Three Things Thursday: 28 December 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, crafty time. Although I have still had (paid) work to do over the festive period I’ve found time to do quite a bit of crafting … this always makes me happy. Here’s one of my completed projects:

Last completed socks of 2017

Second, unexpected beauty. Yesterday I went out to the compost bin and looked up to see this:

pretty in pink

I came in to get my camera and when I looked again, I realised this cloud was part of a beautiful skyscape:

looking skywards

Third, a perfect pudding. I’m always delighted when a steamed pudding comes out of its bowl intact and this one behaved very well:

Apple flapjack steamed pudding

So, that’s some of what’s been making me happy this week. How about you?

In fact, that’s it for Three Things Thursday as a weekly feature here on the blog…. it’s been a great thing to do and I’ll continue to think of my three things, but not necessarily to write a post. My plans are to direct my writing elsewhere in 2018. I want to thank Emily of Nerd in the Brain who originally created Three Things Thursday and I hope that you will continue to look for the positives in your life too.

Five fings Friday

So, after yesterday’s post turned into a bit of a wallow on my part, I thought I would pick myself up and list  not three, but five fings things that are making me smile today (or made me smile yesterday).

First,  you lot. Your kind messages and comments yesterday went a long way to cheering me up. Although I’m still smarting from the rejection, it was lovely to be showered with so many positive messages. I’ve picked myself up and I’m moving on.

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it’s years since I’ve had Christmas presents!

Second,  secret Santa. Under normal circumstances I don’t do Christmas gifts, but I did decide to join in with Sewchet’s Stitching Santa this year. And yesterday I was very excited when my present arrived. It’s secret so I don’t know who it’s from until I open it, but it’s a lovely box filled with things yarn-related, so it’s bound to be a joy to open. I still haven’t decided whether to keep it an extra week until my birthday, but I may not be able to resist it for that long.

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chocolatey

Third, chocolate. Yesterday afternoon I cheered myself up with some cooking. In the absence of the beef, we decided to have fish pie (made using sustainably caught fish from Cornwall), followed by dark chocolate tart with a white chocolate sauce and raspberries (grown by me). The tart had chocolate pastry and a baked mousse-like filling. The sauce was simply a small amount of white chocolate melted in hot cream and then a teaspoon of liqueur added – it worked very well to contrast with the dark chocolate and the raspberries, although it would have been very sickly on its own.

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just the thing to make Sophie look extra-beautiful

Fourth, the end is in sight. I now only have two rows of Sophie remaining, so she will be finished tonight. I was delighted, therefore, that my new blocking mats arrived yesterday. Sophie is too big to block on my usual cork board, so I have bought some interlocking children’s play mats for the purpose. Each one measures 30cm × 30cm, so it’s possible to construct the size and shape of mat I need very easily. I did try to find some secondhand mats, but in the end I had to buy new; however, I think they are going to get lots of use in the future.

Fifth, a lot of swimming. Today is the final day in 2017 that our local swimming pool is open. I won’t be able to go and swim there again until 8 January 2018. So I’ve totted up my tally for this year and I discover that I have been swimming 112 times. I’m very proud of myself… especially considering that most of those swims have been at 7am.

So there we are, lots to make me smile today. How about you? I really hope good things are happening in your life and, for those of you who find this time of year difficult, I send a big hug and remind you that the media’s representation of Christmas is nonsense and that there are lots of lovely people out there who want to support you and make you happy, like the café owner in this story from our local newspaper.

Thanks once again for the lovely comments on yesterdays post – you are all amazing.

Three Things Thursday: 21 December 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, the solstice. It’s been lovely to get ‘happy solstice’ greetings from so many friends. Now we can look forward to longer days, even if it is just a smidge more light each day, it is very welcome.

looking forward to more evenings like this

Second, shelter not presents. As you may know, we don’t send cards or give presents at this time of year, instead we donate to charity. This year I decided to focus my donations on people who do not have a roof over their heads, so I donated to Crisis, St Mungo’s and Moas. It seems wrong for us to accumulate more when there are people with nothing; I hope my donations will go a little way to providing some warmth, shelter and safety for those who are without it. I am grateful for the roof over my head and this is one way to share my good fortune.

Third, looking on the bright side. A few weeks ago, in a fit of enthusiasm/madness/mid-life crisis I applied for a job… in London. Yesterday I heard that, despite being very well qualified, I hadn’t even been short-listed. I am devastated – not because I was certain that I wanted the job, but because the response made me feel completely unwanted and unvalued. It was a job in which I could have had a big positive impact on people’s lives, but now I’ll never know what might have been possible. However, it’s over and there’s no use ‘what-iffing’. So now I’m doing my best to look on the bright side… I didn’t really want to have to find somewhere to live in London, and I didn’t want to have to be away from Mr Snail during the week; I wouldn’t have had time to do as much creative stuff if I had got the job, nor to write the books I’m planning, nor to develop my creative business. Even so, I’m still finding it hard not to be glum – no one likes rejection. Cheery comments would be most welcome today… I’m always grateful when I hear from my readers.

So, that’s some of what’s making me happy (and sad) this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 14 December 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, snow and no snow. Here on the west coast of Wales, because of the influence of the Gulf Stream, we rarely see snow, so it’s a novelty when it falls – as it did on Sunday. However, I only like it when I don’t have to go anywhere (as was the case on Sunday and Monday) and I’m generally pleased to see the back of it. So, it’s been a good week, because it arrived, stayed for a few days and now it’s all gone.

The hens were not impressed and mostly refused to venture out.

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Mags and Aliss were not keen

Second, being stuck indoors. The weather on Sunday kept me inside and it gave me the excuse to focus on sorting out parcels for some of my random acts of kindness (part of my 17 for 2017) as well as doing some sewing. Having not used my overlocker for several months it did take me ages to get it threaded and working at the right tension again, but it’s all systems go now.

Third, Sophie. I was too busy to post on my progress yesterday (I was doing some very short deadline editing); so, since she’s making me so happy, I thought I’d share my work today (not blocked, so a bit untidy).

I really like one section in particular – several rows of small stitches in different colours:

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simple but lovely

I’m thinking that I might use some of the left-over wool to make something in this style once Sophie is done.

 

So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 7 December 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, new glasses. Suddenly, it’s much easier to read small print and see my crochet. How lucky I am to live in a country where we have ready access to opticians and the necessary technology .IMGP4747

Second, dream, plan, do. I’m planning to do some different things in 2018, including focusing on developing my creative endeavours as a business. So, I’m very happy that this creative planner from The Design Trust has arrived. I will be settling down with it very soon.IMGP4746

Third, helpful people. The internet is great, but sometimes speaking to a real person is better. A couple of phone calls this morning have set my mind at rest about an order that I knew I’d placed but wasn’t being listed in my online account and for which I hadn’t received an email confirmation. Apparently all is fine except, perhaps, the technology!

So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 30 November 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, a new book:IMGP4690

Second, warm water. The boiler broke down at the swimming pool last week. This resulted in one rather chilly swim and then the pool was closed. I’m pleased to say that it’s mended now and the temperature is back to normal. It makes me realise how brave Sarah Foto is with her sea swimming from her home on Hönö Island… check out this post to see what I mean (oh and her photos are sure to make you smile).

Third, mending. I have finally overcome my aversion to darning, and spent a happy hour or so yesterday mending socks. I did curse the poor quality variegated wool (sold as sock wool, but really not suitable) in the blue socks, but was very happy that the plain turquoise yarn from WYS has done so well in the heels and for mending. The mauve is also from WYS and I thought it would be fun to use it to mend both the coloured area and the black of the ‘northern lights’ socks… I am increasingly happy with the idea of visible mending.IMGP4694So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 23 November 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, restoring faith in humanity. I just got back from the post office, where I was served by the lady I made the gloves for. It’s the first time I’ve seen her since I dropped them off and she thanked me very sincerely, saying I had restored her faith in humanity… now that’s not a bad thing to do with your crochet, is it? Anyway, her name is Rachel and I seem to have made her very happy.

Such a simple way to make someone happy

Second, new homes for unwanted items. My rehoming scheme seems to be going well… I’m never going to have a house completely free of clutter, but I am really enjoying seeing things that I have no use for finding their way to new homes. So far this week I’ve rehomed two lots of broderie anglaise and a 1990’s Vogue sewing pattern. Although money is not the main issue for me, charging for an item means that it’s more likely to go to someone who actually wants it and will make use of it.

This pattern has gone to a new home today

Third, a new home for a person. I’m really happy that it looks like my sister’s eldest daughter has found a new home. There’s nothing official yet, but we are all keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly.

So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 16 November 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, secret stitching gifts. I mentioned before that, despite my usual rejection of all things Christmas, I decided to participate in Sewchet’s festive gift exchange. It’s nice to have an excuse to put together some yarny things that I know will be appreciated… and also to pass on some of my surplus. I made a start this week with my making, creating this little work basket; after all, you can never have too many receptacles for all those “works in progress”:

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work basket from Berber carpet wool

 

Making it was tough on the fingers because the thick carpet wool is quite rough, but it holds its shape well and it should be very robust. In fact this probably counts as a double smile, because I’ve had that particular wool sitting in my collection for several years, so it’s been good to find an appropriate use for it.

Second, food with friends. Some friends came round for dinner on Tuesday evening – I cooked roast pork and heaps of vegetables, followed by apple pie and cream. The food wasn’t fancy, but it was delicious… all the more for sharing it with dear friends. We probably don’t do this often enough.

Third, sleepy dogs. I’m always amused how tired the dogs are after we’ve had people visiting. I smiled a lot at Sam being so crashed out yesterday; she was even too tired for a walk. Oh and for those of you who have asked – Max is still hanging in there . He’s rather frail, but he’s enjoying his low fat, high carb food and a tiny walk on dry days… not a bad life for an old dog.

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Sam in recovery yesterday

 

So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 9 November 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

First, things arriving in the post. I love to receive letters and cards and parcels, especially when they have been sent by friends. The post this week has yielded two of these things – a card from Cathy and a parcel from Ann. Both made me smile a lot.

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lovely arrivals

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I think I can spare some!

Second, sending things in the post. Although I don’t ‘do’ Christmas, I decided this year to participate in Sewchet’s Crafty Secret Santa event… Stitching Santa. Basically, you are allocated a person to send a little gift parcel to and you receive one from someone else; there’s a budget but you can add extra bits and bobs that you have from your stash. I’m taking part in the knitting/crochet version, but there’s a sewing version too. I’m having fun reading my recipient’s blog and trying to decide what to include in her parcel. I really think I must send some Cambrian Mountains wool and some vintage buttons and some of my spare stitch markers, plus I’d like to make something… I have so many ideas! The suggestion is that everyone opens their parcel on Christmas day, but I may keep mine until my birthday a week later since I rarely receive presents because everyone is so busy with Christmas/New Year that they either forget or just don’t bother. I’m sure my gifter won’t mind a little delay in getting thanks. Oh and I have a parcel to pack up and send to the Beasties too.

Third, 100 swims. Yes, that’s right; so far in 2017 I have been swimming 100 times. That must be a cause for celebration, and must mean that I’m getting fitter.

So, that’s some of what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

Three Things Thursday: 2 November 2017

My weekly exercise in gratitude – three things that are making me smile – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog [or Twitter account or Facebook page or diary or life in general] with happiness.

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say “cheese”

First, yummy cheese. The little cheeses were not maturing in the way I had hoped, so the other day we decided to sample one of them… and it was delicious, with flavour of a mild Caerphilly and a feta-like texture. With the poor growth of white mould needed to create brie, I abandoned this idea and brought forward the next stages, so I chopped up half of one cheese for preservation in olive oil, I wrapped one in Calvados-soaked nasturtium leaves and I wiped one down with Calvados and then oiled the surface. The other half of the first cheese we ate as cauliflower cheese and it was a great success.

Second, a pay-out. Now, I know that this weekly post is usually about the little things in life that make me smile, but I was delighted to get a cheque yesterday, covering compensation for a mis-sold financial product. I may be smiling even more soon, because there’s a second claim still to be settled! Actually, it would have been good never to have been duped by my bank in the first place, but at least they have been forced to put things right.

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and there’s a whole ball still left

Third, passing it on. A while ago I was given some yarn, which I completely forgot about. However, I came across it the other day and realised that it would be perfect for a surprise gift I wanted to make. When posting my most recent lot of parcels, the lady in the post office admired my fingerless mittens and told me how cold her hands get… so next time I go to do my post I have a little gift to take for her. I whipped them up yesterday evening, so the kindness of a gift of yarn (thank you Katy the Night Owl) has been converted into the gift of warm hands.

So, that’s what’s making me happy this week. How about you?

-oOo-

Emily of Nerd in the Brain originally created Three Things Thursday, but it’s now being hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.

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