Category: Craft

The Friday three x

 

Podcasts are probably the weeds of the media world, growing in the gaps where we thought there were no spaces, except these gaps had rich, fertile soil which has now established these new comers as cornerstones to the garden.  I know I resisted for a long time, I didn’t need yet another time sap.  But there’s an invisible zeitgeist, an energy a new industry brings, a freedom of new voices being heard away from big business, corporate mouthpieces and I am hooked.  Now, when there are jobs to be done, in my own time, at my own pace, I’ll be catching up with the latest offerings – in no particular order, these are a few of my favourites: The High Low – a weekly conversation between writers Dolly Alderton and Pandora Sykes, that covers highbrow and lowbrow culture. A friendship, an intellectual exploration, an authenticity, a zeal.

 

 

Have You Heard George’s Podcast? –  George the poet is a London-born spoken word performer of Ugandan heritage whose innovative creativity sends you down the rabbit hole with fireworks and funk.

 


 

How Did We Get Here? – Claudia Winkleman and Professor Tanya Byron identify struggles faced by real-life parents and family members by inviting them in and hearing them in a one-time unscripted session.  This is like unpaid for therapy, wrapped in love.

 

 

I was going to post more.  But I think to do so would dilute the magnificence of the above….so I’ll continue with the rest in a post next week.

 

Happy listening!

Laters, Kate x

 

Summer Project x

 

Every summer needs a project. Something that requires learning a skill, but nothing so taxing the chances of success always remain a once wished dream. I also believe tools and ingredients matter – low cost, simple and preferably eco friendly;  I think this one gets A stars in all the right boxes – a crocheted rag rug.

 

The best instructions and most of these pics come from this brilliant website – My Poppet, and this youtube channel has easy crochet instructions.  But the necessary bits are easy to gather – you need a good supply a jute string (you can you wool, I just believe the jute gives it a unifying look as well as being strong and sturdy), a crochet hook and lots of unwanted clothes and material scraps.


 

The idea of cutting up unwanted clothes, particularly the things the children have grown out of really appeals. It’s that feeling of history and memories and life continuing on.  The aim is to cut the cloth into one inch strips, then roll them into useable balls.  There’s different ideas about how to attach different strips together, some people like to sew the strips together, others just overlap the strips and crochet them together as and when.

 

 

The crochet required to make the rug is literally the most basic stitch you’ll ever need – this isn’t about doing anything complicated, but more about time and care and working in slow time.

 

 

The size you go is totally up to you.  The one tip I’ve read over and over again, is when it starts getting big, crochet on a flat surface to keep the rug flat.

 

 

(pics from My Poppet and instructions here)

Circles of life.

Love it.

 

Laters, Kate x

Light my way x

 

I’m not here. I’m in a car, driving to Bristol, genuinely quite excited about experiencing a motorway again and moving wider than a 2 mile circle from the house.  We’re emptying The Husband’s work flat as he’s going to be in London till at least Christmas; Every cloud. The plan is to make a round trip in a day – normally a ticket to hell, but all of that has been subtly reframed by the thought of travelling at speed, the prospect of a horizon and the promise of new vistas.  Aren’t I the lucky one? These pictures were taken today – Sunday afternoon has become a potter time for me – projects to plan, things to do.  And this represents the first time I’ve tried to re-make candles.

 

 

The first thing was to get rid of the bits of wax left at the end of all the finished candles.  I found the best way was to pour in boiling water, which melted the wax, making it rise to the surface to create a wax plug that was then easy to remove.

 

 

My eclectic collection of containers, from tins to pots to old candle jars.

 

 

The wicks I ordered very cheaply from Ebay.

 

 

And stuck down with a dab of glue from a handy glue gun.

 

 

This was the super candle that inspired the re-make – a winter candle from the White Company with it’s gorgeous smell that died leaving lots of wax.  I melted down in a pyrex bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.  Once the lump of it became soft, I cut it up into smaller bits to speed up the melt.  I also added all the remnants of the other candles, because why not? Once everythings melted it’s possible to add various essential oils.  As the kitchen already smelt like a tart’s boudoir, I refrained.

 

 

Pouring in the liquid wax is not the easiest thing. I recommend a funnel.  Then I improvised with tin foil to keep the wicks upright and central.

 

 

Highly satisfying and highly recommended.

Laters, Kate x

The dress x

 

According to one blog post, the voluminous dress is the new quarantine.  And who am I to disagree? So far, my basic wardrobe has consisted of cropped trousers and long buttoned shirts, double layered when the temperature dipped, as loose coats over t-shirts when the sun shined.  But temperatures due to hit 27 degrees this week, I think it’s time to transition to dresses.  My favourite summer dress is a dark green, cotton vintage dress made with a deep v in a batik print.  I love it.  I love the colour, the ease and the print.  In fact, I would like more of the same, but I can’t find and….so I’ve been trawling patterns on the web to come up with something similar.

 

 

And I’ve found three, and two of them, including the one above, need no pattern at all…and this one even comes with pockets!

 

 

This pattern comes This Little Miggy, a fab website with great ideas and a wonderful vibe, I would recommend a virtual tour.  The instructions are brilliant; clear, precise and everything you could need.

 

 

 

If you feel comfortable sewing, you may want to move onto this pattern from So Sew Easy – or rather, instructions, because again, this is simple, only measurements,  no-pattern sewing.

 

(All pics Pinterest, This Little Miggy, so sew easy, oliverands)

 

A finally, if you want to tackle a simple pattern to add sleeves, there’s this beauty from OliverandS

High summer dressing sorted.

 

Laters, Kate x

Feathered Friends x

 

I’m not sure if we’re in lockdown in London any more, maybe it’s a strange transition period, like wondering what to wear between seasons?  Because, despite the rhetoric, nothing has really changed for us; we’re still spending the majority of time in the house or garden.

 

 

But it gives me the time to salute some of my heroes of the past couple of months: The birds…their activity – the magpies that make me laugh, their song – we have a particularly vocal blackbird, their curiosity – yes, I’m speaking to you, unafraid Robin who watches me just a foot away when I’m gardening, the stories they tell – I’m gazing at nearly arrived swallows from my desk heralding the start of summer, and just their continual zest for life: nothing fazes them.

 

 

This post celebrates the inventive, simple but attractive ways we can introduce more of their joy into our lives.


(All pics Pinterest)

 

Which will hopefully lay down strong foundations to repay their gift and help them through the colder winter months.

 

A circle of life I value.

 

 

Laters, Kate x

Layabout 2!

 

So Monday’s post was about soft, squishy, adaptable garden chairs and this photo made the prime slot.  But there’s no pattern.  But I don’t think it would be too hard to deconstruct: Two box cushions for the seat, make first.  Two side cushions, once done will give measurements for back cushion. Finish with leather buckles at side and back. I’m sure those with more skill than me can even pipe the edges…I may give that a go!

 

 

This looks like a piece of foam cut to size, versus bean bag beads for stuffing or foam bits. In many ways it’s is a simpler design, but possibly harder on the sewing? Again, I would replace the velcro with the leather straps.

 

 

 

And then there are variations on a theme!


 

As and When I make, I will post again!

 

Laters, Kate x

Layabout x

 

I’ve been exploring garden living, the sort that is lush, soft and forgiving, but then also thinking beyond just summer use to multi-functional, multi-family use…

 

 

What’s interesting is the prices – we’re talking generally from £500 upwards..the same price as armchairs with the wooden structure inside.

 

The set above? £1499 from Maison Du Mode.  I’ve seen the Sewing Bee…this is not hard sewing.

 


 

So I’m thinking maybe I’ll make my own.  And combine the best of what I see.

 

 

I love this design, lay it out and it’s a large, lounging cushion, close the leather straps and it’s a chair.

 

 

Imagine in ticking…

 

(All pics Pinterest)

Or a striking Peruvian weave….

And repurposed in the Children’s rooms during the winter months….

Food for thought.

 

Laters, Kate x

Day 3


The hump day of the week, highlighted by a rebellion from Charlie over running this morning.  All I can think is, why wouldn’t you? The sun is shining, the sky is blue and the blossom is out.  But there’s that expectation to lash out at, the enforced decree.  I think it’s what Boris Johnson is so scared of hence his fudged message: Stay at home, unless you have to work at work, which you can only do safely, but your bosses will decide what that means. Certainly on run, there was very little difference, the main roads are the same, the residential roads are quiet except for builders, who were told to shut up shop, but now are considered able to work safely. A builder working safely? The niggling feeling is Boris is trying to blur the line between caring and the economy.  I wish he would just make a strong stand one way or the other.

Charlie did go for his run – the threat of losing time on Fortnite was a powerful motivator.  But we ran different routes.

The big success has been the daily sketchbook challenge.  On day one Carla Sonheim explained her daily page dump – drawing a box, dividing it up, filling each square with different subjects: day and date, a diary entry, an ideas section, a drawing and an anything goes box.  We’re all doing this every day so that by the end of this we’ll all have diaries of this bizarre, never known before time to look back on and remember.  Once that page is complete, there’s a different artist offering something new to do each day.

 

 

These were from blob drawing and looking at food.

 

 

The idea is not for perfection – and the random nature of the vintage-handmade-sketchbooks really helps with that.

 

 

The email of ideas comes in at 12.  I find myself looking forward to it.

Laters, Kate x

Day 1

 

This morning is the first test of the strength and endurance of our internet – all four of us are working at the same time.  So far, all good – the biggest concern is between those who can work quietly (me, John, Bella) and those who can’t (Charlie) and whether those who work quietly will influence  a dial down, or the constant nagging needs of one will dial it in the opposite way; I’ve only yelled once…

 

 

We’ve all kept to our normal times. Apart from Bella, who over slept so missed the newly installed 8.00 am run – we’ve each installed the couch to 5k app with the aim to run with it every day.  It’s a great programme especially for beginners; it tells you when to run and when to walk and is designed to progress you from a beginner to running a full 5k. There’s an option where you can choose your personal running coach – mine is Michael Johnson, because when he tells me I’m doing good, I really believe I’m doing good. He’s fast becoming a good friend. When we’re running as a group we look like a flock of birds, when with no obvious signal we all transform from walking to pounding the streets.  The streets today were probably two thirds down on traffic, but busier than expected.  I think everyone thinks their car is their own portable bubble. The thing is it’s what you do at either end of your journeys that can matter…there’s news that petrol pumps are sources of infection.  Just saying.

 

 

This weekend we prepped for the sketchbook revival 2020 challenge, buying nothing, but going through book shelves for old books, gathering dust that could do with a re-love, finding old sketchbooks, tearing out pages, old letters, cards, wrapping paper, tissue paper – anything that would make it interesting, then sewing it together…very satisfying.

 

 

Mine is done now.  Just waiting for the first email to drop in with instructions for the day – better check my spam folder…

 

 

Also redid our window boxes: ivy, trailing white geraniums, miniature daffodil bulbs and some white plant that looked pretty! They’re going to get a bit of love every day as well.

 

Something little, something often, something creative, something together.  This is could be more a blessing than a chore.

 

Laters, Kate x