Most of my photos look better enlarged - just click on the photo to do this

Friday, 26 February 2010


We have had friends staying since Monday so I haven't had a spare moment to post or to comment on yours either.

It was lovely to see them again and we did enjoy their stay but sadly the weather wasn't good until this morning - Sod's Law!

This afternoon we went to Waitrose to replenish stocks and the drive was beautiful in the spring sunshine. This time I had remembered my camera and we stopped so that I could take some photos of the snowdrops which I had seen through the open gateway of a large house not far from here.

How lucky that the sun was shining - had I remembered my camera previously these photos would have looked very different in the rain!

Imagine having this as your driveway and those beautiufl carpets of snowdrops in your own garden - of course I could only stand at the gate and take the photos so there are no close ups. Have a good weekend and let's hope the weather is good wherever you are.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Flower Power!

I was going through my knitting pattern folder and came across this earlier today - it's a page torn from an old magazine from the 60s
Knowing how much some of you like crochet flowers I thought you might be interested in this little gem from Honey (anyone remember that one?)

I don't remember ever actually making anything shown here although I did make a few individual flowers - nothing much has changed there then still making bits and bobs and doing nothing with them all these years later!

I think my days of bare midriff dresses are long gone (if they were ever here!)but I might make some more of the flowers and use to trim a bag - do I actually need any more bags? Probably not!

I also found a complete Honey magazine which I had kept because I was in some of the pictures of a beauty course they had organised back in 1966 and in that magazine I came across some adverts including one for a corselette costing 59/6 - did anyone actually wear those things? Perhaps. And this one for L'Oreal bleach

At 4/3 we were "worth it" even then!

Enjoy the remainder of your weekend.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Ultimate plastic bag!

Last Saturday I received a present of a magazine (back number) - some of you will probably already be familiar with this publication but it was new to me - from a good friend and spent the rest of the weekend engrossed in it and in trying out some of the things I read about in it.

First off - ironing polythene bags - yes really!! Following the instructions in the article:

I layered my plastic bags in a sandwich with paper to protect both the iron and the ironing board and then ironed over it. This fused the layers together into a thick plastic sheet which can be embellished with paint (I had none - so didn't try this) bits of coloured plastic from other bags, scraps of paper ephemera etc and then machine stitched it all to hold it together. Of course now that I rarely accept a plastic bag in the shops and use a cloth bag instead my stash of plastic bags was somewhat limited.


I tried another sample with some mesh from a bag which had contained this week's oranges and it worked OK. I quite like the way bits of the mesh have melted away altogether.

I did wonder if I might make some small pieces and use sequins or other small bits under a layer of clear plastic to make jewellery but it wasn't long before I thought ***er this it might work but I don't actually like what I am producing and I can't imagine actually wearing it when made nor using a pochette made of the stuff either so I think that we'll call it a day! Well I tried!

I did make a couple of cards using small pieces of the stuff so it didn't all go in the bin you'll be glad to know. I stuck a square of the plastic fabric I had created to a plain card and then drew a border round it with a red gel pen - as I sent the one I made to said friend to say thanks for the magazine I don't have a finished card to hand just now!

It kept me occupied and was fun to do but I must say I prefer my previous plastic bag which I wove from carrier bags years ago. (By the way if any of you should be tempted to try out weaving carriers make sure you use non biodegradable ones or it will just disintegrate in time!!)

Some more articles and ideas I want to try out :-

Many thanks to all who visit my blog and leave such encouraging comments - I do read them all and visit your blogs too and only wish time permitted me to reply personally to you all. Thanks for visiting and every comment is much appreciated.

And finally a bit of my crazy patchwork - I was packing up a little package to send to Linda at Ae Fond Kis for her British Heart Foundation sale and wondered about including this little scrap which I made into a brooch. Not sure if anyone will want to buy it but as it's for a good cause they might!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Not in the back of the cupboard after all!

I added some more embellishments to the square of felt and encouraged by all your kind comments I decided to make something of the little felt sample rather than put it away with all the other "stuff" in the back of the cupboard and so I made a bag - yes another bag! I can't promise that the bag won't end up in the back of the cupboard but at least it is a something and not just a sample.

I mounted the felt sample on some strips of black glove leather with a subtle sparkle to it which I thought picked up on the beads and gold bits (let's be honest here - it was the only piece I had that went with the colour of the felt and which was large enough!) and made the back from a square of the same leather. (I'd have mounted the felt on a square too had I had sufficient as that would have been easier.)

I lined it with a scrap of material found in a bundle of bits given to me by a friend. I wasn't sure how to finish off the top so I turned the leather over and stuck it here and there with Copydex and then hand stitched it to the lining - not sure how that would work if it got a lot of wear but as that is unlikely I shan't worry too much!

I didn't have enough leather to make a handle and I wondered about buying some cord but then discovered I had some black perle thread so I made a plait of that instead - Pomona would be pleased with me for not going out and buying anything new see here Then of course I had no idea how to attach the cord but then inspiration struck and I thought of stitching a couple of rings to the top of the bag - only had white or brass curtain rings so covered some white plastic ones with blanket stitch in black thread! Necessity and mother of invention and all that! Voila - job done!

It was an exercise in sewing leather again - haven't done so for many years since the last bag I made about 30 years ago! I will now go on to make the one I mentioned in my post here. However I really must learn to think things through before I start and not try making it up as I go along as I came across several problems which might have been more easily solved had I stopped to think it out properly before diving in - that's me all over though and I never look before I leap when it comes to making things and then wonder why it doesn't turn out as I hoped!

Why are Tom and Bambi sitting on the kitchen mat and next to each other - most unusual for them? Well it was fishcakes for lunch yesterday and they can smell a tin of tuna being opened from 50 paces and were there waiting for a tidbit! Not good for the mat but never mind!

Enjoy the remainder of the weekend - hope it's warmer where you are although must say this cold weather is conducive to crafting in the warm so who's complaining!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Playing around

Having had all of a bright sunshinyday to do it I have tried to take these photos now it's getting dark!
I have been playing about at this and that having seen Jill's felting here

and having been reading
this book which I got from the library (hence the shiny cover which reflects the light for which my apologies) which is filled with inspiring ideas I wanted to see if I could do some embellishing by hand - not having a machine as mentioned in the book. I tried an embellishing machine at the Knitting and Stitching exhibition when I was there and enjoyed using it but at £250 I would need to do a lot of embellishng to justify buying one. But it certainly works better than stabbing it with a felting needle by hand!

I shall add some embroidery and a few beads and that will be another sample for the back of the cupboard!

Next up was some printing on brown paper and adding bits to it and stitching it as mentioned in the book above. I was expecting to produce something like the examples in the book :)! but needless to say this scrap was what I achieved. I think it is something I might like to do more of though and then I might get better at it. This was a photo taken at Stourhead.

although I will certainly forgive you if you couldn't tell!

Must go and do something creative - like open a carton of soup - in the kitchen now as it is supper time here!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

This and that

I feel like the girl at Weightwatchers who has gained a pound or two instead of lost any. I haven't kept up with my 20 minutes a day just lately although I think that overall I might have done an average of that - will I have to wear a Bad Girl badge?! I am sorry to have let you down girls.
I did make this on Sunday evening though - not sure quite how long it took and I don't think I will bother to make its partner!

I used the cut off sleeves of one of my daughter's sweaters left here for me to take to the charity shop but of course being a sleeve it got wider towards the finger end and although I did compensate in some way for this by taking it in a bit along the seam it is still too wide at that end and I think my blanket stitch has stretched it further - no gold stars there then!

I spent last evening with my crochet hook as I had an idea to make another necklace but using lots of motifs in different colours - failed again as I didn't have the colours I would have wished and am determined not to go out and buy any more yarns - my stash is big enough as it is. Why is it that however many buttons/hanks of wool/pieces of material one has there never seems to be quite what one is looking for amongst it. Wouldn't it be great if we could get together over a coffee and exchange our bits and pieces - someone else's scraps always being more exciting than one's own!

This is my next project - some lovely leather pieces. We have Pittards leather factory here in our town and their shop is full of lovely leather things and tables laid out with skins and smaller pieces of beautiful leathers for sale quite cheaply. I want to make a bag from these as I love their colours together. Watch this space!

My other project progresses slowly. We spent much of Sunday out in the garden and have cleared a small area which we think will do to start off with and now have to finish digging it over and adding compost as well as laying the paving stones to make a larger area for a bench.

Having woodland on our boundary is lovely but the weeds and brambles do come through to our side of the fence of course so much of the afternoon was spent trying to hack our way along the outside of the fence pulling away the weeds and brambles as well as cutting back our rosa rugosa bushes which are in danger of taking over too! Will that count as creativity I wonder as if so I am in credit for my 20 minutes!!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Dig for Victory!

Recently Jeanne over at Tales from a Cottage Garden posted about views from the kitchen window. here. I took this photo of the view from my kitchen window ....

and this one from the back door (sorry the flash is reflected in the glass) alongside the window intending to post them that day.

About the same time I received in the post a couple of beautiful catalogues from Sarah Raven which are a delight to look through with beautiful photographs of wonderful things to grow.

I also found her book in the library full of beautiful pictures of her kitchen garden.

You can guess what's coming next can't you? I was inspired to grow some of these wonderful veggies, herbs and salads myself. Problem is we don't yet have a veggie plot having moved here last winter we didn't do much in the garden last year until we knew where the sun shone and where it was cold or hot etc. The previous owner had apparently had a space for vegetables but when her husband died she had it covered over with membrane and pebbles - as you can see in the photos taken from the window.

Are you still with me - I will get to the point in a minute if you can bear to hold on a little longer!

I suddenly got the urge to start on making a vegetable garden - we have always grown some of our own and even had allotments (yes in the plural) in the past and a huge garden with a plot for vegetables in our garden in France.

We would need to remove the pebbles and membrane and then dig in plenty of compost and bingo we'd have a garden ready to plant some of these wonderful seeds!

Easier said than done of course! It was such hard work raking back the pebbles and dragging up the membrane that we only achieved a small area before darkness fell.

Bears little or no resemblance to Sarah's photographs does it?! I wonder if it ever will!!

We did have some fresh greenery to go with our salad though even if it didn't actually come from the garden. I had thought to try growing some peas indoors for the tops having seen some pea tops on sale in Waitrose at an exhorbitant price. As you can see we did have some success with these and will be repeating the exercise although according to the library book I should have used a different variety for best results but these were the peas we had already so we used them.

When I think back to our allotment days when we cleared our allotment of 8 ft tall blackberry brambles and grew all manner of vegetables at the same time as working and bringing up our daughter I wonder what happened to all that energy! But then when I work it out it was probably 20 odd years ago and we didn't have our bus passes then! Even so a tray of pea tops looks incredibly paltry up against what we used to be able to produce and what is shown in the photos in the book!. Patience Jane - little by little a vegetable garden will be made. Further installments to follow if we are still able to stand upright or perhaps that should be if I can sit at the computer and my fingers still work!!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Making life difficult for oneself!

I have done my 20 minutes and some today! I have a couple of IKEA baskets which sit on a shelf in my bedroom and I wanted to store some scarves in one of them but because the baskets are so ragged inside I knew the scarves would soon have pulled threads and tears so decided to try lining them.

Shouldn't be difficult should it as they are square - a cube I guess- I couldn't figure out how to cut and fit the lining but decided to make 2 long rectangles and fit them at right angles to each other. Found the material - an old duvet cover we inherited from the vendor of our house in France! - and duly cut and stitched 2 long double layered rectangles. So far so good!

Now the tricky part - trying to find a way to stitch them to the basket - it proved incredibly difficult to do trying to find the spaces between the cane when the material was in the way!

I certainly won't be going for a job lining baskets! It took absolutely ages to do this simple task - and I still have the other one to do! With hindsight - always a wonderful thing - it might have been easier to make loose elasticated linings which came over the edge of the basket but then I would have covered the top edge of the basket and I didn't want to do that as I like the finish of the cane edge. What would you have done?

Look what I found in the garden! Spring will soon be here!!