Friday, 29 June 2012

Gonk Services

Yesterday the sun shone and I had a whole day off work with the Buns. I've got to make the time up next week, but it might be raining again by then mightn't it. As it was the County Show the school's in Norfolk get closed and then we can all visit. Shame it's so darned expensive as we used to love going along to see all the wonderful animals. Instead we headed off with grandma to a beautiful wood that has the broads running through it. Lots of bridge crossing and pooh sticks competitions before we had our picnic and then a boat ride round the broad.


The Bun's chose pencils and rubbers from the shop and I got the head spinning, ball swizzling sea lion just for me. Mr Bun was meant to join us, but he ended up at the Norfolk Show for two days promoting his project instead. He's got a lot to shout about mind you as his educational business, Blue Cat Initiative, won the LSIS Provider of the Year last week for Adult work based learning at an awards ceremony in London.  

This morning when I got back from the dropping the Bun's off at school I found a few Gonks watching me. It's taken me most of the day to remember what they were called. If you were a child of the 70's I bet you stuck a few of these here and there. Mr Bun came home from the show with these and a ton of cheese, but he couldn't smuggle the donkey he fell in love with out.


Now I've been a busy bee today. I've been cutting, ironing and taking pictures of tons of fabric to list in my etsy shop as I've had a few requests for bits and bobs. I always take some along to sell on my market stalls, but this is the first time I've added some to etsy to share further around.


I've even added one or two pieces of my most favourite ever ever fabric.


Now that I've sorted all of this out it's really time to get stitching and finishing things ready for Little Vintage Lover on Sunday in Heydon. I have been rather distracted by crochet again though as I got a great book in the week which has really inspired me.


I'm having a go at tiny crochet pieces using embroidery threads to make a necklace full of flowers, buttons and bits.


After fiddling with other colours, I've finally settled on my favourite blue and yellows once more.


Then last night I started on a selection of shapes to make a new garland. I lost badly playing swingball so I settled down with my basket and hook instead. We all stayed outside until 8 o'clock. This June that's a rare thing indeed. It's been heavenly the last few evenings to be out there playing ball and relaxing with a fine drink or two. While Little Bun had her bath I hooked a few more shapes which I'd taken from much larger pieces of a cardigan pattern.


Now I've got about another hours stitching left so I'll be off. Here's to a lovely sun filled weekend to you all.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Making Monday

As usual on a Monday I try and fit too much in. It's the end of my four days off and the world of teaching beckons me once more. Somehow I did fit in most of the things I planned. The clock ticked along good and slow which helped a lot.


I chopped a few half metre squares to add to my wares at this Sunday's Little Vintage Love Fair in Heydon. I was also thinking about adding a few to my etsy shop.  Let's hope the light's better on Friday and then I can get some good pictures of them rather than the fuzzy wuzzy light of today.


For a very (and I mean very) brief moment - the sun shone this morning. Alfie Blue lay by my side on his new doggie cushion. I'd saved up the fabric for an age and never knew what to do with it, then I realised it was the perfect way to pretty up the old pillow Alfie rests his weary head on in the kitchen.

Before I carry on with the rest of my Monday tale, I need to tell you I've finally sorted out my Craft it Forward once more. For all of you who already left your names on the original post, your names will go in the hat still. For any new readers who might want to take part I'll quickly remind you what's involved. Leave your name at the bottom of this post to enter and create a link from your blog back to this one to share the idea around. There will be two chances to win. I'm offering the choice of a Floral Posy brooch, a Whoopie Doo Pincushion or a Jolly Good Egg Cosy. Once I've sent your gift on, along with a few crafty bits and bobs, ot would be great if you could share the making around by setting up your own Craft it Forward too. End date is now Monday 2 July.


I spent a happy morning finishing up the dress I'd started for Miss Rosey on Sunday. She chose the purple sheeting which I'd thought would be ideal for Little Bun. Now they both want clothes in this so I might do a von Trapp family collection with a shirt or tie for Mr Bun and dresses for us three.


I used a free pattern I'd had a while, probably from a magazine that cost a fortune. Turns out it's a fabulous pattern. Easy to use, loads of useful dressmaking tips that I'd not known about and the best bit of all was that it actually fitted Miss Rosey like a glove. The relief of that was huge as most of my dressmaking adventures involve me making things far too big or too small and then having to make radical changes to the whole thing.


Mind you it wasn't all plain sailing to start with. I measured Miss Rosey and decided she would need a size 12. That's when I saw the pattern was size 14 - 22, so I had to scale the whole thing down as best I could. 

At nearly 12 and hitting 6ft 1" like her mumma, she's a blondie much slimmer version of the old gal. She's still very much a young girl still and so I struggle to find clothes that suit her individual style which is great already, aren't too grown-up and actually fit. That's why I re-discovered the love of dressmaking again.


Once I'd got all my pattern pieces chopped up it was fairly plain sailing. I did my own thing a few times too. I hate doing anything exactly as the instructions say and always want to go my own way. I added a pretty floral binding to the armholes, stitched a bow to the front (although I was originally planning a belt tied with one of my lovely vintage buckles) and folded the fabric out rather than in on the front to deal with the smaller chestiness.


I never learnt how to do any of this properly. I started off by cobbling together clothes and school uniforms for my Sindy and Sweet April. Mum knitted their jumpers which were so tiny it was a marvel to me how she managed to make them. Then after a run at art college printing tons of fabric, I needed to make it into something for my final show. My mum got out her ancient Singer and taught me the ways of the machine. I learnt how to make collars, cuffs, darts and waistbands all from just jumping in and having a go. It was all pretty thrown together. Mind you when you need a puffball skirt there and then to go clubbing that night it doesn't really matter if it's wonky and lined with an old duvet cover.


All these years on and I'm now trying to learn more about the art of dressmaking. Most things I realise I'm doing ok, but other stuff is a joy to find out and is making it so much easier for me.

Miss Rosey was thrilled with her dress when she got home. It still needed hemming which needed her to make sure it was short enough for her, but long enough for mummy! She loved making modelly poses and whirled and twirled.


I'm so proud of my first ever concealed zip and the fact that the dress actually fits. I'm definately going to be making more of these as it's a dream of a dress.


After my morning of stitching I ended up in a charity shop clutching The Far Pavillions DVD, some letraset sheets and a shiny shelac deer. Then a quick visit to the yarn shop, a coffee and a natter in there, before the school run, playing at the park and then tea. I think I managed to fit in all I'd hoped for.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Naughtiness & Stuff

There's a lot of words to choose from that make me feel happy, make me feel good and really just say it perfectly when no other word will do. Stuff is one of them. It covers a vast amount of things and actions. Buying stuff, making stuff and doing stuff. Great if I feel vague or just want to sum it all up in one word. Another word I love is naughty. It smacks of childish British humour to me that just makes you giggle about nothing in particular. You can be slightly naughty or very naughty which adds to its appeal. To me being naughty is really the opposite of what it means because really it's the act of doing something perfectly harmless or fantastic. It's something we just can't stop ourselves from doing. Today I've been slightly naughty and bought lots of stuff. Then there are the two generous bloggers who have joined me in the act of being slightly naughty and sent me surprise stuff too.

When I got home from my shopping expedition today, I dumped my bags down for a mo. Alfie knew there were sweeties hiding in one of the bags so he turned his begging face on me.


Jane had warned me to look out for Mr Postie and Cuckoo had asked for my address so I knew something was afoot and then all that goodness from them turned up together.

Jane had wrapped up a bundle of fabric loveliness which she said was sure to get my crafty cogs going again.


How could they not? Towelling, fabric and scraps and some kiddywinks. I think these were called Holly Hobby (if my brain is working right) and they're the same as the stickers I used to collect when I was Little Bun's age to put my sticker book. Little Bun loves this fabric and has asked so nicely is she can have something made from it.


Just look at what Cuckoo made for me from scraps from Jane. We seem to be in our own very wonderful crafty universe supporting one another in more ways than I could ever have imagined when I started writing Bobo Bun.


Such a pretty patchy wee doll that tells me to do the most important things in life - Live Laugh Love. Think I can do that you know. There was one more gift in that parcel, but that was for the Bun's so I had to wait patiently to find out what was in there. Apart from just how exciting it is to come home to presents when it's not my birthday, it's beyond words to know what wonderful people there are out there who I really hope I do get to meet one of these days.


Well now it's time to show you my naughtiness. After chatting about charity shops and then mentioning Vintage Mischief which opened up in the nearest market town, I had no choice, but to go over there for a rootle around. On a stand I found the most gorgeous vintage wrapping paper. I got it in purple too. I'll be buying some Mod Podge (if that's what it's called, I know what I mean) soon and I have ideas for it.


Underneath there's a butter coloured snowflake pyrex dish.  I preferred the aqua, but was sold on the divider bit. Can feel a veggie roast coming on with tons of crispy potatoes and buttery veg. The real naughtiness came in my total inability to stop grabbing loads of fabric. How ever could I have resisted to be honest. 





A tin I'd spied before was still waiting to be re-homed so I grabbed that too. I must say in my defence I was strong and didn't look around the rest of the place as I knew I was in a weak and easily tempted mood. After that I headed off to the market to pick up sweets for the Bun's and weekend fruit.


Once I'd got home and opened parcels I curled up for a wee while to eat my lunch and read a bit more of my latest book. I'm showing it to you as I'm absolutely loving it. I always try to alternate between proper deep, learning something books and then light and fun books. My absolute favourites are historical family saga's where a secret from the past gets discovered. This one is a bit like that, with such well drawn convincing and funny characters alongside descriptions of sweets and an old fashioned sweetshop into the bargain too. I'll be looking out for more of this authors books once I've finished this one.


Mind you there we have my next more sensible read lined up, although it does sound good (the problem with being an ex-literature lecturer is that I get strict with myself if I only read bubblegum stuff).  What do you think of the roses? As they were all drooping in the silly heavy rain, I rescued them so they could be appreciated as I can't see us sitting in the garden anytime soon. The pale one at the back smells of sherbet and is from Miss Rosey's rose bush planted at her birth. It's moved from Brighton to Beccles and then to here. Dug up again and again and still thriving like her.



Aswell as the delicious home grown roses, I filled another pot with some pinks I got from the market for a healthy £1. The least naughty part of my spendies today.


Weekend plans, apart from the dull and need to do stuff is a bout of much needed stitching. I want to turn some of that lovely new fabric into a dress for Miss Rosey which she's already drawn up plans for.


I also have a cushion to make and some bags to stitch for next Sundays Little Vintage Lover in Heydon. I'll be selling indoors if you're about those parts. Be good to see you.


I'm off now, so I'll see you sometimes soon.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Finding the Joy of the Yarn

Sometime last week a friend of mine plonked a book in front of me. They thought it might get me hooking again. I'd looked at this book and liked it before, but not enough to buy it. This time it was from a bookclub and it was only £4 so I paid up and it was mine. My friend was right in her thinking because Nicki Trench's Cute & Easy Crochet did inspire me to get going again.


It turns out I have a few other Nicki Trench books alongside this one that are waiting to be dipped into aswell. Colourful fabrics and yarny thoughts are starting to fill my head once more.


I added to my Amy Butler stash to have a go at the large Granny Bag in the book. My work bag has completely fallen to pieces as I have to lug far too much paperwork around. Making a joyful one to take into work might even inspire a new generation of happy hookers.


As always though, once I get going I start flitting from one thing to another. That work bag might have to wait for the Autumn term to get finished (even though it seems like we're in the autumn term). I needed lots of colour fixes so I grabbed a load of my acrylic stash and fiddled about with a few Granny squares. I'm determined that one day I'll have a Granny blankie of my own.


Then I picked up the cotton and set to on another garland. Something simple that should or will be finished before everything else I've started?


Then there are the things that I started a while back. There's the hexie plates quilt, the jumper and dress for Miss Rosey and the Japanese Flower Wrap I intended for my mum's birthday (which has been and gone). I chose the softest silk mix yarn in a range of neutral and blue shades. I had sea glass in my head when I was choosing these colours.


On my trolley of joy there's even more new fabric to tempt me to make a new thing or two.  Hidden away at the back is a small pile of vintage towelling I bought from Maartje a few weeks back. A bobble trim is all they need and I have a few more gorgeous handtowels.


Then there's the everlasting question of what to do with the feedsack patchwork I stitched up one morning a while back. Seems like I've a few odds and sods to get me started on my crafty way doesn't it. I've made no plans for Friday when I have a whole long day free to me with the Bun's at drama after school. I've been sociable for the last few weeks, now I fancy getting my head down to some making and singing along to the radio.


See you later in the week when I just might have something finished to show you, you never know.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Brownies Make Things

The Bun's had a rummage around at my folks house and came back with my old Brownie Guide Handbook. I always loved the book far more than I ever enjoyed being a Brownie. The best bit of Brownies for me was the tuckshop. I'd buy jelly worms, gobstoppers and bubblegum all for 5p.

Looking through my handbook it seems Brownies are pretty much crafty bloggers in the making.


I made my Brownie promise all those years ago and then the Bun's joined in too and became Brownies for a wee while. It never seemed as much fun to me as modern Health & Safety had done away with the tuckshop.
 

I've added my Brownie Handbook to my pile of books to inspire me from the library. I've grabbed some gardening books, one about paper folding and one for Little Bun who wants to learn about watercolour painting alongside finding out more about her new interest myths and legend. We grabbed Brewers Dictionary of Myths & Legends of our bookshelf and sent her to bed with stories of Sirens and thwarted lovers. Her favourite so far is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. I think we have another hopeless romantic in our family.


Alongside all the new books are the flowers mum gave me. I asked to have freesias at dad's wake as he loved flowers and they're mum's favourite so they were dotted around the room and then came home with me.


Now a few weeks back I set up a Craft it Forward and then understandably it was all forgotten about. I want to get that up and running again so when I next post I'll remind you about it all once more.  I'll set it up with a new end date and a chance for those of you who didn't enter to have a go if you want.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Just Being and Thinking

I'm not too sure where to start. My blogging voice has been silent for a few weeks. Since the day my dad died I've had no desire to create.  All the things that usually fill me with excitement, joy and contentment have seemed irrelevant. This morning though I baked a chocolate cake the minute I got up and felt a small temptation to plan a new crochet project.


I've got two days off at the start of this week. The first on my own for quite a while now which I need. I'm not sure yet if I'm going to try sewing or buy some paint to throw at the walls of our bedroom. I've changed and the way I see life has changed. I need some time to start feeling excited by the small details in life once more.


That's not to say life hasn't been without laughter. There's been plenty of that. We even went on a treasure finding hunt this week and came home with yet more china.


Dad's funeral was this week.  The Bun's were away on their first ever school trip the week before so we had to wait. The timing was dreadful, we missed them so much, worried a lot and needn't have done. They were beyond excited about going and had a fabulous time away doing amazing things.

This weekend we dipped our toes back into the busyness of the real world.  We headed off to take the Buns on one of our history walks around Norwich. We showed them where the Beatles had played and queued for chips, looked for the Green Man in the cathedral and then headed off to Biddy's Tea Rooms for afternoon tea. While we waited for a table, Little Bun had a flick through a 1967 Mandy we bought for her in Oxfam. I had Tammy delivered when I was her age. The paper boy used to write notes to me inside the front cover. Mum would read them out to me, while I cringed with embarassment. 


We've been surrounded by some wonderful friends who have shown us a lot of love these past few weeks. I got to talk to my sweetest friend in Oz one evening which made it all seem so much more bearable. I've been truly touched by all of your caring words to me here and emails that I've received. Cards and letters that mum has received write of what a kind, true and wonderful man my dad was who treated everyone the same. He ran his life the way he wanted, never conforming to the rules. He loved his life and always lived in the present, dreaming of the future. After 70 years of playing golf he still had ambitions to get back on the course once more. His body aged, but his head was that of a man in his 40's. It feels as if he's just left the room and I wonder if that's how it will always feel. I hope so because my head can make sense of that.