Jack Valentine

Growing up in Norfolk I had no idea that I was one of only a lucky few that got to take part in a Valentines day tradition.
Talking to friends that have moved into the area recently, I’ve discovered that Jack Valentine only visits the children of East Anglia.

When I was little “Jack” would wrap individual chocolate bars in newspaper and throughout the evening, he would knock on the door and run away, leaving a sweet treat on the door step. While I fully believed that Jack Valentine was of the same stature as Father Christmas, he proved a sprightly fellow and my brother and I never caught him. Laughing and running between the back door and the front door was almost more enjoyable that eating the chocolate, it’s one of my most vivid childhood memories and I’m happy to say that Jack Valentines continues the tradition in my house.

Red wrapped gifts from Jack Valentine

However you celebrate Valentines day, have a good one

Shelley

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Autumn bead crafts, delectable earrings.

Just a quick update to the autumn earring collection

I love beading. In less than 5 minutes you can have a completely unique pair of earrings and the satisfaction of being able to say, “I made them” well… at the very least you could say, “I assembled the component parts”.

Now I must learn how to make my own beads.

Take care

Shelley

Happy accident leads to bloody hands

While I was colouring some cake frosting yesterday I made a bit of a mess. The red food colouring went everywhere and as the deep scarlet seeped into my skin I had a revelation.

Halloween hands

Positives,

It doesn’t come off. After washing your hands a couple of times you can plunge into the finger food without a care in the world.

Negatives,

It doesn’t come off. If you have you have an important interview, or are meeting the in-laws for the first time the next day, maybe, steer clear.

If you want to give it a go, then simply soak your fingers tips in food colouring for a few seconds and then wash of the excess, use an old towel to dry your hands on as on the first couple of washes some colour will come off, and be careful not to get it on your clothes.

Now go make a bloody mess

Shelley

Autumn in the garden

Saturday, Stunning blue skies and warm enough to cycle to the shop in a T-shirt

Beautiful.

Sunday, Misty morning, chilly and damp. A perfect hot chocolate day.

Just as beautiful.

And to top it off, it will soon be HALLOWEEN

I love Autumn

Shelley

Upside of the cold weather, the return of baked potatoes.

It was so hard to cook this chap!

But, as ever my stomach won the argument.

I’ll spare you the after shot…

Happy October Everyone

Shelley

Dragged back, kicking and screaming from a summer hiatus.

Summer seems to have come to a crashing end and thoughts of Christmas are not helping.

I’ve just started organising this years Handmade Christmas Fair which will be held in Wymondham Arts Centre, Norfolk on Thursday 6th December. We will open from 5pm and free admission.


I’m hoping for a fine selection of locally produced artworks, gifts and decorations. Participating artists, makers and further information will be listed here;

http://www.facebook.com/HandmadeChristmasFair

The fair will be open as part of the Wymondham Dickensian evening so there will be plenty of other events taking place in the town centre to make a fun night out.

Happy September Everyone.

Shelley

A pirate’s life for me

The little one received an invitation to a pirate party and I think that I was more excited about the prospect of her dressing up that she was, well to begin with anyway.

Once she was dressed up she kept it on for three straight days, and wanted to wear it to bed, but we had to draw the line there.

All I used for the costume was a top (cream with small red spots), leggings (blue and white stripes), some red cotton fabric (red with white spots) and a parrot.

I started with the bandanna.

I cut a strip 115cm x 16cm, from the red cotton fabric and folded it right sides together then I stitched along the side to make a long thin tube.

I then cut a rough zig zag in both ends,

and turned in right side out.

This is one of the reasons that I find it so hard to throw anything away.

Both the top and the leggings that I used for this costume should have been in the charity shop months ago because they are too small.

But, once the bottom was zig zaged on the leggings they worked perfectly, and once I stitched a strip of the red spotty cotton fabric to the bottom of the top it fitted again.

For this sash I left the fabric longer than needed so that the excess can be cut with a zig zag and knotted at the side. I guessed that pirates don’t do a lot of hemming, so nether did I, I just stitched the red cotton to the bottom of the t-shirt leaving the excess to the side so it could be tied.

While talking to the little one she made it very clear that a pirate must have a parrot. After hunting though the soft toys I found a small blue, beany, parrot. Perfect. The parrot was stitched to the shoulder of the top. This worked very well and not only was I not asked to remove it within the first minute of little one putting on the costume but it even stayed in place after going through the wash.

We added a shop bought eye patch and hat, but even without, I hope you’ll agree she is most definitely a pirate, Aarrr.

Happy pirating
Shelley

Garden shed !

If ever a garden shed deserved an exclamation mark it was this one

Stumbled across last weekend during Bawburgh Open Gardens. It’s an ancient monument, a folly which was part of the Bawburgh Hall Estate, and yes it really is used as a garden shed.

I love other peoples gardens.

Bawburgh is so pretty, the photo above is of the old post office.

I hope you get to enjoy the great outdoors.

Shelley

Open Gardens, the appreciation of other peoples hard work.

It was Wymondham’s Open Gardens last weekend, an annual event that I love. For a small fee which goes to charity you get a map and gain admission to lots of truly hidden gems. There were around thirty gardens included this year.

I’m not a great gardener, or even a good gardener, but I pride myself in being able to appreciate the ability in others.

I’m attracted to white flowers and the green veining on these is beautiful. I think that they’re Scabiors but feel free to correct me, I’m always open to being educated.

Silver Birch is another love of mine, and this group of three planted in a flower bed really glow despite the lack of sunshine.

The garden below is my favourite. The photograph above was taken from the bottom of the garden, combine that view with moss covered brick steps, meandering grass paths through billowing boarders, and all of it just the right side of left to it’s own devices and I’m smitten.

Mm mm, I wish I was there now.

Happy Gardening, be it your own patch or someone else’s, enjoy.

Shelley

A red red rose

I started knitting a while ago and my little one was desperate to get involved. Remembering a wooden knitting doll from my childhood, I told her she could have her own doll to knit with and after finding one in the shops, buying it and bringing it home, we sat down to have a go.

This is when I remembered just how fiddly these thing are, and needless to say my head strong three year old soon gave up.

So, now I have a new toy!

I found some very red, red wool in Sainsbury’s of all places, and started to play around with the idea of making some roses.

I think they turned turned out alright, very rose like. I’ve been wearing this one as a brooch. This is how I made it.

I found it a lot easier to use a crochet hook to do the french knitting instead of the large wooden “pin” that was supplied with the french knitting doll.

I also found that I could get a nice rhythm going by holding the wool under a little tension with my little finger and rotating the knitting doll with my left hand.

It’s important to leave plenty of wool at either end of your french knitting once you cast off as this is what you use to stitch it all together. (I didn’t leave enough in the photo below, so leave around 70cm)

You need around 1 metre of french knitting to make one rose that will end up being about 6.5 cm across.

Make a small loop in one end of the knitting and stitch it together using a darning needle, at what will now be the back of your flower.

Add three or four slightly larger loops around your small starting loop, stitching in place at the back as you go. Now you need to build up more loops around the outside, try to overlap them as you go.

Continue to loop the knitting around.

You may find it easier to roughly lay out the last couple of loops in your hand before stitching to ensure that they are even and you have finished with the  end of your knitting at the back.

Once you have all your loops stitched in place and the end attached at the back then you need the tighten the whole flower up.

To make the petal shapes and tighten it up, stitch from the center out through the whole flower to the middle of the petal loops and pull them back in towards the center, don’t pull this too tight as you could just end up with smaller loops rather that pimpled petal shapes.

Take your time and make sure you are happy with the shape, then tie off your lose ends but leave them attached so you can use them to simply attach your choice of fastening to the back.

If you have a go I’d love to see your results and what you use them for.

Have fun.

Shelley