Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Spinning Alpaca

After all the sewing I have done recently, I have found some time to do some more spinning. I have 3 lovely skeins of white Dorset wool awaiting washing and drying and think I shall do some experimental dyeing with those soon - so more on that in a future post.

So, with empty bobbins I have started to now fill one up spinning some lovely soft Alpaca fleece that I picked up recently.

Here is the raw fleece

and here is it on the bobbin

It's very different to spinning sheep's wool as it doesn't have the same crimp or greasiness but it's nice to work with and I'm getting there. It shows quite creamy here but I think it will wash up a lot whiter.

Friday, 25 September 2009

I finally cracked it ...

Crochet that is! I have wanted to be able to crochet for a long long time and just could not get my head around it. I have looked at numerous books, numerous video tutorials online and bought what was recommended as a fabulous book to learn from (with left and right handed instructions) but alas I could not understand it.

So this weekend I was attending the open day at my Spinning Guild and asked if anyone would be able to give me some help and a lovely lady there was happy to oblige. She must have wondered what she had let herself into as I found it hard to grasp (I was trying to learn right-handed as she was RH). My Mom was with me and picked it up a little easier than I did, she had never learned although she is a great knitter.

Well I persevered and got the idea by the end of the "lesson". I then took that knowledge home and practised at home. I wondered if my troubles were because I was trying to do it right-handed, so out came my little book and with the knowledge gained from the guild earlier in the day I taught myself to crochet left-handed, and it was soooooo much easier.

Here are a couple of things to show my progress - it's not very neat yet and I have some uneven edges (which the book tells me not to worry about at this stage, so I won't :)) but I am pleased with what I have done so far, and can finally say that I understand crochet.

I'm still learning, but I can now Crochet!!! Yay! Oh and now I understand it a bit more, that book is fantastic and now my Mom wants one (part of Christmas sorted then!).

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Birthday surprises

Revealing the play canopy I have made for Imogen for her birthday, with the lovely star-lights rug as the base. I also managed to get some fabric bunting completed which was an extra thing I decided to try and make and it makes the room look lovely - I may not take it down! Well maybe, but just so that I can put it up again for Christmas.

So here is the canopy

with it's star lights rug (picture probably doesn't show them that well)

and the birthday bunting

All waiting for the Birthday Girl!

Birthday Crown

So it's finished and waiting for her birthday, my handmade felt birthday crown for my Imogen's 4th birthday. I'm so pleased with it, and think I shall make some more - just need to find people to make them for!

birthday felt crown

I had always wanted to make one but never got around to it until this year. Made with lovely wool mix felt from Rainbow Silks, I created the template on a piece of paper and just went with the flow of creativity for the flowers.

So, now back to creating things for Christmas.

Season Swap

I received a lovely picture of a very Autumnal Scarecrow in the swap from mummyk, thank you. I have to change over the season corner as it's still been hanging on to late Summer recently but I think it's time to change it and the picture will be placed there for the season.

Scarecrow picture

These are what I made for the lovely Feathers and her daughter Willow. I visited her blog here a few times and saw what nature lovers they were so decided on an acorn and Oak leaf theme, to go with the Oak Leaf wine she has made - I'm watching to see how that turns out as I have read about them and would like to try making some myself one day.

I knitted some oak leaves, made some more oak leaves from felt and a knitted acorn that I felted a little. The main piece though was an Acorn Season Doll with some felted acorns in real acorn hats (we collect lots of natural bits so had some lovely acorn hats to choose from).

They were received with such joy that it really made my day as I love making things, but to see other peoples joy in receiving them really warms my heart.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Melon surprise

Earlier in the year I found I had some Melon seeds and thought I'd give them a try and grow them in one of the greenhouses. I had 2 seedlings but sadly one didn't make it. The remaining one was planted in the greenhouse and tied into some canes for support.

Over the Summer the garden plants became somewhat neglected, our time was spent having fun elsewhere and our gardening time seemed to be more spent at the allotment. So you can imagine my surprise when we were doing some "taming" and clearing in the garden veg plot and the greenhouse when I found a Melon - this one

our Melon surprise

Imogen proudly shows off the Melon

It's not huge but it's perfectly formed - just waiting for it to ripen a little so we can enjoy it. So the moral of this story is that you can grow a melon even if it's neglected.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Felt Birthday Crown

Well, my season swap is finished and posted - I will pop some pictures up once I know it has been received and opened. In the meantime, more crafting has been going on for Imogen's birthday next week. More done on the canopy, hoping to hang it tonight when she is in bed to have a look at what else to do on it and take some progress pictures.

I have also almost completed a felt crown for her and I'm really pleased with how it came out. I looked around at some on the Internet and decided to just make my own templates, and just make it up as I go along, here's some in progress pictures.

I started back at my Spinning lessons this week also after the Summer holiday break. I was the only one to turn up this week so had some one to one tuition and plenty of chat, which was lovely.

Marbling fun

gathering supplies

We have been having fun with marbling inks, creating different patterns.

stirring the inks


excitement at results

drying in the sunshine

our collection of marbled cards

Some of the card was then used for Nanny's and Granny's birthday cards as it was both of their birthdays this week, the rest is being kept for future craft days and maybe some will be cut up for gift tags.
Imogen made the cards all herself (except some writing from Daddy), deciding what to draw or stick with wool and writing her own name on the inside. Here are some pictures of our marbling fun and the cards Imogen made.
making Nanny's card

making Granny's card

Nanny's card is a little chick
(like a knitted one I made for Imogen for Easter
amongst flowers, with the sun and a cloud in the sky)

Granny's card is the crooked man and his crooked house
with a crooked tree and the Sun

Marbling is great fun, we will have to think of other things to do - some eggs for Easter time, and have a think of something perhaps for Christmas.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Crafty times and scrapstores

I have been busy with various craft projects over the last couple of weeks, some of which I can show you in progress, others need to remain a mystery as they are for a craft swap or are just not completed yet.

Firstly I have almost finished the GP forum craft swap and that will be in the post after the weekend. I have also been knitting for a Christmas project, more on that another day though.

Most of my time has been spent making a play canopy for Imogen for her upcoming 4th birthday, where did that time go! I'm having to do this of an evening once she has gone to bed and then pack it away again before the morning so she doesn't see it. We have always admired these but they cost so much. So one day I was sat thinking about one of those over bed nets (like mosquito nets) hanging from a large ring that we have in a cupboard not being used and with various fabrics around the house, I came up with the idea to make my own. So I am, and here's the progress ...
play canopy in progress

play canopy and other fabrics that may
be used in bits and bobs

I'm also making some other bits and bobs for her birthday using some other fabric, ribbons, felt etc. Will update as things get completed.

play silks

Once all these are completed I shall be working on some more making things for Christmas. I have lots of ideas of what to do, and I hope I get the time to do them. I also want to get back to doing more spinning I haven't done any for a while as my time has been spent on the above things with deadlines to meet - i.e. the swap for Autumn equinox, and a little girls birthday.

Another thing I have finally got around to doing this week is going to the local scrapstore. I have been wanting to go for a mooch for a long time but just never got around to it. But this week I did and what a great find, I picked up lots of things for Imogen to use for crafts - card, large roll of coloured cellophane (probably a sweet wrapping roll), coloured sticky back plastic and bits of foam, etc; and things for me including some lovely leather swatches and pieces - not sure what to do with them but I thought they'd be good for something. They also had lots of fabrics - either oddments, large pieces of rolls that you could cut a metre or more of. I picked up a couple of bits. I also picked up some pots (from Lush) that I can use for any homemade creams or potions. And all for £1 a bag. Bargain. I will be returning for more supplies when I need them. I thoroughly recommend a visit to your local scrapstore - check here for one near you. They also have a shop so I picked up a couple of supplies there too. Here's my stash from this visit.

Lots of leather pieces for crafts

sticky back plastic, card and cellophane roll

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Beetroot crisps anyone? Harvesting and storing

Time to get back to blogging, I really have neglected it over the last week. There's been a lot to blog about, but I just haven't had either the time or the energy. So here are some updates from the allotment and garden.

Okay, so everything is still going well, the tomato plants are starting to go over but there are lots of tomatoes that can still ripen especially in this lovely hot sunny weather we are still experiencing, so I pruned off most of the leaves to allow the sun to get to the little beauties. Really pleased with our crops this year - we have had so many and so many more to come - Beefsteak tomatoes, plum tomatoes, a couple of different cherry tomatoes and the sun-dried Italian variety which we have actually been drying in the dehydrator and they are lovely.

These yellow/orange coloured tomatoes (above with some yummy plum tomatoes) look fantastic - the colour is just so bright (not showing up as great in the picture as it does to the naked eye), I'm not sure what the variety is - I think it came from a mixed beefsteak packet of seeds I had. I was so keen to eat this with a salad the other night as the colour was so rich, unfortunately the taste disappointed a bit. They are nice and tomato-ey but I expected a real hit of flavour but it didn't come through. It may make a good salsa though.

The Bean Teepee is going strong after a bad start and we are picking loads of Beans now, freezing some for the future. I'm glad we made an entrance in this for Imogen to squeeze into to hide/play and pick hard to reach beans! We are also picking french beans still.

Plenty of Chard and Spinach is still coming home with us too, and we shall be planting out more to keep the supply going through the winter, including winter varieties of these and other vegetables.
Swiss Chard bed

Alex dug up or extracted from the tyre stacks most of our potatoes now - lovely, lovely Arran Victory potatoes, the best potato I have ever tasted and cooked with. I can't get enough of these.

More beetroots pulled up too. Some of these have seen the dehydrator too as Beetroot crisps are just so nice.

Picked for eating now and storing for later more apples, pears and blackberries.

Picked more courgettes, and inspected the squash - here is a picture of the Blue Kuri we have grown, we have some other standard pumpkins too but I forgot to take a picture of them this time. All growing nicely and awaiting time for cutting and curing.

blue kuri squash

I did take a picture of our Cavalo Nero and Kale bed but the camera focused on the netting so it's all blurry - these are doing well though, as are the cabbages, sprouts and purple/white sprouting Broccoli.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Busy and tired

Many things I would love to post about but busy with the allotment, the garden, the produce, preserving, crafting, crafting and more crafting!

It's Imogen's 4th birthday soon and I am busy making some things for that, and in between I am knitting things for Christmas (getting ahead), so will update soon on those things in progress and when finished. Also busy crafting for the season swap on the Green Parent forum and enjoying that too.

On top of that I am working on the newsletter for the Spinning Guild, my first issue so I want to get it right.

Today, Imogen had her first morning at a "pre-school" which she was excited about going to, a nice little place with lots of playtime and fun things to do. She had a great time, only doing two sessions a week. I took the opportunity to look around a few charity shops and found some great bargains.

Will be back soon I hope to update on the things we have been busy doing.