Monday 25 November 2013

First Market Day

Had a lovely day yesterday at the very first Henllan Craft Group Vintage & Craft Market.  Met up with some old friends and made some new.  A lovely venue, the Church Institute has recently had a makeover - I loved the Christmassy windows decorated by the different groups using the hall.  And this time I did remember to photographically record what I took with me!  I am trying to be more organised but as usual I didn't have much sleep the night before. :(  Luckily I'm not working today.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Rustic tree decorations

Many years ago - it feels like another life - I needed a second job to make ends meet.  I ended up working at home in the evenings for a local enterprise drawing pictures on small wooden items such as spoons, boxes, plaques, etc for the tourist trade.  Eventually the job ended and I was not sorry as though initially enjoyable, once you've sketched the same design on 250 wooden spoons the enjoyment palls! 

Anyway, I digress!  I saw The Sitting Tree's lovely decorations and thought I'd try the craft again.  I bought a new pyrography pen and some wood slices on ebay and these are the result.  I cheated rather as I selected some suitable small stamps, stamped on the slices with a pale kraft ink and sketched over the design. I might have a go at an original design next - though I won't be going into mass production any time soon!

Wednesday 13 November 2013

To recycle or reuse.... that is the question!

Little glass jars are something I find hard to throw into the recycling box - they are so cute.  But what to do with them?  Really a bit too small for jam or pickles, but I'd seen lots of crochet covered jars on Pinterest (just search crochet jar) so I tried them out. 

They are very pretty lit with tealights and the taller ones could be used as small posy vases too.  These are my Christmas versions decorated with holly (adapting Lucy's pattern here) and mistletoe (adapting Maize's pattern here), adding felt or wooden beads as berries.  If you don't crochet, here's a jar covered with a strip of burlap (hessian) and you could use felt leaves with the beads. 

I was a bit concerned about using real tealights, especially as I'm thinking of taking some to a craft fair, so here's a photo of them with those LED battery powered lights.  Not quite as pretty but safer, especially if there are children around.

Hmm.... really getting the the Christmas mood now.  And its only early November!

Monday 11 November 2013

Remembering two soldiers

On my constant companion BBC Radio 4 Big Ben has just struck the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month and we've observed two minutes silence.  Here are two WWI soldiers I'm remembering today.  On the right is Alun, my Mother's father and above on the left my Father's brother Frank.  I've researched their military history with very differing results.  Frank's record is quite easy to find as his name is quite individual, having taken two family names - Frank and Beckett.  I found he was a gunner in the Machine Gun Corps and won the Military Cross for gallantry in April 1918. 

On the other hand, my Taid's (Welsh for grandfather) military history is a complete mystery.  I've searched and searched for his name in the records without success.  Many WWI records were destroyed during WW2 but the medal cards survived and these cards are often where research can begin.  His name is not there.  Yet these photos show him in uniform and with a recognisable cap badge.  However I do have a theory, though its not a helpful one.  At the outbreak of war in July 1914 Taid was 17 years old.  Recruitment age was then 19 years and no one below that age could serve overseas.  So I believe Taid, like many other young men who thought they were in for adventure, gave a false name and age.  He certainly looks young in these photos, even with a cigarette in his mouth!  My Mother knew very little about his war experiences, just that he was wounded and suffered "trench foot".  He wore special built up shoes for the rest of his life. 

On Saturday I took the rest of the proceeds from my poppy making marathon to the Poppy Appeal office.  I was delighted and surprised to see the lovely lady there wearing one of my poppies (via our local community hospital).  I made £75.00 from selling my poppies directly and there was a bit more from poppies I sent to friends who then donated to their local appeals.  Although it was rather a last minute project the outcome made it very worthwhile and I'll be more prepared for next year's appeal.  I certainly need to replenish the black buttons in my button jar - never thought I'd run out of those!

Friday 8 November 2013

Foraging for Christmas

Its miserably wet today but yesterday was glorious!  So with Christmas gifts in mind I took the opportunity to go foraging for sloes and rose hips.  Unforunately sloes seem in short supply in my usual haunts this year and I may have to look father afield (no pun intended!)

There were rose hips aplenty though but they were hard to reach and I may just use those in my wild round the edges garden.

Although officially off the public footpath (which is at the bottom of this field) I walked the boundaries of this large harvested corn field and startled the rabbits that were feasting on the corn cobs left behind.

I spied this lonely wasp feeding on ivy flowers - it must be a queen which should be hibernating over the winter ready to start a new colony next spring.  I hope she managed to find a warm sheltered spot to sleep in.

All the recent rain has made the fields and footpaths very muddy and I arrived home with filthy boots and jeans.  I knew this particular path would be knee deep in mud but I've followed it for at least 40 years and lots of memories come into my mind each time I walk this way.

Memories of my son playing in the stream in the field behind the hedge on the left, of once spying two little owls blinking at me from a branch in the tree on the bend, and meeting an elegant lady, long since passed on, collecting wild watercress from the once clean ditch just here.  Sadly its now completely clogged up.

And again this favourite view down the vale reminds me how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful land.  I look forward to the next sunny day when I can take another walk in the fields.

Monday 4 November 2013

All Poppied Out!

Although I've been away from blog land during October I have been keeping myself occupied!  The last couple of weeks have been poppied away - I made some remembrance poppies for a craft fair a week ago using Mary T's excellent pattern here, sold them all and then had lots of orders through my facebook page and from family and friends.  I'm delighted with the response and so far have raised £58 for the appeal!  :)

As always I couldn't resist presenting them on my favourite button cards and I added a die cut felt leaf.  Did you know the leaf should be positioned in the 11 o'clock position to represent 11.00 am on the 11th day of the 11th month?  I'll be seeing poppies in my sleep soon - I'm even taking the opportunity to crochet them whilst visiting my Mum in hospital and I've sold some to the nursing staff too!  Mum's been there for three weeks now but hopefully will be discharged soon as she is doing well. 

October Silence!

OMG! Must do better in November. :(  However if you look closely you might see my crochet hooks have been doing overtime! 


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