Monday, 5 December 2011

Manos Maxima is a cure for all ills (the Fickle Knitter)

Its been a Bloody awful week.  The rule of threes applied, with my Mum ending up up in hospital, the clutch going on my new car (£455) and my husband being rushed into hospital with chest pains.  So on Thursday I was tearing my hair out and trying to put on a cheerful face for my customers.  And then the Manos Maxima in the most beautiful shades of purple came in, and life was suddenly OK.  I did try to resist, for a good five minutes, but I need a new jumper, especially as I'm still figuring out the heating in the shop.  And if people can see how lovely something looks when its knitted up they are more likely to buy it, so its good advertising.  But what finished my will to resist was how soft and purple it was.  I'm  sucker for purple at the best of times, but when I'm low, and life is hard, and the worry is threatening to overwhelm me I have no power to resist.  So I'm a third of the way through a simple long sleeved stocking stitch jumper, that I'm making up as I go along.  I'm hoping to finish it by next week so I can get on with the Rowan jacket I've been saving up for all this year (which is also purple by the way, one of the reasons I was seduced by such a fiendishly difficult pattern) but I am content at the moment to leave it in favour of my Manos.  Fickle I know, but then aren't most knitters!

Baz is home and OK.  The clutch is fixed, and Mum is home and hopefully on the mend. 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Knitting in the cold is a doddle with my new mittens, hurrah

I had to leave my shop for two whole days (please image that sentence spoken in a whinging accent) this weekend.  My Mum ran things instead, and a very good job she did too.  Although it was slightly disconcerting to come into the shop this afternoon and discover the mess she'd been making with our new drum carder.  On the other hand we now have some beautiful art batts for sale!  The reason I had to leave my shop for two days was the Appleshaw School fair, which went ok, despite the cramp in my arm from the huge amount of crochet I did, and the Andover Farmers Market, where we met lots of very nice people wanting yarn and workshops and fleece and all the other lovely things we do.  So it was worth missing the shop for to days I guess.  I did learn that my mittens, which I'd designed for the Christmas kits we're selling, are fantastic for knitting outside, because they leave the fingers free but keep the whole hand warm.  I'll have to keep a pair in my project bag now that winter is coming on!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Oh, for more hours in the day!

I am frantically making mittens and kits and buttons for the Appleshaw School Christmas fair and the Andover Christmas Fair this weekend.  I thought I'd have enough time to sort everything out but what a surprise, it seems to be disappearing at a rate of knots.  However, our first Dorset Button workshop was a roaring success and all enjoyed themselves, especially me.  By the time my ladies left they were inventing styles of their own.  How clever are they!  I've included photos of the mittens, made with Artesano classica, although the ones I'm making for the Christmas fairs are in Maxima because its so soft.  Come on weekend, I can cope!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Ostomy lifestyle fashion show and shop now open

So much has happened this week and I melted my computer on Friday so I haven't been able to write about it.  I've borrowed my hubby's computer for this post.  I bought a new one (laptop not hubby) but a very nice man has it so he can add the stuff from my old laptop to the new one (I hope). 
On Wednesday I was in Birmingham for the Ostomy Lifestyle Fashion show, as a model.  I got to parade up and down the catwalk in someone else's underwear to promote positive living for people with stomas.  Mavis (my stoma) was very well behaved and I met a bunch of brave, fabulous, incredible people who have all been through terrible times, and manage to keep smiling.  I laughed lots, got very nervous and spent the whole evening on a high (and my hair was amazing)!
On Saturday we had the grand opening for the shop, where I met another bunch of lovely people, some of whom stayed and knitted with us, or tried out our giant needles, and ate the mini cakes we'd provided, and drank our homemade mulled wine.  Mum spent most of the day spinning the Gotland fleece given to us by Jane (who I think is going to become a great friend, along with her gorgeous sheep) into wonderful silky silver wool which I can't wait to knit.  Sunday was a great success as well, as we managed to get rid of the rest of the cakes, bar the few I took home.  I can't wait to go back to work on Wednesday.  Photos to follow when I have my new laptop back.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Stock on the Shelves

I have managed to put all the furniture up in the shop and I've started putting yarn on the shelves, and some of the other stock out.  Its all so exciting and I can't stop smiling.  I have more to put out tomorrow and lots of stock coming in the next few days.  We're talking to a very nice man about stocking his spinning equipment.  His stuff is really unusual, and more affordable than traditional wheels.  Watch this space.  The only problem is I keep stopping to look at the yarn and imagine what I'd do with it.  Must get more discipline!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Fyberspates are coming

I'm very excited.  I've put in an order for the shop with Fyberspates, who make the most beautiful wool, with the most gorgeous colours.  I can't wait to see it all.  Its less than a week to go before I get the shop keys and I can start putting up furniture and stocking the shelves.  I'm going to start writing some of my designs as well.  I can sell them as a file send or a download, if I can work out how to do it.  Just got to figure out how to sell stuff through the website, work out the kinks so to speak, and we're off.  I've included some photos of the new yarn to be below.

scrumptious


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Getting there slowly

Its weird not to be at work.  I am enjoying the having to get up to knit though.  I'm getting lots of stock ready for the Museum of Army Flying craft fair on 11th October.  The website is getting there slowly.  I've decided to take my own photos as the Artesano CD hasn't arrived.  The ones I've taken so far look much better than the ones I downloaded from the Artesano website.  I think the file sizes are too small.  I've bought most of the furniture for the studio from Ikea.  Now I just have to keep making stock and this time next month the studio will be open.  Very exciting.

Being right of the day: 'I told you it was going to rain' in response to the torrential downpour we had about 4pm.

I've added some of the yarn which is now on the website.
 
 



Thursday, 22 September 2011

Oh God, is it really that long

I can't believe its over a month since I posted.  I've been so busy setting up the website for the shop and getting the ordering done and all the other million and one things I have to do.  Still, on the plus side, only three days left at Stonehenge and three days left at Sarum and then I'm free.  We have our first big craft fair on Saturday at the Weyhill Michelmas Fair, so hopefully we'll sell loads, to help pay for the enormous amount of yarn we've bought for the shop.  Can't wait to go furniture shopping for the studio, and then stock up all the shelves with our lovely new yarns and buttons.

Roll On October.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Ostomy Lifestyle Craft Fair

We had our craft fair today.  Although there were very few people who came to shop I managed to make the £100 I needed for the fair.  Some of that was kind donations from people with stalls, some came from the raffle and some from all the tea and coffee people drank.  I did get some interest in the studio and gave out several fliers.  I've had one lady who has asked to be put on the mailing list already, which is fabulous.  I also got the contract for the studio today and can't wait to get in there.  Not long now I know.  I'm trying not to be to frustrated.  I just have to keep reminding myself that I have less than two months at Stonehenge and then I'm going to be doing something incredible, and it will be all mine!!!, well and Mum's of course.

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Dizzy all day

Today was a dizzy day.  I spent most of the day in bed or collapsed on the sofa with the room spinning round.  Now I'm left with the usual headache but at least the room is still now.  Poor Alex spent the day on the sofa watching TV.  He was very good about it all.  His Dad took him to the park when he got home so at least he got some fresh air.  I did managed to download yesterdays photos of Burton Bradstock, where we spent the afternoon playing in the waves with my Dad.  I've included one of the more arty photos below. 

                                         Burton Bradstock, Jurassic Coast

Friday, 29 July 2011

A Day as a Craft Person

I got a taste of what its going to be like to run my own business as a craft women today.  I spent the day at the Fairground Craft and Design Centre at Weyhill, where I'm having my craft fair on 14th August.  They had Country File filming there and I had some of my yarn and buttons on display.  I sat outside making buttons for the afternoon, gossiping with the other crafters.  The whole day was fantastic.  I made some very nice new friends, all of whom share a similar passion for their art, and made some useful contacts.  I have several people who are going to come and see our shop when we open in November.  Its all very exciting.  The best bit was realising that I'm going to be doing this for a living soon.  I can't wait!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Fundraising Fair

I'm having a craft fair at Weyhill on the 14th of August.  I'm starting to get the organisation down and now its the wait to see if anyone will have a stall.  I've booked the hall at least, and got the posters sorted, ready to go up next week.  Its to raise money for Ostomy Lifestyle, who I'm modelling for in November.  Ahh, the joys of having a stoma.

I spent a very happy day researching for my article, A Short History of Dorset Button, which will hopefully be published in Septembers The Knitter.  I ended up at Portland with my Dad, having a float in the sea (does wonders for your back) and taking lots of photos.  I'll post a couple below. 

Archie and I had a mad gallop, making the ponies eat our dust, on Saturday.  I thank god daily for my horse.  It's almost like flying when you go at that speed.  And today we went to see Alex perform in his drama school show.  Lots of singing and dancing and sketches.  He did brilliantly, and is going to make a fantastic comedian.  The whole show was much funnier than I expected, and much more entertaining as well. 

Very busy month.

Mantra for the next two months: just get through till September!


                                          Poppies

                                                       Horses Arse

                                                       Chesil Bank Boats

                                                       Portland Harbour

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Been naughty and bought more yarn

I've just bought some very nice yarn from See Jane Knit on etsy.  I mean, how was I supposed to resist.  It's the most beautiful colour, its merino, and there is enough of it to make a very nice lacy shrug if I'm careful.  I'm drooling just thinking of it.  I also bought some equally nice aubergine yarn on sale.  Not sure what I'm going to make yet but that's half the fun.  I used to have a rule that I would only buy yarn if I could see what I was going to make from it, but that doesn't work unless you can feel it.  Not so good for on-line purchases.

I went back to Stonehenge recently and took more night time sky photos.  It was not nearly as fun as last time because the road is open now and the cars kept spoiling the shots.  I did get a couple of reasonable shots, added below.  I've also included a couple from the STM conference at Eltham Palace and Downe House.  I would have gone into the house at Downe but having spent most of the two days stuck inside I wanted as much outside time as possible.  I'll have to go back and do the house again.  Oh what a shame!

                                          Cursus Barrows

                                          Stonehenge

                                          Downe House

                                          Eltham Palace

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Day out with Dad

It's been a little while as I've been away on a conference.  I took Alex down to Sherborne Castle on Sunday last week and met up with my Dad.  It was the most fun I've had in a very long time.  The castle is beautiful, set in very picturesque grounds with lots of interpretation and a fantastic guide book.  Needless to say I took loads of photos.  We decided to head out of Sherborne to the services at Sparkford for lunch but on the way we came across a pub, The Rose and Crown, at Trent.  Alex was a big hit in his medieval knights outfit.  One of the managers went as far as making him a tin foil sword, prompting the other manager to remark that he had a little too much time on his hands.  The food was divine.  I don't think I've ever enjoyed the veg more than the meat before, and the meat was delicious.  Alex ate all the sugar snap peas.  We had a very pleasant wander around St. Andrews Church (again more photos) and then went on to Cadbury Castle.  I haven't been to Cadbury since I was a child and it brought back some very nostalgic memories.  Alex found a fossil, probably a tooth, which thrilled him enormously and made up for him dropping his dinosaur bone down the side of the hillfort ( he makes up the most fabulous names when he's 'discovered' a new dinosaur bone, usually a rock).  We decided as we were close to have a cup of tea and a slice of cake in Shaftesbury, my home town, after the arduous trip up and down the hillfort.  I was very please because the guide book in the coffee shop had Dorset Buttons in it.  We walked off the cake on Gold Hill and Park Walk (again with the nostalgia).  Alex made a new friend in the park and I mourned the loss of the giant fir tree my best friend and I used to climb.  It is now a mere stump.  The other climbing tree was still there but I'm sure it was taller!  Both Alex and I had a thoroughly fabulous day and came home exhausted but happy.  Can't wait for the next adventure. 

Treasury of the day: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4dde34471b938eefde966473/lustrous-sea?index=9



                                          Sherborne Castle

                                                       St Andrews, Trent

                                          Daisy at Cadbury

                                          Gold Hill Shaftesbury

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Told my boss I'm leaving and he's sad to see me go

I finally managed to tell my boss I'm leaving Stonehenge yesterday.  It's such a relief to know that its really goning to happen.  I'm really going to set up my own market stall, selling Dorset buttons, fair trade yarn, hand spun yarn and fleece and knitting accessories.  I'm very excited, although I'm not actually leaving until the end of the season so still a few months to go yet.  Lots of planning to be done in the mean time.

Etsy treasury of the day: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/4dd3b823730e8eef6db25c43/lavender-blue-dilly-dilly

I love this because has the most beautiful blues and my favourate purple

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Walking is good but I must learn when to stop

I did the Sarcen Trail on Sunday.  This is a 26 mile hike organised and in support of The Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (www.wiltshirewildlife.org) from Avebury to Stonehenge.  I really enjoyed the first 11 miles (I'd like to add at this point that this is my third year of completing it) but my hip began to hurt after the first mile.  Of course, Meg my beloved dog died just after Christmas so I haven't been walking as much.  I guess doing the horses is not enough.  I stupidly decided that stubbornness would get me to Stonehenge, which it did, but I could barely walk yesterday and I'm still in a lot of pain today.  Next year I think I'll run instead, only the last 13 miles, and I have a year to train. 

Lesson of the day: You are allowed to tell yourself to stop.  It doesn't have to come from someone else.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Take the knitting survey.

After my very lazy day yesterday I've been a little busier today.  I spent most of the day at the Museum of Army Flying where I volunteer.  Alex had a very nice time celebrating the Royal Wedding at school, then reading his dinosaur books while I poo picked.  Archie was quite snugly today as well.  I bought some very nice sock yarn, lots of vibrant colours, which I'm going to turn into a shawl.  I've just got to finish the jacket I'm knitting for a friend and then I can start it.  I got the photos (10"x7") which I wanted to frame for my Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/Beakerbutton.  I just need to find frames for them and then they can go in. 

I've included a survey for those people who like to knit. 

http://www.practicalpublishing.co.uk/knittingsurvey

Monday, 25 April 2011

Happy Easter

Spent a frustrating day at work again, although I did enjoy the sunshine.  No horses tomorrow or Tuesday so I'm having a small lie in if my dodgy back will let me stay in bed.  We bluebelled, Mum, Alex and I, on Thursday.  Lots of lovely photos, some of which I'll put into the Etsy shop.  I've included a very nice one of Alex below.  It took ages to convince him not to be a clone (from Star Wars Clone Wars) and to just walk normally.

Friday, 22 April 2011

New series of Little Books

I've started a new series of Little Books, the first one being The Little Book of Flora.  The first book is a collection of original photographs taken by me.  The subjects are flowers, shrubs and other interesting and beautiful flora.  Click on the widget on the right to view more.  I'm going to create more as the muse strikes me. 

Feeling of the day: 'Once more into the Breech my friends!'

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Archie always knows how to cheer me up.

My beloved horse this morning made me feel loads better about life, just by snuffling through my hair when I was sat on the grass in the sun.  After a horrible day at work yesterday it was just what I needed.  I seem to have acquired a cat as well, having said I would have no more pets after Meg my beautiful dog was put down in January.  Obviously the cat, now called Tetley, didn't get the memo.  Mum and I spent a lovely evening on the allotment tidying up.  Now I'm going to watch telly, and knit of course, with my Hubby.  Must get some work done tomorrow.  There are photo's to print, WW1 men to research, stuff to put on Etsy, paperwork to do, gardening to get done.....

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Off to Legoland tomorrow

I'm taking my son and my Mum to Legoland tomorrow. Its the Star Wars day so I'm very over exited.  I managed to get the day off because Hugh is covering me, so he deserve a mention.  I still haven't decided if I'm dressing up or not, depends on the weather.  I've started a new photographic project, which I'm calling The Big Sky.  I've posted one of the photos below.  I'm helping my Mum do her garden on Tuesday, and trying to catch up with all the work I have to do for Beaker.  If only there were more hours in the day!  On the plus side, very much enjoying the sunshine.  Long may it continue.

May the Force be with you

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Stonehenge starscape

I skived last night.  Instead of doing all the work I'd planned I took my camera and my husbands tripod and decanted to Stonehenge.  I spent the next couple of hours taking photos of the sky.  The stars were exceptionally bright.  The light polution from Amesbury and Salisbury gave the photos a sureal glow.  I tried lots of different settings, changing the apeture, ISO and F-stop.  I loved having the tripod, which gave me all the angles I needed to take the constellations I wanted.  I've included some of them below.  What's really amazing is when you zoom in there are lots of red, blue, purple and yellow stars which I had no idea I was taking. 

Wisdom of the Day: Just because you can't see it, doesn't mean it isn't there.
                            
                                              Apache Helicopter flying through the shot

                                                                  Stonehenge

                                                                              Orion

Moon

                                                                       The Plough

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

So much work to be done

I have this massive list of stuff that needs to be done.  Most of my jobs are etsy related.  I also have to plan the craft fair to raise money for the Ostomy Life fashion show.  I have lots and lots of First World War research to do.  I need to write to The Knitter about the Dorset Buttons I've made.  I think I need to go and live on Jupiter.  I'm sure there are more hours in the day there.  I did manage to get the battery on my new phone changed to one that doesn't run down every 2 hours.  One down, squillions to go. 

Grrrr of the Day:  missed Saturn last night due to cloud.  Bah Humbug

Sunday, 3 April 2011

obsession with the stars

I've been playing with my camera in the dark, taking photos of the stars as the light pollution around my friends cottage is minimal.  I've just downloaded them and they aren't to bad.  I realise I need to make sure I mark which part of the sky I'm taking the photos of so I can work out which stars I have managed to capture.  I'm going to put some of the other photos in my Etsy shop as canvases.  It's all very exciting.  I'm back home now, but planning on more night time photography sessions.  I bought a Sky at Night magazine because they had a course on astrophotography.  Can't wait to try out some of the techniques.  I've added some of the photos from the Weymouth trip to Dad's as well.

Quote of the day: That's no moon, its a space station.


Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Off to Portland

I played hooky and visited my Dad today on Portland.  I took the camera of course, so I'll post some of the photos later.  We took a walk, after a fabulous pizza in Weymouth, round the bird reserve and I'm hoping I got some nice shots of ducks and heron, as well as some atmospheric shots, courtesy of the mist.  Unfortunately I was later picking up Alex from the childcare centre so I have to pay a fine.  What's so annoying is its his last day tomorrow before my Mum takes over the childcare.  Never mind, its only money. 

Quote of the day: You can't expect to wield supreme authority just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Attack of the Chickens

I am staying at a friends, house sitting while she's away, so I can look after her chickens and Shim Shae the cat.  The chickens are a little scarey, especially if you get up 2 minutes late to let them out.  Ruth was pecking at the hatch door when I went down this morning.  I opened the hatch and let them onto the garden, forgetting that I'd left the kitchen door open.  When I went to get the seed and pellets for them Ruth was in the house pecking away at the cat's bowl.  I tried not to panic and calmly went back outside with the seed and scattered it in the usual places.  Luckily Ruth heard and dashed outside.  I slammed the door shut and locked it for good measure.  I'm not sure if chickens can turn door handles but I wouldn't put anything past this lot.  What freaks me out the most is the way they stand at the back door, just staring. 

Question of the day: Why did the chicken cross the road? To terrorise the chicken sitter.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Legoland hurray

I took my son to Legoland Windsor today and we had a stonking time.  We queued, obviously, but that didn't bother us.  We got soaking wet on various rides, screamed loads and ate lots and lots of crap.  All in all a thoroughly good day out.  I spent a very nice half hour in a queue talking to a lady from the U.S.A but living in England with her husband.  She thinks it was me who let her into the shop at Stonehenge last year.  Small world, hey.  I'm off to eat something green (leafy green , not gummy green!).

Wisdom of the day: if filling your child with sugar, e numbers and crap, make sure to dump them on Grandma afterwards.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Stourhead and photos of the modelling shoot

Mum and I went to Stourhead yesterday.  The daffodils were exceptional and I ended up taking 375 photos.  I've included some here, and some of the modelling shoot from Wednesday. 

Quote of the day: when is the 3 o'clock parade?
                                  Cassie in my blanket coat

Lounging in the green crochet jacket

Pretty in pink

 The famous view of the bridge
 Daffodils
The tallness of trees

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Modelling fun

Today I turned my photographic skills to the fine art of modelling.  My friend Cassie very kindly agreed to model some of the clothes I've knitted so I can put them on my etsy shop.  We had glorious weather, really bright, with a cloudless sky.  I've yet to sort through the photos but I have high hopes of them being fabulous.  On the subject of fabulous photos you should check out www.etsy.com/shop/judemcconkey as she creates the most amazing images.  I had the first newsletter from her today and her new photos and wearable art are breathtaking.

Wisdom of the day.  Don't listen to Shakira's new album in the car!  The latin beats are very distracting.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

 Highclere Castle
The sky from my horses field
Hi
I guess I'll start with what I did today.  My Mum and I had an invitation to visit Highclere Castle in Hampshire for a Hollister stoma day.  I have a stoma and was really looking forward to seeing what new products were available and I wanted to take my new camera lens, an early Mothers Day present, and have a play.  The stoma event was very interesting and I have lots of samples on the way.  I very much looking forward to trying the new body (underwear).  It looks like the perfect thing to flatten out Mavis (the stoma) and the lumpy belly I have, a legacy from my surgery.  I had lots of fun experimenting with my camera.  I even managed to photograph the helicopter which flew over and for the first time it is more than a mere dot in the sky.  My husband is forever teasing me that all my aircraft photos are dots in the sky.  I've been reading lots and getting some great advice from people about how to use my camera and its opened up a whole new world for me.  I even managed to take pictures of the night sky. 
Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.