A Name for an Owl..

Busy, busy – but not to busy to show off my newest creation.  This is my first stuffed toy (really a toy for grownups) and is made from bits and pieces of unwanted fabrics, old doilies etc, that people have given me or I have found in charity shops.  She was a learning curve that’s for sure as I only went to trusty google after I had made lots of mistakes.  Such as – always, always pin your pieces together before both cutting and sewing! (which meant going out and buying pins as our boxes haven’t arrived yet).   And for gods sake CONCENTRATE! – and then you won’t sew the toes up the side or the ears around the wrong way.  Really this is a credit to my ability to unpick seams.  🙂

I also need to mention that the reason why she is a bit lumpy is because I don’t have any proper soft filling yet and so she is stuffed with socks and balls of wool – just so I could show her to you all.

Any suggestions for names (apart from fugly) gratefully accepted..

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Yes, I got plenty done yesterday, maybe too much as I had to stop crocheting at one stage because I was seeing double.

I was learning a new pattern, a fairly simple one but still.  I am making crocheted rounds to hang as bunting and on my third round I was just about finished when I noticed that it was remarkably smaller than the previous ones – and I couldn’t see why.  I unravelled most of it and did it again following the instructions closely.  Still too small.  I unravelled and redid again – too small.

I got up and did something else and after a think I decided that I must have picked up the wrong and smaller hook and been using that.  So I looked for the larger hook and couldn’t find it.   Right….  I looked at the round again.. looked at the instructions… and realised I had missed out part of a section.   Why?  Why did I not notice it before?!!!  I unravelled again and did it properly…FOR FUCKS SAKE!!!


I am drawing the line above to separate it from the rest of yesterday which was pretty bloody good actually.  I had been invited around to a new friends home  (her name is Emanation – isn’t that cool?) to talk crochet and that is what we did – and it was fabulous.  There is nothing quite like sharing your obsession with someone else.  She is much more knowledgeable than me but is well willing to share it – and she has an enviable collection of crocheting books.

Another friend of mine from New Zealand – Alison from Agnes Coy recommended a podcast to me called Cast On by Brenda Dayne.  Brenda is an American who now lives in Wales and her knitting podcast is just what I needed to add to my diet of Radio 4.  I am not a great knitter at all but I find it interesting anyway and love the music she plays.

Off to a bright start today.. It is pretty quiet though because my dear darling has gone off to start his new job.  And I get to start properly on my job.

I have set some goals today – production wise that is and will need to get started.  Firstly though, here is a post card showing a painting of my favorite local artist Jean Miller, a lady in her 80’s who has only started painting in the last 10 years.

Hay Bluff - oil on board

And here is my new pride and joy – a rather old (70’s?) Singer 760 Touch and Sew sewing machine, bought off Ebay.  Only problem is it didn’t come with any accessories so if anyone know anyone out there with some spare, let me know!

An oldie by a goodie - at least for now!

In a Short Space of Time..

Well – that is the longest blogging break I have had for a while.

I have been trying to sort my life out a bit, or it’s been trying to sort me out.  I finished my pub job last weekend –  the mind was willing but the flesh was weak and I was totally exhausted.  I don’t seem to be able to recover very quickly anymore but am starting to feel a bit better now.  I have decided to make a proper effort to make and sell my hand crafted items full-time, using the web, local markets and through shops.  It will be hard work but I figure that if I work half as hard as I did in the pub I should be able to make it work.  I am looking forward to it.

Actually – in the period since I last blogged, much has happened.  We now have a land line and broadband connection thanks to BT.  You have no idea how good this is, I had loved going to The Globe to use their broadband but it did pale after a while, and trying to contact businesses to get the organization of services set up was rather expensive on a mobile.

We have managed a couple of day trips away – to Abergavenny and up to Knighton to visit a rather cool yarn shop First 4 Yarns. Beautiful countryside on both drives and lots of ancient buildings and lovely people.  The First 4 Yarns proprietor introduced me to a New Zealand woman who ran the shop across the way and had been in the town for 19 years.

A view of Hay on the way back from Knighton

On the way back from Knighton we stopped for a walk around Presteigne.  Tude managed to enrage an elderly lady volunteer in a charity shop by commenting, during the course of a conversation, that he thought she had a bit of a Shropshire accent. Well! – that went down like a lead balloon.   Presteigne for the uninformed (and possibly uninterested) is located just inside the Welsh border and one thing it is important to know about dealing with anyone who lives in Wales is that you need to be careful about who you liken to the English.  I sort of understand this having lived with the whole Aussie/Kiwi mutual hate/love affair.

Then while walking past an antique shop we noticed a pile of boxes and bits and pieces by the side entrance with a large notice that said all items were for sale for 50p each and it could be paid through the post slot on the door!  I went mad grabbing bits and pieces of china, a tea-pot, jugs and bowls.  All old stuff with chips and cracks but I just think that adds character  (plus I am too poor to buy them intact ;-))  What fun!!  We arrived home with bags full, including all the yarn I had bought.

New tea pot
This is like a little soup tureen
I love blue and white china

Our friend Yvonne has been visiting from NZ. She stayed three nights and seemed to like our little town so maybe we can lure her back some time.  We took her to Abergavenny for the afternoon and there were masses of antique stalls set up in the huge Market Hall.  We had a brilliant time looking at all of that and then trawling the charity shops.

Yvonne the Terrible

Yesterday we went for a wander on one of the many country walks that surround our town – here are a few snaps.  We are feeling pretty happy with ourselves as we have found useful foraging plants come autumn – black thorn trees for sloe gin, hazel nuts and blackberries.

The 'camera on a fence post' shot
In the field..
In the distance..
Seen on the walk home - my dream cottage

So – after the last grumpy episode, it is back to the calm, happy blog post again, Yay!

Most of the problems are still the same but my attitude has changed.  Also I am not so damned tired today which helps a great deal.  At the time of my last post I had worked several very busy shifts at my new job in the pub and was still completely shattered.  As we all know most problems look worse when you are tired hence the gloom.

However, I worked Wednesday night which was a lot quieter than the weekend shifts and managed to get through alright.  I am now girding my loins for work tonight (Friday) and tomorrow night.  At least I will know what to expect.  I do enjoy it, although like all new jobs it certainly takes it out of you.

Tude has a new job which he starts on the 19th, so not quite as long a wait as we thought and yesterday we took the wee car to Hereford, so it is still drivable and went well.  It is at the doctors today to have it’s wheelie parts looked at.

In other good news, we saw a card in a shop window the other day advertising a washing machine for 25 pounds and a small freezer for 15 (we only have a little fridge), so Tude is off to check them out this afternoon.


I went along to the Stitch and Bitch at The Swan last night and it was great.  Lovely people, I just felt a bit embarrassed as they were having a stash swap and I didn’t have a stash to bring along (said stash being in transit still).  Nevertheless I ended up walking home with two bags of fabric remnants, a new knitting needle roll and a crochet hook roll – generous people as well as lovely.  Leslie from Life in Hay Blog who introduced me to the Stitch and Bitch gave a demonstration of back strap loom weaving and told us some of the history of the technique which was fascinating.  In this type of weaving the width of the cloth is limited to how far the weaver can reach to pass the shuttle.  So when you see a viking ship with sails that look like they are made of patches that is because they are woven on a back strap loom and the pieces sewn together.


We have had glorious weather in Hay for the last few weeks, it has been so hot and I completely did not expect it.  I have been in the charity shops buying summer clothes and sandals as, pessimistic, I packed mostly cold weather clothes.  Last night was the first proper rain that we have had since we came to the UK and it was most welcome.  I opened the bedroom window late last night to admire the rain, the wind was making a ‘whoo, whoo’ whine up the street and everything was wet and glistening and it was a little taste of the winter to come, could just imagine some blowing snow..