Monday, 7 August 2017

A little taster of a big project

It's been a busy couple of months.  And while all that's been going on I've been working away on a big old project when I have the odd half an hour or so.  This is just a little taster because its not going to be finished any time soon!
On the other hand I am really enjoying my dusk walks with Milo.  We've seen deer, cows and bats among other things, and nothing beats seeing the last rays of sun stream through the trees at the end of the day.
So I'll keep plugging away and maybe it'll be done by Christmas!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Puzzle ball


July is normally a rubbish month for crafting.  It's hot and sticky (except it's cold and wet today) which means your hands stick to the wool.  And the Tour de France is on so we spend out evenings watching the highlights.  And now we have the Milo dog too, any evening that might be left over is take up with a walk.  Not that I am complaining, just explaining why not much craft happens in July.
So I am pretty happy with the small project I have just managed to complete.


As soon as I saw the puzzle ball design on the Purl Soho site I knew I wanted to make one.  I just loved how they had used different colours inside.  So then I started looking round to see how to make one.  Little Red Farm had a very good tutorial which I followed, although I hand sewed mine, rather than machine sewing, which is part of why it took me so long, but did mean I could do it during the adverts.


Once I understood what I had to do, each section didn't really take that long, the worst part was working out the order they should go in so that each section had all three colours.  There was also that worrying moment when you think you don't have enough bits 'cos the last gap looks too big, but it was fine.


I love how its come out.  I wasn't sure about the colours when I started but they work so well together.  Its very pleasing.  All I have to do now is keep it away from Milo who thinks its for him, it is a ball after all.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Tiny flowers


Ages ago I bought some lenses to use with my phone.


As with all these things they got put to one side and a bit forgotten, until now.  I've taken to walking round the lake at lunch times at work, and as the season has progressed and I've seen all the beautiful wild flowers growing round it I decided to take the lenses with me on a walk and see what I could capture.


I was so impressed with the images I also look the lens with me when we visited Uppark recently. 


It's the macro lens which has been really impressing me.  It can be a little tricky - the lightest breeze makes the flowers move like they are in a gale! And in the sunshine my phone screen doesn't always show a very good image.  I also find using the touch screen button tricky!  
But I still somehow manage to take the odd good photo (there are many more blurry ones). 


Its amazing what you can see when you stop and look!



Sunday, 2 July 2017

Stary necklace


Anyone who knows me, knows I love stars.
I've got more star jewellery than you can shake a stick at but that didn't stop me from desiring another necklace. And this is were the bees wax comes in.
I'd found some tiny star beads and wanted to hang them on something equally delicate. I'd looked into chains but it was impossible to work out if they chain would go through the bead holes without seeing them in person, and they all seemed to have massive findings for doing them up which kinda defeats the objective in my eyes.


So I started thinking about other ways to hang them. What about a cord with a sliding knot?  The first cord I tried was way too thick for the beads so I found some of my own embroidery thread and coated it in bees wax (this helps it to handle better, wear better and lets the knots slide).  I then ironed the thread between some grease proof paper to even the wax out a bit.  With my cotton ready I threaded my beads then tied my sliding knots.
For something so simple it's come out really well.  I like to wear it quite high, nearly a choker, but could easily have it lower if I wanted - part of the beauty of a sliding knot.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Milo


Me and 'im outdoors have been talking about getting a dog forever.  But in the flat it wouldn't have worked - a whole set of steps and a garden gate to go through before being free to roam.
Now we have a house with a nice big garden and a woodland behind, it suddenly became a possibility.  And with the utility room finished we started talking about it seriously. 


Although we would have liked a puppy we decided that there were so many dogs that need rehoming we should start by looking there.  So one Sunday afternoon at the beginning of June we made the trip out to the Dog Trust centre at Shoreham, being our nearest centre even though it's still over an hours drive away.


There were many dogs who we liked, but most of them wouldn't be able to deal with going to work with 'im outdoors, which was the only way we can have a dog.  No one wants to be left by themselves for 8 hours every day.
After registering our interest and having a good chat with the ladies at the centre we left wondering how long it would take to find someone to live with us.


3 days later and I received a phone call from the Trust.  Were we still interested in a dog.  Yes, I say.  Then they had a 3 year old black Lab called Milo who might interest us.
So the next weekend, on nearly the hottest day of the year so far, we drove down to meet him.  Apparently he is a stray from Wales so Milo isn't his real name, which is why he ignored us when we called him by it.  Otherwise he is a real sweetie.  Very quiet, loves a ball, polite with other dogs but pulls on the lead a bit.  I can't believe anyone would have let him go, but the Trust ladies told us that while it could just be someone had got fed up of him, it was more likely that they had lost their job and couldn't look after him any more or something equally sad.


After visiting him again, having a house visit to make sure the garden was safe and secure and attending an adoption talk - all about dog behaviour and how to help him settle in to his new home, we were able to bring him home.


My car will never be the same!  But mostly he will travel in the truck so that will be better.
Then we had a quiet weekend to bond, mostly with a set of tennis balls and a squeaky chicken. He's a little under weight at the moment so he's on 3 meals a day until he puts on 3kg and I hope to build him up to running with me.
So while we know our lives will never be the same again we very much hope that Milo has now found his forever home.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Bees Wax


So a couple of weeks ago I decided I needed some bees wax.  Apparently its very good for making cotton easier to work with when sewing and book binding; more about that project in another post.
I didn’t really want to get it on Amazon, so decided to visit our local market town and see if the sewing shop there had any.
I couldn’t see any so asked the lady in the shop.  She didn’t think they had any and as I was turning away to try another plan, a customer in the shop asked ‘Did you want some bees wax?’
 



I said yes I did and she explained that she was a local bee keeper and she has just cut off some excess wax from one of her frames which I could have if I wanted. 
Not really knowing what to expect I agreed and we (me and 'im outdoors) drove out to one of the small villages in the area to find a house on top of a hill with a beech hedge (the actually instructions we were given).


We actually got there before she did and had to explain to her poor husband why we were knocking on the door!
However after a chat and a cup of tea we left with a beautiful piece of comb and the promise of more later if I want it.
Once home I had to work out what to do with it.  I couldn’t just use it as it was as it would just crumble and it needed cleaning.



After a bit of research I tried boiling it.  To do this you need to place the comb in something so all the imperfections are captured and you end up with clean wax.  An old pair of tights were perfect.  

Although the piece of comb was quite big, once you melt it down and form it into a ball there isn't really that much there which I think makes it even more amazing.
Anyway there should be enough for my project, more about that later.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The new utility room


At the beginning of the year we moved into our new home.  We knew right from the start there were projects, but it was good enough to live in so we happily unpacked. 
One such project was making the little bike store at the front of the house bigger so 'im outdoors had somewhere for all his tools.  This became a priority once we realised the floor was rotten.

Before



So over the last 4 months 'im outdoors has ripped out everything which was in the bike store/utility room/downstairs loo - including walls and the rotten floor, and then rebuilt it to our own specifications.  We've reused as much as we could, including cutting one of the old doors down to make a slim cupboard door.  Or we've looked for deals like the old belfast sink found on Gumtree.

Ready for the ready-mix lorry to unload
 'im outdoors has worked tirelessly - working evenings and weekends with me helping where I can - the painting and tiling is all mine! And today we finally finished it.
It is so amazing to have a space like this, where washing can be done and hung to dry without getting in the way and with the little downstairs loo nicely finished so we're not embarrassed when visitors need to use it. 
And once again 'im outdoors has impressed me with his ability to do everything himself, from plumbing and electrics to laying the floor and making me cupboards.

After





If you visit anytime soon, don't be surprised to be invited to view the new utility room and downstairs loo - I am so chuffed!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The Rainbow Bag


Is 2002, before I had a blog (probably before I knew what a blog was) I saw someone somewhere with a rainbow bag and suddenly desired one for myself!


I can't remember quite why I decided to make it myself, but I was in the middle of my cross stitch phase and so this is what it was made from.  If I had mastered knitting at this point I probably would have knitted it.


I also can't remember how long it took me to make, but I do remember taking it to work with me and working on it in my lunch breaks. I believe this was also the end of my cross stitch phase!


My mum helped me to line it with nice thick material so that the light cross stitch material wouldn't get pulled out of shape.  My dad found an old seat belt to be used at the strap - nice and strong (I think it goes all the way round - making a strong bottom too).


Of course by the time it was done, my desire for such a bag had started to wain and I never really used it.  Maybe also because of all the work I had put into it, I didn't want to see it wrecked by too much use.


As we went through our stuff packing for the move I came across it again.  I'd pretty much forgotten the poor thing, but because it has sat in a cupboard for the last 10 years the colours are still as brilliant as when I created it.


14 years on, I've just started to think about cross stitch again (life is a wheel after all) so maybe it's appropriate that I found it again now.  Maybe I'll even start using it.  It is after all a lovely strong bag, and I do still like it, even after all this time.  
So now you know that massive projects are not something new for me.  If I had had the blog I would have blogged then, so it is only fair that I blog about it now.