little travelling cups

cups simple tool ball of thread scissors

Such a grey and icy day.  The light was thin and scanty.  So, I did as Lucy does, and followed it – to a little sofa under the window, piled high with quilts and cushions.  Cosy indeed.  Supplies were gathered.  Plans were hatched for a set of little travelling cups that my Aunty Anne found for me.  She knew how much I loved the set Nanny and Grandad kept in their car’s dashboard when I was little.  Anodised.  In a brown leather (probably vinyl) zippered pouch.  I thought they were ever so cute and loved it when Grandad would pull them out and Nanny would fill them up with usually forbidden sweet and fizzy drink and pass them round.

Now I have my own – sans the zippered pouch.  Ah well – that can be sweetly remedied.

stitching top almost done adding the bottom

I’m not a huge fan of sewing with zippers or vinyl so chose the felt route instead.  With a wee bit of needlefelting, blanket stitch and my secret ingredient – elastic!

secret ingredient elastic at work

Natty huh!  Keeps the bottom from falling off my travelling cups and stops it from crumpling down when I put the top on!


trying it on

done

the snail the raspberries in my hand

The quiet snail, taking his time, enjoying the journey, seeking out treasures, stopping to make the most of the loveliest bits.  Just like us Boots when we go travelling.

It’s the only way to go, don’t you think :-)

 

 

all that has happened

Oh my goodness … 2014, what a year you are shaping up to be!  Almost four months past and I’ve barely caught my breath.  Now tonight, here I sit in my layers of wool and sheepskin slippers.  The bed is laden with blankets and quilts.  The rain patters outside.  Summer has well and truly finished.  Autumn never really arrived … or if you caught glimpses, I must have been deep inside the emergency room of the children’s hospital and missed them completely … and now it’s almost gone.  And I’ve not popped my head in here for ages!

In fact, this is the third night I’ve sat down to write, but then I’ve thought … well, what on earth have I got to say?  I’ve been lurching from one chaotic period to another.  Nothing much has progressed on the crafty front.  No show and tells ready and prettily photographed  :sigh:

Then I decided to empty the camera card and what did I find?  Empty camera card? Evidence of chaos?  A visual reminder of what happens when you are frantically writing up one university assignment after another, whilst working full time in a completely new and unusual environment with a massive team of nurses and doctors that seem to completely change with each shift, accompanied by a husband who’s overseas working for a month, a wonderful Mummy who steps into the breach and keeps Bootville running, followed by a dear old grandad who suffers a terrible stroke and needs us by his side quickly and a darling old grandmother who doesn’t know what their life holds for them next?  Is that what’s on the camera card?

No, not really.  Instead, there are glimpses – here and there – some more weeks than others – of a life that is still being lived with good cheer.  There’s been lots of keeping close to the ones I love, birthdays celebrated, an endless appreciation for the old, battered and quirky, a never before experienced explosion of autumnal knitting, a coming together of quilts – old and new, a treasured opportunity to hold my Grandad’s hand whilst he rests in hospital, beautiful hours sitting with my Nanny whilst we knit together and ponder what may come next, a very special opportunity to rekindle a close relationship with a dear aunty, a much appreciated trip to a favourite beach, tablecloths turned into skirts, an adored friend visiting for Easter, wee dolls being needlefelted, moments of sunshine in the garden …

Yes … it would seem that whilst I have been away from here for a very long time – the longest ever I think! – and spent many, many hours at the early and late ends of the day caring for little people and their families; the spirit of Bootville lives on, and the goodness that makes up our crazy, busy, love-filled, creative lives gets squeezed into the corners no matter how fast the time flies.

table cloth borders sewn borders attached birthday quilts sewn quilting cocktails sipped newly thrifted shelves fabrics were played with dirty lamp fizzy clean lamp pea soup cardie dishcloths were knitted cardigans multiplied dirty sideboard clean sideboard mum visited ready for home nanny's knitting bag family rainbow dollls made friends came husbands relished autumn welcomed even more knitting

And that’s so good.  See you tomorrow – yes?

a wee christmas tree

 

I’m sorry I’ve been so silent this December.  It’s this placement thingy – it’s been really hard.  The first two weeks – agonising back.  Now into the last of the second two weeks – streaming hay fever.  All four weeks – relentless insomnia.  I’m so buggered.  And so over it.  

Only four days to go … then I am anticipating a terrific summer of loveliness and lots and lots of creativity.  Until then …

higher up number 1 the fiddler blue goose girl rosy 10 looking down the wax one a cluster 14blew over insituOh my goodness, aren’t we hurtling towards Christmas!

I do declare that you folk in the Northern Hemisphere have it so much easier.  Down here, Christmas coincides with the end of the year – end of school, end of university, end of placements, winding up of work – and the start of the long summer holidays.  So there’s always so much else to finish before we can truly prepare for and enjoy the beauty of Christmas.

Perhaps I’m just feeling it more this year.  But here we are, 16th December and there’s still a week’s worth of nursing placement and assessments to finish before I can truly hang up my busy year and revel in the Christmassy-ness of it all.

On the creative side, there are so many gifts started – and none finished.  But one thing I have managed to stay atop of is our Advent Tree.  This year, we are using the funny little tree I collected from hard rubbish on a grey rainy day a few months back.  At the time I christened it the Oehlenschlager tree – I  declared it was to be covered in cross stitched Danish Christmas decorations as per the lovely book a sweet friend from Instagram gave me in return for Mr. Pollack’s vintage glass juicer.

However, I need another couple of years stitching before the tree can be suitably decked out in these wee stitchings alone.  So – the Advent Tree.  And given we simply cannot find the Tomtems we have used for many a year, I picked up the crochet hook and got stitching.  I give you Advent Roses.  Each with its own wee numbered tag.

Each morning, long before Abby arises and according to a long held Bootville tradition, I hang the day’s Advent Rose somewhere in the house and it’s Abby’s job to find it and hang it on the Advent Tree.  I must confess, she doesn’t do this with the same gleeful anticipation she possessed ten years ago – ahhhhh the teenage years.  But we all enjoy the sweetness of it nevertheless :-)

I’ve even managed to keep up with the stitching of the Advent Roses – there were the perfect project to pack for morning tea and lunch when I was nursing in the Oncology Ward – and extras made lovely gifts to sweet patients.  However, a small hitch has only just emerged.  I still have 7 to make … and I cannot find the wee basket that is stuffed with the pretty Brown Sheep rosy yarn for the centre, some left over cream, red and mustard Beaverslide from Abby’s Blaithin, a ball of green Paton’s leftover from Abby’s Owl Sweater, and a ball of buttery Rowan leftover from my fairisle tunic (that I don’t think I have ever shared!).  That’s right – the whole basket has vanished.  I’ve just spent the last half hour first walking briskly through the house confidently looking here and there, then slowly – slightly worried – poking into each corner, and finall,y grumpily crawling around under furniture and behind doors … I even checked the car.  I cannot find it.

It must be here somewhere.  It’s almost certainly in the living room.  But as Julian has observed many a time before – crafty things are sneakily camouflaged here in Bootville.  And I have a terrible track record of tucking things into forgotten corners.

A-ha!  Found it!  Behind the sofa cushion – no wonder I couldn’t shove the cushion back into place each time I sat on the sofa over the weekend.  Never mind.  Now the kitchen is glowing, the washing hung out, the chooks in bed, a glass of milk is on the bedside table and I am ready to hop into bed and stitch a bouquet of Advent Roses.

Yes, little by little, this Christmas is coming together.

catching up

 

Oh my goodness!  Has it really been two weeks since I stopped by!  Are you still here?!  I was chatting with Mum this morning and she told me to get on over here and write a post, share some photos, and say hi to all the lovely folk who visit block-a-day.  She thinks I’m very rude.

So, being a dutiful daughter .. and missing you all (truly, the minute I sit down and start uploading photos I think, my goodness why did I let this go so long!) … here I am :-)

All is good here – the presentation went very, very well.  The last essay was squeezed out of me last Friday – the very last words not hitting the screen until 1 hour before the deadline but hey, I got there in the end.  Classes are over for the year and now I’m looking forward (ha!) to exams and placement.

Of course, in between those important tasks, there’s been lots more super fun stuff going on round Bootville.  But nothing much seems to be getting to the final finished and ready for showing stage.  I blame the crappy weather – totally dreary, grey, cold and wet.  So uninspiring.  So impossible to finish off painted projects.  So easy to sit in the armchair by the window and lose hours with never ending yarn projects on my lap.  So easy to think that nothing much is happening until I look on my camera and think “Oh yes – there’s been all that.”

So instead, let’s share some “doing”, huh?  Good!  And hopefully in the next few days, there’ll be some sunlight and warmth and this will lead to that lovely finishing we all enjoy so much :-)

orange

Glorious marigold coloured paint …

blackboard creating

… helping to transform an old hard rubbished bedhead into a blackboard.

green

Whilst celery green paint brightens an old thrifted and embroidered fire screen.

dollmaking

Lots of happy doll making

sideboard restoration

And lots of sideboard sanding and restoration … oh look at that – there was some sun.

christmas decoration making

Getting into the cross stitch – some new Christmas tree decorations from a beautiful book of Danish cross stitch patterns given to me by a sweet friend I met on Instagram – which led me onto the bay of evil to see if there were more such books, which of course there were, and now they’re here!

needlepoint straightening

The finishing off and stretching out of a pair of needlepoints – the girlie being a mere 6 years old, the monkey a grander 10 years old – and do you know, it took less then half an hour to finish them :sigh:  Now I just need to sew them up into rather sumptuous cushions.  That’s coming … truly it is :-)

quilting

The quilting and binding of a recently pieced quilt top – very pretty this one – and oh so very cosy on these silly cold days and nights.

rearranging

The rearranging of the living room and rehoming of this wee blue bookshelf, now in the bedroom.  It holds most of the children’s book series we have – more recent titles like the fabulously ghastly Unfortunate Events, the marvellously detailed Roman Mysteries, Spiderwick, the Adventures of Tashi, several of the American Girl collections, and of course Harry Potter.  As well as some awesome oldies like the Moomin Adventures, the Adventures of Green Knowe, the Wolves of Willoughby Chase series, Little House, Edward Eager’s Tales of Magic, the Borrowers … such good stuff.  Truly some of the essential ingredients of childhood and I do so love looking over the titles each day.  Remembering when I read them, when Abby read them, what we loved most, words and stories and habits that became part of our lives.

doll pondering

More doll making – my turn this time – inspired, at one of those moments when there were at least 20 more important things to do, to try recreating this dear little wooden doll in yarn.  Mostly quite pleased so far – but of course she’s missing her arms, hair, scarf and her apron’s not yet finished … As for the strange arrangement with the kewpie doll – well – I don’t know!

shawl finishing

The finishing of my Icelandic shawl which took for absolutely ever, being in lace weight yarn and all, and then I decided to add a crocheted edging in some Noro sock weight – which is now taking for absolutely ever to finish.  

needlepointing

Now when Abby needlepoints, she starts and finishes as quickly as she can.  I just don’t know where that comes from … odd.

knitting

The realisation that if I don’t put some serious hours into knitting this Stevenson jumper, it will not be ready to wear when we make our summer visit to Green Cape Lighthouse and I won’t be able to have Julian take some photos of me doing my best Kate impersonation.

costume making and wearingAnd more visits from dear Sacha, accompanied by incredibly late night costume sewing and a weekend of playful hilarity and adventure.  

Hmph!  Looking back at all this is quite inspiring – I’d quite forgotten we’d done so much – I might even go sew up those cushions.  Yes, I think I will.