Reflecting on my week #78

I ended last week’s post saying that I might be in the market for a pouffe, and while that was tongue in cheek, I think it might not be such a bad idea.  I had some good news at the doctors last week; my vitamin D which had been scarce back in December has hung around following that course of tablets, and I’m back in the normal range.  The recent blood tests also showed that whatever is making my hips ache, isn’t polymyalgia - which having read up on the symptoms, I was never convinced about.  But it’s not that, which is good news.

The less good news is that I still have the hip pain.  And so after trying to explain how and why, and if anything I was doing could be causing it (I don’t think it is), and the doctor moving my legs around in all kinds of ways, and in some ways I had forgotten they could move, he thinks the joints and the areas around them are inflamed.  So now I have a course of anti-inflammatories which he hopes will knock it on the head.  He’s not the only one!

The trouble is any tablets only work if you actually take them, the hardest thing seems to be remembering to take them three times a day.  Luckily they’re to be taken with or after food, so that’s less of a problem.  Imagine if they had to be taken before food, I’d really be struggling.  As it is, I’m jumping up about 30 mins after I’ve eaten and once I’ve remembered, hopefully it’ll become more usual before the course ends  

I hope they will do the job, and my hips will be on the mend, as in unrelated news we’ve booked a walking holiday.  This might not be the most obvious choice for someone with aching hips, but as I regularly walk 4 miles and 10,000 steps plus on weekdays, it’s not such a leap of faith. The longest walk day, and an optional one I think is 18.5km, so about three times as far as I’d normally walk. But when you’ve got the whole day to do it, and are enjoying the scenery along the way it isn’t as bad as it sounds.  I hope.

And I’ll finally get to Lisbon.  I think everyone else in my family has been, and said how good it is, and yet I’d still not been.  We almost got there, but it was too tricky to tag onto our Porto and the Douro Valley trip.  We’ve had a few holidays in Portugal, we’ve been to the Alentejo region a couple of times too, so it's a favourite of ours, and I have high hopes.

I’ve also finished my crochet basket made from old t-shirts, it took about twelve in the end, but is a big basket. I think it looks much better in real life than in this photo, and I’m happy with how it turned out as it was a bit of a “suck it and see” project.

A completed crochet basket made from around 12 old t shirts

The lumpy bits you can see in the photos are the seams of the t-shirts, and I think add character.  Of course, if you were using bought t-shirt yarn you wouldn’t have this.  But you’d also have about 12 t-shirts too!

I’ve just watched the recycling challenge on the Sewing Bee (don’t tell me who won, I’m still behind - although I think I might not be surprised when I do find out!), and I was shocked to hear how much unwanted clothes go into landfill.  I can’t remember the exact amount, and daren't google it in case I stumble across the winner, but it was a shocking amount, and an amount that my twelve t-shirts will hardly make a dent in, but every little helps right?

it fits well into the cubby hole in the wardrobe

It fits well into the cubbyhole of the wardrobe in the spare bedroom too, and was quickly full of some of my vintage crockery which had previously been in much shallower storage which didn’t make good use of the space. 

The basket is stretchier than I anticipated, but it’s doing a good job of holding things together. I’ve plenty more old t-shirts and will be making more, but not just yet as I’m keen to get back to my Vintage Sweetheart blanket, and make some progress with that. It’s good to start new projects, but it’s even better to finish some of the ones you’ve started! 

Looking ahead to this week, I’ve some time away from work on Wednesday as I’m off to brunch with Heston Blumenthal, like you do. The event is to celebrate Everdure by Heston and the launch of the 4K, which the invite says “is the next innovation in outdoor cooking” - it sounds interesting, and I’m sure I’ll share more here - and on my instagram stories on the day - when I know more.

Reflecting on my week #67

I hardly dare mention the B word here, but it’s been hard to ignore this past week. Whatever your political views, Brexit is as I’ve said at work this week the thing that will keep on giving. I’m sure we’re not through the dramatics and/or histrionics, depending on our viewpoint, yet, but it really isn’t good, for any of us. I’m not going to pass comment about what it should or shouldn’t be, or any of the options, but really, how did we get here - and more importantly how do we make sense of it all. I’m sure there must be an answer, but I’m also sure it won’t be pretty.

To combat the madness of the week, which has also had implications for my day job, I retreated to the study-cum-craft room. I really should have been doing my tax return but, with procrastination at its best I finally got around to tackling a project that’s been on my to do list for a while now. I’ve been collecting old t-shirts for a while now to use, and after some quick research set about creating my own t-shirt yarn.

T shirt yarn and the start of my first crochet basket

Creating the “yarn” was far easier than I thought it would be, but the t-shirts didn’t go as far as I thought they might. For the base I used two vest tops of mine (the navy and navy and white striped in these pictures) and a stone t-shirt of MOH’s. They all worked out really well, but especially MOH’s t-shirt as it was one I never really liked, but one that works well here.

I decided that I’d start big, as that would most likely be easiest and more forgiving. Once I’ve mastered big I might try something more refined - we’ll see. It’s harder on my thumbs than I thought it would be, but now I’ve worked out how to go up the sides it’s got a lot easier. I’m sure the novelty of creating the yarn and then crocheting it onto my basket creation will wear off but at the moment I’m taking this approach as creating the yarn balls in one go, seems very dull.

stripey yarn on my crochet basket

I’ve a way to go yet but I’ve finished the base, and have added a block of navy (one long sleeved top and a t-shirt) at the base of the sides before branching out into a strip of green (another long sleeved top). Next up is another stripey variety and I’ve some more white, and lime green t-shirts lined up. I’m not sure how many I’ll use, and I’ve already plans for a couple of red and pink versions.

And the reason for starting now, well it wasn’t entirely Brexit. I hit on the idea that I can use them effectively for storage in the spare bedroom wardrobe and with some more of that clearing out, I could free up a shelf for some more of my craft supplies. incentive, if ever I saw it, but it’s amazing what a little sprinkle of that can do.

This weekend also saw me catch up on all sort of post and parcels. All needed to be collected, some from the Post Office, some from my neighbour, who does a fantastic job of taking in parcels, some of which I’m not sure are even coming. Last week I said I hoped to get to the swimming pool at some point this month, and one of those parcels removed another of my excuses, and that’s subjecting my dyed hair to chlorine.

swimming cap - it's here

Hmmn. So now I have a new swimming costume, goggles and a swimming cap, the only thing that’s a barrier is working out the fees on the council’s website. Actually I think it’ll be simpler to go along and find out in person, so that could be happening soon. I think I’ll drag MOH along, though, just to be sure. And for the record, I’m not a swimmer, but I’m also not a runner and of the two the former appeals slightly more.

There was some blog post too, and I’m looking forward to trying out this new-approach cool bag. This is the lunch bag version and you freeze the whole bag overnight. It seems such a sensible idea, especially when it packs down small, that it takes up the space that the cool blocks would usually use. I’d like to test this out on a balmy summer’s day, but in the absence of those right now I’ll be giving this a go soon.

A new type of coolbag.jpg

The other items in my blog parcel was these plastic-free reusable storage bag by Stasher. AS you can see they packaging says they can be reused thousands of times and are a bag you can cook in - think sous vide - as well as store food in. They look intriguing and I’m looking forward to finding out more and putting these to the test too.

Stasher reusable plastic-free storage bag

On Friday evening I popped over to Canary Wharf and met up with MOH for dinner and a look at this year’s Winter Lights. There were some old favourites like the angel wings below, although there were a lot more of them than I remember from before, but that’s no bad thing as they were still a popular place to pose for photos.

Winter Lights Canary Wharf - Angel wings
Fluorescent floating recycled bottles

In Jubilee park these fluorescent recycled bottles were happily bobbing away on the water feature, looking very effective and while not completely natural, full of nature.  How vibrant are the colours?!  Further along we resisted the urge to have a bit of a hopscotch, quite different to the chalked versions I remembered…

hopscotch winter lights canary wharf

One of the more immersive pieces of art was this piece called Submergence in Montgomery Square. We arrived just as one cycle was finishing and waited, enjoying the anticipation for it to climax again. For straight rows of lights, it was pretty special - that isn’t meant to sound dismissive, it pulsed in time with the music, changing colour with the skyscraper office blocks in the background. However knowing what was coming, I was keen to see and experience that again, especially with the plummeting temperatures. But it’s definitely worth seeing, and if you experience only one, then make it this one.

an immersive experience at winter lights in canary wharf
in the winter lights at canary wharf

I’m finally getting my bearings in Canary Wharf - I know, but up until now I’ve found it a maze and confusing - but even so we finished our walking tour of the Winter Lights earlier than we thought. This year we’d planned ahead and booked somewhere for dinner (Chai Ki - and yes the loos were Loo Series-able) but had some time to kill. Hanging around outside wasn’t our preferred approach but the bars close by were busy. Then MOH had a brain wave and we clocked up a first, a glass of wine in the wine bar at Waitrose. Yeap, that’s right, a wine bar in the supermarket. It wasn’t empty but it wasn’t so busy that we couldn’t get served, or a seat either.

Who knew. Certainly not me, but I’m glad MOH did. With knowledge like this, he really is a keeper…

A few new crochet projects

Somehow I seem to be accumulating crochet projects - there’s just so much I want to get on and crochet. Well, not just crochet, but let’s stick with that for this post. I have at least a couple on the go - the main one is the Vintage Hearts colourful throw and the latest additions are these Granny Flora squares. Strangely they’re much easier than they look. They’re the last design I have to complete from the first section, and I’d left them until the end as they looked tricky. So discovering they weren’t has been a bonus.



The colours are great aren’t they? The completed throw is destined for our conservatory, and with the bold and colourful cushions I think it’ll fit right in. As well as this I’ve got the square a week green, natural and pink throw almost there. At one point I thought it might be ready in time for Christmas, but soon I realised that was just pure folly. The plan for that when it’s completed is to complement the material throw over the arm of our new sofas, in an attempt to prevent wear and tear.

But you already knew about both of those, so they’re hardly new are they?

This little box of colourful loveliness was one of my Christmas presents. It’s full of small stone or river washed scheepjes wool, with just about every shade imaginable. I spent a few days over the break just admiring them and pondering how I could use them and show them off at their best. I’ve decided on something a little different to my usual squares, and that’s hexagons. I’m thinking something with a flower centre with a couple of colours against a darker background.

colour everywhere in this scheepjes pack means I'm happy


I spotted a pattern online, with a pattern for sale but on further investigation only a hardcopy if you lived in South Africa, so that didn’t work. But of course I can’t get that pattern out of my mind so I’ve been trying to work it out from the picture. Strangely the centre of Granny Flora has helped a bit, although I’ve managed to draw a chart that looks as if it might work, I’ve still some testing to do before committing these little balls of wool to it.

My next project is already started, and it’s a lot less colourful than anything else I’ve even got planned. In fact every time I look at the photo below I’m convinced it’s black and white, then realise the bookcase isn’t.



I saw a beautiful Portuguese tile inspired throw in a magazine, full of yellows and blues and whites, just like my post of Portuguese tiles and patterns and in a complete shock to the system, I chose the monotone wool to complete this in. Clearly it will have a completely different look, but it fulfils my need for variegated wool and crochet, and I don’t think it will suffer for that. And, let’s face it, if I enjoy it and want a colourful version then I can add it to the list.

The tweedy wool below is for another project, this one without a pattern as such. I rarely wear a coat - I find the sleeves oppressive - and the fleecy type wrap I have is getting a bit bobbly. So in a spate of positivity I decided I could create my own. A colleague at work had made a scarf in a stitch I liked and the idea was sown. I’m intrigued to find out how this will work up, and also now wary about if it will work at all.


As I’ve no pattern, I haven’t really got much of a clue as to how much wool it’ll take - and so I’ve probably got too much, so I could be branching out into everything tweed - or having a very short wrap, who knows. Not me, that’s for sure - but even though I’d be happy to have this completed by the end of the winter, I suspect it may take a little longer to complete - because there’s one or two other projects to make progress with too, along with everything else!

But it’s good to have a plan!