Blethers and blahs

Random ramblings from a chaotic life

Storytelling Sunday – Generations of crafters

I love crafts, all kinds of crafts from scrapbooking to knitting, crochet, sewing, baking, cross stitch and a few others that I have been less than successful at.  I think it is genetic.  My mother was a keen needlewoman and sewed, knitted, crocheted and baked.  I am sure she would have been a scrapbooker had she known about it as many of the photo albums she kept had tags with them which told part of the story.  My maternal grandmother did all these things too but that was as much out of neccesity as enjoyment.  In fact the other day I found a lilac dressing table mat that had been crocheted from very fine cotton and was one of the many that I remember gracing my grandmother’s dressing table over the years to stop the top of it being scratched.  I also remember embroidered chair backs and sleeve covers to keep the furniture good.

There were a few down sides to having such a creative parent such as always having hand knitted things when everyone else had – what seemed to me then – prettier shop bought clothes.  Now it is far cheaper to buy than to knit clothes but then it was the opposite. This page shows me about 2 years old, wearing my handknitted togs and my hand sewn tartan trews.  My mother sewed everything by hand and never quite got to grips with a sewing machine.  I cut my teeth on a treadle machine aged about 14.  My grandad had bought it in an auction – a real one where people bid in person, because he thought I would like it.  What an understatement, I made so many clothes on that machine including most of my first working wardrobe, I was heartbroken when it died and I so wish I had kept it.  I had hand sewed things before that though and I still have the certificate I got aged 11 for making a large, red corduroy stuffed cat.

This is all put into perspective by a phone call from my oldest grandaughter earlier in the week looking for wool.  She had been sewing thistles at school and they wanted to make more things but the teacher didn’t have any other colours of wool so could I spare some?  The answer was, of course, yes and off I dashed.  The emergency parcel contained a book on needlecrafts for children, that I had bought for myself as there were some super ideas in it, some embroidery thread, some wool and some felt.  I had bought her a Harumika doll as part of her Christmas and she has hardly put it down since so I knew she would find these things useful.  The next thing I knew she had made herself a dog puppet to play with her younger brother with, which was lovely.

I wonder of my great grandchildren will also have the crafting bug?  I hope I am around to support and guide them if they are, oh and share some stash with them too 🙂


Leave a comment »

WOWW 132 – decisions, decisions

I am totally rubbish at making decisions especially at this time of year but one decision I have made is that I am not making cards this year.  After my recent disasters and given my almost total lack of self confidence re making cards I have abandoned the idea.

card blanks and Christmas stamps waiting to become cards

Let’s face it a week’s work for 1 hand made card is hardly a reasonable time and motion study.  The sheer frustration and terror of sitting down, thinking of what to put on the front of a card and then actually making it into something that I wouldn’t be ashamed to put my name to is just not worth the stress.  Especially not when every day is fraught with decision making and stress at the moment.

I haven’t actually taken a pic of my abandoned work desk today – mainly because I only really decided to abandon it at 4am this morning when the gentle gale that was blowing past my window prevented me from getting back to sleep.

My current work in progress is actually this …

… which is going to be the cover for one of the sad looking cushions that adorn our sofa.  They are all mismatched in colour, shape and size but as they are in good condition and useful they have escaped our many clear outs.  I was inspired to smarten them up by the satisfaction I got making this …

a close up

… which will shortly be wrapped ready to keep my youngest some warm and snug throughout the winter months ahead.  The funny thing is that during a recent visit to my daughter’s house I spotted a blanket my mother had made for her when she was much younger and which was still in very good condition despite being about 20yrs old and made form the cheapest acrylic yarn there was.

The year ahead is one where I actually use my stash of yarn, fabric, paper etc as the budget is getting much smaller though the stash pile isn’t so unless it is absolutely essential for me to buy I will be using up and making do.

For now the decisions are – when to write the cards I need to send and, yes I do know it will need to be soon, and when to begin wrapping the mountain of things I have stashed away as gifts.  I think it will be baby steps with the decision making so I will start with the cards that need posted and begin tonight, I think.


WOWW 131 – needles and pins

My workdesk has been in a different place for the past week  the remains of the backwards Christmas cards are still on my main desk.  The reason is simple – one special little girl’s 7th birthday and a grandmother who likes to indulge and as usual, totally overestimate my capabilities.

Many months ago I promised my granddaughter a doll for her birthday.  Not just any doll but a doll that looked like her.  I had seen the American Girl dolls and was totally taken by them helped by the fact that most of the gorgeous sewing patterns for dolls clothes were for 18″ dolls which I could only find one of in the UK and I didn’t like it.  Since then of course Argos now do a lovely 18″ doll at a really good price, just my luck.  To get back to the original story I duly bought an AG doll (the shipping and tax were horrendous!) and although it was expensive I don’t regret it.  This was swiftly followed by loads of knitting and crochet and the cutting out of sewing patterns and fabric.

Note that I haven’t yet mentioned the sewing of fabric.  In my typical fashion i left that till the last minute so I have spent almost every waking minute for the past week sewing elastic into knickers and trousers or making clothes or sewing on press studs or velcro and I am almost finished.  This is a good thing because her birthday is today!  I need to rush home form work later today, hastily wrap up boxes and then see if all my efforts have been worth it.  No, I take that back, I know all my efforts have been worth it as I have enjoyed almost every minute and I have no doubts that I will continue to enjoy making clothes for the doll for many years to come.  I did worry when I found myself awake in the wee hours of Sunday morning stressing about whether I had made pyjamas for the doll 🙂  This is a particular worry as the said little girl has a few dolls but one very special one called Baby Carrot, from whom she has been inseparable for 4 years now and who is a part of the family.  My granddaughter insists that my daughter is her granny, much to my daughter’s displeasure.  In fact BC has been the feature of several scrapbook pages including this one I made for a challenge at a recent crop.

The challenge called for lace which i didn’t have in the right colours so I crocheted some which meant the page was a bit rushed to get it finished in the time allotted.  I added some beads into the lace as I went and I like how it turned out so I will probably do something similar again at some point.  For now, I am away to sew buttons to a dolls jacket though i promise to share some photos of the finished items over the next few days.

If you want to see many more inspirational blogs, pop over to Julia’s blog.


Indecision, indecision

I have slowly, over many months, come to the conclusion that I have too much stuff.  Apart from going to crops I have barely crafted for months and my tote sits almost unpacked in between and I have finally figured out why. There are simply too many decisions to make and by the time I have worked out which photos, paper, style of page and embellishments I am going to use the hours I have available have disappeared and I am worse off than I was before because now my desk is covered in stuff.  By the time I next have the time to craft I have totally gone off the idea of using what I had previously pulled out and so another few hours go by and still nothing gets done.

A few months ago Angela asked me to be on her design team and while I was flattered, I was also terrified that I would let her down and this is what has happened.  I have 4 of her very lush embellishment kits sitting on my desk and although I have made something with every one, they are still waiting to be photographed and uploaded.

At this time of year I, like many other crafters, am busy making things for others as gifts.  At the moment it is crochet and a few weeks ago it was knitting.  I even crocheted on a page at a recent crop.  I have way too much yarn and if I never put my needles down I wouldn’t have to buy yarn for a very long time, though everything would be striped as most of it is no more than 200g of the same weight and colour.  So why have I recently been browsing yarn stores looking to spend lots of money on yarn for a blanket to keep me snug while I watch tv?  It beggars belief, really it does.  I think I have a serious problem with buying too much stuff and never actually getting around to using it.

Enough is enough though, I really need to get back to doing the things I enjoy and not allow myself to buy anything else till I have made a HUGE dent in what I have.  The yarn will go down as I am aiming to crochet stripey blankets for most of the family, not for any special reason apart from a sign that I care for them and to reduce my yarn stash.  I am almost finished a blanket for my youngest son, who will be getting it as part of his Christmas.

I fell in love with ripple blankets while reading this blog which led me to buying this book.  I am using yarn I had apart from the black, which I needed to balance it out and which will come in handy for hats etc over the winter.  For now I am planning on finding my desk underneath all that has been dumped on it over the past few weeks so that I may just get some pages photographed and maybe even a decision made about what to make next.

Leave a comment »

Experimenting is fun


I have been having loads of fun trying out different apps on my phone, especially camera ones. I am hoping to manage to upload photos from here as well, fingers crossed.

This is a pic of my grandaughter’s hat which is meant to be a slouchy hat.  Having picked the pattern herself,probably because of the flower, she then decided to wait till she was bigger to wear it as she thought it was too big for her!  Once we explained that it was meant to be like that it was worn happily.  The trouble is her brother now wants me to make him him a policeman’s hat!  I think I have managed to convince him that a pirate hat would be better though and he is now happy.  The only trouble is I forgot to take a photo of it before I gave it to him so I will need to rectify that later this week.

Leave a comment »