Tuesday, 28 September 2010

"Ahhh, nature! It’s all over me, get it off!"

The title of this post has to of course be credited to the great Melman the Giraffe, from Madagascar.

It started well enough, a lovely red leaf on the side of our path, the first sign that autumn is well and truly in full swing...
First red leaf of the season

But then it all went a bit wrong.

As I was emptying the washing up bowl the biggest spider I have ever seen fell out from between two plates.  It was dead and scrunched up in that creepy dead spider way.  It scared the heeby jeebies out of me!  I didn't know what to do with myself, so I just darted about the kitchen for two minutes going "eeeeeyyyyyeeeeeerrrrrrrgghhh"!!  Then I soaked some kitchen towel and dropped it on the beast, just in case it was playing dead and waiting to strike once I had been lulled into a false sense of security.

So now I have a load of washing up that I can't do until hubby gets home and removes the creepy corpse from the sink.  *shudder*

After that brush with nature I headed out to pick up a prescription.  I stopped on the path to take a picture of some lovely autumnal looking berries to share with you.  Just as I was snapping a gigantic beetle buzzed out from behind a neighbouring bush and flew at my head.  Hence the displaced focus of the photo...

THEN as I got in the car I was met with a squatter setting up home in my wing-mirror....

Spider on my wing-mirror

I let him be.  No spider I meet from now on will ever scare me in the same way the tarantula in the sink did.

Nature is also against me in other ways.  I have been taking my homeopathic remedies for two weeks now and although I am seeing subtle improvements its not enough to get me fully back to the real world.  So today I had to consider something a little less natural...

Steroids for ulcerative colitis, just a third of my supply!

This is just a third of my stash of steroids for an eight-week course should I choose to take them.  For now they are sitting on the shelf taunting me, we could make you better, we could do nothing at all, either way we definitely make you fat...

Decisions decisions.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Pink weekend

Oopsy!  Sometimes over a week can lapse and I don't even realise.  Is it me or does blogland time run faster than ordinary time?  I could have sworn I ony wrote that last post a day or two ago!

Pink flowers

To be honest crafting has been shelved this week in favour of Autumn Cleaning.  There has been massive clear-outs of clutter going on - old furniture is off to new homes on freecycle, boxes of books donated to charity shops, unworn clothes and shoes are on ebay and drawers and cupboards are being cleared.  It is time to make space for a new person coming to live with us!  The resulting mayhem has kind of put a hold on crafting acivities.

Pink flowers

The weekend was spent mostly at home, pottering about working my way through the washing, sorting through boxes and getting Ready.  Lillia chose the pink flowers when we went shopping for supplies of popcorn to eat whilst watching far too many DVDs, I let her choose whatever she wanted and I love the cheerful pinkness of them :)

It has been both lazy and exhausting at the same time.  The man of the house was caught having a little snooze under Lillia's birthday ripple blanket, which has taken residence on the sofa for frequent snuggling...

Pink ripple blanket

I think he has accepted that pink is the way of the future for him now...come December he will be outnumbered 3 to 1!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Every cloud...

Ok so I may be unwell and in a slight limbo while I decide which route to take to, hopefully, better health...but being stuck at home with a few child-free hours a day has its advantages.

Like having the time to make some of my favourite lemon cookies...

And of course having the time to eat them :)

I've also had a bit of sofa time to complete my "background" crochet project, the one I keep for when I'm between "proper" projects, like now whilst I am waiting for a stock of yarn to come in to finish my Li'l Monkey blanket.

This bag came about for two reasons - firstly as I needed a yarn bag, and secondly because I need to use up my stash of acrylic wool to free up space before the baby arrives.

This was made up as I went along - a continuous round of double crochet, handles worked in single crochet (I'm talking US terms here) and then edged with some bobbly picot edging.

I'm rather pleased with the edging as I had to apply a little of my crochet experience to figure out the best way to space it out and how to do this.    It's the perfect size for all my yarn...

Now I just need to work out what my next project should be!  Better head off to Ravelry for more baby hat patterns I think :)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

My new photo canvas..and my new shelves

The lovely people over at Photobox asked if I would review one or two of their products and it couldn't have come at a better time; hubby had literally just finished turning the last screw in my new alcove shelves and they were crying out for some lovely pictures to sit on them!  So I agreed straight away to test run a canvas print.

The process on the Photobox site is relatively easy - you upload your photos, go to the canvas print section, select your size (mine is 30.5x20.3cm), then select a photo from your album and get cropping if you need to.  Initially I wanted to go for a large canvas - a landscape scene to hang on a wall, but despite using pretty high resolution images I couldn't seem to get one of a high enough quality to go really big.  Humph. 

Instead I went for a smaller size so I could be safe in the knowledge that the image would be good and clear and I am really pleased I did as I love the result.  The quality is way better than I was expecting too, really well finished, neat and sturdy...

It comes with all the necessary fixings and bits and bobs, but it's ideal to plonk on a shelf, particularly a brand new shelf, ahem...

And as Photobox were doing a rather generous buy-one-get-one-free offer on canvas prints at the time I got two of these, one as a gift so I can't show it here :)

Aaaaaand I treated myself to a photobook too!

Using photos from the last couple of years - the "pre-school" years - I cobbled together a little book of Lillia in the run up to school.  I can't tell you how much fun this was to put together - selecting the best photos, uploading, putting them in order, choosing the layout on each page, playing about with captions and sizes - ooooooh, I was in my element!

I went for a pretty bog standard square sprial bound photobook.  It's 20x20cm and I went for no frills at all - if you want you can pay for optional extras, such as proper binding rather than spirals, changing the finish of the pages, even removing the photobox logo if you're so inclined. 

I love this book.  Seriously, even if photobox hadn't asked me to nicely to do a review I would still absolutely love this book.  I am already working on another one as a gift!  (They have 25% off photobooks until Thursday, woohoo!)

So there you have it - one set of new shelves, one (ok, two) new photo canvases, a lovely photobook and one happy customer :)  All I need now if for Camelot to call and ask me to review what it's like to win a million...

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Drawing the line

Today I am going a little off topic...

I have ulcerative colitis, it has been in remission for two and a half years.  I had to stop my drug therapy (an IV drug that suppresses the immune system) in order to have baby no.2, and also to assess my ability to maintain remission on my own, without being dependent on medication.

It turns out my body is as useless as it always has been and is unable to function on its own without drugs being pumped through my veins on a regular basis.  The UC has returned and I have been unable to make it to work for a week and a half.  I have been working from home but this morning I finally had to admit that I need some time out to rest and recuperate whilst I decide what course of action to take.

So here I am sat on the sofa, uncomfortable and in pain, six months pregnant and worried about the future.  A little light crochet to soothe the mind, a cup of tea and a slice of homemade banana cake to soothe the nerves.  Wondering what to do next. 

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Drawstring bag for Lillia

We have a growing collection of ponyville figures in our house and until this morning they lived in an old plastic M&S carrier bag with holes in.

(Photo courtesy of Lillia!)
I have long been promising Lillia, and myself, that I would make a more suitable bag to keep them in.  So today, whilst she played with her daddy after her first very successful morning at school, I finally managed to put together a pretty little drawstring bag...

I used this very useful tutorial to get myself started, I really liked the design of contrasting "casings" sewn to the outside.  I cut my own shape and I modified the process and the components rather a lot to make it nice and simple for a novice such as me, and I think I will simplify it further when I come to do it again, as there are still many bits that could be even easier.

I even tried my first bit of machine applique...

Hmm, best look too closely at that :)

I used a linen fabric that I bought in the fabric shop in Whitstable earlier this year, it looks lovely but it's a bugger to sew with as it's stretchy and thin and it shifts about.  Fortunately the chintzy contrasting/lining fabric is deliciously thick and compliant and does what it is told. 

All in all it took me about two hours to make, not bad considering what a slow sewer I am.  Most importantly it houses an impressive amount of ponyville paraphenalia with room for a growing collection...

I love this design and intend to make many more to house various toy collections :)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Surprise gift

I do like a bit of karma. 

No sooner had I offered out my spare magazine (and it had been snapped up) than the postie deposited a little package in my postbox!

My lovely friend Lottie is one of those amazingly caring and talented people who always seem to pick the exact right moment to surprise you with a little unexpected gift or email.  I was having a really poo day until this arrived...

Yes, that is a sewing themed antique-look handmade charm bracelet, and it's mine! 

Thanks Lottie!  Your timing was, as ever, impeccable :)


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Magazine anyone?

Would anyone like a brand new unused copy of the August edition of Spirit and Destiny magazine?

Hubby bought it for me a couple of weeks ago thinking it was the September issue (I already had the August one) so this one is going spare.  Although it looks a bit wishy-washy tree-hugger-ish it's actually a very good read!  Drop me an email, a tweet or a comment if you want it and I will send it to you (first come first served!)

Sunday, 5 September 2010

My little secret

I mentioned yesterday a crafty reveal today.  Well, I have a small confession to make.  I have been unfaithful to this blog, gasp!

Yes my friends I am afraid it's true.  I have been sneaking around behind this blog's back, abandoning the clean and crisp world of sewing, the soft and gentle world of crochet, to get my hands really rather dirty...

But don't worry it's not that bad :)

I have always been into clay modelling, near enough my whole life.  It is something that is pretty second nature to me, and something that I never considered anybody else might be interested in, so I never really wrote about it here.  Recently, as I started to make some clay Christmas gifts, I thought I ought to share my creations here on my blog.  But somehow it didn't seem quite right, the clay side of my creativity seems seperate somehow.  I know what I am doing with clay, whereas with sewing and crochet and mosaics and baking I am just winging it most of the time, getting tangled up with zips and confused by patterns and hook sizes.

Sooo, I started a new blog for the messier side of my creative life.  And...I also created a new shop.  Yup, after long considering the possibility of opening an Etsy or Folksy shop to sell my sewing creations, after umming and aahing and will I won't I..ing, I completely ignored myself, dived full on into my clay and opened a shop selling my muddier creations instead!  You can now find my clay orientated self over on Etsy and also on Folksy.

So, would you like to see some of my clay creations?

I have some spooky things...

And some festive things (look away now if it's too early in the year for the "c" word...)

There are many more creations under way of course so, really, do watch this space..or rather my other space over at MudMeddling.

The cleaner cuddlier crafts will of course continue as ever here on Snipsnaphappy.


Saturday, 4 September 2010


Oooops! Where did that last week and a half go?  As you can imagine life is somewhat hectic with antenatal appointments coming out of my ears, along with trips to gastroenteology thanks to the ol' ulcerative colitis playing up again. And most of all my darling girl is all grown up and will be starting school next week! So suddenly I find myself knee deep in polo shirts and pinafores, sewing name tags and packing plimsols.

At the same time we are unpacking bags of tiny pink things - little hats, sleep suits and outfits tiny enough to fit Lillia's dolls - and clearing drawers to put them in once they have been carefully sorted, washed and folded. It feels like I am on a continual conveyor belt of clothes organising.  But it's not a bad thing, it feels good :)

The crochet has been slowed down somewhat by all this activity and anticipation but I have still managed a respectable amount of chunky soft granny squares to go towards my Li'l Monkey blanket...

And there has been other crafting going on to, oh yes!  I did mention it fleetingly on twitter recently, but if you are not inclined to tweet, or if you missed it, just check back here tomorrow when all will be revealed!