Monday 29 December 2014


 This was Boxing Day night, when the snow started to fall...and fall.  By the following morning, a lot of it had gone but we were left with the slush and the cold.  It's not the cold of Canada, but after quite a warm and mild autumn, it is a shock to the system.  I don't really like the snow as it causes so much trouble, but it is beautiful to look at.
 This morning it was really frosty, although it did give me the opportunity to take more photos in the garden. (They are a little blurry, but you get the idea!)
 Hydrangea Arborescens Annabelle...
 ...Hart's Tongue Fern...
 ...the blackened and frosted flowers of an aster
 ...and the black leaves of Ophiopogon planiscapens nigrescens - Black Lily turf - which look wonderful with a frosty outline.
On a positive note, this little primrose is trying to flower - probably a couple of months early!

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Questions and Answers

The lovely Alison at farmhouse traditions recently nominated me for a Liebster award.  It means I need to answer some questions she has set and then nominate other blogs I like and follow, to do the same. While I am very happy to answer the questions, I won't be nominating any other blogs from my long list, but if anyone wants to join in, please do.
Here we go:
What's your favourite craft?
I have two in particular - Jewellery making and felt making.
What's your home area like?
I live towards the eastern side of the UK, in a large rural county. I live in Lincoln itself, which has a Cathedral and Castle. The area I live in is is predominantly terraced housing, dating from Victorian times onwards.
What's your favourite childhood memory?
Holidays spent in Hunstanton, in Norfolk.  Going to the fair and riding on the gallopers, eating cream cakes and making sandcastles on the beach.
What's your day job?
I work as an administrative assistant in a University.
What's your favourite animal and do you have pets?
My favourite animal - I like members of the cat family but I also like the elegant lines of the greyhound.  Yes, we have two cats: Scruffy (in the box) and Ginny (on the chair).
How are your happiest days spent?
Visiting gardens with good friends or being creative at home.
What are your dreams for the future?
On a personal and selfish level, I would like to age gracefully without too many aches and pains, continue to be able to enjoy my crafts and upsize, so that I can have a studio/craft room and the craft materials will not intrude into the rest of the house!
What's your favourite quotation?
I have lots, but this one sprang to mind:
"No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent" Eleanor Roosevelt.
Well done for sticking with this post! In case you feel like joining in, here are a couple of questions for you to ponder:
What is your favourite book and why?
What is your favourite food or recipe?
Is there a craft which you would like to try?

My little polymer clay Christmas trees appeared on the TV yesterday - I sent a photo of them in to the Wall of Fame (where you can send in photos of your work, as long as the materials are predominantly bought from Jewellerymaker) on Jewellerymaker and they were featured! (Apologies for the flash off the TV screen).  As you can imagine, there was great excitement for those few seconds!
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.

Saturday 20 December 2014

Christmas making and baking - despite my creativity going AWOL!

 For some reason, even though I have been enjoying time off work, my creative muse appears to have left the building! I just haven't really felt like being creative.  I know that this is sometimes the way, and I do try to make the most of those times when the muse strikes.  Before creativity deserted me, I did make some polymer clay Christmas trees, using liberal amounts of glitter.
They are very simple, stand about 6 cm tall, use up some scrap clay and were quite satisfying to make.
I have also made the my usual iced star biscuits which I enjoy making.  I hope that over Christmas I will feel that I want to finish my tunic dresses and skirts, make jewellery and perhaps even make some felt...of course, if not, there is always eating, drinking, watching TV and reading!

Saturday 13 December 2014

Christmas Cracker swap

I have been taking part in Tracy's from Mad About Bags Christmas Cracker swap for the past three years and it is a lovely one to do as you are limited to what can be fitted inside a kitchen roll, which gives you a real challenge.  This year, I was paired up with the lovely Alison from  fatdormouse and View from the Teapot.  We emailed and I discovered that she didn't sew, so she asked whether I could wrap the cracker in paper, for paper crafting, rather than material. Of course I could!  We found out about likes and dislikes and then got on with the making and buying.  We swapped our crackers and here's what I received:
 A cracker with an added extra of the most beautiful rich purple coloured felting wool...
 ...and when I opened it up...well!  What a lot of goodies!  Alison had even drawn a zentangle picture featuring a cat, which was also ingeniously wrapped around the cracker.
 Lovely buttons, a necklace, a key ring, two corn dolly decorations (which will be going on the tree), chocolate coins...
lollipops, ribbons, mints, toiletries - how lucky I was!  A HUGE thank you to Alison for her generosity
Here's what I sent (although, rather foolishly, I forgot to take a photo of the wrapped cracker): hot chocolate, Lindt bears, a felt heart, star decoration, quartz earrings, ribbons and cosmos seeds.
I found this rather gorgeous hand made paper so wrapped that around the kitchen roll before wrapping in paper and adding ribbon.  It was a lovely swap, so thank you to Tracy for organising and many thanks to Alison.  

Sunday 7 December 2014

Winter has arrived

It can't be denied any longer, yesterday morning, Winter had definitely arrived with the first real frost of the season. I took a few photos of the frost on the plants - above is one of the blueberries.
It looked like a dusting of icing sugar on the flowers of Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle.
 They looked really quite beautiful.
 Frost on the rose leaves...
... and highlighting the edges of the Penstemon leaves
Although it means that autumn is over, Winter does has its own beauty.

Sunday 30 November 2014

Vintage Fair and Strictly Night

 We went to The Drill Hall to the Lincoln Does Vintage Fair yesterday and enjoyed having a look round.
This was one little corner of the Hall. There were lots of stalls and we had a great time wandering round.
 There wasn't much material, sadly, but I did find this piece which is probably 1960s and in a shiny, slippery material.  No, I don't know what I'm going to do with it!
 On the same stall, I spied these Pyrex bowls. I just loved the colour and was very tempted.  However, after a lot of thinking, I decided to go away from them and look round again and have another think. Of course, you can guess what happened - I just HAD to buy them. (Chris rolled his eyes heavenwards).
We headed upstairs for tea and cake and spied two more stalls in the tea room.  I had a look and spied, yes, a smaller Pyrex bowl in exactly the same pattern - well, of course, I had to add that one to the collection too!  I have since found out that it is the Gooseberry pattern and the bowls are called 'Cinderella bowls' for some reason (more research needed on that one, I think).  I just love everything about these - the colour, the pattern, the shape...just gorgeous!
 We enjoyed a lovely tea with proper china cups (most important!).
In the evening, my friend Rachael and I settled down to watch Strictly and entered into it with gusto.  We had paddles for marking and kept a note of the judges' scores, added ours and Simon was top of our leader board, followed by Pixie and Trent, Caroline and Pasha.  It was great fun (aided by some wine, of course!) and we have decided to repeat 'Strictly Night' for the next three weeks.  (We predicted that Sunetra would go, and were right.) Here's to Vintage Fairs and Strictly!

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Sunsets in city and country

I live in a city and as we are surrounded by houses, we don't often manage to see lovely sunsets.  However, I did capture this one, although I had to crop it to remove the houses and telegraph wires.
 I thought the cloud formation looked wonderful touched with the fiery reds and oranges.
My mum, on the other hand, lives at the edge of a village and overlooks fields.
 Now that's a sunset!
 Although I love living in a city for convenience, I do feel a bit envious that I can't see the full glory of an amazing sunset like this one last Sunday.
It does make me appreciate them more when I do see them, though.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Sewing Lessons 5 and 6

I have finished my second 'Kate' dress and here it is!  My fifth sewing lesson was a bit of a "dis-arrrr-ster" as things kept going wrong, such as catching the material when I was setting in the sleeves and having to undo it several times.  Then, when I was overlocking the seams, it caught again!  I decided to move on to my A line denim skirt and got that cut out, the darts sewn in, the side seams joined and my first ever zip sewn in too.  I unpicked and re-sewed the offending wrong bits of the dress over the following week and finished it.
 Here's the back view.  I love this material as it is so happy and cheerful.  I bought it back in April and posted about it here.  I think it may be called Retro Flowers (which makes sense). I haven't worn this to work yet, but perhaps will do so this week, depending how cold it is as the material is only a cotton.  I am currently working on 'Kate' number three, using the other material bought at the vintage fair.
 Here is my finally completed A line denim skirt which I bought the material for way back in April.  However, I gave myself "until Autumn" to get it done, so I am really pleased!  It is very comfortable and having my tutor, Sue, help me through it, meant I was able to get the fit right.
 My first proper zip!
Another view of the zip.  As you can tell, I am really pleased with my improving sewing skills and my next project, apart from three or four more 'Kate' dresses(!), is to make a nice padded sewing machine cover for my machine which has only got a plastic cover at the moment and deserves something better! I shall be raiding my material stash to see what I can make use of - it'll be fun!

Sunday 16 November 2014

Polymer Clay Days

I have been enjoying working with polymer clay and introducing more friends to this versatile medium.  Below is Angie's first attempt at pendants and earrings using just black and white clay.  She made spiral canes, flower canes, extruded canes and then did the Sutton Slice (on the teardrop shapes)  I think she may be hooked now!
 My friend Rachael has discovered what she described as 'her thing' - Kawaii creatures - which means 'cute' in Japanese, I think!  She started off making a dragon (and made me one too) and then made a gingerbread man and reindeer.  They are indeed very cute!
The dragon...
 ...the gingerbread man...
...and the (rather nose-heavy) reindeer, who needed a bit of support to stay upright!
She was delighted with these little creations and then tried out a new mould which I had just got the previous day.
 I think it worked beautifully!
So, what have I been making?  Well, I absolutely love using the silk screen kit and have made two pieces into pendants with tassels.
 I call this the 'Frankenstein' pendant because the pattern reminds me of lightning and electricity and I chose gemstones which had the same shine and colours including snowflake obsidian, shell, pearls and quartz.
The other one I made has a range of blue gemstones including pearls, sodalite, blue quartz and labradorite.  I love the blue colour on the labradorite which is at the bottom of the tassel (the correct term is labradorescence!)  Chris suggested using cord to hang them on and I agree, as the plaited beading thread just didn't look quite right.  I wore the blue one at work on Friday and got several compliments, which was really nice.