Tuesday 29 May 2012

I can grow a rainbow


...and yellow... 
 ...and pink...
 ...and green...

 ...and purple...
 ...and blue."

Just a quick tour of the flowers in the garden, that are at their best right now, with more coming into bud, with new colours to add to my rainbow garden.

Monday 28 May 2012

The season so far

 I've been working really hard down the allotment these last few weeks, and I am beginning to feel rather proud of myself.  There is still alot of wild areas, but there is definite progress being made.  The top plot is pretty much cleared and planted up.  The bottom plot is getting clearer!  And see that grass path?  Well following the demise of the push lawnmower at the end of last season, I am having to cut it with hedge clippers!!  Took about an hour to all the paths and the edges the other day in scorching heat.  I knew I'd worked hard that day!!

This water butt has been sat at home for the last year, after I picked it up on freecycle.  It is nearly as tall as I am, and will hold alot of water.  When my nephew stayed with us the other week, I commandeered him to help me get it down the allotment.  It was one of those jobs that never got done, as it took up the whole car, but needed two people to manhandle it.  But if Stuart helped me who would have the children?  So eventually it has been given a new home, and I hope it will help to store that bit more water (if it ever rains again!!)
 This, strange contraption is an idea I picked up from Pinterest.  Using an old clothes airer I have made a kind of lean to for the cucmber plants to grow up, and then have sown lettuce seeds in the shade beneath.  I have added the membrane for now, as cats are using that area as a litter tray *sigh*
 The raspberry canes that just grow where they please are holding alot of promise.
 Our bean wigwam is ready to go.
 And look at this shameful picture.  All that purple sprouting that has gone to seed.  What a waste.  I am determined not to let that happen next year.  We got to the point this year where we could not harvest it quick enough. But this year things are going to be different.  I can feel it in my bones!!

Saturday 26 May 2012

Let me introduce...

...www.aisling-designs.co.uk  My new blog for all my Aisling Designs stuff.  I am hoping to be able to concentrate on it all more in the next few months, with the hope it can start to be a little business for me. 

There will be sneeky peeks, and I am planning a bit of a giveaway in a few weeks to celebrate a year of Aisling Designs.  Please have a look, it is very much in the development stages, and I am still trying to learn about wordpress, but I am impatient, and I wanted to share it with you all now.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Little Robin Red Breast has flown the nest

 I forgot to show you the finished robin sat on the nest.  It is for the guild exhibition at the Weald and Down museum, in July, but they had to be handed in at the last guild meeting.  I am so pleased with how it turned out.  Inspired by this picture from The Barefoot Crofter.  The robin is needle felted alpaca and some coloured merino roving.  She is sat on a needle felted nest with three blue needle felted eggs. 
 You can see how I had to add extra wire to get the 3D shape, and it is all wrapped in navajo plyed alpaca.  I then made a webbing to attach the leaves onto.  The leaves are mainly Kool-Aid dyed Portland again, navajo plyed, and crochetedd.  The flowers are from a purple hand-dyed roving I got sent from Sarah last year, and spun up at the beginning of this year.
 I'm hoping that my robin travels well, and am hoping to have her back in time for Mum's birthday in October, as she rather likes it!
I have loved working on this, and would like to think that I will do some other things with 6 inch rings, but it will probably have to go on to the list of things that seems to grow ever longer!!

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Happy Days!

 How the sun makes such a difference.  Our first al fresco meal of the year.  Just Sophie and I whilst everyone else was at school or work.  But it felt so nice, there really is something special about eating outside, and Sophie obviously thought so too, as she ate really well!

Over the weekend I realised it was a good friend's birthday on Monday, and was initially going to try and find something in the shops, but then decided to make a phone cozy for her, as the one she had didn't fit her phone very well.  I am so pleased with how it turned out, I think I may make a few more ;) 
 Mr postman has been very busy too, I saw this badge on facebook as a work in progress, and immediately fell in love with it.  I was wanting a badge for my felt jacket, and just knew that this would be perfect.  It is from ScrapunzelPixie on Etsy.  And she has given me a code for 20% off if anyone is interested in any of her things there, just let me know and I can share the code.
 Another wonderful parcel was this BFL roving that was so very kindly dyed for me by Sarah.  I wasn't initially sure what I would make with it, but I think it is calling out to be navajo plyed to keep the changes in colour together, and then turned into a little shawlette.  Just got to findd me a simple pattern, because I don't think I would ever get the time to be able to concentrate on a lace pattern!!
 A surprise card in the post from a wonderful friend, which made my day.  Simple little gestures like that can mean so much.  Which reminds me that I really should put pen to paper that little more frequently.
 And then a custom made journal for me to write down my inspirations and ideas for craft projects.  Again from Etsy, a lovely lady called Helen at WickedFaerieGifts.  As soon as there is a break in this glorious weather, my ideas will be written down and planned out in this beautiful book.
These are a few things that have been making my days happy, I just thought I would share them with you.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Dry days!

 Three dry days in a row!  That must be some kind of record!!  I was sat taking a break and eating my lunch, when I looked down the plot.  It struck me how lovely it was, sat in the warm, with the birds singing loudly, looking at my hard work (even lovelier if you ignore the massive patch of weeds in the strawberry patch!)  Half the strawberry patch is clear (ish) of weeds, and has been fertilised.  The rest of the strawberries will have to take their chances with the buttercups, plantain, and couch grass for this season, and will be treated to some attention at the end of the season.

I've been cycling down to the allotment, to try and burn a few extra calories, and it has been very pleasant.
 Busy clearing beds, and sowing seeds.  the top plot is definitely getting there, the lower plot, well, the less said about that the better!!
 I'm not sure we will get much fruit this year from the trees.  The apple tree has very little blossom, and the plums, whilst laden with  blossom earlier in the season, were then hit by all that awful weather, so I'm not holding my breath on those either.  But I guess we did have a bumper crop last year.
 I just wish I was as good at growing crops as I am at growing weeds!!
 The onions are looking good, but the peas have had a 50% failure rate at germination, so some resowing needed there.  We are now at that time when I am wondering whether it is safe to put the tender plants out, hmmm, surely nearly June must be frost free?  But then again, this year has been so topsy turvy, I think I will play it safe!!

Monday 14 May 2012

Redressing the balance

 Looking through my recent posts one would could easily be mistaken in thinking this was solely a blog about crafting.  The children have been very quiet (well on the blog anyway!)  I can assure you this is not a true representation of life!!  There has been the rediscovering of old toys, even moreso now we have been having a bit of a clearout, they are actually playing with the toys that are due to be found new homes!!

Mum made a whole load of playdough to illustrate something at church in a service she was involved in.  Guess who got the cake tin full of playdough?  Sophie!!  I can't quite remember what had been created here, but it all had a meaning of somekind or other.
 Alec and Ethan took part in a karate tournament.  It was great to see what they had learned, even if it was a bit strange watching them sparring with their opponents.  Alec was just a little too big for the small group, so was against children that were sometimes quite a bit bigger than he was.  He did everso well and gave it his all.  He got a third place medal for the Kata he did.  Ethan was very pleased with a second place trophy and third place medal for his sparring.  They are really loving their Karate, and am glad that they kind  of stumbled into it, as it is probably something I would not have thought about for them.
 Sophie has been doing all kinds of things.  Here we were sorting some sea shells she found squirreled away from a long ago beach trip.
 She has been painting.  She definitely has her own style, and I love he choices of colours. 
 And in a rare dry spell last week (I say dry, it was spitting, but about as dry as it was going to get) we headed to the park.  Sophie was rather disappointed there were no other children there, but I guess everyone else thought it would be too wet or something like that!  Here she is being a pirate (one of her favourite games at the moment)
 And of course, what else do you do with standing water if your name is Sophie?!
So they are around.  Luke and Alec both have tests this week (SATS for Alec and some tests to determine sets for High School next year for Luke) Luke has been fighting off some virus which has left him with awful headaches, stomach ache, and generally feeling bleurgh.  He had us  worried over the weekend though as the symptoms he was showing were similar to meningitis except there was no rash.  A trip to the out of hours doctor allayed our fears, and Luke certainly started to feel better that day.  But it looks like it is going to be one of those things that lingers for a while.  Just what you need when doing tests :( 

And news on the weight loss front, I've lost 6 1/2 lbs in two weeks, so feeling rather pleased at that.

Ok, up to date now!!

Tuesday 8 May 2012

A lovely little accident

 I decided I wanted to knit a cover for a notebook.  And as I like moss stitch so much, and was inspired by this cushion cover I made a start.  Unfortunately I hadn't accounted for the amount of give in the knitting, and I soon realised that my idea was not going to work, as the cover would end up too baggy.  However, I had this knitting that I was really falling in love with, and it would have been a real tragdy to have to rip it all back.  Then another idea came to me, and I carried on knitting.  Another of those projects that kind of grows organically, not knowing the final result until you have reached what feels like the end.  So, here we are, a little pouch style shoulder bag.  A little hippy in style with all that fringe.

I love how through weaving the ends in on the flap, it has given a slightly different texture to the underside of the flap.  And finished off with a little bead from my collection to fasten it with.

If I hadn't told myself I was making this to sell, I would have kept it, as I really do love it so.  It's also a great little project to use up those left over yarn scraps.

It is now for sale in my etsy shop.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Very Woolly Thursday

Ok, so it should be Woolly Wednesday, but I was rather busy yesterday! But despite the delay, this month has seen lots of woolly projects going on, especially with the weather being so awful! So here's my contribution to Spinspiration for this month.

Remember me wondering how to dye a green with woad and weld?  Well, I eventually gave up on trying to get my head around it, and as time was of the essence, I got the colour below with some...
...Kool-Aid!!  How anyone would ever actually drink this stuff is beyond me, it is just full of chemicals, but it does make a wonderful dye stuff, and I will save the woad and weld for some future projects.
 My first attempt at dyeing my own wool, it was rather nerve wracking putting my wool into this, and then heating it!  But it was also very intriguing!

It seemed like magic, when the time was up and the wool was dyed and the water was fairly clear.  I was amazed at how vivid the colour was, and all from a dubious drink!!
 So the leaves have been crocheted, and sewn onto the framework of wire and wool that I created.  Robin is sitting patiently on her eggs, and all I have to do is sew a few more leaves on, and I reckon a few crocheted flowers would look rather sweet too.

It's really difficult to get a good picture ofit all, as the angles are a bit strange.  But you can just see the eggs that mama bird is sitting on. Sophie is adamant that they are going to hatch into little birds.  It would be wonderful if my needle felting skills were up to creating a little baby robin, just so I could give Sophie the satisfaction of them hatching, but I really think that might be a step too far!!
 Other wooll-i-ness has been going on with my commissioned bag.  A friend saw the bag I made for the guild competition, and asked me to make her one.  This is as far as I have got, as the wool I had spun was spun much finer, and I've had to double up the yarn.  I am now waiting for the weather to give me a break long enough to wash some more zwartble/suffolk fleece that Dawn kindly sent me.  I reckon a nice bright pink floral lining would finish it off perfectly, along with a nice silver button for the closing, but I have yet to source those.
 In the meantime I am really rather chuffed with my stitch markers.  I've never had stitch markers, and as a result my knitting has possibly had extra stitches or rows in some places, and perhaps be missing some in other places.  So these are going to be put to good use.  A wonderful shop on Etsy supplied me with them.  I thought little Buddha's were perfect, as I do see knitting as a form of meditation and seeing the whole process from the farmer and the fields, to the sheep and the shearer, all the way through to the spinner and knitter. 
Off to see what other projects have been worked on by other Spinspiration members.  And for all you spinners out there, why not come and join us?