Friday 27 February 2015

Stars and daffodils

Origami star garlands made by Sue Inglis. £7.99 each.
Spring daffodils in the window in front of Tanya Williamson's popular cushions. £48 each.

I've just managed to burn an egg. One day I caused an egg to explode and litter the kitchen with tiny bits of egg shell.  I set an egg on to boil and then forget it. I get distracted by a phone call or immersed in a bit of research on the computer. And egg explodes!

That is what has happened with my blog this month. I have been distracted by other things and the blog has suffered.  My poor mum, who some of you will know, suffers from dementia, has had a tough month. After lots of discussion we are moving her to another care home where I am hoping, she will be a lot happier and soon I will be able to focus on other things, like this blog!

Saturday 21 February 2015

Unravel at Farnham - impressions

Great display for small needlefelted creatures by Jenny Barnett
Hooked items in kit
I still love Fairisle knitting.
Yarns dyed with natural dyes have this soft, pretty look.
Yesterday my friend Chrissy looked after Handmade Happiness so I could go to Unravel at Farnham Maltings. It's also on today and tomorrow if you live nearby.

You have to love yarn to enjoy this show. Nearly every stall has banked skeins of yarn in billions of tempting colours. 

I've tried stocking skeins of yarn. They look great. The problem is a) the customer has to wind it into a ball herself and b) many skeins are not standard 50gm or 100 gm weight like ordinary balls of yarn which makes it difficult to work out what a skein will make or how to use skeins in a conventional knitting pattern. They are extremely decorative though.

 What stood out for me was the unusual hooked pieces shown above. Like rag rugging in miniature. It looked a fun thing to try. The made up pieces are examples of what the kits look like. I asked about selling the samples in my shop but understandably, this is not an option. 
I found angora yarn on another stall, unbelievably soft and look forward to knitting with some of this. 

Jenny Barnett's imaginative stall showing her needlefelted animals was interesting. Jenny holds needlefelting classes.

The natural dyed yarn shown above translates into the most gorgeously coloured crochet throws, just visible on the left of the picture. Again I asked if HH could sell those but again they are really just samples of what the yarn can do. Patterns for the throws are available.

Wednesday 18 February 2015

Teddies, bare brooches and knitting

New handmade teddy by Lindsey Agostinelli with fish cushion by Tanya Williamson
Another teddy by Lindsey Agostinelli
Grey baby top with cashmere £29
Carol Smith's amazing stitched people brooches £19.50 each.
Love this new card knitted  by Sue Inglis.£4
Yesterday I cut out dozens of felt Easter bunnies for an instead-of-chocolate little Easter present. It feels good to sit at my worktable and make stuff instead of getting the counter cluttered with bits of materials, threads and torn paper.
I must have one of the nicest jobs in the world and I do feel lucky.

Friday 13 February 2015

New scarves and how to make pom poms

Soft and warm silk mohair scarves knitted by Gill Martin £24
Deep pink mohair silk scarf knitted by Gill Martin £24
Knitted bunting by Sue Inglis £20. See instructions to make pom pom flowers below.
These pom pom flowers are quick and easy to make.

 First get a pack of tissue - this is from Rowswell's for 70p. Tesco stock similar. Open out the tissue and cut it in half across. You'll have two multi-layered rectangles. 

Take one stack and starting at a short end fold it in by about 3 cms/ just over an inch. Turn over and fold again on top of the previous fold, concertina style. Turn over, fold and carry on until you've used up all the tissue and have a ruler shaped pile of pleats.

 Fold this in half, lengthwise, open out again and tie a piece of strong thread round the middle crease leaving two long tails of thread and knotting it several times tightly.

Now cut each end into a point with scissors.

Carefully pull one layer of tissue out without tearing it, pull another layer out and carry on until you have made a ball, and there are no more layers left to separate.   

Using your thread ends tie somewhere high as Carnival style decorations. I used gold tissue at Christmas and pastels would be pretty for a spring wedding tied together in big bunches.

Wednesday 11 February 2015

Charity shop bargains

Sevi child's necklace £1 and child's knitting needles 20p
Glass vase 75p; green Denby pot £2 and pleasing white lidded pot 50p
Book of fashion illustrations 50p these are by esdar maren.
Love this ceramic egg holder.£1
 I felt like a run round the charity shops yesterday and these things are what I found. 
The necklace reminds me of the first time I saw a Sevi necklace and how it inspired me to paint beads for childrens' necklaces and even wacky dressed animal beads and people beads. Some of them were bought by Neiman Marcus. That was a long time ago.

I always look for heavy glass vases to hold spring flowers. I really like the design of this one. And that green pot. Is it me or is there something special about certain shades of green right now. I want to paint walls green in my house. Deep lime or olive.

The fashion illustrations book is ideal for making into carrier bags for the shop. They will look great. 

And I remember seeing these ceramic egg holders being sold on a stall somewhere. I have a feeling I liked them but they were £20 each.
There is something satisfying about finding just what you like at a bargain price.
Today I'll take photographs in the shop to share with you. 

Saturday 7 February 2015

Bunting and boiling over

Bunting by Jenny Stacy
Bunting by Jenny Stacy
This week I am growing increasingly tired of waiting for people.

Waiting for my boiler replacement to be sorted. I've been without a boiler for months now and having discovered I qualify for a government warmth scheme back in September(ie. free replacement boiler) I'm still waiting for (a) to get back to (b). When I speak to (a) of course he professes ignorance. 'Nothing to do with me.' So I ring both (a) and (b) regularly to be told they personally will chase it up and ring me. Do they ring? No.

Waiting for other peoples' decisions on matters of importance. Waiting for people to do what they say they are going to do. Doesn't it drive you mad? I wish I could side step all the hurdles in my way and just do what I think is best (I'm not talking about the boiler now). But I can't, I have to wait, impatiently, for other people to get back to me.

I sometimes wonder whether bureaucrats would act faster on my behalf if I was a man. There I've said it. Has the world not moved on at all???

Sunday 1 February 2015

Big Valentines cards

Making Valentines cards. A mosaic of paper by Jenny Stacy
A finished card.£2-50 by Jenny Stacy
No two cards are alike. Valentines cards by Jenny Stacy
Yesterday 10 Valentines cards were sold in Handmade Happiness so next week I will again be making them in the shop.It feels like playing to make things like this. I love it. Although part of me feels I should be focussed on making jewellery - the big handmade bead necklaces I used to make - there will be time for that later. Right now it's February and time for all things hearts!