Sunday, December 30, 2007

Take Three...

....Nine Patch squares.

Quarter them....

...and re-arrange to suit... this...


...or this.

But which? Opinions and suggestions gratefully received, as were the patches from Kate and the idea from Helen.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Better late than never...

I suppose if I was really fussed about preparing for Christmas, I wouldn't choose to go on holiday at a time when more organised souls were decorating, shopping and wrapping. Well now that I'm back, I have made a small effort; I have trimmed a tiny tree and filled a large glass bowl on the coffee table with tinsel, berries, leaves and rather dusty candle.....I must get some new specs in the New Year. Himself has gone to town as usual downstairs in the apartment where we shall be serving Christmas dinner to nine. He made a special request for turkey this year, so a fresh bird is sitting in the fridge. A goodly sized piece of salmon fillet is marinating in salt, sugar, pepper and dill, the Saturday market yielded carrots, turnips, parsnips, squash, sprouts and fresh and dried chestnuts. The fresh chestnuts are for afternoon snacks, roasted on the cast iron Melior grill. The dried ones are to soak overnight and cook with the sprouts. Blanching and peeling chestnuts on Christmas morning is not my idea of fun, and anyway, I wouldn't be able to resist eating most of them. I was planning on making the stuffing today, but it is heaving it down outside and I don't fancy getting wet going to pick sage. Hopefully the sun will shine tomorrow, and the heat will bring out all the essential oils, and it will taste that little bit better. Tomorrow I might look for sausages to roll in bacon, or I might not. I might buy some lard and some belly and leg pork and make himself a large raised pork pie, but on the other hand I might leave that until Boxing Day; one of the joys of living here is that Christmas Day and New Years Day are Fiesta Days, but on all the days in between, life goes on as normal!

My poinsettias are not strictly Christmas decorations, but are presents for my recent birthday. They are a jolly sight, grouped together by the kitchen door. I particularly like this cream painted variety.

This is supposed to be my crafting Blog, and I have been busy making things for presents, but I seem to have forgotten to take pictures before wrapping them up. I did knit two pairs of mittens while off on my jollydays, but they were snapped up by family members who just happened to be in the vicinity, and didn't listen to the grey-haired wise old crone when she said "Bring warm clothing. It snows in the Balearics in December..."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

More Monsters

Here are the Blues Brothers, commissioned by the Gran of two lovely lads who took a shine to Sitrus. I did suggest that I might add some fangs, but they were more concerned with the colour of the tongues. Scott asked for green, and Matthew wanted yellow. I have made them different in other ways, cutting the slit for the arms vertically in the first and horizontally in the next, so that I was able to have one arm coming forward and one going back as if he is on the move....OK...I admit I cocked up and put one in the wrong way round, but who's to know that? You won't tell, will you?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More leaves and a commission

The scan doesn't do this postcard justice. The background fabric is a rich chestnut with a lovely sheen. The right hand leaf has been made by sewing two layers of green taffeta together, turning right side out and then top-stitching. The centre leaf is a digital image printed onto fabric, and the third is made by using the original leaf to stamp in gold onto a turquoise batik. The whole is the work of Lourdes on ArtWeMail.

I have had fun making another Sock Monster. He is called Nastertius. He is a little too cute to be a real Monster, so I have it in mind to make another one of the same outline, but to have it the other way up with the eyes on the ends of what are now the legs, and the tail becoming an extension of the head!
Sitrus, my "first born", went down well at the Craft Exhibition on Sunday, and I have been commissioned to make two more for the grandsons of a friend. One has asked for blue stripes and the other for green, but if I can't find any green striped socks, he will settle for blue, but he does want a green tongue!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Quick Post

There were three items in the box today. From Mary P the Three Leaves; Three Techniques swap from ArtWeMail. One stamped leaf, one appliquéd leaf and one cut out from a skeleton leaf. I was thinking along those lines myself, so I shall have to think again!
From Diana B in New Zealand came a picture of the statue on the hill, with beads sewn on to represent the illuminated halo. This was for the Fibre, Fibre, Fibre swap on ArtWeMail.
This jolly rooster eyeing up an amuse bouche is a private swap for my Wild Bird, and came from Faye.
About this....more later...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

New kid on the block

Introducing Sitrus the Sock Monster. He is the result of an hour's slash and sew on Sunday. He is very basic; just a test piece really, as I know that my Elna hates knitted fabric, and the Jones has given up the ghost again. Surprisingly, the machine sailed through the firm fabric of the sock, and the only hand stitching was the mouth, eyes and stuffing hole.
Just in case you are wondering what he is leaning against, it is Kez the Fez wearing a strawberry hat and a Fake Fairisle hat. To the right is a stack of three knitted aubergines/figs/plums?
They are more purple than blue. Kez is wearing the baby size, and the other two are larger. They will actually accommodate my noggin, but are aimed at children. They are worked in short row garter stitch, and each has a different leaf or leaves. I have enough wool left for another baby size. The strawberry hat is strawberry, not the washed out orange it appears here. The white balance on the camera is set to auto. I think I'll have to play about to see if I can improve the colour rendition of the camera, as I can't always drum up the Tuits to open a graphics programme to sort it out. Just in case you think I'm expecting a baby boom in the family, I must explain that these are all going into a basket of hand-mades for the Emaus Childrens' Home in Calpe. We are having a Craft Fair to raise money for their Three Kings presents, and any that are not sold will be added to their stash! I have another ball of strawberry to knit up. If anyone would like to have a go, it's the Urchin hat off, and the leaves are from Nicky Epstein's Knitted Embellishments.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wild Thing....

Isn't this an eye opener? A zingy lime green felt square, stitched onto the background with gold thread, and embellished in the centre with black bugle beads. It came from Jane O'Fallon on Artwemail.

This is the first of three postcards for the Fibre, Fibre, Fibre swap on the same Group. The only stipulation was that we used at least three different fibres. The background for the first two is a jungle print chiffon, cut from the hem of a dress that I shortened for someone. The vertical stripe is black denim that has been sprayed with copper paint. It's a shame that the scan doesn't show this well. It looks rather washed out, whereas in real life it glows. The horizontal band is gold angel hair, overlaid with navy knitted lace with a little lurex sparkle. The feather yarn is not quite so pink as it appears here.This is the second postcard, made from the same material as the one above, but with some frayed viscose, some raffia and a piece of yellow plastic netting.
The third is on a background of rust dyed polycotton with more of the copper painted denim, the frayed viscose and a square of squirrel silk from an old tie.
These are two ATCs, made mainly with leftovers from the Fibre, Fibre, Fibre postcards. Waste not, want not!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Gnome from Gnome


I've come across this little fellow a few times lately in Blogland, and couldn't resist having a go. I like knitting, but hate sewing up, so I adapted the pattern for knitting in the round on a circular needle. The pattern for the head/body starts at the top and works down, so before I did the last row and the "break the yarn and thread through the remaining stitches" bit, I made the bean bag bum and pushed it through the opening before I fastened off. This meant I had to stuff the rest of the body and the head through the small hole on top of the head, but this wasn't difficult. I started the legs at the toe and knitted them like a toe up sock, and did the arms the same way, leaving a bit of waste yarn for the mitten thumb and picking up the stitches later. When it came to stuffing the hands, I decided not to! I liked the way the hands became quite expressive when left floppy. I am not 100% happy with the brim of the hat. Maybe I used the wrong Cast On technique, but it didn't want to lie flat, and where I have stitched it down it has gone a bit blobby. The colour isn't true to life. He looks all washed out and a bit orange here, but he is a proper Christmassy red. I might do another one in more Autumnal woodland colours as I have some whiskery yarn that would be good to use.

Edit; I've had time this afternoon to correct the colour on the original photo

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm a lucky sewandsew...

...I received a supersquishy from Kate N! Lots of yummy 5" charm squares, including many oriental designs, and the larger strip of "oriental dartboards" that you can see at 2 o'clock in the picture. The picture doesn't really do them justice as the stack has to be 2" high, butI was too impatient to wait until I had fanned them out singly!

Craft sewing is on the back burner this week as I have a big bag of alterations to work through. I suppose I shall have to acknowledge the fact that Ch£!$[µ@$ is just around the corner, and some people are already buying their gladrags. The local Craft Fair is booked for the 25th November, and I have had an email asking if I will pick up the fliers and distribute them. I don't mind distributing them, but I get cross that the organisers only print fliers in English and don't have the courtesy to at least have the main points in Spanish as well. I refuse to ask the Spanish shops to display them as I feel that it is downright rude. Not only that, but if they were in Spanish, then we would attract the many other nationalities who live in our town and make the effort to learn the lingo...but it seems my complaints fall on deaf ears. Add to that the fact that Women in Business are holding their Christmas Bazaar on the same day in another hotel further down the road, and it could go one way or the other...people coming out from the town centre pass our hotel first, so maybe if we have large enough posters outside in a variety of languages, we can pull in the customers first ....

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Squares and Triangles

Here is today's effort. I have used the same purple as in the last one. It used to be a sheet way back in the groovy 70's, then most of it was used in a quilt for 0j0, but I still have some strips left in my purple/maroon bit box. I have tried to reflect the flowers in the border print with the sequins. It doesn't show very well in this scan, but I have stitched them on with green rayon, and added a fuchsia lined glass bead to their centres. My points still are far from perfect, but the worst one is disguised by the fact that the adjoining pieces are the same fabric. I shall get there eventually.

Owning up...

I didn't watch Ugly Betty last night. I discovered Rebus was on at the same time, and he is much more my cup of tea! I did try to knit, but after knitting a full round on one sock with the wool of the other sock, I gave up.
So what am I doing today? At the moment I am eating my lunch and checking mail, but I have been working on a second Squares and Triangles card, and if I don't get too sidetracked, I'll finish it this afternoon.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Birthday cards and Postcards...

...have been the order of the day. There seem to be a lot of birthdays this month. I have sent two off without remembering to scan them, but these are a few of the others I have made.

I made this last week after being inspired by a couple of Emilia's cards. Her's are much more elegant than mine, but I was stitching the flowers on at Craft Club on Monday, and the girls asked if I would do a demo. next week. As there isn't actually much to it, and I wasn't altogether happy with the silver pen drawing for stems and wording, (I have mislaid my white gel pen) I had another attempt and came up with this one.
The flowers on both of them are punched, and the other bits are free hand cutting. I used an old cream envelope as the paper is just thick enough not to jam up the punch, and one strand of embroidery floss for the stamens.

The next card is paper piecing; one of Alita's designs. She doesn't have a blog as far as I know, but she shared this on my Teabag folding Group. I had it in my box at Craft Club, and a lot of interest was shown, so it looks as if I shall be doing this card the week after! After that, someone else can have a go. I made it a condition of taking over the running of the Club that I didn't demonstrate every week, but that each table would take responsibility for two weeks each session, either by demonstrating something themselves, or by bringing in an outside demonstrator. At least that way, everyone has a chance to do a craft they are interested in... well in theory ... but most people just seem to want to make cards!

This is rather more generic. That is not surprising, as it came from my stash of "ready for anything" cards...get wells, birthday or sympathy, according to the peel-off! This is for an elderly (97 is elderly) lady at the Residential home where I go bowling. She will laugh when she sees Many Happy Returns....
Now we move on to Postcards. I am in a swap with the theme Changing Seasons. I decided on Harvest Moon for mine. I have sent them all on their way, but this is the first one I made, and I have kept it. The colour on the sky was a bit blobby on this one. The others are all slightly different and as I don't know that any of the recipients read this blog, I'm not spoiling any surprises.
The last item is for the Squares and Triangles swap. I sat sewing the sequins on this evening while guarding Chancy as he ate his food down in the garden. There is a new feral Tom around, and Chancy, half feral, but neutered, is having a hard time. He is very, very nervous at the moment, and can't be left to eat alone, or he will be driven of his plate by the marauder. In fact, even the ring-necked doves find him a push-over!
I made it the paper piecing way, except that I didn't use paper. I drew it out on a piece of yellow dishcloth/duster on a roll that I bought in Lidl. It is halfway between batting and stiffener in texture, doesn't fray, and doesn't distort either. I also used it for the moon in Harvest Moon. I haven't edged this card yet, I'll leave that until I have done some more. I hope my points improve...I used tailor's chalk to mark the lines and they were a little indistinct, so next time I'll try something clearer...rollerball or gel pen maybe, and I will play about with the design.

Right, that's me done on the computer for now. 0j0 rang ten minutes ago, having just got in from work, to tell me there is a new series of Ugly Betty starting tonight. Just what I need...something entertaining that lets me keep half my mind on the lace pattern I'm trying for the first time on the latest socks on the needle.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Long time see...

Yes, I know, it's been a while. Ten days more or less, but life intervenes sometimes, and sometimes life throws crap your way. I may write about it at some point on the Monkey Bus, but for today just a quick update on things crafty. The embroidered flowers above are from Dawn; "Wild Weeds" for the Anything Goes #3 swap on Artwemail. FME over silk flowers, with added sequins and dictionary definitions of the words Wild and Weeds.

The next two are from Jeri on Artwemail. The Autumn tree for the "Changing Season" swap, and the Flying Geese for the "Quilter's Delight" swap. The tree has a little bit of glitter that doesn't show up so well in the scan, and the geese are paper pieced patchwork. I haven't tried doing this pattern in that method. I must try, as it looks so neat.

On the postcard front I have completed my Changing Season cards and they are ready to go to the PO, and I have also completed this embroidered card. I won't show them until they have arrived at their destinations.

So what else? I have sent and received an envelope of bits to make an ATC for the FaPATCs Group. I received bits in two distinct styles, one modern, the other traditional, so I think I may make two cards as I can't figure out a way to combine them...I'm not sure if this will be considered cheating...

I have finished knitting another pair in the greeny-yellery-space-dyed yarn in a large enough size for Bossman to wear them as bed socks. I gave them a good long length of rib to roll over so they won't come off in bed so easily. I have also finished Red's birthday socks ready for him to claim when he comes over to visit. I still have navy blue wool left, so shall probably start another pair as I can now knit socks in my sleep...

Monkey Maker asked where we all knit. I did take some photos, and I do intend to post them, when I get round to cropping them a little, but for now, back to life...

Friday, September 14, 2007


I had two cards in the post yesterday. I put them in the scanner, then got sidetracked by a phone call asking me to make a birthday card for a 26 year old woman to be delivered by Monday. "Give me a clue!" I asked, but the response was to do whatever I fancied as long as it would fit in a standard envelope and go at standard postage to the UK. Well we all know I work best under pressure, so anything as free and easy as this throws me out of my comfort zone! I think I'll leave it until Sunday, so there will be a bit of impetus...I am using the same technique to make a card for 0j0, who arrives tomorrow and has a birthday on Sunday....

Back to the postcards that were still in the scanner. This one is from Pam for the Quilter's Delight Swap on Artwemail. How does she get her corner meet-ups so precise? The material is a very fine cotton? batik with a lovely silky feel to it.

The next one is a RAK from Sharron in Oz. The background fabric has gold veining running through it. She has then applied the Klimnt-like circles (they have gold on them that doesn't show up in the scan), added some pearly paint around them, then added some black pen work for added interest. The final flourish is the gold ric-rac braid stitched across.

When I was in town yesterday, I called into Fabrix, hoping that he would have something a little more economical than the 1€ a metre 7" wide pelmet vilene I bought last month. Hooray! He had 45" wide extra heavy, non woven interfacing for a €1 a metre! Now I can have a play with acrylic paint and other postcardy techniques...

I have not been paying much attention to what is happening outside; I had noticed it getting darker, but the heavens have just opened and there has been an almighty crash of thunder not too far away. Any minute now the power will go off, and I'll be on battery back-up, so I'll upload this while I can.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Another postcard from the "Anything Goes #3" swap. I have had it since last week, but as it came from Mary who is not in my group of 5, I have been hanging on to it waiting for instructions! The easiest thing seems to be for me to send Mary a card in exchange, so that is what I shall do. I still have a blue crazy block here that just needs some embroidery.

Good news on the postal front! Corina has now received the first naked postcard that I sent to her at the beginning of August. She has suggested that it will substitute for the postcard that I am due to send her in the "Changing Seasons" swap, as it marked a change in my life; starting to make fabric postcards.

"Road Trip" the title of this postcard that was in my box today. The background is fabric. I am not sure if this has been printed by Jeri. I feel that it has but I have asked for confirmation! The red and yellow fibres of course, represent the roads, and the beads strung along them are the towns.

I had a successful visit to the Dog Shop this morning. I came home with a piece of dark brown vinyl for bag bottoms and handles, two sample lengths of material suitable for making ecobags; I am passing these out to my friends, but quite a few have said that, although they will use them, they still like to have plastic bags from the supermarket because they come in so handy for using as pedal bin liners!

I found this pretty little hand embroidered sachet, full of handkerchieves, all of the "present for Grandma" type, and many still with their stickers on. Then I came across this little machine embroidered cloth, just the right size to make another one. From a basket of oddments, I collected three linen napkins, two printed napkins, two lace doilies and a chiffon scarf. I left these at the desk with the Manageress, Linda, exchanged medical updates on our respective husbands (the only places we seem to meet are the Dog Shop and the clinic) and then went further into the shop to check the book shelves and the wool baskets. There I found my friend Ann, sorting out a box of china. She had walked into the shop this morning to ask if they needed volunteers at the moment, and had been put straight to work! I would love to do the same, and maybe when I get my wheels, I shall be able to. I arranged to meet Ann this evening down at the Winter Club; the AGM was yesterday, so tonight is the first night. We can catch up with everybody who has been away for the Summer. I went to pay for my purchases, and had to pay the magnificent sum of €2. I asked if that was enough, and was told that it was, as I was a regular customer, and anyway had refused my change last week! There was a time when this shop was the sole support of the local dog rescue kennels, but the Council has now taken over responsibility for the kennels, and provided two dog wardens and a van. The money from the shop goes towards vet's bills and transport costs for the large number of dogs that are sent to Germany for re-homing. The Council has a strict policy about how long they will keep dogs and so young healthy animals are sent North if they have not been claimed by their owners or adopted here.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Always the Bridesmaid..

This is the second card for the Wedding Swap. I don't think my partner reads my blog, so I'm showing it. I did think about doing "the Groom", but couldn't find any suitable material lying around, and the thought of having to move things to get into the big cupboard didn't really appeal. The bag of chiffony bits was handy under the sewing room table, so I had a rummage in there and found this strip of pleated dusky rose that I think came of someone's sleeve. I stitched it onto a pelmet vilene backer, then added the flowers and beads. I hadn't noticed until I scanned it that I haven't removed the straight stitching along the top edge.

As previously reported, I've struggled with these ATCs, but here is what I've come up with.The first one is smooth and shiny, because each layer was put on with clear wide packing tape. The tape is only two inches wide, so I had to juggle each layer and the direction of the tape so that all of the playing card was eventually covered. I liked the effect, especially on the first two layers, as the images was torn from a magazine, and the thin torn edges blended smoothly into the surface. The upper layers were cut out to give more definition, so there is a very slight ridge around the edges. The second card is very rough and textured. The background is crumpled paper with a rollered on layer of "Grease", and the top layer has strips of duct tape. I suppose I was trying to contrast the smooth men of the first card with a bit of rough...
On a technical note, I shall use the power tape method again, but next time I'll try with the sticky-back plastic used for covering books. I can cut that to size. I also might try making a mask of release paper, wetting the back of the magazine image after having put it on the tape, then rubbing the paper away, just leaving the image..I'll report back.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Off the needles

Jude's scarf is finished, and as predicted is on the short side, but it is long enough to cross over itself and be held by a brooch. This is the largest brooch I own. I found it in a discard bag from the local charity shop when I was rummaging for bits for a rag rug. "Take what you want and then put the rest in the clothing recycle bin" said the shop manager "save me a job". The brooch was on a turquoise, 1950's style, swing back coat, and had been stitched into position over the top buttonhole, making a lapel. I took the brooch back into the shop on my next visit. "Good Lord! Keep it!" she said...."Nobody would wear that!" I guess that makes me a nobody...

Just in case anyone wants to put a bid in, I'm showing a sock. Strange colourway, but if you want them as bedsocks...who cares? One pair is finished, the second pair is on the needle.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I have really struggled this afternoon, trying to make two ATCs for the Men Theme. They are done, but when I look at them again tomorrow, I may bin them. Next month I am definitely not signing up for the Swap until I have the blighters made...

I have the glimmering of an idea for the second of the Wedding cards but that's for tomorrow.

The damson scarf will be finished tonight as I only have half a ball left to knit. Jude was happy for it to be on the short side so she could use it to display part of her brooch collection, although it would have to be a large brooch not to disappear into the undergrowth. Kez the Fez had an easy night of it last night as all fur balls disdained to keep me company, and the yarn flowed unmolested from the hole in his head. Next door's catling did pop in to raid Charlie's biscuit bowl, but didn't stop to say hello. K & C haven't owned a cat before, and I don't think they realise just how much teenage feline's eat!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Surprise package...

Carol's tatted rose card for the CS September Swap

When I opened my post box this morning, slotted between the car insurance renewal form and the September Swap card from Carol, was a Post Office "wipe clean" notice card informing me that I had a package too big to fit in my box, so I joined the queue to retrieve my parcel. It was a jiffy bag containing a cone shaped object with a squishy large end...I recognised the writing on the packet as Jude's, but had no idea what she had sent. Inside was this postcard, from one of
her exhibitions, and on the back of it was her request that I knit the enclosed purple eyelash wool into a scarf, as "damson is the new black", and that she hoped that I would like the presents she had sent. The cone shaped object was a "very un PC" as she described it, wool holder, that she hoped would stop assorted fur babies from being tempted by the fluffy yarn as I knitted it, and two "hair bungees" that each had a mass of tiny translucent plastic tags that she was sure I would find a use for. My offspring know me well.....
My camera doesn't do blues very well; the yarn is much more towards the purple range than this photo shows.
Edit; Just found a wool holder with a green fez on Ebay...1 bid £3.99...2 hours left to bid.
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