Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A day of action ... and lots of activity

Well I have Imogen at home with me today as her school is closed due to the strikes. I/We are in full support of the action in this country today, we've both worked in public service jobs before and this affects many people we still know. I am pleased to be hearing the news reporting a bit more on the reasoning behind the cuts to public service pensions - it has little to do with making public service pensions sustainable, but more to do with raising money to help the deficit in this country instead of making those responsible pay.

Right, I'll get off off my soap box now.

This has meant we get to spend a lovely day together. What have we been up to? Well with it being December tomorrow, what better way to spend the day then to be making Christmas cards.

I dug out some foam stamps and some stencils from previous years and got out the paints and blank cards. Imogen has had great fun making lots of cards. My favourite was a rainbow snowflake stencil so I asked to make a few of these! Oh and she decided she wanted to dress up as a postie as she is making cards to send to people.
 Artist/postie at work at her Christmas cards
 Card production line

I'm doing a bit of felting today, finishing off a Yule log for an order on etsy for a lovely lady - you know who you are! Also finishing touches going on a Father Christmas to add to the shop too. Other projects in the making too.
The start of the log - it's almost finished but no sneaky peek just yet!

So lots of activity going on here today, how about you?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Almost Four-One

Title idea shamelessly stolen from Jacqui who celebrated her 51st birthday last week, as I approach my 41st birthday tomorrow.

one of my favourite pictures of me and Imogen (a few years ago)

Today being a Sunday and having a little more family time than tomorrow with Imogen at school and Alex out in the evening practicing with the Ukulele jam, we had me birthday a little early.

I had a nice lie in this morning as the others planned and plotted for my birthday. A late breakfast and a relaxing morning, Imogen and I then got on with some baking. Our favourite Butternut Squash muffins were up first - made by Imogen who followed the recipe to get the amounts right and used the mixer to mix the ingredients, I just did the hot oven bit ... and as usual they were absolutely gorgeous, a tried and tested recipe ... perfect.

After lunch we put on dough for homemade pizza - another favourite in this house, and yes it was lovely too. We then went on to make some gluten free Chocolate Brownies using mashed potato instead of flour. They have come out lovely too, very rich.

So we had our tea and then my evening was just made most magical by my lovely daughter and husband. Imogen was playing on her keyboard for a while and then told me she was going to play something for me. She then started to play Happy Birthday which just made me smile so much and really warmed this mama's heart. This was followed with lovely handmade birthday cards and a gift from Imogen - a poem written by her to me, a lovely poem and so beautifully written too, maybe I'll share it another day if I scan it.

Today was a lovely day, what more could I wish for, lovely handmade goodness in food, cards, gifts and lots of love from my lovely family.

Tomorrow is my 41st birthday and I shall be taking some of the cakes with me to our school coffee morning which I go to most Mondays with a few friends.

my lovely family

Life is good.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The challenge ...

So those weaving squares I have been making on and off this year were to
a) use up odd bits of spun wool, small balls that wouldn't make up much else; and
b) to make a cushion for the Guild challenge.

It's the Guild meeting this weekend and the November one always includes the revealing of members' Guild challenge projects which this year was to make a cushion for the seats to make sitting at meetings a little more comfortable.
 This week I gathered them all up and realised I needed another couple in white so quickly made them on Sunday. I have now sewn them all up - using white breed squares on one side and a mix of colours on the other side. I then looked at it and thought it would look nice with a border so quickly started knitting that up to sew in between the layers. Here are the squares all sewn up -
Squares sewn together
Greys/White mixed squares side

So here it is finished with the border, I have used Dorset Horn, Hampshire Down, Portland, Jacobs, Zwartble/Suffolk cross and a little Shetland.

Greys and mixed colours side above
White square side below - 2 shades of white from different sheep breeds

Sheep to finished product - all fleece prepared from raw fleece from the sheep, spun, plied, washed, woven and a little knitting and here is my finished cushion to make those hard seats more comfortable to sit on.

I am really pleased with the result, enjoyed making this and it has inspired me to make a blanket out of more squares - I'm going to do it as a kind of fibre samples blanket - every time I spin something different I shall weave a square to add to the blanket. I have a plan to spin as many breeds as possible in all their glorious natural colours over time.

So a challenge finished for the Guild challenge of 2011, and a new challenge for me which I shall start and blog about in January 2012.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Busy times

Aren't we always busy?
Since my last post I've sold another couple of felted items and swapped one with an etsy seller form some of her lovely craft-work - will have to share a photo another day, have popped them away for now as they are for Christmas - display rather than presents so we'll see them before Christmas.

Other items in the pipeline, for now I have made a St Lucia felted figure - for the Festival of Lights or St Lucia Day on 13th December, the start of advent - she's popped over to the etsy store today.

 St Lucia (different backgrounds to show the colours)

This week I am busy sewing up those weaving squares for the Guild challenge, more on that and a picture to reveal it soon ...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Felting fun and updates

I have been felting a lot lately and have updated my etsy shop with some Christmas/Yule themed items, and also an Autumn one which may be a little late this year but we'll see.

Also working on some other figures both for ourselves and for the shop, and ideas of other items other than figures whirling around in my head.
Works in progress

On Sunday I needle-felted a poppy for remembrance day - I donate but don't pick up the plastic ones, preferring to wear one that can be re-used over and over. I knitted and felted some last year and intended to make more this year but it hasn't happened, and I couldn't find one so made myself a new one this year. Imogen decided she wanted to make one too so she wet felted the red for the poppy, shaped it with my help and then needle felted the black in the middle ... very carefully!
 My felted poppy above
and Imogens felted poppy below

So that's what I've been up to, happily stabbing away at the wool, and yes I miss sometimes as my poor fingers can confirm!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Up with a bang!

 Bonfire night 2011

Busy here, and if not busy I'm tired at the moment. Life is good, I have been a bit more creative this week, lots of felting going on and other ideas going through my head for felting projects including some items for my Etsy shop which I have updated recently. I have decided to list some things as "made to order" to gauge interest in the items.

So last night being bonfire night, we headed to Winchester again for their fabulously atmospheric flame torch light parade through the town to the leisure centre fields for a proper traditional bonfire and spectacular fireworks. How wonderful it is to see the place lit up by these flame torches, keeps you warm too!

 crowds ready for the torchlight parade
 torch waving fun
 Imogen carrying the flame torch
top of the town

The parade is lovely. Imogen carried the torch at times and held her own dynamo powered torch too - I love how photos come out when she is waving it around.

 Sparkler writing in the air

Of course she loved her sparklers again this year, writing her name in the air.

enjoyed the big displays, fireworks shooting everywhere

We popped to see the statue of King Alfred on the way home, someone we've been reading about in a library book this week.
 Just about see King Alfred
out with a big bang!

How was your bonfire night?