A little something followed up

I bought some lovely wooden buttons from ebay, one of which was just right for the scarf from the last post. It is on, and ready to head off to its new owner.

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And the rest of the buttons. I like using buttons on cards, so its highly likely thats where some of the smaller ones are headed. Especially given that there’s a couple of heart ones in there and it’s nearly February…

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A little something

I have finished the scarf….well, kind of!

I have, I just made it shorter than it was meant to be, because I’d hit my boredom threshold. It’s still pretty cute though.

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Sometimes, though, you don’t always want a long scarf, say if your coat is tight-fitting and you just want more of a cowl-type thing. At least, that’s what I’m trying to convince myself. The other thought I had was to get a pretty button (and it’s just possible that I may be currently bidding on some pretty wooden floral ones on ebay) and pop that on to keep it fastened, taking advantage of the convenient holey pattern!
And here’s a close up.

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I may even be truly awful and not block it, and just give it a gentle squish under my computer for the evening – a sneaky trick I use way too often to flatten things!

I’ve had a creative lightbulb moment on a wirework project, but alas it has to wait, as I’m about to start something for a friend’s birthday in a few days. I have no idea if this present is going to work as I’m going to have to use double knit wool in two strands as I don’t have the chunky wool the pattern says so off I go to do a boring but necessary swatch.

What’s going on with you?

would’ve, could’ve, am

I had three things to achieve this weekend (aside from the usual Unholy Trinity of housework, shopping, laundry, I mean). I had to:

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make mince pies. Yes, I AM that weirdo that likes them all year round and not just at Christmas.

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make a start to sewing my Christmas present from my little brother and sister-in-law-elect

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and I had to start and preferably finish, something from this, which I bought at a book fair at work. Not least because I also bought a varied crafts book, and I’ve vowed not to even take it out the bag until I’ve finished one item from the knitting one. Tough love time. Because I know that I am way too much of a “why finish one project when I could start a second” girl.

Confession time.

I haven’t made mince pies. I would’ve, but the supermarket had some at half price, so I bought those instead.
I haven’t started sewing the cutest hedgehog in the known universe. I could’ve, but only got as far as reading the instructions to cut the pattern out and I needed a hard surface to do that, but by then we’d lit a fire, and Toby was in the room and…..hmmm.
I haven’t start…NO WAIT, I AM!!!! I AM KNITTING SOMETHING FROM THIS BOOK!!! A pretty lacy scarf. which I only messed up the first row of the four-row pattern twice, before nailing it. Yarning over twice before a slip slip knit was not being my friend. But we had a little chat and we’re good.

I will update my progress tomorrow…but I’m worried I may get distracted by our unexpected supermarket purchase…

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Oh it’s a fun-packed life here!

Christmas Bonus

A non-crafty post, but I’ve had the worst commute home and feel the need. I don’t like driving, which is a bit unfortunate, given that I drive for an hour to get to work. But 4 years down the line I’ve become used to it. Sort of. Today on the way home, the main road was closed. Luckily, the diversion (and I’m using the word in its loosest term) took me to a garden centre I knew, so I pulled into the car park for a bit, then had a wander around.
After 15 minutes, I cam out and watched the traffic to see if it was still being redirected – hurrah, back to normal. I rejoined the main road, but we crawled at about 5mph for a couple of miles….only to be diverted again. The short version is that I had to drive for an hour on a muddy narrow road, blindly following the cars in front and hoping they (a) knew where they were going and (b) were going the same way I was. I know the mot important thing is that I got home safe, but i’m sooooooooooo tired now. So I wanted to remind myself of a good thing that happened last week – a Christmas bonus.
For those in the UK, you’re more than likely familiar with Lakeland i love them! I love the products, I love getting the catalogues and can spend hours browsing their website. But the best thing about them? Their customer service. It is so good. And, alas, quite rare here! I placed an order on New Year’s Eve…but disaster! There was a snaffu at the warehouse and the wrong order was packed in my name, and I received someone else’s order a few days later. Literally as I went to phone them, they phoned me, as someone else received mine and had called them. They redispatched the order straight away, sending it next day delivery even though that costs more and I hadn’t paid for that, and the truly fab thing? They told me to keep the first parcel, as an apology for the error. Two dinky microwave saucepans, two cute whisks and toaster tongs! We made the best hot chocolate EVER in the pans, whisked to bubbly perfection (admittedly, the cointreau we added helped too!).
So I had to wait another day for my original order – so what? The extra bonus made it worthwhile. And sometimes you need to forget about the bad (a messed up order, a stressful delayed journey home), and focus instead on the flip side (an extra gift, a safe eventual arrival).
Get flipping!

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Playing with prototypes

I’ve spent the last few days playing with prototypes, trying to come up with new designs, new ways of doing old things and just generally trying to learn new things. It’s not often I have enough time to do something like that, which somehow always feels a little like a waste of precious time as it’s not producing something you can give or sell. But I’ve had some enforced vacation time so amidst lots of pottering around achieving not very much, I’ve been playing.
I tend to do this with wool, for a couple of reasons. One, you can unpick wool when you go wrong, and when I’m trying new patterns and stitches I go wrong a lot. A huge lot. The other reason is that I have any amount of wool and its cheaper than wire. But also, once I’ve prototyped it’s nice to keep it for reference, or just for inspiration further down the line.
This is, I think, going to be a cross between a dreamcatcher and a wind-chime. The idea of making wind-chimes has gripped me recently, but I’m struggling on the actually chimey bit right now, so I’m concentrating on the top bit for the moment,, just envisage it in wire, with some tiny iridescent beads..

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This next one is a form of Bruge lace – totally new to me, but I think I’ve got it worked out right. Again, some beading would go on, maybe alternating inside and outside the loops, or just inside, in alternate pairs. Or maybe a big bead every three repeats or so. That’s half the fun, isn’t it – adding your own twist to things.

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FInally, a different direction. This started life as a ring, but the wire was too thick and bulky, I think. So I debated turning it into a pendant of some sort, but it felt like something was missing, so I added a little tear drop bead. I wasn’t overly keen on it but taking it out to photograph it this morning I’m liking it a bit more.

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The fun part is what Im going to do tonight, where I take my notebook, look at the design and try to decide where the beads go and how do I get them there!
What’s everyone else up to?

Christmas not crackers

Another little thing I did before Christmas (after I drowned in stockings) was make some decorations for the Christmas tree. When we’d been shopping for a tree the year before last (last year didn’t count – we were decidedly un-Christmassy and only got a tree on the 22nd. Dont ask.) I’d seen some nice gingham-style decorations and this year, that was what I went shopping for. Of course, as these things always go, I couldn’t find any red gingham, only pink. Pink does not say Christmas to me (being red-headed, I really am not a pink person!) but thankfully I then found the material mentioned in my previous post et voila.

I wanted to keep it simple with just a few designs, so went for three. Did I ever explain that I have a thing about three? Maybe not. Three is good, trust me. It’s just good. So I went for a stocking (really, after the 24 I made for work you’d have thought I’d be done with them), a dove and a star. I roughly sketched the three designs straight onto the reverse of the fabric (I was feeling brave. The glass of wine I had at the time may have had something to do with that.

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This is kind of where the wheels came off the wagon a little. I wanted to sew them with some cross stitch thread that I have, it’s a pearlised (ie metallic) one, I have a couple of colours, but I just don’t like working with them. I find they snag on the canvas, they’re no good for using on cards as they’re too stiff to tie in a bow, so I thought I could at least sew the fabric, with a silvery-white thread that would sparkle under the tree lights. I plan, practicality laughs in my face. I tried it with all 6 strands (not least because it’s a nightmare to separate), it was too thick for the thin cotton. I tried 3 (because three is good – see above) but they separated out too much in the stitch. I tried 1, but it was too thin and didn’t sparkle. Thoroughly hacked off, running out of time and feeling decidedly unfestive with no goodwill to anything, I whacked a running stitch in plain cotton white thread through them all, turned them right-side out again, stuffed them with cushion stuffing that Toby had helpfully prepared for me (by pulling it out of his cushion), and sewed up the last corner, with a short length of cream ribbon for a hanging tag.

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They’re fine. Sweet, even. But in a fit of organisation and pre-planning ( I’m trying , honest) I think when I take the tree down on Sunday, that I’ll take some time to overstitch with a couple of strands of the sparkly thread, all ready for next year. If it only has to be decorative rather than actually working as a seam then I think the 3 strands may work. Maybe…
Now if I could only get that organised with cards and presents for next year, I’ll be laughing!