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December 2009
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February 2010

WIP with thanks

A great big thank you for all the very kind comments on Gracie's pattern. She was so excited to see it on Craftzine, thanks Rachel! But I think she was even more excited with all the comments and is looking forward to reading every one of them straight after school today.

Here's little G again, sporting the new cherub pattern. I really, really enjoyed stitching this one, even though it was on jersey, not my favourite fabric for embroidery. The PDF is not quite ready, sorry for the tease but details very soon on how to get your hands on this one.

UPDATE: The Cheeky Cherub Pattern is available here, and here.

T-at-2 This design was inspired by my first cherub and the little people created by Mabel Lucie Attwell. Here's Tristan at two. He's always had pinchable cheeks and curly hair, still does at age 11 (though he's not too crazy about the cheek pinching now.)

I hope Monday is getting off to a flying start for all of you, back soon!

J x

Puppy & kitty have a chat; a pattern for you

These little pets were going to adorn the front of t-shirts for Gracie but she requested a new bookmark instead. We've been glued to the "Little House on the Prairie" series or books lately and she wanted to upgrade our old train ticket place marker.

This is, Kitty in a stripy jumper

...and, Puppy in blue trousers.

And the jingly tail is made with items from our collection of things found at the bottom of button tins.

Little-G-pattern-iconThese little pets are not my creation, they are Gracie's designs. I love the personality she gives her subjects. Remember this little lady we transferred to fabric? While Gracie's not overly keen to embroider them herself, she lets me have a go and is very pleased to offer them to you too! This drawing is now available to receive via email by leaving a comment for Gracie on this post. UPDATE: This pattern is now available on my patterns page by a voluntary donation of any amount. Gracie always receives !00% of the donations from the patterns she's designed. 

The PDF of this pattern is larger of course, but we printed it at 40% for this bookmark. The black and white ribbon near kitty is from the goddess of gingham, Sonia. Sonia makes the sweetest, more grown-up bookmarks with embroidered linen, and she takes custom orders :)

While G has plans for a blog all her own one day, she's going to start out by creating her own page on this one. She'll let you know when it's up. UPDATE: Gracie has started her own blog, though she's not posting often she has some great stuff. Find her here, at Gracie's Universe.

I'll be back with some surprises and another pattern, the one inspired by my boy and his sweet cheeks - you might like it for Valentine's Day. We've had intermittent Internet connection due to heavy rain and the way the phone line cables are laid, or some such nonsense... but I hope to "see" you Monday.

Have a lovely weekend. Jx

Support Craft Hope for Haiti


Ch_haiti This Lykke Bag has been donated to Craft Hope for Haiti. It just made it into their last day of listings before the organisers take a little break. They've done an amazing job, over $10,000 raised since Friday! If you'd like to contribute too, find the information here. If you'd like to visit the shop and see all the wonderful donations that are still available go here.

I don't know when this little bag will appear in the shop, it may take a day or two as the site has been flooded with donations.

The bag is made from sturdy, antique (Victorian) cotton with a linen finish and has an aqua and white dot lining. It's approx. 8" wide x 11" high (6" handle.) Lykke, the Scandinavian inspired embroidered horse was designed ages ago, he's happy to finally make an appearance.

The sachets (gifts from dear friends) and Grandma Wolf pictured are not included (Grandma Wolf isn't very friendly and she has very big teeth!)

And to see a beautiful artist making some breathtaking art watch this video, you won't be disappointed. Thank you Michelle for the link, you knew I'd love it.

EDIT: Sorry, removed close up image.

More re-purposing and things

A lot of organizing has been taking place around here. Mainly the kind that bears invisible fruit, like figuring out how to get children to and from school through snow and ice packed roads. But there are a few other items checked off my list that feel somewhat more productive, like the repurposed jean project I'm just finishing for The Green Parent. It's quick, easy and super useful and after I finished the first sample Gracie snapped it up to claim it as her own (she's my personal barometer for success.)

I'd forgotten how lovely it is to work with old denim and I've fallen in love with the soft, worn-in utility fabric all over again; it got my head spinning on to more new projects using the garment remnants. But for now I have a new pattern on the go that I'm loving stitching up - this one is going on an under shirt for Gracie. The design is inspired by Tristan and the art of Mabel Lucie Attwell (lovely, chubby cheeked children.)

After several inches of more snow yesterday, today it seems the melt has begun. Our snow gal is trying to squeeze into her bikini, I think it will happen soon. We can nearly see the road again and the weather report says we might even see sunshine on Sunday.

Meanwhile, my thoughts are with two overseas friends this week who have both said good-bye to their mums, hugs to them from across the pond. Also, with the people of Haiti and the difficulties they're facing; I hope there will be a way for us to help in some small way from a distance.

Happy Thursday to you :)

Winter craft love, and more snow

Word is our thick snow is not going away soon and school may be canceled into next week too. Extended cold snaps like this just aren't that common in England so when it happens, the country is ill prepared.

But it's soooo pretty and fun, and as the weather is the number one topic of conversation in the UK, there's a whole lot to talk about.

This is our lane, easy to see why without four wheel drive we're not going anywhere.

We walked to the farm shop for more firewood and hot chocolate, not sure which of the two is more important. Now we're running low on toilet paper, so things might start getting more serious.

We've stepped up our feed for the birds too. But little Black Beauty in the corner above is bullying all the other garden birds. Mrs Partridge here came to visit today and is giving him a run for his money. BB is wily though and he'll quickly figure out that Mrs Partridge is big, but very slow and not terribly bright.

I can't resist photographing all the birds, especially in the snow. They thank me for feeding them by being extra friendly and letting me snap their pictures, even the skittish blue tits have relaxed just enough to say hello.

My robin friends are much more laid back and follow me around the garden.

None of my feathered friends are too interested in their bird table, they prefer to feast around the bare bushes just outside my window - lucky me.

There's something about the cold weather that's made me want to stitch mostly on felt. It's my fabric of choice at the moment. This covered matchbox will be housing small spools of lace.

I'm also loving stone spools. These longish stones I've picked up are useful for these small lengths of lace.

I have many, many photos from the snow, and an even more vast number of bird photos making me realize I may be spending a disproportionate amount of time spying these little creatures from my window. So fly on over to Flickr if you want to see more.

Surfacing and then submerging again

Pink scallop on a Sussex beach

There's something about Christmas being over and a new year beginning that almost feels like spring has already come. I feel a little like this unbelievably pink scallop, emerging from the sand.

Though the weather is cold, very cold, we made the most of a sunny day at the weekend and went to the beach. At first the bracing weather (1 C without factoring in the wind chill) was a shock to our systems, but in the end I had to bribe Tristan and Gracie to go home as the sun was getting low.

Tide going out

We did have to huddle in the car to eat our picnic, it was too cold to sit still for very long on the beach, best to keep moving.

Burying a little sister

This was our first time to this beach, it's really lovely but not exactly as deserted as I imagined it might be at this time of year, I'm sure it's very popular in the summer.

Beach huts all buttoned up

Okay, now this actually does look deserted, but by the time I took this beach hut picture the last of the sun was dipping down and all the smart people were already making their way home.

Messages in the frost

This was the frost the morning we went to the beach; you can see what inspired our trip to the seaside.

I was in the middle of uploading the pictures for this post when I took a break to get Gracie from school then carry on with usual family stuff: dinner making, chit-chat about the school day, searching for missing socks, lamenting our drooping Christmas tree...
As the sun was setting clouds gathered and as we ate dinner, snow began falling, then it began falling faster and heavier.

Meanwhile, Hubby was working and on the telephone in his office about three miles away and down the hill, he hadn't an inkling that the town was turning white all around him and that all transport was stopped. He then tried to make his way home, found it impossible and decided he'd walk through the deep snow up the steep, unlit hill. I said "Just stay the night in your office." "No, he said, I'll be fine, I'll see you when I see you."

I'll cut this short; he got to the steep part of the journey and ran into a lovely young couple in an old Land Rover who were going up and down the hill, fetching stranded people at the bottom and bringing them up. He was brought right to our door, safe and sound, and as an added bonus he made two new friends along the way. People are good :)

Then we had a night time snowball fight. Why not, no school tomorrow - yippee! The forecast is for more snow and continued freezing temperatures for the rest of the week and beyond - no telling when this thick blanket will melt.

Surfacing can wait, we're snuggling down. I hope warmth is surrounding you wherever you are.

Well worth a visit, anytime of year

Village-2 Weald and Downland Open Air Museum

We spent New Years Eve day at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex. It's a fantastic collection of ancient buildings spread over about 50 acres, many furnished in period style and all dressed up for Christmas.

Medieval-meal Medieval Meal

We ate hot chestnuts, listened to amazing Baroque guitar music by a warm log fire, and sampled a Medieval feast. There was also a woodland walk, farm animals and cottage gardens to see.

It's definitely worth a visit, make sure to reserve at least half a day and also check the website to find out about events or workshops taking place. It was only about 3 C while we were there, but it was still a wonderful day - the cold just made the mead go down quicker and the warm, spiced apple juice taste even better.

Woodland Walks

Metal sculpture dotted the woodland walk. Each one had information attached to it explaining about types of trees and hedgerows.

Spinning Wheel

Gracie posed to show how large this spinning wheel is.

View from a farmhouse window

The snow has just melted around here which has left very soggy ground, poor cows. This view is from a medieval farmhouse, of course the window back then would have been unglazed, just like this one.

Ceiling of the Downland Gridshell

This outstanding, modern building is the Downland Gridshell building built in 2002. This is the site of workshops and conservation projects that take place at the museum. Being a native Northern Californian, I couldn't help wondering how it would withstand earthquakes, I'm thinking it would do very well. More about gridshell construction here.

Many of the buildings have cottage gardens, I imagine it will be amazing in spring and summer too. We'll definitely be back to experience every season.

Happy days to you

Happy New Year
All the best for a year full of life and love to you, and you and you!

I started stitching this little message last night, too late of course; I decided to finish it this morning when I lost my needle. I eventually found my needle, it was between my teeth, I was holding it there while sorting out a new piece of thread - too late indeed.

I wanted to try out the hand dyed thread I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show in October. It's fine and pretty and nice to work with, but next time I'll use a tighter weave linen.

Our evening was spent in a quiet family way; a simple meal, nice wine and a warm fire. The children just made it until midnight, watching our favourite music programme with us. They were very excited, insisting they would stay up all night but we carried them upstairs, asleep, at about ten minutes past 12.00

I hope you all enjoyed bringing in the New Year in your own special ways.