Sparkling

Hello, hello from the wintery far south of New Zealand.  Despite this, my house at certain hours of the day is awash with sparkles!  This was the kitchen this morning

 

It’s the right time of year to be enjoying a light catcher or two (I have many more than two)  with the sun laying low in the sky and sunbeams more inclined to come through windows and play with the faceted crystals.

I had started playing with, for me, unusual colour combinations of beads – you may recall seeing this photo a couple of posts backEventually I completed three –  at some stage I’ll pop them into my shop.

This first one I feel I was channeling my late friend Cynthia who loved bold hues of orange and blue and I pretty much smiled and even laughed out loud on my way through its creation.    So, of course, this is called The Cynthia.

IMG_20180415_141900.jpgNext this one came, I’m thinking ‘Chocolate and Lemon Cream’ ……..  Mmmmmmm!  The deep brown fluted beads look black here – but that is just my terrible photography.  It really looks good enough to eat – but please don’t Siddy!

IMG_20180415_144404.jpgStaying with the food related beading programme (Huh?) Did you have those orange flavoured chocolate balls when you were a kid?  We called them Jaffas and the boys loved to roll them down the sloped floor at the weekend kids movie show when the serial opened with a replay that revealed the heart-stopping  event ending last weeks episode was completely untrue and the hero hadn’t gone over the cliff on his horse, wagon or train.  He had jumped clear at the last moment.  I got fooled week after week!  And of course we don’t call those sweets ‘Jaffas’ any more.  Now they are Choc-Oranges –   So this one is the ‘Choc-Orange’

IMG_20180415_144640.jpg I also made a pink catcher, but as you can’t eat that one, I’ll just pop it quietly into the shop.  Next lot will probably all be shades of blue just to make me really happy.

The Seaside Stash Busting Blanket is up to date with the CAL.  Here is the link if you are interested in checking it out.  It’s not too late as Eleonora adds just four or six rows a week and we are, I think, at week 13 now.  My two rows of pebbles tend to look a bit ruffled here – perhaps its the wind that is howling around outside the house.   I’m thinking I might steam it and stretch it out a bit so that all the bobbles and interesting bits find their places nicely……..  Or I might just leave it.  Any thoughts?

IMG_20180415_145219.jpgI think this is the last time I’ll be able to show all the rows all at once – it’s starting to get quite big.  Still, with the weather showing definite signs that winter is approaching fast it is nice to have this across my knee as I hook away.

 

So with those catchers completed, it’s back to the card making.  Happy days!

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

 

Handcrafting Happiness

Well my friends, March disappeared in a puff of smoke, snap, just like that and the first week of April has also hiked through pretty quickly.

I crocheted with my beautiful Corriedale Yarns  and formed the first Persian Tile after a couple of false starts just getting the colour relationships right

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With one down fifteen to go, I decided to streamline things and am now forming four tiles at a time

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If you read last weeks post you might remember I mentioned the colour of the pink yarn wasn’t showing properly – it looked red, here you see it actual shade – isn’t it stunning set alongside those blues!

I’ve been playing with my coloured pencils, my alcohol ink pens, distress inks and various other bits and pieces and making more cards.  Having a stash of cards to meet all possible festive occasions, or just to send little notes to friends, is never a bad thing.

I worked on some I had started earlier and felt needed a bit more work – it’s important they look as finished as possible.  These three are made using embossing folders and inks to achieve deeply textured, yet simple card fronts.  I need to make more that are suitable for giving to the male of the species.

These next two are the same idea, just bigger.  The textured background is inked and  silhouettes made from die cuts added.  A bit of bling and I have two A5 cards ready to go

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Using my Spectrum Noir colour pencils and Gamsol – which is a brand of odourless spirits – two more cards were produced.  The Gamsol acts as a blending agent with the colours and also can be used to blur the lines slightly, softening the effect, though I’m not that sure that I like it personally

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And this one, which like the last card above, was photographed in its cellophane jacket, hence the slightly blurred and muted aspect – sorry about that.

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Then I moved on to produce a couple of A6 size cards made with alcohol ink pens on Distress inked backgrounds

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Again a Distress Ink background with a die cut house.  The girl is stamped  and fussy cut and attached with foam dots slightly off-set from the background.  IMG_20180405_094442.jpg

I’m enjoying the vibrancy of the alcohol ink pens and plan on doing more cards with them.  Though really, I can’t say why I’m making all these cutesie girly cards – maybe I’m pining for my lost youth  🙂  (Where did I put him?)   All I can say is it’s a good way to bring myself back into using these different mediums and finding my feet again so to speak.   I’m hoping I’ll be feeling ready to make originals again soon.

If you have a favourite, I’d love to know.

And of course, we celebrated Siddy’s fourth birthday on the 4th day of the 4th month – most assuredly an auspicious occasion!

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Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did!

 

Crafting Again…

There’s activity in the happy making room again …  well, I shouldn’t say ‘again’ in some ways it didn’t really stop.  I made lots of cards there for a bit, but forgot to take photos of any of them except this one, which kind of reminds me of Siddy and so I kept it

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But there’s been some playing with beads going on

A few new light catchers are emerging – I’m playing with odd colour combinations to see what happens.

Also, somewhere along the line I had decided to make a concerted effort to rid myself, or at least make a serious dent in, the cupboard full of of left over and unused yarns that have been accumulated over the past two decades.  I had been on the lookout for an idea or inspiration and then happened to mention it to Nana Cathy who sent me over to Coastal Crochet and voila!  The perfect thing for me and, at just nine weeks behind,  I caught up in two weeks.  As you can see my yarn cupboard holds many different shades and hues of blue and even that green has a blue thread running through it – I have no clue how that grape colour got in there!

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It’s a slow project, the designer Eleonora is adding just 4 or so rows every week, leaving plenty of time for other creative projects to continue too.  Which is really good, because on arriving home from my Blogging Babes Reunion and collecting a bag of mail from my lovely neighbour I found it included two big letters.

One, from The Wool Company, contained a catalogue and a gift voucher and a note saying to do nothing until I received an explanatory letter….. and the other from my friend who blogs, Jan, over at The Snail of Happiness containing the explanatory letter and a ‘Persian Tiles’ crochet pattern

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Jan explained she had seen a comment I had left on a mutual friends blog who was making the Persian Jewels blanket, that if I lived in the UK I’d be definitely buying that kit to make up and she decided that not living in the UK was no reason to not be able to make my own ……

You can see why I wax eloquent about the joys of blogging right?   I am once again made speechless by the kindness, love and generosity heaped on my tiny head by fabulous people!!  I sat in silence for a long time reading and rereading Jan’s letter and looking at the note from The Wool Company, then I packed it all up and drove off to my daughter’s place and showed her and we both sat in silence and revelled in the wonder of having wonderful friends, met purely through blogging.

A week passed by while I looked and considered colour options, eventually this is what I chose – it’s 100% NZ Corriedale wool, 8 ply from The Wool Company

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Aren’t those just the best colours!  Though that red hank is not red, it’s ‘Azalea’ a bright pink.  There are seven different colours and as soon as I have finished wrangling those 200g hanks into giant balls I will begin to crochet my first square – I can’t wait to get it underway!

You know it is going to be mostly blue don’t you  🙂

Jan you are brilliant and thoughtful and kind and I am so happy to have you as a friend – thank you so much!!

And to finish, here’s a shot I took of Siddy and two of his favourite admirers having coffee a couple of weeks back – I wonder what they are talking about …..

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That’s what I’m up to, I’ll be back with more in a week or so.  What are you making right now?

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

 

A Time to Remember

I know many of you have followed along with my recent adventures courtesy of those more organised bloggers, Laurie over at Life on The Bike and Alys at Gardening Nirvana who put up posts of such loveliness all I could do was hit the ‘Re-Blog’ button and call it done.

Feb 27 selfie

We had talked about a reunion ever since our first meet up in 2015 and seriously planned this adventure for a year.  It seemed a comfortable way off, but fortunately, at the six month mark I had chosen the holiday stay venue, booked the house and settled in to start making ‘welcome to New Zealand gifts’.  Two months later of course various accidents pulled me up short and curtailed my arty crafty activities and then time curled itself into a ball and hurtled past me into the future.

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And suddenly there I was standing early one evening at an airport gate searching the exiting passengers for a tiny Canuck who was arriving via Australia.   The following afternoon there I was again, searching through another lot of exiting travellers for the weary Americans who had missed their connecting flight in Auckland – due to some doggie treats that some surly, inhospitable customs officer had decided to study in minute detail.

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Just like that, there we were, feeling as if absolutely no time had passed since we last threw ourselves into each others arms in warm and elongated hugs.  Friends of the heart – nothing to do with proximity or commonality or any of the other usual ways of making friends.  Just four women who started off reading each others blog posts, liking, commenting, following each other around other blogs, sharing stories, deepening this growing, random connection over a period of months, morphing into years.

Feb 26 Dinner

Back then, in those early days, someone suggested a face to face meeting on Skype.  It turned into a voice to voice meeting, as Skype was uncooperative on that particular day.   But there were other group video calls and individual calls and letters and cards……  All interspersed with blog posts and comments which built into a long, ongoing conversation and burgeoning friendship.

It’s a modern form of pen-pals really isn’t it.  Blogging and video calls make it easier to reach beyond the old pairing of pen-pals to include a small group.  Reading blog posts soon informs how you relate to the writer.  One of us was told surely you can’t trust what people write, they could be pretending to be anybody.    Not so – we are women of some life experience – it’s pretty easy to pick up when there are inconsistencies, falsities or pretense.  Our intuitive alarm bells will ring when something jars.  There was no ringing of alarm bells – well not for me anyway.

So I went off to America in 2015 to spend a couple of weeks with these gals.

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When it was their turn to come to me on what they all referred to as ‘a once in a life time trip’ I wanted them to meet my small family, see something of the beauty of my country and also get to do what we all wanted to do, which was spend time together.

If we had some fun while doing so, so much the better!

My eldest daughter and her partner Steven arrived via a drive down the West Coast with his E-Bikes attached to the car and his shortwave radio gear stowed in the skybox.  My youngest daughter Danella opened her home to the travellers as mine is too small to accommodate any more than it already has.

JO and Dan LB

I gave them all a couple of days in Dunedin to get their feet on the ground and heads on relatively straight and then whisked them off to a spacious rented holiday house in Wanaka, four hours away from the coast, up in the mountain plateau, near to The Adventure Capital of New Zealand, Queenstown.

We had another eight fabulous days together and were joined by Alys’ husband Mike for the last four days.    My daughter remarked that the group felt complete when he arrived.

Alys and Mike at gondola March 4

We had endless fun

After dinner dancing

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and then, all too soon it was done.

Alys and Mike flew off for a brief visit to Auckland before returning to their home in San Jose.  Laurie stayed another two days in Queenstown before flying to Melbourne for a week in Australia.  Joanna and Steven drove back to Picton and the ferry to Wellington to return to their home and Kelly hopped a plane back to Canada after a month away from her home and kitties.  Danella returned to full time work – still sometimes on crutches, still with two metal plates and two screws in her leg, but getting stronger all the time and I returned home to Orlando who was in complete meltdown over being abandoned into a cattery for ten days and who is determined to never let me out of his sight ever again.

And Siddy went to bed.

Though the reunion is over, the warmth, the love, the friendship, all lives on.

Which all goes to show, we never know what might happen when we start to blog.  These friends, and all of you who gather around this blog, are dear to me and enrich my life in so many ways – thank you all, I am so very glad you are here!

*Photo credits belong to various members of the group.

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

Siddy Goes On Holiday

Hello friends!  We are home, settled back into normal life and Siddy has pretty much slept for the past few days.  He wakes up with me for first breakfast, followed soon after by morning walk and second breakfast.  He snoozes until it’s time for elevenses.  He takes a wee nap until time for twoses rolls around, which is followed by another little snooze  until first dinner.  A short game of fetch follows second dinner and then he takes himself off to bed for the night.

You may well ask why is this busy little pup so very tired?  Well, you all know we went on holiday yes?  The previous twelve posts have all dealt with this momentous event in some form or other – Gosh, I hope you aren’t bored with all this just yet……  for right now it’s Siddy’s turn to share his adventures.

Because yes, of course, Siddy came on holiday too!

Every day there was greeting and companioning duty to be done

Feb 26 Dinner

And breakfasts to be had.  Here he is offering assistance to Kelly with her breakfast

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He rode in the car – a lot!   Here he is tapping on the window because, don’t you know,  tapping makes the window roll down

March1 AM Siddy

He had lunch at a pub in Alexandra

Alex lunchtime Mar 1 DK

Helped Steven with barbecuing the evening feast at the holiday house

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Siddy loved the holiday house.  It had many doors and a garden that wrapped right around the house.  He could often be seen trotting out one door, trotting through the garden, past windows and other doors until he chose which door to enter back in by to greet everyone again.   It was such fun!!

He went out almost daily for coffee, but preferred to wait for the snacks to come

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He went for early morning walks with his mumma when the moon was still up and nearly everyone else snoozed on

Early morning walk March 4

He was first assistant to Laurie when she sorted her photos and wrote her blog posts – it is very doubtful that she could have put up so many great posts without his assistance

March 7 LB

He lunched at Speights Ale House, where he patiently waited for the food to come and his good manners were remarked upon by other diners

Siddy at Speights Alehouse March 8

He enjoyed his final lunch in Queenstown at the Frankton Arms – after enjoying a fortifying glass of chardonnay

Final lunch Frankton Arms March 9 LB

He companioned everybody in turn.  Here he is with Laurie, keeping her out of trouble

S and Laurie March 9

And he rode in the car every day.  This is the best part of car riding, wind and smells and the joy of speed……..

He’s one worn out little pup – but he sure did have a great holiday with all his family and new friends, he didn’t want to say ‘Goodbye’

First Farewell March 8

But he did, so it’s goodnight to all,  and thanks for the great memories ❤

Thanks for coming by today, I’m so happy that you did!

*There’s one more Blogging Reunion post to come from me and then it is back to the art room.

** Photos are courtesy of the holiday makers whose cameras were constantly clicking away when mine wasn’t.  Thanks darlings!

Historic Arrowtown

I wondered what had happened with this post – I had a moment of blind panic thinking I might have to write something myself, but Laurie came through 🙂 This is one of my favourite places in this country, I hope you can see why as you look through LB’s magical lens ……….

Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

** This post, accidentally published as Private, is now available for view as Public **

We took another day trip, this time to Arrowtown, an historic gold mining town about 20 minutes from Queenstown.

Located alongside the gold-bearing Arrow River, the town was established in 1862 by local Maori man and sheep shearer, Jack Tewa (known as “Maori Jack”) during the height of the Otago gold rush. The settlement grew quickly as pioneers constructed cottages, shops, hotels and churches, more than 60 of which can still be seen today.  At the height of it’s popularity, the number of residents of Arrowtown grew to 7000.

Now, with its population at just over 2,000 residents enjoy excellent educational facilities, and a range of quality amenities including, library, museum, swimming pool, internationally acclaimed golf courses, medical centre, a nearby airport, hospital, ski fields, an ice rink, and events centre (this per the…

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That Wanaka Tree

Our time together has come to an end, but there are a couple more posts to come – heck, there might even be one from me! This beautiful tree, growing fragilely and wilfully on the edge of a lake kind of epitomises the wonder of the last two weeks – it’s been a small miracle ………..

Life on the Bike and other Fab Things

Over 70 years ago, “That Wanaka Tree” began as a wooden fence post that kept livestock from wondering through the Wanaka Village.

From those origins, a beautiful willow tree has grown.

The signage nearby notes that photographers come from around the world in an effort to capture the beauty of this tree.  Please visit this link to see a photo of a swarm of photographers trying to capture this distinct little tree.

Evidently the popularity of the tree and the desire for selfies is starting to damage the tree.  Per a story on News Hub, Lake Wanaka Tourism is asking tourists not to climb the tree to get photos, after a branch fell off before Christmas.   “The loss of a branch is a big concern as it takes longer for this particular tree to regenerate,” a Queenstown Lakes District Council spokesman told NZ Newswire. “It’s quite a small tree growing…

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