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      WIPs and recent makes

      26th June

      Mood blanket 2014 and the Attic 24
      Scandinavian influenced cosy CAL
      Works in progress make many appearances on crafting blogs and this one is no exception.  What is it about starting something, the excitement, the challenge, the unknown, so why then does this all slow up and often just grind to a halt?
      Last year I enthusiastically began the  mood blanket  , chose the perfect blanket colours, just for me, loved that I was crocheting in cotton and then BAM, five months later, I stopped.   Phil from the wonderful blog The Twisted Yarn, often asked me if I was going to pick it up again but she has now stopped asking.  It's been playing on my conscience and today I brought it out of the back of the wardrobe and am leaving it out, just in case I maybe ready to pick it up sometime soon, fingers crossed everyone...

      The mood blanket is based loosely
      on the stripy as you go blanket

      In August my daughter will be 16.  We have frantically begun to re arrange the garden, which has involved moving sheds, demolishing sheds , cutting down and pruning trees, adding in new fences and completely changing the look of the bottom half of the garden.  And now we are about to put in a brick path, patio and more lawn area.  To dress up the new patio I decided that I was not busy enough in my life and it would be good to have some crocheted bunting.  A couple of years ago I made meters of sewn bunting and  we bring it out every year but I wanted something new and just for her party.  Having previously bought four balls of Drops Belle cotton/viscose/linen mix for the Knitting and Crocheting Guild/Yarn Stories competition and then finding that I had no time to design an entry, let alone knit or crochet it, had what I felt would be perfect colours for the bunting.  So on Sunday whilst watching my son in a rowing regatta I began...

      The start of making 56 crocheted triangles for bunting

      Each triangular shape takes between 10 and 15 minutes depending on my depth of concentration and each ball makes 14 of them.  they each measure 6 cm at the widest top part and put end to end will make just under three and a half meters.  what I cannot decode upon is would they look better with an equal gap between the triangles in which case I would end up with just over six and a half meters of bunting.  That's a lot of chain binding to make to string them together.   What would you do, what do you think would look best?

      Which do you think would look best for the bunting?

      You may recall that I have begun an obsession with glass fusing, see post here and this week I have made two pieces which will be fired over the week end.  Cannot wait till Tuesday to see how they turn out.  That is one of the many joys of glass fusing, you have an image in your mind and then you create as close to that as you can, but nature will take its course with the heat and you never know quite how all the glass will melt together.  Exciting times. 

      Beginnings of a glass bowl, top
      and a sea blue light catcher

      I bean recycling and reupholstering this  1950's dressing table last week and admit to not quite finishing it.  From afar, it looks totally finished and I confess to being just a tad in love with it.  Notice the spotty material under the crocheted bunting in the photos above?  That's the material of choice for this dresser, pop over and see how it turned out. 

      Finally a little bit of a cheat as this is not a work in progress, but as soon as I can tear myself away from the computer I will begin this project and it MUST be finished by Thursday.  It's to travel to Washington DC, which is across the pond from where I live.  My daughter travels there on Friday morning to visit my sister.  Her partner has begun a new venture and has bought a food truck selling British food in DC and requested if I could make three lines of bunting to go around the truck.  Turquoise, pink and white were requested, so I really must crack on....

      Logo for the food truck

      Unfortunately within a week of beginning, someone broke into
      the truck over night and stole the generator!  It's still off road
      whilst a new one is located.  Very sad and disheartening.

      Scones, cream and home made jam can be
      bought from this food truck in DC

      Material all ready and waiting
      to be made into bunting...

        Do you have many WIPs?  

      Joining in for the first time in a while with Amy  from Love Made My Home,
      taking five minutes out of my day to share with you all my five makes of focus for the week. Also for the first time with Willy Nilly Friday 5

Upcycle and recycle

24th June

It's official.

I. Can. Not. Reupholster.

About five years ago I was an avid follower and user of free cycle.  My most successful item was the
1950's dresser ready to be re loved
acquisition of a round pine table and four chairs.  See the post   here and  for paint details  here     At about the same time I also acquired a beautiful but somewhat unloved and neglected 1950's kidney shaped table.  By pure luck it fitted in an alcove in the spare room with only a couple of millimetres to spare each side.  And there it sat for five years, with me also neglecting and not giving it the love it deserved.  It was quite literally ignored.  I knew that I wanted to bring it back to glory with a modern twist but to find enough time was always the problem.

So as the dressing table was 'out of sight' and therefore was not a pressing item on my to do list,  I made the children carry it down the stairs and leave it in the middle of the utility room.  Now I was bound to have to do something with it as I would have to squeeze past it everyday.

How wrong was I?

In fact the dressing table became a convenient dumping ground for the whole family and a favourite sleeping abode for the cat.  We knocked into it, squeezed past it and cursed it for 6 months before I had had enough.

One sunny day last week I dragged it out to the garden, wiped it over to ensure there was no dust or grease on it and just slapped on the most amazing paint called Autentico.  I used the colour Dolphin.  It was touch dry in less than 30 minutes and I decided for good measure to give it a second coat.  That night it was back in the spare room, although not the room it was in before.  During the six months it sat in the utility room my son decided he wanted the spare room, so now his old bedroom was to be the spare room.  No more snug alcove for this dressing table!

Painting was the quick and easy part but in true old fashioned style all the drawers had previously been covered in material.  Having purchased some beautiful Designers Guild velvet in vivid colours I thought it would be great to add this splash of colour to the spare room and promptly began to staple gun and glue the velvet onto the drawers.  

Big mistake.

Have you tried fitting velvet around the corners of drawers?  I suggest you don't.  It was too thick and cumbersome and I could not close the drawers.  I had a genius idea to begin planning down the sides with my husband's granddads plane.  Great fun but it wasn't the right thing to do and it took me only a few minutes of planning to realise I was on a hiding to nothing and the velvet had to go and I had to seek out much thinner material.

100% cotton came to my rescue.
Adding the fabric to the outer edges was difficult
Recycling this dressing table was now fully in my sights and I stapled gunned the night away, literally and fabric glued where needed.  I am not quite finished as I ran out of staples sometime after midnight and now need to go and procure some more.  I notice too that two of the drawers are sticking a bit, so a little more planning may actually be in order, but I am delighted in how it is shaping up and coming along.  Just need to make sure I finish these last little snags.  

Originally where you see the long painted arm,
it had a fabric curtain to hide the drawers

I think once I have the spare room fully sorted and cleared out of unnecessary junk that this dressing table will make a great addition to the room...

Just a few snags left to sort out

Almost finished my modern 1950's dresser

  Have you upcylced any furniture,
what was your experience? 

Glass fusing in Oxfordshire

22nd June 

I have a new addictive hobby and it has momentarily taken me away from crochet and I'm not talking
Boat coaster, fused glass, my first piece
about knitting either but glass fusing. 

Until a few weeks ago, I didn't really know what it was.  Looking back, I've always been drawn to glass, I remember one vivid holiday in Devon as a child where I was allowed one momento from the holiday and chose a glass tree with hanging ornaments on it, the colours were so vibrant and the fragility of it made me somewhat in awe of it all.  More recently, I have bought a couple of glass pictures, which I now know to be fused glass.

I'm terribly lucky to live near a wonderful teacher of glass fusing who is both able to lead you along but push you to be independent.  I confess that on my initial night I had no idea what it all entailed, had not really thought about it and felt like a writer presented with a white blank page that I could not fill.  Judith said to go with my gut and what inspired me.  The first thing that popped into my head?  Sailing, so a boat and sea scape it was to be.  Once I had an idea I cannot say that my work flowed but I didn't feel like a dumb wit as I had an idea to go with and was able to therefore be directed at least into which colours to use.  I first drew a rough outline of the sort of thing I wanted.  Again Judith encouraged me to go beyond cutting just straight lines even on my first session with her and explained how the sails on the boat would look so much better with a slight curve.  She was totally right but I was nervous of the cutting, however with her guidance, I managed it just fine.

Each week Judith teaches us something new and pushes us just that little bit more, below is small taste of the things I have been making in the past 8 weeks...

To make a bowl you need to:

Draw the circle shape on paper &
cut the glass to roughly the correct lengths

Then you need to trim each glass piece down to fit
inside the circular shape, this is not easy, well not for me!

After two firings, it should look like this!

Another larger bowl after it's first firing

Pendants are quick and fun to make

...as are rings, cuff links and brooches

Cufflink beads and wall hangings

The beginnings of a wall clock

A slightly different technique called
foiling, this glass will not be fired

So forgive me if I have been somewhat lacking in blogging these past few weeks, I'm still here but spending my time googling glass fusing, try it, you will see an assortment of goodies and then I think how I can make my own spin on these ideas and finally there is of course road trips to glass factories too...

Creative glass in Bristol

Such colours and so many goodies

No trip to Bristol in search of glass is
complete without visiting Bristol Blue Glass

  Loving creativity and inspiration,
what inspires you to be creative?  

Favourite past times

5th June

Oh my goodness I am flitting from one thing to another and my mind is all over the place. Are you like me? Do you dabble in many crafts but master of none? I am having so very much fun and meeting some truly wonderful and interesting women through crafting. 

Crochet and cake
My all time all consuming or so I thought passion of the last couple of years has been crochet. I've even run two courses now at my home and have had such a giggle and a laugh with some genuinely warm hearted ladies. I think they have learnt and grown in their crochet craft too. Along with eating cake, Thursdays have been near perfect for me. 

Then there's the internet.  How many of you have touched my heart and encouraged me in blogging and crafting. My virtual friends all over the world. One way the technology world has been positive. I even had one Internet attendee on my Thursday night crochet sessions and what a fantastic dimension that brought. Thank you Linne. Of course there is  the possibility that virtual friends can become real friends too and I've been lucky enough to hook up with Phil from The Twisted Yarn and Amy from  Love Made My Home  .
Each in their own way have enriched my life and my blog!
Doubly lucky I am. 

A bowl to have by my bedside

More recently I have ventured into the world of glass and glass fusing. As with yarn the colour choices, combinations and shades are breath taking. At first I was truly over whelmed, not really having read up about it or looked at examples I was like a scared writer looking at a blank white page. That's when a good, no great teacher steps in and guides you in what to do but makes sure as the student you are making the choices, learning as I went along. I'm not a natural at cutting glass, I certainly struggle with visualising from a 2D to 3D and I'm not confident in really knowing yet what can be done with glass and all the  possibilities.   

Glass foiling

But I'm being gently led allowing only my own imagination to hold me back. If you live in the Oxfordshire area of the UK you really should look up Judith at Handmade In Wallingford , if you are at all interested, I urge you to book up the starter session with her and see what you think.  And do you know what, my husbands delighted, he prefers the glass creations to the yarn ones. I wonder if he'll think the same in another 20 years.

My dump find being revamped
Garden revamp begins in earnest
Home improvements are another great past time of mine but they do go in fits and starts. I'm definitely a starter person and need to work harder at being a finisher. I eagerly begin something with full enthusiasm only to run out of steam, time or passion for it. I have many incomplete projects around the house and garden. But I am slowly changing all of this. And am working hard to become a finisher!!  We have embarked on a huge garden project which I admit to feeling a little intimidated by, but slowly slowly each week the garden is changing. 

Sheds have been relocated within the garden, have been dismantled and taken away and one beyond saving was burnt in a mammoth fire we had in the garden burning all the excess vegetation that could not fit into the compost bin!  This is the remains of the fire several hours later and it actually smouldered for 3 days!!  Nerve wrecking.  Next steps: to level the ground, add in some electrics, begin paving paths and patios as well as add some garden fencing, phew, feel exhausted just writing that! And let's not forget new planting too. I'm hoping my love if gardening will return with the completion of this project. 

Brimble in Henningsvaer, Arctic, Norway


I could not have a list of my favourite past times without including sailing.  It's a family past time, a hobby, a sport and our boat is also our home at sea.  Brimble has carried us over thousands of miles safely and she holds a dear spot in my heart.  We have not seen her for some months as we sailed her into the Arctic last year, but any day now my husband and I will fly over to her and prepare her for the coming season when we bring her back to the UK. Brimble has her own blog too, so you can see where she has been and what she is up to! ( Brimble's blog ) Through sailing my family and I have been able to travel the world, to see sights and sounds we might not otherwise have had the privileged to do so.  Pods of dolphins have been our companions, nature has been our guide to where we travel and the experiences as a family we have encountered, enjoyed and survived as a unit are too numerous to mention, but all are cherished memories.  Bring on the next sailing season...

Lofoton islands

Midnight sun in the Arctic
Joining in with Amy  and  Hannah   taking five minutes of my day to share with you my five things this week, pop over and see what others are sharing...

♥  What are your favourite past times?  ♥