Sunday, 20 May 2018

Spring Craft

The weather continues to be beautiful and May continues to dazzle me every time I go outside, but especially in the woods. Dog walks are a pleasure when it's like this, with everything so green and lush, just humming with colour and life. Hawthorn blossom hangs so heavily on branches it looks like snow and frothy cow parsley lines footpaths and hedgerows. And don't get me going on the buttercups. I just love May and we've still got months of colour and warmth (please, unpredictable British weather) ahead of us before it all starts to bleach and fade - maybe that's why I love it so much. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the royal wedding yesterday, did you? It was all lovely, especially because it gave me an excuse to sit down and crochet in the middle of the day - I shouldn't need an excuse, but it was nice to have one. My friend had a little get together last night with cucumber sandwiches, a cream tea and lots of prosecco. My contribution: gin and tonic cupcakes. There's a little gin in the batter, then you make a gin and tonic syrup which you brush over the tops of the warm cakes, then you put more gin in the icing. There's a lot of gin in those cakes. I wouldn't even let Bella lick the icing beater. They were very nice indeed, but I think next time I'd just rather have a gin and tonic. 

Thank you for your birthday wishes for Angus. You are all very kind and I appreciate your support and interest in the comments you leave so much. I finished one of Angus's handmade birthday presents, and only a few days after the event. (The children are very tolerant of my late gifts now, and "New Years Day Crochet Animals" were such a hit last year that I think that might have to become a thing.) A while ago I bought the book Edward's Menagerie: Dogs, knowing I'd love it and use it loads. You know l love Kerry Lord's previous two books Edward's Menagerie and Edward's Menagerie: Birds and have written about them often here, so I was excited to see the Dogs version and even more excited to see that it contained a pattern for a whippet. 

Meet Wilf.

I changed all the colours to make him more like Ziggy, and tried my hardest to get the grey markings on his face to match (colour work + decreasing = headache) and I'm pretty pleased with how he came out. Much more importantly, Angus loves him. The night I finished Wilf I propped him up on Angus's bedside table next to his clock so that Angus would see him sitting there when he woke up in the morning.

The second part of the late birthday present comes from the book below, Supersize Crochetby Sarah Shrimpton who blogs at Annaboo's House. I am making Angus a huge floor cushion, at his request, so he has somewhere to loll around and read on his floor. This book is packed full of very tempting projects and it's only the cost of yarn that's stopping me from making everything in this book. 

I'm only a few rows in, but I did spend a very nice hour in the sun this afternoon working on it in the garden. 

You probably spotted the other book in the photo above, Shibori: The art of indigo dyeing with step-by-step techniques and 25 projects to make by Nicola Gouldsmith. I treated myself to this recently with an Amazon voucher, having wanted to try shibori for some time. I have a plain white table runner and some tea towels and plans to play around with this Japanese tie dye technique over the half term break. I'll let you know how I get on.

I also spent a little time this afternoon on my Spring Craftpod box, working on the Botanical Stitch Practice sampler. 

While I love to hand sew I don't actually know that much about embroidery or the many different stitches that exist. I'm finding more and more that I am very much of the "make it up as I go along" school of crafting, so this sampler is actually really interesting and good fun. 

The other project in the box is for a little mustard yellow linen project bag, but I may use that gorgeous linen for a little embroidery hoop instead, I'm not sure yet.

And finally, I have finished the My Sweetiepie ABCs cross stitch sampler. I feel like I've been working on this for so long and, as often happens with me and long term WIPs, I'm a bit sick of them by the time I finish the project. I need to put it away for a little while.

I now just need to decide whether or not I can justify paying to have it framed professionally, of if I should try and find a frame to fit and and do it myself. I'm not sure yet. I enjoyed it though, even if it did take me over two years to finish. 

Have a great week everyone. I hope this settled weather continues right into half term, wouldn't that be nice?

Tuesday, 15 May 2018


Someone turned nine at the weekend. There were presents and cards and birthday waffles, and Bella made him a lovely card with a badger holding a bunch of balloons - I think Angus was genuinely really touched. Favourite presents included a snorkel (already tested in the bath), a drone and a Swiss army knife, plus a pair of bouncy new trainers that definitely make him run faster. 

The birthday cake request - to my huge relief - was chocolate cake with white chocolate buttons round the sides and smarties on top. Specific but achievable, I like that. 

We booked a Forest School birthday party at a local park and all the cousins and some of Angus's school friends came. They built dens and learnt how to build a fire to boil water in a Kelly kettle, then roasted marshmallows on the fire. They absolutely loved it and the guys who led it were brilliant, funny and great with the kids. The look on Angus's face when he lit the fire with a spark was wonderful - a little shy but mostly really proud of himself. 

 Everyone was grubby and smelled of wood smoke by the end of the afternoon but these things count as a good day out in this house. And the rain held off until the last five minutes of the party.

All lovely, but completely and utterly exhausting, especially after a very packed week. Sunday we deliberately kept as low key and easy going as possible.

It occurred to me that we should have Sundays like that more often.