With a little bit of this and a little bit of that…

This I’ve tried to make a little time every afternoon for stitching, as I tend to try and get work each morning on the ‘day’ job. One of the loveliest things about being in The Gambia is the beautiful weather, with temperatures around 30 degrees and a cooling sea breeze, so sitting under the trees with my stitching, whilst visitors drop in for a chat and my husband brews ‘ataya’ (green mint tea) is sheer pleasure.

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Life doesn’t always go to plan, does it?

Yes! I know, I know! In my last post I said that a biscornu is calling me, and that I would be telling you all about next time. But, if you are a crafter, you will know that life doesn’t always go to plan, and although I have made a start on my biscornu, (and I promise I will tell you about it soon!), another project has sneaked its way in.

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A blog hop and a SAL

Yay! Yesterday I had an email from my friend Angela at Pretty Little Things in a Box, asking me to join in with a Happy Spring Blog Hop she is organising. I have never taken part in a blog hop, as my internet access is limited when I’m in The Gambia, and I’m reliant on solar power to keep my laptop charged, both of which sometimes make it heard to get online whenever I want. But I decided this time I would take part, as it sounds really interesting.

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A visual meditation on the theme of ‘Stillness’.

At last I’ve managed to finish the project I have been working on over the last couple of weeks, and I can now explain all about it.

In summer 2013 I visited a flower festival at my local Parish church, and whilst wandering around the beautiful historic church, I entered a small chapel where there were many candles burning. There was a small notice explaining that although lighting a candle in itself was not necessarily significant, it acted as a ‘visual prayer’ – a reminder of prayer.

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Happy New Year!

Firstly I want to wish all my readers a very Happy New Year. Whatever your wishes and dreams, I hope this year brings you everything you hope for and more.

New Year – new look. I thought it was about time I changed the look of the blog, and for the time being I have opted for this look. I will probably be tinkering with it over the next few days, to get things the way I want them, so don’t be surprised if things change again One change you may notice is that only the start of the post appears on the page – this is so people don’t have to spend hours scrolling down the page to find previous posts.

I have enjoyed looking at lots of other blogs and seeing how people have summed up their year, often with a retrospective of their ‘makes’ for the year. However, I have got a ‘Completed in 2013‘ page, so I didn’t want to repeat myself too much! But as 2013 was the year I learnt to tat, I have added a new page to chart my tatting journey from the first tatted ring to my first tatting design. You can find it on the links at the top of the page, or you can click here.

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Christmas biscornu

Having arrived back in The Gambia this week, I’m beginning to get my breath back and turn my attention to crafty things again. I’m still beavering away at the tatting, but of course, I’m beginning to think about Christmas as well! For a Brit, the idea of Christmas when the temperature is in the 30s is a bit strange, and although Christmas is celebrated here, it’s not a huge festival. And there is nothing like the commercial frenzy that you get in the UK, and I daresay in other countries too. Last year I came back to Gambia in early December, and it was a huge relief to get away from the craziness (although I did make, wrap and deliver presents before I left).

However, last year I decided to open my Etsy shop, and at the moment I am focusing on selling cross-stitch patterns, which can be downloaded. Naturally, trying to post physical items would be impossible from The Gambia. I designed some little Christmas biscornu last year, and I’ve just reactivated the listings ready for this year. I love the quirkiness of biscornu, which are surprisingly simple to make, and don’t take too long either. They are perfect for little gifts, but they could be made into tree ornaments very simply by adding a length of ribbon.

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Tatted birds

Tiny tatting: Aren’t these lovely?

I’ve been really busy over the last couple of weeks, with various visitors and lots of other things to do too. I haven’t had much time for blogging, but I have been trying hard to keep up with my tatting endeavours, with mixed success. I have tried several patterns, and I’m getting on quite well, but I haven’t yet got anything finished to show you. But, like most crafters, I hate wasting anything, and I was wondering what to do with the small amounts of thread left over on my shuttles when I’ve finished a doily or some other project. Then I discovered these delightful little birds! Aren’t they lovely? They only need a tiny amount of thread, and they are so quick to make. They would be great to use as little bookmarks.

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Handmade cards (mostly stitched)

Cross stitched card 01

Over the years I’ve given my friend and family a lots of hand-made gifts, and especially cards. I’ve given a lot of cross-stitched cards. Some of them were ‘freebies’ from cross stitch magazines that I used to get – I can’t afford them now as they are so expensive, but I always enjoyed making them.  My mum has kept everything I have ever given her, and since I haven’t got anything new to show you just now, I thought I would show you some of my old cards instead. Some of them are over fifteen years old, which you can probably tell if you look closely! The card above was a lovely little project, and I loved the free printed card that came with it.

 

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This cross stitched card of autumn leaves was given to my dad for his birthday.

Cross stitched card 03

This jolly seaside card reminded me of the summer holidays by the sae when I was a child.

Cross stitched card 04

This card was stitched on evenweave – almost the first time I had ever worked on evenweave.

Cross stitched card 05

Another birthday card for my dad.

Needlepoint card

This lovely card used some different needlepoint stitches

Hardanger card

My very first attempt at hardanger, and I am still hooked!

Beadwork card

A beadwork card – I am still hooked on beadwork too.

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This Christmas card was made with folded fabric – rather like a tulip pattern.

Stamped mandala Christmas card

Stamped mandala Christmas card 02

I made over 70 of these mandala Christmas cards! I had to stamp three images for each card, then colour them, and cut sections of the design out rather like decoupage. I used sticky pads to lift the layers up, and added a little jewel in the centre. I started in October, and I loved doing them, but it did take a long time!

I’m sure there are a few more of my cards and gifts around, so I’ll see how many other I can find to show you. It would be great to see cards or gifts you’ve made.