Sunday, 31 October 2010

A Devilish Good Time

On Saturday we all dressed up for our spooky family party. We ate underneath the disco ghosties and then pinned the nose on the witch, bobbed apples, ate witches bogies and biscuits dangling from wands.

Alfie Blue dashed here and there in his Devil suit and was impossible to take a picture of. Eldest Bun pinned him down in the end so you could see how terrifying he looked in it.

Fortunately the only picture taken of us is wibbly or you'd be screaming with fear by now! Eldest Bun did my make-up  for me complete with black warts. My Dad (who came as a ghostie) told me he thought red hair suited me, I'm not so sure the horns are me though.
I even added a spot of pretty to all the preparations with the last blooms from our garden.  Not long now before it all goes brown and dull out there.

Now without any more to do I'll show you the finished Dottie Blanket.  I stitched a label on some softly worn thrifted linen. I wish I'd been able to crochet when the Bun's were babies as I would have loved to wrap them in one of these snuggly happy blankets.

When I get the time I'll definately be making another as they both want it for themselves.  I won't mind at all as I really enjoyed making this. There was something really relaxing about just going back and forth once I'd decided on the colours I was using in each row. 
The inspiration for this blanket came from Dottie Angel, but I didn't completely follow Tif's instructions. I sewed all the strips together, rather than join them up as I went.

Now this is done, I've got a pile of other things that need finishing and quite a few things that need to be made for the Christmas markets. Better get a move on then hadn't I.

Here's hoping you've all had a great and spooky weekend.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Crying for the Aliens

The Buns and I wanted a home day today. Perfectly cosy eating, watching films,  cuddles and crochet. For a while now they've wanted to see E.T. so I made sure I got it for half-term. I have to admit I cried even though I knew E.T. would be alright in the end and then I welled up again when he asked Elliott to Come and he replied Stay.

 
Despite the soggy eyes I managed to finish the last strip of my Dottie Blanket. Hopefully I'll finish the edging tonight and then I will have officially actually finished something I've made for us. The first not just started and then put aside thing in quite a while.


The rest of the afternoon went in a whirl of putting up ghostie and spider banners and then just fiddling with stuff.

Just what we needed. A day of not much at all. It felt good and we needed it.

I really enjoyed reading your different views on Halloween by the way. I worried I sounded like I was being a sourpuss about Halloween and that wasn't what I meant at all, I really do enjoy it. I love all the markers in the year and the excuses for another celebration. We always have our own family party and daft games to match. At the moment the Bun's are busy deciding between being cats or witches. Alfie has his own red devil suit hanging ready.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Boo!

Strange how this Halloween business is taking us over. When I was little I got freaked out just by my parents lighting an orange candle by my bed. I had a vivid imagination and worried about all the witches and ghosties maybe popping in to visit me. That was enough excitement for me. It was just a brief affair on the calendar, none of the dressing up and shops filled with spooky stuff for us 1970's kids. The real excitement was when the Boy Scouts dragged a scarecrow around with Guy Fawkes mask on raising a penny for the guy. On Bonfire Night the guy would get thrown on the fire before all the fireworks went off.

Somehow we've let the emphasis fade from our British traditions and taken on more American ones so you rarely see Penny for the Guy anymore. 
With kids it's pretty inevitable that you give in and do the Halloween thing in the end. We still do Bonfire night  just like my mum and dad did for me.

Little Bun chose some sweeties on Friday night  (which we've pretty much eaten up already). We've never done the trick or treat thing anyway, so they're all for us. The mask came from her latest Dr Who comic - we have a huge Amy Pond fan here.
 
We had good time making all sorts of spooky pictures on Saturday afternoon too. I managed to get fairly freaked out when they found the glitter and then shook it over everything. Anyhow we now have a really sparkly table, floor, chairs and cat and it looks quite effective actually.

While the Bun's glittered and glued, Mr Bun got busy making his pumpkin head. He got interrupted and then told that as they had chosen it they wanted a happy mouth, not a creepy one. Hate to think what the creepy one would look like.

On Sunday morning we raced off for Apple Day at a local museum.  Now that's what a happy mouth looks like on a pumpkin.

We went for our own wander around the orchard. It's a place that makes me feel uneasy as they buried the inmates of the workhouse there until 1900 in unmarked graves. Mr Bun called me back to see the mistletoe growing out of some of the trees and told me something interesting about the mystical quality of it. I wasn't really paying attention as it was pouring down with rain and I wanted to get back on ground that was less graveyardy, so I can't share it with you I'm afraid.
Finally the rain cleared and we headed to the farm for a bit of animal cheer. We scratched a few sows and marvelled at their beautiful black piglets before Eldest Bun marched off to see the calves.
We could have stayed here for an age, but the constant mooing got a bit earsplitting after a bit so we headed home.
We ended a perfect Sunday with a game by the fire munching doughnuts and crumpets. Mr Bun had made a gorgeous casserole before we left so all we had to do was cosy up and wait for it to heat up. As usual I got out my hook and yarn. Very very soon I'll be able to show you my Dottie Blanket. 


Before I go I keep meaning to say hello to all the new followers and thank you for stopping by. The other thing I must mention is the Pick 'n' Mix Makers Market which is getting really close. We've listed all the wonderful makers we'll have there this christmas and it's an exciting mix this time as usual. Not long now till we'll be putting up road signs and then opening the doors.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Mystery & Mistletoe

We came back from work last night to find the Bun's and Grandma curled up working on The Famous Five's The Vanishing Thief. We muscled in straight away as we love puzzles too. 
Today has been a mad whizzing around day off filled with stuff I like. In between popping to church for the school Harvest Festival and a spot of "We Plough the Fields and Scatter..." I did a wee bit of wool and nice things therapy. I reasoned that the Bun's needed new shiny pencils as I love using these Crayola ones best. I got some garish Halloween stickers to go with them so we can get busy making pictures next week. I also fell for these zingy yarns, how could I resist. Perfect for finishing my blankets and some more Happy Days Bunting.
 
I was also in sensible mummy mode for a mo and went in the cheap & cheerful bargain shop for warm duvets for the Bun's beds. Then I spotted smelly candles and knew I'd solved the stinky smell from the woodburner. It smells so smoky even though we haven't lit it for a few days, now Honeydew Melon will cover it up nicely.
 
And here's some proof that I did start whipping up a few of those Misteltoe Kisses brooches. Got to sew them up and then on to the next make on the list.
My fridge would like to say it was very flattered by all your kind words by the way. It was a very lovely present from my folks when we finished building our kitchen at our old house. My Nan had a pink fridge so it feels right having our own.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Time to Stop, See & Think

On Saturday morning as I sat on the steps in the kitchen, chatting to Mr Bun about this and that, I thought I must show you something that always makes me happy to look at in our cottage. Starting of with our bubblegum pink fridge, passing gorgeous turquoise on the way and ending at my hot pink do dah cabinet.
 I think it was the view combined with sunny Saturday morning and time with my favourite lovelies that made it all feel so good.  It was a weekend of cooking up yummy food, watching films, taking time to look and enjoy and we even fitted in a game of badminton in the garden and a bike ride too. 
On my way to bed on Saturday night I laughed at the sight of Olly asleep as if he'd fallen from the sky. My other boy cat always slept like this too.  Today he's curled up with his favourite boy in the whole world, Alfie Blue and giving his ears a good wash. Alfie's snoring through the whole thing.
Today I'm trying to make the most of my time as after half-term I'll be working more days and I'll have less time to just stop and think. To play with creative ideas in my head and respond to what I see around me. It makes it harder for me to try and juggle Bobo Bun, but I know I'll find a way. I started off five years ago wanting to have my own creative business and run workshops. I've succeeded in doing that and more besides, but we needed a secure income too so I went back to teaching. I love my job. I know I'm really lucky in that as no two days are the same. I've swapped academic FE teaching for teaching vunerable adults and sometimes amongst all the other things we do we have a few craft sessions. We have a Blue Peter afternoon planned soon to make a few "here's one I made earlier" examples for christmas makes.
So I've decided that this afternoon needs to be spent whipping up some mistletoe kisses brooches, possibly a bit of holly and maybe if there's time before collecting my lovely Bun's I can get on with a bit more of the Dottie Blankie. Cake also needs to be eaten I think. Good plan I think. Then maybe one day soon I'll find the time to actually finish all of those thingies in the baskets
Thanks so much for all your great suggestions about the Bow Bracelet, they're been really helpful. Also for those of you that said sock knitting seems scary. Honestly it isn't, once you get going it's pretty relaxing. Grab a ball of any old how yarn and some double ended needles and have a fiddle, bet you'll love it, especially if you get round to knitting more than one.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Preparing & Munching



This year I'm trying to be ahead of the game, so I've started making some christmas gifts. I can never get my head around christmas until we're at the end of November, but this year I've decided I don't need the stress of last minute staying up until 2am to get things finished. With extra work planned, the after school Crafty Kids club starting after half-term and the Pick 'n' Mix to run I think being sort of organised, rather than the ad hoc way I usually do things will keep me reasonably sane. 


My first plan was to make some bed socks for the Bun's. Little Bun has taken to going to bed in her grey school socks and her cold feet should look pretty I've decided. I found this pattern and then popped off to my friend Gilly's yarn shop to pick some pretty soft wool.  Rowan's Cashsoft was perfect in a pale lilac. I plan to add eyelets so I can run a cream ribbon through to make the socks even prettier.  Gilly gave me a handy tip on how to resize sock patterns for children's feet which was really helpful. Apparently once you've turned the heel you measure the foot from heel to the bottom of the small toe. Then that's the length you knit before decreasing for the toes. Thought I'd share that in case there are any sock knitting virgins out there like me.

It took me three goes to get the hang of the four needles, but I couldn't work out how to join to make it a tube. After a google I found a lady who explained it all and I felt really thick then as it was so obvious. Now I'm a few rows in, I've knitted the eyelets and I'm really enjoying this new found thing. Eldest Bun asked what I was knitting, I told her it was a christmas secret. Then she had a look through the pattern book which I'd closed and opened up on the pattern I was knitting. She told me she'd love some of those socks in blue. Perfect - now I know which colour to buy for her too.

I've also been having a fiddle around with a few ideas for things to sell at the next markets. Bows seem to be everywhere at the moment, so I wanted to do something with them. I changed the crochet cuffs I make by not adding all the vintage buttons, but putting a lareg bow in the centre instead.



I'm not sure if these would work better with contrasting coloured bows or if all one colour is better. I'll try both and see how I get on. I'd really appreciate your ideas on whether you think they work as a design and what you think about colours.
Friday's other bit of creativity went down a storm. We had a friend coming to eat with us and the Bun's had asked if they could eat later with us too. Last Sunday we'd picked tons of apples off my folks trees, so I wanted to start using some up. I decided to make my first Tarte Tatin for pudding. Boy was it yummy. Before that we had a delicious potato layer bake oozing rosemary, emmental, caramelised onions and cream with veggie sausages and all sorts of veg washed down with red wine. No wonder I woke in the middle of the night groaning. Don't say I'm already at that age when rich food gives you grief please.
Today we're gardening, eating Butternut Squash Soup and leftover Tarte Tatin. I know Autumn's here as I'm getting excited about all this cosy food I can cook up and enjoy. Later on I think we'll light the woodburner, we've got the Prince of Persia from the library to watch before Strictly and more knitting. Perfect day I think.

P.S. Are you finding it impossible with this new blogger to space everything where you want? It looks fine, but comes out all over the place when I post. It's really irritating the tidy freak in me.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Moaning Minnie

I have these plans for non-work, Bun's at school days. Things I'd rather be doing in mind, but then there's always a big dollop of reality to keep it dull.

Too many of my days off work are spent doing dull at the moment when all I want is to sew, knit and daydream. I ate this slice of cake and drank my moccha chocca thingy as I rushed round with the hoover (Olly had  trashed the paper doilies left out by Little Bun's late night craft session and then Alfie had eaten cat litter and sprayed it everywhere). No leisurely munching for me. This was lunch today. I was already late for the bank and then the exictement of an hour in the doctor's waiting room. Other vastly exciting things were done too during my day, but I think you've had enough thrills for now. Wednesday I've got root canal work to look forward to. At least my dentist makes me laugh and that's pretty amazing in that line of work. 

Moan over.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Colouring In

I've always loved colour. I don't have any favourites, it all depends on how I'm feeling. Colourful clothes can cheer me up on a grey day, looking at colourful yarns and fabrics makes me feel inspired to get making and choosing paint is often impossible as I fall in love with so many shades and colours and want them all. I love blue with red, but then putting it with silver and grey looks great too.
Bright cheery and whimsical I love a lot. Intense colour contrasts are perfect to me.
So are more autumnal colours with a dash of hot pink. 

But to be honest,  as much as I couldn't pick a favourite colour or mixture I realise I'm drawn much more to the intense colours of apple green, cherry red, tangerine orange, and bubblegum pink. That's why, when I decided to have a go at making my own extraordinary blanket, as inspired by Dottie Angel, I chose colours I don't use very often. I'm really enjoying putting this colour mix together. Wondering which colour I'll choose next and seeing how they look together.
I'm not sure if I might make it a bit larger than the sixteen squares and then I might add a few embellishments of my own. Who knows, that's the thing with colour, it all depends where the mood takes you.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Nursey is a Wheeler Dealer

Rather than be at work today, I've been at home nursing a poorly Little Bun. She's been ill since Saturday evening, aching all over with a feverish temperature. It's burnt out at last today and she's back talking non-stop again, she just needs to get her energy back.


In between nursey duties I've fiddled about with the scarf I bought from Glory Days on Friday and added a plastic bow brooch from Daniella at Acorn & Will.  The scarf was made by someone I know called Fiona, but I can't find a link to her website to show you her other work. Isn't it the most gorgeous barkcloth, it's backed with grey felted wool to make it really cosy. It's the first new kind of thing I've had since taking up the Dottie Angel challenge and being handmade it's fine.


I've also worked on a few more blankie type things. The summertime ripple is half way through and I was getting bored going up and down, so I started on a dottie angel square blanket today. 


In the middle of all this I found a few grannies I started an age ago. I hope I get the ooommpph back to finish them up one day soon, otherwise I'll have a lot of unfinished blankets not keeping us warm.


The other thing I've been doing is to find a few things to put up for auction. Mr Bun and I both had our cars in the garage for mending and they were far more broken than we knew. The bills have been scary so we've had a search for things we don't mind selling to try and raise the money. The problem is that they all have stories behind them, but we have to be grown up I guess.


My mum bought this stunning cigarette case for my adopted birthday in the days when I used to smoke 30 a day. The dealer told her how an elderly lady had brought it in the day before as her husband had recently died. He was an American serviceman who had found it in an abandoned German staff car in Paris at the end of the war. 
 

With the engraving inside and the business card a whole untold story is there waiting to be solved. I imagine a romantic story of Paris, lovers, horses and exotic locations all ending in a war. I guess I should really try a bit of detective work before I pass it on.


Another birthday gift, but there are no tales to tell. A really sweet 1930's childrens nursery rhyme tea-set that comes out every now and again for dollies teaparties.


There are other bits and bobs, but I thought I'd just show you these three. The last thing I've decided to sell on is this stunning art deco Midwinter teapot. It was given to me as a wedding gift many years ago now. I say me because it was one of the few things I brought with me from a previous marriage. So it holds no precious memories, I just like it a lot. Right now I'd rather it was useful, I left the house behind and everything else of value so fingers crossed this is worth something.


For now I'll avoid the garage until I find the funds. Burying your head in the sand keeps you sane sometimes.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Snap & Swap

I was so happy when I found some more playing cards at the fleamarket on Friday. My stash is getting pretty low and then all of a sudden I 've found a few more packs to boost it up. These Holiday Snap are my favourites, I especially love Bubble Car Betty with Dennis and his Dinghy a close second!



I've kept a a few of the originals back so I can frame them up. Something else to add to the growing list of will sort out one day soon.

I was also lucky enough to get a gorgeous parcel of gifts from Lorraine over at The Balancing Kiwi on Friday morning. We were paired up as swap partners in Tilly Rose's Vintage and Shabby Swap. I love the idea of swaps, but this is only the third one I've taken part in and the second one I actually managed to do properly. With the disastrous swap we both cocked it up so I don't feel quite so bad, although it's still pretty embarassing to think about.


I was overwhelmed by how generous Lorraine was and how beautiful the gifts she had sent were. Mr Bun was here when I opened up the parcel and was impressed by the whole thing of a stranger sending me presents. He thought it was a marvellous idea. Amongst all the lovely handmade, thrifted and vintage gifts were this stunning handmade patchy tea-cosy and brooch. 

Lorraine even kindly included a gift for each of the Bun's which they loved.


I really enjoyed putting together the parcel I was sending in return. I hope Lorraine will be happy with what I've sent to her. 

Friday, 1 October 2010

Thank the Stars it's Nearly Saturday

The weekends come just in time I think. We all need a good flop around here and a bout of doing any old thing we fancy. We've a had lovely week don't get me wrong, but there's been a lot of manic chasing about. The Bun's  were really pleased that we actually sat down in the middle of the week to draw with them. I got pretty engrossed with my picture of Mr Benn's street and then ran out of room to add the shop.

They love it when we make time for craft. I wish we did it more often, but there never seem enough hours around all the stuff that just needs doing. Now I might have found a solution. It's an idea that's been buzzing around for months now which I mentioned to a friend. She said today to make it happen. I needed a kick up the bum. We plan to set up an after school craft club and have loads of ideas already, the Headmaster's keen and I think there are quite a few kids ready to get going. Finally somewhere I will let them get the glitter out without shrieking and I won't get distracted by all the home stuff.

To tell the truth I find most time to do my crafty stuff when the Bun's are fast asleep. This week I've been adding rows to my ripple blanket and then falling asleep under the cosiness of it. When I did manage to stay awake I made myself a Cheeky Cherries brooch. I changed the design slightly and added a pair of leaves instead of just the one.




Normally I only make things to sell and never get round to making any for me. I'm so pleased I actually made myself some cherries as I've worn them every day since. Some things just make you smile. Hopefully getting a bit more crafty with the kids will make them smile too.

Here's to a great weekend whatever you have planned. For us some will involve choccies and seeing what Anne Widdecombe has to offer when she trips the light fantastic on Strictly. After tonights offering it promises to be great fun.