#28 On the Needles in April!

I have been desperate to get this post out for a while and without further ado here it finally is!

We moved flat earlier this month and are experiencing some delays in setting up ie broadband and switching utility companies etc. Throw in an energetic 3 year old and boisterous 18month old to the mix and i hope you will imagine the challenge we had on our hands? …but nevertheless we have moved and are more or less settled:)

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Plenty of crafting was still going on especially on the knitting front!!! I know, i dont think thats happened to me before! RE-discovered some old podcasts i avidly followed once in my pre-baby days and i learnt a few new skills here and there. As we still have no broadband connection, 1 month on, i feel this might be a great opportunity to cash in on more skill development time…and why not?!

I have to apologise for my previous March post- it was admittedly a little rushed and the imbedded pictures left a lot to be desired – the impending move had a lot to do with that im afraid…but its something i’m working on!

So here’s what i got up to in April…..

Vintage Granny Shawl

Completed! I flew threw the last few balls and managed to crochet on an improvised scalloped edge to give it a more vintage-esque aesthetic… and im happy to say i have it on my sofa all the time, ready for me to wrap over my shoulders when it gets a little nippy and it hasnt disappointed. A couple of gold vintage inspired buttons given to me by an aunt added a further touch of retro glamour to my shawl. Cosy cosy!

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My Fair Isle Fascination

Fair Isle designs have always caught my attention…the colours, the skill…completely awe-inspiring. However this seemed to be a whole different world of knitters and knitt-ing to a novice as myself. Recently, for some unknown reason i had become a sort of woman possessed…it was like a fair isle obsession from nowhere, i just really wanted to give this phenomenon a go!. (Running before walking as such is a phrase that comes to mind)…but whether i was going to be any good was another matter…i wanted to at least try it.
One night with the kids tucked up in bed, husband working late, i got hold of some needles and a few balls of yarn in different colours…armed with my phone i sat down and let you-tube teach me a bit about fair isle for beginners….. Voila!

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If i had to name this ‘scarf’..it would be my trainspotter scarf (no offense to trainspotters)..simply because it brought out the happy geek in me! Essentially, its just free-styled fair isle and the colour scheming is proving to be a helpful exercise- inspiring other possible scarf projects and helping me to visualise what yarns work together and which definitely don’t.

And contrary to my sister’s advice, i might even consider wearing it myself once its complete….again, why not?!

Its definitely not something i would only try once, i fear Fair Isle might become a little addictive once you do get the hang of it…. time will tell.

The pink scarf request

April is still very much cold enough for big coats, fluffy scarves and woolly gloves so when my almost-4yr-old specifically requested a ‘pink scarf mummy’ the pressure was on.

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I haven’t completed a scarf before but being a great beginner project i had tried a few times…but then ripped them out shortly after too.
Hopefully this time i will get one finished for her. Will fair isle sneak in there somewhere?….Never say neverūüėČ

Some YouTube videos i found usefull if you are interested in beginner fair isle knitting:

1. Knitting tutorial by iKnits

2. Tutorial by KNITfreedom

3. Reading patterns, adding colour and 2 colour fair isle by Kristen Leigh

HAPPY KNITTING ALL

Sabeena

#27 Spring Makes – March

March has been frantic for¬†me this year; my birthday & Mothers’ Day (UK) almost super-imposing,¬† reshuffling & reorganising for an imminent flat change in April¬†(exciting) as well as¬†the usual school run¬†with my almost-4-year-old, 18-month old¬†in tow.

The seasonal changes haven’t gone unnoticed however! Cherry blossoms and those blink-and-you’ll-miss-them daffodils have announced the much awaited arrival of Spring! Phew, so glad February is over (cooooold)!

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This month there hasn’t been a lot of ‘free’ time to dedicate to craft projects per se….but I have continued to indulge in a bit of reading and of course work on my knitted, cream shawl which is really starting to take shape as I add an improvised border in white. I have decided to give this shawl a name and call it my Vintage Granny Shawl! It’s the sort of overall effect I am hoping to create. I hope you see what I mean.

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Short bursts of crafting have been¬†possible; I have always found these to be stress-busting, especially when there’s not a lot of free time. So, here are two mini projects I have been able to fulfill this month….

Pretty Daffodil Vase

Ok, so daffodils are at their most beautiful when rooted in the soil from which they sprout of course, but when your pre-schooler hands you a bunch of (uprooted) daffodils you need to think quick and give them a new home, and why not put them somewhere you can admire and enjoy them too?

A couple of pasta jars can make the perfect small vase for flowers, to pretty things up.

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Dressing up!

With my older miss¬†turning¬†4 in May, she certainly knows her mind! When a recent request for a ‘Bubble Guppies’ dress was made I was a bit stuck; it’s US-animation and I would struggle to find anything decent online. Also, sizes are hard to gauge when browser shopping. The only way, and quickest way by far was to pencil a sketch and make one myself.

Now, I have made many dresses, for myself and little miss of course, I tend to have quite a rustic finish to my dresses..ahem ahem. Ok, so they are far from perfect but certainly unique!

I tried my hand at a little embroidery (not something I have done much of) and the outcome was satisfactory. Anyway, it took me a little over a day to finish the dress and here is the finished product.

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I am looking ahead to April; we are moving to another flat. No doubt this will bring a whole new wave of making and creating with it. And that is always something to be excited about.

Happy Crafting All.

Sabeena

#26 Inspired February

When Christmas becomes a hazy memory and the lull of the new year has officially worn off- you know its February.

January bills paid (almost) and the¬†bank account is hung over.¬†Its the time¬†you look to sorting paperwork, updating records¬†and¬†getting¬†more or less used to writing ‘2016’!

I spent the last few weeks just trying to get back into some sort of order and routine, following a short visit to London in the New Year. When we got back there was a sense of newness in the air- a peace, a calm, a new start. A welcome and beautiful feeling.

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Health & Diet

I’m not one for diets, but having a healthy diet is important. Getting back into ‘healthy fruits and veg’¬†is bound to be hard after all the comforting stodge¬†Christmas and New Year¬†had to offer. That’s when my sister gave me the idea of the super-simple smoothie which even someone¬†as restless and preoccupied as myself can benefit from!

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It works with anything you have around at the time, you just need a good blender to whizz it all together for you. It takes minutes and proved to be an easy way to get about 3+ portions of your 5-a-day in without having to chomp your way though the (cold and uninviting) fruitūüėČ

I use 1x Banana, 2x satsumas, 1x pear, 1x apple, grated carrot, chopped spinach, half cucumber, berries, a splash of any fruit juice Рin any combination! There, easy and delicious.

Books, Books, Books

I love popping to the local library with the kids when I get the chance. Over the last couple of weeks they’ve have had a small sale on books; some going for as cheap as 10 pence! Well, you can imagine how happy that would make a bibliophile like myself…….

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Esther’s inheritance is a gem I picked up at the sale, never having read anything by Sandor Marai previously. The Sunday Telegraph¬†likened the ‘rediscovery’ of Marai in these works as finding an Old master painting in the attic. I would have to agree; there is an air of timeless elegance about his work, this in particular. A short read and a book I thoroughly enjoyed. I look forward to discovering and reading more of his work in the year ahead.

Personal Endeavours…

My Family Tree

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The journal in the picture above is the very same I had featured in a much earlier post about my crafty & cultural experiences around Scotland¬†during¬†a short trip here in 2013. I absolutely love this journal and have been using it to map out my family tree- a wonderful project¬†I’m working on with my dear Granny and Grandad whenever I get the chance to visit them (they are¬†in London, of course); they definitely¬†love being involved and¬†me being¬†the data freak that I am, is¬†savouring every detail.

I have been looking to load my information into a suitable software program, as the vastness and complexity of the information requires¬†much careful management.¬†So I’ll¬†keep on the look-out for that.¬†Its an amazing project to be working on and one that I hope will expand into a sort of resource for the family and my future generations!

Knitted Shawl

I spent so long on crochet projects recently that I was worried I would lose the skill to knit (gasp)! I started myself on a simple knitted shawl and ‘phew’ I was knitting again.

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Its a plain¬†shawl with¬†a simple knit-purl stitch format. Putting to good use the cream woolly balls my mum had left stashed away amongst her belongings. I think a repetitive pattern such as this is a good way to practice and tidy up your hand and again its a fun thing to do when you’re watching the telly or sitting with the kids while they play. And if I can get it finished before winter is out, I’ll have a snuggly shawl to wrap up in during those cold, stormy, Scottish evenings.

Sabeena

 

 

 

#25 Abstract January

“I’m looking for an inspiration. Looking at life as it is, its meanings, I’m looking for answers. I am inspired by beauty; beautiful people, stories, shapes and colours. Colours that bring beauty to life. My colour is red.

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If I attribute a shape to my life it will not be square or round, it will be a heart. A heart full of love and thoughts…happy and sad… and full of other things. Things I love. Love is red.

Love is beauty, my love, everyone’s love.

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I’m looking for an inspiration. I don’t know if I’ll find it in something I see, smell, taste, hear or feel. It might be in someone I know, or will¬†just meet.

I know I would be inspired all the time, if only my heart and mind were in concerted rhythm, but this is seldom the case. I don’t know if that’s just me……or if its meant to be.

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I love writing, I am looking for Inspiring words. I wish my life to read like a beautiful piece of work, with all the love and tragedy I have known. I want the moments of elation and moments of tension to shape the story. I want it to be mines. I want..I want….I want…..

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I want to collect my thoughts, my mind likes to wander, to scatter… outside my window, around the world, in this time and another.

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I need an inspiration. Seeing is not always believing. Everything changes, nothing stays the same. I want change…. wait…. no I don’t, not entirely and not suddenly. I want pace.

I want to be knowledgeable and have all worldly wisdom, I want to meet and admire the wise. I want to learn. Learn about what I like and love. I want art and culture. Knowledge is empowering. I want to possess this power. Power is red

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I’m looking for an inspiration. Will I have it today, tomorrow, or never? Is my inspiration you? Will you ever know?

We are non the wiser with the affairs of the heart. It cannot think, but it does. You cannot deny that it does. We follow where it leads, and sometimes this is to nowhere. The heart is red.

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I am looking for an inspiration. Perhaps my¬†inspiration is¬†me. I am strong, sure and sensitive. I am robust and delicate. I can¬†be what I¬†want to be. I¬†am me”

 

 

 

 

#24 Journals & The Written Word

Since forever, stationery has been my most favourite thing to hoard. You can never have enough, in my opinion.

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From¬†pencil¬†tins at school, through to¬†(more grown up stationary perhaps)¬†post-it pads and lovely inky pens. Colouring pens, scrap-booking, pretty-shaped post-it notes, diaries, journals –¬†These have always been¬†my favourite collectibles, much to the dismay of poor DH.

Since recycling and upcycling is important too, I¬†aim to reuse whatever I can and hold on to things if there’s a chance they can be incorporated into a crafty project.

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With my children meeting new milestones (3yr old starting nursery this autumn and a 1yr old tot now toddling) my day and ‘me’ time has been considerably reshuffled. Not quite enough time for one thing or too much for another – welcome to parenting!¬†But hey that’s¬†ok, because¬†I¬†finally get to indulge in my¬†journal making!

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At first I wasn’t sure what I would put in¬†it if I made one,¬†and then, a light bulb moment!¬†I could log a¬†poem¬†I’ve come across and liked,¬† memorable quotes from books, musings, feelings¬†and thoughts about¬†things¬†I am¬†thankful for, things you tend to encounter all the time.

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The odd 10mins here and there are enough to get started (no chance of completing this project in one sitting with kids so young and demanding). Any glueing takes a while to dry and you are essentially layering your paper to get the desired texture to the cover. This is worth doing properly!

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Pretty paper from craft magazines are perfect for using in the journal, you can design them any way you prefer. I used jute string, lace and wooden buttons to add quirky texture. I added pockets and envelopes for added mystery. This is a wonderful activity to do with the kids too, they can have a journal for their cards and stickers, themed and in colours they love.

I used paper with rough edging to give it a more vintage effect. A few sessions in, you are ready to start doodling away- Yipee!

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I was quite impressed with these Distress Ink pads kit that a lot of crafters have been using to create a more weathered/vintage effect! They come in different shades and tones; I personally bought this set and the blending tool¬†was purchased separately. Can’t wait to give these a whirl.

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(Image: Amazon.co.uk)

You-tube has loads of inspiring videos that will get you in the journaling mind-set; there are a couple that stood out to me and I have listed them below:

  1. How to Make 100% recycled Art Journal from Cereal Boxes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec04rVh0ndU

2. Vintage Journal Tutorial

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MZR3fucuME

Love of the written word!

I read a lot! I love reading, real books,¬†for too many reasons to mention¬†at the end of¬†a post (I will definitely have to dedicate a whole blog piece to¬†books/reading). Like millions, I use the book-lover’s portal- Goodreads- as a place to explore and organise my books virtually, while following others’ reading endeavours. And of course, I can use my hand-made bookmarks too. Here’s some I made earlierūüėČ

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Online, I currently love reading material by…..

  1. Artparasites, based in Berlin.

‘Artparasites shares compelling artwork that alters the way we live, love, work, play, think and feel’

http://www.artparasites.com/

Also…

2. The Honest Musings (Facebook page)

‘Part poems, part anecdotes, part reality and part fiction. Everyday conversations of my head and probably of yours. Shamelessly inspired by Bukowski’

https://www.facebook.com/thehonestmusings/?fref=ts

Happy Crafting Everyone!

Sabeena x

On time and nuns and MP3s

A beautiful post by Victoria Finlay that I simply can’t put into words. This fabulous lady is a woman after my own heart! The pictures included in the post are to die for. Gorgeous and needing a share!

Victoria Finlay

P1040645In Ladakh, northern India, a few days ago, I decided to walk from the city of Leh to Choglamsar Tibetan refugee camp, where I had taught for a summer, 30 years ago. It was five km, and I was determined not to ask the way.

I asked the way.

So much had changed. There had once been three shops, Now. Well, now there are more.

In the office I explained my story. The man looked blank until I mentioned the Buddhist nun who had shared her room with me in children’s house number 8. Then he jumped up and disappeared into another room. Ani Garab is here, he said.

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#23 Pottering about…….

Summer is an interesting¬†topic in Scotland; it never truly comes. It’s a mere stroke of luck if you get a summery day and the Scottish accept that! Of course its harder to accept if you are used to your 3-month serving of summer south of the border, no matter how hot, humid and clammy it can become! But this is Scottish weather, and it rains here everyday- this is what keeps it so beautifully green remember?!

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I don’t have a garden so-to-speak but I was tempted to do a spot of weeding outside the flats in the communal rear garden, just enough for my 3-year old to ride her trike more freely. Gardening has never much interested me before although I appreciate a beautifully tended garden and I loved sitting out in the garden I grew up in.

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I remember, when I was little, my dad often experimented growing seasonal veg and sometimes fruit but it didn’t always turn out as hoped and we disregarded his efforts. However now, in my mid-30s I look back at those days and acknowledge what time, effort, skill¬†and patience went into this practice. As well as love. A whole lot of love. Today, gardening is recognised as one of the most therapeutic of activities. Just think of smelling those wonderful tea-roses that line your garden fence and you’re transported to another world!

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Another endeavour that requires copious amounts of patience and skill is Pottery! I don’t think I would ever have the nerves or patience to attempt ‘sculpting’ anything on a spinning table without it having disastrous¬†results so its best if I don’t….but things have been made super-easy and you don’t have to go through that. Skip that bit and potter about a stylish art studio, pick out a beautiful creation (created by skilled pottery artists), pay for it and paint it anyway you want! Ahhhh now that sounds better.

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This is a fun, child friendly (including the one within you) way to spend a couple of hours whilst also getting to take¬†a keepsake home with you. We went to a wonderful studio recently by the name of ‘Doodles’ run by a couple of talented ladies. Its a wondrous place to browse while you paint your own piece of art. We were impressed¬†and so was my 3yr old!

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In other pottery news, my clay pot saw the light of day recently.

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I hadn’t used¬†it before now, but¬†since picking it up in Lahore in 2013 (and the¬†mission of getting back to the Uk without it smashing to smithereens), I saved it for a special day. And yes it didn’t disappoint! If you have ever cooked with earthenware you will know that it can get quite addictive in the beginning! Well¬†there are¬†some terrible things¬†to be addicted to and¬†clay-pot cooking certainly¬†isn’t one of them!

Here are some links relating to a few of the wonderful things discussed above:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-193859/Proof-gardening-healthy.html

http://life.gaiam.com/article/3-reasons-gardening-act-love

http://www.doodlesscotland.co.uk/

http://www.theceramicexperience.co.uk/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_pot_cooking

http://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-deal-with-clay-pots-138933

Happy Crafting!

Sabeena x