Sunday 30 September 2012

Cotton Reel Pincushion

A way to use old cotton reels-make them a hat and they become a pincushion! It does look more like a mushroom but maybe she has got really big hair under there. I thought of these the other night, and sketched a few. I made this prototype for my friend's birthday. She is a teacher in the school I work at, but she is also a knitwear designer and maker, so may need a pincushion. She uses a knitting machine, which is the most horribly complicated thing I have ever seen and requires a lot of patience. Especially as she uses very fine wool yarn which tends to break quite often.The yarn I used is one I got from the boot fair in Pimlico. It is a kind of cotton ribbon. I wish I knew what it was called so I could buy some more, as it is lovely to crochet with.
 I am thinking of making some of these for the craft fair, as I need little low cost items. I need more finished cotton reels though! I have some that are nearly there. I have acquired vast quantities of buttons this week-from eBay, and from a shop in Rochester where we went yesterday. I have had a quick sort and there are some lovely ones, so I need to think how to include them in things. One lot from eBay had a nasty surprise included though-a razor blade! Luckily I saw it as I was rummaging, but it could have been painful.

 I have been collecting old patterns to use as wrapping for some time now, so had an experiment with my friend's present. The gift tag is also recycled from a fancy clothing label.
 I visited my favourite fabric shop in Rochester yesterday, as I needed more body fabric and some more fat quarters. I invested in a rotary cutter and a large cutting mat, as the thought of cutting out 20 more dolls was daunting. It has revolutionised the cutting process! I managed to draw, cut and sew all twenty today. Last time the drawing and cutting of 14 dolls took nearly a day. I am going to sit and turn them after tea and then go back to finishing the last lot.
I liked how the fabric looked all ready to sew. These are the legs, which have four pieces and so need joining and the seams ironing flat before sewing the leg together. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing! It is becoming my other full time job!
Apologies for the late drawing of the bear giveaway. I will be back tomorrow to do it!

Monday 24 September 2012


Work problem solved. Screme egg. Embroidering dolly faces. Old German bird book. Bead craft present from the girl I made the doll blanket for. Only four days till the weekend. The rain has stopped for a while. Happy!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Good Things

The first few weeks back at school after the summer are always hard, but this year they have been horrible, not due to the children, or the job in fact, but due to another situation, none of my making, which has been dominating the minds and feelings of all the lovely people I work with. It is a situation that is still not resolved, and even when it is I will not be able to talk about it here. However, even though it is not over, I have decided to stop letting it get to me, and have started to feel more as I usually do this week. And this weekend I have been just enjoying staying in the present, rather than dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future. These pictures are all little snippets of that, and so they make me happy to look at them. 
Heavy rain last night-Cassie's favourite sort of weather (she is quite a weird little cat really!) I wanted to take a photo of how wet she was, and had to pick her up to do so. This is with the camera turned around on my phone and so is blurry with water that came off of her! I dried her with a paper towel, which I don't think she minds too much.
Cassie's paws amaze me by being so huge!
Attempted crochet with rope. A chain is fairly easy, but after that it is very hard-well impossible actually. I think I will use the rope for bag handles or something. It is very attractive rope.
A large dolly head on top of a wire dress form. I made the head based on the vintage French one and its friend (not so vintage!) below. All these things are for my stall at the fair. I am very excited about the whole thing. I saw my friend today-the one who is organising it, and she is very excited too!

Aren't they gorgeous?! I couldn't believe it when I saw the one on the left last weekend in Greenwich. It is just the same as those I saw in Dinan on holiday. The second one came from ebay. She is not quite so lovely but she is growing on me. They will be modelling scarves at the fair. The filter on this photo is from the Vintique app which I love!
Little Bear giveaway post below-still time to enter!

Monday 17 September 2012

Little Bear wants to visit someone new!

A long time ago, when it was my thousandth post, I said I would have a giveaway. I didn't say what it would be but planned to make a bear. Eventually Little Bear was born-well-made, and he would like to come travelling to see someone new. I hope that if you would like to give him a home, then you will leave me a comment on this post. Sometime next week I will have a draw, and then, off he will fly!

 He moved for this photo!

Friday 14 September 2012

Dolls Again!

 Latest lot of dolls halfway through. I took a different approach to their clothes this time-there was a slight black and white theme with some-a bit of the Breton influence, but each one was different. I felt like a mini fashion designer and I liked that feeling! These are not great photos-the dolls are in their ziplock bags to keep them clean and dust free, but you get the idea. I made these little outfits and a couple of them made me want to have a big version!
 This one is one of my favourites-I am getting better at finishing the clothes neatly and understanding how the patterns work. This dress and cardi combo really pleased me!
 This one was an exercise in problem solving-the skirt is wrap around and the top a bit big really but once tied with the skirt looked ok. I like the mix of patterns.
 This one looks quite sixties. I used the button holes on the shirt (I used old clothes and charity shop clothes for this latest lot and she needed something extra.)  I struck upon the idea of a mohair jacket. My friend Clare has a black and a white furry jacket and they look great so that also helped me!
 This doll is a naughty ebay purchase-inspiration is my excuse! I love that row of pearl buttons.
 Gorgeous hair.
 A bit smelly so she had a bath.
 She looks happy.
 Doll unrelated cloud picture.
Coffee in the square at lunchtime, with my friend from work and the charming baby starlings. She took much better pictures than me which I may share later!

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Small Story

The Adornment
It died in the end anyway.
 I always try to save these tiny creatures, and sometimes it works. The one I found half-dead the other day just needed some water and fruit, and after a while, it must have revived because it was gone when I went back to check. There are more often failures than successes though. A creature may look perfect and beautiful on the outside, but inside be hopelessly broken. It makes me cry.
The most recent of the creatures I tried to help was the saddest. When I found it, I could see it was badly hurt, as it moved awkwardly and slowly, not with the normal fast grace of its kind. It managed to hide from me and I pretended that it would get better, and be gone when I looked for it, and I was glad, as I could not imagine putting an end to its life. A kindness perhaps, but not one that I would be able to perform.
Hours later, I realised that the creature was still nearby, hiding under a convenient structure. I felt remorse for leaving it to suffer for so long, and so, I picked it up and gently placed it in a small house. I put water near to its head, hoping it would be able to take a drink. I used the information systems of the world to discover the food it might like, and I tried to provide something suitable from what I had. I kept the creature away from the danger of predators, and hoped it was warm.
I did my best.
And then I watched it die.
I watched it with hope, which I imagined I saw reflected in its seemingly intelligent eyes. My hope was made stronger by the ability of the creature to move. Three times I had checked on it, and each time it had been in a different place.
I wondered how much it knew or understood of what was happening to it. Were the concepts of kindness and compassion possibilities in its mind?
Then, it died.
I made sure, hope surviving even then. I waited a long time. No Breath. No movement. I still waited, the weight of that tiny life too much to bear.
When I was sure, I lifted it, and placed it in an improvised shroud. I placed it on the ground, to become part of a new life. As I laid it down, its long hair blew across its face, and a tiny metal pin fell to the ground. When I looked closely, there was a sparkle from the gem so finely set into the end of the pin. I wondered at such tiny and insignificant creatures spending the time to make adornments for themselves, when mere survival was such a struggle.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Some photos of the garden and lazy or not?

Meandering thoughts about all sorts of things mostly never make it to this blog-not very interesting and sometimes plainly nonsense. One such thought occured to me on the way home though, and I was reminded of it  by Anairam, who said in her comment on the post below that I am always busy and that she is lazy (but on her blog that is not the impression-Anairam you are always busy making something wonderful, or working hard or just looking after the lovely Snous, and having trips out and about)
1) I am a Libra, and traditionally am meant to be a bit lazy ( I quite believe in astrology!) I have never thought of myself as lazy as I do so much all the time and work hard and meet deadlines etc etc. However, as I drove home tonight I realised I am selectively lazy. I work really hard at some things, but totally neglect others. If it wasn't for Andy I wouldn't eat very healthily at all. I hardly do any exercise. I do the house work as I get to a point of not being able to stand it, but I could do so much more (but resent the time it takes)
Then there is the garden. I have phases of doing lots, then I let it drift. It is currently in a drifting state.
 Weed and small statue with lichen.
Translucent seedheads.
 A surprising orange sunflower.
 An intricate geranium.
 Giant sunflower seedhead gone to sleep.
 Fuchsia and strands.
I can never rememeber the name of this plant, but really appreciate the way it appears now to provide some autumn colour.

Saturday 8 September 2012

This Week

Being back at work, combined with racing to make as many things for the craft fair as possible, has left little time for anything else-or energy! I have barely looked at the computer-a bit at my phone but not much. Once I get a routine going at work I think things will be better, but at the moment there are new staff to get to know, new children and parents, a re-landscaped playground to assess and arrange(still at the borrowed school), and all the jobs that need to be done at the start of the year to get things going. Little moments have been catching my eye as usual, and I thought I would just say hello and share a few of them. I hope that the week has been good to you.
 It is so sweet when cats do this. The other thing that makes me smile is when they forget their tongue is poking out!
 One of the many cabbage white butterflies now hatching all over the place. Some survive, and some don't, but where possible I have been trying to help them by giving them some apple. This butterfly did survive.
 This year's crop-the result of going on holiday during a heatwave! They were delicious though!
 Tiger managed to find a spot on the cluttered table.
 Not the blue moon-but the one the night after-so nearly!
 Crochet clouds.
 The next batch of dolls. It occured to me that it would be easier to embroider the faces and do the hair before the heads are attached to the bodies and it was.
 The amazing view from the room at the top of the teaching building at Goldsmiths University where we went on Wednesday for a course. Many London landmarks are visible. The millenium wheel, the post office tower, the shard, St Paul's, the natwest tower and the gherkin.
 The blanket and dolly are united at last-I made this for my friend's daughter and she loved it. Now her son wants one! He did a very sweet video on his Mum's phone, but he may have to wait a while!
 Lily relaxes as I sew.
 Cassie takes a risk and sniffs Tiger's paws.
 One of the dolls in a bag, waiting for a dress. I doctored the picture using an app. called 'Vintique' which I love.
The view from the cafe at lunchtime. It has been such a lovely sunny day. Right, back to the sewing!