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!

 

 

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

dav

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

dav

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!

 

Pretty Things

I’m currently having a few days in Wellington with my eldest, it’s her birthday month and we are making the most of it.  The Official Photographer went first and spent several days helping the celebrations get off to a good start…..

"Oh," she said "this photo makes my glass look bigger than theirs ......"

“Oh,” she said “this photo makes my glass look bigger than theirs ……”

Then she came back to baby-sit

Siddy Jan 16

He misses his mumma when she goes away.

Prior to deserting my boys, I was playing with beads.

I put some new light catchers in the shop, including this little beauty ‘Marine’

1 2a 3a 4a

Which is just chock-a-block with crystals and shimmery goodness – I’m a little in love with this one!!

I made some bracelets

Single strand crystal rondelles & acrylic pearls

Single strand crystal rondelles & acrylic pearls

Single strand mixed acrylic beads and charms

Single strand mixed acrylic beads and charms

Stretch Bracelet Double layer with acrylic flower

Stretch Bracelet Double layer with acrylic flower

 

four layered, natural pearls & seed beads.

four layered, natural pearls & seed beads.

Bracelet 5 Bracelet 6 Bracelet 7 Bracelet 8

As I like bracelets, and they are the only jewellery I wear these days, I’m learning how to make simple ones that are robust, don’t fall apart and are fun to wear.  I’ve been wearing this selection for over two weeks now, gardening, housework, playing with puppy – so far so good.

The knitting was blocked.

I discovered a rubbery – foamy kit-set type of mat at Mitre10  [local DIY store] used for kneeling on in the garage, lining the car boot [trunk] or the children’s playroom or suchlike and did my best Archimedes “Eureka!” impression  [minus the bath tub].  And Lo ……

Blocking

You get a pack of four jigsaw sided pieces, each about 50 cm square so you can use what is needed to meet whatever shape you are making.  It works brilliantly.

All the parts were blocked separately, then sewn together, washed again and laid out to dry – someone said  ‘Oh, for me …..how kind………’   Sigh

b'day present 2016 w Tig 2

The project was finished on time despite attempts to sabotage – wrapped in pretty paper and delivered to ED who kindly modelled it for you despite having on her red sneakers and standing in the baking heat of Wellington

Model jumper

And now I’m working away at my crochet project a very fine alpaca and silk scarf, currently about one third assembled – destined for the birthday girl sometime after her birthday, but hopefully before Christmas.  Please note the careful colour matching………Shawl

If I’m missing from your posts, please forgive me – I’ll be back to normal in a few more days.

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

February Creations

Hello Y’all!  It’s already almost half way through the month and I feel as if I’m playing catch up with my blog already.  I’ve been busy – no, no, really I have – well sometimes I’ve been busy – other times ………  let’s just say I’ve watched a few movies, and read a few books and done a bit of knitting

Jos jumper 2

It’s a richer brown than is showing, flecked with gold  and this is the pattern

Elation free Cable Aran Knit Sweater Pattern Elation or buy as knitting kit

It’s a free pattern from Artesano Yarns in the UK – isn’t it lovely!!  My ED will love this for our coming winter.

And I’ve been receiving gifts!

I’ve been really touched by the kindness of people in this blogging world again.  In a recent post on the blog Love Those Hands At Home I mentioned to Kerry that I loved the little white crocheted place mats she was readying to put into her shop.  The next thing I knew they were delivered by my friendly postal lady and Kerry’s placemats now adorn my table and a couple of other places too – aren’t they pretty!

Kerrys mat 1 Kerry's mat 3

The post delivered a completely unexpected thank you gift just over a week ago.  Robin was a recipient in the Christmas Light Catcher giveaway and she sent me a thank you note and a copy of her CD – a collection of lovely folk and contemporary music played on her flute.  I was surprised and delighted by her kind gesture.  Thank you Robin, I am enjoying it very much – I’m so in awe of people who can make music!

Flute CD

Then I received another gift – from my friend Norah in Australia who didn’t receive a Light Catcher in the giveaway, but who did nominate her friend Robin [above] and who simply decided to send me a beautiful thank you note and a lovely inspirational book which has made it to the bedside table for dipping into before sleep.  Isn’t this the kindest thing?  Aren’t all these actions so thoughtful and so generous – and so happily welcomed!

I am constantly really touched by the generosity of people in the blogging world – and just want to say thank you, thank you.  I am really, truly blessed and absolutely require no more gifts!

Norah and I recently had a bit of a discussion about education.  Those of you who know me well, know I was once a teacher and am rather opinionated about that and about childhood in general.  Norah and I think alike and so she sent me some questions and ran a small Q&A type interview on her blog.

Part I is here and Part II is here if you should be interested.

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My shop was cleared out of Light Catchers by Christmas and I have finally made several new ones, of which three have made it into the shop [found at the top right of this page, under the header picture if you are interested in having a look].  There’s a ‘Mellow Yellow’, one called ‘Purple Haze’ and another called ‘Aqua Lights’.  Here’s a sneaky preview

Mixed pizap

There are three more still in production and I keep experimenting with curly-whirly, mobile types of danglers that will sparkle and jingle and tinkle too.  I haven’t yet found something I really like that is actually affordable for anyone short of the Sheikh of Araby to purchase ……. but I’m working on it.

Here’s a peek at the six strander I made for my kitchen window recently – lots of fun with this one bouncing rainbows and sparkles all round the room.  As always I apologise for my photos and the lack of colour – it is of course all shades of blue  🙂 6 Strand Blue pizap

And for all his fans here’s Siddy again, just going for a drive all windswept and tousled and loving it – and yes, I must clean the car mirrors sometime soon – but really, he doesn’t mind!

driving2 nov 15

I’m thinking about gifts and kindness and contentedness a lot these days.  I feel blessed!  I hope you do too.

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

 

 

 

Christmas Giveaway – THE WINNER

Well, the voters have spoken and it was so very interesting to see where your hearts went.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read and vote and to those of you who reflected back to me their thoughts and feelings both via the blog and in private emails.  I was touched, not only by the stories themselves, but also by your thoughts about the stories and the thought you put into making your selections.  I so loved Boomdee’s comment about hope – did you catch that in the comments section of the last post?

In the end voting was very close between two stories.  And very close between the next five.  So close that there was only one course of action left to me – and that was to make everyone winners.

Here’s what has happened:

The story you voted for the most was C.  This is the story of Melanie, submitted by her father, Colin.  I do not know Colin or Melanie and have no idea how Colin found out about the giveaway.  But he did and he wrote a beautiful precis of his daughter’s life and we all thought it was worthy of a light catcher – so it will be sent to her as soon as her address is received.

Extraordinarily close behind was story A.  Norah’s friend Robin touched our hearts and so nearly won it would be a shame not to send her something – so she will receive a light catcher also.

Then there followed the middle runners [it’s sounding a bit like a horse racing event isn’t it ….]  These stories were all close together in terms of votes, you all liked them equally it seems causing a split vote situation.  Nothing for it then but to say all the people featured in these stories are also receiving light catchers:

B, D, F, H, J and K.

I took some time out of life for several hours and with intense purpose made several versions of a simpler, single strand Christmas Light Catcher to be given to the runners up.  Each  catcher is made with one AAA crystal ball, either of 30 or 40 mm, a random amount of AAA crystal octagons, a random amount of crystal faceted beads, various glass, acrylic or semi precious beads and finished with several charms.  They are all different.  My plan is to wrap them up, package them and randomly write on the addresses as you send them to me.  Which light catcher anyone gets will be the outcome of random choice, pure good fortune or the will of the Christmas Fairy – whichever way you choose to look at it.

This is a shot of several of the single strands, all mixed up together

Xmas lc extra4

And as another added extra, today I threw all the names of the commenters from the last post into my favourite coffee cup and drew one out.

Sharon, aka ‘Gentle Stitches’ will also receive a simple single strand Christmas Light Catcher.

Here’s a few more of them just lying around waiting to be parcelled up

Xmas lc extra3

Although these catchers made as extra giveaways are much simpler than the major giveaway, they will I hope, spread just a few more light rainbows around the world and remind the recipients that they are in the hearts of the people who submitted them and their stories touched the hearts of the people who heard them.

Please make sure to send me the address of your nominee if they are a prize winner – instructions are in the previous post. .

Thank you again for your participation and encouragement of this Advent activity.

To finish, especially for his fans, here’s  a shot of Siddy admiring his new front door:

new door 13 11

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

 

A Touch of Spring

The days are noticeably lengthening, the air is light and warm and there is the soft  scent of new mown grass on the air.  Blossoms adorn the edges of branches that have been bare for too long – yellow flowers bob up and down the grassy hillock where Siddy runs on his daily walk.  He sniffs them warily, licks one bright head ‘hello’ and moves on.  The daffodil blooms on.  I skirt the still muddy areas of the park.  Ground laid bare by days of rain and frosts and ice and happy dogs turning it all to sludge.  Gone is the heavy padded jacket, the woolly hat, the scarf wrapped about three times for maximum warmth, the array of colourful Mimi mittens that have adorned my hands on our morning walks.  Gone the thick boots made for water protection, slip proof [mostly] and warmth.

I walk lightly – hatless, scarfless, gloveless.  Siddy looks up at me and smiles and we walk on both of us enjoying the warm still air, the golden light, the scents of spring.

Spring enters into my work room too.  My rediscovered love of working with beads evident everywhere.  Light catchers sparkle en masse in front of the window.   This is a wee peek at ‘The Purple Bohemian’ a new one destined for my shop, it’s really pretty!

2purple 4

Beads scattered over the work table catch and reflect sparkles of sun light.

beads1

I play with the idea of beaded bracelets – trying things out, working out how to arrange sizes, shapes and colours pleasingly; how to start and how best to finish things off.  I don’t know why I’m doing this.  Perhaps this first touch of spring makes me want to have some pretty beads to wear.

bracelet3

I’ve read a few books this winter.  Not many, I don’t read as much as I used to – I don’t know why.  Again, for unknown reasons, I steered clear of philosophical or spiritual content and read only what I had been given.

I read a surprising amount of first novels

‘Wise Men’ by Stuart Nadler, his first novel.  The story kept me interested and I appreciated the writer’s ability to have his protagonist have an incidental real life while keeping us enthralled with the mysterious pull of times past.

‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John Mandel.  The Georgia Flu has wiped out 99% of the population and in this horribly realistic view of life twenty years after the event the author invites us to consider the place of fame, of theatre, of relationships, that reach through time and events and touch and sustain our lives.

‘The Miniaturist’ by Jessie Burton.  A first novel.  I struggled with this book – I kept reading a little more every night and in the end read it to finish it.  It is an odd tale, atmospheric yet cold.   Maybe not such a good thing in a novel.  Did you read it and feel differently?

‘The Paris Architect’ by Charles Balfoure.  Another first novel.  I generally don’t like reading about war and man’s inhumanity to man, but this novel grabbed my interest.  I loved how the story revealed the architect’s evolution from cool disdain  to caring about the fate of others and how in times of desperation, we find those we need to find.

‘Bits of a Boyhood’ by Bruce Goodman.  An on-line book found here   Written with integrity and honesty and not a little humour Bruce reveals what it was like growing up in New Zealand in the 1950’s.  I laughed and sometimes cried my way through this first part of Bruce’s autobiography.  I’m waiting for the next installment!

A man of fine education and not a little talent, Bruce blogs at Weave A Web if you want to read one of his [mostly] bizarre or odd little stories every day.

Finally – Siddy waiting for his fans.  Siddy does Hollywood

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

A Postal Woopsie & A Winner

Thank you all so very much for the many and most helpful comments on the new shop window – I spent the ensuing days making changes as fast as I could and I think the perusing and information gathering is much better as a result.    There are still a few additions and changes to be made, but nothing major.

I even made a sale which thrilled me no end – even though there ensued a most embarrassing postal misadventure as a result……  Do you want the whole story?

I was super busy and trapped at home waiting for the super-fast broadband installation scoping man to arrive – and surprise, surprise he didn’t…… [that’s a whole other post!]

I had a pile of mittens still waiting to get to the post office, the raspberry and yellow light catchers to get off to their new homes and a mounting sense of frustration that I was going to miss the post again……

Enter Stage R the most amenable and helpful Youngest Daughter, Official Photographer and newbie blogger, Danella Joy.  Already stressed to the max with the health of her aged and ailing cat, an upcoming week away and what to do if dear cat’s demise and week away collide and needing to get to her night shift on time after a vet consultation, she still volunteered to visit the post office along the way and get my parcels sent off.

All but one of the packages were wrapped and addressed.  One, a set of three mittens and a card from the last giveaway, needed it’s own postal envelope and the address to be written on said envelope.

Hastily I tore off the small pad page that had some addresses written on it,  ripped off the unneeded address, threw everything into a handy tote bag and off she raced.

I didn’t realise that the small pad page had an address written both sides, both perfectly framed within the torn off seam.

You know what happened don’t you

after siddy

Two days later DJ remembered to give me the pile of postal receipts and the card she had not seen in the bag that needed to go with the mittens until it was too late and as she handed over the torn pad page with the address on she froze, turned it over and asked “Where were the mittens going?”

Yes indeedy!  Two beautifully written addresses – take your pick.  There was a 50/50 chance I guess that the wrong one would be right side up when she scrabbled in the bag to find it and send the mittens away across the ocean.   At least they ended up in the right country!

Now I have to get poor Jem to readdress and resend a package she should never have gotten and reimburse that as an added, extra postal cost….. sigh!   And Jenny, dear, patient Jenny, you will get your mittens sometime soon  🙂

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But now, to happier times.

And what could be happier than a giveaway I hear you cry……….

The names were all  written out on strips of carefully cut paper

giveaway1

Piled into my favourite drink dispenser

giveaway2

shaken

giveaway5

stirred

giveaway6

scattered

giveaway8

‘Can we go yet?’

giveaway9

and – chosen!

giveaway13 paw on

I’m exhausted says Orlando – these are all winners!

giveaway14 all winners

Congratulations Kerry from Love Those ‘Hands At Home’

Which one do you want?

The pink or the blue?

Pink Giveaway Blue Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who took part – we love giveaways here in Contented Land

and there is sure to be another soon.

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