Friday, 22 October 2010

Autumn at Chatsworth

We have had a very busy half-term week. The place I wanted to go most was Chatsworth as we've been the last two autumns to see the sculptures in the garden, and we finally made it yesterday. It was very cold with varying amounts of sunshine but son no. 1 likes cloud (and rain) and pronounced it was "Just the right kind of grey". I argued that there couldn't be a right kind of grey when it comes to weather but he was happy enough!
We had a really nice walk around and visited the cafe twice to warm up. Beautiful autumn colours were all around us as well as lots of artwork to look at.

This one is a mirrored twirling set of triangles - the reflections are fascinating:

The boys hiding from the camera:

And I love this one of them walking ahead together, talking to each other all the time:

I've been particularly 'hormonally challenged' this week, culminating today in mental shutdown following a trip to Leicester nearby specially to buy crafting supplies for a craft even I'm running at church later on next month - £20 worth of ribbons and all sorts from the John Lewis haberdashery (I love that word) department. Except that I left the bag with everything in it somewhere in the shop and came home without it! So I've got to go all the way back on the bus early tomorrow and buy the whole lot again! Boo, hiss to nasty, bad hormones that seem to completely remove any rational behaviour and thought altogether. I have been self-medicating with some red wine.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Newton and the Fierce Apples

This will appear to be a very random post - well it is a very random post, but there is a reason.
I was reading this post on Wednesday from Fuzzy Tales, and was wondering if lovely Derry the cat was playing with a real or pretend banana (sorry this will only make sense if you look at it). Now this might seem like a ridiculous question to ask - what cat would wrestle with a real banana? Except cats can be a bit odd sometimes. It turns out Derry had a catnip toy banana which must have been great fun, but the reason I was entertaining the idea of it being real was this video I took last year of Newton who I happened upon while he was defending himself against these very dangerous Bramleys. So this is specially for Kim:

We'll see if Archie takes a liking to attacking any other kind of fruit.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Felt Flower Coasters

There's lots of felting going on here, I've got many things to make, which is busy but good.
A friend bought my sample set of four of these coasters in the summer - I thought they'd be a good idea to go with a teacosy I made ages and ages ago but in the end that sold before they did. Now it's coming up to Christmas she asked me to make another three sets for friends, exactly like hers.

Could I find my notes of how I'd made them, what exact colours I'd used, the size of my flower template, most importantly how far apart I'd placed the flowers, any details at all?
No, of course not, because I only ever thought I was making one set. I did manage to find an old photo eventually and the final measurements of the circles, so that was a start.
It's really important to write everything down as you make things, you just never know when you're going to need the information!

After a bit of trial and error I took the plunge doing them all at once:

I did put the flowers a tiny bit closer together than I should have done, but it all worked out ok in the end.

When I'd done the whole piece it made me think about making a table runner - not with such a regular pattern on it but just trying a longer rectangle - mind you it's hardly worth it with Archie around, I think he'd just keep hooking it off the table with his claws or just plain attack it while it was minding its own business.

And finally, since it is now feeling decidedly autumnal and slightly cooler I have selflessly tested out this £2.97 per bottle Tesco substitute Ginger Wine - and I can report back that it's definitely very good value for money. I never realised it's actually ever-so-slightly less alcoholic than some ordinary wines, which presumably means I can have more of it?

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Playing with silks

There are so many things I want to post about - the autumn colours, Folksy purchases and supporting other craftspeople, the interesting world of Royal Mail Recorded Delivery (where you pay extra for the peace-of-mind that comes from knowing your item has been delivered, only in my case 75% of the time I've used this service they've not collected a signature thus leading to extra stress rather than any peace-of-mind whatsoever), Special Delivery versus FedEx ( I really will try and fill you in one day because it's all quite interesting if you need to send stuff out), but I am struggling so much with time I'm just going to stick to a bit of felt for now. I'm in the middle of many projects but recently went a bit mad with ordering silks - here are my packs of dyed silk hankies:

I must, must, must look into dyeing my own, but no way is it going to happen quite yet, so I took the plunge and paid for them ready-done. There's also a new hank of sari silk in there - they're from Fibrecrafts, which stocks a more purple sari silk than some other places, although there are always lots of lovely colours mixed up together.
I've used the plain silk hankies over cream wool tops before just to give a bit of texture and sheen but cut these ones up a bit to make a contrast with the background.

I really like the effect although would love even deeper colours - I'd hoped they'd be more jewel-like and that I could use them against black but I think they're a bit pale, but I'll enjoy experimenting, if I can find a parallel universe in which there are 40-hour days.

Here is the card my OH got me for our wedding anniversary last week - 22 years this year. Very like Archie indeed, eyeing up all the butterflies:

Archie himself has taken to watching TV while assisting with any technical computer problems I may be having - he'll be demanding a salary in salmon Whiskas Temptations soon.

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