Sunday, February 15, 2015

What a wonderful week!


Paul's chocolate brownies

Crystallize by Amanda Bell





I've had such a good week. First three days I attended teacher training with two amazing trainers; Andrew Pearce and Lynne Williams from Single Steps Learning. I have never enjoyed myself so much in all the years of working and attending training.   No, let me rephrase that. This has been the best training course I have ever been on, ever! I was with them from Monday to Wednesday and I woke up on Thursday and Friday  (my holiday) wishing I was going for another day of training.  They took a room with 30 odd educators and put them through their paces;  challenging us to believe that as lead learners we should be curious, creative, prepared to take risks, make errors and reflect on our practise throughout. They had us debating, creating, dancing (yes dancing) and crying with laughter, and if I showed you what we were dancing to you would cry too. These two individuals just really had the knack of bringing out the best in everyone, and if you work in education and have a chance to attend their training days, go for it. Throughout all the hilarity I learned loads. Yes! I was exhausted and yes, I passed out on the couch at 8pm, but do you know what? I can't wait for part two to come round in May.




Saturday, February 07, 2015

Big Gadget Love!












Some time ago, I purchased a new and much-needed machine to replace my old sewing machine. This was the first machine I purchased when I started working at the tender age of 19.   As you can imagine, I was very reluctant to admit that its retirement was very much needed. 

So after months of yearning, soul searching and trying to justify the cost I decided to purchase a Brother Innov-is 350 sewing machine. This gadget promised to do absolutely everything for me....well, it doesn't make my coffee, so maybe not everything.  However, I am certain about one thing I was like a kid with a brand new toy.  I know, it isn't top of the range and I know, that a lot of crafters don't rate the make, and would favour others over this one, but after owning my old Brother machine for over 22 years and not once having any problems, I decided to stick with the brand. 

My old faithful sewing machine had been my constant companion and had served me well over the years; perhaps this was due to me lovingly cleaning and oiling it when necessary. Yes, it had played tricks on me,  losing its foot pedal once, which was renewed, only for the old one to turn up a month later. Then it started developing other little quirks, some, that it didn't have before, that's when I knew it was time to upgrade and move on. Too reluctant to  retire my old machine to sewing machine heaven I had it serviced, so I could store it not only for backup, but for sentimental value too. I know it seems silly to be so attached to an inanimate object, but it has a lot of wonderful memories; my beautiful Aunt that we lost to breast cancer in 2001 at the age of 42 was an accomplished seamstress. She helped me chose my first machine. And, I think she would be proud to hear my family say I have her creative flair and knack for manipulating material.  I wonder if she gets fed up when I talk to her and ask for guidance when a project is vexing me? I don't suppose she does, as my projects nearly always turn out just fine. 

So with a heavy heart, I say "Goodnight old faithful, enjoy your rest, you deserve it."

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Resurrection

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I always think of myself as an individual and heaven forbid anyone that is similar to me. However, as a crafter I am sure there are others out there who are hoarders (just like me) and who never throw anything away...that's not to say I'm messy,  I have my hoard stashed away neatly in boxes or tins.  Now, every so often I will tell myself I need to go through my treasures and reduce the size I'm hoarding.  However, when I do start I then say to myself "I can't get rid of it I might need it one day."  Well, today Saturday was one of those days, there I was searching through my stash to put into a swap parcel when I came across material, sewing equipment, wool, craft gadgets and other bits and pieces that I can honestly say I haven't seen before or can't remember buying. I always act suprised when I find these little treasures and  I get a warm glow, my mind starts racing and before I know it I have ten projects in my mind.  I also come across projects that I have put on hold but I can't remember why they've been shelved. Well, the item in the photo above is one such project that I shelved in 2010!!!!! I wasn't bored of it, so,  I don't know how it ended up in a box. The item in question is Polar Chullo  a gorgeous looking hat, very cosy for this weather and would be great for playing outside with the children at work.  My version just needs two things the knitted cord and then a wash to partially shrink and felt it. So today I have brought something out of hibernation and back to life and do you know I might just go raking tomorrow again to see what other treasures I can find.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Carpe Diem








Oh my, how time flies...I can't believe that my last post was so long ago...what have I been up to, well it is a chilly day in my little neck of the woods which means snuggling and keeping warm. So much has changed in my life recently, some good and some not so good, so I'm really trusting that 2015 will be more successful and happier than 2014. I am still a crafter at heart picking up the needles/hook and yarn whenever I get the chance... however, this is pretty limited as most of my time is spent driving to and from my workplace...which is an hour and ten minutes away from my home, one way. Which probably explains why I'm tired all the time and haven't got time for blogging or anything else. Although, I have been pretty productive on the crafting front...I have should we say been seizing the day. Since Christmas I have made 2 crochet blankets, 2 scarves (1 knitted, 1 crochet), a felt cat for my mum (pictured) pattern is by Alicia Paulson and 3 hats. The mincemeat pies are a Paul Hollywood recipe  and very delicious.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

And we're off.....

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Today is the first day of the Outfit Along (squee) a challenge that I'm going to be a part of over the month of June.   This is a two part challenge in which I have to make a cardigan and then a dress.  I should be able to manage this even though I have lots of other projects on the go.

Now, one thing has changed since last week,  I have made an adjustment to the yarn; I was originally going to use Cascade 220 but decided to opt for Cascade 220 Superwash. Why? There isn't any difference in the texture of the two yarns, just, the colour choices appeared a better match for the material of my dress. I only sat in front of two different computer monitors for half and hour ummming! and ahhing! over what colour of green I should choose and then when push came to shove I hit another button colour instead and bought Candy Pink. It doesn't go with the big star flowers in the design, but it does match the little flowers perfectly. I don't know if you can see the other feature in the pattern, yes, it's  my favourite insect of all time, a ladybird. 
Also in my previous post I mentioned that this  material was destined for another dress pattern, which I think is now lost in the wreck of a room where I do my crafting.  If I remember correctly the pattern was a halter neck dress, to be honest,  I'm not really a fan of them (I have wide shoulders and biggish boobs, feels like I have a ready made table in front of me) so I don't know why I bought it.   The new pattern, well, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it suits my body image, it should look good  once I have lost a few pounds and stopped eating Jelly Tots (this weeks craving, lol) been dreaming about them all week and yesterday I decided to succumb and bought a bag, well a biggish bag.....ooppp's.

Anyway enjoy the rest of your day peeps,  I'm going back to potter in the garden, then I'll maybe watch some catch up T.V. and do more rows of my cardigan. 

Bye for now
Shirley xx

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Much Madness!



Very excited about the outfit along! I've been following Andi Satterlund for quite some time now and have test knitted quite a few designs for her. The challenge is to complete the outfit (cardigan and dress) within one month starting on the 1st of June. I very much doubt I will finish it in time, with travelling two hours a day and working eight hour shifts, but I will give it my best shot, it will be a good motivator. Unfortunately, I can’t get hold of the specified yarn so I was going to use my favourite and much tested; Cascade 220. I will be using the pattern specified and some fabric that I bought for another project that I didn't quite get round to.
When I do start I plan to knit the cardigan during the day; lunch break permitting and the dress at night, so long as I'm not too tired, then again maybe the weekend would be better.

Wish me luck, because I think I'm going to need it.  Oh! And I promise I will take photographs of the fabric and yarn before the challenge begins.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Jar!

A couple of months ago I was reading some blogs, and I found an idea I wanted to try. One particular blog had a post about a happy jar - a place where you can put all your happy memories so you will never forget them. Since I was a little girl I have always wanted to write journals, letters, take photos so my memories would never be lost, but alas I somehow start off with good intentions and then lose my way. That was until I read about the happy jar, and I knew I had to make one for myself! And here it is:


Mason Jar with a hand knitted eyelet cover and polka dot ribbon


Anytime I get good news or something memorable happens, I'm going to write it down and fold the paper and put it in my jar.  I want this jar to be fun, not an obligation;  which means I may have four things to write in a day or I may have none.  Both are equally fine with me, after all I don't want this to become a chore, I want to try and keep it going throughout the year. So here are some ideas to get me started:
- Something that made me smile
- A goal I have accomplished
- A healthy choice I made
- Who I spent time with
- A memory or good story
- A lucky break or something that felt “meant to be”
- Nice weather
- A second chance
I'm hoping by New Years Eve 2014 I will have quite a collection to read through and perhaps if I look back on 2014 and feel maybe things didn't  go so well, these happy statements will tell me otherwise.