Bookshop Bunnies

Hello All

Still here! Miracles will never cease. Good job too as I have a trio of little chums to introduce you to. Back in March my very good friend B and her husband re-located their home and wonderful bookshop, Fireside Bookshop, from the Lakes down to Littlehampton on the south coast.

I was on my blogging ‘sabbatical’ when B moved but shortly after they had established their new shop I sent them a little fellow to remind them of their days in Windermere. DSCI0451 Meet Gerald the first of the Bookshop Bunnies to leave the shelter of the Old Sycamore (handily situated in my garden) and travel to their favourite bookshop.

An opportunity for Gerald to be joined by some of his nearest and dearest has now arisen as B is paying a visit. And a couple of Gerald’s kin decided they would hitch a lift back with her – think the Post Office does not offer the comfort they would like – to join him at Fireside Bookshop.

Nancy has been waiting some time. Counting the days until B’s visit.
DSCI0468But with a little needlefelting on this wonderful Gotland fleece (a purchase from this year’s Woolfest),
DSCI0132she has now been joined by a traveling companion –
DSCI0133wearing a rather natty crochet shawl –
DSCI0135her grandmother Marigold.
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Today – with a small lump in my throat – it is time to say ‘bon voyage’ as they set off on their journey to West Sussex and their new home at Fireside Bookshop.

Good luck Bookshop Bunnies.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Seagulls and Sewing

Hello All

Does anyone else have a problem with seagulls? Not in the sense that they sky dive to eat your cornet of melty ice cream or worse bomb you with an unhealthy dollop of  guano (if you don’t know don’t ask … spare yourself) but in the fact that they are dastardly difficult to draw. For reasons unbeknownst even to me I have taken it into my head that our work space needs to have its own seagull.

Before needle felting I like to do a little drawing. Things did not start well.

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Think my pencilled comments speak for themselves.

Time to take another tack. I felt like I needed to dissect a gull. Not literally of course but photographically. Nothing for it but to take my camera off to Barrow the home to many a European Herring Gull.

As I sat at the bus stop

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I geared myself up to tackle these monstrous birds. No joking they are HUGE. They make the pavement shudder when they come in to land. Boom. But Hitchcock would not be impressed. They turned camera shy.

They either came over all coy

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and turned their backs leaving me with a rather fuzzy picture of a bundle of feathers or

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they sat down on the job! Obviously they are after Equity rates darlings.

Anyhoo as sitting was the best I was going to get time to move on with the lying down gull drawing prep.

DSCI0011At least I won’t have to worry about those pesky fronty-backy knees … watch this space.

The other small fascination for the week has been brought about by a new book purchase.

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I y-e-a-r-n for some new clothes but find it hard to buy the right shape and style for me. Time to revisit my teenage years and make clothes for myself. Luckily I have no photo evidence of any of those wonderful (!) teen creations – if I did would I show them?! Habibe Acikgoz’ book ‘Bold and Beautiful Easy-Sew Clothes’ is filled with stylish asymmetrical patterns and clear instructions and advice.  Appetite suitably whetted let’s have a go.

First job will be scaling up the pattern (gulp) so I needed dot and cross paper (or a lot of sellotape to join together A4 sheets of graph paper). I had been told that there is a very good dress-making fabric shop in Ulverston so off I set.

What a lovely find. Unique Image in Market Street, Ulverston is a proper dress-making shop and yay! it sells dot and cross paper by the metre.

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This is dot and cross paper in case you didn’t know and let’s face it I didn’t until about two days ago. Now its time for a little maths (eeek) and let scaling commence.

If all else fails Unique Image also run project led courses so I may be investing in a full day workshop in their lovely airy sewing room learning how to dress-make from a professional …. I’ll keep you posted.

Until next we meet, Moke x

Do not open before Christmas…

Hello All

I’ve hit a snag. Everything I make at the moment is earmarked as a gift for friends and family. I can’t show anything I’ve made in case pressies are revealed prematurely.

Will you be satisfied with a label?

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A wrapped present?

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A small clutch of parcels?

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No? Baubles will have to save the day.

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Guard Robin is looking after a slowly growing clutch of Christmas Tree decorations. Latest addition a blue ball with yellow spots.

Before I go CONGRATULATIONS to L and D on your wedding yesterday. It was brilliant to be able to join you in your celebrations. All my best wishes for a wonderful future together.

Until next we meet, Moke x

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

 

Frickel Pigs Take Flight

Hello All

Remember last week’s glimpse at my Frickel pig which I was making for Mintfest? Here’s a reminder DSCI0019

As you know I was struggling with the wings. Then inspiration struck (phew) and Frickel was finished DSCI0032

Needle-felting and Linda for whom the pigs are a commemoration saved the day.

I had decided to use needle felting and looked into the style and shape of angel wings. I came up with a design I liked but sadly I thought I would be unlikely to have any pink fleece in the colour that Linda so loved to create them (I am a bit stayed in my colour choices). Nonetheless I went upstairs to my fleecy stash to have a look. Then – lo and behold – peeking out of a basket was an eye catching hint of pink.  Stunned by this brilliantly hued presence I lifted the packet out of the basket and realised that this luscious pink had been gifted to me after Linda died from her collection of wooly goodies! Amazing. Thank you Linda.

Now Frickel has wings to be proud of in colours – I added the turquoise as a tribute to another of Linda’s flamboyant colour favoutites- that Linda loved. Shield your eyes, here he comes….

Wunderbar. If I say so myself. I sculpted the turquoise panels to echo the feathering I had seen in the angel wing pictures. I liked the textured finish.

But now …sniffle….Frickel was ready to fly the nest. Quite a wrench as I’d got attached to the little fellow.

Off I went to Williams Wools DSCI0039

and let him join the other Frickels adorning the wool shop’s window DSCI0033

some of whom could not wait to take flight DSCI0034

They all looked very jolly together and I was glad that Frickel was amongst friends (apologies but the window reflected the road)

I am glad to know that all the money raised from the sale of the Frickels will be donated to Linda’s favourite charities and mark her special event Mintfest 2014.

Until next we meet. Moke x