Tuesday, 25 January 2011

8 Reasons Why I Blog!

1. Mostly, I blog because I enjoy it;
2. It motivates me to craft more;
3. I enjoy the interaction with lovely readers;
4. It's nice/useful to have a record of what I've accomplished to put into perspective;
5. I like having a record of what I (my friends, family etc) have been up to;
6. I like being part of this virtual world;
7. It's nice to share something that not many of my 'real' friends 'get'.
8. I would one day like to use my blog as a one of a number of ways to direct traffic to an online shop

I post once a week because it seems about right for me.  I tried twice a week but ended up looking for subject matter rather than just sitting down and letting it flow. I'm sure I'd get resentful if I made myself post more often and would then end up drifting away from here altogether.  It might not seem very spontaneous to have a rigid once-a-week timetable but if I didn't, I believe I would have the same drifting away problem, as intervals between posts became further apart!
My OH is away skiing in France this week and I was so looking forward to spending lots of time sewing.  It hasn't quite worked out like that so far but I did get some baking done (not the choc/nut muffins above - these are from last week - but some banana bread to use up some over-ripe bananas I had kept in the freezer) and tried cooking a whole chicken in my slow cooker (which turned out well). I'll cook chicken like this again - there's very little mess and the meat falls off the bones when it's done.
On my kitchen table is a little experiment in progress of a crafty idea I've had in my head for a while.  Things have moved on a little from this and the results are almost ready to show.  It hasn't turned out quite how I pictured but I already have an idea for a modification to try next.  I may have to test the waters, so to speak, and offer one of my prototypes as a giveaway to find out what you think of them.  If I make both versions and offer a choice, it will give me an idea of what would be successful.

My photographing mojo has been a bit lacking recently.  Once, I would see something interesting or beautiful and immediately whip out my camera, but lately I've been remembering when it's too late!  I say this, in case you're wondering about the random selection I've presented today - they're all I have that you haven't seen!!  I blame Christmas!! Well,  perhaps the holidays rather than Christmas itself.  I've got out of the habit - but fear not - I will make a concerted effort to get back on form.  I enjoy showing you my pics and, let's face it, this blog would be seriously lacking without them!!

Bye for now
Teresa x

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Books: Old, New. Borrowed.........but not Blue!

I want to start today by thanking you lovely ladies for all your encouraging words and compliments in my comments.  It's largly because of your interest that I've made what I have, and I realise now I must stop comparing what I've done to other crafty bloggers and celebrate my own achivements.  I'm going to concentrate on my crafting and only look at other crafty blogs for inspiration, ideas and to 'oooh and ahhh' over all their goodies!!  (If you comment on this post, please don't mention this bit - I'm not fishing for compliments but wanted to thank you and let you know how you've helped me).

The Christmas holidays saw quite a few books appear in our house from various directions. (Time now to sort through and get rid of few, one way or another - what do you do with your old books, do you take them to the charity shop, sell them on, give them as gifts or put in the bin?)

Below are a couple of new books I treated myself to for Christmas.  A Slice of the Goodlife is one I saw back in the summer at the Centre for Alternative Technology and kept in mind.  I've just finished reading The Handmade Marketplace (so it will be No 1 on my reading list for 2011!) and found it packed with useful information for when I start seriously selling my wares......ahem, ahem!  (I will one day, honestly!).  I'd heard about many of the crafty bloggers mentioned in it already which made it seem familiar.  A lot of the information in it was new to me and will be really useful to have on hand to refer to in the future.

This is another new book that I got my DS for Christmas.  It's also one we saw at the CAT Centre and which he showed an interest in. 
The book, The Great Explorers, below is also new and was a present to my OH from his boss.  He has quite an illustrious family and this book was edited by his uncle, the explorer Robin Hanbury-Tenison. 
These 4 books fall into the old category since I bought them from charity shops over the holidays.  Quite a mixture here:  a bit of light reading, a humorous history and a look at green fashion.
Now to the borrowed. At various times during the last year there were film crews filming at an old farmhouse on the estate where my OH works.  He was told it was for a film called 'Resistance' about what it would have been like if the Nazis had invaded Britain in WW2.  Eventually the TV news showed an article about it, interviewing the author of the book on which the film was based.  He was Owen Sheers, (who I don't know but) who grew up in a nearby town and whose grandparents lived at the end of our road for a while before they passed away a few years ago.   Owen started out as a poet and my mother collected his works, continuing to do so when he began writing novels as well.  So here we have the book 'Resistance' and his previous work, 'The Dust Diaries' borrowed from my mother.
Looking at piles of books makes me happy!  It's the same feeling when I look at my baskets of knitting yarn or shelves of fabric - The Potential!  My BIG problem now is which one to read next!!  I think it may have to be The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett (first brought to my attention by Leslie) which I got from a charity shop and want to read before I watch the TV version I've recorded.

Ooh, I'm going for a lie down now!  It was tiring posting all those links :-)
Bye for now
Teresa x

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Look to the Future!

Looking at my progress on my blog pages for reading and crafting I see that in 2010 I managed to read 14 books and complete 16 craft projects.  I immediately thought of declaring them dismal results but I must look at it a different way.  I must look at the lists and actually 'see' what is listed, congratulate myself on what I've achieved and aim to do more in 2011!  Therefore, I must look forward now and not back or I'll convince myself I can't do any better. My friend, who is a life coach, has told me that each time we meet up she wants me to bring something new that I've made to show her. That will be good motivation for me.

I'm aiming to get enough items made to take part in a small craft fair this year and maybe even sell to friends. This scarf, along with my purple mini quilt and small embroidered hanging/runner makes 3 items in stock!! I finished up this scarf, which is made from reclaimed yarn, during the days after Christmas when I wasn't feeling my best.  It's not from a pattern exactly but based on an idea from Betz White that intrigued me.

The recent holidays also saw me finish sewing together the half-square-triangles at last!! I need to decide where to go with it next.  I think it needs some kind of border to finish it off but will have to put a bit more thought into it.

The Tag Square Bee had a break for December but is back in action now for January.  I had an idea for the block below but somehow managed to cut 8 instead of 4 squares for the middle.
So I cut extra small squares and made this one aswell. Monafrank wanted a block with all shades of green (except neon) and would welcome the odd bit of blue, red or orange in it too.
I've decided to send her this one simply because I asked my OH and DS which one they prefered and they chose it!  I'll make a cushion cover or something out of the other one.  I nearly forgot - someone must be sending me a block too - can't wait until it comes and I can add it to the pile.

I didn't intend for this to be 2 'bread-shaped' loaves!  It started as a plan to be one 'bread-machine-shaped' loaf.  Wanting to make use of my machine in the holidays I used a pack of granary flour I had in the cupboard and followed the recipe on the pack.  The recipe made 8 rolls so I thought I'd double it and started throwing ingredients into the pan.  When it came to the flour it wouldn't all fit so I left some out, put the pan in the machine and crossed my fingers!  I went to check after 15 minutes and, although the machine was making a noise, nothing was moving!!  There was nothing for it but to tip it all out and continue by hand.  I was quite relieved when I saw it was acually rising!  Turned out alright in the end I think!

Bye for now
Teresa x