No.1 Stitchmarkers are awesome little things which help you to make less mistakes, and save you from having to count to 124 sixteen times a day. (slight exaggeration there on the actual numbers but you get the idea)
Lesson No.2 Never rush a reindeer.
Poor wee Rudy here had two front legs at the back and two back legs on the front. It was all a bit wobbly and not a good look for one of Santa's little helpers. Hopefully we're on the right track now but he's just going to have to lie down till tomorrow. It's been a bit of a day...
When I was about 12 or 13 years old my dad bought my mum a ring.
And since I was about 12 or 13 I asked to try it on. I was a skinny wee thing and although mum was very petite her ring was just too big for me. Over the years I repeated the question and waited and waited till it fitted me. The question then changed from "Can I try it ?" to "Can I borrow it ?" The answer to that one was always no. Over the years it became a bit of a family joke. Me asking to borrow the ring and mum saying I'd have to wait till she died then I could have it. That doesn't sound very funny but that's just the way it was.
When mum died in 2003 she was just 67 and I was 40. Far too soon and I wasn't ready to be without my mum. I don't suppose we ever are. Despite everything, my dad remembered about the ring and gave it to me just before the funeral. I spent ages just looking at my hand and realised something that I had never seen before. All my life people told me I was the image of my mum. I could never see the resemblance, but what I did see for the first time was that I have my mum's hands. Maybe I only saw it because I was looking for something but even now I sometimes look at my hands and it makes me smile.
She taught me to sew, to knit, to embroider. She taught me to write my name.
It seems fitting that I have her hands.
I also have my grampa's legs (they don't meet in the middle) but we don't talk about that.
In fact today I did something that I hardly ever do.
Okay.... today I did something which I only ever do when I have exhausted every other possibility.
I read the instructions.
I tried being clever yesterday and it didn't work.
I thought I was being really clever posting a sweet little video on my blog but when I went back to view it, it wouldn't play. Hilary at quilary was left in suspense and and I do hate to leave anyone in suspense.
Hopefully, I've edited yesterday's post so that it actually works now.
And maybe I should read the instructions a bit more often.
I never really understood the concept of fingerless gloves.
Surely if it's cold enough for half a glove then it's cold enough for a whole glove.
I even found a pattern for wrist warmers. Why would you want to warm your wrists and leave your hands out in the cold ?
These impossible questions were answered for me this week by a child minder from Meigle. I now know that fingerless gloves are really handy when pushing baby buggies and tending to the babies in the buggies. Childminders and young mums alike enjoy the benefit of keeping the chill off the the top of their hands while maintaining freedom of movement in their fingers.
And ..... on particularly cold mornings wrist warmers are great for stopping the cold wind blowing up the sleeves of your jacket when pushing the buggies.
And so, armed with this new information, I have been trying out some fingerless glove patterns today.
This is my favourite one so far. Ably modelled by my youngest daughter, who tells me that fingerless gloves are pretty cool even when you don't have a buggy to push.
It's been a nothing doing but doing lots of it kind of day.
We take turns in our house for early morning dog walks and today it was my turn. I'm not really a morning person and don't normally function until at least the second cup of tea. But today was an up and at it kind of day and I've been chasing my tail to catch up ever since. Had a busy day of making in the shop then had a visit from a neighbour who stayed for a long long chat. It was lovely but then I was rushing to finish a hat before rushing off to collect my youngest from dance after school. Quickly rushed dinner then off to a meeting tonight.
It feels as if I haven't achieved very much but I've certainly been busy.
The other day I came across a post where someone had pledged to buy nothing new for the month of October. It was the same day I came across the link for Blogtoberfest. Now blogging every day for a month might be a bit of a challenge but I believe it is possible. Buying nothing new for a month is just not going to happen.
( well I really needed a good winter coat and when the perfect coat presents itself... what's a girl to do?)
This afternoon we went for a drive up to Abernyte to the Scottish Antiques and Craft Centre. Pretty safe really since antiques aren't new are they ? I could easily have bought lots of old stuff to counterbalance the new coat but it was more of a browsing visit today.
I probably spent more time than was really necessary scanning all the old cutlery on display. This is just one of perhaps a dozen similar displays. Sadly I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
I saw some really quirky bangles made from old forks in Covent Garden a few years ago and have been wanting to create my own version with tea spoons for a long time.
This was my last attempt and it's not too bad but not quite right. I bought silver spoons, though they weren't actually silver which was pretty annoying. (and possible a breach in trading standards since they were marked as silver) I cut the fancy handles off and soldered two teaspoons together. It was all going really well until I got to the cleaning and polishing part of the task and discovered the silver plating disappearing.
Still with all those cabinets of old cutlery I'm sure to find the right spoons one of these days. So the next time I have 10 hours to spare I'm going to pack my lunch box and head back to Abernyte.
The trees in my garden can't decide if it's spring or autumn. Leaves are turning golden and falling off (job for the men of the house to rake up this weekend). But other leaves are hanging on for dear life as the sun has made a bit of a comeback. To be honest, I'm a spring and autumn kind of girl. I don't like being too hot and I hate being cold, so I'm really quite enjoying our strange weather just now.
I was sitting on the back step this morning, seriously considering taking a day off to go out and play but my sensible side took over and after a quick snap of the tree I went in and opened the shop.
Tomorrow is 1st October which is the official start date for my OU creative writing course. Thoughts of "Oh dear, what have I signed up for?" are running round my head and I am beginning to think I just might be mad. Please feel free to tell me that I'm not.
Anyway, I have a massive coursework book to get through which is really quite daunting. The first chapter is trying to encourage free thinking, and free writing by basically waffling in a random way. Now I have been known to waffle quite a bit in my time so this shouldn't really be too taxing should it ?
Mind you, waffling to order isn't as simple as it sounds and I have written a load of nonsense in my new "writer's notebook" this week. Looking at my tree this morning though, made me wonder if I might be getting the hang of it. There I was in my little garden in Perthshire with my mind drifting off to Port Douglas in Queensland. We had a fantastic holiday there a few years ago and took a boat trip into the mangroves where we learned about special trees which can absorb sea water through their roots and still survive. I have no idea what these trees were called. I could google it of course but I'll leave that to anyone interested enough to do it themselves. However, these trees had special leaves which absorbed the salt from the water so that the other leaves could grow healthy and green. Our guide called them 'sacrificial leaves' which I think sounds so sad, yet totally amazing at the same time. Oh... and we saw sea eagles and crocodiles too x
And whatever doesn't turn out the way I planned will just have to be taken apart and started again.
It's been a funny couple of weeks around here.
After the rush and excitement of Open Studios it all felt a bit flat for a week or so.
I'm just about back in my stride again and looking ahead to what my customers might want for Christmas. We are being told by the weather forecasters that we are in for another harsh winter so I'm hooking up a storm and crocheting the days away. At the last count there were another dozen cosy hats waiting to keep out the winter chill. So how annoying do you think it is to find that the country is being treated to an "Indian Summer" ?
The "boys on the bridge" assure us that the snow will be coming early this year so maybe I should just stick to the original plan for hats, mits, ear warmers and cosy scarfs. Mind you I do have a cute pattern for a crocheted bikini.
I wouldn't really describe myself as an extrovert but I have been learning this week that I am bit of a show off at heart.
We are now half way through Perthshire Open Studios and I'm having a ball. It's so nice to have so many visitors to the shop who are genuinely interested in what I make, how I make it and where I get my ideas from.
I've been trying to have little projects on the go all week so that I can have something to demonstrate for my visitors. Crocheting bracelets has proved to be a crowd pleaser. Of course you can't keep doing the same thing over and over without getting just a little bit bored so I looked out a crochet book with a section on edging patterns and came across this one. It looks rather nice in gold and silver coloured wires with little glass pearls. I may be biased.... but I do rather like this one.
There are loads of creative people showing off all over Perthshire. Just look HERE and see.
And for the rest of the world just look HERE and visit Our Creative Spaces
You know that feeling when you know that you are well organised ?
It's not a feeling that I often relate to but for once I am well prepared. One of the best bits about POS is that visitors and customers are going to be expecting to see me working in my space, so even if we are mega busy over the first few days I can replenish my stock and call it "in house entertainment."
Since it's Thursday today it's time to show what I've been doing in My Creative Space.
But first I have a small confession to make..... I went to the Scottish Bead Fair in Perth last Sunday and spent a small fortune on stuff I don't really need but just couldn't resist.... Hopefully I'll be so busy over the open studios week that I will find that I really do need all the gorgeous beads that I bought.
You may remember that I dabbled with Chain Maille earlier this year. A lovely blogger called Ady told me about a great web site called Bead Sisters who supply all sorts of funky coloured jump rings and rubber 'O' rings for chain maille. I resisted the temptation to order anything from them despite being sorely tempted.
Now guess which supplier I spotted the minute I walked into the hall on Sunday. Oh yes... Bead Sisters were right there in front of me.
So.. this week I have been trying out new chain maille patterns. What do you think ?
Today is the day to share my creative space with other crafty and talented bloggers.
Now the question is... what have I been doing in my space today ?
I finished off this teeny tiny newborn baby hat. I was at a little craft fair on Saturday where I had a selection of hats for adults and children and was asked if I would make a little blue one for a new baby boy who is due very soon. Do you ever feel the urge to say " No, I'd rather sell the ones I've already made. "
I actually know someone who regularly says that to her customers and surprisingly they seem happy to accept her terms. I don't think I'm bold enough to do that though.
I've nearly finished my first crocheted rattle and just have to secure some loose ends. This is a really clever idea which I found in a recent crochet magazine. The rattle bit is made by putting a few beads into a little sealable pot. I used a plastic egg which I had left over from Easter, surrounded it with toy stuffing and stitched in the loose ends. Now all I have to do is make a matching blanket and it will be ready for the baby gift corner.
I could have finished the rattle properly if only I could stick to one job at a time. I was easily distracted by some shiny buttons after lunch and decided to replenish my stock of button necklaces and bracelets. What had been a fairly healthy display of button jewellery, was looking a wee bit depleted after some recent sales. By this time tomorrow I'll be fully stocked again, unless, of course, I get distracted again.
Meanwhile, the idea of showing my Perthshire Open Studios brochures in the window along with Andy's rocking horse is proving to be a bit of a crowd puller and I've had lots of people popping in to get more info about the event. Oh, and I even remembered to send some copy to the local paper to promote the Open Studios week.
I think that's enough work for one day and it's now a good time to visit ourcreativespaces
The problem with making something that you really really like, when you are making it to sell, is that you kind of hope that no one will want to buy it. I made this quite a few months ago and was particularly pleased with the hairy texture. It was the first time I had used my new texturing hammer. I was starting to think that maybe I could keep him....
Then.... I had a lovely new customer today who took one look at my little Scottie Dog necklace and decided to treat herself. I'm sure he will be really happy with his new owner but I did feel a little bit sad to see him go.
Of course it's possible that I could make another one for myself but then it wouldn't be unique.
Is it sad that I went looking for photos of him on the computer...?
Anyway, the only one I seem to have saved was taken before he was polished. How sad am I.. Maybe I should print this one off, frame it, and keep it where sane people keep photos of their children.
Well no.. Not to busy to blog but it seems too busy to take photos to show what I've been busy with. To be perfectly honest I was waiting till I got some photos but it seems that facebook isn't working this lunch time so I've popped over to blog instead.
It's been a busy couple of weeks with lots of prep for a couple of events coming up. There's a wee craft sale on this Saturday at Airlie Village Hall from 10am till 2pm with soup and rolls for lunch and teas, coffees and cakes for anytime at all. I've been getting some new jewellery together for the day and since Airlie is just 10 minutes along the road I'm hoping to meet lots of future Buy Design customers and introduce them to the wonders of my little shop.
Then it's just a few weeks till the start of perthshire open studios and I'm busily trying to stock up and freshen the look of the shop for a busy week. Did a major turn around in the window this morning and have been getting lots of great compliments already. I'll tell you more about the open studios in the next week or so.
And as if that wasn't enough to be going on with I have just signed up to start and Open University course starting in October. I'm really excited, and just a little bit nervous about returning to study but life is all about new challenges and this will certainly be a new challenge.
Oh, and my husband has just graduated, having studied for a BSc with the OU over the last four years. We've had a couple of celebrations for him. One with the kids then one on our own. We went off for a sleepover in Blairgowrie. Yes Blairgowrie is only five miles away but it was lovely to go out for dinner and not have to come home till the next day. We had a very relaxing evening at the Altamount House Hotel. Dinner was delicious, our room was very pretty, we had a lovely walk in the grounds after dinner and breakfast was fab.
The challenge has now been set and my man keeps telling me that I'm going to get the study bug myself. Meanwhile I keep saying that I'm only doing one course and that doesn't mean that I'm going to be studying for a degree. Mmmm we'll see. Obviously, if he can do it whilst working full time then so can I. But I'm definately not committing myself just yet.
I thought it was time to get back into some jewellery making today and played with some dinky little charms that I found in my favourite bead shop. Now a normal person would have used two matching charms but that would be predictable wouldn't it ? Instead I thought it would be nice to combine two of my favourite things.... tea and cake.
I did carry on and make several other pairs of earings which actually match but for some quirky reason these are my favourites of the day.
There is an Exhibition and Sale of Work on this Saturday at Airlie Village Hall from 10am till 2pm which I have been invited to. I'm trying to decide what to take with me and am currently thinking that a combination of jewellery and hats and scarfs would work well. Woolies and Jewellies...
I got these cute little dice beads a couple of weeks ago and couldn't decide what to do with them until this afternoon when they seemed to calling out to be made into little girls bracelets.
I've finished up with a dozen different colour combinations and sizes.
I even sold one in the shop this afternoon to a lady with little wrists who said they were far too nice for kids and wanted one for herself. It is very satisfying when that happens and kind of confirms that I'm on the right track.
I rather like the lilac and purple one myself and I do have skinny little wrists..
Hi, I'm Fiona Dorchester.
I moved to Alyth in December 2005 (two days before Christmas, to be precise) with my family, having spent the previous 15 years living in Kent. I made jewellery as a hobby for a long time until my husband finally convinced me to give selling it a shot. It started with a craft fair and, encouraged by the positive response, we took the plunge and opened our shop in May 2008.