First Makes of the New Year

I first made this jumper back in the 80s and then lost the pattern. I was thinking about it a year ago and regularly checked all the online second hand sites to see if I could track it down as I remember really enjoying making it (and it was easy!!).

The Original Pingouin Pattern

No  luck until on a whim a couple of weeks ago I had a look at Ebay and lo and behold it was there! Never has the “Buy Button” been pressed so quickly! The seller sent it off straight away and I got clacking and here it is – the updated version! I used the Womens’ Institute Soft & Cuddly yarn. It seems to be sold only at Hobbycraft, I may be wrong but I haven’t seen it anywhere else. Great value at £3 a ball and on sale at the moment at 3 for the price of 2.

Pink Pingouin Sweater

My embroidery machine has been revving up for the New Year and the result is this knitting bag I made for my friend Gladys’s birthday. She sent me a very clever ‘thank you’ poem in return. 42,000 stitches! Gulp!

The Gladys Bag

And for those days when you wake up and think I really need a pair of jeggings with a giraffe wearing a scarf embroidered on one leg (and I can’t even blame the chemo drugs!)

Giraffe Jeggings

I had a follow up call from the Radiotherapy Centre to see how I’d coped with the side effects (apparently the peak of the side effects comes 2 weeks after the end of treatment). I was so happy to tell the radiotherapist that I haven’t suffered any side effects at all. The redness over my wound and neck has almost faded away and I haven’t suffered from fatigue at all. In fact I think my energy has increased which is good as Clarkson my beloved bicycle (I do miss Top Gear) and I have been giving my legs one heck of a work out up and down the beautiful country lanes around here.

Clarkson

Slainte!

Linda xx

Foxy Feed

Some slightly better news than the last post I wrote. Twinkle an adorable Tabby  who has spent a long tme at PAWS Animal Sanctuary has finally found a new home. A couple came by this morning and fell in love with her.
Twinkle

She’s going to a home with a huge garden and a lot of love!
Below is a video I shot of a new little Fox cub who has just found his way to my door and the cats’ leftovers! He is so gorgeous, I love watching him trotting around and sizing up this new world of his. If you watch the video, please ignore soundtrack in background, I’m watching re-runs of 24. Jack Bauer and I are up to Season 5 now.

Beautiful Fox Cub in the Garden

Gully the Herring Gull is taking food from me now at very close range – we’re up to about 2 feet away now. Honestly I swear there is a queue of wildlife at my door every afternoon! My neighbours opposite me love watching all the different creatures turning up for their tea.

Gully2

And this is a skinny little adult fox which I’m trying to fatten up. There is a large dog Fox that comes round as well and if they both turn up at the same time he won’t let the little one feed.

Skinny Fox2

Craftwise I’ve been busy sewing, but I’ve taken time out to crochet this little cutie.
Crochet Duckling3

The pattern was free from DenDennis Amigurumist It doesn’t take much yarn and it’s quick to make. The head and body are made as one which is great as there is no fiddling about trying to sew a flopping head on!
A short post this time as I have to get back to Jack!

Slainte

Linda xxx

‘Every Little Helps’ or does it?

It seems to me that if you want to get a big company’s attention you need to Tweet them. I got mad the other day in Tesco as they’d hiked up the price of their Sunflower Spread from 75p to £1 in the space of one week. So I tweeted @Tesco and asked them if they were expecting a poor sunflower harvest this year hence the 33% price increase. I’ve previously emailed and snail mailed them about various things with no reply whatsoever. Tweeting seems to work as everyone can see the Tweet and send it on themselves to their group of followers and so on and so on. Having the grand total of 23 followers (@Elle_M_Kennedy) I didn’t think I’d get a reply but I did and this is it – “Hi Linda, our suppliers work hard to secure the best possible prices. I’ll look into this & I’ll be back in touch #ASAP” I am still waiting but at least it was an acknowledgement!

My days recently have been filled with watching the webcams on TV presenter Simon King’s site.
http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/live-cams/robin-nest-985
Fox cam
Fox cub on Badger & Fox Feeder Cam – pic by Simon King
kingfisher cam
Kingfisher on River cam – pic by Simon King
Badger cam
Badger and Fox Feeder Cam – pic by Simon King
Kestrelo cam
Kestrel Nest – Still from Simon King webcam
Robin on Nest
Little Robin on her nest – Still from Simon King webcam
Robin chicks
Baby Robins hatched today – Still from Simon King’s webcam
I’ve watched Blue Tits babies grow up and fledge, Woodpeckers being fed, Wren babies leave the nest, Badger cubs playing – the list is endless and also gives a fascinating insight into the private lives of these beautiful creatures.

I have been doing other things when I’ve managed to tear myself away from the laptop. I made this –
Badger Painting5
Badger Painting08
It sort of continues the wildlife theme and I adore Badgers! This is Picasso Badger, he’s on the front of a zippered pouch I made.
This little fellow got made too. As you can see from the pic below he was immediately adopted by my pair of Lovebirds!
Crocheted Teddy3

And some new labels to go with my Badger makes

Badger Tag2

An ex Writers’ Club member and friend Pam Weaver gave a talk in our local library this week about the books she has written.
pam weaver
They are set locally and together they form a saga. Pam read chapters from her books and explained how she got the inspiration for them. A real life gruesome murder in Eastbourne, East Sussex 20 years ago gave her an idea for one of her books and the excerpt she read really built up the tension. This is Pam’s website address if you’d like more info. She really is a very talented writer. 
http://www.pamweaver.co.uk/index.html

Slainte

Linda xxx

Here, There and Africa

Embroidery Library a brilliant source for machine embroidery designs had a sale of African inspired designs last week, so I thought I’d treat myself to a Zebra, some Meerkats and half an Elephant.  I had some thick cream coloured canvas (which is a dream to embroider) and added the designs to a piece of it. I then found a lovely piece of Zebra print cotton (you see, sales are never cheap. When you have an idea you usually have to buy something else to complete it).

A bit of cutting and tutting later and sewing on my brilliant little Elna Sew Fun machine and voila a Safari bag has been born!

Bag for Wildlife2
Bag for Wildlife4

Bag for Wildlife

As we’ve just had confirmation in the UK that all plastic bags in shops will cost 5p each from next year, this is my answer to shopping without plastic. Not so much a Bag for Life but more a Bag for Wildlife.

Thinking of shops and stuff, how many of you fellow crafters out there with your own little shops are starting to gear up to make your Christmas stock soon? I think there’s something slightly rebellious about working on Christmas designs when the sun is shining down and the waves on the beach are lapping at your feet (Australians, you must be expert at this). I’m about to start on Rudolph Tea Cosy.

Rudolph Tea cosy

I only make one of these each year as there’s so much work involved in making the embellishments. Poor old Rudy, he’ll never get a friend at this rate.

I did my usual Sunday visit to PAWS Animal Sanctuary last Sunday. Dear little Button a black and white stray who was thought to have Feline infectious peritonitis has got the all clear.

paws cats
(On the right one up from the bottom) picture by PAWS

The vet thinks he has just got an intolerance to certain types of food. A while back he could hardly raise his head from his bed but now he gets out of his bed and does his best to head butt your knees. I hope he gets a good home, he has struggled for so long he deserves one.
Stacey also took in one cat who was dumped by the side of a road in a cat basket and one who was dumped in a box. Both were starving and in an unkempt condition.

Silver Tabby
Dumped by the side of the road – picture by PAWS

Longhaired stray
Dumped in a cat basket – picture by PAWS

I am constantly amazed by the fact that most animals no matter how badly treated they are by us are still capable of giving us affection. I was there when the longhaired cat above came in and I spent some time petting it. The dear little thing purred and purred in between frequent trips to his food bowl. Again they both deserve some love in their lives and they’ve both definitely landed on their paws by being in Stacey’s care.

Slainte

Linda xxx

Origins

Do you ever pick up a secondhand book and find an inscription inside and wonder about the first owner of the book? I came across this book the other day

C E Tunnicliffe Book2

with this inscription inside

C E Tunnicliffe Book1

It’s dated 1979 which is the year of publication of the book, so it must have been a brand new book bought for Colin for Christmas. Did Colin grow up to be an artist? Who were Denis and Lindsay? Why was Colin’s book in a charity shop? Did he donate it or did someone else donate it. Maybe it has done the rounds and I’m the fourth or fifth owner even! Hopefully Colin did have a happy Christmas and Denis and Lindsay’s gift was put to good use. I love reading things like this and imagining all sorts about the owner and although I love ebooks, you can’t add a piece of history like this to a downloaded book. BTW the book itself is wonderful, the bird sketches are breathtaking. I always envy artists who with a just few strokes of a pen or pencil can create life on paper.  Note to self – Keep practicing!

Now remember my new found love for machine applique? I had so much fun with my Flamingo design that I made it into a little zippered pouch.

Flamingo pouch2
and added the flamingo fabric as a lining. I might put a couple of embroidered pouches in my shop. There are so many gorgeous/cute/funny/clever embroidery designs available these days that I could spend the rest of my days sewing them or at least until my machine wears out.
Flamingo pouch lining1

I’ve also been making a few of these. Can you guess what it is yet?
Crochet pentagons7

No prizes but my recent addictions should give you the answer!

Slainte

Linda xxx

Pen and Ink

This is a picture of three of my favourite things – a bottle of coloured ink, a beautiful fountain pen and a sheet of writing paper.

Pen and Ink5

I also have bottles of orange, fuchsia, lavender and green ink! Alas I don’t have a fountain pen for each ink colour, but it puts me in a happy place when I write with any of these colours. Sad that not many people use fountain pens these days and the only ink colours you seem to be able to buy in the shops are blue or black or even blue/black! I buy my inks from The Writing Desk. I’m like a kid in a sweet shop when I go onto this site. You can even get scented ink – reminds me of handwritten love notes sly exchanged by Jane Austen’s characters. I never buy Fountain pens over the net as I think they are something you have to try in person, a bit like shoes!

While on the subject of ink, here is a rubber stamp I carved at the weekend.

Handcarved Goldfish Stamp2

Handcarved Goldfish Stamp1
I’m rather pleased with this one as I’ve just started learning how to handcarve stamps. I also have this brilliant book on how to make your own stamps.

stamp-making-book
The author Geninne D. Zlatkis has also posted a video tutorial on her blog on how she carves stamps. Very talented lady.
More makes –
 Flamingos Applique4
I’m getting a bit addicted to machine applique now I’ve figured out how to use the files. I downloaded this design from Cherry Stitch Design as a single Flamingo and then using SewArt software I copied it, pasted and flipped the copy and merged it with the original one to make a pair of Flamingos. Hours of fun!

Also over the weekend i had to feed my addiction for crocheted Birdies. This is the newly hatched Patriotic Birdie!!

Patriotic Birdie1

Patriotic Birdie6

I’m resting from Birdie crocheting at the moment – well at least until I can think up another colour combination! Most of the crocheting was done while watching the wonderful birdie and animal web cams that the rather wonderful Simon King has put up around his home. Well worth a look. Along with hundreds of others I’ve spent the last few weeks watching a Bluetit family grow up and was almost tearful as the last one left the nest this morning. I hope they have a wonderful life.

Slainte

PS Simon King has found a second Blue Tit family for us all to watch over

Linda xxx

Universe

My interpretation of ‘Universe’ for this week’s Illustration Friday.

Universe Glodfish Bowl

Also as well as chucking paint around I’ve been feeding my addiction for crocheting Birdies. This is Lemon Birdie making friends with my Bluebird of ‘Appiness.

Crocheted Lemon Birdie2

I also knitted a toadstool to act as a prop for when I photographed Harry Hedgehog Tea Cosy.

Knitted Toadstool5

I hired a stylist for the shoot!

Tabikat and Toadstool2

Harry and Toadstool04

This is what happens when you attempt machine applique for the first time without a clue what you’re doing.

Applique1

And this is what you get when the penny drops!

Good Birdie Applique1

Slainte

Linda xxx

May Makes

This is a pic of the purple hot water bottle cover I mentioned in my last post

Purple Hot Water Bottle Cover08
I love the colour, might even make another one. One for me and one for the cats! I’ve been doing a bit of catch up with my own sewing and have finally finished this summer dress made from Butterick 5317. It’s unusual for me to get something finished for the right season. I usually finish my summer sewing in time for Christmas and vice versa.

Blue and White floral dress5

B5317
I think it does look vaguely like the one on the right on the pattern envelope, although I didn’t like the sleeves, so I left them out.

A bit of a mad fit overtook me when I decided to crochet the Octopus on the front cover of the current Craftseller magazine.

craftseller

The word Octopussy kept floating around in my brain, probably because of the Bond film of the same name, so here she is, my very own Octopussy!

Octopussy2

I did put this pic on Craftseller’s Facebook Page and they seemed to like it! Maybe I should go for Reservoir Dogs for my next project!

Slainte

Linda xxx

Back in Harness

I didn’t realise I’d been away from my blog for so long. I did feel down after my Uncle’s passing in January. He was the last member of the family on my dad’s side, so I was also grieving for that as well.
Anyway on to better and happier things. I have been busy and these are a few of the things I’ve been making. I got this pattern from Heidi Bears.

Bluebird of Appiness1

It was so much fun to make that I crocheted another little friend for her. As you can see they have become the very best of friends!

Crocheted Birdies10

Although the warmer days have finally arrived here I felt compelled to make myself a hot water bottle cover. So I made one knitted on 4 needles (pic to come later). I like knitting on 4 needles and really don’t do enough of it. Maybe I should start now and make some Christmas socks for pressies.
I’ve been trawling around the charity shops as usual an last week I found a brown and badly stained bamboo table. It had a lovely ornate base, so I took it home and sprayed it white. It now serves as an art table and holds all my brushes, paints and paper. I think it originally had 2 chairs to go with it, but they were nowhere to be seen in the shop, but my little white bamboo stool works well with it.

Bamboo table2

What about this for a bargain! I found this beautiful pristine book in Oxfam.

Drawn from Paradise2

The illustrations are fabulous. So much colour and detail.

Drawn from Paradise3
Drawn from Paradise4
Drawn from Paradise5

The foreword is written by Sir David Attenborough, one of my all time heroes. It’s going to get a place of honour in my birdie library.
Getting back to makes, I made this tote bag for my friend`s birthday.

Isis tote bag3
Isis tote bag5

She’s into Egyptology so I thought this design of Isis mother of Horus would look great embroidered on the bag. I’m quite pleased with how it turned out, I hope she likes it.
I also embroidered the back of a denim waistcoat (for me) with a Surf Bird. Every time I look at this it just makes me smile!

Surf Bird Waistcoat1

Surf Bird Waistcoat6

A short post this time as I’m just getting back into blogging with baby steps at the moment!

Slainte

Linda xxx

Beaded Beauties

It occurred to me over the weekend when I was having yet another sort out and purge of my wardrobe that there are an awful lot of embroidered clothes in there. Most of them, actually I think all of them have come from charity shops and none have cost over a fiver as that is my top limit for buying clothes. I just love this kind of embellishment, I must have inherited the love of it from my granny who was a professional hand embroiderer and produced many exquisite works for church vestments in Ireland. I suppose church embroidery work is now done by machine as the amount of woman hours needed to make them would be cost prohibitive.
Now any excuse to get my camera out! Here are some photos of my favourite pieces.
Black beaded cardi2
Black beaded cardi4
Looks a bit navy in the photos but this is a lovely black embroidered and beaded cardi. The front is done up with hooks and eyes. It’s lovely and soft and heaven to wear.

Grey beaded scarves1
Grey beaded scarves3
Here are details from two grey beaded scarves. This scarf immediately above has this embroidery all over every square inch. I have about a dozen embroidered scarves.

Embroidered jeans
The leg of a pair of jeans. I did this one myself on my embroidery machine. I just loved how it turned out. When I wear them it looks like my left leg is a walking pergola!

Red beaded cardi3
Red beaded cardi4
Stunning black bead embroidery on a lovely red cardi.

Butler & Wilson Cat tshirt1

Butler & Wilson Cat tshirt2
And last but not least. This is my all time favourite – a sequinned pussycat on a Butler & Wilson t shirt. I adore this one!
I think I might turn this yen for collecting beautiful embroideries into a proper hobby. Charity shop prices around my way are still relatively reasonable and a fiver per masterpiece is doable. It would be nice to be able to wear your hobby!

Slainte

Linda xxx