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 felt pocket book

I love baskets … especially old ones.  Each time I find one by the side of the road, or at the oppie, home it comes.  After a good scrubbing they are usually filled with one of my many “current” projects.  This means there seems to be a perpetual need for extra baskets in Bootville :-)

last supplies the finishing touch

in my basket

It also means that the baskets regularly venture out with me.  To university, to babysitting, to the shops, on adventures.  Anywhere where there might be a need for notebooks and laptop, or a moment for knitting a few rows, or adding a few more stitches to an embroidery.  There are *always* such moments.  Having a basket slung over my arm also means that I don’t always need my handbag.  But I do like to be able to put my hand to purse, phone and keys quickly – something that can’t easily happen when they have been buried by wool or fabric.  And so … the felt pocket book.  Started last year, finished last week.  Hand stitched out of exceptionally rigid thick felt. I had to use the rubbery grippy fabric we use in the kitchen to open tight jam jar lids just to pull the needle through!  Measured to snugly fit each of those three essentials.

a pocket book what it holds back pocket

Decorated with a wee bit of applique, embroidery and needle felting.  Finished off with a pair of pretty buttons and a long tail of red ribbon to weave back and forth around the buttons in a figure 8 … the kind of ribbon that makes me think of old manilla folders, bound up with ribbon before being stored in cavernous cellars.

clasp close up of girl and dress in hand

I’m so pleased I finally finished this very useful little pocketbook (oh my, I can surely procrastinate!) and it’s so sturdy I’m sure it will put in many years of practical service.  The best kind of crafting – the hand making at home of objects which I know to be useful and believe to be beautiful.  Thank you Mr. Morris – your marvellous words inspire me everyday :-)

embroidery basket

felted easter eggs

rooster legs

Friday morning dawned grey and quiet.  Just as it should be.  Family consensus … a day spent together, crafting, listening, watching, sharing.

Me?  I made Easter Eggs.  The non-edible variety.  Inspired by the terribly sweet, cheerfully coloured and decorated candy eggs that were popular when I was little.  The ones that broke your teeth.  And rotted your surviving teeth as you ate it.  Oh they were good :-)

finishing the sheep

I started with a mandala/Ukranian decorative design.  But then, spying “Petook: An Easter Story” which I’d taken down from the shelf to re-read, I decided the rest of my felt eggs would tell a more traditional tale.

I needle felted the trees of Calvary, a wee lamb of God, a radiant sunrise, and a Rooster … joyfully singing at the miracle that is the arrival of each new day, and the beauty and wonder of life that comes with it.

thread

The last step of each egg … adding the crocheted trim (like the piped iced edges of the candy eggs) was by far the trickiest and most time consuming.  But all were finished and ready for the Easter table.

And in a week’s time, they will be carefully packed into the Easter box, awaiting their turn to shine again next year.  That’s one of the things I love about the handmade loveliness we create and keep for our special festivals.  Each year, we pull them out and there they are, filled up with the love and effort of previous years.  Reminding us of the richness and comfort of family life as it journeys with the sun, round and round and round.

all together

ukrainian style

trees

sheep

sunrise

rooster and chick

on the easter table

If Easter is a feast you keep, in whatever form, I hope it was filled with family, love and happiness :-)

~ loveliness found 12/52 ~

embroidery

 ~ very simple, very sweet and oh so very soothing ~

new friends made

 ~ new friendships were cherished,
endings that arrived so quickly were lamented
& promises were made ~

cafe au lait

~ an early morning prac was rewarded
with a steamy, creamy bowl of coffee in the sun ~

knitting

~ knit, knit, knit, knit, knit … & so with tiny stitches
the jumper surely grows ~

warm bread and butter 

a little bit of essay a little bit of politics

~ the torture of essay writing was relieved
with cups of tea, warm bread & butter,
& frequent checkups on the state of the nation ~

fiddling with fabric

~ just one hour was granted to the cutting of a pattern & fabric
… just one hour, I promise ~

a new pumpkin girl

~ a little girlie wanted her own pumpkin doll …
& so I earned my money needle felting with a small girl at my side …
it’s a hard life ~

saturday morning breakfast

~ ahhhh … saturday morning breakfast … long and slow
… with the essential ingredients ~

asking for a play

~ she gathered her toys, bringing them to my desk one at a time,
hopeful I’d notice … I did,
surely one walk won’t an essay make late ~

favourite books~ a pile of favourites … rescued from the shed … so many waiting to be re-read
once this current rush of assessment has passed … but where to start
… bilgewater? my utmost, utmost favourite of all ~




 

 

 

 

 

 

finally frida

Whilst on holidays, I bought these gorgeous earrings.  We found them in a very appealing shop in the little fishing village of Bermagui.  Straight away, they made me think of Frida Kahlo – an artist whose story, art and style I have adored since my first university sojourn.  I don’t much wear earrings and when I do they are usually small and plain.  But these – oh what an extravagance – both visually and financially.  I cannot even remember the last time I bought jewellery for myself, let alone something new.  But these earrings were just so glorious.  So I bought them!

I’ve worn them almost every time I’ve gone out since.  And without fail, someone always comments on them.  Just last week, whilst I was in line at the Student Centre, waiting for help with my enrolment, a woman came up to me, grabbed my elbow and said – “I saw your earrings as I was passing in the street – they are divine!”

Sadly, infuriatingly, teeth-gnashingly, I’ve lost one.  I cannot believe this.  I wore them on Monday to a dreadful meeting I had with the head of department to sort out my enrolment – frankly, it’s been a really tedious week.  It was the kind of meeting where I had to pee five times before even getting into the meeting where I then sat with my hands clasped tightly hoping I wouldn’t cry.  These beautiful earrings were my Frida courage.  I must have taken them off when I got home.  Now there is only one.  One.  ONE!  I don’t know how this could be.  I’ve crawled around the floor with a torch.  Dragged the furniture aside.  Rolled back rugs.  Looked in everything.  Nothing.  Julian has lifted the sofa up from one end.  Abby has crawled under the beds.  She’s working on a $20 commission.

First world problem, I know.  And my enrolment disaster has been resolved.  In my muddled up head it seems as if the lost earring has been exacted as an offering to the great and cranky enrolment god – “You dare ask for something different – I will seize that which you are coveting!”  Something like that :-(

Anyways – the earrings, combined with the pleasure I had before Christmas stitching my crocheted nativity dolls, made me think of making a Frida doll.  I dragged together some wool from the stash and started with her feet.  The first leg is completely straight – the second leg, I added some shape for her ankle and knee and thigh – much nicer.  The white bloomers were marvellous fun – and then I cinched in a lovely waist.  I ran out of white, so her brassiere became smaller than planned and pale pink.  Then the arms – with shaped wrists, elbows and upper arms, and finally the head.  It’s been a work in progress – growing in fits – and this morning, as I waited for final confirmation that my enrolment was now settled (a huge phew!) I tried to still my twitching limbs by stuffing her and adding some features.

She’s definitely a prototype.  I’d like to write up a pattern and make several outfits – I foresee using the same shape to make different favourite women – Frida, Austen’s Emma and Elinor,  a Young Victoria, and Anne Shirley for starters.  With clothes – mostly sewn, some knitted. So when it came to stuffing this here Frida, and there was no lovely pure wool stuffing left  - I made do with dried pinto beans for the body and a bit of dark fleece for her head. Not quite right but still plenty good enough to turn her from a flat pile of misshapen crochet to a character that felt so real as she sat on my lap and I sewed her head shut!  It was one of those moments where I found myself talking to my sewing :-)

I ran out of steam soon after that – a bit of needle felting, a chunky bead necklace and the thoughts of a Mexican green skirt.  Maybe tomorrow.  And I have some lovely wool I bought on super sale to try again – I’ll write out the pattern as I stitch.

Until then – I’m off to bed with a glass of milk.  What a week.

p.s. if you know where you can buy earrings that look like these, do please let me know!

what we did with two sleeps to go


: choosing : measuring : slicing : pinning : stitching : folding : delighting :

: needle-felting : blanket-stitching : embroidering :  pleasing :

: ruffling : appliqueing : not-overlocking : fuming :

: cursing : threading : cursing : threading : cursing : crumbling :

: zigzagging : ironing : delivering : giving :

: sweating : wilting : melting :

: sliding into bed :

moominy

“today we must do something very special, for it will be a glorious day!’
Snufkin.

Doesn’t Snufkin have the loveliest approach to living :-)

Oh we do so love the Moomins here at Bootville.  We’ve been hanging out in Moominvalley since Abby was a little girl with first the novels, then the story cd (read by the lovely Hugh Laurie), then the very kind and generous Anne of Finland sent us our own Moomin mugs and towel and fabric and music!  The day that box arrived was like Christmas!  Then the hardcovered Moomin comics – they are true beauties.

Surprisingly enough, Abby has never got into the animation – either the stop motion one (I think it’s Polish) or the drawn one.  We’ve watched a few minutes here and there but I don’t know – maybe it loses a bit of its mysterious magic when human voices are added to Moomin folk.  Mind you – I’ve just looked at photos of the wee puppets they used for the stop motion and oh they are so gorgeous.  Maybe we need to give it another go.  You can check it out here and see what you think :-)

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a huge revival of Moomin here.  I don’t know what brought it back to the fore of Abby’s imagination, but first the novels went off to school to be read from aloud at lunchtime and shared out to the friends – only one of whom had previously encountered Moominvalley.   Drawing ensued – lots and lots of drawing.  I’m told even Emma – who is not a drawer – has decided to hone her skill – practicing on Moomin and the Snork Maiden.  Even the teachers are getting into it – the English extension teacher is ordering them for her children.

But guess what happened on Tuesday eve!  Abby had come home from school and after doing her homework, cooked dinner.  Julian came home from work and helped.  I came home from babysitting and we all sat down to a lovely roast chicken and salad.  Then we cleaned up.  Then Julian and I plonked ourselves on the sofa  - and just as we were pondering what to do for the evening – or if indeed we had the energy for anything – Abby flew into the room, most distressed.  She’d left Volumes 1 and 4 of the hardbacked Moomin comics on top of the Myki (wretched ticketing system) machine at the school train station – oh dear.  Naturally, she and I headed off straight away to see if they were still there – and on the way we had that conversation that mothers and children who have lost things have.  ”It’s not the end of the world.  It was a simple mistake – everybody leaves things somewhere at some stage in their lives.  We can replace them.  You never know they might still be there (4 hours later).  Maybe someone from school noticed them and thought ha!  I’ve seen Abby Boot with these books and will hand them in to lost property tomorrow.”  I stopped at the bottom of the station and Abby pelted up the ramp – moments later – she was back – with the books.  They were still there, neatly pushed to the back corner of the Myki machine.

Truly – I thought they would be.  If I saw that, I would think, oh dear, some poor soul has left their lovely books here – I’ll push them to the back and hopefully they’ll come and get them.  And I think that’s how most folk around here think – we’ve seen stuffed toys tied to lamp posts and wee shoes and mittens and beanies placed neatly on fences with big pebbles weighting them down.  Abby was over the moon. (I was relieved – oh the tears and guilt that I could foresee!)

Last weekend – it was stitchy Moomin.  On Friday (a pupil free day) Abby and I set off to Winterwoods nice and early for supplies – lots of felt and fleece and fresh felting needles.  Then to the oppies for a lampshade.  Then home to set our fingers to stitching.

Abby made a beautiful Snufkin – he has dear little trousers and a smock, a marvel of a hat with a leather hat band and a wee feather, a back pack with straps for carrying his bedroll, needlefelted boots and a knitted scarf.  Oh, I have adored watching Abby’s creations grow over the last few years.  They are becoming ever more detailed and complex as her skills become both finer and deeper.  She also whipped up a Moomin but declared him a little dull because he has no clothes – poor Moomin :-)

She’s drawn the patterns for the Snork Maiden, the Snork brother, the Hemulen and Little My.  As for me – I’m working on an applique for a cushion I started many suns ago on Mum’s back verandah.  But upon pulling it out of the heap on Friday, I discovered there were elements I no longer liked.  So the top two thirds of the tree were pulled off as were the yo-yo flowers.

On went a deep and long hedge of berries at the foot of the mountains – lingonberries or cloud berries?  The tree grew once more, this time in felt not fabric and I’m adding long wavy streamers of fern stitch and the trunk has been covered in cable stitch.  And given Moomin was glancing up into the tree, a bird has been added – a rather cheeky looking fellow who’s probably teasing Moomin.  New flowers have grown – felt of course, with embroidery – laisy daisy stitch for the stamen and a simple cross for the petals – still to decide what to do with their stems.  And there’s now the Hobgoblin’s hat waiting for Moomin under the tree.  I might have mentioned this before – I ADORE making pictures with felt and embroidery and I tell you, the moment this post is finished and published, I’ll be back on the sofa – washing up be danged – plying that needle some more.

The lampshade – we found a marvellous oblong one – like a tallish round one that had been flattened.  It’s for Abby’s desk lamp in her bedroom – with a Moomin scene stitched onto of course.

And we have supplies for a Moomin house – in felt.  We have wonderfully thick, thick blue felt for the walls – with a bottle of stiffy to be painted on for extra oomph – brown felt for the roof – which Abby is embroidering to look like shingles – and a wee bag of uniformly shaped pebbles for its stonework foundation.  Hopefully this weekend will see it begin – three stories with windows cut out, and little porches for the front and back doors.   Abby wants to set it all up on the seasons table – we will have a dear little Moominvalley for Christmas!

I do so love creating with my girl – and I especially love that we’re such good friends with the Moomins again.  Bliss!  As for you, dear reader, if you’ve not visited Moominvalley you simply must!  They are wonderful tales – with that marvellously strange, slightly dark Scandinavian edge.  Good for little ones and their grown ups.

 

 

 

 

felting away the drearies

There we were thinking spring had sprung.  Ha!  Not this weekend … cold and dreary folks, cold and dreary.  I may have written this before but just in case you missed it, I don’t like grey, dreary days.  Cold?  No problem – I love the weather being cold.  Rainy?  I love the rain.  Day after day grey, grey, grey.  Blech!

So we pulled out the fleece box and played needle felting whilst watching the Donna Doctor Who season – that temp from Chiswick is my favourite companion and David Tennant (sigh) he could plant his blue box in my front garden any day.  I especially like his freckles :-)

Abby made the sweetest needle felted food for her wee dolly, as well as a hooded vest with a darling chicken appliqued onto the back (no photo – that big zoom lens that we are STILL using since dropping our lovely lens in January is just about hopeless inside on a cloudy day). She was very make-do-ish and used the Meg McElwee’s cape pattern for its hood – just redrawn to doll-size – she’s a clever chook my girlie!

And I’m working on a pyramid kind of doll – a needlefelted head on a stick, sewn into a body constructed from four panels of felt, decorated with needle felting.  My vision had panels of delicate, spidery images.  Reality is a bit larger but enjoyable nevertheless!  She shall watch over the spring season table when she’s finished.  Abby’s planning her Christmas and Halloween cousins.

Now, time to ready my things for the morning.  Need to be at the tram stop (thank god it’s at our front door!) by 5.50am.  Week 2 of working in an acute inpatient mental health setting.

It’s been very interesting so far … I’ve had my preconceived (read ignorant) notions about substance addiction challenged, my belief in the critical need for social equity and justice for every member of our community taken to an all new high, and seen the consequences of child abuse – man, can it be catastrophic – all consuming, very ugly – and has left me wondering how on earth we are supposed to create a society that is both safe for and safe from these very vulnerable people.

I’ve also met people who are so worthy of our utmost respect, love and compassion for their incredible resilience and commitment to life and the pursuit of happiness.  It’s draining stuff and after one week, I don’t think I can see myself pursuing a career in mental health.  But boy oh boy, do I have limitless admiration for the people who live and work with mental ill health every day.

Sure puts needle felting and seasons tables into perspective :-) and makes me come home and hug my girlie that bit closer.

celebrating spring

There’s some serious landscaping happening on the season’s table.  As you can see, it has taken the residents of mushroom cottage quite by surprise.  However, I’m sure they’ll be thrilled with the final result!

It began with a duck.  I have several books of patterns for felt animals and have seen felt ducks for sale at Winterwood and Little Sparrow.  But did I have a pattern for a duck?  No.  There was no choice but to come up with my own.  It took 3 gussets before I found the right shape – I simply cannot visualise things – I’m a try it and learn from my mistakes kind of person.  So I know that next time I want a smaller beak and wings and I now have the perfect gusset shape.   I want to make at least two more ducks for the spring table, but once there was one – sitting upright and all, thanks to a bottom full of pigeon peas – it was time to move onto creating the spring pond.  Round and round and round …

Then it was onto the wee folk who will be dancing upon this spring table.  I crocheted their wee skirts on the weekend – using the bamboo yarn from my wrap.  Each skirt starts with a ring, then at least 1 round of half treble crochet, then onto a selection from the marvellous assortment of stitches from Mon Tricot.

Its so funny/sweet – as I plod my way through a new set of instructions – and some are so complicated – I recognise in the patterns I’m creating those that make up the doilies in my vintage doily collection.  It sends a shiver through me when I think about the women who have spent thousands of years with thread and needles in their hands creating these delicate designs – beautiful – aren’t we so lucky.

Oh – and the skirts are adorning wee wooden peg dolls Abby and I bought from Winterwood on Saturday.  My first foray into peg dolls and it is SOOOOOOO fun!  Apparently you can get larger wooden beads for the heads, but they didn’t have any, so we haven’t used any.  I quite like them with their little heads and think I shall stick with that.

The arms had me stumped for a while.  I tried to coerce Julian into drilling holes through their “shoulders” for me on the weekend – but he had a dreadful cold and didn’t want to brave the man-shed – and I didn’t want to brave the drill press.  So I tried wrapping pipecleaners around the “shoulders” – complete disaster – looked the hunchback of notre dame with a bad boob job.  Then it finally dawned on me to use what I had – the peggy bit!  So through went the pipecleaner, then I folded it to the height I needed and this – once wrapped with wool formed the shoulders, puffed sleeves and arms.  Perfectly lovely!  And I confess, I did a little jig and danced about the hallway when my first dancer was finished and waiting by the pond for the Maypole to be built :-)

There’s still a bit of landscaping to do – the cherry trees (stalks from the basil plant the chickens played with last month) need to be planted and have their blossoms added.  And there are some wee farm animals that are waiting to move in – some lambs and piggies and chickens.

And I think a bee hive might be in order.  Haven’t yet settled on a method of construction. And there might be some hair tweaking – that ginger haired lass looks like she’s wearing a saucer on her head – nothing the felting needle can’t fix.  And the spare ribbons need to be wrapped around the Maypole.  And those loose threads on the skirts need to be sewn in.

Eeeeee …. pure bliss!  And the perfect holiday entertainment for this mama-nurse to be who thought her week’s holiday came AFTER her three week psych placement – not before.  Good thing I checked my emails BEFORE catching the 6.50am tram on Monday morning.

I do so love creating :-)

a woolly waldorfy britain

Abby and I are regular patrons of the lovely Winterwoods – Melbourne’s finest Steiner/Waldorf store.  We bring home bundles of felt and fleece, piles of books and patterns, needles and foam, yarn, wire, wooden beads … It is a treasure trove for those who love the rich warmth and simplicity of the Steiner craft traditions.

But in the same way that Abby has never conformed to what all the other girls in her school classes have done (playing popstars in Year 1?  No I’m Ernest Drake, looking for dragons) – no, despite the difficulties it sometimes creates, Abby has always sought her own path and pursued what she is passionate about – my girl does not settle down to creating the traditional Steiner dolls and playthings.  Yes, Abby takes the materials, tools and techniques and uses them to create what is special to her – reflecting her interests. Something that delights the lovely owner of the store – she always looks on with an intrigued and bemused smile as this lanky teenage daughter of mine shows her the latest creation, describing the character and its story.

As I’ve mentioned several times, at the moment what truly grabs Abby is Japanese manga.  The latest series she has immersed herself in is “Hetalia”  - an historical series where countries are given human bodies and the dramatic events of the 20th century are turned into the stories of individuals.  It’s quite clever, sometimes dark – as is appropriate given the turbulent time it reflects, with the customary manga dose of irony. And it has provided Abby and I with the opportunity for hours worth of discussions about history and countries and the people who have shaped them.  As a history graduate, I find this so marvellous :-)

Now, Abby’s school is celebrating National Library Week with a competition where students are asked to create a visual representation of a favourite character from a book. Naturally, Abby chose to make a doll.  And naturally, it’s from “Hetalia” – Britain – a fellow that looks suspiciously like Captain Jack from the superb Master and Commander series.

So off we went to Winterwoods – plucked some coloured Romney fleece for the clothes, some interlock for the head and a fresh set of stabby felty needles (it’s amazing how the tips of these wear down – inevitable I guess, but I do keep looking to see if I can spy sharp barbs in the needle felted dolls we make – I haven’t yet :-).

We used the directions in a Steiner doll making book Abby gave me for my birthday to make the head, added a thick jute covered wire skeleton and then Abby set to work with her fleeces.  To get a variegated effect with some of the colours, I jumped in occasionally and  used my spinning carders to blend different colours – under her keen eyed direction of course.  She pulled and stabbed and shaped and layered, creating a marvellously rich and wonderful naval outfit for her doll.  Out of fleece!  It’s truly amazing.

My final task was to embroider the facial features and add the hair.  Man oh man!  Is it damn hard work sewing that hair into the tightly woven interlock.  I ended up buying a selection of needles in an attempt to find the perfect one.  I failed.  And so have spent many hours wearing my fingers to the bone yanking that bloody yarn through.  I think I may truly hate boucle yarn.  Ugh!

However, the final product is … I think … thrilling! It fills me with awe that a) you can create a wonderfully three dimensional doll out of just fleece and a needle and b) that my daughter has the time, patience, passion and skill to do this.  Awesome!

Now Mr. Britain, you just stand there and wait for your Mistress to come home from school.  I know she’ll be mighty pleased to see that wild and woolly hair of yours :-)

puttering


:: at the beginning of the week, we were sitting in front of the open windows, trying to catch every breath of the passing breeze on such hot, hot days.

:: whilst knitting.  What?  Hot, hot days don’t make you feel like knitting?  huh!

:: mind you, trying on the finished arm warmer was a bit ridiculous – in fact, Abby refused, so despite it being HER arm warmer, that’s my hot, hot arm.

:: there was late night celebrating over Abby’s hard work and wonderful grades with freshly baked monkey bread.  Well of course it was late night!  I didn’t get home from university * and baby sitting until after seven and yeast will demand a rising!

:: thinking of and stitching for Easter …

:: one finished, five to go.

:: and, after many days of thinking and plotting, the putting together of a new bag …

:: the stitching of which has left dents in my finger tips – by golly that felt is THICK!

:: and another birthday …

:: forty two.  My!  That feels like a rather substantial number.

Right now, I’m sitting on my bed, wondering if my head would feel any better if it were tied up a la Jacob Marley.  I’ve had a migraine since the wee hours of Saturday morning (spent my birthday in bed asleep) – it mostly disappeared yesterday, but is back with an intensity today that has me keeping my head as. still. as. possible.  And reminding myself, every half hour, that one day of stillness will not result in all-things-Lily grinding to a permanent halt.  I struggle with this notion – very silly of me I know.

* yep.  Several weeks of rejections led me back to university with sharply tightened purse strings.  No point wasting a ten week semester that will lead me to half way through my degree … and half way to the opportunity for earning a good living for my family.  So here I am, surrounded by microbiology, health assessment and ethics books and papers.  And again, thank you so much for all of your kind words and helpful suggestions over my recent confessions – dear readers, you made a hand-wringing time a whole lot easier.