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Countryside themed items – ideas welcomed

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I meant to add this to my last post.  Looking for inspiration please!

I love to hear of crafting challenges. I have not entered into joint challenges online, like those I see on other blogs, though I did join a knitting challenge earlier in the year on Ravelry (not a joint challenge exactly, but a joint show and tell!)

I am often setting myself goals, some of which I achieve, though some become epic fails and I log both on here sometimes … ooops!  Am currently looking for inspiriration with a ‘countryside’ theme – a group of friends hope to have a table sale at a local ‘Countryside Day’ event here in the UK. Thinking of small, reasonably priced gifts for browsers to purchase which are quick to make and don’t cost a packet! All ideas welcomed. I sew and knit, time is limited!

So far, I have come up with squirrels and hedgehogs made of felt – I have 2 patterns but have not started anything!  Outside my house there is an abundance of pine cones – constantly dropping off next doors trees, perhaps there’s something there?  Friends have already made cards and cross stitch mini pics too.  I don’t have much time and am shouting out to others here ! Thanks for any replies!

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My squirrels won’t look as cute as the real thing! 
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A wander somewhere special, with a ‘tea and biscuit’ break …

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Somewhere very special to me is Rye in East Sussex (UK).  I used to live a short drive away from here and sometimes go back for a wander.  I was there again recently.  It’s a historical town, it was even mentioned in The Doomsday Book.   I used to visit with my grandparents. Thursday was market day, if memory serves me right, and there was livestock for sale, sheep I think, possibly chickens, as well as fruit and vegetables.  We used to have treat at Simon the Piemans in Lion Street if we were lucky, a little cafe that sold the most delicious fudge – it’s still there – more than 30 years later.  My sister used to drool whilst looking in the window! Unfortunately my camera failed me on my latest visit – so no photo of yummy fudge(!), however …

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Mermaid Street, with all it’s cobbles, and look at that blue sky

Also one of the quirky houses in Mermaid Street

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The House with Two Doors …. don’t know the history, but is sure is quirky – giess once upon a time it was two houses and now it’s one! 

We did stop for a treat whilst in Rye.  I never miss a tea and biscuit break (well, in my case coffee as I don’t drink tea!).  The Old Apothecary was our cake stop http://www.apothecaryrye.co.uk/ check out their website to see how it’s housed in an old chemist shop! The ‘treat’ inspired me a little, though I had homemade cake and not actual biscuits!

Crafting time: These are to add to my items for sale in a local cafe.  For those who regularly follow my blog you may remember doughnuts a while ago.  Same cafe, those doughnuts went down a treat!  Let’s hope a few ‘traditional style’ biscuits go the same way.

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One shop bought, one ‘homemade’ 
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One from a packet, one from the crafting table !

And that’s a little crafting only, still managing to get a little done, rather than a lot, but a little can go a long way!

Bye for now. Happy Friday !

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What’s your inspiration? It’s the beach for me! What makes your craft juices flow?

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A strange week or so.  Still hospital visiting, still a sad time within my family.  However, when we get a chance we take a break and try and do something good for the soul, which means to me a visit somewhere special or a little crafting time.

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Beach hut at Tankerton Slopes, next to Whitstable 

Recently there’s been a trip to Whitstable, one of my favorite places to visit.  I have mentioned this lovely coastal town on my blog before.  It is somewhere I gravitate towards and it’s just over an hour’s drive from where I live.  We usually park at Tankerton Slopes and walk along the prom towards Whitstable itself.  A stroll admiring the beach huts is wonderful.  If it’s breezy then troubles seem to be blown away, if it’s sunny then the warmth eases all the stresses within your bones.  Either way I love it there!

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More huts on The Slopes.  The same day, different skies! 

There’s always been something special about beach huts for me. Someone has been very clever in a Whitstable pub garden.  The Smack Inn reveals the delights of beach huts as a seating area, with a BBQ area and there was a list of gigs coming up too.  We snatched a quick beer before we had to head back but it won’t be the last time we visit.

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Huts at The Smack

I have added to my beach themed fabric recently too, which I guess is inspired by this visit and I feel a bag coming on.   No photo to share – but there will be!

It’s a friend’s birthday very soon too.  She has been admiring this fabric in a local shop.

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At first we both thought of ‘a swingy 50’s skirt’! But it’s a fairly thick linen/upholstery weight and neither she or I are wearers of those anyway!  With a limit on crafting time and knowing she loves stationary … Ta – da – I made a book sleeve and I hope she’ll love it!  My fabulous sis in law gave me a Kaffe Fassett fabric book sleeve as a gift a while ago, it makes my notebook feel special, not just a book stuffed in my bag to be dragged out for notes and queries!  I am hoping my friend has the same delights when she uses it.

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Not much else to show for the last few days.  I have a lot in my head (cotton wool my husband says sometimes!) , lots of craft projects amongst it, but life is getting in the way right now.  I have knitted a few rows here and there, sewn a little too, messed up a couple of ongoing projects, ripped back and unpicked.  There will be more to show off soon.

Signing off for now.

 

 

A little quilting … bit of a faff this time! Very little crafting indeed this week.

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It’s been a quiet week craftwise,  with much time taken up elsewhere with family illness and a little bit of work.

 

A few weeks ago I began a machine stitched baby playmat.  I kept the urge back to post pics here as I was planning to post when it was finished.  I briefly worked on the playmat two days ago, a little time for me and for my sanity! I still have a little way to go – craftwise that it, sanity well who can tell!

The playmat was supposed to be a quick and easy project.  A few weeks ago, the piecing went well, fabulous fabric donated by a friend.  I pieced the front, THEN I accidently cut the backing too small!  Grrr, I dashed out and purchased an alternative fabric.  I sewed the back and front together like a pillowcase, intending to pop in  the wadding and simply do some formed of ‘tied’ quilting.  That’s where I had left it until this week.

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So what’s a magazine got to do with quilting? There are no sewing patterns in this one ….

Have you ever tried to insert wadding through a small gap in one side of a pillowcase shape and try and make it reach all the edges?  It doesn’t work – wadding is way too flexible.  It clung to the fabric in all the wrong places. I had imagined it would be like putting a duvet in a duvet cover.  It isn’t!  I ended up flipping the ‘pillowcase’ inside out again and attempted to tack the wadding to the wrong side of the front of the playmat. There was one major hurdle – I had to avoid tacking the wadding to both the front and the back as I then wanted to flip it right side out, seam the gap and then tie the quilt as planned.  Some might say ‘why didn’t she just undo the seam around the whole thing and tack the wadding to one part?’  I have no idea why I didn’t do that! So, this wasn’t like a standard quilt where you have three layers and then bind the edges afterwards. I came up with this weird method of inserting a magazine into the gap and moving it beneath each part as I tacked.  I could pin and tack through the wadding and the front without the pins and stitches going right through to the other layer.  Here’s a pic mid process with a hint of what the back will look like.

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A touch of dotty blue makes the back a calm colour . What colours do you think the top will be?

I shall finish this before the recipient arrives in June.  I had just run out of me time this week and was slightly traumatised by the effort this took!

Watch this blog for the finished article.

Total other craftings this week – three hexagon shapes cut and tacked to card for my hand quilted hexi project.  Long way to go on this one.  Twelve rows of knitting, shaping armholes for an ongoing project. Not so much to still do, the bulk is done. I am just at the fiddly parts, not a project to take when hospital visiting. I have a new one for just that next time.

Bye for now.

 

Hexagon heaven – a little quilt in progress, and a knit fail!

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I have been crafting steadily over the last few days but there’s not a lot to photograph and show off!  Here are my latest 19 hexagons handsewn together.hexis.jpg

Excuse the crinkles – it’s a moveable project and it came with me to a craft club last night – obviously not packed so nicely for it’s journey home! Might have been due to exhaustion – second day in new job, followed by an evening at a craft club with just an hour between the two.  I might have overstretched myself too far yesterday, though the stitches are even so at least that wasn’t a consequence!

Recently I posted a pic of this sofa quilt project.  Eventually all my hexagons will be sewn together and what started as a cushion project WILL become a throw for my spare sofa.  I am calling it my organic project.  I started it several years ago, have dipped in and out but am currently working away on it, using fabric from my stash and adding more if I come across something complementary when out and about.  I may purchase a FQ or a half metre or more at a time, not exactly planning what I need at all. I am a ‘wing it’ sort of girl and this is a lot of fun. I am not stressing at all about how long it might take me and if another project becomes a priority it won’t matter at all.  There’s a lot of love being stitched into this.  Hand sewing is very therapeutic, and each stitching session is really enjoyable.  This is not detracting from the two knitting projects next to my sofa, nor the machine stitched quilt almost finished on my work table.

Knitting-wise, I have just picked up stitches twice (yes, twice!) around the neck of my latest cotton top.  Unfortunately the first pick up was very uneven so I undid it.  The second pick up has been better but there are still a couple of places I am not happy with.  It has been relegated to it’s knitting bag for the rest of the day.  Sometimes a project ‘works’ first time, but sometimes it doesn’t.  Often when I go back to it everything clicks and that’s the project for the day but today is a knit-no-more day.  No pics of the wonky pick up  – too embarrassed to show that off – I may have to enhance the neckline to make it wearable.

Loving knitting the cotton DK anyway – it’s Paintbox cotton dk yarn from Loveknitting.com. The shade is called Lipstick Pink but to me it’s not pink at all – it’s a definite coral.  I’ve bought a lot online but sourcing online there is always that risk that the colours you see on your screen don’t match the colour in reality.  In this instance I actually prefer coral to the pink anyway. https://www.loveknitting.com/paintbox-yarns-cotton-dk

Would love to hear which online yarn and fabric suppliers fellow crafters use. To start, one UK fabric online shop I love is ElephantInMyHandbag.com – lots to like on here.

I do actually visit shops too.  My hubby says I can sniff out a yarn or fabric shop from miles away – luckily he can be a patient man whilst I shop, or at least he ‘sniffs out’ a pub nearby and pops there whilst he’s waiting!

Byee for now.

 

 

New job/old job! Sew impossible today!

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I have a new job.  I start tomorrow.  Well, it is a new job, but it’s kind of an old job too.  I am returning to a Company I left more than five years ago, with a little more responsibility this time and perhaps a slightly different mindset. I am somewhat reassured I know what I’ve let myself in for, however I am also full of trepidation and cannot settle to anything today.

If a friend asked me whether they should return to a job they left I would probably say ‘don’t go back/move forwards’ for a whole host of reasons, especially if they left through choice, as I did.  I have mulled over this very thing. Circumstances have changed slightly, location of job for one.  The Company is moving forwards itself too.   I am hoping there is a mixture of knowing what I am doing, plus a few new challenges and new faces.

I am so lucky to be given this opportunity. However, I had kind of gotten used to not working! I’ve been crafting more and loving it. The job is only part time so I shall still sew and I shall still knit, perhaps not quite as manically, but hopefully as productively.  Today, however, it just isn’t happening –  I have picked up my sewing and held it for ages without stitching a stitch.  I have rummaged in the knitting bag next to my seat yet not been tempted to pick up sticks and actually knit. This feeling of being unsettled is just a temporary blip – I hope!

So, a few of pics of a recent trip to Devon, instead of the usual crafty updates in bulk! This part of the UK truly is a wonderful place.  Unfortunately for us, the drive there took 8 hours rather than 5, less said about that traumatic part of the trip the better !  Goodbye for now, back another day!

 

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Two weekends ago,  hubby and I posing in the sunshine at Salcombe.  Lovely place to visit !
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The view from where we stayed in Bigbury on Sea, across to Bantham Beach. Glorius!
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We walked across the sand to Burgh Island, took refreshments in the Pilchard Inn, thinking of the smugglers who frequented many moons ago!  You have to time your return if you want to walk back – if you miss the tide then there’s a sea tractor as otherwise you’d have to swim or wade !

Heirlooms? No Family Crafted Items survived, but memories do. A little current patchwork therapy too !

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I just read a lovely post, Blankets and Blessings, by thechickengrandma.wordpress.com and it has made me feel thoughtful about life, past and present (reblogged here on my site for interest and musings).

We all come from somewhere and someone.  When we are gone what do we pass on?

What kind of material history do we leave?  Some people say it’s not the material stuff that matters, and true, memories might matter more.  However, I am sure I am not the only one who would love to have more physical reminders occasionally.

I lost both parents (a mother and a stepfather I considered as my father for 30 years) but I often still feel a little lost myself, like a ship without a compass. I am in my 40’s, with a family of my own, and siblings too.  My parents were great influences, and of course I took them for granted, as all children do. I have many wonderful memories, and can pull those up in times of sadness.  I also have a couple of pieces of jewellery, of no value at all apart from sentimental.

There wasn’t a big collection of family hand me downs, not a heirloom christening gown, wedding dresses, memory quilts.  My mother and grandmother crafted all the time, however, nothing much was really kept.  Once it outgrew it’s purpose or fashion changed,  it was usually gifted to charity (that in itself is a kind and brilliant thing).   Perhaps some would say this was also a blessing, my siblings probably would, clearing the house there was lots of ‘stuff’. I kind of miss my grandmother’s handmade hexi quilt for one thing. I remember her making it, showing me how to cut hexigan shapes with card and cover them in fabric and I remember the quilt on her spare bed. Indeed, I have used this method myself to quilt and it reminds me of her (see below!). I miss my mother’s wedding dress. She had made it herself in 1961, though that’s a whole story in itself (my mother and true father divorced and my sister and I as children were allowed to play dressing up with her wedding dress!)   My mother sewed and knitted, she dabbled with macrame, tatting, crochet, many other things.  I remember she made floral displays from coloured stockings and wire (one even for her best friend’s wedding tiara!).  She made cards too sometimes.  She was pretty much an all-rounder craftwise (oh the hundreds of tea cosies she made for a local charity shop too.. flew off their shelves like hot cakes!) Nan was slightly less so, but she still knitted and sewed, and as a keen WI member she baked cakes and made jam, even writing this I can smell her kitchen.  The one thing I have of my Nan’s is a mixing bowl and I love using it occasionally, though also terrified of accidently breaking it as well. My Dad’s material legacy to me is very little, it’s more things he said and things he did that make me smile.

So, what will my own craft legacy be – if anything?  I knit, I sew, I dabble.  I have a son who has never wanted to craft and has no interest in anything I make.  I have a husband who tolerates the crafting chaos, and fakes an interest in completed items! I have gifted various knitted and sewn things to friends over the years and currently am doing so for new babies in the family and for friends.  Perhaps they will become their family heirlooms, or perhaps not.  Who knows?  I would like to think in years ahead someone might find something I made in a long lost storage box and be delighted to rediscover it!

Many current WIPS. One is this …..

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I started with a few hexagons about six years ago, a project that was going to be a large cushion, but having rediscovered it I am going to make a lot more and turn it all into a throw for a sofa.  Not an urgent project, more like an ergonomic past time that will be dipped into over months and years!  Don’t expect to see the finished item here too soon! 

Signing out for now. Feeling nostalgic having had a couple of recent big family celebrations.
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