Monthly Archives: August 2013

10 Things of Thankful: # 5

I have to admit that this listing of things to be thankful for has become quite addictive for me. I was writing to my pen-pal yesterday, and I was telling him about my new pastime of writing thankful lists in my Blog when, before I knew it, I had written a list of 10 things that I’m thankful for in our relationship as pen-pals! 🙂

Because my pen-pal is within the prison system in the USA, I won’t give any details about him, but I will be using some of the thankful points I’d written to him, in my Thankful list today, as there really is a lot I’m thankful for in having got to know somebody who is living in a worse situation than my own.

I won’t go into the reasons, or the moral issues, of his situation, as they are between him and God but, because of a strange quirk of fate, we were connected, and I’ve gained much insight, and felt much compassion, for everyone who might be in his situation – the phrase ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I‘, always comes to mind when I read his letters.

So, here is my 5th week of Thankfuls: 

1.     I’m thankful for my step-daughter, who has honoured me with the title of Grandma, even though she has her own mother to fulfil that role.
2.     I’m thankful for the gift of being taught how to type – so many years ago now – as it enables me to keep in contact with everyone I know, without going through all the pain I feel when I try to write with pen and paper. 

3.     I’m also thankful to the Open University, who provided me with the software that allows me to talk to my laptop when my hands won’t do as they’re told! 

4.     I’m thankful for the gift of patience – a lesson in life I needed to learn, in order that I could then understand the problems that other people have in life. 

5.     I’m thankful for the many gifts of friendship I’ve been given, as friendship is such a precious commodity in our day and age, and it’s something that I treasure all the more as I get to know all of my friends around the world. 

6.     I’m thankful every day that I have the freedom to be able to keep in contact with my friends, wherever they are in the world. 

7.     I’m thankful that I saw an article in one of my course books while I was studying, as it made me aware of the desperate need of pen-pals within the prison system, and then led, eventually, to me coming into contact with my new pen-pal. 

8.     I’m so thankful to God that He gave me life, as this is a precious thing – even when things are so bad that I don’t know how to go on. 

9.     I’m thankful for God’s forgiving spirit, and that he loves us all so much that he was willing to allow his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice himself for our sins – and that, through acts of genuine repentance, we are freely forgiven of those sins. 

10.   I’m so very thankful for the gift of prayer, 
     so that I can speak to Jehovah God about 
     anything in life that bothers me – or that 
     makes me glad – and to know that, no 
     matter what ask of Him, He will listen 
     to me, and answer my prayers, even 
     when those answers are ones I don’t 
     expect – or if the answer isn’t the one 
     I was waiting for! 

So, these are this week’s list of my thankfuls – and if you feel like joining in, please click on the following, and it will take you to one of the brilliant organisers of this hop, where you can then join in with this merry band of people, who find the Thankful in everything they do, or are:
Ten Things of Thankful


Filed under TToT

Carrying on Crafting . . .

It’s been very quiet here on the crafting front. Not because I’ve been neglecting my crochet hooks and yarn, of course, but because I’ve been making a series of things as a present to one of my daughter’s best friends, who is expecting a little boy within the next 8-odd weeks.

I’ve actually got 3 expectant mum’s I’m making things for but, as Jo is due first, I figured I’d do things in order 🙂
I always enjoy making things for other people, and it gives me so much pleasure when they like what I’ve made for them 🙂

For Jo, who loves Dolphins and Unicorns, and the sea, I had a great choice of colours to use – lots of blues and greens – and, as she’s having a little boy, they couldn’t have been better.

I made a Jo a baby blanket, using Red Heart yarn, in Amethyst, Light Periwinkle, Real Teal, Windsor Blue, and some Oceana, along with some Robin DK Turquoise, as I didn’t have that colour in the Red Heart yarn.

I actually made the blanket as the summer’s challenge for The Crochet Crowd, as we were making a blanket using the Red Heart free crochet pattern, the Juicy Fruits & Whipped Crème Throw:

With a few modifications of the pattern, I crocheted the blanket, hoping that it would look a little like a tropical sea, and I think it turned out OK. I also added some Dolphin appliqués, to go with that theme and, although they didn’t turn out quite as I’d hoped, I think I didn’t do too badly for someone who’s never done any of this before: 

Dolphin-themed blanket

As Dolphins were the theme of the day, I also made a dolphin toy for Jo’s baby, crocheted in the same colours as the blanket, and made as child-friendly as is possible:

Bottle-nosed Dolphin
And to keep on with the theme, I also made what Americans call a Lovey – or we Brits call a comfort blanket – done in the same colours, with a dolphin as the main toy, and with a tiny baby octopus as his companion. This was my first attempt at making something like this, and I’m very happy with how it all turned out 🙂

Dolphin & Octopus Comfort blanket
Now, as Jo is so mad-keen on Dolphins and Unicorns – and everything so far was aimed at her baby, I decided to make her a Unicorn of her own, using a couple of the colours from the baby blanket and appliqués, to keep the theme going. I found the sweetest pattern for this, a free one, created by Rachel H, of Little Yarn Friends

Hubby calls him Donkicorn, and has got quite attached  –
I can just see the tussle as Jo tries to take him home! Lol

As I’ve said before, all this is very new to me, and so the dolphin and unicorn are only the 2nd and 3rd amigurumi-type items I’ve ever made (with RaggaRory the Lion being the 1st), and so, when it came to the mane and tail, I just couldn’t seem to follow the directions well, so I decided to make my own version – it was only after it was complete, and I was chatting to a friend who was also making the same Unicorn, that it suddenly  clicked where I’d gone wrong, which helped my friend, but was too late for me 🙂

So, as you can see, I have actually been quite busy with my crochet hook and yarns and, rather than that being the end of it all, I’ve already made a start on the cot blanket I’ll be making for my future step-granddaughter, due in December 🙂

The theme for this, is Butterflies & Hearts, and using a pink & cream colour palette. The blanket is to be made using 4″ squares, so I’m going to need 112 of them, using 4 different patterns. Here’s the first of them:

As I’d never made a heart, or a butterfly, before, as you can imagine, there was an awful lot of frogging going on, before I got something I was happy with.

I also chose to make a flower-type square, and I used the Not So Square Granny Tutorial by Clare, of bobwilson123 fame for this, as I think it goes well with the whole scheme. Here’s the link to her tutorial:

The blank square will stay that way mostly, except those that I’ll be using to add my granddaughter’s name on to, of course 🙂

As I’ve got another 27 butterflies, hearts and flowers to do, I’m going to try and use different shades of pink, so that there’s a little more variety to the colour scheme. But I’ll see how that goes as I keep on with them 🙂

So, as you can imagine, I’m going to be keeping busy for some time ahead – and loving every minute of it! 🙂


Filed under Crochet

Boomtown Arrivals . . .

RaggaRory was getting really excited now. Gabba Babba had told him that they were almost at the Boomtown Fair, and had dug into his little rucksack to sort out the things he would need to show he was a part of it. RaggaRory really admired Gabba, as he had been part of the Slamboree crew for some years, so was an old hand at festivals. He knew the best places to pitch the tent, the best bargains where getting food and drink were concerned – and he knew lots of the groups who played at the festivals!

RaggaRory only hoped that he wouldn’t make a fool of himself, like he had at the Secret Garden festival, and he was determined to be as good as possible, so Brex would continue taking him with her – after all, he knew she was going to America soon, with the UK Fireworks Collective, to show their Pyrotechnic skills. Brex had told him about last year’s trip, and he was eager than ever to go there.


Brex dancing in front of the Burning Man, 2012.

But first, he had all the excitement of Boomtown to look forward to!

Gabba handed him a ring of material, with the name Boomtown on it, and told him to put it on, so that the officials there would know he wasn’t a gatecrasher. RaggaRory wasn’t  quite sure how it should be worn, and so put it over his foot, as he figured everyone would see it then. He couldn’t understand why everyone was laughing, and looked at Gabba, who sat there, Slamboree sticker stuck to his head, and with his shoulders shaking with mirth.


Ragga wasn’t sure whether Gabba was laughing at him.

Brex leaned over, and gently patted Ragga’s foot, “Never mind, Ragga, you wear it whichever way you like.”

Ragga would have blushed if he could, but decided that he wasn’t going to let a little mistake like that upset him. After all, Brex had smiled so nicely at him when she spoke 🙂


RaggaRory shows off his Boomtown bracelet with pride 🙂

Feeling really happy again, RaggaRory, looked around, and saw that they were nearly at the gates to the Boomtown site, and he started looking madly around, trying to see everything he could. It seemed as though, in no time at all, Brex had set up their tent, snuggled in among those of all her friends, and RaggaRory was getting more and more excited. He wanted to see how many people had already set up around them, and so Brex lifted him up to have a look around.


RaggaRory was amazed at the sea of tents and vans surrounding them!

RaggaRory couldn’t believe how many tents and vans there were already – and this was days before the actual event would start! Brex told him that this was just the section for those taking part in the Festival, and that there were other sites for the public, when they arrived to enjoy the festival. RaggaRory couldn’t imagine how many people that would be – just the amount of people doing the entertainment alone seemed like a huge crowd to him. But, although he felt a bit nervous about that, he knew he had his friend Gabba Babba to guide him, and he was sure there would be others there to keep him company while Brex organised her part of the entertainments – both with Slamboree, and with the new group she had brought together, The Gutterstars Collective, whose début performance of Gul Deguu (Fire Sisters) would be performed at the weekend. RaggaRory loved the show that Brex had thought up, as he’d gone along to the rehearsals over the last few weeks, and he thought it would be pretty spectacular.

That night, RaggaRory settled down to sleep, full of excitement at what the rest of the week would bring and, as he fell asleep, he dreamed of Brex rising up into the air, just as he’d seen her do so often at rehearsals . . . .




Filed under Crochet, Daughters, Friendship, Learning, Travelling

10 Things of Thankful . . .

 . . . . are sometimes very hard to find, let alone think about.
When life starts handing you the pits, instead of the cherries, all the stuff that can weigh you down can get in front of what’s still good in your life. 

But, if you just take a few minutes, and try to think of the pluses, instead of the minuses, it’s amazing how many things you can come up with.
So here are my cherries:

I’m thankful that God had such a sense of humour that he made me. I know he has a sense of humour, because I do, too, under all the pits 🙂

Start as you mean to go on? 🙂

I’m thankful that I was given the gift of carrying a child for 9 months under my heart. Having been told I’d never have children, this was such a gift for me that I still thank God every day for my beautiful, amazing girl 🙂

Hubby, & Brex at 1 hour old 🙂

I’m thankful for a husband who is so unselfish that he always puts myself and our child before himself. My hubby is an amazing man, and we will be married for 30 years in October – and I love him even more than I did at the beginning and, even better, he loves me like that, too 🙂

True Love 🙂

I’m thankful for a warm, dry house. We lived in so many places that were falling down around our ears – houses that weren’t that old, but so badly built that we had to battle mould or drafts all the time. We now live in a 300 year old house that is as warm, and snug, as we need, and wanted 🙂

Fred, guarding the house 🙂

I’m thankful for the gift of love that our dog, a Jack Russell Terrier called Fred Barker, gives unstintingly to us. He will be 19 next march. He is as deaf as a post, and is so arthritic he has a job stepping over the tiny lip on his bed but, the minute he sees either of us, his tail wags, and he gives us that amazing doggy smile we fell in love with when we first rescued him 18 years ago. 

Fred, aged 10.

I’m thankful for our cat, Kushka, who was rescued as a tiny kitten. We took her into our home, and our hearts, when she was barely 6 weeks old, and had to keep feeding her replacement milk for a month as she had been in such a bad way. She’ll be 5 next birthday, and she is my constant companion, lying as close beside me as she can – she has always seemed to be aware that sitting on me would only bring pain. She purrs like an engine when pain takes me over, as if she is trying her best to soothe me, and she has always been there for me, no matter what.

Kushka, breaking in the new cover I crocheted 🙂

I’m thankful for the gift of crochet. I hadn’t crocheted before I started to learn last July, and had got into a bad place in my head when I’d had to give up knitting and cross-stitch, as my hands couldn’t cope with either any more, so to find that I was able to hold a crochet hook enough to use it, was a fantastic thing to happen to me 🙂

My Spring Fling cushion cover.

I’m thankful for the internet, as it took me out of myself, and brought a world full of the most amazing people into my life, and into my heart. After I got housebound, the world became a very drab place, as I had come from a large family, so was used to company, and noise, and all the other things that come with family life. I had always loved visiting all of our many friends homes, and going places and seeing people whenever I chose to, so to be housebound was a kind of torture for me but, once I had the internet in my home, it opened up a world of possibilities I couldn’t have imagined – and also enabled me to keep in touch with my daughter, wherever in the world she goes 🙂

Brex, in an Amazonian village, in Peru 🙂

I’m thankful for the bounty of things that surround me, for internet shopping, for a free health system that is very much needed for me now, for the chance to be able to do what I can to stay focussed on the future, so that I can stay true to myself, and true to God.

Me, on our 29th wedding anniversary 🙂

I’m thankful for the chance to have lived this life that I have – whether good or bad! To have been born in a time, and a place, where women are able to make whatever life they dream of, and for the chance to be able to have my voice heard all around the world.


Ten Things of Thankful



Filed under Crochet, Daughters, Disability Issues, Faith, Family, Travelling, TToT

Ragga Rory Goes To Boomtown

I’m not sure whether it’s good for a small lion to be going hither and thither only a few weeks from birth but, apparently, when Brex told him she was headed to Boomtown to do a stint with Slamboree, and then make her maiden performance with her own group, The Gutterstars Collective, Ragga Rory told her that, if she didn’t take him, he would hitch-hike by himself, until he got there, too!

Brex wasn’t too pleased at having such a young lion threaten to go out into the world on his own, so she told him he could come – provided he didn’t misbehave the way he had at the previous festival!

Ragga Rory had the grace to look slightly ashamed at that, though Brex still wasn’t sure whether he also had a guilty look, either. After all, she hadn’t heard yet whether Australian piggy had been seen since 😦

But, after promising to be as well behaved as he could be, Brex took Ragga Rory along with her. She was going to Boomtown early, as her group had to rehearse on the stage where they were doing their maiden gig, as they’d been rehearsing in all sorts of warehouses, or places where they could use fire. So Brex and Ragga Rory set off to join the rest of her crew, and her Slamboree pals.

Brex had warned Ragga Rory that she was going to be particularly busy over the next few days as, rehearsing with two separate crews, with one of them her total responsibility, wasn’t going to be easy for her. But Ragga Rory promised he would behave himself, and stay in their tent being a good little lion.

On the journey to Boomtown, Ragga Rory had been really pleased to make a new friend – a chimp called Gabba Babba – who kept him entertained throughout the journey with all his tales of the festivals he had already been to.


Ragga Rory really enjoyed the tales, and hoped that he could behave himself this time, so that Brex would keep taking him with her wherever she went. Gabba Babba was really up on all the latest music, so he spent a lot of his time while they travelled, bringing Ragga Rory up to date, though Gabba Babba found that Ragga Rory was a little tone deaf – but he figured it wouldn’t notice with all the crowds that would be at the festival.

After a while on the journey, Gabba Babba felt tired, and went to sleep, so Ragga Rory asked if he could come forward, so he had a better view of the countryside around them as they travelled.

Much to his horror, everyone insisted that he wear a sun hat, as the sun was quite strong at the front of the van, so Ragga Rory reluctantly put on the strange garment they came up with.


He wasn’t sure why there were so many muffled giggles, and got a bit upset that nobody would share whatever joke was going around but, very soon, all the road signs indicated that they were nearly there at Boomtown, so Ragga Rory forgot everything else, and looked forward to whatever was going to happen in the week ahead . . .

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August 11, 2013 · 4:24 pm

10 Things of Thankful . . .

I’ve decided that I’m going to try and get my 10 Things done well within the weekend this time, so I sat here, trying to get some sort of list together, and heard the sound of numerous tractors going past, and that gave me my thankful list:

1.   I’m thankful for our very first tractor, Cedric, an old 1952 Fordson County, that hubby bought to help with his work in the Forestry here  in West Wales. Cedric had a life of his own and, because the headlamps and grill looked like eyes and a smiling mouth, we had to give him a name J 
  1. I’m also thankful for the Igland Winch hubby fixed to Cedric, as it allowed him to move a lot more timber than using any others available at the time J  
  1. I’m thankful for the tractors that slowly rumble by our house every year, either taking manure to the fields to fertilize them, or groaning under the weight of bales of hay and straw at harvesting time. They are the lifeblood of our area, and the farmers would have a much harder job than they already do without them.
  1. I’m thankful that the yearly steam engine fair has just this minute finished! Don’t get me wrong, I like to see the old steam tractors chugging by as they join the crowds of people going to the fair, but we are so close to the fields that it’s held in, we quite often can’t hear ourselves think because of the noise of the tannoy. It’s great that so many people still go to these fairs, but it is a relief when they all go home again! J
5.   I’m thankful for the term Tractor, which is derived from the Latin word ‘Trahere’, meaning ‘to pull’, and is also a shortening of the term Tractive Effort (or Torque), which gives the power to pull a trailer, plough, or any other machinery used by the tractor. 
  1. I’m thankful that we now use the term Tractor, rather than Traction Engine, which was used until 1859. Although I must admit, I do love the term J
  1. I’m thankful to John Froelich, the inventor and builder of the first gasoline/petrol-powered tractor in 1892, in Clayton County, Iowa. His invention made the tractor a more manoeuvrable beast, and enabled it to be made lighter, so that it could cope with a better variety of terrains.
  1. I’m thankful that tractors improved no end by the 1920’s enabling them to be used for a variety of different uses. I’m sad they totally took over the jobs of horses, though.
  1. I’m thankful for the skilled wood carver who made a wooden tractor for my daughter, when she was 3. It was strong enough for her to sit on and move around the house with, and she cried when she got too big for it a year or so later 🙂 

  1. I’m thankful for the many varieties of tractor available today. From farming to felling, from clearing snow, to helping to prepare the ground for building work, they’ve made life so much easier for people.

There are well over 16 million tractors being used in the world today 🙂


Filed under TToT

A Little Teal Box

I love the yarn – and the colour used – in this pattern, so I might have to give it a go myself 🙂

Craftaceous Period

Gift basketI made a little gift box with RHSS Teal. I use a “G” hook for these and it really does a number on my hand. I used to use that size hook all the time–maybe that’s why I never entirely embraced crochet before. The combo of using an “H” hook and switching to Bates style made all the difference.

But I digress. I’ve made a few of these little boxes and I like the way they look. It’s basically a hat. I make increases until the base is the size I want. On the next row I SC in BLO to give it a defined edge. For the sides I just freeform–alternating between rounds of SC, DC, or HDC. The lid is just the same, but including one extra round of SC to make it slightly larger than the box.

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