A Postcard from January & February

Sand dunes on Crosby beach yesterday

Hello there! I hope you’re doing ok. I kept meaning to post my postcard from January throughout the beginning of February but there seemed to be so many other things which needed my attention, so I was rubbish and let things slide. We are now on the cusp of another month though, and I’ve decided that it’s time to take the bull by the horns and stop procrastinating. So here you go, two for the price of one, a postcard from January AND February rolled into one.

I deliberated about whether I should even post at all, there is so much going on in the world at the moment that things like this seem very frivolous, but I think it’s important to keep going, as burying my head in the sand and veering between trying to block the outside world out and being glued to the news updates and fretting about the helplessness I feel about the plight of so many innocent people isn’t actually helping anyone. I thought it better to try to put some sunshine and positivity out into the world, so here goes, and if you have been affected by the terrible actions taken against Ukraine, please know that you are very much in my thoughts.

A New Year and a continued fitness quest…

A view from one of my January runs

Back in November I began my quest to get my weight down to a healthy number and get a bit fitter and began the Couch to 5K programme for the third time in the last couple of years. This time though, I managed to see it through. I am now over a stone lighter and I managed to complete the whole Couch to 5K programme. Not only that, I’ve kept going and am now running just over 5K in 35 minutes. I don’t want to sound like I’m blowing my own trumpet too much or that I’m building myself up for a fall, but I’m really rather proud of how far I have come.

I haven’t found the process too arduous and in fact have quite enjoyed getting out and pounding the streets and enjoying the beauty of sunshine and nature on my way around the neighbourhood. Who knows where it might lead me?

My couch to 5k graduation!

A New Year and a new hedge

The terrible plastic ‘hedge’

You might remember last year that I said goodbye to our old ‘fake’ plastic hedge which we inherited when we moved into our home the year before. Well, the intention was always to replace it with something else, of a more natural variety. It took me a while to decide what to do for the best, but in December I realised that winter was the perfect time to plant a hedge, so I did my research and ordered my new privet hedge which arrived early in January. Then came the hard work…

Our front garden is more of a carpark than a garden, we inherited an area covered in small stones which lie on top of black weed suppressing fabric. After a lot of scraping away of stones, and the lifting of not one, but two layers of fabric which had several inches of compacted dirt between them I was ready to dig the holes ready for the baby hedge plants.

It was quite a job. Fortunately the weather was favourable – it was cold, but the ground wasn’t frozen, and it stayed dry for most of the two days it took for me to plant these 22 specimens. Plus my very helpful neighbour offered me the use of this rather nifty device (on the right of the picture below) for digging holes.

They are in, and I’m really chuffed that I managed to do this – single-handedly! How many years it will be before it’s an actual hedge is anyone’s guess but it’s a vast improvement on what we had before! My next project is a flower bed out front, but I may wait a while before beginning that.

A lovely walk and coffee by the river

River Mersey

In the middle of January, the weather was being very kind to us indeed, so a really good friend and I decided to leave the jobs which needed doing one afternoon and put our muddy hiking boots on for a wander along the River Mersey and a coffee at the Riverside Café. It was such fun, and just what we both needed to have a chat and mull over stuff which was going on before heading back home in time for the school run.

Getting the garden kickstarted

Who needs a potting shed when you have a wheelie bin lid?!

I so enjoyed having sweet peas in my back garden last summer, so decided to have a go at planting them again. I had quite a few seeds left over from last year’s attempts so I went ahead and planted them up in loo rolls again like last year. Fingers crossed this year’s crop will be as successful!

Some of last year’s sweet peas

A Sunday walk

I don’t know if it’s because of memories of lockdown and being restricted on where we can go, but I often find that it’s suddenly Sunday afternoon and apart from going to Littlest’s football match and perhaps the shops, our weekends are passing without heading out of the house as a family. I decided to change that and am trying to get us out and about if the weather & teenagers allow!

Fortunately, the lovely National Trust property; Dunham Massey is a short drive from our home and once the youths are corralled into the car, we can be in amongst the deer within half an hour. As long as there’s the promise of ice cream or hot chocolate involved in the outing, it’s generally a goer!

Another WIP begun…

Back in September last year, you may remember that I made the trip across the Pennines to the Yarndale festival in Skipton – it was a truly amazing day which you can read about here. While I was there I bought some lovely hand dyed yarn from Michelle at Woolly Wumpkins. I’ve been debating what to make with it; another pair of hand-knitted socks? A bobble hat? I settled on a shawl/scarf as that is the item of woolly clothing I wear most of all.

Unlike in my previous experience of winding a skein, this time it was a painless experience (perhaps because It hadn’t been sitting in my stash for years first) and I got to work on this pattern for a one skein crochet shawl which I bought from Annie Design on Etsy. I’m rather happy with the colours and look forward to enjoying wearing it when I eventually finish it. I have a feeling it will be something I dip in and out of while working on other things.

Llanita’s Travels continue…

Llanita in Catalan Bay in the summer of 2016

Long time readers of Postcard from Gibraltar may remember my little friend Llanita the Yarndale Sheep. I made her back in 2016 for that year’s Yarndale charity appeal. You can read all about Llanita’s adventures with me here.

Can you spot Llanita in Karen’s sewing room?

Well when Llanita arrived at Yarndale back in 2016, she was bought by Karen (aka WakeyMakes on Instagram). Karen’s sisters have recently been to Gibraltar on holiday and they took Llanita back to her homeland for a visit!

Llanita in Ocean Village

I had a lovely treat when I logged into Instagram one day to see that Llanita was back in the sun!!

Llanita on the Windsor Suspension Bridge

Stormy weather


We got off rather lightly when Storms Eunice and Franklin came to town. Just a couple of wobbly fence panels which are rather worse for wear and this one almost bit the dust. Thankfully my lovely Dad came round with his bag of tricks and some timber to patch it up until it can be replaced.

A sunny seaside walk

Crosby beach beckoned on Sunday when the sun came out and I found myself with an empty diary. The ironing and housework could wait, living back in Manchester makes you realise that you need to grab sunny days by the hand and make the most of them. I got the Little Postcards in the car and headed off west to Crosby on the Merseyside Coast.

We first visited Crosby last year after it was recommended to me by my lovely friend across the road. It’s pretty much the nearest beach to where we live and it takes under an hour to drive there. Plus the beach is home to a load of Antony Gormley statues so that makes it even more special. It’s a favourite with the Little Postcards – as is the ice cream reward at the end of the walk.

And that just about brings this postcard to an end. Thank you so much for stopping by. Where ever you are in the world and whatever you are facing, I hope that you can find some positivity in the days ahead.

Love,

Lindsay x

Is it too late to say ‘Happy New Year!’?: A postcard from December

Hello everyone, happy New Year! I know it’s a bit late but you know how it is, post Christmas and New Year business got in the way of planning this post. Better late than never – at least I managed this while it’s still January…….just!

I hope your festive period was ok. I know it’s still not completely how it used to be and for many people in particular it will have been difficult.

Here’s what I got up to at the end of last year…

New pattern releases

Holly from Up the Garden Path

Following on from my patterns for Flora the Gardener and Hope the Snowdrop, in December I published the next two patterns in my Up the Garden Path collection. They are ‘Holly’ and ‘Ivy’.

Ivy from Up the Garden Path

They are both available to buy from my ETSY shop….

… and feature more beautiful illustrations by my very talented friend Emma – aren’t they adorable?!

Holly as drawn by Emma Jackson
Ivy by Emma Jackson

I think Ivy has a look of Rula Lenska don’t you think?

Start as you mean to go on…

Slightly blurry in-motion snap!

Last year’s New Year’s resolution was to try and design my own crochet patterns for the first time – which I’m thrilled that I managed to see through.

This time though, I don’t want to risk failing or setting the bar too high, so I haven’t made any resolutions as such. However, in late November I reacquainted myself with my Couch to 5K app. Throughout December I carried on with my thrice weekly runs, and was lucky enough to enjoy some beautiful, sunny mornings.

I’ve now (in January) completed all 9 weeks and am running 30 mins without stopping, which I’m thrilled about – I was built for crochet not speed!!

Booster-tastic

December also meant booster time for me. The previous time I visited this vaccination Centre, there were daffodils around the place. It was funny to be back again with the leaves which had just begun appearing last time now on the floor.

Podcast Christmas Special

My guests for the first Making Stitches Christmas Special (Clockwise from top left: Heather Griffith from HG Designs Crochet, Sara Huntington, Editor at Simply Crochet Magazine, some of the staff from Black Sheep Wools in Warrington, Kate Blackburn from WhatKatieDidUK, Louise Armitage aka Gini from Gini’s Dorset Buttons, Adam Brooks from Great British Sewing Bee & Louise Murray from Hooked by Lou.

You can find the podcast episode webpage here if you want to find out more.

Christmas crochet makes

A dinky Christmas tree from a Molly Makes pattern

As always it was a busy time for my hooks in the run up to Christmas… I made a couple of gifts and a new top for myself.

A Cinderella doll for a special friend

And… you know when you set yourself a slightly unrealistic target and have to burn the midnight oil to get it done? Well I decided at the last minute to make a Christmassy tank top…. I did get it finished in time, but the ends weren’t woven in in time for the day in question…. I hope no one noticed!

Tank Top modelled on the Vintage Granny Stripe cardigan by Fran Morgan from Simply Crochet Magazine.

Happy Post

The latest book published by Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective

I bought myself a little early Christmas present in the form of this gorgeous book by Sarah Corbett all about the Canary Craftivist movement which got under way last summer. It even includes a photo I took of the Manchester Flock working on crafting their canaries sitting next to the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst in the centre of Manchester back in July.

A Festive Walk

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

It was lovely to be able to return to Dunham Massey National Trust park and gardens over Christmas. It’s a fab place and just a short drive from where we live. It’s a place which instantly takes me back to my childhood and I love taking the Little Postcards there for a walk on a weekend or during the school holidays.

We got a great view of the resident deer and even spotted a couple of pure white ones.

Podcast New Year Special

(Clockwise from top left) The Crochet Sanctuary, Sarah Corbett from The Craftivist Collective, Gemma and Evie from the Manchester Flock, Mary Jane Baxter, Amanda from Mrs G Makes, Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum, Black Sheep Wools & Yarndale 2021.

I ended the year podcast-wise with a second Christmas Special which was released on New Year’s Eve. It featured my chats with Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective, as well as Gemma and Evie from the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists, Mary Jane Baxter also made an appearance speaking about her epic trip around Europe in a camper van called Bambi stitching as she went. I looked back at my visit to the Crochet Sanctuary in Spring and to Yarndale in September last year, and heard from some of the staff at Black Sheep Wools in Warrington. I also included chats with two new friends of mine who I met last year; Christine Perry aka Winwick Mum who helped me on my sock-making adventure and Amanada from Mrs G Makes.

You can find the podcast web page here if you want to take a listen.

New Year’s Eve walk

Fields outside Wigan, Lancashire

We were treated to a stunningly beautiful and warm day on New Years’ Eve, and made the trip to Wigan to visit my brother and his wife. Just a short walk from their home is open countryside and it made for a very picturesque walk.

It was just the perfect way to end the year. In lovely company and enjoying lovely weather in the fresh air.

And that brings this rather late December round-up to an end. I promise I won’t be as tardy with my January post!

Thank you so much for stopping by and making it to the end of this rather epic post. I promise I’ll be back again soon!

Until then, take care,

Lindsay x

A Postcard from September

Hello there, it’s come to my attention of late that I’m no longer very good at maintaining momentum with my weekly Sunday Postcards. I miss posting stuff but just can’t churn posts out anymore with such frequency as I fear they will become just that – churned out and be pretty rubbish.

So, instead I’m going to have a go a publishing a monthly Postcard looking back at some of the highlights of my month just gone. If you’re up for it, here’s my Postcard from September 2021…

Last days of summer

We woke up on 1st September in beautiful Whitby but it was our last few moments of our trip and we had to pack up and be off on our way by 9am – eek! We managed it and were soon pootling along the road back to Manchester. Bye bye Whitby, thanks for having us!

You can read all about our stay on the Yorkshire coast here.

We had just a quick few days turn around before everyone returned to school for a new academic year. Everyone stayed at the same schools this time so the whole uniform thing has been far easier this summer than last year!

The return to school and the empty house gave me the freedom to get on with some things I just couldn’t do with a house full of young men….

I have been trying to find a way to financially support my podcast and hit on the idea of screen printing some bags to sell on Etsy to help pay for the hosting fees etc. I got a custom screen made by Hunt the Moon and set off on my screen printing adventure. It’s not as easy as it looks! After many attempts I managed to produce some semi-decent prints on old clothes which weren’t fit for the charity bag and started on some bags.

Here they are…. What do you think?

They are available for sale on my Etsy shop if you fancy a look. I’m hoping to add to them with some more podcast merchandise very soon plus I will be putting up some crochet patterns for sale too which I have been working on behind the scenes and I just can’t wait to share with you.

We were blessed with some truly lovely sunny days in September which meant not only could I screen print in the back garden, I could also enjoy a bit of a potter. There’s been so much wildlife in our little patch of late from foxes and squirrels, all manner of birds including a lovely Robin and this gorgeous butterfly stopped by for a visit.

Harvest time

I’ve really enjoyed having a go at growing some of our own food this year during our first summer in our new garden. I managed to harvest loads of cherry tomatoes, enough potatoes for one dinner including several potatoes about the size of a large pea (!), strawberries, loads and loads of kale for Diamond (our bunny) and one measly broad bean! I think I’ll give the beans a miss next year!

Some of Diamond’s kale – he even let us have some too!
The single broad bean!

A crocheted thank you

The schools where we live now are selective at secondary level and in order to get Littlest ready for the impending exams he’s been visiting a lovely lady called Emma. The exams are now done (what a relief) we won’t know the outcome for a while yet but we have said goodbye and thank you to Emma for all her hard work. I made her a mini Emma to have on her desk in her tutoring uniform as a little thank you. She was really pleased with it. (I made it using the Crochet Iconic Women pattern book by Carla Mitrani).

Craftivism update

You may remember the Manchester Flock of Canary Craftivists I was a part of in the summer? Well the start of September marked the time to send our canaries off to our local MPs with a handwritten letter asking for them to do all they can to support action to stop the Climate Crisis ahead of COP26 in November. Charlie the canary flew off to my MP who later wrote back to thank me.

Yarndale

A rare photo of me (left) with Yvonne from Bonnie’s Little Crafts

On 25th September I was lucky enough to be able to go to Yarndale. It was such a thrill to go back to Skipton after my last visit in 2016. the first person I bumped into once I was in the auction mart was Yvonne from Bonnie’s Little Crafts who I met on that previous visit when she ran a campaign for knitters & crocheters to make 7000 woolly hearts for Yarndale. She told me all the about the story of this blanket, which you will be able to hear by tuning into Making Stitches when it gets published.

I took my microphone with me and recorded loads of material for my latest episode of Making Stitches Podcast which will be out on Friday. I stayed literally to the end as you can see below! It was lovely to be able to enjoy all the beautiful decorations without the crowds of folk standing in the way!

After the crowds have gone home…

I also left with a bit more than I arrived with….

My Yarndale haul
Skipton

I enjoyed my day in Skipton for Yarndale so much I actually felt like I’d been away on holiday for about a week! It was just what the Dr ordered.

That’s just about all my news for September, I hope it was a good month for you. Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

A rainbow to end September
A monthly picture round-up

Sunday Postcard #008 20.9.20

Hello and happy Sunday to you, I hope the sun’s shining with you today. Here’s this week’s Sunday Postcard:

Vitamin Tree

Last Sunday, much like today, we were enjoying some glorious sunshine here in the North West of England. We decided to make the most of what may well be our last few days of summer, packed a picnic and jumped into the car to head for Worden Park nearly Chorley in Lancashire.

We visited the park for the first time last summer after it was recommended by a family friend. It took about 45 mins to drive there from our home in Manchester along nice quiet motorways and we were rewarded with wide open spaces and beautiful trees. Long time readers of this blog will know I am a tree lover. You really need a bit of Vitamin Tree in your life every so often wouldn’t you agree?

Worden Park is basically the estate of a formerly grand house. The house is no longer standing but some of the outbuildings remain which are now artisan workshops and a lovely little tea room and some of the formal gardens have been retained too, including a rather stately yew tree which was planted by Queen Victoria (sadly I didn’t photograph that).

As we are in the market these days for outdoor walks where we won’t see too much of other people, Worden was perfect. Although many, many other people had been drawn out to enjoy the wide open spaces and fresh air, in the most part we were all well distanced away from them. It was a bit of a bottleneck in the formal garden (see above) although we quickly negotiated our way through there.

Although it felt warm enough to be a summer’s day, the first signs of autumn were in evidence as some of the leaves had started to turn. There will be an amazing show of colour here in the weeks to come I imagine.

I can never make up my mind how I feel about autumn. When I was away in Gibraltar for the past 11 years, where the seasons don’t have the same impact (mainly because the weather doesn’t change as dramatically and many trees there are evergreen), I really missed autumn. I had a real fondness for misty mornings, dew drops on cobwebs and crunching through fallen leaves.

Now that we are about to experience our first autumn back in England since our move, I’m looking forward to the colours which lie ahead (although sadly not the smells as my sense of smell is still to recover fully from Covid), but I’m also feeling a little sad that it marks the end of summer. I’m sure I’m not alone in that…

Perhaps the sense of uncertainty and unknown about the winter that we are heading into adds to that slight sense of unease about autumn too. Never mind, we will all go through it together, and all being well will be fine.

Sunny Monday morning

How about that for a sky? This is what I gazed up to after walking Littlest to school on Monday morning. What a belter. I can handle more of this kind of September weather thank you very much!

Mmmm delicious!

We had apple & bramble crumble for pudding one evening this week. It was very nice!

On the mend

Midweek I began to feel very tired, and then I succumbed to a rather nasty cold. The Little Postcards had it too in varying degrees but it hit me hardest. There was nothing for it other than to go to bed for a couple of days (well as much as you can do with young people to look after). I’m pleased to say I am now well and truly on the mend and even felt up to a bit of crochet . I really had better get a move on with this summery Little Box of Crochet wreath before winter!!

Birthday time

There was a Little Postcard birthday this week, there are now 2 teenagers in the house – wish me luck!!

Because of our current state of half unpacked/half packed-ness after our move from Gibraltar and our impending move to our ‘forever’ home, I have no idea where my cake tins are. So it was a shop bought birthday cake this time!

Podcast update

Making Stitches Podcast is back, my goodness I’ve missed making these episodes over the summer! This time I’ve decided to release an episode once a fortnight as weekly would be too much for me to manage at the moment bearing in mind we have another house move coming up in the next few months. This week I decided to revisit some of my guests from last series and get up to date with them.

You can find the podcast by searching for Making Stitches in your favourite podcast app or by clicking onto this link.

And that brings this week’s Sunday Postcard to an end. I hope this coming week is a good one for you!

Lindsay x

Sunday Postcard #005 30.08.20

Hello again! Blimey it feels like more than a week ago that I woke up to the sunrise in the first photo. It’s been a week of getting ready for school starting – that can be an expensive business!! Here’s this week’s Sunday Postcard…

One last Gibraltar sunrise

So this was one week ago, our last wake-up in Gibraltar for a while. In case you missed last week’s postcard, I headed back to Gib with Eldest so he could collect his GCSE results in person and say goodbye to his teachers. It was a lovely few days – if a little odd after leaving so recently, however I’m really glad we made the trip. Last Sunday though, it was time to head home.

A long road home: plane, trains, trams & automobiles!

Our epic homeward journey in 3 cars, 2 trains, 2 trams and 1 plane! With a bit of crochet to pass the time.

Unfortunately for us, we missed out on a flight back to Manchester, we delayed booking due to Covid and the fact I was preoccupied with moving, so when we did try to book, the flight we needed was sold out grrr! Our only option was to fly to Heathrow and travel up from there.

We got a fabulous view of London as we came in to land, we saw Buckingham Palace, Wembley and all sorts of easily recognisable places which was a treat. Then came the rest of the journey.

We booked a car to take us from Heathrow to Watford Junction station to avoid having to take the tube into central London (we were trying to limit the amount of people we would come into contact with). Then had two (thankfully) very quiet trains from Watford to Milton Keynes and then from Milton Keynes up to Manchester. Then caught a couple of trams to the rendezvous point where we managed to get a lift home! Phew, that was a trek. But at least I had plenty of time for crochet on the move!

Happy post

When I arrived home this was waiting for me, a cute crochet pin badge and some stitch markers from Mrs G Makes. She has some lovely stuff on her Etsy shop.

Sunset on a Wednesday

Last Wednesday we had a lovely evening trip to the park. Our local park gets rather busy on a dry day and, as we don’t really want to mix with too many people at the moment, we have been giving it a wide berth. We have been popping back there in the evenings though, which is great as we often have the place to ourselves! This was the lovely sunset which heralded our walk home.

A blanket for Bluebell

Our new set of wheels, Bluebell was so lovely and clean when I picked her up from the garage, it seemed such a shame to dirty her, so I grabbed my crochet hook and made her a blanket to protect the back seat.

I don’t know what our neighbours thought when they spotted me popping out to the car several times every evening to see if it would fit properly! Anyway, I’m pleased with the result, let’s hope it works and keeps Bluebell spick and span for now!

Dishcloths for Yarndale

Yarndale may not be happening for real this year anymore, but this year’s charity appeal is still going. This year festival organisers are asking knitters and crocheters to make dishcloths to raise money for Martin House Children’s Hospice. Earlier this year I spoke to Carole Rennison from Yarndale about this for Making Stitches Podcast, so I thought it was about time I got round to making my contribution.

A magical treasure trail

Yesterday we buzzed into Manchester City Centre to have a go at a magical treasure trail. We had to follow clues to get us from place to place, solving anagrams and codes as we went and looking out for fabulous fantastical beasts along the way.

‘Manchester – the Wizard’s Spell Book’ was loads of fun and took us to parts of the city I have never visited before (or at least I haven’t visited since major building work has taken place there). The Little Postcards loved it and so did I!

You can find the trail by visiting the Treasure Trails website and pay to download the instructions and treasure map or they will send one out to you in the post. It made for a good few hours of entertainment and was great fun. We can highly recommend it.

It’s amazing how many mystical creatures you can spot in the city. You often just need to look up!

And that brings this week’s Sunday Postcard to an end. If you have a bank holiday weekend this weekend, I hope you are enjoying it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Lindsay x

Sunday Sevens #153 9.9.18

Hello and welcome to another Sunday Sevens, this one comes to you on the eve of Gibraltar National Day. The place is looking very festive decked out in red and white bunting…

Cloudy skies

Last Sunday it was really rather humid. We set out for a walk on the last day of the (rather long) School summer holidays. The cloudy Levanter conditions made for a rather sweaty walk.

Blue skies at lunch

On Monday, after the Little Postcards’ finished their first half day at school (in Gibraltar schools operate under ‘summer hours’ until National Day), we all went for lunch in Queensway Quay. It was a lovely afternoon.

A little friend

On Tuesday I got the shock of my life when I was cleaning. I lifted the dustpan to sweep the floor, and this little chap appeared to be hiding underneath. He was dinky, and I think he was in the process of growing a new tail. He was frozen to the spot, poor thing, so I put the coke can next to him to show his size. I left the room and he scarpered!

Butterflies for Yarndale

I finished my Yarndale butterflies (I had to make a red & white one for Gibraltar abc posted them off on their way to Skipton – I hope they arrive in time for Friday’s deadline…. then I went for a walk, to post them and spotted these beauties feeding off a special butterfly table in the Alameda Gardens.

More street art

While our and about this week, I spotted another mural underway. That’s the third I’ve seen so far in Gibraltar – such a treat in a dingy underpass.

Getting ready for National Day

On Friday, the sun came out and the flags are out too all set for National Day tomorrow. Gibraltar really knows how to throw a party!

Here comes the rain….

So, Gibraltar has had a bit of a drought since April. Yesterday, the rain came. We got off rather lightly though, I believe there were floods further along the coast. It has brought with it the most blissful cool temperatures….

That’s this week’s Sunday Sevens done and dusted, I hope you’ve had a good week. As always, I’m linking with Natalie from Threads and Bobbins for this weekly blog series.

Friday photo challenge (week 14) Sweet

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.

2 years of Postcard from Gibraltar 


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.

Lucy from Attic24 at Yarndale with Llanita the Yarndale Sheep

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!

 

2017 Weekly photo challenge (Week 13) Van

Ok, so this week’s photo challenge word prompt is ‘van’. I’m assuming you don’t want to see a random work’s van parked at the side of a road so I have taken a touch of artistic licence with this one… does this count?

This van/truck/camper contraption got stuck trying to get down one of the narrow residential roads in South District last year. We see lots of motor homes chugging up the hill on the way to Europa Point, presumably because their occupants want to get to the southernmost tip of Gibraltar on their holiday road trip. 

One Sunday afternoon, the main road to Europa Point was closed to allow for a crane to be erected on a nearby building site and the northward diversion route was to head down this narrow road (which has parked cars all down one side). I watched through my fingers as a few passers-by waved and gesticulated like mad to guide the unfortunate driver as he reversed uphill and round a bend while missing parked motorbikes and wing mirrors along the way! 

What about a yarnbombed ice cream van?

This beauty was parked up outside the Skipton Auction Mart at last year’s wonderful Yarndale Festival. Instead of ice creams being sold from it’s window customers were buying knitted finger puppets.

The company, Little Fingy sources it’s hand knitted puppets from villagers in the Andes in South America and raises money to support their communities.

Now for more artistic licence… how about ‘bus’ instead of ‘van’?

I wouldn’t want to be a bus driver in Gibraltar. I got stuck behind these two buses on a particularly narrow stretch of road one day. How they both got through without hitting each other or the walls either side of the road, I have no idea. Hats off the drivers for their amazing driving skills.

I’m linking with Wild Daffodil and Nana Cathy for this weekly photo challenge throughout 2017.

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)