Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...

31/08/2013

A quick and easy How To.

We bought a wonderful preloved pine table and four chairs a little while back. The seats came with their own padded cushions, which - while acceptable and kept us (well our bottoms) comfortable, their covers were not really our style and the colours didn't do anything for me. It took me a fair time to actually find something I liked so until I did, we used the original seatpads.

For some reason, Youngest's cushion kept being torn away from the ribbons holding it to the chair. A number of repair jobs were needed. Then Eldest cushion went by the same way - the chair spindles kept the ribbon tie and the cushion was torn off.

When I finally found some new cushions that ticked all the boxes, they were duly ordered and when they arrived in the post I danced around with glee (which caused alarm initially then amusement as the parcel had arrived at work and my colleagues were not expecting my reactions) Triumphantly I took them home, removed the original seat pads, tied the new cushions on to the spindles and stood back feeling rather smug.....until less than a week later, Youngest leapt up from his seat only to find that some how he'd ripped off BOTH ribbons and his cushion went flying.

I was horrified! MY NEW CUSHIONS!!

Later the same day, I watched as Himself sat down and I saw what the problem was.  By tying the cushions to the chairs - each time some one sat down, the ribbons were pulled tight and the stitches were straining. Repeated getting up and down (and as those who know my Youngest - he is not one to sit still) eventually puts the stitches through such stress that they give up and the ribbon becomes unattached.

A cunning plan was needed - now this is where the How To finally come in.

How To - make no-more-tear-ties for seat pad cushions

  • You will need elasticated cord - approx 20 - 25cm per 'tie'
  • Colourful beads - with large enough holes to thread the cord through
  • Scissors

 
Cut the cord (I had originally purchased 2 metres) into equal lengths, 
thread on beads and knot the ends tightly.
Tie the elasticated cord to the cushion using the ribbons, 
finishing with a bow. 
Then, place your cushion on the chair, 
tie the elasticated cord to a spindle and arrange your ribbons.
Having made the first set, I decided to add more beads, 
using the colours of the fabric to influence my bead choices.

Now, when Youngest gets up and down (and up and down and up and down and yadda yadda yadda) the cord stretches and relaxes, taking the strain the stitches had previously had to contend with and the cushions remain firmly attached to their ribbons and remain fast on the seats!
Yay me!!
Happy happy :)

If you use this idea  - that's brilliant, I only ask if you could link it back to this page - thank you!!

Go on - have you had a crafting moment that has saved the day?
Have you beads in your stash just waiting to be used?
And do you have a child that is a fidget-knickers?

I love hearing what you get up to!

xxxxxhawthorn

29/08/2013

Gently starts the autumn

Soft summer evenings have slipped into crisper sharper evenings.
Glimpses of woodland creatures delight.
Mist lingers over the rivers and reservoirs - giving an air of mystery and seasonal decay.
Fruits ripen and hedgerows lose their bright summery foliage for a more weathered tweed shaded hues.
'Thistle-faeries' (aka sugar stealers) float on warm air.
Fields take on crisp card brown colours as crops dry and wait for harvesting.
Leaves have started to fall and ever increasing piles of them collect in corners.
Rose hips swell and redden, haw buds ripen and turn crimson.
Seed heads rattle in the light breeze.
Woodlands take on a different scent - one of damp and gentle decay.
Mushrooms quietly multiply in the fields.
Wood smoke lightly lingers on the evening air as a few tentative woodburners are lit in the village.
Hills start to glow under a purple haze of heathers.
 Rowan trees bend under the weight of their berries.

Autumn has a gentle charm - a precursor to winter's keen-edged frame.

Autumn - what are your thoughts?
Love or hate it - it has a distinctive feel about it in the air - can you feel it?
A turning of the seasons, the completion of a cycle - ready for the next one.
Go on, share your thoughts xx

Love hawthorn xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



28/08/2013

Throwawayathon and a simple How-to.

I mentioned in my coffee & paste post from a few days ago that we had been on a major decluttering spree. I think even that phrase 'a major decluttering spree'   doesn't comes close the the wholesale removal, recycle, rehome and throwawayathon we have undertaken in the last few weeks.

We did start quite reluctantly - knowing that we should tackle our accumulated 'stuff' but dreading that first step. We have *whispers in shame* unpacked boxes from when we ORIGINALLY moved to Africa in *even more shame* 19.....96 - oops. Never mind about the unopened boxes from our return to the UK in 2000 (avoids eye contact) and the boxes from Himself's mother when she died in 1997.....

Then having spent a glorious week up in Northumberland in a cottage with the right amount of bare minimum - Himself was spurred on.

If we could live with just that - the bare minimum AND SURVIVE A WHOLE WEEK!! then we could at least get rid of some of our 'stuff'.

So we started to open the stashed away crates and boxes - out went college books, out went surplus mismatched china, out went cross-stitch and tapestry kits - Himself's mother bought dozens and dozens to do in her retirement and was never well enough to even start, out went lace making kits and hundreds of hand made bobbins, out went pictures that never made it up on the wall, out went belts and bags and unloved ornaments that collected dust and out went wedding dresses and old fashioned antimacassars.

Sealed wooden chests revealed bags of fabric which was shared out between crafty friends, unopened artist's canvas and oil paints were passed on, tents were rehomed to friends who are counting the pennies, toys - outgrown but still loved were carefully selected and some adopted by new children and others kept and cuddled even by Eldest......

Then....then..... I opened the airing cupboard and my heart sank when I startled a handful of clothes moths. Oh dear, we thought we'd been getting on top of the problem but our holiday away and the cats staying at a cattery holiday prison camp had allowed the moths freedom and they had made the most of it.

We stripped out the cupboard and checked everything for chew holes and grubs. Moths fluttered haphazardly around as we sprayed and slapped and vacuumed. Everything that seemed to have been rejected by the moths was shoved into the washing machine the rest tightly bagged up for disposal. Our airing cupboard has not been this tidy (or empty) in years. But don't feel sorry for us - it was ever so 'slightly' over filled with years of 'stuff', inherited, gifted, loaned, collected and occasionally bought.  It is now tidy.

Our house is now guarded by the delicious scent of cedar sachets liberally stashed and by a clever little trap called the mothbox which, as I assembled and arranged around the house was attracting over-sexed male moths and within an hour all 5 boxes had trapped 2 - 3 moths each - mwhahahahah!

I also made lavender, mint and clove bags and hung them up - their scent is a mixture of festive warmth and old fashioned soap - quite yummy!
I searched the tinter to see if there was anything I make to help keep the moths away from our clothes and found several suggestions. I chose to mix three ingredients to make a veritable nosegay.

Each little scented posy bag has:

  • A lavender bloom and stalk, folded up to bruise and release the scent.
  • Handful of mint leaves.
  • Tablespoon of cloves.
You will also need:
  • Netting - cut into 'rounds' I used a side plate as a template
  • Ribbon - quite long, both as decoration on the bags and to be able to tie to a rail or hook
  • Elastic bands
  • Scissors
These were placed into a circular piece of netting and tied - initially with an elastic band then with a ribbon which was then used to tie in the cupboards.  The boys were quite taken by the scent - happily proclaiming it to smell like chrimbly cake, old fashioned soap and toothpaste - now that can't be bad :)

Now - you don't have to suffer a case of the moths to have these tasty scented little tussie-mussies  in your cupboard so why not try making them for yourselves?

So - 
Have you had a clear out recently?
Have you 'stuff' stashed away - out of sight and out of mind?
How is your declutter challenge going?
How jam-packed is your airing cupboard!?

Have yourselves a splendid day and thank you so much for all your lovely comments - I do love reading them, they may me go squeeeeeeeee :)

hawthorn xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx






27/08/2013

Berwick old walls and lighthouse - holiday roundup

I am sitting in a quiet early morning house trying to type with an over effusive catling on my lap. She keeps attempting to smother me with fish-breath-cat-kisses and despite the fact she has grown considerably this last week, she thinks she is still that tiny kitten that could fit in the palm of my hand.

I have had to resort to typing with the other hand.....

Berwick upon Tweed** has an amazing history. A frontier town with battlement walls and defenses to make your eyes water. A mish-mash of designs due to disagreements between the Spanish and English designers of the day with centuries of alterations and additions.

The resulting confinement of the town walls encouraged a warren of byways and snickle paths, of myriads of steps up and over and down the other side, of tunnels and gaps between tall and narrow buildings and we love exploring this glorious maze of the old town.
This twisting, squashed together architecture has produced the most tantalising glimpses of views and secret passages. We wandered 'lost' in our thoughts, finding secreted away gardens and hidden routes.
Everywhere we went, we walked under arches or bridges and we entered and returned via previously heavily guarded routes under the secure walls.

The walls are broad and strong and in places wide enough to promenade dozens of people at a time. Once up high, the original defences can be observed and some of the canons used both in anger and in ceremony can be seen. It is walking on one section of these walls that the prettiest and what looks like the most productive of allotments bustles away in front of a stern stone lion guarded house - reputed to be on the wishlist of the artist L S Lowry who frequently came up here on holiday and painted many views of Berwick and surrounds.

Our walk always culminates in visiting the Berwick lighthouse - independently looked after by the townsfolk rather than the national lighthouse organisation - Trinity House. This little squat beacon has just gone through a 2 year restoration and looks resplendent in its new coat of paint and the repaired sea wall.




And of course every decent walk around the walls of Berwick should end with a picnic lunch at Spittal - a sandy spit and revamped victorian promenade opposite the lighthouse.
I do love being by the coast, oh to be able to live where the light is clear, colours are vibrant and the breeze invigorating, there is definitely something special about a break by the sea  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

**Berwick - pronounced Berrik

Thank you Aubrey - the daily simple and Natalie T - Thistledown Dreams - Sara J - Sara Crafts for popping in and leaving some lovely comments - hello and thank you to my other dear friends who regularly drop in and say hi - I love reading your comments - thank you!

26/08/2013

coffee and paste

Making : Still knitting Himself's Skepp-o-hoj jumper - but nearly finished. Amd itching to start something new.
Cooking : Strawberry cheesecake and pizza pies for birthday boys.
Drinking : Peppermint tea.
Reading: Strands. A year of Discovery - by Jean Sprackland
Wanting: Summer to return, it seems to have slipped into autumn.
Looking: At my two cats sleeping curled up tight.
Playing: Been playing 'Sharp Shooter' a die game and 'German Whist' a card game both with Youngest.
Wasting: Learning time - have a huge file to work through and keep avoiding looking at it.
Sewing: Three patchwork quilts - originally made and sewn by hand by Himself's Grandma,  - some of the patches need replacing.
Wishing: I had more time to knit. And cook. And garden. And walk.
Enjoying: Sitting in my 'yarden' our small back yard is now full of pots and plants, fairy lights and a comfy bench - a good place to knit.
Waiting: To go off to bed - as usual I am up way toooooo late but it is easier to blog than motivate myself for bedtime!
Liking: A new blog I have found that has the most delicious recipes - I need the inspiration to change our menu plan.
Wondering:How much 'stuff' we can get rid of - our decluttering is in full swing and boxes and boxes of things are going out the door - it feels WONDERFUL!
Loving: The fact the cats are loving their precious time outside in their 'yarden'.
Hoping:That next week's weather improves so that Himself and the boys can go camping up in the lakes without getting wet.
Marvelling: At how many blooms the sweet pea flowers are now producing after a disappointing start.
Needing: To wash my hair but ....see - Waiting above.
Smelling: The huge bunch of sweet peas I picked yesterday, their scent has filled the air with their sweet sweet scent.
Wearing: Jeans, fleece, socks, crocheted shawl - it is definitely getting cooler.
Following: A daily colour code diary - gives inspiration, insight and gently motivates.
Noticing: That the nerve twitch in my right eyelid is still flickering.
Knowing: That I haven't put the milk away from the last brew I made for everyone.
Thinking: The carpet needs cleaning - again.
Feeling: Ready to go back to work - two weeks off has certainly done me a world of good.
Bookmarking: Crochet and knitting blogs - itching to try something new.
Opening: The airing cupboard to put another duvet on the bed.
Giggling: About a dated music video on the television - they are playing  tracks from the charts of 1995 - oh gosh - it wasn't REALLY that long ago - was it??
Feeling: Tired, going off to bed - no really, I mean it this time!

I found this 'coffee and paste' on a blog I pop into now and again and I loved the idea - makes an excellent change from my normal style of posting - thanks pip


25/08/2013

Longstone Lighthouse - holiday roundup

A story in pictures.

In the distance, Inner and Outer Farne Isles
A rather small fishing boat and a rather long queue of people waiting to get on.
Fat seals sunning themselves on isolated rocky outcrops far out to sea.
Lazily we are stared at by glossy-coated labrador-eyed seals.
Longstone Lighthouse, perched on the edge of a small rocky island that almost completely disappears under the sea twice daily.
A dark stone built sea wall - even this sometimes failed to keep out the angry sea as waves lashed and washed through the lower level of the lighthouse, forcing it's keepers to retreat to the upper floors for safety.
A slender ribbon of concrete leads from the boat to the lighthouse as it meanders over the bare rock.
Huge cast iron wheels languish in a sea filled gully.
Entering the lower level through the sea wall felt like entering a prison.
A silently rotating lens keeping watch over the lurking danger in the waters.
Bespoke curved cupboards, all that remains of family life in the light house.
Window that Grace Darling watched the SS Forfarshire tear apart on the rocks in the year 1838.

Stairs, stairs and more stairs, the final flight almost vertical.
A retreating view.
The lighthouse on Inner Farne with guano covered cliffs.

I was grateful the crossing was smooth and now there was solid ground beneath my feet.
Phew - back on terra firma.


For more details about the Longstone Lighthouse read HERE about Grace Darling read HERE - her story is really worth the time.


23/08/2013

St Abbs - holiday roundup

We woke to a sunny and breezy day - heavy clouds were all around but they seemed to fly over head leaving us dry whilst over the sea thunderstorms raged on the horizon. 

We planned a walk on the dramatic cliffs from St Abbs, just over the border in Scotland. We parked high above the tiny harbour which is a buzzing little industry - not with fishermen but with divers. The coast around St Abbs has a marine heritage order and for the initiated is a glorious underworld of caves and fish with wrecks and unusual stone formations.
Recently (in the last year or two) a rather smart and interactive visitor's centre has opened and it is always on our visit list. One of the delights is the use of their telescope which amazes us every time at the detail we can see that by the naked eye is invisible. You can practically see the whites of the gulls' eyes on the other side of the rocky bay.
Whilst we were inside the centre, huge clouds gathered closer to shore, so we decided we'd not walk over the cliffs to the lighthouse but would have our lunch here near the harbour rather than risk a dousing on an exposed footpath.

We sat in a sheltered stone built viewing area, next to a small but poignant bronze sculpture of the wives and children of sailors lost out to sea. Despite the weather, the sea looked calm and benign - in sharp contrast to the anguish it caused as portrayed in the sculpture. 

The rain was now a definite threat and our plans to do a short meander down to the harbour walls were scuppered. Our lunch was swiftly eaten and a quick photo of a distant rainbow was taken as we beat a hasty retreat back to the car.

We only just made it as huge splots of rain began to fall. We drove up and away over the cliffs when Himself spied some rather wonderfully pink and spotty pigs waiting to be fed. These girls are field reared with their huts dotted about the large hillside. They grunted contentedly and watched us with very expressive eyes and the longest eyelashes you could imagine! Youngest reached over and gave one a lovely scratch on her back and she grunted in appreciation.


We returned to our cozy little cottage in the woods and hid from the rain.

Later, once the skies cleared and the rain returned out to the far horizon we drove back out to watch the tide recede to reveal the tidal road to Lindisfarne. What a way to end a day :)



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