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Sunday Sevens 19th August – Almond milk, embroidery and black magic

Roses in rose bowl

It has been a busy week and what weather we are having! Sunny days interspersed with rain it is nice to be back to our normal temperatures and see the grass turning green again!  I’ve escaped the four walls nearly every day this week – friends have been so kind to pop by and take me out for a bit. I am walking on crutches so I am somewhat  of a liability – especially as Thursday was raining cats and dogs – but it has been great to catch up with good friends and be a lady who lunches for a while! I have also been showered with more flowers! I bought this rose bowl in a charity shop some years ago – its crystal and was a bargain for about a fiver. I have used it often as it makes displaying flowers so easy as the grid holds the heads nicely.

mini heart brooch pincushion

We had a family gathering recently I wanted to make something to give as well as the usual gift. As she is a stitcher I decided to make a little heart brooch pincushion. I am always losing pins no matter how many pincushions I have scattered around the craft room – so having a little brooch that travels with me, has been very useful. I love this little print and the flower sat so beautifully framed in the pink felt.

brooch pin cushion

Its tiny, only about 4inches by 2 and a half inches but it came out nicely. Ok, I will admit I got carried away with the embroidery bit – I was watching Bletchley and the story tension was building so I was stitching faster! I crocheted a little border round the edge which seemed to finish it off nicely. I do adore Petra Cotton Perle – it is lovely to embroider with. Thankfully the gift was appreciated – which is always a bonus!

make a wish - dandilion embroidery

It is difficult to capture this little embroidery that hangs above this little heart, it is only 2inches – it is a dandelion head worked over fine organza. When I am eating it looks as if I have captured a lovely seed head in a frame, but photographs just don’t seem to come out right.

Dandilion embroidery

Stitching on such a see through background is more difficult and messy than I hoped, and looking so closely at the embroidery – doesn’t really capture how effective it is when viewed from a distance. It took me less than an hour to do but it really does please me.

moon over soho ben aaronovitch

Moon over Soho is the second book from Ben Aaronovitch – I am delighted to see that there are a few more books already out in this Series.  I have become rather fond of DC Grant, – his sardonic humour is delightful, the police procedure and social commentary makes me giggle. Not to mention the mix of the magical in every day cynical London life.

The 1960s planning department of local council whose unofficial motto was Finishing what the Lufftwaffe started…

Some things never change, and a senior police officer doesn’t organise a costly raid and admit to failure, or violating the Magna Carta, until he has done his best to convict somebody of something.

I think this book follows on very well from the first one – and we are now introduced to our ‘modern day Moriarty’ in the form of a Black Magician who managed to escape this time, so I am keen to read the next book. I don’t think it will be long before we see this series televised – it is that good! although they might need some really good special effects to do it justice.

Oh and the little fox brooch was a tiny fabric illustration of the fox cushions I made for my daughter – I could not let it go to waste so I made it into a little brooch. It is lovely to have time to stitch.

almond milk

I made a huge mistake buying some ‘almond milk’ in the supermarket a few weeks back – It was basically water with a hint of almond – I am shocked they can get away with it – the almonds make up less than 5% of of the overall ‘almond milk’ – making it 95% water. So I decided to make some of my own and it is really easy, tastes delicious and is much cheaper.

Simply place a bowl full of almonds (I used the skin on) in water for 24 hours. The nuts plump up and actually taste nicer!

Then add a teaspoon of vanilla extract a couple of dates (to sweeten it a little) your nuts and water to a blender and blend for about a minute. Push through a fine sieve to remove the skins. (I think I might try the almonds without skins next time!)

I found my almond milk was very thick so I did a few more whizzes using the stuff left in the sieve and additional water. It still looked like milk after the third time and my home made milk was more creamy than the shop bought one. It is nice for cereals but I don’t think it would work in coffee or tea!

Sunday Sevens, your week summed up in photographs,  is the brainchild of Nat at Threads and bobbins – you can find her site here.

Have a lovely weekend.

x

 

 

 

Christmas, Christmas decoration, christmas project, Clothkits, craft, felt, Gisella Graham, needle felting, projects, sewing, winter, winter wreath, workshop, wreath

When the red red robin goes bob bob bobbin along!

It was while out on one of my dog walks recently that I noticed just how charming ivy is: the leaf shapes are so elegant, the deep rich green with its darker veins are so pretty creating a lovely patch of  green while all around me the trees are becoming bare. I love the way it flows and softens the lines of the fence where I was walking – the way the leaves grow smaller along the vine. I also spotted some gorgeous variegated ivy in my own garden! 
Nature always has beauty, no matter what the season – frosted ivy was a wonder to behold. It has been there all year, but my focus has always gone to the scented lavender or the bright geraniums, but at this time of the year I begin to see the structure and beauty of those plants who remain the supporting cast in the garden. 

I was inspired by my walk to create a winter wreath, and decided to give ivy the star treatment! 
I really enjoy using needle felting as it allows me to create more realistic natural patterns, I combined them with the multitudes of tapestry wool -I purchase in vintage shops – often a whole abandoned kit can be bought for as little as a few pounds – I keep it in a small suitcase that resembles a box full of colour! 
Christmas Roses or hellebores, are so lovely too – but overshadowed most of the time by the more colourful varieties. However, they flower when winter has its grip and june roses are a distant memory or promises of summer to come while the branches of the roses look stark like winter skeletons of summer plants. 

The robin adds a splash of colour to the wreath, alongside some small red berries. He is created with a combination of felt, wool and merino floss.

It is easy to use the wool to create the wings on the robin, laying them across the body, using the felting needle to fix it. The beaded eye gives a brightness to the robin and gives him a little sparkle.

The felting gives a fluffiness that gives the robin his plumage, and softens his shape a little.

As you can see some of the ivy leaves are simply cut – with the variegation created with simple use of a felt tip pen!

I also laid several different colours of wool to make up the vines of the ivy, fixing all the elements with a hot glue gun. The leaves lay across the wreath, using a pen to push the centre of the ivy leaf to give it a natural shape.

If you want to have a go yourself you can purchase the wreath here, they are from Gisella Graham who I really love. Heidi feathers does a great beginner felting pack here which includes everything you need to start creating your own wreath. If you would like pattens for the ivy leaves and robin just drop me a line or you can sign up for the course I am running at Clothkits on Saturday 30th November.  

bread making, Bustle and Sew, country style, felt, felt flowers, flour, green, pink, purple, rabbit, spring, spring wreath, willow, willow heart, yellow

Spring felted wreath version 2!

I did enjoy making the other wreath, but was going to be showing my ladies group how to make one so I thought I would adhere more to the original Bustle and Sew pattern, with a few minor adaptations, little felt flowers and using a heart willow wreath rather than a wooden sewing frame. 
It took some playing with different methods of creating flowers, but in the end I found these were the most satisfying – not only are they simple to make but very easy to do while watching call the midwife, you can save the fiddly bits for the more gruesome birth scenes! I must admit I loved the whole retro thing, especially the lovely fifties dresses, but having watched this programme I am so pleased I was born in the 60’s, it seems that birth control was the fundamental change for women more than getting the vote! 
I have found felt such fun to work with that I might make a few more items, Eternal maker had a beautiful spring cushion on display in the store it was very inspirational. Although these days it is hard to keep ideas at bay and concentrate on the process in hand! 
We had a lovely afternoon tea at Bosham Walk Craft Centre – it is well worth a visit, I had a wonderful piece of victoria sponge I managed to get some beautiful filet lace for £5! There is a fantastic beading stall as well as some fantastic vintage stalls and craft shops. Needless to say we bought some Chilli fudge at the shop on our way home! More walking in order me thinks! 
After walking the dog, I practised making more bread! Still in the experimental stage, this time using Allison’s country Grain flour, and I knew at the early kneading stage it was going to be a lovely loaf! I am beginning to get a feel for the elasticity in the bread. I had a great success with white bread, but I wanted to make something a little more wholesome but wholemeal flour is far too heavy, but this is just right. The dough enhancer is definitely worth using, but I am beginning to wonder at the ceramic tins I bought, they seem to make the bottom of the loaves doughy, although that might be me being too impatient and getting it out of the oven too early! Either way the experimentation continues! I don’t give up easily – and the bread was yummy!  

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Spring Wreath

I really love Bustle and Sew I love the feel of her designs and this bunny was from one of her patterns, however as I was putting the fluffy tail on with my needle felt, I realised that it might give a more natural look if I was to continue. While I might love her patterns I struggle to follow instructions and once the bunny became fluffy, I decided to do the yo yo flowers too! 

The heart wreath is such a pretty design which added to the springtime theme and I really enjoyed making the daffodils! I did try tulips but they did not work out! 

I finished the top with a bigger yoyo and hung it with some starry ribbon

I have some black beads somewhere, so until I find them his eye will have to remain just a little spot

I really enjoyed making these tiny yoyo’s some of them as small as a 5pence piece, I also used brads and small ribbon flowers from my collection. The wreath is now hanging up heralding in the spring, under my little egg tree. 

I went to the Eternal maker on Saturday to top up my felt stash, there are so many gorgeous things you can make with felt that I have a hankering to make. 

I also tidied up my little scrap basket, after the yo yo class a lulamae’s I needed to re-organise, other items will go up in the loft storage, as I don’t like having too much out – I find it too overwhelming! 
We headed to a lovely tea shop this afternoon for tea and cake, at the Riverside tea rooms in Amberley, it was a little too cold for a walk but definitely one that we will go back to with the dog. Lovely selection of cakes. We can’t wait for the museum to open it looks a great place to visit.