Monday, 28 July 2014


Princes Street Gardens

My Scottish Tour started & finished in Edinburgh. It's years since I was there & I'd forgotten how lovely a place it is. 

To be honest when I've been there before I've been with friends & family who just wanted to shop & eat so I didn't see much of the city. This time I was on my own so could wander about to my heart's content & the weather was perfect for it.

I love Princes' Street Gardens. It's hard to believe that when you're walking along in these beautiful gardens the main street & all the city's traffic is running along parallel to it. 

The first thing I did was to find the floral clock. I remember being fascinated by this when I was little. I found it but sadly it wasn't working, think I was too early. The design had been laid out but there were no pointers on it. 

Floral clock - minus pointers!

An authentic Scottish thistle!

There seem to be dozens of monuments in Edinburgh wherever I went I came across them.

Sir Walter Scott Monument

The Call 1914 - The Scots American War Memorial 
A tribute to Scottish soldiers who died during WW1

The week we arrived in Edinburgh they had a new tram system!

It looked rather good even though it had caused a lot of problems with the escalating costs!

Looking Down Princes Street

However I have to say that the power lines & poles have made a bit of a mess of the lovely view along Princes Street.

I suppose most cities look good on a lovely sunny day. 

I loved this little cafe which was next to the hotel we were staying in. I had to laugh at the sign they had put up. I've enlarged it below.

Now just in case you don't know, it's taking a pop at Starbucks. They're the ones who don't pay their taxes in the UK! Have to admit I wouldn't drink Starbucks anyway as I just don't like their coffee, I prefer Costa or M&S.

This is the hotel in Waterloo Place (at the end of Prices Street) where we stayed the first night. It has a great history which I managed to get a leaflet about. Apparently it was Edinburgh's first purpose built hotel opened in 1819 for the visit of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. He was in the first carriage to travel down Waterloo Place. 
Around it were other great historical buildings. Shame about the wheelie bins!

Further along from our hotel I saw a monument which interested me so on our final day I found time to wander along to find out about it. It turned out to be on Calton Hill & was one of a number of monuments up there & the views were fantastic.

Calton Hill

I hadn't heard of him but this was a monument to the Scottish philosopher, Dugald Stewart. From here you can see right across the city.
Unfinished National Memorial of Scotland, Calton Hill

I found it really sad to see this memorial to the soldiers & sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars which was never finished. It was started in 1826 & was modelled on the Parthenon. Unfortunately they ran out of cash & they never completed it. 

They did manage to finish this one just near. It is the monument to Admiral Lord Nelson, that great Scottish nay, English sailor who died at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The Trafalgar Signal " England expects that every man will do his duty" is still flown on Trafalgar Day (21 October) weather permitting.


It looks like a huge stone telescope & contains a time ball which is dropped at 1 o'clock daily. From here you get a fantastic view of the city & across to the sea. 

Here are some random photographs.


This was the room where we had our Scottish meal on our final night. It was a beautiful room & we had a piper, a lovely Scottish highland dancer & haggis, neeps & tatties! A great finish to our tour.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Food Crochet & Granny Squares

My granddaughter Lauren has just started to crochet. She's left handed but knits right handed. However when I started to teach to crochet her she couldn't use the hook in her right hand, she had to use her left hand. My problem was that although I can knit left handed, I just couldn't crochet with my left hand. So I just had to explain to her how the crochet hook worked and made new loops! She seemed to be able to use it in her own way.

We started off a few weeks ago with just a simple chain & then stitching it in rounds to make a coaster. Then she crochet a chain with two contrasting colours, her idea not mine! We weren't sure what to do with the long chain she made but I suggested she crocheted a chain from it. It turned out really nice & chunky & she used it for to tie her hair.

She wanted to progress so we moved on to double chain, I think that's single chain in USA. Her first attempt with about 20 double chains. It got narrower as she progressed as she was missing out a stitch on each row. It wasn't a problem. I made another matching piece & stitched them together, made a chain to tie it & she had a skirt for Barbie!

I made some crochet food last year which Lauren loved. So we looked at some foodie patterns on the Garnstudio site & she decided she wanted to make a carrot! It was a bit out of her league just yet with all the increasing so I made it for her. Then I made a clementine.

She's certainly got me interested in crocheting again. So much so that I've spent hours looking at some absolutely gorgeous stuff on people's blogs & not just crocheting!

I love Lucy's Blog Attic 24. She has such a great eye for colour & some really beautiful designs. She also gives us an insight into her home and her lifestyle.

Another blog I love is Bunny Mummy Jacquie. Like Lucy she gives us an insight to her daily life with gorgeous photos and colourful designs and tutorial. They are both wonderful at producing tutorials on how to make their designs. Brilliant!

Zjizjipke (I have no idea what this means) is a Dutch site with an English translation, lots of lovely crafty ideas & designs along with some lovely cat photos. This crochet blanket is absolutely beautiful & I would love to have a try at it. However think I'd pop my clogs long before it was finished. She has a tutorial for the squares on the site which I might have a go at to make cushions! I have to be realistic.

Another site I absolutely love is Jenny of elefantz. She has some gorgeous sewing ideas and lots of wonderful free crafty stuff. Her photos and tutorials are fabulous.

Then I went to the Garnstudio website. I buy lots of the DROPS wool at very reasonable prices. Their knitting patterns are wonderful designs but they are not well written if you're used to Patons & Sirdar style patterns. They have some beautiful crochet shawl & blanket patterns. Not sure how well the crochet ones are written as I've only made the food which was OK.

Here's my favourite blanket, Latte Macchiato!

It's not the gorgeous bright colours of some of the ones I've been looking at but I love the muted shades and the different designs of the squares. It could be easily adapted to brighter shades.

My Singer 338!

Well here it is my very first sewing machine, the one I got for my 21st birthday in 1966! I know it cost my Mam  a lot to buy it for me...