Thursday, 29 May 2014

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Things that make me happy 148/365

Tomato plants in the conservatory, with chard plants growing in the same pots, waiting for the weather to warm up so they can go outside.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Things that make me happy 146 and 147/365

146. Freshly picked chard for tea, delicious.

147. Our new kitchen extractor, which will be wired in today

Monday, 26 May 2014

What I am focusing on - blog hop

I was asked a couple of weeks ago by Sandie at itchifingers if I would participate in a blog-hop, so I straight away said yes, I would. However, when the time came for me to get down and write my post I wasn't feeling too well. May has been a very hectic month for me, I was exhausted, and on top of everything else I was suffering from cystitis . Over the past week I've been on a course of antibiotics, my cystitis has cleared up, I've been taking it steady and now I'm feeling a whole lot better.

I was also asked to nominate 3 people for the next leg of the blog hop, so I have chosen three of my favourite crafters, each in a totally different field, and each producing work that I love. They are Tracy, Karen B and Karen R, and I'll introduce them to you at the end of this post.

A quick word about myself, I am retired, living in Wiltshire and loving my life right now. I have four sons and 5 grandchildren. I craft for pleasure (my own) rather than for any other reason, and although in the past I have sold a few of my pieces, most of what I produce is for myself or for giving to others. I'm never shy of trying something different, and have indulged myself in all sorts of various crafting activities over the years, I've been knitting for over 60 years (gosh, gasp!), dressmaking for more than 50 and crocheting for about 45 on and off. I've dabbled in photography, drawing, painting, writing, quilting, fabric art and card-making, as well as home renovation, decorating and home furnishings.

The questions posed for me to answer are as follows:

1) What am I working on now?

Just over two years ago GM (my husband, affectionately known as the Green Man, because of his predilection for wearing green clothing) and I moved into our "forever" home. The house is just the right size for us but one or two things needed some attention, which we have slowly been sorting over the last two years. Currently, after some major plumbing works, we are in the process of installing a decent extractor fan, altering some of the electrical circuit, removing the old extractor hood, moving our gas hob and fitting some more wall cupboards in the kitchen, then that area will require painting and a bit of tiling, so thats what I'm focusing on right now - being electricians mate, painter and general gopher and cleaner-upper. At the same time I've recently bought the fabric for some new curtains for our bedroom, which I shall be making over the next month or so. I'm knitting myself a sweater for the winter months, and shortly I'll be embarking on three matching sweaters for my granddaughters aged 3.5, 1 and one month.

2) How does my work differ from others of its kind?

I think it differs from others only in that my ideas come from inside my head rather than from any sense of fashion or anything that I've seen. When I knit I follow patterns but I do make the odd change here or there. I haven't made any clothing for myself or for anyone else for a while, but when I did I became quite adept at altering patterns to fit, or making my own patterns by cutting down old clothing. My painting could be described more as paint blobbing than any attempt at illustration. I am self-taught at crochet and quilting and am still in a learning process for both of these crafts. So really, all of my work is just personal to me in whichever way I decide to go at any given time. I don't copy anyone else, but if I see something I like and want I'll have a go at producing it in my own way.

3) Why do I create what I do?

I knit and crochet to make things for myself and my family - although it's many a long year since any of the sons (aged 43, 38, 25 and 23) and grandsons (aged 16 and 12) have worn anything that I've knitted! I take photographs just because I love to, and I use them to illustrate my blog, for the last three and a half years I've participated in 365s, a photo a day, on my blogs. Home-making speaks for itself. Paint blobbing is just something I do now and again for relaxation or a change. I started quilting a couple of years ago, I made a quilt for my oldest granddaughter and I shall make a couple more for the younger two. I'm not sure if I'll make any more after that - that will very much depend on how many more grandchildren I'm given. I also often make specifics for my friends' grandchildren, I've knitted rabbits and various other toys, and crocheted cot and carrycot blankets.

4) How does my writing/creating process work?

I have no idea, I just dont like to be not doing anything, and I turn my hand to whatever needs to be done. During the summer months I create less than during the winter, as my focus is more on my garden, I grow vegetables for our own consumption and am looking forward to taking on a garden makeover once the work on the house is finished, probably next year. Every now and then, if something tickles my fancy, I might sit down and compose a limerick. I love letter writing, I have penfriends in Cornwall (Karen B, see below), Virginia U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand, I'm a member of a group in Post Circle, and also a member of Postcrossing, I write my blog, I have several friends with whom I communicate regularly by email, and last year I started to write a book - however as yet I'm stuck on chapter three and I doubt I'll be bothered to continue! Sandie (above) and I have discovered that we seem to have a great deal in common and have also been swapping letters, we hope to meet up later this year.

So, there you have it, I'm not your normal sort of crafter, I dont stick to one thing, I just flit about here, there and everywhere. A couple of years before my retirement in 2008 I started running my own business, I am a Phoenix Trader and you can visit my website here. I've always loved beautiful stationery ever since I was a child, my dad was a jobbing printer and used to bring home all sorts of bits and pieces of paper. Back in my late teens/early 20s I worked for him as a Girl Friday/van driver in central London and I am still to this day hooked on the wonderful scents of paper and printers inks.

As this is a blog-hop I would now like to introduce you to three ladies for whom I have a great deal of respect, each a wonderfully talented crafter in their chosen field.

First is Tracy, whose blog is Mad About Bags. (You can see an example of Tracy's work in my own blog header). Tracy is a 44 year old married mum with three children and lives in the rural outskirts of the newly appointed City of Essex, Chelmsford. Sewing has always been a big part of her life as her Mum was a seamstress and made all her and her sisters clothes. Tracy's passion for creating was kick-started after an accident at work meant she had a lot of time on her hands and a cross stitch shop just around the corner! This creative journey has had its peaks and troughs with the arrival of her children and a couple of building projects. With all her children now in full time education and a husband who doesn't mind her obsession with fabrics, yarns and sewing machines (she has several!) she creates individual and bespoke items in her workroom in the garden. 

Secondly we have Karen B of Me My Camera Eye who says: My main interest lies with photography but I enjoy several pastimes, which include knitting, scrapbooking, reading, gardening, writing and the dreaded exercising and spending time with my family (hubby and two girls), my big problem is that I don't have enough time to do all of them on a regular basis. I work as an enablement worker for Cornwall Council. I really enjoy challenging myself and love sharing what knowledge I have with others.

And last, but by no means least, is Karen R of Just K Jewellery who says: I live in Hampshire in the UK although I grew up and went to school in Windsor. I'm mum to an adult philosophy teacher son, mum to a sweet little rescue tabby cat and partner to Nick who's learned to live with my jewellery-making taking over our home. I started making jewellery for myself in 2005 and soon became totally addicted. I'm self taught using books from the library and lots of experimenting. I've been working with resin since 2008 after going on a silver clay workshop where I was introduced to the work of Sherri Haab. I bought her book about resin jewellery and as soon as I read it I knew this was what I wanted to do. All the resin pieces I use have been made by me in my workshop at home - and I love finding quirky and unusual items to embed in resin.

Thank you Sandie for inviting me to take part in this blog-hop, and thank you also to Tracy and the two Karens for agreeing to be the next victims participants.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Things that make me happy 145/365

I have enjoyed so much happiness from this freak of nature, a three-headed tulip, and this is the last photo of it that I'll show this year. I wonder if it will return with its three heads next year.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Rainy Days

Things that make me happy 144/365

Aquilegia, taken a few days ago before it started raining.

I'm also feeling happy today because I've just finished a week's course of antibiotics and feeling so much better.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Things that make me happy 142 and 143/365

142. A beautiful sunset. I was tempted at first to photoshop out the telephone cables, but then I thought, why, they are part of my view, and without them I wouldn't be in a position to post this photo at all. So they stay, like it or lump it.

143. Daisies. Just before GM cut the grass

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Things that make me happy 140 and 141/365

140. A few days ago we popped over to Devizes to pay a visit to Shamrock Linens to see if we could find some fabric for new curtains for our bedroom. We could.

141. Today is our 26th Wedding Anniversary, GM gave me this lovely card.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Things that make me happy 136-139/365

136. Cassie enjoyed her stay in the luxury holiday apartment at Clearwood Cattery, but she's obviously pleased to be back home in one of her favourite spots.

137. I do love a bargain. A £79.00 cardi reduced to £17.00! Thank you very much, don't mind if I do.

138. Displaced for a few days while the plumbers did their stuff, it's great to be back in my studio, with a newly painted wall and my set of sky pictures in front of me.

139. Hanging baskets planted up and ready to hang, but not until next month - just in case.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Disruption at Daisy Row

As if May wasn't already busy enough, with birthdays galore, a wedding anniversary, a visit from a relative from USA, a 90th birthday party to help organise and a new baby due (who, thankfully, decided to surprise us all by arriving in late April), our faithful plumber decided that he could fit us in, and if a plumber tells you he can fit you in, you do NOT say no. So, on Monday morning promptly at 8 a.m. Baz and Dave arrived, to remove our old, inefficient boiler.

As the new boiler was destined to be fitted not in the kitchen but the utility room

a certain amount of disruption where new pipes were to be fitted was guaranteed. I had to vacate my studio for a while, and the carpet had to be pulled back to allow access under the floorboards

so the pipes could pass back to the airing cupboard, where the hot water tank was positioned.

Well, they were here for three days. The hot water tank, being surplus to requirements was removed,

as was the old boiler,

and the new boiler was fitted.

We had decided that it was not a good idea for Cassie to be around while all this work was going on, so she's had a nice little holiday in a luxury apartment in Clearwood Cattery (highly recommended) and will be back home this afternoon, after we've cleared all the dust.

Thanks Baz and Dave, a good job well done. Watch this space, next on the list of improvements is some work to make good the kitchen.

Things that make me happy 133-135/365

133. Wisteria on the pergola

134. My triple-headed tulip is still in flower and has changed from yellow to red

135. Alfresco lunch, first this year

Monday, 12 May 2014

Things that make me happy 130-132/365

130. Granddaughter 1's new chair.

We had all been out for lunch at the lovely "Kim's" in Bookham High Street. On the way home we passed one of those old fashioned hardware shops where some of the goods are displayed on the pavement. GD1's other grandmother (Panda Chan) spotted the green plastic chairs and asked GD1 if she would like one. GD1 proudly carried it all the way home, just stopping for a bit of a rest as we passed through the churchyard.

131. Uncle (GO) meets his newest niece (GD3), with Uncle FO, Aunty CH and cousin GD2 keeping a watchful eye on each other.

132. The Birthday Girl GD2, one year old today

Friday, 9 May 2014

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Things that make me happy 127-128/365

127. A birthday package from my friend Kate, always fun to open

128. That's a lot of page views (sorry about the quality of the photo, an enlarged snap of my PC screen!)

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Things that make me happy 125-126/365

125. The triple-headed tulip almost open

126. A gift from a friend (blogged about here)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Look what I got!

Sandie makes books, you can read all about it on her blog itchifingers (she also does photography and various other crafts, a multi-talented lady). I was lucky enough to receive on of her lovely books as a birthday present, I love it . . . .

. . . . it already has pride of place in my current knitting bag. Thank you so much Sandie.

Monday, 5 May 2014

5 on 5 for May

Linking up with Sandie at itchifingers.

I am a lucky bunny, today is my umptysixth birthday, so there has been no shortage of photo opportunities. I've managed to pick out my five favourite shots from what was, I have to admit, a slightly longer than five minute time slot.

1. Gifts from GO, who used some wrapping paper that he found (Phoenix, of course).

2. Some of my cards

3. From GT - how did he guess these are my favourite?

4. A lovely surprise for my birthday, our first runner bean shoot

5. We''ll be enjoying this with tea tonight