Saturday 28 January 2012

Signs of Spring

A cold but sunny Saturday morning brings thoughts of a change in the season and signs of Spring on its way in the garden.  To celebrate I bought these seeds at our local bargain basement shop yesterday.  There are lots of disadvantages to being a gardener - wet feet, all that back-breaking toil and those slimy garden pests! - but we are an optimistic lot, planting and sowing in the hope of good things to come.

I may not quite get the results shown on the front of these seed packets but for a small outlay I can look forward to sowing the seeds on some warm Spring day not too distant, and dream of a carpet of blooms in the garden this summer.

And while surfing the net this morning I found a new to me stamp shop, Make the Day Special.  I fear I may be spending much time and money here in the future!  However today I was restrained and ordered just one stamp set from Flourishes.  I just love these realistic looking bees and when they arrive can create some summery projects at my craft desk whilst I wait to hear that friendly buzzing in the garden again.

Friday 27 January 2012

Be Mine.... Valentine

Oh dear! Can it really be over two weeks since I last posted? Time goes so fast these days - they say its something to do with age!!

In the UK there isn't really a big celebration on Valentine's Day - as I gather there is the US.  Reading blogs and browsing Pinterest I find almost everyone - friends, family, co-workers and classmates receive a Valentine gift or card. Here we usually stick to the traditional idea of sending an anonymous (or perhaps not so anonymous!) card to your secret love - at least that was how it was in my day! Though I'm sure its woe betide the husband, wife or partner that doesn't arrive home on the day with that bunch of red roses, sloppy card, or bottle of something special!
Well times are hard and red roses astronomical in price in the run up to 14th February; so I've created some very modest Valentine tokens for my Folksy shop.  And, you know me, I couldn't resist packaging them up to make them a little more appealing.  My Papertrey Ink dies were perfect for the job as usual.  The lunchbox note die fits my felt heart brooches to a tee and the Favor-it Box series right for crochet heart keyrings. I think these items fall into the "bit more than a card" category as I'm sure a box of chocs, posy of spring flowers or a bottle of some special brew would make an acceptable  accompaniment.

I die cut two felt hearts for the brooches and added tiny crochet hearts and buttons to embellish.  I found an excellent pattern and video at Little Birdie Secrets.  It was easy to adapt the basic pattern to fit different yarns and even used embroidery silks with a titchy hook.  The hearts are padded with a tiny amount of toy filling and with the button too they are a rather plump and I couldn't keep the note packaging closed - it kept springing open - so I pierced holes through the layers of cardstock and threaded ribbon or twine through to keep the flap in place.


I put together Favor-it boxes for the crochet keyrings and made a small gift card to match. 
The pattern for the keyring hearts is from Tara Murrey here.  I added a chain loop to hang the heart from the keyring fitting and added a bit of embellishment.

Now I just need to get them into my shop!  

Stamps: Lots of different sets but mostly Papertrey Ink Heart Prints, Background Basics Hearts, Rosie Posie, Tag-its #11;  Waltzing Mouse Stamps: Seasons of Love.
Dies: All Papertrey Ink - Heart Prints Collection, Lunchbox Note, Favor It Box #5, Limitless Layers 1 3/4" Circle Collection.

Thursday 12 January 2012

Busy Busy Bee!

This is a post I should have written before Christmas - but guess what, I didn't get round to it!  I want to show off my favourite Christmas 2011 gift - this absolutely wonderful tote my dear blog friend Baukje made for me.  Isn't it fabulous! I just adore the colours of the gorgeous fabric and the shape and size is just perfect for my latest 'work in progress'.  I decided against using it as an everyday tote as I don't want it to get knocked about with daily travelling and shopping trips.  So I'll keep it especially for my crafty projects and enjoy it all the more as I'll be getting it out whenever I sit down to do something I love.
Baukje writes one of my favourite blogs, Busy Bee Free, and never was there a blog more aptly named.  She is one of the most prolific crafters I have come across, sewing up quilts by the dozen, knitting beautiful shawls in a matter of days and producing many other beautifully crafted items for family and friends and her stall at a local market.  So I wasn't surprised when Baukje wrote her New Year post about Japanese origami paper cranes and the story behind them, and then offered 10 hand folded origami paper cranes to each of her readers.  Mine arrived today and I've hung them in a circle around the light above my computer by tying them to an old wooden embroidery hoop.  I'll think of my kind friend when I look at them and remember the hope of peace for the world.  I'd like to try folding them myself and found this excellent demonstration on Youtube.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Ongoing projects.... and on and on and on!

I'm ashamed to say I've been knitting this pullover for at least 18 months! It was supposed to be my son's Christmas present 2010!  I didn't really pick it up at all during 2011 but found a new enthusiasm for it in the New Year and have finished the back and threequarters of the front.  So I'm well on the way now and want to get it done. 

Another project on the go is finding the perfect crochet heart pattern.  So far this one and this one are my favourites.  Both are similar and in the amigurami style, but one is worked from the top down and the other from the bottom up.  The loops are my own addition as I want to turn the hearts into keyrings, phone charms or fill them with lavender to hang in a wardrobe.  I might want to add some surface decoration too - a bit of embroidery, felt shapes or perhaps wooden beads.

Promise I'll show some finished projects before too long!!

Saturday 7 January 2012

Winter Beaches

The beach in winter....... its COLD!  But I love to walk there, and although it looks empty in my scrapbook page, there were a few other walkers even though it was late in the day and getting dark.  Have to admit though that most of them were walking their dogs.

We noticed this really strange effect of the wind on the shells and pebbles in the sand.  It reminds me of lots of those little mudskipper fish I've seen in natural history programmes on TV.

We had to stop in Sainsbury's cafe on the way home to warm up with tea and a danish pastry!

Sunday 1 January 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy 2012 to Us All

No snow here - a rather grey first day of the year.  But there was a sunset so I have hopes for tomorrow.  

And thank you all for the lovely comments on yesterday's post.  I should have added a couple of links - the slipper pattern is from Francine Toukou altered a bit to fit the bigger feet of my nieces.  The cherry stones I got loose from Aura Essential - the stones have an advantage over other hot pad fillings as they stay warm longer and unlike any other filling, can be washed. 

I found this paragraph about their therapeutic origins somewhere on the net:  

"Cherry stones are a natural by-product in the manufacture of Kirsch liqueur and the Swiss have been experiencing the benefit of warm cherry stones for years! Tradition has it that the distillery workers would tie cherry stones in small bags, place them on top of stoves to warm and, after a hard day's toil, use the soothing heat pads to treat their aches and pains."

And yes Mrs A, those tree baubles are more than 50 years old. I  remember them all, especially the plastic snowflakes and stars, decorating the Christmas trees of my 1950s childhood.  You can see a snowflake catching the light above my head in this photo taken around 1956.  Like many other baby boomers of similar  age, I seem to be drawn to anything that brings back happy memories of my mid 20th century childhood - blimey don't I sound old!!


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