Thursday, 2 June 2016

Take 5

Take 5s always tend to be my way of catching up, covering the smaller things going on or the things that don't necessarily fall into a strict craft/sewing/quilting remit; but I haven't done one for ages, and to be honest it feels like I could do a 'Take 20' now! Sadly though my computer is far too slow to try and load up photos for 20 different things so it's going to have to just be a slightly random Take 5.

1) We're enjoying a beautiful, sunny half term holiday at the moment but this first catch up goes all the way back to our last school holiday around Easter. I took the girls off to a lovely, local pottery place, Tarka Pottery, as a very late birthday treat for Venetia. She was really keen to try her hand on a potter's wheel and they do a wonderful Potter's Wheel Experience there to create your own bowl. The girls both absolutely loved it, and if anyone local is looking for an idea for a present or birthday treat I'd definitely recommend it.

They got to decorate and paint their bowls too...

And then a couple of weeks ago, after lots of nagging, I finally got round to collecting the finished and now fired bowls...

They were very happy with them!

2) My incredibly organised advance Christmas present sewing has stalled a little over this past month, but the idea for a gift of hair accessories turned into a useful birthday present idea for a young friend.

A mixture of hair bands and clips, with a pretty draw string bag in which to keep them.

I think the addition of a storage bag really makes a gift that extra bit special.

 3) You saw Venetia's first finished crocheted blanket the other day, but she has lots of other crochet projects on the go...

And you might remember that I was trying, a while back, and have tried several times in the past, to learn to crochet myself. Something which wasn't coming naturally to me, which I was finding very frustrating, something which I'd given up on several times in the past and something which I was only persevering with because the tables were turned on me and I had Venetia encouraging me and reminding me that it took practice and patience. It was kind of impossible to stop trying without losing far too much credibility in my more normal role of being the wise, patient, experienced grown up (!) - even though I quite wanted to snap my hook in two, hurl it across the room and shriek 'I just can't do it' at times! So, I have practised and tried, and have kept on trying again and again, with Venetia smiling kindly at me after each attempt and sometimes managing to come up with some tiny sign of progress with which to encourage me.

Despite all my practice, up until this week, I didn't have a lot to show for it. In fact here's the sum total of hours of work!

Not quite as pathetic as it looks. I did start countless 'chains' for several weeks and then just undo them and start again and again and again before feeling like I was getting anywhere with it. When I got to this version it was starting to feel slightly more natural, reasonably even and extremely boring! But I was still painfully slow with it and not very good at creating the same number of stitches in each of my rows, so this teeny strip has a bit of a 'frill' feel to it rather than lying smooth and flat. Basically I was still feeling like a complete failure at crochet, but Venetia decided that I was ready to progress on to something else. And yesterday she taught me how to crochet a granny square - which is in fact the thing I've always wanted to be able to crochet. And just look at what I managed to do, all by myself!

My very first crocheted granny square! It's not perfect, but it does properly look like one and I actually felt like this was a huge crocheting break through for me. I think lots of credit is due to the patient and clear instruction from Venetia! But now I'm really excited to make more and actually be able to create something practical, and hopefully pretty, with this completely new skill. And after finishing this one, Venetia gave me a big hug and said: 'I'm very proud of you Mummy'! Our role reversal is complete!

4) So many photos I could include to catch up on happy times over the past couple of months, mostly involving the sea or rivers, we're well into wild swimming season for both round here. But after struggling to decide which photos of which children to include I decided that was impossible and have gone with photos of seals instead.

We were lucky enough to get to see two rescued seals being released back into the sea last week.

There is something incredibly special about seeing a wild creature heading back out into the wild.

And it felt amazing to be there to see it.

5) As well as getting behind with blogging in this space, I've been getting behind with reading other blogs these past few weeks. So I've been trying to have a big catch up on that too and it's felt like catching up with lots of friends. One particular post has really stuck in my head for the past couple of days, over at 'Handmade by Amalia'. Amalia creates beautiful embroidered and crocheted pieces, but she also writes sweet, funny and very clever little poems to accompany her makes or her photos. And I just loved the poem in this post, it's about a very wise bird trying to decide on her favourite season. It's quite short so it won't take too long to read, and I think it's hard to read it without smiling and feeling happier by the end of it!



  1. Ooh that pottery looks such fun :-) And V looks so grown up and beautiful, And M is just the cutest!
    I adore those hair bands and accessories - super adorable.
    And as for the crochet - don't give up! That first row off a chain is always the hardest. Starting off a circle or loop is easier and the best best way to practice.
    Im a hopeless knitter but a rough ok-ish crocheter, but that first row off the chain still kills me haha

    Also .. seals :-) love them

  2. The girls look so pleased with their pottery. And look at you with your crocheting, I love your granny square. Love those seals. How lucky that you were able to witness their release.

  3. The pottery throwing looks like fun. I would love to try that someday myself. And the seals being returned to the wild looks just magical! I have missed you and hope you are having lots of fun and explorations. :)

  4. The pottery day looks like a lot of fun. Great birthday present. How wonderful to see seals so close up.

  5. congratulations on your granny square! crochet is Much harder than it looks isn't it x

  6. I love the deep concentration on the faces if the girls as they throw and decorate their bowls. Beautiful. Well done on your granny square! I love that Venetia taught you how to crochet. Role reversal is very positive at times, it allows our children to nurture us, which they enjoy. (I am not referring to long term care of adults as in young carers, obviously). Great pics of the sea lions being helped back in to the sea too X

  7. I like your "Take Five" approach to catching us up on your doings. Your Granny square proves that practice pays off! It's wonderful that Venetia has an opportunity to be your teacher. What an excellent idea to visit a pottery studio - it is a perfect outing for any age, if you ask me! Your girls obviously enjoyed themselves. :-)

  8. I like your "Take Five" approach to catching us up on your doings. Your Granny square proves that practice pays off! It's wonderful that Venetia has an opportunity to be your teacher. What an excellent idea to visit a pottery studio - it is a perfect outing for any age, if you ask me! Your girls obviously enjoyed themselves. :-)


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