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Monday, 22 January 2018

Gettin' Crafty at Christmas

What a gorgeously relaxed Christmas we had this year - one year on from our move to Nova Scotia, properly settled into our home and plenty of time to enjoy the build up to the festive season.  Missed our family madly, but the internet is a wonderful thing for keeping in touch with friends and family.  When I was in my early twenties I lived in California for a couple of years, and kept in touch with my darling Mum by airmail letter alone - not even a phone call as it was so expensive.  So although we would have loved to have everyone here, we counted our blessings as always for living this amazing life in the home of our dreams, and had a very jolly time of it.  Friends came over on Christmas Day, we ate, drank and played silly party games and just enjoyed every single minute!  I went to a Christmas Craft Fair at the local High School, which was super impressive for a small town, and I came away with not-so-secret ambitions to have a table there myself one day; I so enjoyed making all of these things, what a great excuse it would be to make lots more!  I planned to get stuck into it in January, but then remembered that I still need to finish recovering the seat cushions for our tiny caravan, a task that's been hanging over me for-evvvver.  So I bit the bullet and now I am 4 cushions down and 5 to go, very happy that I am making progress with that.  Pics to come soon!

Monday, 30 October 2017

I made a list

Oh summer, where did you go? Ah yes, that was those happy months filled with sunshine and friends and family visiting from the UK - busy, busy busy, and beautiful.  So much fun, many happy hours in the garden, another fabulous wedding and a few snatched hours in my craft room.  I was feeling like I had been slacking off on the creative side and hadn't really made very much, but now I've made a list: Mother of the Bride Hat No.2 for Daughter No.1's wedding (No.1 hat for Daughter No.2 was last February), cable knit gloves and stripey socks for me, curtains and blinds for the house, curtains for the Potting Shed, a bib for an absoloutely darling baby, and my personal favourite, a ScareCrow. Oh, and some dinky little seed packets, which won't win any design prizes but at least I finally found a good use for the butterfly stamp I bought in Amsterdam many moons ago.  So after making that list and digging out the photos, I'm feeling quite pleased with myself and don't feel quite so daunted by the long list of projects I have lined up for the winter. Looking forward to some cosy hours in my craft room, and in the kitchen too - we went vegan this summer (feeling SO good about that!) and I have a stack of new recipes to try.  In the meantime, I'll be making the most of every drop of Autumn sunshine that remains - I'm almost enjoying raking up the leaves this year, even though there are a gazillion of them every day, as I have the time to pace myself, and the view is just gorgeous.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Fits like a glove!

There were some highs and lows at my sewing machine this week: first, I made with great care a dress to wear for my daughter's wedding, and I love it - the fabric is a linen mix which hangs beautifully, I adjusted the pattern so the waist is in the right place, studiously pressed all my seams as I went along and did a couple of final alterations to get it just right. My primary school sewing teacher (Mrs Diaz - no shortcuts under her beady eye!) would be proud of me I think.
Flushed with success, I was keen to make a start on one of the many projects in my 'make do and mend' stash.  With my only pair of oven gloves in dire need of a wash, and spurred on by recently having resisted a pretty and very cheap pair in the local dollar store (on the basis that, cheap as they were, I really should use up some fabric and make them for free), I made a start.  Aiming to keep it simple, I thought I'd just wiggle a bit of quilting on each layer of lining / padding / outer, then stitch together the 2 layers with a snazzy zigsag stitch and neatly trim around the edge - it looked great in my head but turned out - well, see below left! I resisted the urge to throw it in the bin, remembered Mrs Diaz, thought it through carefully, and had another go.  Seems the trick is to cut the padding smaller than the liner /outer, leaving space to neatly stitch and turn - much better!  So now I have a slightly odd pair of oven gloves, which will serve to remind me that mistakes really are ok if I just stop and ask myself what I learned along the way.  Only taken me 60 or so years to really get that into my head!

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Time really does fly when having (lots of) fun

Prompted today by a dear friend who said "are you going to carry on with your blog now that you really have something to write about?" (I'm hoping she didn't mean that I didn't have anything worth writing about before...), here I am marvelling at how 4 months can fly by and life change so much in such a short time.  To summarise: I turned 60 in November, retired from office life, and moved to Canada.  After a flurry of unpacking and our first ever childless Christmas (quiet and a bit strange, but helped by lovely friends on this side of the ocean) I quickly settled into my new and very relaxed routine, spending some considerable time wandering around with a vacant grin on my face, revelling in my good fortune - but also cooked, stripped paint and dug what felt like several tons of snow.  My new crafty corner is up and running, fabric (soooo much fabric) stashed away, and I've even managed a spot of knitting for Daughter No. 2: my first ever pair of gloves, first ever anything with 4 double pointed needles, first ever fair-isle type pattern.  I am hooked - quite a revelation to me that gloves, even fancy patterned ones, are so much quicker to complete than jumpers - who knew?!  Even better, as they don't use much yarn, I treated myself to some really nice wool.  I think this is definitely my kind of knitting - next up is a pair of socks and another pair of gloves, both for me.  Somewhere, I have a whole book of pretty sock patterns. And then there's that fabric stash... 2017 is gonna be a craft-fest around here.  Lots of visitors booked in for Nova Scotian holidays, 2 acres of land to whip into shape and our lovely house to beautify - very happy days ahead!
The Homestead

Crafty Corner


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Knitting the weeks away

Seems the year has flown by in a flurry of knitting needles, everything else having taken a back seat to sorting, packing and downsizing our Cardiff home in readiness for the move to Nova Scotia - one way tickets booked for December 1st!  Ridiculously excited and can't wait to purchase a new sewing machine and get back to crafting.  Although I have a rather a lot of curtains to make first, not my favourite pastime but I have a stash of rather lovely fabric and no irritating necessity to spend 8+ hours a day in an office. Bliss!  Anyway, here's a cosy little jumper I knitted from this pattern for Daughter No. 1. Made a few mistakes as usual, but I quite like the finished article.  Currently trying to finish a cardigan for my Mum, which am desperate to get done before we move - not sure I'm going to make it but am sure gonna try.  See you on the other side (of the Atlantic) folks!

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Le Voyageur

And here it is - Voyageur Hat version 1!  I think he wears it rather well, don't you?  Perfect for future canoe adventures through Keji. Or keeping his ears warm through those Nova Scotian winters. But I think he was expecting something a little more dramatic, so I'm now furiously knitting version 2 with an extra row between decreases to make a longer pointy bit (now finished - see 2nd pic!) There's not too many patterns out there for Voyageur hats, but this one did the job and was dead easy (once I had unravelled the mysteries of 'SSK' - thank heavens for the internet) and pretty quick to knit up.  I wonder if there's any other Nova Scotians out there who'd like one...  it's a family tradition now for everything I make now: 'You know what you could do with those?'  'What?'  'Sell 'em at the Farmers' Market!'

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Quick knits

After several months of frantic activity to complete The Cardigan in time for Christmas, it's nice to chill out with a bit of chunky wool and big fat needles and whip up a cosy scarf - very satisfying. Also pictured are the knits I kicked off with back in the spring, one of which I tried to turn into a cushion with a velvet back; nice idea but due to my slapdash method it didn't turn out too well. It's now awaiting a big fat cushion to shove inside which I'm hoping will go some way towards hiding the wobbly stitching around the edge. Next on my list: a red woolly voyageur hat for my lovely husband - he promises me he'll wear it.