Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Another walk in the country

Hello Dear Readers

I am currently still confined to my armchair, although improving day to day. I would like to show you some photographs I took a few weeks ago, when after a hair raising single decker bus ride out into the countryside, via winding roads which I would hesitate to drive a car along - we whizzed along at breakneck speeds around blind bends! With me hanging on to the seat in front and my husband giggling like a silly eleven year old.

We commenced our walk from the point at which one of our last walks had terminated (A stroll in the Sunshine).  Previously we had lost our bearings part way round and walked unknowingly in a rather large circle! This time we were better prepared as we had the excellent detailed cycle map which was supplied free from Transport For London which also shows footpaths and bridleways. In addition to this we were assisted by a group of helpful passing horseriders, who very kindly stopped to ask if we needed any directions/assistance (we must have been looking a bit confused).

By coincidence I was taking a photograph of these picturesque 
stables at the time!

We were quite lucky with the weather that day, as it was overcast and threatening rain from the outset.

Another walk in the country

A lovely clearing
A quiet clearing.  

I don't know what tree this is, it had a lovely red bark, and I can assure you it was not a trick of the light. 

Tree with red bark
The unknown tree with red bark!

Woodland path

Bag selfie
A candid photograph of my Spring Purse in use!

Woodland walking
A peaceful, cool wood. 

Golfcourse links
Although it was overcast it was wonderful scenery and we were serenaded
 by some beautiful bird-song as we strolled along the bridleway across a

A short walk from here a cyclist crossed our path in the near distance and very briefly we caught sight of a deer that the cyclist had disturbed. It ran very fast and we didn't see it for long but it was lovely to have seen it even for such a brief moment.

We had a refreshing walk and a super meal at a comfortable, cosy, country pub at the end of it!

We are looking forward to our next walk out with real ale and light snack.

I wish you an enjoyable week, whatever you decide to do!

Barbara xx

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Rag Dolls - Izzy

How nice of you to stop by!

Further to my introduction to rag dolls and recent update here are a few more pictures of my progress.   I am thinking of these dolls more as handbag decorations, key-fobs, or maybe "art-dolls", rather than dolls for little hands to play with.

Picture of Bella, when I was deciding how to dress her:

Izzy, dressing up.


The doll I am working on here started out as a mere tester for the stitches for Bella's hair, although I don't normally test out my stitching on a sampler of any sort, and now I have decided this will become a second doll.

Drizzle stitch fringe
The fringe is Drizzle stitch in DMC Cotton Perlè.

Making the base cap:

Base Cap

  • I estimated the size of the base cap, and crocheted a circle in single crochet, using Anchor tapestry wool, finishing when it seemed a suitable size to cover the back of her head.  
  • The cap was then pinned to the "pincushion", top and bottom, making sure it fitted. 

Latching the hair strands into the cap:

Latching the strands into the base caps.

I am using the method from Pickled Okra by Charlie and have attached 10" strands of DMC Perlè as follows:
  • Using a crochet hook, I pulled each strand through the gaps in the edge of the cap until a loop was formed, then pulling the ends through the loop formed 2 strands. If you enlarge this picture you will be able to see the loop to which I am referring. 
  • I then added a second round of strands of Anchor wool, the same measurement, inside the first round to give it volume when it is arranged into some sort of hairstyle. (Sorry, no picture of this!)

    Hair strands attached

Bella is only 6" tall so, although I am following Charlie's ideas, I haven't used Charlie's measurements.

I trust this all makes sense!

If you've made it to the end of this post, thank you for persevering, it's nice to have your company.

And here is something from the garden to finish on! Self-seeded wild orchids.

Wild orchids

I hope you are keeping well and having a super weekend!

Barbara xx

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A game of cat and mouse!

Hello Dear Readers,

As I am incapacitated at present darling hubbie has been taking some pictures for me!

This is our first white peony in full bloom at last!

Our first white peony


And here is our cat, Missy, who waits patiently for her little playmate, Mrs Mouse, to come out!

Missy on the prowl.

A waiting game!

That's not a stick up her nose!
That's not a stick up her nose! It's a plant she likes to rub her chin on. 

Mrs Mouse is a little reluctant to come out at the moment as she had a fright recently when Missy picked her up and dropped her unceremoniously amongst the pot plants for a little game.  Part of  Missy's little game is catching Mrs Mouse, then releasing her, only to chase her again!

A waiting game!
A waiting game....

As luck would have it, we were both in the garden and I was able to capture our protesting cat and take her away from the area, whilst dh rescued the frightened Mrs Mouse by encouraging her into an empty flowerpot in order to release her to go back to her little home in the rockery!  (If this situation reoccurred now I would be of no assistance as my back is still giving me trouble.)

Mrs Mouse hiding between our doorstep and plant pots.
Mrs Mouse, hiding between our doorstep, the wall of the house and a flowerpot 

I hope it doesn't sound mean returning her to her little home, of which the cat is aware, but for all we know she has a family there to look after, otherwise we could take her to an open field and release her well away from the cat.

Luckily for the wildlife, Missy is getting on in years now, therefore she hasn't been bringing any livestock in through the cat flap like she used to.

I hope you are having a good week.

Barbara xx

P.S.  Whilst typing this I have just noticed a sparrow coming onto the lawn and taking away pieces of dried grass.  Does this mean they are building another nest?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Rag doll - update

Hi there everyone,

Today I am at home and suffering with a recurring back problem and unable to do very much about the house or garden.

As I have good reason to sit quietly, I thought I'd work on my doll Bella.

Bella has been loitering at the bottom of my blog pages since the blog began. I first introduced her to you all in February, when, being new to Blogger, I had not found out how to add photos to my posts - I have today added a picture of Bella, as she was then, to my original post. Since February I have made and attached her legs and booties and today I am experimenting with an idea for her hair. 

I have decided on Drizzle stitch, which is new to me! I found a very good tutorial on In a Minute Ago by Sharron Boggon. I am very pleased with the way this stitch looks, but I should warn you that you may need a few needle threaders on hand before you attempt it. I used DMC 3 Coton Perlè which needed a firm hand pulling the threader with the thread through the needle. If the rest of this doll's hair looks as good I will probably be tempted to make a sister doll for Bella.

Drizzle stitch example
Not bad for my first attempt at this stitch.

The idea for her face comes from Doll Making by Runo, which is a slightly unusual blog as there can be no contact with the creator.   This is a shame as I would have liked to have thanked Runo for her ideas and work, but I understand she is only too happy to be able to show everyone how to make dolls (and some stuffed toys too) which is extremely generous of her.

I have since discovered another lovely blog by Runo called Nuno Life! Runo has patterns on her blog for dolls, stuffed toys, clothes for dolls and some clothes patterns for people too, even underpants, but she doesn't sell patterns.

I am quite pleased with the Drizzle stitch so far
I am quite pleased with the Drizzle stitch so far.

I am also finishing a skirt for Bella - the boring bit - stitching in all the cotton ends which you will be able to see in the picture below, although this is inside out.

Bella's skirt, hair and notes
Add caption

I hope to show more on this before too long!

Barbara xx

Saturday, June 06, 2015

Of birds and bees!

Hello Dear Readers,

One day last week we were working in the kitchen and suddenly a flock of starlings descended on our garden and they were all squabbling to be first at the bird feeders.

There were too many birds for them to all eat at once, and even though we have quite a few bird feeders there were not enough to cope with all these birds. It was fascinating to watch as the mums tried to feed their youngsters.

We had about a week of this and now they seem to have calmed down as the youngsters seem to be feeding themselves and they appear to be eating wildlife from the lawn too, hence the pressure has eased on the bird feeders.  (We had great trouble keeping up with them, crushing peanuts and topping the feeders up regularly during the day.  If we went out we came back to find them almost empty.)

Starlings and youngsters

These pictures are a little fuzzy as I didn't have time to focus properly!  But I was pleased to capture the little guys "on film", as it were!

Starlings and youngsters

Starlings and youngsters

Starlings and youngsters

Bug hotel
About 2 weeks ago
Bug hotel
As it is today
The bee activity has almost stopped around our little bug hotel and there are now 7 holes that are plugged up.

"Fairy Shoes"? and bee
"Fairy Shoes" ?

"Fairy shoes"? with bee!
The bees love these too!

"Fairy shoes"?

Here in Southern England we have had a lot of rain showers lately. It's really been like "April Showers" as one minute it's raining and then it's sunny. As a consequence most plants are growing really well! Our peonies have masses of flowers and the rhubarb is certainly the best it's ever been!

Peonies and Rhubarb

Peonies and rhubarb

Japanese Snowball bush
Japanese Snowball
This tree has been growing in our garden for many years and was here as a small bush when we moved in.  It is loved by the birds, butterflies and the bees.   Have only recently discovered its name as Monty Don was talking about it on Gardeners World on the BBC the other week.  It has clusters of tiny flowers which progressively open as the season extends and in autumn produces lovely red berries which are a valuable food source for the birds in early winter.

The birds find lots of insects to eat in it and it gives the much needed cover from a sparrowhawk that hunts in this area.   I had only been thinking that I had not seen the sparrowhawk lately when we saw it flying past today, in pursuit of a collared dove pigeon.   It's very sad, but everything has to eat!

I took some photos of a sparrowhawk in our garden a couple of years ago, I will try to find them and post them if I do.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Barbara xx