June Creations

While I think and muse and potter and walk and create and just be, time keeps on flowing by and my mind turns to the fact that soon – soon – we will be at the mid winter mark of the longest night and the light will begin to return my way.

I always miss the light the most when I am in winter.  I don’t mind the cold, the wet, the sleet even.  I mind the shortness of the days at both ends and I miss the feel of sunlight on my face.  I don’t miss the heat.  I quite like not having the energy sapping, robust glint of hot summer days.  But I miss the hours the sun stays in the sky.  Soon I tell myself, the season will peak, the world will turn and the sun will start to move back towards my hemisphere.   I walked in mist this morning thinking these thoughts of waiting.  And, as we exited the park and looked up to the hill ahead, the sun glinted off the windows of houses through the mist and made me a most delightful fairy tale castle of sparkling light to guide me on and make my waiting happy.  Later, at home, I realised that only in this season can such a wonderfully serendipitous meeting of mist and light occur at 9 am.  I appreciate the reminder to be okay with where I’m at!

But still I wait, and while I wait I hook.  My Persian Squares blanket is close to being finished.  Orlando has helped, oh such a lot!

davHe pretty much ensured every component of the blanket was pressed, whether I desired it to be or not.

 

As I write this one half of the blanket is draped over the back of a dining chair

btrIt ought to be finished but I got sidetracked.

I made this

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Now, here’s the story that goes with ‘this’.  Do you want to hear it?  (Err, come back – that was a rhetorical question folks!)

Back in the days when I was still intermittently going onto Facebook, I logged in and the first thing I saw was a picture of a crochet etui doll.  At the same moment that I was falling in love with it, facebook did that thing it does and updated my feed in a tumbling rush of alternate posts and I lost her.  I searched, wasted an hour of my life and didn’t ever see her again.  Maybe that was the moment when I decided to quit social media (except for blogging).  Any how, I searched around and had myriad conversations, but never found another etui doll.  Maybe they aren’t called that any way – but I don’t know what else to call them.  Then, one day, when searching through my stash of yarns for something else I found a bit of brown that said to me ‘I make doll!’  “Okay!” said I and gathered it up and off we went to Happy Hooking Land.

Now I have never made a crochet doll before, I have no clue how to make one.  But undaunted I set to with hook and yarn and made a head, the rest just followed along.  I also kept no notes of what I was doing, so now have no clue how I got from the first stitch to the last.  But I do know what I’d do differently.

I also took no photos until I got to the final stage of face features placement.  As you can see from that photo I used pearl headed pins to get an idea of placement and size – and grabbed the camera.  I had my reading glasses on and when looking for a place to put them down, realised she was, among her many other talents, the perfect specs holder!

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I’m just the teeniest bit in love with her

 

As you can see from the pockets close-ups she holds all things sewing and hooking related.  There is more to come and her face to be finished – and a name to be given of course – any ideas?  But this has to be the most fun thing I have made in forever!

So that is why the blanket hasn’t yet been finished.  Nor this – which insists on photographing brighter and lighter than reality, but gives you an idea that at least some progress has been made…….

davFinally, here’s Siddy in his posh winter gear to say “Hello!” or “Grrrrruff!” to you all, just in case you need that kind of puppy cheerfulness in your life…..

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

May

Hello my friend, apparently this is my post for May.  I didn’t intend it to be this way, but then how often does what we plan to do end up being being what we actually do?  One of my favourite quotes comes courtesy of John Lennon  ‘Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans’  and those who know me well will often have heard that little gem escape my mouth.  Usually accompanied by a sigh or maybe a rueful grin…..

I’m taking time off social media.  Blogging is the only platform you will see me on for a while – I can’t give up blogging!  But being off all those other platforms has allowed me to refocus and, when I discovered there were at least three hours in every day that I didn’t know were there, I decided to stay off.

Three hours a day means I can get a lot more done.  The Persian Tiles blanket is growing.   Thanks very much says Mr Orlando as he nestles down on a stacked pile of completed tilesdavSusanne ordered some cards and I happily made her half a dozen ‘Trois Dames’edfI went back to playing with alcohol inks and ended up adding acrylics over one of them to see what happened davNothing went awry, so, emboldened, I kept playing – now I tried to see what would happen if I added blending solution to a brush and swept it across the inky coloured skybtrWell that was interesting!  Obviously a very light touch and brush-on-paper-always technique is required.  More work is currently being undertaken  🙂

I had already begun work on creating a Wise Woman, a crone, a witch….

The initial thoughts went into my sketch bookdavAnd then I sketched her onto 300gsm watercolour paper making sure she was the right size and that the pen I used wouldn’t bleed with alcohol inks.davI then coloured her and cut her out.  And finally tried her out on the backgroundbtrThere’s a lot of work still to be done – but can you see where this is going?

So, in need of a rest from trying to manipulate alcohol ink, I made cards with some of the remaining inkies, cutting up the paper into smaller bits and taking my inspiration from something I stumbled across, and paid attention to, on one of my random YouTube playing lists.  I was quite pleased…… btrThe Seaside Stash Busting blanket is making progress – I really like it and now and then add in an extra row or two just because I can……btrThis is how I crochet in the evenings – I quite often let You Tube play a random selection of videos while I’m working, they often choose to show me animals and Siddy always sits up and takes notice, much to the consternation of Orlando and myself who must consequently adjust our positions to accommodate any excitement or anxiety shown on behalf of the filmed animals……dav It’s turning cold here now.  Night falls early and morning arrives later.  The heating is on and morning walks take longer to get ready for.  Boots, coat, scarf, gloves, hat.  Puppy.  And off we go!   No longer prepared to sit in the front garden and await our return, Orlando watches from the kitchen window.  Lucky kitty!!

So, what are you up to in May, are you in need of finding more time?

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

 

 

 

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!

 

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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