Tuesday, 31 May 2011

My Water Baby

Ever since Jake broke his leg last year walkies have been shorter to allow him to rebuild his strength.  Gradually he’s been out for longer periods of time and playtime hasn’t been happening as it used to.  I’ve just been scared of him hurting himself again.

All those worries washed away over our weekend away.  He coped fine with being out all day and the highlight for him was probably playing in the sea.


He’s always been a real water baby and seeing him jumping about in the waves was fantastic. 


Of course there was lots of shaking himself off (much of which ended up over us) and he was covered in salt for the rest of the day.  That said he’s a dog and allowed a bad hair day if he wants one hehe…

Monday, 30 May 2011

My First Airshow

A little while ago I mentioned that I’d never been to an air show.  So Mr B suggested we visit the Southend-on-Sea Air Show which was on this past weekend.


Saturday was a little miserable weather wise, but Sunday made up for it.  We walked along the beach with the dogs who enjoyed playing chicken with the waves.  I got a couple of shots of Jake in the water and the look of surprise and joy as the waves tumbled over him was priceless. 

The highlight however, was without a doubt seeing the Red Arrows.


They really were amazing.  I’ve seen them on TV in the past but nothing prepares you for the real thing.  I’ll post some more shots of them soon, but right now I’m off to soak in the bath after a long but fun weekend.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

What did you do at work this morning?

I blew things up!  Ok, not really….  but it was fun anyway.

In case you really have to know and haven’t worked it out, that’s a cd in a microwave.  I also put a light bulb in there and blew up two eggs Smile  See there was some blowing up after all hehe…  Some days I just love my job!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

100 and what to say?

Well this is my 100th blog post and I’ve been trying to figure out what to say.  I thought about a give away, but haven’t got round to photographing the prizes.  Then I thought about sharing with you the new hat I’ve made (I also designed it but don’t get excited it’s not that flash), trouble is I haven’t worked out how to photograph the back of my head.

Then I remembered that I’ve had a little bit of a revamp and bingo.  I can talk about that.


Here is the new background it all it’s glory, that is without a post stuck over the top.

Yup, it’s one of my images and is actually dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide) floating on water.  I just love the patterns it makes as it skitters about!  I’ve also changed the blog name from Fantasia Yarns to just Fantasia.  Since I’m not just talking about yarn and yarn related things, I though the title should reflect this.  Hope you like the changes…

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Some new socks.....

I've recently embarked on knitting patterned socks. Normally I tend to do plain socks as repetitive tv knitting but hey we all need a change at times.

I've now completed a couple and come up against the age old problem of how do you photograph your own feet! You all know what I'm talking about and it's practically impossible to do with a SLR. Enter the camera on my iPod.

Both the patterns are by cookie a and are from the Sock Innovation book. The one above is Wanida done in one of my own Fantasia yarns.

This one is Sunshine but I'm afraid I can't remember where I got the yarn from.

Monday, 16 May 2011

I put my foot in it today…

Yesterday I visited Layer Marney Tower here in Essex.  My friend Miss C is Head Gardener there and I eagerly joined one of her guided tours.  She showed us many beautiful plants and trees including a fab Sequoia tree.  I checked with her and it’s actually Sequoiadendron Giganteum aka the Wellingtonia Tree.


By volume these big beasties grow to be the largest trees in the world.  This means that one day a choice will need to be made between this wonderful tree and the Church building it has been planted beside.  This strapping specimen is probably only 100 years old and as such a mere baby.  You’ve got to wonder why it was planted so close to a building!

At this point – awed by this amazing creation of nature, I happened to mumble to a group of ladies next to me that I thought I’d choose the tree.  Harrumphing, stern looks and tutting followed and a very offended voice informed, ‘You have to save the Church, always the Church.’  Oh my I think I put my foot in it……

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Change is coming…

I’ve decided to make some changes to the blog.  When I started writing I envisaged a blog about yarn dyeing and knitting.  However, as it’s evolved it’s changed to include many other things.    I think the blog should reflect that.

My friend Maytheweed has been talking about how she wants her blog to be ‘her place on the web’.  I think she’s right so over the next few weeks I’m hoping to update the graphics and give it an overhaul.  Tonight I changed the name from Fantasia Yarns to simply Fantasia.  I don’t think this affects the blog address though, so hopefully there will be no linking problems.

Anyway please bear with me if the blog goes a little doolally as I get it all sorted……

Thursday, 12 May 2011

And now for something a little different…

Remember my trip to Cambridge Botanic Garden?  While there I came across this little brick hut.  I’m not sure what it’s for, probably something mundane like hiding unsightly power supplies or something, but it looked so pretty I just had to photograph it.  However, something was bothering me.  It just wasn’t quite right and it took me a while to work out what it was.


This fairy tale hut in the woods with it’s ivy, weather worn woodwork and peeling paint belonged in an old black and white movie.  Perhaps a silver screen version of a tale from the Brothers Grim, complete with over the top acting and the dialogue popping up for everyone to read.  The heroine blissfully wandering through the peaceful woods with a flowing cloak and basket, unaware of the impending danger. 

Of course now I’m trying to work out if the hut is her refuge or part of her doom……

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Cambridge Botanic Garden

A little while ago I visited the Botanic Garden in Cambridge for half a day.  I was rather excited about this after my fabulous day at the Durham Botanic Garden a while back.  Naturally I packed my camera for the day and planned on editing all the photographs then showing you all in one go.


It’s not quite worked out like that.  Mainly because life has taken over and robbed me of the time to sit and go through all the shots.  So here are just a few.


There was a beautiful lake area where you could sit and watch the world go by.


Some of the small flowers were the most captivating.


There were also lots of glasshouses, both hot and cold.  Wandering through them you should definitely look up.  By my feet were the pretty orchids from a few posts back and above my head this lovely glass ceiling.  I hate to say it but this is one of my favourite shots of the day.  I just love that style of architecture.


And you should also look back.  The path winding it’s way through these bamboo was the route I took out of the garden.  I glanced back and loved the way the light was coming through them.

Maybe my life will calm down soon and I’ll get the edit the rest to show you……

Monday, 9 May 2011

A walk with the dogs….

It’s hot and muggy here in North Essex.  Not the lovely sunshine which inspires you to go and play in the garden, but the oppressive strength sapping heat that simply makes me want to sleep.


In this sort of weather I often head to the woods with the dogs.  It’s cooler and the dogs love it.  Yesterday I took my iPod with me as I wanted to try out a new app which helps you make panoramas.

So here is the stream at Dedham which the dogs love to visit.  The water is beautifully clear and it’s always cool.  What more could you want?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Frating Knitting Day

Every few months there is a local knitting get together at one of the local village halls.  People go along, eat cake, knit, eat cake, drink tea and eat cake.  It’s a very relaxed affair and something I look forward to.  Unfortunately I missed the last one due to that nasty flu earlier this year, so I was determined to make it this time.


I also wanted to take some of my yarn and Ann (from thestashbox) was wondering about some of her new sock designs.  Given how much I love her designs and many of her samples have been knitted up in my yarn, we decided to display them all together.


For my part I was genuinely shocked how little yarn I had in my stock/stash boxes.  I really need to get some more stuff dyed!  However I picked a few out to make up a basket for the table showing a variety of different yarn bases and colourways.

Anyway a good time was had, there was much laughter, tea and cake…… Another lovely knitting day out.

(p.s. did I mention all the cake?)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

What’s in a name?

Recently a few people have asked what they should call me.  Is it Mara or *******.  They were hearing people call me both and weren’t sure what was going on.  So at the risk of blowing my cover I thought I’d put a short little explanation up.

Mara is not my legal name.  It’s the other one.  However, I use it online a lot.  This is because of an incident a few years ago.  I work with teenagers, including boys, and obviously there is a need for boundaries.  Unfortunately I had the misfortune to be an object of fixation for a particularly trouble young man.

As part of that fixation he started cyber stalking me.  It was a very upsetting episode and eventually led to the involvement of social services to help sort this young man out.  I suppose I should add that he was autistic and this was all part of his condition rather than him being evil or anything like that.  Anyway I was advised to consider steps to protect myself from it happening again.  One of the steps I decided was appropriate was to use a different name.

I chose Mara as it has meaning to me and I think it’s a lovely name.  Believe it or not it’s actually more common than my legal name.  So in conclusion you can call me either name, I’ll answer to both.

Now since all that was rather serious how about a pretty picture?  These are some beautiful orchids I found in the glass houses at Cambridge Botanic Gardens.  I wish I had the skill and know how to grow orchids…… They tend to die if I so much as look at them.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

A little bit of Sunshine

I love hand knit socks, but suffered terribly trying to get gauge when I first started knitting them.  As a result I’ve shied away from patterned versions ever since.  However, after advising someone to face their fear of failure I decided I should take my own advice and cast on.


The chosen pattern is Sunshine by cookie a from her Sock Innovation book.


So far things seem to be going to plan and it looks a lot better when I try it on.  Unfortunately I’m lousy at photographing my own feet so I’ve been forced to substitute a febreeze can.


I’m currently working my way down the foot of the first sock but thought I’d share now rather than waiting till they’re finished.


Oh, and on a separate note I promised to report back on the Frixion pens I bought for marking fabric.  So far I have been unable to work out how to rub or use friction to erase the pen lines on a fabric.  They do however disappear easily with a bit of heat from an iron.