Monday, 30 June 2008

Tickly Textures

Just to show you a pendant (in close up) that I'm going to add tonight to my etsy shop.

I think this photo is proof that I could do with a new camera - it isn't coping very well anymore with sharp macro shots. I wonder if that rattling sound you can hear when you pick it up is anything to do with it.....?

Ah, keep on pole stripping, then!
Her tickling stick:
Phew! Five minutes sit down (after more bark stripping) with a cup of tea, a chat with the twirlies about their day, and a quick sneak onto the computer to throw something onto the blog, so here goes...

Both of my babies were on a school trip today, into the forest for an Awe and Wonder day. They had their assembly under the trees; youngest had a challenge to discover something 'tickly'; eldest was thrilled to find a bone to add to her growing collection....but it still had some flesh on it...!...; a forest ranger helped to unravel some mysteries of their surroundings; they looked for Gerald the Giant, and found his throne - the Giant's Chair, heralding the beginning of the Sculpture Trail.
I've saved the best 'til last - they were both as pleased as punch to have found.....each other, in the lavatories!!!!

This big adventure unfolded whilst the sun shone down on them - no rain to be seen! Two tired and happy little girls.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Look What I've Got!

Well, what more could a Mummy ask for on a drab Sunday morning?

My very own, very special, handmade cushion, of course! Isn't it fabulous? Eldest was quietly beavering away whilst I was occupied at the other end of the table... I don't mind at all how many times I had to re-thread your needle - it was worth it!
What a delight - thank you xxxxxxxx

Must tell you about someone I discovered on flickr yesterday. Take a look - unbelievably fiddly work - just divine. Now I know what to ask for should anyone ask at Christmas time!

Whilst I'm on the subject, I was amazed at these creations, too, by Helle at gooseflesh. I've heard about knitting with recycled carrier bags before, but these are art forms! Wonderful. Enjoy!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

My Little Butterfly

Okay, so strictly speaking this was taken yesterday...but I love it.

Post summer fete, and an awful lot of the face paint has rubbed off (mainly mashed into my shirt after a rather enthusiastic cuddle - I wasn't going to turn down the chance of a big squeeze!), but youngest looks so dreamy I couldn't resist. She waited extremely patiently for what must have been a very long half hour (for her) to have this beauty painted on.

A mother of one of her classmates valiantly provided the making up service - she gets my full admiration. The queue stretched along the corridor, the poor woman was swamped with rather excited children - but look at the results! Lots of delicately glittering butterflies (and boyishly tough Batmen) heading home happy. Me? I had a bird's eye view from my ice-cream stand...thank you mums and dads for all of your cornet munching whilst you were waiting for your little ones!

Friday, 27 June 2008

Forest Treasure

Here's a sneaky little peeky at the first of the Forest Treasure range.

As you can see, the chocolate sky blue mocha discussed the other day has evolved somewhat, into a pallette of deep turquoise, green, ochre, mustard..oh, and a hint of chocolate. I regressed way back, to art college days, and tried to allow the fabrics to dictate the form. I went a bit 'freefall', actually, and just let things happen, without restrictions. I'm really pleased with the result. To me, this choker conjures up my neighbour, the forest - the floor of which is strewn with coppery leaves, chestnut hued twigs, a plethora of stones and sunlit, ethereal ferns glinting amongst the bracken.

I'm hoping for better light tomorrow to take some more photographs, and then this necklace will be posted in my etsy shop at about midnight.

I sat in on the school assembly this morning; eldest was performing with her recorder group. They all did superbly well - barely a squeak from any of them. Well done! We were also treated to a mini 'recital' from the drummers, and enjoyed a performance from the country dancers. The whole school seemed charged with a party atmosphere, which was exactly what was in order for the school fete held during the afternoon - in the hall, sadly, due to patchy weather throughout the day.
I was posted on the ice-cream stand, and was rushed off my feet - I needed another six arms, at least, to cope with the queue!! Everyone was really patient, though, and I think a good time was had by all.

PS: Prawnie: love you!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Fancy a Mini Roll?...Anyone?!

Okay, so they're not strictly speaking true mini-rolls, but you can see my train of thought....can't you?

That woodcutting husband of mine hates waste of any kind. As you're aware, we have poles coming out of our - well, I'll leave that to your imaginations! We sell tipi poles, and prepare them on request, but it's made us think a little. These douglas firs are simplicity itself. They're fine, straight and strong, and they smell why not have them in the house?

Ye olde woodcutter is also thinking of arbours, trellis and the like for your personal spot of outdoor paradise, but think interiors for just a minute. I very much swing between full-on minimalism (which sadly I could never fulfil..families acquire too much 'stuff' as they evolve) and country cottage with a hint of scandinavia, if you see what I mean!

Ta da! I present you with our logettes!! A perfect ornamental display to accompany your fireside! Beautifully blond, these wooden mini-rolls have proved to be quite a talking point in our house. We have a woodburner in our dining room with its own stack of firewood, but our once-woodburner-converted-by-the-previous-owner-gas-fire was feeling a mite neglected. Now it can't complain, as it has fifty-plus style conscious new friends to cheer it up. Job done...lovely!

Aforementioned woodcutter was spotted earlier today perusing a catalogue of...steady!...chainsaws, would you believe? Yep, an entire catalogue dedicated to nothing other than chainsaws. Not bad for a former 'nice-studio-with-all-mod-cons-soft-skin-no-callouses-non-weatherbeaten-ex-product designer', eh? He's loving it!

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Going, going...GONE!!

Go on - guess what happened today!

Have you guessed yet? Yes, yes, YES!!! My first sale! Just by chance I switched the computer on as soon as I stumbled downstairs this morning, to find an item missing in my etsy shop.

What?! I thought.
Don't tell me I deleted something during the wee hours (whilst I was updating the items in the shop), when I was so flippin' tired I was practically collapsed in a heap over the keyboard, please!!
Where is it? What's gone wrong??
Wait a minute...could I possibly have...yes!!! item, one Bubblegum Pink Random Necklace no less, well and truly sold...!!
Well I never.
You can only imagine how trembly my hands were whilst gift-wrapping the aforementioned article! Carolannie, all the way over there in Oregon, the United States of America, I hope you're very pleased with your new purchase - and tell everyone you meet when you're wearing it where you got it from!!

What ho, then! What else occurred today? Well, the rain abated for a couple of hours - thankfully - which meant a super time was had by all at the school sports day. Eldest was unsure of how she would fare in her races, but she tried very hard (it's the taking part that counts, after all), and even won first place in one of them. Beaming from ear to ear, she was - albeit secretively! Well done, Flumpy. xx.
There was a certain member of staff present for the occasion who was sporting a fabulous pair of shoes...brown, wedgy,green trim...I love them!! (Yes...yours, Mrs G!) I didn't stare too hard, I I sound like a stalker??

I think I'm done for the day, floating as I am on cloud nine.
Oooh...did I mention that I sold a piece of my jewellery today...?

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Flowers, Anyone?

I've recently been making these up by the bagful. I saw a fab tutorial some time ago by Blair (Wise Craft), and really wanted to have a try. Fantastically simple (the best way!), with the added bonus that they require only a teeny weeny bit of fabric, so any scrap will do. I have to say that I could have been far more adventurous - with the flower centres and the material choices - but more often than not the simpler something is, the more spontaneous it's likely to be. I don't think there's enough of that in my life these days - spontaneity - so making flowers will have to suffice, I guess!

If the rain keeps at bay, I'll be off to watch eldest participate in her school sports day tomorrow. Fingers's raining at the mo, but it's a long time till morning. I'll be in fine fettle to cheer her on whilst she skips and runs her way through the event. Apparently, I'm to remember to cheer 'quietly, Mummy'. I have been told...

I'm planning a little treat for myself in the afternoon. I'm going to finally make and cut the patterns and fabric pieces for a new necklet. Sky blue, chocolate, mocha, frosted glass...can't wait!!
The chocolate sky blue theme is coming along a-pace, thanks to the exciting arrival of some scrummy glass beads from France. I love getting parcels! Shame it's not a bouquet of flowers, but best not complain! I can do so much more with a gert big bag o' beads!!
One of my little fabric stacks. They're crying out to have a new life...a new beginning...but as what? I love to look at them, smile inwardly as I ponder them, think carefully about when and how to use them...but that's the drawback. I'll happily do all of those things, repeatedly, but it's the actual doing of the task that so often eludes me!

A Bit of Regal Flounce

This gorgeous peony was saved from a sorry death this afternoon after husband inadvertently squished its stem (ouch) with the ride-on mower. Well, I couldn't have that, could I? Now it adorns the fireplace, looking like royalty, parked on the end of the mantelpiece. Beautiful.

Back later when I've more time. Hungry tummies are groaning impatiently!

Monday, 23 June 2008

Sweet, Sweet William

Mmm - I just love these flowers.

So, today was a good day. Number one, obviously, is this vase full of little beauties. I can never manage to arrange them very artfully - although that said, they manage to work their magic perfectly well without any help from me. Think cottage gardens...old friends (you know who you are!)...grandma's table...and now my windowsill. Lovely.

Number two - and this is BIG - (HUGE squeal of pleasure being emitted as I write) was findng my Collar of Delights on a fellow blogger's page, sitting proudly in her etsy Treasury! Oooh, thank you Heloise! I can't begin to tell you quite how much joy and excitement I experienced with that discovery!


Lastly, my two twirlies ascended quite happily up to bed this evening - wonder of wonders! No pleading to stay up 'just one minute longer, Mummy, pleeeze? Daddy, purleeeze?'; no requests for 'just a little water, Mummy? I'm SOOO thirsty!'...Nothing!

Crikey, I didn't know what to do with myself! Husband remained outside bark stripping -marginally escaping chopping his finger off because it had gotten so dark out there - so I was all alone, twiddling my thumbs. Housework time? As if!! The internet was calling, and my fingertips were itching to get browsing...etsy shopping, ebay bargain hunting - bliss!

The hoovering'll simply have to wait for another day...

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Colours and Textures

A lazy-ish Sunday..eldest and I stayed at home whilst youngest and husband took our house-guest on a little excursion: canoeing on the beautiful River Wye. Despite capsizing (!), they arrived home happy. We're so lucky to have such a wonderful location on our doorstep, and it's great that we can get on out there and use it. I just hope Dave's phone survived the ordeal - although it was looking a little moist and worse for wear when he left!

Good to see you again, Dave - you are always welcome, as you know..and you don't always have to work whilst you are here, but it is appreciated! Thank you xx

The men spent the afternoon being manly (or so they tell me) woodcutters, and recovering more fir trees for our poles.

Me, on the other hand? I fought the blight that is hayfever, and used the quiet time to think about colour schemes for the next installment of my jewellery. I need to get some more items posted in my shops, but there's a busy week ahead: more strippin' bark is required, the annual school fete is upon us...but I'll find the time. Perhaps I can coax the children into going to bed as soon as they arrive home from school? (Good plan, or what?!)

I mentioned chocolate yesterday...and I'm still thinking about it, combined with blue. Sky blue, turquoise and duck egg are feeling quite good at the moment. Plenty of braiding this time, I think, with masses of beads and buttons. Perhaps tasselling? I'm liking the olive green velvet and tassel trim you can see in the pictures. Quite decadent, but I may remove the tassels and just work with the luxurious braiding. The collar, choker and wrist cuff are proving to be the most viewed items in my shops, so I'm thinking of a mini collection using those styles. We shall see!

I just love the 'Mirror Ball Dot' (by Mark Hordyszynski for Michael Miller Fabrics) brown and turquoise spot fabric. I feel a bag moment coming on....

Saturday, 21 June 2008

There's a Fairy In My Garden...honest!


Slightly dodgy photo due to poor lighting, but cute!
Yet another busy day today. A very early start for us (for a Saturday) to deliver a batch of tipi poles to Herefordshire. The bonus? I was dropped off in the city with my eldest for a weeny spot of retail therapy...and the discovery of a lovely little cafe in the centre. Eggy bread with maple syrup and bacon, anyone? Actually, we decided to bypass that for a whopping piece of chocolate brownie and scrumptious hot chocolate - and we were very good. We shared the brownie!
Eldest went to a fab birthday party at an equestrian centre in Newnham-on-Severn this afternoon. Talk about excited! She admitted she was a little nervous, but she lapped up the experience. They all participated in mini races, despite many party-goers being complete novices..and even ended the event with a trot. Delightful. There has, surprisingly,been no mention of having a pony installed in our back garden.... thus far!
I also added to my etsy shop today, with a bronze multi-string beaded necklace.
Did I mention hot chocolate, earlier? Chocolate, yes...I'm thinking of some new jewellery in rich chocolate tones, perhaps some velvet, perhaps even some lace of some description - maybe mocha shades? Have found some lovely motifs in Hopsack and Linen ebay store. Something to think about!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Feel The Spin..

I thought I'd pop this on here because the feel of spinning motion curdles my brain - but my girls can't get enough of it! Yuk.

Non-uniform went swimmingly, thank goodness. Not a single prima donna moment had by anyone. Phew.

The day started beautifully, with a school assembly by the Reception class and Year Two. My youngest is coming to the end of her year in Reception, so I didn't want to miss this. Beautiful and charming. They informed us all about Hawaii, and their use of canoes (on show and actually being performed in was a class-created coffin - sorry! - canoe! with cardboard paddles), but the glory moment came when the majority of the class performed a Hawaiian dance - including their teacher, resplendent in a plastic grass skirt. Just to die for. All of the children were enchanting - mine? Not unlike the others...three beats in time behind, but absolutely living in the moment, joyously over-performing, out of time but as cute as could be. They all were. Delicious.

The rest of the day was spent .. you guessed it, stripping poles!! There must be something else we can do with these poles - surely not just for tipis? Answers, or suggestions, on a postcard, please!

The day ended as nicely as it began, with a curry and a play in the garden at dusk. Perfect.

*mental note - second reminder: must get sewing!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Cheeeeky Feet!

Can I just say that normally my children have impeccable table manners?!

Awful to allow feet on the table I know, but when they're so delicious, who can resist? Apparently, or so youngest reliably informs me, they are, actually, 'talking' feet, don't you know? With an itch, too!

What - are you telling me yours can't talk? Well I never...

Busy Children Who 'likec cats and dogs'

It's good to see them being studious...sometimes...

Eldest is just beginning to learn about researching family trees, following an after school club. Great, I thought - only it's led to a stack of questions, and earnestly recorded notes, on family deaths....only for her the date doesn't suffice. She's avidly recording every last morbid detail, and I have to say, seems like she's enjoying it a little too much!!

I suppose we were all fascinated with death and the unknown at aged eight, weren't we? Go on, just assure me - please!

Youngest - well, she's languishing in the fulfilment that comes with learning to read and write. She's advanced to her version of 'bubble' writing, and I just love the little pictures that accompany her words, just in case we couldn't quite read them!
A doodle-er for life, methinks (if she takes after her parents!).
Non-uniform day tomorrow for my little ones, so no doubt they'll need all evening to plan what they will be sporting around the corridors and playground at school in the morning! Oh, joy! Better to prepare tonight than be a headless chicken at 7.30 a.m...or at least, that's my plan, and I'm sticking to it!
Who's in charge here, anyway?!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Been Strippin'!

Well, not me - obviously!

Busy, busy day.... we have many, many poles to peel... whilst in the process of setting up our tipi holiday site in these 'ere woods, we've had to source our own poles. We do live in the middle of a forest, after all!

It's surprisingly cathartic shaving away the curls of bark, savouring the gentle woody scent as you steadily unveil the virgin white within.

Often, husband works alone, but not this time! We talk very little whilst we peel, but its lovely to have the luxury of being out there together, shrouded in peace and quiet.

I've been loading some photos I've just taken onto flickr so that I can slideshow some bits and bobs...but it appears to be pickling my brain. Maybe there are some more poles that require de-barking...?

mental note: *must keep trying...!*
second mental note: *must get sewing!*

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Tidy Child!

Just thought you might like to see how tidy my smallest twirlie (sorry, habit - my daughters don't recognise themselves as 'girlies' - they do, however, answer to 'twirlies'!) can be...well, she thinks she's tidy!
Beautifully arranged yet discarded outdoor clogs, sitting on our box hedging, simply screaming out their vibrant colours. Nice still-life, sweetheart!

Little Poppies, Big Trees

Gosh, Tuesday already.

I waved the children off to school and stepped outside to soak up the fresh, quiet morning. Mmm. These sweet little sunshine yellow poppies have swept their way here and there through our garden, popping their heads up through all manner of heathers and bushes ready to greet the warmth of the day.

I'm not really a fan of yellow, but these little darlings boost your spirits when the day is just beginning, and the sun has almost - but not quite - risen up over those huge trees.

Monday, 16 June 2008

I'm Waving!

Crumbs - this is something of a big adventure for me...I'm actually starting a blog!
I have no idea if I'll manage to keep this going, but I'm going to try, and try very hard at that. I'm aware that some people have set themselves a challenge to post something new every day. It sounds quite a simple, quick thing to achieve every day, doesn't it - but it's taken me two days to get just this far!
About a month ago, I discovered little birds handmade/Stephanie Congdon-Barnes' blog, and therefore her beautiful photos on flickr. I think both her lovely blog and fabulous photostream was my inspiration for getting myself going. Thank you, Stephanie - your work is fabulous, but I wish I'd discovered it sooner. I must go away now and work out how to set up a link for anyone who stumbles upon these ramblings to be able to check out your wonderful work.

Am I done for the day? I think so - see you tomorrow!
A-ha! Well, I thought I was done, but lo I believe I have managed to create a link for you to check out 'little birds handmade'. I hope it works for you!