Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Autumn, lovely Autumn


Saturday there was a definite nip of Autumn in the air.   On the way home from Llandudno we opted to drive 'over the tops' rather than on the busy A55 and were rewarded with long shadows, golden fields harvested of their crops and glimpses of the sea glittering in distance as the sun was setting.  My frequent shouts to stop the car to take a photo were not appreciated!

Time to pick Elderberries ripe on the bush in the garden and the perfect preserve for me is Elderberry and Apple jelly as I've collected lots of windfalls too.  I'm not that keen on making jelly preserves as they always seem a bit wasteful of the fruit, but this one is a tried and tested recipe torn from a magazine many years ago and stored in my Successful Recipes file.  I've put the fruit pulp out for the birds and hope they will find it to their taste.

I was tempted to buy some Joanna Sheen Country Kitchen stamps I spied in the craft shop in Llandudno at a bargain price.  I've not tried this brand before but they were just the job for decorating my jam jars.  I always think I will remember what's in a jar just by looking at it but I have to admit I've opened more than one jar of jam only to find its chutney!

Supplies: Joanna Sheen Country Kitchen Crabapple CL05; PTI Tag Sale #1 die; various Copic markers

Monday, 17 September 2012

Hooky Roses

My Gertrude Jekyll rose is still producing a few blooms and although we think of roses filling the typical summer garden, they can and do throw out the odd flower right through till December.   This lovely pink bud caught my eye - and my camera - in the garden the other day and inspired me to make some rose hair clips for my Folksy shop.

The hair clips I bought on the internet turned out to be smaller than I was expecting - just and inch and a half long (4cms - I'm hopeless at visualising centimetres) - so I used fine crochet thread and a small hook to make my roses.  They turned out about an inch or so in diameter - child sized I think.

As always I couldn't resist adding some presentation cards for my clips.  I don't know if it makes my shop stock any more attractive - I haven't had many customers - but it pleases me to add a little pretty packaging and I think finishes off an item.  And if I were looking for a small gift for a friend a bit of presentation would definitely be a plus for me - but maybe that's just because I'm a crafter.

Papercraft supplies:  PTI Sending You die; Wplus9 Folk Art Florals stamp set

Monday, 10 September 2012

Make it Monday Clay

Just enough time this morning to join in the Papertrey Ink Make it Monday challenge.  I really like the idea of using stamps and dies to make clay embellishments and other decorative projects - I've an idea to use the technique for hanging decorations and mobiles too.  I made a few medallion shapes suitable for cards and this pumpkin image turned out the most presentable.  The Fimo clay I had in my stash had been there for at least 10 years so was not that easy to work with.  I'll need to buy more when I try this technique out again.

Anyway, I think we are all resigned to the fact that Autumn is on its way - but I say YIPEE!  I love Autumn and the run up to the festive season - surely the best time to be a crafter.  And just to be sure it really is the season of fruitfulness I picked one of the cobnuts from the bushes I have grown from nuts.  Its their first crop (ok - only 6 nuts, but that's a start), and look at the juicy kernel.  It was delicious too!

Supplies: PTI - Autumn Tags, Autumn Hills (sentiment), Limitless Layers Circles die; Wplus9 - Country Charm

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Beach Butterfly

We've had a beautiful week weatherwise here in the UK but of course nothing stays the same for very long here and the forecast for next week is not so good.  So I took the opportunity of a day off work to go for a paddle yesterday.  And I love the beach at this time of year when school holidays have finished and most people are too busy to spend time just walking on the shore.

I paddled along the edge of the water for an hour or so, ate some sandwiches, walked and paddled a bit more, picked up shells and pebbles, and just as I was thinking it was time to head off home I noticed a poor butterfly stuck in the wet sand.  I thought it was dead but still wanted to pick it out of the sand and when I did I saw it was still alive.  It immediately started trying to clean itself on my hand and I brushed away the bigger lumps of sand.  Once it had managed to separate it's stuck together antenae it started looking like a live butterfly again but what to do with it?

Well I was reluctant to let it go and watch it get blown back onto the beach again so I decided to take it back to the car.  I was going to leave it on a bush on the promenade but it was still breezy and so I put it on the back seat of the car and drove away (yes, ridiculous I know!).  When I got home half an hour later I carefully searched it out and found it asleep on a coat sleeve and feeling very pleased with myself I set it free out of the back door into the garden.  I hope it didn't mind being taken 18 miles away from its home patch.  But hopefully it will be safe here in the gardens and fields of my local patch!  (By the way - its a Small Tortoiseshell)

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Folksy Stocktaking

My Folksy shop has been sadly neglected this year - I hadn't even visited it lately.  And when I did visit this week I was embarrassed to find I'd last added stock in February!  I really must be a better shopkeeper.  I remember reading some advice from a very successful seller who thought it essential to tweak her shop every day!  I don't think I'll be doing that but I will try to get something listed every week from now on as the season for buying gifts is about to begin.  I made a couple of my felt brooches today - I do so enjoy making them.  The felt is lovely to sew with and cuts really well with papercrafting dies.  Now I just need a bit of inspiration for my next additions to the shelves!  Anyone care so share their best seller ideas?

Monday, 3 September 2012

My Life in Photos: Alien!

It is an alien species and according to the RHS is a pest at best and a threat to our native flora at worst.  I saw quite a few clumps of it along the river bank when I walked the footpath on Saturday.  And you must admit its rather a strange, almost unearthly looking flower.  But it seems the bees and other insects don't mind it's looks or it's parentage.  Lots were entering that inviting mouth to see what they could find!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Vintage Motifs

I've been trying some of the crochet motif patterns in my old needlework books and magazines and up to now this pattern has become my favourite.  I decided to use these three experiments to decorate simple linen sachets that can be used as pincushions or just to scent a drawer as I've added a handful of dried lavender to the acrylic stuffing.  The plain linen is backed with some lovely spotty linen I had in my stash and the covered buttons are really Amy Butler brads I bought ages ago.  I never did find a suitable papercrafting project to use them on but they were just too pretty to resist!

You might like to try the pattern yourself so I've scanned the book pages.  Right click on the photo and open in a new tab to enlarge the image then you can save it to your computer or print it out.

Of course crochet mats for your dressing table are right out of fashion nowadays - the book dates from the 1940s.  But its nice to give old patterns a new lease of life. And I've added the pincushions to my Folksy shop if you'd like a closer look.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

August Remembered

Looks like August has been a bit of a crochet month craft-wise.  I seem to have the bug at the moment.  Other than that there have been some very enjoyable outings with my sister I'll remember when I look at this digi-scrapbook page at the end of the year.  I like to think of these monthly layouts as a kind of photographic diary and hopefully I'll get them printed and bound some how.  In my opinion looking at a screen is never the same as slowly turning the pages of an old photograph album.

There was a full moon two days ago and since then the weather has taken a turn for the better - warm in the day and a definite chill of Autumn in the evenings.  The sky was clear on 30th August and I took some photos in the garden at about 10.30 pm on my way home.  Its the only place around about that I can get away from the light pollution that ruins any chance of photographing the moon with my pocket camera.  Above are Evening Primroses in silhouette against the moon.

Unfortunately I can see the shadowy handshake in this photo.


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