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An apology and an explanation

If you don’t know me personally, you’re probably wondering why it’s been such a long time since I updated my blog. That’s because in March last year I slipped, managing to fracture and dislocate my wrist. I was in Gambia at the time, which is where I normally spend the winter, but eventually I need to come back to the UK to have surgery to re-set the wrist and insert a metal plate. (If you want to read about all that in a bit more detail, take a look at my post on my Life in The Gambia blog).

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Where do you Keep Your Crafting Stash?

Where do you keep your crafting stash? In a box? In different bags? Or perhaps you are lucky enough to have a whole room to organise your crafting bits and pieces? At one time I had a whole alcove fitted with shelves to keep all my many crafting accessories, which made it very easy to find what I needed quickly. But now life has got more complicated. I now spend 7-8 months of the year in The Gambia and the remaining time in the UK, so I need to be much more organised.

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Blackwork bookmark

A little blackwork bookmark: Free pattern

Firstly, a rather belated Happy New Year to everyone! I hope 2015 brings you everything you are wishing for and of course, I also wish everyone a very productive crafting year. I have really enjoyed looking at some of your blogs, especially those which have a review of all your makes throughout 2014. I haven’t had time to do this myself, but I am determined this year to try and keep a better record of my makes in 2015 – I do tend to forget about this as the year goes on!

I don’t know about you, but I find that almost all my craft creations get given away to other people as presents. I am quite happy about this, as I love giving hand-made gifts to those who really appreciate them; it’s always nice to give something a bit special, isn’t it? But occasionally I do make something which I decide to keep for myself.And recently I did just that.

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Making a fishing net

It’s amazing what we have in common!

What do a net maker from Senegal and a crafter from the UK have in common? Not much, you might think, and you’d probably be right. But a little while after I returned to The Gambia I had a surprising encounter.

Last year I managed to teach myself to tat. I have always been fascinated by tatting and I was thrilled to be able to produce some tatted items of my own, even if they were quite simple. One afternoon I was sitting under the trees, tatting my latest creation, when a man cycled into our compound, greeted my husband Lamin and settled down for a chat.

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Blackwork ornament

A Blackwork Christmas Ornament

I’ve been on a bit of a blackwork fest recently. I have always loved blackwork – I once started stitching the Six Wives of Henry VIII in blackwork and I even managed to complete three! I still have the frames to frame the others so maybe I will actually get round to stitching them one day! I’ve made a few blackwork biscornu lately so I thought I would have a go at making a blackwork Christmas Ornament instead. I always try to make at least one new ornament each year – last year I made some tatted snowflakes, but this year I had a bit of a yearning to do some more blackwork.

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Blackwork Knot Garden Biscornu

Another Blackwork Knot Garden Biscornu

In my Etsy shop (also called Stitches ‘N’ Dreams), I sell charts of the biscornu that I design. I have always loved crafting, and ever since I took up stitching about 25 years ago, I’ve never been without at least one project one the go. So I thought I would have a go at selling my designs on Etsy. I’ve had a few sales, which is lovely, but even if I didn’t sell anything, I would still be stitching, and especially stitching biscornu!

However, I have been keeping an eye on which designs people seem to like the best, and there’s no doubt that my Knot Garden Biscornu is definitely the favourite. Regular readers will know that I love blackwork and beads, so I really didn’t need any more incentive to get designing another biscornu, also based on the formal outlines of a Tudor knot garden

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Blackwork Christmas Ornament Biscornu

A Blackwork Christmas Ornament Biscornu

If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I love miniature stitching especially biscornu, and that I also love blackwork and beads. So what better way to indulge my passion than to design something that combines all three? The rest of the world may not want to be thinking about Christmas yet, but we crafters need to get ahead, so I thought I would design a biscornu with a Christmas theme, that could be used as a hanging ornament or just as a Christmas decoration.

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The Peppermint Swirl Dress

As I explained in my last post, this summer didn’t quite go according to plan, and I didn’t have very much time for crafting or blogging. However, it’s fast becoming a tradition that I make a dress for my granddaughter, and so I duly made her a little sundress, using the pattern she chose from my Pinterest board. But both her dad and I had fallen in love with another pattern as well, which was absolutely beautiful and quite unusual, and I simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to make that one too.

The pattern is called ‘The Peppermint Swirl‘ and it’s available on Craftsy. I think it looks stunning, so when my son and family arrived to stay for the May half term week, they decided to choose some fabric so I could make the dress up for my granddaughter. The pattern was duly bought, and because it’s an instant download, we didn’t have to wait for it to be delivered.

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Life got in the way

It’s a very long time since I posted anything on my blog here. When I came back from The Gambia in May, I had loads of plans for craft projects, and for keeping my blog updated. But life doesn’t always go to plan, does it? Without going into too much detail, things have been a bit complicated since my return. My mum had a nasty diagnosis, and we have spent a lot of time at the hospital for two rounds of surgery and follow-up treatment. My house that I rent out needed lots of renovating and decorating, which kept me very busy for several months. And on a much nicer note, we’ve had lots of friends and family visiting over the summer, which has been lovely. But all this has meant I haven’t had much time for crafting, and even less time for blogging about it!

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