Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Wishing you a wonderful Christmas time..

Hope 2014 brings good health and happiness to you and yours!  

Thank you for reading my ramblings, and those who have commented through the year it has been great hearing from you.. thank you.  

Well, it's Christmas Eve..  my Michael Buble Christmas CD is playing, the house smells of herbs and jelly and Christmas lights are twinkling.   All of the running around is finished, it's time to relax and enjoy family time and food preparation.. oh and a late night stint wrapping the kids' presents :)

Have fun folks :)

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Is flying by!  And what have I been doing?   Well, there was some felting at the start of the month  .. followed by a week playing around with scraps on my sewing machine - more on that in another post  :)

And I turned 40 this week! 
My birthday was Tue 17th.. we started the birthday festivities on Sat 14th.  Getting up bright and early we went water zorbing :) on a pretty little lake in Worcestershire.  

The guys at PumpitUp knew we were coming for my birthday and opened the lake early.. so it was just the 4 of us on the water together.  The kids didn't know what we were doing until they started inflating the zorbs..  We had such a laugh!  Matthew managed to take a couple of short videos and Gary took a couple of photos (they had their gadgets inside the zorbs too).

I like seeing Matthew laughing in this one :) and looking out seeing Gary stand up in his hamster ball and slowly fall over backwards :)

We went out for a meal with Gary's family on the Saturday night.. Rachael made me a lovely birthday cake

Chocolate cake with chocolate fudge sauce sandwiched in between the layers..
covered with fresh cram and strawberries - YUM :)
She had been planning this cake for about 6 weeks bless her.. and she did every little bit of it on her own

They brought it out after the meal and sung Happy Birthday :) first time that's happened since I was 10!
On the Tuesday Gary took the day off work, we went out walking with the digs in the morning.. it was a bright blue sky day.. perfect for walking :)  Then shopping and a late lunch.. Finishing the day off at the cinema watching THE HOBBIT - Desolation of Smaug - which was FANTASTIC!  Love love loved it.. I can not wait to watch it again!

So I had a lovely birthday :)

Earlier on in December we went on a couple of day trips..

Rachael and me went to Birmingham to visit the German Christmas Market (which is pretty big) and also the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery..

The big reclining figure is at the centre of a fountain (not working at the time) where we sat to eat German sausage and sauerkraut :)
We rode on a beautiful carousel :) which went really fast
Admired beautiful painted buildings..
We were going to the museum to visit a specific exhibition.. but got hopelessly lost looking for the gallery and ended up finding lots of interesting treasures..

Beautiful stained glass windows - very different but both beautiful
The weather vane from Birmingham Town Hall with holes in his tail.
During the English Civil War (1642 to 1651) Prince Rupert shot the weather vane 3 times
while his troops pillaged the town of Birmingham.
I think this cockerel is quite splendid :)  
Beautiful, sparkling buttons
An amazingly decorative smock which belonged to a 17th century gardener.. this was his 'Sunday best'
The exhibition we were there to see was the Staffordshire hoard.  Discovered just a few miles from where I live, this is the only Anglo-Saxon gold hoard ever discovered..  I can't remember the weights involved.. but there are kilos of gold .. more kilos of silver ..  and then kilos of copper, but more gold than anything.  All in tiny fragments, twisted and broken.. but once cleaned quite exquisite.  A glimpse.. a tantalising taste of the artistry of our ancestors.  Photos were not allowed here, but I have pulled a few images off the net.  They are pieces mostly taken from weapons and armour, with just a few Christian crosses.. no jewellery.

Fish and bird
Love the writing.  It's a Latin biblical inscription
We really enjoyed seeing this.. it leaves you speculating about WHY all of these 'scraps' had been buried. Having just finished reading Bernard Cornwell's Anglo Saxon Chronicles (an excellent read!) I had vivid images of them being battlefield plunder.. the rich metals and gems torn from arms and armour of the fallen. The thing that amazes me is how decorative and beautiful such tiny elements are.. so many pieces smaller than my little finger.

We also visited lovely historic Ludlow for their Medieval Christmas Fayre..  we usually go on a Sunday but this year went Saturday and it was very busy.  Too busy for my liking if I'm honest..  But Ludlow is always lovely..
Very crowded streets of Ludlow
My 'little man' in the yellow jacket at the top of the stairs :)
And there were GIANTS! :)

All of my family have broken up for 2 weeks now :)  I'm really looking forward to the family time. My to do list now is: wrapping the kids pressies, visiting family and friends that we haven't gotten to yet, and food shopping.. oh and cooking up a storm of course :)

Hope you are having an enjoyable run up to Christmas too.. 


Sunday, 8 December 2013

Ready made soles.. a giveaway

Just a quick post..

I was contacted recently by Amanda Blackwell, Amanda is starting up a small business here in the UK.. Joestoes  - she sells, among other things, soles for felted slippers.  

They have a good range.. there is felt, latex coated felt, leather and vibram rubber in a wide range of colours and all adult shoes sizes.  AND they have the holes punched in already.  

For anyone who doesn't fancy cutting and punching soles for felted footwear they are worth looking at!  If you have any questions I'm sure Amanda will be happy to answer them, she is a very friendly lady.

At the moment Amanda is holding a giveaway just for UK residents over on the Joestoes facebook page. The give away is open until 16th December '13 .. to find out more please follow the link above.  

** UPDATE - Amanda has opened the giveaway up to international readers who wish to enter to **

Good luck if you enter :)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Working back into a past project..

I'm still playing catchup!  A few weeks ago I got out a Christmas project from last year (which I don't think I posted on here about).  I'd had a niggling desire to stitch into this right from the begining.. but my lovely man convinced me to leave it be.  Gary loves naked felt - no embroidery.  He usually likes it once it IS embroidered too.. I think he just gets a little nervous incase stitching ruins it :)  Well, last year it went in my shop and didn't sell so THIS year it got a revamp!

This is how it started out:

First thing I wanted to do was embroider words from the Christmas hymn that inspired the picture..

My first move when adding text is always to print it out in the font
I like and experiment with size and position
Next I trace it onto tissue paper..
 pin it in place.. and freemotion embroider through it
I used the zig-zag stitch this time as there was a bigger area to fill
Then I started adding stars..
Outlining and adding extra detail
Windows and shadows
Finished.. the photo out of focus though..

Now because I am a nosey parker who LOVES to see the back of any embroidered piece :)

Here it is :)
Looks like a pencil drawing

I'm really happy with it now :)  I just posted it in my Etsy shop but think I'm probably too late for it to sell this Christmas.  Next year it may be joined by a 'We Three Kings' panel :)  

Hope you are all enjoying the run up to Christmas..  I can't believe it is the 1st of December already!


Monday, 18 November 2013

Talking about WIZARDS..

I have been lucky enough that some of my lovely customers have sent photos of themselves in their Radagast the Brown kit - two were dressed up for Halloween and one for a Renaissance Fair..  I wanted to share them with your all (with their kind permission).  

Leslie spent All Hallows Eve day at work dressed as Radagast -
with a very worrying clown.  She had a little birdie tucked under her hat :) and Sebastian the Hedgehog is perched on her shoulder
Kyle the Green stepping out on All Hallows Eve.
Kyle has the hat with the embroidered green band for tucking found treasures..  can you see his little birdie ?
Pete enjoying some sunshine at a Renaissance Fair

Don't they all look fantastic?!  

I know Leslie is planning to wear her Radagast to the opening night for the upcoming Hobbit movie :)  I wonder how many more of my hats will be worn to cinemas around the world in December.. 


Sunday, 10 November 2013

One more wizard hat..

This is the one that I didn't show in the last post.  I've been wanting to do a Gandalf hat for aaages and just not gotten around to it.  A few weeks ago I DID!  But things didn't go to plan..  This was the first pointy hat I'd made in 2 years so had forgotten the past experience, which might explain a lot.

I wanted to make a long, crumpled and bent looking hat just like Gandalf wears in the films..  So I decided to use 4 layers, thoroughly felted, so it was strong and self supporting - I didn't want it to flop!  

I made a looong resist..  
 and enclosed it in 4 layers.  Inside was dark grey merino, then white Falkland, followed by 2 layers of lighter grey merino.  I worked it hard and felted it down so it was lovely and strong.. I net it into shape and it stayed there a treat
Drying on my big block (with cling film to keep the canvas block dry)
 The problem was it was just to long!  It did not look right at all!  And it wouldn't shrink down any more.. So I cut the end off!  Then cut a gusset so I could stitch it back into a point.  I did work the felt a little more and managed to lose the stitching a little.. it's still there but not really noticable.

I'm happy with the shape and length of the point now..
 and the brim looks better on than placed on the table top, it's still the same shape as it was on the block
Now I did catch my husband trying this on :) I've told him I want him to wear it to the Middle Earth weekend in Moseley next year :)  

But to be honest it isn't really any good for wearing.. it's too thick and stiff. Makes a nice ornament though , I think I shall offer it to the Museum where I used to work.. see if they want it for their Halloween displays, they often do fantasy events too so I reckon it would be a good home for it. 

Lesson learned = 4 fibre layers is just toooo much for a hat!  

Friday, 8 November 2013

More hats :)

Not going to say too much here.. just share a few photos with you :)  I've been making quite a few wizardly and Hobbit hats...  I think it may be because I'm excited for the next Hobbit movie - which I am planning to see on my birthday.

This Hobbit hat features my favourite .. hand stitched add-ons :)
2 new Radagasts.. one has gone to Ireland the other to Finland
A red Radagast-ish one
For some reason witches hats always seam to suit me :) 
I have one more wizardly hat to show you.. I don't have a finished photo to add so will have to take one tomorrow :)  There's a bit more to tell with that one anyway.


Friday, 1 November 2013

A couple more hats..

I didn't take process photos with most of the hats I made over the last month or so.. but here are a few more finished hats :)
This is one of my favourites :)
I love stripes, spirals and buttons
I've done several berets..
I like this ones white silk on black/grey
And you know I love Celtic Labyrinths!
This has one on the crown.. you can't really see on the photo,
but there's a handspun chunky (purple) yarn with metallic sparkles
which runs between the green
Then I had a week where I was drawn to pastel stripes..
So I felted a big, bandy bowlerISH hat :)
And a cloche too :)
This hat was actually deeper than I wanted it to be.. so I cut it.
Removed a section so it was the right size and stitched the crown back on.
I added lines of simple embroidery and edged it with blanket stitch in some
lovely wool/silk yarns from World of Wool.
My goodness.. I really have done a lot of hats :)  and I haven't finished showing them yet lol!

I felted mittens to go with a couple of the hats..  

More hats (fun ones) next time :)