Tuesday, July 31, 2007


The 4th of August will be my First Blogger Anniversary. I can't believe it's been practically a year!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bargains galore

I was visiting my Mum the other day and we were discussing our lists of things to do...I'm in the process of compiling my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days (I've thought of 64 things so far) and I was telling her that one of the things on my list was to learn how to knit socks because I've always been a little intimidated by them, which kind of makes me want to conquer them. She told me this little story that her mother told her.
My Nan was the youngest of 13 children and spent a lot of time alone with her Mum as her brothers and sisters had grown up and flown the nest by the time Nan was born. Her mother taught her to knit at a young age and they would often spend evenings together by the fire knitting. Apparently my Nan always had problems turning her socks and her Mum would tell her to leave them by the fire when she went to bed and the sock fairy might help her out. So my Nan would go to bed, leaving the hardest part of her sock project on her chair by the fire, and when she woke in the morning, the sock fairy would have visited and turned her socks for her. Isn't that a sweet story?
Mum and Dad have just treated themselves to a new set of wooden garden furniture and offered us their old set, which is brilliant because ours cartwheeled down the garden during the spring gales and kinda broke the table. We haven't been able to afford a new set this year and this will do us for a while, especially as I hear that August promises better weather (yippee!) Don't they look great?

I shall certainly use them whilst I read through this little stack of books that I got from someone on our local Freecycle group. If you don't know about Freecycle, its a really eco-friendly idea - anything you don't need any more you offer to the group and give it away free, and you in turn can ask for anything anyone else offers up. Recycle, reuse, repurpose! Most areas have a local group, so why not join and do your bit for the planet.

The same lady was also giving this big bag of fabric scraps, lace, ribbon and stuff, so I grabbed that too *lol* I think it's been in a cellar or a loft though because it smells a little musty, so I'm going to wash it and air it all well before I use it!

Today was an unusually sunny day compared to the weather we've been having lately, a little windy but, *shrugs* can't have everything. M and I decided to walk the dog across the fields to the football ground where there is a big car boot sale held once a month and there was some great stuff. I held back a little because money is tight till M gets paid, but I treated myself to the Completed Illustrated Stories of The Brother Grimm, a great little book about the wild herbs of Britain and how to tell what they are, what's poisonous, what's not, photos, their uses, and how to prepare them. I'm a bit of a Hedgewitch at heart and I use natural herbs and remedies where ever I can. I have a small herb garden, but I haven't used it much this year because the caravan's in the way.

I also got three balls of yarn which are lovely and a set of dominoes which I plan to use for jewellery. Since seeing all the lovely domino jewellery on Craftster I've been keeping my eye out for the white dominoes and they're not easy to find round here! We mostly have a black heavily embossed domino, which I think is made locally.

My latest crafty endeavours have been a Cheshire Cat hat based on the Kittyville hat. I've done the crown and one ear flap so far. The colours are much deeper IRL but the flash bounced!

I don't claim the original idea for this, the lovely Catpants did one for the Fairytale Swap on Craftster and I've been coveting it ever since!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Hooks and Hallows

The last couple of days have been a sort of come down. I've read the last Potter book in the series and there is no more. Well, no more apart from the Harry Potter encyclopedia that Rowling has 'promised' which will fill in the background to alot of characters she was only able to skim over in the books, and will probably fill in those annoying gaps at the end of the Deathly Hallows. She apparently has realms of notes on each character. I did love the book though. I read it solidly on Saturday, determined to finish it before I encountered any spoilers. My brother texted me Saturday though telling me 'the owl did it!' Pah! Little brothers eh? They never grow up.
The BF is enjoying his new job. He took a First Aid certificate yesterday, so he is now a qualified First Aider! *Eeekkk!* Anyone need the Kiss of Life?
BTW, if anyone is interested, I have posted a tutorial for the body butter on Craftster.
Since ZaftigMomma has now received her OWS swap parcel from me, I can post what I made her. She wanted a crochet hook roll and stitch markers, so I made her a set in her favourite colours and in a fabulous velvet fabric.
Here it is rolled up
Here's it opened with the pretty butterfly lining showing.
Front unrolled
Inside with flap down
Stitch markers
I have at last finished the Fan shrug I have been pattern testing for jjgirl. I love the lace detail, and thought the pattern needed a little tweaking here and there because I made it a little bigger than the pattern she wrote, it all went smoothly, with no confusing bits, so I'll e-mail her tomorrow and let her know.

It seems as though most of the UK is currently under water. Luckily, we've escaped the worst of it this time, though as a past flood victim, I know exactly what they are all going through. I'm not that materialistic, but to lose all your possessions is not nice. The sentimental stuff was what I regretted the most. Photos, certificates, phone books, vinyls, stuff that was irreplaceable. We lived for 2 1/2 years in a semi-derelict house because we had no dependents and therefore didn't qualify for rehousing or any other help. We had no cooking facilities, no heating, no fridge or freezer, no washing machine, and lived upstairs in two rooms. The ground floor had no flooring, the floorboards were taken up to aid in the drying out. We were given a camp stove and a kettle and that's what we lived off for 2 1/2 years. We also lost the phone, the gas, the car, all our furniture and possessions....Oh yes, and the BF lost his job too because the place where he worked was flooded and never re-opened. Times were very hard. Our thoughts are with them.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Deathly Hallows

Well, I got my book this morning and 10 hours later I've finished it. Wow! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. Need to go and digest it. I'm feeling a little sad that there will be no more Harry Potter stories though.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Sew tired of waiting.....

So as you might know by now, on a bad night, I'm an insomniac and on a good night, I'm a very light sleeper who wakes at any sound or light. I quite often use a sleep mask to stop myself waking at dawn in the summer, or when I'm camping. This is one I made for myself last year, inspired by Phizzychicks Owl Eye Mask. The BF jokes that he feels likes he's waking up next to a muppet. *lol*
Anyway, the Summer holidays have given me plenty of time to play around and I decided I needed a new eye mask, so just for fun, I made myself a cat mask. I thought the BF might prefer waking up next to cat woman than a muppet!
It's a bit bigger than my other one so hopefully will eliminate those annoying chinks of light that manage to get in. It's also made from a lovely soft black velvet lined with satin, so it feels really nice to wear and is a little cooler than the owl corduroy one.
Here's how it's made.
You will need:
A piece of paper to make your template with, a pencil, a piece of velvet outer material, a piece of smooth lining material that will feel nice next to your sensitive eye skin, a small length of medium width elastic, some pink and gold felt, scissors, pins, a needle and some sewing thread.
I sketched a rough shape onto some paper, then cut it out and adjusted the shape by holding it up to my face and cutting accordingly. When I was happy with the template, I laid it out onto some velvet and satin and cut one piece out of each fabric.

Then I cut the eye shapes I wanted from gold felt, and the ear pieces from pink felt.

Make sure you cut out two of each shape.

I sewed the felt onto the face and added some thread whiskers and a little chain stitch daisy highlight in each pupil.

I attached the elastic where I wanted it to be (making sure that the wrong side of the front is on the inside, then the elastic, then the lining) and using a running stitch, sewed all around the outside of the mask MAKING SURE TO STOP BEFORE THE TOP OF THE LAST EAR! If you don't stop here, you won't be able to turn the mask the right way out again. Turn it right side out again. You should now have the velvet on the front, the lining next to that, and the elastic running round the back. You will still have a gap of unsewn material along the top, which you can now sew up. I used a whip stitch to sew up that last little bit and carried it on all around the edge of the mask to neaten it up.

Your mask is now ready to wear!

The last Harry Potter book is due out tomorrow. I'm much more excited than I probably should be and have set aside the whole weekend to read the book. I received this lovely handmade journal in a personal swap last year but wasn't sure what to use it for. Last night I decided to start a book journal and this journal was the perfect thing for it. It came to me with the word JOURNEY on the front which seemed a perfect description for the literary journey I wanted to record.

So in anticipation for the Harry Potter book I made a start.

In it I plan to record the books that I read with an account of my thoughts on it, drawings and illustrations and stuff like that. A kind of literary art journal if you like! I do love to read.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Easy Rider

We just came back from the Post Office to find this!!! Pippin asleep on the Harley. The bike wears a cover when it's not in use as it lives on the patio (grrr!) and she was on the seat *lol* He was not amused!
Also, my car went through it's MOT first time! Yippee! *happy dance* I've never had a car go through first time before :-) I'm soo relieved, I've been stressing about the MOT and it's potential cost for quite a few weeks now. That's a weight off my mind. I'm totally legal for another year now.
And yet more good news, the BF will get his new van on Saturday for the job he starts on Monday, so he'll be able to get up to Birmingham and back every day whilst he training. I hope he likes this job. He's been out of work for so long.
I finished alot of the OWS swap stuff this week. Here are the snoods I made for Frosty. I used the same patterns that I used for ZaftigMomma's, just in different colours.
I think the red one is my favourite. I really like this pattern.
It makes a nice starry centre pattern.

I posted Riario's stuff today too. Some recycled pot scrubbers from plastic bags, some fruity fabric, and because there wasn't as much of the fabric as I thought, I also made her some camera postcards. She likes cameras and I have this lovely antique camera stamp.

I also posted ZaftigMommas crochet hook roll and stitch markers, but no pictures of those yet till she receives them :-)

I was organising my knitting and crocheting patterns the other day and realised that I'd outgrown the folder they were in, so I made a separate folder for the knitting patterns. I covered a very old naff ring binder with recycled purple tissue paper and sealed it with glittery Modge Podge. Then I stuck a gold foil chocolate wrapper on the front and made a kind of acetate pocket into which I slid a pretty greetings card I had for my Birthday and didn't want to throw away. Making a pocket means I can change the card if I want to.

Love it!

This is what the postman bought me this morning. It's a latch rug kit. I belong to a swap site where people swap their junk for other peoples junk. I swapped this for an old cordless doorbell. I used to do this sort of thing as a kid. I've probably still got the latch hook somewhere *lol* It's a good mindless project you can do in front of a DVD if you want to. The only thing is, I think the people it came from were smokers, so it's airing in front of an open window at the moment.

I'm making good progress on my fan shrug too, I'm now on the decorative stitch that goes round the middle.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I love my mate dearly, really I do, but she can and frequently does, drink me under the table. Literally. I'm a fairly responsible drinker these days and rarely drink more than my limit. Friday night is my usual boozy night and I hardly ever drink during the week. This all seems to go out of the window when I'm with my mate. She seems to feel it's her duty to ply me with alcohol and there comes a point when I loose track of what I've had. Like yesterday. I still don't remember getting home. I remember going round her house, sitting in the garden with a bottle of wine, vaguely remember taking the dogs over the fields late at night, and almost remember being shanghai'd into the pub. That's where I lose it....

*Hangs head in shame*

All I know is that I had the Mother of all hangovers this morning. So I've had a quiet day. I know, I only have myself to blame....

We had a good night though :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Going Pott(er)y

Good news for a change, the BF got the job he went for on Thursday! That will help to relieve things a bit! I just hope that he can stick at it. As long as they don't suddenly change the job completely and make him stay away from home, he should be okay. *Crosses fingers* He's on a high at the moment and hasn't stopped talking about it. I like it when he's happy.

We went to see the Order of the Phoenix on Thursday. It is visually stunning, but a much darker film (literally and metaphorically) than the previous ones. Of course a lot of that has to do with the nature of the storyline and if you've read the book, you'll understand what I'm talking about. I'm not about to spoil it for any of you who haven't seen it yet, but I am going to tell all you knitters out there that there are copious amounts of knitwear candy. There are several pieces that I wished I could pause the film and get a better look at, but that's what the DVDs are for *lol* For all you non-knitters out there, there is a lot of eye-candy too. The children are growing up, and we're starting to see muscles forming under those school uniforms...and of course, there's Sirius too.
Here's my wand, it's cherry and golden nargle resin. *lol*
In the Muggle world, it's known as Fimo.

I've been hosting some pottery parties today. It's one of my *ahem* sidelines. Since my school is on holiday till September and as a part-time teacher there, I don't get paid unless I work, I can't afford 4 months unpaid holiday in the summer, so I do bits here and there to try and bring a bit of cash in. It wasn't so important before Christmas as the BF was working full-time too, but when he was made redundant at Christmas, we really felt the pinch. Anyway, after the last party had finished, I had an hour free time at the Studio, waiting to see if there was any passing trade. There wasn't, so I had an hours uninterrupted free time to work on my fan shrug. I've now done the back, each front and am starting the band round the middle. I did have to juggle the rows a little for the front pieces as I'm doing it a little larger than the pattern called for.

I wasn't sure about this stitch when I started, but I like the pattern it's forming.

My scales finally arrived so I was able to make a start on the cold process soap! the only thing is they are faulty and kept turning themselves off whilst I was weighing the ingredients out. It made it a much more stress experience than it should have been. So here it is, my coffee and vanilla soap. It looks really orange and I'm hoping it won't stain my skin, but I suppose it beats fake tan! *lol* It also smells like cow poo. Actually, it smells like henna, which is really weird! I hope that smell goes eventually. I want the lovely vanilla coffee smell I had when I was making it. It's sitting on top of the fridge-freezer in the kitchen, curing.

I got a couple of claims in for the OWS 24 and have made the recycled pot scrubbers for Riario. I like the black and silver one, very classy. The only thing is that I have a shortage of plastic bags that I can use - I'm far too 'green' to not use re-useable bags and I usually have one on me to use instead of the plastic ones. I hope they do the job okay.

I'm off to my mates for the evening. We're going to have as girlie a night as it's possible to have with a truck driving, biker chick. Okay, we're going to get drunk and gossip all night *lol*

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

To play with clay... one of my favourite games! I had the luxury of dabbling with fimo all day today. I broke it out in order to make the pieces for my travel backgammon game and just carried on with it. You'll all be pleased to know that the game is now finished! Yay! I went with magical star shapes for the pieces with a spiral motif. You can't tell in the photos but the fimo is sparkly :-)
To carry on with the HP theme, I had a Bertie Botts Beans bag which I decided would be just the thing to keep the pieces in *lol* They'll be going in the caravan ready for the first financially viable weekend away!
I found this old hip flask on Freecycle (it was inscribed with some personal message) and decided to pretty it up with some fimo canework. I made a daisy motif which I reduced down and applied to the flask. Luckily hip flasks have a sort of raised rim edge which served as a perfect frame for the fimo. It's been fired on now, I just need to sand it down and buff it and it'll be better than new.
I also covered the handle of this crochet hook with a cats face canework because, let's face it, crochet hooks can be pretty boring, especially these grey metal ones. I plan to recon most of my hooks eventually. I love how it turned out!
I embellished my wand with gold Fimo too, but boring Blogger will only let you upload so many photos in one go, so I'll probably save that one for tomorrow *lol*
The BF has several job interviews in Milton Keynes tomorrow, so I'm going to go with him and look round the shopping centre and market. Hopefully I'll find some bargains. Then we have tickets for the Order of the Pheonix at the pictures! Woohoo! Should be a good day! Keep your fingers crossed for the BF.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Board with this....

I'm still waiting for some digital scales so I can embark on the cold process soap making, so here's a picture of the body butter I made at the weekend. I've used it a couple of times and it's lovely!
I finally finished my backgammon board. All the little triangles have been stitched on, the board outline has been defined with embroidery silk, and I backed the whole thing with another sheet of felt.
I attached it with a decorative running stitch around the outside. I sewed small beads onto the board to remind us how many counters and where they went (I always forget after a glass of wine *lol*) I attached two thin ribbons onto the back so that the board could be rolled up for easy storage. Now I need to make the game pieces.

Here's where I am with my fan stitch shrug. I've now completed the upper back and this is halfway through the front right side. Those aren't holes there, it's just where I poked the hook through to stop it rolling about earlier! Bad habit, I know!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Butters, beads and baths

I was so pleased with myself yesterday, I had done loads on my test fan shrug for jjgirl, but then realised that I had slipped into a different stitch and was doing dc's instead of the stitch I was supposed to be doing! Pah! The stitches are quite similar, but that's no excuse! So, I frogged it back to the first row and had to do it all again. I'm back to where I was yesterday though, thankfully! It's looking nice so far.

Yesterday heralded a small break in the rain, long enough to give Joe a much needed bath. We have to put him on his lead and tie him down in the garden because he wriggles about so much. He hates baths! He's looking lovely and shiney and fluffy at the moment though and is much more pleasant to be around. You wouldn't think a dog could make so much fuss about getting wet, especially when the very same dog happily dives into any state of canal water or puddle.

Whilst walking him today I found a cherry tree branch that was just the right dimensions for a wand, so I bought it home and stripped it down with my craft knife. It needs more work, but it's a fun project!

The British Grand Prix was on today, and so was the UK leg of the Tour de France. The BF is a big fan of motor racing and bike racing (of all kinds!), so inevitably I spent most of the day on my todd! So what do you do when left to your own devices? I dug through my bead stash and found a lovely turquoise coloured lamp-work bead, and some turquoise gemstone beads, so this is what I made.

Actually, it looks nicer in real life, the camera flash has taken the details on the beads out.

I also made my first
body butter today. It smells devine and was so easy to make. I melted 3 parts cocoa butter to 4 parts coconut oil in a pyrex bowl in my microwave. I made sure it was a very low setting and added some vanilla essential oil when it had all melted. Then I poured it into a Body Shop tub that I already had. It looks like proper body butter and makes my skin feel lovely! I also made some coffee and vanilla body scrub while I was at it!



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