Sunday, 28 April 2019

Weekend April - ing

Hello there, I hope you are well. April has flown past so quickly, please join me for a peep into our last weekend of the month.

Shopping & Watching

The weekend arrived with Hurricane Hanna, so any plans were accompanied with wind and rain. The teens were busy with their own activities and 'after a while' they emerged to get on with their day. Teen 2 arranged a stay over at a friends house and saw 'Avengers Endgame' at the cinema. Meanwhile, M and I went into town shopping as I desperately needed a new watch battery and to collect some library books. Much later, Teen 1 went to a different cinema to see 'Us.'

Enjoying pretty blooms in the garden and realising there's so much weeding to be done.

QT Waiting for food that he may not even eat, such a fussy old boy at the moment.

Knitting a sleeve of my purple jumper.  This knitting has been on the needles far too long and unpicked too many times. I think my knitting tension has changed over time as I do remember re-doing the back. The front has a diamond pattern in the middle and no matter how many attempts at taking the yarn across the back of it, it just wouldn't lay flat. In the end I abandoned the shape and knitted it plain. The pattern has sequins around the diamond and beads along the moss stitch edge (top, bottom and sleeve edges). I chose not to do all these embellishments. The front and back are finished so just one and a bit sleeves and neck shapings to go. I really need to get this jumper finished.


Discussing this at the book club. This was a good book that I was glad to have persevered with. I won't be reading more by this author which is often how it is with book clubs. You get to read many different genres but not necessarily become a fan.

Who is in Coma Suite Number 5?
A matchless lover? A supreme egotist? A selfless martyr? A bad mother? A cherished sister? A selfish wife?
All of these. For this is Silvia Shute who has always done exactly what she wants. Until now, when her life suddenly, shockingly stops.
Her past holds a dark and terrible secret, and now that she is unconscious in a hospital bed, her constant stream of visitors are set to uncover the mystery of her broken life. And she must lie there, victim of the beloveds, the borings, the babblings and the plain bonkers.
Like it or not, the truth is about to pay Silvia a visit. Again, and again and again...

Questions for Oh, Dear Silvia

1, What are your initial thoughts about the book eg – the writing style, words underlined, different characters telling their own story?
2, Silvia's character evolves throughout the book and at the end we gain an understanding of her actions. 
How did this development affect your sympathy towards her behaviour?
3, Discuss the development of each character's feelings towards Silvia and how they evolve throughout the course of the book? 
4, Discuss the morality of Silvia's actions: should she have gone to the police?
5, Was the ending what you had expected and if not, what had you thought / hoped would happen? 
6, Optional extra question – How did you feel the motif of nature was used in the book? What did it signify to you?


Listening to this book on audible. An enjoyable story with sleuthing and laughs thrown side by side with the quirky detective and his insistence for correct dress code in the heat.

‘Deftly entertaining … satisfyingly pushes all the requisite Agatha Christie-style buttons’ Barry Forshaw, The Independent
DEATH IN PARADISE is one of BBC One’s most popular series which averages 9 million viewers.

DI Richard Poole is hot, bothered and fed up. He’s stuck on the tropical island of Saint-Marie, forced to live in a rickety old shack on a beach, and there isn’t a decent cup of tea to be found anywhere.
When a boat explodes in the harbour, Richard and his team soon realise there’s a new murderer on the loose. But who is it? And why did the killer leave behind a ruby at the scene of the crime?
As the police dig deeper, they uncover secrets that go back decades, and a crime from the past that can never be forgiven.
Worse still, they soon realise this is only the beginning. They’ve got to catch the killer before there's another death in paradise…
An original story from the creator and writer of the hit BBC One TV series, Death in Paradise, featuring on-screen favourite detective, DI Richard Poole.


Reading at the top of my reading pile. Together by Julie Cohen (2017).
Having enjoyed listening to a previous book by Julie Cohen - The Day of Second Chances (Audible) - Falling (book), I thought I'd read another one. 

This is not a great love story. 
This is a story about great love.

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually does. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes's Me Before You, David Nicholls's One Day and M L Stedman's The Light Between Oceans.

Eating Fish & Chips at the book club with a divine pudding of chocolate cookie filled with rolo caramel, in a pool of hot chocolate sauce and drenched in cream.

I could tell you how lovely 'Boe Violet Gin' is and how Aldi's version, though nowhere near as strong, is equally lovely but I'd best not.
Oops, I just did!

Take care of you & yours

Have a good week
Cathy x

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Crochet news - Weekend Stitches (UK terms)

Crochet News

Hello there! Browsing through my blog this week, I saw that parked in the drafts section, were photos of this cotton washcloth. You'll have noticed that a small part of it is displayed in my blog heading. It was chosen to represent the 'hooks' element of 'hooks and needles' and not at all because I happen to love green, of course not!

I'd originally shared a finished photo in March last year as part of the Five on Friday posts - which sadly 
are no longer running. I'd taken it up to the bathroom for a sunny photograph. For 'weekend stitches,' it's a few days early, though to me it feels like a Friday already!
I'm not sure what it is with a Bank Holiday weekend, everybody seems more tired than usual, or maybe it's due to the clocks changing for BST recently. 

Weekend Stitches

This crochet stitch is called - Up and Down stitch, or Lemon Peel Stitch. If you picture lemon peel (in your mind) with its pitted surface and uneven skin, it describes this stitch perfectly.
The pattern is achieved by alternating stitch height along each row.

In UK terminology - dc double crochet, tr treble crochet (for US dc - sc, tr - dc)

After making a chain (multiples of 2 plus 1) with as many stitches as you require, follow the repeating pattern below. 

Row 1 - start by dc in the second ch on the hook, tr in the next,
continue (dc in next stitch, tr in the next) to the end of the row, ch1, turn.

Row 2 - until desired length - starting with dc in the first stitch, tr in the next, 
continue (dc in next stitch, tr in next stitch) to the end of the row, ch1, turn.

Repeat row 2 until desired length.

On the final row, (omit ch1, turn), fasten off and weave in ends.

That's all there is to this stitch pattern. You'll notice that the taller stitches will be lining up with the shorter stitches from the previous row and vice versa.
This creates a very dense, uneven and twisted looking stitch.

(Double crochet & Treble crochet  
how to photos, more weekend stitches in labels cloud). 

I used this stitch to crochet a washcloth for M with a border in dc (uk terms) in contrasting colour. I used a 5mm crochet hook. The yarn I used was Rico aran 100% cotton in solid colours. There is a multi colour in this range and both are available from Wool Warehouse. 

Overall I like this stitch, it's a pattern that you can crochet happily at Knit & Natter groups or whilst watching the TV. It's a simple pattern that's perfect for washing with it's bumpy surface. 

Do let me know if you've tried this stitch before or whether there's anything unclear in the instructions.
Cathy x

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Happy Easter Weekend

Hello there, I hope you are all well and enjoy a lovely Easter weekend break.

This week after finishing another crocheted basket, this time in purple, sorry I've no photo, I've crocheted a scrubby for the kitchen at 'Knit & Natter'. The yarn itself is a bit tricky to work with as you can't easily see the stitches.'s only a scrubby for washing dishes in bubbly water, so does it really matter if it's not perfect! There is a pattern included with the yarn on the inside of the band label. It has a few rounds finishing with a scalloped round.

I've listened to a few more audiobooks that I've thoroughly enjoyed. Two were by Jacqueline Winspear -
The Mapping of Love and Death 
A Lesson in Secrets.

book cover of The Mapping of Love and Death    book cover of A Lesson in Secrets

They are both part of the Maisie Dobbs series set in the 1930's. There are no mobile phones or google to hand, her young assistant calls her Miss Dobbs and makes an awful lot of tea. Maisie a private detective working with Scotland yard at times, solving crime the old fashioned way. Thinking, writing, talking and using the public telephone box, she walks, takes the train or drives her 'motor car' (MG). The country is between wars, poorer children lack shoes and living conditions are hard. The class system is evident making it hard to 'rise above your station.' Maisie is fortunate having somehow climbed from a maid, studied at Cambridge and served as a nurse in the great war. I'm not sure why it appeals so much, the story is very slow moving, the character just grows on you. I will be listening to more in the series on audiobook. 

Lastly I've listened to 'The Day of Second Chances' which is also called After the Fall or even Falling by Julie Cohen. It's weird how the book has so many different titles but it's the same book.

book cover of The Day Of Second Chances

Wow, what a book! You'll be taken on a roller coaster of feelings with laughter, shock and tears - yes real heart jerking tears. I suppose it may not appeal to everyone containing some explicit content, gender issues and colourful language, but that's life. The picture on the cover photo shows three generations of women, each with a secret so devastating, they can't even tell the ones they love. Jo's 2 younger children provide many laughs throughout the story keeping it light and amusing. Lydia, Jo's older daughter made me want to shout, with her 'teenager life' in the family. Anyone with teens may know how this feels. Honor is...a formidable that too harsh? The 3 protagonists challenge each other, each character telling their chapter in turn, starting slow and building towards something almost too big to contain them. It is heartbreaking in places but...

I'm not going to tell you the ending and if it turns out ok.  I can only recommend it to you and hope you'll enjoy it as much as I did.

Bye for now,
Cathy x 

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Finishing Projects & Catching Up!

Hello there! I've recently finished the blanket I'd been working on for way too long. It's Attic24's Woodland Blanket that I crocheted as a gift for my Mother-in-law. I wasn't sure about this blanket when it was first released as a CAL (crochet-a-long) by Lucy. It's lovely, bright and cheerful with a stunning pattern of waves but I'm just not a lover of orange. So though I never chose to crochet it for myself, making it as a gift was satisfying. Overall I preferred crocheting the Moorland blanket seen in the background but that is probably because I knew I'd be keeping it. My blanket has remained on the sofa as I enjoy seeing it.
Of course any craftwork you do should be enjoyable and with the gentle ripples of the woodland design, the colours flow through a sequence of dark to light - from the forest floor to the sky above. Do have a look at the link to see how Lucy was inspired by her woodland walks to create this stunning crocheted blanket.

M holding up the blanket

QT throwing some shapes

Why stand if you can sit. QT is extremely fussy with food lately, switching varieties within a few boxes and feeling thin. He's on meds and will be visiting the vets soon for a thyroid check. I feel sure his weight will be questioned but at 18 yrs old, rarely going out and sleeping lots, I'm sure this is all to be expected. He seems happy within himself and is keen to see what's occurring - except if it's hoovering.
We did trim his nails this week and he sat on my lap as good as gold. We bought the clippers from amazon and watched a youtube video (who doesn't) and snipped the ends off. He is extremely good whilst grooming him too knowing he'll soon have 6 Dreamies for his trouble. Such a good natured fellow, a soft gentle giant.

QT looking philosophical, and deep in thought, probably thinking about his next meal.

Scattering on some leaves

I found the crocheted leaf pattern on attic 24 website too, a few were requested so I chose some colours from the leftover pack and added these to finish it off.

Leaves sewn on

So what's next... I've crocheted a few more scrubbies, crocheted a small basket (I made the largest one - which is quite small) and continued trying to de-clutter but mainly keeping up with the cleaning. I've decided to cut down on social media 'again'. After starting to follow a few Instagram accounts, I'd noticed that between facebook and instagram I was frequently popping on both, catching up with videos and stories etc. In the real world of home and family life, I found less books were read, less crochet was enjoyed and less of anything generally was achieved. So for now I've removed both apps from my phone and only log on using the laptop - once a day.

Already I feel happier, I'm back to reading and listening to more audiobooks too. I honestly haven't missed it and have loved being more creative and absorbed in reading. I've even made a birthday cake and stew & dumplings today. Cakes haven't been made for quite a while, which is sad because they should be baked more often. I think a chocolate cake will be baked at the weekend and that's got to be good.

I've listened to Stef Penney - The Invisible Ones, this was a good story that left a few unanswered questions at the end. There's an interesting interview by the author on youtube about the book. If you've read this book, please let me know what you think about the ending (regards Ivo, the find in the trailer cupboard - that JJ should've have reported - & the arranged marriage). Sorry, I'm trying not to give away details but I'm seriously confused. Considering someone 'in the family' knew all about Ivo, how can 'this marriage' be arranged?

Another book I've enjoyed listening to and can recommend is Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz. Wow, all I can say about this book is that it's fantastic. A book within a book that takes you on a journey, with shocks and revelations guaranteed.

I've also  read a book that was lent to me The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris. I suppose you could say this is a love story, a book of hope and courage. It was certainly a harrowing tale showing the depravity of man in causing immense suffering and annihilation of  the Jews. One review of this book says it lacks tension, urgency and terror with no atmospheric build up. I for one am glad these elements of the book were minimal. I've read several books about the horror of the Jew's plight and frankly I'm sickened by it. The suffering and complete lack of humanity, deliverance and mercy shown towards this nation of people breaks my heart. I'm glad I read the story, it was good to hear of love holding together a couple during the worst time of their lives. I especially loved the blurb at end where the son asks a question of his parents marriage - where many marriages are ending why theirs is strong. Gita answers of Lale - “I know he is not perfect, but I also know he will always put me first.”

Craftwise - I've also had another attempt at my socks though when I tried them on they were enormous around the ankle & leg part. They looked more suited to socks for Nora Batty, wrinkles she would have been proud of. I've unpicked one of them and have followed the calculation on Winwick Mum's blog to ensure a correctly fitted sock. It transpired that I needed a much smaller sized sock & consequently a smaller length knitting needle. So whilst awaiting delivery of the needle, I continued knitting a jumper that has spent too many years languishing at the bottom of a cupboard.

I stopped to crochet a basket for the knit & natter challenge - 'knit/crochet a basket or bag'. I wasn't going to do this challenge as my blanket needed finishing. However, feeling pleased that the blanket was finished and being admired in it's new home, I felt restless at not joining in with the next challenge. I'm crocheting another basket at the moment before finishing the jumper sleeve. Ater that I will finish my sock and if it fits, I'll need to unpick it's partner.

It's teen 1 birthday today - 19 years old! I know I say this often, I really don't feel old - but boy how my kids have aged. It's shocking! His cake had a homemade cake band - printed and laminated with 'Red Dead Redemption II' and 'Pulp Fiction' on it. He was happy, so that's good.

I hope you are all well.
Bye for now & thank you for stopping by.

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