“I Thought the King Had More Affected the Duke of Albany Than Cornwall.”

In a fit of post-royal-wedding-withdrawal-symptoms I got crafty in my pjs this morning. Being now as I am a busy working commuting type person I’ve missed leisurely crafty days, so it was satisfying to get the needle and thread out once more, although I did come over all dithery in a state of seam allowance/ slip stitching/ lack of matching thread and sewing machine related confusion. In the end I decided on a combination of a  Cath Kidston/ printed internet patterns/ make-it-up-as-you-go-along technique for my vintage floral peg bag. I’ve combined gorgeous material bought from a local village vintage shop with ribbon and button from a collection given me for my birthday (for other birthday delights, see the below “furry” tulips). The result may be more pretty than practical as I appear to have misplaced most of my pegs, so the sturdiness or otherwise of aforementioned slip stitching remains untested for now.

I also bring you evidence that my crochet blanket (begun in a blog many months back and wrongly foretelling that I’d be done by Christmas) is very nearly completed. I feel almost royally triumphant about this and can’t wait to stitch all the squares together. I have only 3 (THREE!) granny squares left to go, and then perhaps I’ll count them all to assess exactly how much of an Everestian task this has been!

PS: For the template that I loosely used, follow this link: http://www.housetohome.co.uk/articles/Make_a_floral_peg_bag_195226.html

“Escalus”

I have spent the week in bracing cold Yorkshire, visiting relatives, and assisting my grandfather’s family history hunt (or at least, attempting to). This was how my sister and I discovered that one of our great great grand uncles, sadly killed in WWI, was called Sylvester. Which is almost as great a first name as Escalus – the opening word of Measure for Measure.

Another brief post to wrap up 2010, featuring perhaps one of my most adventurous craft projects – involving second hand china and melting candle wax to near boiling point over a stove. The result is fun and vintage: teacup candles for friends (or yourself!).

Should auld acquaintance be forgot/ And never brought to mind? …
For auld lang syne, my dear / For auld lang syne. We’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet /
For auld lang syne.

“As I Remember…”

Tonight I had a lesson not just in crochet, but in my family history. For as long as I can remember we’ve had a weather- beaten, moth- eaten, hand- made, adorable crocheted blanket in our house. There are pictures of me aged about two and a half rolling around in the garden with it, enjoying an imaginary picnic. I’ve always loved it for its nostalgia. And now, being as such things are back in vogue, my mother is teaching me how to make one of my own. (This could, potentially, be recipe for disaster, as she tried to teach me how to knit once before and it nearly caused a family feud. An argument when both parties are holding needles is never the best of plans.) See our first attempts below! ** Updated!**

As my mum and I knitted (she did one, and I did the other, amusingly taking almost twice as long to crochet the same amount of loops) we metaphorically unpicked the old blanket. It’s been darned and redarned (probably due to ragamuffins like myself rolling around in gardens with it) but it is, in essence, and dating from its original square, at least 40 years old. All the different wools tell a different story… There’s the mottled greeny brown that was used to knit my grandfather a cardigan, a shade of pink left over from my mum’s school friends making her a scarf, multicoloured strands also used for knitting hats, some red from a woolen waistcoat, a mustard yellow knitted into a cardigan for my father, and the purple that mum used to patch some holes after making me a cardigan.

And now I’m starting my own attempt with that very same purple. It’s going to take me a long time to finish it, but here’s hoping mine will eventually gather just as many memories and happy years of wear and tear. ♥

(PS: As You Like It, for those keeping track of Shakespeare openers. It seemed apt.)

“In Sooth, I Know Not Why I Am So Sad”

This post comes with a (Merchant of Venice) apology to those with whom I’ve been an emotional drama-queen recently. My teenage tantrum phase was clearly overdue… On the plus side, I now have lots of time for being creative. And if anyone would like to offer me a graduate editorial job (or a mythical unicorn and a blue moon!), let me know!

Next stop on board the craft train: ways with felt. I’m all thumbs when it comes to sewing, but these simple shapes are really just that…  And these templates, whether stuffed and hung up with ribbon, or sewn together with buttons and made into corsages, make cute, cheap and colourful gifts. Win win 😀

“Hence!”

We begin with the subject of decoupage. Thanks to the lovely Emily, who introduced a group of us girls (and some unimpressed men!) to this craft activity, I’ve since been decoupaging everything in sight. My family will testify to the scraps of paper all over the carpets and the dried pva on my clothes and in my hair. Simply put, decoupage is glorified, wonderfully easy, and really very pretty, papier-mâché. And I love it. Here are some examples of coat hangers (although not many, as most are going to wind up as people’s Christmas presents this year!), dressing up some of my fave dresses. Since these efforts, a storage box and a pen pot has been added to their ranks. Soon there won’t be a bare surface left in my room…

PS: You may be sensing a theme occuring. More specifically, an opening-lines-in-Shakespeare-plays theme. (In this case, Julius Caesar.) Who knows how long I can keep it up- some opening lines are quite verbose!