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cats, travel

Cute Cats on Holiday

OK, so the cats aren’t on holiday, but I was!

As I mentioned in my last blog, I had a few days down with Mum and Dad in Worthing, on the South Coast.

They have two gorgeous Balinese rescue cats, Mimi and Timmy (well, technically Mischa and Timor, but I’ve always tweaked their names a bit!)  Mimi is the pretty Burmese-looking Seal Tortie Point – she is very intelligent and careful but sweet and Timmy is dopey and loveable.

Mimi was amazingly attached to me during this visit – she hardly left my side – and started doing all of the things with me that she does with Mum – like sitting on my lap and trying to get into bed – which is very unusual, she’s never done this with me before.  As you can see from the picture below right, she is also very talkative!

So a lovely time was had by all…

Finally I had to finish with another cat who I met on my travels this week – in a tea shop in Steyning, my favourite little village near Worthing, was this very relaxed girl, Maisie.  She doesn’t live there, but comes in every day and sleeps on the same chair!  When she gets hungry she wanders around the tables to find someone to give her the odd little treat.  The staff all seemed to love her and she was a very happy little kitty…

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art, craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, photography, sewing, summer, travel, yarn

End of a Lovely Crafty Week

This week I’ve been off work – holidaying at home – with some lovely days down on the South Coast with Mum and Dad and then back home via a day-trip to London.

It’s been super-busy but then again the time has flown by – can’t quite believe I’m back to work on Monday…

The start of my week was with Mum – I wasn’t feeling great so we did a bit less shopping / visiting and a bit more crafting which was fine by me.  I started on a crochet shopping bag and Mum showed me these clever little pouches which hang on a door handle and can be filled with anything you don’t want to lose – i.e. keys, crochet hooks, cat biscuits, or whatever!

I then travelled back to Wiltshire and had a day trip to London (about 2 1/2 to 3 hours on the train) to see my cousin Cathy and visit the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.  As a keen amateur astronomer, I was desperate to see the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition – having meant to go every year for the last few years.  This view is from the steep climb up Greenwich Park to the Observatory.  In the distance is Canary Wharf and the edge of the City of London.

The rather unimportant-looking line below is the Greenwich Meridian – from which all time zones are measured here on planet Earth!  This is the home of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time), although technically we are now on BST (British Summer Time) which is +1 hour and will revert to GMT in October for the winter months.

Greenwich is a lovely part of South London – very near where I used to live, but as often happens, I only visited it once in the 9 years I lived there!  There are lots of cafes and meeting places and the park was spectacular.  Nearby is also the National Maritime Museum and the Cutty Sark (the only surviving 19th century tea clipper) but we didn’t have the time or energy to visit this (it was a really warm day!)

Finally I was back to Wiltshire with some crafting and catching up with friends.  I went to Frome with my friend Anna and bought this cute bunny pencil sharpener (I won’t reveal where the hole for the pencil is!)  We had breakfast in the Garden Cafe and these gorgeous ferns appeared to be creeping up the wall as if to make their getaway…

I bought these glow-in-the-dark Toadstool lights for the garden in Worthing and can’t wait to try them out (the garden needs a bit of work first!)

I couldn’t get away without doing some yarn shopping – in Frome I happened to ‘pop in’ to Marmalade Yarns and buy these gorgeous fibres…  Firstly some Autumnal shades – Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply silk/merino mix in a shade called Burnt Orange but that I would describe as more of a conker / nutmeg mix – and secondly Skein Queen 4ply merino in Squash which is a slightly more red / orange – both delicious and perfect for a delicate shawl / wrap or scarf.

Finally, some Debbie Bliss Angel Prints laceweight in a blue/green/red/grey-brown mix – this is for Mum to make another gorgeous knitted scarf – we saw a technique at John Lewis in London last December – using a large and a small needle to produce a really beautiful finish – delicate but effective.

I bought myself some Angel Prints in December, but never got started on it.  Perhaps this weekend will be my time to get another knitting project on the go!

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charity, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized

Project Linus, Proud Daughter

My crafting inspiration has always been my Mum.  She is able to do pretty much everything with apparent ease…

She has consummate skills as a quilter – all hand pieced and quilted, although she’s also a dab hand at sewing anything.  She can also knit and turn her hand to pretty much anything (except crochet, don’t ask her about crochet!)

She has made some really cute and kooky things, which appeals to my random sense of humour, such as my kitty knitting/crochet project bag and the bunny bags with added felted carrot!  But she can also do pretty things like these hearts with lovely batiks, cottons with beautiful ribbons and trimmings.

Mum often makes things for my craft fairs and for my Etsy shop such as these lovely Japanese-style Origami Bags.

But what I really want to draw attention to in this post are the amazing quilts made by Mum and her ‘Sew and Sew’ group for Project Linus – this is a wonderful charity which provides quilts and blankets for sick and disabled children at Hospitals, Hospices and at home.  They distribute around 2,000 quilts a month in the UK alone.

Here’s Mum with two of her amazing creations.  The work that has gone into these is phenomenal.

And here are some of the ‘Sew and Sew’ ladies with their gorgeous offerings.  All in all the small group of ladies made 14 quilts in 5 months.  I am so proud of my Mum and her friends in doing something so selfless and kind and have such an appreciation of the time and love put into each one of these quilts.

The look on the Project Linus lady’s face says it all – she was amazed at how much they had produced in such a short time frame!  I hope the joy and love put into these creations will give the children who receive them a boost in their time of need.

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Instagram – my new best buddy

Last week I attended an event – an Etsy Craft Party – in Bristol.  There were many held across the country – to get together all the local artists and makers that have shops on Etsy to share information and learn tips and tricks useful to us.

Needless to say we had a bit of fun as well!  We took some of the props outside and got a lot of attention – it’s amazing how a band of ladies with giant balloons can make a scene…  Bristol has a rich artistic history, especially on the street, (just look at Banksy!) so we posed in front of some of the street art.

When I saw the pink spangly wall (below) I blurted out “this wall reminds me of unicorns and rainbows!” – having a rather bizarre Bunnynuts moment there…  But my two Etsy comrades in front of the wall blend in rather beautifully with their balloons.

 

We had some really useful talks on photography, taking short videos to promote your Etsy Shop and on using Instagram.

I found this one particularly inspiring – I have had an Instagram account for more than a year and I didn’t know really how to use it or whether it was for me…

Safe to say, now I am an Instagram addict!  It really appeals to me and, I hope, will be a place where people can get to see my work and also get a sense of who I am and how my craft evolves.

So please go and check it out and any tips or tricks I would be grateful to know!

This is my Instagram link!

 

 

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craft, crochet, garden, knitting, nature, summer, travel, Uncategorized

Stourhead Revisited

Part of my plans to get fitter (and therefore feel less guilty when I sit down to knit / crochet!) has included a new exercise regime.

As I had a couple of days off last week, I decided to go to Stourhead, one of my favourite National Trust gardens and only a short drive from home.  The grounds are absolutely beautiful – so much so that in my many visits, I haven’t yet ventured into the House!

There are many buildings around the lake, which all offer a different view of the surroundings.  The gardens are most famous for their rhododendrons and azaleas, but there are many other wonderful trees and shrubs to enjoy.

I was much later visiting this year than previously, but the show of colours did not disappoint…

Stourhead Head Gardener, Alan Power, was very kind to respond to my Tweet asking what these two lovely and unusual specimens were – the first he told me was Crinodendron Hookerianum – the Chile Lantern Tree and second was an Enkianthus.

The next two are reverse views – my favourite view from my favourite place, the Temple of Apollo – and the view of the Temple from the other side of the lake.  This lovely monument featured in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice – in the proposal scene.

All in all it was an inspirational visit, and a lovely start to my new regime.

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craft, crochet, knitting, nature, photography, travel, Uncategorized

New Discoveries

Do you sometimes feel like you are getting stuck in a rut and do the same old things every weekend?  Working full-time, my leisure time is very precious to me.

This Bank Holiday weekend I formulated a plan with my friend and neighbour, Anna. We decided that we would try to visit somewhere new at least once a month and started this month with Shaftesbury in Dorset.

We did have a teensy ulterior motive, in that Hanson’s Fabrics and Crafts, a massive craft warehouse, is a few miles south of Shaftesbury…

I even managed to persuade Anna’s son Mikey that buttons are magical… (have you ever seen a cheesier face?)

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After buying a few bits and bobs there we moved on to Shaftesbury.  It was a beautiful day but I needed to get some shelter from the sun as I am photosensitive due to my Lupus.  We stopped at the Ugly Duckling cafe and what do I spy next door, Knitting Well, a yarn shop!!  Both places gave us such a warm welcome, so I think a return journey will be on the cards.

We then headed off to the High Street, with lots of quirky little shops, I can heartily recommend a visit here.

Finally we found, almost by accident, Gold Hill which is the site of the Hovis ad from the 1970s which ran for many years and was directed by Ridley Scott (no aliens around thankfully).  It also featured in the 1960s adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd and is your archetypal ‘chocolate box’ scenery…

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It was such a lovely day but by this time I was quite exhausted, so I didn’t get to walk down Gold Hill but I will save that up for another visit.  Now we just have to plan where our next trip is going to take us…

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art, craft, crochet, knitting, sewing, Uncategorized, vintage, yarn

Selling Vintage and Craft Goods

I like to joke that I have enough patterns and ideas (not to mention stash) to retire now and be able to do at least 5 years worth of full-time crafting!

Over the last few weeks I’ve been working out how best to tinker with all of the crafts that I enjoy, sort out my stash and have come up with a few options…

I’m going to streamline my Etsy shop and focus on accessories – bags, scarves, wraps, gloves and maybe the occasional hat.

Surprisingly, I have missed doing Craft Fairs, I enjoy talking to people, once I get over my initial shyness!  However, I find that the number of people attending, and the current financial situation, for most of us, can mean that there isn’t much profit in it.

I have been looking into some local fairs, where you can sell your goods and clear your stash by selling trimmings, notions, wool and fabric.  Sounds like the perfect fit for me…

This morning I was at my beloved Car Boot Sale (surprise…) and found another stash of vintage magazines.  My friend Anna and I had great fun making up names and stories for each of the slightly cheesy models.  My particular favourite is the ‘hello sailor’ one!

The interesting thing about the 1960s patterns in the below are that the majority of the women’s designs are still very wearable – there are some gorgeous knitted dresses and coats.  Most of the male patterns are not quite so classic and wearable though…

I also found a few 1970s/1980s Vogue and Good Housekeeping materials and a great book on knitting design, which I may have to keep to refer to…

There is also a Vintage Market where I may sell some of my vintage finds and I will just have to shut my eyes and avoid looking at the other stalls (like that is going to happen!)

 

 

 

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