Sunday, 8 October 2017

Days of Mellow Fruitfulness

Mornings like today are very precious at weekends, this time of the year - a quiet Sunday when Basil and I could sit and enjoy the warm sunshine, listening to the breeze and little  birds, with a coffee (me) and watching for squirrel intruders (him).

The garden's settling down for the winter, but there's still quite a bit of colour tucked away. I'm so glad I didn't dig this out as a weed earlier in the year - the bright white brings a lovely sparkle, flowering its socks off, while the faithful catmint is still producing food to nourish the bees.

A demure fuschia is still producing blossom and a rose I was given in memory of Mum still has a couple of blooms.
Haha - excuse my thumb!

After five years, the pond is looking really established now, with all the shrubs bulking up nicely. The addition of frogs has been a godsend. Although they're rarely to be seen, we haven't had any slugs or snails this year, and previously we've been overrun with them.

Again - sorry for the rogue finger - the sun was so bright, I didn't notice it.

The last of the colour comes courtesy of the lemony evening primrose, round the pear tree. I don't know how they first arrived, but happily seed themselves freely. The little primulas (courtesy of Lidl a couple of years ago) certainly earn their keep, too, popping up all over the beds, and still busy flowering.

Indoors, I've been using up old/donated stash on cards to sell for charity. It's slow and laborious, trying to match in-matched stuff, but good fun.

I've been making embellishments and clusters to add to cards later - this actually does save time and head-scratching, when you have the pieces already to hand.

Happy Sunday and a great new week, all xx

Sunday, 24 September 2017

She's Back!

Hi - sorry for being MIA for such a long time, but I'm pleased to say the creative juices are starting to flow again, and I'm getting back into regular crafting after almost a year.

Life's been a bit of a roller coaster since Mum died this time last year, and I now find myself back out of retirement, working at my church office a couple of days a week. I love being involved, and it's a great way to get to know the lovely peeps there, after so long of dashing in and out on a Sunday, with no time to chat, to get home to Mum.

Anyway, enough of all that ... crafting ...

In the Spring, I was captivated by the work of the inspiring Debra, aka Miss Clementine, who specialises in fabric art, when I went to Kirstie's Handmade Fair, at Ragley Hall. I came home and came up with one of my own -

Although it was ok for a first attempt, it wasn't great and, when I read that Debra was doing a workshop locally, I jumped at the chance. So, I spent a lovely time yesterday with some other crafty ladies, and realised some of the mistakes I'd made with the prototype.

I came home with this, which I finished off today, and I'm now one happy bunny.

It's more delicate than my first crude project, though there's still some way to go. I've decided to keep this one (most pieces go as birthday and Christmas gifts), and it's now hanging in the sitting room.

Last month I tackled my schizophrenic spare/craft room, and put it out of its misery by getting rid of the bed. Although it's a double room, it couldn't cope with being multi-functional so, since we rarely have folks overnight, it's now all mine (manic laugh)!

My first task was to sort out the mountains (I kid you not) of materials and equipment I have accumulated over several decades. I don't know about you, but when people hear that I craft, I get offered everything left by their granny and great aunt, or stuff they've abandoned themselves. And I just can't say no - well, it would be rude, wouldn't it?!

So, I've promised myself to use up as much of the stuff as I can, rather than buy new. But, that's easier said than done, as much of it is old fashioned or not my style. It's also very 'bitty'; it takes ages to find papers and embellishments that go together, so it's a real challenge - but never say die (pun intended!).  Here's what I've come up with so far -

There are several more in progress, waiting to be finished off. I'll be sending some of these myself, but hope to mass produce batches for charity.

Anyway, it's 11.00pm, and this flutterby needs her beauty sleep if she's to be ready for work tomorrow. It's lovely to be back - please leave comments and I'll reply to them.

Night night, and God bless,

Chris xx

PS ... If you come back tomorrow evening, I'll have an update on Eric, Bernard and their tree trunk home x

Another Gold for GB .. a post by Eric Eco Warrior

(I've just discovered this from the end of 2016 - goodness knows why I didn't publish it, but you might like to read it now)

.. Gnomes in Business, that is!

Bernard and I were delighted to win gold at Worcester Show back in August, in the 'thrift' section, with our recycled stump house.

The whole project is just under 610mm (coincidentally the exact max for the competition!)

We were really happy with our attempts at faux leather chairs (papier mache, with pva glue as a varnish)

Bernard was happy with his 'patchwork' quilt, made from ribbons cut from the shoulders of clothes, for his sardine tin bed.

We inherited a papier mache clothes chest from our Grandpa, and share it, in the bedroom.

Now that Bernard and I are setting up a building partnership, we're taking commissions, and the first is a renovation of The Clock House, for the mouse family of Hickory and Dickory.
It's currently a wreck, having been salvaged from a friend's shed that frequently got flooded but, as we property developers say, the house has plenty of potential!

As this new project is likely to take a long time, the mouse family need somewhere to live in the meantime. So, we thought it would be good for them to have a holiday, and are building them a gypsy vardo to tour around our Hundred Acre Wood for a few weeks. They plan to visit Winnie the Pooh and others, on the far side of the forest.

The caravan consists of a round cardboard canister and a cereal box, cannibalised to form a round top that lifts off a base. There's a door just inside the canopy, leading to the living space. At the back, there will be a couple of bunk beds, with storage underneath, and we plan to install a wood stove to make things nice and cosy.

Love for now, and have a great week - Eric and Bernard (and Chris) xx

Since the heady days of their success, the boys decided they were old enough to branch out (get it?!) on their own, and moved in with a little lady who lives a couple of doors away. They took the Stump House with them and, as with all the best stories, they lived happily ever after! They have promised to pop back and help with future property development, especially the Clock House. Chris xx

Monday, 21 November 2016

Finding My Way

Sorry for being away so long, but life's been on a roller coaster this year. You might know that my Mum came to share our home four years ago when, aged 88, life alone became too difficult.

Gradually she became more frail and, following a nasty infection in June 2015, she needed help with most everyday tasks. Finally, after a couple of months being bedbound, she passed peacefully away at the beginning of September, a week after her 92nd birthday.

Happy 92nd birthday, Mum
I find myself left with a mixture of emotions - thankful that she was able to die at home, when she was ready, and without protracted illness or pain but, on the other hand, her passing has hit me more than I expected, and I get days of melancholy (like today) when the tears keep coming, and I feel very fragile.

A couple of months before Mum died, we also unexpectedly lost our precious Cleo, all too soon (aged 9 and only with us from the Dogs' Trust for a year)

Thankfully, we still have Basil, who came as a 'package' with Cleo and he is a joy, keeping us on our toes, and entertained

"It wasn't me, Mum - honest!"
 Apologies if this all sounds maudlin, but posting this feels very cathartic, and I hope that you will forgive me for wearing my heart on my sleeve. I now feel ready to re-enter Blogland, and look forward to sharing more positive snippets from our Flutterby nest over the coming days.

Crafting (along with my faith, loving family and good friends) has been a life/sanity saver over the past months, and it's good to have this to focus on, as I try to find who and what I am, again.

Blessings for now, Chris xx

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Weekend Overtime

Hi folks - Bernard here

You'll be amazed at how much Eric and I (with some help from Chris) have managed to get done on our house this weekend.

First we added the window hinges. We cut a toothpaste tube into strips, covered them with masking tape and painted them black. Chris didn't trust us with the superglue, so she stuck them to the frames,

stuck the frames in place, and taped them to dry.

This is me, hard at work, adding the catches. We put gold paper clips into the trunk, superglued a length of gold wire to the opening frame, and finished off with leaf peel-offs 'rescued' from Chris's stash.

Me, with the supplies.

Once the windows were finished, we starting landscaping the outside, using plastic leaves and flowers inherited from Chris's Aunt Nell. We went on to rebuild the front entrance, ready for the door to be fitted.

That's about it for now, so I'm off for a soak in the bath to ease my joints, while Eric wants to finish off in the garden, making the most of the light evening, and Chris puts Grandma to bed.

Catch up with you soon, lots of love and have a great week, Bernard xx

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Eric's Update

Hi - there's not a lot been happening, this past week, while KP has been on school holiday. Chris has been far too busy to help two homeless gnomes, so Bernard and I have soldiered on alone, as best we could.

Once the window frames were in place, the tree trunk got several coats of paint (this was the first, dark brown one). Chris looked in and said it wasn't quite right - cheek! But she made up for her rudeness by saying she'll lend a hand once the boss is back at work this week.

Without her assistance we went ahead and mixed the egg box pulp and laid a green moss upstairs floor.

It's not as smooth as we'd have liked, but hey - we're only little guys.

We've had a very nutty weekend, with KP and Chris donating their coconut ice cream shells to the cause - Bernard wants a boat but I think we should stick with the basics, and have a bath tub - maybe we'll decide on both.

Chris's friend Dot came up trumps and brought round a few hazelnut shell halves, which will give us a hanging basket and a couple of bowls for the kitchen. It's quite tough, being eco friendly, relying totally on stuff that would otherwise would be recycled. Everything takes a lot longer 

and we can't use things like this beauties, tiny mushrooms that Dot donated. They will probably be allowed for Fern's mushroom house, when we get round to that.

Bernard and I also plastered the downstairs ceiling, and will paint it tomorrow, and start installing the glazed window frames. Chris will trial the toothpaste tube hinges she's been playing with. If they're successful, she's promised me a big trunk to keep my clothes in.

Anyway, today (being Sunday) is a day of well-earned rest for B and me, so I'll get back to chilling, and let you know later in the week how things are going.

Love for now, Eric xx

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

WOYWW - My Little Obsession

A few months ago, my flutterby brain took me off in an entirely new direction - dolls houses and miniatures. I'd always loved the idea of them, but then a friend gave me a kit she didn't want, and I was hooked.

Welcome to Thimble Cottage (4" tall, 1:48 scale). Kits like this are flat pack, made of balsa type wood or cardboard, for you to assemble and decorate. I made the thatch from an old paint brush, the plants are tissue paper and florists' wire, the bean poles - cocktail sticks, grass - crumbled oasis, veg beds - match sticks and the soil, tea bag innards.

Having got such a kick from improvising with stuff I found round the house, I decided to go the whole hog, and used a rusty garden ornament for the next one, Lantern House. The chair is made of card, the curtains, carpet and portraits made from bits in my stash.

I then discovered the wonderfully talented Sharon Ojala at her 'Homemade Obsessions' blog. It was love at first sight, and I made my first needle-felted figure. Meet Eric ...

Eric and his adventures have really taken hold of my little world. He likes to be known as 'Eric, Eco Warrior' and is insisting that everything he has is made from recycled materials. Right now, I'm helping him build a tree stump home, and you can follow our progress, and his other antics, at his own Facebook Page, 'Away with the Faeries'.

This is the pine cone roof we finished a few days ago

just before painting the inside of the stump (this is the view through the French windows to the front door) and you can just see his bedroom porthole window at the top (no floor/ceiling in yet).

I hope to be able to share more progress next Wednesday. In the meantime, you could follow him on Fb. I hope to catch up with as many of you as I can, via Julia's network (see WOYWW button on side bar, click and be amazed!)

Love and best wishes, Chris and Eric xx