Thursday, 11 September 2008

No exotic birds were hurt........... the making of this fascinator!
A fascinator is a sort of hair decoration like a small hat/cocktail hat/decorated comb, etc; I had to check the exact meaning in the dictionary before I embarked upon this one! It's for a competition at the WI tonight, and as I can't foresee me making many more of them, I went OTT with something just a tad exotic! It's based on a rubber sectioning clip from the chemist - the type used to section off hair by hairdressers when cutting and dyeing - plain, with a good strong grip and spring. I wound this over with textured/stripey/metallic mix yarn, then sewed on a big fan of white netting; this was topped by a knitted exotic flower, the petals wired with copper wire to five form and contour to the knitting, which would otherwise flop ; nice bright centre to it, with purple stamens in angora. Wide red ribbon with a contrasting edge was found by chance in the drawer when I was looking for the glue, so on it went too :lol: I found the little green glittery bird irresistable, and he is clipped on to the end (not affixed, as he's borrowed frm Bean's room - she doesn't know yet........ :shock: :lol: ). I'm quite pleased with it, and enjoyed the challenge of making something very different; wish I had occasiontt o wear it, but I suspect that it will look rather good on Bean, who will probably wear it to the mobile library............. 8)

Just because they're nice............

.......nice to use, nice to look at, stop your clothes sliding off the hangers and falling in an inelegant heap int he bottom of the wardrobe; also another place to hang a tiny lavender bag - can't have too many! I love covered hangers. I get quite a kick when I find them in charity shops, boot slaes, etc. Usually, the poor things are the worse for wear, but just need a little TLC to bring them back to life. It's a good way of using up scraps of wool, fabric, etc, and they are easy to do. It's my intention to have every hanger in the wardrobe decorated ins ome way, all with little scented bags or sachets attached so it smelss wonderful. I gave my clothes int eh wardrobe a good going over a few months back, so can now take the time to work on the hangers. These are two I've done this week; the stripey one you might recognise as the leftovers from the knitted dishcloths I did, a lovely soft yarn in cotton and bamboo. The other is less than half a ball of a Debbie Bliss ball of "Soho" that needed a further purpose in life - the colours in this are gorgeous. I've still quite a few to get done, some will be sewn in fabric, others knitted and crocheted, but it's a nice project to go back to in between others.

The gentle art of letter writing.............

That's real letters - not letters of complaint, dealings with the bank, round-robin Christmas things, but real letters. Lots of handwriting on nice paper, pretty envelopes, stamps stuck straight on in the corner.........
I used to write a lot fo letters; I had penpals all over the world in lots of different countries, from the age of about 10. Things drift on, though, and contact is lost, or is doen by quick and easy e-mail. The other day I sat and wrote three letters, and yesterday I got a call from the recipient of one, whose letter I put in with her birthday card. She was so thrilled to receive a proper , handwritten, newsy letter ( as opposed ot junk mail, bills, leaflets, etc) that I resolved there and then to take up my pen and write more letters.
I think the internet may be the cause of the demise of letter writing, even for thankyou notes for presents. I know my two will happily run one or more off on the computer, but I think it's nicer and more thoughtful to actually put pen to paper as the saying goes. It's also an excuse to search out special paper and envelopes - soemthing colourful, pretty, cheerful, to suit the recipient, and send handmade cards with little messages inside.
So, from now on, I will be much more diligent at keeping in touch by mail, I promise.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


Today is my birthday, I am 47 years old. Do I feel my age? I don't know - how am I meant to feel?
I do know, though, that I am happy with my lot, and that's enough for me, and I'm looking forward to the next 47. :) With every year that passes, I am making great strides towards my own personal inner peace, constantly honing my life to where I want to be. I wish for a simple, peaceful life, where hard work and fairness are their own rewards; I want to avoid people that cause me to act and react in ways I don't like; I am constantly learning to let things go - when people criticise you, it tells you more about them than it does about you, in the main. I hold dear the things that are important to me, and they all play their part on my journey.

Non- electric ironing

I finally got around to giving this a go! I was doing the (conventional, electric!) ironing yesterday; the stove was up for cooking, so I cleaned off the bottom of my little iron and sat it on the hotplate. After half an hour, it had heated up quite a lot, the handle becoming very hot. My testing was done on an old teatowel, some hankies and pillowcases. I was surprised at how good the results were, and it kept hot long enough to do several tea towels, two pillowcases and three hankies before needing to be put back on the stove. So, feeling spurred on with small successes (often the best kind :) ), I'll get the iron cleaned up properly with a wire brush and research into how to keep it in top condition.

Plus points - no energy, connection to the past, non-plastic, nice to use, won't wear out or break

Drawbacks - handle gets very hot (I'll have to make a thicker cloth specifically for using it, but that's not a problem), it's quite heavy, even for such a wee iron.

So, when the SHTF, at least I can iron my hankies........ joking aside, I've learned I can do it, another off-grid action to add to the growing list. I'm on the lookout for a couple more now, so I can have one heating and one in use. I have an old one upstairs that belonged to my maternal grandmother, and it's a lovely thing, made for her as a wedding present. I haven't tried it out yet, as it's one that takes hot coals inside, so could be a lot more difficult to use. Will get around to it one day, though. These connections to the past give me great pleasure, especially when there is a family connection.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

The wisdom of Bilbo Baggins...........

I found this quote while browsing through some homesteading blogs, and thought it apt:

"there are some to whom our ways seem quaint, but today of all days it is brought home to me that it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life" -Bilbo Baggins

The picture is the view from his Hobbit-hole :)

Monday, 8 September 2008

Autumn tasks....

Picking brambles - the colour of autumn for me is the purple staining on your hands; went out to post soem letters, so took the dog and we extended our walk on round the lanes a bit; picked some lovely brambles from an easily accessible place, plenty more to come too. Found a nice big patch of betony and some late agrimony too. Lots of barking dogs, though, which broke the peace of the lanes..........Met a lovely little pony with a great long fringe over his face :)I think the brambles will go into a hedgerow jam for putting by for the winter - jam roly poly and steamed pudding, on pancakes, yoghurt......... Added a few elderberries to the bag to add to the ones I picked from our garden this morning, to go in the jam too. Rosehips are almost ready for picking now as well.

Another autumn task - dealign with the sweetcorn; not a huge crop this year, poolination bad, with lots of almost empty cobs. This is enough for our supper, though, so nice to have homegrown to eat. Chickens got the empties :)

Not an autumn task, but a job I love - sitting at the table, daydreaming with the butter churn............

Another week..............

....hurtling towards the middle of autumn already; weather is dank and overcast,a definite chill in the air. Autumn crops are coming in thick and fast. This morning I cut the largest of the squashes. I'm not sure of varieties, will need to do a look about to find out what they are; they came from a mixed pack of winter squash. Teh yellow one is a whopper :) The apples are the first tiny crop from my Yarlington Mill cider apple I planted last year, so pleased with that. They will go into this year's cider. I am in the kitchen this morning making Summer's End chutney, beer and Red Dragon Pie.