A few pretty pictures

I have just returned from Spain and as well as some knitting and stitching (no finishes to show yet!) I have been indulging in two of my other favourite pastimes, mountain biking and photography. I am hugely amateur at both of these but do love to do them and have spent a lot of time over the past week enjoying myself. I had the luxury of a week on my own (no children!) so as well of lots of sitting on my terrace in the sun reading and crafting it meant lots of cycling off-road and staring at the mountains and taking (hopefully) arty photos of the landscape.

Here are a couple of my bike ride locations.

Spain bike ride
Off towards the mountains!
Spain bike ride 2
On the scrubland between La Marina and the coast

I had great fun and this time managed not to injure myself (apart from a few minor scratches when I got a bit lost in the pine forest one day!) which is better than the last two times when I have come back hurt. It did me the world of good and now am raring to go (at least for the next six weeks till I go back at Easter!)

I don’t have a very good camera – mainly due to the fact that I keep breaking them so have never been able to justify spending a lot of money on one but I took what I thought were some nice landscape shots.

Spain beach 1
Walkway down to one of the local beaches
Spain landscape 1
Looking across from one of the verdes to the mountains
Spain landscape
Cacti on the verde
Spain landscape
More cacti in the morning sun
Spain - flowers
The flowers on my terrace

The sunsets in La Marina are amazing and I keep trying to get good pics but most of mine end up fuzzy or with houses (or telegraph poles) in the way. This one I took from my Mum’s back terrace one evening – the sky goes such lovely pinky orange colours.

Spain sunset
Sunset over the mountains

We also went to visit an exhibition of costumes from 25 years of fiestas in the local town of Torrevieja which was very good – these are just a couple of pics from there –

Fiesta 1
Carnival Queen's costume
Fiesta 2
One of the many beautiful beaded headresses

As well as all the lovely me time there was lots of time with family and I got to meet the newest member of the family in person (this is one of the little girls I have knitted cardis for). Here is Avive, who is now 9 months old, with her lovely Mummy, my cousin Joanne, and her great – grandmother my Nana – who will be 99 this July! Avive is Nana’s 7th great-grandchild and her fourth great- grandaughter. Ellen was her first which means that there is 19 years between them all.

Spain Avive and Nana
Avive showing Nana how to clap

I have just finished a pair of aqua wristwarmers in the same moss stitch as the pink ones I made a while ago – have got to sew them up still and am half way through another one of the little JBW Xmas stockings. I have also cast on for a hat for me but am having a little trouble with the pattern (purely due to my incompetence!) so may have to start again with that.

I finished the black version of the beret for Ellie so that will be on the way to her this week. I did take some pics of that but they came out awfully (told you I was  a very amateur photographer!) so will have to get her to take a pic of her modelling it.

Hope you have enjoyed my pics and thanks again for visiting – off to cut out more quilt pieces next!

The right tools for the job

Hello there hope that you are having a nice weekend. I am despite the pouring rain! I am nice and snug and warm – have been having boiler fettling again today due to a radiator issue and a broken fan but all is well now (fingers crossed!) so I have been enjoying being inside doing a little bit of crafting. Only a little bit as most of this weekend has been taken up with work but that is ok as it has been fun stuff.

Just after Xmas I treated myself to some proper cutting tools for quilting. I had already bought a rotary cutter which is fab but now have a large A2 cutting mat and two rulers, an 18 inch long one and a 6 inch square which make life a lot easier. I have been cutting out the pieces for this project –

Bunny quilt
A cute little cot quilt

Sorry the pic is a bit pale – that is a photo of the pattern, I have had it in my file for long time and actually bought the fabric last year but I am only just getting around to it now.It is called Bunny Hugs and I got it as a freebie download from the Free Quilting website .

I am making it with a selection of lovely paisley fabrics in pink and turquoise. The pattern has lots of different sized pieces so I have come up with a nifty idea to keep check of what I am cutting out. I have made a list and as I cut each one I tick it off and label it on the reverse with a little peel off sticker.

Bunny quilt 1
My new tools and lovely fabrics!


Bunny Quilt 2
My labelling idea

It will be a while till I get chance to sew it all together as I have another packed week and then I am off to sunny Spain but I am pleased with the cutting out so far – the proper rulers make all the difference and mean I don’t risk cutting my hands!

I had a very lovely evening yesterday – we were invited to go and watch a presentation by the Project Nepal 2 team who went to do their build last Oct. You may be aware that I went to Nepal two years ago to do a similar thing – check out my pages on Project Nepal and My Time in Nepal if you want more details of my adventures.

It was lovely to meet up with old freinds – many who went out to Nepal again this trip and they had a very interesting time. It made me really nostalgic for the time I spent there, I absolutely loved it and really want to go again (just checked out prices for flights and it’s not that expensive – but can’t go for a few years yet!)

The pictures they showed of the mountains were again amazing – they went after the build in the village to stay at Pokhara in a beautiful hotel on an island – check out these views.

fishtail lodge gardens
The view from Fishtail Lodge gardens
View from Fishtail Lodge Pohkara
The view of Machapuchare - Fishtail Mountain - from Pokhara

Heaven, heaven, heaven. I think Pokhara is one of the most beautiful places on earth and I am very priviliged to have been there. A wonderful evening and it made me quite emotional.

Anyway on to other very, very exciting news! Fingers crossed and all being well I am going to teach in China later on this year! I am really thrilled as I have wanted to go out to work in China for a long time – the University runs lots of joint courses with a Polytechnic there and there are always offers of work but they have always been longer term and I have not been able to go. Well this is for just over 2 weeks and I will be going in September and hopefully then again in March 2012. We are going to be doing workshops on teaching creatively with groups of Chinese teacher trainers and using a translator as most of them don’t speak English so that will be a very interesting experience for me.

The place I will be going to is called Guangzhou and it looks incredible – it is the third largest city in China and I got some pics from Google to show you what it looks like.

guangzhou 1
The city was host to the 16th Asian games last year
guangzhou 2
guangzhou 3
I really want to go and visit this tower

Incredible isn’t it – I am very lucky! We will get about 5 days off while we are there so time for a bit of sightseeing, and there may well be textiles! I wonder what the luggage allowance is and whether I can persuade any of my colleagues to share their space with me?

I do hope you have all had a lovely week – I will not be posting next week as will not be in the country so shall update you all on my return. Am planning a black hat finish and at least one Xmas ornie completion while in Spain – just wish they would let me stitch on the plane!

Thanks again for visiting.

More talented friends and relatives

You may remember some time ago I wrote about my talented friend Bucket and his 18th century embroidered waistcoat. Well here is a pic of it in its finished state – I hope Bucket does not mind me sharing this pic from his partner’s Facebook album. Look at the amazingness of this!

Bucket's waistcoat finished
A master embroiderer indeed!

My wonderfully talented daughter Ellie has also been very busy – she had a very cute patchwork cushion kit from Madeline Millington  for Xmas and her friend Gemma has given her a sewing machine so she has produced this very lovely cushion.

Ellie's patchwork cushion
Ellie's patchwork cushion

Here it is on her bed.

Ellie's patchwork cushion 2
Being looked after by her collection of frogs!

I have not got much to report myself this week – so it is a good job Facebook came to the rescue for me as I am still only halfway through Ellie’s hat – since it is knitted in black and the weather has been awful I don’t think I could have got a decent pic for you anyway. Would have made more progress but have had another very busy week. Did have a long train journey this week and took the knitting but sadly it was a crowded train and I didn’t want to poke the guy next to me with my needles so got little done – must learn to knit on circulars so I can knit more on trains!

I was hoping to do a bit of garden tidying this weekend – we had a couple of days with a bit of blue sky and I got all optimistic but then I remembered that I live in Yorkshire and it is only the first week of Feb! The poor garden looks so tatty – I am longing to be able to get out and restore it to prettiness – roll on summer!

The very, very good news is that full boiler function was restored on Weds – ohh the warmth – it is so fantastic and it did not mean having to have  a new boiler thank goodness so we are all very happy and toasty once again.

I have just ordered a new book from Amazon as I am going to be participating in Crazy Aunt Purl’s book club on her blog. I have meant to join in before but have missed deadlines but this book looks particularly good as it is about immigration to the USA which is a subject I am really interested in. The book is called When We Were Strangers  and looks like a very nice read. It may well be my holiday book as I am off in two weeks for a little bit of ‘blue skies and bougainvillea’  therapy in Spain again. Have also treated myself to another Laura Ingalls Wilder book as I love reading things from her life.

Well I hope that you are all having a lovely crafty weekend and are nice and warm and toasty – just listening to the rain lashing down makes me very glad to be inside – off to stir my beef stew now!

Thanks for visiting.