Brain Ache

Why did I think it would be a good idea to coincide a new studio with a new look to my blog….?  I have no idea.  Despite involving a dedicated computer savvy brain in one country, and the artistic skills of an internationally known illustrator in another, I am still sitting at the computer whimpering faintly, ‘But I don’t understand….’  All I have managed (virtually unaided)  to do is to lose the pink background on my existing blog which I am quite happy about because I kept putting on photos of red things, and thinking ‘Yuk!’

Anyway, it will happen eventually, and when it does there will be a bloggy giveaway (and possible fireworks and cake) but in the meantime there will be whimpering….

So I am soothing my sore and itchy brain with more tulips…

and a  little domestic escapism…

I’m going shopping for food colouring as soon as possible because these are just taking me back to the macaroon shop in Rouen and I never imagined it was such a simple recipe…

There was also mint tea and hot buttered crumpets with honey but the battery ran out on the camera, and I had to eat them while it was hot…

I feel a little better now.

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Getting Plastered

I hope that I’m coming to the end of posts with pictures of building works, it may be informative but they are hardly the most colourful things to decorate my blog.  I’ve been debating whether to put the latest ones on first and get them out of the way, or whether to save them till the end and start with prettiness.  I’m really failing on the creativity front at the moment, with all my stuff in boxes, so I’ve been making the most of the colour in the garden and elsewhere.

Tim is away at work again so I am back on dog walking duty, and with the bright sunshine it’s been good to take the camera along.  Bright sunshine, but still an iciness in the breeze so the walking has been brisk and photo opportunities taken speedily. I’ve just discovered that I have managed to delete the  photos of Higgins on today’s walk so if anyone is waiting for an aaah moment, sorry but no doubt another one will come along tomorrow.  He seems to have got the cute thing down to a fine art.

So, let’s get the exciting pictures of drying plaster out of the way.  Actually that sounds as if I’m not excited, and I am. With any luck the studio will be all but finished by next weekend. I had been hoping to be painting this weekend, but the weather hasn’t been helpful with drying out.


and, complete with builder…

..and, you can see my stable door!

Meanwhile, out in the garden…

..actually Higgins has managed to get in on the act…

..I found the first primrose…

…tiny cyclamen under the weeping willow tree…

Delicate blue crocuses …

Bold and brash, purple and gold…

…and blue and yellow.

Meanwhile, back indoors, the tulips are going all unneccessary.  Why do they do that?

 ..and down the lane there is lichen…

and moss and ferns…

Spring is definitely springing…

Here comes the sun…

…for at least two days according to the forecast (and then the snow’s back…)so I had a wizz round the garden with the camera.  You’ll be glad to know my camera issues have been resolved so the moaning will stop!.   With the  help of Ebay I now have THREE cameras!  When I went back to the nice and long suffering man at the London Camera Exchange with the new Olympus camera that I couldn’t get on with,  I took along the ‘steam’ camera that Tim had bought on Ebay, a Fuji Finepix 6800Zoom which had seemed so ‘state of the art’ when I had one nearly a decade ago.  I showed it to the nice man and said, ‘I just want a camera that takes pictures like this’.  And he couldn’t sell me one.  He said he had had the same camera for about four years, it has a fantastic lens, Tim had got an incredible bargain from Ebay and he gave me a full refund on the one I had had since November!  What amazing service.  He suggests I go back later in the year when the next generation of cameras comes in to see what would suit me.  Meanwhile Tim went back on to Ebay to get a memory card for it and bought a second camera for the same price as a memory card, and finally found an F650 (again at a bargain price) which was the model that I wore out last year.  So I have no excuse now for not filling my blog with lots of pictures – in focus!

As it’s St David’s Day and my daughter was born in Wales I have to include daffodils…

..but a little trip round the garden found things popping out in the sunshine.

It was interesting to see things from the perspective of someone very short…

Slightly out of focus, but Higgins hasn’t had a lot of photography practise so far…

Just to be completely greedy, I  had a pink tulip moment when I went shopping this afternoon,

…and then in the ‘slightly sad and lonely’ bucket, I found these, which just begged to come home with me to be appreciated…

…and I had some help arranging them…

It’s amazing what you can train a dachshund to do…

Thinking Ahead

Now, I know you’ll going to look at this and think, NoooOOOh, don’t even mention the word, but I’m going to anyway…Christmas!  Yes, Christmas 2010.  Last December in the midst of the preChristmas panic, I got out the little note book in which I put my Christmas lists and found a little piece I had written in 2007 about my lack of organisation at Christmas, and how the next Christmas was going to be different.  Actually, I’ve been saying the same thing for decades, and haven’t cracked it yet.  I excelled myself in 2009 by not even getting my cards posted so I know I have to do something drastic.   The plan is, a monthly ‘Christmas’ day. Every 25th of the month I have to spend some time thinking ahead, buy a present, make a present, design a card and put it away in a designated place that I will remember.  (I lost Christmas cards bought in the January sales for two years once).  I have a lovely place to keep it all, an empty hamper left over from Christmas 2009, which will go on a shelf in the new studio.

I let myself off January 25th, I’m sure I don’t have explain why, but on Thursday 25th February I applied my mind to the dreaded subject.  One  little idea which had popped into my head in the night was written down and tucked into the hamper awaiting the time when I have more room for creation.   My second was my usual fall back position, when in doubt, apply wool.  Last week I was travelling around blogland and found this on Knitting Iris

Scarf from Knitting Iris

Who sent me from Montana to Norway for this pattern… from which I made this…

It’s really simple, can be knitted in a couple of evenings with just two of balls of wool.  The pattern is called Baktus and is an elongated triangle which wraps and snuggles beautifully.  I’ve added my own spin with the tasselly ends and made it in a thicker wool than the sample in the pattern using slightly bigger needles than recommended on the ballband to make it softer and more drapy.  I’m pretty sure that popping a couple of these into the Christmas hamper will solve some present dilemmas in a few months time.

Our local store supplied these balls of yarn…

…and I soon had the first scarf underway.  I’ve been amazed at the colour variation, I’ve knitted an entire ball and can’t find a colour repeat.

Now a studio update for those of you asking about developments.    I managed to get past the stapled plastic over the doorway and into the studio this morning.  Work went on late on Friday to get the rest of the plasterboard on the walls of the studio part of the building ready for the plasterer on Monday.  The window frame is awaiting glass, but even with black plastic over the door and window, I was really pleased to see the amount of light coming in through the Velux roof lights.


xxx

The doorway behind Tim goes into the store on which I have designs at a later date, but I shall take one step at a time!  I’m hoping this next week will see the bulk of the work completed and that next weekend will see me wielding a paintbrush!

Growth Spurt

Over the last few days I’ve been watching a hyacinth growing…you can almost see it with the naked eye, but I recorded it more simply with daily photos…

It’s not the most floriferous hyacinth, nor the most colourful, but it’s scent is just as amazing as any of it’s more spectacular cousins and it’s filling the ground floor of the house with the smell of Spring.

Meanwhile, in the garden…

The crocuses seem to have pushed up over night.  Hold on a minute though, what’s that brown shape in the top left hand corner…?

Just checking, are they edible?

From a dachshund point of view, the answer is probably yes…Oh dear…

Higgins has also had a growth spurt, the little black coat he wears for his walks has become like a sausage skin, so we decided to buy another one from Equafleece, this time in a more stylish colour.   His immediate reaction when we tried it on him was “Oh, NO!  A walk!” cue a mad dash to hide in his bed…

He’s just a little ‘weeny’, in every sense of the word!

Lurchers and Llamas

Ok, that’s it, we’re bored now…it’s all …too…WHITE….

 We were off to the other side of the county today for lunch with my cousin and after a lovely day yesterday it was a pain to wake up to frost, ice and gloom and then sleet. We had a phone call from said cousin to warn us they had a couple of inches of snow, but as it seemed the main road was clear and they had a tractor to get us out of any trouble we might run into on the track to their farmhouse we decided to brave it. 

Apart from the nice people, and the good food, we wanted to see their lurcher.   They have two – lovely gentle dogs and I do love  lurchers. ( We used to have one, an enormous blonde called Spike, who was a complete wus,  having little Higgins was really going from the sublime to the ridiculous!)  However the whole family was devastated about five months ago when the young one was stolen.  Despite the theft being witnessed (and the dog being microchipped) a poster campaign, a reward being offered and information being past all round the county there were no clues or leads and every one was so upset.  

Amazingly, and so happily, about three weeks ago she was found in a field somewhere near Skegness(quite a way from Norfolk)  by a lady who runs a greyhound rescue centre who just happened to be driving along a road she had never travelled on before who recognised her from the poster that had been circulated.  Because of her job she had a chip reader at home and was able to identify her and phone to give the good news.  The whole thing hung on so many happy coincidences it was incredible, and although she was very thin when  she first came home she is now looking good, and full of bounce (as the footprint in the middle of  Higgins ‘ little jumper demonstrated) 

So, a lovely Sunday roast, and syrup sponge and custard – heaven – and then a snowy, slippery walk to try and shift a couple of calories.

I did try to get a picture of both dogs together, but look at the difference in the leg length, Higgins never managed to catch up!

He did meet another creature for the first time….Fergus…

Which was quite interesting…

Mwah!

I don’t think I could cope with the real thing, but I did find another llama I would have loved to bring home…

Isn’t he gorgeous?

I found the monocrome theme continued…

…and although I love snowdrops…

I so long for some colour. So it was nice to get back for a cup of tea and look at my cousin’s latest knitting project.  Craftiness runs in the family, and she is an expert on spinning,weaving, knitting, crochet  and  dyeing.  This was a departure, freeform knitting and crochet.  I’ve done a little and it’s fascinating, but this was spectacular.  It’s a shame the light means the photos don’t really do it justice but WOW, after all that white, we need those colours!

It’s mainly hand dyed silk, with little bits of llama and hand spun fleece.  I’ve just realised I was so excited I didn’t ask what the finished article would be, a knockout waistcoat?

It was a busy day, and very exciting for a small dog with very short legs. A lot of sleeping has been going on.  Higgins has obviously been having colour withdrawal symptoms too.  I bought a new fleece blanket yesterday, with the sofa bed that is going into the studio in mind. Higgins is testing it…

Something Pretty in the Post…

The trouble is with sitting here at the computer looking at my unfinished studio through the window  surrounded with boxes and things I can’t get at it is that it makes me very susceptible to gorgeous things that pop up on the internet.  Like an email from Cox and Cox…about their SALE…I mean, what’s a woman to do?  I’m very proud of the way I managed to buy so little…Look at THESE…

So cunningly packed too, with a little slot in the plastic to unreel the ribbons through so they don’t end up in a tangly heap.


…and while I was ooohing and aaahing about the clever little dispensing arrangement Tim pointed out the hanger on the back.  So Hard Luck, Higgins, I can hang it on the wall away from little dachshund teeth.  Perfect!

I also bought a badge making kit which could be fun.  The instructions look complicated but as it’s for 8+ I ought to be able to suss it out eventually…

…and –  just because – a little wooden dove…

The sun is shining this afternoon so I will save further ramblings for later posts, don fleece and wellies and get out into the garden.  Hope the sun shines for you this weekend…

Royal Arcade

Just a short post today. I wanted to share my photos of Norwich’s beautiful Art Nouveau Arcade.  I visited my hairdresser, and as I sat there with my hair covered in goo, knitting away, I realised what a lovely view it had of all the tiles in the upper part of the arcade.  Jon let me take a couple of shots out of the open window, on condition that I didn’t  let any pigeons fly in, or drop my camera on the head of an unsuspecting passerby.
Back on ground level …

Yet again it was a very cold day, so in the interests of not spending any more money, I didn’t dally in town.  By the time I got on the Park and Ride bus my hands were far too cold to carry on with my knitting…

…and in fact needed help with photographing it when I got home…

(Henry is more than a little peeved because Higgins, who had been hogging the fireside all morning while Henry was upstairs on our bed,  decide that the floor was a little hard and dragged his bed across the floor and pushed it up against the fireguard making quite sure there was no chance of Henry doing his usual bully boy thing and chasing him off the hearth rug.)

Talk about smug…

Grand Designs

 

 Now I know I’m only having a studio built and I am not renovating a villa in Tuscany and Kevin Mcloud has no idea where I live (damn)but I’ve just realised I”ve talked a lot about the building works and haven’t really shown much of what has been going on.  I will spare you a picture of the mud.  We live next to a narrow country lane and large lorries delivering building stuff has made the area round our house a quagmire. (I love that word, so descriptive and just to add a little extra je ne sais quoi we have a tractor muck spreading in the adjacent field – we’d been blaming Higgins!)

Firstly this is the drawing from the plan:

The little bit at the end fits round the existing brick shed making a really good area in which to put shelves and storage. You can see that the building will not be entirely at my disposal, Tim is having a workshop at the end and we do need storage for bikes etc.  However, there will be an internal door between the studio and the store because the architect pointed out there was a chance I will need more space and I could then take over another room… (Tim is now trying to work out how he is going to keep me out of it,  it wasn’t my idea, but…)

The main light source is from Velux roof lights on the north facing pitch of the roof.

We’ve had to resign ourselves to losing a bit of the view, in fact once the fence came out we enjoyed a really good view of our neighbours garden but once the wall started being clad they got their privacy back.

It all started off under a tent to try and beat the bad weather although there were several hair raising moments when I thought the tent with both builders hanging on for dear life was going to sail off over the roof of our house and end up three miles away in the middle of a Norfolk Broad!

The weather is not being helpful, but at least its not snowing.  Meanwhile I am poised indoors with my boxes, longing to get inside and start working, but it will be a little while yet…

Valentines Day…

…and it was nearly not cold.  Although I have become so lazy I was terribly tempted to curl up on the sofa with the Sunday papers I knew this was a rare chance for some sea air and a mud free walk so we donned warm coats and hats, Higgins too  (well I haven’t manage to get him to wear a hat yet, I suppose I could tie his ears under his chin like a head scarf) and set off for Waxham beach.  Even there we had to wade through mud to get to nice clean sand. I’m so glad we chose a portable dog who can be popped under an arm and kept clean.  It was worth it though…

Although he still has all his puppy playfulness, Higgins is now very much a ‘grown-up’ even if it is in miniature,( but is still a complete ‘Cuddle Sponge’!)