Roaaarrrrr!!

In our living room we have some original pencil drawings which we bought a few years ago at the National Exhibition of Wildlife Art, which is held every year at Gordale Garden Centre on the Wirral. The drawings are by the excellent artist Jamie Boots.

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The Lookout Post

 

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Restless Slumber

We also have one by Jordan Price from last year, a young artist who was inspired by Jamie.

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Tranquility

 

 

Whenever we go to the exhibition, we wander around and look at all the pictures mumbling to ourselves that maybe we could do it.  We’ve said it for years now and not done anything about it.  Colin started to have a go last year but I’ve never drawn in my life so had no idea where to start..

Towards the end of last year Colin noticed that there was a workshop on wildlife drawing in March taken by none other than Jamie Boots!  He decided he wanted to go so I thought I’d go too for a weekend away doing something different.  I had no expectations and hoped the subject wouldn’t be too complicated for a beginner.  So off we went to Kettering a couple of weeks ago.

There were 15 people at the class, most of which had been to one (or more!) of his workshops before.  On the desk everyone had the same photo of a lion.  We all gathered round while Jamie explained the first part of the drawing – the outline and shading – and then we had to go and make a start.  He then came round everyone individually offering advice, before gathering for the next bit and so on.

Half way through day 1 I had produced this and was feeling rather chuffed with myself….

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The second day was about learning the techniques for filling in the detail.  We weren’t expected to finish the drawing by the end of the two days, but I was even more chuffed with what I’d done by the time we came home.

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I haven’t added a great deal since then but I think you can see there is more detail to the side of the nose, the outline and the chin…..

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I hope to finish it but it may take a while as it is quite time consuming. But having gone not even expecting to draw a cartoon worm, I think I did pretty well.

A couple of sewn things

I joined a sewing class.  Well it’s not exactly a class.  You take along what you would like to work on and then if there are bits of the process you aren’t sure of or haven’t done you ask the teacher, Rachel, for help.  To be honest there hasn’t really been anything I couldn’t have done by myself but it is reassuring to have someone watch what you do and say that you are doing it right.  I only have one more week left so I want to get zips right and tackle a buttonhole.

At the moment I am working on a simple A-line skirt but over the last few weeks I have made some other things.  I made a Dottie Angel dress (Simplicity 1080), using this pattern.

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It is possibly a bit “Little House on the Prairie” but I like it.  At this time pf year I am wearing it as above, with jeans, boots and a long sleeved top, but in the summer I will wear it as a dress.  All the fabrics came from Abakhan and it cost me less than £20 to make.  I need to get some better photos though (where I don’t look so grumpy!!).

I also made some knitting project bags.  These have a square bottom, and I made 6 from 12 fat quarters.

They are going to be on sale at Yarn O’Clock.  I’m very excited to tell you that my friend Anne has opened a brand new yarn shop in Mold, Flintshire.  She has a Facebook page and blog so far and is carrying mostly British yarns.  I went over to help her fill shelves and also to help on her first day of opening.  This is the shop…

She has some Rowan, West Yorkshire Spinners, Jamieson & Smith, John Arbon, Fyberspates, Chester Wool Company, Patons, and KnitPro needles and hooks and other accessories.  She is hoping to get an online shop up too but at the moment is just getting the bricks and mortar shop up and running.  I’m sure she would take a telephone order though.  Please support her, I really want her to be successful.

 

I got my new toy yesterday!

I got a little brother!!  Oh sorry, I mean a little Brother!!  The Brother Innovis-55 to be exact.  I collected it yesterday morning after itching to get it all weekend.IMG_3244

Look at all these flipping’ stitches……

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I brought it home, walked the dog and then finished the bag I’d started last week.  It’s a smallish messenger bag from the Book of Bags.  I used some soft furnishing fabric and some craft cotton from Abakhan.  I’m not sure it is actually big enough for me so may give it away as a gift.

And now I shall attempt some garments again.

Anniversary hearts and birthday flowers

I took a blank white rectangle of card and used a background stamp to add one line in black and two in purple.  I drew around the edge of the card with a black fine-liner pen.

I sprayed purple and red spritzing ink onto white card and then die cut three hearts from the result.  I stuck them along the stamped lines vertically and outlined them with the black pen.

I stamp the greeting and cut it out, inked the edges and stuck it to the card.  Then inked the edges of the card and stuck it to a white card blank and doodled round the edges of that.  I added two purple gems to the sentiment and liquid pearls to the hearts.

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On this one I followed a card in a magazine.  I made a card blank from brown yardstick.  Then cut two patterned papers the same size and doodled around the edges.  I stuck one on the other on the brown card, overlapping.

I then stamped the flowers and fussy cut them out, stuck them on and drew leaves.  I wrote the sentiments and added those.  Finally I put liquid pearls in the centres of the flowers.

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Sewing machines.

I have been sewing the last few days.  Last Friday I went with my friend Anne to Jaycott’s because she wanted to look at sewing machines.  About an hour later we emerged after she had been persuaded by me and the lovely salesman to purchase a Brother fancy-schmancy new machine and an overlocker.  Inspired by this I dug out a book I have – The Book of Bags – and decided that this week would be a sewing week.

I decided to go for an easy pattern to get started again – it’s been about 12 months since I sewed anything – and chose the triangle bag.  After a bi of humming and hawwing over the instructions I came up with this….

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It’s not the most secure bag in the world and not very big.  I think I need to seam down the diagonal bits.  The pattern says to put in a few random stitches but there is a bit of gaping.  It’s ok for holding a book or a small knitting project.

My second project is a small messenger bag.  I am about halfway through, it is lined and has a handle but it needs a flap adding.  I am not continuing with this bag until next week as I am awaiting a new sewing machine!  I was so envious of Anne’s new toys that I popped back to Jaycott’s today and chose a new machine.  My current machine has 20 stitches and you choose the stitch on a big dial, thread the needle by eye – not easy at my age! – and clunk away.  The new one is all computerised and practically does everything for you.  It has loads of stitches, different buttonholes, lettering and the best bit – it threads the needle!!  I passed on the overlocker but did get a free quilting table kit with it.  Not that I’ll be quilting mind.  So I should get it on Monday, they are going to ring me.

This is my old one if anyone is interested.  I’m going to put it on eBay.  To be honest there is nothing wrong with it and it hasn’t been used very much at all.

Version 2

Poor neglected blog!

Hello, are you still out there!  Yikes it’s been a while.

In the meantime I’ve had my back operation, lost my job, and got a new dog!

And I have more time now for crafting.  But somehow my days do seem to involve the everyday tasks like hoovering, washing and the (very) occasional bit of ironing.

I have very little knitting to talk about.  I have been having problems with my finger joints and a dodgy shoulder which are both made worse by knitting so I’ve been avoiding it apart from once a week at knit group, where I get about two rows done when I can take a break from chatting!!  I still have the Merrimack cardigan as my current WIP.  I am just getting to the end of the second sleeve, after which it is a case of joining all the bits up to go onto the hood.

Sadly I no longer work in the yarn shop.  Stash Fine Yarns was bought by a company in Bradford and they closed the Chester shop making us redundant.  I do miss it.  I only worked there two days a week but since it closed I feel I have lost touch with the knitting world.  They have taken on the running of the website under the same name so you can still order but it won’t be me packing the orders or making the tea & coffee anymore😦

We got a new doggy in November.  After much searching and agonising at all the rescue sites and centres we finally got a chocolate Lab from Labrador Rescue North West, the same place as  Susie came from.  A boy this time, he is 4 years old called Rufus.

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He’s been a bit poorly today after eating a bar of soap!!

I think my craft room is about full now, and that’s without the yarn!  Amazing how you grow to fill a space.  I have been making quite a few cards recently.  Here are some of the Christmas cards I made……

And various birthday and random occasion cards……..

I’ll try to do individual posts for future ones, this is just a catch up.

My back operation was a complete success, I have no pain and am back to full movement. They removed the part of the disc that was protruding and I was up and walking within two hours!  It took a month or so until I felt a lot better and I’m now almost weaned off the painkillers.  I don’t need them but can’t just stop after being on them for a year.

So I hope you all have some lovely plans for 2016.  I plan to do more podcasting with Jane at The Baarmygirls Podcast.  Hope you’ll come over and have a listen.  I can’t guarantee a huge amount of knitting content but we have a good giggle.

See you soon!