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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Season Of Renewal.


Rusty and Buntys Christmas stocking decoration 2011
  Fellow dog walking friends Paula and Adele, kindly asked me to make a decoration for their dogs Rusty and Buntys Christmas stockings. I enjoyed coming up with this design which reflects Buntys love of finding and eating apples on her daily walks. I sewed the apples on to the stockings and I hope Santa will be kind to these gentle doggy friends as they have been good all year.

The last week has been very busy, with last minute Christmas shopping and a few Etsy orders to fulfil. The children are now on holiday and their last week of school was the usual tiring round of panto trips, Christmas parties and carol services. Following a Christmas night out with Elswick Harriers, I am happy that there is nothing written on the calendar for the rest of the week to come. I am hoping to catch up on some running over the next couple of weeks.

With the winter solstice fast approaching and holiday time here. It is a natural time to take stock of the year almost over, and start making plans for next year.  Life can be unrelentingly busy so I look forward to using the natural lull the Christmas holiday brings to recharge my batteries.......I hope this is not wishful thinking.



Monday, 12 December 2011

Hexham Christmas Market


My Stall...those mismatched table clothes are a bit dodgy!

Last Saturday saw my second year at the local Hexham Christmas Market. A freezing cold morning, i packed the car up in the dark as my kind hubby scapped the ice from the windscreen and we all bundled in and drove to the market square. When we got there many stalls were already well set up and this induced a form of panic. I eventually got everything out and put last minute prices on stuff. Anyone who has ever made stuff by hand will appreciate the time that goes into a single item and many weeks of work and preparation went into producing this meagre stall. The stall behind me in contrast simply unpacked boxes of cheap imported wooden goods.

A very nice lady who bought one of my wreaths last year appeared early and bought a similar one to last year which felt very gratifying. I was kept busy for most of the day and was grateful for the help of my mum Margaret. I was happy with the number of sales I made, but found the whole day utterly draining.




Pixie Peg Wreaths



Friday, 11 November 2011

Its nearly Christmas?

The weather has been mild but gloomy this week so i've had a go at brightening up the place with some nice red fairy lights.

They look lovely when it gets dark and are low voltage too, so I dont feel guilty having them on a lot. I've also been trying to plough on with more garlands for the Hexham Xmas market stall. Heres one I made today with the nice snow flakes I got from Bonnie designs. The hearts are interspersed with red buttons.









Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Christmas Pudding Wreath

Feels like I've been making felt christmas puddings for weeks now, so decided to do something slightly different with these ones and make an unusual wreath. It could go inside or out I think.


Pudding Wreath.
I've also made a christmas pudding garland with blue toppings. The poor light today made photographing it difficult.



Engine Dene, Wylam
The dismal weather has been a stark contrast to the beautiful cold clear morning we had yesterday.

The doggies needed their thick coats on.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Beautiful Evening Light

View of St Oswins Church Wylam from Algernon Terrace

On my way home from the post office on Friday night there were the usual large groups of Jackdaws in the trees which line our street, waiting to make their nightly flight to the nearby fields and woodland at Close House. The sky was a lovely red colour and it struck me that with the church in the background it would make a great photo. Not having my camera with me, I went out at a similar time last night to try and capture the scene. Before I got to the perfect spot I made the mistake of using the twilight setting on the camera, which caused the flash to go off and all the jackdaws to fly out of the trees. This is the picture I ended up with.  Might have another go tonight. It is interesting to note what time the birds leave for the fields everyday. They swoop round in a large flock before flying east. They get slightly earlier every night until the solstice.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Christmas Makes

 With Half term over and the clocks having gone back, it should feel like Autumn. The weather though has been lovely and mild most days. This is good news for our wood store, which is all ready for the worst winter can throw at us.
 The dogs have been practising at being Santas Reindeers, rather reluctantly!
 The Cross country season is in full swing. This is me on the final lap at Farringdon, Sunderland. Yes, it hurt!

Hark the Herald angel garland


I bought these lovely felt snow flakes from Bonnie Designs to make some new garlands and decorations for my Hexham Xmas market stall.


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Angel Garland

A bit fiddly to make, but I am happy with this Angel Garland.






Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I've really enjoyed making this Christmas pudding garland and brooch today.
A Festive Brooch

A Festive Garland.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A Year Since We Got Peter.

 Its one year this weekend since we adopted our second Greyhound Peter, in him our family has discovered a real kindred spirit. To celebrate I decided to write him a poem:

The day we met, your fate was sealed
A wet,cold day at the kennels
You told me you wanted to be our dog, with your warm lean on my leg.
My heart melted then and I knew there would be no going back.
At Pelaw Grange, where you'd raced so often
We waited with anticipation.
You climbed out of the racing van for the last time and into our car and our family.
At first we were anxious,Jodie was jealous, you almost killed the cat,
But slowly we learnt to manage two dogs instead of one
And you made your very own space in our hearts.
So warm and gentle, a big-hearted boy with dignity and grace.
Dancing for dental sticks and being a gentlemanly friend to Jodie.
We are lucky to have a faithful,loving friend like you Peter.

Peter relaxing

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Hello again blog readers, well its been quite a while since I've taken time to do a blog post of my own. I can come up with many various excuses for this, the school six weeks summer holidays were a busy time,helping out Elswick Harriers, trying to keep my own running going and generally taking care of everyone, including pets has all been a major distraction from my blog. Also I have found that myGoogle account isnt allowing me to comment on other peoples blogs, which is very frustrating.  With the children now settled back at school and Christmas markets etc looming on the horizon I'm hoping to get busy and maybe even update the blog regularly.

Spooky Halloween Wreath
Yesterday I made a Halloween wreath by cutting shapes from felt and attaching them to a dogwood frame. This is similar in style to a rabbit wreath I made several months ago. The cream coloured rabbitt wreath has remained perfect looking on the outside of the door for months, so I'm sure the idea is durable.

I also managed to finish a garland I've been working on for a while, but just couldn't get round to finishing. Anyway, here it is:


Enchanted Wood Garland
My family will be glued to The Great British Bake Off final this evening, although I'll have to watch it tomorrow on the i-player, as its my night at Elswick Harriers. Robyn especially loves it and is a dab hand herself in the kitchen. She has produces some very delicious pies and cakes and had a go at pasties this week end. She works entirely independently, and is very competent. Her are her pasties

Robyns Pasties 10/10
I tweeted this picture to GBBO judge Paul Hollywood, who is happy to judge baking via Twitter and he replied to say "well done, good effort". Obviously Robyn was delighted and thrilled.

This weekend sees the start of the Harrier League Cross country season which takes in some very unscenic parts of the Newcastle area, like Cramlington,Wrekenton and Farringdon. Still, hoping for a good turn out from the marvellous Elswick womens team.


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Raining Cats And Dogs

Well, the weather has been a disappointing wash out this week, heavy rain showers, and often just persistent heavy rain. The water level in the river Tyne has risen considerably in the last few days and looked totally brimming down at Newburn last night during a high tide.

The River Tyne at Wylam..18th July
I have been getting ready for my next sale, the RSPCA Northumberland West, Fun dog show. This is happening on Sunday 31st July at Tyne Green in Hexham. I am taking only Brooches, mostly cats and dogs.  Here are some of them in their almost made stage
Raining Cats and Dogs.
As I   work at my desk I usually have a furry friend to keep me company....the lovely Peter.

Constant companion, Peter our Greyhound.




Lets hope the weather cheers up a bit, especially with the school holidays coming up in a few days time.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Lady Vet.

Today I made this special Birthday brooch for my friend Sara at Harriers. She turns 35 on Thursday and so will be classified as a veteran in running terms. In my opinion this is rather outdated as men are not classed as vets untill they are 40. Well, we all know that women just get better with age.
Some of the sewing is a little wonky, but it is one of a kind.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Rusty And Bunty

When out walking Jodie and Peter, our Greyhounds, I often bump into other dog walkers and stop for a chat.  On my regular morning amble after I've walked my son to school I  meet two very lovely ladies, Paula and Adele, with their dogs, Rusty and Bunty. Usually we talk about how the dogs are getting on and how sweet they are. Rusty is a playful Airedale Terrier and Bunty is an adventurous chocolate brown labrador. They seem to love each other very much and there is a strong bond of friendship between the dogs themselves and their owners. his week I made Adele and Paula a brooch of their respective dogs.
Rusty.

Bunty.

Owning and caring for a dog truly is one of life's greatest pleasures.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Running Hare Wreath

I made this wreath a while back... now its taking a turn on the front door. I cut the hares from felt and glued them on to a simple willow circle. I've used blu tac to secure it in place, now the gales have died down it should be ok.



Thursday, 19 May 2011

Union Jack Sweet Heart Brooch

Yesterday was a good making day and I finally got round to finishing a little heart brooch I started last week. I hand stitched the ribbon on to the felt to look similar to a union jack.


sweet

Looking forward to bottling the Lemon Balm Beer tomorrow. It smells nicely alcoholic now.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Oak Leaf Brooch

Very little in nature is as beautiful as the new green leaves on an Oak tree. I used a new leaf as the template for this sweet Oak leaf brooch. The veins are hand sewn in a matching green.
Oak Leaf Brooch In Felt


May be it will spark a new range of leaf brooches.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Lemon Balm Beer

The more I learn about Lemon Balm, the more marvellous it becomes. I usually brew up a cup of lemon balm tea when I feel the need (which is quite often), during the spring and summer months when it grows rampantly in our back garden. It is renound for its anti-anxiety and stress relieving properties, but has also proven to improve mental performance and mood. This information is backed up with hard scientific evidence and it is being investigated as a treatment for Alzheimers. It is also antibacterial and antiviral and is thought to calm muscle tissue.
With all this in mind and alot of the stuff going in the garden I decided to try making some beer, by adapting a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe for nettle beer. First I picked a decent bunch of Lemon Balm:
Lemon Balm

Next I chopped it up with some scissors and added it to a large pan with about 3 pints of water. I brought the mixture to the boil for a few minutes, then turned off the heat and allowed it to infuse for about 45 minutes.

Let it brew.
Next I used a seive and spoon to fish out the leaves to leave a clear solution.

Take the leaves out now.

Then I added 210g of caster sugar, 8g cream of tartar,1 tablespoon orange juice,1tablespoon lemon juice.

the other ingredients.

Once the mixture had cooled down to roughly body temperature I added about 1g of ordinary baking yeast. I put the pan with its lid on in our airing cupboard, above the hot water tank, which was the only place I could think of that was reasonably warm, most of the time. It will stay there for about 3 days, then I will bottle it and wait another few days before sampling it.

Cosy.

I shall report back on the quality of what must surely be the ultimate health drink! For me anyway.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Chance outing to Allendale Mill.

This morning we all accompanied Rowan to his final football league fixture of the season, away at Allendale on the edge of the North Pennines. Having visited the same ground previously back in early November I went dressed for the cold. Lee watched the match and Robyn and I took our Greyhounds Jodie and Peter for a stroll. Just around the bend from the sports field we came upon the interesting Allendale Mill. A converted haulage yard, now housing art and craft workshops, Allendale Brewery and the Allendale Bakery, which luckily for us has a delightful cafe selling its freshly baked goods and nice strong coffee.


Seating Outside Allendale Bakery and Cafe
 We enjoyed a warm croissant with coffee and hot chocolate. I also bought some baguettes for lunch which were still lovely and warm from the oven. We were served by an ex-pupil of mine from Haydon Bridge High School. 



Freshly Baked Bread From The Allendale Bakery....Still Warm.
 

Me And The Dogs Chilling At Allendale Bakery


That smells nice!
 After our refreshments we were delighted to chance upon a very sweet little craft shop called Make. Which was stuffed full of locally made goodies and had a nice workshop area upstairs, where a wide variety of classes are held. The very kind owner, Katie has a sign in her window declaring..."all dogs welcome, I like dogs", which is quite refreshing and we were all made to feel very welcome. I bought some beautiful handmade soap and some beeswax candles which were made not too far away in Alston.

So all in all Robyn and I had a lovely time and managed to miss the whole of the football match. Now that's what I call a result!

Allendale Lambs