Monday, 26 December 2011

Happy Christmas :D

Merry Christmas and Yule Blessings to all my dear blogging friends .

My little heart tree was treated to some fairy lights and looks so adorable that I know I'll have trouble taking the lights off when the time comes!

The tree is pretty much the same as ever, althought some of the fairy lights did pack up a few days ago!

My little home made fairy survived another year in the loft.

I may make some more like her to sell for next year!

Despite being knocked off my feet with a chest infection, I decided that I couldn't cope with Christmas in a kitchen with paint samples all over the walls. The pale blue gave way to warm biscuit, which took a while to grow on me.

Now, however, I love my kitchen and how warm and cosy it feels.

I did run out of time (and energy!) to finish making the curtains though, which is a shame, but they'll be hung in the next day or two.

The blind was easy to make and is so bright and cheery compared to the blue one.

Manchee had a great time Christmas morning and enjoyed the wrapping paper as much as his toys! Can you see my books there on the table. Two new Terry Pratchett books, although I need to buy the first in the series, which means a trip to a bookshop, shame :D

Moomin loved her new t-shirt, which is by Paul Kidby, the newest illustrator for Terry Pratchett. As soon as I saw it, it reminded me of Piper, who likes to think she's this tough!!!

She's actually more naughty than tough! I had to take this picture before removing her from the table, as she looks soooo cute :D

Cotton plays it safe and only sneaks onto a chair, until we're not looking that is :D

So that was my Christmas Day, and I hope you all had as much fun and love in your homes as we did here. May the New Year bring Bright Blessings to your homes and hearts.x

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Under the weather.

I've only managed a couple of days in the Studio this week as I've been poleaxed with a rotten cold. It was my own fault for smugly saying that I've not been unwell for such a long time!!! I have swollen sinuses and a constantly weepy eye which makes for a very difficult time with close up work.

So here is my doll that I finished a few weeks ago. She is based on the Mirror Queen from the Grimm Brothers movie and was for an art challenge on a forum last year. It's taken me until now to finish her as I was stuck on a few simple logistics. A good book on clothes making sorted me out :D

She's wearing a cream silk shirt with a wide scalloped collar, a red corset and overskirt in crushed velvet and her crown is crocheted gold wire. That was possibly the hardest part and was very tough on the fingers! Her hair is black mohair and she's had a trim since these photos because I felt it was a little overwhelming!

Meanwhile, back in the real world, I've been growing herbs on the windowsill in order to have some fresh seasonings throughout the Winter, although at the moment the greenhouse is still producing a lot of the green stuff. Mainly parsley and mint, but I may push my luck with some spinach.

The ripple blanket is such a joy to work on and I'm really pleased with it. I've changed from the pastel shades which will be at either end and am now working in the stronger colours for the middle. It's not a huge blanket, about 129 chains, which is wide enough to cover my legs and any child or pet beside me :D

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Back to work.

I'm back in the Studio tomorrow after a much needed break. I've some great ideas for Christmas gifts and the Christmas card to sort out. Do I go with Unicorns or Hares??? I'll see which I'm happiest with or maybe do both :D

The ripple blanket has progressed in a delightful manner and is keeping my lap warm on these cold winter evenings. It really is starting to feel wintry at night and I'm glad of all things wool to keep me warm and busy.

For now it's hot water bottle time and a quick read of a truly amazing book. The frozen landscapes in 'The Girl with Glass feet' by Ali Shaw has lately been mirrored outside my window before the sun decides whether or not to favour the day. As I snuggle under my covers, this book chills me as much as the falling temperatures. It's beautifully written, and has drawn me into it's mysterious pages, other than that, I'm struggling to describe it. It's not a happy book! Not so far at least :D

On that note, I will away to bed. Good night dear ones :D

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Crochet - Ripple Blanket.

Let me tell you, this is not an easy pattern to start off with and my first attempt was not good! It's a bit of a funny shape and I tracked the problem down to my first row, so the whole lot had to be unpicked. The good thing with crochet is that there's only one loop to keep track of, so unpicking isn't too hard, you just pull :D

My second attempt was much better and I've settled into a lovely ripply rythm with it now. The colours so far are baby pink and magenta and once again, my camera has washed out the vibrancy, but you get the idea.

My papier mache tree is now sitting in the lounge, addorned with my little crochet hearts.

I altered the pattern of the crochet hearts to make them bigger and strung them together below the mantlepiece. I'm so happy with how they look and it's brightened the lounge no end. The ripple blanket will have the same colours as the hearts to bring it all together :D

It's good to take time away from the Studio and put some crafting love into my home. <3

Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas Fairs

This was a busy weekend for us as Friday night was the opening of the large Christmas Fair at Standstead House in Westbourne. It's easily our favourite fair to attend as it's such a gorgeous house and you get to explore rooms that aren't always open to the general public.

Were we excited? Ooooh yes :D

Look how beautiful the house is (sorry for the cars in front, but this was the best picture I could get!).

The horses had bells on their harness and took visitors for moonlit walks around the grounds. Sadly we didn't have the time for this, but there's always next year.

I had a Fair of my own to attend this weekend and made a 'Tim Burton-esque' tree to display some of my painted wooden discs. Here it is half made and on the cooker hob (away from kitties and dog!).

My white hare discs turned out very well and looked so sweet hanging on the tree. Look out for these in the Etsy shop soon.

The stalls were tightly packed into the market and this was the best picture I could get of mine, but you get the idea.

Finally, last week I got around to crocheting together some of the squares from a very old friendship blanket I made with a group of lovely ladies on-line. It's so warm and snuggly and the animals love it as much as we do! The colours are a little washed out in this picture!

It's prompted me to get on with another lap blanket and I'll be using the pattern for the Ripple Blanket on Attic 24. I made a donation in return for this pattern and for her cute little crochet hearts as I feel it's only fair.

Well, back to work for me, but first a cup of tea and some hooky fun :D

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Cleaning paste.

Following on from yesterdays post for Tammie, I thought I'd just share with you a quick little tip for cheap cleaning paste that's free from harmful chemicals and extremely light on the purse!

Into a small pot or glass dish pour a little dish washing liquid, add about a table spoon of bicarbonate of soda and a few drips of water. I also add a squirt of anti bacterial spray which is my only bought cleaning product other than bleach for toilets and drains.

Mix to a creamy paste and use for cleaning sinks, baths showers and worktops. In fact this paste is great for just about any cleaning job, just be careful on plastic or surfaces that mark easily. Rinse well and then buff up with an old towel for an amazing shine.

Another tip for saving money is to buy the bags of soda crystals and add a cupful to your washing machine instead of the expensive brands that reduce limescale. Soda crystals can also replace many other cleaning products too. Mix with white vinegar to shift limescale in sinks or toilets. Leave for an hour or so, scrub and rinse.

I've managed to save so much money now that I'm not buying all the products I used to use and this is kinder to the environment.

Edited to add: Also, to unblock drains or sinks, add a cupful of soda crystals, a half cup of white vinegar and leave for half an hour. Then pour in a kettle full of boiling water and the blockage should clear. I usually need to do this a couple of times for one of our sinks as some of Moomin's hair usually goes down the plug hole where she brushes it in front of the mirror!!!

Friday, 11 November 2011

Beeswax polish.

Just a quick post for Tammie who wanted the recipe for my home made polish. Well, to be honest it was a quick throw together polish that I made up without a great deal of research and I'm sure there are whole websites dedicated to the process :D

I bought some solid beeswax from Ebay but quickly realised that it was too hard to work in to the wood unless I wanted arms like Popeye! Luckily I had some soft shea butter which I melted in a bowl over boiling water, added a lump of the beeswax and then some essential oil. For this mixture I used balsam as it compliments the strong honey smell of the wax. I don't think I actually added any honey to this batch as I thought it would be too sticky! I waited for the mixture to cool a little then poured it into a small round plastic container (an old Christmas pudding bowl). If you use a plastic container, make sure the mixture is cool enough not to melt it. Plastic is good for this recipe though, as you can push the wax out and rub the whole piece onto your furniture and work it well into the grain. A lot of elbow grease is then needed to work it into a shine, finishing with a good buff from a soft cloth.

Hope this helps Tammie :D

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Feel the love.

I took the dog for a very early morning walk today and this is the first time he's ever stuck his head out of the window. What a sudden surge of love I felt. I've wanted a dog for so very long and this boy does all the things I expected (aside from eating other animals pooh, that was a shocker!). He runs with his tongue out, plays fetch, growls and protects me and now sticks his head out of a moving car. Crazy :D

I just love the gorgeous Autumn colours in the woods.

Sadly I didn't get many pictures before the camera battery died, but I did snap these lovely chestnuts. I filled my pockets with some mighty fat little fellows and will blanch and freeze them for Christmas. It feels good to get a start on preparations and free ones are even better :D

I've been very good with my house blessing hours and todays was finishing off my bedroom. This is a very old chest of drawers that I picked up for £20 in the Spring. An amazing bargain I thought, until I stripped off the plastic covering to find it riddled with woodworm! A good soaking in worm treatment and several hours of stripping off vile varnish left me with a delightful little oak unit. You simply cannot buy these pieces of furniture these days unless you're willing to part with mega bucks!!! I've just got to fit the new handles and it's done. Today however, I treated it to a thorough work out with homemade bees wax and honey polish. Look at that shine :D

I also got around to putting my Sun and stars on the wall. These were made by a dear friend that I've sadly lost touch with so I'll have to make the moon myself, haha!

I also had one of those lightbulb moments concerning the apple mountain. The reason I've not tackled it fully is because I simply don't want to!!! Ah well, tomorrow's another day and Fly Lady would not be impressed if she saw the kitchen this week, haha!

Dark Mornings.

Snuggled in front of the fire, sipping hot tea before starting the crazy rush around before school. I love this Season as Autumn drifts into cold, harsh Winter.

Spring was always my favourite season, with it's promise of new life and a hot, reliable Summer. But in recent years Spring has often failed to live up to it's promises with it's hesitations and sudden late frosts blighting young plants.

Summer, well, that's long been an unreliable season leaving human and animals shivering one day and melting the next! This year, Summer hung on as long as possible, like a child trying to dodge bed time. but now that season is fully asleep and we can indulge in our blowy winter walks and nights listening to wind and rain buffeting our little house with it's bedrooms tucked up into the roof.

So I sit here, ready now to start the day and my year has come full circle. As I look back to last year when everything that was secure was thrown into the air like a deck of Alice's playing cards I realise that I've come far and survived much.

I'm ready now for the adventures to come and am looking forward so much to Christmas. I know many people think it's too early to start thinking of presents, but when I have to make and sell them, I need to be ahead of everyone else, so do forgive me as I will be constantly talking about my favourite season. Also, as we are a lot like the poor church mice, this year will definitely be on a budget so you can expect a lot of handy hints and tips on how to save money.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Still here.

I'm still here as the title says, but have been going through some huge changes here at the Studio. The most potentially disastrous was when my darling lap top died last week, taking with it all my work and pictures. Thankfully the hard drive was saved and I'm temporarily using a back up lappy! I must get the pictures downloaded, which will take an age, hence putting it off for so long!!!

Other changes have been to my home and my priorities surrounding the children and animals. Fitting it all in alongside the art work have been a strain, but I'm ruthlessly cutting out unnecessary distractions and getting it done. I can't say I'm feeling the love towards the housework though, but hopefully with Flylady's help I'll find a measure of fulfillment!

There have been problems at our field too and even threats to the safety of the ponies which has caused many sleepless nights, but it's just something I have to find a calm way of dealing with.

Merlin is very good with Manchee, but they are so possesive of me that it causes a few arguments from time to time!

I have a list of work as long as my arm and hopefully it will be worth it, as I have a couple of very large craft fairs to attend. In the meantime, I'm having a house blessing day to catch up with Fly Lady's instructions and then I'll be again tackling the apple mountain that's taking over the kitchen!

So that's a potted version of life here at the Studio. Back to normal soon I hope, plus some new work to share and my latest adventures in Wool Land :D

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Is it a shop?

No it's my wool cupboard stuffed to the gunnels with yummy wool :D

The bottom row is pretty much all the colours I'm using for my winter bedspread, so I'll be needing all of that and more! Sadly the flash makes them look a little washed out, but you get the idea :D

It was such a wild evening last night as huge storm clouds rolled over the field while I tucked the ponies and chickens up in a warm bed.

If you click on this picture you can just see Toffee (on the left)going in to his bed :D

I was glad to get home to a warm kitchen where the last of my tomatoes were roasting down for the freezer. Unlike the beetroots (which were scoffed straight from the tray) these are now packaged up and frozen for pasta sauces and a taste of summer in the cold months ahead.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Holy Mo!!!

I've spent the whole day, from a horribly early hour, looking after a very poorly dog. It would seem that the poor mite has picked up Kennel Cough, despite being vaccinated against the common strain.

I was planning to spend the day preserving my apple mountain and had picked various herbs and accompanying fruits to make all manner of delights. Instead, I've been chasing around with a mop while poor doggy coughs up yukky stuff.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring a quiet time when I can cook up lovely things in the kitchen!

Also, my studio is missing me!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Filled to the brim.

This week couldn't have been more full if I'd filled in the gaps with grains of sand! Trying to solve Storm's problems left me tired and frustrated and then suddenly the decision was taken from me when I asked his current owner for help. I don't know what his future will be, but I know it's not going to be with me. I cannot express my sadness, but that's all I can really say about the matter.

(If you look closely at his back leg closet to me, you can see the swelling, which is a suspected Bog Spavin)

I was also very unwell this week with a tummy bug that just would not quit and go away.
The darling Moomin cooked supper for herself and her brother, when I was at my worst and could not face the kitchen. It was pasta pomodoro and was a huge success :D

I also started my volunteering this week, despite still being a bit wobbly. What a wonderful place to be working. I had to weed and tidy the Wode and herb beds beside one of the round houses. I came home with a head full of ideas and an arm full of woad seeds. Once they're sorted I'll be offering them to people who'd like them for dyeing wool and I'll grow some for my own projects next year.

This lovely cupboard finally got put to good use when I realised that my wool stash was escaping from various containers. It was just too tempting for the kittens and dog and I needed a safer place to store it. I bought the cupboard in the summer and always meant to strip off the old varnish, but that will have to wait! Since I have more room now, I had to pay a visit to my lovely wool shop and the shelves are now crammed with gorgeousness!

The Autumn coloured blanket for my bed is growing nicely, but after a visit to a wonderful blog I've just found, Attic 24, I decided to take a break from browns and reds and go for something a little brighter!

This is just a small corner of it, as it's going to be a mystery item!!! I love the colour combinations :D

Moomin was so inspired by my crochet, that she's begun work on a project of her own. It's already twice the size of this picture and her choice of colours are vibrant and so reflective of her personality. She's never picked up a hook before and I couldn't be more proud of her work :D

The paintings have taken a back seat this week, but ideas are slowly returning and hopefully I'll be back in full swing next week.

Take care all, and thank you for all your lovely and encouraging comments.x

Saturday, 8 October 2011


The story of this young colt is very complicated, so I won't bore you with too many details.
He is very lovely and came into my life on Monday.

Moomin is besotted with him and it would appear that I am too. However, he has health issues and it's quite possible that he'll always be lame or unable to carry a rider.

He has an appointment for an x-ray next week and that's when I know what I'm facing and tough choices will be made, considering that I have barely two copper pennies to rub together! Few people would take on what's essentially a 3 legged horse, but his future would be so grim and likely to be short without intervention.

Fingers crossed for us please :D