Thursday, July 26, 2012

Learning to Crochet !!! A Jack & 2 Bruce's . . .

A wet afternoon Hello to you all friends,

Sorry I have been absent from my blog of late.

On Monday of last week my dear friend Shirley came for the day with the plan to teach me to crochet ! ! !   Shirley has the patience of a saint & is one of those people who,  no matter what they turn their hand to, does it sooo beautifully.   I - on the other hand - am a slow & hopeless learner & bumble my way through things mostly getting by on "a wing & a prayer."  Pretty much all of what I know in the handcraft field has been self-taught by me making loads of mistakes & learning from them.  (actually this could be said for all of my life lessons in fact) ! !
Shirley was such a kind & patient teacher but when her husband collected her at the end of the day I told him she will need either a packet of panadol or a strong drink ! ! !  :-) 
We did dissolve into laughter a few times - I couldn't even get the hang of the chain stitch in the first row. 
    Finally - at the end of the day - this is my attempt - it is going to be a jar cover (I can hear you lot roaring with laughter you know ! ! ! )

The next day I went into town & bought myself a thicker skein of wool as I kept splitting the yarn with my crochet hook   - " that's the secret"  I thought  -  I'll get thicker yarn & then it will grow real quick    -    this is my attempt since . . .  

Growing isnt it ????!!!  If you get out your magnifying glasses ! ! !
 So that was my crocheting attempt - however - I am determined to not let it beat me & to keep trying to master it.  So  -  when you have all picked yourselves up off the floor laughing  -  watch this space ! ! !  :-)

I took a few things into the Hospice Shop last week & of course I had to come home with some other things - Someone in the house commented "wasnt it possible to actually leave things there without coming home with more things ...???!!! " (Hello??)
this sweet little dish was the princely sum of $1.00
I just LOVED this dainty little jug

Remember last post where I showed you the pics of me cutting out the very fluffy bear fur ???
Me kneeling on the floor covered in bear fur . . .

And remember back in March when I wrote the post about Phoebe & Midge (the 2 bears I had to make for an order) ???
Well the daughter of the lady that ordered Phoebe & Midge came to see me to ask me to make up some kitset bears she had bought long ago & never got round to completing. 
 Same scenario - I open my mouth to explain that sorry, I am rather too busy with other sewing - the lady leaves with the bear kitsets still here . . .   (* * * yes, yes I know) ! ? !
I wanted to get on to them as they had been sitting in my sewing room for a month or two. 
The kitsets were all D'Lyell Bear designs from their Bearzerk Range  - the 1st one was Jack - a jointed bear with little magnets stitched into his paws & just above his eyeline so that he could put his paws together or play peekaboo & cover his eyes
Please God let me have a nose embroidered on me
That feels better . . .(the glass eyes look a bit startled in this pic)
No - dont look at me,  I'm shy

 The 2nd two kitsets were for Bookend Bears - these took me a bit of figuring out but were really quite neat when they came together -
Well a face would be nice if you dont mind
Ouch - please be a bit careful

 Whoops - got that last photo in the wrong order sorry folks - not sure what I did there ! ! !  :-)  -  or how to reverse it ! !
 They are filled with lots of plastic pellets which weight them & make them hold the books up . . . 
the two Bruce"s complete at last . .  .  THANK GOODNESS !!

I dont really think my photography does them justice - they are really gorgeous & heavy & floppy & have big fat pellet filled tummies - one would make a great doorstop if you enlarged the pattern a bit more.

In between the showers this past week I managed to get outside & get some pruning done - I see the hyacinth bulbs Mum gave me are peeking through on my mossy old scales out on the deck . . . 
 They smell sooo lovely too.  Such an old-fashioned smell.

I filled my old (falling-to-bits) wheelbarrow with some of the gourds I had dried for a splash of colour up on the deck area . . . 

Mostly though I have been inside keeping the fire going. . .

Sitting on the couch working on a new boy golly - a pattern I havent done for quite awhile -  (named Bernie) 

 The doll that sits beside me is called Lizzie & her and I have quite a few conversations & put the world right while I am stitching away . . . 

My Mum is coming to stay next week & I am looking forward to that - its been awhile since Mum came up - we like to craft together & I am hoping to get some doiley dollies completed while she is here. 
Say Hello to all the nice folks out there Lizzie

I hope you all have a great week ahead dear friends, thanks for stopping by & also for all your comments which I read & treasure each & every one.
Cheerio for now, love & hugs,
Julie X x x 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Taking "me-time" & a missing *person* returns

Hello friends,

How are you all doing out there???   Hope you are keeping warm or cool wherever in the world you live & whatever the season is where you are :-)

The last couple of months have been a bit of a blur with all the activities going on (kitchen renovations etc) but this has also been coupled with lots of other goings on - helping a friend run her shop while she had time off,   looking after a neighbour who was ill, having relations to stay, helping a friend pack up & move house    - it is great to be able to help out but sometimes you just need to know when to say enough,  & take some time out to recharge your batteries.  I have been trying to do this lately . . .  without a great deal of  success, but am working on it! ! !   I seem to really struggle being able to simply say "I'm sorry, I'm just not available at present" - & boy oh boy do people know how to take advantage! !

Today - just for myself -  I made a huge pot of vege soup in my old crock pot which I saved for & bought when I was aged 20 - quite a few years ago now ! ! (32 actually)
 This crock pot has been carted around a few homes with me & is still going strong - I can smell the soup still cooking away & it is a comforting, warming smell.  I know the crock pots available today are pretty swish looking appliances but I quite like my trusty old, slightly cracked, stained-in-places crock pot.

We have had a few minus 2 degrees frosts & it has been soooo cold - I look at the poor little plants out in the garden & wonder how they survive & bounce back . . . 

I look out at my wheelbarrow full of pansies & I wonder how they manage to poke their happy little faces up when they have spent a night out in minus 2 . . .

 When my Aunty rang to say they were coming to stay I smiled politely & said "that will be lovely to have you" - then I hung up & looked in at my spare bedroom which looked like this the other week (remember) . . .  (& I think I may have said something I cant actually  print here) ! ! !
Now I am sure there is a bed & carpet in there somewhere! !
To say I had a "white tornado" would be an understatement! ! !     We do not have a big sized house here so you must bear in mind, it is difficult to find somewhere to take the "overflow"
most of the time.  
However I am pleased to say it now looks much more like this here . . . 

And when they left today I even managed to complete the doiley bunting I had begun a few months back for this room.  I had squirrelled away some favourite lace doilies as I had in mind I kind of wanted a "snowflake" effect - what do you think . . .

 When I first made it I sprayed them with spray starch but they still "flopped" so I dragged out my old bottle of "Stiffy" fabric stiffener & painted it onto them.
I have to say - one of my very absolute favourite things in the  whole world - is bunting :-)
For some reason, it always makes me smile wherever I see it.

Whilst clearing out the room I happened to come across a small basket with some craft supplies in it & accidently dropped it & who do you think happened to fall out . . .  my missing Willis golly from a few posts back.  (sorry Nero for blaming you for running off with him) -  after I got over my shock I decided to finish the poor old chap in case he went missing again.
Here he is face down in the masking tape having his boots painted on
Happy at last to have my brother back with me :-)

I had a nice surprise in the post last week - an unexpected one - a customer that had visited the cottage for the first time a month or so ago, sent me a lovely canvas print she had made from a paper serviette - she wrote in her note "I had such a lovely time visiting you & your big fluffy dog, I thought I would send you something that reminded me of your place" 
 It most certainly brightened a bleak, cold day - how lovely of her (& clever)

I am dreaming of times when the lavendar is flowering & I am not hauling firewood all day long

 I have spent this afternoon cutting out another bear order - yes I know I need to do some serious work on learning to say "No" - like my sewing, I am a work in progress.
This particular fur is so fluffy & messy I had to sit on the floor with the vacuum cleaner beside me sucking up the bits before I could move anywhere - a couple accidently got sucked up -  but I have rescued them :-)
 Not very good photography but gives you the general idea.
I hope to be back next week with the finished product to show you all.

Wishing you your own "me-time" folks & take care & have a wonderful rest-of-the-week.
I am off to sample the soup :-)

Julie X x x

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Some mail, some sunshine & a birthday

A wet rainy afternoon "Hello" to you my friends,

Hope you are all keeping well out there & managing to stay warm.
  This past week bought a couple of days of welcome sunshine & a chance to get outside & do a few jobs.  The start of the week bought some surprise mail - my friend Elaine & I had  ordered some primitive decorating magazines from the United States - isnt it just sooo exciting when overseas mail arrives!!?? :-)  the thought that it has travelled all that way from another far-away country . . .
 These magazines are sooo mouthwatering & I do really love looking at other peoples homes decorated in different styles.
Anyway - one of the pictures in the gardening section - (sorry I have forgotten to photograph it for you)  inspired me to go outdoors & rescue an old rusty tricycle from the back corner of the garden & add to it one bucket that a certain person had run over accidently in his ute . . . 
you can see the big dent at the bottom of the bucket - adds character :-)
Weed the tray of the trike, wash well & line with black polythene . . .   go to Mitre 10 Garden Centre & buy a selection of pansies & a punnet of violas  . . .    add one most unhelpful, unwilling & able  dog to the proceedure  . . . 
And viola . . . a little bit of bright cheeriness to the dreary winter landscape  . . .
Imagine how lovely it will look when the violas grow & spill over the bucket sides
The mail-lady also bought another surprise in the post - just the recipe for these cold wintry nights by the fire . . . 
These mags are always packed full of lots of good reading material.

The rains came after a couple of days of sunshine & we were forced back indoors.  I hauled out the rest of my enamel ware collection, washed it all (it was sooo dusty) & displayed it on my pot rack.
And I hung up my new (old) picaninny plate - this little face smiling at you first thing in the mornings always brightens my day . . . 

 I also finished hemming a little curtain frill for above my french doors & under the wooden shelf that my son made for me . . .  

On the weekend I had a birthday - I turned 52 :-) - we just had a very small celebration - its hard to get inspired to do great things when its the middle of winter so we had pizzas for tea with the family - which was lovely with the fire roaring.
I did get some lovely gifts from friends & one of my absolute favourites was this amazing string holder from my good friend Sandy - I have never seen one before & I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it . . . 
It has the most lovely little pair of wire scissors on a hook on the side
It is a heavy solid piece & I will treasure it - thankyou Sandy :-)

Some other lovely bits & pieces I was spoilt with  . . . 
this beautiful woven teatowel from my friend Elaine
Lets hope 52 is a good year ! ! !

I hope wherever you are in the world you are happy & safe & warm & cosy (if its winter in your climate ) - take care out there friends, wishing you a week filled with wonderful things - this little verse was written in a card from my friend Carolyn & I loved it 

     "a friend is the person who - in a mechanical emergency always asks you (very gently)
       whether you've switched the thing on . . . ? "
 Loving thoughts to you all -  always,
Julie X x x x   :-)