not yet

a pretty decoration on the dog-walkers tree
I have a tinsel decoration which keeps falling down. But I am saying oh no you don't, we still need you. It's not over yet! I'm not quite ready for the bareness of January, although glorious blue skies will help.

Today we have torrential rain and snuffles have arrived. But the pretty twinkling lights and tree are helping see us through to the new year.

our tree in all it's glory!
I'm not sure how I will cope without my fairy lights......I may have to put in a large jar and carry on enjoying them.

I especially like turning these on in the evening, so that passersby can enjoy them too!

lights in my kitchen window
These are the soft vintage lights which I still have since my childhood. I love them so much! I will keep them up until the 4th, which is my way of counting the 12 days of christmas, (from christmas eve that is!). 

Then I will hope for sunshine and blue skies to take us through January. I think we need a rather large dose of hope right now to see us through these darker days.

christmas morning in the sunshine, so busy!
We had this glorious sunshine on christmas day. The boy, agreed to walk with me, before plugging in the new technology too! We put on our christmas hats and felt silly.....it was fun!

The white flags were definitely waved on christmas day. I feel we are re-building our christmas traditions, really from the ground up. It's not easy when there is only one parent and one child. We have had some seriously difficult events around previous christmas times. That we are still only learning how to ground oursleves from. There has been loss, accident, trauma, illness. Families shaken to the core. Is that dramatic? probably. We are not quite out the otherside yet either. But I am seriously grateful for any little light and joyful moment that comes. It's a mixed bag isn't it.

It's not too late though. each year we can build on little successes. This year I got the gravy right, and the roast potatoes! (I did drop half in the bottom of the oven though!) but even that will become a christmas story too.

Oh and friendly neighbors who invite you over to share some wine in the evening, god bless them! yes both days! there are some good people in this world.


three wishes

On the morning of boxing day I awoke from a dream where I had been granted three wishes by the christmas fairy. Isn't that lovely. Three special wishes for my life. It couldn't be more simpler. For all my aims and thoughts and shoulds and wants and hopes. When you break it down it's really very clear. I think she helped show me that.

From where I have been sleeping on a couch bed underneath the window sill, she has been next to me all through christmas. 

When I awoke I remembered straight away what my wishes were while I was sleeping. I don't believe if I tell you these that it means that they won't happen. I can tell you that my first wish wasn't for world peace, as it may have been had I been awake.

No these were instinctive, for me, for my life, for my love, my personal wishes.

My first wish was that my son would find his way to an education which works for him. I'm open to anything which works. It doesn't have to be the normal way of things, and I understand that it's not everything. A whole load of doors will still open for a boy who is smart, articulate and kind. I just want to help him find his way. I want to help him step into whatever that may be.

My second wish for our health and happiness. We aren't dealing with anything too major. I just feel that we could both be feeling better, healthier. I want us to be bursting with feel good vitamins and happy endorphins. Living life with good energy levels. When I go for my yearly health check ups I want all the numbers in the right places. I want to have confidence in my health for years to come.

My third wish is really all mine. I wish for my creative dreams, for my inspirations, for my ability and know how to find it's way here. I want to be brimming over in ideas, in creativity, loving the process, building something. I want to find the possibilities, the story, the magic. It's a biggy. I know.

And I'm prepared to work for this. I'm prepared to show up for it all. I'm ready to commit. I want to be able to say, this is my life, this is what I do, this is what I'm here for. All of it.


a little thorn tree on the hill.......

Once upon a time somebody had the idea of decorating a little thorn tree on the top of the hill every year for christmas. Each year decorations and cards from the local dog-walkers would arrive. The spiky thorns would valiantly hold on to the decorations in the blustery wind, and on a sunny day the tinsel would billow and sparkle in the sunlight.

and perhaps an idea formed to leave a box underneath the tree for donations of food and money for the local dogs home.

and wouldn't that be a great idea. For at christmas many local folks make the pilgrimage here to see the tree in all it's glory gently billowing and sparkling in the breeze. To leave a little something in the box, (which is emptied daily by kind doggy folk).

and we call it doggy heaven up here, because of course it is.

funny little messages and pictures.

So if your ever in Gloucestershire or hereabouts at christmas you know to make the journey here and share the doggy love.

Now I did a little research and it turns out that there has been the tradition of decorating another famous thorn tree called the Glastonbury thorn, which some of you may have heard of. This tree at Glastonbury is said to have been there for 2000 years. According to legend it is said to have originated from a wooden staff which Joseph of Arimathec thrust in the ground after travelling here from the crucifixion of Jesus. The next morning a small bush was said to have grown. A special Hawthorne tree grew which famously flowered on christmas day and easter. This tree became a natural shrine. Each year some sprigs were cut from the tree and sent to the queen for her to put on her festive table. Sadly in 2012 vandals cut down the tree! But it has now been replaced by another tree grown from a cutting of the original tree which was safeguarded by taking cuttings and grown in special places around Glastonbury. And they have tested this tree and it does actually show that it does come from a species in Israel!

and so we have our special tree in Gloucestershire, which we hope vandals will not cut down! perhaps i should take a cutting!

so from the common and the dog-walkers christmas tree I wish you and yours a very merry christmas! have a lovely day. I hope the skies are bright clear.



finding my way back to colour

I've finally found my way back to working with lots of colour! These colourful crochet circles are edged in a off-white colour with a silver thread running through. I'm not sure how easily you can see the silver here. It has been a fun and sparkly project to work in the evenings.

The idea was sparked by Ale's christmas tree project and the need to wip up a few christmas presents.

I used Debi at hooks and yarn's pattern for her squircle using the pattern for the first two rounds of trebles. Then I added a further round of single crochet and then a border of alternating single crochet and a chain. Does that make sense?!

I think you can see the sparkle here and i'm having fun with the photos. So as it's christmas I'll get them all out!

of course I wanted to keep them all!

but knew i wasn't going to......they were destined to become 'happy garlands of colour and sparkle' and on their way to add some cheer in other folks homes!

and it was so hard to see them go that I had to make myself a little one too!

It's looking quite festive here now. The tree is up. I just love the smell of tinsel! and my woollies tree. It has a very definite christmas smell! 

Tonight I will look for some greenery and a lovely candle to burn as today is the winter solstice. It's nice to mark the return of the light and longer days in a peaceful and warm way, thinking of hopes and wishes for the future. 

wishing you a happy solstice,


the crafty clogs are turning.....!

This autumn I have found myself called by the beautiful berries, the reds and the pinks, in fact I would say that this has been the year of the berries for me. I have almost never noticed quite how beautiful they are before. The wool I used for these wrist warmers was found tucked away in a basket in my slightly muddled local wool shop. There was no label, but the colour jumped right out at me as something I've been wanting to work with!

A gorgeous deep berry colour, so lovely to work at this time of year. What would you call this colour? it was this very particular colour that I was looking for. It's not quite burgundy, or wine, or berry! Any ideas.

 Of course one thing led to another.

and another! each time I had to add a little of this wonderful colour in. There was a moment of dismay when I realized I had made two different pairs of two different lengths with the colours in different places. Which led to some unpicking and re-making. And now I am left with two gloves of the same length and different colours. I know it's confusing isn't it! So what do I do now?! I do actually really like both!

I was inspired by the work of the lovely Coco rose on her post here. And also Maiike's beautiful design at Crejjtion. The pattern is here. It would be sweet to add some little roses to the berry gloves. I used approximately a 3.5 hook, which you can see above. I love this hook. I think it's very old as it belonged to my grandma. I think it may be made from bone! It's got a great little hook on the end and really easy to use. I have to say a couple of years ago when I began crocheting granny squares, I never ever thought I would see the day when I would understand how to make these. But I do now, and that's just fab and very empowering, and really rather amazing! and now I'm thinking hmmm, how about some berry boot toppers to match, oh yeah!


it's coming.....!

The first decoration on the dog-walkers christmas tree! has arrived. I love my morning walks here on top of the common with my little dog. Sometimes it's very blustery and at least 10 degrees colder than down below. We wrap up in woollens and head into the wind with our eyes watering. Little dog has decided she doesn't like wearing her coat anymore, more fool her!

and here's the first doggy christmas card! There will be a box left under the tree, which is actually a hawthorne bush, for collections of food and money for the local dogs rescue. It's a well known sight around here, with people coming up to see it in all it's splendor later on.

every day I admire this little tree as I come past. It has the most amazing backdrop of beech and birch trees down below. There's quite a high slope here, it's really so scenic. The red berries against the subtle misty winter landscape stops me in my tracks. My mornings are very different now. We haven't quite landed in a new routine yet, but they no longer look like this.

In our town it's lovely to be out after dark now and see the lights and spot the houses on the way home that are all lit up. This is where the local skateboarders hang out! Flipping up and down the steps and around the pavement.

I expect I'll be down in the town several times this week buying last minute pressies! It looks quiet here now but I don't think it will next week.

A quick peek in the church which has been decorated in trees by local businesses.

really I thought this one was very clever, A tree made from books! by the local hospital education.

I have my little advent tree up now on my table, I can't find my advent star anywhere! I think the big tree will go up in the next couple of days. It's nice seeing bits of festive sparkle beginning to arrive. Oh and I have put up my rather lovely christmas fairy, she just needs a new bulb so she can do her glowy thing and then I will show you!

and this is where it's all happening right now. I little glimpse of sparkly projects as well. This year I have been using some coloured foil sheeting to wrap small presents, it's lovely. It's like wrapping with a box of quaility street sweets! Very christmassey, I think. And in case you need to know, last second class post is on Wednesday and last first class post is on Friday, in the UK! and to throw in some zen like thoughts, if it happens, it happens. If it doesn't forget it for this year!

Catch you later in the week with more christmas sparkle no doubt,



a 'homemade at my place' christmas tree!

love, love, LOVE this!
thank you Alessandra for your wonderful tutorial and idea.
At Homemade at my place, you will see that Alessandra's natural enthusiasum and love of her craft and colour really shine through. Her colourful and exuberant crafts are handmade at her home in Jakarta, Indonisia, and she often takes us on little 'walks' around the neighbourhood! We don't quite have a winter wonderland landscape here yet either. I love this little tree and plan to keep it as a keepsake, getting it out every year and enjoying it at christmas.

I also loved adding a little touch of sparkle with the star and some glittery thread. The glittery thread has of course sparked a whole other project which I'll show you soon......!
So you can see I've been having fun with this little tree, but it's actually going to sit comfortably above our family rules! it has a perfect little place.

 Although I think some gentle reminders need to made here......!

I expect like lots of you, I'm making several different things at once at this point, but it's coming together and we do have 12 days til the big day! Actually it won't be so big here, but we'll make it christmasey anyway.

so happy makings,


fox about town

Hi there, thank you all for your lovely comments about my blanket. It really was a most soothing and calming thing to make. But now I am head long into christmas crafting. It's just never long enough, even when you think you have started in time. I am already burning the midnight oil!

This little fella will soon be winging his way across the Atlantic, a travelling fox brooch! made from the gift with mollie makes issue 32. I love this and am using the template to make more of course.

I must let you know about my tiny pictures. I haven't managed everyday! but the idea is still there. The first few days felt a bit forced. I quickly realized that having a pre-fixed idea didn't really work. So I have to show up with an open mind. Isn't that a true! Day 4 was terrible as I hung on to my idea of a flower. And then on day 5 this happened.

Not sure where it came from, but obviously I have been influenced by Flora Bowley here. It was such a difference from the first few. And then my Brave intuitive painting book arrived showing me more ideas and techniques. So in true blogger fashion I'm showing you the best one so far. I didn't think I could actually top this one and downed brushes for several days. Then I tried again and really didn't like the next picture, it was really quite disturbing! So I've downed brushes again. I'm thinking maybe I need a bigger piece of paper, or different paints or new tools?......or maybe I just need to be brave enough to show up again, no matter what else comes out. Be in the process, which deep down I know is what it's about! this project might spin out a bit longer than I thought but I hope to show you more eventually.

Good luck with all your preparations. I haven't brought any cards or any presents yet. I haven't any decorations up yet either!..... well there is one and I will show you that soon.

Take care,


a finished autumn blanket!

After two days without a local internet connection, I decided it was time to show you these pictures. We had an evening of playing chess and drafts and re-connecting! It felt like divine intervention really and a little glimpse back to how life used to be. I quite liked it. It felt really different and has given me something to think about. I definitely felt more present in my life and I felt like I had more time! It's a tricky thing to get the balance with.

I am enjoying my new autumn blanket. The light indoors is just not up to it, so I took the blanket outside to show you.

You can see the colours are quite dark already. I'm so happy I added the little pops of colour. Overall it's the effect I was looking for. I wanted something darker, perhaps less girly to sit on my couch in these colder months.

I was a little unsure about adding in the beige colours to the mix, but having ordered the wool I decided to plough ahead with it. The brighter colours in the middle were some merino wool from my stash. I was inspired by this blanket here, by little cotton rabbits. I saved this in my flickr favourites a long time ago. I was inspired by the colours although mine is not quite as blue grey as I would have liked. But in situ it looks just fine, and I will show you eventually.

The pattern was very straightforward as you can see. Triples followed by four chains at every corner. The join is ridged underneath, which I decided would be best as really this blanket will be for sitting on!

It's probably the size of a large lap blanket. Any larger would need serious dedication. I do have my eye on this blanket found on Annette's pinterest board, as a possible next project. Definitely back into girly! wouldn't it be lovely.

Well the elving has begun here in earnest, I'll understand if your visits here become fly-bys! it's that time of year. I still need to go and dig out my advent star. It's time to begin lighting up the house. Have a good Sunday. Bye for now,

Just wanted to add that this screensaver for December is fun.


a little bit crafty.......

I have had a bit of a crafty week here. Probably because I have now finished my blanket and am feeling a little free! I still need to block it (if i do!) and am waiting for a bright day to photograph it but I will show you soon. I have been enjoying a flurry of crafty moments:-

This book by Kanako Yaguchi, The art of decorative paper stencils 2, appeals to me on so many levels. I do love paper crafts and it's been a while now. (You can see the little suitcase!) Kanako combines her travel memories of cities around the world with the art of paper cutting. It has a Japanese feel to the book and especially in the translations where she talks a lot about her memories of the air and the wind. This is a beautiful Japanese quality to me. She turns her work into illustrations and exhibitions. I feel very inspired.

These were the colours I had left with my origami paper. I love this combination. There is some patterned paper to try out with at the back of the book too. I'm imagining trying different mediums say newspaper print, and perhaps they could become cards or added to wrapping paper.

This week I discovered the work of Flora Bowley of  Brave Intuitive You. There is fantastic film here of her making her art. You absolutely must watch it! I think of myself as a crafter. Not an artist. Not really. Not yet anyway. But I was inspired to begin a little something small, just for myself really, that I thought I would share with you.

These were my Mum's watercolour paints. I have cut small squares of paper, and everyday I will paint one piece. It may just one colour, or maybe I will use crayons or pens. Or maybe I will stick something on it! Anything is allowed, and I will see where it takes me. It's only a small piece of paper so, no pressure just something. At the end of a month I will make a collage of all the pieces. Would you like to join me?!

I just felt like trying something new.

I have many art books which belonged to my Mum. I try to remember to open them up and keep a page open for inspiration, which I change around. I like this idea of intentional inspiration. I believe that things that we see everyday do inspire us subtly on a deeper level. This is my current page by the Impressionist Cubist, Jacques Villion. I also have books on street art and many different kinds of art. I like the idea of my son growing up with this kind of inspiration around him.

I do feel the need to be more creative in other areas of my life. I have got stuck in a rut, whether it's the food I'm eating or the clothes I'm wearing. More on that to come. I'm on the look out for inspiration, I feel like it's definitely in the air. A burst of inspiration is always a good thing :-)

I have been playing with china alphabet beads, sometimes it's the small things that bring pleasure!

and I do so want to create my life.
Well the sun's shining, so I will be off to soak some up while I can.
Enjoy the weekend,