Sunday, 17 August 2014

Celebrating sad days!

I suppose as you get older it is obvious that you will have to say farewell to loved ones. I know we are not alone in this but sadly we have lost some of our dearest friends at the age of 50. I was talking to a lady of 78 the other day and she told me that 50 is a very dangerous age for men. Well, I do not know whether this theory of hers has any medical basis at all but it certainly rings true with me.

My eldest daughters partners mother lost her husband two years years ago and she has struggled with her loss enormously. They had only been married for just eight years and their days were full of happiness and joy. It often seems to me, it is not the big things which are the hardest to deal with. Banks, insurances, finances have to be addressed. But, favourite shirts. That's another issue.



Well. A friend of hers suggested that the shirts should be transformed into something joyous. Bunting. Flags which could be hung to celebrate,commiserate and just giving some fluttering joy.

Of course this gem of an idea had to have a practical solution. A sewing machine and someone who actually likes making bunting. I have it hanging in my garden all summer long. And I was delighted to help with such a special, precious commission . To begin with I did feel a little bit sad taking the rotary cutter to such special shirts.


But soon it was obvious the pennants were growing beautifully. And by leaving little reminders of their roots the bunting became more and more special. A button hole here,a pocket there. Just lovely.



I like double sided bunting best with smallish gaps between the individual pennants . This new sewing machine makes sewing a joy. 40 flags, 10 in each pattern . So bright and cheery.



There was still some fabric left over and I thought about this lovely lady. She has travelled a lot since her husbands death. Well, bunting is not that portable. So, I thought about a little drawstring bag and zipped along quickly.



Perfect for packing bits and pieces. I lined it so it would make a great wash bag. Or just a place to put your favourite things. All going well but there was still some squares left. I sat and thought a bit more. Bunting to celebrate,a bag to travel with..... But what might you miss the most. Probably someone to cuddle up with. Something soft to lean on whilst watching TV. Something soft to lean against when reading or just dreaming .

The last squares made this.

A soft cushion.



I think some tears may be spilled when these fabric gifts are opened. Poignant tears that quietly speak of dreams,life and desires. Feelings o personal no one else can share them. But, I hope such sadness may be alleviated just a little bit by the transformation of such favourite shirts.


And the winner of my surprise Giveaway is...................

Many moons ago I used to put my head on the pillow. The alarm would go off the next morning and I would drag myself out of bed to face a brand new day.

Now.... Life is very different. Some nights I can't drop off. Some nights I wake up an hour later. Some nights I get a solid ... Four hours before I lay awake for ages. I have stopped freezing about it and as long as I don't have a worry on my mind I do quite a lot of creative thinking in these wee hours.

So, last night I thought I would add the digits of my waking time and choose the winner of my giveaway that way.

I woke at 3.16 .So, add those digits together and Amy at Love Made My Home was the nineteenth person to leave a lovely comment.

I am really happy to declare the winner of this fun Giveaway. I hope Amy is able to put the pictures of the Giveaway on her blog and my endeavours will remain a secret for my stockings at Christmastime.


Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun and I hope you are having a lovely weekend.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

It's been ages since I had a Giveaway. Please join in the fun!

Life is busy. You wait for a magical number of followers . I have been waiting for 250 for tooooooo long. You are not ready. But, actually lovely things happen when you are not watching..... A few nights ago a harvest moon.... Plans for a holiday.... New babies on the way..... Runner beans ripening!

It does not matter why,but I think its time to do my most favourite things. Wrap little parcels and send some love.

Now. This Giveawy is a bit strange because I can't show you what you might get. Because I don't want to give the game away .... Stockings at Christmastime are very special in our house. Often envelopes are given with money or vouchers enclosed. Arbitrary, but,very welcome gifts. BUT, the stockings are filled with love. Home made gifts, hand worked items and also some of the same little gifts every year... The chain link from my childrens first stocking to their latest . I always gave my son a tube of Euthymol toothpaste but it's now stopped being produced. Quirky things linking back to childhood memories that simply express love.

Well I am already making those things. And,as I am busy working towards my Christmas stockings I thought of a Giveaway. It will not be in a stocking but it will be full of fun.

So, it will be a giveaway made with love. Yarn,fabric and card will be there.

Rules.... None. I just want to say an enormous thank you to all the lovely people who take the time to leave comments here at Chalky's. .

Maybe you would be kind enough, if you win, to highlight your lucky dip of a Giveaway with a few photos. I would like that .

So leave a comment below and I will find a quirky way to find a winner.


Sunday, 10 August 2014

Baskets of goodies!

There is something very special about hearing a new baby is on the way. I didn't like dolls when I was a little girl at all. Nor,soft toys either. I loved animals.... Just as well as my dad was a vet. I used to put my rabbit Hoppity in my dolls pram and push it around the neighbourhood. I think people got used to me! In those days you were just out all day long.

But, once I had my babies I "got it!" A new baby is nothing but miraculous and totally wonderful. Those fingers,toes and tongues. Just perfect.

Three of my nieces are pregnant and a special friends daughter in law. And none of them want to know whether they are having a little boy or a little girl. So, I am trying to cover all the goalposts. Ummm. We have tried to work out a formula but no.

Just to start off with a balance I made a blue dinosaur fabric basket. This second one is perhaps not as bodged as my first attempt, the little pink one. But, I know there are little stitches covering up baby bodges.One things for sure the little ones won't notice. Neither will the new Mums .... Those first few weeks or maybe more are a blur if I remember rightly.

I used two fat quarters which are on sale in Hobbycraft at the moment at the wonderful price of £6.50 for six pieces.

I added a little pocket.

But the material would not quite stretch as far as the handles. So, I used some denim and added little bands of the dinosaur fabric. This blue basket I made in a different way. I folded the fabric in half so the lining was the same as the outside. But of course there was no way you could pop the ends of the basket in between the layers. But, I love this little detail of adding a button to attatch the handles.

Then the fun began. Tucking in the treats. Dribble cloths,babygros,nappies,organic washcloths,a soft cuddly blanket ,some bibs,a hat and some toiletries.
I already had these sweet little bibs I made a while back in my cupboard so when I packed the pink basket they were the first to go in.

I also had this little crochet ball with a little bell in the middle. I love the candy stripe colours and some more are definitely needed as I think one for each bag will make the perfect finishing touch.

It's just as well these baskets are not stretchy as I can see myself tucking more things inside as the wonderful waiting game of pregnancy continues.

Thanks for popping in and I hope you are also enjoying the gentle days of summer we are having here in Devon.


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Unusual tenacity!

Crafting always soothes me. Enriches, and fulfills me. I know this is the case for many bloggers. It's a funny old thing this blogging. You may have never met a fellow blogger but it often seems as if you have. That belief that if you were to meet , you would become friends. I have been lucky enough to meet some ... And it has proved to be true. We were nervous to meet,but immediately there was a link, an area of common ground.I would love to meet a few more,but my goodness the blogs I follow are far flung. And, actually I am quite shy. So I would probably need a push in that meeting direction.

Anyway, this last week I needed some fragile days. Some quiet days. Some adjusting days. Some soothing days.



Our little family have left us now and are wending their way slowly back to Dubai. I have already eaten some runner beans. That was magical watering! I am also going to make some runner bean chutney. The cupboard is bare. I made it years ago and loved it.



When loved ones leave I bang the Hoover around. I clean and sort like a madwoman. I eat chocolate. And then at night I peep into those rooms which were full of life, and, for a moment feel bereft. Tidy the may be, empty they are. But, this sad time passes and life is for looking forwards as well as back. So, out came my new sewing machine. I love,love,love it. We don't argue,it behaves,it even threads itself. If you are thinking of buying one I recommend it so highly. How I wish I had saved up years ago!


When I was tidying up I realised I had quite a big, actually, very big material stash. I have been wanting to try some fabric baskets and material pouches for ages.

So, I decide to get going. Stop thinking. Stop procrastinating and DO it. On reflection I am quite determined,I am quite a perfectionist but I lack tenacity. I have a graveyard of projects that have been started..... Knitting with circular needles. Socks that turned into wrist warmers. Arumagami nightmares. I could go on. In one way or another they have not worked.

I googled, I You tubed, I followed Pinterest, I researched pouches and baskets. That was the easy part.

I bought 50 zips for £3.69 on eBay. Brilliant. Quickly delivered. And enough to make a small dent in that stash.

Firstly I followed this tutorial. The pouches looked amazing. Mine didn't . My zips were too baggy,too pinched at the ends and made me frustrated. I should of used tatty bits of material to practice. Instead I waded into making pouches using some rather lovely Batik fat quarters. A big mistake !



Here is the next tutorial I followed. Brilliant. By placing little folded pieces of material at both ends of the zip the side seams became flat, even and not pinched at all.


It is excellent apart from the fact that it forgets to tell you to unzip the zipper before you start pushing the pouch inside out. Why do I always think it's my fault when things don't work?


My machine has been whirring and I have totally " got it" I am thrilled and amazed in equal measure. I rarely add tenacity to my list of attributes. But I was determined to make these pouches. They proved the perfect distraction. And with three little babies on the way I thought they would make nice little presents to let the "Mummies to be " know that I am thinking of them.


Next came the fabric baskets.

I have been so determined to conquer the rotary cutter and mat.

Accuracy and I are not easy bedfellows.

But, I have done it. I can cut pieces of material that are exactly the same size.

I can't believe it.

But, I have a lot to learn about putting these baskets together. This little one is passable. But there is a fair amount if bodging under that pretty ribbon.



I am going to fill it with one of these organic washcloths and lovely baby products. Let's hope there is one little girl on the way!





Talking of washcloths. I found some fingering weight bamboo yarn and these have become a little bit of an addiction.


A few statistics if you want to follow my crafty footsteps.

  1. Zips are for sale on eBay and in my opinion a bargain.The seller is called dtwell1. £3.69 for 50.
  2. I can make 3 pouches out of 1 fat quarter plus lining material.
  3. I cut a little bit off both ends of the zips before machining on the material stops .
  4. I used iron on interfacing to give the pouches a little bit of body.
  5. Make sure you open the Zip before the last bit of machine sewing.
The bamboo yarn can be bought on EBay and it is 99p a ball. I can't put a link,but this is the description. Wholesale soft smooth Natural Bamboo Cotton knitting Yarn Fingering 50 gram. It goes a long way and comes in lots of colours. The seller is called online 163 and it has arrived quite quickly and with efficiency.

I am going to carry on crafting and I am glad I feel calmer.

As always can I say a big " Thank You" to my lovely followers. It often feels you journey with me.













Monday, 28 July 2014

The Gruffalo is 15 years old. Happy days celebrating in the forest.

We are making the most of every precious moment with our little family from Dubai. Mummy and Daddy are left to sleep and Grandma and Grandad are woken with a book or a request. A wriggle around in bed, a story, and then lots of chatter through our breakfast.

And our days are full of lovely things to make our time together really special. Lots of simple things. Cooking,painting,playing and having fun. But today we went to see if we could find the Gruffalo in the forest near us . It was such good fun and Auntie Lindsay and Buster made the outing complete.








We even took William's baby Gruffalo . It just shows you how big the forest one is!

I know this photo will remind me of such a lovely day with William and his Mummy and Daddy.


You can guess what story we shall have tonight.

Before I go to bed every night I sit on William's bed. I quietly watch him sleeping. A little twitch a fleeting smile and gentle breathing. I ask him every morning " did you have a nice dream!" I am so glad he always says "yes!"

Tonight I think the Gruffalo may be the star of the show.

I hope you manage to get to a forest near you and you have fun finding the Gruffalo. I think its fun for anyone aged two or one hundred and two!

Literature and children ..... Sharing books must be the best gift you can give any child. And when they are as special as the Gruffalo it makes such a gift near perfect.



Sunday, 20 July 2014

Butterfly Wings!

I have been flitting about like a butterfly all week. Very pleasantly I might add. A little bit if this and a little bit of that. Accepting that it is fine to have lots of projects on the go. Of course all this has been accompanied by lots of visits to check for new photos on Facebook.

Our family have had a lovely time in Spain. Lots of hot sunshine,sea,swimming and fun.

I just love these cheeky photos.



I think happy holidays can make memories that last forever.

So,this week whilst they have been away I have been thinking a little bit about some birthdays which are coming up.

I wanted to make some cotton washcloths. There are some lovely examples on Pinterest....if you have the odd hour to fill!

I love to make hand make gifts best of all and I have this idea forming in my mind.

I want to make a material basket like these beauties made by Joy.



I hope Joy believes that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Her work is beautiful. I want to fill them with home made goodies. And I have made a start with the washcloths with a bar of pretty soap tucked in. All tied up with lovely ribbon. That sounds like a song from The Sound Of Music!




Then in will tumble the lavender pouches I was pulling my hair out about last week. I have kept practising with my cutting mat,ruler and rotary cutter every day.

I can not believe I have managed a degree of accurate cutting.

I was so pleased to pop these little lavender pouches in a pile and they were all the same size!





Then I am going add a beribboned towel and some home made body scrub in a mason jar.

Those additions are on my ever growing "to do" list!

But, I really think a hand made hamper like this will make a lovely gift. I think I will make one for myself too. And, if Joy did not live on the other side of the world I would love to drop one around to her to say "thank you" for inspiring me!

Talking of inspiration. Flower posies from the garden inspire me too.


Simple posies,simple pleasures.


Thank you as always to all my lovely followers who take the time to leave such lovely comments. They make my days happy ones.

Whilst talking of happy days. We have eleven now with our little family and the edible William.

So forgive me if I have my head tucked in a book, or my hands on the tap of the hosepipe.

I will catch up with you all when they go.

With a box of tissues by my side I expect x