Saturday, 31 March 2007

Currently knitting...

My daughter is going to Romania soon to help in an orphanage for a few weeks, and I have started knitting things for her to take with her. Mittens (which are quicker to make than gloves and more practical for small children), hats, scarves and little knitted toys. The toys will be useful straightaway, the warm weather gear will come in useful when winter comes around again. A couple of years ago, she went to the Dominican Republic to spend a few weeks helping at a home for children with HIV and she took a huge suitcase full of clothes, toys etc, and in fact ended up leaving most of her own clothes, towels, toiletries etc for the children and staff at the home. I expect the same thing will happen in Romania but we can make sure this time to pack her suitcase to the gills with extra things like bars of soap, tubes of toothpaste, crayons, etc.

My mum had a second cataract operation a few days ago, which thankfully went well (better than her first op which had some minor complications and left her in pain for quite a time). I'm going to spend a few days with her, to do some shopping, vacuuming, general housework etc. I'll also get to see my sister - we talk on the phone all the time, but only see each other a few times a year as I live in Essex and mum and my younger sister both live in Bristol (which is where I'm originally from). The problem with a journey from one side of the country to another is that there really isn't efficient public transport available - it would take three times as long to make the journey on the train or by bus and it would cost three times more than the cost of petrol. I really try hard to use my car as little as possible - I cycle to work every day, though when I have to go to meetings around Essex I have to use my car. About a year ago, when my car was off the road for a couple of weeks, I tried using public transport to travel around the county but it was not a success. For example, the twenty or so miles between Canvey Island and Chelmsford turned into a major obstacle course. The journey took nearly three hours as the bus times didn't connect with the train times (there is now a regular bus service so it is not so difficult). To drive there and back takes much less time! The one real advantage of trains and buses over driving is the amount of knitting you can get done (or reading, or doing crosswords, or whatever passes the time best)!

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

The fence is almost finished

The work on the garden fence went well - I now have a lovely light green fence which I am very proud of. It was very hard work, but definitely worth it. This is the beginning of my 2007 garden makeover project, and a new fence is the first part of making a safer home for our rabbits.

It actually started because we had a tragic accident. We had two beautiful rabbits, Shadow and Boxer, but on 30 December there was a huge storm which blew the rabbit hutch over, the roof split open and they escaped. My son likes to believe they got away, but they are more likely to have met a worse fate (foxes probably). We decided to give a home to two rescue rabbits from the RSPCA, and in January we adopted Bramble and Clover, a pretty brother and sister (he is "Calico" - fawn with dark patches and she is black).
Sorry - the photo is taken through the wire mesh of their run - they rarely sit still long enough together to get them in the same photo.

Since the previous accident I really wanted to make the garden more secure, and also to provide a better storm-proof home. We bought a second hand wendy house - when it is painted and cleaned up, it will make a fantastic spacious home for them, which will not only give them plenty of space but will be totally fox proof. We may even adopt more rabbits... I hope to post photos as my project progresses. As I can't afford to pay someone to come and do all the hard landscaping, I will be doing it all myself; I built the fence myself, and the next step will be to lay a new base to stand the wendy house on, and lay a path, etc. It's a bit of a learning curve but I'm very pleased with what I've achieved so far. The only real disadvantage is that my hands are in a bit of a mess (cuts and splinters and very rough skin) so knitting is a bit difficult!
I like the colour of this fence so much - I can't stop looking at it!

Monday, 26 March 2007

Easter Chicks

When my children were at primary school I used to knit little toys for Christmas bazaars, summer fetes etc. At Easter we used to knit dozens of these little chicks to put Cadbury's Creme Eggs in.

I was surprised to find knitted chicks on sale on EBay - so I knitted a few and advertised them - and what do you know, people are buying them. Wouldn't it be nice if more people could knit things like this for themselves? I know that there are lots of knitting groups and people giving lessons - but I'd really like to see children being taught crafts at school. I learned to knit and sew when I was quite small - I think the first thing I knitted was a dishcloth which was probably full of dropped stitches and unravelled on first use, but went on to knitting whole garments. I remember knitting my dad a hideous jumper using horrible blue bri-nylon which must have been a nightmare to wear; it was a bit on the small side and the static must have been terrible when taking it off but he stoically wore it on a few occasions. There is a lot of satisfaction to be had from finishing a project, however small it is. I lurk here a lot, and Julie talks about knitting as therapy. But it's not just knitting or other creative crafts that can help - growing flowers or vegetables, even weeding the garden or tending a window box can provide relaxation, and bring a feeling of relief from everyday stresses. I have a day off work and am going to use the day to complete my latest garden project. I've been replacing my fences - one was an ancient chainlink fence the other other was a crumbling wooden panel fence - both about 40 years old and beyond saving. It's been hard work but the job is nearing completion. Today I will be staining my new featheredge board fence a lovely light green. Photos to follow....

Sunday, 25 March 2007

You have to start somewhere

I have wanted to start a blog for a long time, but keep hesitating; who would be interested in my ramblings and opinions? I lurk around in the blogsphere, reading blogs by knitters, crafters, recyclers, mothers, gardeners - people like me. Although I almost never post a comment I feel I am getting to know many of the bloggers I visit regularly and I really like the way people are getting together with people around the world, sharing their views, their achievements, their tragedies. I don't know yet how this will develop, but you have to start somewhere.

I'm a 50+ woman, living in Essex, UK, and mother of two adult children; (AD) my amazing daughter is 20 and away at University and (AS) my amazing son is 18, autistic and lives at home with me, and we have two beautiful rabbits, Bramble and Clover. I like reading, knitting, sewing, gardening and diy. I once imagined my life would be filled with these things, but bringing up children and working didn't allow enough time for these hobbies, but now I am making more time for myself. I am also interested in environmental issues, and wish I had more time for walking and looking at trees and birds.

I hope this blog will be a place I can talk about the things that I enjoy and what I am doing at the moment. I'm going to pick up my knitting now and watch Medium. See you soon.