This week’s Friday photo challenge is ‘sweet’. I have to admit to having a very sweet tooth. Sweet things are my downfall.
This beautiful cake was very sweet and was made to celebrate a family wedding we went to last year.
And now for something completely different, and very sweet…
…this was one of the yarnbombed bollards outside the Yarndale festival 2016. The bollards were created by the Thirsk Yarnbombers for the festival.
Next week’s photo challenge is : clock.
Normally on the first week of a new month I include a monthly round-up of everyone else’s photo challenge entries, but as I’ve been away on holiday recently I haven’t had the chance to do that. The March monthly round-up will happen next week instead.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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.
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:
Three weeks into our dressmaking course and we have finished with the pattern drawing and cutting and we are now in the process of constructing a sample top. Because it’s a sample, we are just using curtain lining material to make it, hence the rather boring photo. I’m eager to get this finished and move onto the next ‘real’ project.
Bunny Postcard had a trip to the vets this week. We had been meaning to take him for months so that he could have some vaccinations to allow him to play out in our back patio. Now the weather is beginning to cool a little bit, we thought he might like to have a hop about outside. The first thing the vet said when she saw Bunny was ‘Oh what a lovely girl’. I thought nothing of it, thinking clearly she’s made a mistake…
Once the full medical was done, including checking his heart, ears, eyes and teeth, the vet cottoned onto the fact that we had never actually officially been told Bunny’s gender. Well the big news this week is that Bunny is officially a girl! It’s taken a bit of time for that news to sink in in certain quarters, but I’m thrilled to know that at last I am no longer the only female in the Postcard household!
When I flew back from Yarndale last weekend, not only did I bring with me a suitcase full of yarn and wonderful memories, I also brought my Mum and Dad with me too. They hadn’t been to see the Windsor suspension bridge yet so one afternoon this week, while the Little Postcards were still at school, we took a walk up the Rock and along the bridge. I have to say, since my last visit, a discernible creak has developed as you walk from one side of the gorge to the other which did put me slightly on edge. The view is still as stunning as ever from there though.
Not much painting going on…
Inspired by our summer holiday in Southwold back in August, I decided that my next paining project should include some of the beautiful beach huts you see along the seafront. Last week I spent the entire lesson trying to sketch out the huts freehand, and not using a ruler. Unfortunately due to the composition of the photo I’m using and it’s perspective, even when just one line was out of place, it made the whole thing look wonky and a bit rubbish.
This week after a quick refresher lesson on perspective, horizons and eyelines, my teacher very kindly gave me some tracing paper to get the skeleton of the picture down onto the paper so that at least next week I can start painting. Shhh, don’t tell anyone I cheated 😉
I went exploring over the border in La Linea on Friday morning looking for yarn shops (not that I need to buy any more after Yarndale last weekend mind you). I had heard there were some and that they sold nice stuff. Thinking ahead to Christmas presents and such like I thought it was worth following it up.
Almost next door to a really lovely yarn shop, this most unusual keyhole caught my eye on the front door of an old building. There’s some really lovely architecture amongst all the late twentieth century and more modern apartments and shop fronts if you keep your eyes open. Next time, I need to take my camera with me….
Yesterday, if you were in Gibraltar town centre there’s a good chance you were ‘encouraged’ to part with your cash for raffle tickets and cakes for the Scouts. As two of the Little Postcards are in Scouts, there was a bit of baking going on this week for the annual cake stall fundraiser. My fairy cakes aren’t in this picture, they were hidden down at the other end of the stall… I photographed the pretty cakes instead 😉
Rainbow hope blanket completed
Begun on the last day of August (the very last day of the school summer holidays) and completed on the last day of September – it’s taken me a month to complete my contribution to the Sixty Million Trebles project. The blanket I made will join hundreds of others and be joined to make the worlds biggest ever blanket. It will be used to yarn bomb a site in London before being unpicked to make ‘normal-sized’ blankets which will go to charities in the UK and Syria.
The project is being run to raise awareness about the plight of the sixty million refugees who are displaced from their homes around the world at the moment. It will also raise funds for the cause too. It’s hoped that sixty million treble stitches will be crocheted to represent all the people who have been driven from their homes. Where ever my Rainbow Hope Blanket ends up, I hope it brings some hope to whoever receives it. This 36″ square blanket adds 10,656 trebles to the current count of almost five million.
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series created by Nat at Threads & Bobbins. For more information about it, and if you would like to join in, why not pop over to her blog.
My week began admiring a sand sculpture on Sandy Bay Beach and ended back in my childhood bedroom exhausted from the excitement of visiting Yarndale for the first time…
Sandy Bay sand sculpture
On Sunday we took a detour down to Sandy Bay beach to admire a new sand sculpture which had been created to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer.
We arrived once the work was completed and shortly before Miss Gibraltar 2016 and her Princesses emerged from their make-up tent for a photo shoot.
The sculpture was of the Nautilus and giant squid from the Jules Verne story; 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. It was really quite something and admired by the beach goers.
Med Steps the return
On Mondays morning I felt guilty seeing all the keen fit mums in Lycra on the school run. I had been planning to return home to laundry, vacuuming and general boring stuff and thought sod it, I’ll get my trainers out… It was the perfect morning, cool and overcast. I hadn’t been up the Med Steps since early June, so I seized the moment and did it.
I was very pleased with myself, I completed the climb only 15 minutes or so slower than my fastest time during Med Steps 5 training. I think it was rather unfair though that extra steps were added and the gradient made steeper over the summer holidays 😉 (if only that were the case!).
September is definitely the month for sunsets in these parts and we’ve had some belters this week. I got a phone call on Tuesday evening from Mr Postcard to look out of the window to see the pink and purple sky (I was already out on the balcony taking a photo when he called!).
My dressmaking course continued this week with more pattern making and cutting ready for our first sample top. Fabric has been bought and sewing should begin next week.
Comedy in a cave
This week the comedian, Mark Steel, brought his BBC Radio 4 show to Gibraltar. Each episode he does a show in a different town after spending a few days there learning the history and soaking up the atmosphere and character of the place.
He recorded his show in St Michael’s Cave in the heart of the Rock of Gibraltar to an audience of local residents and many stalactites.
It was the first time Mr Postcard and I had been able to attend an event in the cave plus it was something we were very interested in so we jumped at the chance to go along. The show was really well researched and at times, hysterically funny.
If you want to listen to the show, Mark Steel’s in town (Gibraltar edition) is being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday 12th October.
The Rock at night
I had never been on the Upper Rock after dark until Thursday, when we were watching Mark Steel’s show being recorded. It was absolutely beautiful to see the town lit up below us.
Being so high up gave us a great vantage point to see the street lights in Morrocco across the Strait of Gibraltar. The height also meant we’d escaped light pollution we experience down where we live to be able to see a clear sky of twinkling stars – it was really special.
Wow, what can I say about Yarndale? Well it was all I’d hoped it would be and more. I’m still a little overwhelmed by it all after spending the last three years admiring it from afar.
A late flight from Gibraltar on Friday and an early start yesterday to get across the Pennines mean I’m still a bit tired even after a lie in this morning.
So much happened yesterday and I met some really lovely people too. There was Yarnbombing of a scale and quality which astounded me and so much yarn in so many colours and types that they boggle the mind.
When I get back home to Gibraltar I’ll be posting loads of pictures and promise to tell you all about it.
Here’s another (larger) photo of Shaun the sheep knitting on a Thirsk Yarnbombers yarn bombed bollard for you to enjoy – isn’t he amazing?
I have been a follower of the inspiringly colourful Attic24 blog for a few years now. Back in my early days living here in Gibraltar when my homesickness for the north of England got me yearning for lush green countryside, I could get my fix of the passing seasons from Lucy’s lovely woodland walks.
It was, though, the crochet which introduced me to Attic24 first of all. I don’t know what made me pick up a crochet hook so many years after being taught as a child by my lovely Gran. In the intervening years between learning the skill on my summer holidays at Gran’s house and our arrival in Gibraltar, I really can’t remember ever feeling the need to pick up a hook and yarn again. (My love of sewing and embroidery continued but not that.)
One day, for some long forgotten reason, I found myself trawling the Internet for crochet inspiration and I happened upon Lucy’s lovely post about crochet covered tins. Over the next few months whenever I did a hapless online search for crochet patterns and tips, sure enough Attic24 would appear in my search results.
I soon found myself actively seeking out the blog and looking for new posts about yarn as well as family life in Yorkshire. (I’m familiar with this part of the world as we lived in West Yorkshire before moving to the Rock.) When Lucy announced that she was part of a group of people organising a new festival of yarn in her home town of Skipton, I watched from afar glued to the updates and wishing the project well knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to attend.
In the run up to that first Yarndale, 3 years ago, Lucy made an appeal to readers of her blog to contribute granny bunting to decorate the auction mart where the festival is held. I felt compelled to have a go and send one in. Following the detailed and clear instructions I created a ‘Gibraltar’ bunting triangle featuring the national colours of the Rock.
I was thrilled to be sending my little triangle to Yarndale, safe in the knowledge that although I was unable to attend, a little bit of Gibraltar would be there anyway. My bunting even got a mention in the post festival bunting roll call, look at number 20!!
That first year, like each one since, I have avidly checked all the crafty blogs I follow to scour them for information about what the festival was like, trying to soak up a little bit of the atmosphere.
The following year, the crochet appeal for decorations was inspired by the fact the Tour de France would be coming through Skipton, so a call went out for mandalas to represent bicycle wheels. I need to point out that the request was for bright colours – hence the slightly clashy choice I made… Perhaps if I was to do it again, I would have selected a different colour palette! Oh, and it was my first attempt at a mandala too – so don’t look too carefully! 😉
A lot more intricate than the bunting this time, the mandala was hooked up and popped in the post to wing it’s way over to Skipton again in time for the Yarndale festival.
Last year, sadly, I failed to contribute to the Yarndale appeal, which was for flowers to create a display raising funds and awareness for the Alzheimers Society. I am sorry I failed to join in – the deadline for submitting anything passed me by and it was too late to join the party again.
In addition to reading accounts of the festival, I have over the years collected a few souvenirs…. programmes, bags…
… and I even have the current Yarndale calendar hanging in my crafty broom cupboard.
This year, my crochet contributions resumed; first of all was the #woollyheartsforyarndale. I first heard about this on Instagram, when @bonnies_little_crafts announced that she wanted to collect 7000 woolly hearts to give out to visitors to her home town of Skipton when they visit Yarndale 2016. 7000 is rather a tall order, so I thought I’d like to join in and send some woolly love over from Gibraltar. I hooked a few hearts up under the bright spring sunshine.
…and then posted them off to ‘Bonnie’ along with a postcard from Gibraltar (naturally). She created this beautiful photo collage when she received the parcel through the post.
Those little hearts are really quite addictive to make you know, during a bit of down time between other crochet projects, I felt the need to hook up a few more. So a second shipment of Gibraltar hearts found their way over to Skipton.
So did she reach the target of 7000? Well this is the latest update from woolly heart HQ and she’s within touching distance. Congratulations @bonnies_little_crafts!!!
The ‘official’ appeal for crochet and knitted items this year was for little woolly sheep. They are going on display in the festival venue and will be auctioned and sold off to raise much needed funds for the Martin House children’s hospice in Boston Spa. This appeal struck a chord with me, as I was fortunate enough to visit Martin House with my job in the days before having Little Postcards of my own. It’s a truly wonderful place, so positive and friendly and a very much needed resource for the families who use it’s services.
Well, you can probably gather I am a keen (if distant) supporter of the Yarndale festival and I have really wished I could attend each year it has been held. This year, my patience has paid off because I’M GOING TO YARNDALE!!!!! Sorry – did that come over a bit shouty? I’m more than a little bit giddy at the prospect. I have Mr Postcard to thank for it, it’s my birthday present from him you see.
So on Friday I am going to follow in Llanita’s footsteps and fly off to Yarndale myself – I cannot wait!! I promise I’ll take loads of pictures when I’m there and share them on my return. I will have to really rein myself in and not be paying for excess baggage on the return flight – we don’t want the plane weighed down with too many yarny purchases do we?! 😉
On Sunday evening, it was still swelteringly hot around our side of the Rock, so we decamped to Catalan Bay for a lovely evening of calamares, pinchitos and Russian salad at one of our favourite eateries The Seawave. As it was the last Sunday of the school summer holidays and a bank holiday weekend to boot, you can see that we weren’t the only ones who fancied spending time by the seaside!
A walk at the Alameda Gardens
On the bank holiday weekend we took ourselves off to the Alameda Gardens in search of shade. As you can see from these photos – we almost had the place to ourselves, the rest of Gibraltar was probably on the beach! My word, it’s been swelteringly hot lately.
Cooling fog at sunset
The heat continued all week, but we had a great respite on Tuesday evening when the fog rolled in from the Strait of Gibraltar at sunset bringing with it a drop in temperature. By the time the sun had gone down we couldn’t even see the ships in the Bay of Gibraltar in front of our apartment. It was bliss to sit out on the balcony and feel the cool dampness on your skin.
One last trip to the beach
Wednesday was officially the last day of the school summer holidays so we had to have one last trip down to Sandy Bay. We met up with some friends from school and the Little Postcards had a great time in the sea and playing in the sand. The plan was to wear them out so that they’d go to bed nice and early ready for school the next day…. they were a little bit too excited for that!
It was a wonderful day though, and as you can see from the photo, for a long time, we had the beach almost to ourselves.
I learned a new skill this week!
If you saw my Summer Craft Challenge 2016 Part 8 on Friday, you’ll know that I have had a couple of crochet lessons with the very talented Marisa Boselli, known as @mariwish on Instagram. This week she taught me how to master the art of joining granny squares as you go along. For non-yarny appreciators this may not seem like a big deal, but believe me it’s a life changing moment… I will no longer have to sew my squares together.
I’m so excited I could burst, I am going to be following Llanita the Gibraltar Yarndale Sheep and travelling to Yarndale later this month. I booked my flights and festival tickets this week. I promise that I will take loads of photos and tell you all about my own woolly Yarndale adventure!
It’s that time of the year again, the Gibraltar Music Festival weekend. We spent the day there yesterday and enjoyed music from Toploader, Travis, Paul Young, All Saints, and Foxes to name just a few. I will share some photos from the festival with you next week.
Earthquake excitement We awoke on Monday morning to hear that there had been an earthquake in the Straits of Gibraltar in the early hours of the morning. It turned out that there were several in actual fact (last I heard there had been 160 aftershocks!). Despite being up several times in the night to tend to a poorly 4 year old the whole drama passed me and the rest of the Postcard household by! Friends described their beds shaking and the rush to make sure their kids were moved away from windows, social media in Gib was humming with the excitement of it all, we didn’t notice a thing!!
Whoops spoke too soon
Last week I crocheted the last row of my Cosy stripe blanket and then began sewing my ends in. On Tuesday I had a few quiet moments out on the balcony and thought I’d begin my border… I looked on the Attic 24 blog for the instructions only to discover that when I’d transcribed the order of the coloured rows into my notebook (way back in 2014 – I’m not a fast worker ;-)!) I’d missed off the last 15 colours – that means another 30, yes 30, rows!!! It’ll be a while before I get to crack on with that border after all!!
One of my Instagram friends @bonnies_little_crafts has set herself the rather grand goal of making and collecting 7000 little crocheted hearts in time for the Yarndale yarn festival in September. Her intention is to give visitors to the festival a heart each as a welcome gift to her home town of Skipton. In previous years I have sent woolly offerings to Lucy at Attic 24 (one of the founders of the festival) for exhibition displays, so although I have failed to attend myself, a little bit of me has made it over to the Yorkshire based festival of woolliness in past years. One day I would love to go, as I have seen all the lovely pictures posted by crafty bloggers who have been already, and it looks amazing. As I have spent a large chunk of this week sitting on the sofa with poorly children I thought I’d hook up a few to send off to Skipton. If you want to have a go at making some little hearts to support the #7000 challenge, look up @bonnies_little_crafts on Instagram for more details.
Instagram photo challenge
I have really enjoyed taking part in the #30daysofcraftiness photo challenge this month. It has forced me to think a bit more about the photos I take and encouraged me to take photos I wouldn’t ordinarily capture. The photo above is for day 28 and the title is ‘quote’. I didn’t want to just use a Google image of an inspirational quote or cat picture (ref: The Lego Movie) so had a go at making my own. And it’s true – I get grumpy when I haven’t been near a crochet hook or needle or paintbrush for a while, to me crafts truly are my therapy!
On Friday night we had a belter of a thunderstorm. The rain and thunder had been forecast, so it wasn’t a surprise but the intensity and noise was really quite unsettling. Living in an old building with original wooden sash windows which are a little past their best, we almost felt like the roof was coming in on us. The windows and floors were rattling with the noise and the brightness of the lightening was off the scale. Thankfully it was late in the evening so our two youngest were tucked up in bed and oblivious to the storm. As the storm had taken out our TV signal, No 1 son sat up with me colouring. It was a nice way to spend quite a dramatic hour or so!
Calm after the storm
Looking at this, it seems hard to believe that less than 12 hours before the lightening was splitting the sky and the thunder was rattling the chimney pots! What a beautiful way to start the weekend – hello Saturday!
Med Steps in the sunshine!
After 6 days of poorly children, we are all healthy again (touch wood) and I managed to escape to do the Med Steps yesterday afternoon. It was hard work because it had been over a week since my last trip up AND it was warm. The sun made it absolutely glorious though, the butterflies were out, the gorse bushes were flowering and just look at the colour of that sea! I also had a first – I saw a Barbary Partridge for the first time. He was too quick for me to photograph though so you’ll just have to make do with this picture 🙂 .
Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series which was created by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins.