Thursday, 26 January 2012

Catalonia, Spain

We spent a few days visiting Maurice’s nephew and partner who live in Spain.  They live about 1.5 hour drive north from Barcelona, in the Catalan region of Spain.  It was really lovely to spend some time with them in their new home!  Did you know that they don’t speak Spanish here, but Catalan, which is completely different to Spanish!  Catalonia is an autonomous region of Spain, and the people guard their Catalan identity with pride.

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We spent the first afternoon in Barcelona walking down La Rambla, and around the old quarter.  We ate in a traditional Catalan restaurant, which included snails!  We visited a market, where we marvelled at the brightly coloured displays of fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and sweets. 

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They took us on a lovely drive over the twisty mountain roads to Cadaques, a gorgeous little seaside village north of Barcelona on the Costa Brava.  It has survived modernisation, partly because of it’s most famous inhabitant, Dali, and partly because it is so difficult to get to!  It is a very pretty village with lots of white buildings and small alleyways.  The weather was perfect, bright and sunny, but cold.  (The sun is Spain is so much brighter than the sun in the UK!)  We spent most of the day there, exploring the alleyways, and ate paella at a seafront restaurant.

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Here’s a view of the town Olot, from one of the volcanoes in the area:

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And one of the beautiful buildings in the centre, and the bullring reflected in a modern office block.

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We borrowed their car and took ourselves off to another lovely ancient village called Besalu.  We wandered around more little streets until the sun went down.

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On our final day we weren’t flying home until later, so we caught the train back to Barcelona and the metro to La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s wondrous cathedral.  It is still under construction as it was interrupted by the Spanish civil war in the 1930s.  Here’s a picture of the older side, which depicts Christ’s birth:

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And the new side, depicting Christ’s death:

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What a lovely trip!  I am sure we will be visiting this region of Spain again.

Friday, 20 January 2012

some sewing!

Here’s a few items I’ve finished lately:

First up, a Union Jack cushion for My friend Burnice’s birthday! I decided to do this in all blue to go in Burnice’s lounge.  The little owl fabric is just gorgeous – it’s a Cosmo Textile fabric (oops I got the owls on their sides!), The cream is a Basic Grey Basics fabric from Moda, and is printed like ledger paper – love it!  I can’t tell you what the lighter blue fabric is as I don’t have any left, I made the back of the cushion with it.  Anyway, I gave it to Burnice on Monday and she loved it!  Now I am going to make another one i blues and beiges for another friend and a colourful one for DD Lucy.

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Secondly, here’s 2 cushions I have made for Mum to go with her quilt I made her for Christmas.  I had made the ‘Dresden Plate’ block before, but it my first time for ‘Trip Around the World’.  I machine quilted  them both, Dreden Plate I simply machined around the edge and the inner circle, TATW, I machined diagonal lines… but I rather wish I had done diamond shapes to follow the fabric colours.  But I am really chuffed with them, they look very fresh and pretty!

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Finally, I was unwell last week with a dreadful cold and sat and crotcheted more of my blanket while watching daytime tv!  I have to admit to quite liking ‘Homes under the Hammer’ where they follow the renovation of houses bought at auction. 

My blanket is made totally randomly from acrylic DK wool.  I was inspired by Lucy at to crotchet these bright colours.  I actually finished it this morning.  It is a huge circular blanket, and brightens up my lounge perfectly!  Plus it’s nice and warm too!

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My favourite bit is the few rows in the bottom right hand corner of the photo above, from dark red, through pink, cream, yellow, light green and lilac.

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Tuesday, 10 January 2012

10 on the 10th

10 photos and 10 facts about my dog! 

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He is 8.5 year old

He is a flat-coated retriever

His name is Merlin (because he is a magic dog)

He is VERY handsome and quite regal (flat-coats are used in shooting parties to retrieve the wild fowl from the water)

He was bred locally by a couple who wanted their bitch to have puppies just once

His mother is called Jena and his father is called Noah

He is very independent – loves to run free and runs a long way away from us

He loves to go in the water but is not so keen on swimming unless we throw in an object for him to retrieve

He is obsessive about sniffing!

He brings us all such JOY!


I’m linking in with for 10 on the 10th

Sunday, 8 January 2012

One Little Word 2012

I’m being greedy and having 2 words this year (even though the word GREED is in exact opposition to my wordsSmile)!  I wanted a word that meant ‘not to waste things’ so I came up with ECONOMICAL. 







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Since then I’ve also thought of RESOURCEFUL


The Resourceful Birds and the recycled garden twine

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I want to take care of all my resources, and use them economically and efficiently, including:



Energy and Effort

Home, including energy efficiency and water resources


Transport (cycle more and use the car less!)

Material things I use such as clothes, household items

Material things to do with my hobbies, eg scrapbook stash, fabric stash, gardening.

I am hoping that this will lead to living a more ecological lifestyle, as well as using up my own resources more efficiently.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

12 days of Christmas

Remember the photography class I did this Christmas?  It was run by Cheryl Johnson ( and this is the final submission:

I have to admit to be a teeny bit thrilled with this little slide show!

Please do go and have a look at Cheryl’s site if you want to imporve your photography.  She has some brilliant classes, and I have learned loads!

Monday, 2 January 2012




My word for 2011 was BALANCE.  I wanted to get more of a balance in my life between career (which was non-existent in 2010), relationships, health, home and hobbies.

My major goal to achieve this was to do some voluntary work.  As you know, I now work at Citizens Advice Bureau for 2 half days per week.

Other achievements this year:

More exercise – longer dog walks and swim once per week

Eating more healthily – trying new recipes

Drinking more water

Active listening to improve relationships with family and friends

Meeting new internet friends

Catching up with old friends

Decluttering my home and able to keep it clean and tidy with minimum effort

Making the most of online classes in scrapbooking, blogging, and photography

Participating in LOAD (Layout a day) twice