Friday, 30 May 2008

Monkey Business

Small Daughter was asked what she would like for her impending birthday. She is used to seeing me browse pages and pages of Etsy shops and this has obviously influenced her, for top of her list was a Sock Monkey. So I went straight to Siansburys at Etsy and couldn't resist this adorable Lofty.

"Hi Sian just calling to let you know how
I'm settling in.."

"Just reading a few books"

"checking out the white chair"

"checking out the red chair"

"sunning myself on the patio"

"Fantastic! A climbing frame all for me!"

I think Lofty is going to be very happy here.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

The Sound Of A UK Bank Holiday

A cold and damp Bank Holiday in the UK. Prospect of joining hoards of traffic searching for sun/warmth/amusement/activity/entertainment/peace did not appeal, nor did a day of listening to cries of "I'm bored" "What can I do now?".

But we were saved. By Julie Andrew and co.

Yes, The Sound Of Music was being aired across the land, so we settled down, curled up on the sofa, glued to the screen. We embarrassed ourselves by singing aloud, annoyed each other by singing aloud, got tearful when the nun told them they would never be alone when they crossed the mountains, and generally had a good time.

Today The Small Children insisted we watch it again.

They now know some of the words to the songs and replace words they don't know with any other that sounds vaguely similar.

"When the door bites, when the bee stings...."

(Which is highly amusing the first time, but less so the 200th)

Rain is forecast again this week, I hope Mary Poppins will be able to pop by........

Friday, 23 May 2008

Front Page Glory!

For regular visitors of Etsy, that wonderful place full of lovely handmade craftiness will know, the Front Page features a selected Treasury which changes throughout the day (and night!).
(The Treasury is a selection of items that an Etsy person has chosen)

And I was totally overjoyed this week to find myself on the front page - not once but twice!

Firstly one of my clutch bags was featured in the beautiful Treasury above chosen by Mariasoleil, (thank you Maria!) - my bag is the Lime Flower Clutch in the bottom row, right hand corner.

Then I was selected by Jonatolengo for this wonderful grey and red themed treasury (Thank you Jonatolengo!). My bag is the hand-embroidered grey bag, bottom row, right hand corner.

And despite being only 5'2" I can assure you that I jumped for joy very very high.

P.S And thank you Abi for letting me know I was on the Front Page before it disappeared without me getting a glimpse!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Potato Planting

Despite living in a town and having a small garden, I insist that my true calling is to live The Good Life, to live a life of self-sufficiency and keep chickens. And a goat.

The local council (and my neighbours) may have something to say about the chickens, and I don't think I could get away with saying that a goat is the family pet, so for the time being I will settle for growing a few crops in the small spaces I have available.

Tomato plants are ready and waiting to be put into the ground, herbs are flourishing nicely (lemon thyme..mmm..the smell) and this week we planted potato pots. Easy, and worth it. We simply put these chitted potatoes into large pots, sat them on a layer of soil, then covered them up with more soil so just a little bit of greenery peeking through. As they grow we shall keep topping the soil up, covering them up, to encourage the shoots to reach for the sky.

This was accomplished by my two garden apprentices - unfortunately as they are still classed as minors (they are under 10) I was not able to pay them, but a chocolate bar was all it took to ensure they will keep up with the garden tasks.

Potatoes - chippy chips!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Wind The Bobbin Up

A few blog posts ago I let out a cry to the universe - "Please help me sort out this tangle of a thread mess!". And the Universe heard me. And replied. Firstly another Etsy seller, djbebe, kindly commented and sent me a link to a picture of a very organised thread box, then family members (my mum) became aware of my plight and sourced the land to supply me with the tools.

Firstly I was provided with this brilliant thread winder, simply slot in your piece of cardboard and wind, wind, wind. I found this strangely relaxing. Untangling knots was not. A knot was definitely not. Not to the Knot....oh - enough of the knots!

Then, much thread winding later, they were all given a new home. A shiny new thread box. Neat. And Tidy. No knots.

Spurred on by this strange state of neatness and order, I then developed an urge to tackle the abundance of buttons that were spilling out of my sewing box. As a small girl sorting through buttons would have given me immense pleasure, and I wondered if this was a genetic trait. I suggested my daughter join in the fun to test this theory. Not only did she join in but took complete charge of the Button Box, sorting by colour, texture and size.

Finished result? Buttontastic.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Many Uses Of A Brooch

Have realised today that I haven't mentioned for a while what I am actually creating at the moment, and as those in the know (IE anyone who lives with me) can testify I am pretty busy everyday, armed with a crochet hook, a needle, a ball of wool or buried beneath shrouds of fabric. The sounds of "ouch!" that emanate from our house tend to belong to other people treading on a pin that I seem to have dropped on the floor. (Funnily enough I never seem to step on them myself.....well I find that mildly amusing anyway).

At the moment I'm having a bit of a brooch phase. Fabric and felt. Buttons may also be involved. And lots of thread. And having created quite a few (most are heading for a craft sale, some will veer towards Etsy) I began to deliberate on the many uses of a brooch. I shall begin with the obvious:
  • wear it on your coat
  • when the weather is too warm for a coat, wear one on your t-shirt
  • stick one on your hat (winter hat, summer hat, who cares!)
  • adorn your bag with one
  • attach one to a plant label and stick it in your house plant (trust me on this one, house plants need accessories too)
  • frame one (who else will have a brooch on their living room wall?)
  • wear one on your skirt
  • got a dull scarf? Then it needs a brooch!
  • decorate a pillow or cushion with one
So there we go, the 1st 10, I shall add more as my mind allows.`Please post any other suggestions too!

Happy brooch wearing.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Vet calling

Vet: Hello, I'm just calling to let you know the blood results for Darcy Dog.
Anxious Dog Person: ok
Vet: Well, most of his organs are ok, some changes to the kidney but that's to be expected at his age, in fact the results were pretty good for a dog of 13+
ADP: Oh that's good then....
Vet: So the main worry is the heart murmur...
ADP: yes....
Vet: I think we need to start him on medication, he'll need to take it twice a day. The tablets arn't a cure as such, they're a long-term aid. We'll have to keep an eye on him and the medication will probably have to be increased as he gets older.
ADP: So, these tablets, how do they help his heart?
Vet: (describes how the heart stops being effective and gets bigger but weaker and needs inhibitor thingys to stop it being so ineffective and how these tablets work on the thingy etc etc etc....)
ADP: Oh I see
Vet: Unfortunately these tablets are a bit expensive, I'll just check the price....
(sound of fingers tapping on computer keyboard)
They're £46 a month.
And he'll need them that ok?

Dog wanders into room.He didn't hear the phone. He's quite deaf. He looks at me.

ADP: Yes, that's absolutely fine.

Saturday, 10 May 2008

To Market To Market To Buy A...............

..........basket full of deliciousness!

A sunny day today and the local Farmers Market was brimming with wonderful goodies. I'd been out of the house most of the morning (sat in the hairdressers ready gossip mags) and it was nearing lunchtime - tummy rumbling, mouth watering time. Shopping whilst hungry is generally not advised on the basis that you will end up buying a load of rubbish to satisfy hunger pangs, but this Market just had a plethora of organic, home baked tasty treats. And just at the right moment I came across the bakery stall which had trays of nibbles to sample - the treacle tart was a divine, melt in the mouth sugar sensation. Ended up with the Bakewell tart though - I have a thing about anything almondy - along with some beautiful olive bread, some stilton and raspberry cheese,(which is soft, pink, and had a slightly disconcerting combination of strong savory stilton and sweet raspberrys, strangely yummy) and, lest the garden should feel left out, some tomato plants.

Think I had most things covered there.

The summer is beckoning and I can feel the heat on my skin.
For a hair obsessive such a me this was also the time for the "my head is beginning to heat up" crop. This morning locks were snipped away, leaving me feeling lighter, brighter and free.

My obsession with hair colourants continues and picked this reddy-brown today. I was originally a blonde you know. Then went copper. Then red. There was also the (only) time I have attempted home colouring - the packet said deep copper, but the result was an insipid strange peach affair. And many years ago I once had a pink fringe ..........ah, memories, memories.

Other things I get obsessed about - the latest T.V obsession is Miami Ink. Who knows where that will lead me.......

Monday, 5 May 2008

A Stitch In Time

I'd been thinking about making a bag for some time that would incorporate hand embroidery, but didn't want to to look - well, twee .

So for many a day I have sat with a piece of grey fabric, some sparkly bag handles and a tub full of embroidery thread until I was inspired by the theme of circles - and this is the finished result.I've listed it in my Etsy shop and, depending on how well it does there, I may do more in the range of hand embroidered bags.

I learnt to sew some many years ago in school (yes, there was a day and age when teachers would arm a hoard of children with needles, pins and thread and not worry about a law suit for a pin injury to a thumb) - in fact my mother still uses an embroidered mirror which I made at school - the french knots have remained intact!

Two of my favourite embroidery books are Sublime Stitching, by Jenny Hart, and Doodle Stitching, by Aimee Ray. Neither of which have any hint of tweeness about them. Great instructions too if you've never held a needle before and need some guidance.

And now to my embroidery thread stash - I need some inspiration on how to store all my threads in some kind of order. The Order Of The Thread is in a state of instability.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Skinny Scarves

Now that the weather here is slowing turning it's face towards the warmer spring vibes, I began to have The Scarf Dilema.

You know the one - "Mmm, I can see the sun but that breeze still feels chilly to me. I don't think my neck is ready to go naked - but am I going to look daft with a thick winter scarf?"

So I crocheted myself a thin little number, using a lovely soft merino/angora blend of wool, and how happy am I with the results!

Wrapped around my neck once, looks like it almost could be there just for decorative effects, yet those cool breezes do not bother me oh no.

And small enough to stash in my bag should the sun shine enough to warrant a naked neck.

So I thought I'd make a few more, and will put them for sale at my sister's craft fair in a few weeks time.
Then, crocheting time permitted (its all go go go agghhh craft fair soon have I made enough things!) I will make some for my Etsy shop.