Sunday, 25 November 2012

Dipping my toe in the water again.....

Once again I've left it for ages between posting - it's just hard to get back into the habit of photographing and documenting life when you haven't done it for a while.

Exciting news on the craft front was the extension of my sewing room in the garage so that it is now twice the size with two more large tables and a sofa so many happy hours have been spent out there lately with room for the whole family to craft, study or read - I love it!

And with this extended crafting space there has been a dramatic increase in my crafting output - so much so that I have decided to dip my toe back in the water of craft fairs and selling - something I haven't done for quite a few years.

I can't say it has gone tremendously well!  The first sale was ok - I had a few patchwork wallets, some crochet corsages and a couple of cushions but most of the visitors were elderly and either said "Ooh Betty could make those!" or "They're a bit young for me dear!" ;o)  But I did sell about £60 worth of stock which was good and then my lovely boss bought a lot of corsages for Christmas presents too.  Yesterday's sale was less good and I only made £12.50 on top of my stall fee (which was only £10 - so yes, I only took £22.50!)  But it was a nice day and I was there with one of my closest friends who had a stall next to me.  It wasn't really a craft fair - we were the only two actual "crafters" there and the focus of the day was more on winter family fun - but it was good to try laying out my increasing stock on the stall.  Afterwards we went to stay with mum and dad so the children could help with the Christmas cooking and when I showed mum my things she fell in love with one of the cushions and a corsage and wouldn't let me give them to her but insisted on buying them which was so kind.

I have a stall at the girls' school this Thursday evening and one at our village infant school on the following Thursday, then a local coffee shop have said they will sell my things for me. I'm going to make a few more pencil rolls for the infant school sale but unless I have some dramatic sales I don't think I will be increasing my stock much further.  It has been fun trying to sell again but I don't think I have the drive that I used to have and as I'm not making commissioned personalised items anymore I don't think I have the appeal that I used to have.

One good thing about yesterday's sale was that I had plenty of time to start knitting Grandpa Biscuit's Christmas present socks - I'm up to the heel already (they're dk thickness so I haven't done all that much knitting really but I'm pleased to have started!)

So that's my news - oh, and I forgot to tell you, you know that lovely metal cabinet that I blogged about in the last post?  It turned out that it didn't fit in my sewing room after all so I ended up selling it in the next auction!  It was far too stylish for me anyway! ;o)

P.S - yet more news!  I've lost 3 stone and have celebrated by having all my hair chopped off so I no longer look like a scarecrow

I've finally managed to upload a few photos but this is all I'm allowed - apparently I've used up my free quota of space for blogging pictures - has anyone else had this happen?

Sunday, 16 September 2012

An occupational hazard...

Working at an auctioneers can lead to all sorts of temptation - I even bought something at my interview!

But Mr Locket quickly made it clear that he was not keen on me bringing home lots of rubbish goodies after each sale so for the last 2+ years that I've worked there I've actually been very good and can only think of my blue sundae dishes and a sewing box that actually came home with me.

However, this week I had a bit of an abberation and found myself buying a gorgeous painted metal kitchen cupboard (scrap metal to Mr L), 2 Ercol dining tables and an old tea trolley that I plan to paint.

My colleague gave me a lift home in his van and I piled all my new treasures up in the hall - blocking it completely.  Mr Locket's reaction when he got home was stunned silence followed by "What's all this @*£%?" I was hiding behind the kitchen door giggling like a maniac.  Then he found out that I had actually paid good money for it all too!

Once he realised that I was planning on using everything in my sewing room in the garage - rather than cluttering up the house - he was greatly relieved!  In all honesty he's such a sweetheart that he never complains whatever I do and tolerates an awful lot.

We are actually going to be extending the sewing room to take up the whole garage rather than just half so we had spent the weekend before clearing out lots of junk - so you can see why he was rather dismayed to find more arriving!

I'm really excited about the new plans for the sewing room as it has become rather cramped and untidy with far too much stored out there. 

Also, I never seem to craft on my own these days as the girls and sometimes Fred are keen to be sewing too.  The existing room is big enough for 1-2 people but extending it will make it so much better.  It also proved to be a great place for Dot to do her revision as it can be made relatively tidy (unlike the rest of the house) and it is quiet and away from the hustle and bustle.

Other news in Locketland - the chickens are settling in well and we have started letting them out to explore the garden at the weekend so they've been having a great time pecking around and making dust baths.

Also, more of my birthday fabric arrived - charm squares of Lucie Summers' Summerville.
I can't decide if I like them best with or without the black and white fabrics - what do you think? And should I just make a very simple quilt by sewing them together in squares and let the fabric do the talking or should I make pinwheels as I've found an amazing tutorial here that I really want to try?

My other birthday fabric came few days later.....

Six fat quarters of Sarah Jane's Children at Play.

I know I'm a bit late to the party with both of these fabric ranges but I think I will have great fun playing with them - so that's what I'm off to do now! 

Lucy xx

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

My mojo is back with a vengeance! Hurrah!

I know I'm meant to be blogging about Dot's birthday and our fabulous holiday in Italy but I just had to tell you that my long-lost crafting mojo has finally returned and I'm delighted!

It only happened towards the end of last week when I picked up my crochet blanket and joined a few more squares together while watching a film, then I was blog-hopping and saw something a friend had made that I knew I wanted to sew for a birthday present (so I can't show you what it is yet) so I started that, then I was on Ravelry and saw Michaela's Leftie that her mother had knitted for her and I knew I had to do that too - so I really didn't want to go to work on Friday - I had far too much to do!!

On Saturday it was my birthday and Mr Locket and the children had ordered me some craft books including this one and this one, then I went to my local(ish) patchwork shop and bought some fabric then drove on to lovely Katie's workshop Make at the Whitfield Village Pantry.  It was great to see Katie again and she was so inspiring (as always) and I left with my head crammed full of ideas of things I wanted to make including these "studio boxes" from this tutorial.

The little Lockets were also inspired (although Mr Locket was so relaxed on Katie's sofa that he fell asleep) so on Sunday afternoon we set to work and I made Daisy and Fred simple patch cushions using their fabrics (I totally love the Ed Emberley on Fred's cushion) while Dot was busy sewing crazy patches in practice for her GCSE textiles project.  I then made myself a denim box and then on Monday made Daisy's friend the cream one - Daisy designed it and did all the buttons while I did the rest of the sewing.

So lots of happy crafting! And even more fabric is going to be arriving in the post tomorrow hopefully :o) it's a great way to spend your birthday money!!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Catching up and new arrivals

Crikey, it has been 2 months since I last posted - and to think there was a time when I posted nearly every day - how did I ever find the time or the things to say?  I really wish I still had my old blog-posting and reading habit but it just seems to have gone.  Maybe it's to do with the children growing up and life just changing as it does over time.

Anyway, enough reflection, I'm here now!

I thought I'd show you some photos of our new garden in bloom.

These pictures were taken a while ago and some of the flowers have gone over and there are new ones in their place but the garden isn't looking as photogenic at the moment - especially as yesterday I pulled a whole load of gone-over plants out so there are quite a few bare patches.

Our vegetables really haven't done very well.  The only things that have been successful are the runner beans - and I desperately need to pick and eat some soon.

Our courgettes are lack-lustre, the peas produced enough for a scant serving and I forgot to pick the single serving of broad beans until they had grown too big.  I can't find my onions and my garlic seems to have disappeared too - but I think it is still there somewhere!  And caterpillars have eaten their way through the kale and strangely the calendula leaves too.

The flowers on the other hand have been lovely - loads of sweet peas and cornflowers, calendula and mad frilly poppies, achillea and anthemis and recently a bright orange crop of dahlias that a friend grew from seed. I definitely need to grow more of them next year in a selection of colours.

The most exciting thing to happen in the garden took place yesterday with the arrival of these little beauties!

We used to keep chickens but haven't had them for about four years and their house had been converted into a rabbit hutch for Alfie.

But it has been converted back into a hen house with the addition of a perch made from a branch of our flowering cherry, with supports made out of forks in the branch - so clever

and Alfie has had a fabulous new hutch built for him - mostly out of an old pair of garage doors.
Who was behind this  makeover? Our marvellous neighbour Malcolm of course - he always manages to turn my mad schemes into reality and we are very grateful!

This is the initial collection of hens - 2 Light Sussex bantams that we bought on Saturday from a 16 year old near Durham, with 3 Pekins that we pinched from Mum and Dad.

And this is the revised collection - the 3 original Pekins with 2 Cuckoo Pekins that we bought from a lady - also near Durham - as we had to rehome the Light Sussex hens with Mum and Dad when we discovered yesterday morning that they had no intention of staying inside their run and were set to explore the garden and neighbourhood!

The Pekins are such docile dumpy birds that the idea of escape will probably never occur to them.  Daisy is most upset that a couple of the older birds are picking on the two new ones but I've explained that it should soon settle down once they have established the pecking order - she's still cross with them for "being mean" though!

We each have our own hen - even a reluctant Mr Locket (!) and they are called Betty, Hetty, Jenny, Hilda and Fred's is Perky-the-peacefully-perching-Pekin.

They are spending most of their time roosting in their house but we are hoping they will get more adventurous once they get used to their new accomodation.

Now I promise to come back before another two months has passed - mostly because I need to tell you about our holiday in Italy and about Dot's 15th birthday - how can she be so grown up?!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Midsummer medley - but where on earth is the sun?

Sorry it has been so long since my last post - I just don't seem to be doing very much that is blog-worthy apart from my running which is going on here.
In the last couple of months we've had Daisy and Fred's birthdays.  Daisy was very lucky and her birthday was on the last weekend of May when the weather was glorious but I don't think the sun has shone for more than half an hour since then :-(  My parents needed house-sitters that weekend so we took two of Daisy's friends with us for a sleepover and they had a fabulous time cooking, playing rounders and messing about in a huge paddling pool - and decorating Daisy's birthday cakes..........

Fred's birthday was just over a week later - and fairly wet - but we persuaded him that you could still eat ice-cream on days when the sun wasn't shining (!) and took him to a local ice-cream parlour where we all indulged in giant sundaes.

For his party we had three friends round and they played Monopoly

which they really enjoyed - particularly Fred who has only recently discovered Monopoly and absolutely loves playing

this is him when he's winning!!

Daisy made Fred the most amazing dinosaur birthday cake without any help at all - and it tasted as delicious as it looked.

But I can't believe my baby is now 10!

As far as crafting is concerned I seem to have hit a real brick wall.  I don't want to knit, I don't want to sew and I don't want to crochet.  It is most unusual but I find I'm quite happy to sit and watch telly in the evenings with idle hands which would have driven me to distraction previously.  Maybe it's because I'm so focused on my running and can't manage to have more than one interest at a time or maybe it's as my mother suggests and I'm just tired from running and need a rest?

The garden is growing nicely - as are the weeds, but the weather hasn't been good enough to spend any time out there lately which is a shame.  Plants I've grown have started to flower and the veg are growing but there are a lot of seedlings that need planting out.

So, not much news but I thought I ought to pop in and say hello!

Lucy x

Monday, 30 April 2012

Making Spring - despite the weather!

Phew! That was a long break between posts - sorry about that.

I just haven't been very creative lately as I have been far more interested in my running than anything else - a major shock to the system I can tell you! I can now run for 3.5 miles without stopping which is truly incredible.

But I got something in the post recently that not only needs to be shared with you all but also helped inspire me to be a bit creative again.......

I was out in the greenhouse sowing seeds when the parcel arrived which was very appropriate..........

and I knew I was in for a treat when I spotted this little lady on the outside of the box...........

and this beautifully wrapped parcel inside...........

which contained all sorts of garden-y treats and treasures from lovely Julie!

sorry for the awful photo, I've lost my camera and had to use my phone - but can you see all the super packets of seeds, the copper labels and wooden labels, the notebook and scissors, the seeds from Julie's own garden and most excitingly of all my very own LCR hedgehog and special seedling-covered phone case!

There were a lot of excited squeals as I discovered each treasure and Fred and Dot were lurking, hoping to snaffle the hedgehog and phone case but I fended them off!  They are MINE!

Every time I use my phone case it makes me smile and my hedgehog is sitting on the kitchen work top with a collection of toadstool houses, looking very much at home.

Thank you so much Julie - the parcel was simply delightful and greatly brightened a very soggy day!

And the seedlings on the phone case have helped me push a creative idea that has been slowly germinating into fruition..........

I have my winter quilt (designed by Syko) on my kitchen wall, but I decided I needed to be able to change it with the seasons.  Therefore a Spring quilt was urgently needed but I couldn't quite get the design to work in my head.  Then a very simple plan came to me and I finally got myself sorted to put it into practice yesterday afternoon.

It is inspired by my seedlings in the greenhouse, by Julie's phone cover, by simple raindrop quilts that I think I have seen on Syko's blog (with an umbrella, if I'm remembering correctly) and by this gorgeous book that we gave Dot for her second birthday...........

I currently have the quilt in progress pinned to my winter quilt so I can see it. I've had to fold it up a bit in the middle as it was out of proportion but I am just going to have a seam there and hope it looks artistic!  I plan to add about a 2 inch border of patchwork in various fabrics that I have pulled out of my "green" box.  So it will be a very simple quilt - but already it is making me happy :-)

I just wish some of the seedlings in the greenhouse were as healthy looking - most are growing very well but some are shrivelling up and dying and I don't know why.  Hopefully enough will survive so I can start to plant these rather bare beds..........

Monday, 12 March 2012

Garden Plans - Update

Thank you all for your comments on my last post - the overwhelming advice was that I should let the allotment go and focus on the garden at home so this is what I have decided to do.  I have already told friends and family that I am leaving my allotment and I just need to get my sheds cleared and a few plants dug up before I let the committee know.

I still feel regret at the end of an era but that is unsurprising as I don't really like making decisions or change.

But you should see the effect focusing on our own garden has had!

We cleared the lawn and chopped back all the climbing plants from our garden and those clambering over the fence from next door, we gradually got rid of all the rubbish and junk that had accumulated and the children were very helpful digging big holes to sit in............

Our fabulous next door neighbour Malcolm rebuilt our greenhouse which was falling down, put up a screen for the bins and built decking to cover the drains, then created kits for us to build our own raised beds - complete with illustrated instructions IKEA-style!

Mr Locket then spent the entire day on Saturday painting the fences, sheds and walls while the children and I spent the day with my mum and dad while our friend Stuart very kindly re-wired our downstairs electrics.

Then on Sunday the whole family worked really hard painting

and building the raised beds

and transporting gravel from the drive to the garden in every available vessel they could find

as well as dressing themselves up in the weed-membrane and putting on a fashion show!

Until we went from this

to this

and this

to this

I am ashamed that it had got so bad but I am totally delighted with how it looks now and how it is going to look once we have vegetables and flowers growing.  Everyone else is really pleased too and as we walked to school this morning Fred was telling me how nice our garden was and how he was going to tell his friends.

Now I need to get digging and start sowing my seeds - and I think I will have 3 quite eager little helpers which will be fantastic.  It's like the old days when we all used to be enthusiastic about the allotment but on a much more manageable scale.