A Very Wet Weekend

I’m not one to shy away from a bit of challenging weather. There’s something quite satisfying about putting on full waterproofs, wellies and as much wool as one can wear.

Maybe it was that we seem to have had nothing but rain or wind for the past 3 months and I’m feeling the drudgery seep in, or perhaps the almost-gale-force winds and persistent heavy rain this weekend was a bit much.   In any case, all I felt like was a cosy room, chai tea, some retro films and a new crochet project to play with.

amaryllis

This amaryllis, which was a present from a lovely friend at Christmas, is certainly cheering up the kitchen at the moment. I am always completely amazed how a stem, quite so enormous, can grow out of just a mere tangerine-sized bulb. I can’t wait to see how the flowers look once they are fully emerged.

crochet cowl beginnings

I have really enjoyed working The Pebble cowl, shown here, in a richer Damson colour.  I am already scouring the yarn colour charts for some new variations – I have a hankering for some stripes.

I hope you’re managing to keep out of the rain and wind. Pour yourself another cup of tea and definitely have that slice of cake you’re eyeing up. It’s the only solution!

See you soon x

Welcome February

Ok, so I’ve done another switcharoo.  Can I not sit still for one minute? Seems not.

I had a bit of writer’s block. Bloggers’ block you could call it. I had spent so much time, effort and *ahem money on changing my blog over to a self-hosted site. As I was blogging regularly and loving every minute, I thought that this would be the technological icing on the cake; I was convinced that it was going to give my blogging experience such a lift…

… and it did.  For a bit. However, in my contrary nature, it also had a bit of an opposite effect on my motivation levels. I am well aware that we have just moved house and life has been mega hectic, but something happened to my bloggy-joy when I had to ensure that I backed up everything weekly, pay my hosting company monthly, etc. etc. I longed to be back in the comforting nest of wordpress where all I had to worry about what was I wanted to photograph and write about.

So I finally did it. On Monday actually. I pulled the plug on the whole self-hosting stress that my blog had developed into…

…and I couldn’t be happier. Yes, I have a little less creative control (although wordpress.com seem to be giving bloggers more and more freedom in this respect), but I have a new theme, pretty colours and fonts to choose from and no more stress. I’m going to ditch the pressure that I have been piling on myself and just post the things that I (and hopefully) you, will like.

I shall start with my Instagram round-up from January. Muddy, windy and woolly. Perfect.

january round up

NB: While the blog is still settling back into it’s old skin, there may be a few issues with media files. I.e. where pictures don’t load properly. 

A Mid-Week Update

As things settle down in the new Finca, I’m determined to get back to a more regular posting schedule. However, for the moment, it may be a bit more ad-hoc than some of my earlier pre-planned posts.  So, with this New Year spirit in mind, I thought I would share with you some of the bits and pieces that I have been up to so far this week…

The weather has been pretty much as miserable as possible for our early morning dog walks.  Nevertheless, Brinks and I cover ourselves with as much waterproof clothing as we can manage and set out to find adventure.

race horses on the gallops

 

One of our favourite sights are the racehorses out for their morning exercise. Even if it’s pretty murky, we stand by the gate and watch to see how fast they can run.

Once back from our walks there is a necessity to take time to dry off and have a cup of tea. This week, I have been using these moments to play around with crochet collars. I’m thinking about the springtime already and the freedom of being able to forego the mass of scarves that usually adorn my neck…. and I was inspired by the idea of a light and delicate collar necklace to finish off a plain top.

I found this great free pattern, and although I had to adapt it slightly, I was very pleased with the results. Isn’t it cute?!

crochet collar

 

After (*another) exciting delivery of yarn, I also couldn’t resist starting my high contrast ‘sea glass’ scarf.  It will be very similar to this scarf currently in the shop (which was primarily designed with House of Colour Springs in mind), however with the contrasting pinks and blues in this new version, this is definitely one for those who have been analysed as Winters.

high contrast sea glass scarf

It’s already growing quite fast as I can’t take my hands away from the beautiful smoothness of this particular yarn and of course the startlingly amazing colours!

 

So that’s where I’m up to so far this week. Apologies if you have already seen these photos in either my Facebook or Instagram feed. My phone is my friend at the moment when it comes to taking pictures and juggling a small, highly inquisitive puppy!

Speak soon x

 

 

2015 – A Year of Changes

It amazes me that 2015 is already about to come to an end and the newness of the next year is so very close. For us, at the Finca, this has been an incredibly busy year, full of changes. The absence of regular posts was a definite hint that there was a lot going on and in all honesty, this is the first occasion where I have had a minute to sit at the computer and write to you.

allium bulb

 

… alliums were my absolute garden favourite of 2015 …

The first mega-change this year came with the arrival of Brinkley.  Maybe less of the arrival and more of the whirlwind as we have been kept more than occupied with all of his cute and crazy antics.  He is starting to settle himself comfortably into his adolescence and loves to be given jobs and tasks to do to keep his little terrier mind on track. Collecting the socks from the washing basket is his current favourite!

baby brinkley lakeland terrier

 

… Brinkley back in the day …

brinkley at 4 months lakeland terrier

… at four months …

Whilst getting to grips with being dog-parents we suddenly decided to move the Finca to a new home. I don’t know what came upon us, but we are very happy that an evening chatting about next steps over coffee turned into a full-scale house move. I can’t wait to share with you what excitements the new Finca holds… there is a little walled garden *squeal* and the prospect of more decorating! The main reason for the move was that we needed a bit more space and it is the next step on the journey to moving the Finca family more into the Mediterranean sunshine.

The other exciting piece of newness is…

…drumroll please…

…the grand opening of my Etsy shop – hurrah! No surprises that it houses a lot of crochet!

sail away coasters

By having a shop, I can crochet all I like without worrying about when I will get time to wear it all. Now I can make it for other people too.  I am still busy filling it with stock as my latest commissions have taken up a lot of my crochet-time recently. I have spent lots of hours deliberating what to actually fill it with as I have so many things that I like to make.  For now, I want to really concentrate my creative attention to scarves and warmer-weather alternatives to scarves (you’ll see what I mean as Easter draws nearer). As a massive scarf-wearer myself, I know the power that the right colour near to your face can have and I love the feeling when you get people stopping you on the street to say…

“I’m sorry, but I just had to say that I love that scarf!” 

What a buzz!

So, that’s you up-to-date for now. Bring on the New Year and let us all have a cracking one!

xx

 

 

 

Crochet Your Own Remembrance Poppy

I know it’s been ages since we’ve caught up. I have been feeling the pressure mount daily and I’ve missed updating the blog so much. However, sometimes you have to let a few things go while you are undertaking mammoth adventures and scheming clever tricks. That is the first reason and the second is that one of the perks of living in the depths of the English countryside is the intermittent internet, which lately, has been more off than on (please signal a loud harrumph here).

I am hoping with all hope that things will be finalised this week and I can start to share some of these excitements. I’ll write about a few at a time, like a little trickle. I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with a waterfall of new plans. We’ll take it slow with lots of cups of tea.

In the meantime, here is a post from last year, which was really popular with those of you who fancied making your own poppy to mark Remembrance Day.

Remembrance Day is not far off the horizon and it got me thinking about the number of paper poppies that I always seem to lose within minutes of receiving them.  No matter how carefully I pin them on, after a while of busying about, I look down to find the red petals missing and just a pin sitting there, not really looking supportive of Remembrance Day at all.

crochet frothy poppy

I thought it might be better, for this year, to crochet a happy-looking poppy that will stay on through thick and thin. I will of course still donate but will leave the paper poppies in their tray for someone else to come to terms with!

I found a beautifully simple but effective flower pattern on the lovely blog Very Berry Handmade.  I have kindly been given permission to feature it here on The Dorset Finca, but I have translated into UK terminology. So if you are into US crochet terms, pop on over to Very Berry using the link above. If you are happy with UK terms, please read on…

To make the poppy above, I used Stylecraft Special DK in Lipstick with a 4 mm hook.

Start with a Magic Circle and make 4 double crochet (dc) in the circle and close the circle by pulling the tail end (4 stitches).

R1: 2 dc in each dc round, join last dc to top of 1st dc with a slip stitch (ss) (8 stitches)

R2: 2 ch then 1 ss in next dc, 2 ch. Repeat all round then join round with ss (8 chain spaces)

R3: In each chain space make 1 ss, 1 chain (ch), 2 treble crochet (tc), 1 ch, 1 ss. Complete the round with ss into 1st ss. (8 petals created)

R4: Holding the flower facing you, take your hook to the back of the work and insert it round the 1st chain made in R2. Make ss round the chain, ch3, ss round the 1st chain underneath the next petal then repeat 7 times & complete the round with ss into 1st ss (8 chain spaces).

R5: Into each ch sp make 1 dc, 1 ch, 3 tc, 1 ch, 1 dc. Complete round with ss into 1st dc. (8 petals created).

R6: As in R4 take your hook to the back of the work and make ss round the 1st post of the 1st petal created in R5, ch 4, ss round next post then repeat 7 times & complete the round with ss into 1st ss (8 ch sp).

R7: In each ch sp created in R6 make 1 dc, 1 ch, 5 tc, 1 ch, 1 dc. Complete the round with ss into 1st dc.

Fasten off & weave in ends, except for the tail end.  I then used the tail end yarn to sew on my button to create the centre of the flower.  By adding a safety pin onto the back, the poppy should stay in place for good!

crochet poppy 1

 

… there are lots of alternative flower patterns on Pinterest if you feel like mixing it up …

After making one poppy, you will have no doubt mastered this pattern! Once Remembrance Day is over, you can change up the colours to create corsages for your coat or bag to brighten up the winter season.

alternative crochet poppy free pattern

Have a lovely rest of the week x

Autumn means…

… long walks amongst crispy leaves

… switching the morning espresso for a teapot full of tea

… becoming excited about scarves, hats and boots

autumn collection of leaves

 

… digging out favourite gardening jumpers

… whimsical jewellery

… using the dog as a hot water bottle for feet

whimsical autumn teapot jewellery

 

… warm afternoon sunshine followed by cold nights

… planning the next crochet blanket while still finishing the current project

… hot toast at 4 pm

 

… berry crumble

autumn leaf

… an odd sense of renewal – even though the year is in its last quarter

Are you an Autumn lover too?  What does it mean to you?

x

So Long My Friend

It has been a rather sad few days at the Finca.  Our lovely hen Keith passed away during the night.  She was completely happy and well in the days before and it was a bit of a surprise when we went to let them out in the morning.

Steve is doing ok and is keeping her mind off things by scratching around for grubs in the soil.

 

Keith dust bathing

We will always remember Keith for maintaining her resolutely grumpy expression, even when presented with her favourite food – warm porridge on a cold winter’s day.

Keith the hen

 

We will miss you lovely Keith x