Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The winds of change

Some people don't like change, but I like it. I like the changes of the seasons, I like the fact that there is a definite chill to the air in the mornings and that I'll need to put away my summer clothes and get out the autumn ones (or buy new ones). The end of this summer is an end of era and the start of quite a lot of changes to my life. Tomorrow is officially the start of my new contract and new role at work and I am looking forward to that. It was such a relief to recycle all the late slips and misconduct forms today now that I wont need them any more.

I am also moving into the next stage of mummy life as I will no longer have a  pre-schooler, both my children will be in school. I am a little sad about that but I feel that I will have time to do jobs when they are at school and wont have to do them when they are at home. I do have an idealistic notion of being able to completely tidy up the house and cook delicious home baked delights for when I pick them up from school. I'm going to need a beautiful apron for that. I am also going to have the whole of Friday to myself and rather like the idea of spending it making stuff. I really do feel quite excited about the future and that's a very nice feeling to have. Bring on the changes, I'm ready for the good times.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The finished "I am 40 quilt"

I did actually finish the quilt several weeks ago now, but forgot to post a picture. Almost a year after starting my first ever quilt, it is now finally on the bed and just as cosy as I could ever have hoped for. The first blog I wrote was about the quilt, so I couldn't really miss out on writing about finishing it. It does actually feel like quite an achievement and something to be proud of. I hope to keep it forever.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Dahlias at the Secret Gardens of Sandwich

The August bank holiday does seem like the end of the summer, especially seeing as I am going back to work tomorrow. There may well be some sunny days left, but no more heatwaves. The days are getting shorter and in the evenings, there is a chill in the air. If it weren't for dahlias, I'm certain I would feel quite sad about the last sweet peas and some of the tomato plants looking a little worse for wear. The Secret Gardens of Sandwich are the perfect place to see dahlias and there is even a dahlia festival at the beginning of September. They are totally stunning and most definitely my August bank holiday favourite.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

A trip down memory lane

The memory is quite an incredible thing and I am often amazed at how clear snipets from the dim and distance past can appear. Memories of childhood always have a comforting feel, surrounded be nostalgia, they can't help but make you happy. The Cath Kidston Shop is proving to be quite a tourist attraction for visiting members of family, especially those who love to shop and when we visited there today, it really was a trip down memory lane. There amongst the bags made out of vintage fabrics (which are my favourite) was one made out of my mum's curtains. They ones I grew up with at home. I am almost tempted to go and get the bag and my mum wishes that she had kept the curtains.

Somehow I really love the fact that a piece of fabric can bring back so many happy and wonderful memories.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Completely a glow

One of the things I find most relaxing and inspiring is a mooch around a car boot sale, all by myself. I like to look at the old things most of all and imagine their previous owners and all the places they have been, a bit like the secret life of objects. There is quite a lot of junk but also what I consider to be treasure. Old tins are definitely a dear favourite with me and my children.

I got this old Vaseline tin from this really lovely lady who had quite a lot of her own crafted goods on her table. I sometimes think that perhaps like minded people are drawn to each other because she told me of all her wonderful projects and was quite an inspiration. I do wonder why the Vaseline tin appears to have the word "Onions" scratched on it. It is far too small to have ever contained onions but perhaps it was once used to hold onion seeds or could have possibly belonged to someone called "Onions". I have in fact taught someone with that surname from this area......

My real treasure today was a beautiful yellow glass vase which could have been made for nasturtiums, they look so stunning in it. I also got a brand new Monsoon yellow sundress and almost feel as if we might need to have another yellow day, to celebrate my new yellow purchases.

When I changed Charlie's room into a guest room for my mum who is visiting for the bank holiday weekend. They practically lit up the room with an incredible glow.

Friday, 26 August 2011

On the road to success

It only took a couple of rows yesterday to commit the crochet cluster pattern to heart and then the gloves took no time at all to finish. They were done in less than a day and seeing as I didn't spend the whole time working on them, I'm quite pleased. They are a long way from perfect and they are not really quite the same size. The pattern called for a 5mm crochet hook, which I couldn't find so I used a 4.5mm. They did come up on the small side but I do have quite little hands. There is, to be honest, a fair amount wrong with them but the yarn is beautiful and I have every intention of wearing them, probably far sooner than I would have hoped for too. Today the weather really was appalling and I could have quite happily worn them whilst I stood in the rain watching Charlie jump in muddy puddles.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Following patterns

I really would be a great deal better and both knitting and crocheting if I practiced following patterns. I have pretty much given up knitting socks because I just am unable to concentrate enough to fathom out the pattern. I would love to be able to knit or crochet jumpers or cardigans, but they are way beyond my skills. I am therefore having another go at a pair of fingerless gloves and this time I am going to crochet them. The last pair that I knitted where a complete disaster. They are not even both the same size and totally unwearable.

I have found a pattern from a lovely lady called Lizzie on her Crochet Panda blog. I took Charlie out on the back of my bike this afternoon to buy his first ever pair of school shoes and picked up one of my favourite yarns, Rowan alpaca cotton in spruce. I made a hat last winter in the same yarn and this pattern has a similar shell design so I plan for them to vaguely match. After spending the day sewing name tags in new school uniform, it's makes quite a change to do something challenging.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Quilt Progress

After tidying out my fabric drawers, I now have a basket full of scrap fabric to use on Josie's quilt. I think I am going to stick with the idea of 28 squares and 12x12" is quite a good size. As yet I have only completed 7 squares but I'm really happy with how they look.

As a border to the quilt I have also started to embroider little motifs on smaller squares with red crochet thread. For inspiration I have been searching the Internet for patterns and I'm collecting on a new Pinterest board, Josie's quilt. My favourite so far is Binary Folk by Heidi at Speckless. I have brought the pattern from Etsy and can't wait to get started.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Happiness is a tidy drawer

Many times a day, I open an untidy or messy drawer and do not have the time to tidy it. There is never a time when all the drawers are tidy and the worst drawers are always the ones full of fabric. I have a terrible habit of stuffing bits of fabric in a drawer when I clearing up in a rush and then never going back. This morning it was pouring with rain, Charlie had built a pirate ship in the lounge with the settees and duvets and Josie was in the virtual world of a movie star, so I had the perfect opportunity to sort and fold.

Neat and tidy in black and white

and colour.

Monday, 22 August 2011

More sunshine yellow

Ever since our yellow day, all things yellow have taken on a new interest. Charlie is still  spotting yellow things and I am becoming increasingly fond of the colour. Yellow truly is a happy kind of colour with a rather cheering glow. I even like some of the words which evoke thoughts of  yellow; mustard, saffron, lemon, chiffon, ochre, topaz and gold. On such a dull drizzly and even slightly chilly evening in late August, the idea of golden summer sun is so warming.

I did consider making something yellow as a continued celebration so thought I might have a look on Etsy for inspiration. It then occurred to me that I had been somewhat neglecting my Etsy shop and had neither made anything for a while or sold anything ever. The world of the on-line craft shop is one that takes time to establish and build up friendships and links with others. It was clearly time for me to be doing a bit more for the Etsy community, as it is more about sharing the love, than just listing things and hoping the sell. I have created my own treasury of all my favourite yellow (click on the link below) and even made a small purchase. Perhaps it will bring me luck.

This is the small tin I bought which I thought would be perfect for putting needles in.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Sunday Evening

I have really started to wonder what to blog about, now that I have got into the routine of blogging everyday. Should I write about how much my husband is my rock, best friend and also constantly tidying our house? Or our glorious day out at the beach? Or the truly beautiful white pom pom dahlia I got this afternoon?

In no time at all, Sunday evenings will be all about getting ready for the week of work and school, but for today, I was able to spend the evening at the allotment, enjoying the shimmering late summer sun, knowing that tomorrow morning, I will be at home with the children.

Leek seed heads




The resident allotment pheasant

My lovely dahlias

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A place for everything and everything in it's place

I dream of a tidy house. It's one of those ambitions that I don't think I will ever be able to realise. As a mother, I can no longer put something down and expect it to be there when I come back to get it. To cut to the chase, no matter how long I spend tidying up and cleaning, I am constantly surrounded by mess and chaos. I am slowing trying to take over one of the rooms in my house as a craft room. I love looking at the stunning photographs of people's studios in craft magazines, with everything beautifully arranged on shelves, in boxes, jars and tins. I am so envious of the organisation and the fact that everything is in its correct place. There is a large cupboard in the room that I am trying to claim as my own space which is full to over-flowing with craft materials so today I set about organising. I have lots of storage jars, as I really do like glass and I recently saw a fanatastic idea at for maximising storage space. So I have spent this afternoon screwing jars to the storage shelves on the back of the door of my cupboard.

I foolish imagine that with my new working hours and job and Charlie being at school, that I will have plenty of time to tidy and clean and that my craft room will be as beautiful as any that I see in a magazine. I can but dream.....

Friday, 19 August 2011

Josie's quilt

Following yesterday's post about quilts made with scraps of fabric, I am off to quite a good start with making a similar one for Josie. With no shortage of scraps and inspiration. I've really enjoyed putting together small pieces of fabric today on the first of the 12" squares that will make up the quilt.

Just getting started and thinking about colours, pattern and shape. It really is so exciting being able to use all of those scraps of beautiful fabric that I couldn't bring myself to throw away. If I had carried on saving scraps, there would have been no room for new fabric.

The first finished square. At the moment I intend to take 28 of the large squares altogether but I might change my mind.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Inspired by the inspired and the inspirational

I love my "I am 40 quilt" so much that I am quite keen to get started on the vintage sunshine yellow quilt but want to take my time collecting the most beautiful vintage fabric. I have been looking around for inspirational designs too and have found so many. I could browse through the images on Pinterest for hours, it's my new favourite place for picking up ideas. A couple of days ago I found the quilt below which is from the amazing Penny at sewtakeahike.

I would love to be as talented as this lady and plan to start work on my own scrap quilt tomorrow. I think this quilt is amazing and as sometimes happens when you read back through threads of information on other people's blogs, you discover even more inspiration. The quilt above was influenced by another truly wonderful quilt by Amanda Jean.

I already have so many ideas about my own twist on these fabulous quilts and have bags full of scrap fabric. I think it'll make the perfect present for Josie. She doesn't have a mummy made quilt yet and she really does deserve one. She's next door at the moment having her first real sleepover party with a friend and I miss her.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011


Every year in August, I take a bit of a gamble and plant some seeds. Some are winter lettuce so it is perfectly fine to sow this late in the growing season, but I also  risk some rocket, kale and chard. Sometimes it works out fine, the weather is kind and the plants grow big enough to harvest in the late autumn, last through the winter and are there ready for spring. Last year wasn't so successful because the snow laid heavy on the nets over the kale and then the pigeons had a real feast as soon as the snow melted and I also lost most of the chard.

This year I've also gone for some really late sunflowers and runner beans. I have so many saved seeds, I thought I may as well give it a go. Today was the perfect weather from pricking out seedlings; bright and sunny enough to get me out in the garden, clouding over once the seedlings are in so they don't wilt and then raining in the evening.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Yellow Day

Today we had a yellow day, completely devoted to all things yellow, crafted, baked, painted and photographed by our family. When I woke up, my husband said, "Happy Yellow Day" and in the true spirit of summer sunshine and happy yellow, we had a fabulous fun and mess filled day, ending in a yellow tea party.

Junkie handmade projects