Saturday, 30 November 2013

My crazy animal family

Although I always have been, and I guess I always will be a cat woman at heart, I do have to say I am quickly crossing over to the dark side and becoming a bit of a dog lover, cue growl, hiss, spit, from my pussy cat girls. As you probably already know I have 2 truly beautiful feline companions........

The ever beautiful and elegant turkish Angora, Lupin-Blue (she's my daughters cat really)

And my bonkers baby Bengal, Skye-Belle

I've grown up around cats, and think have probably only spent a year of my life without one, and that's only because we lived by a very busy road and it just wouldn't have been fair on the cat. There is just something about them that I simply have to have in my life. I guess that's something that only a cat lover would truly get. I know many people consider them evil, nasty, sly and stand-of fish and I can completely understand that, cats are cats, everything is on their terms, if they don't want you to stroke them be ready for a hiss and a batt, but if they do be prepared for the most wonderful friend you'll ever find.

My girls are just over a year old now, Lupin has matured into a very elegant fine lady indeed, with amazing intelligence to match her amazing looks, (her mum was a white Turkish Angora and her dad a white and ginger Turkish Vann, but she has taken on her mums looks completely, the only Vann in her is a slight gingery lemon tint in her tail) although when she comes in after a downpour, covered in mud, slugs, grass and other such yuckiness, carrying her latest hunting prize, I'm not quite so sure! She hasthe sweetest, most loving personality and the loudest purr that never fails to warm the depths of my soul.

And Skye, well, what can we say! She is bonkers, bonkers, bonkers and is still yet to realise she's not a kitten anymore, (although apparently Bengals don't mature until much later.) Poor baby Skye, was the runt of the litter, and a reject for the bullseye on her coat markings, is rather lacking in the brain department!!!!!!! I went to get a spotted silver beauty and fell in love with baby Skye and her big blue eyes and I have to say its been true love ever since.  

Skye is my constant companion, she never goes far from my side, sleeps IN my bed, with her head out and her body in, much to my husband's annoyance ;0).    If I have a bath, she sits on the side, if I go to the loo she comes too!  She's very spoilt and shock, horror, I allow her to sit on the work tops in the kitchen so we can be together. Her favourite place to sit is next to the kitchen tap, catching the drips on her tongue (thankfully her mouth never makes contact with the tap!) and watching the comings and goings of the birds in the garden through the window. Experts say Bengals bond with one person for life and I can completely agree with that, Skye is my cat and I am Skye's human, and that's just the way we like it :0)

But then, after much nagging and begging and pleading, the cat woman gave in to the children's demands and along came Jasper-Joe!

Born on Valentines Day and came home to stay just before my birthday at the end of April, an 8 week old ball of Cavalier fluff and mischief all the way from the old smoke of London. And within seconds he too had won a place in my heart, right next to my pussy cat girls and there he will forever stay :0x

He's the first woofer I've ever owner and I have to say (putting her hands over the cats ears) I'm a bit of a convert.  He's very different to a cat, obviously! He's eager to please, always, always, always happy to see me and greets me every morning with a big smacker of a lickety kiss, and has become a bit of a side kick to little old me. Him and Skye have also formed a fab bond, they are partners in crime and love to play together, from chasing round the house together like a pair of loonies, to working as a team to pinch marshmallows, Skye on the work top knocking them off to a waiting Jasper to gobble them up! They've become great friends. Lupin remains true to her feline roots and gives him a wide berth and the odd whack up round the ear-ole to remind him she's boss!

We go everywhere together, on a morning we walk little H to school, then do our usual route home, meeting lots of people and other doggy friends along the way, and our 30 minute walk always ends up taking well over an hour and a half as we stop to play with other dogs and natter to the people we meet. Owning a dog is a very social affair indeed, even if I still only know most of the people as "twiglets mum" and the like!

I was a bit of a hermity, home lubber before I got Jasper and definitely preferred my car to my legs and feline company to human #CrazyCatLady! But since getting Jasper I've discovered the joy of walking and fresh air and meeting other people and I think I actually get withdrawals if I don't get my daily dose of muddy Jasper exercise!

So there we have it, my crazy animal family, and I wouldn't ever wish to be without any of them xx

Friday, 29 November 2013

Horray, it's Friday!

Oooooooo it's been a long long week. I seem to have spent the whole week racing round trying to catch my tail and never actually achieving anything at all. We've had 2 lots of hospital appointments, a meeting at school, a physio session for little H and an orthotics appointment as his boots were rubbing. My little H has a form of Skeletal Dysplasia, Epilepsy and a global development delay. The Skeletal Dysplasia causes him to have very low muscle tone making him very floppy, and he struggles with energy day to day. I seem to spend my life going to various appointments for him. It can all be a bit stressful at times and I find that taking time out to craft or crochet really helps keep the stress levels a bit lower.

I'm generally the one who does all the running round with him as my hubby works long hours to support us all as I'm not able to work at the moment. I need to be available 24/7 to pick H up from school if he's tired, transport him to various appointments, be with him if he has a hospital admission or seizure and generally be his carer, however I have been so surprised at the popularity of the items I've been selling in The Green Monkey shop that I've decided to try and branch out a bit further and see what happens.  I've opened up an Etsy shop and an EBay shop and to my delight, in the first few days I've sold something in each of them. It's never going to make me a millionaire and I'm always going to have to put little H first but the feel good factor I get from crafting and then someone actually wanting it and buying it is worth a million pounds to me. (And means my house isn't completely over run with my makes!)

In the few spare moments I've had this week I've made some really lovely lanterns. I bought the jars in the little town here where we live and using James C Brett Cotton On (also bought from the lovely lady who runs The Wool Room in town) I crocheted some covers for them. I had been planning to crochet some covers for regular old jam jars as my friend and I are having a stall at a late night shopping event thats outside and thought they would make a really good display. My initial loose idea for these was to make lanterns with them, then I decided actually they'd make attractive storage jars to keep all my bits and pieces in as they all came with snug fitting lids, but after I'd done one I realised they really would make beautiful lanterns so I popped a scented tea light in them and the result was stunning. I'm really pleased with them and think they'll be very festive in the run up to Christmas. Afterwards I think I'll use them for their original use as storage jars. I've photographed them and listed them in my Etsy or EBay shops, if they sell, I'll make them to order.

The lanterns really come to life when it's dark and they're lit, they just glow so beautifully

The shadows and silhouettes they cast are simply stunning

I have to say, I really am rather pleased with them :0)

Friday, 22 November 2013

Seeing stockings in my sleep

I have spent all day in absolute heaven, surrounded by a rainbow of felt, scrumptious fabrics, glittery threads, buttons, bows, sequins, beads and all things crafty. It's been like a little production line here, churning out 50 felt mice, boxes of granny square kits and festive stockings in preparation for upcoming craft Fayres and goodies to sell in The Green Monkey Shop.

I've enjoyed every single stitchery second of my making, fiddling, gluing and sewing, everywhere I look it seems like a haberdashery bomb has exploded in my kitchen. The poor dog has sequins stuck in his fur and Skye-Belle kitty-cat jingle jangled her way into the kitchen after nosing her way through one of my crafty boxes and coming out with gold bells stuck to the magnetic part of her collar! 

Here's a couple of the stockings, I haven't photographed the mice and other things yet, as soon as I do I'll post some piccys so you can have a look.

(The red on the bird is a left over piece of felt that I didn't notice before I took the photo!)

It really has been the most enjoyable of days and now I'm sat relaxing in front the telly whilst crocheting some lantern covers to go on 4 lovely glass jars I picked up in the charity shop. My friend and I are doing a late night shopping event that is outside and we've decided to have a navy blue gazebo with 3 sides and turn our stall into a little grotto strung with pretty lanterns and candles to decorate it. I've collected some normal jam jars too so my evenings are going to be all about getting lanterns together I think! Best get back to it xx

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Small things mean so much

My friend Floss and I have been friends since forever! Well actually since our boys were babies which was nearly 17 years ago, how time flies. People, men, pets and houses have come and gone in that time but through it all our friendship has always remained watertight and unshakable and our 7 children   have grown up hand in hand, sharing experiences and treasured memories and are like brothers and sisters to each other. It's rare to find such friendships in today's busy lives and I always want to make that extra special effort when it comes to her children's birthday. Her youngest Izzie has just turned 9 and everything I looked at just didn't seem to fit the bill. She wanted a crystal growing kit and I managed to find one of those but somehow it just didn't seem right, then inspiration slapped me round the ear-ole! Our Iz-whizz is rabbit mad and has 5 beautiful bunnies hopping free range round her garden, so I thought what better on these wintery old nights, than a snugly pair of rabbit slippers? And Tra-la here they are! She was delighted and I was over the moon when she said they were the best present ever

However......................... Everybody loved the slippers and now I have 4 more pairs to make! A dragon pair for Harry and William, another rabbit pair for Elizabeth and a cat pair for Mollie, think I'm going to be busy busy busy!

He's beary cute!

I had a new book arrive from Amazon on Monday that I've been wanting to purchase for a while. It's full of lovely crochet patterns for baby clothes and accessories that I just have, have, have to make!

I was so excited that everything else went out the window, chores were pushed aside, wet washing left in the machine, floors left unvacuumed and beds piled up untidy as I sat down with my new book. I wanted to start everything all at one, but after excitedly flicking through it I instantly fell in love with a gorgeous stripy teddy bear with the sweetest of faces that just had to be my first project from the book.

He was such an easy quick make, but gave me immense pleasure as he is just so so lovely. I made him using trusty old Robin Acrylic DK and a 3.5mm hook, with safety eyes and a safety nose. I was going to stitch his nose on but whilst rummaging through my vast collection of craft stuff to find the safety eyes I also found a fab black shiny bear shaped nose and when I tried it on him for size the fit was just perfick! It was made for him ;0)

To finish him off I gave him a spotty red ribbon tied in a bow with a jangly bell hanging from it, and I think you'll agree, he's simply super!

He's sat on top the bookcase surveying all who enter and for the moment, I think that's where he'll stay as his wonky little nose and kooky little face really cheer up my day!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The dreaded lurgy

We've spent the past week curled up on the sofa, H and I, with the dreaded lurgy. We've had an absolute shocker of a very heavy cold and we've been like a pair of wet weekends, feeling really flu-ey and thoroughly miserable, but on the plus side meant we got to spend lots of mummy and her boy snuggle time which has been really nice.

Today is the first day I've felt 100% other than the stabbing pain in my back, grrr. Last night I decided I had to get out so joined some Mums from school at the local theatre to watch the youth production of Grease. It was brilliant, the kids were so professional and very talented, great acting and amazing singing voices. I must admit to feeling a little envious of them, I'd love to have a great singing voice and belt it out like they were doing but alas, I sound more like a croaky old pheasant than a beautiful skylark!

I haven't really got much crocheting done this past week, I just haven't felt like doing anything, the mind was brimming with ideas but every other part of me was unwilling and all I seemed able to do was sip lemsip and sleep. Before going down with the lurgy I'd been working on some Christmas Stars. It took me a good while to figure out how to make a 3d star. My first approach to it was to try and make it in one whole piece, needless to say that was a disaster and was very quickly written off as a bad idea. I sat down and fiddled about with different shapes, first of all making a pentagon and trying to add 5 triangles to it. It sort of worked but just looked messy and I wasn't happy with it. Then I hit on it, what I needed was 5 diamond shapes stitched together and eventually it started to resemble what I had in mind. The first star was too short and fat and just didn't sit right, it kept curling and bunching up, but eventually after a bit of fiddling around with some paper (note to self............. Try making it out of paper first, it saves a lot of time!) I finally realised I needed elongated diamonds, wider at one end and pointier at the other, and BINGO it worked. 

Figuring out how to make them was the hard part, I already had a good idea of how I wanted them to look. I made 10 elongated triangles, stitching them together in pairs and stuffing them. I stitched them to each other with clear plastic filament but once they were together they just seemed a bit plain and boring, so out came the buttons, thread and ribbons and an hour later I had transformed them and was really happy with the finished product.

And here they are:

Lovely and rustic and just waiting to adorn my Christmas tree, but seeing as that won't be up until the middle of December for the moment they're hanging on the door knobs on the kitchen cabinets and making me smile when I open the mug cupboard.  

My friend loved them too and asked me to make them into a kit to sell in her shop, so I've spent most of today typing up the instructions, and putting together the kit.

I'm really pleased with the end result, I hope they'll make a lovely unusual gift and people will want to buy them, so tomorrow I'm off to deliver them to "The Green Monkey". If I manage to figure it out I'll be putting them in my little Etsy shop too :0)

What do you think?

Above are the contents of the kits and below are the finished articles, wrapped in cellophane to keep the them clean and together and tied with raffia and a tag to finish.

I don't think they'll make me my first million, the 4 kits took me most of the day to put together, but they might make someone a very nice Christmas Present!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Finished Hat :0)

Wow the weather really has turned cold here, we've had torrential rain and gusty winds and my car is reading 8 degrees, chilly, chilly, chilly. To be honest though, I'm not a huge fan of being baked alive and end up hot and bothered in the summer months, so for me a change in the weather is welcome. I love Autumn, seeing the leaves change and how beautiful everything seems before we approach winter.    

After our lost pumpkin walk last week, I was inspired by the colours in the forest to make a hat to keep my ears warm whilst out walking Jasper and here it is finished!

I have to say I really am quite pleased with it. I used some wool my Mum gave me a while back and it is sooooosoft, no scratchy hats on my head! I now have a request from my little H to make him a brown one with green tree frogs on!!!!!! Where on earth does he come up with these ideas from?

This afternoon it finally stopped raining so we decided to get out and get some fresh air so took Jasper and Harry to the park for a run. It's such a great place with 2 enclosed play areas, a huge grassy area, a bandstand, a shallow lake with ducks on and a little stream that meanders through. The stream is normally not very high and the kids have spent many a fun afternoon splashing around in in, but today, after all the rain we've had recently, it was more of a fast flowing muddy torrent that had burst its banks and flooded the surrounding area. We wandered down to have a look but poor little Jasper dog just didn't see it or didn't differentiate between the mud and the brown water and ran straight though it suddenly plunging up to his neck in freezing cold water. That cut the fun short! Poor baby, he was freezing and shivering uncontrollably so we had to wrap him in a fleece pram blanket and make a dash for home for a warm bath and a warm up under the hairdryer. He now smells lovely, but isn't speaking to me as I brushed him! Don't you just love pets?!

The leaves are certainly changing, the colours were just stunning, I tried to pick out the colours but it was quite gloomy and overcast today so the light was poor and didn't pick it up well

I think after bathing a manky smelly dog, I deserve some me time, so now to snuggle down with a yummy hot chocolate and start my next project, some Christmas stars. (Sorry, I know it's only November but I looovvvvvveeeee Christmas)