Encouraging fairies; I made paper mache toadstools!

paper mache toadstool ring

I spent the weekend making these toadstools and I love them! In my head they were expertly crafted and beautifully painted. In real life they’re not quite as perfect looking as in my head but I reckon I did a pretty good job. As usual, I was religiously trawling Pinterest when I saw some that I knew I had to make.

At the weekend I am helping with a friends birthday party. Her daughter is turning four and is having a fairy themed party. I think I’ll be able to squeeze these in there somewhere. If they survive, I’ll also work them into my Halloween celebrations!!

Any way, I thought I’d share my pictures of how I made mine. The original tutorial is really good and it’s a proper tutorial whereas, I’ll just show the various stages of the makings of them. I  recommend checking out the original if you fancy having a go.

making toadstools with foil

Actually this was an addition to the tutorial; I added coppers to the bottoms of the stems to add weight. They stand up nicely.

using pennies as weights

For the larger toadstools, I made a disc of foil and put three pennies on top.

wrapping the bottom in foil

Then I wrapped that in more foil and squidged it together.

shaping the toadstool stem

Twisty twisty with the foil.

foil base for toadstools

The caps were made separately from the stems.

covering the foil toadstool pieces in masking tape

Following the tutorial, I covered it all in masking tape so that the paper mache has something to grip. I don’t know if this was necessary but it also helped to shape everything.

paper mache toadstools

Once I had covered it all, I left them for a couple of days to dry naturally. In April, I was playing with paper mache and thought I’d put my creation out in the hot sun to dry. It was too intense and it did annoying crinkly things to what I was working on (Ice King pinata-it was so cool).

painting toadstools

I’ve ruined my tray as I was too lazy to get a separate doodah for the paint. I did two coats of  acrylic paint. Three would have been better.

getting out the glue gun

I love playing with my glue gun. Stems got stuck to caps. And fingers.

painting on the dots

I thought too much about dot placement. Not the worst thing to worry about, I guess.

paper mache toadstool decoration.

Now, er, where to put them? I don’t know and I don’t care, they’re so cute!

easy paper mache toadstools

I skipped the stage of using paper mache to smooth out the seal between cap and stem. I shouldn’t have done. It would’ve have looked so much better with lovely neat gills.

Any way, that is what I did at the weekend! I also squeezed in a couple of crochet squares for the fireplace blanket (nearly all squares done). And I’ve fun over the last two days making half a tonne of tissue paper flowers and other exciting fairy party related things. Really, I should have my own fairy party. It’s all too exciting.

The garden in late summer.

baby bonnet. cotton crochet

Before I post endless pictures of the garden, I had better show at least one recent crochet project. This is a cute baby bonnet I made for a friend, whose baby girl was born last week.

tiny crochet baby bonnet

I made it in a DK cotton. I thought cotton would be best for a teeny weeny new born.

baby's crochet bonnet

I found the pattern on Pinterest. It was a lovely pattern, very easy to follow. It is here. You can add a couple more rows to make it bigger. Once I’d finished, I wished I had. However, it fits! Not for long though.

Any way, the following pictures are more for my benefit than any one else. I’m posting them so I can see how the garden looked in the late summer of 2015! The answer is, messy.

spider and bee

I have always taken pictures of the garden and over the years it has changed quite a lot. The photo’s are a reminder because otherwise I’d assume it always looked the same. It’s easy to forget.

fluffy bee on his sunflower

Busy bee.

bee on a sunflower

He didn’t mind having a camera poked at him in the slightest.

summer garden is a mess

It never occurred to me before that sunflowers would seed themselves. I said in a previous post that it is because of my dodgy homemade compost. The Hollyhocks are doing surprisingly well but they’re very spindly. Just the white ones arrived.

summer gardewn flowers

I’ll be interested to look back on these in a year or two. I hope to make some changes to the planting but need to have a think.

garden in late summer

The Honeysuckle had it’s best year so far. Lots of flowers appeared. We hacked it back to just a few inches last year. Did the trick.

A late summer garden

I could have taken some pictures of a different area of the g arden I suppose. Um, Maybe the tatty looking veg patches. Everything is coming to an end.

I have been busy crafting and taking too many pictures. So many, that sorting through them has been blah. So this post is a bit of a filler really. I will be getting my bum in gear and doing some more crafty business in the next couple of weeks.

 

Some more Leibster questions

6am red sky in the morningBack garden at 6am last Thursday and contrary to the saying, the shepherds did not need to be warned, it was a nice day.

Last week I nominated Esshaych for the Liebster Award. Well, Esshaych has nominated me back and I get to answer some more questions! Esshaych is a great blog for those (like me), who enjoy amigurumi. If you don’t know what this Liebster thing is about have a look at my last post.

Here are the questions I was asked:

1. What is your favourite craft, and why?

I like lots of different crafts but crochet is probably the one I do the most. I also enjoy sewing little things such as bags, purses and toys. I’d like to say I’m a regular clothes maker too but I can’t find enough time.

2. Best thing you’ve ever made?

I made Beth Doherty’s fawn and I love him.

amigurumi fawn. a bit dusty now

He isn’t perfect and he’s covered in dust now. He’s so tightly stitched that he can stand all by himself. I’m proud of that!!

Amigurumi fawn. He's a few years old and looking dusty. Still love him.

I’ve been asked to make these for people but I’ve been putting it off as I remember some tricky techniques involved. The pattern is in this book.

3. And the worst?!

I was asked this question before and I’ve made some pretty shoddy things over the last few years. I attempted to design a crochet cupcake that was just an embarrassment and the first blankets I made were terrible.

4. Do you have any superstitions?

I secretly worry after I’ve walked under a ladder.

5. Do you prefer to read books or watch movies?

Both. But they’re often sidelined if I need to do something crafty. I can’t crochet and watch tv at the samew time. I miss too much of what’s going on.

6. Your favourite place you have visited?

Not sure I have an ultimate favourite but Lydford Gorge on Dartmoor is amazing (even better if there are no other visitors). Any where on Dartmoor is cool. There are lots of piskies running around. You will never see them watching you. They’re there.

7. What craft supply did you purchase last?

I bought some cream DK with dark speckles in it. I was trying to see if it would make a good amigurumi snowy owl (it won’t).

8. Dolls – Yes or No?!

Yes. I want to sew some dolls but they always end up at the bottom of the to make list. 😦

9. Ever been to any gigs/concerts? If so, what was your favourite and why?

When I was 15 I went to see Blur and REM at Milton Keynes Bowl. It was so hot that day. It was the first time Blur sang Country House! I loved that song! I also saw Primal Scream around the same time.  I can’t say that either of these experiences blew me away. I’ve seen other bands since but it’s been a while. I’d like to take my boys to a festival when they’re a bit older but I don’t think they’d like it in the dance tent (that’s where I’d head to now).

10. Do you own any cacti?

No but I’m not averse to the idea. We do need more plants in my house. I’d like some in the bathroom to make it look like a jungle.

11. Favourite colour/colour combo?

Green and brown are my favourite colours.

And below are the questions from Ericka Eckles. She was one of my nominees and has gone to town on her answers. They’re fabulous!

If you could have a fantasy date with anyone who would it be?

I love this question. I am going to say Nathan Fillion. I don’t really fancy him but I think he’s very funny. Love Firefly and love Castle.  In a minute I’ll remember someone super hot and wish I’d said them. No! I won’t, that’s mega shallow.

What pieces connected with what you love to do, do you really treasure….

All the uniques things that no one else has. Handmade things. My crochet case is handmade as is my needle case. And I love all the ladybird books I’ve collected. I love looking at the pictures and I like the fact that I can get one down from the shelf to show my children an interesting fact about the weather or something.

What do you wish you were better at/could do?

I’d like to be a fancy knitter and super dressmaker. Given the time, I could definitely get better at both but I want to do everything NOW and that’s frustrating.

sun setting over houses(Friday evening at the front of the house).

Hopefully I’ll be able to share some more stuff soon. Back to normal next week, once eldest son has gone back to school. I’m looking forward to helping at a fairy fancy dress party in a couple of weeks. There will be mucho crafting involved in that. And for the last couple of weeks I have already had Halloween on my mind. Definitely gonna do crafty shenanigans for that…

A Leibster Award: Discover new blogs.

liebster2

Many thanks to Alida at Buttercup and Bee for my nomination.

Liebster Award (Google it to find out more) is an award for new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) as a way to get to know each other and introduce some fresh and exciting blogs. I don’t think I’ve stuck to those who have fewer than 200 followers or those that are new to blogging but it turns out that it’s quite tricky to stick to the criteria. These are a selection of blogs I like, some I’ve only recently discovered.

I was a right stick-in-the-mud the other time I got a nomination for a new blogger award (when I had only written a handful of posts). I never got round to completing the task. Tsk. This time I thought I’d make the effort because it does seem like a friendly way of spreading communications between bloggers. And it is fun! However, I do understand if this isn’t something you want to partake in.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
    Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post too.
  2. Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
  3. Ensure all of these bloggers have fewer than 200 followers.
  4. Answer the eleven questions asked to you by the person who nominated you, and make eleven questions of your own for your nominees or you may use the same questions.
  5. Lastly, COPY these rules in your post.

….This is my addition to the rules saying, you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to. No pressure.

Here’s who I’m nominating:

https://buttercupandbee.wordpress.com

Nominating you back! Ha ha.

https://hooksandhabits.wordpress.com

https://sweetamaretti.wordpress.com

https://hookstitchsew.wordpress.com

http://connienaka.com

Connie at Joyful Solitude nominated me for a One Lovely Blog award back in June (the one I mentioned above). Please look at her blog so that you’re aware of events happening on the island of Saipan that, you might not have heard about on the news.

https://erickaeckles.wordpress.com

http://esshaych.com

https://no85.wordpress.com

https://quietensheorot.wordpress.com

These were the questions I was given to answer (yours are below):

1.What do you do to relax and wind down?

Bugger about on the computer, read, watch movies, but mostly crochet and waft around being “creative” (with or without booze).

2.Do you collect anything? If so, what?

Books. I collect ladybird books, old illustrated children’s books and books about folklore.  Also, random junk from charity shops and jumble sales that gets squeezed onto the shelves in my house.

3.Where would you most like to travel to?

Japan and America probably.

4.What is your favourite meal to cook?

Cooking is awesome, I don’t think I have an absolute favourite to make. I do enjoy making curries though.

5.Name the last book you read. Was it any good?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Yes it was good, I really enjoyed it. There is a movie coming soon. Don’t mess it up, Speilberg!

6.What is your favourite crafting project to date?

Usually it’s the one I am working on (until it is finished and then I end up thinking it’s rubbish). However, I am still pretty keen on the cherry blossom needlecase I made.

7.What was your worst crafting disaster?

Loads. I can’t think of any specific ones but there are plenty of things I’m thoroughly ashamed of.

8.What would you most like to learn?

Probably another language. Learning a martial art  would be pretty good. And I think I’d like to learn how to use a camera properly. And I’d like to learn how to become a proper dressmaker so I can adjust patterns to suit me.

9.Name a person that has inspired you in your life.

All of my besties. An awe-inspiring bunch!

10.Where do you take inspiration from for your crafting?

Old books and Pinterest.

11.Describe yourself in 3 words.

Don’t want to!  :p

My questions to you:

  1. What did you have for tea last night?
  2. What are you having for tea tonight?
  3. What are you doing at the weekend?
  4. As a child, what did you want to be when you were a grown up
  5. What was your first job?
  6. Name a book you read again and again.
  7. Adventure Time: Yes or No?
  8. What do you collect?
  9. Mastermind subject?
  10. um, running out of questions to ask. Can’t think. Feel free to make up two questions you’d like to ask yourself! Answer them too, obvs. X

Pens, Pencil Cases and Getting out there.

I've never seen so many Sharpie colours!

I bought pens! So many pens. I am not entirely sure what I’m going to use them for. It was a bit of a naughty purchase really but they were only £6.99 from WHSmiths.

My new Sharpie pens!

Looking at Pinterest last night I learned that, contrary to what I believed, they are actually useless for tarting up plates and cups. Not that I was planning on drawing all over my crockery but it leaves me with one less option. My first thought upon getting all these shiny new things was where to put them? Well…..

Newly made zippered bag. Easy pattern!

I made them a pencil case all of their very own! It didn’t take very long and I had to get the sewing machine out to do a proper sewing thing anyway (more curtains). It is based on the mini zippered bag but I’ve made this a lot so I didn’t need to follow the tutorial.

An easy to make zippered bag.

I love the fabric. I bought it in May, in a little shop in Exmouth called Creative Sewing. It sells the loveliest, prettiest, poshest fabric. I only bought a few fat quarters and some ribbon because I couldn’t afford much else. Now I have a new home for my pens. The children are not allowed these pens, we’ve only just redecorated.

Simply Crochet Magazine reader pages.

Look! It’s me!! I made these little guys a few weeks ago and tagged Simply Crochet magazine on the picture I instagrammed. I was pretty chuffed to see them in the magazine. Now I know they don’t make up pretend readers! I don’t often buy magazines (not reeeallly), let alone make the patterns within the pages but I did this time. It has definitely given me a boost but I am wondering if I should aim higher next time. I’m thinking about focusing more on my own designs and seeing what happens if I shout loud about them… for example:

lots of crochet owls

These little hooters are becoming really popular. I posted the pattern at the beginning of the month. They are my Granny Owl Decorations. A few days later I twigged that I should probably put them on Ravelry. I did and it went a bit mental for a couple of days. Then yesterday, completely out of the blue, they gathered loads of interest after someone (I’ve no idea who) posted a link on their Facebook page. Very interesting, very exciting. I guess I need to be less scared about what I’m doing. Stop being a wimp. And I guess I should say “Thanks” to those who have found and liked my owlies. There will definitely be more patterns from me in the future.

PS I’m many places online. Over on the right you can see my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. Please Follow/Like and what have you. And I’m also on Pinterest (all.the.time).  Have a look! Thank you. X

Actually using stuff from the garden.

Ripening figs

We spotted ripening figs on the tree yesterday. I ate one, just to say that I had. One is enough for me, thanks.  They’re so weird.

Inside a fig

The flavour is strange, as is the dual texture. I dislike the pap but the crunchy seeds are interesting. I’ll give most of them away but I like to make one annual figgy gesture by trying them in a recipe. I could do a chutney I suppose. One year I dried them but they were kind of medicinal.

Nasturtium seeds to pickle

These are Nasturtium seed pods. I’m making piccalilli today. I picked these yesterday, as well as other things to accompany them.

vegetables for turning into piccalilli

These are all from my garden and have joined a chopped up onion to attend a piccalilli party. Yesterday, I sliced them up and put them in a giant bowl with lots of salt.

vegetables being salted for piccalilli.

In about an hour I’m going to wash off the salt and then muck about with the pickling ingredients. The recipe is a River Cottage one. I wouldn’t have thought of using the Nasturtium pods. I’ve heard that you can treat them like capers, but I haven’t looked into that.

courgette polpette

With more courgettes than is necessary, I also remembered another recipe I wanted to try; Courgette Polpette. They were OK but I would change the recipe if I made them again. With all that courgette, they were just too wet. And they needed way more cheese. Everything benefits from a shed load of cheese.

Parsley from the garden. Very easy to grow.

The Parsley is from the garden too. I love it. I like to grow it in the veg bed where it can get nice, big roots. Growing it in pots is not the same. It also lasts all season and you can collect seeds the following year, to start all over again!

Mojito in the mint!

Saving the best till last, cocktails! I had a Mojito with my garden Mint. We’ve only got dark rum though, I hope that’s acceptable.

Mojito in the garden

The only other thing I use the Mint for is sauce for roast lamb. I’m so hungry right now.

drinks in the garden

And an order was put in for a G&T, so I plucked a few Borage flowers off of the many many plants I have and popped those in with a slice of cucumber. Borage flowers have a kind of cucumbery flavour too.

Borage and cucumber in a G&T

I’m also quite thirsty.

Gin and Tonic with cucumber and borage flowers

Anyway, I’m off to finish my piccalilli! Hope it works. I have to wait at least four weeks to find out…

Catching up with crochet blankets and changes in the garden.

Not quite half way to go in my new blanket.

I haven’t been working on these squares since the summer holidays began. I honestly didn’t think the holidays would have much of an impact on my crafty gubbins but it absoloutely has. Progress has slowed right down. However, this is still a good batch of squares. So far, there are fifty two and shockingly, ends have already been sewn in. Some ends have been sewn in. A few. I want over a hundred to make this blanket.  I can’t remember the exact number needed. It doesn’t matter at this stage. I’ll have a play and then decide.

I love the pattern for this one. It takes a weeny bit longer to make than a regular Granny but it looks that much more special. It’s called the Petal Patch Motif by Betsy Makes. I’ll give myself an Autumn deadline for this one.

Fireplace tile squares

I’ve also been having a good old tinker around with this pattern. It’s the Lily Pad square and it’s very pretty. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing this one complete. I have a feeling it’ll look lovely.

The first square I made is the one on the bottom right. The middle is tighter and kind of went nipply (?!). I added some chains between stitches for the first couple of rounds, which sorted that out. I have also only just twigged that it’s someone called Lily who will become the owner of this blanket! Lily pads for Lily. Hee!

tiles around the fireplace

This tile is the inspiration for the colours. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago and haven’t moved on that much further. Fingers crossed that the colours match in real life. It’s tricky colour matching by photographs.

Looking up at the fig tree.

Will I be getting ripe figs this year? Last year, the tree was laden with fruit but none of the blighters ripened. I always get excited about seeing them ripen but truthfully, I thinks figs are a bit pappy. However, I do like to pass them on to friends. People get excited by homegrown figs and I like to hand out bags and bags of them.

Runner beans are easy to grow

My runner beans are in full swing. I flippin love runner beans. I’m tempted to make chutney this year. I have a good recipe somewhere and I haven’t made any for a few years. Hmm. I could make some courgette chutney too…

pink japanese anemone against the sky.

The pink Japanese Anemone is looking fabulous at the moment. I wish I could say the same for the white one I got a couple of years ago. The white one is in too much shade and I’m not sure the ground, in which it sits, is that nutrient rich. I might dig it up and move it.

great anemone photo

Scroll past these if you like. I’m gonna add another anemone picture next too…

cottage garden with pink japanese anemone

Behind, on the right is Arron’s Rod, I think. A bit weedy but it is adding height. I really need to research some flowering plants that are about 6 foot tall. Any suggestions?

baby garden spider

Helloo baby garden spider. I saw loads of these in the spring when they’d hatched, so I knew they would find themselves homes. He flashed his belly at me.

Going for cottage garden look

The garden in the summer looks a lot different to how it was in the spring. There are brighter flowers and it looks a lot less organised.  I don’t know how to plan planting very well and it shows.

Hollyhocks, crocosmia and a pink weed

I’m astounded that the Hollyhocks flowered. They have been affected by rust. I sprayed them with Rose Clear, which has antifungal things in it. It seems to have helped them to recover just enough. Not just for roses it seems. Beside it, the Crocosmia is mightily happy. It isn’t bothered by rust.

I did not plant this sunflower

Several Sunflowers have come up at the bottom of the garden. I didn’t put them there. What I did put there was homemade compost. I deny putting Sunflowers in the compost though. I have no idea how they got there. Lots of self seeding has gone on down at the bottom of the garden. That Borage has barged its way in. And there is what I suspect to be Verbena Bonariensis coming up too.  The pink flowers are Lavatera but that was deliberately planted.

summer colours in the garden.

So, there are all these colours going on. It’s a bit of a muddle. It looks nice enough but I need lessons in planning. Maybe an overhaul for next year? Do I start now? I’m not sure what to do.