Tuesday, 26 August 2008

The Tree of Happiness and Tripping with the Vicar.

Hope you had a good Bank Holiday. We were extremely lazy and went nowhere. We just lozzed about the house all day, not getting dressed 'til lunch time. It was great. The higlight (?) of my day was a visit to Tesco's. Am I doing something wrong with my life?! hee hee

OK. My blog chum Carina has tagged me for the Tree of Happiness meme. So here is my little list of 6 things that make me happy (in no particular order):

1. Getting nice stuff in the post. Bills are boring. I love it when our Mr Postie brings me loveliness in Jiffy bags, brown paper parcels or plastic envelopes. The best ones are prezzies from fab, unknown friends who I'm lucky enough to be a partner to in swaps. Handmade surprises are fantastic! To up the odds on my nice mail chances I subscribe to several magazines (well actually I ask for them for birthdays and Christmas then you get a gift all year round). Coast and Embroidery just don't seem to come often enough for my liking. :o)

2. Blue. Slightly perverse I know. 'Feeling blue' means being glum but bright, beautiful blue makes me smile. Mainly because it means sunny skies and summer seas. In fact all shades of the colour are just great. Turquoise. Teal. Ultramarine. Denim.

3. My kiddie. I know I whinge and moan but she is lovely really. I can't believe how right everyone was - they do grow so fast. It's scary. I know that before too long she will be a grotty, grumpy teenager who thinks I'm the most uncool pain in the btm. May that day be a long time in coming... pleeease. I want my funny little kiddie to last a bit longer.

4. My hubster. He may not think that it's true but he is lovely and he does make me very happy. After so long together it's another true-ness that you take each other for granted. A bit. But he can still make me laugh and he can still surprise me. After 18 years an unexpected bouquet of flowers for no reason at all, from the man who NEVER used to buy flowers, even for birthdays... Who says romance is dead?

5. Making stuff. (OK this is a bit of a copy from Carina but it's true.) I like nothing more than getting stuck into some stitching or felting or... any kind of crafting. It still feels like a guilty pleasure being able to sew things all day. If only I could manage to sell some of them I might not feel so bad... :o)

6. Green Wing. I have just spent an afternoon watching series 2 again. I love that programme so much. Dr Alan Statham is so funny. And Sue White is completely unhinged. It is a shame that it has finished but I'm glad that it all ended 'properly' in the "one-off special". If you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about here are a few links to tempt you.

I need to pass this on to some other lovely peeps who make me happy when I read their blogs. How do you narrow the list down? There are so many that I read which give me a lift. When the name appears in Bloglines I can't wait to click and see what's been happening. So here are 6 that I don't think I've sent an award or anything to before.

Sara - All About Eden - a friend who, like me, wants to run away to the sea
Pipany - Is a wonderful Cornish combination of Nigella, Hugh F-W and The Good Life
Clare - Summerfete - a new friend with lovely van and a lovely blog
Emma - JB*JB - a little gem everyday and another camper van fan
Julia - Miss Frugality - everything she makes is pure gorgeousness
Sam - incywincy - a real friend found through the world of blog.

Tripping with the Vicar

So on Saturday me, my mum and my kiddie went on a little pootle down the canal. Last year sometime mum bid on this trip at a charity auction. Our vicar and his wife own a narrow boat and they were offering to take 4 people on it including lunch made by them. We met up at the marina near Kings Bromley and headed out towards Alrewas - the village where I grew up.

As we left the marina one of the first boats we saw was this one -

I want her!!! Who would have guessed that someone could have such great taste!!

The weather was fab. Bright sunshine and toasty warm all morning. Kiddie had a whale of a time opening and closing locks, although she did need a bit of help with some of them. I could quite get into narrow boating. Winding locks is great for the 'bingo wings'!!

Here are the 3 of us waiting for the next lock to empty. I was mocked mercilessly for my frock - the most glamorous boater on the canal. David, (the youngish, trendy vicar) didn't believe I'd be able to jump off and on the boat to operate the locks but I'd worn sensible shoes so it was fine.
This is the good Rev Beedon and kiddie ready for action. Notice the sun has given up for the day.
This is the lock coming into Alrewas by The Boat (formerly known as The Navigation). Oh the hours I spent by this lock as a child... It was really weird to be back.
Here we are cruising into aforementioned lock. So after 8 locks, a Boatman's coffee, a lovely lunch, some mislaid keys and a 'rescue' from the pub it was time for home. We had a really great day. I don't know if David and Julie will read this but if so a huge


Tamworth Castle

Well we didn't make it to Warwick Castle as we couldn't get ourselves organised, so instead kiddie and I stayed local and visited Tamworth Castle instead. There are so many places right on our doorstep that we've never been to so I thought - why not. And it was well worth the visit. We took a picnic, although we had to sit in the car and eat it as it absolutely persisted down whe we got there. But once we'd eaten it started to brighten up. Typical!!

This is the entrance to the castle which is a motte and bailey so it's on a hill.

It really is a patchwork castle as it's one of those that has had bits added to it over the years. There are Norman bits, Tudor bits, Victorian bits, you name it it's in there. Walking around the ramparts you can see just what a mishmosh it is. (that's kiddie walking in front in the pale blue skirt).
She had a great time pretending to be a princess. She did get a bit spooked by the haunted bedroom and staircase. In the bedroom there is an voice activated thingy where an image of the ghost lady's head appears and talks in a spooooOOOoooky voice. Kiddie was in the room on her own and managed to trigger it. Oops!
This is the view from the top of the tower across the fields and the river Tame. This is the second attempt to get up the tower. The first time we tried we had just climbed out onto the roof in time to see a massive thunderstorm move in. Being that high up and the possibility of lightning was not a good combo so we went down again - pronto!!

This is the bedroom in the Victorian part of the castle. It look like a magazine spread with the sunlight streaming in through the window. There was a great embroidery on the wall - I think it was a sampler but I couldn't get close enough to look properly or photograph it as it was roped off.
And here I have managed to capture a shot of one of the ghosts. I don't know if it's the White Lady or the Black Lady...? Just a fleeting glimpse as she disappears round the corner. ;O)
Phew! Up to date again now. I'm off to try and :

a/ do some more sorting of The Pit aka kiddie's bedroom,

b/ finish my Robot for the Robot Swap,

c/ work out how to clone myself.


Lindsey xx

Monday, 25 August 2008

The Big Knit 2008

big knit 2008
Originally uploaded by ethel and edna
So here are my first attempts at little woolly hat-making. I can see these becoming addictive - I was up 'til 2.30am, watching rubbish on telly and knitting just one more of these. :o)

They are so satisfying because you can make and finish one really, REALLY quickly. I made all four yesterday evening from about 9pm onwards, and that includes several "total unpickings" and "starting-from-scratches". (I lost count!!)

I just need to make a few pom poms or tassels to finish them off.


Thursday, 21 August 2008

Innocent Big Knit

Just a quickie this morning. I've had my weekly newsletter from Innocent (the people that make the scrummy smoothies) and they have announced the launch of The Big Knit 2008. This is their campiagn to raise funds and awareness for Age Concern. I only found it after last year's campaign had ended but this year I'm definitely going to play.

Click on the link to their website where there is loads of info and inspiration and even three knitting patterns, ranging from dead simple to more complex. I have NEVER knitted a shaped garment in my life but I managed to make a little hat from the simple pattern so ANYONE can do it. They are super quick to make too.

Innocent even set up a Flickr group and feature the "hats of the week". So get out your needles and scraps of wool and get playing. It's fab fun and for a good cause.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Fire Dance

Fire Dance
Originally uploaded by ethel and edna
This is the video that wouldn't load at the end of the previous post. Hope it works better via Flickr.

Are you sitting comfortably?...

As an advanced warning -


Sorry but I have to get this holiday off my chest before I can get back to normal. Finally I have caught up on everbody else's blog posts so now it's just my own I need to get back on track.

So, I've been to Cornwall. Did anybody know? On a site midway between Hayle and Gwithian.

This is the fab little chalet/beach hut/shack/bungalow we stayed in. It was great. Here we see the relaxed Mr e&e partaking of some early evening refreshment on the decking. Yes it was warm enough to sit out on a couple of evenings, and that is blue sky you can just glimpse.

I won't bore you with a blow-by-blow account of every single day but here are a few edited highlights. Porth Joke beach was where we finally ended up on Thursday when it was close to what you would call hot and sunny. Although there were plenty of beaches further south where we were staying, we decided we wanted to revisit old haunts and go to Holywell Bay or Crantock. As we drove down the hill into Holywell we could see that the beach was heaving. The queue for the NT car park was right back along the road and cars were only being allowed on as others left. We gave up and drove to Crantock, where it was the same story. SO we drove to Polly Joke.

Unfortunately OH got his tides wrong. He thought it was on it's way out but it was actually still coming in. I think we moved 5 times!! The last of which involved climbing up over the cliff path because the sea was too deep to wade back through. It was a great afternoon though.
This was our local beach - Gwithian. Look at those waves! It was such a windy afternoon - the sea was really kicking up but it looked fab. We cheated and drove down to Gwithian, parked there and walked down the steps to get to the beach. The alternative was to walk from our site across Gwithain Towans but they are the widest dunes I've ever seen. We went to find the beach on our first evening and it took... forever. We also lost our bearings somewhat on the way back. Hey ho! Evie loved the dunes though. There was a huge sandbowl right by our chalet where all the kids congregated with buckets, spades and body boards for surfing down on. She spent most evenings over there with her new-found chums.
Oh this one's a bit more "arty" - the waves lapping in on Gwithian beach with the breakers in the background. Poper job!
And this tranquil looking beach is Porthkerris on the Lizard. It's a private beach owned by Porthkerris divers. OH was a real happy bunny as he managed to get a couple of dives in but that wasn't without incident. Kiddie and I were happily sitting on the beach, drawing on stones and soaking up the sun when we heard a helicopter come over REALLY low. When we looked it flew out and was hovering over the dive boat, which was coming back in to the beach!!! Eeek!! This was NOT good news. I have never packed up beach stuff so quickly. We ran down to meet the boat coming in and, sure enough, somebody was unconscious and on oxygen. A sure sign that someone has a 'bend'. I was frantic, then I spotted OH in the thick of it off-loading the casualty's gear and stuff. He was OK. Phew!! The casualty was a young lad of about 17. He was airlifted to Plymouth to the recompression chamber and was fine after a few hours in 'the pot'.

If you really want to see more pictures of my holiday (and let's face it other people's holiday snaps are THE most exciting things!!!) you can check them out on my newly upgraded Flickr pages. My lovely chum Sam (incywincy) has given me a Flickr pro account as an early birthday present. xxxx

So what else did I get up to while I was away? Well I did actually take some craft stuff to do. Call me psychic but I knew the weather would not be scorchio every single day. After various other people mentioning it I had a yen to get back into needlefelting. Meet lilac bunny...
OK he is a WIP. I haven't got any white wool to do his eyes or teeth, bless him. I had a ball of lilac that I'd wound with a view to making some felts balls in the washing machine but decided to stab one of them instead. A couple of smaller ones for cheeks and two ears and he's neary there. Kiddie also wanted to have a go and here are her attempts. She was aiming for a tulip on the bottom row but got fed up before she had fully felted all the petals. The top to blobs were going to be her own rabbit I think but again, no patience. Pah! The kids of today...
This is a wet felted baggy-pouchy thing I made ages ago. I had done a bit of free machining on it until I couldn't get it any further under the needle, but it still needed some embellishment. So far I've worked a load of random cross stitches across the midline in turquoise. Other colours are needed and then some buttons or beads I think. This is one of those things that comes out once every 6 months for a bit of a tweak then gets put away again.
This is my major crafting achievement of the holiday. No. Don't laugh you experts out there who can crochet in your sleep. This is my first attempt at crochet. Nice tension huh? I managed to do a foundation chain, double, treble, triple treble, and I just about got the hang of working in a round (although no evidence as I kept undoing it). Where I really struggle is reading patterns. I'm glad I've started to crack it though. I just need lessons now and I'll be fine... :o)
Here's a close-up so the experts can pick it to pieces (have I photographed the back or the front?).
I did receive a nice parcel just before I went away. Everyone seems to be showing scrummy pictures of replensihed stashes at the moment. Is it because you all went to Festival of Quilts without me? Well here is my new pile of fabrics courtesy of ebay.

And this is a giveaway gift from Gina at La Belle. I won this ages ago but lovely Gina kept losing my emails or the bits of paper with my address on, but finally while I was away my parcel arrived. It's a fab sock monkey book with some extra goodies thrown in, Bless you Gina. Thanks so much.
More ebay goodness. I won 2 lots from a fab lady in Camborne who agreed I could come and collect them in person if I won. The first was a bag full of scraps of net which will be great for my ventures back in creative embroidery as well as felting stuff. And the second was a thread spool holder. You can fit 40 reels of thread onto this baby, or 80 if you double up on each spike!! Ann (the lady in question) was great. I could have sat talking to her for hours. She has attended classes with so many of the great contemporary embroiderers, including starting a degree with Opus. I'm very jealous.
Here are a few of the goodies that I got from holiday which cost me nothing. Just a bit more flotsam or is it jetsam? to add to my collection.
Grrr.... Stupid photo uploader. What are you doing down here fishy? This is another bit of felting I did while on hols. Again I need some white for his eyes. He wasn't going to be a goldfish - he just happened.
And finally (as Sir Trevor would say), I spent a few days with my sister in Brixham on the way home from Cornwall. She had been doing a bit of gardening when we arrived. She doesn't have the greenest of fingers I must add. A bit of light pruning developed from secateurs to using a saw. Suddenly the lawn was full of branches and... well take a look at this video to see how she and OH tried to dispose of the evidence.

(The video wouldn't load properly so check out the next post on my blog to see it)

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

I'll be back with you shortly...

Hellooooooooooooo. 'Tis me! I'm back. I've had a fab holiday, despite the typical English summer weather. I'm now ploughing through washing, ironing, Bloglines updates, emails, Olympics, etc, etc but normal service will resume and a full update will follow shortly.
However, I had to let you know that lovely Lynsey has done a feature on Folksy and included my Rosie Lee teabags on cuteable. A huge thank you to her. :o) What a fab way to come back.
Sorry this is so quick but there are a couple of cycle races to watch. Go Team GB!!!!
ttfn xx

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Bargain and boots

Yes I know it's been ages again. It's so difficult to get any kind of routine while kiddie is off school but I didn't want to say I'm going to have a blogging break during the summer. So, to catch up a bit...
My mega-bargain-that-was-slightly-expensive-really-but-will-be-worth-it-in-the-end arrived today. Yeah - the 25 metre roll of Bondaweb. Have been chopping up pieces that I already had and painting them this afternoon. My fingers are stained turquoise and ultramarine. I forgot what a pig Brusho is to get off!!! I also received a gorgeous Fat Face dress that I won on eBay. Again it was a bit more than I would normally pay but it was cheap for Fat Face and is so lovely now I have it. And it came in time for my hols. Yay!!
On Sunday Evie and I hit the car boot sale. I kept bumping into people I knew, not least of these was Megan who I did my C&G Patchwork and Quilting with. It was so fab to see her again and we were yacking away for ages (much to Evie's disgust). We lost touch at the end of the course due to family circs :o( M was selling off much of her patchwork stuff as she is focussing on her knitting and crochet now. The following 2 books were bought from her at a bargain price (she was going to just give them to me but that's not the idea with a boot sale, is it?).

The Helen Deighan one is brill and I can't wait to get stuck into some fabric dying again. The crochet one will be great to take to Cornwall with me as I'm determined to get this crochet lark sussed while I'm away.

The next pile of books were from The Works and another bargain book shop in Lichfield. This first one has some good ideas in it (even if the examples in the book are a bit cheesily done). So the Imagemaker and waterslide transfer paper will also be coming out in September.

These final two I bought because I love childrens books when they have fab illustrations. This fairy tale swap has got me all gee-ed up about mermaids again. I'm not actually doing The Little Mermaid for my partner but I've always wanted to make mermaid dolls. The illustrations in these books are just so 'textiley' that I had to have them for inspiration when I finally get round to my doll(s).
And while I'm on the subject of mythical watery beings... Jackie posted a pick of some of her older work not so long ago and it made me laugh. When I was doing my Foundation course I used her piece as a reference in my sketchbook at college. Here is the evidence - I was a fan before I ever knew her :o) An inspiration then and now.

Incidentally she has a great tutorial on her blog at the moment, for those of you who are terrified of free machine embroidery. There's a video and everything. Take a look.

And finally...

My birthday isn't 'til next month but I've just persuaded hubster to buy my prezzie. If you want to see what it is click on the link.

I am sooooo excited about this. We have got tickets for the whole weekend (although we won't be camping as it's only 10 minutes up the road from us - what a dream!).

The Waterboys

Hothouse Flowers

Seth Lakeman

Van the Man

Amy MacDonald

Irish dancing ( kiddie will be so pleased)

and they haven't announced who or what's happening on Friday yet...

Monday, 4 August 2008

This is...

...my trade secret.

Well I must use this term in it's loosest sense as I wouldn't really call myself a member of the trade. I'm not quite a professional yet. :o)

But I suppose my secret weapon is the much maligned eBay!!! I know some people have a nightmare selling stuff through the site, particularly if you have a shop account, but I have had some fab craft bargains from there so that's why I've chosen it.

Take this weekend - I bought a 25 metre roll of Bondaweb. It's the 45cm wide stuff which usually retails at about £3.50 a metre. I have just paid £24 for the lot including postage. While it's a hefty chunk to outlay, that's only £1 per metre and if I resell some of it I could make back what I've spent.

Not too long ago I bought a bundle of felt offcuts for less than a tenner. This was not your average pieces of polyester stuff that you'd find in Hobbycraft, it was obviously good quality wool mix felt and there were some really big pieces. The parcel was huge when it arrived.

I think I love the challenge of the auction as well. It's so exciting in those dying seconds... "will I win it or not?". It's too easy (or not in some cases) to just walk into a shop and choose off the shelf whatever you want. Buying off eBay, and from car boots sales and charity shops is more of a treasure hunt or a lucky dip. You never know what you're going to find. Some days there's nothing. Other days there are some really great bargains. You just have to keep checking. Just look what Liz at Altered Life found the other day.

I am soooo excited about my Bondaweb now. I've been Googling for inspiration to get my mojo up and running again and I can't wait for it to arrive. Maybe I'll finally get back to being a bit more experimental.

For more members of 'This is...' click on the button in the left hand coloumn.

ttfn xx

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Coming Clean

OK. OK. I confess.

I couldn't have you think that I was a fit and healthy outdoorsy type.

The Terrible Truth...

these are the Three Peaks in question....

from left to right:
Mount Kiddie, Mount Me and Mount Hubbie.

Mountains of ironing!!!

I lied about the specialist equipment - I have an iron, an ironing board and a jug of water :o).

I've nearly cracked Mount Hubbie but that is the smallest of the three *sigh* It's not exactly creative is it?

Friday, 1 August 2008

More on Folksy

So further to my quick note the other night, at last I have got around to listing some of my stuff on etsy and Folksy.
To begin with I just put one Silly Girl in each shop. This "Fly Away Home" girlie with golden hair and a red frock is available on Folksy. A similar dolly but with coffee-stained 'skin' is on etsy.

Then this afternoon I have added this Bits and Bobs Box,
this Bits and Bobs Box,
this Tea Bag Softie and
this Rosie Brooch to my Folksy shop.

Click on the links to see more pictures (like the inside lining of the boxes). Again, any feedback would be gratefully received - pricing? photos? descriptions? Is there anything I've left out that I needed to include? Is there something I have included but shouldn't have? All advice and criticism is helpful. I've got broad shoulders so hit me with it.
I now have to go and list some more on etsy to even things out and see which gets a better (if any) response. btw thanks so much to all my little chumettes who've already peeked at "ethel and edna on etsy" and 'hearted' me. I feel like a real grown-up now talking about being 'hearted' and stuff.
Other stuff. The names have been drawn for the Fairy Tale Swap on Meridian Ariel's blog. Phew!! In by the skin of my teeth on that one as I said 'Yes' in the comments section but forgot to email my details to her. Yes - Apryl it was MY fault. Sorry. :o( Anyhoo I've got Apryl as my partner and she's got me. I'm soooooo excited as she is into the slightly darker, more gothic fairy tales. My fingers are itching to get started.
I'm also in ClaireP's Robot Swap - partners to be announced this evening. I have plans for that one too so I must get started and not leave it 'til the last minute like the Russian Doll Swap.

Right. I must dash. I think I forgot to mention but this weekend I'm tackling the Three Peaks, starting off this evening. I've done no training and I've not really got any special equipment but hopefully by Sunday I'll have surmounted all three. See you back here Sunday evening to let you know how I got on.

ttfn xx