Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Handm@de Fair, Oxford

Went to this craft fair on Sunday, it was really fab, such a wide range of handmade items, if I had lots of money I would have gone mad and bought tons of stuff! I especially liked Mondo's monsters, which I have been dropping hints about to the Other Half for Xmas ideas! So fingers crossed. The crochet and knitted items really made me very envious! I am so going to keep at it!
Please visit this link, this is a great idea to help Mum's by sending handmade baby caps to Haiti.
A great idea from SouleMama, whose blog I absolutely love:

Halloween and other things going on...

A rather jolly pumpkin!!

Courtesy of Grampy, who didn't want it too scary apparently!

This is Aeryn's Halloween robot costume, almost finished, thank goodness for foil and glue!

Then we made a chart of simple flash card words using a magnetic photo holder, Aeryn is learning to read so I thought it would help to have simple words/letters around. The cards are from the Oxford Reading Tree, which is a great teaching resource, I'm just sorry they're not using it at her school.

This is THE simple cat hat I've been knitting for Aeryn as my first knitting project, I've now finished and cast off but am struggling to get the mattress stitch neat on sewing together, so am going to practice on a spare bit first! I'm quite happy with it, I've enjoyed seeing it grow and it is simple but as feared I'm not very neat and I dropped quite a few stitches!! Still I'm hoping with practice that both these things will get better!!

And this is my project for my textile evening course, we were asked to choose a landscape so I've chosen a London cityscape and painted a background onto a piece of secondhand linen (from Oxfam, it used to be an antimacassar!!) and now I've appliqued on geometric shapes for the buildings, next is lots of stitch work to build up texture and shape. I'm enjoying the course, it's quite relaxed and no homework is expected, which is good as I've struggled to get going, I've felt a bit hesitant to get going as my stitching is not great, but as above practice makes perfect!

I've only just got back online properly after three weeks of intermittent access due to faulty power adapters, fingers crossed this latest one will survive! Thanks to Sony Vaio helpdesk for their replacements!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Getting ready for Halloween

Bats and black paint, this year as I'm home more at the moment I thought we'd make more of an effort to have fun at Halloween, so I donwloaded a free bat template, cut them out of cereal boxes and got the kiddlies to paint! Kira ended up painting her hands and arms black, she looked like a coal miner!! Aeryn decorated her Halloween costume, which she decided is going to be a robot (!), so lots of gluing with foil.

And then off to the park for a pre-dinner play, then home for sausages for tea oh and a Dora episode!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Autumn days

IMG_0604, originally uploaded by blackdoganna.

I do love autumnal mornings, cold but sunny, a nip in the air, mist burning away, glove wearing weather, but the clear beautiful light makes a serene happy glow and the day can only get better.
It's also the time of year when you know to make the most of good weather days!
So after school was over for the morning, we headed off to 'The Forest'...

This is actually Harcourt Arboretum at Nuneham Courtenay near Oxford and it's well worth a visit, the kids can roam about, hide under bushes and collect leaves and fir cones etc.

Even though it's next to a major road, it's so tranquil and restful, just hearing all the birdsong today with the sunshine was a real pick-me-up. We had a nice picnic and even saw a butterfly, which has sadly become a rarity in our area.

Then it was time to head home when small legs were tired, but the fun didn't stop there as the kids then had a great time gluing all the treasures (pine needles, leaves etc) to make autumn pictures.

I realised how little crafty things I've done with my youngest, as she was well away, stayed at the activity much longer than her sister, I know that at nursery she was always reported as loving gluing, well now I know! Her mark making has also improved, more circular shapes now. I shall really have to make an effort to set out more craft activities that she can do too.

Homemade Christmas cards are definately on the agenda!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

building up a stash

IMG_0337, originally uploaded by blackdoganna.

Ooo, I love charity shops!
They're my first port of call for building up my resources, fabric's (old bedding is great), wool, knitting needles, crochet hooks and craft books, are all to be found for the diligent rummager!

Which when you're short of funds for luxury items means you can still have fun! There's quite a good few in my town and I've also just found Orinoco - the scrapstore in Oxford, which has loads of crafty items which have been saved from landfill and a bag full of booty is only £2!

I got several balls of wool from here (all this odd bits of wool etc are excellant for practising with and no guilt about spending money on expensive new wool when the knitting/project turns out as a disaster!), one of them being an easy ball of double knitting in cerise so I'm knitting a beginner's hat at the moment - 'cat hat' pattern from the book that has taught me to knit - it's actually a childrens book, (Usborne - How to Knit) but it's nice and simple, good illustrations and tasteful easy projects to give confidence! (An mp3 cosy is next!)
I'l post photos soon, as always it lacks neatness, but I'm sure with practice I'll get better!

I've also started a stiched textiles course which I'll update about in ny next entry!

Oh and the bread making is going great guns, I haven't bought a loaf since!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

First Bread

IMG_0341, originally uploaded by blackdoganna.

Fingers crossed, the girls and I are hoping to make our first homemade loaf tomorrow!
We will be using a bread machine, I hope that's not too naughty but I think it's a good start.
I just hope it's eatable!
Results will be posted tomorrow!

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Thursday, 18 September 2008

Nimble Fingers

Nimble Fingers, originally uploaded by blackdoganna.

Had to post this, I picked this up in one of our local charity shops yesterday it's a vintage 70's sewing magazine, with all the patterns of knitting, sewing and crochet, I think some of them look quite contemporary! If only I could sew properly I'd love to run one up...a future project me thinks!

Unfinshed Projects

IMG_0335, originally uploaded by blackdoganna.

I don't know about you but I seem to have unfinished projects squirreled away, mostly all cross stitch. After the initial excitement has worn off, all longish projects seem to go through a 'quiet' period and once it's been put down I find it hard to make myself pick it up and finish it again.

I did a birth sampler for my first daughter, started it during pregnancy......and finished it when she was two!! I haven't even got daughter #2's out of the wrapper!
So I think I need to tackle this and also make this blog work for me, so I'm going to post pictures of all unfinished projects to shame me! I think I might also give myself a little incentive too, a metre of new fabric for every one finished?! (I'm desperate to get a fabric stash going, but it all seems so expensive and I can't justify the out-lay for no good reason when money's tight!)

So this is the first one I've uncovered, a rag doll that needs the dress finishing with a design on the back and the teddy that needs just one more colour to inject a bit of interest, these will then be Christmas presents as I intended them to be in 2006! I'll keep progress updated and also dig out the other projects that are lurking....!

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

All the fun of the Fair

Ahh, the fair came to town...the noise, the music, the smells....
Having lived in my hometown all my life, there are a lot of memories of going to the annual fair and now taking my own children it's really lovely seeing the excitement on their faces.
It's a real community event, it seems as though everyone from the town comes and you can't help walking around seeing people you recognise that you may not have seen for years, that's the other nice thing about living in your hometown.
Aeryn thoroughly enjoyed it all, she never fails to amaze me with her lack of fear and confidence in wanting to go on anything, I guess I should learn from her, she really is Holding my Hand in showing me life and teaching me.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

I saw these berries on the way home from picking my eldest daughter Aeryn up from a Birthday party, (holding Mummy's hand incidentally - hence the name! - it's one of my favourite Mummy things, holding a small hand and chatting, time seems to slow down and I enjoy the moment) and I loved the shiny redness of them. I pictured them being on a possible blog and being the start of photographing what I see to stimulate ideas and thoughts.

First Post

Well, this is the first post of my first blog and I suppose I should list what I hope to do here and why I'm doing this.
I have been a lurker of lots of crafting blogs lately and they've all really inspired me and got me fired up to actually get on with doing stuff that I keep meaning to and putting off.
I've always liked art, craft and sewing but since uni and having kids I'd lost the drive and motivation for doing things.
I don't know about you but after a day of being at work or with the kids, in the evening I'm not usually good for anything, I like to crawl into bed after doing chores with a cup of tea and even then I usually fall asleep before drinking it!
But earlier this year I made an effort to sign up for a photography evening class and I really enjoyed it, I wasn't too tired after work and I really enjoyed having that creative time to myself.

So I hope to keep my creative brain ticking over, first up I've found out lots of great crafting ideas on-line, I've bought a sketch book for ideas, I'm trying to carry my compact camera around wherever I go for documenting inspiration and I've just started learning to knit and crochet! I hope this blog will give me a reason for doing all this, for keeping me going and providing an outlet, like an on-line sketchbook.

So fingers crossed and I shall see where this journey takes me....