Crafting, fun and friendship

Crafting, fun and friendship

Wednesday, 19 September 2018



Well, we got back from holiday last weekend and, to be honest, not much crafting has taken place apart from a wee bit of crochet!  We had a marvellous week away and I'm still in relaxed holiday mode :-D

I was given so much stuff by the generous Croppers that my desk looks like this:

Stuff everywhere - above and below! I have some serious sorting out to do...the weather forecast isn't great so I shan't feel guilty for staying in and playing nicely. I do love a good sort out!

The crochet blanket is growing very slowly - I'm doing a bit more now the weather's cooler. I've reached the end of the colour sequence with the turquoise at the top so will now start again with the yellow. I've come to the conclusion that I'm a very methodical person - I find doing abstract extremely tricky!

When I was on my hols, I went to Ruthin and found this little wool shop:

Teeny tiny it was! It dawned on me that Elizabeth had featured it in her blog last week as she was staying in the area too. I must have been chasing her around North Wales! I didn't buy any new yarn though as there's a bag full in the JanCave to use up first. Ooooh, she's harsh!

This little shop was in Ruthin, a gorgeous Welsh market town with some incredibly old buildings, it was a real pleasure to saunter around for a couple of hours. On the outskirts of town was a very high end art/craft gallery and studio complex. Some very nice stuff, I can tell you but what caught my eye was an exhibition by textile artist Audrey Walker. I'd never heard of her and yet she's featured in many exhibitions including at the V&A.

It was all painted fabric backgrounds with simple running stitch patterns - the sort of thing that you think would be really easy but actually very difficult to do in reality.

This G&T for example, it looks very elementary but the nuances in stitch colour was sooooo clever...

I loved the shadows.

I think it caught my attention as I've been trying to do Sashiko recently. My friend Lynne said it was very like Kantha embroidery from East India.

Audrey also worked in colour:

Love this!

And this:

She was a real surprise and an inspiration to boot. I really must crack on with my feeble attempts!

As previously mentioned, the Croppers were soooooo generous but I must mention Debbie Rock in particular who, though she couldn't make it to Llandudno, sent me a huge amount of art and cards to help raise money for the RNLI (£120 so far and counting). I loved one of her pictures so much, I had to buy it!

Now in pride of place on my kitchen wall!! Thanks Debbie, your wonderful craftwork will help raise lots more lovely cash for a brilliant cause xx

Have a great week - I hope that I'll have a bit more to show you next time!

Wednesday, 12 September 2018


(Except it's Autumn, but you get the idea!)

Well, the Crop was another huge success - thank you first and foremost to Margaret, who did her usual masterly organisation to make the day run so smoothly. For a full photo post see here. Then it was thanks to the folks who came to LA for the day as it wouldn't work without you. It was so lovely to see some familiar faces and wonderful to welcome some newbies - Twiglet, Heather and the special guest Shaz from Oz. Wow, it was so good to meet these lovely folk. Shaz seemed to beam all day!!
The generosity was also so wonderful, items brought for the take-it table, contributions to the raffle - we made £170 profit, split between the RNLI and Margaret's Ugandan schools charity. Special mention must go to Debbie Rock too as she made some beautiful things.

The Family Appleton are here for a week in a cottage...well, I say 'cottage', in reality it's the wing of a 16th century manor house!!
Tucked into folds of the Clwydian hills, it's easy to bypass it in the rush to visit Snowdonia, so we picked this specifically to explore a new (to us) area.  We've enjoyed it so much, I'm going to do a fuller post when we get back home.

So my JanCave Mk 3 has been this beautiful room:

I bet coming here for Christmas would be magical!  Ancient oak panelling plus huge slate flagstone's idiosyncratic for sure but amazing.

I did a teensy bit of Sashiko at the Crop and have continued with a few more lines.

But mostly I've been sitting in the kitchen gazing out at this view...

I came back from the Crop LADEN with spare stash, donations, what seemed like the entire contents of Shaz Silverwolf's folder...I sorted it out in order that we could fit it in the car for the journey home, lol!  Debbie's beautiful artworks are front of shot....

We've done some great sightseeing since but I shall leave you with just one taken from our visit to Chester zoo:

D'awwwww! I adore orang utans and have actually seen them in the wild in Sumatra. The team at Chester are doing a fantastic job with conservation - this species needs all the help it can get - but in the meantime, they are looked after incredibly well. 

Have a good week y'all :-D

Saturday, 8 September 2018



Well, after all the waiting and preparation and secret guesting, the day arrived!  To be honest, the day was pretty much like any other Crop except that Julia wasn't there. We did miss you lovely gal but chatting and cake eating still seemed to dominate the day, lol!

We met again in the hall in Llandudno, it didn't take long for folk to get sat down and the chatting to commence - amazingly there seems to be a bit of crafting too, well done Shaz!

 Margaret played a blinder again this year with the catering and organisation being superb. Thanks lovely gal, you are amazing!

Shaz was doing some serious colouring - look at those glorious pencils....

A wonderful friend, it was sooo good to catch up again.

Doug Silverwolf and PJ (Mr Bishopsmate)  were enjoying the day too - PJ was making a wooden train, he did the most crafting of anybody on the day!

Christine (Bishopsmate) and Sarah were soon hard at work too...

Christine was printing fabric to make lavender bags...

And Sarah was colouring some beautiful stamped images...clever lady!

Two great friends, reunited for the day - Annie (Wipso) and Elizabeth (Silver Scrapper)...did they co-ordinate their outfits for the day? Lol

So lovely to see Chris (Mrs D) again, it was good to hear all about her big move recently...

...and here are two folk who had never attended a Crop before! Jo (Twiglet) was showing our very Special Guest how to Dumf.  I was so pleased to meet Jo after a gap again of three years.
But the prize for furthest travelled guest goes to....

Shaz in Oz!! Woohoo - how fantastic it was to meet this lovely lady after knowing her online for such a long time. Everyone was thrilled to meet her in person - I hope you have a wonderful time visiting in the UK Shaz!

And her dumfing was pretty good too!

Jo was doing well threading the needle without her glasses, lol! Much better than I could have done....

And here was another first time Cropper...but can you guess who?

Heather, that's who! I really enjoyed meeting you, lovely gal, and get to know a bit more about you. We're so pleased you came today :-D

It was so good to see Neet again too - she's still a funky babe!

And so wonderful to catch up with Chris (Pearshaped Chris) again!

Chris was quickly catching up with her ATCs to swap with everyone....

I LOVE this pic!! A Silverwolf and an Aussie :-D

Margaret was so busy behind the scenes - we couldn't thank her enough. Jo was such a help too, thank you mate.

I love these gals....

Look Julia - I actually did a tiny bit of crafting! Some Sashiko stitching - I didn't get very far though, lol!

This pic makes me smile - Jo and Elizabeth look very mischievous...

...but not half as mischievous as these two!!!

The usual swaps table was there filled with stash kindly donated....

And we had a sort-of raffle too....

But of course, these amazing women are the main reason for the day - I'm privileged to call them friends. They're so generous too - we made just shy of £170 for charity, which Margaret and I decided to split between two, the RNLI and the Ugandan charity supported so wonderfully by Margaret's church. Thank you so much everyone and how can we forget these fine folk?

Awesome, each and every one, who join in with the chat, crafting, cake eating but also clearing up and generally helping. Thanks gents!

It's been a very long day and I'm looking forward to snoozing but thought I'd get these pics up first. Hope you got a flavour of what the day was like - roll on the next one!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2018



Another mad week, two sets of planned visitors and one very big surprise, a reunion, producing a sketch for the WI County meeting amidst all the essential day to day stuff. I would say I've got a quieter week ahead but I'm afraid that all sorts of events will spring out of the woodwork!

Consequently my desk is a heap!  I have been making a few items when I can sneak into the JanCave. I made this to giveaway but I can't! Give it away, that is.......

Well, you know how much I adore this fabric and the pattern just fell right. My £1.99 reading glasses from Home Bargains are going to fit in here just fine :-D

Our visitors included:

My brother Steve and his mate Stuart getting ready to cycle down to the Grand Depart of the Tour of Britain! The TV coverage was great and there were some lovely aerial shots of Carmarthenshire.

These were the unexpected visitors! We met Rita and Fred at the Summer School in Canada - they were in the UK, I saw their pics on FB and. as they were in the area, invited them over for a meal and catch-up - so lovely to see them again!!

But the most wonderful get together was the reunion of a little gang of friends from my schooldays - I hadn't seen two of them for forty years!!

It was wonderful to see them again - we've all had interesting professional lives as well as raising families. Our professions encompassed a Midwife, Headteacher, Teacher, Gynae consultant, Professor of Physiotherapy and a retired Beach Bum (guess which one I was!!)  Not bad for a group who attended a small, slightly old fashioned Welsh Grammar for Girls in the 70's :-D

I've got lots to bring up to Llandudno for the Crop on Saturday - musn't forget any of it. I still haven't decided what to bring craft-wise - don't know why I'm bothering really, nothing will get done apart from chatting, eating, chatting, drinking,'s going to be so tough to keep up, lol!!

Have a good week and see some of you dear friends VERY SOON - woohoo!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018



Well, that was a crazy week, two separate lots of visitors within 6 days...the guest room bedding has never been so well washed!! But some crafting did get done, woohoo :-D

Here's the desk in the crafty aftermath:
Tangled cords and scraps of fabric waiting to be put away - my box file full of cardboard templates is on the left. They're supposedly sorted out into groups but that system doesn't last long....

I made some drawstring PE Bags to sell for the RNLI - 
I love this nautical fabric, it was part of a fat quarter bundle from Hobbycraft - my brother Steve saw it and thought it would be great for his dancing shoes. Old Twinkletoes does Ballroom and Jive dancing so it'll get used a lot. 

A demo shot with Steve's trainers sticking out - they do fit in, this was for artistic effect, lol!!

Then I used some of the Marvel Superheroes fabric:
This worked really well - I'm looking out for a craft show now.....or maybe Steve fancies another shoe bag!!

And another, using up some contrasting fabric:

My nephew, his wife and my 8 week old great-nephew came to stay as well and I thought the Marvel fabric would make a great bandanna bib:

Fun huh?! I used some towelling for the lining and another of those colourful poppers to fasten. This was so easy to make, I did another in the fishy fabric but forgot to take a pic of that. I also made Leo some bunting:

He's got a lot of lion stuff so I thought a seaside theme would be a bit different!

If you're interested, the Cycle Tour of Britain starts on Sunday at the Pembrey Country Park which is just down the road. TV coverage is on ITV4 at 10.45 - there should be some great shots of 'my' beach and the lovely countryside around. The council are pulling out all the stops to make the route look good, there are lots of green painted bikes around the villages at the moment with this outside the County Hall in Carmarthen itself:

It must be 10 metres tall! Perfect for the Jolly Green Giant, I should think :-D  So please don't call me on Sunday morning, I shall be glued to the screen!!

Have a great week!