Tuesday, 27 September 2011

It's a baby!

The title is taken from one of my favourite Christmas story books Jesus' Christmas Party by Nicholas Allen. It has been turned into a Nativity play by thousands of schools, as it is such a good version of the story,  from a grumpy inn-keeper's point of view.
My sister-in-law introduced me to the story many, many years ago, as she is a teacher too. She works at a special needs unit attached to a main stream school, and last year asked me to knit a nativity for her class to use, so much of last autumn was spent working on that project. It was finished and given as a birthday present (stupidly I forgot to photograph it - but it was the Jean Greenhowe one.) The children loved it, but she was asked where was the donkey and the angel?
So for this year's birthday Sister-in-Law has a donkey, an angel and a sack to store them all in. The donkey was another Jean Greenhowe pattern I found to go with the Nativity set. The angel is using her pattern and my imagination.

The angel
If you want to knit one she is based on Joseph's figure - white body, cream sleeves and sash. Her hair is knitted in yellow using Josep's hair pattern.
The halo is made from double knit using two strands, cast on 50 stitches, 1 row purl, cast off knit wise. Join the ends together. This is so thick it will hold it's shape well and then can be attached to the back of the head to stand out. I attached mine to the sides as well to make it extra secure for the children.

I love this fabric
This is the fabric I used for the sack to story all the figures in, I just love the colours and the expressions.
Happy Birthday Sister-in-Law.

Jo x

Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday Morning Musings

An old railway poster I bought in the TIC to go my cloakroom wall!
Don't worry not morbid Monday morning musings!
Last week I felt 'out of sorts'.

Couldn't settle on anything. The previous week I had received a phone call from a local school, saying they had heard good things about me and was I free to work for two and a half days up till Christmas - I of course said 'Yes!'. For a supply teacher, a regular work offer like this is manna. So last week was my first regular week, and it really threw me! I have worked solidly for the past twenty plus years until September 2010 when through various circumstances I became a supply teacher. It also allowed me to become an almost full time crafter as well, fitting it in around my supply work.  Now I have to go back to a routine, and to my surprise I don't really enjoy that any more! Of course the children have their routines that I have to fit around, but I think the notion that I couldn't sew or knit on three days really threw me.

Last week also threw in its usual surprises. Monday evening Pickle (my 13 year old son) got his front tooth knocked out at the swimming pool. He then pushed it back in! Everyone has said that's the right thing to do, but I couldn't do it to myself or to him, the thought makes my top lip curl round my teeth as I write. Two visits to the dentist on Tuesday and one on Friday means that they think his tooth will be saved. He has a mini brace cemented onto his teeth to hold it in position, and this Friday they are going to drill into the back of the tooth, clean out all the inside (as that will be dead now and in danger of going nasty) put on a temporary filling, and then repeat process until all inside is clean. It means the tooth will be 'dead' but will stay in place - we hope. I am not looking forward to Friday.

Tuesday I had a fab time at the W.I. we even sang Jerusalem I had watched Calender Girls to prepare myself - great film. But no real crafting all week - it was school, packed lunches, washing-up, cooking, mum's taxi and ironing and I felt really, well out of sorts!
The lighthouse
The hovercraft
On Saturday I popped into town to go to the bakers and buy a newspaper. I parked on the sea front and the sun was shining. The prom was full of people eating ice-cream, the rescue hovercraft was out practising - and suddenly the world seemed to be a lovely place! I went for a lovely walk, on my own (Pickle-Lily was watching the rugby with Mr PL, son was at cadets for the week-end), all along the prom just enjoying the sights and sounds and smells. Isn't amazing how something as simple as that can make such a difference!

I then spent the week-end making these..

Make felt hearts kit
I want to call her Carole - but P says no!
Though I know this week will be different again as Mr PL is off to the Falklands!
If you're visiting from Handmade Monday, please go and visit some more lovely blogs - and a big THANK-YOU to Wendy for hosting it.

Jo x

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

95 sleeps to Christmas - another make!

As you know I have started to make Christmas things over the past few weeks, including some tree decorations. The little mitten above is one of them, and I will do a tutorial on these at a later date. Today's tutorial is a 'quickie' on how to make a twisted cord, perfect for hanging all your decorations. I have also explained it several times over the past few weeks to different people, so now I can point them in the direction of the blog.

To make a twisted cord about 75cm long, first cut 2m of yarn and tie a simple loop in each end.

Hook one loop over a door handle (doesn't have to be a handle, could be a hook or even another finger!), and the other over your index finger, stretch the yarn between the handle and you until it is straight (but not taut) and start twisted it by twirling your finger.

Put one loop around a door handle
Other loop on your finger - and twist
Keep twisting!
You can tell when it is ready by putting the two loops together and they will twirl around each other.
Knot the two ends together by the loops.

Gently straighten out your cord by pulling it between your fingers.
One end will have a knot, neaten by trimming off the loops, the other end will tread through a big eyed needle for sewing with.
If you want small lengths use smaller lengths of yarn to begin with or make a long cord, tie a knot at the length you need, tie another knot about 1 cm away and cut the cord between the two knots (to stop the rest of the cord unravelling!)
I have trained small Pickles to twist cords for me!!
Only 95 sleeps to go according to Pickle-Lily.
Jo x

Friday, 16 September 2011


Next week I am looking forward to my first ever Women's Institute meeting. It is something I have wanted to do for a while, but the local groups meet across the middle of the afternoon (2 - 4pm) and if you need to collect children from school or work, the timings don't work.
At a Knit Club meeting many moons ago I was discussing this with some of the ladies there who also wanted to join the WI and so they decided to open a WI of their own in Weston-super-Mare.
Next Tuesday is the first meeting - in the evening, so I can go! We have been promised lots of cake - and if it is made by Helen it will be very good cake - and the bar will be open (if you are not driving).
If you would like more information please visit their blog and I may see you there!
Have a good week-end.
P.S.  Women of Weston Women's Institute

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

101 Sleeps to Christmas!

I've made a start!
Our advent countdown is up - only 101 sleeps to Christmas, and I have made a start on Christmas goodies for Pickle-Lily. I am being - to quote my son -'very sad' and knitting a paper chain to decorate my stall and then my home with. It is sooo easy. I knit a link a day in the car while I'm waiting for the kids to come out of school, so think how long it could be if I keep it up!
Knitted paper chain
Cast on 40 stitches.

Garter (plain knit stitch) 8 rows.
Cast off.
Oversew the chain ends together - remembering to link each one through the last chain.
The yarn - I used Rico essentials double knit cotton which comes in these lovely jewel colours. You could use any yarn, but would need to adjust the number of stitches. My chain is 16cm flat, before sewing up.
Needles - 3mm for this yarn.

Happy Knitting!
Jo x

Monday, 12 September 2011

Babcary and owls

All photos taken by Pickle-Lily!
Early this Saturday morning Pickle-Lily and I went to Babcary Vintage and Craft Fair. What a super day we had! P made friends with another young lady - whose mum was Pica-Pica - both ladies were in vintage dresses and looked fabulous. I hardly saw P all day as she was so busy with her new friend, although she did manage to spend most of my money!
During the day I met and chatted to lots of lovely people - Jo from Kushmitts who makes amazing fur headbands, cuffs, hats, scarves and welly warmers from beautiful fake fur. Very cosy and glamorous for the autumnal weather we have now. I was next to Vintage-Jane whose stall was full of lovely vintage home ware and accessories, I was tempted by lots of things but P had already spent my money! Vintage-Jane has also written about the fair on her blog and has taken some fabulous photos to go with her blog. Why not pop over and say hello!
Key rings
I had lots of my new owls for sale - key rings ...
and notebooks and needle cases ...
Neddle case

And of course - knitted owls ...
All on Folksy from today
During the show we had a visitor - it wasn't until later that I was told I had sold pink owl to Pearl Lowe.

If you are visiting from Handmade Monday please go back and visit all the other lovely blogs!
Jo x

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


What's wrong?
This is the view that greeted me one morning last week (sorry about the quality - another job to add to list - clean windows!). 'What's wrong?' I asked Pickle. Finally we worked it out, the tree on the right was empty, the one on the left covered in apples! We'd been scrumped!
Both trees were presents, one from my sister-in-law one from a small village school I'd had a very happy year at. They are ready at two different times. I had been following the excellent advice on the BBC website for checking when to pick them, but someone had beaten me to it!
So I set to work picking apples before we lost the others. To be honest I don't know what sort they are except they are eaters and really pretty!

What pretty apples!
I am now peeling lots of apples and stewing some for freezing. They produce a lovely pale pink juice and are just as pretty when cooked.

Too pretty to eat!
So I am also making all things apple - so another recipe to share - Apple Cake - look in the Bakes... page.
Apple Cake

Jo x

Friday, 2 September 2011

Cupcake Swap

Back in July I took part in the Unbirthday Swap and a gorgeous parcel of goodies arrived in the post from Dosie Rosie , so when I saw that a cupcake swap was being hosted by OhSewBeautiful I joined up!
This is the parcel of goodies I sent to KandiPandi ...

 A beautiful cupcake bag made by my friend Claudia especially for the swap - she is so clever!
A keyring made from felt by me.
A felt needlecase made by Pickle-Lily.
Some pretty pink spotty cake cases.
Some dolly mixtures - perfect for decorating your cupcakes with
and some lovely cupcake ribbons, all wrapped up in tissue paper by P.
This is the lovely pile of beautifully wrapped goodies that arrived yesterday ....

and in them
P was most impressed by the personalised cupcake card, and I was impressed by how beautifully neat all the stitching is. The large cupcake is a handknitted facecloth rolled into a cupcake and beautifully presented with a handmade cherry on top! So a big THANK-YOU to both OhSewBeautiful for organising the swap and KandiPandi for ally lovely things.
If you want to take part in a swap Hookin' with Laalaa is hosting a Christmas decoration swap, I'm off now to sign up1
Have a good week-end!
Jo x