Sunday 17 October 2010

So, what have you been up to?

That's the question I was asked yesterday and, of course, couldn't think of anything back more than 24, err, I'm sure I must have been doing something!
Looking back, we have been camping. Here's some proof, our new wood burner in place. I've never been so warm camping, its fabulous. Everyone should have one- we got ours from The Windy Smithy.

stove in use for breakfast
 We were camping so DH could do a spoon carving course, which he really enjoyed.
After that, a dear friend had a baby and was keeping me updated step by step by text. It was far too dramatic so rather than sleeping I was busy sewing a gift. Version 1 (before I knew of her labour) was grabbed and hugged by Little One as soon as it was finished. Even as the explanation 'its for J....' hugging it involved lying on the (sort of clean, but not suitable for near a newborn) floor.

my cushion, and J's ball. It even has crinkly noises in it
Oh well, no time to wash and dry it, so Version 2 was sewed through the night, love and positive thoughts put in with every stitch during the last hours of friend's labour and first hour of J's arrival- though I didn't know it at the time! I didn't even remember to photograph it until it had been given, so just a shaky photo on my new phone:
The ball J actually got!

DH doing the spoon carving has given me more encouragement to make time for bowl carving again. I have been continually cutting myself, and losing heart over it. Robin kindly had a length I could use for a bowl, so even when we were camping I did some roughing out with the axe ( I really, really love the axe work!) and I'm still plodding on with it now.

This was it the week before last after a couple of hours work

New willow bowl on left, and older
bowl- both still need finishing off

DH and I both had an evening of putting new skills into practice on Friday. Mainly because we needed to sort out birthday presents for a 6 yr old friend on Saturday. We're both quite proud of a couple of hours work:
DH carved this beautiful spoon, personalised with an M. This is the first spoon he's carved since the course, and I'm still waiting for mine......
I had an idea for a toy sling for M's present, as her mum mentioned she liked playing with dolls at the moment. I had a quick google but only found patterns for 'proper'mei tai slings.I'd decided to make a mei tai so hopefully M can use it without too much help from mum, and as I didn't find anything to use as a ring for a ringsling on my fabric shopping trip.
I made up my own pattern, guessing at the sizing as the kids were sleeping, but found a website useful for how to sew it together- which I would link to if I could remember it.
I had a loan of a toddlerhawk from a friend
 when Little One was younger, and
copied the padding/stitching style from
what I remember of that.
Just finished!

A nights sleep and I was able to think of something to just 'finish' the sling off- some daisys just to break up the fabric a bit. I hadn't the confidence to put applique on, after all this was a first attempt. However I just needed to  jazz it up a little as it turned out good enough to gift.
Here's the final look just before we had to go to the birthday party:

This was when I found out my guesses on strap length weren't too great, but M's mum knows I'll adjust it as needed.....

After the party yesterday I got stuck in to the 9 lbs of apples I've been given over the last couple of days.

Doesn't look like 9 lbs, does it?
and chopped up for two recipes

3lbs of apples cooking away

and draining through muslin
This smaller quantity turned into 4 small jars of  Apple, Mint and herb jelly, and the larger batch will become  Apple Butter when we get more sugar. My mother-in-law has a lovely book which I have borrowed, Farmhouse Kitchen  by Mary Norwak so that's where the recipes for this weekend are from.

I imagine the next few weeks, if things go to plan, won't be as visual. We need to get emailing more WWOOF hosts for next years big trip, sort out paperwork that I've let pile up for a while, and investigate the rental market for our house as selling doesn't seem particularly effective (on the market 3 months with 2 viewings), amongst other things.
So, back to the original question, with one thing or another, work,  children under the weather, keeping up with the washing, or a new bath (something else that's happened recently!) I have been keeping rather busy, even if I can't quite remember when I'm asked!

I love the rings in the base of this willow bowl


  1. Just wow! I'm always totally amazing by your crafting. And love love love the stove. Can't wait to see it in action.

  2. We'll have to try it in your field sometime!