Monday, 21 March 2016

Craft Morning.

I can't believe I am blogging for a 3rd consecutive day, but I went to a craft morning at my local library so thought I would show you some of the lovely things I saw there.  It was an opportunity to go along and try new crafts. The lady organising it goes to the craft group that I go to and she runs a rag rug making group regularly at the library.

There were lots of lovely ladies there, some that I know from the group I go to. We had coffee , welsh cakes and chocolate biscuits which was very nice. 

A group of very friendly spinsters who were not offended when I called them that.  The name spinster, for an unmarried woman, comes from the craft of spinning. A spinster was the name given to a woman who spun thread and these more often than not were unmarried women, hence the name.  I was wondering what the collective terms for a group of spinsters was and one of them suggested a gaggle!  I will have to think of one a bit more alliterative I think. 

These very talented ladies belong to the Gwent Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers. Not only do they do all these things but they make many different things with their yarn. 

Here are samples of knitting,crochet, felting and a very lovely woven picture.  

More crochet and felted items.  

Some of the very industrious ladies. 

There were a lot of people making rugs who had brought along some of their work.

There are 2 ways to make rag rugs. The one on the left above has a smooth finish and the one on the left has a shaggy finish.  

The butterfly below combines to 2 different ways of doing it. 

A shaggy looking chicken and another rug combining both methods.

What a fine looking cockerel!

A craft I am familiar with is crochet but I have never attempted anything like this. So beautiful!

This is more of the same lady's work

I had a go at making a mini rag rug of the shaggy type. Didn't have time to finish it though. This is how I did it, Rug making

Here I am with my 2 crafty friends Ray and Gail. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Llanyrafon Manor Quilt

My last update on the quilt was in July 2014.  If you remember we are a group of women who have been sewing a quilt to be displayed at Llayrafon Manor in Cwmbran.  The quilt was finally finished in Autumn 2015 and is now on display.

Just a few of the crafters here, there were up to 14 or 15 of us working on it at different times.  We have named our group the Crafty Ladies of the Manor.  Our next project is to make a rag rug for the bedroom floor.

 This is a close up picture of the edge of the quilt.  It was all sewn by hand and took almost 2 years to complete.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Time to start blogging again.

I keep telling myself I should carry on with my blog and just noticed today the my last post was in February 2015, more than a year ago.

I think it is now time to make a start with a new season almost here.  Apparently we now have two different dates for the start of Spring.  The first one is 1st March which is the Meteorological Spring and the 2nd is the Vernal Equinox which this year is tomorrow 20th March.  This is called the Astronomical Spring.  I have always thought of the equinox as the start of Spring so that is the one I will stick to.

For my 1st post of the year I think it appropriate to talk about my garden. I first ventured out to do a bit of tidying with my grandson Stuart last weekend.  It has been so wet until the last couple of weeks that the whole garden was waterlogged. Fortunately the March winds have started to dry it out so we picked up dead twigs from the lawn ready for its first cut, which was done by the gardener on Thursday. He was happy not to have to go round picking up the twigs beforehand.  I have 3 large oak trees and they shed twigs like a cat sheds fur.  Stuart also pruned my buddleia bush which is very old and rather large. He sawed it back drastically, which it really needed.  I think it might be time to dig it out and buy a new one but we'll see how it goes.

Today I have been working on my herb garden. The thyme plants and some of the lavender had died since last year so I dug them out and also cut back the other plants as well as weeding. This is a photo from earlier in the month.

 I bought 3 new thyme plants earlier in the week and replaced the 4 dead ones with 3 new ones.  They do spread quite a lot as they grow and I think I had planted the previous ones too close to each other.  I think it is looking much better now.  I have also brought out my hedgehog and fairy house which have been overwintering in the greenhouse.

I have been getting very anxious over the last couple of weeks because there was not much activity in my pond.  I have only seen 2 frogs in there and a newt.  There are often as many as 20 frogs in there during the spawning season which can start as early as mid February.  Today I am pleased to report that at last I have frogspawn. Only one batch but it is a start.  With having a relatively mild winter and the Spring flowers starting early I thought the frogs would have been early too.

I usually hope that we will have daffodils for 1st March, St David's Day, and we usually do. This year the first ones opened on 28th January, more than a month earlier.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

February 2015

February is not a very good month, we could still get snow but luck was in and we didn't in this part of Wales.   Spring bulbs continue to grow and sometimes we have frog spawn but the frogs were a bit late this year. 

Lovely sunset mid February.

Nothing happening in the pond but don't think it will be long now. 

This group of crocuses has been here since before we moved in 20 years ago.  They have not spread at all and form a circle round this little cherry tree which never grows either!  They look so lovely when they open wide as the sun shines on them 

January 2015 in the garden

Not been good at blogging just recently so will try to do better.  Will start with what is happening in the garden month by month.  It hasn't been a bad winter here with very little snow.

This is as much as we had, not very impressive. 

Flowers started appearing early with the mild weather. 

I seem to have primroses all year round.  Mine come in many colours but this is the colour of the wild ones.  Looks so delicate but very hardy to grow through the winter.

4th January and the snowdrops have pushed through the ground. Wonder if they were expecting snow?

Here they are on 30th January, almost open

I have jumped ahead to 25th February for this picture.  Lovely that the flowers last so long. 

The middle of January and the daffodil shoots also appear.  As the daffodil is the national flower of Wales I always hope to see them flowering for St David's Day, 1st March. We can only wait and see. 

The crocus also appears in January, the bright yellow flowers always shooting up ahead of the leaves. 

Monday, 19 January 2015


I can't believe it is over 2 months again since my last post.  Trouble is this time of year nothing much happens, except for Christmas of course but I was far too busy then.  The week before Christmas my son Imran and family came for the weekend because they would not be here over Christmas as they were visiting Malaysia for his sister in law's wedding and flying out on Christmas day.

Because of childcare problems he asked if I could have the children for a couple of nights.  I agreed with a feeling of slight intrepidation as they have never stayed here without mum and dad before.  I needn't have worried, everything went smoothly.  They slept all night, no  tears or tantrums, and seemed to enjoy themselves.  First morning when two and a half year old Safeya woke up she was concerned that she couldn't find her daddy, but when I told her he was at work she happily accepted that.  No problem putting them to bed either. After a bedtime story they were happy to be left and soon dropped off to sleep.  A bit of musical beds though, they each slept in a different bed every night.

Auntie Sophie arrived for Christmas while they were still here so that was a great help.  Then enjoyed baking gingerbread men with her.  What a mess they made and when I told them so Zachariah told me that auntie Sophie told them grandma would clean it up!!!!

Didn't take many more photos over Christmas but it was rather hectic with 10 people here for lunch on Boxing Day.

I made my own wreath for the front door this year, a nice change from the artificial one I had before

My artifical Christmas tree had its 3rd outing. Not sure the rest of the family appreciate it as we have always had a real one. 

Visited the boating lake one day but Jasmine was only one of the grandchildren who wanted to go. She loves climbing on everything there.  A gymnastic display as she did the splits on top of the climbing frame.

She was reluctant to climb this one but eventually made it

Next we called at Llanyravon Manor to see the Christmas tree which is decorated with ornaments made by the ladies of the sewing group there. 

It started to rain as we were approaching the manor, there was also a rainbow but it doesn't show on the photo. 

It was very cold and Jasmine was shivering by this time so we decided it was time to go home.