Wednesday, 29 February 2012

St Davids Day makes: Day 2

One St Davids Tree!

I saw lovely Birthday trees over at The Imagination Tree and I saw a beautiful decorated crochet tree at meanyjar, also some plain twigs in a jar in the kitchen at Karins and so The St Davids Tree was born. Its a work in progress Little E and Mam have been busily painting and gluing as well as retrieving Fuschia twigs from the garden. I have plans for Little E to add some more decorative items in the coming days.  For now its Welsh Flags and painted daffodils and it could morph into an Easter Tree when St Davids week is over.

I have been working on a dragon hat.  I cut out the pattern on the train on the way home from work today.  I think I should have checked the pieces at home before sewing them together because and I am going to use a technical term here, they seem to be 'on the wonk'.   I am hopeful I will finish it tomorrow and all will be well.

Working on the train: More haste , less speed.

Tomorrow is St Davids Day so the 'makes' will be Cawl and cakes with the family around for tea!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

St Davids Day makes: Day 1

We decided to do some arts and crafts with a Welsh flavour, so having trawled the internet for some ideas (some of which are pinned here on pinterest) Here are our first two 'St Davids Makes', a Daffodil garland which we saw on The Imagination Tree and a daffodil corsage. It is a short week, what can I say it was a busy weekend visiting our adorable new cousin Olivia and so we are belatedly starting our creating. Also the week culminates at the weekend (rather than the 1st March) with the Saundersfoot St Davids Festival including the Cawl Cooking Championship followed by the Llanelli Half marathon. I'd like to tell you I am competing in these but I'm actually sampling the soup in the former and cheering my Brother on in the latter.

So back to the makes: Heres the felt corsage now adorning my coat. The sewing could be neater and more even but I quite like it....

I will add a pic of Little E's garland tomorrow in the light.  Rather dimly I was unaware that our Welsh emblem has six petals when I drew his flowers for painting and so little E's flowers have only five but I think we will get away with it. Its the spirit of the thing we are celebrating!

Monday, 20 February 2012

#PinAddicts Pinterest challenge No 2...a preview

I know we don't post until the 6th March but I have finished my next project......

The pinterest inspired items are in the two bags I made for Little E and cousin Grace. I am soooo pleased with them but will have to wait until the 6th March to properly post about them. This is a gift for Grace which somehow has taken priority over the sewing for her new baby sister Olivia. You know what its like when a project grabs you though. So appliqued onsies and little shoes must be completed by Thursday when its down to the New Forest to visit the newest addition to the family. And to see JJ for the first time in four weeks. Hurray!!

Monday, 13 February 2012

#PinAddicts Pinterest Challenge no. 1

My name is Michelle and I am a PinAddict. 

I can admit this as I am clearly not alone, having dicovered the Pinterest challenge!  The idea is that you actually make something from the vast array of loveliness that you pin to your boards.  I read about the challenge over at The Handmade Mum and traced it back to here.  I've already made and blogged about my travel frame  on Friday before I found the challenge so I'm not sure if I can count it, but here's another picture anyway! Travel photo frame & tutorial here

In case that is not acceptable I have done a take on these melted down crayons into a heart shaped moulds for Valentine's Day.

We drew around Little E's hand to make a Valentine card for his little cousin,  B, whom he adores (She is a whole 3 years older than Little E so has that grown up allure going on). Then melted down some crayons to make the heart shape and after considering a world of 'hand and heart' type quotes wrote 'You are my favourite crayon in the box' on it. We did a red and orange heart combi too but decided that B would prefer the pink. It also has a strip of card on the back to enable it to stand upright. We then posted it  off, because it's much more exciting to get a card in the post. More mysterious. We won't be confessing it came from us,  she will have to find the hand that fits to discover the identity of her Prince Charming in a kind of reverse Cinderella thing...

I am looking forward to next challenge already!

Friday, 10 February 2012

Travel photo frame & February Happiness Project

There's no such thing as love; only proof of love.
Jean Cocteau

Sewing has fallen by the wayside since we have been home alone a lot more but finally I completed the travel photo frame for JJ. This has been packaged up with a hand made card by Little E and other 'proofs of love' (Mars bar and creme eggs, essentials!) as per The Happiness Project and posted it off to Crewe in time for Valentine's Day.

In The Happiness Project the February theme is Remember Love and although not all the themes the writer has chosen are right for me, who couldn't demonstrate their appreciation for the people they love a little more often. So I have also started sending JJ daily emails with pictures of what we are up to as I know he is finding it tough being away from us. My normal response to this would be a bit dismissive, its only for a short time, it is hard for us all etc, etc so I am trying to be more understanding. Also I may be needing some brownie points because I have had the carpenter in doing a lot of jobs that JJ hasnt got around to and to be fair when will he find time working away from home for weeks on end.  Some men might appreciate this but it will be an adjustment for JJ.  JJ is a perfectionist, no-one can do it as well as him,  but in another quote borrowed from The Happiness Project

'Don't let perfection be the enemy of the good'

 or more precisely in this case:

 Don't let perfection be the enemy of progress. 

But the principle is the same, sometimes a good job done now is better than a perfect job never done at all. JJ knows I get up to sneaky house re-arranging stuff when he is away.  Over the years he has often come home to a redecorated room presented to him as a fait accompli, he is usually grumpy for a bit and then fine. Sometimes he even grudgingly says it is 'nice' (high praise, believe me). I like to think that at least on some level he is relieved he doesn't have to worry about doing it. And it buys more family time at the weekends in a more orderly home , which can only be a good thing, surely?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Resolute Monday: Book Clutter

I love books.  Books and magazines are one of the main sources of clutter in my home. Articles ripped from magazines on growing chillis; Digital story telling and breastfeeding; Books on Hypnosis; Quilting; Child development; 'Bad' science and History.  Have I read these? Some but not all. I buy books in two categories.
    1. Things I really want to read.
    2. Things I think I ought to read 

Invariably a number of books in the later category remain on the shelf untouched.  Sometimes even when I am interested in them, I don't read them.  I basically believe all subjects are interesting at least superficially  if shared in a thoughtful and engaging way. But even so....

I often buy books on subjects I think I should know about and do not read them.  'World Conflicts' sat on my shelf for 15 years barely touched.  When I was 17 my then boyfriend told me 'You are a very intelligent person but you have enormous gaps in your knowledge.'

Good lord. What a prize he was.

Whether he had a point or not, I have variously felt a bit stupid in social situations and felt a need to plug these enormous, cavernous brain vacuums.  I was thinking about this when I read a chapter of The Happiness Project where Gretchen  Ruben laments her taste in music, wishing she liked 'cool jazz stuff' she nonetheless reminds herself to 'Be Gretchen' and so I agree I should endeavour to be me. I am unlikely to get started on 'Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear'  or 'Designing successful E-learning' whilst jostling for space on the same shelf there is 'Playful Learning' and 'Oliver & S: Litle things to sew'. There is a line between expanding your knowledge and using your precious time (not to mention book money) wading through a less than engaging book on the political situation in China (unless the political situation in China is what lights your fire of course). So a great many books have been driven out from the bookshelf hopefully leaving space to focus on the things I really love. 

Much to my sisters disgust I have relented and bought a Kindle.  Though I do agree you cannot beat the feel of a book, some books I would like to read but do not need on my bookshelf. I managed to generate enough spends from selling clutter that my Kindle effectively cost me £10. So I am pretty pleased with myself and my new Kindle. And the instant fix of downloading a book in under a minute is pretty pleasing too.