Friday, 24 December 2010

twenty four :: christmas eve

I've spent the greater part of the last few days in bed, feeling completely out of it. As a consequence, this has been my view. My bedroom has been flooded with sunshine, and Walter has spent his days moving positions to catch the warmest spots for a snooze. The days have been bright, clear and sharp, and from where I was propped up, rather enticing.

I'm still groggy and wobbly, so all christmas plans have been cancelled, and Walter and I are staying snuggled up at home.

I've drawn the names for the card giveaway :: Kate (Harmony and Rosie) and Val (DottyCookie) please email me your addresses so I can send you a wee parcel each.

And finally, Amanda in Scotland, your email completely made my day. Thanks so much!

I wish you all a peaceful, warm and happy Christmas with your loved ones, and stay safe if you're travelling. A big thank you to everyone who visits here, I do so appreciate it.

Right, time to head back to the duvet.

twenty one - twenty three :: unplanned intermission

I hadn't planned on coming to such an abrupt halt, but sometimes life and illness collide, with undesirable consequences.

Monday, 20 December 2010

twenty :: a list

Who knows if all this will get done? At the moment roads out of Cornwall are impassable, and I could be staying put.

I came home at lunchtime with a pounding head, raging temperature (very unusual for me to be ill), and hacking cough, all just appeared out of nowhere. I've taken to my bed, with Walter as an additional hot water bottle.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

nineteen :: leftovers

This is the gocco screen (taped to the window for viewing!) after use, and with all the excess paint cleaned off. With luck, I should be able to get another one or two print runs from it before it falls apart.

I think it's rather beautiful on its own.

Thank you for all the lovely comments about my cards, they make me very happy.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

eighteen :: the card - part two

I spent most of my morning writing christmas cards with happy messages. I always forget how long the writing bit takes...it was a race to the last post! Here is the finished papercut. This time I wanted the design to be the negative spaces, the cut-outs. This meant I had to photocopy the design against black paper, in order to give me an image I could use with the gocco. I've since mounted it against blue.

For the printing, I chose a darker blue on a clean white card, and I love how fresh it looks.

I also printed with white ink against black paper, and on some brown craft card, glassine envelopes, and some little muji notebooks. It's very easy to get carried away when the ink is flowing!

I use the offcuts and mistakes to make tags and small cards - some just have the stars, or the trees, or the type. I try not to waste anything!

Now for the giveaway - I have two sets of cards along with two 'merry merry' little books (maybe for christmas lists and notes?). Leave a comment if you'd like to join in (and for those without google/blogger accounts, leave a way I can contact you, or email me) and I'll draw two names* on the evening of the solstice...so that's next tuesday!

*I'm happy to post worldwide

Friday, 17 December 2010

seventeen :: the card - part one

Last night I finally made a start on the card. Nothing like the looming last posting date to spur me in to action.

Several attempts and scalpel blades later, and I was reasonably happy. I've spent the last few hours printing with my gocco. I've not used it since last year's card, and had to look at my notes to remind myself how it worked! I'd also forgotten what fun it is. Why haven't I printed anything for a year?

Part two tomorrow - and a giveaway.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

sixteen :: a peek

A little peek of the knitting that occupied me on my train journey to and fro over the last two days. On the return leg last night, by the time I was into my sixth hour of knitting, I was seeing four needles, not two, and I wasn't on dpns! Time to stop.

I can't reveal any more here, just in case.... sorry to be such a tease.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

fifteen :: treating myself

I firmly believe that we should all gift ourselves something for Christmas. A little treat goes a long way, especially when you're busy making gifts for family and friends.

With this in mind, I raided Asti's etsy shop for some gorgeous sock yarn. The deal with lovely yarn is that you feel good just admiring it and stroking it in all its hand-dyed loveliness. It doesn't matter if it takes months to get round to knitting with it. These two skeins are part of the Buffy 'Superstitions' semi-solid range of repeatable colourways. The smokey blue/grey is called 'Point to the Moon' and the watery blue is called 'Water Kelpie'. One skein is definitely destined for socks, sometime, whenever, but the other may end up as these.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

fourteen :: moose

Sometimes, you find the forgotten and unexpected when rummaging in boxes for christmas decorations.

Moose looks like he's already been at the mulled wine!

Monday, 13 December 2010

thirteen :: supplies

Every year I ring the changes with my christmas wrapping theme. Usually, I'm inspired by some new ribbon, or a colourway I'd like to try. My staples are brown paper and white tissue paper - sometimes in combination, sometimes separately. Whatever I do, it's usually two colours only and quite minimal.  So, decisions, decisions, do I go for blue/grey and white or red and white?

On another note, I am away for the next two days, but am prepared, with posts ready to go! I hope you're impressed, it's about the only bit of real organisation I've managed so far.

Sadly, I'm attending the funeral of a family friend - one of my Mum's oldest friends. There are few people I can say I've known all my life, but Ann was one of them. This is undoubtedly a sad occasion, but we will be celebrating a well-lived life. She was the sort of person who lit up a room with her humour, laughter, and love for her family and friends. It's hard to think of her without a smile. She was quite simply a legend in her own lifetime, and I think that's quite an achievement. Walter will be staying with friends, and I have the rare treat of relaxing on the train. I can't help but think of uninterrupted hours of knitting. Catch up time?

Sunday, 12 December 2010

twelve :: just a glimpse

I went out first thing this morning to get my tree, and after much deliberation, chose a nordman spruce. It's lovely and dense and bushy, and is now sitting in an old galvanised bucket in my conservatory. I have to confess I've never put a tree up in this house....shameful really, but I'm usually away visiting family. I decided this year it was a must, regardless.

I don't actually have that many decorations, so although it's beautiful and slightly minimal it's probably a little bare.

I do have an angel for the top...perhaps not a conventional angel, but she does make me smile.

 
I plan on making a few small decorations in the next two weeks, but I am finding time a little short at the moment!
How's your decorating going?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

eleven :: silvery and bright

Sorting out a few mercurised glass baubles in readiness for the tree, which I plan on choosing tomorrow.


They look so pretty in the candlelight.

Friday, 10 December 2010

ten :: it's time

I haven't had any sprouts yet this winter, but after a visit to my local farmers' market this morning, that will change this weekend.

I came home with a sprout 'tree'.

How do you like to eat yours? I might have a risotto.

Wishing you a happy weekend!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

nine :: something special

Christmas came early for me today, with a little parcel from Silverpebble. I'd asked Emma to work her magic on an old silver locket I had. I wanted to brighten it up with some semi-precious stones, while keeping the colour palatte to silver, aqua, turquoise and clear. This is the beautiful result. Isn't it lovely?

Emma also made me this beautiful little pinecone as a surprise gift. She knows I have a pinecone fetish (as one visitor to my house called it) and generously made me one to add to my collection. I'm delighted - there's nothing quite like the most perfect handmade gift. I think it will adorn my tree, which I plan on getting this weekend.

Emma, thanks so much! I'm imagining most people who read here know Emma's work already, but just to remind you.... Emma blogs here, has her own website, and Etsy shop. She's also hosting the winter Splash of Colour.

Sorry for the rather gloomy photos, I left it a little late to get the camera out. All that cold frosty weather has sadly disappeared today. I'm missing it already.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

eight :: frosty

Hoar frost and ice patterns. There's such beauty to be found in nature.

I hope you're staying warm. 'Tis a chill wind out there.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

seven :: the first card

This morning the postman delivered my first christmas card. Isn't it beautiful?

It's always a treat to receive a handmade card, and yet they are few and far between. I love the annual christmas card-making ritual - and it's time I thought about this year's design. I have a few ideas, but need a little time and effort to see which one will work.

It's been bitterly cold, but bright and beautiful these last few days. The frost has lingered in my garden all day - usually it's rare to get any at all. I walked down to the prom with Walter this afternoon and headed west towards the setting sun.

The sky was pink, and the tree silhouettes made a striking contrast. I do love the winter landscape pared down to its bare bones.

Monday, 6 December 2010

six :: candlelight

It's been a busy day. What better than the glow of candlelight to set the tone for a relaxed evening?

Sunday, 5 December 2010

five :: christmas pinecones

It's no secret that I love pinecones, and what better excuse than Christmas to pile them up in all their glory?


This old enamel dish is nearly two foot across, and is now gracing the little table in my conservatory. Mostly these are the larger cones I've collected this year, along with a few I've painted.

It's been a busy weekend....Idlewood is so nearly finished, which means many hours have been spent knitting these last two days. And yes, all those little circles will become a tree. I'm playing around with the base, so it will be a little while before it's finished.

What are you making and creating?

Saturday, 4 December 2010

four :: making

It's grey and gloomy here today, and the snow has all but vanished. Not much light for photographs, either.

It's quietly meditative cutting out ever-decreasing circles. Can you see where I'm going with this?

Friday, 3 December 2010

three :: the difference a day makes

The view today has some subtle changes. I just couldn't resist posting this again. It's a view I never tire of - I especially enjoy watching all the different birds swoop by.

I've also got a plan....hope to get this under way over the weekend.

I'm distracted by my knitting - with a little concentrated effort I just might finish off Idlewood over the next couple of days.

Stay warm, whatever you're up to.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

two :: snowscape

The view this morning from my bedroom window - you can just glimpse the sea in the distance.


A thick layer of snow fell overnight, and I woke to a white world - a world of silence and magic. I love snow!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

one :: the countdown begins

Last year I had the crazy idea of blogging every day up until Christmas. I started it completely on a whim, and ended up enjoying every moment. This morning I read Gina's post and then Caireen's, so here I am again.... I'm not promising lots of words, (I am feeling a little quiet at the moment) but I can surely manage at least a photo every day. Bring it on!

The low winter sun streamed through the windows for a brief time this afternoon, warming everything in its path. This little fabric bucket is part of my lovely gift from Arounna, and the wool (discontinued sublime organic merino) is a beautiful mid-grey, which I'm using for Idlewood.

 Tracy has joined in too. How about you?

life as I know it

There never seems to be any rhyme or reason why I slip out of the blogging habit. It's not intentional, it just the way life happens sometimes. Other things creep in and take the place of blogging and computer time. Ironically, I've been busy on the creative front, so I should have plenty to show you, but I've rarely picked up my camera to document the process.

I've finished my jumper and I absolutely love it. It fits! It's keeping me warm and snug on these icy days,  and I've already cast on for the next one. There won't be pictures of me wearing it - I loathe having my photograph taken, and have no desire for photos of myself here on my blog. On chatting to my sister Gill, she wryly commented: "Well, you could always put a paper bag over your head!"

Other knitting is in progress, mainly for Christmas...slouchy hats, scarves, and so on. I can't give too much away here... just some simple, fast projects. Some of these patterns are perfect, and knit up quickly.

I'm loving this cold icy weather, and the miracle of snow in the far south west in November. It's virtually unheard of...and I'm a sucker for the white stuff. I've been out walking with my boy, who rolls endlessly in the frost. It seems to give him an extra zest for being out and about.

The trees are bare, and their dark silhouettes provide a beautiful  contrast to the clear bright skies. I spend many of my walks with my head tilted back looking up through the branches, savouring the skeletal shapes, but not the resulting stiff neck.


So what else to share? I've just finished this book, and found it hard to put down. I had a couple of late nights reading into the wee small hours. I enjoyed the latest Mike Leigh film, Another Year - more gentle, funny and sad observations on life. I'm listening to this album on repeat. I've loved his music for over twenty five years, and this doesn't disappoint.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

blustery

The weather these last few days has been wet and wild. It's a case of batten down the hatches, or get outside and embrace it. We've been doing the latter, dodging the deluge of rain, splashing in puddles, and taking in the energising effects of the wind. It's bracing stuff!

Enjoying the reflections and the occasional hint of blue skies....


....along with the stormy ones, and the amazing light that lingers around this peninsula.


Do you like this weather, or loathe it?

*  *  *
Thank you to everyone who entered the draw for Homemade. It seems there are many of us who miss Elspeth, and the joy and inspiration she spread around blogland. The winner of the book is Caireen, which please me greatly. The Patchwork Dress was one of the first blogs I started reading, and Caireen then inspired me to start blogging way back, so this seems rather appropriate.
Sometimes, what goes around comes around....I was lucky enough to win a giveaway myself yesterday. If you're not familiar with Arounna's work, and her journal bookhou at home, prepare to be inspired.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

shapely

Despite being busy these last few weeks, my needles have been quietly clicking away in the background. I make time to knit most days, even if it's just a few rows. I find it incredibly calming and soothing and the perfect antidote to the jumble of things that I seem to carry round in my head.

I've moved on from swatching and have made good progress on my first jumper. This top-down pattern is perfect for me. I'm tall, and my proportions are generally 'long everywhere' which often makes clothes buying a real chore. In fact, I rarely buy clothes, and consider myself to be rather scruffy! I've modified this pattern as I've gone along, adding extra inches and shaping in the body. No longer will I be tugging the hem of a jumper in the vain hope that it will magically grow in length.


I also like the raglan increases - once I'd read the pattern several times and then started to knit, I could see how easily it was all going to come together.


Now I need to finish the sleeves. I'm trying to decide if I should go for three-quarter length or full-length, but I'll try it on as I go.... then, just the cowl, and it's done.

I've also had a very simple ribbed scarf on the needles, using this wool which has now been discontinued. I picked up quite a few balls at less than half price. I started it with the idea of a possible christmas present, but I think I'm in love with the all-over squishyness (is that a word?) and the colours. I may just have to keep it... pictures to follow once I've cast off.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

homemade - for you

Yesterday, a quick rummage in one of my town's many charity shops produced a surprising and rather wonderful find - a near-perfect copy of Homemade by Ros Badger and the late Elspeth Thompson. I can't imagine why anyone would want to get rid of this beautiful book. It's one of my favourites, and I'm sure many of you have a copy too. But if you don't, now's your chance as I bought this copy to pass on to one of you.

If you're unfamilar with the book, here's a quick peek:

I covered this coat hanger a while ago. It was a quick and enjoyable knit, and reminds me I must make some more. Maybe for christmas presents?

This book has something for everyone: recipes, re-vamping furniture, knitting, crocheting, crafting, gardening and more.... and it's printed on lovely thick matt paper, with the addition of beautiful photographs by Ben Murphy.

Leave me a comment if you'd like to be in with a chance to win, and I'll draw a name next monday. Good luck!

(this is open to anyone in the UK)