Friday, 21 December 2007

Solstice

The winter solstice is here. It's been a beautiful bright clear sunny day, a chill in the air, and a glorious sunset as the light went down. I love this time of year, and will look forward to the slowly lengthening daylight hours. I received this exquisite solstice card this morning from my friend Adele, who also supplies me with my delicious weekly organic veg box.


I'm not sure if you can see the detail, but the body of the robin is a thumb print. All so simple, and yet so effective. Thank you, Adele, I love it!

This tree photo was taken on my morning walk with the dogs. Just seemed very christmassy and apt right now.


The rest of my week has been spent in furious activity finishing off the present making, seeing friends and trying to be organized, though the truth is I'm running around like a headless chicken with rather too many things left on my 'must do' list before departure tomorrow morning. So I'm going to get down to it now......

I'll be back sometime soon. Wishing you all a happy, joyful and peaceful time!
And thank you, too, for visiting my blog.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Home

On Sunday evening I had some friends round for dinner so put up my cards, spruced up the house, lit the candles, collected some beech twigs from the woods, and tried to make my little home look a little bit festive.

I couldn't find any decorations, not sure where I've hidden them, so resorted to a few crystal drops hanging from the twiggy beech branches, and - inspiration - old dangly silver earrings which I no longer wear!


You can just see in the top right of this picture a moose (I think.....or is it a reindeer?) given to me by my friend Peter a few years ago. I've had to resort to hanging him up high as the pup keeps stealing him for chewing purposes. I won't be doing any more decorating as yet again I'm away over Christmas visiting my family.

I've also been busy making......no photos in case anyone takes a sneak preview! I still have lots to do. It may be a week to go, but for me it's 3 more days as I leave on saturday. Best get down to it again!

Friday, 14 December 2007

My christmas cards

Here they are then. I admit the 'sparkle' is subtle, and they need to catch the light to see it, but hey, I'm pleased with them.


The hand stitching on each card is a bit time consuming, but worth it I think.




They're now written, labelled, sealed and stamped. For the first time ever I've resorted to typed address labels - keeping to the red theme - and it's worth it. By the time I've hand written over sixty addresses my writing is a scrawl. Must be kinder to the postmen this way!

Happy weekend!
11 days to go

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Card production line

I've nearly finished making my christmas cards.......


I never buy christmas cards, having made them for over twenty years, so now it's a bit of a tradition. Sometimes I think, "Oh, I can't be bothered this year" but then a little voice creeps in to my head and says "Don't be ridiculous! You can't possibly buy them" so here I am, the annual ritual of chopping up card and coming up with an idea. Some years have been better than others! I wish I'd kept a card archive of all past designs, it would be fun to look back. I love chopping up card - it's the preciseness of it, the joy of a newly unwrapped scalpel blade, the measurements, the folding, the adjusting. I can get quite carried away!


This year's design is back to potato prints. I like to keep it simple - small square cards as I prefer those proportions, and usually single colour.


All the printings done....I'm now finishing off the embellishing, an excuse to have a bit of sparkle. I'll share the results tomorrow.

12 days to go, and still a very long 'to do' list.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Monday morning

At last, sunshine and blue skies to start the week. An instant boost after the greyness of the last few days. The wind is no longer whipping around my little house, seeping in, an unwelcome vistor, creating drafts.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

PS

16 days to go....

And my post below has only just been written....I now realize with blogger that when you start writing, and save as draft, then return to it at a later date to finish off and then publish, it comes up as the date you started, not the date you've finished...hey ho! So just to clarify, the sandstorm was this morning, and the pup was sick half an hour ago, ok? Blogger, I clearly have much to learn.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Allsorts!

I've had a busy and at times frustrating few days.

But let me start with a lovely surprise. A couple of weeks back Sally Anne had a giveaway which was won by lucky Gillybean. Part of the prize was some of this wonderful sweet pea fabric, which I rather coveted as sweet peas are my favourite flower and I particularly like the dark varieties such as Matucana, Lord Nelson and Black Night which are also highly scented. Imagine my delight when Sally Anne said she'd send me a piece anyway. So I've been virtually pouncing on my poor postman each morning to see if my little parcel had made it all the way from New Zealand, and a couple of days ago it arrived. Here's that gorgeous fabric:

I'm not sure yet what I will use it for as I really want to improve my sewing skills before I attempt anything. I'd hate to ruin it! Sally Anne also included this lovely christmas-themed fabric

and these two pieces - I love all the individual flowers on the left hand piece, and the one on the right reminds me of tie-dying, which I still do from time to time when the urge takes me.

A big thank you to Sally Anne!

I've also been busy making, and have made a few tree decorations, using felted wool from one of the jumpers I shrunk recently. I find these rather fiddly (they're only 3 and a 1/2 inches high) to do, and rather time consuming, but rewarding too. The wool is very forgiving - where my stitching is a little uneven I can just pull it into shape!

Mr Postman also arrived with my roll of Bakers' Twine I got here. I know everyone seems to be using it at the moment, but I love the red and white....just as well as the roll is 270 metres long! Anyone want a few metres?


Frustrations? Well, there have been a few.......
  1. Blogger has been really slow in the evenings - a couple of times I've tried to post and upload photos, but have given up. Got fed up waiting!
  2. The days have been so gloomy and grey it's been hard to take any photos in natural light
  3. I had a tiny stall at an equally tiny craft fair yesterday, and it was a disaster (should I be telling you this?). I barely sold a thing, and had stayed up late several nights on the trot making cards and gift tags. I even tried to tempt people with a plate of freshly made chocolate brownies, to no avail! It was a bit of a relief to see it was the same for all of us, not just me. So I won't be taking it personally. (oh yeah?)
  4. The wind and gales have been so strong that the fence at the bottom of my garden blew down last night
  5. I got caught in a sandstorm on the beach this morning. Ouch! Spent ages combing sand out of my hair, not to mention the dogs!
  6. And the pup's just been sick on the carpet (I'll spare you the detail)
But just occasionally I'll find something on the beach that makes my heart sing...

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Frenchman's Creek

This afternoon I took some time out to meet a friend who was visiting my neck of the woods for the day. We took a hike over to the Helford River, and decided to walk around Frenchman's Creek which is perhaps best known as the title of the novel by Daphne du Maurier. At this time of year the creek and surrounding woodland was deserted, and the damp autumnal weather hung over the water like a cloak.


The water was a beautiful soft green, so still, reflecting the skeletal shapes of the bare trees lining the banks. If you just let your imagination drift.....you could vividly picture scenes from the novel:

" Frenchman's Creek is romance at its best. With all the mastery of atmosphere she used so triumphantly in Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier spirits the reader away to the days of the Restoration. Bored with the frivolous life of the Court the captivating, imperious Dona St Columb retires on a whim to her country estate in Cornwall, taking her children but leaving her dull husband in town. How she comes to be involved with a French philosopher-pirate, the terror of the Cornish coast, makes - because the author makes it credible - an absorbing tale of love and adventure."


It was hard to take any good photographs - for much of the walk we were looking down over the creek. I think the best perspective would have been from a small boat. The greyness lifted as the daylight faded, and we were treated to a beautiful sunset.



As I drove home I realized there had been nothing cristmassy about today at all....until I passed through town and for the first time saw all the christmas lights and decorations - a little reminder that I need to get cracking on that list of 'must dos'. 21 days and counting....

Monday, 3 December 2007

Recycled - my new bag

I spent rather large chunks of the weekend refashioning this into a bag. It was, of course, a much more drawn out affair than I thought it would be and I have to confess the lining could be a better fit.


The grosgrain ribbon I've used as a trim was originally binding the seams when it was still a cardigan. I like the way it's slightly puckered - this effect became more extreme after the boil wash. It took me ages to hand sew it all in place but I am pleased with the final result, and I know I will use it.


I feel safer hand sewing - I've not really got the measure of my sewing machine yet, and it has a tendency to run away with me. Need more practice!

Now, is it really December? Already? So to much do....cards to design, gifts to make, wrapping..... I always leave preparing for Christmas until December, and although it can get rushed and a bit fraught, that's the way I like it. I'm good at responding to a deadline....22 days to go! Get to it!

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Something old, something new

I think my walking boots have seen better days, I'm starting to get damp feet. Not surprising really, they're a little neglected, and have covered many miles. But I do love that worn sort of vintage look. New ones won't be the same. And I'd like bright laces on my next pair.


I have a bit of a 'thing' about Moleskine notebooks, and have quite a collection. And I haven't got around to using them all yet, I just like seeing them in piles. I've used the pocket diary for several years, having ditched a cumbersome filofax.


Yesterday, I made the first couple of entries in my new 2008 diary. Bliss! Crisp, clean pages, the snappy elastic to keep it closed, and all that potential....

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Shrunk!

Here are the results of sunday's shrinking and felting session.


This cardigan is now baby sized, and the wool has felted really well, it's lovely and dense. I think I'll play around with some pattern ideas and make a bag, keeping the buttoned-up front and deep rib.


I think one of the attractions of felting (aside from the feel, appearance and texture) is that I don't think my sewing abilities are quite so crucial here. On the other hand, perhaps I'm about to learn a vital lesson or two!


I particularly like the berry colours, they have a real autumnal feel. I'm not sure yet what plans I have for the other pieces. So many possibilities!

Monday, 26 November 2007

Walking for Tamba

Yesterday, along with two friends and our dogs, we got creative in a different way. Dogs are another passion in my life, and sunday saw us going for a beautiful walk and raising money for Tamba at the same time. Tamba is in a fabulous rescue in Wales and I wanted to do my bit to help. A big thank you to all the friends and family who generously sent donations.

We were blessed with glorious warm autumn sunshine and bright blue skies, walking around Cornwall's largest natural lake, Loe Pool. All that separates the lake from the sea is a narrow sand spit, Loe Bar.


I'm not sure what this plant is.....but the vivid red leapt out at us from the more muted autumn colours. Tropical species are abundant in the mild cornish climate.



Whichever way we turned the views were breathtaking



A beautiful morning walk....and a pleasure to raise funds for a much needed cause.



My afternoon was spent with the washing machine on the boil programme, shrinking and felting some old jumpers, blankets and charity shop finds, ready for more creative endeavours.

Friday, 23 November 2007

This and that

This was the view from my bedroom window when I got up this morning, and the day just got better and better.


I interrupted the flow with coffee and indulgence mid-morning (just a few muffins I quickly made last night. Mmmm, not many left now!) and then walked on the beach to catch the sun and feel the chill in the air.



This was enough for the pup, time for a snooze, and so I got back to work, uninterrupted.



happy weekend!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

On the make!

Definitely time to make something, so last night I attempted a little gift for one of my sisters, who always decorates her house so beautifully for christmas. These things are never as simple as I think they'll be......


my sewing machine jammed (I don't really know how to use it properly!), and I left a far-too-tiny hole to turn it right side out, so had to re-do. It looks a bit wonky, but hey, it'll add to the homemade charm! And I hope she likes it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Today

The morning walk....... I'm so lucky to be able to walk on the beach each day - great for inspiration, clean air, seaglass finds and pebble-hunting


......and looking outside tonight - no stars, but the moon looked like it was hurrying off somewhere else (or maybe I didn't keep my hand still when taking the photo?!)

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Something I've been saving

I often buy little pieces of gorgeous ribbon, then stash them away and don't want to part with them, or use them for a project, or to wrap a gift....here's some I've just found in a cupboard!



I love the sorbet colours of these ones, and the way they shimmer when they catch the light.



Now I just need to make something, and actually use them.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

The spaces in between


Trees in my local woods - I love the way each tree has its own shape, and it's the spaces in between that make the image...an 'almost' jigsaw where the pieces don't quite meet.

And here on the beach, the spaces between the ripples of sand are as important as the ripples themselves.


I think in life, as well as in nature, the spaces, the pauses, the still moments, are as important as the times we're actually doing, creating.


Friday, 16 November 2007

I've done it....have you?

I've just pledged to make my gifts and cards this christmas season, and to only buy handmade

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

easy peasy.....ok, it's easy to pledge, but to honour that pledge is another matter entirely.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

What's it all about?

I feel I need to clarify what my blog is about....for my own sake at least! I want to explore creativity in my daily life, and celebrate the beauty in the everyday, the simple things, that less is more. I love making things and often when I see something someone else has done I think "Oh, I could do that" but in truth I rarely get round to it. Things happen a lot in my head and in my imagination. And that's where they seem to stay. So I thought if I made a commitment to writing a blog, and sharing what I'm doing, I may actually create something more tangible than images floating around in my head. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

Monday, 5 November 2007

If you go down to the woods today......


I had monday-morning-itis today.....so decided to take my dogs to the woods, and find some focus for the day. Crisp beech leaves carpeted the ground, a rainbow of all shades of russet through to gold. After a brief interlude the sunlight filtered through the canopy of nearly-bare branches, soft shadows dancing through the trees, sparkling on the water....

I came home feeling a little more focused.....and wanting hot chocolate!