Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Exploring Again

I said I'd be back here with chatty general posts and here I am 😊. For the first time in months we have been out exploring again and boy...does it feel fabulous!

Sunday was so lovely and sunny, a stark contrast to the new week so far! We decided to get out of the house on Sunday and go to the beach for a walk. We are within 30 minutes of numerous beaches and the drive to get there is as beautiful as the destination. 

When we arrived at Thurstaston Beach the tide was way out and you could see for miles. I feel so blessed that we have this right on our doorstep and I am sure that we will be visiting this place a lot more now that things are opening up again.

Now doesn't this picture make your eyes swim! The boat in the background looks like it is floating and don't you love how the man is right at the top of the mast doing whatever repairs it is you do up there.

As you walk onto the beach there are signs that say you are not to go out onto the mud-flats...clearly, someone didn't read the sign. It must have been quite heartbreaking to have to call a cab to take you home! On that note actually, there was a long jetty type thing that stretched out across the seabed. I gather it's for launching boats, some cars were out there which I'm assuming belong to the man up the mast and others in the near vicinity. My darling husband stepped off to grab a shell my daughter wanted and before he knew it he was knee-deep in thick, sticky, smelly mud! It took a bit of effort to get unstuck! And that's why you take note of the signs!

It was so lovely to see how much wildlife there was. crabs galore, shrimps, and tiny fish.

The sunshine was so warm, hardly a breath of wind, we felt like we were on holiday. I could feel the cares of the week just slip away. 

We came across a stranded jellyfish. We picked it up and popped it into a pool of water but it seemed we were too late. The poor thing had already expired. The shrimps and small fish almost instantly began feeding on it. The circle of life I suppose.

We were blessed to watch this kestrel hover above the grassed dunes looking for something to snack. They are just so beautiful!

The landscape of beach, rock, sand dune and cloud scattered sky...stunning! I find nature just so therapeutic and marvel at the wonder of God's creation.

And look at what is on the very edge of the beach... a whitewashed house. My dear friend was just telling me about this house and how she would love it. She grew up on the Wirral and I think it wouldn't take much to entice her from her Manchester home to here. Who wouldn't want to live right on the estuary far from the maddening crowd!

The colours of the beach, ocean, and boats are quite inspirational. This boat reminded me of a photograph I have of my youngest when she was about 3. She was sitting at the base of a small lighthouse in Kalk Bay Cape Town. It was the traditionally painted red and white and she was wearing a blue and red striped jumper - I don't know why this image brought that to mind but I'm inspired to stitch something beachy. I'll get my eldest to work on an illustration that we can turn into an embroidery project I think.

The beach just holds so much inspiration. Let me tell you if I could have popped this sea-weathered log into my car I would have taken it home. I love how bleached it is.  

As we left the beach and made out way back up to the car butterflies flittered by. This peacock landed picture perfectly on a weathered boulder with a gorgeous bit of bright green moss...I feel a new yarn colourway beginning to brew 😄. Inspiration is everywhere. It seems to have brought back a little inspiration for my eldest illustrator daughter too. She has been struggling with 'illustrator block', is there such a thing? Well, there's writer's block so why not a creative block for artists?

We had a lovely chat about how she sees her illustration style developing and what sort of job she hopes to do once she has finished her degree. Like me, she wants to work for herself so we chatted about what to do and how to implement it. Behind us youngest daughter and dad were chatting about uni and future plans - this I only found out later at home. It struck me how important it is for us to do things together that relax us all enough to be able to have these conversations. It reminded me so much of our homeschooling days.

Once home we pottered about in the garden and then our vicar and his family popped by for a visit which was just lovely. He had good news...our church is opening up again from this Sunday! Of course, there will be no singing and no communion but how lovely to just be with our church family again, to walk into our lovely stone church and hear God's Word.

Have a blessed week everyone...

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Building a Creative Dream Under An English Sky

Hello my lovelies! How lovely to see you here again. I am sorry that I haven't been here in a while but I've been busy with some exciting things. Let's just say lots of dyeing yarn and working on building a creative dream. 

You see about two weeks ago I suddenly 'got it'. After three months of reconnecting with myself by having space to think about work, life, creating, and writing, I remembered something that was planted in my heart many years ago when my first daughter was born. I happened upon a beautiful stitchery shop that was independently owned and run out of the lovely lady's own home. It was idyllic to me and I wished so much that I too could have such a lovely little creative business of my own. 

I want to have a place where creative ladies could gather together over a cup of coffee or tea whilst they learn a new skill in a class or workshop. A little peruse of the 'general store' adds to the experience and everyone returns to their homes refreshed and inspired. This is what I'm working towards!

Sadly I also got the dreaded call to return to work around the same time so it has left me less time to work on my yarn, blog, and business plan. I'm getting up early to dye yarn before I start work at 9am and pulling plans together during tea and lunch breaks. Fortunately, I am still working from home so the journey to the office is in my slippers up the stairs with a cup of coffee in hand!

I've created a dedicated website and I'll be posting quite a lot there. I'm still known as Under An English Sky because...well that's who I am. But my posts will be focused on crafting and creating a hygge homespun life and home. 

General chit-chat and faith posts will be reserved for here and may be less frequent. So if you still would like to get regular post updates of a similar but more focused nature then please do visit Under An English Sky's new website and sign up. You will receive post updates and a monthly newsletter if you do.

Hop on over to read a much longer and more explanatory post before you decide. 

Just to let you know that Episode 2 of the podcast has been up for a few days - this is here to stay so please do subscribe if you would like to receive notifications of new episodes. Don't forget to join my Facebook Page for regular updates and short videos. Details of the giveaway mentioned in episode 2 of my podcast will be posted on the Facebook page in the next few days. 

Blessings to you all...

Monday, June 15, 2020

The Homespun Home

We've had the paint pots out again! This time we have tackled the open-plan snug and conservatory. Gone are the beige walls and the built in storage box and in it's place we have a lovely clean, light airy space. We painted all the walls a light grey and we have used the same blue we used in the hallway on the chimney breast to create a bit of continuity throughout the downstairs living area.

It looks much nicer we think. We are just waiting for a new rug to arrive to finish it all off. That should arrive later on this week.

On the knitting front, I have made good progress with my Woodland Walk socks. I have just finished the first one and made a start on the second. I am using my own yarn in the Mrs Tiggywinkle colourway. I think it may be out of stock at the moment but I will be dying up some more in DK weight. I think these will be off the needles much quicker than the Nutkin socks.

I couldn't wait to finish these before casting on the Wood Nymph socks in my very own Bracken Woodland colourway. You can visit my Etsy shop to check out what yarns I still have in stock at the moment.

These are for my eldest daughter and she wants a cuff that she can fold over which is why it is so long. This is another lacy patterned sock pattern and I am looking forward to seeing what this yarn looks like all knit up.

So this week... I have my very dear friend coming over for a visit. I can't wait to see her it has been far too long! I'm sure that we shall be nattering and putting the worlds to rights over a delish home cooked lunch and cuppa tea. 

It's also time to get the dye-pots out and restock the shop. I have been doing a little forward planning over the weekend for some autumnal yarns and stitch markers if I can convince my daughter to make them and project bags so keep your eyes out for those!

I'm hoping that this week will be a more productive week all round for me and I hope that you too will have a productive and blessed week.

Take care all and may God's richest blessings be yours today.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Trusting in Him

Hello my lovelies! I hope that you are feeling happy, at peace and content. I have to admit to not always feeling so this week. I can't really put my finger on why but I have generally felt very unproductive. I feel like I should have done more than I actually have! 

I also made the HUGE mistake of taking my daughter to IKEA this week. Although there were no long queues I'm afraid that social distancing inside the store was just about impossible making the whole experience a little stressful. I will not be doing that again in a hurry!

I have been finding peace in God's Word. Those quiet moments in the morning with a cup of coffee, the Bible and a notebook help me to find calm in a turbulent world.

I have purchased 'Making Your Home a Haven' off Amazon. This study is written by Courtney Joseph of Women Living Well. She generally runs this study each autumn but I felt that while I am at home full time it seems the right time to do it. This study encourages you to slow down in the midst of the worlds craziness and to drink deeply from God's Word - again, a good study for this time.

One of the things she encourages you to do is to light a candle daily and when the flickering flame catches your eye to be reminded to pray. This week there has been much to pray about not only in with what is happening in the world but within our extended family. My sister-in-law's husband fell gravely ill (not Covid related) very suddenly last week Monday. He has been in ICU and the prognosis is not good. If you can please will you hold this family up in prayer while they navigate this very difficult time and say prepare to possibly have to say goodbye to a wonderful man, husband and father. We are still praying for Paul's healing and miraculous recovery and would appreciate you joining with us in prayer.

I am reminded to keep my eyes fixed on Christ for He is the author of all life. It's not always easy is it? As Christians we face the same difficult situations that others do, at least we have the hope that is in Christ but sometimes that can feel wobbly and I think it's okay to admit that to God. 

Each time I lift someone up in prayer since losing two dear friends to cancer last year I find the niggling voice of doubt pop up and voice my inner thoughts...'Why bother? Your prayers didn't make any difference to your friends why should it now?'

Isn't the enemy crafty! 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

This world is tough. Good people get sick and die whilst it seems evil continues to thrive. We live in a fallen world and we would do well to remember that. It is because we live in a fallen world that Jesus came, died for us and rose again. 

So I will continue to hope in the Lord and I will continue to pray and lift up those who are ill and suffering. I will avert my gaze from the world and it's faults and instead focus on the beautiful face of Jesus and allow that to soak deep into my soul so that I can love the broken, the suffering, the sick of mind, body and spirit for that is what we are called to do.

I think that it is even more difficult now with our churches being closed and our fellowship with others having been cut off. All the more reason for us to keep delving into the word of God and praying. Let's keep praying for one another, for our families, our friends and for those who we don't even know but so desperately need to know the love of God.

May the God of all hope keep you all in perfect peace today.

Blessings in Christ.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Seasonal Observances & Musings

Hello my lovely friends, how has your week been panning out? Here in the UK we have gone from days like this... 


To something more like this...

...and it is glorious! I so appreciate the rain to water my parched garden. We've had so little rain this spring with is very unusual for us. I have to admit that as much as I love the sunshine I also love the rain. The sound of the falling rain is comforting and the wonderful aroma of the earth after a shower is just wonderful.

This week we've done a bit of exploring around Chester. I am amazed that even though we have lived in this city for a little under 2 years, we still find places to explore that we didn't know about! This week we took a drive to a pick-your-own farm nearby. Although we can't do this at the moment we were seriously getting a bit of cabin fever so a drive to the farms farm shop, which is open, was in order. 

We had not gone very far when we discovered a small nature reserve park, right around the corner from our new home. We decided that we would explore it later on in the week which have since done.

It is a little gem! There are lovely walkways, a few rolling grassland areas, woodland and a lovely little pond with a healthy duck population. 

The drakes were all having a nap in the grass while mama duck looked after her brood of very healthy ducklings. As you can see the yellow flag irises are in season, they are so lovely!

The Elderflower is just coming into season as the moment. I am reminded that even though the world is a very strange and unhappy place at the moment, nature ignores it all and keeps to it's rhythms. I find much comfort in that.

The nature reserve has an abundance of elderflower, so much that I think we may get some elderflower cordial made this year and possible elderflower syrup in the autumn! Last year I did not get around to making elderflower cordial so it will be nice to do so this year. I have shared my elderflower cordial exploits and recipe's before, you can read all about it in my posts Food from the Hedgerows in 2014 and Storing Summer's Bounty from 2017.

The foxgloves are looking spectacular at the moment and I have to say that they are filling me with joy. I have so many in the garden and I'm looking forward to the foxglove patch growing year after year. My garden generally brings me much pleasure and peace. I've posted many gardening posts over the years like this Beautiful June post from 2015. This week it's been rather windy and I've enjoyed hearing and watching the wind blow through the branches of the magic tree...

I love looking up into the branches of this tree as the wind moves through the branches. I love how the swaying boughs and swishing leaves mesmerize and calm the soul...such simplicity.

Now I think it's time for me to love and leave you for today. The kettle has just boiled and I'm looking forward to a cuppa tea and a spot of knitting! 

Wishing you all a blessed day.