I am not green fingered. Plants don’t thrive under my care! Which is why the planter by my front door gives me a daily smile. The small plant I brought home from I-don’t-know-where has done really well with very little input from me. Every time I leave or enter my home, there’s a burst of happy colour. Hurrah!
We don’t stand on “tiptoe” in our house any more. Oh no. We stand on “demi-pointe”.
Love my girls!
At the beginning of the year I had two issues constantly in mind. My father’s illness and treatment was one, my imminent 40th birthday the other.
In a flash of inspiration, I discovered a way I could take both of these and wrest something positive from them. I determined to make a crochet blanket, with the help of friends, and raffle it on my birthday in aid of a charity supporting those with brain cancer.
I chose a square with a star pattern in honour of my dad – who is a true star in my life – and recruited five friends with the instruction to crochet it in blues and yellows with a 4.5mm hook.
It wasn’t too long before the squares started to stack up
The pattern was soon firmly fixed in my mind! I had to “translate” it into UK terms for the friends who wanted to take part – then they were off too.
Once the squares were made I decided to edge them with a flash of red before joining with a denim blue rib for added texture. All 24 stars had to be edged this way… This was when the various little mistakes we had all made came to light!
The children helped lay them out in a quasi-random manner. Not too many yellows in one place, … spread the lighter squares across the area … keep the similar ones separate. Eventually we got a layout we were happy with and photographed it for reference for the grand sewing together.
Of course, all good yarn workers will tell you to sew in your ends as you go. And, of course, many good (and not-so-good) yarn workers leave their ends to … well … the end.
So once the blanket was assembled, I found myself with ends agogo to be stitched in.
But finally, eventually, in the end … there was a finished blanket! Hurrah! We took it outdoors on the sunny day we were blessed with this week to picture it in all its glory.
And without further ado, here it is:
In the midst of all this stitchery we had the grand raffle. I was hoping I might be able to raise around £100. I thought that a fair price for a handmade blanket. In the end I was overwhelmed and grateful for a grand total of £383! This all went to The Brain Tumour Charity to research treatment and to support those living with a brain tumour.
I need to thank my lovely friends who helped me create this blanket – Lisa, Mary, Karen, Jo and Carol. And I need to thank all who supported my endeavour and donated money to this worthy cause. And well done to Tom and Kathy who won it! I hope it brings you much coziness.
I was in such a dither about whether and how to celebrate my 40th birthday. In the end, I left it to Karl to arrange something suitable. What he and my lovely friends came up with surpassed all my expectations!
On the Saturday before my birthday we dropped the children round with friends while we had a lovely, sunny, breezy walk up onto the Cotswold Way near North Nibley to look at the Tyndale Monument.
But that was just the beginning. Karl brought me home and said we needed to leave for a meal at about 5. I thought at this point that some of our friends would perhaps meet us at a pizzeria or something similar. Perhaps the children would be there too as nothing had been said about picking them up…
As we wandered down a side road towards the Gloucester Road, I spotted some children playing by a tree. I was a little surprised to see that one of them was my good friend Bix – one of my lovely Sunday School students. A few steps later and, instead of carrying on down to the eateries of Gloucester Road, we were turning into the entrance to a church hall. The charming doorman (Geoff) greeted us with a “Your table’s almost ready!” before leading me through the doors.
The glass doors soon showed up an amazing surprise. Standing just beyond them were several people including, wonder of wonders, my GRANDMA! How was she there in Bristol? She is 96 and lives 100 miles away near Alton!
As that surprise subsided and I recovered from the noise of cheers and party poppers, I realised that there were lots of lovely friends. And hay bales. And an overhead screen with pictures of my life. And beautiful bunting. Wow!
I was truly astonished that so many fabulous friends had kept this secret and created a party that was perfect for me. A barn dance! What better way for my friends of all ages – from Benjamin (1) and Bix (5) to Grandma (96) – to join in?
After a couple of dances I had to ring my mum. With Daddy unwell, it was impossible for either of them to be there, but I knew she’d been in on it – many of the photos on screen were from her collection. I rang her and my sister-in-law answered the phone to say that she was keeping Daddy company while Mummy had popped out for shopping but I could try again later.
Another dance or two and it was time for tea. A marvelous spread provided by all the guests and with something for everyone. Tables were quickly arranged across the dance floor and there was a wonderful hum of conversation over the yummy nibbles.
And then, in the middle of chatting to some of the guests, I had a tap on my shoulder. I turned round and…
it was Mummy! I said something daft along the lines of, “But I just rang you! You’re out shopping!” That moment really was the cherry on top of the beautifully iced cake…
Talking of which, after Lisa read out some very kind words from friends about me and an impromptu band led the assembly in a memorable rendition of “Happy Birthday”, out came a huge and delicious cake covered in colourful smarties and ablaze with candles.
It took more than one puff to get all those candles blown out!
Well what a splendid occasion! I just loved it. I was so thankful to all the conspirators for their very hard work. There was lots of preparation, decoration and clearing up behind the scenes and one very happy me eased into forty-ness with lots of amazing memories.