Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Flowery goodness

'Strawberry Sundae'

'Citrus Twist'

Hello dear souls. I have managed to find a few spare minutes to drop in and share my latest crocheted goodies with you all - I couldn't resist letting you all have a sneaky peep at what Im making up for the fair in July and there they are, three of them all finished and ready to be put on little display cards.

I managed to get hold of some delicious ceramic buttons for the centres (which you can see on the corsages above in the pics), so Im making some with those, and some with little clusters of vintage ones which hail from my Mum's old tin - me and the Little One spent ages looking at all the shapes and colours, making little piles of our favourites and every now and then you'd hear me 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over long forgotten ones, that once found suddenley conjoured up faded memories of a pretty sundress or a hand knitted cardigan by Nan all those years ago when I was small myself.

As usual Ive been busy beetling away in the evenings but on Sunday, fatigue or something caught up with me and I surrendered to the most shocking tiredness Ive experienced in ages and was in bed fast asleep by 8pm! I think it was my body's way of saying slow down...well there's a big dose of Slow Stuff as of friday when we are officially on our hols - hurrah!!

We actually spent most of Sunday in York, I lived there for a while a few years back and now and then we all like to go and have a wander round. Despite the forcast being depressingly overcast, the sun shone all day and it was gorgeous. We had a picnic in the park watching the boats race and then wandered round the shops a while...I accidently stumbled into Cath Kidston and found myself sometime later with a little blue carrier bag in my hand...(chuckles wickedly :) How did that happen I wonder!! I treated us to a white enamel soap dish for our kitchen (which Ive had my eye on for an age now) and a pretty floral bowl which will suit a heap of strawberries or at present, a pot of home grown basil.

Anyway folks, thats all from me for now. I look forward to seeing you all after my week away, when I will visit all of your blogs to catch up with what you've all been up to.

Lots of love, thanks to all of you who visit my blog and leave such smashing comments - they really do mean the world to me. I know that most of you lead busy lives and that you take the time to come and read my ramblings let alone leave me a message...well, it just makes my day! :)

Sending love to blog friends old and new,
Love Julia xxx

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Making Blooms

Another week passes by and Im fretting, looking at the calendar, working out how many days Ive got left before the Candy Floss fair...Ive been beavering away in the evenings, crocheting like mad with eyelids (and body) craving sleep, creating my blooms and a small pile is emerging. Im just waiting to sort out my order for some delicious ceramic buttons for the centres of them, and they'll be all ready to go!
Im finding that different wools produce different effects when using the hyperbolic crochet method that I posted about last week - but I like it all the same, the softer wools dont fold so much but still have a gentle undulating effect which some people might prefer over the more luciously folding ones.

Its been yet another busy and productive week here at the little riverside house. Ive started to make new batches of cards and have boxed up some seasonal favourites:

Im going to be selling these at the fair, and Im hoping they'll go down well it being summer and folks in the mood for seaside-y type things! Here's what you can find in each box...

Im also going to pop them on my website and in my etsy store, both of which have been sadly neglected of late as other priorities take over. My partners sign business, which he began in January has propelled our little family on a real journey. We have waded through some real tough times and then its been all go, and now we are working really hard to promote him in his specialised area of handwritten signage - Ive been spending alot of time helping him with online stuff and marketing type things - Im no expert but Im learning bits and bobs as we go along and to my surprise Im finding it quite interesting!!

Needless to say, this doesnt leave much time for my own pursuits and without wanting to sound like Im moaning, I feel like part of me is neglected - the balance is missing. I long to start work in earnest on stuff for my stall, to work on my own marketing...but with only so many hours in a day and on call to a Little One 24/7 its no easy feat to cram it all in. Im just about fit for a spot of crochet come the evening before trudging up the stairs to fall into bed and a deep, instant sleep.

Next friday though, we are packing our little suitcases and we are driving down to Dorset for a week in a tiny thatched cottage. We are going with my parents and we are all desperately ready for a bit of sea air and some time to relax and switch off...Im looking forward to sunsets and pub lunches, seeing boats bobbing in harbours on teal green water...visits to little towns and villages, catching up with my dear friend who lives in Devon, the best cream tea in Abbotsbury...

For now, I have an hour to myself, while Little One sleeps. So Im going to indulge myself...

Sending you sunshine, moments of calm and elderflower cordial...
Love J xxx

Thursday, 11 June 2009

And the Winner is....

First of all, a big thank you to everyone who left me some great comments on the last post, and for entering my first little giveaway!

With much excitement, the names were popped into a hat and one was drawn out at random by an independent adjudicator (my daughter :) Im delighted to announce that the winner is Felicity from Joshy & Belle. I wish everyone could win something, but Ive had so much fun with this Ive decided to do another one in the not to distant future!

The rest of the week has passed in the usual flurry of chores, playgroups, dental appointments etc but on Sunday we drove over to Salts Mill. My folks came with us and we had a fabulous time wandering around the old mill building, looking at all the Hockney art pieces and soaking up the history of the place. On the top floor was an exhibition of opera sets, and unfortunately the Small One in our party wanted a closer look, stepped over the White Line and promptly set the alarms off! Im afraid the chap who was sitting in the darkened space keeping an eye on things wasnt very amused by this, but come on, she's only 2, shes curious and obviously excited by what she saw and I didn't think the way he scolded us was that necessary. Anyway, we put the unfortunate incident behind us and went for a rather nice coffee and a browse in the Home Shop.

This week, creatively speaking, Ive been bubbling up some grand new creations which Im going to share with you here.

Im talking crochet.

Im talking Hyperbolic crochet, and despite the vaguely unattractive name, this type of crochet has got me well and truly hooked (pardon the pun).

I stumbled upon this method of creating a 3-Dimensional piece of work by chance. Browsing some blogs at the weekend, one led to another (as they often do) and I found Hook & Scumble! So very inspiring, if you have a yen to crochet I suggest you take a peek at what this lady does, its rather amazing. The origins of this Hyperbolic Crochet lark are rather mathematical, and Im sure if you're inclined you will be able to find the method involved and create your own patterns - I also discovered that there is a Reef Project that is based in Sydney which features crochet work from people all over the globe in the form of corals etc - you can find out more about it here.

Before I waffle on any further you might be wondering what this stuff actually looks like. I have devised a pattern of my own (based on the absolute basics of the original mathematical formula) and Im going to share it with you here today! It works for me, I love the effect, and Im now in the process of making some fabulously 3-Dimensional corsages - and I might call them Sea Blooms as they do remind me of corals.

(Sea Foam - Hyperbolic Crochet Corsage)

What do you think? Isn't it lovely how it sort of froths over itself in folds and waves? For those of you who are interested in having a go at making your own, here is the pattern. You can use as many colours as you like.
Sea Bloom Crochet Corsage Pattern

You will need wool that holds its shape quite well, I used Rowan Cotton Handknit DK here, edged with a Sirdar Calico. Use a hook size relevant to your choice of wool. The stitches are in US crochet.

Chain 4 and join with a Slip Stitch (SS).

Chain 1 and then Single Crochet (SC) into the ring 8 times, join together with a SS in first SC.

Chain 1 and SC twice into each stitch in the ring, fasten with a SS.

Chain 3 and Double Crochet (DC) twice into the first stitch and then 3 times into every other stitch. You will see the crochet piece begins to fold and swirl now. Finish the round with a SS.

Chain 1 and SC twice into each stitch. Finish the round with a SS.

Chain 1 and SC twice into each stitch, finish the round with a SS.

At the end of any round, you can fasten off and tie in another colour if you wish.

If any of you have a go at this, please share your pictures as Id love to see what you come up with! I think you could take this in all different directions, they would make lovely decorative features for curtain tiebacks wouldn't they, or maybe a mobile!!

Well tomorrow is an art day! I also need to get myself in gear and start planning my stall at the summer craft fair, Ive worked out Ive got about 4 weeks to get everything made and ready...oops! Best get cracking!!

Sending summer sunshine, cold lemonade and happy moments to each of you!

Julia xxx

Friday, 5 June 2009

Delicious Giveaway Time!

I seem to have taken a little break from Blogland, but I have a good reason, Ive been away on a little trip, and Ive also been very busy.

Some time ago, I wrote here about some new card sets that Id been working on, I am now very excited to be able to offer one of these lovely little boxes as my very first giveaway! Yes, thats right, I thought it was about time I showed my appreciation to all you lovely people who stop by and take the time to read my ramblings, so if you would like to be in with a chance to win this set, which comprises 5 art print cards of the designs shown above, just leave me a comment on this post and I will pull the winning name next week! Hurrah!! Simple!!

Anyway, onto other things - a few months ago I was very lucky to find some smashing polka dot fabric in the sale at Laura Ashley. I promptly purchased a couple of metres with the idea to make a blind for our recently decorated kitchen....well, you know me, always something more interesting to be doing!! Ha!! That pretty material has been languishing in a bag in a cupboard for too long but luckily while I was away, I bought a very nice magazine that had a very nice and very useful thrifty home project booklet with it and my attention was caught on the page that showed me how easy it was to make a blind, with just material and ribbon. I came home and got stuck in, pinning and measuring in between watching another classic Auf Weidersehen Pet and the following day while little one napped, I sewed.

And then I put it up.

Its my first 'big' thing that Ive made on my sewing machine, and I have to say in a rather bashful way, Im mighty proud of it, I think it finishes the kitchen off just grand!

So, last weekend we escaped to sunny Wales to visit family, we stayed in Cardiff but spent most of our time at the beach, the weather was glorious, it was just sandpies, paddling in the sea, peeping into rockpools, pub meals and cold pear cider...and a big comfy hotel bed with a big lovely hotel breakfast the following morning...ahhh, refreshing - to a point. We had a very excited little girl in the room with us dont forget, and she didn't go to sleep til 10:30pm despite our best efforts to introduce a bit of quiet time and story telling. No, it was far more exciting bouncing on the big bed and looking out the window over the lake at the heron eating a fish on the bank side. Happy days though!! :)

This is the view over Rest Bay, Porthcawl - we were waiting for the tide to go out, but the surfers seemed to be enjoying the swell!

Today I started a new painting, needless to say it was inspired by my time at the beach and my other favourite subject - food!! I will post pics as it progresses.
Anyway, don't forget my little giveaway - these cards are really nicely made (if I do say so myself!) and packaged in a pretty little box, all the designs are printed onto good quality archival matte paper and I think would suit most occasions! Good luck to all of you!!

(Go on, you know you want them ;)
See you all soon, have a happy weekend, hope you don't get too wet - Ive heard the forcast is a little damp in most parts, sounds like a good time to plan a little reading, crochet and napping....
Love Julia xxx

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