Monday, 28 September 2009

Model customer #3 and craft fair plans

Still in the sunny holiday mode, today I have a 'model customer' from a very glamourous location - Sydney in Australia! Here's Angie wearing my Jade Scarf - a long, thin ribbon scarf in gorgeous shimmering shades of green with a black base.

These exotic photos were taken at the bottom of Angie's street (with a friend's Scottie dog). Wow, I wish I had a great view like that at the end of my street!

When I contacted Angie recently, she said:
"Thank you for the beautiful scarf. I love it and wear it all year round. The colour is gorgeous and goes with almost all of my clothes so I wear it a lot. I've also worn it as a head scarf too! It's one of my favourite accessories."

I'm so glad that you like the scarf Angie, and that you find it so versatile - it looks really great on you! And I hope that you've got that fantastic view back after the recent horrendous dust storm.

Since coming back from holiday I've been working away, making new items to sell. I've signed up for four craft fairs this autumn/winter and the first is in two weeks time. I've always done better selling at craft fairs than online, I guess with scarves especially some people may prefer to touch the yarns and try the items on, rather than buy 'blind' off the internet. I have quite a lot of stock already but I just don't know how well things will sell so I'll just keep making until the big day!

The first fair is at the Grainger Market in Newcastle on 10th October. It's the first time that I've done a fair at this venue, but they have an Arts & Crafts Fair on the second Saturday of every month and as far as I can tell it's well attended, and hopefully there will be lots of people looking for Christmas gifts!

To make my stall look attractive, and to catch the eyes of passer-bys, I've also decided to make some bright knitted bunting to attach to the front of the table. I found a great free pattern at Green Mountain Mama's blog today (photo above) so I'm knitting the basic triangles as in the pattern, but then I'm going to crochet some cord and attach it as individual letters to each triangle to spell out... BLISS KNITS (of course). In my head it looks really effective; I'll take some photos and let you know how it progresses.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

It's all Greek to me

Hubby and I returned from a great week in Corfu yesterday, so I thought I'd share a few of our holiday photos with you.

We stayed at the Tria Adelphia in a basic, but lovely, apartment about 3/4 mile from the beach in the resort of Arillas.

The pool area was really pretty and quite quiet with it being near the end of the season. The owners were friendly and chatty, and there was a great bar that served lovely meals as well as drinks by the pool.

Arillas itself is surrounded by a beautiful, hilly green landscape.

Spring is supposed to be one of the best times to visit as the countryside is full of wild flowers, but late summer was really pretty too with the grasses and seed heads adding lots of texture and interest to the scenery.

At this time of year the gently shelving beach was fairly narrow - but it's about a mile in length so there was still plenty of opportunity to find a lovely quiet spot.

We were blessed with lovely blue skies, with the odd cloud that provided a welcome cool respite for a couple of minutes.

In amongst the different apartments and tavernas the locals still utilised the land - growing lemons, limes, tomatoes and grapes, and beautifully atmospheric olive groves.

The locals were really friendly.

The landscape of Corfu is really green even in the height of summer (due to its higher rainfall than other Greek islands).

And there were some gorgeous views from the clifftops.

Blue skies and crystal clear waters... friendly people... fantastic food... what more could you want?

We had a great holiday!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Colour, texture, pattern (in the garden)

The weather seems to have gone very autumnal this last week or so. Hubby and I are going on holiday at the end of the week; I presume the weather in Corfu will still be quite hot so it's going to be a bit of a shock - both getting used to the heat there, and then having to acclimatise to the chilly North East again when we get back home!

I did a bit of tidying up in the garden on Sunday. Most of the bedding plants in baskets/containers were looking a bit sorry for themselves so they're now on the compost heap! I'm going to try and overwinter plants like the fuchsia, verbena, ivy leaf geranium and brachycome in my little plastic greenhouse; see if I can get some free plants for next year's baskets.

There are still lots of lovely colours and textures in the garden right now though...

Agapanthus africanus 'Blue Giant'

Schizostylis coccinea

Hardy fern

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Spring'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Blaumeise'

Stipa arundinacea

Sedum herbstfreude 'Autumn Joy'


Hebe 'Emerald Green'

Eucalyptus gunii

Malus 'Adirondack'

Liatris spicata


I love the changes in the garden at this time of year - leaves turning gorgeous shade of russet and gold; fat berries ripening; ruby red apples falling from next door's tree; feathery seed heads on grasses blowing in the wind; raindrops glistening and plants glowing in the low evening sun... I wonder what changes I'll see in the garden when we get back from our hols?

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Blog on the Tyne

I had a lovely afternoon off work on Wednesday last week. Mam and I did a bit of shopping in Newcastle - she bought loads of yarn for baby knits (new great grand-daughter due at the end of October), and I bought a few small zips (going to crochet some pretty little purses).

Then we had a lovely lunch and chat at the Eye on the Tyne, and a walk along Newcastle Quayside. The weather was lovely - really warm and sunny.

We walked over the Millennium Bridge...

...and posed for a slightly windy photo at Baltic Square (standing in front of HMS Calliope, the Royal Naval Reserves base where Dad used to work).

Then we walked up to The Sage...

...and admired the views from the Gateshead side of the river.

All of the bridges have a 'special something' about them. My favourite is probably the High Level Bridge (my avatar is a photo of me on the HL; seen inbetween the Tyne Bridge and Swing Bridge here). But if I've been away for any length of time, I always know I'm back home when I see the Tyne Bridge; it brings a lump to your throat, it's such an iconic structure.

We finished off a lovely afternoon with a hot chocolate in The Sage. It was great to spend some time alone with Mam. She is such a lovely, kind and thoughtful person; I hope she realises how much she is loved and respected by the whole family; we often think it, but probably don't say it enough do we? So I'll say it now - Mam, you are so special. Love you lots! And thanks for a great day out. xxx

Thursday, 10 September 2009

In memory of my Dad

Yesterday was the fifth anniversary of the day my beloved Dad passed away. He was 67 years old.

He was a warm-hearted and very generous family man, who was loved by his family and many friends alike.

A keen supporter of many charities - the RNLI, Royal British Legion, Cancer Research, Erskine Hospital for ex-Service men and women, the Post Office's Yellow Brick Road children's charity, and the Mick Knighton Mesothelioma Research Fund - he gave his money, but most of all he gave his time and support to those less able or fortunate.

He joined the Royal Navy as a boy seaman in 1952 (and gained his lifelong nickname of Chalky); serving in the Mediterranean, Home Fleet and Persian Gulf during his 10 years in the service. After leaving the Royal Navy, Dad started to work for the Post Office, but the Navy remained an important part of his life and, following five years in the Fleet Reserve, he joined the Royal Naval Reserves - progressing to chief petty officer, acting as coxswain on minesweepers and teaching classes of new entrants; he also helped to form the Calliope Association on Tyneside.

In 1968, whilst serving with the RNR, he performed a courageous act during an incident on board HMS Northumbria, for which he received a commendation. He was also granted the Lord Lieutenant's Award in 1987, and awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours four years later for his 'services to the Royal Naval Reserves', to which he dedicated 24 years of his life. (Dad, Mam and myself travelled down to Portsmouth where he received his B.E.M. on board HMS Victory.)

He was also a member of the Fellowship of the Services for 35 years, taking on various key roles, including that of standard bearer at military parades and funerals.

After 33 years working for the Post Office, Dad retired in 1995 and spent the next nine years converting old vehicles into campervans so that he and Mam could travel the UK - from John O'Groats to Land's End and everywhere inbetween.

He was a very practical person, with many hobbies and interests - he enjoyed building scenery for his model railway; growing veg, training bonsai and building new features in the garden; tapestry; cooking; reading; making knot pictures and bell pulls; glass painting; walking the dog... he was never bored!

My Dad led a very full and happy life, but every day I miss him and wish he was still around. He touched many people's lives though, and he lives on in our hearts and memories.

To live in hearts we leave behind
Is not to die.
(Thomas Campbell, 'Hallowed Ground')

I love you Dad. xxx

Monday, 7 September 2009

Birthday presents for my big sis

Happy Birthday Sis!

And now that the birthday girl has opened her pressies I can tell you what I bought...

These gorgeous, sparkly Citrus Twist Earrings from Pretty Little Things.

Which came prettily packaged in this sweet little box.

And this useful and really attractive crochet hook holder from Nics Knots.

My sister loves to crochet and she adores poppies so I thought that this was the ideal gift for her.

She also got this crochet book, which I bought at the Pins & Needles Show way back in April and she's been dying to get her mitts on it ever since!

Diane was also the lucky recipient of one of my knitted scarves! Niece Sarah bought Comfort Scarf off me for her mum.

I knitted it ages ago, and Diane loved it and coveted it so I made sure that no one else got there hands on it before she did.

Happy Birthday Sis - hope you enjoy wearing...using...reading your presents!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

A family-filled Saturday and a crafty Sunday

Another good weekend.

I harvested my onion crop and I'm really pleased with how big some of them are. I just grew them in big black pots as I don't have room in the garden itself so they've grown really well. I haven't harvested my leeks yet, but they look like spring onions at the minute so I'm not holding out much hope for them!

I was at my mam's house on Saturday and finally got round to taking a couple of photos of her and her new greenhouse. So here's mam watering some of the bonsai.

And here she is looking really chuffed with her new hideaway.

As I mentioned in my last post, my brother and his wife have been staying with mam this week. We were having a good chat when the doorbell rang and there was my nephew, Martin, on the doorstep! He'd just got back from army exercise early that morning and came on a surprise visit; so he got to open his birthday cards, just a few days late. We also had my niece, Sarah, and her daughter Ellie, and my other niece, Louise (who was on night shift and TRYING to sleep upstairs, but she did pop down for a quick chat) - so it was nearly a full house at mam's on Saturday (my sister and her hubby are on hol so they were missing).

Here's a photo of my brother and his wife, and our great niece, Ellie, just as I left them on Saturday teatime. She's full of mischief, as you can see!

Les and Mary went back home to Aberdeen today. Hopefully we'll all have a family get together again really soon.

So after my busy, noisy Saturday, I've had a nice quiet Sunday with hubby. I had a nice lie in and a read in bed whilst he was off swimming; did a bit of housework; and listed three new scarves on Folksy.

Then we went to the Tyneside Cinema, which was holding a Craft Market today. There were some great stalls there, selling all sorts of different handmade items, but we thought that the market didn't seem to be very well organised. It hadn't been advertised much, the signage inside was poor, the layout was all-over-the-place, and the space around some of the stalls was quite cramped.

We had a decent enough meal in the restaurant, but it wasn't anything to shout about either. It was nice to spend some time together though, and we had a good chat about the different stalls and ideas for mine - craft fairs coming up soon - must go and make some new things...

Friday, 4 September 2009

Making, selling, buying - and lots of birthdays

I made this crocheted teardrop keyring (there's more for sale in my Folksy shop) for a colleague of my hubby's. This would make any old bunch of keys look quite glam, I think! I bought some lovely new sparkly yarns the other day and will experiment with them at the weekend hopefully - I think a similar design to the keyring would look great as tree decorations for Christmas.

My lovely, knitted Fiesta Scarf is off to a new home tomorrow. The partner of Chris, my eldest nephew, has bought it for her gran's birthday.

And here's my famous wooden cat modelling the scarf. Hopefully I'll get a picture of Tamara's gran wearing it and she can get added to my 'model customers' photo album here on the blog.

The cat is famous because I recently asked some of my fellow sellers on Folksy whether they thought that the cat or myself was the better model - the cat won 12-1!! I'm actually very pleased though because I hate having my photo taken (I'd much rather be on the other side of the lens, styling the shot and taking the image), and I think that the cat is quite a quirky character to have selling my wares, I just wondered if people would rather see the scarf on a human being - but seemingly not! He does look rather pleased with himself doesn't he?

Tamara also liked the idea of a glasses case for her gran, so I've crocheted one in a soft lilac (purple is gran's favourite colour).

It has a lovely vintage fabric lining - the perfect colour match! (Again, there are a couple of other pouches, in different colours, for sale in my shop if you're interested.)

As well as making, I've been buying on Folksy AGAIN this week. It's my sister's birthday next Monday and I'd seen a few things over the last couple of weeks that I thought she'd like. I took some photos of said presents tonight, but you'll have to wait to see them until next week as I don't want to spoil the surprise...

Also, belated birthday greetings to my youngest nephew, Martin, who was 22 on Wednesday this week. Unfortunately he's on exercise with his regiment at present so he'll have to hold off the celebrations for a while yet. Happy Birthday Martin - we're so very proud of you!