Sunday, 29 December 2013

Things I Made in 2013

I thought it would be fun to look back and find out exactly what I had made this year. I looked on my blog and on tumblr and found quite a lot! I was pleasantly surprised and decided to make these mosaics as a reminder for myself. 
Crocheted Sadie, felt doll, heart bunting for school and felt bookmark.
 Papier maché tiger with my class, cardboard room from an Amazon box. Talking of boxes, I ordered a cat toy for my Mum's cat, a brilliant long wand with feathers that my cats all love. Packaged it is about 45cmx10cm but came in a box which could have held a pair of boots, filled with perforated brown paper packing material. Cassie loves the box and the packing material (a small section of it for her to slide on, the rest kept for later art endeavours)
 Felt eggs, 120 of them, for school, crochet swatches.
 Boxing in for the bathroom, crocheted Humpty Dumpty, crocheted cats (not sure if they were even this year but I think they were and I did make them!), felt horse, crocheted slippers.
 Underground fabric doll, pictures of toys, crocheted mat made from old t-shirts. 
 Crocheted skull bunting, finished when I was in America. Sandy face on Dungeness beach, drawing for the mad tea party.
 Strictly I didn't make the marble hearth, but I did a lot of work to get it to that state so I count it. Baby Bellingham hat, decorated small bookshelf, crocheted cover for G-Plan stool.
 Some things were quicker to make than others-like the Ken ring and the sugar faces. The felted ring and the crocodile took much longer!
 Felted picture, Twinkle Star, green playdough, Ravana doll and clothes for the monkey, clothes for my peg doll boot fair find.
 Crocheted hats, crocheted bowls, skinny sparkly doll.
Christmas cards, a Christmas pudding, present tags, my Mojo and a sock cow. Sock cow was a kit present from my brother which I made on Christmas day.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Christmas Day Walk

Maidstone is the nearest town to where my Mum lives. It is where I was born and went to school from 14. After lunch yesterday we went to look at the rising flood waters resulting from all the rain we have had in the last few days. It was pretty dramatically high! Although there are not houses along this stretch of the river, there are lots of businesses, car parks, and busy roads. The river had burst its banks and risen to the bottom of the High St, across the busy main road into town. The police had stopped allowing people to cross the bridge as the water was right to the arches underneath.

The appropriately named Pudding Lane-for Christmas I mean. 

Lions outside the museum.
Interesting window coverings on the now closed library. 
Sorry no entrance!
Police landrover which drove into the flood waters for no apparent reason, then reversed, turned and drove out again.

Watch out! The meal, it's ahead!

Another appropriate sign, and I like the blue enamel. 
This building always has water next to it. I just like the building!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Greenwich Park on Christmas Eve

After a brief trip to the shops to spend a £10 voucher which ran out on the 24th, I decided to have a quick look at the park to see what damage the high winds of the night before had done. There were some trees like this one and lots of small branches lying around but I could not see any major damage which is good.
 With roots like these, where fairies surely must live, it is hard to see this tree falling down, even if its top layers are a bit battered.
 Not a fairy, but a fluffy, white chested squirrel, looking very sweet under this yew. He was not a particularly tame squirrel, so ran away quite quickly. After this picture, I wandered about enjoying the fresh air and picking up pine cones, seed pods and pine twigs. I met a dog walker and had a brief conversation with her about her old dog's jacket which was currently in the wash as it had got soaked the day before. She wished me a merry Christmas, and me her, before we walked on.
 The weather turned to squally rain all of a sudden and I headed back to the car. But then I decided to take a look at the view over London before going home to wrap presents.
 A tree maintenance person's van reversed to go and maintain some more trees, and I looked down over the river.
 Then this happened. The sun came out as I walked into the trees behind the cafe. There were crows, squirrels, pigeons and parakeets all flying around and calling.
 Then a rainbow appeared. It was all so magical. 
 Because of the bare branches I could clearly see the parakeets even when they landed. There were a pair flying around from tree to tree, with me chasing them to take pictures. The light made their green feathers flash so brightly.

 They looked the best as they were flying, with their wings spread out and catching the sun. I only had my phone but these are still the clearest pictures I have got of these birds yet.

A brief but perfect walk. 

Monday, 23 December 2013

Bits and Pieces

The bits and pieces are mainly cats, crochet and Christmas. I have spent the days since finishing work cleaning, making presents, cooking and a bit of shopping. We had Andy's Mum over for lunch yesterday which was lovely. Then we had our old neighbour staying last night-he is the landlord of the upstairs flat now as he and his family now live in Nottingham. On Saturday night ominous water stains started appearing on our bathroom ceiling, made more worrying by the fact that the neighbours seem to have gone away for Christmas. So our old neighbour had to rush down yesterday from Nottingham to sort it out. It turned out to be their toilet tank which was overfilling as the ballcock was not working. He had a go at fixing it and then the plumber came this morning so it should be fine. I spent most of today doing my half termly tracking which I now have to upload onto a new system we have called O-Track, on the internet. I didn't have time to upload it but can do so after Christmas. Then I cleaned and did washing (am still doing washing) so that tomorrow all I have to do is wrap presents so I may even have a little lie in! I am going to be very organised and watch a good film whilst doing it to make it a fun experience! We are off to my Mum's this year for Christmas day which I am looking forward to. Then my Dad's on boxing day and then my sister may be at home the day after boxing day so up and down to Kent I will go!
I am making little coloured circles without any plan as to what they will be. The only problem with the multi colours is that each circle has 12 ends to sew in.
 Another person wearing my new hat. This one made from left over music paper from the cards, watercolours and whatever brusho was left in the palette.
 She looks as if she is listening to something in the snow. Probably sleighbells. 
 This is a felt doll face which I have had for a while but not displayed before. She is currently in the changeable string picture frame. She is in front of a pretty Linda Sue picture and next to a giant leaf I brought back from Mallorca.
 As both me and Andy had somewhat lost our mojos last week, it suddenly came into my head to crochet one. I thought a mojo would be colourful, soft, bright eyed, smell nice and make a good sound. It has lavender and tiny bells inside and is made of soft and cuddly wool. It likes it in the doll tree. (It is an 'it' because I am not sure if it would be male or female)
Cassie caught mid-yawn. She had a very stressful day yesterday hiding from visitors. I did drag her out of her hidey hole drawer (even though I would never normally do that) as Andy's Mum really wanted to see her again. Last time she was here Cassie was a fearless big kitten. Now she is a cowardly big cat!
 Lily getting too close to the camera.
 Cassie and Lily proving that they can get on some of the time!
Tiger on the G-plan stool. I don't know if I have ever showed the G-plan stool on here. I love it! It was a bargain from a great and weird charity shop I recently discovered in Rochester. I jazzed it up by crocheting a suitably seventies looking cover. Tiger and Lily love to sleep on it as it is big enough to stretch out.
 Tiger again in the middle of a string spillage.
Do you know what these are? They are Quinces. Aren't they so beautifully yellow? I needed them for my Christmas pudding recipe (Nigel Slater's) and the local grocer had them. I didn't know what they looked like-there was no picture on the quince jelly I once ate! You can use apples but he says quinces are better. They smell apple like but tangier.
I had soaked the fruit in brandy for a couple of days-it was meant to be one day but I didn't get time to make the puddings as planned. I started optimistically, grating the quinces and measuring out the other ingredients. Then I got to the part about breadcrumbs. 250g is ever such a lot of crumbs. When the only method you have of making them is a grater,  it is a bit of a task. There were crumbs everywhere.
Nigel mentions using a 'very' large bowl to do the final mixing. I realised that my normal cake bowls do not fit that description. I didn't want to use my playdough bowl as it has also been used for wet felting, so I had to venture into some rarely opened drawers where a big blue salad bowl lives. The first drawer I opened on my search would then not shut, as loads of the paper items in it had gone down the back. Anyway, ten minutes later I was back at the table mixing in the big bowl. By this time it was 10.30 and the first steaming has to be about three hours. I was in bed by two! Andy's Mum said she used to cook hers in a very low oven which worked just as well as the steam. I may try that with the second cooking for one of them. The mixture made three normal sized puddings-I think my bowls were smaller than those suggested. They had better taste good!
 The weirdest shaped grapes we have ever seen. Very sweet lovely flavour though.
I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! xx