Monday, 21 July 2014

All the little birdies

Today I have been in the garden taking pictures of my updated birds. They looked lovely in the summer sunshine on my new tree prop and the pictures on Folksy have been updated too!
Dare I mention the C word - but I have also made my first prototype Christmas decoration for this year as well. There I said it!!!!
go tweet, tweet, tweet
Last Friday, Studio Tails blog featured my felt  jammy dodgers in their Fabulous Friday Folksy Finds - so thank-you very much Heather and Gary!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Bauble Blowing

My Bristol blue glass bauble
A little while ago, I had the chance to blow my very own glass bauble!
Ever since watching Kirstie blowing glass on her very first handmade series, it's something I've wanted to try. So when my WI arranged a visit to Bristol Blue Glass I put my name down quick!
Getting ready
There was a chance to look round the (very small) museum and visit the shop and then it was off to the studio where we watched glass being blown and shaped by the professionals and had a short, interesting and informative talk on the story of blown glass in Bristol from James Adlington the master glassmaker. If you watched the Monty Don programmes where professionals taught their crafts, it was Jim who taught the glass blowing and helped them to make their chandeliers.
We discovered that the saying 'Don't grab the stick by the wrong end' originated from glass blowing, by not picking up the long metal tube you use at the very hot end!
Jim at work
I then had the chance to blow a Bristol Blue Glass bauble of my own carefully supervised by James. he told me I had very good lungs - probably from using my best teacher's voice at school all day!

I learnt that the kiln works at 1250 degrees Centigrade, which is very hot
You can see how hot!
and is never turned off, apart from maintenance, all the glass they use is recycled, how the twists and ridges are formed and how colour is added and taken out of the glass.
Beautiful glass for sale

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Three weeks to go!

10 out of 10!
Yes, it is three weeks until the end of term for Pickle-Lily and I ! Master, actually I think I'd better call him Mr. P-L junior, is now on the longest summer holiday he'll get as he has finished the GCSEs.
So with the end of term in sight, and thinking about my lovely teaching assistants I have made them their very own gold star, because they are absolute stars. Paper and String are now stocking gorgeous glitter fabric, that makes glitter felt look pathetic, so I used the gold to create some brooches for them, but shh, let's keep it a surprise!!!
(They are also in my my Folksy shop if you'd like one of your own!)
If you're on Instagram - -please come and say hello to me there - I'm jopicklelily !
Your very own star!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

50 shades of yarn

I haven't been on here for a while because I am currently addicted to the Rowan Blanket Knit a Long!!
another square under way
I have long had a plan to knit my son a blanket for him to take to uni as a comforter in times of need. Luckily, he's not due to go for two years, as I hadn't really got any further than thinking about it.
Then a few weeks ago at Knit Club, some of my fellow knitters were talking about the knit a long and discussing colours. I came home looked it up on the Rowan website, downloaded the patterns and off I went to John Lewis for a ball of wool. It's knitted in pure wool worsted which is a cross between double knit and aran on 4.5mm needles, so each square grows quite quickly, and I can do one in an evening if I concentrate!
Each week a new square pattern is released - I should say here it's been designed by Martin Storey, and you are supposed to knit three squares in two different colours, so six a week. It will be 48 squares big in total.
Nordic star
Needless to say, I'm not following the plan! I'm knitting mine in four shades of blue (even though I had 50 shades to choose from!), and a couple of the designs released so far seemed a 'bit girly' so on one square I've left out the lace work and just done alternate stripes of garter and stocking stitch.
I am now absolutely hooked on knitting squares! I've even been know to get up early to finish a square before everyone else gets up for the morning rush to get out of the house. It is very satisfying watching my stash of squares grow, and as each square is 20cm by 20cm it looks quite impressive (well to me!)
Pickle-Lily has now requested one for her bed, and as there are 50 shades of yarn, she'll have a lot of choice. Even luckier, I have four years to knit her one!
my square stash so far!
The patterns are free on the Rowan website and there is a huge Ravlery group all about the KAL, so it's not too late to join in - I think I'll still be knitting squares this time next year!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Mini Make Jars

Chris from Heavenly Hedgerows
I have been asked by my W.I. to come up with some 'mini makes' for us to do at a meeting. Last Tuesday we had Chris from ' Heavenly Hedgerows' join us for a talk on foraging and some basic plants and ideas to make, I have to say the rose hip jelly looked beautiful - far too good to eat!
The mini make I came up with was a decorated jar, that you could fill with jam, or sweets, or pickles, or bath salts, or buttons or .... 

Mini make - jars

Each jar (from IKEA) contained a square of the Cath Kidston Rosali fabric from IKEA, a length of ribbon, some small pieces of felt, two buttons and a small strip of paper. I had made two sample jars to share using those 'ingredients' one with paper bunting tied round the neck with a felt label and one with a felt heart on top.
The fabric was cut into a circle with the edges scalloped. I then cut a heart and a small label from the felt. If you were giving this to someone special you could embroider their name on the label. Ribbon and button detail was added. To get the fabric circle to stay in place I used a rubber band first before tying the ribbon on. But if you're making this with someone else they could hold it for you!
The paper bunting was made by cutting little triangles out of pretty paper and then using a double thickness of sewing thread to sew it as a length and then tie it round the lid.
I have to say that I was very pleased with them and so were the ladies! I thought they would also make pretty presents for a teacher or teaching assistant at the end of term filled with sweets or paper clips or a voucher ...
mini make lids
I'm joining in with Handmade Monday this week as it's half term - see you there!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Flower Power pattern

It's been a long time since I've posted a knitting pattern, so I thought this would be a good one with the end of summer term coming up (I'm being hopeful here!!) and people on the lookout for teacher presents. I know that there are many teachers with mugs of tea and coffee sitting on their desks/ tables/ window sills out there waiting to be drunk and getting cold!! I do have an insulated mug to use, but tea just doesn't taste right in one of those and never look closely at the lid!!! So my pattern is for a knitted mug hug or cosy.
I am also saying that it could be for you, your mum, a gardener or anyone else who likes a warm mug of something to drink - not just teachers!
So here is my so easy Pickle-Lily herself could knit it pattern!
Flower Power cosy

You need
Aran wool - I am a self confessed yarn snob and only use pure wool! It takes less than a ball to make a hug, so you can make for the lovely hard working teaching assistant as well. In fact I think I'd better! If you are interested I used Tivoli Celtic Aran to make mine which is a superwash wool that you can machine wash without it felting.
4.5mm knitting needles

Cast on 46 stitches using the thumb method so you get a nice stretchy cast on edge.
Knit 2 rows of knit one purl one rib.
Knit 20 rows of moss stitch - that is purl one, knit one on row one row and then purl one, knit one on the next row, so the knit stitch is on top of the purl and the purl on top of the knit in each row.
Then one row of rib to match the last moss stitch row and cast off.
sew the rib row ends only

To make up - sew the rows of ribbing together only leaving a gap for the handle.
blanket stitch
The cast on edge - it feel stretchier - is the bottom of the mug hug, it will need to stretch over the handle. The cast off edge is the top and you can sew blanket stitch on it to decorate.
Then add the flowers! I used a thick double knit yarn in bright colours, you could use whatever you fancy or favourite colours.
first petal
To make your lazy daisy stitch, bring the needle in and out of the same hole to make a loop, then, without pulling the loop out, make a small stitch catching the end of the loop the length you want your petal to be.
sewing the petals
Sew another four stitches or petals out of the same central hole, radiating round to make a flower. Sew a pretty button over the centre of the flower  to decorate.
finished flower

You can always buy a mug, pop the cosy on and put some biscuits or sweeties in the mug and gift wrap to complete the gift.

I'm posting this as part of Laura at Bugs and Fishes link-up, I am a week early - I got the date wrong!!!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Can foxes climb trees?

As you can see from my photo, the answer is yes!
Mia the fox
Mia the fox, jumped into the tree, rather than climb using her claws!
I spent a lovely day at Secret World Wildlife Rescue recently with Pickle-Lily watching this lovely fox snoozing in the sun. We also met some very cute badger and fox cubs and found out about the incredible work this charity does.
Badgers by Pickle-Lily

Hedgehogs by Pickle-Lily

foxes by Pickle-Lily
During the day we sold some of our animal themed goodies, which P arranged according to the animal.
badger cub
Secret World have more open week-ends across the year, the dates are on their website, and even better it's free admission. P and I are definitely going back if only to say 'Hello' to Mia!
fox cub