Monday, June 20

planes, trains, automobiles and pom poms...

it is always a toss up between yarn and undies, this year just like every year the dilemma of what i require for a month on the road 'attire wise' and what i require for 'sanity wise' is a little tricky with one bag allowance. and just like every other year, the yarn will win out, for this time i have pom poms on my crafty mind.

ever since i saw the picture of Erica and Lauren's pom pom garlands in the first issue of Mollie Makes i have been smitten by thoughts of pom poms. however it was not until last week when the peachy Allie Jane and i were in convo it dawned on me they would be the perfect traveling craft. how easy peasy to carry around on trains, planes and automobiles. this dawning has now resulted in my crafty snug upstairs being strewn with yarn and pom poms. for myself and Our #4 had no self control and we foolishly thought, maybe we could just make one, you know, just to see how it all works and then pack it away and save it for our hols.

yes well, with the pants weather this weekend, it was rainy day recess at the shed and why waste our indoor hours on packing undies, cleaning a shed, writing lists for clan members left behind, when pom poms were calling our names. i am mighty impressed with Our #4's brilliant pom pom making skills. i confess i was doubting he was up to the task, which is really quite rotten of me. however by the second pom pom, he had over taken me in pom pom making abilities and it was full steam ahead. at the end of our pom pom fest we counted over 40 lovely bejeweled yarny balls of fluff. we have many, many more to make and i am delighted to report my pom pom making companion is up to the task. despite the mocking from his older siblings about being seen in public aged 13 with his mother, pom pom making together. he is willing to ride above it all, for he is addicted, truly addicted. as we sat at dinner last night in the Indian Restaurant, our final family dinner for a while altogether. he turned to me and said "i wish i had brought the pom pom maker with me". my crafty mother's heart quickened to hear such words.

whilst travelling this summer i will not only be pom pom making but also proof reading my book, this is tres extreme exciting for me. i mean, how often does one have a chance to do such a thing. i have a visual of sitting in the train carriage, pencil poised for action and my book pages laid out in front of me. i think i would like a packet of Walkers crisps to help me along and obviously a seat with a table in-front of it and in one of the less noisy carriages, yes that would be grand and whilst the little scenario plays out in my head, the little voice is saying "blimey Tif, it will be a surreal moment indeed"

after our travels of a small island we finish up this year's homeward bound trip in Amsterdam, i am pretty giddy about this, not only to show my boys a really wonderful city but also meeting up with my long time cyber buddies Ingrid and Jane where upon we will spend a day and a night together. to think after years of cyber friendship we will actually be sitting together in person chatting about this and that, gosh it is quite a thought indeed.

yes this summer is looking good, getting to spend time with Our #1 and even better still, she will be coming home for a few weeks in August, so she can see her sister. i am thinking a road trip to Portland will be in order, actually i am thinking we may aim bigger and further a field, i may suggest the three of us drive to San Francisco. yes, that just shows how keen i am on this summer... willing to throw away my fear of freeway and city driving.
for a few weeks i will have my girls back together again before Our #1 returns to her studies in England and Our#2 flies the nest to study on the East Coast of US.

so there we have it. tomorrow, me, my yarn and a few pairs of undies will be heading home, but before i shut up shop i must just say how kind you all have been to me. once again, just like every summer i am left marveling at how generous and kind folks are. you take time out of your days to come visit, you leave me lovely comments, always are most nice about my crafty moments, spend your well earned monies in my little store and send me wonderful emails sharing your lives with me. truly you are beyond kindness... truth be told it's been a little busy around these parts, things i cannot always share until the right moment, however i hope you all realize you brighten my days, day after day and without you doing so, i would not be sitting on a train, proof reading a book or making pom pom garlands to decorate a book launch. no sirree, i owe it all to you...

she is truly thanking you most kindly and wishing you all a spiffily and 'tufty squirrel safe' summer ~ Tif

Saturday, June 18

a bit of 'lo and beholdness' continued...

ta dah! a 'lo and beholdness' circle of crocheted goodness becomes a 'lo and beholdness' warm and woolly coat for a cold mid century stool.

yes indeedy, it never ceases to amaze me what lovely yarny grandness can come from a few balls of yarn and stick with a little hook. when my little warm and woolly coat was finished up, my little crafty heart swelled with pride. i am not saying this is a big headed kind of way, no sirree, not me. i am saying it in a 'blimey, did i really make that bit of yarny goodness with my own hands' kind of way. oh such is the fabbiness of craftiness. after all it is a circle and up until now a crocheted circle has been out of my crocheting ability reach.

once again however i am reminded, with determination and a little bit of patience and many many moments of not succeeding in the ways of being a 'roundie', my perseverance has paid off. my lovely little stool with his woolly coat is living in my crafty snug upstairs. such is my love for him i have warned all clan members, with or without fur, it is out of bounds.
within seconds of placing my little 'lo and beholdness' jacket upon my stool, Our #3 said "oh, you've finished, great can we sit on it now?" and plonked himself down on my 'moment of roundie glory'. the shriek that followed alerted him to the fact, yes it was finished and no, you cannot.

i have noted over the past few weeks the petals are slowly flattening, and at times the cover appears to have shuffled to the side a bit. i have no evidence that others are sitting on my stool, or resting their feet, however i have sneaky suspicions 'when the cat is away, the mice will play'.

if by chance you fancy yourself a little roundie woolly coat for a cold stool, or indeed just wish to continue making a larger circle of petals and head towards a lovely rug for the floor, or a smaller one to make a cushion cover, then i am happy to share how i did it.

however before we begin, let me tell you several nitty gritty things.
1. this is not a 'how-to' for the petals, i am assuming you have already studied Mille's lovely pattern for petals, she so generously shared with us the other day
2. i used chunky yarn and a size Mr Hook 6.5mm K. where i did not have chunky in the colours i wished to use, i doubled up a worsted weight yarn. in fact the aqua colour i used is made up of two different shades put together and it came out spiffily in my books (do you like that! i do too, it is so much more than just spiffy, it is most spiffily, my new favourite word)
3. if you have understood how to make Mille's petals then you will understand what i am talking about below, if you have not understood, then i fear it will all read like gobbledy de goop.
4. i did have to rip out several rounds as the circle grew to keep it flat but i was determined not to be beat. you may well have to do the same.
5. all along i continued to check the fit with my stool after every round, just to make sure i was on the right track. each stool will be different so this is just a rough guide to help you along.

so hey ho, let's go

round 1, 2 and 3: as written in Mille's pattern
round 4 and 5: repeat round 2 and 3
round 6: repeat round 2
round 7: alternate between single petals and double petals
round 8, 9 and 10: repeat round 2

i stopped here as this was big enough for the top of my stool. if you are going on to make a rug, you will have to decide if rounds of single petals or alternating between single and double petals in a round will increase the circle nicely and flatly.

after my last round of petals, i half double crocheted (US term) all the way around joining at the end of the round and chaining up 2, to begin the next. you do no wish to increase as you are now working on the edge. i ended up with seven rounds of half double crochet to fit my stool's side.
to make the cover sit still and not move around or slip off (the stool is vinyl underneath) i then did a final row of single crochet missing out every other stitch from the row before, giving it a nice almost elastic edging to it.

i carefully placed the cover over the stool, not wishing to stretch the final round of stitches too much and damage them and Voila! it flipping fitted! it was indeed a small miracle.
i think a cushion cover would be most peachy and i have plans to work on one if i can find the printed out instructions of Mille's fabby pattern. i placed them somewhere super duper safe so i would not forget to pack them for Old Blighty. so safe, i have lost them...

she is hoping it all makes sense and wishes you a few crafty moments with your Mr Hooks this weekend ~ Tif
footynote: Mr Spell Checker found over 22 issues today, he particularly found 'spiffily' to cause him fretfulness like never before

Thursday, June 16

'once upon a time'...

i like the color green a whole lot,
always have.
i like grolly green
all the way through
to pretty pastel minty greens.
i like green with hints of blue
and i like green with hints of yellow.
in fact i think it quite true to say,
if i were only allowed one colour in my life
it would have to be green.

if i spy an article of clothing in a store
and it happens to be green,
all sense of what suits me or not,
goes out the window...
i only have eyes for the green.

finding vintage fabrics in green
and indeed clothing
can be a little tricky at times,
hence when i stumble upon them
i can get a little emotional
about the stumbling moment.

however i do not do luminous green,
no sirree,
no way,
no how,
having lived through the 80's
i cannot bring myself to dabble
with such wrongness again.

yesterday i decided to buy a small pot of paint,
a brilliantly cunning plan to distract me
from another of my flock getting ready to fly.
it did not take me long to spy my green,
it was called 'once upon a time'.
well surely upon surely,
if ever there was a green paint
suited to our shed,
it had to be this one.

upon arriving home at the shed
i noted i have a couple of hours
before high school graduation.
ignoring the piles of laundry,
the dried crusted breakfast dishes
and the dog hair courtesy of Used Dog
i only had eyes for a thrifty find
and my can of green paint

my thrifty find
was a wall sconce in brown metal,
upon discovering its charms on the shelf of despair
it told me it liked the colour green,
obviously i was left with no choice...
after two coats of 'once upon a time'
and a couple of vintage decals,
i was smitten,
completely and utterly
smitten with my new paint.

whilst driving home from Graduation,
i noted all the Freeway road signs in Seattle
are painted the same colour
as 'once upon a time'

she is thinking upon her return from across the pond, a certain cupboard in her laundry room would look peachy dressed in 'once upon a time' ~ Tif
footynote: if by chance you wish to paint a find in your life the same colour as Freeway road signs in Seattle, here's the nitty gritty
Benjamin Moore, Aura ~ semi gloss
574 once upon a time

Wednesday, June 15

my crafty mojo and me...

it's a little nutso here at the shed, more so than usual. school is nearly out, Our #2 graduates high school today ('tis a big deal here, heading into Seattle for the ceremony) and it is five days till i am on a plane heading to old blighty. end of last week i felt a little like i was sinking, but then a glorious thing happened, just as i was flaying around, my crafting mojo floated on by. i grabbed it, and before i knew it, i was swimming. a doggie paddle kind of swim, no gold medals for technique, but none the less, my head was above water and that is all i needed to get me back on track.

and so it dawned on me, as me and my crafting mojo clung to each other, it had been quite the while since i had made myself a bag. i do like to make a bag for myself to go on my hols. i think i am not alone with wishing something pretty and new to take away in a suitcase. this dawning resulted in me rustling through vintage fabrics and making the biggest possible bag i could without tripping over it. my reason for making such grand scale bags is purely an excuse to deck myself out with the largest quantity of fabby vintage prints i can get away with. then when they are on my shoulder, they just look happy all together in their pretty, slightly odd combination and i cannot help myself from catching their happiness...

so admist the nutso of late i breathed, for a full on afternoon, i switched off and breathed. for me when i craft it is like meditation and therapy all wrapped up in one. i put the world to rights first of all in my little brain and then i lose myself in the process of patching and piecing. in this instant i was patching a grande market sac together, made entirely from secondhand fabrics, along the lines of ones i have made many times before, except with a variation of the handles.

the result of my afternoon of dallying with my crafty mojo has the cogs of creativity turning again, they are blimen' turning so fast i cannot keep up. however this is good, this is tres peachy, for when i return from my trip home to old blighty, i hope they will still be turning and my crafty mojo will be waiting for me patiently just where i left him, so we can dabble again and the results of our dabbling ways will be hanging in my little shop window.

she is finding it hard to believe another child is leaving school, seemed like only yesterday they started ~ Tif

Friday, June 10

frankly Frank...

yesterday as i stood in the store, a sea of cameras infront of me, i only had eyes for one. shoulders slighty broader than Carlos, wearing a tuxedo and i noted a dashing streak of silvery grey around his temples. i moved closer, daring to reach out to pick him up, a few moments of twiddling and fiddling and my little pulse began to race...

"you aren't really supposed to return electronics once they are opened" the store lad told me "however" he continued "if you were to say go home, spend just 10 minutes taking a few photos and he isn't right for you, then by all means bring him back"
i handed over my dottie angel pennies and headed home to the shed with a feeling of anticipation the likes of which i have not felt since 'the royal wedding dress' reveal, oh and any given day when i venture to the thrift store consumed by the thought of what lurks within. a giddy kind of anticipation if you will.

upon arriving back at the shed i was greeted by my usual wonderful greeting committee made up of Used Dog and Little Olive, i had been gone all of 35 minutes but the way they greeted me, i might as well have been gone a whole year. i like doggies because of that very reason, they never have 'huffs' at you, or bear a grudge they just love you good and proper every single day like you are the best thing since sliced bread.

i rustled around for my rechargeable batteries, carefully unpacked tuxedo camera and his dashing debonaire good looks (slightly aging good looks, kind of dependable good looks, charming good looks, with a twinkle in his eye good looks). he sprung to life with a lovely 'ping', i switched him off and then on again just so i may hear him 'ping' once more, it was a 'ping' of reassurance, it told me he was there and he was poised for action. i pointed at a random corner of the shed on a gloomy day and pressed the shutter, 'cajing' he said in a meaningful way. well right there and then, i needed no evidence of photo looking to tell me this little camera was reliable and solid, his 'cajing' just told me so.

we were now down to our 7 and a half minutes of our 10 minute allowance of playtime together. so we proceeded to dally in every room of the shed, no setting up things, no twiddling with his bits, just good old fashioned, point and shoot, pesky critters, apron wraps and more...
then our time was up, heart pumping wildly from our 7 and a half minutes of whirlwind activity (in clogs) i removed his little card 'thingy me jig' and with baited breathe i uploaded the photos. truth be told some were blurry and pants due to our reckless ways but others, a soul so warm came shining through, it literally hugged me on the spot. a warmth and a hug i have not felt since Carlos retired. i am not ashamed to say i wept big tears of relief.
i turned to my new found friend and i said "new found friend, you are to be called 'frankly Frank', because quite frankly, Frank you have saved my sanity and my creative soul"

later that evening as i sat with 'frankly Frank' in my lap marveling at his reliable charming ways, it only seemed fitting that i should show him just how much i appreciate him coming into my life at a time when i had lost my way. i rustled once again in another drawer in the shed, retrieved my vintage dyno label maker and printed out his name. upon close inspection he was very limited in where i could place his 'frankly Frank' label, however there was a perfect spot just across his nose and so there it was stuck with pomp and ceremony befitting such an occasion. and as if that were not enough to mark this historical moment in my life, Carlos ever so kindly gifted 'frankly Frank' his little loopy handle, a loopy handle that has shared so many good times and now will share so many more, with me and 'frankly Frank' in the days to follow.

she is thanking you kindly for all your lovely comments and is wishing you a peachy one this weekend ~ Tif

Thursday, June 9

alas and alack dear Leonard...

Leonard the Lens and i have been acquaintances now for i am guessing quite a few months, at least four, possibly five, but lordy it feels like twenty or more. we have yet to move onto the friendship phase, let alone true love phase despite spending many moments close up and me twiddling and fiddling with his bits.

infact i think it true to say, i have twiddled and fiddled with him so much more than i ever twiddled and fiddled with Carlos. ah dear sweet Carlos my trusty camera, a little clunky and dated looking, living life in retirement and enjoying his twilight years upon my desk, close by.
trusty, dependable (at one point), comfortable, warmly souled Carlos

and then there is Leonard, looking mighty spiffy in his evening suit attire, giving me a 007 look as if to say "i'm all it baby" but when it comes to performance he just can't get his act together. his good looks masking a cold soul... sure he can take a nice photo if and when he pleases, but it lacks a warmth, one that i crave. i told him as such yesterday, after which he gave me 1 lovely shot followed by 36 apron wrap photos of tinted glowing crappity crap... as if to say "i'll show you i can do warmth baby" (he uses the term 'baby' a lot because he thinks it makes him attractive to the ladies, obviously you know and i know different)

i wept, he wept, (actually i don't think he did, he does not appear to possess any feelings what so ever) i told him i had given all i could give and there was nothing left to give. he told me "what you see is what you get, if you don't like it, then there is always someone else who will" (see, no feelings at all!)

so we are parting ways, i would say it is with sweet sorrow, but it is not. parting with Carlos was sweet sorrow but with Leonard there is a certain amount of relief on my behalf. i gave it my best shot, he gave it his best shot but his best wasn't compatible with my best, for i need a little warmth, i need a little soul, what i truly need is to find another Carlos

she is aiming now for tomorrow as apron wrap day for the shop, when she has found herself some soul ~ Tif

Wednesday, June 8

mollie makes...

hurrah, hooray!
i do believe tomorrow is the big day for Mollie Makes to appear Stateside, i say the wording 'i do believe' because my little memory recall has told me tomorrow is the day. if it is not then please do not be cross with me, be cross with my failing memory recall system.

i believe (another belief you may or may not wish to take notice of) the second issue will also be coming out in England at the same time. have i now confused you? so issue one will be out Stateside and i believe Europe, sorry Australia i have no believing to share with you or any other country who may be now looking to me and my 'font of all knowledge' which is drying up rapidly as i tippity type this.
so shall we recap.
issue one of Mollie Makes out Stateside and Europe quite possibly tomorrow (9th June) in Barnes & Nobles and Joanns. okay so obviously that is not in Europe, i have no idea what lovely shops will have it in Europe, just like i appear to have no idea what i am talking about this morning.

issue two will be on sale in UK also tomorrow (9th June) possibly :)
right, well i am sure that was all most helpful

i got my little mitts on a copy a few weeks back, kindly sent to me. alas my mother like so many others in old blighty has yet to get her mitts on a copy of issue one. this kind of makes me a little sad to think my first ever proper interview in a UK mag and my lovely mother has missed out on seeing it.

for all i know she may wish to cut it out, get out her little glue stick and stick it in a scrap book. having visualized my mother at her kitchen table, weeping at the big empty page in her old Woolworth's scrap book i have been left with no alternative but to leave the shed tomorrow morning and believe in all my believing and hunt down a copy Stateside. when said copy has been hunted i will happily pay way more than the UK price because after all this is my mother we are talking about and then i will place it in my luggage and fly the magazine back over to England so my mother can dry her tears, put away her cotton hankie, get out her little glue stick and fill her empty scrap book page.
yes that is what i will do dearest readers.

"so what do you think of Mollie Makes then Tif?" i hear you ask, which is really handy cause i needed someone to ask me so i could continue with my waffle.

well since you asked so nicely... i like it, i like it a whole lot. it has filled a gaping big hole so obvious upon the magazine shelves and i think they have done a spiffy job of it. a lifestyle magazine for us crafty loving souls. i was chuffed to see they used the tag line 'living and loving handmade', it was one of several i offered to them and i think this one fits the magazine perfectly perfect.

every page has something to inspire those rusty dusty creative cogs, i have to admit many of the folks and their wonderful work i already knew about, but then again i live in the crafty cyber world so that is not surprising. the magazine is sprinkled with quality how-tos, including two by my lovely friend Lola. i noted her contributor photo was totally peachy and had me wanting to be her right then and there. i noted mine was somewhat lacking on the peachy front but you do get a nice shot from my shoulders to my knee caps in denim overalls :)

several pages caused me to gasp 'thee gasp' and i felt a stirring in my crafty heart and an itching in my crafty hands to create. surely right there shows how well they did at putting their first issue together.

if you love inspiring creative blogs and on many an occasion have wished to hold them in your hands to pour over with a nice cup of tea, then i do believe you will love a ganders at Mollie Makes. they have a subscription offer for overseas, however i have yet to commit, i would love to but oversea subscriptions even with discounts are a big money commitment. i am on the fence, i am teetering in my clogs and i so want to just go for it, jump off that fence in my clogs and land with a smile and happy feeling of spending my money wisely and not with a twisted ankle because of jumping with clogs on. which will it be? gosh, i think the best thing to do, is wait until i have had a ganders at issue two before i commit. that is called being wise in clogs whilst balancing on a fence.

so all in all,
yes, i like Mollie Makes,
yes, i am most delighted to have had tea with them
yes, i will be out and about tomorrow in my clogs, 'believing' i will find a copy for my mother

she is thinking her and Leonard the Lens are not a match made in heaven ~ Tif

Tuesday, June 7

things of very little need to know but then again...

thing one to know:
a wrappy braidy coif can be achieved
even with my small offering of braidiness

obviously a long way to go in its wrappy braidy ways
but 'tis one none the less
and one with potential towards
a great and peachy wrappy braid coif
in the future

thing two to know:
combine said shown wrappy braidy coif with clogs
and a peachy summer apron wrap

and surely of all surelies ever to have surely gone before,
summer must be just around the corner

thing three to know:
Mr Spell Checker has advised me
i have over 13 misspelt words in this here short ramble.
i have advised Mr SC
i have no idea what he is talking about

she is getting out Mr Shark, letting him get all hot and bothered under the collar and freshly pressed apron wraps will be in her little store by thursday ~ Tif
footynote: did i hear someone just say "about blimen' time too Tif",
"fair enough, fair enough" say i

Friday, June 3

yesterday and today...


* i announced to the hairdresser i required a vibrant red streak down one side of my hair, i also told her of my plans to grow my tresses long enough to wrap braids around my bonce. further informing her, i was starting now so as to be well equipped with my new braidy wrappy coif, when and as i become a granny. i noted in the reflection of the mirror a bubble coming from her head saying
"barking mad"

* pottled in the thrift store in the hopes of 'switching off' my little brain's cogs which are starting to drive me insane with their incessant talking. noted it was full of the most peachiest finds. i needed to dig deep and find my inner strength to resist all their charms. i left the store with a few forsaken souls and a lovely kitschy bunch of flowers for the kitchen table. i also left the store with guilt due to the other lovelies i left behind 'a wishing and a hoping' for a bit of loving

*put lots of fake flowers on the outside table in the hope of discouraging my 6 chickie peas from spending time on said table. so far it has done the job, but then again, it has only been one day and they were distracted by some lovely things to scratch about in, the other end of the yard. next spot of rain and they will be back on top of the table and chances are this time, they will think it most kind of me to 'pretty up' their little place to sit and rest a while, whilst leaving a trail of dropping and dust


*trying to remove very big creases in three yards of oilcoth, i need heat and as we are lacking in it here, i have resorted to a hairdryer. after a while i had to give up due to guilt again, this time to do with the electricity bill. but there is hope, for tomorrow we have been told Mr Sun is stopping by. we are giddy with the anticipation of his arrival and therefore i will lay my oilcloth outside the minute he arrives and hope he does a nice job of smoothing out the creases so my lovely oilcloth may sit upon the kitchen island looking peachy and not pants

*due to giddiness about possible sighting of Mr Sun, i am hemming two summer frocks. both were maxi dresses with little shoe strings straps in pretty floral fabric from H&M. a bobby bargain but i do not do floor length for fear of tripping or worst still as i whoosh around my shed in floor length dress, i would take all Used Dog's hair with me and worst still than that, quite possibly sweep Little Olive off her little feet and loose her under all the fabric whooshing around my ankles. i can see it now...
"has anyone seen Little Olive?" i would ask my clan, becoming quite distressed at mislaying her.
no one would have seen her and the day would be terribly upsetting. upon going to bed, fretting about my lost little friend i would lift up my maxi dress to do some kind of weird ritual of trying to get it over my head without putting my neck out and Voila! out would pop Little Olive from around my ankles delighted to have been rescued from the folds of my dress and see daylight again.
too risky a risk to take therefore, i shall make them knee length and then ponder if a pocket must be added. for indeed since becoming a cotton hankie user (new years resolution still going strong by jove!) i have needed pockets in all my attire. then tomorrow when the sun is shinning down on me, i will be ready to bare a little flesh in my new sun frock and if i happen to sneeze at his brightness, a handy dandy pocket containing a cotton hankie will be close by

*i am eating stale hobnob cookies from the cupboard, we are almost out of anything with chocolate, fortunately i found an old half eaten packet lurking in the cupboard and such is my withdrawal from the sweet stuff, i am chewing my way through their staleness as i tippity tap this ramble

the happiest of happy weekends for all, would be nice she is thinking ~ Tif
footynote: gosh! just went downstairs and it looks like Bingo Bee and myself are not the only ones at mossy shed anticipating the arrival of Mr Sun