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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Our 125th Birthday!!

Yep, that's right - we have 125 years between us (sorry to disappoint you if you thought it was just one birthday, I very much doubt either of us will reach that age!)

It all started on 10th March when I had my 60th birthday.  Eric took me out for lunch and the weather was so nice we were able to sit outside.

Then, in the evening, we had a band rehearsal to go to.  The plan was we'd just have a quick meal and then get down to some playing . . . except, when we got there, the house was full of people!!  Eric and our friends had organised a surprise birthday party for me. This was my first real grown up party!

The fairy lights were all set up, but not turned on when we arrived - might have given the game away otherwise.

They'd really gone overboard with the decorations and balloons.

Some of the guests

and the hostess with the most-ess :-

I'll get you back Angela when you reach the big Six Ohhhh!

As usual, the host (on the right) had plenty to say for himself.

I had a fabulous evening, and really didn't have a clue that anything was going on. Needless to say, we didn't get much any playing done!

Dopey picture time - think I was a bit overwhelmed with the whole thing :-

I think this is my best side :-

Sadly, I didn't get a photo of the two birthday cakes Katharine had made for me.  One was covered in grated white chocolate, and the other with plain and both had candles. Unfortunately, when I came to blow out the candles, all the chocolate blew all over the table and guests.  Hmmm, maybe a light breeze would have been better, not a raging gale!

Two days later we set off on our holidays.  We'd had this trip planned for a while so Eric could meet his grandson for the first time.  And, lo and behold, there were more birthday celebrations organised.  His four sons, wives and partners had rented a house up in the Highlands of Scotland, about 10 miles away from Aviemore.

The first night we arrived, we had more presents, a fabulous meal, and another cake. They could have softened the blow with the sparklers on top, but no, they had to rub it in that we were 125!

Burned-out sparklers just visible!

It was an incredibly good cake though - Banoffee pie, lovely!!

It was a double celebration for Eric, being both 65 (on 19th March) and a Grandad!

I'll leave you with a pic of the wee boy himself :-

Where's the "Awwwww" button?
Totally worn out with all the festivities!

Monday, 10 March 2014

The End of the Blanket

I was wondering whether I should really post the finished photos of the elephant baby blanket on here.  I don't think Rona and Matthew ever look at my blog, but there's always a first time isn't there?

I'd been planning on making a baby blanket ever since Rona and Matthew visited in the summer and casually announced they (well, Rona to be precise) were pregnant.

I asked Rona if I could make something for the new baby and we decided on a blanket. Baby clothes in handspun wool are probably not a good idea as they need to be easy to throw in the washing machine.  Hopefully, the blanket won't need to be washed quite as often.  Full washing instructions will be given first-hand when we visit the UK in the coming weeks.

I probably started this in about October when I dyed the wool (beautiful merino fleece from Maco Merinos here in France) for the elephants using woad plants from the garden.

Since then, I've been planning, designing, carding, spinning and knitting like mad.

Wouldn't you just know it though, I ran out of white wool 14 rows before the end.  Spun some more and knit that up . . . 6 rows left to go!

At least I knew that this time when I spun more wool it would finish the thing!


So, after a final soak in soapy water to get rid of any last residual dirt, and allowed to dry in the sunshine, here is the finished item . . .

Brody's Baby Blanket

Not the best photo in the world, but it does show the complete pattern.  The bobbles around the elephants look like holes don't they?

I have to say, the elephants are not my own design.  I downloaded charts from the internet for these, but we did modify them to suit what would fit and what I wanted.  The elephant in the middle was actually quite a small chart so we made it bigger, and the small elephants just didn't look quite right in some places once knitted, so we altered those as well.

I am planning (sometime) to publish this pattern on Ravelry, as everything apart from the elephants is my own design, but it will probably be when we get back from the UK at the end of March, beginning of April.  This may take a while though as I've never published a pattern before and haven't a clue yet how to start.  Interesting project!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Is This Really Spring?

22 degrees, lunch outside on the patio, grass needs cutting . . . it must be spring!

A few reminders of what we've been missing for the past months :-

Almond Blossom 
Look at that sky - this photo hasn't been doctored either!

Will we really get apricots this year?  The wind usually blows all the blossom off!

Gorgeous little violets are popping up all over.

And the next little flower (!) supposedly reading his new builders merchant's catalogue . . . must be imprinted on the inside of his eyelids!!!