one fine bowl, i had to share it with you

one fine bowl, i had to share it with you

check this out. my friend zoe hillyard made this. i treated myself and bought it and placed it on my mantlepiece. now christmas and birthdays are over and i have taken down the cards it has some room to breathe and i can look at it every day and take a little inspiration from it. i cannot tell you how much i love this bowl.

one fine bowl, i had to share it with you

if you click on the link you can find out how zoe made this thing of loveliness, look at the rest of her collection and perhaps snap one up for yourself. but basically (in my words) she smashed up an old bowl and then covered each piece in beautiful vintage fabric.  the material is so soft you just want to stroke it continually….

one fine bowl, i had to share it with you

then she patchworked the bowl together! i know, she’s a genius. the best bit is, when you pick the piece up it gives a little, because the joins are flexible. such a strange sensation. hopefully the rest of her collection will be in an art gallery soon.

right then, its the first bearwood tapestry of the year tomorrow night so if you fancy joining us, we’d be delighted to have you. until next time.

obsessed with knitting

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to say that i am obsessed with knitting is an understatement. not only did i knit my fingers to the bone in the run up to our christmas craft fairs, but i also continued to knit into the holidays and through the new year. it’s gotten to the point that i feel strange if i’m sitting down without any knitting needles in my hands. and i’m even thinking about using one of my many notebooks strictly for jotting down all sorts of knitting scribbles and ideas.

now, because i knit sooo many things to sell and give away as gifts, all but one of the projects featured in this post are for me. how cheeky is that? so without further ado…

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i knit myself 2 hats. both are very roomy, as i have quite a large head and bucket loads of hair. i’ve barely ever found a hat to fit me… and then i overestimated on these, so they are both too big. i still love them to pieces. and hey, it gives me an excuse to knit them again, adjust the pattern, and take notes in my knitting notebook! aha! both of these hats are based on several patterns on Ravelry.

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i also knit myself a neck warmer. it’s called Tudora, and the pattern can be found on Knitty. i doubled up on the yarn with this pattern, to make it more sturdy.

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and finally, i did knit something for someone else. my very patient husband asked me to knit him some fingerless mittens. he works from home and the little office tends to get very very cold during the winter months. he wanted to have ones that went over his knuckles, to keep them warm as he taps away on his computer. he seems a very happy and satisfied customer!

(you can find any extra details on all these projects on Ravelry, where my username is erinpower.)

books of inspiration

books of inspiration
so i wanted to do a little post about some of the books that have been inspiring my craftiness of late. starting with the craftiest craftster of them all, Martha Stewart and her Encyclopedia of Crafts. i was given this massive tome by my great friend helen for my last birthday and i have spent many, many hours flicking through the beautiful pages wondering what to do.  actually the leaf printing i did for the lavender bags was inspired by one chapter.  then my lovely friend jo came round one day and couldn’t resist a quick ogle…when she got to the page with the pompom creatures she squealed with delight and i knew right then and there i’d be making a pompom caterpillar.  this one i made for jo is nowhere near as cute as martha’s but it is very soft and squeezable (thanks hilary for the wool, another birthday pressie) and fun (if fiddly) to make. you gotta love pompoms.
books of inspiration
i’d love to thank whoever bought me Gifts from the Kitchen but i can’t remember who it is.  this is what happens when you spend lots of time working out how to make links work on blog posts. your brain squeezes out the really important stuff.  anyway, i thank you mystery bestower of beautiful book. this is a perfect present for me and anyone who, like me, likes to bake gifts. i started with a batch of chocolate coated candied almonds. i had a late christmas present and two january birthdays to sort out so made a double batch of scrummy goodness.
books of inspiration
you start by toasting almonds in sugar and cinnamon
books of inspiration
melt your favourite chocolate and coat the cooled candied almonds
books of inspiration
then allow chocolate to set and dust with cocoa.  i actually left half of them just candied, because i ate quite a lot of the chocolate.  also i think in january people might worry about being given a big jar of chocolates, but if half of them are just candied nuts its almost like they’ve started the diet just by looking at them. if you’d like the recipe in full let me know.
books of inspiration
i’ve just realised there’s a little black fleck on all of the above photos. as if bad light and using a cameraphone (phonecamera?)isn’t bad enough now i’ve got dirt in the lens. sorry.right, so onto the third and final book in this not so little post…and the winner is…Vintage Ladybird Make and Do Box. particularly the Things to Make book which has my youngest, scout, enthralled (much thanks, aunty hattie). i love it too. originally published in 1963 the inside notes read “Here is a book which provides 24 safe and fascinating answers to the question children ask on occasions – “Mummy what can I do?” It suggests how children can be kept happily and rewardingly occupied for many hours, using simple, inexpensive and readily available materials. Even a convalescent child in bed will be able to make some of the objects.”  love it. 
books of inspiration
so saturday was the sort of day we just hung around the house.  yes, it’s 4pm and we’re still in our pyjamas.  but c’mon, the kids are painting their dad’s shoes!  it doesn’t get much better than that for a four year old. she did it all by herself apart from the windows and door which i helped with. can you tell?!
books of inspiration
its a dream home for any number of small characters, and you wouldn’t believe how many small homeless characters we have.  other projects in the book include ‘a colourful mobile’ made from eggshells and lots of uses for syrup tins and cheese triangle boxes.  and the ‘dainty fairy tree’ has our name written all over it…

new broom

well hello there, come on in, as Miranda would say. And a Happy New Year to you too.

As Jen has so rightly said, life took over in December and I barely even checked my hotmail, let alone Facebook or the blog…  As I’ve said before, it’s a manic month in our house (even more than usual), but looking back with rose-tinted tinsel-framed spectacles, I can say it was pretty darn good!

We were very lucky to have such generous gifts in the house – handmade and shop bought, edible and the other kind!  We also had some lovely news on Christmas Day with the announcement from the Evans household that my baby brother has gone and grown up and asked his lovely girlfriend to marry him – and she only went and said yes!  Lucky really, as I have had a hat ready for ages Just kidding

I thought I would just try and get some photos up on here of things I made for Christmas and Christmas birthdays before I forget.  The first was a cowl for my de-lightful friend Ms DeRight!  I used the wool I had left over from making a baby blanket for her little Tillie for Christmas and I love the way the colours stripe against the background of the zig zag in the pattern.  It was very satisfying to do once I’d frogged the first two attempts (!) and I think I’d like to make some more soon. 

The corsages were a commission procured for me by Nat and were very specific about the colour schemes and just two layers of petals. The jury’s still out for me on this variation from the original, but the recipient was pleased, so the customer is always right!

The scottie dog fabric came out again for some presents commissioned by a friend of mine for her daughter – a cushion for her bed and a matching tote bag.  The cushion was my first so I was a bit apprehensive, but I like the way it came out – backed by suede donated by Nat so very tactile.  The fabric baskets were also made to order.  I made some other jewellery pieces and fabric baskets and ds cosies, but in my excitement at finishing them on time I think i forgot to take photos….

I was looking back through my photos when uploading these and couldn’t remember if I’d posted the photo of the cake Rachel helped me to make for some friends’ wedding in the summer.  It was a triumph of all proportions and extremely yummy to boot – just loved sticking those Cadburys bournville fingers on – yum! 

Back in the crafting groove now – made a lovely frilly scarf while watching Alvin and the Chipmunks (only reason to stay in the room while it was on the TV! Winking smile ) and some wristwarmers – will post again when uploaded photos.

In the meantime, wishing everyone a healthy and happy 2011 and happy birthday to Scout today x

 

happy new year, we’re still here

been a bit quiet on the old blog lately but i imagine, just like me, the crafty muthas have been taking a break from the interwebs over the christmas holidays and spending some quality time with their families, eating, drinking and making merry.  actually i saw them all on new year’s eve and they were doing all of those things, a little too well in some cases!  personally i had a lovely, restful time with just enough craftiness beforehand to make me feel virtuous but not enough to leave me completely exhausted.

 

happy new year, we're still here

the first thing i did this year was christmas cards. the first batch (for school) were recycled from the cards we got last year. my six year old drew round cookie cutter shapes and we cut them out, punched a hole and threaded sparkly string on them. then he wrote out nearly 40 cards beautifully, even changing the message occasionally. we had a lovely christmassy afternoon, the sort of mother and son thing you read about on blogs all the time. but this actually happened  – and in my house at that. i was very proud of him. and the little one wrote her name on all 40 of her cards for nursery too, didn’t even take a break. she’s a three year old writing machine. it wasn’t until i came to address them all for her that i remembered what a totally arduous task it is and my writing by the end was pretty rough, whereas hers improved with practice.  its depressing really to think i’m all done practicing and that i just have increasingly bad handwriting to look forward to.  

happy new year, we're still here

 

anyway enough of that (my mind wanders a lot too). my other cards (for sending to friends and family) looked like this. some people actually got last years cards because i made an extraordinary amount last year but didn’t take any photos. the ones above were super simple and very pleasing to make.  crafty nat had given me a bit of this fabric and i’d bought the little felt reindeers in a well known high street stationers (it was osbourne’s actually). i don’t normally buy card embellishments but i can’t pass a reindeer in the run up to christmas and these were much cheaper than the real thing. i just used pinking shears and good old double sided tape to stick it all down. again a lovely afternoon, on my own mostly, listening to sufjan stevens and drinking baileys coffee. perfect.

happy new year, we're still here

 

my most favourite make for christmas was this. a poppy garland for my gorgeous 3 month old niece, poppy. ripped the general shape of the poppy from lupin. used a glue gun to stick them onto the ribbon and just glued a small disc of red felt over that to cover my stitches and make them look tidy. i hung the garland on my wardrobe door and the cheery brightness of the poppies made my heart leap every time i walked into the room.  seriously.  i think we all need poppies in our lives maybe.

happy new year, we're still here

 

or perhaps its nuts we need. well i certainly love a nut and i hope everyone i know does because that’s mostly what everyone else got. i used this recipe but added chilli flakes because i like things to have a kick. i love this recipe because you can change it to suit your tastes once you’ve got the basic, simple technique. i used walnuts and pecans because thats what worked best in my test run but hazelnuts and almonds are good too.

happy new year, we're still here

i also made a tea cosy for my mother-in-law but failed to get a decent pic, a cushion for my sister-in-law (ditto) and gave away some lavender bags and mini owls. to accompany the nuts were white chocolates with cranberry, coconut and pistachio, some pine nut biscuits which tasted lovely on the day though i’m not sure how well they lasted and sugar encrusted cinnamon stars for the kids. after all that i’d only burnt one tray of biscuits and one finger.

you may have noticed that i’ve cracked the links thing. i no longer have to put the whole ugly url address thing in – i can just write what i’m linking to, thanks to my lovely husband who just worked it out for me. so from now on i’m going linking loco (sorry, trying to alliterate at this late hour is hard).

next time – a bumper birthday bonanza.  so many people have birthdays at this time of year. bloomin’ nuisances, the lot of ’em! 

and one day soon i’ll get around to posting all the fantastic, beautiful, thoughtful gifts that i received in 2010. hopefully before 2011 is over.