Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bang goes the bangle!

Remember me mentioning a fail in my Scotty- post? Well, I figured it was about time to show you my new yarn- wrapped bangles candle holder adornments!

I scored this beautiful yarn in, you guessed it, a charity shop and immediately thought of making it into some sort of jewellery.

So out came the cheapo bangles I got with wrapping in mind.
Wrap it, baby! And end up with something that looks like your favourite childhood teddybear had a terrible accident:

The blue version is not much better, like a carpet sample turned cupholder:

So, after photographing them, I actually meant to throw them away, but found out that they fit snugly around my little IKEA tealight holders. Like so:

They kinda make me smile, not because they are pretty (and heck, they are anything BUT pretty!) but because of my blind enthusiasm to put my own spin on some of the really beautiful stuff I have seen sprout up all over blogland, failing royally. So, for as long as my mantel sports the blue- ish look, they are allowed to stay, and then end up in the dress- up box for the wee ones to mess around with.

Behold, my yarny endeavours did not stop there. A fail will not prevent me from trying out anything that looks do- able, easy and satisfying, so I grabbed myself a fork, some yarn and got to work. This little tutorial shows how to make neat little pom poms without much ado, and I strongly recommend you guys give it a go. No fuss, no messing about, just you, your fork and some favourite yarn scraps. Aww, bliss!

I made 13 of the little fellas (13 is my favourite number, just for the heck of it!) and stuck them to my now- bare winter wreath with some hot glue.

Unfortunately, the pictures do the wreath no justice at all. I'll try and get some better ones in proper daylight!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Put a price on happiness!

Necklace: £1. Fancy little bottles: £1 for the lot. Frames: £2 including yarn.

"Meow" unique artwork: £1, candle holder £0.50.

Incredibly gorgeous, slightly disturbed ginger kitteh: free to good home rescue kitten from a family in Castleford.

Have you added up? £5.50 for the things you see pictured. Quite good, right?

But have you ever tried to purchase the perfect light in any shop? The way only the morning sun at 8 o'clock before a 13 hour shift makes your random garbage look like a million bucks? The way it puts a golden glow to a ginger kitties' fur? How a few minutes of pure, undiluted bliss in the morning can set you up for a whole, long day in the treadmill?

No shop, catalogue, website can ever offer this. When you wake up an hour before waking- up time and the birds are singing their little hearts out because spring has finally arrived, and when your significant other gets up even though he doesn't have to just to sip a coffee with you before you set off and how everything seems to be just right.

This morning was really some sort of wake up- call. Hibernation is over, my summery self is coming out again. The world hasn't changed, but I am in the right kind of mood to appreciate the "small" things again. Like the two ladybugs I evacuated from the bathroom yesterday. And the wonderful little old guy with the atrocious handwriting who was beaming like pictured morning sun when he came to my shop today, giving me a bite size Mars bar just because he likes me. (and I ate it, pretending I didn't have the most terrible chocolate- induced toothache in the history of toothache, and I loved it. Loved it like the first chocolate bar ever.) And the starlings that, I swear, grow out of the tree across the road from my shop in their dozens.

What makes you happy, guys? Which are your "million bucks moments"? I could list so many more, but I thought I'd just give you a glimpse of one nice day. Not a perfect day by all means, but memorable for nothing other than the way the morning sun turned it into something good.

There is more crafty stuff lined up, if you can tolerate more yarn- related posts. I'll move from decorative items to jewellery, and you are invited bear witness to my most recent fail.

Love y'all, have a sunny day!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's a wrap, Scotty!

Don't worry, the title will make sense in a minute, if you wanna stick around!

You might have gathered that I dance at many a wedding. Metaphorically speaking, because I can't dance. The women in charge of my tormented, traumatic childhood decided it would be an idea to pay for lessons when I was a teenager (disco fox and waltz, I mean, seriously??), but I packed it in after 3 or 4 of them and decided to spend my allocated dancing time hanging out with equally uninterested friends, all the while pretending I was duly rocking the dance floor. Mama, it's too late to send me to bed without dinner now that you found out... right? RIGHT?

Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, dancing at many weddings. Dabbling.
A few days ago, I decided that I absolutely HAD to wrap something in yarn, or I would never- ever be happy again. I have many colourful yarns knocking about, a very lucky charity shop find. Not enough of any colour for, say, a scarf or anything, but so many wonderful shades that one feels inspired by simply looking at them. Stashbusting? Yeah, let's call this little project stashbusting, it makes me feel downright organized and sensible. (and you don't get the image of an excited kid in Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe into your heads!)

Unfortunately, a wreath was not really an option because I had no intention of paying good money for a wreath base just to satisfy my yarn wrapping needs. Plus, the need came over me around midnight- not the best time to go wreath shopping. So I had to come up with something that was already at hand. What does every savvy thrifter have an abundance of? Other than empty jars, candle sticks and ready- to- felt sweaters? Correct. Picture frames.

The idea is not new, and if you want to check out a beautiful Pier1- knock off, please head over to Jess, who made the coziest little beauty you could ever wish for. She also has a pretty neat idea how to match the photo in the finished frame with the yarn used.

My approach is less cozy and reminds more of all those beautiful wreaths that pop up all over blogland. I even got to make my very first felt flower! (always hot on the heels of the latest trends... months later...)

Have a look:

I hope it'll look pretty when the candles are lit.

Have you figured out why it is a wrap, Scotty? I'll give you a hint:

and a close- up (because I am pretty chuffed with how the edges turned out, merely by chance as I am not ashamed to admit!)

This craft is strangely addictive and immensely satisfying, so I will keep wrapping things in yarn till my need to dabble in something else comes over me.

Have a great day, peeps, love y'all!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St Patricks Day!

Guys, I'd like you to listen to the music while reading my post.

I am not Irish. Not even 1/16th, and as much as I would love it, I don't have an Irish Wolfhound as a pet. Dammit.
I have been to Ireland (well, Northern Ireland), and I loved it, so for your "Kiss me anyway" display tomorrow, you can quote me as the girl in question.
As some of you might have gathered, I am a German living in England supporting a Scottish football (soccer) team with Irish roots- Glasgow Celtic. Are you still with me?

The whole thing started AGES ago when a Scottish player came to play for my then favourite team, Borussia Dortmund. The guy was Paul Lambert. At some point, he left Borussia to play for Glasgow Celtic, and my then- husband and I decided to travel to Scotland with two friends of ours to check out his new "home". We hired a van, stuck a Borussia Dortmund- flag in the rear window, and the rest is history.
It was, to put it in a nutshell, an incredible experience. 4 Germans with Dortmund- tops and English- skills ranging from "yes, no, where toilet pleez?" to "yeah, naw, where's the loo?" surrounded by incredibly lovely, welcoming Scotsmen and -women, pampered and protected from everything I now know to be a tough world. Upon entering Glasgow in our hired van, a guy actually threw a "Glasgow Celtic Almanac" from an open bus window into our ride and gesticulated all sorts of appreciation until we were out of his sight. And, please be told, that was only a tiny fraction of the gifts we received just for being German and supporting Paul Lambert and, by proxy, Glasgow Celtic.

Upon returning to Germany, we were reformed. We knew all kinds of Celtic Songs and Irish history, even though we'd never set foot on Irish soil. Oooh, ya beauty, Celtic has the most Irish roots as ever you'll see :)

We went back at least twice a year for many years after that. And we were always received like friends those beautiful people hadn't met before.

Unfortunately, there was and is a dark side to the way we were introduced to a certain part of Irish culture. The songs we were taught during our first couple of visits often are about political stuff you don't really want to get involved with as either a tourist, a proper Celtic supporter or anybody who is not Irish.

I learned this lesson the painful way when I took The Man (English born and bred, even though he has LOADS of Scottish and Irish ancestors) to an Irish pub here in Leeds. What sounds great when you are surrounded by merry (drunk) fellow Celtic supporters (or so it seems) kind of turns sour when you are in England, surrounded by welcoming English friends who have no connections to Ireland whatsoever.

When I went to Belfast, I went on my own. I have tattoos that disclose me as a Celtic supporter, and I felt the need to cover them up. I was stupid. My experience in Belfast is something I would tell my grandchildren about if I ever had any. I was welcomed, embraced, incorporated into a large family of IRISH people who don't give a flying fiddler's fart about where anyone originates from. What seems to count these days is who you choose to be, and I choose to be as Irish as I can be.

I have spent the last few years in England and I am incredibly grateful for the Welcome I received. Even though there are still fights I have to brave, mostly they are negligible. But if I could be born again into any country of my choice, it would be Ireland. Straight after Slovenia.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures that, I swear, will never see the light of day again!

and the reason why I decided that NO rebel song whatsoever is worth it:

Oh, and did I mention that I disagree with the general idea of expelling snakes? I know, I know... it's all about getting rid of infidels blah blah blah... but the mere idea of one mad Saint picking on serpents really annoys me! Same as I don't agree with good old St George going after that sad oversized lizard. It just doesn't gel with me, folks.

Have a WONDERFUL St Paddy's Day, guys, and paint the world green. The best thing Glasgow Celtic taught me is to Spread the World. Pay it forward, kiss the Irish and those who want to be, make the world greener and sing a song. Give away an item you KNOW somebody else will cherish- what about that pair of earrings Aunt Cecily adored when she visited? Or this really cute tote bag you used to take the recycling out, and the neighbour nearly fainted? I SWEAR you will forever remember the good deed you did, and I also swear you will forever be remembered for it!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

... but... but... I am not Irish!

Fear not, my dears, for those of you who are not 1/16th Irish, have an Irish Wolfhound as a pet or have heard of somebody whose cousin knew a girl who actually went to Ireland once- you will not remain unkissed tomorrow!

Print off this little something, stick it in a frame and nail it to your door tomorrow, and you shall be pecked, smooched and snogged!

This post is just a quickie, pretty much a brain fart in the last few minutes before Mama's gotta haul her not very Irish backside to work. There will be more shamrocks and shenanigans later!

Click image to enlarge, right- click to save and snog!

Monday, March 7, 2011

I FELT the need to dabble!

Hey guys, did you miss me? :)
Sorry for being awol, but somehow, there didn't seem to be a lot to tell the world, so I decided to rather keep quiet than spam your overflowing reader with yet another negliblible post.

Not saying that this particular post is going to make your day, but I was told that a cute kitty enhances pretty much everything.

Convinced? :)

Now that I have your attention, I would like to show you what I have been up to recently- needle felting! I'd been intrigued for months, and getting a little bonus on pay day (100% attendance, can I please have a medal?) allowed me to purchase a few supplies. All the curious crafter really needs to start felting away is a felting needle (or two or three, but to test it out, one is enough!), wool rovings and a foam block. Google it if you are interested, there are tons of tutorials out there, and it really is simple, yet immensely rewarding.

My first shot at felting some embellishments onto what is hopefully going to be a bracelet:

Certainly no masterpiece, but I think it sort of illustrates how easy it is for a complete newbie to make something that does not look like Jackson Pollock on acid :)

And of course I had to have a go at 3D- felting as well. If everything turns out the way I want it to, the little gnomes will turn into a gift for someone special, but until I am sure, my lips are sealed.

The pictures leave a lot to be desired, but that's down to the flash. There's just not enough daylight to be had in England! And there's talk of snow again, maybe I better get some scarves done for the little guys.

So, if you are looking for a new, very old hobby that does not cost you an arm and a leg (just the odd occasional gallon of blood when the darn needle ends up in your finger), look into needle felting. In my sometimes relatively creative mind, the possibilities are endless, and failure comes at no great expense. Just think of what you could make! Felted beads, toys for the kids, brooches, sculptures of animals... I've only just started to dabble and love it already. You can even embellish clothes and bags! What's not to love?

I hope I could inspire you to try something new today.

As a little PS, my Random acts of Kindness are not forgotten! The other day, I had a wee chat with a lovely lass who runs a tiny beauty parlour next to my shop. She knows I am German, and she told me about her favourite ketchup, Hela Curry Gewuerzketchup.

It always has been my favourite as well, and since I have the best Mum in the world, there happen to be two large bottles of it in my fridge. So I went up the next day and gave her a little of the good stuff which I'd poured into an old coffee jar. It pays to squirrel away containers :)

Pay it forward, guys, and make somebodies' day. Often, it takes as little as a sweet from your private supply given to a customer or a cup of tea made for a colleague. Maybe even letting the busy fellow behind you in the queue pay for his two items first, so he can get on with his day, or buy a chewing bone for that shy new neighbours' awkward dog.
You'll feel at least as great as the recipient of your kindness, and the more happy folks there are around you, the better it will be to live in your little corner of the universe.

Love y'all, have a lovely day!