Monday, 29 November 2010

Last Saturday...

On Saturday morning I got up to...
a take over bid of my kitchen by cinnamon men biscuits!
and an industrious Youngest...
Snow on the skylights...
...and an iced up lane way!
We made it to Church on Sunday, despite a further snowfall and below 0 temperatures, the main road was like an ice rink.
But when we got back a neighbouring farmer had been out spreading hot cinders on the hill, so we didn't have to abandon the car at the barn as we feared.
Middlest arrived in Church and came home for the day, which was lovely...well, until the snowball fight moved indoors...two shrieking teenagers, two large over-excited dogs, a number of flying snowballs, and a warm kitchen, sure make for a soggy combination!!
And a Happy Advent to you too!!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Festive Napkin Rings and Special Offer!

Welcome to this Friday's Crafts! I thought I'd do something quick and easy today, partly as its been a long and busy day for me! Part of this morning was spent in School teaching a class of 6/7 year olds to play hand bells to accompany their song in the Carol Service...great fun...please pass the ear plugs?

For the Napkin Rings I used 12" pipe cleaners, or chenille sticks, as they appear to be called nowadays, and some funky beads. I don't expect you'll all have the time to rush away to South Africa to get similar beads, but never mind about that!

The size of the beads will probably dictate how many you string onto one pipe cleaner, also, whether you want to conceal the pipe cleaner, or have part showing, as I did.
I bent the pipe cleaner into two loops, pushing one end into a middle bead...
...and then the other end into the same bead...but the two ends can easily go into different beads if you want a wider ring. By pushing the ends into beads, I covered the ends of the wires, which I was afraid might catch on the napkins and snag important consideration as I intend using the good damask at Christmas.
An alternative Napkin Ring decoration is to twist greenery around a pipe cleaner...
...then loop the pipe cleaner into the correct size...
tuck in the ends...
and twine some beads or sparkles around everything.
You'll notice here that I actually ended up with the Ring too small for all the extra bits I added, so be sure not to do the same. Beads actually take up more of the middle space than one thinks.
Also, greenery won't keep between now and Christmas, so that would add to the last minute jobs.

Finished Napkin Rings!
I thought that as a December Special I would offer a couple of 'freebies' to anyone buying from my Etsy Shop during December, so I've put a notice to that effect in the Shop.
But then I thought that since you, my long suffering Followers, are there for me all the year round, you should have something extra!
So for any Followers buying anything at all from my Shop between now and the New Year, as well as the other things, I'll include one of my Crochet Brooches as well.
(Please remind me that you are a Follower when buying, so you get everything!)
Howzat for bribery and corruption!!
(Would I make a good Politician???????)
'Tee Hee!' as Ladydi would say...!!!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Soggibottom Bear Looks for a New Home!

You want a CUTE bear for Christmas? Here's your chance!!

Actually, on second thoughts, please don't enter...I really want him for myself!
At what age exactly does one grow out of adoring teddy bears???


Thank you for the well wishes for the Workshop last night! Here's the report if you are interested!

It was just WILD!

The day began with teaching children all morning. One of the teachers came into my Music Class (only about 80 children present) and decided to play the X factor with the songs, reducing the whole class to pandemonium. Then she did a big long speech and tried to 'eliminate' one of the older boys, and when I pretended to interview him with a clothes peg for a 'mike' he played up and wailed and sobbed, which had the younger ones in hysterics!

The Mothers' Union in the evening was another sort of chaos, with people bringing blunt scissors and needles, and enormous pins which looked like hat pins, and trying to steal each other's craft bits, and sequins and beads flying everywhere. Then the clothes pegs I brought to hold the gluey buts together were so old that when people tried to use them the plastic exploded and flew everywhere!...But robins and hearts were sewn and embellished and stuffed and a very rowdy night was had!

Well, they invited me, instead of a more staid person to lead the craft night; they might have known things would happen- after all, they hear me at the Organ many Sundays so they know what a disaster I am!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Santa's Workshop...Sorta...

Santa's Workshop is going nineteen to the dozen here after my brief stint in bed. I'm having a great time creating dolls!
Anyone not 'in the know' would think I was the next Sweeney Todd with the amount of body parts littering the work table!!!

There's a Princess doll, for a special small person:
I've been working with the new Jan Horrox book, to make her, and would REALLY recommend the book if you are into doll making! Further progress:
After Christmas I'll show you the properly finished doll, as I don't want to spoil the surprise for the recipient!

Then, for another very, very small person I returned to the usual style of Prim pattern, with an embroidered face, to make a Prairie style doll:
...forgot to swivel her around!
One is to be posted tomorrow, and the other taken to Dublin on Saturday, possibly to a Rugby International, but hopefully will be delivered first!!
Any more orders better come in fast as I've another two to do yet and posting dates are a-creeping!

And then Santa's next trick is a Craft Workshop for the Mothers' Union. Back in August, the 24th November was so far ahead I thought nothing of agreeing to do it...ha! No, actually: HA!

The last two days have been spent packaging 25 personal Craft Packs
(templates, fabric, ribbons, etc)
and four similar Supply Baskets with identical contents
(beads, sequins, buttons, lavender potpourri, toy filling, misc fabric pieces, Biros, etc).
I didn't realise how much work would be involved, but I also figure that if its worth doing at all, its worth doing well.
These are the demonstration lavender in; 'here's one I made earlier!' And long live Blue Peter!! (Is that a cultural joke?)
I hope I survive the evening, and I hope the ladies do too, of course; I've actually never done anything like this before.
This evening I have been working out the step by step progression for the evening...but if even one bottle of beads gets knocked over it will turn into a shambles....

And then, this afternoon I glanced out the window and there was a rainbow!
God's promises?
Perhaps I'll survive after all!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

My scheduled blog posts are so gone out the window by this time that they must be well out to sea!
Never mind.
So I thought I'd show you a few photos from Youngest's Party in October- and in case you wondered, the Hub hoovered the cobwebs away before the party, and I cleaned up after!

White Queen and one Hatter:
The trouble with the Queen of Hearts was that he couldn't bend in the was either stand, or be lowered to the floor, flat!
A moment in the Party- please do not imagine it was a silent one...
The Mad Hatter's Birthday Cake- he was pretty much the star of the show in every sense!
Another dull, quiet, evening in the Beckety family...

Friday, 19 November 2010

iPod, Phone, etc Holder

Thank you for your comments on last Friday's Craft, and here is this week's offering:

a Holder for an iPod, mobile/ cell phone, MP3 Player, digital camera, or even just a handy rubbish pouch for one's handbag!! This one actually belongs to Middlest, hence the large PINK button!

This is a suitable present particularly for teenagers, but everyone else too- just change the colour of the yarn!

I knitted it in knit 1, purl 1, rib because my stocking stitch knitted camera case (same pattern but more stitches on the needles), has not held its shape at all.
I used double knitting synthetic yarn that I had to hand, and knitted using GB size 10 needles;
in Metric = 3.25mm
in USA = size 3

The finished Holder was about 5" (11cm) by 3" (6cm), button closed, but tension will vary from person to person, and knitted lengthwise.

To Make:

Cast on 20 stitches (an even number makes it easier to keep the rib straight if you become distracted).

Every row: knit 1, purl 1, and repeat to end.

Carry on until the strip measures 11" (27cm)
ie- length of object x2, +1" (2.5cm) extra

Cast off, in rib if possible.

Now fold the strip in half, then edge one one back by 1" (2.5cm), which will give you the top overlap. Pin together (or not!) and stitch up each side.

Next I sewed on the button, below the level of the overlap.

For the button loop there are two options:
a) plait a short length of yarn, or
b) crochet a short chain of yarn

Either way, you need to measure from the overlap edge, down around the button, and back up to the edge again- that's the length of plait or chain you need....WITH a length of yarn at each end so that you can stitch this piece onto the edge of the overlap.

Finish in ends and you are done!

For added gift ideas, you could include an iTunes voucher, or add a couple of charms or tassels- they seem to like them!
(...or even a packet of tissues, or would that be too insulting?...

I hope this is useful to some of you- I've got to knit a few more for presents myself!

And as to the lack of posts this week? I've been ill in bed since last Sunday, just a bug, but such a pain. Can you imaging what my music Classes will sound like after a whole week without singing? Level of laundry? state of kitchen? etc etc...Grrrrr!

Friday, 12 November 2010

Tealight Holders

(Really sorry for the late posting-we've just come through a 20 hour power cut, which started in the middle of writing this last night, worst for a long time. 5.30 pm now and I'm trying to retrieve what I had done and finish the post ! So sorry.)

Welcome to my first Friday of Helpful Christmas Crafts!

NB. I find that a cuppa tea, some chocolate and music are excellent aids to the creative process, though not strictly necessary, perhaps!

I hope directions and photos are clear- I've reduced the size of the published photos in the hopes that it will load faster for yez, but you can click on them to enlarge if you need to, of course! (well, I hope you can...)

Firstly: here are the supplies I used to make the tea lights, the greenery is strands of ivy I pulled out of the hedge just before I begun, so the first thing to do is pick out the dead leaves and grass which came in with it!

(The object with all the Crafts is to use whatever you have to hand, which is why I don't want to give precise ingredients!)
Oh, the hockey whistle and the Boules jack are accidental, I found them when looking for the wire- I need the whistle for Choir, 120 or so children make a lot of noise!

Take a strand of ivy, measure around the jam jar you are using, to get the size right, and carefully weave the end into a loose circle.
Take care to ease the leaves through the circle as you go or you'll end up with a bald decoration!! Also be careful to bend the strand and not fold it; it won't sit so well if the strand is broken.
Once you have the size sorted, and the first weaving in, just keep going, weaving the strand around itself. When you reach the end take up a new strand, tuck the end in between where two strands meet, and keep weaving. This is where you have to mind the leaves, I had more than this when I began!
As you can see, it doesn't look much like anything here, and there are bits sticking out all over the place- this is just fine!

For the next part I used a bit of old crochet wool, but ribbon or even brown twine will work just as well: the intention is to anchor it together so it can be moved without falling apart.
Knot the end of the ribbon on somewhere and wind it around the stems, taking care not to flatten the leaves.
Tie off the end of the ribbon onto the beginning and trim it neatly. Still looks a right pickle, doesn't it? Fear not!
Now turn the jam jar the right way up, ease the ivy wreath over the top, and slide it down the jar. You might need to tease some leaves to the outside if they are smooshed against the glass.
Drop in a tea light, and hey presto! your basic decoration is done!
Extra embellishments in a minute, so set it aside for now.
This a wire and bead string to wrap around a glass or jar:
(If you have no beads, use rolled up tin foil balls from your chocolate wrapper!!)
The length of wire should be several times the circumference of the jar, since with twisting the beads in place you'll shorten it considerably.

Thread the first bead onto the wire, and either tie a knot, or twist the wires together like a freezer bag closure.
Continue to add beads- I left about 1 1/2" or 2" between them, but it shouldn't be exact, its 'craft', not engineering!!
Keep adding beads until you run out of either beads, or wire!!
Coil the wire around the base of the glass or jar. I dropped the leftovers in beside the tea light just for fun.If you preferred you could coil the beaded wire around the ivy tea light, instead of having a second light.
Back to the ivy light for some embellishing:
themed buttons, tucked between the strands, or ordinary buttons...I couldn't find any red, but they would be nice,
or a length of sequins,

or glue sequins onto some of the stems,

or spray the whole thing silver or gold...Middlest has run off with my metallic spray, for which she will be sorry when I catch up with her...
and a last quick trick!

You could always just fill the odd jar with a bit of moss, some shiny beads, and a sequin or two. Set beside, or amongst candles, these will sparkle and look really elegant!
(It'll also look like you spent artistic hours at it, whereas it takes seconds- I'm all for maximum impression with minimum effort!!)

Ta! Dah! Hope this is useful! Have fun!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Toilet Humour, Going Viral and Two Announcements

Ooops! Sorry!

And did you hear about the secretary who always wore rubber gloves when she was working on the computer?

She was afraid she'd catch a virus!

(Thanks L!)

And now for my Announcements!

Firstly, aren't these lovely postcards?
The original paintings were done by one of Youngest's friends...yes I do know some wonderfully talented people don't I? (smirk!)

She is raising money to go to Kenya in June to work with the Charity Kenya Build.

All the participants have to raise several thousand Euro towards the Charity before they can go so C. has done a series of paintings on a Kenya related theme, of which these are three.
Packs of her postcards (8 to each pack, with envelopes) will be in my shop (click on the Etsy box to your right) by the end of this week and all proceeds will go straight to her charity funds.

They would make great stocking fillers, hostess gifts, small tokens, or just nice note-writing for yourself, I've bought some for myself already!
Mind you, I'm tempted to frame some and give them as Christmas presents too! My Dad would love the zebra- he calls zebras 'cows wearing pyjamas' and when we were small we actually believed him...ok, you didn't need to know that...

Secondly, my Creative Advisor...
...and I have decided to celebrate the run-up to Christmas with Helpful Christmas Crafts!

I was thinking about what I could give to you guys that would be useful, considering how much you give to me from day to day all year round in your comments and emails?

Then a comment from Elaine and an email from Amanda made me think; wouldn't it be great if someone would help me get organised for Christmas week by week with all the little crafty things which are lovely to have but time-consuming when you try to do the whole lot on Christmas Eve (thus spake the Voice of Experience)!!

And so I thought, THAT'S what I can give yez! A small weekly craft how-to, using whatever you have to hand, by the end of which we will all be super-ultra-mega organised!!!!

Oh yeah!

Or, have your children/ grand-children/ friends/ neighbours/ visitors do them for, I mean, with, you!!
(Note: Husbands not included in that list...)

So: Fridays here we come!

Be there or be square...(when was the last time someone said that to you?????!!)

Monday, 8 November 2010

A Picture is Worth...

...a thousand...uh...keys?
He who shall be nameless thought he'd locked the shed keys in the shed.
Of course, if one is about to climb through a small space with possible splinters or nails, its best to do it just before Church whilst wearing one's Sunday clothes...
(a nice wife wouldn't post this sort of item on her blog, now would she?)
And a personal hurrah:
Nollaig the Christmas Elf is on his way to a new home!
I'm delighted he's going to a friend- you can't sell dolls and elves to just anybody you know!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Wake Up Them Angels!

So there I was, bumbling along in me own slow way, and what happens?

CHRISTMAS jumped out and hit me!

First week in November and the deadlines don't just be LOOMIN',
they're blinkin' well ACCUMULATIN' too!

School Carol Service
My own Church Carol Service and Nativity
Taking a School Choir to sing in the Methodist Service
Parish fund-raising Stall at the Farmer's Market
Fund-raising for, which a friend's daughter wants to do
things happening in the Cathedral (I'm one of the key-holders...makes me sound like a nice piece of fancy beading on a ring!)
Mothers' Union Craft Night- gluey ideas coming right up!
and a Craft Market where I should be so lucky as to have a does one make the time to make money when there is so much else to do? I tell you, you need unemployed people like me just to keep things ticking over peacefully!...

...perhaps not exactly peacefully...

Yesterday I spent in School (which is not a paying job, fyi, for all I work jolly hard at the Music!)
burning up the photocopier,
annoying the Principal,
going through the percussion and chime bell boxes (has anyone seen the G above Middle C?),
and wrecking havoc in various Classrooms.

My version of beginning the Christmas Music!

One Staff member commented, as she saw the paper and music littering the Staffroom table at break;

'Behind every school Music Teacher lies a Trail of Chaos!'

How they all put up with me I don't know, but as this is my ninth year at it, I guess they just tell themselves, 'This too will pass!'

Anyhow, I enjoy myself! As do some of the children, at least!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...