Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Going, going, gone

Well not quite gone yet, but about to. We have been putting off going to France because we wanted to be here with Chris in case he needed our advice/help/support with his flat buying. This morning we decided that we really needed to go for a week or so, to make sure the cottage is alright, to see our friends and well, just because. Because we love the place. Crossing was booked, a few supplies were bought ( choccie drops for our friend's doggie ), clothes were laundered. Why oh why do I do everything last minute, lol? To say it has been somewhat hectic today is a bit of an understatement.

But, I am almost ready now, suitcase is packed and all the bits and pieces which I want to take to the cottage are packed in a big box. I have been adding to the box for weeks now, lol, and can't remember what is in the bottom! It will be fun unpacking it, yay. Sometimes having a bad memory is really quite a bonus.

So, I really just wanted to say toodlepip, byeeee and cheerio to you all. We should be back next Wednesday or thereabouts. Don't expect a post the first day back, I just know I will have to spend a whole day catching up on all the blogs I follow and so love to read.

I will be taking my crochet stuff with me, you remember the gorgeous Manos del Uruguay yarn I am using for a wrap or lap blanket? I hope to get some good crocheting done by the fire. Again. Like the last time we spent a week at the cottage. And you all laughed at me. Well some of you did, and you know who you are, humph! Really, it wasn't that bad, was it? Just a reminder of the pic which caused such hilarity in some of you ( I am not mentioning JJ or Sarah, nope, not me ) -

See you all again soon! xx

Monday, 25 January 2010

Who won the giveaway???

I really should have done this last night, but my DS No.2 and my almost-daughter-in-law and granddaughter Grace came over and we had such a lovely evening together. After they left, I didn't have the stamina to write out the names and do the draw.

But I did it this morning!!! I made sure that I put in double entries for all the lovely girls who put the button on their blogs. Almost got writer's cramp, lol ( well, that might be a bit of a fib, but hey, this is a dramatic moment ). I used my lovely big rosy heart box again

All those little folded up bits of paper filled my big heart box very nicely, see?

I shook it, turned it upside down, shook it some more, and got quite excited myself, lol. Who was going to win??? I had so many lovely comments about the giveaway, and I so want to see what the winner is going to make with those bits and pieces. I took off the lid

stirred all the bits of paper up a bit more


closed my eyes


and picked out a paper.

And on that piece of paper was written a name


Oh, I forgot to tell you who won, silly me, lolol.

Enough teasing, the winner is - - - -

SADIE from the very gorgeous Cotton Rose blog.

Please email me with your address Sadie, and these will be on the way to you -

She has been making an extraordinary amount of lovely things lately, just go and have a look at her blog. I hope she will be able to squeeze in a project which uses the bits and pieces from the giveaway.

Thank you to all you lovely people who entered the giveaway. I really enjoy them so much.


Sunday, 24 January 2010

Ever felt too daft to craft???

The other day, I saw a wonderful tutorial for making singed chiffon roses on one of my favourite blogs, Robin's Egg Blues. The tutorial was so good and made it look fairly easy, I just had to try it, just had to.

So I wombled off into town on Friday and bought a couple of bits of chiffon. Saturday, I got out a little tealight candle, pinned my petal templates to the ever-shifting chiffon and cut them out. Lit the candle. Snuffed the candle, because I had of course forgotten to find the long handled tweezers. First aid box raided, I relit the candle, picked up the first petal and singed away! Woohoo, I thought, this is not at all bad. 10 minutes, slightly crisped fingers and lots of singed petals later, I was ready to assemble a flower. Ah, errmm, that turned out to be not quite as easy as I had thought. Chiffon is darned slippery and even with singed edges, it has a life of its own. And don't even think about breathing when you are trying to pile up chiffon petals in a rose shape! The slightest bit of huff puff and they end up everywhere, lol. In the end, I gave up on pre-sewing assembly and pushed the sewing needle through each petal separately, sort of arranging them into a flower shape as I went along.

Hmmm. It looked lopsided. It didn't look much like the gorgeous roses on Robin's Egg Blues' tutorial. I had a close look at my petals, and discovered that I didn't do that good a job of singeing either, sigh. There were many un-singed edges, merrily fraying away, grrr. You don't even have to look very closely at the photographs to see them, lolol -

Undeterred by this dismal failure, I tried again. Ouch, metal gets hot when held over a candle, even long handled tweezers. I was determined not to have any fraying edges on my petals this time though. Good plan. Bad execution. I think I may have overdone the singeing just a tad, lol, my petals are very curly -

So now I am sitting here, looking at this pile of supercurly chiffon petals, trying to tell myself that yes, it is worth assembling them into another flower. I am not convinced, sigh. I really feel daft, I mean, come on, it can't be that difficult to find just the right level of singe, can it? Perhaps I am just overenthusiastic with my singeing. One thing I know though, I need a heck of a lot more practice, lololol. Watch this space.


Friday, 22 January 2010

Update on the 20 Minutes (and then some!)

I have been messing around with paper and bits and pieces and Adobe Photoshop and layering and stuff again. My DS No.1 has been trying to teach me a few things in Photoshop and after writing down instructions and spending way too much time practicing, lol, I think I might even remember what he taught me.

There are so many beautiful blogs out there, showing off the most wonderful pieces of mixed media art, altered art etc., incredibly inspiring, and I just couldn't help myself, I had to have a go.

This is what I spent my 20 minutes crafting session on ( plus a few hours, lol ) -

First, I layered a few photos in Photoshop, 4 of them. LOLOL, I am so glad you couldn't see me, trying to read my instructions and finding all the right commands etc in Photoshop, tongue poking out, forehead wrinkled, hunched over...... not a pretty picture, but quite hilarious, my other son gleefully told me.

Then I rummaged around for a few bits and pieces to frame the new picture with. I found this gorgeous old bronze-y green ribbon which I glued to the botton. A bit of a music sheet which I had cut off from another project on the right, the nicely torn edge from the same music sheet, also cut off from another project at the top, and a bit of leftover coffee stained paper on the left.

I also stamped a few things on it with brown and bronze ink, and trimmed the sides with a couple of little length of lace. A few buttons, a couple of clock hands, and a teeny rose bud, and I felt that was quite enough for a first pic.

I am loving this, might have to have another go over the weekend, it is sooooooooooo much fun. I suppose I ought to find or make a frame for this little thing and hang it up, so that I can see how ( if at all ) I improve with more practice.



Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Quick 20 Mins-a-Day update

Quick, because I don't have much to report at all. I only managed to make another 7 1/2 granny squares yesterday, and then I spent most of the night trying to sleep in the armchair downstairs, because Hector had a very upset stomach and needed his mummy to look after him ( and let him out in the garden ).

He was feeling much better this morning and the dreadful rumbling and gurgling and cramping had stopped, so we took them both to the Firehills for a walk. In the freezing cold sleet and rain. Nuts, eh? But they get so bored indoors, and Poppy gets very argumentative and talks back at you when you tell her off ( which is hilarious really ). I got muddy, soggy and wet, but enjoyed it anyway. Somehow even in the nastiest weather the doggies make us smile with their antics.

So I haven't really done any crafting today, I seem to do most of mine in the evenings. But I did iron the aged papers for the Alter It! giveaway. I love using them to print on, it saves so much on printing inks when you are printing vintage stuff. Just remove the beige/light brown old paper colour background in photoshop and print it on beige/light brown tea and coffee stained paper instead.

Oh, and another little tip ( which you probably know anyway so just ignore it ). The paper won't be very flat after it has dried, so I iron it between two sheets of white tissue paper, on a very high setting with full steam. Works really well.

Now I am off to pick up DS No. 1 and accompany him to the solicitors, to give him moral support, lol. Buying your first place is scary.



Monday, 18 January 2010

20 Minutes Update and a GIVE.......


I think I am allowed to use the time spent on the giveaway for my 20 minutes crafting session, right? I mean, I tea- and coffee-dyed paper, I spent ages printing, I sorted bits of lace and trims and probably used up two weeks worth of crafting time, lol.

Anyhoo, you may have noticed from a couple of posts that I have taken a bit of an interest in messing around with old papers, bits and pieces, altered art sort of thing ( very basic, hardly art in my case, lolol ). Remember this altered tin?

It seemed that lots of people were quite interested in that sort of thing, so I thought I put together a few bits and pieces to encourage you all to give it a go. It really is immensely satisfying to transform, for example, a naff old Hulahoop tin like this one into something pretty.

So here goes, first of all the paper kind of stuff -
What have we got here? Ermm,
- three pages from a very old book of sheet music, which was falling to pieces, otherwise I wouldn't have had the heart to take pages out
- two pages from an old dictionary, again falling to bits
- a fab old waxed paperbag from a French Epicerie with the shop name and logo
- old French bingo cards, one very old one and a few somewhat newer ones
- copies of - a vintage French postcard with a very pretty lady sending you kisses, two postcards with the prettiest writing, and two pages from a very old Vere Foster's Copy Book, Lettering.
- 4 pages of aged paper ( not shown, because they are still drying! )

Then we have bits and pieces. mostly fabricy -

Right, lets see what I have found

- a small piece of lovely lace fabric
- antique metal thread French braid
- a couple of length of fine old French cotton lace
- a couple of pieces of white vintage lace
- the prettiest little peachy pink lace trim
- gold wire edged ribbon
- vintage French woven initials
- small selection of old buttons, including MOP
- 3 teeny little roses
- a simple beaded flower
- 3 clock hands
- odd old French crocheted cotton, errmm, flower???thingy
- piece of purple netting
- piece of vintage French braid, deep deep red

Thats it, fancy having a go at altering something you have in the house and making it into a fab new thing? All you need to do is leave a comment on here, and I'll draw a winner next Sunday, 24th Jan, before we go to France. You could also stick this button-

in your sidebar with a link, and I'll put your name into the hat twice, just let me know on this post.

Have fun! xx

Saturday, 16 January 2010

20 Minutes Update

I wish it had only taken me 20 minutes to do this update, lol. But of course, its nothing to do with spending 20 mins writing this post. For those who haven't heard about it yet, this is all about Marmalade Rose's 20 Minutes A Day crafting sessions. You can find out about it here.

I haven't managed to post every day, because we are helping our DS No.1 to buy his first flat, and thats VERY time consuming and surprisingly stressful. Then there is the cricket, although we don't talk about that at the moment, as we are mightily miffed with our performance. BUT, I am happy to report that my measly 4 1/2 squares from the other day have now grown into this -

A nice little stack of 24 squares!

I feel so much better now that I have made a decent start, crocheting during a few cricket watching hours, early morning and late evening.

I am using three different colours of the Manos del Uruguay silk blend, and so far I have made 4 different types of squares -

and changing the colours around has produced 6 different ones in each type of square, total 24.

I think I will stick with these 24 different squares and just multiply them to make a shawl or perhaps a lap lankie.

The photographs are really crap, sorry about that, but I had to take them this evening, as we were out all afternoon viewing flats, meeting mortgage people etc., and I was too tired to arrange them and make them look pretty!

I hope to be able to catch up with more of the other 20 Minuters on Monday, I soooo wanna see what everybody else is doing!

Enjoy your weekend!

Liz x

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Crochet and Cricket

Well, I'll happily talk about the crocheting bit, but definitely not about the cricket, grrr. I was looking forward to the 4th Test match. I was looking forward to spending the day crocheting whilst watching cricket. Of course nothing went to plan, that would make life too easy, wouldn't it?

I have never seen a worse start ( from our point of view, SA was extremely happy of course ). To lose the first wicket on the very first ball is just so cruel. Sigh, I can't talk about it, its too painful, lets just say we lost wickets at a rather rapid pace. Then we realised that we had forgotten about an appointment, which took an 1 1/2 hours out of my crochet and cricket viewing time. Then I spent ages on the phone with the estate agent through which our DS No.1 is hopefully buying his first flat. Stressful, this buying lark, I had almost forgotten about that.

I have no idea what else kept me from crocheting more, but in the end, I only managed 4 1/2 granny squares today, isn't that pathetic? I love love love crocheting with this beautiful yarn, the Manos del Uruguay silk blend. It really is wonderful to work with. You remember from a couple of posts ago, don't you, the lovely purply yarns I bought in the sale?

Dang, why are purples so difficult to photgraph?

I had to take the photos of the squares with flash this evening, and thats even worse. Still, at least it will show you that I have done something, not very much, lol, but a teeny weeny bit. Hopefully, tomorrow I won't have too many interruptions/cricket disappointments and can get on with the crocheting properly.

Short post today. Gotta watch Silent Witness and crochet a bit more.

Night night xx

Monday, 11 January 2010

Repurposing? Altered Art?

I hate to admit it, but the men in the house did a lot of snacking over Christmas. And I let them. Why? - Because now I have a rather large stash of party sized cheeselet tins, hulahoop tins and twiglet tins. I love them! They are great for storing all sorts of tall and thin things.

But.... they are not the prettiest things, so they have to be tarted up, lol. The look has to be altered. Hence the altered art bit in the title. Except, of course, I am no artist, and my first effort is nothing special. And of course its repurposing as well, because the humble hulahoop tin now has a new lease of life as a knitting needle holder.

You may wonder why on earth I have THAT MANY knitting needles when I don't even knit regularly. Well, I bought a couple of vintage knitting bags a while ago, and one of them had this huge bundle of needles in it. I don't think I will ever need to buy another knitting needle for the rest of my life, lol.

I really love messing around with old papers, photos etc. For this tin I used one page from a tatty old sheet music book, copy of a vintage photo of a girl with her knitting, various bits of illustrations from Victorian knitting patterns and a few words in nice fancy fonts, with the edges darkened to age them a bit.

Definitely an improvement on the original hulahoop tin. And I really got the bit between my teeth now. Need to make pencil holders, scissor holders, errrrmmm, what else? Stuff holders, lol. We'll see.

Thats enough for today, just a short post, too busy making stuff! Actually, I am also trying to sort out things to sell now, as I seriously have to think about parting with about 9/10th of my much loved collections before moving to France.


Sunday, 10 January 2010

It had to happen

We had been quite lucky until a few days ago. Most of the UK seemed to be buried under a blanket of snow, while here we only got a fine sprinkling every now and then. When we got the first "proper" snow here as well, it was so exciting, and we took full advantage of it ( see previous post! ). It might have taken 5 mins and some burnt rubber to get out of the parking spot, but we managed to get out and about. But yesterday, it finally happened - we got snowed in!!! There was absolutely no way we could get the car out of the parking spot, let alone up the hill to get to the main road -

That meant we had a long walk ahead of us to get our granddaughter back to her mummy. And we loved it! We carefully trotted down the sloping path to the road -

It was exciting, slogging through the deep snow, feeling the snow flakes stinging our faces, and getting covered in the white stuff. You know, I have never seen so many happy smiley faces in town as we did yesterday. People were having FUN!

Whilst we were in town, we decided to make the most of it and visit a few estate agents to start the process of finding a flat for DS No.1. In the middle of a blizzard. Great, because we had every estate agent's undivided attention, lol. And crazy as we are, we even made an appointment to view a flat later in the afternoon. Which we did, again in a blizzard. And on foot. It was just such a very pleasant day, very little traffic, so many smiley people having fun in the snow, and then coming home to a lovely warm and cosy family. Bliss.

I spent a little time in the afternoon just admiring the lovely crisp white stuff in the front garden, the way it hugged the bushes, and all those glittering icicles hanging from the vine -

And the dogs? Well, we couldn't take them to the Firehills or the woods, but they had a grand time in the snow in the garden anyway -

No more snow today, and what there is seems to be disappearing now, I can hear steady drip drip drips outside and its getting very slushy. Ah well, lets see what tomorrow will bring.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Frolicking in the snow

Our granddaughter Paige was spending the day with us today, so we decided to take her and the doggies to the Firehills for a bit of fun in the snow. I may have gotten a bit carried away with the photos, lolol, but they were having sooooo much fun, I just kept clicking away. And then of course I couldn't decide which ones to delete so I ended up with a biiiiiiiig bunch of them on here. Ooops. Perhaps if you flick through really quickly, then looking at them won't seem quite so daunting a task, lol. Or you can ignore them completely, of course ;-). But as the blog is a kind of record of our days for me, I want them all on here!

These French shopping bags ( 1 Euro ) are indestructible and work rather well on snow -
The dogs thought it was great fun knocking DS off the bag -

Poppy meeting a friend

The dogs went completely loopy in the snow, chasing each other -

This is Bowser, their bestest friend, whom we have known since he was a little pup many years ago and living next door to us -

Not sure whether Poppy is trying to rescue Paige or delighting in knocking her off the bag -

Hector flying over the snow -

Doggie convention -

Nick found what looked like half a huge plastic container, which was excellent for sliding down the hills -
Poppygirl -

My gorgeous handsome Hector -

DS pretending to be 10 again -

And this is DH pretending to be 10 again. He is rather good at that, and not just in the snow -

Anybody who doesn't know Ridgebacks would think they are having a seriously scary, vivious fight here........ nope, thats how they play, lol, they love their boxing games and chewing each others' faces off. Somehow they never hurt each other -

My gorgeous Poppy girl -

If you have made it this far down, you are a STAR!!!!