Saturday, 11 July 2015

A new family member, and a holiday

We have a new family member: we have adopted a young female cat from a shelter. We were all very sad to lose both our cats to age-related illnesses prior to the house move, and DS has been desperate to have another ever since.  As we are finally settled in the new house, and DS is home for the summer from uni, it seemed like the right time.

Oreo (formerly known as Lorna but DS came up with her new name) is about 11 months old and very friendly. She's a bit nervous about being in a new place, so she likes staying on this top stair underneath the attic door hatch, but she's getting braver all the time. Isn't she pretty?

We're letting her explore more of the house bit by bit, but I'm hoping to keep her out of the sewing and knitting rooms altogether to avoid things being used as a cat bed.


We are halfway through our two week 'staycation' and we've been having a pleasant time. Happily the weather has cooled down from the ridiculous 36 degrees of last week, to about the mid-twenties with cool evenings, so it's been much more comfortable.  We're trying to do things that we wouldn't normally be able to do on weekends, but without spending too much money.

So far we have:

  • visited the Poppy Patch quilt shop in Great Doddington for their 'up to 70% off' sale, where I got backing for three quilts in my UFO queue.
  • watched a parade for a summer carnival
  • used our HHA membership to visit Kelmarsh Hall and gardens for an excellent tour, and tea and cake in the garden
  • visited the Olney antique shops and picked up a couple of old prints for the house, visited the Olney museum where they display antique lace (and I bought some lace patterns in the gift shop) as Olney used to be a lace town, and had a Turkish lunch
  • visited the Tudor Rose patchwork and craft shop, which was also having a summer sale, and where I found this cool embroidered ric-rac. Don't know what I will do with it, but I really liked it.

  • went sightseeing in Northampton, with an excellent tour of 78 Derngate which was remodelled by the famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh for W. J. Bassett-Lowke in 1916 (and he made his money selling models and dollshouse furniture!) and a cream tea; then a tour around some of the heritage sights and a visit to the museum (mostly shoes as Northampton was a shoe-making town).
  • adopted Oreo, and sorted out registering her with a vet, buying her equipment and food etc.
  • and today (drum roll please.....) we went to the Wickes kitchen sale and got the cabinets I need for my dollshouse display room!!!!!!!!  Finally! After losing I don't know how many kitchen auctions on eBay. It's a quite reasonable cream-coloured range which comes flat-packed, so we've got a lot of assembling to do, and it was 40% off in the sale. So not only was it cheaper than the eBay kitchens, I haven't had to hire a van to collect it, and it will all be nice and clean. So a Win Win.  I don't know if we will work on it while we are on holiday but there will be a lot of shifting boxes first to move out all the stuff we've been storing in the dollshouse room before we can start putting together cabinets.


You would think I would be doing lots of crafts while I'm not at work, but we've been relatively busy doing other things.

This week I did finally finish a cross-stitch kit which I started about ten years ago.  It's called 'The Quilt Room', designed by Michael A LeClair and manufactured in the USA as part of JCA's Displaymates range. I saw it in a catalogue and enabled a friend to buy one as well, since we were both interested in cross stitch and quilting, and for me of course it taps into my interest in dollshouses.  She finished hers right away, I got bogged down in the boredom of stitching the wallpaper stripes.  Over the years I did a bit more from time to time, then I finally finished it when we were in the rental house.  Recently I unpacked my dollshousing paints and stains, and was able to decorate the plain pine box frame, then this week I stretched the stitched piece over some cardboard and installed it in the frame.  I feel a sense of achievement.

I've started knitting a toy rabbit from Little Cotton Rabbits. They are so cute and come with instructions for the dress and shoes as well.

I'm still knitting on the Rowan Summer Tweed cardigan and am almost up to the waist. I'm knitting it all in one piece rather than separate fronts and back.

I'm about halfway through knitting the Hewitt square for the GAA Afghan although I am leaving out the bobbles as I thought they looked messy. It has some very complicated cable crossings in it like 4/3/4.

On the sewing front, as well as altering some clothing, I've pulled out the next couple of UFOs from the list.  Do you remember this knitting bag I was making about five years ago?  These are the two side panels, and I have a large metal snap frame that will give the bag its shape.  This week I was stitching down the fusible applique motifs with invisible thread. My sewing machine is making some funny noises when it does zigzag but we found a place in Northampton that does servicing so I will take it in there next week.

And this four-part picture of a Venetian gondola dates back to a group project in 2007 when four of us in my sewing club all made a quarter-panel for each other's choice of picture.  I've put it on my design wall while I think how to finish it.  It needs a lot more embellishment, and then I think I might put a frame around it like a postcard.

And I received a lovely parcel in the post this week from a very nice woman I met at the Castlethorpe Craft Day. She has sent me 35 lace bobbins she didn't want any more, they are all good quality but some of them are really lovely and must have originally been quite expensive. I'm really grateful and will have to look for something to send her in return as she doesn't want any money for them.


The big change in the garden this week is that we used one of our holiday days to cement in the two garden arches. They really change the feel of the garden: giving vertical height and psychological pressure to use them as entrances/exits from the round lawn.  With next month's pay cheque I'm going to order a rose to grow over the far arch and some lavender plants to plant around the near arch. That's probably the last of the big garden projects for this year, especially as we still don't have a builder to do wall repairs.

One of the mystery plants that I couldn't identify turned out to be day lilies which are very striking.

And something else that I wasn't sure if it was a weed or a flower is now blooming - and I'm still not sure.  Anyone know what this plant is?  The plants are about 2-3 feet high, they mostly died back in winter, and then sprouted again over the last few months.


swooze said...

They look like honeysuckle.

Looks like you are getting your crafty groove back. Glad to see you working on your quilts.

Your cat is beautiful. We are down to 3 dogs now. We lost my sons dog , also my quilting assistant, about 6 weeks ago. I have really been fighting the urge to get another to replace her. Quite frankly there is just no replacing her. Also, I may be traveling to Louisiana again for work and it would be hard to have a new pet in that mix.

Sarah Nopp said...

For your mystery flower: check out Phygelius, a type of fuchsia.

Daisy said...

What a beautiful cat! I hope she settles in quickly. Love the effect of the arches in the garden.

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