I've been busy just lately but in the best possible way, and I am so very thankful for the way in which I get to fill my days with things that make me very happy. I was thinking this morning about the blog posts I want to write so that I can show you the progress I'm making on my banner, my cross stitch, my mandala hoops.....and I was thinking that nothing has been photographed properly, everything is still a work in progress and in a slight jumble and probably not altogether particularly blog-worthy right now. I should wait. I should finish some things, photograph them nicely and put together some proper blog posts for you.
And yet......in my mind it all feels so deliciously exciting and happening right here and now, and I really don't have it in me to wait! Plus, I always feel a million times better once I've shared it with you, and that's the truth. YOU ----- are my therapy, did you know that?? And I am so grateful for your visits here to the Attic. So I thought...why wait?? I need to show you Right Now what's filling my days.....so please forgive the slightly jumbled nature of this post. It reflects the current state of my life rather well I think.
I have little project piles all around my desk, piled up on the floor and on any available surface. Its' a mess around here, it really is. I have bags (many) of left over blanket-making yarn, bags of embroidery thread, bags of cotton yarn (for my mandalas), piles of printed patterns and piles of hand written notes about patterns, cross stitch fabrics and hoops of all sizes for stitching and mandala making. I have bits of yarn stuck to pieces of paper to remind me of ideas and colour palettes and things that sit patiently on the back burner. I have a pile which includes the endings of one design project (which I am SO excited to show you once I am given the nod!) and another pile which includes the beginnings of another design commission. It's fun and full-on, and I am enjoying the busy creativity.
If you skip back up to the top photo, you can see that I finished making and stitching up the squares for my banner. It's an 18 x 8 format so there are 144 squares altogether. I'm just trying to think about the right kind of border for it all, so I've folded it up and placed it back on the pile for now, waiting until I'm clear about what to do around that outer edge.
I've taken a lot of photographs during the past week, everything out there is just so beautiful to me at the moment. My colour and light-loving soul is being fed an endless supply of visual and emotional feel-good which is quite intoxicating. The weather here has been outstanding, a beautiful and uplifting dollop of warm, sunny May perfection and I am positively reveling in it. I am taking almost daily walks in the woods to absorb the greenery whilst it's at it's vibrant best.
The wild garlic is very nearly at its peak (these photos were taken 5 days ago), and I've been right there amongst it almost every day breathing it in, quite literally. The scent is incredible, it's almost like you can taste the very air you inhale.
By the way, thank you so much to those of you who told me about the Japanese art of shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing" - I found it fascinating to read about, and to know that my slight obsession with breathing in the woodland air is actually a Thing! That really made me feel good I have to say. Often I do feel a weeny bit bonkers in my head (especially as J is fond of telling me how I'm "not normal"), so it's good to have little snippets of knowledge which make me feel grounded and not quite so loopy la-la.
I continue to stitch when the mood takes me, quietly and blissfully. I can't begin to tell you how much I am loving my cross stitch journey which began on 17th February, it has taken me to a whole new level of personal creative achievement somehow, in the same way that my sock knitting has.
I had a whole shiny neat blog post planned to talk to you about my cross stitch adventure (a follow up to this post), but for a weeny while I lost my second completed cross stitch so I couldn't photograph it. Yes, I really did lose it, it just disappeared in a puff of smoke one day, which drove me to the point of near madness. Anyhow, some weeks later I eventually found it (in the cellar, don't ask), but in the meantime I made terrific progress with my third cross stitch project which you can see above. So now I'm all out of kilter in terms of cross stitchy blogging, but I'll catch myself up at some point. I would really like to show you my embroidery thread storage solution too...oh, tis a thing of beauty! Honestly, it makes me so happy.
Talking of happy colours, I've been having a play with a new yarn this week, a spontaneous purchase and one which has delivered in spades (happy spades!). This is a relatively new yarn on the block, made by the German company Rico Design. these balls are dinky and affordable - 25g of soft, matt cotton in a fine DK weight, and a gorgeous 60 colours to choose from. They were designed for making crochet toys (hence the play on the words "Rico" and "amigurumi"), but I've been trying them out for mandala making.
I can't remember if I've showed you my lastest mandala or not? I don't think I have. This is the "Positivity Mandala" which is my own pattern, designed to be attached to a 30cm wire hoop. I sat for many hours at the weekend photographing a tutorial for this mandala, slightly hampered by the fact I couldn't seem to count and made/photographed 6 whole rounds before realising I only had 9 petals instead of the required 10. Anyhow, 83 photos (not including the 23 that had to be re-made) and many mugs of coffee later and I have all the visuals - I just need to carve out time to edit and upload them and write it all up. This week sometime, I'm hoping to make it happen.
These are the hoops that I've made so far this year - you can read about some of them in this post. More to come very soon.
More shinrin-yoku on Sunday, a morning walk with J and the Little People at Bolton Abbey. I took a tonne of photos capturing the essence of the greenery, but figure that you have probably seen enough of it by now.
So here's one of the sparkly river Wharfe instead. There were fluffy ducklings further along, and it was all very lovely indeed.
Yesterday was another stunner of a day, so J and I turned our backs on our planned chores (the de-cluttering can wait) and drove up into the hills instead.
We walked a 6 mile circular route through the Yorkshire Dales around Burnsall and Linton and it was completely gorgeous out there.
It was a hot, still day and the river was looking extremely tranquil and inviting....
....even Linton Falls was more slow and sedate than usual, although the water here never ever quiets.
Yesterday evening, we packed up our dinner and went back to Bolton Abbey to do al fresco food things, taking advantage of the long, hot sunny day which we never take for granted here in England. I wish I had stopped to photograph my plate to show you but in reality I was far too impatient and hungry to think about my camera. You will have to imagine the cutest little mini quiche from the farm shop, ripe cherry tomatoes on the vine and a big pile of homemade sundried tomato cous cous with garlic and rosemary roasted veggies. Oh, and oven roasted asparagus too - always room on my plate for asparagus. For pudding we had rhubarb crumble and ice cream, yes we really did! My fabulous mother-in-law made us the crumble which I had baked late afternoon. Wrapped in a tea towel and put straight in the car from the oven, it was still warm when we came to eat it. I shoved a small tub of vanilla ice cream in a cool bag with a couple of ice packs, and although it was slightly on the runny side, cripes it tasted a-maz-ing with the warm rhubarb crumble.
The Little People devoured everything from start to finish, and it was one of those really joyful family meals which makes you want to hold onto the memories and keep them close for a long time to come.
After dinner there was a huge amount of physical activity - well that's to say that the Little People ran themselves ragged while J and I slumped gently in our deckchairs and looked on. Competitive frisby playing, yes it's a real sibling thing.
When the sun had sunk below the hill we packed everything up and headed homeward.....
.....stopping to take in the bluebells on our way.
This bank on the way in/out of Bolton Abbey was looking very beautiful in the early evening light, and was certainly worth stopping the car for.
I started making another mandala this afternoon as I was at Coopers Cafe and needed something easy to work on whilst I chatted to my friends. I'm using a free pattern by the Loopy Stitch which is simple but very effective - you can see the first one I made here. I have to say I'm really loving this Ricorumi yarn, I'll give you more info about colours etc when I write up my tutorial pattern for you.
Well, I think that's about all my ramblings for now, thank you as ever for continuing to spend time reading my words and viewing my pictures. I really do appreciate your company. Have a stunning week wherever you are in the world - don't forget to stop still once in a while and breathe it all in....