Saturday, 31 March 2007

What have they been feeding that chicken?

My older sister lives in Gloucestershire and is seemingly so talented at all the textile based crafts she's ever tried it's ridiculous. She sells a few bits & pieces, has had shows of the bags and so on that she's made, and has had commissions for her beautiful embroidered pictures. She's a bit of an inspiration and I hope she realises that.

Anyway, when we were visiting her and her family in January she had been making some sculptural pieces in felt. She gave my little sister and I a quick lesson in felting and we were both fired with enthusiasm, As usual I went off and poked around Amazon and bought myself a book, Gillian Harris's Complete Feltmaking. I though it would get filed away on the shelf with all the other crafts I'd like to try and probably won't ever find time for. I was quite interested in the needle felting projects - all that washing and rubbing calls for a more dedicated crafting space than I have at the moment.

Then I saw these felted eggs over at Betz White's blog and realised I simply had to have a go. I tracked down some supplies at Rainbow Silks (fantastic mail order service and naturally dyed wool too) and yesterday the postman arrived with a big fat envelope which is always very exciting! Last night I had a go at making some eggs - they're a bit fuzzier than I'd like, probably they need a bit more stabbing (I can see this becoming a brilliant stress reducer).

The girls got hold of them before I got up this morning and when I came down they were having egg and spoon races with my beaded spoons. Ah.

Friday, 30 March 2007

Sparkly spoons

I've been wanting to make some beaded spoons since we visited Badger's tea rooms in Alfriston at half term - really lovely cakes, pretty china, proper tea and bejewelled teaspoons. Yesterday I found time to finally have a go.

Unfortunately I was using some cheapo Sainsbury's spoons which weren't the best. When I tried again today with some better quality ones (Tesco's Finest, no less) I could see that they would end up being better but they were harder to wrap due to their shape - no flat backs and hard edges to catch the wire! I figured out a new way to wrap them that makes them more secure, but starting & ending is a bit of a pain. I was wondering about using some lead-free solder if there is such a thing. I'll have to have another go, though I'm a bit nervous this is going to turn into an expensive project that maybe only I will like!

Bear wants to know if they will survive in the dishwasher. I managed to keep a straight face. Just.

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

Going glittertastic

We're big into glitter here! And hearts. And anything pink. Good grief, this house is pink now. And the battles that ensue if one has a pink plate and the other, heaven forbid, a purple one. I'm not entirely sure where all this came from, I was never a particularly pink child though I suppose I did have a liking for dressing up Sindy dolls so maybe that's all part of it. Of course, I am making the grand assumption that it doesn't come from their father's side - Granny Sue certainly was fond of pink.

Anyway, Elsie has been hankering after pretty things to be stuck on her wardrobe since we finished decorating her room. It's a perfectly pleasant pine wardrobe that has space for everything she needs - but I suppose it isn't very girly. So, Millie and I headed off to buy many shades of pink funky foam and we came home and cut out lots and lots of hearts.

I should have done the cutting while they were in bed or something as they were very patient but it is boring watching your mum cut out 30 hearts when you *know* there is glitter waiting to be shaken. Pretty soon they were done though and the carnage commenced.

To be fair they didn't make that much mess this time - they're good at keeping the glitter in the bowls now though Elsie did forget a couple of times and said "Ooops, I have shaken glitter on the table again Mummy!" I had fun decorating some of the hearts too though I wish I had a decent fixative to stop everything shedding for weeks afterwards. I found one spray fixative that does work but smells alarmingly chemical and slightly changes the colour of whatever you spray it on - not ideal.

We strung them on narrow ribbon today so we could hang them up. Of course they both wanted the same colour so I was a bit limited in the length I could make but in the end I am pleased with them. The extra hearts are now stuck on the front of Elsie's wardrobe and on the side of Millie's shelves and we happy with how they all turned out - though Millie wanted hers lower on the wall so she could play with it. Ummmm,you're joking, right?

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Spring has sprung ... at least till Friday

I'm lucky enough to work in an office built in the grounds of an old country house, so when the sun is shining at lunchtime there's nothing for it but to venture out for a walk. Within five minutes gentle strolling I'm greeted with this view:

I defy you not to want to cross that bridge and explore!

My walk takes me past lakes and rivers which are currently edged with clump after clump of daffodils. The ground is a little boggy but who cares about muddy feet when you are looking at this:

As I walked through the woods I saw that the sweet violets are out, and as I wandered back towards the office I even saw some rabbits!

There was no need for a coat and I was quite sad to be having to head back in - I wished I could be running about and showing the flowers and rabbits and squirrels to my little ones. Hard to believe the weatherman says we'll have heavy rain and a return to general grotty weather in the next couple of days. I'm glad I got out to enjoy it today.

Monday, 26 March 2007

Pink spots and daffodils

The sun has been shining today, so Bear took the girls off to the daffodil festival in Thriplow this morning. We all went yesterday too (have to show willing!) but it was wet & cold & miserable so we didn't stay too long. Elsie has been looking forward to this for weeks - well, probably looking forward to eating ice cream outdoors, if we're being completely honest - so yesterday was a big disappointment for her and we were very relieved to wake up to sunshine today.

The daffodils this year are the best we've seen them; other years the timing just hasn't been quite right but we have been watching them come on as we drive home each day down the Green Tunnel and really enjoying them. Millie loves to look out at the sheep in the fields on the way home. Our ritual is to ask her what they are eating every time we drive past. First of all she would always say "Broccoli!" but over the weeks this has changed to "Sausages!" and "Cake!" and now finally, "Field!"

Anyway, I took advantage of the empty house to finally finish the curtains for Millie's room. A few weeks back I made some pink polka dot curtains for Elsie's room and moved the old blue ones into Millie's room - the intention has always been that eventually the girls would both share the bigger front bedroom and the middle room would revert back to a spare room/office. Unfortunately Millie completely disapproved of this decor change - she loved the pink curtains and is now articulate enough that she could tell me exactly how sad the blue ones made her feel. I felt very mean. I guess when you're 2 the fact that the blue curtains are lovely and warm and very good quality is not at all important.

So I promised to make some pink spotty curtains for her too and in one of our characteristic mad dash trips to Cambridge we picked up the material and I have been slowly, slowly making them ever since. Today they are done! I am pleased with the way they turned out, given the slapdash way I put them together (measure? nah!) but now the rest of her room needs some attention ...