This year’s new baubles

Hello All

Every year we have a happy little family tradition. We each get a new bauble for the Christmas tree. Consequently we never have a particular colour or style instead we have a hotch potch of all sorts on our tree. Every little trinket telling a story or recalling a memory.

This year I was thinking of buying (eeek!) our 3 new decorations for the tree. Then I got to wondering whether a shop bought  what-not would quite capture the spirit of randomness our annual tree embodies. Don’t get me wrong there are many shop purchases swinging gaily from the needly branches. But most were donated by family or chosen when our small tribe of three were together to select them. From these I remember the people that gifted them or times when my big people were little folk and insistent that a blue elephant fairy would sit comfortably next to Piglet on a peg (what were the school thinking?!).

Rather than battle through the Black Friday…Pink Tuesday…..Lemon Thurdsay…..whatever…..crowds and pick up anything that would get me out of there fast I had a little think. And when I had thunk the idea of needle felted baubles was born. I already had my needle-felting goodies out for the wreath-making-needle-felting-styrofoam adventure (don’t ask!) and was glad to put them to a happier use (I said…don’t ask).

Combining the idea of needle-felted baubles with Wool Buddies I set off. First a Herdwick body DSCI0292 then a little red tummy (you can see where this is going)

a pair of wild Marty Feldman eyes

and there we have him. The scourge of the Christmas garden that feisty little chappy Robin Redbreast. I can’t wait to see him staring out from the branches of our tree. Ok ok he is a bit scary – lucky my children are grown up – but I like to think he’ll make us chuckle. He will dangle perfectly next to the glass painted acetate Santa (we were hard up that year). By the by he is very light which is perfect for hanging from delicate branches.

Next I worked on a scrap of hand-dyed fleece, DSCI0306 and as it reminded me of a stormy sky I added a few stars.

In time honoured fashion I have saved the best for last,

colourful merino tops felted into a ball and then randomly covered with a swirly pattern. Definitely my favourite. I think I have certainly upheld the tree tradition of quirky-ness. Only problem is they are sort of addictive. Can I stop? or will we need a bigger tree?

Before I go. I went to a wonderful leaving ‘do’ at the library on Friday night and as you have had an occasional glimpse of AW’s sugar-craft I thought you might like a peek at her latest creation made for HWh who was leaving the library after an amazing 44 years!

I think you’ll agree it is beautiful. Sweet dreams.

Until next we meet. Moke x

The wreath-making-needle-felting-styrofoam adventure

Hello All

Now if I’d been clever I would have done this logically and kicked off “On the first day of Christmas ….. ” but if I know anything about myself its that I’m not that clever! So here is the start of the wreath-making-needle-felting-styrofoam adventure and it doesn’t begin with (sing along if you want) “A Partridge In a Pear Tree”.

You’ll have guessed that the theme for my wreath is the Twelve Days of Christmas. I was inspired by finding Diane Stretcher’s blog ‘Diane Again’ about the Twelve Days (bring them back!) and the beautiful drawings on the Christmas card produced for Hammersmith Hospital Kidney Patients’ Association (unfortunately I can’t trace the artist!).

I would love to say that I had perfectly emulated the artist’s quirky yet elegant style. We may have to be satisfied with quirky. You’ll see why.

Materials ready,

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equipment to hand.

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Off we go…..

In my innumerate way I started with one of the two turtle doves.

I needle felted this little fellow from the loose tops straight on to the styrofoam ring. It was not as easy as I thought. It was a struggle to concentrate on the bird’s shape while also trying to fix it to the wreath. For my next ‘rough’ – a swan a-swimming – I shaped the swan on my usual foam pad first and then ‘fixed’ it to the ring (sorry for fuzzy felty photo ),

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once the swan was on the wreath I started to add a bit of detail, some wing feathers.

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I used a similar technique to add  a geese (goose!!!)-a-laying.

Don’t ask about the Christmas Tree! it was a moment of madness that I hope I can improve when I add more texture to the piece.

So far so (sort of) good. But I see trouble ahead…..I wish I’d bought a bigger ring because I think I may struggle to fit all twelve symbols on, already my Lord-a-leaping is taking more space than he ought. Ain’t that always the way?! I may have to revert to applying the figures straight onto the styrofoam so I can use up every teeny tiny nook and cranny. Let’s wait and see.

Now it is time to rest my needle-felter’s wrist (that styrofoam is tougher than you’d imagine) and perch my embryo wreath ready for it’s picture being taken.

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Before I go it was a social Saturday yesterday. Thanks to my cousins P and A for a delicious lunch and a small family gathering. It was lovely to see them and their son my Godson with his gorgeous daughter NF. It was very special to have some time together.

One friend is not faring so well. AJ sorry to hear about your broken leg get fixed up with that plate and mend soon. Thinking of you.

Until next we meet, Moke x

There’s nothing better than afternoon tea.

Hello All

How are you all doing? or should I ask what are you all making? I am still enjoying a personal knitting revival.

I have always wanted one of those trendy cable knit cushions. Armed with a beautifully simple pattern, a couple of balls of scrumptious British 100% chunky wool from the newest wool shop in Kendal Izknit and my trusty long 10mm needles off I set and here is the result:

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Just what I wanted. A bonny piece of knitting if I say so myself.

So what next? Here’s a clue …

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Since I found out that you can needle felt onto styrofoam I have wanted to give it a go. It’s coming up to that time of year and my thoughts have turned to a wreath to cheer up the front door. Watch this space and see how I get along with my wreath-making-needle-felting-styrofoam adventure. Catchy title! Any ideas would be truly welcome.

Before I trot a quick thank you to the lovely Rothay Manor Hotel in Ambleside for letting us drop in for afternoon tea on Saturday even though there was a very a polite chalk board sign by the doorway saying they were fully booked. I was going to write that they squeezed us in but there was no squeezing involved as despite already catering for a large party the Rothay staff treated us to the usual wonderful service and delightful tea-time delicacies. Three happy ladies – No 1 daughter, my friend JCK and me – spent a very convivial and relaxed couple of hours cosseted in one of Rothay’s beautiful lounges. Cosily seated on their large comfy sofas and full of edible goodies it was quite a struggle to tear ourselves away. There really is nothing better than afternoon tea. (Psst I’m not paid to say this!)

Until next we meet. Moke x

 

Remembrance

Hello All

Today at the 11th hour we will bow our heads in silent remembrance. I remember sons on opposing sides. My mother’s family my father’s. All those who lost their lives to fight for their countries. The pattern of my day echoed this duality.

My poppy finished.

I walked into town to watch the Remembrance Sunday parade which culminates at Kendal’s War Memorial with a mark of appreciation for the British forces past and present. As my good friends know anything to do with old soldiers makes me cry and there was quite a bit of sniffling on my part as I watched the musicians of the sea cadets drumming through the main street to herald a small corp of young soldiers and the veterans behind them.

It is very moving. The more so as the moment is shared by a large gathering. Children on the shoulders of fathers or ushered to the front of the crowd by mothers. Grandparents whispering to small ears what the ceremony marks.

As I walked home I caught sight of a little memorial created by the toddlers of the nearby nursery,

Despite its sad origin I can’t help but find it a hopeful sight.

Back home it is time to acknowledge my other self as I listen to the radio coverage of the commemorations taking place in Germany today. It is 25 years since the Berlin Wall came down. I remember that period of history vividly as it occurred shortly before the birth of No 1 son and being a superstitious soul I took it as a good omen.

Wars tear families apart in my case it brought mine together. Through the Second World War my father came to this country and met my mother. Even in the darkest of hours thankfully love survives.

Until next we meet. Moke xx

PS For those that would like to know the pattern for the poppy came from one of my old favourites:

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Moke xx

Twinkle Twinkle

Hello All

When I was a library lady one of my favourite tasks was to lead Toddler Tales every Monday morning. It was a great way to start the week. The chaos of little people, parents, grandparents and carers all momentarily calmed by coming together to sing rhymes and listen to stories.

Most beautiful of all was the sharing of nursery rhymes which all the generations could share. Simple couplets so ingrained in our memories that we instantly recall them as soon as the first magic words are said. One such has to be “Twinkle, twinkle little star”. It brings a little tingle to the back of my neck recalling how sweet it was to hear old and young voices combined to sing this lovely poem.

And what brought about this happy memory? Good friend B sent me a link to a crochet pattern! Thanks to a free Moogly pattern you can use up your yarn scraps to make your own little stars.

With a couple of minutes to spare, a few basic tools,

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and even the scrappiest of scrap,
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you can make up a simple decorative star in a trice. Have fun trying different yarns and hook sizes

and perhaps add another point

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to create your own perfect twinkling star.

Ah well time to hook up a few more stars – it’s kind of addictive – and start thinking about presents and cards and all things Christmassy….eeeeekkkk …… maybe I’ll just enjoy making stars and keep Christmas thoughts at bay until December.

 

Until next we meet, Moke x

PS Sorry I vanished last week but my internet went off!!! Zut alors! Mx