Friday, 19 August 2016

Floral Triumphs Summer 2016

Whimsical Tarot

I have found it less challenging and more enjoyable to maintain our patio garden this summer; and in spite of prior experience, ''hope springs ...'' yaddayadda ... I planted a few types of seeds, mainly bought on sale. Most impactful (apart from the French and Runner beans standing at well over 8 foot high and who belong firmly in Titch's domain) was the amaranthus, a.ka. Love Lies Bleeding.

The seeds are tiny, and my record with seeds isn't good, so I threw caution to the wind along with the seeds themselves, and sowed them all.

Of course, they all germinated, so I gave some seedlings away, and since I can't be fiddling with teeny stuff, planted some in kind of clumps - I figured, Nature will thin them for me. It worked:

That said little yellow flower in the middle ? That's Thunbergia (Black-Eyed Susie) of which I also had many sprouts, but when planted out refused stubbornly to really go upwards like the voracious climber it claimed to be on the packet.

The clary sage and the cerinthe did not emerge; the nasturtiums looked fabulous draping from my front planter - for about a day until the blackfly found them. I bugsprayed them but I think that just overwhelmed the plants, who crumpled and withered accusingly.

I missed the opportunity to take a photo of my dahlia in its full glory (the pic was taken a month ago when my Asiatics were also beginning to bloom) - it was maybe £2/US$2.62 to buy the tuber, but man, you get some bang for your buck ! It flowers forever ! Well, OK several weeks, anyway. My mother didn't like them - along with gladioli, she thought they were vulgar, but they're a great splash of longlasting color. Now if they were scented ...

But my favorite this summer happened accidentally: I had a couple of pelargoniums (which us oldies like to still call geraniums) - including a scented-leaf variety -  and a random hardy fuchsia hanging around, so I bunged them all into a pot, and look what happened:

I have very carefully tried to avoid any photos showing the actual patio slabs, because it is in desperate need of weeding, which is Someone Else's job always and forever and ever amen. I'll let you know how that goes ...

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Baby Love

Victorian Romantic Tarot

The kids have gone to my MIL for a couple of weeks, but I have not leaped into my usual annual frenzy of deep-cleaning, as Mini Diva's parting gift was a particularly foul cough & cold which has seen me curled up on the sofa alternately burning up and shivering. I have avoided the I.D channel in case it gave me ideas, and instead have been wedged on NatGeoWild so I've been watching wildlife die instead. Most of the victims get eaten, which is fairly rare on the I.D channel.

No, I don't understand why you would call me gloomy and morose.

After dwelling too much on endings, I can tell you my neighbor has a new beginning - Baby was born fine and healthy in July.

Well, of course I had made some things, I love an excuse to make baby clothes.

No, I wasn't even a tiny bit broody.

Yes, I am lying. 

This is a pattern I've made a few times - Bonnie by Patons. I like it for the unusual side fastening design, and the choice of 2 motifs for the centre; I didn't bother with a motif this time as I was using Peter Pan Cupcake, which looks kind of lacklustre in the photo, but is amazingly soft and squooshy. I made the 6 month size so Baby can wear it in Winter.

 I loves me some cables, and have made this before as a school cardigan for Destructo Boy - which was stolen from school never to be seen again. Which I guess is a kind of compliment. There aren't so many cables as to be too fussy on such a small item in Sirdar 1561 so I chanced my arm on using Sirdar Snuggly Baby Cotton yarn (very unforgiving of errors) to make this again. The cute owl buttons finish it off perfectly.

This was a simple pattern (Sirdar 1354 which must have been my sister's as it's not the kind of style I would buy) - anything else would have been wasted with this Sirdar Tiny Tots yarn; the texture was a bit stiff until it was washed. 

All the yarns I used were bought at rock-bottom prices - as in, 79p/$1.03 per ball (yes, look at that horrendous exchange rate; thank you, Brexit) a ball type prices from the marvellous Kemps clearance section.

Things will be a bit quiet on the baby-clothes knitting for some while, as I don't know anyone who is expecting ... time to focus on larger projects ...

Monday, 1 August 2016

Tarot Blog Hop Lammas 2016: Opposites


Maureen Aisling Duffy-Boose is the hostess for this tarot blog hop, the first one this year in which I have felt drawn to participate:

This Hop celebrates the festival of Lughnassadh, Lammas, Loaf-Mass, and many other names. It has historical lore connected to a tale of Lugh Lámhfhada (Lugh of the Long Arm) or his alternate title, Lugh Samhildánach (Lugh of the Many Skills), who is a primary harvest Deity in Celtic lore. In the oldest Irish lore, the festival is celebrated in honor of the funeral games of Tailtiu, the foster-mother of Lugh, who had died of exhaustion after clearing a huge tract of forestland by hand in order that the crops which were being overrun by the armies of the Tuatha de Danaan and the Fir Bolg might be re-planted, so that the people might not starve. Lugh is a primary God of the Harvest in Ireland, and in Christian times, the first-fruits of the grain, harvested in the month of August, were baked into the sacred bread of which the Holy Communion was made in the churches, giving rise to the name "Loaf-Mass" for the festival celebration. In any case, this feast in all the Celtic lands has a particular relevance to the way we interpret the Tarot, for the reason that it is focused on a "union of opposites", celebrating both the bounty of the land which is yielding the Harvest, and honoring the memory of a beloved Elder who dies in the process of making this Harvest possible. 

 So, for this "Hop", let's do some exploring of the "union of opposites" and take a look at the cards with this in mind.

 I feel like a bit of a cheat - when I sat down to write this post, about 2 cards that represent opposing but necessary parts of a cycle, I realized I had already spoken about this idea, here

Here is the soundtrack to go with the cards:


So this time, winging it, let's discuss the symbolism in XIII Death that indicates the new growth that comes after ... one of my favorite versions is from the Hudes deck:

The Hudes is a sparse deck, not overloaded with color or images; but it's very starkness means that the symbols that are depicted have more impact - and here the butterfly symbolizing transformation and new life is in addition located in the pelvic region (sex and new life) of Death's skeleton.

All these versions contain the signs of new life to follow:

 Darkana Tarot Halloween Tarot Crystal Visions Tarot

 Shadowscapes Tarot                                New Palladini Tarot                              Tarot for Cats

 Animism Tarot Crystal Tarot 

It is more of a challenge to find Marseilles-type decks with imagery of transformation, but it can be done:

Tarot Noir BOTA Tarot Daniloff Tarot

Of course, if you consider those decks which retitle Death to 'Transition' or some such bowdlerized name, there are several 'fluffy bunny' versions to be ignored; in this category instead we seek cards which retain the darkness, and my (not exhaustive) search found only one:

Wildwood Tarot

If you know of any renamed 'Death' cards that are not Happy Squirrel-type cards, please let me know in the comments section. 

I imagine it would be an interesting if time-consuming exercise to see how many other tarot cards contain opposites in their imagery - if you have found any, please let me know in the comments section.

Now you may fall back to Joanne's blog, or trip forward to Boglarka's blog ...

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Not So L YS

Prairie Tarot

So back when life was kind of normal and the debacle of Brexit and it's lily-livered architects was unforeseen, we took Mini Diva and a couple of her club squad to a rugby camp organized by England and professional rugby player, Rachel Burford, in the charming little town of Beccles. Unfortunately the winding narrow country roads that lead there created somewhat of a budget white-knuckle ride for me, but my shaking hands were calmed by tea sipped through a straw, it being too early for gin. Well, too early for me to be seen drinking gin openly, anyway.

Having deposited the girls, Titch and I decided to roam the wild and unknown streets of Beccles in search of entertainment:

We accidentally went into a craft shop ( I shan't name it, to spare their blushes) where the ambience was so forbidding and the one salesperson of 3 present was so hostile that we slunk out like a dog that's just peed in your shoe.

Luckily, this was not the general experience we had in Beccles - everyone else was friendly, helpful and chatty. I was especially pleased to find a Tardis of a (not so Local) Yarn Shop, The Needlecraft Shop: it looked like an old-fashioned haberdashery shop from the outside, there was no clue as to the rich variety and range of yarns until one had trickled through the door:

There were 4 separate sections of the shop, of which 3 were yarn-related. The ladies on duty were friendly and welcoming, chatty but without any pressure to buy. Of course, one is obligated to buy something from such a lovely shop, one must contribute to its survival - and as yarn purchases were not part of the plan for the day, a little ball of something or other would have satisfied my moral conscience as well as my practical one.

However, Titch had different ideas, and spoiled me by buying me a(nother) sweaters' worth of a delicious green aran yarn, two 400grm/ 892yds/ 816m balls:

And his generosity extended to matching buttons:

Now all I need is a pattern: help me out ... I want a cardigan, longline, with pockets. No open fronts - I want to use these buttons. I like cabling, and lace, not necessarily together: hit me with your suggestions, please.

Thursday, 30 June 2016


  Robin Wood Tarot                                  Zombie Tarot                               RWS                                               Victorian Romantic

 I don't usually post anything political - but the recent earthquake that was the Brexit vote stunned and horrified me. I am trying to deal with the personal aspects of such destruction: one of the consequences is that I have been pondering the concept of forgiveness - there are people who I cared about, who have decimated my childrens' and my country's future.

Every time I think that I'm making a mountain out of a molehill, that I can accept and move on, someone not only rubs salt in the wound but pokes it with a sharp and dirty stick by posting a flippant and/or snide and gloating meme or supercilious comment - and I am reminded exactly what was at stake, what has been lost: I am back to square 1. I am not ready. Those who keep the wounds fresh with their lack of understanding and compassion ensure I won't be ready for some while longer, as I also consider what kind of people they are that they can behave like this.

If I do eventually reach the point of being able to engage with these people, how I think and feel about them has been permanently altered.

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Grass is Greener ...

Spiral Tarot

You know how it is, you spend hours and hours trawling the interwebz on a quest to find the perfect eyelash yarn - yes, didn't you know there can be eyelash yarn that is not only wanted but needed ?!

 I know, it's not everyone who can link Meatloaf and knitting - you're welcome.

Anyway. I found some that looked just right for what I needed - something grass-like in color and texture, King Cole Moments in 'Lime':

What arrived illustrates perfectly the perils of shopping online:

ouch ! my eyes ! my eyes !

All in a tizz, I instantly emailed the eBay seller, habby-knitters, begging to return and exchange it, explaining that I had been anticipating something more in the way of Irish or even Surrey fields than those of Chernobyl. 

In response, I received an email telling me to keep the 'Lime' and they would send me something more truly grass-like. In fact, they sent me four more balls without any charge:

I could make some witty comments about the dumping of nuclear waste, but actually I just wanted to give habby-knitters a shout out for excellent customer service, exceeding by far the minimum solution I'd been hoping for. It's always a (rare) pleasure to be able to really be surprised, touched and pleased by top notch service, and to want to tell others about it.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Sunshine & Storms

Robin Wood Tarot

Titch took a day off to drive us to Norwich for a day out, as Mini Diva wanted to go to the RAF Careers Centre - our closest one. It was no sacrifice at all as we used to live in Norwich years ago, and it's one of our favorite cities: the size of a city but with a village feel, full of unique non-chain shops too. 

While we were there, she also blew most of her birthday money on posh sports clothes, so she was happy; I found 2 posh yarn shops: Norfolk Yarn which stocked Tibetan Yak yarn, and The Crafty Ewe which does late night opening once a week ! Plus a Hobbycraft, all of which made me happy - but (making Titch happy) from a stall on the huge market bought only a crochet hook and cute buttons for this:

Sirdar Tiny Tots DK 1561

The rest of the weekend was spent in clearing out our shed in order to put a 2nd-hand chest freezer there ready for storing supplies for the cricket season which starts next week - I am amazed, if not gobsmacked, that Titch volunteered to do the snack kitchen again this year; quite frankly I am really not looking forward to it: after an autumn and winter of merely showing up to watch the kids play rugby at a semi-civilized 10am, being out of bed every Sunday at 6:30am for an 8am start from now until August has NO appeal whatsoever.

Which brings me to the reason for the 3 of Swords. In clearing the shed, we found a box that we both thought had been stored in the house. Unfortunately it and its contents have been ruined by damp and mold:

This is Mini Diva's baby 'coming home' outfit, her first pairs of baby shoes, first lock of hair .... you get the idea. Every single one of the congratulations cards was ruined too. The tears ran down my face like Niagara.