Sunday, 24 May 2015

Re-Starting a Neglected Project: a Woodland Cushion!

If you're anything like me you've got several works-in-progress that are not so much "in progress" as they are "massively neglected and currently shoved in a box or under the bed gathering dust".  

One of the downsides of blogging is that you've got a public record of exactly when you started all those projects that are sitting round your house still not finished. It can be quite embarrassing to realise just how many months and years have past since you first started making X item with huge enthusiasm... doubly so when you re-start a project and have to blog about it again while admitting just how long you've gone without working on it!

Waaaay back in 2012 I bought some yarn for making a new project. About a year later (Sept 2013) I finally bought the knitting pattern I wanted and started knitting: using the Woodsy Association knitting patterns from Tiny Owl Knits (cute wristlets decorated with woodland animals) to make a knitted patchwork cushion for my mum.

Blogging about my plans for the project, I wrote: "I've got no idea how long it'll take me to get the whole cushion made (I have told my mum that this is a present for her "at some point", could be Christmas or her birthday or maybe even Christmas next year!) but I'm really looking forward to seeing it develop and to stitching all those cute little animal faces" 

Aaaaand here it is, May 2015, and I've really not made much progress. Oops. I am a terrible daughter!

I've (finally) bought the missing shade of yarn that was out of stock when I placed my original order in 2012...

... knitted a few "squares" (they're not actually square but that's what I'm calling them in my head so shhh)...

... and (mostly) finished stitching the first pair of animals...

 ... but there's still a long way to go.

So, I'm resolving to get this finished by Christmas 2015 at the very latest so my mama can finally have some woodland cuteness for her sofa. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Decluttering and Treasure-Hunting

I am sloooooowly recovering from a horrid bug which has left me feeling quite wobbly and rather foggy-brained... and without a lot of energy for working or making (or blogging). 

It is very frustrating not being able to charge through my To Do list like normal. In the meantime, to make myself useful I have been doing lots of time-consuming-but-not-terribly-complicated tasks like properly filing stacks of paperwork and tidying up boxes of supplies in my studio. My workspace is going to be wonderfully well organised by the time I get back to my regular working schedule!

I've also slowly been doing some more decluttering. After struggling to finish my Less 365 Project last year I've been amazed by the amount of stuff I've managed to clear out this spring (or, at least, add to the pile in the corner of my room that'll be getting charity-shopped once I've recovered from this bug!).

I've been keeping a list (because I am a giant nerd and I love a nice list) and have decluttered 73 things so far - some big (cushions, double-bed sized blankets, stacks of magazines, etc) and some small (brooches, toys from Christmas crackers, fridge magnets, etc). As always, it feels pretty fantastic to realise "I don't need/want/love this anymore!" and to be finding new homes for all these unwanted things.

As well as sorting through my own stuff, I've been helping my mum sort through boxes of old books, toys and trinkets tucked away in the attic years ago. These boxes are like timecapsules and going through them has totally transported me back to my childhood.

I couldn't resist taking some photos of these She-Ra: Princess of Power books - I read them sooooo many times! My sisters and I were big fans of She-Ra (and Jem & the Holograms, of course).

It's been fun revisiting these old favourites, but also weird re-discovering things I loved as a kid but had totally forgotten about until this week. Like these guys:


Keypers! Remember them? They came with a key and had a "secret" compartment to keep your treasures safe. Such fun.

My sisters and I each had one of these - mine was the snail. Here are the "treasures" I had hidden inside when it got packed away many years ago...

I'm rather looking forward to sorting through the rest of the boxes in the attic - I wonder what other long-forgotten treasures we'll find?

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Springtime Stroll through Henley-on-Thames

After a couple of very busy Nice Days Out, I wanted something a bit more chilled out for my next day off... so I had a lovely long lie-in then took myself and a good book off to Henley-on-Thames.

Henley is quite local to me, but is one of those places I'd never been to before starting on my Nice Day Out trips. Last time I visited it was winter, the river was very high and there was actually a lot of flooding a few days later. This time round spring was in full bloom and the whole town was looking rather lovely. The perfect backdrop for a relaxing day off!

I started at the River and Rowing Museum, which is free to visit with an Art Pass (and how I found out about the Art Pass in the first place - hurrah for museum websites that actually tell you about available discounts).

I've explored the museum before, but wanted to go back to see their current exhibitions - wonderful illustrations by Arthur Rackham, some gorgeous handmade furniture, and a fab collection of photos of artists and craftspeople working in their studios. All good stuff! It was also a joy to revisit the delightful Wind in the Willows exhibit where the story is told with charming models.

I then walked along the river towards the town centre...


... enjoying all the riverside sights, including a nesting swan complete with "do not disturb" sign!


After lunch I strolled around the town, admiring the old buildings and the assortment of colourful front doors, and popping into lots of bookshops, art galleries and and charity shops along the way.


I also called in at the Old Fire Station...


... which has been converted into a gallery space, then hosting the local Craft Guild's spring exhibition. Always nice to be able to squeeze in a bit of craftiness to my days out!

Finally, I retired to a cafe with my book for a leisurely cuppa and tasty piece of cake before heading homewards.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Getting Creative with Buttons, Felt & Mini Pompoms

This week has been a bit of a quiet one. I had lots of fun stuff planned, and lots of work and blogging projects to get ticked off my To Do list... then I came down with the bug that's been doing the rounds in our house! Ugh.

So instead of Getting Stuff Done I've mostly been putting Getting Some Rest... which does not make for super-interesting blog posts! :)

I'm on the mend now (hurrah) but still a bit wobbly and taking things easy. While I'm slowly catching up with my emails, etc, here's a peek at something I made earlier this spring: a couple of projects for docrafts Creativity magazine (#58).

If you look closely, you can spot them on the cover...

 ... it's always thrilling when an editor selects your project(s) for the cover, even if it's just the teeniest of photos. It's also quite hard to resist saying "I made that!!" to total strangers browsing the magazine section when you're in the newsagent.

My projects in this issue?

A cushion decorated with felt and pretty fabric-covered buttons:


And a whole village of felt houses:

The houses were an absolute delight to sew - especially adding the mini pompoms.

I kinda want to decorate everything with mini pompoms now, they are so cute and cheerful!


Can't find docrafts Creativity Magazine in your local newsagent? You can subscribe here or buy individual issues here.


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