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August 2012
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October 2012

gifts & blessings

Birthday song
birthday song

Even at the ages of fourteen and 10 my kids still get excited about my birthday and I still don't mind being woken up at the crack of dawn. And I must say the breakfast fare just gets better and better. Coffee in a new cup from my boy with one of his just baked banana & chocolate muffins. And I had the pleasure of Gracie playing Happy Birthday while I blew out the candle.

Morning treat
new mug and Tristan's muffins

 There were more special gifts too, like this Shrinky Dink necklace G made me.

Necklace gift
by Gracie

Later, instead of the beach, we went to the Michaelmas fair at the village church and met up with friends. That would be the vicar there hiding inside the goose suit.

Vicar-goose
Michaelmas goose fair in the church

The fair gave us a rare chance to climb the bell tower, see the village from above, the Quantocks on one side over to Exmoor and the Blackdown Hills on the other. We were lucky with a super sunny day.

Bell tower
view from the bell tower

Tiny window
tiny window

Edit: oops meant to add this one. We loved this tiny window.

 From the tower
roof

Up the tower
windy at the top

Lovely light
pretty light

Thank you for all those Facebook messages and surprise packages and warmth and good wishes.

Today it's Patty's birthday, love you sis. Then tomorrow it's Dad's, love you too dad.

Hope you have a great week ahead.

Jx


cycling with white gloves

2nd birthday
2nd birthday

I wonder when I gave up the practice of cycling with white gloves while wearing my best dress. White gloves, really mom? How on earth are they white? I'm guessing not long after I got this new trike I was tucking into chocolate cake with banana filling, gloves still on.

If you know my brother Peter you can see he's thinking he could jump on the back, get me going really fast and teach me how to pop a wheelie.

Today my babies are spoiling me with birthday treats. We'll go to the beach with a picnic, meet some friends and do a lot of nothing. Perfect.

...I'll probably leave the white gloves at home though.

Happy Saturday!

Jx



autumn bouquet and getting caught in the rain

Dandy-dahlias

I feel like the luckiest girl. My sweet friend brought me a huge bunch of the prettiest dahlias you've ever seen and, took me to the hair salon. Seems it was time for my grey to go. I was voted out by all who see me on a daily basis, and now that it's done (first time in many, many months) I must say they were right. This sweet friend has been one of many real rocks, and she always goes above and beyond. I'm lucky.
Wet-dog
Yesterday I had one of those walks where it was so sunny when we left and the rain came out of nowhere. Pippi and I waited it out a while under a tree.
New-babe
And today, I got to see another brand new baby alpaca, she was born this morning. I can't believe this petite mama gave birth to such a big girl. Petting a baby alpaca is like touching the clouds, soft and heavenly. Naomi was helping keep the baby warm and encouraging nursing and the mama just kept reaching everywhere to give her new babe kisses, like a human mum I thought.
Can you guess?
Here's a sneakiy peek at the wool related project I have coming up. Can you guess what it might be? I have a feeling one or two of you will.
Happy Friday to you!
Jx

colours, little pal and a winner

Delicate
colours

There were lots of small things to see today on our walk like the colour of light that's changing with the season. I loved todays walk but it was one of those days I found it hard to get myself out. Lucky my little pal is so persuasive, she's smart that way.

Pal
my pal

Dogs are the best for when you're feeling down. They won't take no for an answer when they want a walk. They urge you further even if the rain is coming down and by the time you each reach your stride that heavy feeling lifts. 

I love this excerpt from a "four legged meditation" by Rob Hodgson about his dog Jack, from Oh Comely. I relate precisely to his walks with Jack when I walk with Pippi.

He says

Jack the dog lives in the now. Each thing has his absolute attention for the moment it's in his line of sight. Jack the dog notices each thing new, things I am apt to overlook from familiarity.

For Jack the dog's humbleness and his quiet appreciation he can sometimes break into a run, when perhaps he is overcome by clarity, happy to be alive he is galloping through the pines. 

This simplicity I am always looking for. When you are really free, when clarity gives heed and there is nothing but you and the world, then you are, without destination, Jack the dog bounding through the fields.

Dogs don't question, argue or judge, they're good for the soul. We're lucky to have the space to have one. 

Walking
rolling light

Onto the giveaway winner, it is Margie.

Gracie chose the winner from a hat (actually it was a small pot). I'm very happy to have all of the people who share this space with me from time to time but it's nice the winner is a person who has stuck around even when my posts were very thin on the ground, someone who happens to be a friend too. Gracie smiled as she read out the name, pleased it was a name she recognised. We will post your gifts soon Margie.

Thank you to those who entered, new friends and old. I'll be having a wool giveaway very soon and a wool related tutorial, my first tute in a long time.

Happy weekend!

Jx



books and wool and things

Downy feather
downy feather

A very strange event took place last night. We took a tour of the secondary school where Gracie will join her brother next year. As we wandered around I was picturing my baby rushing through the corridors on her way here and there; knowing this will be the last year of primary education in our family felt odd. But then when we toured the music room and Tristan was there playing for the visitors it felt right, especially when I saw Gracie whispering to her friends "that's my brother on guitar." It will be nice to have them together again in the same school.

Another feather

While I'm not sure I'm ready for my baby to move up it looks like all the mama birds have been nudging their babes out. There were loads of feathers from fledglings on my morning walk yesterday, they must be sensing frost will be here soon so it's time to get a move on.

Awww
awww

We got to visit the gorgeous puppies up the road for the last time this afternoon, they're all off to their new homes. And speaking of gorgeous I'll be telling you more about the wool I've been lucky enough to work with from the friendly sheep and alpacas at the very same farm up the road. I can't seem to stop my needle from bird making, I keep producing feathered friends without really even thinking about it. I'm hoping to organise another giveaway soon, gifting some of this really special roving.

Little wren
tiny wren

On the bedside table at the moment – I just finished reading The Hundred-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson, I can sum it up by saying it's good fun. Think along the lines of a geriatric Forest Gump. I needed something fun after the last book I read, Accordian Crimes by Annie Proulx of Shipping News fame. Not one I could recommend, although I don't mind gritty, I found I didn't care enough about the characters or the plot to like the book very much even though I kept with it. I'm like that with books, I always finish in the hope that at some point I'll discover it's redeeming value even it ends of being just one brilliant line on the very last page. Do you plod through even when you're not enjoying a book? Or do you pick up something new?

I will be drawing a winner tomorrow for the postcards and box of stamps, if you haven't entered, there's still time.

Here's one last gratuitous puppy picture, because I can't get enough of them.

Happy almost weekend. Jx

Bath time


a post inspired giveaway

Postcard giveaway
Old postcards

I finally made it back for the giveaway. I've been so quiet really here in this space that there will probably be very good odds for this giveaway as not too many people may be reading at this point.

First a little about these cards. England has a lot of little places tucked away that really haven't changed much since the 1950's, so the whole vintage thing is easy to fix up around here. In Taunton there is a place that definitely hasn't changed at all in decades, it's a stamp shop creatively names "The Taunton Stamp Shop" and you'll find it along the road on the way to the station. I'd give you a link to it's website but there were no websites in the 1950's.

If you go there, admire the rows and rows of built in drawers with old lucite handles and paper ephemera from floor to ceiling. It may not look like much to most people but I'm guessing if you are a reader of this blog you'd appreciate it too.

While there I came across packs of postcards. They were odd assortments; many very old some as new as 1960's, all interesting in some way but deemed of low value for real collectors so they were bundled and sealed and priced to go. I bought a few packs not knowing what was inside, seeing only the card on top –a real pot luck. When I got them home I studied every one of them, I couldn't put them down. 

Vintage stamp giveaway
Old stamps

Reading the short messages are like snapshots from the lives of strangers. Among them was a card to a child at Great Ormond Street hospital from her Granny and Grandad. Many of the cards were giving notice of upcoming visits, sent long before everyone had phones in their homes. And I found it funny that two themes were very common on most cards, themes most modern postcards might have today, a description of the weather and apologies for having little time to write (actually these topics would now most likely be sent in the form of text messages).

The giveaway 

Postcards 
I've chosen 15 or 20 of my favourite postcards (I haven't counted them). The cards I chose either have nice type styles, lovely images on the fronts, pretty handwriting in the message or they are simply quirky. A few have no messages at all and can still be sent with your own note.

Stamps
Also, a largish matchbox full of old stamps. Though I was in a stamp shop, I bought no stamps, I already have loads of old stamps bought from good boot fairs in the past, even though lots were used with my classes making projects like these.

I hand picked many of the stamps for beautiful art, nature themes, vivid colours and lovely design. A small assortment were just grabbed and tossed in, but I'm sure those will hold gems too. As I studied the stamps I realized creating artwork for a such a small format is a real art in itself. I think most of my favourites are those from Morocco, they have a very Casablancan look.

This giveaway will appeal to those who love paper projects, mixed media, paper stitching or even a to a philatelist.

If you'd like this little gift simply leave a comment on this post about post. I will choose a winner next Friday, the 21st and I will post anywhere.

EDIT: I'll also need your email address in case you win, thanks.

Hope you have a ripping weekend! 

Jx

P.S. Ripping is my new favourite adjective, I found it on many of the postcards.


traffic jams and visiting

Misty-morning
misty morning

When we leave our village there are small hills and valleys to cross to get to most places, this is some of what we see. Little stone bridges, hay piled high...

Big-loads
flying hay

and west country traffic jams. Traffic-jam
traffic jam

And last week we visited old friends who moved to the west country before us, only about an hour away in Devon. We had such a lovely time catching up and being together, I almost secretly scratched my name on the guest room door to claim it as my own.

J-&-J's
I can see your house from here

That's where we stayed, right in the middle of this photo. It's a beautiful place for walking.

Devon-walk
our hosts

Devonshire-creamery
friendly neighbours

Mossy-roots
mossy roots & carved mushroom

I could have stayed a very long time. Kitty probably was very glad to see the back of us though because that meant she didn't have to hide from Pippi anymore.

Cat

Phew, the coast is clear. Thanks J & J, for having us.

Tomorrow we're off to a local village fair. It's supposed to be a great one – lots of music, local ales and local crafts on show. 

Enjoy your Sunday.

Jx

PS, Next week an old fashioned post themed giveaway. It's been a long, long time since my last one :)


doll making, sunlight and cute pups

8 Stitch bonnet copy
corn husk dolly making

Awhile back I collaborated with two young helpers on a corn husk dolly making session. The results of our making can be found in the latest edition of Action Pack. If you've never made corn husk dolls then check it out. My two young helpers loved the how speedy it is to put the dolls together.

Looking back over the issue I couldn't help thinking the style of these dolls would be fun for folksy Thanksgiving table decorations. This Tribal issue of Action Pack can be found here.

GOTRIBAL.cover_.600px
Action Pack

There is loads of good stuff in this issue, but I'm quite sure I've said that about every other issue too. It really is a top magazine and definitely our digital favourite for kids.

We really love the look of these water colour feathers too, these are going on the "to make" list.

DreamCatcher600px

Speaking of water colours, there was more belated card making today. Are you sensing a theme here? Belated is tending to go in front of most things I make these days.

Lettering fun 3
lettering fun

And the gorgeous light this time of year has been restorative, even though my early mornings are now beginning with total darkness. 

Amazing light
early afternoon light

I know, another light on tomatoes picture.

Scrummy puppy
scrummy puppy!

And I'll bid you a happy weekend with this cute pup, because who doesn't like a cute pup?! We stopped on our way home from school to visit friends and cuddle their three little pups. A perfect end to the first week of school I think, that and chocolate too.

Jx 


cards from junk and things

Cards from junk
bits & pieces card

Are you like me? Do you have a really hard time sending shop bought cards? I've got nothing against shop bought cards, many are gorgeous and the truly funny ones I love. But then I wouldn't have just the right place to put the heart leaf Gracie brought me home last week, or a use for the mail order catalogue that I was about to chuck in the recycling. And I might have not found just the right place to use that tiny Liberty scrap and end of the lace piece too. The tiny button with the chipped edge was also begging to be put to use.

So there you have it, a quick card as a "thank-you" to some special friends who recently hosted us and our pup in their lovely home, photos from that visit are lurking on my phone somewhere. It's a little belated, but no less heartfelt just the same.

Bzzz
eeking out the last of summer

Though our little garden is showing the faded signs of summer slipping away, there are still plenty of bees enjoying it. Of course the spiders are out in their early autumn force and enjoying the garden too, especially trapping all the bees!

School haircut
back to school cut

And apparently the girl who cut my boy's hair has something against curls, perhaps they're not cool enough. Whatever the case, I looked away just long enough to miss the fact that "just a trim" means something altogether different to her than to me. While waiting I was taking a moment to return a few emails, when I looked up it was too late, she'd chopped away. Sorry T, next time I'll pay more attention and even though your mother thinks you look gorgeous you're right, she didn't listen!!! 

I reminded Tristan of what an old friend used to say, "You know what the difference is between a good haircut and a bad haircut? Two weeks."

Gracie's return to school has been smoothish, tomorrow Tris goes back too – then it's back to a new routine and working on that old 'P' word again, productivity,

Hope your week is going smoothly too.

Jx


autumn begins with silly hats

Last of summer
The last of the summer images have been snapped recently. Some by the river, more at a party for friends. A party that included the most romantic surprise marriage proposal EVER. Congratulations to Naomi and Scott.
Party on
More of some perfect blooms.
Smells-yummy
But autumn has begun to sneak in. With harvests.
Harvest-time
And apples.
Apple-time
And soup making.
Autumn soup already
And back to school this week, not too soon for this little pup.
Help-me
Because silly hats made from junk out of the recycling bin are not her thing. She's thinking Gracie has too much time on her hands, I'll hide from her between these legs.
Now-what
Now what?
Top-hat
Didn't hide well enough. Zeesh!
Hope your end of summer has been swell.
See you soon,
Jx
PS, Gracie wants you to know that the tiny baseball cap was made with a molded card section from a fruit tray that held peaches and the top hat was made with black card.
Shirring elastic strapped under Pippi's chin kept them each on her head, but then Pippi took them each off about 30 seconds later. Smart dog, disappointed girl.