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Archive Entries for April 2012

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Monday April 30, 2012

Books in April

  • House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz BOM-HouseOfSilk.jpg

    I can't praise this book enough written in the true spirit of the Conan Doyle originals. Added to that we have delightful historical detail that Horowitz is so good at researching, and a few political points slipped in as Watson's minor digressions in the course of telling the tale. Almost as a bonus, the storyline is excellent, although is a little wistful and sad at the end, as Watson is writing this in old age and in somewhat poor health with Holmes already long departed.

  • Bones and Silence by Reginald Hill [read by Brian Glover] BOM-ChildsPlay.jpg

    This is another book with a sad little ending.
    Of course, I suppose classic detective stories featuring murders are never going to be a bundle of laughs, but this was one of the sub plots which you hoped would be resolved positively. I don't really want to hint at the resolution of any parts of the plot, but in my defence, this is an old novel, which I even saw on TV, so hopefully it's not really a spoiler.

  • Agatha Raisin and a Spoonful of Poison by M C Beaton BOM-SpoonfulPoison.jpg
    Finally tracked down this book, which made a pleasurable afternoon's read while knitting a plain sock from the "sock blank" experimental dyeing project.
    So ... it's LSD in the jam at the local village fete. What larks! .. or it would have been if one of he elderly residents had not thought they could fly off the church tower, with predictable results.
    "Harmless" prank? or cunning murder plan (albeit a rather scatter-gun approach..).
    No sad endings here - all the jolly fun a murder mystery should be ....

Posted on April 30, 2012 at 6:17 PM. Category: Books of the Month.

Thursday April 26, 2012

Helen and her cardi

HelensCardi.jpg

I finally handed over Helen's belated birthday present when we managed to meet at a trendy cafe in Surbiton....

[...and I also received my birthday presents which were a stunning bracelet and the book of knitted egg cosies - the latter is a bit if a risk as we can now all guess what everyone will be getting next year!]

Posted on April 26, 2012 at 6:13 PM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Sunday April 22, 2012

Dyeing the sock blanks

Fresh from the disappointment of my needlefelt sculpting, I decided not to try and complete my efforts of yesterday but to press on with trying out the dyes for the sock blank project.

BlankDyes1.jpg

I was not too concerned about the bleeding of the colours on this first one as they all toned with what I was aiming at. For the second one, where my pattern was more exact, I could not get the brown colour I wanted by colour mixing; it's fine but not what I was aiming at. The colour bleeding separated the mix (chromotography!) as it soaked in, plus I did not make the brown section as wide as I should have for the pattern I intended,

BlankDyes2.jpg

Overall it went pretty well. The main (only) unexpected problem was when I made up the last dye solution which was the yellow, and I had a lot of difficulty in making it dissolve. In warm water it made viscous clumps, and in cold water (2nd attempt) it remained quite crystalline. I managed to dissolve it moderately well in the end after much vigorous shaking. I had no such issues with the other colours.

BlankDyes3.jpg

I also learnt that in order to mix up bright greens, oranges, browns - you do need a lot of yellow, as it is the weakest colour in the mix, and is easily overwhelmed by the darker colours. I think I will be buying some additional pre-mixed orange, and brown for our group session next month.

Posted on April 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM. Category: Knitting.

Saturday April 21, 2012

Needle Felting

NeedleFelting1.jpg

I am embarassed to say that I do not have a natural talent for sculpting in wool, so I am not featuring my efforts in particular. However, as a group, we managed to produce some reasonable items - notably the youngest student whose work was definitely the best.
Here is the show and tell:

NeedleFelting2.jpg

Everyone certainly had lots of fun.

Posted on April 21, 2012 at 6:15 PM. Category: Crafts.

Thursday April 19, 2012

Trees

Sad to say, we have been steadily removing trees from the front of our house - I hate it, but it was necessary. This is the ash tree coming down. Although huge, ash trees grow very quickly and his progeny is all over the rest of our garden (!). I pull up an average of 80 of his seedlings from the flower beds every time I weed - no exaggeration.

AshTree.jpg

It seems terrible to remove any lovely old trees - but compare the picture of our garden above (view towards the pond) with this picture of our house below, taken around 100 years ago, when it was first built. This is exactly the same view but in the opposite direction across the pond - and - not a tree in sight. The common really was a common and not a wood.

TheHousecirca1905.jpg

Posted on April 19, 2012 at 7:01 PM. Category: The Garden.

Sunday April 15, 2012

Where the spirits ran free...

....Tony's Party.

Tonyat50.jpg

Jim and Mary provided wonderful cocktails invented just for the occasion:

JimsCocktails.jpg

And the our token gifts were inventive variations on the same theme...

TonysChampagne.jpg

The cake that was almost too good to cut. Almost.

TonysCake.jpg

I've got to be where my spirit can run free
     [from Corner of the Sky in the musical Pippin by Stephen Schwartz].

Posted on April 15, 2012 at 2:44 AM. Category: Red Letter Days.

Friday April 13, 2012

One song to the tune of another.

I bought some reading glasses which came with a useful but unremarkable case. Fresh from my experiences adapting a test sampler (fair isle cushion cover) into a tablet cover - ie dead easy - I decided to convert my unappealing Giant Woolley E into a glasses case.
Voilà.

GlassesCase2.jpg

I dismembered the arms of the E, grafted them together, and felted the resulting tube. I then stitched and cut. I found a perfect scrap of cotton for the lining, - but you cannot appreciate it (at all) in the finished item.

GlassesCase1.jpg

Posted on April 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM. Category: Knitting.

Friday April 6, 2012

Vide Grenier à Saint Laurent de Cuves

A bit late setting off but we managed to get to a "boot sale" - it was very local and we had a bit of trouble locating it despite the fact that the village is tiny and the sale took over the whole of it, since they had closed all roads in.

VideGrenierCat.jpg

Anyway we came away with wonderful treasures! (Each at only 50 centimes). This jug (you can see how lovely it is) will join my interesting cat collection, and below we found a pin badge (St Pois is next to Cuves) to join a secret collection of George's - I particularly like its reference to the Tour de France which passed the area last year and granite, as George is so fond of the Granite Museum.

VideGrenierBadge.jpg

Sadly I did not take a picture of the loveliest treasure which was an apple fork - a farming implement for picking up apples - a bit like a pitchfork. A real bargain, though probably just for show as we use the amazing Apple Wizard - no orchard should be without one.

Posted on April 6, 2012 at 4:56 PM. Category: France.

Thursday April 5, 2012

... et la bête

Tondeuse3.jpg

When we got back, the weather was delightful again, so George was straight out on the mower.... for about half an hour. Then I had to go out and help him investigate why the engine cut out every time he lowered the cutting blades. We spent ages looking at the automatic cut out switches and finally jacked it up to look at the blades, finding that one was totally seized up - and the cause was trivial: a sizeable chunk of wood was firmly wedged in it.

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 3:34 PM. Category: France.

Le Beau...

PetitMatelot.jpg

We dropped in on Ava and Peter to see the grandchildren who are there "en masse" for the Easter holiday (that is Jacob and Isobel). I had finished the little sailor outfit so took it with me and within minutes Jacob was wearing it. The beret - as George (who knows a thing or two) had predicted - was too small - so I was forced to perform open-hat surgery on the kitchen table using only wooden barbecue skewers. [I really find it hard to believe that there is someone who has no knitting needles whatever... made mental note to never leave home without knitting bag ever again].
Here Jacob is obligingly posing for his public with Gemma.

Posted on April 5, 2012 at 2:00 PM. Category: France.

Tuesday April 3, 2012

La Tondeuse arrive sur la remorque

Tondeuse2.jpg

George nursed the old lawnmower through most of last season - it had lost some vital parts on its way round the field. We waited until the new season to purchase a replacement. This is not a brand new machine but pretty solid with some nice features, and also picks the grass up - this is both an advantage and a disadvantage - most of our land is field rather than lawn so we need to leave the cut grass where it falls; we have a widget on order which will give us that option. As things stand currently, George has created a grass mountain in a single (late) afternoon's mowing.

Tondeuse1.jpg

Posted on April 3, 2012 at 5:36 PM. Category: France.