Friday, 25 June 2010

The Lazy Blogger

It's been a while but boy the time has flown!  I may have been a lazy blogger but not so lazy in the real world.  Time has whizzed by - my eldest came home with his girlfriend whilst I was away in Finland.  He gave her a whirlwind tour of the area and when I returned we went out for a meal on the Friday evening - the last thing I needed having had a week of eating out (will really have to make a kaftan and try and make them come back into fashion as I fear nothing much else will fit me soon!)  Saturday was spent shopping, cooking and cleaning but it was lovely to have the house full of youth again - pre birthday night out BBQ before heading off to Leeds for a big night (them, not me).  I finished off another granny stripe cushion with my feet up!

It's pastel on one side with a mixture of yarns - merino, alpaca, acrylic mix, cashmerino, cotton, silk and bamboo - a lovely mix of textures and colours - reminds me of Love Heart candies....

and brighter on the other side - I can pick the side to suit my mood...

By Sunday evening I was pretty much comatose on the sofa without the energy to haul my body off to bed!

I had one small window of free time for a whirlwind trip through Stockmann in Tampere and look what I found...

It's a small old world - my big sis stocks the Pip Studio line yet there was a big display in Stockmann and on my last trip to York instead of finding lots of lovely English china my favourite homewares shop was stocked full of Finnish china and glass - Ittala and Marimekko!    What's going on?

A 'Summer' evening aboard a boat on a lake in Tampere... (followed up with a monumental amount of mosquito bites!!!)

After much ridicule from my eldest about all my homemade 'stuff' I was very happy to be reconciled with my yarn and hooks having suffered serious withdrawal symptoms after 7 full days without even looking at anything crafty.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of follow up work after my week away combined with a rather major garden project in progress so crochet time has been severely restricted.  I'm STILL waiting for my Lucy's Collection of yarn from First4Yarns (getting pretty fed up of waiting now) so if time and other stuff allows I may have to get the sewing machine out at the weekend and convert some of the fabric recycling pile into something practical and lovely.

So little time.....

Note to self: buy lottery tickets - have to have hope that one day I might have enough time and money to do all the things I'd like to do ......

Saturday, 12 June 2010

A lovely day with Janet Bolton

It's been quite a week with one thing and another.  I'd almost forgotten about booking the Janet Bolton workshop through my sister and her vert talented friend Heidi until Anne reminded me.  I scurried around this morning gathering up bits of fabric, completely unprepared or focussed on the day ahead.  Janet just blew me away - such a natural talent and a lovely lady to boot.  We spent a lovely day (much more stressful than you can imagine being in the presence of someone so gifted and feeling under pressure to produce something of worth), lots of interesting stories and banter interspersed with delicious refreshments from Jilly all in the rather idyllic setting of Heidi's home and shop.  I probably gained a few pounds between the shortbread, scones, lemon cake and parkin and lost a bit of artistic confidence but I shall return to my picture when I come back from Finland.

A little taster of how our day panned out:

Janet tells us how she got started and tries to inspire us to let our artistic blood flow

Lunchtime already?

Heidi's (on the left in white) home is lovely and she also does B&B so if you fancy a little rural retreat book now before she heads back Stateside!

Janet doing her thing......  'I'll just show you how to needle press a hen as they're the easiest'... yeah, right!

I may be smiling but I was not happy with my hen, I can tell you!  I'm too embarrassed to show it just yet (if ever).

Anne was a natural and her hen picture promises to be rather lovely (sometimes are harder than others to love your older sis!)

Unfortunately, my other life is interfering rather and I have to bid adieu to my creative life for a while.  I just hope my big presentation turns out better than my hen!!

Have a great week.  I look forward to seeing what you have all been up to when I get back.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The best laid plans and all that ...

It has continued to rain relentlessly, filling up both of my water butts and almost extending the new pond to the rest of the lawn.  I got off to a good start with my holiday crafting - finishing my Fondant Kiss boudoir swap gift, backing my other pram blanket.

These were both made with Rooster baby alpaca and merino - just lovely to work with.

I even managed to transform an old unfinished homeless pine box to a new footstool/secret wool stash hideaway with a bit of paint, some Cath Kidston fabric and a ribbon trim

ooh just look inside....

but then the plumber called.....

Now I suspect that this is a global phenomena, tradesmen being rather elusive creatures so when a plumber calls and says he'll be there tomorrow to fit your new heating boiler and shower you don't argue.  You drop the crochet hook, abandon the wool and fabric gorgeousness you were about to indulge in and leap to.  I had done a pretty good job of attending to the domestic needs so I could enjoy some guilt-free crafting but now that is all upside down and inside out.  The contents of the airing cupboard were emptied - my, what a lot of pillows and bedding sets I have.  Funny how I only seem to use the same few sets......  I've been saving the rest for when the 'boys' get their own places but of coures they don't really want any of it so it's bunting or the charity shop for most of it.  The contents of the attic were - well, I'd like to say sorted and re-stored but in all honesty I just dragged stuff from one place to another.  I had to dismantle my plate rack and empty the sink cupboard - oh what shame to have all those cleaning products that rarely see the light of day and sooo many dusters - I guess for the days when I might be bothered by such things.  And my bedroom?  Well, I didn't think the plumber would need to go in there so the entire contents of my under-the-bed storage boxes and wardrobe (closet) were heaped on my bed - along with what must be breeding-in-the-dark-and-shrinking-into-the-bargain jeans that have been lurking on the wardrobe floor since my once former not-exactly-slim-but-definitely-smaller body left home and this new one took up residence around my bones.  I just don't know what has happened but I seem to have a lot more body than I remember and something will have to be done.

Will it be the Special K diet?  The Cabbage Soup diet?  Jaw wiring?  Stomach stapling?  Complete starvation?  No, there's nothing for it, it'll have to be something much more extreme.  I will not put it off any longer.  All of those 'just-washed-so-they-must-have-shrunk-a-bit/lot' jeans will soon  ....

be converted to bags and garden quilts - then they will surely fit me! 

Here's a peek of one I made last year for my middle son which was much admired by his Uni friends (many of them doing fashion might I add!)  Here it is on the back of Michael's bike in San Francisco earlier this year.  It had to come home for some repair work as he'd used it so much it was coming undone at the seams..... sounds familiar.  It was a spur of the moment project for Michael and I when he was home last year and it wasn't very well thought out but it worked in the end and he likes it which is all I was aiming for.  We kept the front of the jeans for the inside of the bag so he has ready made pockets.

So, even though the week is not panning out quite as I had hoped or imagined there's still time for a little bit of R&R....

Let's see what tomorrow brings ....

Sunday, 6 June 2010

It's raining, it's pouring....

but no snoring in bed for me.  Anne (sister) and I nipped down to the car boot sale this morning, fortunately just before the rain started.  It was rather disappointing but I picked up a few books for my favourite little friend in Finland to take with me next week.  Other than that it was just a Bill Blass silk scarf (a small donation for charity) which I think will make a nice bag lining, another little glass bowl for my trinkets (a mere 50pence) and yet more plants! The lawn is shrinking to make room for them all but that just means less mowing for me and more nectar for the birds and bees - seems quite reasonable to me.


The plates in the background were not quite such a bargain from a lady selling all sorts of lovely old bits and bobs but I just liked them so they came home with me

along with a few more pieces of Liberty lawn, some of which I have already used today but I can't show you just yet 
- all will be revealed soon

The past couple of days have been gloriously hot so between gardening and shopping I spent a little time with my feet up next to the pond watching the new wildlife that's taking up residence - water snails courtesy of my sister, wiggly little things - no idea what they will end up being when they grow up, the birds stopping to take a little drink and Mr Waterboatman skating across the surface at great speed.  I took the opportunity to try some new patterns samples from the Crochet Stitch Bible

Some Little Fans

Some Thistle stitch 

and some Arcade stitch

Crochet certainly focusses the mind - all that counting!

Rain = no gardening so feeling slightly guilty about the ironing mountain in the kitchen I got that out of the way and started to think about what to do with myself....

Ribbon, lace, silk, beads.....  lovely-ness mess ....

or maybe start a new project with these vibrant babies I picked up yesterday ....

Did I mention that I also added to my stash a little more on the York trip?  

Well, I did use up lots of bits for the cushion :)

so while the rain falls and I contemplate which project to start/finish first I'll leave you with a little drop of cheeriness and look forward to showing you what else I manage to squeeze into my week off work. 

And thank you for the lovely comments on the previous posts - I really appreciate them.

Friday, 4 June 2010

My cup overfloweth

I'm so excited to be having some time off from work.  It's not the best time to take off as I have a big week in Finland ahead of me but hey ho, the prospect of time in the garden and time in the craft room is most irresistible.

Had a quick trip into York with big sis this morning - such delights to be had, not enough parking paid for - oh what  shame, I might have to go back.  And joy - I have plenty of time to do so!  We did a pretty good job in three hours and a refreshment stop at Little Betty's, mind you.  More on the trip and the finds later.

Youngest son deposited at the station for a trip south to see his father, the prospect of no meals to cook this weekend, lots of sunshine forecast, a cache of crafting supplies and a myriad of ideas to put into practice fills me with such happiness and anticipation.

My scraps cushion is finished  - it ended up a little bigger than planned....

Want to see the other side?

I've been sitting in the last of the evening sun, sipping a glass of chilled white wine experimenting with a couple of ideas I have for my Fondantkiss boudoir swap- does life get much better than this?

Happy weekend!