I was very proud to still be in full possession of my marbles (I think) and I also managed to do something crafty on every day except for one (the day we travelled back to Gibraltar). The final instalment of my challenge is here.

September 2016

September is always a very busy month in Gibtraltar. Just after the children return to school, we all have a day off for Gibraltar National Day on 10th September. Around this time we now have the Gibraltar Music Festival to enjoy too. This year saw the Stereophonics headline and Europe played the air guitarist’s dream of The Final Countdown live on the Rock.

Towards the end of the month, I was able to fulfil an ambition of mine to visit the Yarn Festival of Yarndale. It was everything I had expected and more, with bells on. My absolute highlight was meeting my crochet hero Lucy from Attic 24 and being able to give her one of my Llanitas (Llanita, the Gibraltar Yarndale sheep that is). The sheep were made to raise funds to support a children’s hospice in North Yorkshire, I made two and they have both gone to live in Yorkshire!  My Yarndale 2016 (featuring Llanita’s Yorkshire adventures)

October 2016

In October I was still determined to keep up some of the crochet momentum I had achieved during the summertime and finished off my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. I made a rainbow granny square blanket which will go towards the World Record breaking attempt to create a huge crochet blanket made up of sixty million treble stitches. Each treble stitch represents a displaced person or refugee. After the world record attempt the giant blanket will be made into smaller blankets and handed out to charities in the UK and those helping Syrian refugees. The organisers also hope to raise a considerable amount of funds too to help Syrian refugees.

A big event locally was the fourth annual Gibraltar Literary Festival 2016 I was lucky enough to be able to attend several events this year and really loved it.

November 2016

At the beginning of November we had just one Bunny in the Postcard household, then one Sunday afternoon during a walk through the Alameda Gardens, we found some abandoned rabbits. One of them, Blizzard, came home with us (Blizzard turned out to be a girl and she is now known as Snowflake). It was back in November when I had my first attempt at Podcasting I had such fun making it, and hope to be able to share another one with you soon.

December

In December we sadly said goodbye to Bunny Postcard. She had only been with us for 11 months but she’d quickly become a much loved member of the family.

This month I also headed out for my most recent stroll, to see some of the Christmas lights  we have on the Rock – amazingly it was the 16th stroll post I’ve written this year. I also took the plunge (literally) and joined with the annual Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim at Catalan Bay – I’m still feeling proud of myself for doing it!

 

Thank you so much for joining me this year, I have loved having your company and enjoy reading all the lovely comments. Here’s to next year, who knows what it will have in store for us all, here’s hoping it will be a good one.