Monday, September 21, 2009

Ocean colour scene

The ocean ripple scarf/wrap continues to undulate itself through my every spare minute! I have to say that I’m finding it quite addictive and relaxing at the same time! It’s easy enough to trance out and watch a film whilst doing it, but just complex enough for me to have to pay attention to the stitch count. Failure to do this results in the waves becoming longer on one side that the other; my ocean ripples start to become stormy waves! I’ve done quite a bit now and I’m hoping that it’ll be long enough when it’s time to post it.


I’m working on a fish shaped copper wire pin for it too, but fishy #1 didn’t turn out quite as I liked! I’ll have another attempt at it, I painted a little sea life candle burner for my swap partner too and I have a bulb in progress. 


My BPT Hoodie is also progressing believe it or not! Just the hood to finish now. Sadly the flower garden blanket is hibernating till I’ve finished the two projects that are in full swing at the moment!

Term has started once more, I’ve done my first week back with my overseas students and not only have my art lessons, but I’ve also got some timetabled EFL (English as a Foreign Language) lessons too. So nice to be using the skills that I spent all last year gaining! My Mondays are my most tiring day; I start teaching at 8.30am and finish at 6pm! My other job starts teaching this week, the students have had their induction and we’ve assessed their basic literacy and numeracy skills and put them into appropriate groups, there are seven groups in total doing the Foundation Diploma (that’s six more than last year!), so I have my hands very very full this year! (In fact I’m having to turn work done now!)

There was no belly dancing class this week as my teacher was in Istanbul for the week (so jealous!) so M and I went to see Final Destination (4?) in 3D. Orange (mobile phones) do a 2-4-1 offer on a Wednesday night, so I got a code (I’m on that network) and off we went. M hasn’t seen a 3D film since the original Jaws in 3D (yep, he’s that old!) when you had to wear green and red glasses. He really wanted to see one of the new generation 3D’s, but to be honest, I don’t think the film made the best use of the 3D technology, although there were a few duckable moments!

The girls and I went out on Friday night to celebrate Suz’s birthday. Nine of us descended on the local Pizza Express and we were as rowdy as ever! I had a Pandana - goat's cheese, spinach and red onion with caramelised onion confit and a drizzle of garlic oil. Very scrummy! Then for dessert I had a Chocolate Glory - vanilla gelato with bite-sized pieces of chocolate fudge cake and drizzled with chocolate sauce and a dark chocolate straw. Chocolate heaven! Will have to work out extra hard this week to compensate for all the extra calories! We were as well behaved as we were able…

Okay, I admit that things got a little naughty at times!

But we all behaved like grown ups…

For the birthday girl I painted a pair of butterfly goblets, but I sadly forgot to take a picture to show you all, so you’ll have to imagine them! For the party bags I made a gerbera hair clip by taking the flowers from a silk flower spray and hot gluing them to a hair slide. I added glitter to for extra pizzazz!

They looked super cute and we all went home wearing them …they even matched the restaurants table flowers!

The weekend was so lovely here that on Saturday (after doing a couple of early morning lesson plans), Sis and I painted Mum’s garden fence for her; we managed to get 2/3’s of it done, then we had to give up because it was 5.30pm and we were shattered! The fence is about six ft high and hides behind shrubbery, rose bushes and plants for alot of its length. What we did looked nice though, so it’ll all be worth the effort and time. We’ll paint the shed and the rest of the fence next weekend. When I got home I couldn’t even be bothered to eat, I just ran a bath and soaked in it for an hour with a book and a cup of my favourite rose tea. I wasn’t really tired till I got home, then it kinda hit me all at once. I spent the rest of the night curled up on the sofa with M, watching Ice Road Truckers (yes, I was that tired) and crocheting! Sunday morning was spent in bed watching telly, drinking tea (on tap from M), and rippling away whilst M watched the F1 Grand Prix. The rest of the day was spent in my garden, putting it to bed ready for the winter. I pruned back what I could, trimmed the grass, weeded and moved all my pots to the patio to protect them from oncoming winter weather, and also to let the grass grow when we eventually do get some rain. It’s been quite dry here lately; I even had to water some plants!

Anyway, have a great week!  

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ripple and rip…(swap spoilers alert)

Things have been so busy here that I haven’t really got around to showing you what I’ve been doing recently. You may be labouring under the impression that there isn’t much crafting going on with all of the summer school shenanigans, and the start of term and all the inductions I’ve been doing this week. Not true! Look, I’ve been playing with Sergei, overlocker/serger and with the help of some florists paper and an old t-shirt I created this tie-shrug out of some dotty purple fabric that I’ve had in my stash for ages! I’m quite pleased with how it turned out and now I have a paper pattern I can make a few more of these - It was so easy to make!


I whipped up a few giant marbled lentil beads from scrap polymer clay (left over from one of the art club workshops from summer school), I drilled them after baking so they have a nice small hole and I’d like to try a wire wrapped decorative bail on a couple of them so that they can be used for a pendent.

Inspired by all the meteor showers I’ve been seeing over the summer, I created this long starry necklace using beads I bought ages ago at a local bead show.

I love this petrol sheen colour that they have, just like a midnight sky in summer, with slight tinges of colour

I’m doing a Sealife Swap over on Craftster and created this domino shell pendent for my partner. I glued a pearl bead on it too for a bit of interest. Some of the shells I used were so tiny it’s hard to believe that something lived in them once! I think I might have to do one of these for myself!

Remember my hippy jeans I was customising? Well I finally finished them! They’re embroidered up to the knees on both legs, I could have kept going, and I may yet add to them, but I’m happy with them at the moment.

I found a scrap of this awesome holographic fabric and embroidered a rainbow edging to my heart!

I also have some lovely little silver Indian sequins which really twinkle

No hippy jeans are complete without flower power!

And something else which I’m making my partner for the Sealife Swap is an ocean wave wrap or scarf – it started off as a scarf, but is wide enough to be a wrap, so I’ll probably make a shawl pin to go with it, I have an idea for a wire fish pin which I think will work, and I think that’d be nice with it. Then my partner can wear it both ways.

This is my first ripple pattern and I had to frog it once because it was developing a slant as it grew, but I think I’ve figured it out now. I like how it’s looking, this is going to be another one that I’ll have a go at for myself. I fancy one  in rainbow colours!

So the new school term starts tomorrow. Everything is still a bit crazy here as I think the swine flu was putting alot of families off sending their children to the UK, but we’ve had a lot of last minute admissions, so things are on the move. The course I teach on at the FE college has been swamped and has enough students to run seven courses where last year there was only enough for one!  That does mean more hours for me though, so alls good!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Holiday adventures

So  I never told you about the rest of my holiday did I? Well, we spent three days of enforced caravan rest with no transport (because the car was being repaired), no local bus service, no mobile reception without a four mile walk to pick up a signal, and nothing within walking distance. We chose the site because of it’s remoteness and believe me, this site was in deepest Cornwall on a farm in the middle of nowhere. There was nothing within walking distance and yes, we did try! Why did we choose somewhere so remote? Well, one of the reasons we went was to observe Mars through our telescope (it was supposed to be super big in August, as big as the moon) and we wanted somewhere away from urban light pollution. We had a few nights of cloud and a few very clear nights, Mars was disappointingly tiny and the moon was only half full but we did see the persiod meteors. We read loads, we played Scrabble, Dominoes, and Frustration, I filled in my art journal that I’d taken, and knitted alot more of my BPT Hoodie, finishing the last sleeve and getting halfway through the hood! We listened to lots of music and we ate and drank. Bang went the diet. We walked in the farm orchard a few times when it wasn’t raining hard enough on the caravan to make us feel like we were in a car wash, and we looked at the beehives (and have a jar of freshly collected honey as a memento).

Eventually the car was ready and we got a taxi to the town where the garage was based so that we could collect it. It wasn’t ready until the Thursday afternoon and we’d been in Cornwall since Monday so as you can imagine, we were starting to get a little stir crazy by Thursday morning. We spent some time walking round the tiny town of Liskeard trying to amuse ourselves while we waited for the car to be done. We visited the local museum, the Stuart House where Charles I stayed for a week and we looked round the shops. We collected the car and after the initial shock of receiving the bill which was £200 more than the quote, we decided to forget about it while we were away so that we could enjoy the two and a half days we had left!

So we immediately decided to visit Polperro, a small fishing village on the coast with an ancient fishing and smuggling history. The houses are crammed together along very narrow streets and some of them are decorated with shells.

The fishing/smugglers museum also had a load of knitting samples because the local women knitted intricate jumpers for the fishermen. The village was so tiny and isolated that a local amateur photographer who had taken up this new fangled hobby called photography had obsessively snapped all the locals and there were all these beautiful old B&W shots of village life centuries ago, along with his annotations of who everybody was and what they did! We weren’t allowed to take photos though which was disappointing because some of the ‘knit-frocks’ as the Guernsey style jumpers (sweaters) were called were beautifully intricate! There’s a link here though if you want to find out more about the local knitting. 


ganseys & knit-frocks

'Excuse me. Do you remember any knitting like this?'
'I should think I do - my Granny knitted hundreds.'
'Can you tell me anything about them?'
'She only knitted for her own. They were masterpieces and they were all different. She knitted a hole in the front…'
'What for?'
'For the pocket watches. All her boys had one (jerseys). Uncle Willie lost his, couldn't find it anywhere and Granny was mad. She had a stall every week at Rock and Padstow markets. Twelve months after, Granny saw a man wearing Uncle Willie's jersey. "Here", she said, "you' got my boy's jersey on." "I hab'n," he said. "Yes, you have," she said, and called a policeman to arrest him. "How do you know this is your boy's jersey?" the policeman asked. "You make'n lift up his arms," said Granny. "You'll see I knitted a 'W' under one arm and an 'S' under the other and my boy's name is Willie Steer - what's his?"
Image and text: Cornish Guernseys & Knit-frocks, Mary Wright, Polperro Heritage Press, 2008.


The village was too narrow and too steep for cars, so we parked at the top of the hill and walked down. The tide was out in the harbour, so M and Joe got to go down and check out the boats close up.

The coastline is pretty treacherous so you can imagine that it must have been a smugglers haven! 

I also spotted a cottage with my name on the door, along with what appears to be a tidal flood barrier in front of the door! I could have done with one of those on my house ten years ago when we got flooded!

The next day we went to the Eden Project which is a conservation site built in an old clay mine in Cornwall. There are biomes housing different climates and flora, as well as lots of planting and environmental projects outdoors.

The tropical biome was too humid for my camera to get many decent photos, but I loved how this turned out!

There were loads of plants and environments

and also sculptures; some half manmade and half natural

some made from recycled rubbish

and some sculptural celebrations of nature.

It was a fantastic day out, though exhausting because the site is so huge!

The next day we went to Tintagel, the place where King Arthur was reputedly born. Again we were super lucky with the weather, it was windy, and overcast some of the time, and then brilliantly sunny the next moment! Tintagel is way up high on the side of the Cornish cliffs and getting there involves lots of dodgy one track roads which are first gear steep and one car wide only, and then lots of walking but is so worth it! The view is breathtaking!

Can you imagine that people used to live here? It’s an incredible view but quite a walk!

On the way back to the caravan, we stopped at the Carnglaze Caverns which is an old slate mine!

There is an enchanted walk to get to the Caverns, through woods filled with magical creatures

They used to mine slate from here by the light of candles!

the slate gives the water this pretty colour

If you’re a fan of the band Echo and the Bunnymen, you might recognise this from the Ocean Rain album cover If you haven’t heard the album, I recommend it :)

It looks prettier in real life though! The acoustics down there by the underground lake are superb and the Caverns are also used as an unusual concert venue…for rock bands!! Rock, slate, get it? Hee hee! 

We didn’t manage to get to all the places we wanted to go to, we ran out of time, but we managed to cram alot into the days we had left and we had a great time, so that’s all that’s important.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Crafting update – Summer Slamdance

I’ve been crafting away on my swaps for the ‘Invite Your Partner; Summer Slamdance’ swap over on Craftster. My partner is Javede and here are the things that I made for her:

Firstly, I made her a baker boy cap from 100% lambs wool in a lovely brown colour. Javede doesn’t like acrylic for things that she wears or holds.


I know Javede has admired my glass painted creations, so I painted this sweet little glass candle holder for her.

I also made her a cushion cover based on one in her Wists. I combined a couple of her Wists; a cushion cover, and the colour combination of one of her scarves. I loved the brown, cream and pink combination. The front is little flowers and the back is a large granny square. I made the cushion inside too to make sure one fitted! 

I’m beginning to see a bit of a theme her, the next thing I made her was a sewing set; Javede had quite a few cupcake themed things on her Wists, so I used that theme, which meant that brown and pink colour combination again. I covered a tape measure

I also made a matching pincushion

and a needle case

and then I created a pair of cupcake themed knitting needles made from doweling, with polymer clay tips


She had some cute little chocolate charms on her Wists as well, so I made some tiny little charms to make stitch markers from. I made them so that you could use them for knitting or crochet. I loved how these turned out, so I can see myself making these again!

I could see from Javede’s Wists that she also likes brooches and hair clips, and the marytroska dolls are a favourite theme, so I made her a set combining all these.

and lastly, although Javede likes handmade soaps, she doesn’t like strong scents, so I made her some unscented honey and oatmeal vegetarian soap. I hope she likes it all!



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