Saturday 15 September 2018


Darkana Tarot

 A major achievement for me within the last year was to take driving lessons and pass both my theory and practical driving tests on the first attempt: I had several motivators - Mini Diva's rugby training, games and events happening more frequently and regularly in far more rural and further away locations (Titch can't perform taxi duties as he works away all week); the levels of anxiety and panic brought on by being a passenger in a car ... what do you mean, control issues ?? .... And a need to get to work not relying on public transport, which means I can do the early shifts I prefer.

I couldn't have done this without the support of my lovely MIL who doesn't understand the concept of non-drivers - living in what I would call remote rural locations for much of her life probably fuels that view (see what I did there ?) and of course, Titch, who not only helped me with major cheerleading, but enabled the purchase of the kind of car I wanted/needed although it really doesn't suit him.

 Actually, it's not quite that bad, but it is still not built to his scale.

Within about 3 months I had managed to do this:

 I was fine, just shocked and really upset. I'd only been moving at 10mph - it's amazing what damage can be done at low speeds: Shidare-zakura (Weeping Cherryblossom) was a write-off.

Titch was very keen for me to get back in the saddle asap; I think he had concerns that I'd never get into any car ever again. So we found this, same make, slightly different model:

And having learned from poor naming habits, this one has been christened Hinagiku (Daisy) - no hint of weeping this time. I love these old-style Honda CR-Vs: they sit quite high, LOTS of glass and therefore visibility, 4x4, they are chunky and sturdy, reliable, plenty of trunk/boot space (this model even includes a built-in picnic table!) and of course, an automatic, with the gear stick on the steering column. Needless to say, perhaps the most crucial design element of all, is the cup-holder .... My driving instructor considered her to be large, but Wilhelmina, of sainted memory, was what I consider large:

approx. 15 1/2 ft long, I know because we measured

 Since then, I have driven to Twickenham via the North Circular, to Wales and back to visit with my Uber Cool Brother, and up to Lincolnshire to visit with my new twin grand-nieces. And not only did I survive to tell the tale, but so did my passengers - in spite of the musical selections !

While fitting new tyres, the garage broke her hard wheel-cover; it proved too challenging to source another one in the right color, so I took it as an opportunity to customize:

 I found the pattern on Ravelry, and sourced it from an Etsy seller in Canada - I love the interwebz. How else could you find a crochet magazine from 1989 ?

It is a doily pattern, and to upsize it simply (read: lazily) I used SuperChunky acrylic yarn. I need to revisit this pattern and make it to include the daisies in the border - perhaps Aran-weight this time ....

EDITED TO ADD: I am claiming that this detailed post about my motoring triumphs (and failure) was a planned, purposeful expansion of my previous post; having spent too much time putting it together, and posting it, I realized with horror that my menopausal memory - or rather, serious lack of same - means I spoke about this last time. Apologies xx


Tuesday 4 September 2018

So Now I'm Back ...

Housewives Tarot

.... from outer space ...

Well, no, not really. But it might as well have been, this last year. 

Hello again, my friends - I've had a quick tidy-up round the edges, removed dead links on the blog roll etc. now let's see if I can maintain a weekly post.

Forest Folklore


Much has happened since last we spoke - the most upsetting being the death of our quirky landlady last summer, which forced us to move house (on Hallowe'en). Our new house is a Victorian end-terrace, much smaller, much further away from school - so most unpopular with the kids, as it's a long walk to school and nowhere near any of their friends; in fact, we are only 5 minutes walk from a different high school, but Mini Diva wanted to stick with the courses she'd chosen, and Destructo Boy wants to stay in the same school as his friends. We miss our old neighbors and neighborhood, we miss the large airy rooms, the conservatory, the 2nd toilet, and Inky the cat, who roamed and hardly returns since spring. Most of our books and much of our furniture is in the garage - it simply won't fit in this house.

On the plus side, it has an actual back garden with grass, not just a patio; it could be seen as cosy and snug; the kitchen is massive; it is 5 mins from the dog park - Sebastian is pretty creaky and gray suddenly, and doesn't want or need the long walks to, round and from the big main park anymore (we have turned into those people who drive to walk their dog). It is next door to the local corner shop; it is close to 2 good bus routes into town. 

squeeze them as hard as you can

And in an attempt to master my car-related anxiety and panic attacks, I took driving lessons and passed both my theory and practical tests on the first go. We then bought a little old car that ticked all my boxes (high, lots of glass for visibility, solid, not huge) and within 3 months I did this:


 Not bad when I was going a mere 10 mph. There were many, many tears. And my insurance is even more extortionate now. (I was fine, just shaken up and upset). We bought another new-to-me Honda CR-V, this one christened Hinagiku; the garage broke her wheel cover, which gave me the opportunity to really customize some decor:

I get lots of great comments about this, from all kinds of people

 I work full-time outside the home now, so my crochet and knitting time has really suffered - this year so far I have completed only 10 items, and 9 of those were baby items ... for my sister's middle daughter's twins, born in June. My sister would have absolutely loved them, and being a grandmother.

Speaking of knitting for twins - how to make things the same, but different ?

I decided to invert the colors:


Vintage pattern Emu Treasure 8561, using WI Soft & Silky in pink, yellow and lilac mix.

To use plain and self-striping colorways of the same yarn:

UKHKA6 in WYS Signature 4ply in 'Pennyroyal' and the self-striping version ' Woodpigeon'

To use a pattern that offers two versions (here, differing stitch patterns) :


Vintage pattern Peter Pan P551 in Hayfield Baby Blossom DK in 353 'Buttercup'.

And lastly, the same colors but different patterns:

Textured Baby Blanket and Lilac Lily Baby Blanket, both in Scheepjes Colorcrafter Weert, Urk (yes, I know, I laugh every time), Amstelveen, Amersfoort, Heerlen and Alphen - or, white, aqua, purple, pink, lilac, and teal.

 My goodness, I'm exhausted. I forgot how much time and effort creating a blog post can take ! Especially when your computer crashes halfway through ...

As ever, I welcome any comments.