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Hi, My name is Kate and this blog is all about my adventures of happy living. By that I mean crochet, chickens and cooking. Here's to the good life - and being a good wife! xxx

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Books for the Summer

I have happily compiled my books for this summer. I aim to start on 01.07.2012 and finish them by 10.09.12. The end of my holiday.

I have chosen a wide selection and can't wait to read each and every one of them.

It's just a matter of deciding which one to start with.

Do I start with 50 Shades of Grey? Probably, seen as I feel like I am the only living woman who hasn't read it yet. And with multitudes of conversations with a "Grey" theme I feel that it is only a matter of time before the plot of the book is spoilt .... although my jist of the book so far is there isn't much of a plot ;) Am I right girls?

Then there is Thank You For The Days, a book written by one of my favourite 6 Music DJ's - Mark Radcliffe. It is not a biography as such - more of a compilation of wonderful starry encounters and silly mishaps. Chapter's entitled 'The Day My Mother Hit Me With a Golf Club' and 'The Day I Went to Kate Bush's House for Cheese Flan', and 'The Day Mick Jagger Was Taller Than Me' make me want to launch straight in. But somehow I think this one for a holiday. A holiday where you need short, sweet and satisfying chapters.

I have also chosen Perfume by Patrick Suskind. I had this book almost 7 years ago and was told it was a must read! It has sadly been on the back burner since then as I was reading a good book at the time (although I can't remember what it was) and I forgot all about it. Then, last weekend Craig watched the film on TV while I was out. He said I would love the film and I said "Woooo there! I have the book". And you know what the rule is ..... read it before you watch it! So I blew off the dust and have put it in the "to read "pile.

On a similar note is One Day. I was leant this after reading Starter For Ten on my honeymoon. I thoroughly enjoyed Nicholls style of writing and subjects. I practically read it cover to cover in three days. I then went straight into One Day and I just wasn't feeling it. I needed a break from the author's style to make it fresh and thought if I left it a while I would just enjoy it more. So the time has come! One Day .... I will read you one day this summer ..... I promise!

Finally, Dear Fatty by Dawn French. This was recommended by my sister-in-law who knows I love all things Dawn French. I have read snip-its and let me tell you this book is no laughing matter..... it is a roll around on the floor in stitches - until your sides burst - matter!!!! This, I think, is a perfect evening read.

So there you have it, my to read list. Will any of you join me with any of these titles? If you do then let me know. I'd love to discuss these books with you. Also if you have any suggestions for future reads ... I would love to know!


The Olympic Torch Came to Lichfield!

This is the story of two girls and one torch!

A very early start. I met my sister a couple of miles out of Lichfield centre and we walked into town. It was really gloomy and dark but luckily the rain held off!

This is a photo of Stowe Pool which is exactly one mile to walk around it. You can see Lichfield Cathedral in the distance.

I knew it was going to be exciting as I had read up on all the things going on today. Such as vintage cars in the park, musicals in the market square and boats on the pool. It was far more exciting than I could have imagined though! As we reached the far end of Stowe Pool we could see lots of sailing boats getting ready for an afternoon on the lake. I have never seen such florencent sails!

I just love this shot! Lots of angles and colours! (One for the wall maybe!?)

When we reached town at 8:15 we knew just then how busy it was going to be. People had already started lining the streets and all the shops had opened up early selling bacon baps and coffee.

There were people selling green ribbons and union jack flags to children. Being an adult I resisted temptation. Although the first ten minutes when we were waiting for the parade to commence I have to admit I spent wishing I too had a flag! I watched a generous lady hand a green ribbon to a young child and my sister had to remind me I wasn't a child anymore and if someone came past selling flags she would treat me to one. Sadly the moment never came, sniff-sniff!

We then headed over to the Spark Cafe. We had book an 8:30 table for breakfast. Which by this time was much needed, but not nearly as much as a cup of tea after that long walk!

The cafe was ram-a-jam and I suddenly felt I was with royalty as my sister (who is a local primary school teacher) had been spotted by some children from her class. It was funny remembering what it was like seeing your teacher outside of school. Suddenly you were overcome with a star-struck sense and a slightly emmbarrased and uncomfortable feeling. Maybe teachers were our first encounter of celebrities!

It didn't really take me long to choose what I wanted, mostly because of the hunger twangs in my belly,


but also becasue I simply ...... lurrrrve ...... smoked salmon and scrambled eggs!

I have to admit, I felt I was cheating on christmas a little bit though! I only ever have this on Christmas morning and I dare say it was missing that sparkling glass of Bucks Fizz! However, it was simply delicious and I couldn't believe the portion of smoked salmon! It was a breakfast made in heaven!

We had a great chat in the cafe, or should I say gossip. We also had a brilliant view of the vintage car parade going on in the street. This was stirring up the crowd and some of the cars were beautiful! I sadly didn't take any photos of the cars to share, unfortunatly most of them are of registration plates, or reflections of me taking a picture in the cafe window!

When we had finished breakfast we ventured into the streets to find the perfect spot. It took some time, as once we had settled we decided we couldn't see much. But finally we climbed up a road and found a location where we could see quite a bit in both directions. This meant we weren't going to just see infront, but also it coming .... and going!

15 mintues before the torch there was a parade with London 2012 floats, dancers, the Mett Police (my Dad would have loved that!) and the theme song. It really got the crowd going.

The kids loved the mascot driving past, waving. I believe this one is called Wenlock. Named after the village in the Black Country that inspired the Olympics. And also the name of the gentleman that started PE lessons in schools.

So Wenlock got the kids going ...... These pair got me going!

Then all the celebration died down for a couple of minutes, and we were all left hanging. Waiting with baited breath!

Then out came the motorbikes!

And a couple of busses carrying the torch bearers for the rest of the day.

And the torch carrier!!!

Now I'm not sure you will know him. But you may well do. Ben Kenyon.

The reason I know about Ben is because I used to work in a college in Birmingham with young people with Asperger's Syndrome. At the time of working there was a documentry on channel 4 about children with Asperger's and Autism called Young, Autistic and Stagestruck. I was very into it as I studied Performing Arts at university and I really belived in how theatre and art allowed my students to express themselves.

Ben was the star of the program. And after reading his profile he has gone on to do wonderful things for other young people with Asperger's.

I was completely thrilled that not only did Ben get a MBE earlier this year for his work, but also had the privildge of carrying the flame. Seeing him has reminded me of so many things and I am so happy I got to see him in the relay.

Now lets not forget crochet. How could we!!!!?????

Just down that street where Ben is running now is my favourite shop. Remember the one that pulls me in everytime I walk down this street?

Outside The Sewing Shop was the lovely Lindsey and Sandra with their families.

And they had bombed the lampost outside!


Of course I had to go in. Not just for the red, white and blue wool so I could make a surprise project for the swap I am doing hosted by the most fabulous Hookin' With Lala. I didn't just go in for a few goodies to go along side it either ..... but ...... for my birthday present.

A new sewing machine!

We had to carry it alllllll the way back to the car. Through town, around Stowe Pool and through the Neatherstowe fields. Boy was it heavy!

Once I got back home I had to hand it over, reluctantly may I add, to Craig, who will save it until September the 2nd. Until then, my dear friends, I can only dream of the endless projects this will allow me to do! Eeeeeeek - excited doesn't come close!

Have a wonderful weekend girls!

Toodle pips!


P.S. Do you like the new simplified blog? Or would you like the birds back? I found the brown background made allt he pictures look gloomy. And I like bright! Let me know what you think.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

In the Beer Garden

Last night me and Craig went to our local as the sunshine was out.

We are not really the type of people that spend a lot of time in the pub, it's more of a treat. But it was a glorious evening, Craig came back from his bike ride and had obviously got a tad jealous when he rode past all the people in the beer garden near the canal.

So we got changed and walked over to the pub. A great opportunity to get those pinkies out!

We must have only been two or three times, and never sat outside. We didn't even know there was a bowling green situated there.

There was an amazing wooden carved swing seat ...

which we sat in for a while before our tea came.

I lurrrrved my food. I had blue cheese, mushroom and spinach lasagne with garlic bread and salad. Craig had home-made cod goujons with the most scrummy big chips. We admired the lovely view and discuss how lucky we are to live so close to the forest!

When we got back I launched straight into doing a fair few rows on my Vintage Vertical Stripe Blanket. It's been a while since I've touched it. If I'm honest, I got slightly bored of the monotonous rows. But, boy did I love getting back into it.

Just to give you a clue of how large it is, take a look at it on our huge three seater sofa ....

 As I'm doing it with random colours there are some pleasant surprises along the way. I just can't get over how lovely it is when two colours you haven't seen before just sit together like they belong together!

This is possibly my favourite bit of the blanket, from the pink row up to the purple. I just love the softness and mintiness of it. It's so cool and muted.

I also an head over heels for this bright red and blue together. I am most definitely going to buy these colours again and make something completely dedicated to these pair!

And just check out this shot (slightly blurry, I do apologise). I love the cream, green and lilac.

So there you have it, a roundup of a most successful evening. And just to add to that, this evening has started off rather swimmingly as well. Craig is cooking tea, while I blog. A much needed treat after such a busy day. We had severe flash floods and the fire and rescue service received 276 calls in 60 minutes - so as you can imagine, it was a crazy day!

So long - off to pop open a bottle of red and carry on with the blanket!


Monday, 25 June 2012

Birthday Bunting Ta-Dah!

So as promised here is my first Ta-Dah of the week!

Here are my two buddies from work doing their best TA-DAH pose as I had to have some help as it's so mashosive!

Oh my, oh my, oh, my! I have really, really, really, loved making every single bit of this project.

From choosing the most delightful birthdayish colours.

To whipping up into a hooking frenzy over the bank holiday weekend and watch the flag pile grow,

And grow!

I even enjoyed sewing the ends in while my sister in law came over one night to keep me company!

I also felt soooooooooooo much satisfaction joining them all together! It was the cherry on the cake for me!

Of course, it is extremely versatile. You could get making some Christmas one, maybe some for a child with their name on it? Or even your own birthday bunting. I made this one for the future. I wanted a little family tradition. Every birthday I want to get this out and hang it up. In fact I may start next week for my Mum's birthday. I know she'll love it!

Do you fancy making some?

Here is the pattern  - enjoy :)


My flags were about 20 cm long which made a very large string of bunting when spelling out H-A-P-P-Y-B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y but you could make yours whatever size you wanted, just adjust the chain at the start.

This pattern is in UK and I used a 4mm hook. (for all you USA readers check out my conversion chart at the end of this post; here).

For the flags

Ch 20

Row 1 - Make 1 dc in the 2nd stitch from the hook and dc all the way along until the last stitch.

Row 2 - ch 1 then make 1 dc in the 2nd stitch from the hook and dc all the way along until the last stitch.

Repeat until there is only 2 stitches left, then dc these two together and fasten off.

Make as many flags as you need.

Then sew in the ends! You'll thank me for that little nudge!

Top Edging

Row 1 - 20 ch, then dc all the way along your lovely flags and then ch 21 at the end.

Row 2 - Make 1 dc in the 2nd stitch from the hook and then dc all the way back again and fasten off.

Row 3 - Change colour, Make one dc in the 2nd stitch from the hook and dc right the way along your lovely string of bunting once more! Fasten off when you reach the end and breath a satisfied breath!


Go crazy - I don't need to tell you that.

For mine I grabbed a bargain pack of felt alphabet letters, bugs and buttons from The Works (you can order online here).

I patiently threaded all the letter and felt bugs on.

Don't you just love the bugs! A lovely Green Caterpillar

A Bright red ladybird with sequin spots.

And a lovely plump bumble bee with lovely sparkly wings!

I then threaded all the buttons with yellow wool and added them to hide the joining section between each flag.

And here are some more Ta-Dah pictures on my living room floor.

It was so long I couldn't get it all in the frame!

 Thank you for reading, I have really enjoyed sharing it with you.

 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Kate xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sister Love :)

Last night my sister came to visit. It's been a while since we've had a good catch up, with one thing and another, but we had a really good girly time.

We ordered a LOT of Chinese food, which was rudely interrupted by Jill (one of the hens), who had hopped over the fence to next door's garden. Their the dog had scared it over another fence which made her impossible to get to. Craig had to get some step ladders and coax her back. So today was spent putting some higher fencing around the coop so she can't get out. Anyway, I digress!

Back to Saturday night with my sister, Helen.

We ate a Lot of Chinese food and then watched Bridesmaids. Which was hilarious. A really girly, funny film. Not as drippy as a chick flick, but still quite girly. I really loved it!

As if the Chinese wasn't enough we chomped our way through a huge bag of toffee coated popcorn! MMMMMMMMM! Love it! (see the second bag - we didn't open that one - honest!).

So all in all we had a lovely evening, having a good gossip as sisters do and enjoying being with one another. I really love her!

                                           *          ♥          *          ♥          *          ♥          *

So as it is Sunday ........ here are my Reason's To Be Cheerful! Let me know if you are taking part so I can be sure to visit you and take a peek!

Talking of Ta-Dah Moments. This week has been full of them. I have finished so much!!

  • Tunisian Crocheted Arm covers and cushion (1 more to cushion to do).
  • Crocheted Happy Birthday Bunting (this is most exciting!)
  • Knitted Scarf (also most exciting!).
So this week I hope to show you these things. I'm busy taking some snaps and will write up some posts soon!

I really feel that this weekend has gone a lot better than last weeks (check out this post to see how bad it really was!!). I'm feeling a lot more positive and Ta-Dah's certainly give a huge amount of satisfaction. What could be a better pick-me-up?!

Kate xxxxxx