Saturday, 12 June 2021

Beech Bonsai

I've been learning about and trying my hand at bonsai.  With two little trees sitting in pots I was very happy, then 'im outdoors bought me a present.  A beech tree he had dug up at a job.

The poor thing must be at least 5 years old, but has been hacked back a few times and looks like it didn't have much room too grow.

So I potted it up and had a proper look at it.  I cut a few crossed branches off and cut its main branched back a bit as it was getting too tall for what I wanted it for.  There was one branch which cut in, but if I could convince it to bend out, it would much inprove the shape of the tree, so I wired it up and then left the poor thing to get over the shock.  

I was very happy to see it produce leaves at the end of May.  It looked like a proper tree!  But now two of the top branches crossed over each other so I added some more wires to push them out, much improving the little trees shape at the same time.

I know that I should really cut back some of that new growth to encourage more growth but it seems to mean.  Maybe later in the year.

Saturday, 5 June 2021

Persian Tiles Eastern Jewels Crochet Blanket

 Last year I was given a crochet kit for the Persion Tiles blanket in the Eastern Jewels colour way by Jane Crow.  But then COVID happened and I couldn't deal with such a big project.

This year I was working on a knitting project when I ran out of wool!  In lockdown and unable to get anymore I looked for something else to do and came across the crochet kit.

I have to say I didn't really like the colours when I first got them out.  And even when making the sections I didn't really like some of them.  It proably didn't help that quite a lot of it was made in artificial light in the evenings.  I also hated making the little crosses.  They were so hard to get even!  I had to undo the first two octagons when I'd done all of them to redo the crosses, they were that bad!

The magic happened when I started to put the pieces together.  Suddenly the colours looked great and the whole thing sang!  Seeing them in daylight also made them look much better.  This is a summer blanket.

I really enjoyed making it and look foward to using it.  The sort of thing to drape over your shoulders while sitting in the garden in the evening. Maybe on one of 'im ourdoors new benches.

Monday, 31 May 2021

The Sky Blanket - May

I had hoped for a massive block of blue this month but instead we had near constance sunshine and showers.  

This meant I finished my first 2 balls of wool, one dark grey and one dark blue.

It's definitely getting more substantial.  I'm not really looking forward to sewing in squares over the summer, however in the autumn and winter it should be a nice warm treat.

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Fixing a Leather Bracelet

Years ago when I was a teenager and I finally had some money of my own and was allowed to go into town with my friends to spend it, I bought a pretty leather bracelet.  I chose this one because it was so soft to the touch.

But I didn't choose well and it didn't take long for it to 'break', where one of the leather strips had been fudged together rather than being a full strip.  It only cost a couple of pounds and wasn't the best made thing in the first place.

Being a teenager and with limited tools in my crafting armory I tried using a bit of PVA glue (at that point I used PVA for EVERYTHING) to fix it.  Which did work but left me with a hard bit in the middle of my soft bracelet and so it got stuck in my jewellery box and forgotten about.

While having a tidy up at Easter I came across it again.

I peeled the PVA off and had a look at what the actual problem was.  I have more tools in my crafting armory now.  Plus I had read about how the Japanese repair pottery with gold so you can see the repair.  I love this idea.

So I got out my favorite blue and pink thread and sewed the broken leather back together, I then wove the ends of my thread into the plaits of the bracelet so they could be seen, but would hopefully not come undone too.

So now my bracelet is fixed and retains its softness. And I have a bracelet that I can wear again.

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Thuja Plicata Bonsai

As all my other projects seem to be taking an age at the moment, it's nice to have something to do that is a little more immediate, although the actual end results won't be seen for years!

Still facinated by bonsai I wanted to try my hand on another tree.  This one is a Thuja Plicata 'Little Boy', normally used as hedging plants but reduced to £2 at my local garden centre.

When I started cutting the bottom branches off I realised it has three nice strong trunks which give it great shape, once you can see them.

I pruned and potted it up, but I haven't decided about wiring it yet.  I'm not sure if it would work with this sort of leaf structure.  Still its interesting to see what sort of tree it turns into.  And I can always wire it in the future if I decide it is needed.

Friday, 30 April 2021

The Sky Blanket - April


The blanket is growing.  So big now that I had to put it on our bed to get a photo, the worktop is no longer wide enough!  And it no longer fits in the bag I have.

Above you can see how the squares compare with my speadsheet.  When I have completed a square I coloure it blue.  Once I have sewn it to the blanket I bold that line so I can keep track of where I am.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Simple Flapping Butterfly

I keep a list of projects and ideas in trello for when I might have an opportunity to make them.  So while I was looking through the spring issue of Butterfly, the Butterfly Conservation magazine, it suddenly occurred to me that the photos of butterflies would be perfect for a Rob Ives project.

It didn't take very long to cut the photos out and then decide on which one to use.  I doubt very much that this type of butterfly would be this big for real, but wouldn't it be cool if they were.

The image is stuck to a clothes peg, so when you squeeze the peg the wings flap.  Delightful and so easy to make.

Sunday, 18 April 2021

Picea Glauca Bonsai

As part of the plan for my big year I wanted to learn more about bonsai.

I love trees and have been facinated by bonsai ever since I was little and my dad had a horse chestnut tree that he kept in a tiny pot.  It can't have been more than 20cm tall and every year it would produce one large leaf.

I'd hoped to attend a course in person, but with lockdown and all the restrictions we're living with right now I decided to see if there was anything online.  Here I came across Bonsai Empire who not only had lots of information and advice but also a set of videos.

I worked through their Beginners course and some of their Getting Started course and decided to have a go for myself.

My first attempt was with a small Picea glauca 'Alberta Globe' which I bought from our local garden centre.  When I started it was just a ball of green, but I pruned it using the techniques I'd seen in the videos, then wired some of the branches, and potted it up.

It smelt a bit like Christmas as I cut bits off in the sun.  

It still needs some work, but that is part of the fun of bonsai, they are never finished, as a living thing they will continue to grow and evolve.  I look forward to seeing how this little chap gets on.