Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Tale of the Lost Duckling

A little while ago my daughter Rachel asked me to make something duck themed for a friends little boy's first birthday. After lots of searching on Pinterest and Ravelry I found this sweet Just Duckie Lovey by Lisa van Klaveren and set about making the duck.

 I haven't made any 3D figures before so this little fella was a baptism of fire and once I got my head around the pattern terminology he didn't take long to finish. I popped him on top of the TV cabinet and made a start on the blanket part.

I just couldn't get to grips with the ripple stitch in this pattern so I replaced it with Attic 24's ripple pattern which crochets up beautifully and quickly. 

In order to get the present finished (I was behind schedule as we were renovating the garage at the same time) I took it with me to Tomas' swimming lesson one Sunday morning and as happens when you crochet/sew or knit in public I was soon deep in conversation with one of the other mum's about crochet and crafting in general. Cue the end of the lesson, I grabbed my crochet hook, wool and half finished blanket and popped them in my oh so lovely plastic carrier bag, (note to self - make a pretty project bag as plastic bags just don't cut it!) and made my way to the changing rooms to meet Tomas. Later that evening when I was finishing off the last rows of the blanket I took a look in the bag for the duckling to find that he WASN"T THERE! A frantic search of the living room began, was he hiding behind the sofa cushions, had I put him in my stash box, where on earth could he have disappeared to??? 

I honestly can't remember taking him to the swimming pool with me but that was my last resort so I messaged the swimming teacher and began my message with "I know this is going to seem strange BUT, you didn't happen to find a small crochet duckling beside the pool did you?" The swimming teacher replied without the hint of a snigger or laugh (although it is hard to tell in a text message) "No, sorry I didn't", and because it was a Sunday there wouldn't be anyone at the school where the swimming lessons take place so I had to wait until the Monday to find out if I had left him there. I rang the school office first thing on the Monday morning and asked for the caretaker who kindly said he would take a look for me and didn't seem at all phased by my question "Please can you have a look and see if there is a small yellow crocheted duckling in the pool?"

An hour later the phone rang and the caretaker was back on the line, YES he was there and none the worse for his little overnight adventure. Would I like to collect him from the school office he asked, "Yes please", I said, "I'll come straight away, thank you so much". Apparently finding my little yellow crocheted duckling made him smile that day and perhaps he will tell his family of the mad woman who crochets whilst her son swims and forgets to take her projects home. Next time though I WILL double check that I haven't left anything behind.

And as for the duckling, he was finally sewn onto his blue ripple lovey and belatedly given to the birthday boy!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Share Your Country Swap Update

Back in February Kimberley over at Creative Chaos organised a Share Your Country Swap with the aim of sending 5 things that symbolise the country you live or were born in.
I was partnered with Sue from The Life and Times of Super Sue, this was a new blog to me and once Sue and I started chatting via email it soon became apparent that we have lots and lots in common, including a love of all things foxy and I think that Sue was right when she said that she is "my sister from another mister". I really enjoyed getting to know Sue and putting together my parcel for her which took a little longer than expected and an even shockingly longer time to blog about!

Anyway enough of my rambling, I know you all just want to see what we sent each other so let's get on to the photos.

Sue wrapped all my gifts in dress making pattern paper.


Each one with a little tag hinting as to what I might find inside.

Touristy bits with class - definitely!

A pretty notebook which I have hidden from my daughter Rachel!

Three fabulous fabrics which I have lovingly added to my stash and now I just need to find the perfect project for, time to starting pinning again I think!

These were too lovely to be hidden away until Christmas 
so have been added to the walls of my new studio.

My favourite New Zealand tea, which is sadly not being made anymore, so I'm savouring this last box.

A gorgeous brooch/pendant in one of my favourite colours, what's not too love!

A couple of New Zealand magazines, to be enjoyed in my new studio with a cup of New Zealand tea (see above)

Both Sue and I love foxes and Sue made me this amazing pouch,
which when I unzipped it contained......

...these sweet poppets, tiny balls of yarn,
I haven't decided yet whether to make something from them 
or use them to decorate a wreath for my studio.

The foxy themed continued with this New Zealand made wooden fox brooch.

There was also this very arty New Zealand sheep tea towel

And finally this very pretty necklace made from an old stamp.

As you can see Sue thoroughly spoiled me and I loved everything in my parcel.
Thank you Sue for being such a wonderful swap partner and for letting me know I have a sister all the way over in New Zealand!
Here's what I finally sent to Sue.
It became apparent right from the start that Sue has "a thing" for London buses, 
Cath Kidston and polka dots, 
so I made this Cath inspired spotty London bus cushion for her.

I found these London bus themed goodies on Ebay and had to hide the mug from my hubby as he thought it was a gift for him!!! I think it would look fab holding pencils/paintbrushes or I did think it could be turned into a pin cushion.

Although I am still on my fabric buying ban (and still going strong) I can
buy for swaps if I need to and as I didn't have anything suitable in my stash and Mrs Kidston had kindly designed this London bus fabric I found on Ebay I thought it rude not to send it to Sue.

Both Sue and I love a cup of tea, but Essex is known for it's salt and not it's tea leaves, so I opted for a good old Yorkshire tea to be enjoyed with as many Toffifees as Sue can fit in her mouth in one go!

Essex is a funny county and quite misunderstood by those that have never visited and this tea towel sums up my rural seaside home rather well.

My parcel to Sue wouldn't have been complete without something foxy. 
The lovely Angela from Card Bubble designed these fabulous foxy cards 

And I added a foxy cross stitch kit and a couple of foxy stationary bits to finish off.

This swap was so much fun to take part in and I really enjoyed getting to know Sue. 
Thank you Kimberley for organising another super Share your Country Swap and thank you to sue for being such a generous swap partner. 

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Best Laid Plans.....

Well, my best laid plans for blogging more and getting into a routine went out the window shortly after I wrote my last blog post at the beginning of the month. A nasty chesty cough and the looming school holidays meant that by the time I was feeling better it was time for Tomas to break up from school which in turn meant no time to catch up on things so I thought I would start again!

Thank you for all your brilliant comments on your routines and what works best for you I will be trying to put so of these ideas into play over the coming months. 

We have been without any power for most of today and it is amazing how reliant we have all become on being plugged into some device or other, whether that is the TV or some other gadget. We have kept ourselves entertained with games of pool on the children's play table and playing card games. I managed to get a little painting finished too on the summerhouse but more about that in another post.

The power is now back on and the house is eerily quiet with Rachel and Jack in their rooms, Paul watching TV upstairs and Tomas who was watching TV in the living room now playing pool again, so I thought I would use this time wisely, i.e not waste it on Facebook or Pinterest!

I have lots of catch up posts to share with you so I'm going to try and schedule these over the next couple of weeks as well as posting about what we are up to during the holidays and what I am making or working on.

I have some blog reading to catch up on too so I think that is my evening sorted out.

Sorry for the lack of pretty pictures in my last few blog posts I'm hoping that the next few posts will be a bit more visually pleasing :-)

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Routine - a way back into blogging

Do you have a routine or are you more of a laid back 'do it tomorrow' kind of person?

I'm thinking that a more structured routine might help with regular blog posts and crafting.

I do have a routine with the children, school, bedtime and meals etc but I'm finding that the bit in the middle and my evenings are running away with themselves without much being achieved. Don't get me wrong we have had a busy few weeks converting the garage and swapping sheds so it may just be that now things have slowed down and the progress on getting my new studio straight is taking longer than I would like but I do feel I need a bit more structure to my day to achieve the little things before they become big things!

With both me and Mr MadAboutBags at home during the day it's really easy to think "oh we'll do that tomorrow, let's have a cup of tea" and before we know it's nearly time for the school run and as we all know the time between 3pm and bedtime is super, super busy and with these light evenings by the time I sit down I'm absolutely pooped and the last thing I feel like doing is sitting at the computer or behind my sewing machine.

I also have a new (I did join months ago) online photography course that I would like to start and finish.

So my questions are :

Do you have a routine, especially if both of you are at home?

Do set aside time to blog etc or is it more adhoc?

And how do you limit your social media time? facebook and pinterest have a lot to answer to!

Deciding to introduce a new routine just as we are hitting the long summer holidays probably is going to be the easiest of tasks but I thought I would begin the month of July with a blog post and see where it takes me.

I'm looking forward to hearing how your routines work for you.

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