2017: Unblogged!

It’s a fact: 2017 was not a year full of blogging for me.  But that happened for the Best Kind of Reasons!  Because as my health began to improve last year, I suddenly had Choices.

Back when I began this blog, staying home and crocheting on the sofa or maybe doing a short stint of sewing were very often my only choices.  Reading my favourite bloggers and creating a blog of my own was a way for me to still feel connected to the world and part of a community at a time when I was unable to work or socialise, or even go out much at all.  Gradually, as I learned to pace myself and manage my condition it became possible to factor in a few more activities, but I still had many, many days when ‘from the sofa’ was all I could do.

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But lots of things happened last year that helped me move from Illness to Recovery, and I began to find I had the energy to go out and Do Stuff again, without having to spend quite so much time on the sofa in between.  So, YAY – I have been DOING, and Enjoying, but this has often been an ‘either/or’ choice – either I spend my energy crocheting and sewing and blogging, or I spend it going out & doing stuff then resting and not doing anything whilst I recover.  It has been an amazing 12 months for me and I’ve done things that I’d begun to think would never be possible again –  not just the Big Stuff like moving house, but ordinary, day-to-day things like going on a shopping trip or to an evening class.

But I’ve missed sharing my Adventures here with you all and feeling part of this lovely blogging community that we have.  So now that I feel well enough to Do Stuff and write about it, I’d like to start the year by celebrating some of the Wonders I experienced in 2017 that didn’t make it on to the blog!  Beginning with…

BELLY DANCE!  Folks, I have ALWAYS wanted to be a belly dancer, ever since I was a little girl.  I started going to a local class toward the end of 2016, even though at that time I needed someone to drive me there & back and often had to sit out for a lot of the class, then spend 2 or even 3 days In Recovery afterwards.  But I absolutely LOVE it, I have made so many wonderful friends, had SO much fun, and discovered my Inner Dancing Diva!  Not only that but it gives me an excuse to make costumes and dress up: I mean, what’s not to love??  I’ve surprised myself by getting up in public and performing with our troupe and finding that I actually really enjoy it!

Rocking my me-made costume (Top row, far left) at my first ever performance :

In action, performing at an outdoor show last summer

Posing (far right) at our Monday night dance class (pics by Harry Mason, Alanya BellyDance)From Belly Dance to Barefoot dance.  I still need a chauffeur to help me here but I’ve been going to this magical Five Rhythms-inspired dance event most months, and what an amazing crowd of people I’ve met!  (Oh yeah, and I get to dress up some more)Our local weekly Meet & Make Craft group is just the warmest, most fun gang to be in and I couldn’t wish for a more supportive and creative group of friends, I feel SO lucky that this happens right here in our tiny town.YARNDALE!! Yes, I finally got to go, and I met my Crochet SHero Lucy from Attic 24 and visited the famous studio!  Again this was totally thanks to my lovely friends A. and H. (Stars of the Quilt Festival 2016) who looked after me all weekend and made it SO.MUCH.FUN.  Love you gals <3Headdresses!  I have been learning so much about felting, appliqué, and embroidery this last year and making headdresses has given me a platform with which to play with all these different techniques and incorporate all sorts of materials.  I have blogged a few of my finished ‘for sale’ makes, but not really shared the experimental ones I have had so much fun making (and wearing!) for myself along the way.I had a proper, whole week’s holiday in my beloved Glastonbury.  I got to go walking, met up with a friend for the day, visited the Tor and the Chalice Well Gardens, went dancing and even went out to an evening event (I never usually have any energy left by the evening!).  Absolute Magic. Kington Art & Craft Market stall with my lovely pal Delia!  It’s a LONG day and very tiring, but the camaraderie of our fellow stall-holders and the locals who visit us keeps us going, and I am so proud of the fact that we did this.  Another thing that felt impossible just 18 months ago.Crochet clothes!  This has been a Revelation to me – I’ve always envied folk who can knit because I love the idea of me-made jumpers and cardies.  From my first purple alpaca jumper, I was hooked!  I’m still learning as I go along and some things have turned out better than others, but I’ve already completed my first commissioned cardie and my winter wardrobe is looking much funkier this year.L-R: emerald merino jumper, lacy wool/sparkle mix shrug, lacy emerald top with hand-swen beaded fringe Yep, it’s been a wonderful year for me, and I’m feeling hopeful that my health has stabilised enough now that I will be able to continue to take on new projects and be even more creative in 2018.  And write about it all!  Thank you, as always for sharing my Adventures…

Wishing you all a very joyful, amazing year ahead – can’t wait to see what it brings 🙂

All the New Things

Wow, it really HAS been a long time since I posted on my little blog, hasn’t it??  SO much has happened this year, it’s been a bit of whirlwind to be honest and blogging has taken quite the back seat!  My creative life has moved into whole new areas in this last year and I’ve been having a wonderful time making new things, trying new ideas and meeting lots of lovely new people too.

So first off, I have moved house AGAIN!  I now have a wonderful, permanent home (for the first time in, err, EVER) with lots of space and my very own craft room, that I like to call my Playroom!  That’s it to the left of the front door. And as you can see, I also have a WHOLE new wilderness of a garden to tame!  In fact I have three – one at the front, one to the side, and the main one here at the back.  It was a bit of a wrench leaving my old garden behind I must admit.  I’m very glad of this little video I made of it a couple of months before I left to remind me how lovely it was, and also how quickly a garden can change – who remembers what my last one looked like when I arrived??

As you’ll know from my last few posts here, starting this summer I’ve been co-hosting a craft stall with BitsaTat by Delia at our local Arts & Crafts market every month.  It’s been a wonderful social thing to do and I’ve really enjoyed meeting lots of other makers and being part of the lively creative community that we are blessed with here in the Marches.We have a great craft group in our little town too, and every Wednesday afternoon you’ll find a bunch of us surrounded by yarn, fabric, threads, and tea (and often cake!) in our local cafe.  Over the summer we did a little ‘group project’ to make a display for the cafe, which was so much fun that we’re all agreed we need to do another!  You can see the finished results on our Facebook page, but here are some of my contributionsI’ve not been doing so much sewing this year, but still plenty of crochet and lots of felt creations!  Mainly in the form of headdresses and hair clips where I’ll use a mixture of wet felt and needle felted shapes and embelish these with embroidery, beads, applique, and all kinds of bits I’ve picked up in charity shops and car boots.  I absolutely love these creative journies, I never know quite how they’re going to turn out!We’re taking a break from the craft stall for the winter now and I’ve almost finished setting up my craft-space Playroom, so there should be a bit more time for blogging over the coming months.  I have crochet cardies to share with you, plus my latest obsession – felt and fabric beads!  Hope you’ll come and join me!

Wishing you all a colourful creative weekend 🙂

Stirring from Hibernation

helleboresWell Helloooo!!  What’s that you say, winter’s nearly over??  Time to wake up?!  Hang on let me just rub the sleep out of my eyes…

Ah yes, it has been a while, hasn’t it?  But I wasn’t asleep for the entire winter, I promise.  I may have spent most of my evenings cosying up on the sofa during Nov/Dec/Jan, but I was crocheting like a Demon while I was there!  The Boho Blaket is my take on the Attic 24 Cosy Stripe.  I started it back in November and it’s now actually finished, stripe-wise.  But I was inspired by Kathryn of Crafternoon Treat’s version and decided I want to add a granny square border, so there’s still some way to go before I do a full ‘WhooHoo’ post on that one!blanket&squaresI had a day out back in January, visiting the lovely town of Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire.  The main highlight was the Aladdin’s cave of yarny goodness that is Sheepish, where I splashed out on some very funky sock yarn.  sockyarnNow, I haven’t knitted socks for over 20 years, when me and my fellow hippies used to knit with multiple strands of DK on chunky needles to keept our feet from freezing in our trucks and busses in the winter!  But having read Lucy’s blog post on the subject, I decided to have a go with this modern new sock yarn and Winwick Mum’s pattern.  And yay, look!  Socks!  Well, OK: Sock.  And a bit.  I guess this is just a Whoo, for now.  Yes I know it looks a bit stumpy, ‘cos I have very small feet – I made the right length but it’s a bit baggy around the foot to be honest.  But not bad for a first go, I reckon.onesockAnd then suddenly it was February, and the rain stopped, and I felt the urge to be sewing again.  A while back, Béa’s Sewing Adventures posted about 2015 being her year of ‘Total Sewing Fail’ and I commented that it had been pretty much the same for me.  I could write a whole other post about why, but one reason was that I’ve not sorted out a proper sewing space since moving to this house.  So the first thing I needed was a decent table.  And then my lovely friend Jas (she of the amazing Vintage Pattern collection) gave me the most brilliant table, that was sitting up in her loft!  It’s sturdy and HUGE (in this pic only one of the extensions is pulled out!), so I’ve basically just cleared the front of my living room for it and decided that this is now my sewing space.  I’ve got some shelves to go up on the wall to the right, and I think you’ll agree that with maximum light from the bay window it’s a pretty good set up.sewingspaceFeb16bAnd yes, I HAVE been sewing!  Cutting out is SO easy!  In fact I’ve almost finished making something, more soon, but here’s a sneak peek.  Oh wow, just LOOK at that retro-tastic fabric…skirtcuttingSo it looks like hibernation is over, and various winter projects are nearly finished.  Good thing too ‘cos the garden is going to need some serious work very soon!

Wishing you all a bright happy week 🙂

A Note from November

It’s been a difficult time lately my Blogosphere friends, so I don’t have my usual cheerful end-of-the-month piccies to share with you from November I’m afraid.  But on the first day of the month – Celtic Samhain – I got up very early, and drove up the lane through the foggy dawn to nearby Hergest Ridge.  As I walked up the footpath toward the common, I cleared the mists, and was just in time to see the sun rise above them and turn the neighbouring hills into tiny islands in a wispy white sea. dawnhills2 It was a glorious walk, the most energy I’ve had in many many weeks.  Of course I didn’t have my camera with me, but I took these couple of pictures on my phone.  Although the quality is a bit iffy, it’s lovely to have a memento of such a magical morning.dawnhills3

Sadly my health hasn’t been great since then, but I hope I’ll have some energy soon because my latest blanket project is shaping up beautifully and I can’t wait to show you!

Wishing you all a very magical week 🙂

Christmas Fair & Art and Craft Show!

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SATURDAY 28 NOVEMBER, 10am – 1pm

Almeley Quaker Meeting House, Almeley, Herefordshire HR3 6PX

Yes folks, it’s that time of year again!  This year, Cosmic Crochet will be at the Almeley Christmas sale, and I also have a couple of items in the Art & Craft show at the same venue.

There will be stalls selling crafts, cakes, produce, gardening things, books and bric-a-brac, as well as teas & refreshments.  Entry is FREE to both events!

So, if you fancy getting your hands on a Cosmic Cosy, or having a look at the Mexican Sunset cushion in real life, then do come along, it would be lovely to see you 🙂

 

All about October

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Ola!  A little late, but I’ve been laid up with the cold-lurgie that seems to be sweeping the nation this last week, so let’s go back in time and I’ll show you some of the highlights of my October…

Earlier in the month I visited the outdoor sculpture exhibition Out of Nature at Newport House in Almeley, just a few miles from here.  Not only were there some brilliant and inspiring sculptures, but the setting and the lovely gardens were a real treat as well.  The driftwood sculptures by Heather Jansch (below) and filigree metalwork by Aragorn Dick Read (above) were amongst my favourites…driftwoodhorses…but I also loved the huge ‘land sculpture’ by The Cart Shed community, made entirely from fruits, seeds, leaves, and other natural ‘harvest’ goodies.  This is just a small detail, the colours and textures were wonderful and I although I took dozens of photos, none really do it justice!harvestsculpture

…So yeah, all that fresh air and walking about makes a girl hungry, y’know? – Good thing I still had some of my own harvest left!  Fresh basil pesto with the last of the tomatoes was VERY yummy this month…heypesto

…as mentioned in my last post I finished my latest blanket project, the Late Summer ripple blanket, around the middle of October.  I loved every stitch of this project, a gift for my dad, who was over the moon to receive it – it really has been a joy!  (And yes, I am already planning another blanket!)…finishedblanket…just before I came down with the lurgie and the weather turned to mist and drizzle, I did manage to get over to my local woods in time for an eyeful of the beautiful acers as they did their spectacular autumn thing…ParkWoodMaples2…whilst in my own garden, the cosmos and sunflowers put on one last dazzling display…cosmos&sunflowers…so, now the clocks have gone back, the nights are drawing in, and it’s time to start making things for the Xmas Craft Fair!  This year I’ve been using up my yarn stash on some stripey kids’ hats, I’ll show you more of these when they’re finished…hats…but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, because there’s still fireworks, trick-or-treat, dressing up and PUMPKINS to be had!  Oh yes, I do so LoVe Halloween!pumpkinlantern

I hope you’ve all had a bright and breezy month, have a cosy colourful weekend 🙂

 

A vintage pop-up shop

Shopfront1I’ve talked about vintage vinyl, vintage fabrics, vintage wallpaper, and all things vintage on this blog, so I guess it will come as no surprise that my tiny house is rather PACKED with all these treasures, and sometimes you just have to let things go.  What better way than to open your own, one-day-only PopUp shop?!  This week there’s lots happening in my town, with the annual show, a walking festival, and several local artists opening their studios for the county wide H.Art event (including my neighbours, details of their work here), so today I threw open the front door, put up the psychedelic bunting, and stopped the traffic with my home-made neon day-glo sign.signIt is actually much, MUCH brighter than it looks in this picture!  And the traffic did quite literally slow down outside my house to get a better look.  Maybe it was the sign, maybe it was the electric blue 1970s platforms in the window, we’ll never know…ShopWindowDespite waking up to a downpour, much to my relief things did dry out in time for my grand opening at 10.30.  As well as the vinyl, I had some vintage clothes and shoes for sale, my Cosmic Crochet crafts, vintage sewing patterns and wallpapers, a fabulous antique rug I was selling for a friend, and a selection of cards and curious things from the very wonderful Colva Books.  How’s this for an inviting-looking counter?ShopCounterand a fine selection of quality vinyl?VinylSelection

Obviously I couldn’t waste such a fabulous dressing-up opportunity!  Yes, it’s the 1970s terylene, blogged here, and my very favourite of my mum’s 70s necklaces.MeOutside

It was a fun day – friends dropping in for tea, some great sounds, plus I got to meet a bunch of lovely folk and talk music and clothes and sewing, all without having to leave my front room.  As far as sales go, well… let’s just say, I won’t be retiring to the English Riviera any time soon!  But it’s given me lots of ideas for future small events and who knows? – Maybe I’ll do it again next year.  With an even BRIGHTER sign…Me&Signwishing you all a neon day-glo happy weekend 🙂

 

I’m Back!

flowergardenHELLOOOO Blogosphere!!!  I’m back!  I have emerged from The Summer of Broken Technology at last!  First, my 3-days-out-of-warranty Canon Powershot (yes, I am Naming Names) camera broke; then my laptop died; then my strimmer collapsed as well.  As you can see from the length of the lawn in the above pic, taken with my trusty 9 year old Sony Cybershot (again Naming Names!).  What a ride!

Anyway thanks to our local Hero of a computer Wizard, my laptop at least has happily been restored & I’m back in business.  Oh, I have MISSED my little blog-world, and reading all my fave people’s blogs, too.  But don’t think I’ve been sat here pining away for Pinterest and iPlayer though, there’s been lots of crochet, gardenening, and out-and-abouting going on.  How about a quick picture round-up? – Go on, you know you want to!

Early in July, I went off for a long weekend retreat at Tir Heddwch led by Val Young.  Val is an incredibly talented artist, healer, and meditation leader, you can find out more about her work here.  A truly amazing, inspiring weekend…

TirHeddwchTeepee…I also finished the Blue Waves Blanket in time for a visit to my folks’ mid-July, so I was able to present it to my mum.  She was delighted with it and loved the colours, even the little bit of purple I sneaked in!  I didn’t get to take many pics due to the camera fiasco, but this is the finished article, just before it got packed up for the journey…bluewavesfinishedthe garden has really come into its own over July & August, and despite the slow start, the flower border has been looking pretty spectacular…gardenborders…while the veg garden has been feeding me extremely well!……veggarden…after finishing a crochet project, I always find there are lots of oddments of yarn left over.  What to do with them?  Well, these little solid granny squares from Attic 24 have used up my Purple Waves blanket leftovers, and were really nice to sit and do in the garden on sunny days…purplesquares…but I have my aunt to thank for another stash-busting inspiration.  In fact, my aunt is an inspiration in herself!  In her late 70s, with arthritis in both hands, she still knits squares for the wonderful orphan charity, KAS (Knit-A-Square).  If you haven’t come across these lovely folk before, do take a look at their website.  It’s not just knitters they want!  You can crochet squares for them too, like these in super-chunky yarn that work up in no time …KASchunkysquares…or why not try making something from one of their free patterns?  See if you recognise some of the yarn I’ve used here to make the pieces for a funky kids’ pullover…bluewavesfront…these are great little ‘portable’ projects to take out & about with you.  I’ve been off on a few dog-sitting weekends for some close friends this summer, and it’s been lovely to sit with a cup of tea, a basket of yarn, a soppy dog and THIS view (even though it’s mostly been raining whenever I’ve been there!)…BrynTeganview…of course small projects are great, but I can’t resist the lure of another blanket!  I’ll save the details for a separate post, but this might possibly be my BRIGHTEST blanket yet…

test&chain.jpgI hope you’ve all had a wonderful summer, and are looking forward to the bank holiday here in the UK, and a glorious autumn.  Thanks to all for bearing with me during my hiatus, it’s very good to be back!

Wishing you all a bright sunshiney week 🙂