Thursday, 26 February 2015

February Catch Up

This month has just whizzed by and March starts this coming weekend!  March will be a busy month of sowing seeds and waking up the allotments.  I have already started by sowing some chilli seeds and soon will be sowing tomato seeds also, but before I get too far ahead here is what I have been doing this month:-
Firstly here are the mitts I crocheted for my blogiversary giveaway.  I can show them now that they have been received by Jo.  The pattern is by Pink Milk and I plan to make some more of these.
I have crafted some tag for my art journal.  There will be one for each month.
I have added a couple more pages and completed this page by adding some snowflakes.
 Of course on the 14th it was Valentine's Day.
My husband gave this gorgeous bouquet to me.
We have still been enjoying tai chi and fitness yoga and have also started body balance classes, which are yoga based.

We had to delay our pancakes to Ash Wednesday as we had a yoga class on Shrove Tuesday.
In the kitchen I also baked a yogurt cake
and a couple of batches of pumpkin, cheese and rosemary scones this month.  I don't do much baking at the moment as we are trying to lose a few pounds!
I finished my second book for the reading challenge I am participating in this year
and have just started my third book.
 I've fallen down a rabbit hole as for as knitting is concerned, so my first project to show you is rather appropriate!
I'm joining in with Zena and Dani's Little Along KAL 
and I have knitted two bashful bunnies.
 The pattern is from Little Cotton Rabbits.
 Dorothy has a dotty dress
and Primrose is wearing a party dress.
 The pattern is so easy to follow and is the most comprehensive that I have ever read.  These bunnies are destined to be gifts, so I might have to knit one for myself.
Last week it was half term and starting on the Friday it was Unravel at Farnham Maltings.  I love this fibre festival and go each year.
This green waistcoat caught my eye on the Tall Yarns stall. It is the Josefina Waistcoat. I can see this on my to-do-list.
 There were lots of rooms filled with everything yarn related.

Luckily I had saved my Christmas gift money for Unravel, so I was able to treat myself to all of this.
 From Hilltop Cloud

 From Coop Knits

 From kettle Yarn Co
 From Natural Dye Studio
 From The Knitting Swede
 From Baa Ram Ewe
 From Skein Queen

and two patterns from Fiona Alice, a Pompom magazine and some vintage knitting needles (shown in a previous photo).
 Knowing that I was going to be able to purchase some fibre at Unravel, I got my drop spindle out during half term and plied the small amount that I had previously spun.
It is very thick and thin and I wasn't too happy with the jumble of colours,
so taking a deep breathe I pulled my batt apart to sort out the colours.
I have tried spinning thinner yarn.  I think I may be over spinning it?  It balances once plied, but has too much energy to stay as a single.

I then decided to try plying the new yarn with this thread that I bought at Thread last autumn.
I have washed the yarn to set it and made two mini skeins.  The top one is from the sorted colours  - white, pink and purple.  The bottom one is a mixture of the remaining colours.  I'm hoping to knit a Bluebird of Happiness with it as part of the littlealongkal, but I will need to hurry as there are only a couple of days left!  This yarn can only be classed as an "art" yarn, but I rather like it.
 Current works in progress include my Noordzee Shawl,
 a little cardigan for Primrose Bunny
and I couldn't resist starting spinning the 
 fibre that I bought from Hilltop Cloud at Unravel.
 This is the Jane Seymour colourway and the colours are beautiful.
I'm trying to spin it a little thicker and not to over spin it.  Regardless of how it turns out I am really enjoying spinning and love the creative process and even if my yarn isn't perfect at least I'm having fun! :)

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Dinosaurs and Butterflies

Last Sunday my husband and I decided to visit the Natural History Museum in London.  It is worth a visit just for the building alone as it is beautiful inside and out.

On entering the museum you come face to face with the cast of a Diplodocus skeleton in the Hintze Hall.  Dippy is due to be removed in the near future and will be replaced by a skeleton of a blue whale, so our visit was planned to say goodbye to Dippy as he has been here since 1905.
 We first ventured into the dinosaur section of the museum, where we walked along a suspended walkway to view the skeletons.
An animated T.rex is at the end of the gangway.
Then we walked around the displays.
 This is the thigh bone of an Apatosaurus with my 188cm husband for scale!
There are a few theories as to what happened to the dinosaurs - this one made me smile! :)
 We then moved into the mammal section, which is my least favourite part of the museum.
 I feel sad that these animals were hunted.

Moving back into the main hall, where there were now queues for the dinosaur exhibition,
 we looked at the exhibits around the sides of the hall.
 Ginormous egg of a Madagascan Elephant Bird.  With a 9 litre capacity it is equal to about 200 chicken eggs!
A statue of Charles Darwin sits on the staircase to the next floor.
 We stopped to admire the architecture of the hall,

 before looking in the minerals section.
Rocks and minerals fascinate me, so I love looking around this room.
Opal from Queensland, Australia
 Azurite from Arizona, USA
 Malachite from Arizona, USA

 Some of the minerals are so vivid in colour!
 Amethyst from South America
 Suphur with Calcite
Blue is my favourite colour, so my eye was drawn to these particular crystals
Hemimorphite from Cumbria
 Turquoise from Cornwall
and Brochantite from Cornwall.
 Silicified Wood from Arizona, USA
 Chalcedony Geode from Germany
 Next up was the Earth Exhibition.
 A piece of Moon Rock collected on the Apollo 16 mission of 1972.
 Fossil Ammonites from Somerset
 Fossilized bark of Lepidodendron.
Blue John, Derbyshire
Stegosaurus stenops Sophie, the most intact Stegosaurus fossil skeleton ever found, with over 90% of her bones discovered.  Wyoming, USA
We journeyed through the Earth
to learn more in the Restless Earth Exhibit.
Pele's hair.
Rocks from within the Earth.
Inside of a stalagmite.
A whole history of change shown in one rock.

 There is so much to see in the Natural History Museum that even though we spent most of the day there, we still didn't see all of it.

For our next trip out we went to RHS Wisley to see the butterflies in the glasshouse.  It was a very cold and wet day so we headed straight to the glasshouse.
We were amazed at these metallic chrysalises in the puparium. (They were difficult to photograph because of the condensation on the glass.)
Common Lime Butterfly
 Postman Butterfly
 Asian Swallowtail Butterfly
Jade Vine
 Great Mormon Butterfly
 Blue Morpho Butterfly

 Scarlet Swallowtail Butterfly
Blue Morpho Butterfly
 Glasswing Butterfly

Great Mormon Butterfly
Coffea Arabic
 Owl Buttfly
A lot of the butterflies were at the windows of the glasshouse, trying to get as much warmth from the light as possible on this dull day.
Green-banded Swallowtail Butterfly
 Many of the Blue Morpho Butterflies seemed quite happy ... it was nearly Valentine's Day after all! ;)