Sunday, June 29, 2008

We need a holiday to get over the holiday..

We got back from our whistle stop tour of Scotland early Monday evening... and hit the ground running. Finn was straight back into his fun packed activities Tuesday morning full of beans as usual. On the other hand both me and Paul were starting to feel the after effects of our busy holiday. I've nearly conquered the holiday washing mountain and packed everything away again so this week should be more relaxing.

We managed to see almost all of our friends and family between staying in Edinburgh, Loch Lomond & Glasgow over the 10 days we were away and squeezed in a day trip to Stirling to meet some of my family driving down from Aberdeen.

During our stay in Loch Lomond we took F to the SeaLife Aquarium. Finn was more interested in the various types of lighting inside than all the fish, sharks & seahorses swimming around in the huge tanks! The underwater tunnel with sharks swimming overhead was awesome & I took a lot of pictures. But very quickly I realised that I need a new digital camera. My current one has quite a long lag between pressing the button and taking the picture so I have lots of motion blurred fish. Very pretty but not practical to capture detailed inspirational photographs! So now I'm shopping for a new Nikon digital camera :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

We're on holiday :)

We managed to make it up to Edinburgh in one go on Thursday after all as F was loving being in the big hire car! The journey up took us about 9 1/2 hours... including quite a few long breaks & wasn't too bad at all. We're loving being back in Scotland again & even though we moved down south in 2004 it still feels like home to us. Although both me & Paul had forgotten how the north easterly wind makes it feel colder than expected and proved we've definitely acclimatised to the warmer southern climes.

Our first trip out on Friday am was to the local doctor as Paul's back had gone into spasm loading the car Thursday am & got worse on the journey up. When we woke up on Friday am he could hardly bend to get dressed let alone walk... The doctor says it's muscular and will take a few days at least to ease off & prescribed some codine/paracetamol & ibuprofen tablets for the pain. So we've taken it easy and just pottered about visiting a few old haunts, catching up with friends & doing a bit of shopping.

Of course no holiday would be complete without me hunting out new yarn shops... and I was keen to pop into k1YARNS that I discovered on Ysolda Teague's blog a while ago. When I lived in Edinburgh this shop didn't exist and I knew from their website that they stocked the Artesano alpaca 4ply I fancied trying...

I was quite restrained and only bought one type of yarn I hadn't planned... the Noro. I bought one Noro ball as it is a 70% wool/30% Nylon mix and I'm not sure if it will felt. It's quite loose spun & the label says 30 degree wash so I'm hopeful. The Artesano alpaca feels wonderfully soft and the multi colour twist effect will be stunning when felted. I'll have a go at felting them when I get home let you know what happens.

Haggis the highland cow has come on holiday too & his shaggy hair is coming along nicely.... but that's for the next post.

We're off to Loch Lomond Tuesday for the next leg of our trip... keep your fingers crossed the weather holds :)

Friday, June 6, 2008

Haggis' horns have been giving me a headache

I've been back to working out the pattern for Haggis the highland cow this week. I started with the hooves and hoof decorations. They came together very easily... I only needed to make one change to the hoof base and the heart came out just right first time... Phew!

The horns though have been a real challenge. I have ripped them down so many times this week. The 2 tall ones are just 2 of the ones I kept to help work out where I was going wrong. The 3rd smaller one is my current work in progress. The shape looks more promising this time. Not too many kinks and twists and gently getting wider as I go round. This one looks good and fingers crossed It might just be the one :) If you look closely you'll spot I've been shopping on etsy again. I just can't keep away from Yarnimals cute amigurumi round markers ( I've got the sheep & have my eye on a few more too).

The body, head and legs are should be quite straight forward as I've already done the swatch for his shaggy hair. It's a slightly wavy version of Marlion's mane...

I'm working out Haggis's pattern in some lovely Jojoland melody 4ply/fingering weight pure wool. I'd never tried this yarn before and bought it from a lovely lady in Canada via Ravelry. I've not tried felting it yet so I'm really excited to see how this prototype turns out. Don't worry you'll be the first to see the pictures as knowing me I'll be so excited to show how he turned out!

I have been buying more yarn too! I loved the Kauni so much I went a bit mad and ordered a lot from Astrids dutch obsessions I'm going to use the Kauni EJ (cream/camel/pink) to try out the finished Haggis pattern and I think he's going to be scrummy.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Seedling crops ravaged

It seems the word eventually leaked out in snail land that there were some tasty treats newly arrived nearby.... Their initial scouting of the area surmised they needed more troops to overwhelm the stock completely.

So after lulling me into a false sense of security that my defenses were strong enough to withstand attacks they returned in the dead of night. Silently they gathered their armies and slithered across the grassy plains... making sure to leave no traces except their shiny sticky trails... up the mountainous stone steps & green plastic walls... across the moat & up the final walls to set to work and finish the job they'd started 2 nights ago.... so determined that not even the copious amounts of pellets (scattered after their first attack) could dissuade them from their task.

I won't surrender & these fragile crops are coming inside! No chance to munch them now & they won't be coming out again until they're big and strong. Are bigger plants the only way to win over snails? Did these go out too soon?

I'm off to resow some more beans as I think the others are unfortunately history :(

Sunday, June 1, 2008

We're growing veg!

It started with F's toddler playgroup a month ago... a grow the tallest sunflower competition. The sunflower had to be re potted 2 weeks ago as it's roots had shot out the bottom of the small pot I'd initially planted it in... and really quickly too. This reminded me about all the interesting heritage & old variety vegetable seeds I'd bought last year. 

So last week F and I headed out into the sunshine to sow some more seeds in my propagator.

We sowed:-

2 types of tomatoes... Madame Jardel's black from the Heritage seed library & Grushovka tall bush from The Real seed catalog.

2 types of tomatillo... great for making proper salsa. Orange Bourgoin from the Organic gardening catalogue & mixed purple n green from Real seeds.

Rosa Bianca aubergine, Nardello red pepper, 2 types of cucumber... Long white paris & crystal lemon (apple), tondo di piacenza courgette and lastly orangeglo watermelon.

We ran out of compost at that point :) so after buying more we then sowed the 2 types of squash:- marina di choggia & chigago warted hubbard, colossal climbing peas , strawberry sweetcorn, climbing inca pea bean & runner beans in larger pots outside...

I didn't know how many would germinate as it was last summers seed... but I kept my fingers crossed & nearly everything has germinated! In fact everything is now out of the propagator and today I'll have to re-pot the watermelon in it's outside tub as it's gone crazy :) F now has his own watering can so he can help with all the watering later on in the summer so I get to keep mine! Off to garden center later to buy some big bags of compost to fill the big planter tubs and hoping for a dry day so we can potter outside this afternoon...