Good with my hands
I've always been quite creative. I love to make things, all sorts of things. I particularly love needlecrafts, and sewing is one of my biggest passions. I'm lucky enough to sew for a living! I work for Bridal Collective (formerly Enzoani), where my main role is to customise and alter wedding gowns. I love my job.
I also love to make things for my home. I do lots of crochet and knitting, some cross stitch, and a little patchwork. I really want to fill my home with lovely hand-made items.
As a teenager I made all my own clothes. I loved that I could make unique garments, which fitted me properly. I made my own wedding dress in 1990, and I used to make lots of lovely things for my daughter Lydia when she was a little girl. As the years have gone by I've done less and less sewing for myself, and I'd like to change that, and get back into the personal dressmaking.
Hook it up
I am a happy hooker,
I love to play around,
With hooky things and stringy stuff,
And patterns that I've found!
One of my favourite yarn crafts is crochet. I love that it builds quickly, so there is a sense of achievement soon after starting a project.
I'm currently working on a few different crochet projects.
The project in the main picture at the top of this page is a Janie Crow (Jane Crowfoot) blanket, called "Bohemian Blooms". I bought the pattern book at Wonderwool Wales around three years ago. My friend Angela, who I know from the group I belong to....which I affectionately call the Knifty, Knatty, Knorty, Knotty, Knattering, Knutty Knitwits....bought the same book at the same time, and we decided to do it as a CAL (crochet-along). We also roped in Linda, another fellow group member. Unfortunately, because of Covid (mainly) our CAL is kind of on hold, so that project can stay in my WIP bag for a while, until we can get together again.
I love Janie Crow designs. I love that she uses pretty, feminine, pastel colours, and lots of flowers in her designs. She also makes use of texture and added embellishments, such as beads. Her projects are challenging and interesting.
I'm looking forward to picking this particular project up again, although it might be a while. In the meantime, I do have lots of other projects - not just crochet, but sewing, knitting, and cross-stitch - to be getting on with.
"...I'll get the blanket"...
"...from the bedroom"...and the lounge, the craft room, the bathroom...
I love blankets! I've made lots of them, and I'll probably make lots more! I think that my blankets deserve a page all of their own, so I've given them one!
Please click here if you would like to visit my blanket page.
My 365 Days Of Creativity 2021
During 2021 I want to be more creative, and I've been posting a daily update on this page, of what I've been doing. It's partly to share the creative love with others, but also to keep myself motivated - to get through my (large) bag of WIPs (Works In Progress) and be more productive.
This has started well! During January, I finished off five WIPs - four cushions and a scarf, decorated a plain lamp shade for the lounge, made my first ever coffee & walnut cake - the first thing I made with my new (vintage) Braun Multipractic, and made headway on quite a few other projects.
February continued in a crafty manner! I've only actually finished one project - the peach knitted gilet which I was working on - but I have made headway on my cwtchy blanket, yellow throw, three-coloured jumper, and rainbow cushion covers, and on painting and varnishing the cupboard, shelf & spice rack for my kitchen. I've also made creative updates to this website, and on February 14th made my first ever successful batch of yummy biscuits!
March was equally crafty with two projects finished - a lacy throw for my kitchen and a Neapolitan jumper, and lots of updates to my website, some crochet, knitting, and cross-stitch and of course lots of wedding gown creativity in my job.
In April I finished quite a few cushion WIPs, and two cross stitched cushion panels, as well as the usual updates to my website and my continuing wedding gown creativity at work.
To avoid clutter on this page, I'm only showing the current month's posts. For previous months, you can click on the links below, and I'll update them at the end of each month.
I hope you enjoy following my creative progress through 2021, and thank you for looking and reading!
If you want to look at the June posts from the first one on June 1st, then please click here.
Day 361 - Monday 27th December 2021
Some more work on my corner to corner throw this morning before I left Kent and set off back for home.
I've added four new colours in now, on the edging band, and as part of separate granny squares which will be used to build up the size of the throw.
Day 360 - Sunday 26th December 2021
All the bits for my chunky cardigan are knitted now.
The next job is to block it and stitch it all together. I'm not a fan of stitching knitwear up, but I'll try and get it done fairly soon, as I'm keen to wear it!
Day 359 - Saturday 25th December 2021
Still down in Kent, and still without Joe, so another boring picture I'm afraid.
This time it's the band to go right around the front and neck of the cardigan, and believe me it's just as boring to knit! The pattern said to pick up the stitches, but again I'd rather knit it separately and then stitch it on afterwards.
Day 358 - Friday 24th December 2021
Both sleeves are now finished on my lovely chunky cardigan.
I'm down in Kent for Christmas and Joe Cat isn't with me, so sorry to disappoint that he's not in the picture this time!
Day 339 - Sunday 5th December 2021
Today I've been working on my lovely chunky cardigan.
I've been working on the sleeves, and I was intending to post pictures of the progress.
However, Joe Cat suggested that whoever is reading this, would much prefer to see cute pictures of him, snoozing and snuggling on both the cardigan and the yarn......
......and I have to say, that I totally agree with him!
Day 338 - Saturday 4th December 2021
In art class today, we started off by finishing our mixed media faces.
I have to say I'm quite happy with my flapper lady! I finished her off by adding some eye shadow and other details to her eyes, some highlighting on her face and hat, and a lace mesh over her face, for that demure look!
I think I do still need to have lots more practice in drawing and painting faces....especially as fairies are my ultimate goal!
Next we moved on to Christmas cards! Well, that is deciding on what sort of image we would like to put on a Christmas card.
Julia has said that whatever we paint, she will be happy to take away, scan & print, and turn them into five Christmas cards each for us to send to our loved ones. This is such a lovely idea - thank you Julia.
I decided that I would like to paint an angel for my Christmas card.
I wasn't alone in this, and Julia had come along with an angel which she had painted, so that we could copy it if we wanted, or do our own thing if not.
I wanted to do a sort of traditional full-length angel, and to use a book of fairies for the inspiration, so I brought some along, and settled on a lovely profile painting of a fairy in one of the books.
Julia gave me a head start by drawing out the basic shape of the fairy for me to copy, and then adding wings which are more angel-like than fairy-like.
At first I was really pleased with how I was getting on.
I found it fairly easy to draw and was pleased with the result, and ready to paint.
Again at first I was happy with the painting. I wanted a subtle, delicate pastel image in pinks, greys and purples, and so laid down my first layer of paint, and added a star for her to hold in her palm.
After that though, I found it difficult to continue.
I couldn't seem to get what I wanted to achieve, and to blend layers of colour to form the folds of her gown and the waves in her hair.
It just wasn't happening and so I stopped, rather than try to force it. I think I'm having an 'off' day creatively to be honest. Ah well, it happens sometimes.
I shall come back to it another time.....or I might start again....or I might just copy the one Julia painted for us. We'll see.
It was still a lovely afternoon of calm, relaxed creativity, with like-minded people, led by a lovely, talented lady, and I am looking forward to doing it again next Saturday.
In the meantime I shall try and make some time at home to fiddle around with paints and techniques.
Day 331 - Saturday 27th November 2021
In art class today, we continued working on faces we are painting onto Papier-mâché boards.
Today's art class for me was a definite positive arising out of a not-so-positive start to the day. I was meant to be in Bristol with some friends today for shopping at the Christmas market, and some food & drink in an 'igloo'. However, the windy weather decided to plop a tree over the rail line between Cardiff and Swansea, so all trains up to Cardiff were cancelled.
This meant that I couldn't get up to Cardiff in time to catch the Bristol train with my lovely friends. So off to art class I went, for some lovely calming therapy!
Last week we had got as far as transferring our face images onto the Papier-mâché boards, and putting a base coat of gesso onto the face area.
This week, we stared by laying down a flesh-coloured acrylic over the gesso to begin bringing our faces to life.
Then we filled in some facial details with a fine pen, and painted in the lips.
Whilst Julia teaches us, she works on her own piece as a sample of what we're doing.
So as well as using the book image of a flapper girl, which Julia gave us last week, we also had her lovely example to inspire us!
Next we added some shading onto the face, and a bit of colour and detail to the eyes. We'll do more on both of these elements as we progress.
Then we worked on the hat/headband, flowers & feathers and jewellery. We used acrylics, and some lovely Pebeo relief pearlescent enamel paints to add texture and shimmer, followed by some glitter paint, which will dry clear but leave a lovely sparkle!
This is my work as it currently stands.
There is more to do before she's finished....shading, adding details, and some more colour and texture to the hat and accessories.
I'm really pleased with how this is progressing, and looking forward to getting her finished next week.
Day 325 - Sunday 21st November 2021
Today I've been sorting out more of the craft room.
As well as getting shelving done for my "Rainbow Cwtch" reading corner, I've been working on the art and writing corner. I have a bureau there, which I'll use for both activities, and I put some shelves up there quite a while back, which I'd painted in a lovely sage green chalk paint.
So today I've been moving the bureau so that it is facing a different direction, which makes better use of the space. There will be pictures of this at some point. I've also been rearranging stuff on the shelves. This area will house all my green, grey and brown craft bits & pieces, as well as anything animal/creature themed.
I still have a quite a bit to do in that area, but I made a good start today.
Day 324 - Saturday 20th November 2021
Today in art class we began work on another face painted onto a Papier-mâché board.
Julia had a picture of what she would like us to do. It is an image of a painting of a 1920s 'flapper' girl.
We began by practising some drawings of facial features - eyes, lips and noses.
For me, this was an extremely valuable exercise, as I've always found drawing faces difficult, and to break them down in this way is so helpful.
I had drawn almost a page of eyes and coloured/shaded them in, before realised I was putting the 'shine' of the pupil on in the wrong place on one eye, so they looked kind of cross-eyed! Haha, we all had a good giggle about this.
After practising the features for a while, we drew a large oval on a page of our drawing books, going over and over until we were happy with the shape of what will be our flapper girl's face, before rubbing out any unwanted practice lines.
We then used construction lines for the centre of the face and the positions of the eyes, nose and mouth. We needed to make them slightly different to last time, as this lady is looking off to the side, so the features are slightly off-centre and very slightly going down towards the right hand side.
Using these lines we then drew in our facial features. I had a bit of difficulty with the nose and mouth - getting the angles of both and the size of the mouth right - so I had some help from Julia for this.
We then drew in the part of the hat which will overlap part of her face, and then went over everything in a darker pencil to make it all a bit more prominent, ready for transferring it onto our Papier-mâché boards.
The next stage was to tranfer our images onto our boards, ready for painting......
......and we then painted over the face part with white gesso, which will make it easier to paint in the skin tones at a later date.
The next lesson is earmarked for all the painting. However, I won't be there, as I'm going to be in Bristol with friends next Saturday. So I've brought mine home to have a go before the lesson the following Saturday. Watch this space!
Day 317 - Saturday 13th November 2021
Today I began adding to my corner-to-corner throw, using some of the complimentary colours I've been collecting together. I've started crocheting a border around two of the sides, and have also kicked off some granny squares which will build the throw up to make it bigger (and more interesting!).
Day 316 - Friday 12th November 2021
Squishy post today from Wool Warehouse.
A few extra yarns to add to my corner-to-corner throw, and I'm particularly pleased with the orange colour. Yummy!
Day 315 - Thursday 11th November 2021
This colourful loveliness turned up in the post yesterday.
I'll be using it in the 'rainbow cwtch' of my craft room. Watch this space!
Day 313 - Tuesday 9th November 2021
Today in art class we worked on a project based on the Papier-mâché boards which we prepared last Saturday.
Julia had a sample which she had prepared, and told us we would be creating a "Mysterious Mistress"!
We began by drawing a face.
To do this we drew an oval/basic face shape, using a freehand method, then put in construction lines for the position of the eyes, nose and mouth.
Next we drew in ovals for the eyes and mouth, and a small circle for the nose. We followed this up by drawing in actual eyes, nose and mouth lines, going over our pencil lines with a drawing pen and then rubbing out all the pencil.
Finally we drew a curved line across half of the face, to give the impression of the brim of a hat, which would be covering part of our "Mysterious Mistress"'s face.
The next job was to transfer our face images to our prepared Papier-mâché boards.
We then painted in our 'hats', using a blend of black and red acrylics, and gave her some hair off to the left.
Following this, we gradually filled in the features of our faces - eyes, nose & lips, before adding some shading, highlighting, and giving our ladies an earring!
I'm quite pleased with my "Mysterious Mistress". In my experience, faces are incredibly hard to draw and paint, and I think that Julia has done a very good job in teaching us the construction. I'm looking forward to practising to try and perfect the art of creating faces!
Day 311 - Sunday 7th November 2021
I'm working on the next area of my craft room now - what is going to be my "Rainbow Cwtch". So today I've been painting shelves for there, in a lovely shade of orange - "Barcelona Orange" chalk paint, by Annie Sloane. Yummy!
Day 310 - Saturday 6th November 2021
Today in art class we worked on two projects.
The first was painting a landscape, using initially two colours, and then joining in a third later.
The second project was to prepare a board by covering it with torn newspaper snippets, using the Papier-mâché method. This will be transformed into something else over the coming weeks.
Julia started by showing us an example in a book, of the kind of thing she wanted.
Then she showed us how to lay down a blue wash for the sky, and a yellow wash for the land.
We then built layers up by mixing the yellow and blue together to make various shades of green and then paint them on in strips, building them up to form a variegated coloured landscape.
Whilst this was drying, we worked on our Papier-mâché, using wallpaper paste and strips of newspaper, and randomly sticking them on & overlapping, to completely cover the board.
These will dry by next week so we can do the next stage of that project.
We then went back to our landscape pictures, and used a little red mixed with a green to make brown, which we used to paint a tree!
We finished off our pictures with a cute little fence!
On the whole I'm happy with my landscape, however I'm not keen on my tree. I've always had trouble getting trees to look right when I draw or paint them, so this is something I can work on to get better results.
Day 309 - Friday 5th November 2021
This is an arrangement of some rather scrumptious fabrics.
They are intended for a project which I hope to be developing over the next couple of months.
So I'm afraid it's another case of Watch This Space!
Day 308 - Thursday 4th November 2021
Today I've been painting primer on another shelf unit.
This one is again for the craft room, this time for what will be my "Rainbow Cwtch" - a corner of the room where I'll be able to sit and read, crochet, cross-stitch, knit, embroider, and work on patchwork and other hand-stitched crafts, all in the comfort of a lovely wing-backed chair. My spinning wheel and chair will also be in the same area.
This area will house all my books on the relevant craft subjects, as well as jars of yellows and oranges, and pretty boxes in the same colour theme, so it will be quite a colourful corner, hence the rainbow idea. I also have some rainbow cushions and throws which I made a little while back with this area in mind.
Once I've primed the shelves and given them a couple of coats of white undercoat, I have a pot of Annie Sloane chalk paint, in "Barcelona Orange" to paint them.
Day 307 - Wednesday 3rd November 2021
I bought these two lovely boxes from Homesense today. They are supposed to be posh boxes for putting Christmas gifts in.
However, I have a different idea for them. I'll be re purposing them and adding bits & pieces and then using them for something in my craft room. They are just perfect for what I want! Watch this space!
Day 306 - Tuesday 2nd November 2021
I picked up this man's shirt from a charity shop in Neath today.
It's for an upcycling sewing project I have in mind. Watch this space!
Day 305 - Monday 1st November 2021
I've reached the end of my ball of yarn for my corner-to-corner crochet, and I had just enough left to do a neatening row along the two straight edges.
Now I shall have a little play with the lovely colours I've bought recently to see how I'm going to bulk this out. It may be a case of making it up as I go along!
Also, there are a few other colours I've been looking at online, so I may wait until I've maybe ordered and received those.
Day 304 - Sunday 31st October 2021
The final picture for the music corner in my craft room arrived in the post last week. It's a print of an old advertisement for "Le Chat Noir" (The Black Cat), which was a nineteenth-century entertainment establishment, in the Bohemian Montmartre district of Paris.
It's a picture which I've loved for years, and I thought it would be very appropriate for this area of my craft room, so today I put it up, and I'm happy now that everything balances.
Day 303 - Saturday 30th October 2021
In my art class with Julia today it was all about the flowers!
This week Julia wanted us to draw and paint flowers from a vase of flowers she had brought, rather than copying an image as before.
I was a bit apprehensive about this, but got stuck in anyway.
First of all, Julia asked us to focus on one particular flower to draw, and think about the overall shape which it made, if it had a line drawn around the whole thing. I chose a large rose, and decided that the shape would be a square.
We then had to draw the shape onto paper, and then look at the shapes within the flower and draw them within the shape we had made.
I was quite surprised that this wasn't as difficult as I had thought it would be.
Next, our task was to paint the flower directly onto watercolour paper. Julia did say we could draw it first if we wanted to, but I chose not to.
Having drawn out the shapes first, I did find it easier to find the shapes in the flower, and paint them, using the technique of painting a thin line and then dragging the colour with water. So, I had laid down my first layer of paint and this needed to dry before adding another layer.
Whilst this was drying, Julia suggested I isolate another flower and repeat the drawing process with that.
I felt that this flower made a circle shape, and so drew it inside that.
Following that, I then painted the first layer of that above the rose.
I added more flowers and some greenery in the same way, and then added another layer of paint onto my original rose.
This is how my flower picture currently looks.
There wasn't time to do any more layering today, and I'm hoping to work on this at home this week. I'm currently setting up an area in my craft room where I'll be able to paint without having to put everything away in between, so I can dip in and out of it.
I'm fairly happy with today's results. I know that my rose doesn't look like a rose just yet, but I am happy that on the whole, the picture does look like a group of flowers! That's a good positive! Haha.
Hopefully I will get time to work on this during the week.
Day 301 - Thursday 28th October 2021
An addition to my craft room today.
It's going to be difficult to organise storage space in the sewing area of my craft room. This is because, the area is primarily in front of the window, and so there is nowhere to put up shelves, etc., to house my sewing books and some of the necessities I need for sewing. I'm therefore going to have to be a little bit more creative and use every available space as best I can.
There is quite a bit of floor space under the table extension of my sewing table, and so today I went in search of some sort of little cabinet which I could use to put under there for my sewing books. I went up to Ystrad Recycling in Ystradgynlais, which is an Aladdin's Cave of goodies, and found just the right thing.
This little Lloyd-Loom style bedside cabinet is the perfect size to go under my sewing table. It will house my sewing books in the top part, and I can store fabrics or projects on the go in the cupboard underneath.
I will need to upcycle it a little - maybe give it a fresh coat of paint - but in the meantime, my sewing books are on it, and it's in place. What a lovely find, for just a few pounds - I am a happy bunny.
Day 299 - Tuesday 26th October 2021
Some spinning today.
Bob and I went along to a spinning group in Llansadwrn, where we met some lovely fellow spinners, drank tea, ate biscuits, and of course had lots of spinning practice. However, I still need lots more! I'm sure I'll get there in the end.
Day 297 - Sunday 24th October 2021
I've put most of my music corner together now, and I'm so pleased with it.
I've managed to get all my red, black, white, and some pinks crafty bits and pieces put there, organised in pretty jars and boxes and still accessible to use.
I love the pink shelves. Bob had reservations about the colour when he saw me painting them, but he agrees now that they look lovely and that the colour really suits the area, against the white, and with all the things I need to store there.
I'm also happy that I've found a suitable space to store one of my summer hats!
Over the last few years I've collected together quite a few strawberry themed items.
Most of them have been gifts from a lovely friend, who sends them to me each year to celebrate my "Strawberry Moon June", which is something I set up for myself a few years ago, in order to turn June (which had previously been a very sad and difficult month for me) into something more positive.
At last I am able to display and enjoy the lovely things Andrea has sent to me, as well as a few other bits and pieces, such as a lovely strawberry embroidered tray cloth, and two jars with strawberries on the lids which the owner of a yarn shop recently very kindly gave to me.
I also have some strawberry print fabric to use, so I'll think of something nice to make with it, to put in this area too.
My craft room has lots of books! As much as I love books, they can look clumsy and unattractive on shelves.
I think with the use of pretty jars, boxes, plants and fabric items, I've successfully displayed my music books so that they do look more attractive - and again, they are easily accessible.
A few years ago, my niece's partner had a CD and picture disc made of my late brother David singing. He had it transferred from an old audio cassette that I had, and it is one of the loveliest gifts I've ever had.
Dave passed away suddenly over ten years ago and I miss him so much. I've now been able to put his picture disc on the wall, and I'm so pleased with it. Dave was an accomplished musician and always inspired me to be musical. I can take up that inspiration again in my lovely music corner. I hope Dave would approve. I think he would!
I still have a few things to do in this corner to complete it.
For example, these two boxes are not going to stay like this, since they don't fit in with the colour scheme! The striped one at the top of the picture contains all my heart/love themed craft bits and pieces, and will be covered with some lovely shimmery heart wrapping paper which I have. The spotty one at the bottom of the picture will be découpaged in old sheet music, as it will actually contain all my loose sheet music!
I'll also be upcycling the larger of these two letter racks. I'll probably give it a coat of paint and maybe paint a flower or something on it. I haven't decided yet. I'll leave the smaller one as it is, as the wood is so nice.
I also have one more picture to put up in this area - above and to the right of the "Rapper's Delight' lyrics. I'm waiting for it to arrive in the post.
This corner is currently my favourite in the whole house! It feels really cosy, and colourful, and it's definitely a place where I'm happy to sit and make music! I can't stop looking at it at the moment. Haha.
Day 296 - Saturday 23rd October 2021
In today's art lesson with Julia, we were drawing and painting another hare.
As with last week, Julia started by giving each of us a pre-drawn hare which she had done, with the option to add grid lines for ease of copying. However, this time I decided to be brave and copy Julia's hare free hand, and I was quite pleased with the result.
Then I laid down the first layer of paint, again using the 'dragging' technique which Julia has taught us.
Whilst waiting for the paint to dry, Julia encouraged us to try out some different techniques and record them in a book. These books will be a good record of our progress, and I'm looking forward to doing this each week.
I then went back to my hare and gave him another layer of paint, then painted some grass, sky, and another pink moon!
After this, Julia demonstrated a great technique for tree-painting, and so I popped a tree next to my hare, and finished him off by painting in his eye, then adding whiskers, eyelashes and claw details with a fine black pen. There was a hairy (or harey? Ha!) moment, when I used paint initially to do the eyelashes, then didn't like them, and with Julia's help managed to blot them off. Phew!
Here he is, looking very cute and shy!
I enjoyed this so much again, and am really looking forward to next week's lesson, when apparently we'll be painting flowers.
Day 295 - Friday 22nd October 2021
The white shelves went up in the music corner of my craft room this evening. At the moment, they look a bit unbalanced, as if they need to be further over.
Because I have some pictures to put on that wall, the spacing wouldn't work if the shelves were further over, because one of the pictures - a vinyl picture disc recording of my late brother Dave singing - will only fit in between the brackets of the lower shelf, and then I need the space to the right to put a picture of some song lyrics that I love. I also have a third picture in mind for a bit further over again.
When both the sets of shelves are filled with all my music-related stuff, together with my red, white and black crafty bits and pieces (as well as some pinks), and the three pictures I have in mind are up, then balance will be restored!
Day 292 - Tuesday 19th October 2021
More on my lovely fine lacy blue shawl today....and yes, that is Joe Cat's foot in the picture! He loves to get in on the act. It's a cat thing.
Day 291 - Monday 18th October 2021
This is a collage of inspirational pictures I've gathered together from Pinterest.
They were all saved with the music corner in my craft room in mind.
In the top three pictures I like the cosiness, and the arrangements of the shelves, piano, and pictures on the walls.
In the next picture down on the left, again I like the shelf/picture arrangements, and also the throw on the piano stool. This is something I intend to make. In the picture to the right of that one (middle row) I love the plants, especially the trailing ivy down one side of the shelf.
The bottom two pictures sum up the kind of look I want for my entire craft room. I have lots of stuff - lots of crafty bits and pieces, which I've sorted into pretty jars & boxes, according to their colours and themes. I need to create a working space which is pretty yet functional and organised, if I am to love spending time and being creative in my craft room. These two pictures are very typical of how I want to arrange things.
The white shelves are ready and will be going up this week, and so I'll be putting the music corner together properly. The colours will be black, white & red, with some pinks thrown in for femininity and to blend in with the next area along in the room. Watch this space!
Day 290 - Sunday 17th October 2021
Yaaay! The pink shelves are on the wall. Thank you Bob, and thank you Bad Boy Drill.
I've now started putting the music corner together, although I won't fill the shelves until the white shelves are up. These are going to be going on the adjoining wall to the one with the pink shelves.
A lovely friend gave me a guitar stand, so today I added my guitar to the corner, and brought down the piano stool which until now has been living on the landing with a throw and cushions on it.
I have clear ideas of how I want to organise my music corner, and I've gathered some inspirational pictures from Pinterest. I'm currently making them into a collage and will share them in my creativity post tomorrow.
Day 289 - Saturday 16th October 2021
Another art lesson this afternoon, when Julia was teaching us to draw and paint a hare!
Julia started by giving each of us a pre-drawn hare which she had done, with grid lines added, so that we could put grid lines onto our blank page and then copy the hare.
After doing that, and rubbing out our construction lines, we then laid down the first layer of paint.
We used the same technique which Julia taught us last week when painting poppies - that is to put just a line of paint, and then use lots of water to drag the pigment into the areas where we wanted it.
Next we added a sun or moon (I chose a pink moon) behind our hare, and a green hill for him to sit on!
After that we added an inky blue sky, and laid down another layer of paint on the hare, since the first layer was dry.
Then we used a fine artist's pen to fill in his whiskers and eye details......
......and last of all a little bit of yellow ochre to fill in his eye.
And so there you have it - a purple rare hare under a pink moon! I have to say I am rather pleased with it, and already looking forward to next week's lesson.
Day 288 - Friday 15th October 2021
This lovely green yarn arrived in the post today, and it's the green I need to compliment the other yarns for my corner-to-corner crochet throw. I have just one more row to do with the original ball of yarn, and then I can begin putting new colours in.
Day 287 - Thursday 14th October 2021
The pink shelves are ready to go on the wall. Bob was going to put them up for me last night, but it seems my drill isn't strong enough to get through the walls of my craft room! So, a Bad Boy Drill is on order, and the shelves will have to wait.
I was hoping to have had the shelves up before my new arrival - this beautiful piano! However, walls dictate otherwise, so in the meantime I shall enjoy starting some piano practice! I'm so excited about this. I learned (and passed) to Grade 1 around forty years ago, and then for various reasons stopped. I've wanted to go back to it for years, but the timing has never been right. I now feel that it is, and I bought this beautiful lady on Facebook Marketplace, and she has taken pride of place in my music corner.
I've named her Maya, and it seems that Joe is keen to get a head start on me!
Day 286 - Wednesday 13th October 2021
I've almost reached the end of my ball of yarn for the corner-to-corner crochet throw I'm making, so I've been looking for some complimentary pinks and greens to go with it to make it bigger.
Last Saturday I popped to "A Good Yarn" in Pontarddulais, in search of some. I found two lovely pinks, and another variegated yarn, which I think will be nice for another band somewhere along the throw of a different kind of stitch. Since there is some cream in this new yarn, I also bought a ball of plain cream.
Unfortunately, the shop didn't have any greens which toned in, so I shall have a little look online to see what's available.
I'm really looking forward to getting to the end of the original ball now, so I can make a start with the others, and in the meantime, I shall exercise my creative thoughts in deciding where to go next with it, in terms of which colour to start with, and what sort of stitch/pattern to do.
Day 285 - Tuesday 12th October 2021
I put the first coat of pink paint onto the shelf unit for the music corner of my craft room today. I love this colour already!
Day 284 - Monday 11th October 2021
In lieu of a new arrival in my home in a few days' time, I'm putting together a music corner in my craft room.
The corner needs storage for lots of things, and the answer is some shelving. So I'm painting this shelf unit, ready to go on the wall.
Today I started with a coat of primer, since the unit at the moment is just bare wood. The unit will eventually be a pretty shade of pink.
The other bits balanced across the unit are the components for some additional shelves which will be going on the adjoining wall. Again, here they are primed, and their final colour will be white.
Day 283 - Sunday 10th October 2021
Today I've been working on my lovely fine blue lacy crocheted shawl. The progress is slow but sure!
Day 282 - Saturday 9th October 2021
This morning I went for an art lesson and painted some poppies!
Bob's friend (and my friend too) Julia Harris is an artist and is putting on some classes local to us, so I thought I would take the plunge and see if there is an artist inside of me.
I'm mindful of, and thankful for the creative talents I have, but I really would love to be able to draw and paint. My ultimate aim really is to be able to paint fairies and flowers, so that I can illustrate my writing. The artist gene seems to be right through my family, so I'm hoping it hasn't missed me out.
The medium was water colours, which I'm told are quite difficult to work with. Poppies are one of my favourite flowers, so this was a lovely place to start
I felt like I'd got off to a not-so-good start, but it was entirely my fault, as I wasn't listening properly to what Julia was telling us.
After that I felt that I did improve and made some progress.
I'm reasonably happy with my morning's work, but there is definitely lots of room for improvement. At least though, I don't feel as if I'm totally rubbish, so there's hope!
I learnt some fab techniques, which I will build on, hopefully with some practise this coming week, and I am really looking forward to the next session next Saturday, when apparently we'll be painting a hare!
Day 281 - Friday 8th October 2021
More on the sleeves of my chunky cardigan today. I've finished the first one and have made a good start on the second one.
Day 280 - Thursday 7th October 2021
I made a start on the sleeves of my chunky cardigan and am half way down the first sleeve.
The pattern said to pick up stitches along the armhole, but I just didn't like the way this was looking, so I decided to knit them independently and stitch them in place afterwards.
Day 279 - Wednesday 6th October 2021
Today I've been stitching up the shoulders of my chunky cardigan.
I used a single length of the same yarn to oversew the shoulders together, which made a lovely neat, flat seam.
Next I'll follow the directions in the pattern to evenly pick up the stitches for the sleeves along each armhole edge. The sleeves will then be knitted downwards.
Day 278 - Tuesday 5th October 2021
My chunky cardigan is now more than half way through. I've knittted the back and both fronts, and the next job will be to stitch up the shoulders, then pick up stitches along the armhole edge and knit the sleeves.
Day 277 - Monday 4th October 2021
Today at work I was working on a wedding gown, adding some diamanté beads along the neckline and straps. It's very pretty.
Day 276 - Sunday 3rd October 2021
Up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today I worked on my lovely blue lacy crochet shawl.
I do love how this is coming along.
Day 275 - Saturday 2nd October 2021
I went to the West Wales Wool Show in Narberth today with my lovely knorty-knitwit friend Angela.
There weren't many stalls this time, but there were some nice things to see and buy. With spinning in mind this year, I bought some fleece from The Vegetarian Wool Company, and also a lovely batt of fleece in the most beautiful green colours, which I am intending to spin into yarn and then make something lovely for my bedroom.
However, I won't be spinning it until I am satisfied that I am proficient enough at spinning to warrant such a lovely fiber...which may be some time away!
In the meantime, after a sniff or two, my lovely fiber was given the Joe Cat seal of approval!
Day 274 - Friday 1st October 2021
I've finished the back of my chunky cardigan and have made a good start on the left front.
As usual, Joe Cat wanted to be in on the action when I was photographing it......rest assured that I did manage to move him, before those claws actually went into my knitting! Haha, he does love 'playing piano' on knitwear!
Day 273 - Thursday 30th September 2021
Today at work I was making more sparkly fabric panels for our customisation kit boxes. I love sparkly fabrics!
Day 270 - Monday 27th September 2021
I bought these two curtain panels today from Dunelm.
They're ex display and were in the sale box. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them, and I can use the fabric to make something else.
They are colours which we have in our home, so I'm sure I can make something lovely with them.
Day 269 - Sunday 26th September 2021
Today I got creative in the kitchen, with a new toy to help!
A couple of days ago I bought a hand blender, which has a few different attachments, and decided to try it out on my first ever vegan cake.
Somebody in the Facebook vegan group I'm in shared a recipe for a vegan Victoria sponge, and I wanted to have a go at that, so I got to work measuring, sifting, beating, whisking, mixing and baking.
I whisked up some Elmlea Plant double and combined that with some fresh strawberries to use as a filling.
I have mixed feelings how this turned out to be honest.
For me the texture wasn't quite right - it was a bit rubbery and too dense to be a proper sponge. However, that might have been me over-baking it, rather than the actual recipe. My oven is a bit temperamental and sometimes I have to bake cakes longer than the recipe states. I'm always worried about having raw cake, so sometimes I do bake a bit too long.
I'll have to bake another some time to see. I had a slice with a cup of tea and really enjoyed the flavour. Bob's here tomorrow so we'll see what he thinks of it. Victoria sponge is one of his favourites!
Another of his favourites is lemon drizzle cake, and it's one of my favourites - both to eat and to make - and one that I do really well, so of course I baked one of those too! That's not vegan, but it is dairy free.
Day 267 - Friday 24th September 2021
Today at work I finished off the dress with the sparkly underskirt.
Firstly I needed to finish off stitching back on the lace appliqué, and then finally I needed to replace all the joining bar tacks around the hems of the skirts, to make sure that the layers move nicely together when the gown is being worn.
So this lovely sparkly, lacy gown is now ready to go off to the bride. I hope she loves her newly acquired sparkle and will feel fabulous when wearing it on her wedding day!
Next job up was to change the straps on another gown.
The bride wants the sparkly straps removed, and replaced with lace appliqué straps, using the lace which is already on the rest of the gown.
So my first job for that was to take off all the sparkly diamanté beads.
Day 266 - Thursday 23rd September 2021
I really enjoy hand sewing. I like the intricacies of it, and enjoy getting it all neat and as perfect as I can.
When adding a sparkly layer to the skirt of a wedding gown, this means that the skirts have to be separated from the bodice, and any lace appliqué and beading which is put on over the joining seams, etc., needs to be removed.
This of course means that it all needs to be put back at the end, when the dress is complete with sparkly layer, and that is just what I was doing today!
Day 265 - Wednesday 22nd September 2021
I picked up this sewing pattern for a sweet little girl's dress today in a charity shop. It's brand new, and cost pennies.
I bought it for a little project I have in mind, which may or may not materialise. I have lots of project ideas running around in my head at the moment, and I'm not sure at this point what direction my creativity will go in, but it's nice to be prepared for every possible eventuality!
Day 264 - Tuesday 21st September 2021
More work on the wedding dress with the sparkly layer today.
After cutting out the sparkle fabric layer yesterday, I stitched it all together today......
......and then inserted it into the main dress, joining it at the waist to the bodice.
It's Day Off for me tomorrow, so on Thursday I'll be putting the rest of the dress together, and I hope to have it finished for the end of the week.
Day 263 - Monday 20th September 2021
Today I started working on a new wedding gown - putting a layer of sparkly fabric in.
There's not a lot to see at the moment. I've taken the skirt off at the waist, and used one layer as a pattern to cut out the new sparkly layer. Then I'll be making that up and putting it all back together.
For today though, I just wanted to share the sparkle love!
Day 262 - Sunday 19th September 2021
Up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today, I collected together some lovely leaves, which I want to use for a craft project idea I have.
The project involves printing with leaves, and so I spent a bit of time in the autumn sunshine, having a little play around with some watercolour paints in pretty pastel colours.
It was good fun, and gave me some food for thought.
Day 261 - Saturday 18th September 2021
Today it was Worldwide Spin In Public Day.
To mark the occasion, Bob put on an informal event outside his studio at Craig-y-Nos Country Park. It was just a few of us spinners, getting together for a bit of a spin, a chat and some tea & Welsh Cakes!
I decided to get properly into the spirit, and spend the day spinning dressed in the traditional Welsh costume which I spent yesterday evening making.
Plus of course, in between playing hostess with the refreshments, I did manage to get lots of spinning practice in.
However, I know that I need lots more practice!
Day 260 - Friday 17th September 2021
This evening I've been on my sewing machine, making myself something to wear - a very rare occasion, as although I do lots of sewing, and I make knitted and crocheted things for me to wear, I don't very often sew for myself any more, so it was nice to be doing so!
Tomorrow is World Wide Spin In Public Day, and to mark the occasion, Bob is hosting an informal event outside his studio at Craig-y-Nos Country Park. Weather permitting, Bob and I will be outside with our spinning wheels, and hopefully some other fellow spinners will come along for a bit of a spin, a chat and some tea & Welsh Cakes!
I decided to get properly into the spirit, that I would like to wear a traditional Welsh costume.
I bought a shawl and a couple of hats (so I have a choice, haha) from a local shop which sells Welsh-themed things, and I have a white blouse, but I needed a long red skirt and an apron.
I started with the skirt.
Because time is a little short, I decided to make just a very basic long skirt, which I can just pull on - pleated at the front, and with elastic gathering along the rear waistline, so that I didn't have to worry about zips or buttons.
Although I obviously went shopping for everything I'd need a couple of days ago, I missed an essential item.
It's such a long time since I've made such a garment, that I completely forgot to get interfacing for the waistband! I therefore had to improvise and did so by using some curtain header tape! It actually turned out to be just right for the job, so that's ok!
I may however get some interfacing for my sewing stash, for future reference!
I finished my skirt off with a lovely deep, hand-stitched hem, and I'm very pleased with the final garment. No photo's until I'm wearing it tomorrow though.
Next I made the apron.
Again, this was very simple - just a plain, square apron, pleated across the front.
I had bought a ready-made apron from the Welsh shop, but it's a child's and although it ties ok around my waist, the apron part of it does look a little small.
For the sake of speed and economy I did cut the ties off the child's one to use on mine, but I didn't bother putting a lace frill around, since the traditional Welsh costume doesn't have lace on the apron.
So there you go - one Welsh costume to wear for spinning tomorrow, and I'm really quite looking forward to it!
Day 258 - Wednesday 15th September 2021
Today I popped into Lee Mills Fabrics in Swansea, to pick up some fabrics.
I need to make something over the next couple of days for me to wear. On Saturday, Bob is hosting a small, informal event for World Wide Spin In Public Day up at his studio, and I want something specific for that. Any ideas what it might be?
Day 256 - Monday 13th September 2021
I was working on another gown today, putting in a sparkly layer and I just wanted to share the prettiness of the sparkle, lace and colour of the underskirt combination. That is all!
Day 255 - Sunday 12th September 2021
Some cross-stitching in the sunshine up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today, working on my pretty towel borders.
Almost all of the lightest green is done now on these first four sections.
Day 252 - Thursday 9th September 2021
I'm now halfway through the rows of the pattern for my pretty blue shawl. However, this doesn't mean I'm halfway through the actual shawl, as the rows are going to get longer and longer!
I absolutely love this! Everything about it is so delicate - the yarn, the yarn colour, and the pattern itself. It's so pretty. It's quite challenging being so fine, as it hurts my finger and thumb joints, but I only do one or two rows at a time, so that's ok. It'll take a while to complete, but nobody's chasing me!
Day 251 - Wednesday 8th September 2021
Our lovely spinning friend Rhona has gifted me a beautiful Pfaff vintage sewing machine in a cabinet.
Bob and I collected her today and we've put her in place in the sewing area of my craft room. Her name is Ethel and I am so looking forward to getting to know her, and making some lovely things on her.
In the meantime, Joe seems to think that the cabinet is his new place to sit and watch the world go by! Well, I suppose he can sit there for a little while.
Thank you Rhona for such a lovely gift.
Day 250 - Tuesday 7th September 2021
I'm now halfway up the back of my lovely chunky cardigan. I love this yarn more every time I use it!
Day 249 - Monday 6th September 2021
When I started this, I had the intention of it becoming a cushion cover. However, I've changed my mind now and want to turn it into a triangular throw. However, it's not going to be very big once I've finished this ball of yarn, and I don't have any more of it. I also can't remember what yarn it is, and don't have the ball band. All I know is that it is wool rich, and probably sock yarn.
So, I'm going to start looking for some similar yarns in complimentary colours, so that I can add rows of crochet in different stitches, and some granny squares, to make it larger and more interesting. I shall literally make it up as I go along!
Day 248 - Sunday 5th September 2021
Craig-y-Nos Country Park is a lovely place for crafting in the sunshine, and today I worked on my pretty cross-stitched towel borders, stitching some of the palest green.
Day 247 - Saturday 4th September 2021
I found myself in A&E today. Not for me, for Bob, and everything's ok thank God. He had chest pains and we went to get him checked out, but all is good and I'm told he has a good heart! I knew that anyway.
Since I was kicked out of the waiting area because it was so busy, I took myself down to the Costa coffee shop to wait, and carried on with my corner-to-corner crochet throw, which is still coming along quite nicely!
Day 246 - Friday 3rd September 2021
Today at work I've been working on another beautiful gown, adding a lovely sparkly layer to the ball gown style skirt.
After cutting out the pieces and using them to make up the new skirt layer, I carefully pinned them - along with the other skirt layers - into place to attach them to the bodice.
Day 244 - Wednesday 1st September 2021
Some spinning today!
Bob and I have a lovely friend called Rhona. We met her when Bob bought a spinning wheel from her a little while back.
Rhona is an experienced spinner and offered to spin with us for a few hours, to pass on some of her expertise to us, and of course we took her up on it!
I definitely left Rhona's house feeling able to spin better than I could before we went there. Thank you Rhona!
Day 242 - Monday 30th August 2021
Some crochet up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today. Accompanied by the sunshine, and the obligatory cup of tea, I was working on my corner-to-corner crochet throw, which is coming along really nicely.
Day 241 - Sunday 29th August 2021
Today was the first of two days that I'm up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park. Always a fab location to stitch in the fresh air, and today I stitched some of my cross-stitched towel borders. Progress is slow but sure on this lovely project!
Day 236 - Tuesday 24th August 2021
Today at work I've been making sample panels of a new sparkly fabric which we've added to our fabric selection in customisations.
A yard of fabric is cut up into yard-long pieces, each of which is about twelve inches wide.
Then we attach a label to each which carries a numerical code for identifying when ordering by the bride.
The pieces are then put into our kit boxes, along with other sample pieces and these can be used by our stockists to demonstrate to a bride how her gown can be enhanced by putting a layer of sparkly fabric under the top layer.
This customisation is very popular - I've done quite a few gowns over the last couple of years with a sparkly layer added, and they look fab!
Day 234 - Sunday 22nd August 2021
Some work on my cross-stitched towel borders up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today.
Days 231 and 232 - Thursday 19th August 2021 and Friday 20th August 2021
Some work on my website today.
I've been doing the final stuff on archiving my May creativity page.
I've been writing blurbs for the top of the page, and tweaking some of the wording on my main creativity page.
Also I've added in all the links so that the page is easy to navigate to and away from, and now all that's left is to publish it.
Day 230 - Wednesday 18th August 2021
Today I finished my crocheted cwtchy blanket! Yaaay!
It was Day Off and I was up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park with my Lovely Man, who was working up there today, and I had lots of opportunity to sit and crochet. So I did!
I had previously decided to do as many interlocking scallop rounds as I had yarn for. As it happened, although I had plenty of green left, I only had enough of the red to do two, and as it was the red I wanted to finish on and not the green, that means that there are three scallop rounds on the edge. That's fine, I'm happy with that.
I then had a few random yarn ends to weave and stitch in, just to finish it off completely.
In the afternoon at Craig-y-Nos, the sun came out so I had the chance to take some photographs of it.
I didn't make a wonderful job of photographing the whole blanket out flat, but you get the idea.
It certainly is very large - perfect for us to cwtch under when watching T.V., which of course is what it's for!
I decided to fold it in quarters and photograph it that way, and that was when Ollie Dog got involved and decided that he really wanted to sit on it in the sun!
Well, how could I refuse, since he looked so handsome and so comfortable on it!
When Ollie had had enough, I did manage to do some of the obligatory 'creative' draped and rolled pictures!
Since I've been working on it for about three years, and it's had a variety of cats and a dog sitting on it, as well as being on the floor quite a bit for photographing, it now needs a jolly good wash! I'll pop it in the machine sometime soon, and then drape it somewhere whilst it's damp, so that it can use its own weight to block itself and save me a job!
Once it is washed and dried, I'll photograph it again on the sofa where it's going to live.
Day 229 - Tuesday 17th August 2021
More on the website today, when I made up a collage of craft projects completed and worked on during May, and turned them into the banner picture for the top of the May creativity page to be archived.
Now I need to do a write-up for the page, add some links so that it can be found from the main creativity page, and a couple of other tweaks and then it will be ready to publish.
Day 228 - Monday 16th August 2021
More website wizardry today.
I added a lovely May-themed background and footer picture on the May creativity page to be archived. Next job on this will be to make up a collage of pictures for the top of the page. Tomorrow maybe.
Day 227 - Sunday 15th August 2021
Up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today I worked on my lovely lacy blue shawl. This project is a bit of a challenge, as the yarn is really fine machine-knitting yarn, and I think it's only about one or two ply, and the hook is very small, so it plays havoc with my finger joints......
......but the result is so very worth it. It is so pretty and delicate. It just means that I can't do very much at a time, so it will take quite a while to complete. Worth the wait though, I think!
Day 226 - Saturday 14th August 2021
Whilst doing some work on the May creativity page of my website today, I noticed that I hadn't changed the background on my archived April creativity page.
I have now!
Day 225 - Friday 13th August 2021
More work on my website today, and on transferring the May posts over to an archived page.
Today I moved all of the actual posts content over to the new page. Hopefully more tomorrow!
Day 224 - Thursday 12th August 2021
I'm way behind with organising and updating my website, and in particular, archiving the pages, especially the creative pages!
So today I made a start on setting up the page for archiving the May creativity page. I got as far as changing the heading. Well, it's a start! Hopefully more tomorrow.
Day 223 - Wednesday 11th August 2021
I've finished the last of the green and red crocheted WIP cushions now.
I had a look through my buttons and found some lovely vintage black ones to use as the flower centres, so I stitched these on to the flowers......
......and then stitched the flowers onto the cushion in a little group.
I'm really pleased with it and have popped it on the landing with the other cushions in the same style and colourway.
Day 222 - Tuesday 10th August 2021
Today I closed the open edge of the green crocheted cushion cover, so that it sits properly over the pad I've made for it.
I used a small piece of spare green yarn and a crochet hook to crochet the opening together. It's left a bit of a ridge, but this will be on the back of the cushion so I don't mind, and it is neat.
I have a few little red flowers left over from the other similar cushions I've made, so I need to go through my buttons now and find some black vintage buttons to use as flower centres, before stitching them all on to the finished cushion.
That's a job for another day!
Day 221 - Monday 9th August 2021
The cushion cover is on the pad and I need to crochet it closed now, which I'm hoping to do tomorrow.
Day 220 - Sunday 8th August 2021
Some cross stitch in the sun up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today, working on my pretty towel borders.
Day 219 - Saturday 7th August 2021
The cushion pad for the green crocheted cushion cover is made and pinned closed. Next I need to stitch it closed. Time is so short at the moment, but hopefully I can do it soon.
Day 218 - Friday 6th August 2021
I like really fancy wedding gowns - lots of lace, frills, ball-gown sized skirts, etc. However, I also like really simple gowns, with clean lines, plain but rich fabric, and just a splash of lace or sparkle.
Today I was working on the latter - a simple gown, in a beautiful stretch georgette, with just a few lace appliqués.
The bride wanted some lovely crystal buttons stitched all down the back, and that is what I have been doing today. Beautiful!
Day 217 - Thursday 5th August 2021
Today I've been making the cushion pad for the remaining green WIP crochet cushion cover.
I had enough of the green twill fabric left for the case, and recycled filling from old cushions, which I'd washed and tumble-dried.
Day 216 - Wednesday 4th August 2021
The last of my trio of pretty cushions is finished.
Again it is pink, and frilly....and it has butterflies! What's not to love?
In my stash, I found a really pretty white butterfly motif, which is just perfect for one of the corners.
So I used some lovely pink glass beads to add a touch of colour to it......
......then layered it onto a corner over some pink ribbons.
I think that just finishes it off nicely.
I love how all three cushions look together.
I'm not sure if I'll keep them together when I eventually put them in place in the house, or if I'll split them up. I'll wait until I've finished all my rooms I think until I decide.
In the meantime, they can go in the big basket I have with some of the other cushions I've made and which don't yet have a permanent home in my home!
Day 215 - Tuesday 3rd August 2021
Yaaay! Now my lovely tulip cushion is finished and I'm really happy with this one too!
The focal point of the front of this one is also a cross-stitched panel, which my Gowjus Girl started stitching quite a few years ago and I've spent the last few months completing. Again I love the combination of pinks and greens.
For the front I've stitched the panel onto some pink poly cotton, and surrounded it with some pink & green braid which has a slight sparkle to it.
For the back I used a green mini print poly cotton, and used lace again to trim around the outside of the cushion.
This cushion pad is also made up of fabric from a duvet cover which I bought at a boot sale for 50 pence, and filled with recycled filling from an old cushion pad, which I washed and tumble-dried to restore its fluffiness!
So now I have two pretty, frilly, lacy cushions waiting for a new home somewhere in my home!
Day 214 - Monday 2nd August 2021
Yaaay! My lovely rose cushion is finished and I'm so happy with it!
The focal point of the front is a cross-stitched panel, which my Gowjus Girl started stitching quite a few years ago and I've spent the last few months completing. I love the combination of pinks and greens, and roses are one of my favourite flowers.
I stitched it onto some leaf-patterned poly cotton, and surrounded the panel with gathered pretty lace and some lovely green braid, which picks up on one of the greens in the cross-stitch.
For the back I used a lovely rose-print poly cotton, and used more of the lace to trim around the outside of the cushion.
The cushion pad is made up of fabric from a duvet cover which I bought at a boot sale for 50 pence, and filled with recycled filling from an old cushion pad, which I washed and tumble-dried to restore its fluffiness!
I absolutely love this cushion and am looking forward to looking at it every day when I decide which room to put it in!
Day 213 - Sunday 1st August 2021
Sitting up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park in the sunshine today, I re-started the blue WIP shawl. I got to the same point I did when I first crocheted it, and I'm much happier with how it looks this time. It is so fine and pretty.
Day 212 - Saturday 31st July 2021
I had a little play around with pencils and paper today.
I have a lovely book which shows how to draw fairies, in various steps, so I had a go at one of them. I'm quite pleased with it, although there is lots of room for improvement!
I really want to be able to draw fairies, so I'll dip in and out of this one when I have a few minutes here and there.
Day 211 - Friday 30th July 2021
The cushion pads are all made now for the three pretty cushion covers, so I can put the covers on and add any embellishments.
Day 210 - Thursday 29th July 2021
This is sort of a WIP......it's a shawl I started a few years ago and didn't get very far with. I then put it to one side, and when I got it out again, I wasn't happy with the tension. The yarn is incredibly fine and it needed a much finer hook than the one I had used.
I came across it recently and decided to give it another go, so I'm hoping to start it later today or tomorrow. The yarn has been hanging around a bit and has got a bit dusty and marked, but I'm pretty sure it's superficial and once I've made the shawl, I'll be able to wash it and it should come up ok. I'm happy to take the chance anyway.
I actually want the shawl to drape over a chair in my kitchen, in the same way I will use the yellow lacy knitted one I finished a few months ago. Yes, frivolous I know, but why not?
Day 209 - Wednesday 28th July 2021
I continued with some of my knitted chunky cardigan today. I've knitted up some of the back. It knits up quite quickly, so this shouldn't take me too long, and hopefully I'll have it ready for the autumn/winter so I can wear it.
Day 208 - Tuesday 27th July 2021
I was awake early this morning, feeling anxious about the biopsy later, so I took my mind off things with a bit of cross-stitch, and stitched some of my pretty towel borders.
Day 207 - Monday 26th July 2021
This afternoon and evening I've been in a private room on a ward in the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham.
Tomorrow I will have an MRI scan and a biopsy on a lump which is at the base of my spine.
This evening there was nothing for it but to read, watch T.V. and of course, crochet! I've brought along this small project. It's a corner to corner crochet and is something I started a while ago and got quite a few rows into, and then put it away and forgot how to do it when I went back to it!
So I frogged it and started to do a basic granny square, intending it to be a large one. However, I didn't like the way the colours were working out, so I frogged that too!
A little while ago, a lovely friend sent me the YouTube link for the corner to corner, and so I've started it again!
Day 206 - Sunday 25th July 2021
Today I was priming the rest of the naked bits of the shelves for the kitchen. Next step will be undercoating, but it will probably be a little while before that gets done. Off up to Birmingham tomorrow for my appointments at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.
Day 205 - Saturday 24th July 2021
Just a bit of spinning today.
I didn't have time for very much, and I still have a long way to go before I'm spinning well, but I'm quite pleased with my progress so far.
Day 204 - Friday 23rd July 2021
Whilst isolating today (prior to hospital appointments in Birmingham on Monday and Tuesday) I decided to do a bit of DIY/upcycling.
This is quite a tall shelf unit which Bob gave to me a while ago. I want to use it on one of my kitchen walls, for storing all my pastas, pulses, baking ingredients, and that sort of thing in glass jars with pretty labels.
However, as it is, it's too tall for the wall space. So, I want to use the top part as a separate shelf unit for a small space in another part of my kitchen (for tea and coffee containers, etc).
My Lovely Man sawed the top part off for me, and I spent late afternoon out in the garden in the sunshine, sanding down and priming the naked bits of the shelves. Both shelves will be painted yellow, distressed and varnished in the same style as the cupboard and shelves I finished for the kitchen a few weeks ago, so the next stage will be prime the rest of the naked bits.
Day 203 - Thursday 22nd July 2021
I've started making up cushion pads for the three pretty cushion covers I've made.
I'm using pink polycotton fabric from a duvet cover which cost me 50 pence at a boot sale, and the filling I'm using was in some old cushions which are no longer being used. It's been washing and tumble dried and is lovely and fluffy to use again!
Day 202 - Wednesday 21st July 2021
Today I started knitting the lovely chunky cardigan, using the yarn which my Gowjus Girl gave me.
With my Dad's lovely hand-made needles, I cast on and knitted the rib for the back, so now I'm ready to change needle sizes and knit up the back.
The yarn is lovely to work with and I love how it's looking so far. If you want to know about the yarn and pattern I'm using, you can scroll back to my creative post on Sunday 18th July, and all the information is there.
Day 201 - Tuesday 20th July 2021
I got the zip into my lovely butterfly cushion cover today, and now it's finished (apart from embellishments which I'll add when it's on a cushion pad).
So now I have three pretty, feminine, frilly cushion covers waiting for cushion pads. Better get busy with those then!
Day 200 - Monday 19th July 2021
Next job on my pretty butterfly cushion is to put the zip in. Today I got as far as pinning it in!
Gosh, progress is slow at the moment, but I suppose at least it is progress! More tomorrow.
Day 199 - Sunday 18th July 2021
I've been looking through my knitting patterns for a pattern to use with the lovely yarn which Lydia gave me. I have shelves in my craft room with loads of knitting patterns - in leaflets, books and magazines, but couldn't find one which would be suitable.
So I had a look online. The yarn is King Cole 'Stormy' in a 'super chunky' weight. I want to make an over-sized cardigan, to layer up with in the autumn/winter. I very rarely wear a coat, preferring to use lots of layers, including knitwear, and I want a super chunky cardigan to use as my top layer, and in a colour other than black! This yarn is perfect for that.
I couldn't find a pattern which I like for that particular yarn, so I had a look at similar weight yarns, and found a lovely one which uses 'Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick' yarn. It's pattern number L90157 and is available as a free download.
So, I hope to cast on later and get started on it. I'll be using needles in a size smaller than the recommended ones. This is because I know that my tension is loose, so I want it to be a bit tighter, so that the knitting is more 'together' and there should be no problem with shrinking when I wash it.
The larger needles in the picture are ones which my father made for me many years ago. He used doweling and turned the two little button-shaped knobs for the ends. They're not actually a perfectly true size to commercial knitting needles, but they're good enough, especially since they always remind me of my lovely Dad when I use them!
Day 198 - Saturday 17th July 2021
Some creativity in the garden today.
Last year I planted up an old, rustic looking wheelbarrow with some strawberry plants I had been gifted.
The plants themselves are absolutely thriving, and I am so pleased with them, although they're not yielding any fruit as yet.
However, I've been told that it's not unusual for the first year for them not to produce any fruit, so I am hopeful for next year.
They've been sending out lots of runners and today I wanted to tidy up the area and thin out the runners, and also add some other bits and pieces to make the whole thing a bit more attractive. So I cut back all the runners that were trailing down the back of the barrow, and left most of the ones at the front. Lots of them have already embedded into the earth, so I now have a wheelbarrow strawberry patch, and a ground level strawberry patch! I did pot up lots of the loose rooted plants on the runners, but forgot to take a photograph of those.
When I made up the barrow last year, I also planted an ivy at the base of the wheel and it has grown so much.
So today I put parts of it in place to try and train it to grow up and around the actual wheel. Hopefully it will also continue to spread across the ground, to fill in the gap where I've temporarily put some potted plants.
There are two places at the base of the barrow where I have a breeze block put into place, in order to stop the barrow from toppling over - this is because I have it at a bit of a jaunty angle against the tree, which is how I want it, for aesthetics, but it makes it top-heavy, so I've used the breeze blocks.
However, I don't really want them on show, so I'm going to try and grow plants around them. For now I've put a lovely Heuchera in place near one of them. I've kept it in a pot for now, to see if it likes it there, before I plant it properly.
The other breeze block is behind where I've put this potted-up black currant bush. I was given two of these bushes last year, believing them to be gooseberry bushes....well, that is what the guy told me! I got very excited when I saw 'gooseberries' growing on them, and then very confused when they turned black! I then realised they must be black currants and excitedly sampled three of them (yummy), taking a couple into the house to offer Bob a sample. He then refused, saying they looked exactly like Deadly Nightshade!! I then spent a frantic ten minutes googling the visual differences between the Deadly Nightshade bush and a blackcurrant bush. I'm still alive and kicking, so I think we can safely assume that they are indeed black currants. Haha.
Anyway, this bush has been at the side of the house in a sunny spot and it's not looking very happy. The other one has been in a shady spot at the back of the house, and is thriving. So I thought I'd pop this one in the shade near the wheelbarrow and to hide the other breeze block, and see how it gets on. I can always move it again if it's not happy there.
To fill up a couple of small gaps I've put a lovely pink geranium and an Alchemilla Mollis (Irish Silk) - again, in pots so that they can be relocated if they're not happy.
These ferns were really puny when I acquired them this time last year. They had about three fronds each, then appeared to die back during the winter and I thought they were gonners.
However, they've absolutely bounced back and are at least four times the size and with four times the amount of fronds on each. They've been under the tree all this time and I think that clearly demonstrates that they love it there!
I want to split them now, to get double the amount of plants and hopefully they'll grow as well again. However, I need to read up on how to do it properly and at what time of the year, so for now they can stay here, where they look lovely.
All in all, I'm very happy with how this little area of my garden is looking. There is still so much to do out there, and I have bits and pieces done here and there, so up until now it has all looked a bit 'bitty'.
Now though, when I look out of the window of the lounge, and see how pretty this area looks, it seems like it's starting to look like a proper garden!
Day 197 - Friday 16th July 2021
Pretty butterfly fabric for a pretty butterfly cushion!
This fabric is one of several 'fat quarters' I bought recently from Dunelm, and as soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for the backing to my butterfly cushion.
So today's job was to cut it to the right size and attach it to the front of the cushion, leaving enough gap for me to put a zip in.
Unfortunately, time did not allow for the zip too, so that's for another day!
Day 196 - Thursday 15th July 2021
Today I did manage to get the gathered lace stitched around the outside edges of the butterfly cushion.
Next job is to cut out and attach the back panel, leaving room for a zip.
Day 195 - Wednesday 14th July 2021
I had intended to get all of the butterfly cushion done today, but I only got as far as pinning the gathered lace in place around the outside edge.
Oh well, it's ready to stitch in place now, and there's always tomorrow!
Day 194 - Tuesday 13th July 2021
Today I've been preparing the lace to go around the outside edge of my crochet butterfly cushion.
It needs to be gathered, so I marked it out in sections using pins. Then I ran large machined running stitches (two rows) along each section, then gathered this up and secured it.
The lace is now ready to be attached.
Day 193 - Monday 12th July 2021
Yaaay! I finally got the zip into my cross-stitched roses cushion cover.
The cover is now finished, but I'm not going to do the big reveal until I've finished the final cushion cover in the trio - the one with the crocheted butterfly panel - and made the cushion pads to put them on.
Day 192 - Sunday 11th July 2021
Up at Craig-y-Nos Country Park today I was able to do some crochet in the sun, working on my cwtchy blanket. Previously I hadn't been able to decide whether to do the rows of scallops with each scallop directly on top of the one in the previous round, or with the scallops in between each other on each round.
After asking the opinions of two friends, and my Lovely Man (who will be sharing the cwtchy blanket with me!) it was unanimous - scallops in between each other. So today I got two full rounds done and started on the third. I'll probably do four or six rounds in total, depending on how far the yarn stretches! I'm really happy with how it's looking.
Day 191 - Saturday 10th July 2021
Today's creativity is of an inspirational kind.
I always feel inspired by the work of others, especially when I visit craft fairs and similar places, and today at Porthcawl was no exception.
There were a few lovely craft stalls along the sea front, which caught my eye, such as this stall of lovely colourful hats......
......This stall of pretty jewellery, all hand-made......
......and this stall of really yummy, bright and colourful hanging ornaments.
I left the area feeling uplifted by the colours and designs, and the fact that there are some talented people out there who are doing their best to promote themselves.
Day 190 - Friday 9th July 2021
I had intended to get the zip into my cross-stitched roses cushion today, but I only got as far as stitching along each side where the zip is going, to make the right sized space for the zip to go into!
Perhaps tomorrow will be the day for getting the zip in.
Day 189 - Thursday 8th July 2021
Just when you think you've dealt with all the cushion WIPs, you find one you forgot about!
This is a filet crochet panel I made lots of years ago. It's intended for a cushion, but at this stage I'm not sure what sort of a cushion I will make with it. The star pattern puts me in mind of Christmas, so I will likely make a specifically Christmas-themed cushion with it, but I'll ponder on it for a while.
Day 188 - Wednesday 7th July 2021
We popped over to Penarth today. Bob had some work to do over there, and Ollie & me went along for the ride, and for the three of us to spend some quality time together after the work was done.
Up in the town, in one of my favourite shops, I spied this lovely set of comfort grip crochet hooks, which are great for arthritic fingers, so I bought them. I'm looking forward to hooking lots of lovely things on them!
Day 187 - Tuesday 6th July 2021
More work on my cross-stitched roses cushion today. I cut out a back from some lovely rose-print fabric, and pinned and stitched it onto the front.
It's now ready to have a zip put in when I have a few minutes to get that done.
Day 186 - Monday 5th July 2021
Today I pinned and stitched the double lace frill all around the edge of my cross-stitched roses cushion.
The next part of this will be to attach a back to it.
Day 185 - Sunday 4th July 2021
A bit on my cwtchy blanket today. I've started the scallops around the edge properly now, and today completed the first round of red scallops.
Day 184 - Saturday 3rd July 2021
I'm going to put a lace frill around the edge of the whole rose cross-stitched cushion cover, with these two pretty laces.
As one is wider than the other, they will look really nice layered up.
First of all I sectioned off the laces into four parts, making each part twice as long as the section it is going to go along, so that there will be a nice amount of gathering.
I was away from my sewing machine today, so I gathered each section up by hand. It was very therapeutic!
Then I pinned each section of gathered lace into place along the edges of the cushion cover.
After that I ran out of time! Next time I can squeeze in a bit of sewing, I will machine-stitch the lace into place, evening out the gathers as I go along.
Day 183 - Friday 2nd July 2021
Today I've been putting a zip into the tulip cross-stitched cushion.
I love my vintage sewing machine, but unfortunately there is no zip foot in with the accessories. I've put a concealed zip in, and it is possible to do it without a zip foot - it's just a bit fiddly.
I started by pinning the zip into place along one side. Then I ran a row of machine stitching along the outer edge, just to stabilise the zip whilst I turned back the teeth part and got in close to stitch it into place.
I then repeated the process with the other side of the zip, taking care to match it up so that it will be in line with itself when done, and therefore will open and close smoothly.
I've put hundreds of zips in over the years, and one thing I've learned with a concealed zip, is to leave about an inch - at the closed end of it - free from any stitching. This is because it's practically impossible to get right into near where the tab joins the teeth and have a neat finish. If you leave an inch unstitched, the finished article is so much neater, and it's far less frustrating to do!
So my pretty cushion cover now has a neatly-inserted, smooth-running zip. I won't show the finished cover at this point, because it needs to have a cushion pad to show it off properly! That is for another day.
Day 182 - Thursday 1st July 2021
Today's post is a crafts-in-the-planning kind of post.
I really like this small basket I found at a boot sale when I was down in Kent. I've put it with the heart-shaped basket I recently bought, and will probably paint it in duck egg so that they go nicely together, and then use it in the back bedroom for plants or something.
Day 181 - Wednesday 30th June 2021
When I was leaving 'L2' yesterday, my Gowjus Girl gave me this lovely basket of yarn. She bought it to make something but is just too busy and thought I may like it. I absolutely love it, it's beautiful yarn, and I shall find something yummy to make with it for the winter.
Day 180 - Tuesday 29th June 2021
I absolutely love this sea shell fabric I found in a shop in Folkestone. I'm intending to use it for appliqué for cushions. Watch this space!
Day 179 - Monday 28th June 2021
Today I got some of my cross-stitched towel borders done. I did quite a bit on the green leaves, adding in a new colour.
Day 178 - Sunday 27th June 2021
Today's post is again about creative inspiration.
Craft market stalls always make me feel inspired to create stuff myself.
As I'm still in Folkestone, visiting 'L2', we went down to the harbour again today to visit the craft market, which operates on a Sunday.
The market is set up along the platforms of the old Folkestone railway station. It has a good mix of hand-made crafts, including clothing, jewellery, wooden items, candles, sweets & treats, and paintings & drawings.
There was a lovely vibrant, friendly atmosphere and I came away from there with all my senses heightened and lots of ideas buzzing around in my head. A lovely visit!
If you find yourself in the Folkestone area on a Sunday (from April through to October)I would highly recommend a visit to the Sunday market. Please click here if you would like to find out more via their website. (Opens in a new window).
Day 177 - Saturday 26th June 2021
No practical creativity today, but plenty of creative inspiration.
Lydia, Lewis and I went down to Folkestone Harbour Arm, via the Folkestone Creative Corner, where there is so much to see.
There are lots of independent businesses there selling all sorts of delights, including jewellery, artwork, sculpture, artisan foods, fabrics & yarns, and clothing.
I always feel inspired any time I visit vibrant, eclectic areas like this. My head is buzzing with all sorts of ideas.
If you find yourself in the Folkestone area I would highly recommend a visit to their Creative Corner. Please click here if you would like to find out more via their website. (Opens in a new window).
Day 176 - Friday 25th June 2021
During a very chilled-out day down in Kent with my Gowjus Girl and her handsome man, I worked on my cross stitched towel borders.
I stitched more of the trailing leaves, and some of the lighter pink on the periwinkle flowers.
I love how this is taking shape.
Day 175 - Thursday 24th June 2021
Some creativity tools/materials loveliness today!
Bob spotted some lovely stitching bargains on Marketplace which he thought I would like, and they arrived recently in the post.
A lovely old tin, filled with lots of embroidery threads, an old needlework case filled with tools, and a couple of other bits and pieces.
The tin itself is lovely - a crinoline style lady, and I love the blue and yellow colours, which would actually look lovely in my kitchen!
There is a large quantity of skeins of embroidery floss, mainly in the Anchor brand, which is my favourite brand to stitch with. I'll have to get lots of cross stitching and embroidery done to use them all!
The sewing case is clearly old and loved. The back spine is unfortunately broken, but I'm sure with some care and patience it can be restored so that it functions properly.
The case is filled with some lovely old needle craft tools......
......some of them I know what they're for and how to use them, but others I don't, so I'll have fun finding out.
There are some lovely old sewing needles - 'sharps' - still in their packets......
......and I love this needle threader in a smart case - far superior to the ones you can buy now!
There are a few different crochet hooks, including this very fine one (for filet crochet, or for crocheting fine lace) in its own case to protect the delicate hook.
There is also a reel of Sylko thread, on a wooden reel. I love these old reels and threads, they bring back such lovely childhood memories for me.
Finally, there is a chart for an embroidered tablecloth with flowers on.
I haven't had much experience of free-hand embroidery, and I'd love to do more, so I may start that journey by making this tablecloth.
In any event, this lovely little parcel of goodies has left me feeling nostalgic and inpsired!
Day 174 - Wednesday 23rd June 2021
Back to my pretty tulip cushion today, and my mission was to cut and attach the back to the front, and leave room to insert a zip along the top.
I started by cutting the back fabric to size, and then I pinned and stitched the front to the back along three of the edges - the bottom and the sides.
I'll be putting a concealed zip in along the top, so the next thing was to prepare the top seam for the zip.
For this, I lined up the centre of the seam with the centre of the zip, then measured an equal amount in from each edge, along the top seam, putting a pin each end to mark. Then I stitched along to the pin on both ends. Next I turned the whole cover through to the right side, just to check that I hadn't caught any of the edges of the lace in the seams. However carefully you stitch, it's such an easy thing to do so it's always best to check before trimming the seams.
The other thing which I did was to open and close the zip a few times, just to check that it is running smoothly.
I turned the cover back to the wrong side, clipped the corners, trimmed all the seams, and then turned it back out to press.
It's now ready for the zip to be put in, which I'll do another day.
Day 173 - Tuesday 22nd June 2021
Back to the garden ladder project.
One lovely clematis planted next to the ladder.
Obviously I disturbed ground where I'd planted the wild flower seeds when I dug the hole, so I scattered a few more.
We haven't had proper rain for a few days, and the garden is very dry. No rain is actually forecast, but it does feel like rain is in the air, so I'll give it until this evening and if no rain, out I shall go with my watering can and quench the garden's thirst!
Day 172 - Monday 21st June 2021
Back to my pretty tulip cushion.
I had this lovely lace which I wanted to gather all around the edge of the cushion cover.
I don't have a gathering foot for my Pearl my sewing machine, so I needed to do it the 'old-fashioned' way!
I had two different types of lace - one wide, and one narrower - and so the first thing to do was to stitch them together so that they could both be gathered at the same time.
After stitching them together, I gave them a press and then sectioned them off using pins, into four equal sections. This is because the cushion cover is square, so each side is of equal length, and because it is easier to gather in sections than it is to do one long piece.
I then ran two rows of machined gathering stitches (a straight stitch, set on the longest stitch length the machine will do) along each section, and then pulled them up into a gather by hand, until each section was the required length to fit along the sides of the cover.
Please note that I used a slightly contrasting coloured thread to do the gathering, just to make it easier to see. This stitching will eventually be hidden in the seams of the cover so it's ok to do that.
Next I needed to attach the lace to the cover, so I ran a row of stitching all around, 1.5 cm from the edge, to act as a marker for stitching the lace on to. I again used a slight contrast coloured thread to do this.
Then I pinned and stitched the gathered lace in place, evening out the gathers as I went along so that it gives a nice neat frill.
It does need a press, but I'll wait until I've attached the back of the cover and trimmed back all the seams and corners before doing this - my next job!
Day 171 - Sunday 20th June 2021
A bit more on my ladder project in the garden.
I bought a clematis a couple of weeks ago, and had a spot in mind to put it. However, I think that spot is no longer viable, and I've been wondering where else I could put it......
......so I've decided that trailing up the side of the ladder would be pretty good.
So for now I've put it in place in it's pot, and I'll see how it gets on there over the next few days.
If it seems to like that spot, then that's where I'll plant it.
Day 170 - Saturday 19th June 2021
A bit more on my pretty tulip cushion.
Today I've been hand stitching some pretty braid along the centre of the pink ribbon frame......
......folding over at the corners to make a neat finish.
I'm really happy with how this is looking. The braid picks up the colours in the tulip image, and there is a slight sparkle to it, giving it a subtle touch of fairy glitter!
Tomorrow I will sort out some lace to make a frill around the edge of the whole cover, before cutting out and joining on the back.
Day 169 - Friday 18th June 2021
Following on from yesterday's garden creativity, this evening after work I did as much as I'm able to on the area for the time being.
I gave the ground another quick rake, and then I sprinkled around the wild flower seeds.
Next I sifted a thin layer of soil on top to cover them, rather than rake them in. This is because since the area is at the base of a tree, there's not much scope for going too far in the ground because of the tree roots.
Then I gave the area a bit of a water....although judging from the atmosphere at the moment I think rain is on its way, so I didn't soak it.
Finally I popped the ladder back into place how I want it against the tree. Now it's down to Mother Nature to do her bit, and hopefully the flowers will grow around the ladder! It'll be fun waiting to see anyway, and I have plenty of other stuff to be getting on with in the garden, so that should keep me occupied and stop me obsessing over whether the seeds are sprouting or not! Haha.
Day 168 - Thursday 17th June 2021
Some garden creativity today.
After getting so much done in the garden yesterday, I really wanted to continue the momentum after work today. To be honest, I felt exhausted but was determined to get out there for an hour or so, and I did manage it.
This picture collage is a sample of something I've been looking at on Pinterest and which has inspired me to do something similar in my own garden. People have used old stepladders to display potted plants on.
I really like the idea....however, I don't want mine to be as neat and organised as the ones I've seen. In keeping with how I want my garden to look overall, I want something a little bit more wild and natural looking - as if someone had used a ladder, and then left it there, and it had been kind of taken over by the flowers and plants!
This ladder, until yesterday, was leaning against next door's shed, with a view to taking it down the tip, because I didn't feel it was the right sort of size to do the ladder with plants thing with! Then Bob made a comment about an area of the garden under one of the trees, which was growing wild. He suggested I leave that area wild and put some sort of 'prop' there to make a feature.
It was then that I made the connection with the ladder and thought it would be perfect propped against that tree, with wildness growing all around it! So I moved it across and it's the perfect height, as the top of it meets where the tree divides, so it could tell the story of someone using it to go up into the tree and for some reason after that it was 'abandoned'. Perfect!
Anyway, this picture shows the area around the tree just as it was today before I set to work to make the inspiration a reality.
I've decided to strip the area back to basics, and then put down some wild flower seeds and see what they do.
Together with the flower seeds, I'll put some grass seed down, and I also want to try and train a plant or three up the sides of the ladder. I'll definitely try and use some ivy for this, and maybe a climbing rose or similar.
So today I pulled up all the weeds, and got rid of most of the stones and things from the soil, then raked it over roughly.
I can't dig the soil as such, because it is so close to the tree roots. So tomorrow I will give it another rake over, sprinkle the seeds, and cover it all over with some spare soil. Then sit back and wait for Mother Nature to do her thing!
Whilst Mother Nature is doing that, I'll look for some suitable plants to train up and around the ladder. I've taken some cuttings of ivy from elsewhere in the garden - fairly long stems - and have put them into water outside to see if they'll grow some roots.
In the meantime, I've popped the ladder back into place, so that it can get used to its new home!
Day 167 - Wednesday 16th June 2021
Today I began making up the cushion cover using the cross stitched tulip panel.
I've cut a panel of the pink fabric from the recycled duvet cover to 40cm square, and will put the cross stitched panel in the centre.
So I began by trimming evenly around the panel and then stitching it into place in the centre of the pink fabric.
I want to edge the tulip panel with some ribbon and braid, so next I found a toning pink ribbon and matching thread.
Then I stitched the ribbon all around, folding it at the corners to create a neatly shaped finish. Next I will stitch some pretty braid along the centre of the ribbon - a job for another day.
Day 166 - Tuesday 15th June 2021
Today I've been finishing off adding a sparkly layer of glitter tulle to the skirt of a wedding gown.
I've done quite a few of these lately, and I always love how they look - the glitter particles remind me of champagne bubbles!
When finishing off this kind of job, one of the tasks is to put all the small anchor stitches back into the skirt layers. These are placed at intervals around the dress, towards the hem line, and they help to allow for freedom of movement for the skirt, whilst at the same time keeping the layers all together so they don't end up as a bit of a crumpled mess.
This task can be quite tricky and time consuming. However, one way to aide this is to mark each of them with taylor's tacks in a contrasting thread when the skirts are being dismantled, and to also mark their placements on the new glitter layer when it is being cut out, using the originals as a guide.
In this way, the tacks on each layer can be married up with the next layer, and the new stitches be put into place, before removing the contrasting markers.
There are lots of anchoring stitches around the bottom of this gown, and when they were all put back in to place, the skirt was falling in beautiful, informal soft folds.
Again, I really enjoyed doing this customisation, and I hope the bride who wears it will get as much joy out of her beautiful dress, as I had working with it.
Day 165 - Monday 14th June 2021
More work on my cross-stitched roses cushion.
I changed my mind about the pink ribbon around the centre cross-stitched panel. I found some lovely green braid instead, which really brings out the greens of the rose leaves.
So I pinned it into place all around the edge of the panel, covering the ruffled edging of the lace, and then stitched it down by hand.
Next time I work on this I'll be adding some gathered lace around the edge of the cushion cover itself.
Day 164 - Sunday 13th June 2021
This is the story of two 'ats!
Since I seem to be spending a lot of time crafting in the sun up at the beautiful Craig-y-Nos Country Park lately, it has become apparent that I need a head covering so my brain doesn't get fried!
So I recently bought these two lovely hats. I'm not a hat person really, but I do like both of these and they do seem to suit me. However, since I must wear a hat, I decided to make a bit of a statement. So the boring bands and tiny flowers needed to come off and be replaced with something a little more bold and colourful.
I went through my boxes of craft bits and bobs and found a lovely bright scarf and some pretty flowers.
I started with the hat I bought on the high street. First I took off the narrow band and small flowers, which can go into my craft stash as I'm sure they'll be useful for another craft project somewhere down the line.
I then added two different bunches of leaves, which I threaded through the fabric of the hat and stitched into place by their stems.
This was followed by a lovely cerise pink rose, which has a brooch pin on the back of it, so was easy to add.
Finally I stitched on some pretty little purple flowers.
Next I moved on to my charity shop find - a brand new hat which I found in a charity shop in Devon, and which was a quarter of the cost of the high street one!
I added a lovely bright red chiffon scarf around it, and I had some more of the small purple flowers, so I added one to the back where the scarf ties and some along the front.
So now I have two 'ats to choose from!
This one is my favourite, so I expect I'll wear it a lot. I wore it at Craig-y-Nos today, and actually had two compliments on it from one complete random stranger and one lady who I've only met once before. It felt good!
I also like this one though, so I'll wear it sometimes.
It's nice to have a choice!
Day 163 - Saturday 12th June 2021
A bit of work on my cross-stitched roses cushion today. I want to add some lace and ribbon on the front, around the centre cross-stitched panel.
I started by gathering up the lace and stitching it into place around the edge of the panel, with the frill facing outwards away from the roses and towards the outside edge of the cushion cover.
Time was very limited for creativity today, so I got as far as starting to pin the pink ribbon in place, over the gathered part of the lace.
Hopefully tomorrow I'll be at least able to finish pinning, and then stitch the ribbon into place.
Day 162 - Friday 11th June 2021
My creativity post today is more of an inspirational one, rather than hands-on creativity.
These lovely reels of thread caught my eye in a charity shop in Devon when we were there. In fact, they more than caught my eye...I bought them!
I don't particularly need any reels of thread, as I already have hundreds of them in all sorts of colours. They're all in my craft room, displayed in jars of colours.
However, the lovely colours made me feel inspired. I also like that they are vintage, and I particularly like that some of them are on wooden reels! I remember wooden cotton reels from my childhood when my brother Dave used to make cotton reel 'tanks'. Since Dave is no longer with us, that is a precious memory.
Anyway, back to the reels of thread. I think I'll put these in a jar all of their own, because they are vintage. They can go in the 'rainbow' corner of my craft room, where I have lots of different coloured things.
As for the wooden ones, I have a bit of a DIY job in mind for them at some point in the future.
Day 161 - Thursday 10th June 2021
I've been playing around with the edging of my cwtchy blanket today. I'm still working on the first (red) scalloped row, but I've been having a look at how I'm going to place the next (green) row. I'm undecided whether to place the scallops directly on top of the ones in the previous row - as in the top picture - or in between the previous scallops as in the bottom picture. Hmmm, decisions decisions.
I will leave the two samples in place whilst I crochet the rest of the red, and then decide.
Day 160 - Wednesday 9th June 2021
Today I started the scalloped border of my cwtchy blanket. Yaaay!
That is all!
Day 159 - Tuesday 8th June 2021
You may remember that a while ago, I ran out of blue yarn to complete the single crochet row of that colour on my cwtchy blanket. I got around it by crocheting a slip stitch row instead of single crochet, and this worked, so I was very pleased.
However, although it worked in as much as I had enough yarn to do it, it has caused the blanket edging to flop over at that point, instead of sitting flat. I was hoping that continuing to crochet more rows around - and therefore adding some weight - would sort this out, and it has helped a bit, but it's still flopping over and spoiling the throw.
I think I've come up with a solution to this - by catch stitching (on the wrong side of the blanket) the two rows either side of the blue, in order to pull them together over the blue. So this is what I've been doing today.
The blanket is large, and it took quite a while to go around all of it, but I finally completed it, and it seems to have worked.
The only slight problem is that it's caused a bit of a ridge along the cream row, but in the grand scheme of things, I'd rather have a bit of a ridge than a floppy border!
Now I can get on with crocheting the scallops for the final part of the border, and hopefully it won't be long before we're cwtching under our cwtchy blanket! Yaay.
Day 158 - Monday 7th June 2021
I've finished the single crochet red and green rows of the border of my cwtchy blanket! Yaay! Now for some scalloping to commence.......or can it?
I do have a bit of a problem with this section, which needs sorting......but I'm too tired to do it tonight, so it will have to wait until tomorrow. Watch this space!
Day 157 - Sunday 6th June 2021
Today I spun my first ever yarn!
I've been trying to do it on and off for a couple of weeks and getting nowhere. This has been very frustrating, because I've been doing stuff with fibers, yarns and fabrics since I was a child, so to not be able to do something of that ilk is very disappointing.
However, Bob thinks (well, he knows now actually) that the wheel I've been using isn't quite right and so it was never going to happen with that one. So Bob's going to sort it out, and in the meantime, he's given me another one to have a go on, and hey presto! Spinning in the sunshine up at Craig-y-Nos today, and I managed to get somewhere within about fifteen minutes.
It's far from perfect, but at least it's some sort of recognisable yarn, and it's made me feel a whole lot better about it all.
I managed a bobbin full, and as you can see it's full of lumps, bumps and imperfections!
So I shall have to have lots and lots of practice, produce lots and lots more bobbin fulls, and turn those imperfections into perfections! Again I say - watch this space!
Day 156 - Saturday 5th June 2021
Today I've been putting together a cosy corner in my kitchen, with the yellow cupboard, shelf and spice rack I put up a few days ago.
This cute little hanging ornament is made up of two separate hearts, which I think I bought in two separate shops in Narberth on one of our Knorty Knitwits outings. The smallest heart says "Sunshine always follows the rain" - this is so true, and I always find it inspirational when things seem a little bit rough.
Anyway, it now sits on a handle of one of the yellow cupboard doors, looking very cute and inspiring me every time I go in that cupboard......
......which is often, now that the cupboard is filled with lots of the lovely sauces, spices and other cooking essentials which I use on a daily basis. It's so nice to now have them neatly organised, and at a better height.
Before they were all stored in one of my other kitchen cupboards, down at floor level, which was no good for my knees and back every time I had to get down there to get any out, and definitely no good for my patience, since that cupboard was over-full and things fell out regularly!
This corner of my kitchen is also now a perfect place to put some other lovely things I've had for a while......
......a cute little 'welcome' angel......
......a lacy yellow heart which looks lovely on the wall nearby......
......and a couple of gowjus bunny mugs. There are six mugs all together - three with a bunny, and one each with a squirrel, a fox, and a hedgehog. They don't all fit in this area, but I have another shelf on the go for a different part of the kitchen, and the rest will go on there. I bought them in B&M quite a while ago, so they weren't expensive, but I am so impressed with the quality of the mugs, as well as the designs, which look as if they're hand painted on. Also, they are a lovely size for a nice big cup of tea!
I really love pretty tins, boxes and jars for using as storage around my home.
Some of these tins are recent purchases, but the Colmans and Oxo tins are vintage, and I am so happy now to have somewhere lovely to display them.
Another thing I love is this cute little spice rack, which my clever brother in law made many years ago, and which until now has been sitting in my "DIY things to do" area in my store room!
The Schwartz spice jars are years old. I've always liked the shape of them and have collected them over the years and used to use them in the house in Cardiff. Then they got packed away when we moved and since then I've been using own brands of herbs and spices.
The labels are also quite old - again I bought them in Cardiff and used some of them, then packed them away with the jars. Now is the perfect time to use both, so that I can display them on my newly-painted spice rack. The rack doesn't hold many, so I've chosen herbs and spices which I use fairly often in my cooking. I'm hoping to use the rest of the jars and labels elsewhere in the kitchen as I progress in decorating it and putting up more shelves and storage.
I absolutely love the way this corner of my kitchen is looking now. It's a completed cosy corner in a house which is still very much a work in progress, and reminds me that I can achieve the look I want in my home, even if it takes me longer than most!
I love the happy yellow colour and the vintage, distressed 'shabby chic' style, and I'm so looking forward to doing more of the same!
Day 155 - Friday 4th June 2021
Today I worked on my cross stitched towel borders. I'm currently stitching some of the flower parts of the trailing periwinkles.
It's slow progress, but I love how it's looking!
Day 154 - Thursday 3rd June 2021
Today at work I finished off the job of making up some keyhole straps and cap sleeves to be used as samples for our customisation kit boxes.
I started with the lace to be used along the edges of the sleeves. It's a really pretty floral lace, with an eyelash edging, so I needed to trim it off to expose the eyelash detail.
Then the lace was pinned and stitched along the edges, with the scallop and eyelash part just peeping over the edge.
The next job was to prepare the lace motifs to be appliquéd on to the rest of the sleeves. The motifs are quite large, and so they need to be cut into smaller pieces and then placed in a pleasing pattern arrangement on the parts of the sleeves which will cover the shoulders of the bride wearing the dress.
For our samples we have an allocated lace which we use, but a bride can choose to use lace which is already on her gown for her cap sleeves or keyhole strap, in order to match and enhance her gown.
The appliqué was cut, arranged, pinned and stitched into place.
After pressing and attaching one of our fabric labels, which includes a code to identify the sample when ordering, the cap sleeves were ready to be put into the sample boxes.
The keyhole strap needed one more detail....as it fastens at the centre back of the neck, I needed to attach a popper and put a piece of appliqué lace over this to neaten the final look.
The straps were then pressed and with their labels attached they too were ready to go - after being beautifully modelled by Taylor our mannequin of course!
Day 153 - Wednesday 2nd June 2021
Today I started putting together the cross-stitched roses cushion cover.
Having decided on what fabric to use for the front, to mount the panel on, I cut the panel to even up the edges and then cut the fabric for the front to size. Then I stitched the panel on to the centre of the front.
My next job will be to edge around the cross-stitched panel with ribbon or braid. I haven't decided which yet, and I'm not entirely sure that either of the two I have put aside for this are quite the right colour. I'll have a little think on it.
Day 152 - Tuesday 1st June 2021
Today at work I was making up some keyhole straps and cap sleeves to be used as samples for our customisation kit boxes.
I began by gathering together all the components - soft tulle, pretty lace, and the pattern pieces to cut them out.
After cutting out the tulle pieces, I stitched together the shoulder seams, then trimmed and pressed.
Next was to stitch the joined pieces together (fronts and backs) in order to give the finished shapes for each, trimming and clipping into the seams as necessary so that they would lie flat when pressed.
Finally I turned them out to the right side, and then pressed them so that they are nice and neat & flat, ready to have the lace appliqué stitched on to them when I'm back in work on Thursday.
Up, up and away......
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