Illness, getting up when its dark and arriving home in the dark, being cold, rain, snow, rain and snow together, lethargy…these are just some of the things I despise about Winter.
This week gave us both Pancake Day and Valentines Day. We all know that both of these events mark the imminent arrival of spring. Gone is the post Christmas depression that so many seem to suffer from after western societies most loud and garish festival of tat. They are a gentle lead into the festival of chocolate eggs, bunnies and daffodils, otherwise known as Easter (or Eostre). Bring on the Spring Equinox and that strange two weeks of sunshine we get in the UK before a “Summer” filled with floods, freak hail storms and relentless grey skies.
I compiled a lovely treasury on Etsy that is filled with items that remind me of Spring. Expect lots of flowers, bright colours and the odd cute animal…
Beautiful Print of Blackbird’s Nest by BusyBlackbird on Etsy
Handmade bright pink wool mix felt flower by ColourSplshbyCath on Etsy
I actually did not make any pancakes this year. They make a mess, you have to cook one at a time and layer them up with foil. I don’t like getting sticky fingers and I hate the way that standing over hot fat in a frying pan makes my hair smell.
I always used to say that ” I never win anything” and with a particularly heavy heart around those who boast about recently winning something or other.
When I was at school I won a competition to design the front cover to our big play. My “prize” was to sit in the headmaster’s office during lunchtimes until the winning design was drawn up neatly enough in his eyes. Not exactly a win.
Last week however, I did really win a crafty giveaway hosted by the writer of this blog- trying to be a craftie nellie.
This blog features lots of lovely crafts, nature and there is a regular giveaway so check it out.
I received two gift tags, a bookmark, a note card and a congratulatory card…all held together in a cute little stripy ribbon tie bag. Thankyou so much Crafty Nellie, you have lifted the anti-win curse!
There are some who go all out and buy the novelty giant cards, overfill the restaurants and pay triple the normal rate for a red rose or twelve. Then there’s the rest of us…quietly confident that love is more than grand gestures on specified days.
My boyfriend hates it and, luckily for him, I’m not overly bothered if I don’t receive some awful Moonpig.com same as everyone else’s tailored to your individual needs card.
I do love crafting, however and have vowed this year to embrace every seasonal event in an attempt to provide constant inspiration and use up my materials stash.
I found the perfect solution on one of my favourite websites: Cut Out + Keep | Make and share step-by-step craft tutorials…a valentines themed craft swap. I created the following:
Paper heart garland, created using old books.
Shakespeare’s Sonnets were used to make the large flat hearts.
I named these “Love Potion Cookies” as they contained several ingredients used in traditional love potions, such as cinnamon, vanilla and ginger.
This card was made using different fabric, papers and inks.
This is a mini picture frame made from polymer clay and tiny gems.
How it looked when packaged and ready to be sent.
Luckily I realised that the original heart garland was full of swearwords as I simply grabbed an old book I’d bought from a charity shop that had been read and was not a keeper. I found my old A level copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets and used pages that were not covered in notes by my seventeen year old self. Disaster averted.
As I may have mentioned, I am a chronic hoarder of anything that could be put to any creative use at some point. Like old pairs of jeans with holes in the crotch or bum that can no longer be worn. This look, I must stress, is not grunge, but simply trampy.
I had several old pairs of jeans piling up in a cupboard. Eventually I found the motivation and a window of time, removed the seams, zips and buttons then ironed them flat and packed according to colour…
I made this card and hanging decoration for a swap hosted on this cute website: Cut Out + Keep | Make and share step-by-step craft tutorials. I was required to simply send a card and place something small and simple inside, so I made the decoration and added a sachet of popping candy for good measure.
My bathroom has been bare and soulless for too long now. It was derelict for a while last year after one unlucky shower exposed the horrendous job the previous owner had done on sealing and waterproofing by causing the kitchen to be flooded out. Being peasants, we simply had to step over the rotting floorboards for a couple of weeks to get to the sink for a wash, then make trips down the road to my sister’s for a proper shower every couple of days. Slowly but surely we replaced it with a working, safe shower. New floor and lick of “Light Rain” coloured paint and its kind of ok for the time being. It just needed something to brighten it up so I made some cute Sea Life pictures from my denim mountain…
Obviously, I’m not going to fill the entire house with things made from my old jeans but already I have added a little homely touch and created a well received gift using some of my ever growing stash. Lets not forget the recipe book I made for my boyfriend either, featured in an earlier post- Yes MSG! | Oh, Nicola Joy!. All of this was either cheap or free…
P.S. I also made these:
.Denim Beads | Creation | Cut Out + Keep.
I’m in love with illustrative embroidery. The stitches bring a sort of living quality to any picture and they scream of time and effort. I’m most fond of it when used for portraiture. I just wish that I had more time to indulge in the activity myself.
Here is one piece that I did finish though…
Its taken from a photo of my boyfriend at Tanks A Lot on his birthday…His idea of heaven, spending the entire day driving tanks over cars, clay pigeon shooting and looking at guns. I lost the feeling in my feet an hour in after treading in a very deep ice puddle and tried my best to feign enjoyment whilst taking action shots covered in mud and with numb fingers…Tanks Alot, Tank Driving, Tank Driving Gift Vouchers, Corporate Tank Driving Events.
If you like this kind of art you should definitely check out Jenny Hart, an incredibly popular and talented embroidered artist. SuperNaturale \ Interview with Jenny Hart. Her portraits look like they take weeks to create. I would know…the one above took several hours!
Our feathered friends can struggle to find enough food in the winter months and one of my favourite winter crafts is to make bird feeders. Hang them outside and watch the bids nibble away. This is also a good activity to do with children.
I have made some using pine cones, lard and seeds…yum!
Pine Cone Bird Feeder | How To | Cut Out + Keep.
Despite the War On Fleas in my house Ruby still manages to play host to a new set every couple of months. She achieves this despite hating all other animals, never getting close to any of the neighbouring cats and scaring any that try it on away with her weird noises.
I know that they’re back as I have a fresh set of bites and my boyfriend admitted that one hopped onto his book whilst he was reading.
How can this keep happening then?
The answer came when I heard the cat flap go, followed by the sound of squelching chews from the cat food bowl. It took several seconds for me to realise that Ruby was sat next to me so I hurried up to meet the intruder and the cat flap sounded once more. All I saw was the bottom end of an unknown black cat racing off behind the shed.
This explains various recent phenomena such as: warm spots on the sofa when coming home, despite Ruby being curled up on her favourite cushion; her amazing ability to keep a svelte figure despite doing very little exercise and doubling her food intake and last but not least, a noticeable increase in the amount of fur I’m picking up these days.
Craft Book Review: Crafting with Cat Hair by Kaori Tsutaya | Craft Test Dummies.
There’s nothing to worry about, it’s not bad for you after all. I’m not going to go into it here, you can do your own research and either side with the crazies who just KNOW that it makes their brain swell up or with the legitimate research that shows there are no side affects associated with ingesting a little MSG here and there. Like Crispy Seaweed from your local Chinese Resturant? Spring greens and MSG. Yum.
Crispy Seaweed Recipe.
My boyfriend is always tweaking recipes so I made him his own recipe book for Christmas. Its a plain hardback sketchbook with a denim cover hand-stitched by me.
And his first entry:
Kedgeree, with added MSG. It was delicious.