Sunday, 12 June 2016

Life in the fast lane . . . . but not really!

Life in the fast lane . . . . but not really, just extra working hours at the office job and learning the intricacies of hen husbandry.  I've absolutely loved learning how to care for our new little flock of three hens - they are brilliant creatures, thoroughly absorbing and waste far too much of my time, hehe!

This weekend I was browsing through some lovely books I borrowed from the local library and took some inspiration or rather a direct pattern to make a little hen embroidery (you can tell I'm smitten LOL) . . . 


I used a lovely idea from one of the books below . . .


They're all great books - now I want to buy them all - ooops!  The hen embroidery came from the middle book Decorative Embroidery by Mary Norden which I've just flipped through briefly, it was the hen template that caught my eye in the library though!


I didn't actually copy or trace the template, just winged it freehand - hence some of the features area bit out of proportion but it's just for my own pleasure so no matter :)  I used stem stitch for the outline, a bit of back-stitch here and there and simple satin stitch for the beak and wattles (as suggested in the book instructions).  Not sure what I'll use it for yet - maybe the cover of a hen journal??  That would be fun to do.

Here are two of our lovely girls at the back patio door . . .


It was a big decision to take on actual livestock and a little scary for me - but I'm really pleased I did, even if I do have to get up at 7 am every morning to let them out of their coop - they're deifinitely worth it :)

Last weekend I embroidered a little zipper purse after going out to take some photos of wild flowers around my home.  I really love cuckoo flowers (or lady's smock) . . .


I used some crewel wool to do some free hand embroidery . . . .


Here's the finished purse . . .


This was made to go into my Etsy shop :)

Well, it's been a busy time but now work hours are back to normal and hen care is becoming second nature so I hope to be here more often.

If you're thinking of keeping hens, here's a little incentive but there's so much more to them than eggs - they're lovely pets and very entertaining :)


Back soon now things are a little more 'normal' if there is such a thing!

Alison x

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Allright Hen?

A couple of  weeks ago a kind family member heard of a hen coop that was free to a good home - it had been refurbished  from an old gritting salt container - not a thing of beauty but it had all the right components eg. a perch (for the hens to roost on) and a nesting box and a window for light to get in - very solid and water-tight too. 

I decided to cheer it up a little outside and drew a couple of hens in black permanent marker on the front :)  It really needed a little something extra I thought!


Yesterday was 'D' Day and my 'other half' sited it in a sheltered part of the back garden . . .


We had a rough bit of ground in between our garden shed and some trees at the back - so a good situation I think - shelter from the elements as much as possible.  Just need to add a little gate to get in and out :)  It'll get 'prettied' up as time goes by - we have the basic requirements for the moment though - safety and shelter :)  Just need to order the hens now!

Mostly I hope they will be able to cluck amongst the trees and the bushes when I'm at home and able to let them roam free . . . 


A new venture for me so I'll keep you posted as things develop - I'm hoping for hens in my backyard in early Summer - fingers crossed!  I'll keep reading my hen-keeping manuals in the meantime -a lot to learn, yikes . . .

Back to crafty posts next week though - I had so much to blog about today but the 'imminent chooks' have taken over the show!  Hope you're having a nice Bank Holiday if you're in the UK - hurray for Mondays at home - looking forward to it :)

Sorry, couldn't leave without one crafty pic - in between the hen enclosure creation I was making this lovely little thing - I'll fill you in next week . . .  (pattern by Julie Taylor of Love Fibres)


The scarf grew a little longer this week too . . . 


Well, it IS a craft blog, not a 'hen blog', hehe :) :)

Bye for now
Alison x

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Cat versus Sheep . . .

Hello peeps - so much craft stuff going on at the moment - hence the lack of posts, but I thought I'd share some cute photos of our cat's first encounters with my neighbours sheep and lambs.  This is her first year during the lambing season - she was quite fascinated!  I documented a little encounter one morning last week . . . . .

Looking very interested . . . .


Getting closer and checking no-one's looking . . .


A little closer still . . .


This little lamb is moving in on the action . . .


Up close and personal (Awwwwww!) . . .


What -  you don't want to play!?  A bit indignant . . .


Looking sideways . . .


Looking at other avenues of exploration . . .


A better view from up here . . .


Aw, come on - the sheep have finally completely lost interest - good try though 'Ji-Ji'!


Well, it was a fun thing to watch - even although I only went out to take a photo of my knitting as it is very sheepish looking . . . .


I'm using some North Ronaldsay yarn from Orkney - the sheep graze on seaweed on the island - I was so intrigued, I had to try it out - it's lovely to knit with.  Very sheepy and soft and natural - here's the stage I'm at today with it . . .


Looking interesting but taking much longer than I had thought it would - ain't that always the way with knitty things!  I'll tell you more about this scarf in another post - time to have a relaxing morning Sunday coffee I think - have a lovely weekend!

Alison x

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Easter hols, here we come :)

Ahhhhhhh . . . . . and breathe :)  I definitely feel it's time to take a little break, and with eldest son home from university (to study for exams - poor thing!!) and youngest son on his school hols, we're all set to take a little break - yay!

I've worked hard on my Etsy shop the last month or two - transferring all my products was a bit of hard grind, but I was rewarded by a few sales which was great!  I decided to reward myself by buying some gorgeous Japanese designer fabric (I have a fetish for it!).  I really enjoy using them as very lavish linings for my tweed collage purses - just a cute surprise when you open a zipper purse and see these delicious designer fabrics inside - yum :)

I was really delighted with my purchases (all fat quarters I think) . . .


I seem to have gone all "mellow yellow" for my fabric choices!  Two of them are a cotton/linen blend and the other is a nice weight cotton.

I'm not sure yet what we will be doing on our hols but it's a lovely time of year.  We will have the pleasure of seeing our next door neighbour's lambs bouncing around hopefully and I have a list of things we really need to do outside as we have a rather large garden which needs sorting.

The construction of a hen house is still on the agenda but if that will happen these holidays or not, I don't know - will definitely be making space for it that's for sure :)  Lots of other things to do too though!

I'm not going to list all the new items in my shop, but I did add a little softie as I haven't made one for a while.  He was really fun to make, so I added him as a custom order . . . . 


Here he is outside in his natural habitat . . .


Anyway, he's obviously feeling a little sleepy - me too, as it's a little late and I'm ready for my last day at the office for a week or so.

See you in a week or two - Happy Easter!

Alison x

Friday, 25 March 2016

Impromptu Tea Party :)

We had an impromptu tea party last weekend (or was it the weekend before - time flies!) to celebrate the completion of the tea cosy :)  Actually 'teenage son' was more taken with the teapot I'd picked up in the charity shop - I didn't have one the right size to fit the cosy!  So he decided we should take out the best china and go the whole hog :)  I think he just wanted the lovely scones I'd bought the day before . . .


Here's a couple more views . . .


from above . . .


This was such a lovely pattern (Sheep Carousel by Kate Davies) to work on - I learnt a couple of new techniques - namely how to cut a steek in my knitting - yikes!!   Also how to to do an i-chord bind off, which leaves a lovely tubular knitted finish to your piece - so I was happy with my tea cosy and we enjoyed the scones too :) :)

This was actually two weeks ago and I don't seem to have stopped crafting for my Etsy shop since then - pheeeeew,  I'm ready for Easter!  Too many crafty makes for this post so I'll save them for another one - I'm off to have another cup of tea before I head off to the office job, I'm not using the best china today though!

Have a lovely Easter weekend :)

Bye for now
Alison x

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

What I've been doing . . .

Well, I HAVE taken a step back from 'stock making' over the last week - I needed to get back to basics :)

A bit of home baking (which was purely for my own gratification as I find baking very relaxing and therapeutic!).  I don't think anyone else indulged . . .


And with my cup of tea . . .


I'm trying to get the rest of the family on board as to adding some new pets!  This is a work in progress . . . . teenagers do not like hens I've discovered - come to think of it as a teenager I wouldn't have liked them either LOL :)   Well, you never know - it's good to have some aspirations!  I kind of like them though . . .

My current personal project started at the weekend . . .


Kate Davies' lovely pattern is too addictive!  Some lovely knitting techniques to learn . . . I'll keep you posted on my progress :)  I'm being a complete knitting heathen and using acrylic yarn from my stash . . . . I was a bit embarrassed adding it to my Ravelry page - I'll make it in pure wool the next time :)

Only one item added to the shop last week . . .


Well, I did say I was taking a break!  Lovely Harris Tweed herringbone pattern though :)

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

So much crafting . . . . so little time!

The last two weeks seem to have been pretty busy . . . . trying to squeeze in a lot of crafting but not always finding the time to blog about any of it!

We had some beautiful snowy scenes here in the Hebrides last week . . .


This is me one week later getting round to posting my snow pics!

Never mind . . . . it was lovely at the time ;-)

Spent some time with my new Mary Jane Mucklestone book (in German - don't ask!!) . . .


I'm loving playing around with some fair isle patterns from it - hence the wrist cuff - not the best colour choices but all I had in my small stash of Shetland yarn.

Made some more buttons for the shop . . .


Some baking (we had no biscuits in - don't panic!!) . . .


These are viennese biscuits - easy peasy recipe here :)  I'm rekindling my love of baking - Yay!

A new collage purse in the shop . . .


And some new labels for future makes . . .


Also thinking and planning of a new, fun venture for later in the year - but more of that when I have some concrete information - hmmmm, yes very cryptic!

I think I meant to post all this in about 4 different posts - ah well, it's a condensed post I suppose!

Ji-ji the cat has slept through it all - isn't she lucky - it's a cat's life . .


Hope to get back to regular blogging now that my intensive stock making is slowing down a little :)

Bye for now :)
Alison x