Round Up, Round Up – December 2018

Christmas is forever,
not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving,
are not to put away like bells and lights and tinsel,
in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.
(Norman W Brooks)

Christmas is more than presents, good food and too much alcohol, it’s about love and connection, it’s about family coming together, spending time together and enjoying every second of that moment.
So why is it we only have Christmas once a year? Why is it that families only seem to get together for weddings, funerals or those very rare party?
Life and traditions are changing beyond recognition and even though life can be made simpler by the latest gadgets and technologies, the art of real communication is fading away at such a fast rate, it’s uncanny.
Where once was eye contact, eyes are now glued to screens, texts have replaced phone calls and lol has replaced a good old hearty laugh and the English language is becoming extinct.
Can you honestly tell me the colour of the eyes of 10 of your family and friends?
Or tell me 10 phone numbers that you know off by heart?
Or what your other half’s favourite colour is, or their favourite season, movie or memory is?
I’m sure, if I asked you, if you know all your passwords to your different gadgets or logins, you’ll be about to answer in a blink of an eye.
It’s a very sorry state of affairs and I’m disgusted with myself for being part of it.
As the year comes to an end, the jolly’s of Christmas have been replaced with New Year’s Eva celebrations, I can’t help but think how different life has become and in truth it scares me a little.
We live in a world full of machines, plastic and destruction. Those machines are replacing honest jobs, that plastic is filling our oceans and landfills, our lands and forests are turning into housing estates, leaving animals to move closer to our concrete landscape and please don’t get me started on the damage cars and roads are inflicting on our beautiful planet.
It’s shameful, sorry let me rephrase that,

WE ARE SHAMEFUL!!!

We need to change, before we destroy life as we know it.
Maybe we could all make 2019 the year, we make a difference, that the world becomes compassionate, that the monsters we have become, change back into kind, caring, honest and better human-being.
Let’s make 2019 the year that goes down in history as the year we began to save our home, planet Earth.🌍
So with a nice shiny new outlook, a positive mind and determination for the New Year, let me tell you all about what I got up to in December.

🍫 Diabetic Changes.
December has been hard on the old food front. I was doing really well and was looking forward the my diabetic appointment, to see if changing my diet has reduced my sugar levels.
The day before my appointment, I got a phone call saying they had to cancel my appointment.
I was a little gutted and fed up to be honest, I’ve been trying so hard and wanted, needed to know that I was on the right track and doing ok.
I also had lots of questions, because the internet contradicts itself, one site tells you so and so food is ok, another tells a difference story. It frustrating and confusing.
Food isn’t labelled as it is for vegetarians or for nut alleges, so if you are new to this sugar level malarkey, you really are going in blind.
I also have an issue with checking my blood levels, as every time I prick my finger, I don’t bleed so can’t check my levels. It would have been good to be able to talk to her about other ways to check my sugars. I did ask the receptionist to pass on a message for my nurse to call me, and weeks later I’m still waiting on the call.
I was left feeling a little let down and disheartened, making it harder to stay on track, especially as all the delicious Christmas food and chocolate seems to be constantly on the TV. Hopefully January will be easier.
I have to say my naughty Roast Potatoes were absolutely delicious on Christmas Day. (I knew I shouldn’t have eaten them, but it was Christmas and my first potato’s in months.)

🧐Family research.
It seems of late, I don’t actually get down and dirty and do what I call, proper research, it’s just a matter of re-researching the ancestors I’ve blogged about.
It’s great going back over their lives, especially when you find new information that you missed the first time round.
I seem to have put off writing about some of my so-called favourites or really interesting ancestors until the end of my challenge. Their life’s were exceptionally busy, so their life stories are jam-packed with information and with December being extremely busy, it probably wasn’t my best move, as I’ve spent most of December feeling as I’m drowning in the long list of things I have to do. I swear we all feel like this in December. It was all worth it though, watching the faces of you nearest and dearest opening their hand-picked or hand-made gifts, is always a delight.
To spend quality time with them, eating delicious food, toasting our lost loved ones and watching cheesy Christmas movies, as the adults doze off with full food baby belly’s.
It really is a magic time of the year and so very important.
Christmas is all about making memories, writing our own history and carrying out family traditions.
It’s those traditional that will get passed down through the generations, it’s the stories you tell that will get retold over and over, giving our future descendants a little insight into their ancestors lives.
That’s why I believe it’s so very important to document your own life, print out the millions of photos you have on your phone that never see the light of day, write names and dates on the back and even a memory or two.
Buy a timeless leather book and write about your most meaningful moments, your hobbies, your passions, your loves and hates, even you height, weight, hair colour, eye colour etc.
Log those important facts about yourself.
Not only will our future generations find out about our lives, they will have a snippet into our personalities and see their ancestors handwritten words.
They can compare their own hand writing to ours and feel that special feeling when they discover their hand writes similar to yours.
Gone are the days that hand written letters, sit waiting in mail boxes or on door mats, gone are the days when opening a personal letter, gave you a warm overflowing feeling of excitement.
I remember the feeling well, when we would return from school, an airmail envelope would be waiting patiently on the hall floor, with my Dad’s delicate, beautiful handwritten letter tucked safely inside. Those few moments of pure joy, were so much more, than a ping of an inbox.
When those letters no longer came, those special moments, that glorious feeling faded away with him. What I would give to receive one more letter, to feel those heartwarming feelings just one more time, to see his heart and soul intwined in the letters he had heartfully written and to know he had spent his precious time, to give me all those wonderful feelings.
You really never know how important something so simple is until it’s gone.
Although a personal email can be wonderful, they are very few and far between and end up sat in you inbox, mixed in with the trillion others you receive daily.
With emails and text being the fastest way to communicate, the art of handwriting is dying off.
It really is heart wrenching and utterly sad when you really think about it. So let’s change that, surprise your loved ones with a hand written letter, document you journey by hand and print those treasured photograph, make albums and scrapbooks, feel the wonderful feeling of having a book in your hand as you share your creations, make your own story of life and never be forgotten.

🏵Crochet
My mission throughout December, was to get my wip’s (work in progress) finished so I can go into the new year with time to start dwindling down my forever growing, to make list. I haven’t got as many wips as others have but I find they begin to stress me out if I have too many or life just throws a curveball and doesn’t allow time to work on them.

My main wip is my “Nuts About DNA Afghan” I’m making for my wonderful mum. I’m making 144 squares by different designers which I will join together and edge. There was no way it was going to be finished in December but I’m determined to get it finished in 2019. Throughout November and between working on all my other wip’s I made –

Dahlia Delight, by Shelley Husband from Spin Cushions.
I absolutely loved making this one, and can’t wait to sink my teeth into her new book, which is teasing me daily.
I’ve made a few of Shelley’s designs, the Mayan Blanket being my favourite to date.
Shelley is up there with the best of the best crochet designers, you will just adore her patterns, her pattern writing skills, and of course her accent.

Frosty Bloom Square, by Heather J Anderson. This Square was an interesting and enjoyable to make, I haven’t made anything by Heather before. I did however have to study her photos, to check I was on the right course. I’m not sure if I’m just not uses to her patterns or maybe something small was is missing or I was just having a blonde moment. All in all, I did really enjoy making it.
Please, please, please, don’t let that put you off, as I’m sure it’s down to me feeling a little groggy on the day I made it and my concentration wasn’t up the scratch. I’m looking forward to making more from Heather especially her hats, they are very cute.
You can find “Frosty Bloom Square” pattern for free on Heather’s website or you can buy an ad free version on Ravelry.

I think I’ve now made 80 squares, only 64 to go, I best get crocheting.

Another kind of wip I needed to wrap up was my, Briar Rose of Friendship, which you can read about here. Although this lapghan was finished a while ago, I still had those pesky ends to weave in. Thankfully I got them done in time, thanks to my hubby picking up a needle so our Calum, could give it to his best friend Pippa for Christmas. I can definitely called that one a wrap. 🎁

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Another wip I needed to finish was my, Havana Afghan, by Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldsen. In truth I’ve been kinda putting off finishing it, one reason being, I didn’t want the journey to be over, the other in true honesty was I was a little nervous about starting the border.
A few people on social media have been saying, the border was really hard to do and very time-consuming. The little devil of a voice in my head, stole my confidence and made me dealt myself, so I put it aside and worked on my “Little Prince Charming” lapghan.
With time against me I had to get it finished.
Here it is in all its glory. I absolutely love it and is possibly one of my favourite makes to date. You can read all about it here.

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In last months, “Round Up” post, I told you about a secret project I was working on, I’m happy to say I finished it and it’s now in the hands of it new owner, Bruce.
I made this blanket as a thank you, for all he has done for my family and I.
I made him the, Little Prince Charming by Vanessa at Hooked on Sunshine
You can read all about it here.

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My last wip is the, Beautiful Shells Blanket by Lahoma Jayne Nally, which I’m making for my auntie Jan.
The pattern is wonderful, but in truth I’ve really struggled making this one, not because it’s hard, it’s really easy to make, but I just can’t keep my eyes open when I sit down to work on her.
It’s such a shame as my Auntie loves it and I really want to be able to hand it over to her.
With my hands working over time, I can finally say, it’s finished. You can read all about it here.

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I’ve made 9, Divine Hat , by Sarah Arnold, using Stylecraft Special Chunky, Paintbox Simple Chunky and Scheepjes Stonewashed XL, in Black, Parchment, Pillar Red, Emperor, Light Teal, Midnight, Black Onyx.

5, Spiral Messy Bun Hat, by LittleJohn’s Yarns, using Stylecraft Special Chunky in Black. I LOVE mine and live in it most days.

One, Kisses Slouchy Beanie, by Kristina Olson, using Stylecraft Special Chunky, in Black.

One Simple Slouch Hat, by Alexis Middleton, in Scheepjes Stonewashed XL, Smokey Quartz.

And finally one, Mountain Ridge Messy Bun Hat, by Kali Dahle, in Scheepjes Stonewashed Xl, in colour Moonstone. I did have to modify the last few rounds so it would fit me probably, I think I must have a small head.

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And finally, I could not resist starting another Havana Afghan, by Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldsen. I am making it for my Hubby in my all time favourite yarn, Scheepjes Stonewashed in colours, Black Onyx and Moonstone. I’m not in a hurry to finish it as I want to enjoy the journey so will be working on it between other projects that need to be done at a faster pace. It’s looking rather striking already and can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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It is always heart warming to receive a thank you, for the blankets or home-made gifts I make. I received two touching thank you’s this month. I’m not really use to getting praise and I’ll admit Brace’s message made me blush and touched me deeply. an added bonus was we got to meet up for a drink, a little nibble and a god old chat. mark and I are looking forward to getting together again with him in the New year.

😍Crochet Crush.
There are so many crush worthy patterns out there, it’s incredibly hard to choose just one.
This month I’ve gone googly-eyed over, Carnival Of Flowers CAL by Buttonnose Crochet.
It’s so very pretty and gives you that summer feeling.

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I especially love Instagramer, rafsweetheart version, her colours are right up my street. It’s definitely eye candy.

You can find more of Buttonnose Crochet Patterns on Ravelry, here, her website here and her Facebook page here.
Natasha has lots of lovely patterns but Eves’ Journey, is definitely worth checking out.
If I remember correctly there is a back story to Eves’ Journey and I believe it was dedicated to her Granny, (I hope I remember that correctly) which makes it even more perfect especially as intwined is a mix up of family history and my passion crochet.
A huge thank you to Natasha for allowing me to share her breathtaking talent and photo with you.

I think that about sums up my December.
Have a great News Years Eva, and please remember not to drink and drive.
I’ll hopefully see you back here in 2019.
Too- da-loo.

🥂🎉🥂

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