Another Mile On The Clock!

Well folks, I’m a year older and it was a lovely couple of days transition!
On Saturday Hubby took me out shopping. That may not sound very exciting, but believe me, to get him and Josh anywhere near the shops is an achievement, let alone traipse and after me for three hours!
We went to Lewes which isn’t too far from us but I had never been there before. It was lovely. It’s an old town with a very steep hill (I whizzed around on my scooter) and I could easily spend a day there just absorbing all the history. I found this plaque particularly interesting.

It was on the wall above this plate of glass set in the pavement where the steps lead down to the prison. You would have to lay down to fit through the opening halfway down the steps.


As well as the history there were a couple of street stalls, one selling ethically made clothing which was all on sale so I grabbed a couple of bargains ūüôā

Then Hubby actually pointed out a craft shop to me and patiently waited while I browsed! 


It had a little of everything from art supplies to yarn and buttons. And I spent less than ten pounds!! 

Then it was lunch time but the town was heaving and everywhere was packed so we headed off to another town to find a bakery. When we got there the bakers were just closing so we opted for fish and chips. 

It was one of those times when there is a purpose to our plans going wrong. In the chip ago we bumped into’Aunty’ Helen. She isn’t a real Aunty but she was Howard’s neighbor for the first seventeen years of his life. They are the most amazing and kind couple and did so much for Hubby and his sister when their Mum died leaving his Dad with two preschoolers.  They looked after them for hours  at a time and were always there for the family throughout the years.

It was great to see her and she invited us to eat at their house and to visit her husband, Derek, who had fallen and fractured his scull out in Australia over Christmas! He had to spend six weeks in hospital and rehab. At one point they were told that if he didn’t come round in 24 hours, he wouldn’t make it. Thankfully he did and is doing amazingly well, although there are some lasting effects he is struggling with! 


Derek is the sort of person who cannot waste anything and Josh is fascinated with his garden! 


He used to have disabled children come for the afternoon to explore and play in his garden and see the animals but sadly that has had to stop because of health and safety! 

But he still has one sheep left which according to Josh is more like a donkey! 


So that was our adventure at the weekend. 

On Monday, my actual birthday, Abz treated me out to a coffee. We tried out an adorable little cafe in a little old fashioned village store.


I pigged with pancakes, maple syrup and fried banana! 

Then we rounded up  day with Abz cooking me dinner and a lovely creme egg brownie birthday cake! 


It’s so beautiful when everyone makes you feel so special and loved. It is certainly in the little things that love really is! 

Have a great and creative day and weekend friends! 

Sharon xx

Tempus Fugits! 

Tempus Fugits… Time flies. Being the daughter of a watchmaker this expression was often used in our house and haven’t the last few weeks just flown by? 

My good resolutions to once again try to blog weekly didn’t even get off the ground but instead of keep apologizing, I’m going  ask your opinion.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time then you know that the content of my blog is in the title… Creativity and family, but since my Etsy shop has become busier nearly all of my creative time and energy goes into that and I feel that I’m left with very little personal creativity to share. So the question is, would you be interested in seeing some of the things I’m making for my shop and getting some peeps behind the scenes? 

Here’s a little taster for you.

As a teen, I used to do a lot of calligraphy. As hand lettering is making such a come back I decided to make some canvas signs for the shop.

First I drew the design onto paper, 

Traced it onto a canvas

And then using masking fluid I created a resist.


I then added layers of ink

Before removing the resist to reveal the writing! 


I’ve also been working on a custom order of some bags for a lovely lady who has a shop in Switzerland.

I love the fun colors of this fabric, perfect for spring! 

My sewing space is busy in both senses of the word but I love it that way…most of the time! 

These bags are my own design for a round bottomed Japanese knot bag and they are my favorite bag for taking out and about as they hang on your arm perfectly while you work, although the round bottoms aren’t the easiest to sew.

The long handle tucks into the shorter one to close the bag.


Then there’s the dyeing, I LOVE dyeing. That would sound awful if you didn’t know what I meant! I always say it without thinking and then end up shocking people. I went into the Chemist the other week for some acid, nothing awful, just the same strength as vinegar, but it was behind the counter and the assistant asked me what I wanted it for, I said ‘to dye’… You should have seen her face, I hastily added ‘to dye wool’!! After some laughing she let me have it. Then a friend rang while I was in the middle of dyeing yarn and asked if it was convenient to chat to which I replied ‘well, I’m just dyeing at the moment’. I  think I’ll have to start calling it coloring wool or something.

A dying rack full of brightly colored yarns is becoming a familiar sight in our house especially with all the damp weather and mist we’re having lately, it’s taking its time to dry.


My favorite part is thinking up and experimenting with new colourways.  Here’s a couple of my latest with coordinating mini skeins, 


And a lovely bright rainbow of minis

And my African sunset that may just find its way into my stash instead of the shop.


So, what do you think? Would you like more frequent posts with shop creativity or only the personal content as and when I’ve got things to show and say? 

In family news, first of all, thanks so much for all your kind thoughts, messages and enquiries about Abi. She’s recovering slowly and has started a phased return to work. This week she’s doing three six hour shifts, four the week after and five the week after that. She’s managed so far but only just and comes home exhausted. It takes her the next day to get over it so she’s a bit worried about how she’ll do two in a row. The trouble is, working in a residential home is hard work and even harder when all fifty three of them have dementia! It’s not only extremely busy and physically tiring, it’s also mentally exhausting.  Her tummy pains had gone before she returned to work but they do come back after a shift at work. She did have an appointment with a hospital consultant coming up so we’re hoping they might get to the bottom of it. We’re also really hoping that it isn’t anything that she’ll have to live with but we have to keep trusting God with that one. 


Here she is with a very chilled out Tilly.  Tilly has some news for you, she became a thelady at  beginning of the month!! Thankfully she kept herself very clean.  She keeps us all well amused and on our toes. Below is her new favorite position! 


I think she’s a bit confused between how dogs sit and how humans sit! 

Josh is off ill with a flu like virus that’s going round, we’re just hoping the rest of us don’t go down with it. Here he is with His new blanket.


How have you all been? Have you managed to avoid all the illnesses at this time of year? 

I’ll leave you with a very unusual sunrise we had recently. 


Happy crafting folks!! 

Sharon xx

A Creative Catch up! 

It’s been ages since I did a really creative post, for various reasons there had been less creativity around here. There’s been so much going on but things are settling back into some sort of a routine now. 

Abz still works shifts so spending time with her on her days off still affects things but that’s good, she won’t be at home forever and I want to make the the most of  extra time with her now. 


Then of course there’s been Tilly. She’s settling down now and is quite happy to snuggle down near me or follow me about the house and we only get the occaisional mischievous moments. ….speak too soon, she’s investigating the coffee table right now but a stern NO! generally does the job these days unless she’s feeling extra naughty.


And she’ll take every opportunity to snuggle down or get a bit of attention.

Then of course there’s inspirational yarns, my Etsy shop. That means a lot of creativity but I don’t like to bore you with all the bags I make, yarn I dye etc but if you want to pop over have a look at my shop just click here. 


Also I’ve been reading a lot more again this year. I don’t think I read more than couple, I was so busy creatively . This year I’ve gone back to reading whenever I can snatch a moment. Now that Amazon offer audible on a lot of their ebooks I’ve started using that and it’s fantastic, I can’read’ and craft at the same timeūüėÄ. 

Ok, so get to the point girl! Just what have I been doing creatively? Well, having been rather monogamous this year, which is really not me but something I’m enjoying, I  only have a couple of bits to show you. There’s this little nightdress I’m making for my niece’s crochet doll, it just needs prettying up. 


Then there’s the crochet cardi. The back and two front pieces are done so just the arms and hood and then so many ends to sew in. 


That’s gone onto the back burner though for a bit as I’m currently knitting a leg warmer. Yes, just one! It’s for a lovely friend on Instagram. She has a really painful nerve condition and keeping her bad leg warm makes the difference between her being able to walk or not. So with the winter coming I’ve dyed up some yarn special, hand painted a verse on it and I’m knitting up the leg warmer. 


I found this gorgeous pattern by drops design on Ravelry and I ummed and aahed about whether or not to give it a go as I’ve never knitted cable before and it looks so difficult but it actually isn’t, in fact it’s really quite easy and I’m enjoying this the most of all my knitting attempts so far. I feel as though I’m really starting to’click’ now.


 I even managed to fix a cable that I had missed and didn’t discover it until a couple of rows later. I didn’t frog, I just worked those four stitches back down and re did them without any help our tutorials.


 That probably sounds easy to you seasoned knitters but it felt like a huge achievement for me! I’m loving the look of it so far. Soon it will all be knit with just one cable running down the back. 

For my next project I’m already planning a knitted shawl. I’m thinking of the Karise by Karie Westermann. Ericka Eckles has persuaded me to give this one a go after seeing her gorgeous creations. If you have a minute you can read all about her knitting journey over the last year. She writes the most interesting posts with great word pictures. 

I think that’s about it on the creative font. Still no Christmas presents made which feels rather a failure after last year but I’m not putting any pressure on myself this year. If I make anything that’ll be great, if not, that’s fine too. Although, having said that, I have had a request for dolls clothes from my niece so I’ll need to find time for those. 

I got you’re all enjoying the transition into Autumn/spring. haveHoping you  a lovely and creative week! 

Sharon xx

Playing with Colour.

Do you remember that gorgeous bunch of flowers that Abi gave me for my birthday?

They were so beautiful, especially the lilies that it seemed a shame to just throw them away so I decided to use them to dye some yarn.

I have dyed with natural dyes before so I knew that there¬†¬†are often surprises along the way and I wasn’t disappointed!

I stripped the flowers just before they died off, chopped them up and boiled them for a couple of hours. While the flowers were boiling I prepared the yarn.

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I had put the stamen into the pot too and knowing how much Lily stamen stain I was thinking I might get a bit of an orangey pink for the colour.

Well, the first surprise was that the spoon went bright yellow while the water was pink.

Once I started to dye the yarn it turned quite orange, a lot more orange than I thought and to be honest, a lot more orange than I wanted, although¬†considering the ratio of stamen to flowers I should have guessed that one as the stamen stain so much.¬† Sadly the photo of the yarn at this stage seems to have gone for a wander ūüė¶

Finally came the time to wash the yarn.  Here was the biggest and best surprise because most of the orange washed right out and I was left with a gorgeous flamingo pink!

Those stamen stained everything else, the carpet, my jumper and even my face but not the yarn!!¬† Not that I was complaining, I love the colour now ūüôā

I was now a bit concerned that the dye may not be colourfast so I rinsed it as I usually do until the water ran clear and then left it to dry completely.  I then washed the yarn again to double check its colour fastness and was pleased that not a single bit of colour washed out.

I would love to dye with lilies again (hint for more flowers Abi if you’re reading this) as the colour it produced was just gorgeous.¬† I would also like to try and re-create the colour with my acid dyes.

This skein of yarn is now available in my Etsy shop (inspirationalyarns).¬† Oh yes, you can get 10% off your first order too¬†with the code ‘firstorder10’ if you’re interested.

I hope you’re all enjoying your week so far, mine is a typical holiday week, the house is a mess with¬†muddy footprints and dirty shoes littering the conservatory floor but Josh is having fun and that’s what hols are all about ūüôā¬† Josh has a friend round today so I took the opportunity to jump on the laptop quick and say Hi!¬† I shall try to get around to posting again next week if I can.

I hope those of you with school holidays have a lovely time with your children and that all of you lovely peeps have a very happy and creative week.

Sharon xx

 

 

 

Challenges, crochet spinnning knitting designing!

I have quite a bit of creativity to chat about this week. ¬†Wips, to do’s and help me’s!!

Firstly Josh’s blanket (I am keeping this project in the fabric basket I got at Portsmouth in the summer).

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I ripped back the¬†blanket in January and started again with a more mindless pattern so that it could be my ‘no brain power needed’ project but I’m still going so slowly with¬†it! ¬†I think a lot of the problem is Josh!! ¬†Poor Josh, it’s not his fault directly but he is having a real job getting to sleep in the evenings so he is not going to bed so early. ¬†By the time he is asleep (anywhere between 9 and 10) ¬†I am ready to hit the hay myself!

Also, to be completely honest, I am just not enjoying it. ¬†I just have so many ideas for other things and other wips I would rather be doing that I overlook it! I have been mulling it over and decided to challenge myself (appealing to my competitive spirit usually works ūüėČ ) so, I will aim to work on it either for 15 minutes or work 1 row a day five days a week. ¬†Probably Monday to Friday but if I miss a day I will catch up at the weekend.

While I am challenging myself I may just add 10 minutes of spinning a day to the challenge.

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I have hardly touched my spindle this year and again it’s because I’m not enjoying it. ¬†I just don’t enjoy the colour I am spinning. ¬†Abi loves it though so there will be a use for it so maybe if I aim to spin it for a birthday gift for her (June) I may just have the incentive to get back on my spindle.

I am also thinking that my spindle could do with a case of its own.  Maybe with a separate pocket for the fibre?

Also on my hooks I have another crochet shawl that I am designing. This time I am using the yarn that Abi’s boyfriend gave me for Christmas. ¬†It is a lovely soft cotton, I love working with cotton but the only downside is that it can be rather splitty and this one is very splitty, so much so that if I don’t keep on top of sewing the ends in I end up with tassels!

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Despite this though I am loving working with the yarn and enjoying how the design is working out.  I am using the gorgeous bag that Jane made that was in my Stitching Santa swap.

I have made some bits and dyed some custom yarn for a yarn swap I have entered that Mina of the Knitting Expat Podcast is hosting but I won’t show them yet as I have told my swap partner about my blog! ¬†I love the yarn colourway that I design for the swap and shall show you all the bits once my partner has received them ūüôā ¬†Oh yes, and while I’m on the subject of dyeing…

I’ve been thinking that the lilies Abi gave me for my birthday would make a great natural dye, so I may be trying that one out next week!

I have also made a couple of project bags and done some more dyeing so there are a few more bits in the shop.

The socks I am knitting for Abi are also only coming along slowly, this time it’s the doctors fault!!! ūüėČ ¬†I am keeping them for knitting when I wait for appointments as they are so portable, (especially as I keep them in my Japanese knot bag which hangs perfectly on my arm as I knit).

Anyhow, the reason it is the doctor’s fault is that she has been on time lately! ¬†I always have to wait ages at the doctors and suddenly she decides to be on time! – I¬†mean, it’s wonderful that she’s on time but what about my knitting? ¬†I shall just have to start arriving extra early.

I did decide to buy extra ‘Big Softie’ yarn with my birthday money, lots of!!

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Hopefully enough to make a lovely oversized sweater. I am thinking of doing my own design so it will be interesting to see how that goes! ¬†I’m not too sure how easy it will be to frog as it’s a singles, I think there will have to be lots of planning and drawing first!

Now to my knitting dilemma.  I am wanting to knit a shawl.  I have some  yarn that I dyed that I would love to use.

And maybe this one to twin with it!

But I just can’t decide on a pattern. ¬†I have a couple I have downloaded, the latest being Mina’s brioche shawl. ¬†I love this design but I am really not sure if my knitting is up to two colour brioche. ¬†So if any of you have tried it I would love to know how easy it is? I have watched Mina’s tutorial which is really clear and helpful and has given me a bit more confidence but I’m still wavering!

Also do you have any other knitted shawl patterns to recommend?  I will be using 4 ply, each hank being 400m and I would like to use one or two colours and also try something new, like the brioche or maybe some simple lace?

I’m not sure why I haven’t started a pattern yet as I’ve been wanting to do this since the end of last year. ¬†I’m sure if I was looking at crocheting a shawl I would have started it by now, maybe it’s just my lack of confidence in knitting that is putting me off!

So with that lot on the go I think it’s time I sat myself down in the sun and got on with it, yes we actually have some sun today, enough for Abi and her cousin to try out sunbathing in the garden, I’m not too sure how long it will last!

I hope you all have a creative and lovely weekend.

Sharon xx

Winter Wips – Feeling Relaxed!

I’m feeling very relaxed about my wips and with less than three weeks to go until Christmas I am not too sure if that is a good thing or not!

Life has been going on much as normal here, Josh is in full creative swing, whether it’s fiddling with and trying to make his scooter go faster, taking apart his remote control car or making fireworks! ¬†Yes, the days of¬†cereal box models are long gone!

The fireworks experiment was rather amusing.  Josh asked for a sparkler as he wanted to make a firework. (what is it with men and boys and the love of fire?) He then proceeded to make a rocket with a cardboard tube very nicely decorated and then taped cap reels from a broken cap gun to it and also the sparkler.  I made him wait until Hubby came home and they then went outside to light the firework.

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Josh couldn’t get it to light so Hubby had a turn, not knowing that the caps were there. ¬†Hubby is a very jumpy person at the best of times so it was just hilarious when every time he tried to light it a cap went off! ¬†Not quite the rocket launch Josh had planned but a great laugh for us ūüôā

Abi is loving her work in the dementia care home, challenging, incredibly busy but very rewarding. I knew that Dementia was a very sad disease as my Grandma suffered with it but how it affects some is just dreadful.  Little old ladies once very dignified stripping off in the lounge, others, once delightful gentle people turning very abusive and violent. Then there are those who get no visitors because the relative just cannot bear to see the change in them.  She loves being able to brighten their day a little in a spare moment, being quite happy to dance round the lounge with them (they respond so well to music) or even dance with the zimmer frame, having them all in stitches, She is so bubbly and full of life and it is lovely to think of her bringing some love and cheer into their lives.

Hubby has been busy building a ‘dresser’. ¬†He managed to get hold of some kitchen units free, it is looking good so far but we are just buying the doors as we can afford it so I will show you a photo once it is complete.

Well I really have waffled on but it has been a while since I have done a ‘chatty’ post so I hope you don’t mind, now down to my creative bit!

The gifts to make list is getting shorter, hmm, I’ve just counted, ‘only’ ten more to go! ¬†I decided back in October that I¬†would enjoy each make, create it with love and not worry about what else needs to be done and I am determined to keep it that way, (hopefully)!

So, what is now finished? ¬†My mice, ooh, I am going to admit that I love these so much, even if it does make me sound boastful, I am really tempted to make myself one ūüôā

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I have used my scrabble tiles to make framed family name ‘crosswords’. (Surnames blanked out)

I have finished the ‘feeling dotty’ shawls two,three and four

and made another for Mum using the same pattern but as a long scarf.

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I have made a little sock doll as an extra and just need to make a little sleeping bag for her and then I will show you.

My cousin had a little baby so out came Edward’s Menagerie and I made another Emma Bunny, these patterns are just adorable.

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For Abi and Josh’s stockings I made a scarf for Josh¬†and a ‘frilly’apron as requested for Abi.

There were¬†a couple of¬†extra makes for Josh’s birthday, a stitched ferrari and a ‘steam punk’ style ferrari made using bits from his Grandad’s watch parts

and of course a cake and gateaux.

Oh yes, there was my Christmas card too!  If you missed the post, I needle felted a winter woodland scene and then photographed it to have it made into a card.

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I also made project bags for my Stitching Santa’s and another for myself and a friend.

 

A pretty peg bag for Mum’s birthday

and a wheat sack for a niece.

 

I think that’s about it for this month, so I’m off to do some patchwork now! ¬†Have a great week and Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

 

A PJ Case Ta-dah at Last!!

Well, you have seen these PJ cases at various stages and had sneak peeks throughout the past months and finally they are all finished.  The original idea for these came from a similar bunny PJ case I had as a child.

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I am really pleased with how they worked out, the mice in the darker calico being my favourite.

The mice and rabbits head patterns were taken from the Tilda, Sew Sunny Homestyle book. I enlarged them and used just the top 3″ or so of the body to create the neck, shoulders and chest.¬†All of the fabric was upcycled sheets and duvet except for the calico used for the heads.

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I then made up a dress pattern with a pinafore bodice and a long gathered skirt with a pillow case style opening to make the PJ case.

The apron is a simple rectangle gathered onto a waistband, the tucks already being part of the duvet.

I added a row of¬†fancy stitching using Abi’s sewing machine that we gave her for her 18th. (I think I have probably used the machine¬†more than her!!)

I spent some time on the¬†aprons with each little girl’s initial embroidered, adapting a design¬†I was given years ago from an old magazine and I originally used to make a pram cover for Abi when we were expecting her.

Lastly I embroidered the faces and added blusher to their cheeks

and here they are all ready to be loved.

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I really like this idea and I am now wondering how I could do something similar for the younger boys next year!

I am gradually getting through my Christmas gift list with shawl number three just finished blocking today, we even had some sunshine to photograph it!  I shall show you soon all being well.

Oh, I have just remembered that I promised to put up the Gateau recipe, I’ll try to do that later.

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How is your gift list coming on?  Enjoy the rest of your week and Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x