Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Leaf Lantern

This is something I have done at Forest School but equally you could do at home and the results are fabulous (if I say so myself!!!)
Leaf lantern when lit

One of the images I love on Pinterest are those of leaf lanterns made with autumn leaves. So I spent half term experimenting with different glues and ways to make a simple leaf lantern.
I used a clean jam jar, autumn leaves, pva or school glue, a rubber band and some raffia at the end to pretty it up with. I tried different glues - a glue stick, Copydex, but they didn't work nearly as well.
In daylight

'Paint' the jar with some pva glue. Then wrap a leaf around. Paint on more pva over the leaf and add another leaf, overlapping it. Keep painting on glue and wrapping leaves until the jar is covered. Carefully add a rubber band to hold them in place and leave to dry.
When they are dry you can swap the band for a piece of raffia or a ribbon to look pretty.
Pop a night light inside and wait a few seconds after it is lit.
The colours are beautiful

Please BE VERY CAREFUL when lighting the night light inside the jar, and DO NOT LEAVE IT UNATTENDED.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Glittery Mittenry

Half term week has been busy with all the usual things like dentist appointments, hair cuts and a lot of washing - for some reason!!! I've also been busy making Christmas goodies and restocking my Folksy shop.
mini mittens with tinsel cuff
This year I have updated the mini mittens - you can find the pattern for knitting them here by making them in pastel colours and the cuffs in tinsel wool. I have to admit I don't like knitting with the tinsel wool it makes my hands itch and I certainly couldn't wear anything made in it, but it looks lovely as a Christmas decoration!
sparkle and shine
I've been using King Cole Tinsel Chunky and just followed my pattern - I didn't change the needle size. I did think the mittens would look cute as a pair on a longer twisted cord and then hung on the tree like that.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

A murder is announced!

Constable Bailey
Last week I took part in my first ever murder mystery evening. As we were eating our fish and chips at the W.I. Constable Bailey arrived and announced that Sir Reginald Fortescue-Smyth had been pushed out of a window and was dead! It was up to us to find the murderer.
Several members of his family and employees then joined us, and we asked questions and listened to conversations.
Miss Kitty
Two more murders occurred!!!
He was killed because of that dreadful suit!
Incriminating documents were found.
And then the murderer was revealed.
I was totally wrong!!!! But had a great night out.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Bristol Wool Fair

Last week-end I spent  three lovely long days on Bristol Downs as a stall holder at Bristol Wool Fair. This was my biggest fair by far and I didn't know quite what to expect, especially as this was the first one!
Needle felting

I had such a fab time - met loads of lovely people and saw some truly beautiful things, as well as quirky and fun.
Had to treat myself to one of these - so pretty!

Beautiful needle felting

Beautiful colours
There was a sheep show, duck herding, alpacas, a blow-up tea room and marquees packed with goodies.
Duck herding

Blow up tea room
I met blog readers, instagram followers (I'm jopicklelily), Facebook friends and the lovely Linda from Made by Ewe in real life. Linda is a fellow blogger and we've commented but never met before!
Yellow Bear Wares
I'll let the pictures show you!
Stitches from the Sofa

Monday, 18 August 2014

A Hee-land Coo

as my father-in-law calls it!
Mac the Hee-Land Coo
A little while ago I went to Adam Henson's (from Countryfile) farm or the Cotswold Farm Park just outside Cheltenham. I had a lovely afternoon there - going for a tractor and trailer ride, watching the sheep show,
Watching the sheep show
stroking cute baby animals,
How mad are these horns?
admiring the Highland Cows
The real thing
and I even met the man himself!
Adam Henson
So here is my Highland cow - Mac. He is knitted using a Fluff and Fuzz pattern and I am very pleased with him. Mr P-L has already claimed him as his, so I may have to knit another one for father-in-law!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Lovely Lyme

Pretty beach huts
For two days this week, P has been at Sew La Di Da in Lyme Regis doing a teen dressmaking workshop, so Mr P-L 'volunteered' to drive us there each day. While P was at her workshop Mr P-L and I had two lovely days out together.
On the Cobb
The first day we spent in Lyme Regis itself, which I loved! It is full of small quirky shops, although they can be expensive and sadly no knitting yarn shops. Mr P-L was very patient at letting me browse around them all. I especially loved Ruby Rock Cake and could have spent a small fortune in there! Sadly my favourite shop no longer exists - the author and illustrator Laurence and Catherine Anholt used to own The Bookshop by the Sea full of their lovely books. Inside the shop there is a spiral staircase fashioned around a tree, branches as shelves and little fairy doors everywhere - magical! Many moons ago we had a school trip there where the children met the author and illustrator, read them stories and chatted to them, lovely.
Laurence Anholt reading to us in 2007
We of course had to go for a walk along the Cobb, I prefer to think of Persuasion (my favourite Jane Austen) rather than the French Lieutenant's Woman as we're walking. As we're walking a huge wave comes crashing over and soaks us. I haven't laughed so much in ages - and so did everyone else!!! Mr P-L's hood even filled with sea water!
Just to prove it!
The next day I decided on Weymouth - I 'd never been there, so we dropped P off and off we went. To be honest, I was disappointed very commercial and full of seaside tourist shops. The beach is lovely, warm golden sand and lovely blue sea, very different to here, and we did go for a paddle! We did treat ourselves to some seriously delicious waffles from Waffle On - well worth a visit! A tantalising picture can be seen on my instagram page jopicklelily.
In the afternoon we went to Portland Bill - which was beautiful. Drove past Chesil beach - will go there on another day - and up to the lighthouse. A fabulous place to go. I quite intrigued by the 'huts' as apparently you can sleep in them, but when I googled them later was stunned at the price!! £24,000.
Mr P-L climbed the lighthouse, but I had the wrong footwear on (my excuse and I'm keeping to it!) so I didn't!
Portland Bill
The finished dress!
We then returned to Lyme Regis to collect P who had finished her dress and looked beautiful in it. Complete with hidden zip, under stitching and a toile I was / am very proud of her.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Too hot to knit ..

with wool?
 So why not use cotton yarn instead! My hands have been too hot to knit with wool so I've been busy making wash cloths out of cotton yarn. My plan is to use them as gifts with a lovely bar of soap for an event in December. (I'm trying not to use the C word yet!) They are so easy to knit and there are some amazing patterns on the internet and Ravlery, just google wash cloth patterns.
Here is the easy peasy pattern I've been using
knitted wash cloth gift

A ball of double knit cotton yarn - not smooth and silky (mercerised) but 'fluffier' if that makes sense!!
4 mm needles
Use garter stitch throughout.
Cast on 4 stitches and knit a row.
At the beginning of each row knit 2 stitches then yarn over the needle and knit to end of  the row, until you reach the size cloth you would like. Knit the yarn over as a stitch in its own right, so each row will grow by one stitch.
I used 40 stitches for a cloth that measures 22cm.
Knit 1 stitch, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to end of the row.
Repeat this row until there are 4 stitches left.
Each row will then decrease by one stitch.
Cast off.
knitted wash cloth

This is also a brilliant little project to have in your bag if you ever have five minutes to spare.

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!