Saturday, 27 February 2010

A bit dotty

I'm fed up with all the dreary weather and I'm ready for some pretty colours - so here are my latest ones. A long process making the dots but I do find them and the pastel shades cheerful and am making lots of different dotty things.

To go with cheerful dots are cheerful daisies too, on a nice spring green background.

I'm all set for tea in the garden - how many weeks do you reckon we'll have to wait for that? I've got my little round table out on the lawn ready - (how dotty is that?! Good to be optimistic though.)

It's been a busy week of trying to felt here - as you know Archie is a tremendous help to me and greatly enhances the whole experience. He does truly love sewing too and likes chewing all types of thread. A couple of afternoons I've just given up trying to do anything creative and have played with Archie and waited for my boys to come home instead- as soon as the first one has walked through the door I've just presented them with a kitten and run off back to the kitchen to try and get on!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Procedure for felting with the assistance of a kitten, using a resist.

Begin this procedure by putting kitten in his bed for a sleep:

Now follow the numbered steps below:

1. Separate wool tops into pieces for each layer.

2. Tease out wool fibres and begin to lay out in very fine tufts over the resist.

3. Retrieve other pieces of wool tops that kitten has grabbed and run away with into the next room to chew and play with.

4. Continue laying out fine tufts of fibres.

5. Peel off last few tufts of fibres kitten has run through and disturbed, straighten, then re-lay.

6. Put kitten on floor.

7. Remove residue of fluffy wool fibres from kitten's mouth.

8. When first side of template is complete, cover with net and sprinkle with water to wet down the fibres.

9. Remove kitten from the spare piece of net he is playing in.

10. Put kitten on floor.

11. Put kettle on for cup of tea.

12. Remove kitten with wet paws from puddles of splashy water on the surface of the felt.

13. Hold kitten in air while he shakes the water off his paws.

14. Put kitten on floor.

15. Turn template over, carefully fold over overlapping fibres from other side, and commence laying out fibres on second side.

16. Repeat steps 2-7.

17. Make cup of tea and stroke kitten.

18. Put kitten in next room and shut door.

19. Turn template over to first side again.

20. Peacefully for 30 seconds commence laying out fibres for second layer.

21. After 30 seconds shut ears to pitiful wailing emerging from next room.

22. Continue laying out until pitiful wailing turns to kitten-yowling. This is much, much quieter than cat-yowling but more distressing and harder to ignore.

23. Let kitten in.

24. Kitten will be extraordinarily delighted to see you after what has amounted to about two and a half minutes of separation, and will begin purring ecstatically, looking adoringly at you and saying silently 'Please never leave me alone like that ever, ever again, I am the sweetest most adorable kitten in the world, I love you and I will be good.'

25. Stroke kitten.

26. Talk to kitten sternly about the importance of being able to continue working.

27. Put kitten in his bed.

28. Continue laying out fibres on both sides of the template until there are three layers on each side and felt and kitten are wet.

29. For the felting stage cover with net and sprinkle soap flakes on felt then add hot water. Rub the felt gently to keep all the layers in place. At this stage the kitten will join in trying to rub the felt, but won't be gentle and may use claws.

30. Put kitten on floor. Brush off surplus soap flakes from kitten's head.

31. Kitten will by now have worked out that the fastest way to access the felting table is not by a series of chair-hopping manoeuvres, but straight up your legs.

32. Put kitten in next room, shut door and work extremely quickly, getting the felt ready to be rolled before giving-in to pathetic meowing.

33. Give in to pathetic meowing and let kitten in, kitten will again be delighted to see you and will need a cuddle.

34. Explain to kitten you will be rolling the felt and he should watch. Put kitten on floor.

35. Commence rolling.

36. Disentangle kitten's teeth from edge of bamboo blind.

37. Put kitten on floor.

38. Commence re-rolling, alternating directions.

39. Remove kitten's front paws from bamboo blind.

40. Put kitten on floor.

41. Make more tea.

42. Check watch to see when it is time for glass of wine too.

43. If too early for wine, try chocolate.

44. Remove kitten who will be sitting on felt while you have made tea/poured wine/eaten chocolate.

45. Put kitten on floor.

46. Continue rolling the felt until piece has hardened to the correct degree, alternating steps 35 through 45 as necessary.

47. Rinse felt and leave shaped to dry.

Kitten will now be looking tired, and will curl up in his bed and sleep for the next three hours, which is by coincidence precisely the amount of time you have spent trying to felt.

But he will be ready to play the whole game again tomorrow.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Baking on a snowy evening!

It's been snowing here today - just as we thought it was changing to warmer weather, and we can't believe how white it has been again!

Time for some baking!
I had been meaning to try these delicious-looking torcetti piemontesi that Annalisa shared a few days ago on her lovely cooking blog. We have a bread-maker so I'm afraid I cheated (sorry!) by putting the ingredients in there on the dough cycle - not the proper way I know, but I didn't have the time to mix by hand. I used strong plain flour and added 150 ml of warm water, which was ever so slightly too much, so I had to add a few shakes of flour to the pan of the machine after it had started mixing just to make it not too sticky - I turned round after doing this to find a very surprised looking kitten sitting up with floury sprinkles all over the top of his little head - the bag of flour had a hole in the side and as I carried it through the room he'd got a dusting while he was napping on the chair! My OH said he'll have to get used to it as I'm a very messy cook!

I shaped the dough (though not as carefully as I should as I was so busy) and rolled in sugar as Annalisa said, and baked! It was quite a long time after our dinner when they were ready and we ate loads - lovely while still warm. In fact as I type this I think son no.1 has just come downstairs to get the last couple!

Annalisa has also very kindly given me these blog awards:

Even though she is far away she has become, like so many of you, a good friend, so thank you again!

I'm not going to pass these on to anyone particularly, but will again say how much I value your friendships, all of you!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Blue Sky and an Archie update

It was a lovely sunny and, dare I say it, even warm morning this morning, so OH and I managed to get out by ourselves for an extremely muddy walk - but what a beautiful blue sky, I can't remember last time I noticed or saw one! It was so good to be outside and not be freezing cold!

We treated ourselves to a mocha and cake when we'd finished:

and sat outside in the courtyard of the cafe - to go with the blue sky was some vibrant green moss and the bright colours made me feel a bit more hopeful that spring is on its way.

Thanks all of you for your good wishes about Archie - it was his trip to the vet today - she thinks the lump he has is probably a reaction to the innoculations he had three weeks ago, which has set my mind at rest a bit, we've just got to keep an eye on him and see if it goes away in the next month, which it should.

Here he is hating the sound of the hoover:

He wants to play with our noses (and OH's beard too) as soon as he wakes up now, and gets so very excited to see us that he doesn't always remember to keep his claws in as he did before, so I think his days sleeping peacefully and purrily between us may be numbered - OH is running out of patience and needs his lie-ins during his week off!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

A bit of Sunshine

Lyn at everyday life has brightened my day by sending me this sunshine award, just looking at the colours makes me smile as I said to her, especially at such a grey time of year, and I'm still feeling a bit low in all the greyness as I'm sure some of you are too.

Now I'm aware that blog awards, instead of bringing nothing but happiness, can cause some negative feelings in some people, I know a couple of you out there have experienced this recently. I will always be pleased to receive one and genuinely thankful, but also usually prefer not to pass them on to others specifically (I'm making a slight exception this time).

Please can I tell all of you who I've got to know through your comments and blogs that I very much value your friendship, and you really do all make me smile, I'm not just saying that - my sons see me smiling at my computer as I'm reading your posts and comments on my posts, and just say in an exasperated way 'Are you blogging again Mum??!'

So I would like to offer this bit of sunshine to any of you who would like it - please accept it to pass on as you wish. I would particularly like to offer it to my good friend Tammy at Confessions of an Artist because as you will see if you pop over to her last post, she's not having a very creatively-successful time despite much effort, and particularly needs a bit of brightness in her life, although not of the salmon-pink variety (you'll see what I mean on this post!)

But please all of you do feel included - it's a lovely cheerful picture to have on your blog!

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Archie's Diary no.3

It's been another busy week of discoveries and growing.

I found this big noisy white box in the messiest room in the house - it has a round window in it and sometimes the picture inside swirls around:

I thought I should investigate more but it wasn't very easy to get inside:

I helped my mum with some felt - I walked on it and had to keep shaking my paws a lot as it was all wet, you'd have thought this would have made me get off, but it didn't:

She had to move me in the end so I sat on her shoulder for a while but she said it was still too difficult to get anything done while I was there especially when I tried to climb onto the top of her head, so I went to sleep on my nice warm towel bed she made for me on the radiator next to the table where she works:

The next day I helped with some drawing, I like to bat the pen around till it falls on the floor and then chase it:

I still love cuddles:

My dad says I look very silly upside-down.

I can climb higher - I like scrambling about on the basket full of felt bits - you can just see the tiny, tiny patch of white fur I have at the top of my chest, and look at all my beautiful sharp claws which are so useful for climbing up people's legs with:

I found some lovely string next to the front window:

I tried to carry it to a better place but it was stuck to the material at the window. I do like to carry things around - I bought my mum's nail-file all the way down the stairs to play with in the kitchen yesterday.

My mum is worried about me because I have a small lump on my side - I have to be checked out at the vets this week, my mum is finding it hard because she's just lost an ill cat and wants me to be perfectly well, and I am still so little. I feel fine and the lump doesn't hurt me, so we hope it's nothing serious, then perhaps my mum will finally relax a bit, it's about time she did.

Since I agreed to stop playing with her hair in the middle of the night she has let me sleep in her bed again, I'm very good and curl up on her shoulder all night. I wake up when it's light, which she says is fine in the winter but I'm not allowed to start skipping about in the summer at five in the morning, I've no idea why not, sunrise seems like the perfect time to start playing with my tail.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

A Red Heart

I've been doing a spot of blog-hopping, as you do, and saw that Lyn at everyday life had been making button hearts and linking to this post here by LissyLou. To raise money for the British Heart Foundation LissyLou is having a craft stall on 26th February and was looking for donated items in a red or heart theme she could sell to raise funds. Well I'd been meaning to try out a lavender bag in red, so this was the perfect time to actually get round to making one, so off it will go in the post tomorrow.

Not much else happening here, rather a sleepy Sunday, especially for Archie, although he has been doing rather a lot of bouncing between naps.

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Archie's Diary no. 2

Well it's time for me to say hello again.

This week I have been mainly helping.
Here I am helping to tie shoelaces:

And here I am ready to help with baking:

It's also been a busy week of skipping about sideways and trying to climb up people's legs.
I'm growing bigger and can get onto the table now to help my mum with making felt. She didn't seem very pleased about this especially when I sat on it all.

My mum thought I might like to sleep in her room. I did. I slept curled right up tight under her chin all night, I only didn't sleep for a bit around four in the morning when I thought it might be time for purring and playing with my mum's hair. It's funny because I had such a lovely time but the next night she said I needed to sleep in my own bed in the kitchen again.

I have been busy improving the home decor. I do not understand the human obsession with displaying plants vertically, surely this horizontal arrangement looks much better don't you think?

Here I am hiding in my favourite place in the cupboard in the tiny gap at the back of the cable-box (note the dust) - it's lovely and warm and nobody can get me out till I'm ready.

It's all ever so tiring being a kitten. Me and my mouse are worn out now.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Another felt flower

Well the last week seems to have flown past, how can a small kitten take up so much time? (Boys off school ill too, although at least they could kitten-sit while I went to work for a while).

I had this Sarah Raven catalogue lying on the table and really liked the colour of the lily on the front - so used it as my starting point for my latest flower (mine isn't a lily because it only has five petals). Much finer stamens this time which I prefer - still a bit experimental but nearly there with a process - I like the way it will all felt together without having to sew it, though it does take a long time, especially with Archie trying to help by playing with the blind as I rolled!
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