Friday, 26 February 2010

A Find, A Book and Some things with a Hook

Yesterday I was on a course for work. On the way there I spotted something in a charity shop window. It was something I've wanted for quite a while now. Can you believe my restraint, I was good and I kept walking so I wouldn't be late. I kept telling myself it would still be there if I was meant to have it and kept my fingers crossed all morning. I was off like a greyhound the moment we finished - and wahhay - there it was, waiting for me.

Now my cheery counting machine is home, polished and waiting to help me solve all my maths problems. Believe me I've found quite a few since I've been trying to help teach maths. I've hidden behind being an English teacher for so long I've avoided all that nasty number stuff, but no more. I have to face my demons and the very lovely lady I work with is getting me battling with them head on.


Today being a day off I was really pleased that the postie brought this for me to enjoy and get inspired by. I ordered it on Amazon after reading a review in Cloth magazine and hoped it would be as good as it looked. It really is, so I thought you might like a taster of some of the ideas in it. I really like the fact that there are patterns and easy instructions if you want to follow the ideas to the letter or like me you can use it for embroidery inspiration for other projects. Anyway I'd better stop talking and let you have a look.






Isn't it gorgeous. So many lovely colour ideas and patterns. My fingers are itching to get my threads out again. Better just try and finish up a few other things I've started first though.

I've been meaning to show you some of the fabulous work that is being made at my Wednesday evening Off the Hook group for a while now. Well this week I remembered to take a few shots with church hall lighting as an added bonus. From complete beginners to intermediates everyone is flying now with their skill with a hook and the range of methods is amazing.

Before I show you the work I wanted to show this beautifully wrapped gift. It's for me from one of the group who sadly won't be able to come much anymore. Lovely always to get a present, but sad not be seeing someone who is inspiring to us all. Oh and there were lots of lavender goodies inside by the way.


Now you have your standard crochet on a 4mm hook and then you have those that really like working large. I think this is on a 10mm or even 12mm hook. S made it working in the round with white sheeting and then all the coloured strips were pulled through. All I've done is shown her how to crochet and now she's off with her creativity. I think a diamond shape is being worked at the moment. This is the back of the rug.


Then there's the touchy feely front with a heck of a lot of fabric in it.


A week after teaching granny squares another S started on cushions and then this beautiful blanket as a gift for a new baby. Rather than going for the standard square the squares have been laid out and then edged as a diamond shaped edging.


The others are working on flowers and small toys at the moment, but I don't have any shots of those I'm afraid as cake needed eating so we could get on with hooking and chatting.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend whatever this weather throws at you. For us we're off down memory lane for a train ride tomorrow and a small family get together.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Colour all around me

I was busy searching for mixed up colour inspiration this afternoon to inspire some more hooky flags.

A perfect bright and breezy day blue on a book cover. Add a few more shades of blue and a hint of green and it blows the grey day away.


The gentle green and pinks of my chipped, but loved Carltonware.


Then there are the colour jumbles. A small handpainted bowl.


A rainbow of ladybird spines.


The tomato red and green of Prince's saddle.


A flowery bouquet on an elderly vase.


And a C19th French fabric design. They all helped to mix up the colours a bit more.


Off I went to curl up with my yarn and hook and made a few more flags before the school bell went.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Jollity of the Hook

Another half-term holiday has been and gone in a whooshhhh. We had such a great time and managed to do most of what we'd planned. By Sunday we badly needed a whole day at home to stay in jammies and just be. The Bun's had an excellent time and played while I attacked mountains of horrible jobs that needed doing. By the afternoon the fire, cake, a basket of yarn and a hook were beckoning me.


I ignored all the other projects in the basket and started on some jolly hooky flags. I'd made one flag a few days ago and had had the idea in my head to make a string of them ever since. How lovely when that one bit of times comes up and you can actually sit and make the idea you had.

I think I'll need to make quite a few more of these as I like it hanging here and I also like it ...


... hanging here. Who cares about the grey slushy snow outside when all this colour can be made inside.


This week I've also found time around museums, farms and films to make a couple of big flower brooches. Definately need to add a lot more to that supply as these are always popular.


I've also finished the blanket cushion. As much as I'd love this to be a blanket, I've decided I just don't have the time when I want to be making so many other things too. So it's going to be a cushion and will be all good and puffy when I find just the right backing for it. Eldest Bun has her eye on this one, so I'll have to make more for the grown-ups bed I think.


Once the Bun's were back at school today I felt the pull of the charity shop once more. How glad am I that I went in as I found some great Enid Blyton's for bedtime stories and these lovelies.

Eldest Bun has already asked if one can go in her room, pink or blue I'm not sure which she'll choose yet.


This was quite expensive for a CS cloth, but the embroidery is so quaint that I couldn't resist it. Little Bun wants this to be made into something for her as it has leaping lambs on it. She dreams of being a sheep farmer one day, purely for the wool and the love of all things sheep really. Anything sheepy makes it's way to her room.

Somehow I think they quite like all this vintage, thrifty, recycled malarkey.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Batter on a Bright Day

Being Shrove Tuesday (the day of the pancake), I was asked to fill up this ...


... cut up some of these and


mix some of our eggs into a creamy pancake batter for a delicious breakfast.



To cheer up the cold, grey, snowy weather we've been having we added some colour to our day with these hot pink roses.


I also wondered how much longer I could keep propping up the leggy hyacinths.


Later on, after a much needed walk and run around a farm, the Buns were desperate to get sewing. Bit of discussion later and we settled on felt rabbits.

They each drew up their patterns, cut them out and pinned them to the felt.



After all the cutting, they started on the faces and then just as suddenly as we began they wanted to go and do something else. So one day soon, perhaps, these little rabbits will be sewn and stuffed and loved.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Jack Valentine

We've been celebrating with the mysterious arrival of a little fairy chap called Jack Valentine. I don't think he's ever braved other counties or countries even, so he remains our very own generous Norfolk fairy fellow.

He visited me when I was little and now he comes to our two girls. He can visit anyone he chooses though. You hear a knock on the door and when you get there, if you're lucky, he's left a gift or two.

Now this is all very well, but he needs quite a bit of help and when you're woken at 6am by excited Buns and then watched with eagle eyes for most of the morning it becomes a wee bit tricky.

Thank goodness for the fact we have three outside doors and a radio doorbell that can be rung from inside.



Paper, pencils, books, sweets and a few bath flowers were unwrapped from tissue paper. Later on the dog sneaked in and ate the chocolate hearts when we had breakfast. He's had the taste since he stole the cherry liquers at christmas - how rich the house smelt that day.

Remember the book from the last post? Well I made a bookmark to go with it and Eldest Bun said a heart was needed at the top.


I also made a glasses case for my mum and bought chocs for my dad. We were off to have lunch with them and champagne to celebrate love and the future.


When we arrived it turned out that Jack Valentine had also visited their house. We coveted most of the gifts the Bun's got there. After the most delicious lunch and two puddings, we had to find room a bit later on for the cake that the Bun's made the day before. For the first time I stood there just giving out instructions, only to be told by a wise 9 year old "I do know mummy as I watch what you do.".



A great start to a week of enjoying their company. I only have to work one day this week which will be the first time I've not been around for them in the holidays. I think they'll have a great time though.

Before I go I wanted to say how lovely it's been hearing from new people who I've not met before or found your blogs. I will try to visit properly and say hello soon if I haven't already.

Hope you've all enjoyed your Sunday and have a good week ahead. See you soon.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

A Few of My Favourite Things

So far this week has been made up of my favourite things. All except the snow that is, which is back in a big horrible way.

I've had some great charity shop browsing and finding of treasures. I went to the Boden sale to get some stuff for the Buns today. On the way to meet my mum I bumped into a friend and so I dragged her along too. After the jumble sale hell which ensued inside we went to the cloisters and had a look at the weekly vintage stalls.

I picked up the book and cards as presents - I'm not saying for who - and bumped into a few more lovely people I was really pleased to see. I also heard the tale of Dangerous Dave the small black Pug with eyes like Marty Feldman. That made me laugh as did the story my mum told me about my daft aunt.


On the way back to the car I passed the window of a charity shop and nearly missed this tea-set. Rosedawn in all it's delicate pink beauty rescued just in time. A few more needles picked up too which meant I then got distracted by the wool department in John Lewis as knitting was on my mind. A couple of cotton colours to whip up a few more big flower brooches.


A quick browse in the Sally Army at the beginning of the week and I found this fabulous blue rosy kingsize sheet. I've been searching for enough to back Eldest Bun's patchy quilt and now I have that and more besides, plus two gorgeous sherbet stripe pillowslips. So all in all a very good thrify treasure week so far.


After all this lovliness, I got home to this months Country Living and a free hour before school running around. I tried out a few granny squares with some acrylic I'd found in the bargain bin. I'd seen the largest square on Sarah London's blog. I blew it up the other evening to get the general idea and then had a go. I love being able to visit all these inspiring people out there and come away with more ideas and plans.


I was also itching to try out the fabric transfer paper I'd bought. I chose a picture I thought I could put on a couple of valentine's sweetie bags I want to make for the Buns. Printing fine, getting the image to come off the paper and stay on the fabric not so fine. One jumped back on the paper after a brief stint on the fabric and the other one is pretty patchy around the edges. Lots more practice needed I think. Not a rushing woman running late for school.


Work tomorrow and then I've promised myself that Friday will be a whole day of sewing and doing. Well most of it anyway. Life feels very good this week. Next week is half-term at last and lots of lovely plans for that too. So all in all at the moment I'm doing my favourite things with my favourite people.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Making the Weekend

Well as promised to myself I got stitchy this weekend. I finished off something I'd started a while back and I got going on something new too.

First thing I did was rescue the pouffe from the garage. Despite not having tons of room in our sitting room, we really needed another chair and a table too. Well this pouffe has got all of that and it has wheels too. The wheels have meant it's become more of an indoor trolley for the Bun's to sit on and scoot about between rooms.


While they scootered and rolled around, I cut and stitched a new cover for it. I even had my first stab at piped edging. The choice of fabric was made by basically choosing whatever was on the shelves and I had enough of. I'm thrilled with how the combination has turned out. I've had the barkcloth for years now and couldn't ever decide what to do with it. Well this weekend I was very glad I'd hung on to it as I've felt very happy each time I've looked at it. There wasn't quite enough to go on the top too and really I wanted to give it a bit more of a contrast. Just enough red spot left over from the bathroom blind and still a bit more to play with.


I finished stitching just in time for us to snuggle up together. on Saturday night. Little Bun perched like a pixie on the new seat and I got out my white blob squares. Now I've been adding to these and I only need one more row to make a cushion. I really like the effect of these and keep getting a picture of this as a blanket too. for Eldest Buns bed. So should I throw in my lot and make another 140 or so of the little devils or just get on with sewing them into a cushion? I think I'll just see where the mood takes me.


Because of the all the blob square indecisiveness, my mood took me to sewing up the lacy bag I'd finished knitting a few nights ago. With the addition of a grey and white striped ribbon threaded through I was pretty pleased with the end result.


When my folks came over for afternoon tea on Sunday, I gave it to my mum. She's thrilled with it and will store all her precious bits and bobs in it.

Making afternoon tea was another lovely bit of creativity I had this weekend. I made brownies full of almonds, lemon drizzle cake and a first for me - choccolately eclairs. In fact I've just eaten another one as I write this. Yum yum. There aren't any pictures I'm afraid as we were too busy munching and being generally happy together.



Now for the last bit of making this weekend. I made sure I had a bit of time to play with ideas. I thought it was about time I tried some colourways that I'm not normally drawn to. Well lets say I enjoyed making this round, but I've found out I don't like this colour combination at all.

As for designs for selling on. I've made nothing at all, but I've been busy sketching out ideas and dreaming of things. As for now I'm really enjoying making for us.

Thankyou so much for your thoughtful words about my dad. Part of the deal of having an older dad is living with this type of worry about his health. Inside he's a much younger man and for now he feels a bit more like it on the outside too.
Justify Full

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Life

This week has been stressful to say the least and I'm left feeling like a saggy balloon.

On Wednesday my dad had a heart operation. He was told by the consultant that at 83 it was a high risk operation so it was his choice whether to have it done. All through christmas we waited on his decision, knowing he would go ahead in the end. We didn't want him to take the risk, but we also wanted him to feel better. He's made of very strong stuff is my dad, so he went ahead with it.


It all went really well and he's now back home busy planning how he might get back to playing golf. Irrepressible man.

My life of late has been a round of working and then when I'm at home tending to sick children; being at the hospital and today mass excitement the vets and then the dentist for my hurting tooth.

Where's the time for being colourful and creative? It's gone somewhere and I can't find it. I really want it back NOW. So tomorrow I think I'll take over the table, step out of mummy mode and start cutting and stitching as I know my fingers are itching to do.


Hope you all have fun and just so weekends too.