As part of my birthday celebrations (in November), I treated myself and a couple of friends to a day in a hut on the island at Sculpture by the Lakes.
We took a picnic. I took a couple of flasks for hot drinks. To keep them warmer for longer I used my nifty Flask Cosies.
They are made from the sleeves of an old (charity shop) jumper that I felted by mistake in the washing machine. I was chopping the jumper up to see how I could use the slightly felted knitted fabric and once the sleeves were cut off it was obvious to me what to use them for!
The Hut was very cosy, with a wood burner and lovely bright cushions,I also took a couple of my Scrap Happy blankets. To wrap round our knees if necessary. We had a wonderful time, with a wander round the sculpture park and nice gentle chat and a bit of crochet.
Scrunch up some newspaper into a ball and wrap wire around it. Kirstie uses florist’s wire, which I suspect is a lot thinner than my find.I cut the wire with the red handled pliers and then turned the ends into little hooks with the other pliers, hooking each new piece on and pulling the wire as tightly as I could.
Then the fun bit!Burn the newspaper. It takes longer than I thought it would to get the scrunched up paper to completely burn away. I put mine in the woodburner, but Kirstie used a barbeque.
I know these baubles would not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I think they are seriously cool. Especially the shadows they create.And with a few found feathersand a bit of festive blingit is edging dangerously close to looking a bit Christmassy around here.
I did not want to buy masses of wrapping paper, especially when I have a massive stash of fabric. I have an old dress of my Mum’s, (my niece’s Granny) so I cut off the skirt and wrapped the box in that.
TheYou Tube clip below shows two pieces of fabric sewn together – I didn’t do that, I just used the one piece – the whole of the skirt. As it was see-through material there was not an obvious right and wrong side.
I discovered this site via Instagram, during lockdown, and have followed a couple of courses. Every so often there are special offers and that is how I came to sign up for The Magpies Nest, which is my favourite so far.
Sewing in ends of pieces of knitting and crochet is not my favourite occupation, but there is something pleasing about the colour mixes in the little piles of off-cuts. I don’t throw them away.
In The Stitchbook Collective, one of the members, Sally-Ann has shown us this ingenius way of forming scraps of yarn into beads. Separate the yarn into little piles and then roll them in your hand a bit – I dampened them a little to get these into spherical shapes but I’m not sure that is necessary
Then take a thread of any sort – it could be embroidery thread, but I used plain cotton.and wrap round the bead, sewing through the centre time and time again from different angles. That’s it!some of the members of the Stitchbook Collective make them very smooth and tight and then embroider on the surface.
At the moment I am very happy with my fluffy scrappy looking beads.
There were masses of wonderful quilts on display at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. I only had time to do a quick whizz round the Stands in the early morning before the general public arrived. Here are a few that particualrly caught my eye.
I have a few very confused little wallflowers in the garden. They are a variety that are supposed to flower in Spring and again in Autumn, but having looked quite pathetic all year, they are flowering now. Also in the tin ‘vase’ are some viburnum, equally confused hebe, and some fennel fronds.
The containers are re-used items of household waste. Last week I included my experimental ‘moss-on-a-plate’ and my cousin who lives in the Netherlands told me that Moss-on-a-plate is a thing. I Googled it and yes, lots of inspiring images came up. This spurred me on to make some more.
I managed to find some tiny fern plants in my garden. I just love all the shapes and textures of the moss and how it creates a little world of its own.
The Higgidy Pie dish was filled with grit and sandy compost
I used a torn brown paper bag to cover the plastic edges and a piece of rotting wood with moss on it, which I found in my rotting wood pile. Then I added some broken terracotta pot, a couple of tiny primrose plants, a celandine and a piece of lichen – all found in my garden.
I wondered where to keep the dishes, to give them the best chance of surviving and have put them in my new potting shed.
It went up in October and has very little in it so far. It smells all lovely and new and I need a few more shelves and hooks in there. I am sure Cathy would have filled it with cuttings and seed trays by now, but, being a fair-weather gardener, I am happy to gaze at it and enjoy its newness until I get a burst of enthusiasm for the garden again.
Do you like to find things in your garden or nearby hedgerows to put in a vase at this time of year? If so, pop over to Rambling in the Garden for some delightful inspiration.
I saw an old wooden ladder lying at the back of my daughter’s woodshed.
They said I could have it as we, in the UK, are no longer able to use wooden ladders for their intended purpose – health and safety.
It is now above my woodburner as a drying rack for clothes in the Winter and a place to dry herbs and flowers and hang crochet mandalas in the Summer.
This is it in its raw state, before I treated it for woodworm and waxed and oiled it. The brackets are not the ones I wanted – I had to grab Dave, the local handiman, between jobs when he could put it up for me, so these were the only brackets I could get locally on that day.
He told me that you can treat woodworm with White Spirit, so I took the ladder down again and painted on lashings of the stuff – the ladder soaked up the White Spirit like a sponge and I gave it 3 generous treatments. Later on I found a small can of woodworm treament at the back of a cupboard and treated it with that as well.
I knew the wood would need feeding but when I tried wax and oil on the bit of ladder that had been cut off, the wood went very dark. So I Lime Waxed it first.
You brush the wood, going with the grain, with a wire brush, then rub in the Lime Wax with wire wool. After Liming it I gave the whole ladder and the rusty bits two coats of the Finishing Oil.
(Those are Marmoleum floor samples under the oil – as far as I can tell Marmoleum is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring material one can get here in UK – let me know if you know otherwise. I am going to go for the Turquoise one on top for most of the ground floor in my house – I am so fed up with carpets!)
I am thrilled with it – it actually makes the room feel taller and larger.
The wonderful rusty spring on the left is a present from a friend who knows my love of rusty old items. Her son now farms the farm where my Dad grew up, and she found it there and knew I would love it even more because of the connection. What a kind thought – Lucky me!! It is GORGEOUS – so big and heavy.
The woodburner is all ready to go: to heat water, cook delicious stews and dry clothes. Making that space as multi-functional as possible in true Permaculture style!
I haven’t lit a fire yet as it has been so mild here, but I am sure it won’t be too long.
After our Stitchbooks were finished we had an opportunity to sign up for Year 2, in which we have been given supplies and video tutorials for more projects.
For one reason and another, my life has reduced the amount of crafty projects and blogging I have been doing over the last year or so. I have not been stitching as much as would have liked to.
However when this latest project arrived from Helen, all other things had to be put aside! A group project to use scraps of denim fabric and Boro-like stitching to create squares of simlar sizes, for Helen to stitch together into a wearable Kimon0 that will be raffled in aid of MIND, the mental health charity.
I absolutely loved doing this stitching so free and relaxing.
Helen sent us the scraps of denim and some threads, but we could also include some of our own. On my trip to Japan I had been given this skein of reject weaving thread at a weaving house we visited. The thread had been dyed by the same process as in this post
I really enjoyed using some thread from Japan in this project, even though it is hard to detect, I know it is there.
I will certainly be buying a Raffle ticket when they go on sale in November.
They had given her some ideas about how to revive some of her Temari Balls, follow the link to see her blog post about them. She told me about the article she was planning to write and asked if it was ok to mention my blog – of course I was delighted to say ‘YES’!
Amanda writes for WOWbooks and her spread appears in this latest edition.
look a little closer
Eeek! Thank you Amanda – so thrilling! What a joy to receive this book in the post.
The book is beautifully produced. I wrote to the publishers to ask permission to post these photos and got such warm and generous replies. The book is satin-like to the touch and full of gorgeous photos, useful information and packed with ideas.
I am really going to enjoy reading the articles and fancy having a go at the ‘Wax and Dammar’ – Dammar is a new word for me – a resin apparently. I have never done any encaustic work before and I am intrigued.
Let me know if you have worked with wax and dammar – I would love to hear any tips you might be able to pass on.
Who knew when we got our first box of goodies in September 2019 how important this project was going to be for keeping us busy, creative and connected.
Each month for 12 months we recieved a kit through our letter box, and even though we had paid for it, many of us felt like it was a present arriving through the ether to cheer us up – happy post!
We chatted via our Facebook group, encouraging and inspiring one another
We were initially working towards exhibiting the books at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show. This was cancelled, but we kept on stitching – the cancellation gave some of us the much needed time to finish the project.
I get very excited at the beginning of a project. I loved the feeling as inspiration flooded in with each new box – but then I go off at a tangent and make a multitude of my own experiments and lose focus.
I am so good at NOT finishing things – anyone else out there like me?
I wonder if I ever would have pushed myself to complete it if it hadn’t been for Helen’s flexibility and gentle encouragement to get me over the finish line.
The covers done and the book bound together with bead spacers – it sat there – it did not feel finished – bizarrely, it did not feel mine.
It was a huge effort for me to focus on the covers, make them to Helen’s specific instructions and get the book exhibition-ready. The front cover has tabs on it so that it can be displayed for exhibition. The effort to get the covers made took away some of the joy, so it had to sit in a corner for a while.
Seeing other finished books online and a few text messages with Cathy (thank you Cathy!) gave me the kick of enthusiasm I needed – out came the beads, the stamps and the paint brush
and here it is – Exhibition-ready!
AND £3,344.00 has been raised by Helen and the purchasers of her kits for the mental health charity, MIND.
Feel good project all round.
You can see other posts about this book by typing Stitchbook into the SEARCH box and here is a video of the finished book.
A HUGE thank you to Helen Birmingham for this project and to the other members of THE STITCHBOOK COLLECTIVE community.
It was my daughter’s birthday last week and I picked some asters and cotoneaster to pop in a jar for her.
The bees are going crazy for those asters but the birds are not eating the cotoneaster berries yet. There is a Mrs Blackbird tucking into some pyracantha berries just outside my kitchen window – so they must ripen earlier.
I used an old doodle book of the children’s to make the birthday card
The book had been filled and discarded so I took out the centre to reuse the neon pink cover
I could easily reuse the holes for sewing in a new centre.
With a bit of neon yellow embroidery thread. My daughter loves a bit of neon!
I came across something called ‘block writing’ on Instagram, so I had to have a go.
A was born at 3.45am and when I got back to the ward, the light of dawn was beginning to glow in the sky. I looked out of the window, feeling so happy and relieved and grateful to have a healthy baby girl, and I saw one bright star, which I now realise must have been Venus. I gave A a Native American name ‘Bright Morning Star’- a secret name – just between her and me.
For her birthday I gave her a rooted fig tree cutting that I bought in the market – hope it grows well and tucked a note in the card for her to go towards her lunchtime meal at The Station Kitchen, West Bay.
I am definitely going to try and take some cuttings from my fig tree next year.
My daughter lives just across the field from me, so I walked up quite early to give her the card.
This was the scene over the village as I walked back – autumn mist in the distance.
I had meant to post this yesterday, but the day did not go to plan, never mind it now doubles up as a multi-functional post, two memes in one.
In true Scrap Happy Style I made Mr M a card out of old used teabags and some of the old wire fencing he brought for me to play with.
Each element, a symbol of members of his family. The heart with gold kisses represents my daughter – her name means ‘beloved’. My two Granddaughters’ names are represented by the fern leaf print and the ‘pearl’ and my Grandson’s by the red beads.
In the Chive vase are a couple of Robin’s Pincushions found on a wild rose in my garden
Making fabric collage squares for the Twinchie projects was such a fun way to upcycle some of my fabric scraps, I carried on making them
The first ones were 10″ squares, but I realised that 12 ” squares are much more versatile
You can divide them into 2″, 3″, 4″ or 6″ squares.
The squares actually measure 13″ to allow for the squares to be cut just slightly over the these measurements to allow for a little bit of trimming if necessary.
They can also be divided into different sized rectangles or strips
I love making these, even though they take longer than you’d think to get the placement satisfactory. When I have a pile of about 50 I might put some in my Etsy shop just to see if anyone would want to buy them as starting points for their own projects.
If you fancy one – just send me a message via the Contact Me page.
Once all of the Twinchies are back and I have completed a piece of textile art with them, the plan is for these squares to be used in more collaborative textile art projects. Watch this space!
PS. For WordPress users – is the new format driving you crazy? Arrgghhhh!
I am completely replanting the bed behind the espalier pear trees. Everything has been taken out because the ground elder and marestail had taken over.
Looking from North to South
I dug it over, took everything out, and dug it over once a week for 4 weeks in the hope of getting every bit of weed root out. I saved all the bulbs and have replanted them in a completely random fashion and planted new and old irises
Looking from South to North
A rogue sunflower which grew in the pot I had the tiny fuschia (Jollies Nantes) in.
I have also scattered seed from Nigella, calendula, cerinthe, aquilegia, foxglove and purple loosestrife.
Then just pick out pieces without looking and make a small collage
I cut up part of an old sheet into 4 inch squares and the first thing that happened was that I got caught up in the collaging, so instead of just doing one, I went on to do 4 before I felt like stitching.
with a piece of ‘colour catcher’ paper in the middle and I am thinking of adding some of the orange plastic mesh onion bag. I might also add some beads and/or buttons, we’ll see – the piece will tell me as I go along.
Have you seen any interesting textiles, are you on a fabric fun adventure or will you have a go at the Brown Paper Bag Challenge? – put a link in the comments if you would like to share any textiles this Tuesday – links to archive posts welcome.
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