Monday, January 31, 2011

Crochet a Rainbow

Today's post is to encourage you to join in the Crochet a Rainbow project - started by Sarah London, who does amazing things with the humble granny square, it's all about crocheting squares which then will be made into blankets by Sarah for the people who were affected by the devastating Queensland floods.  Just start hooking away at a 5-round straight forward granny square, in one or multi colours, 8-ply yarn and a 4 mm needle.  The address to send your squares to is sent to you when you sign up.  If you're interested you can find the details here.

As one of the many thousands of thousands of people who watched in horror and helplessness as the flood unfolded across the country from me I wondered what on earth I could do to help.  We've made donations when shopping, gathered up clothes we no longer need to send over, but I still felt kind of helpless.  Then I came across Sarah's amazing idea in another blog, and this seemed so right.  Spreading a little light and love.  That's always needed in the world.  xx

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I'm back - well rested and ready for the New Year ...

Ahhh ... feeling very rejuvenated from this last week off.  I spent last weekend taking a course in Reiki, a natural healing method, and it was beautiful.  I've always been anxious when being part of a group of women due to bad experiences from being at an all girls' school many, many years ago.  But I had no need to worry at all; the women on the course were all like-minded souls and much laughter, tears and stories were shared.  A very special time.

The rest of the week was spent sharing time with my family on a short holiday in Madora Bay before school starts again next week.  Not an X-box in sight :) and what a wonderful time was had by all.  As you can see from the photos, time spent on the beach was refreshing and uplifting.  Time spent in nature is time well spent.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Illustration Friday - Chicken

Part of my New Year 'intentions' is to get back to my sketching and painting.  I love my craft, but I think I may have let myself get distracted by it last year! 

Anyhoo, I've decided to take part in Illustration Friday (at least monthly) as an inspiration to help me start drawing again.  This week's subject was 'chicken' and my first reaction was that I would never be able to draw a chicken.  But then I tried to imagine an illustration for a children's book and that brought to mind a gorgeous, colourful bird.  It also fits in I realize with the fact that I am somewhat of a chicken when it comes to starting new ventures, so I wanted to make my chicken as friendly looking as possible.

Do you think I've succeeded? 

Check out the Illustration Friday site for more awesome artworks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My favourite things

I love this tin - it's perfect for carrying my dressmaking pins.  Also, it's of very sentimental value.  I remember the day mum took us into Barnstaple (in Devon) for late night shopping - it was a real treat.  I was about 18 at the time.  Anyway, I bought a round tin printed to look like a cat and my little doggie tin.  It even went to university with me!  (I lost the bottom part of the cat, so now I only have the head, but it does come in handy for putting cut off ends of threads in when I'm doing embroidery!)

So, as well as providing me with myriad memories, it also started my penchant for collecting pretty tins!  Does anyone else do this?  What's your favourite?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My blogging muse has left the building ...

I wonder what it is that drives page viewings on a blog?  This month's viewings only look to be half as good as last month's.  Strange, hey.  Wonder if there is some kind of science to this blogging lark and I just don't get it?

Just interested that's all, not whinge-ing.

Lots of people have been writing about New Year resolutions, or lack of them.  After writing my lists yesterday of goals and dreams for 2011, I've decided to leave sharing 'intentions' for this year until after the kiddies go back to school and I can concentrate and sort through my thoughts so that I know what my intentions actually are!  One of them will be renovating this blog, think it's time for a new look.

Ho hum, that's all for now folks, inspiration has left me.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Diagonal weaving - at last I understand it!

I made my small hand weaving loom well over a year ago, looked up instructions for weaving on it, couldn't understand said instructions, lacked confidence in my ability and put the loom away in a box.

Today I took it out of its box because I felt like a meditative craft activity; usually knitting fits the bill but it's too hot to have part of a jumper sitting on my lap so I wondered if I could possibly work out the instructions.  After a bit of searching on the web I found my reference site and had another go at weaving, this time armed with pictures as well.

Yay!  I got it!  Well, let's put it this way, I've got it enough to be able to produce a square (just look at it, isn't it beautiful?) but not enough at this point to be able to write a tutorial.  I'll have to let you have the link instead to Spinning Down Under - it's a great site to explore.  And the weaving did the trick - very meditative and relaxing.  Maybe you should give it a go too?  There are instructions on how to make a small loom on the site mentioned above.  Hopefully there will be more weaving adventures throughout 2011!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A day of art and craft - wins against the X-box!

Today I was determined that Little Man would not be a 'screen slave' to the Xbox or computer, so I disturbed him whilst playing his game and asked if he wanted to do some clay work with mum.  Without looking up he said 'later' and carried on playing.  I walked off.  A minute later he came running up to me and said "I'd like to do clay now", and so we did.  And some fantastic little models we made too.  They've got to dry now, before we have another day of painting (yay, more distraction from the dreaded games console!)   I did try to make a whimsical monster, but somehow ended up with an angel like creature with one eye on its face and an eye on each wing - Little Man made them for me and asked me to use them.  That's the thing I love about clay - you may have an idea of what you want to make, but the clay usually has other intentions - it could become anything!

So that was the quick craft - here's a pic of my cross-stitch pin cushion I finally finished yesterday.  My friend in New Zealand gave it to me as a birthday gift back in 2003 and I've been working on it on and off since then!  It's too nice to use as a pin cushion though, I don't want to wreck the stitching, so I've tied it to a lovely gold ribbon and I'll hang it from a door, then everyone can admire it.  And whenever I see it, I can remember my NZ friend and our Monday afternoons spent together crafting.  Sweet memories indeed ....

Donate to the Queensland Flood appeal

I've been feeling a bit helpless watching the news and seeing the scenes of devastation over in Queensland due to the flooding.  One of the best ways to help I think is to provide funds or resources; here are a couple of links:

Here's the official link to the Queensland government website if you would like to make a cash donation.

Pip at Meet-me-at-Mike's has a list of different fund-raisers that are happening - too many to list here, so check out her post here.

Queensland our prayers are with you.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I cannot be creative and organized in the same space!

So tired.  Spent hours doing the bookkeeping data entry.  The (very) small organizational part of my brain enjoyed putting papers into order.  The larger creative part got bored very quickly ... and is now suffering from atrophy!  Can feel a trip to a craft shop coming on to compensate ...

Oh no, hang on, found time to make an ancient grains loaf in my newly fixed breadmaker (yay!)  I'm going to have a slice right now with a cup of tea.  See, all that office stuff made my brain melt and forget about my bread.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Thanks mum!

This is an image from some 'fast' paintings I did a year or so ago. Shows what you can do with a big brush and a couple of colours in a few minutes.

This post, however, is totally unrelated to the image!  It's an ode to my mum really!

I was woken up (too) early this morning by a panicked daughter looking for her work clothes.  Whilst I was dutifully searching for, finding and ironing said clothes I was also mindful of the other tasks I'd already completed prior - getting breakfast for a grumpy Little Man; looking after a poorly husband; finding something for somebody that only I could find ...  Only 'mum'/'wife' could complete these tasks it would seem, and I realized my mum had been doing these duties in her role as Domestic Manager for many, many years without complaint and I'd only in that moment understood what a fabulous job she had done.  (I on the other hand do actually complain quite a lot!  It's a fault of mine I must admit, but I'm too valuable for finding stuff and ironing so everyone lets it go over their heads :) ...)

Thanks mum, I appreciate everything you've done for me, more than you'll ever know xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Bright and breezy

Feeling a lot better today - the temperature drops, my mood goes up!

So a couple of brighter pictures today to make up for the moan yesterday :)

Some jazzy pirate fabric for the roman blind I finished for Little Man's room today.  First time I've made them, I've yet to see how they look actually in the window!

And here's a picture of some gorgeous tulips from last spring - yummy colours - I'm feeling a lot brighter already ...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

S.A.D - Australian style

a doodle from last summer!
It's been an exhausting few days; I just haven't been feeling right because of the hot weather.  This morning it dawned on me that I have a reverse version of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  People usually suffer from it in dull, wet, dreary, neverending miserable weather.  But there must be an opposite too - people whose quality of life is affected because of neverending hot weather?  The way I liken how I feel is to being placed in a box made of lead, that is too small for me, then someone sits on the lid and I'm pressed down and trying to escape this clammy, much too small space.  Yuck.  But that's how I feel.  Must say I've had some relief today as it's been raining and stormy - I can honestly say I feel 'normal' again and I can walk tall.  Bliss, bliss, bliss.

Please don't misunderstand me - I'm not having a whinge, really, it's sometimes difficult to explain to people why I find living in the sun hard work.  My blog friend Sally loves the sun - and feels about the winter the way I do about the summer.  But that's so great that we are all different - it gives us more opportunity to be encouraging and supportive to each other.

So, I will enjoy the rain today, the few days of cool-ish weather forecast for the rest of the week and get through the rest of the summer with the help of my air-conditioning ... and the support of good friends.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sometimes only purple can make it better ...

A grumpy day.  Spent roaming around the house, not having a clue what to do.  40+ degrees today - made worse by having to help measure up for a shed in the back garden - why do men have to do that!  Spent too much time in the full sun - I could shrivel up like the Wicked Witch you know :)

So, how to make it better? Hmm, I know ...

Gin and tonic, lemon and ice in a beautiful, French made (of course, ooh la la), purple glass ...

Feeling cooler already ...

Saturday, January 1, 2011

First post of 2011 - and we have a winner!

I really wanted to write a post on 1.1.11!  It's been a very relaxing day, looking at my book 'At My French Table' by Jane Webster, full of colours, pictures of definite seasons, recipes and that oh-so-chic French style.  Wonderful.  Made a trifle, coloured in some Scooby pictures with the Little Man ... and drew the winner of my New Year Giveaway!

Here's my little tin - Christmas pressie from HB - filled with little slips with names on.

The tin sitting on my beautiful book about France - see what I mean about the colours?
Here's my lovely long-nailed assistant (I'm very jealous!) drawing the lucky name.

And the winner is:

Mandy!!  Congratulations - please e-mail me your address and I will post out in the week! 

Happy New Year everybody!! xx :)