Friday, 29 January 2010
Thursday, 28 January 2010
Just above the sheep on the horizon you may be able to make out a brighter patch - that is the sea shining in the sunlight way over there too.
It seemed not to be the best of days for us since we had arrived at the Craft Centre for a coffee prior to our walk only to find it closed for stocktaking. Since we had planned to return to the Craft Centre after our walk for lunch that plan had to be rethought and we decided to drive to the next village for a pub lunch but discovered that the pub there was closed too or at least there were no cars in the car park and it didn't look inviting so we took it to be closed (didn't actually get out of the car to try the door). Ended up somewhere else altogether at another pub and the drive there was lovely as the sun came out and the countryside was beautiful and the soup lunch was good so "all was well that ended well"!
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Sunday, 24 January 2010
Today I made the lining for the crochet bag. Shaping the base was not easy - I probably should have cut a circle and made a fitted base but I thought I'd try just gathering it together and then as I was left with a centre of raw edges I covered those with a small patch - this will not be visible once the lining is in the bag as the base is crocheted in double crochet.
Then I needed to line the lining - if you know what I mean. I realised that the gathered method would leave too many wrinkles in the base of the bag in which small items might get lost so this time I tried folding the edges into points towards the centre and stitching them down (not very neatly I fear).
I stitched the blue lining to the bag and then stitched the inner lining to both bag and blue lining. It worked well I think.
Now the bag is finished although I did wonder whether to trim it with a flower made by crocheting a pink flower and adding a fabric layer to it - what do you think?
As always happens when making anything without a pattern or without thinking it through properly I realise now that I could have done things differently and achieved a better finish - but this is the prototype - I don't think I'll make any more though!
Many thanks to all those bloggers who have been kind enough to leave comments on my previous posts - I read them all and take heed of what you say and endeavour to respond to them but time is of the essence and it doesn't always happen I'm afraid. But I really do appreciate them all..
Tell me why it is that gold medalist who has a perfectly good bowl of fresh water always available in the kitchen insists on having a bath run for him? He usually likes to take his drink from the dish put out for the birds or since the snowy weather he has decided that the bath is a better option!
Thursday, 21 January 2010
I started on my fingerless mittens using the Rowan yarn I mentioned but I am not at all sure I like the colour scheme even though I liked the balls of wool together so have rather lost interest in these!
Monday, 18 January 2010
Wassailing ceremonies take place in January when the apple orchards are "toasted" to ensure a good crop. The biggest and best tree - the Apple Tree Man - is selected and cider is poured over its roots and pieces of cider soaked toast placed in the forks of its branches to ensure a good crop. Wassailing is an ancient folk tradition here in Somerset which is cider country. Some of you may remember the advert for Coates cider which had a song saying "Coates comes up from Zummerset where the cider apples grow" ?
There was a huge bonfire round which the crowd of several hundred gathered - the sky was clear and the stars absolutely amazing.
The blackened faces apparently significant as a disguise since in olden times the dancing and begging was not allowed and with blackened faces the danceers might not be recognised for who they were since many of them might be begging from their employers!
There were several people wearing these decorated hats - not quite sure of the significance of these but thought them very decorative.
There was also a mummer's play which although we didn't have a very good view there being so many spectators was really funny. A Mummer's play is often about St George and in this case St George was killed by the evil one who spoke of bringing down a plague bankers' bonuses, swine flu, global warming and so on! Of course St George was revived and all was well in the end. St George's mother a burly bloke in drag attacked the evil one with her big red handbag and raised a big laugh!
More Morris dancing this time without their dark coats - this is more like Morris dancing as I know it from summer fetes and the like!
Then came a band which was surprisingly good and extremely loud - no doubt to represent the banging of saucepans and so on which was the original noise and was intended to frighten off any evil spirits from the orchard in times past.
And finally after following a procession to the orchard the largest oldest tree Apple Tree Man was blest. This involved pouring cider over its roots - in olden times I understand this would have been the must left after the making of the cider - and then taking a piece of toast (why toast and not bread I have no idea) and dipping it in to the cider and then lifting children up to place the soaked toast squares in the forks of the brances of the tree to encourage the robins - and other birds no doubt - to eat there and thus to keep the insects away from the trees.
Sunday, 17 January 2010
I have continued with the crochet bag and as you can see it is all but finished apart from the lining - however I discovered that when I made the holes for threading the cord I should have had an even number and not the odd number I ended up with as now both ends of the cord come out at the same hole. May have to unpick the last few rows of crochet and redo that especially as I was planning to have 2 cords coming out at opposite sides of the bag. As Lesley said "Some you win some you don't!!
I also discovered that the materials I had thought to use for the lining really didn't show up well through the mesh so am wondering if this one might be better - what do you think?
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Thinking about my little plant reminded me that the other day I came across some pictures and a piece of writing I had done some years ago when I joined a Creative Writing group with the U3A and I thought I'd share both with you today - if you are interested? If not skip to the final paragraph!
I think I must have been a gardener or perhaps a florist in an earlier life as it is flowers that evoke my childhood more than anything else. Sorting through some postcards recently I came upon one showing a clump of snowdrops and I was immediately transported back to the 1950s. My mother and I were living at that time with my grandfather who still lived in the house in the Forest of Dean in which my mother grew up. Many of mother's aunts and uncles still also lived in the area and it was a regular outing of ours to go and visit Uncle Sid and occasionally Aunty Ede who both lived a short distance away in the little hamlet of Pope's Hill. We usually walked there passing through the village of Littledean where my mother's mother was buried in the little churchyard behind the Methodist Chapel. Sometimes we would stop off there to put flowers on Granny's grave and I would take the jar to the tap at the back of the chapel and fill it with water and return to the graveside where my mother would be pulling up weeds and trying to tidy the simple grassy mound. In summer I liked the peaceful feeling of the little walled graveyard slumbering quietly in the sunshine, its yellow stone walls covered with shiny green ivy, butterflies flitting about amongst the nettles and the sound of birdsong over all but in winter the tap was often frozen and on those afternoons I was glad to hurry on down the road past the village shops and on past the old prison, which looked so dark and forbidding and along the wide road towards Pope's Hill.
I will finish by saying a huge Thank you to all those of you who have so kindly commented on my recent posts. I seem to have found some new cyber friends via the 20 minute creativity challenge and for that my thanks go to Fi at Marmalade Rose. I continued with my crochet yesterday and will do so again today. By the way to those of you who thought I had done the patchwork piece in 20 minutes I am sorry to disillusion you but the challenge is to do "at least" 20 minutes each day and that particular piece took me several days in total!
Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Marmalade Rose who has a blog I have always admired for its creativity has issued a 20 minutes a day challenge and I have joined in. The idea is to do something creative for 20 minutes each day even if you don't know what to do - just do something - and it's working!
I decided to incorporate some photos or images into my crazy patchwork and this is a pilot piece. I printed out the centre scrap and then added toning fabrics and embroidery round that. It is on its way to a friend now as I popped it in the post this morning. I am inspired to try doing a photo next time and maybe to do a sort of scrapbook collage of photos .... you never know where it might lead do you once you start? Taking decent photos at this time of year is difficult especially as the conservatory roof - I usually do my photos in there as it is lighter - has a coating of snow so is no lighter than anywhere else just now. There I go again bad workman blaming his tools and all that!Following on form my bird feeder post on Sunday (many thanks to you all for your comments - you obviously liked that post!) my 20 minutes last night was spent crocheting a similar bag which I am planning to line with fabric and make into a little drawstring bag. This photo shows some of the possible lining fabrics I have - which do you think? Watch this space to see if it works.
Noticed the squirrel having a go at the string bag at lunchtime - he had it in his paws and was trying to make off with it but of course it is joined to the branch and he couldn't! A crowd of small birds were sitting on the ground beneath picking up the bits that were falling to the ground. Again the photo is not good as it was too far away and through the glass but if you look carefully you can see him on the branch!
Sunday, 10 January 2010
Whatever can it be I hear you ask
It's a bag to hold the home made fat ball I have just made for the birds. Though I suspect that it will be the squirrel who takes a fancy to it and one snip with his teeth and it will all unrun - unless it is melded with the fat! Any other time I'd have plenty of nets from oranges or carrots or whatever but today I had nothing so necessity being the mother of invention I made my own!
Saturday, 9 January 2010
We still haven't been able to get the car out as even though the main roads are clear our side roads are not so we went to our local post office cum shop this morning for some bread and a newspaper and the walk through the woods (remember when I showed you back in the summer the same walk?) was hard going since the snow had become really compacted by all the dog walkers this week and it was very very slippery especially where the path sloped.
How I wished that I was able to stride out as I had the day we did this walk near the coast back in April/May!
It wasn't warm that day but we could put our feet down where we wanted to and not have to be careful all the time - something which has made my leg muscles really ache this week!
Oh how I wish I could do this walk NOW! (well not exactly now as it is dark out there at the moment but I think you know what I mean) Through the bluebells...