Upcycling

We’ve had several gloriously sunny evenings lately. The days were nothing special but the evenings made up for that. I took the dogs out for late walks just to soak up the sunsets. Once upon a time I’d never have ventured out at such a time. I’ve described previously how a few frightening incidents made it difficult for me to leave the house on my own for a number of years. Even now the possibility of an axe murderer does cross my mind especially as this walk is so remote but I know the chances are slim and the older I get the more I am willing to take that risk! I’ve got a few years to figure out some kind of list along the lines of ‘fifty things to do before I’m fifty’. I want to well and truly leave my comfort zone. Not that I fancy jumping out of an aeroplane.

Today though our sunset walk is not going to happen. It’s absolutely chucking it down. Riley is not happy. He really doesn’t like thunder storms or heavy rain. H and R have been running up and down the garden and in the fields for most of the day. The sun was out, the doors and windows flung open. M and I wrote a fairly long list of long overdue jobs to be tackled today and we’ve pretty much ticked them all off. We’ve been to the tip, we’ve dropped bags off at a charity depot, we’ve collected under bed storage boxes (I was too impatient to wait for M to build wooden ones and quite frankly he’s too busy anyway). He’s finishing the wiring up of our new bedroom lights as I write. He would have been finished a while ago but I saw the first one and said it was far too low so with a little muttering and swearing he’s shortening it.

The biggest job however, was finally fitting the legs to our new cable drum table. I’ve wanted one of these for a very long time. Yes I’m aware this is not a normal thing to wish for since your twenties but I’ve loved upcycling long before it was even a word. I love the fact the existing holes are all the perfect size for tealights and a pillar candle I had amongst my supplies. The cable drum top was salvaged and the legs were sourced online for £50 including postage, they match the coffee table that M made last December. The existing dining room table is back in the dining room and this new one is in our conservatory/living room. I doubt we will ever eat in the dining room again. I’ll be on the look out for four metal chairs now, a good excuse to drag M into junk shops. He complains but he loves a good haggle.

There hasn’t been much crocheting lately but I took the gusset/strap part of my bag project on an hour long drive and managed to get it finished. It’s only 7cm wide but very long and it used up a lot of yarn. Currently it looks short but the cotton has some considerable give so I think it’ll be just right. I’ve found a converse cotton drawstring shoe bag which is dark grey and the perfect size for a lining, whether or not it’ll get sewn in is another matter. I will see if the bag works without first of all. I’ve got another catherine wheel stitch panel to do now which I purposely left to last rather than the monotonous strap.

I usually look forward to doing a spot of crochet of an evening but today I just want to try out our new table. J just shook his head when we told him what we were going to make with that big lump of wood with staples sticking out of it, but now he’s seen it he’s showing his mildly impressed face. No words, just a thumbs up. That’ll do for me.

Check

It’s all become a little teardrop obsessed round here. I’ve lost hours of my life talking about electrical circuits that I’m never going to get back. I keep telling M he’s on his own with the whole electrical thing but he does like to share. Fortunately we have several options for help including a friend who is an auto electrician, the good old internet and finally a fantastic old Haynes manual for caravans I picked up which has whole sections on batteries, transformers, converters, sockets (have you nodded off yet?).

I was needed briefly for the drafting of three cubby holes on a sheet of plywood today. This is more my kind of thing. I had the shapes drawn up in no time and the curves drawn with a handy tin of rice pudding. This unit is for the inside sleeping area and has a square plywood ‘conduit’ running underneath it which will house the fuse box and other interesting electrical things. I’m pretty sure I remember asking for something suitable for off grid camping but I suppose I can see the benefits of also having electrical hook up if only to charge everything whilst parked on our driveway. M couldn’t possibly go camping without somewhere to charge his phone!

Just to redress the balance and remind myself of the more exciting details I made a check list of all the camping and cooking equipment I’ve gathered so far. Most of the enamelware came from charity shops or our local antique/junk centre. Nothing has cost more than a £1 a piece except for the enamel coffee pot which was £6. The tea caddy still has its lining so that was a nice find. The other metal container is an Indian tiffin box that we’ll probably use for biscuits. I found the utensils as a set, six items for £6. The rustic wooden handles would go well in our kitchen indoors but we will need some for the teardrop so I’m hoping that we can fit in some kind of rail or inside door rack for them somewhere. After taking this photograph and packing it all back inside the blue suitcase I remembered I had another wooden box stashed away with the cutlery, aluminium whistling kettle, camping pans and a couple of enamel pans. Along with another vintage suitcase packed with washed and folded navy blue bed linen and towels (all surplus to requirements from our main caravan) I think we are good to go the minute the teardrop is finished!

I’m on a mission to find the best camping coffee before our first trip. Today E and I tried a coffeebag. It just doesn’t sound right does it? Teabag yes, coffeebag no. It was coffee in a teabag. It was pretty good, kind of like the taste of proper coffee but without the flashy machine hassle. Most definitely a contender. Mind you, camping is all about slow living and back to basics so I had envisaged brewing coffee the slow way, not just throwing a bag in a mug and boiling the kettle.

I’ve made some good progress with the joining stage of the Last Dance blanket. It’s quite hard work if I’m honest. Our dining table isn’t in a room with good light so I’m laying it out on our double bed each day. The guidelines suggest using a hook two sizes bigger for joining which is great advice because it is joining very nicely but it’s a devil to push a fat 6mm hook through a stitch that has been made with a 4mm hook, especially when you’re working through the inside loops of two rows of stitching. Thankfully, after several back breaking days, I have only two more rows to join.

I had a bit of a shouty moment when ‘someone’ left the bedroom door ajar after opening it to say goodbye on his way out to a football match, not mentioning any names here, and Riley decided he’d been excluded long enough and took a flying leap and landed bang slap in the middle of the half joined blanket. Remind me why I like dogs? I’ve temporarily forgotten! Luckily the blanket has survived. It’s been a marathon of a project and I’m looking forward to going mundanely round and round for the border.

I’d love to send E off to university in September with a large thick colourful crochet blanket of some description but I know that I’m unlikely to finish anything I start now until nearer to the September of the following year. That won’t stop me researching design possibilities and doing mental calculations. Chunky yarn works up so much quicker right? I’ll probably see how her woven wall hanging goes first. In true, not so subtle E style, she messaged me with a photo of a weaving that she liked and said something like this would be cool for my uni room! Hint taken!

Exploring

Gosh, Sunday’s are coming round rather quickly these days. Is it really time to shut myself away from the rowdy football again? I don’t mind though, it’s been a good Sunday. The weather has been a steady and mild eleven degrees with only a slight breeze, just perfect for dog walking.

The mood at home this week, on my part anyway, has been a bit ‘cheesed off’ and irrationally blaming the entire county. It kind of sums it up if I tell you that I put into google ‘what the f*** is there to do in Lincolnshire?’ Google cheerfully replied with the top ten attractions but in well behaved language. It has taken a while but the penny has finally dropped with M and he now understands that I cannot cope with doing the same things week in and week out and part of my childhood is to blame because we went on big long hikes with our black cocker spaniel, somewhere different every weekend. His suggestions for places to take the dogs, bearing in mind he has lived here all his life and has had a dog for a lot of those years, have been uninspiring to say the least but today he totally made up for it with a new location and I was amazed that we didn’t even have to travel far.

This new to us place has been created along an old railway route, it is absolutely miles long in both directions from the free car park and you can even hire a bike for a fiver a day because the route is also a cycle path. It was ideal for M who struggles on uneven ground due to his back injury and pretty good for me with my recovering knee. The dogs soon went off course into ditches, fields and woodland so they were impressed too. Everyone seemed cheerful and friendly except for two grumpy Lycra clad cyclists who didn’t ring a bell (according to M who would have heard one) and yet expected us to know they were behind us. Presumably we were also required to immediately jump into the hedge for them too. Don’t you just hate grumpy people? The path isn’t marked into two lanes either, just in case you were thinking we had strayed!

Isn’t that mini log cabin awesome? I really wanted to have a closer look but it was down a steep six foot bank and I didn’t trust my dodgy knee to get me back up again! The dogs went and had a sniff round on my behalf.

I managed to get a brief video clip of just one of the muddy streams that the dogs jumped into and surprised myself by being able to get it onto my instagram feed (simplenaturalhandmade72). Woah, there’s no stopping me now!. Harvey is an expert at the bellyflop. I must try and get one his more dramatic launches from the lakeside into the lake, he gets a good run up for that one! He’s not a ‘look before you leap’ type guy.

Naturally we needed coffee at the end of our ‘hike’ and M needed his daily fix of crosswords. I always say that I prefer to read the newspapers but without fail I end up finishing off the clues he’s left, it’s the competitive side of me! This place is one of our local cafe nero’s. We always gravitate towards cafes with urban rustic decor. Love those stools!

So, I’m avoiding the football once more and I’ve been sitting at my bureau with this rubber stamp set. I recently bought two of these along with two ready to paint wooden boxes and made up two kits for making tags and labels. I sent one to a very good friend who also knits and crochets and makes things and I’ve kept one. I decided not to stamp as I go with mine but rather just stamp a batch of random designs from the selection ready to use at a moments notice. I made the actual tags with my Sissix Big Shot die cutter which I’ve had for years and has been a really useful thing to own. I used parcel string but of course ribbon or yarn would also be nice.

I’ve written pattern and yarn details on a couple of the larger tags and attached them to two projects I’ve been working on so that I don’t forget what hook size I’ve been using or where the pattern is. This has become a bit more important since my iPad doesn’t seem to want me to use bookmarks anymore and a lot of the patterns are online. I’ll be choosing a tag and replacing the string with leftover yarn for posting the Ermeline cardigan soon too. I feel incredibly organised on that score but my actual yarn stash and wips are all over the place while M still has a yarn storage solution to build for me. We are thinking wooden crates at the moment since he’s made several that we use around the house and for camping and it’s easy to make them look old and battered. All the lovely old metal or wooden pigeon hole pieces of furniture I’ve seen lately cost the absolute earth!

It’s telling that Harvey, although technically mine, has decided to hang out with the men whilst Riley very rarely leaves my side. Harvey is a man’s man whereas Riley seems to know that loyalty is due to the chief dog walker in the family and the one who warms their towels after a cold, wet walk!

Abstract

Along with crochet I can highly recommend weaving as a therapeutic activity. I view this first piece as something of a novice sampler because I’ve thrown everything at it in terms of techniques and methods, at least everything that I could find in my book and online. I’m sure there is plenty more to discover.

In the final half I added rya knots, tried the soumak technique (the charcoal grey seams that look like stocking stitch) and unworked loops. I wasn’t that taken with the unworked loops but perhaps there are other ways to do this. I knew my bottom tassels would reveal a bit of warp and I haven’t rectified this yet. I could just weave a couple of extra rows of the yarn I started with or I could pull each warp through the back of the tassel, but that would be tricky because there isn’t enough to tie it off or knot it. Next time I will attach those differently. For now though I shall just leave it and enjoy having the thing on the wall for a while.

The photo’s are the best I could do in the poor light we had available today. Storm Doris made coastal or woodland walks out of the question yesterday and in fact Sherwood Forest which was high on my list of options was closed to visitors on that extremely windy day. Even night lights and fairy lights haven’t improved the lighting.

I must have enjoyed the process of weaving because M asked if I was finished with weaving now that I’d made a piece for the wall. I told him certainly not! I already feel like rigging up the warps again (tighter this time) and maybe having a vague plan of what to do this time. It feels like just the beginning of something and it’s such a good way of using up all those random yarns I was attracted to for their unique and interesting textures but which are an absolute devil to crochet with. Not to mention the perfect excuse to rummage through the wool baskets in charity shops without worrying whether anything I like the colour or texture of is actually a useful amount to make anything with.

At the moment it is quite hard to imagine spring like weather let alone summer. Our slightly wild garden is a black soggy decaying mess for the most part. At the end of every summer I never quite manage to ‘winterise’ the garden and so we tend to look out on dead stuff all winter. Now that I’ve committed those words to print it might be something I will remember to do this year. Somehow it all bounces back, especially with a little bit of effort and a big bonfire. I’m looking forward to setting up my loom outside with the dogs by my feet. Harvey’s frequent offerings of sticks and branches may just end up getting woven into a piece!

Random

A random selection of photographs today. One uber cool t shirt for my little niece. Bunny was one of the buzz words over Christmas and although she’s probably moved on linguistically since then who can resist a bunny with a red nose and heart shades? Not me. In aid of Red Nose Day too so it’s a win win.

Secondly, the state of my favourite Birkenstocks. Aarggghh! I knew it was a mistake to gift the dogs an old slipper each, now they think that all footwear is up for grabs. I’ve had these for years and I think they would have lasted quite a bit longer had they not been helped along by the adorable, but mischievous Riley. E said just recently, ‘I’ve never known a dog with so much personality’. Just a little bit too much personality for my liking! M, ever helpful, told Riley he’d be docking £50 from his pocket money. So helpful.

Love my little camping pan even more now that I realise it’s a left or right handed pourer. Pretty darn handy since M is left handed and I am right handed. If it wasn’t gale force wind here today we could have brewed hot coffee using our Kelly kettle in a little tucked away woodland walk spot we found last year. We drove around for quite a while (I made M drive around for quite a while) before we found a quiet spot with a space for the car, a woodland walk for the dogs and even a big old fallen tree trunk to sit on. All for the sake of trying out the new gadget. Coffee definitely tastes better when you’re sitting on a rotten log in the middle of a forest in my opinion!

Finally, an update on my weaving progress. I’m still making it up as I go along and it’s supposed to be abstract despite each family member in turn asking if it’s a mountain, or a temple or a pyramid. No, I say patiently, it’s abstract. I’m annoyed that the sides are gathering inwards. It’s not because I’m weaving too tightly, it’s because I didn’t set the warps taut enough. Lesson learnt for next time. There are two joining methods on this piece, the ‘mountain’ uses the interlocking method I believe, where the two colours are wrapped on the same warp thread. Forgive my lack of technical jargon. The other random shape uses a front and back warp where the colours meet, I have no idea what that’s called. I must look these things up! I actually prefer the fuzzy look of the interlocking method even though my counting was a bit off. I need to be brave next and dig out some roving or add some more tassels or something. I’m better at symmetry so this is a little outside my comfort zone!

Weaving/2

The weaving book is only two days away but I can’t help but sit down for a brief session today. It’s a little bit addictive. It has occurred to me today whilst sitting at a seventies bureau, sipping coffee from a seventies mug and weaving a wall hanging in neutral tones (not to mention a few seventies tracks on in the background) that I have stepped back in time! Remind me to buy a cheese plant as a finishing touch for our bedroom!

I was born in 69 so I can remember having cheese plants. I also have fond memories of a very cuddly superchunky long belted cardigan my Mum wore. I thought she was far more stylish and glamorous than most other Mums and looking back I was right. She would have definitely been called a yummy mummy in these times. There was a lot of texture in household furnishings too. When we were very small we had a sofa in off white which was somewhere between cordrouy and boucle, next to a large deep pile off white rug which we spent some considerable time lying on, just because. A bit later we had a hessian textured wallpaper. It was obviously a very tactile era.

I can’t tell you how much faff that little grey wedge shape was! I’ve since discovered that I could have butted shapes up like this with the need for front and back warps but with closer warps instead. That way the wool kind of bridges the gap. That might be applicable when I set up the vintage loom. For now though I am really pleased with the way the colours meet without any gaps. It was a relief to get back to doing a full width stripe after that. With the small amount of flecked grey yarn I had I decided to make it up as I went along and wrapped it round every other warp to create a sort of lump. I also used the yarn doubled up so it’s turned out a little bit uneven which I quite like. I have no idea what colour or shape or texture I am going to do next. I am kicking myself for throwing out a selection of superchunky yarn leftovers which I thought would have no use whatsoever. Doh!

The temperature has improved enormously today. There was even sunshine! The dogs swam very gracefully, Riley reaching the island in the middle of the lake where the duck nests are located. He has a quick sniff round and plunges back in. It’s a bit strange. I had a Springer when I was in my twenties, called Bertie and he would have brought a dead duck back for me. Not a gift I would have wanted, believe me. He once escaped from my parent’s back garden, trotted into the neighbouring field, gently tapped a cockerel round the head with his paw, which unfortunately broke its neck and then came casually trotting back, without the bird thank goodness! Come to think of it there were quite a few neighbours who were glad not to have the five a.m. wake up call after that. Bertie eventually showed promise as a proper working dog and my partner at the time trained him, I’ve never seen a dog so happy, he was simply doing what the breed was designed to do. It broke my heart but it was kinder to let him stay working on that estate in the New Forest than have him living with me in Oxford.

Sitting on the lakeside bench it did occur to me (daydreaming about weaving!) that I could use the colours of the lake and countryside for a future wall hanging. It’s definitely a favourite spot and I’ve photographed it quite a lot, mostly with the dogs in the water at the time. It changes colour dramatically according to season, and one side has a huge area of bullrushes so there’s plenty of colour and texture inspiration.

It’s the first day of half term here. J is suffering from the nastiest hacking cough. I’ve dosed him up with everything imaginable. He’s drinking oj for vitamins and iced water and ice cream to soothe his throat, as well as the usual cough mixture and paracetamol for his temperature. He might be sixteen now but as his Mother I am feeling just the same as if he were four years old again and had some kind of cold or injury and wishing I could take it on instead. He’s a trooper though, he isn’t complaining, he just looks and sounds awful. Roll on Spring!

Weaving


I’m just ignoring the fact that the whole house is in a high level of disorder due to the revamping of one bedroom. I’m ignoring the fact that I’ve got two sleeves to crochet to complete a jumper. I’ve got this nagging little voice that is telling me to finish the last baby leg warmer and get the whole thing wrapped and off to the post office. However, I just had to give this new loom a quick try. Phhhtt! There’s nothing quick about weaving, especially when you spend large chunks of time unravelling sections!

I recently tagged along when M had a police job to do. When he checked the location on google maps he noticed there was a Hobbycraft within walking distance and very thoughtfully asked if I’d like to spend an hour there. Does the pope pray? I went along with rug backing in mind and came home with a weaving loom! It’s only a child’s loom, the Melissa & Doug brand but it’s a good size and pretty reasonable at £15. It seems to be double that price elsewhere. It caught my eye because it’s about the size of weaving I’d like for the wall above my bureau. The weaving area is about 15 x 18 inches and it comes with two dowels that can be used to partition areas off.

I’ve had to look up the basics online and in a tatty old book from the seventies. I started off with total disregard for sheds and soon ran into shape meeting problems. Let’s just say I’ve undone more than I’ve redone at this stage! I’ve also rejigged the set up with a wood offcut to offset the front and back warps. I have no idea what these are called but I’m sure they have a special name. Indeed I have a flashy complicated looking one in the vintage German one I picked up yesterday in a junk/antique place.

M hates this antique centre with a passion but can sometimes be persuaded to browse if I name a specific item that we need. So I said that I’d like a pair of battered old metal pendant shades for the bedroom and he was happy to go. I spotted some lovely old wooden stepladders, examined the tags and commented that they were usually much more expensive. This nearly ruined the whole trip. He was simply confused as to why I even looked at them. I looked because we could do with a proper stepladder but he was ‘thrown’ because he thought we were there for light shades. It must be a man thing.

We didn’t find light shades but I did manage to purchase the vintage loom and a large deep aluminium bowl which is just what I had in mind for when M has finished building the teardrop trailer. We don’t want to overload the weight of it with heavy camping equipment and I want to keep a vintage look, so the bowl will be ideal for washing dishes or faces. Since the summer and any thoughts of camping are some way off yet I’m putting the bowl to good use and filling it with random yarn leftovers which are suitable for weaving. The loom was £8 and the bowl was £6. I’m sure I would have found some more bargains if I’d been browsing on my own!

The German loom looks slightly more suitable for finer weaving. I think I’ll stick to the m&d one until I’m a bit more knowledgeable. Th vintage one came with three shuttles which are very handy and better than the chunky wooden sewing needle that came with the children’s loom. After I’d unravelled yet another attempt M decided to take me down to Waterstones and buy a more up to date book. It’s now on order and will arrive in two days but we had a lovely chat with the woman there who was also interested in having a go at ‘modern weaving’. I was glad to know it wasn’t just me that does these mad and random crafts!

Slow

It’s tricky coming from a family that never sits still, is always on the go, never puts off until tomorrow what can be done today…it means that I feel guilty when I finally slump into a chair at 3 or 4pm (much later if it’s summer with more daylight hours). Today I am consciously trying to take it slowly. In fact I could start a slow Saturday or slow Sunday trend in this household, except it’ll be me that struggles with that concept.

M is more of a ‘let’s do it tomorrow’ type and frustratingly tomorrow never comes. Though lately I’ve been amazed at his sudden burst of energetic decorating and to be fair, he has done the lion’s share of the painting. It’s taken ten long years but I think he’s finally coming round to my taste in home decor! Less is more.

I’ve been rummaging through my yarn supplies again and came across these Jacobs skeins that I bought last time we spent a few days in a shepherds hut, somewhere in the Dales. The smell is divine. I’ve no idea what to make with them but I’m determined to find something. Browsing for inspiration is almost as enjoyable as actually crocheting and ideal for slow weekend activity.

I purchased the first issue of Koel magazine recently. The second has since been published. It’s definitely my kind of magazine; crochet, interiors, macrame, embroidery, weaving, travel. I’ve written before about macrame and how grateful I am to the home economics teacher who kicked me out of sewing classes and gave me a large cone of string and a ‘how to’ book. I’d rather macrame than sew any day of the week. 

There’s also rug making inspiration. I have all the tools and some supplies, it’s just finding time to squeeze it in between crochet sessions. A big sort out of my craft cupboard resulted in pulling together all relevant supplies and storing them in a separate box. I’m now much more likely to get started with a small rug project. The frog latch hook cushion front belongs to E, purchased when she was about nine (ten years ago!) It’s so close to being finished and it’ll be a nice easy reminder of how to work the latch hook. I really don’t fancy turning it into a cushion after that but I know someone who might 😉. I can’t be sure whether Riley just liked the soft furry surface or whether he was casually eyeing up the wooden tool handle as a potential chewing item!

J is alternating between homework and Xbox today. Nothing new there. M opened his bedroom door this morning and said, in a raised voice, ‘I’m totally done with you now boy! How dare you!’ J looked a bit bewildered. M went on, ‘How dare you grow up. Now that you’re sixteen I can’t get free coffee at IKEA with a family card, so you can jolly well leave home and we’ll adopt a new child!’ J just shrugged in true J style and said, ‘yep, fair enough!’

E emailed me the ‘homework’ that one of her class gave her on Friday. On the front it says My Homework because she wanted to give E something but was too embarrrassed for it to just be a picture. Apparently E is ‘the best teecher in the hole wild world!‘ Clearly not if their spelling and grammar is that atrocious! It did bring a lump to E’s throat though. She’ll be very emotional when her year there is up. Lately I think she’s been quite thankful she has a creative Mum and therefore has all sorts of valuable craft knowledge. She’s finding it helps enormously with the age group she is teaching, which is key stage one. It also helps divert a major crisis when a six year old comes to you with a broken off plastic gem from a hair slide that she only made the night before. E knew that it was a glue gun or nothing solution so she did a swift repair in her lunch break and was told, ‘you’ve just totally saved my life Miss’.

Noses


My little noses finally arrived! I must admit I was quite pleased, excited even, when they arrived and waved them in the air triumphantly! E, J and M just momentarily looked up and then all three carried on with what they were doing. They are completely used to me being excited about a little bag of plastic toy parts, it’s entirely normal in their world to have a house full of art and craft supplies. Let’s face it, when J comes to me and says he needs an A4 piece of silver card, blue corrugated card, double sided tape and green sticky backed felt on a roll for an environmental planning project he knows I won’t have to go shopping first. In fact that was a real request just recently and I had everything to hand and more. Once he’s finished GCSEs and A levels I’m going to pass this kind of thing on in the form of regular craft packs for my niece!

So the woolly bear now has a little nose and looks a lot more like a bear than he did at first. The yarn is DROPS Karisma which is 100% wool. I’d have chosen a lighter shade normally but I’m using up what I have. I originally bought this yarn for Toft Menagerie crochet animals but after making five of them I’m all Tofted out! At least it will contrast nicely with the cream Aran sweater which I’m avoiding sewing up by the way because it requires crab stitch and I’ve never actually done that before. I need to have peace and quiet to tackle something new!

There’s not a lot of peace and quiet here right now. M and I braved the crowds for New Year’s Day dinner food shopping. We blitzed the freezer and fridge contents when we got home (yes, should have done this first but oh well). M is now recovering with the various gold channels for company. We are polar opposites when it comes to repetition. He likes the comfort of familiar programmes like Storage Hunters and How it’s Made and I get restless if they are on more than once a week. I prefer variety. The battle for the remote control is not one I bother fighting for. Thank goodness for books and crochet!

As per tradition tomorrow M will be cooking a roast dinner and we will have his sister over for the day. Its a busman’s holiday for M as he will also spend the day translating for me. A’s speech is beyond my comprehension. To save him some work I usually just waffle on without waiting for too much in the way of a reply even though I do feel a tad guilty. Last year we made tissue paper flowers because she likes to make things too and there really wasn’t much need for chat. I’m thinking Pom Pom garlands this year but I know the clover Pom Pom makers will be too complicated for her so we will do a simpler type, she will enjoy combining colours, pink always being a firm favourite. Stash busting, a repetitive craft activity I can cope with, a pom pom garland for A to take home, its a win win.

Happy New Year! 🎉🍷

Crafting


It’s another overcast but mild day today. Our little electric stove heater really wasn’t up to the job of warming just one room while we wait for our new boiler. A borrowed oil filled radiator is doing a much better job and I can at least feel my hands once more. Only one more sleep until the two day boiler installation, phew! There have been less than patient residents here and I don’t mean the dogs.

Sometimes events make you suddenly realise just how much every day effort goes into trying to please all of the people all of the time. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a thankless and impossible task and I often put my own welfare and happiness way down the list of priorities. I’m pretty sure that this is a Mother and Wife thing that I’m not alone with. So, moving on, here’s to only pleasing some of the people some of the time and having an extra gin and tonic to cope with the fall out!

Today I thought I’d finally have a go at some of the craft bits and bobs that have been gathering. I probably haven’t made a cardboard star since primary school age! This one looked like it would take forever but it’s going fairly quickly. I’ve got another, more ambitious paper cut scene to tackle from a magazine earlier this year if I manage to get through this one without cutting myself!

There’s quite a lot of cutting involved in these mini crackers too. The free kit came with Mollie Makes and I’ve dug out some cracker snaps from my craft supplies and trimmed them down a little. I can’t add the tissue paper confetti or tie them up with the red and white yarn yet because I want to add jokes and a little something. A little crochet something would be fun but I’d need eight, half suitable for men and half suitable for women. I may have to go for sweets. I really should have thought about these weeks ago because Christmas is now only eleven days away! Yikes. So much wrapping to do yet.

If time allows I’m going to go with the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve. I wish I’d known about that years ago. I distinctly remember allowing the children to open a book each on several Christmas Eves when they were very small and the excitement was just too much, and then naturally bribing them with Santa threats (he won’t come if you’re awake!) to get them to go to sleep after ten bedtime stories, each. This year we have the magic of small children at Christmas again, well one small child, my niece. At one and a half I think she will still be wondering what it’s all about!