i love it, i love it, i love it... The Other Me....

 It was the 'Hallowe'en Half Term' Craft Cafe on Thursday.
This marks the start of our 6th year! How time flies... and what a gorgeous sight to meet the children who have grown so much over  the years.
 Some of 'my girls' are too grown up now and this sort of environment is too tame for them. One of these girls came along to help me with the pom-pom spider table this time *waves at Jo* and that is such a warming thing. Community, Craft, Childhood,Friendship...
 And, with the passing of time, older children make way for new little hands and faces. I love meeting the parents and carers who all 'amaze' at how much effort their children put in to their works. I enjoy the barrage of questions about how and why!? we put on these workshops.
The continual comments to me "you should be a teacher, Kirsty - you should you know"
 There is another 'me'... inside me (if you know what i mean) and she is fat with happiness and home baking. She has 4 children of her own and a few fostered children. We sit round the farmhouse table 'Home Educating' and make models from Junk and obsess over making bird feeding fat balls.
For many years i thought that is who i would be.
 So, selfishly, The Craft Cafe is my way of slipping into that 'Other Me' skin and playing at that life for a while.

I LOVED it when 4 year old Meg was shouting Kirsty... kirsty... K I R S T EEEY at the other end of the room because she wanted help making a bead necklace and did i have "any more Sea Beads"? Who knows what she meant by Sea Beads? 5 months previous that child wouldn't join it without sitting on her Mothers lap and now she is hollering for help from 10 meters away.
 And generally, i am a person who hates chaos. I am not good with noise. I find children very hard work and i like to craft alone in silence.
So why, oh why, do i find myself stood in the centre of this mess - telling children how great their painty created mess is, positively welling up with pride for them and 'loving' my own centralness to all this madness?
It is the Other Me.
I like her. I would want to be her friend if i met her outside the village shop. I would want to sit in her messy kitchen drinking tea and having a gentle gossip. And weirdly, i would love to go home to my own neat little house afterward and enjoy calm and silence.
Maybe, this is the secret to our long enjoyed success of the Craft Cafe?
Many parents are putting on this Other Me overcoat? We are all enjoying the feeling of facilitating 2 hours of creativity and fun - where we all live in messy kitchens and let our children be crazed with creatvity?
Just thinking out loud..... x

It must be nice to swim with the Fishes...

 JUMBLE SALES - Rural Life still clings to it's long established fund raising traditions. People queue from far and wide to come to the annual WI Jumble Sale. The WI ladies have their own 'areas' and i don't think that order has been deviated from since time began. I forgot to thank Mary (on the coats and accessories table) for her large bag of fantastic pine cones she dropped round last week.
 I had to fight the WI Crockery Lady for this set of Staffordshire SUN plates (in yummy heavy glazed pottery) and the jug is just heart warmingly cheerful.
Dinner plates were specifically on my list of "Things to look out for at the Jumble Sale" so i was well chuffed with my little self. I had filled my bag with lambswool pullovers and Old Man trousers (for gardening) plus a Laura Ashley fabric wad (all on my list) and Marjorie was just emptying this lot from the 'box under the table' as i was leading my way out of the hall. MaFish and i don't need to communicate in words - she just took my heavy bag swiftly from me as i needed two elbows to get into the scrum and grab the crockery. It is years of fine tuning that makes a great salvaging team like this.
Please don't think i changed any names here - *any resemblance to real names and actual persons is not purely conincidence but actual and quite bewildering* sometimes i have to pinch myself that this Rural Community does really exist... because it feels like we all fell out of a Joanna Trollope novel.
 And i love the fact that they kept a box of stuff back to give to my mum later (for a future fund raising event) as they thought it was "too good for the Jumble Sale dearie"
And we looked inside to find OUR OWN donations that we had given to the Jumble Sale!
We chuckled.
 Later that day, back at home, and i helped PaFish with the shelving in the studio, inbewteen cooking 'Coq au Riesling' for supper. Give it 2 weeks and i *think* we are ready to start moving stuff in (don't jinx it Kirsty.... don't speak too soon....)

And, at the end of a wonderfully normal day, MaFish and SmallFish performed their very own, not very well rehearsed, chaotic and vastly amusing, CLOWN show :)

SmallFish's teacher said to us last week "It must be nice to live in her world" (i think she meant her internal world, ya know...) but it got me thinking... yes, it is nice to live in our world. Whatever happens, if we lost everything we own tomorrow. We'd still have each other. It is nice to swim with the Fishes for sure xxx

Cushion Making....

 I had a lovely crafty day last week, sewing up some cushions. I admit tha,t a few have been sitting in the cushion box for some weeks 'waiting' patiently for their final filling.
 This is a really large cushion made in log-cabin style patchwork and quilting.
It is a comission from a local lady who liked my work but wanted something BIGGER!
I tend to make smaller pieces as they sell better at Craft Fairs and are easier to ship internationally, so it was a real pleasure to go bigger with this cushion.
 I love adding all the details to my pieces. Appliqued trims and patches, the odd button, ribbon tags. I think this is what makes my work 'me' (however often we 'artists/ designers' are replicated.....)
 I must confess at buying these handmade crocheted flowers as an embellishment for my pieces. I have no time or talents for this. I love the detail they add and how a flat faced cushion becomes touchable / tactile. Most senses are stimualated in these designs
Tactile exteriors coupled with the fact that these cushions are packed with:
LAVENDER (for relaxation)
CHAMOMILE (for sweet dreams)
DRIED HOPS (for restful sleep)
 I just feel i can never photograph these to their true potential. Maybe because internet selling relies on just one sense - you can't sniff these or hold them in your hand, like you can at a Craft Fair or in a shop.
 They are primarily made to put on your bed (hence the herbal stuffing)
but they are equally at home on a dining chair or a sofa.
And, of course, choosing between all the delicious fabrics available is probably my favourite task.
Linens and unbleached cottons V bright crisp quilting cottons?
There is room for a little of everything x

Egad! Kitchen Colour and Vintage Haul.....

 I am NOT safe to be let out alone.
Somebody wrap me up in bubble wrap and post me to Iceland.
Seal up my Piggy Bank and smack my hands.... i am a bad bad person
(tee hee hee)
SIX sandwich plates (or cake plates, ya know) SIX saucers but only FOUR tea cups.
I can live with the loss of 2 cups. Hauled / saved / salvaged from the local Recycling Centre for £2

 I have been badly in need of a ladel and there.... sat waiting for me in the Junk Box... a pretty green enamel ladel and it is a fair ole size!

 Oh Be still my beating heart.
This kitchen prettiness hurts my eyes.

This smaller Mason Bowl was saved from another Tip Shop on Monday. £1 and the perfect size for smaller baking activities or SmallFish hands.
The "Jacksons" Tea Tin was a Summer Car Boot find - gorgeous Blue.
I have WANTED one of these Steak Plates for an age. So much fun. They make me feel jolly just knowing they exist. There were 3 but i chose just one. This was in a SALE bin at the Local Antiques Cellar for £4 It just makes me chuckle. She is a Mad Cow!
And this Staffordshire Bon Bon plate was also in the SALE BIN!
What a love. She was £8 and i felt it worth the money.
Beautiful Lupin Blue colour and the pattern is perfect.
I think my MrsB was with me today as it all seemed to fall into place.
I got my friend a gift too (belated birthday-ness and maybe Christmas-ness)
But that is all for the future...
Cheers. Enjoy. Go salvage :)

Paint Furniture! It will save your life.... sort of.....

 Take one (at a time) nasty Old Chair.
This was handmade, in Cheshire, many moons ago as a custom order for my Great Aunt. The workmanship was sublime. Yet it had seen it's day....
My dad and i have this disagreement all the time "look at that beautiful wood" he says "why paint it?"
 And he is right.... but there is no joy left in this object
"dad - there is no Joy left in it. It is minging"
"what are you talking about Kirsty" says dad "i don't understand"
 Anyway.... it got "Fished" Big Time.
The seat came off with just 3 screws but the fabric took an age to rip free as we took out all the old pins and staples (my Sister in the picture, lending a hand)
I ended up padding the seat with a big piece of foam before re-stretching it with fabric and stapling it very tight.
 I cannot recommend spray paints enough. These are Montana Golds - what a joy to use and i have used them on Wicker baskets, wood, metal... everything.
 I won't lie to you.... stripping off all that dark varnish on the wood, was a bitch. It took time to get in all those crevices and curves. I did it with Nitromors twice and then sanded it. Then gave it a light coat of Primer.  The spray paint went on in several stages, till i was happy it was covered. Finally i sprayed it with a gloss varnish.
 Sorry the photo is not great but i am not a DIY show here am i?
the colour is alot darker and more purple than this shows. This looks pink but it is a kind of rich Bramble Jam colour. The fabric is just what i thought went well with the other fabrics round the home.
Everyone approves!
Now do you see what i mean Dad? There is a great deal to be joyful about in this chair now?

"Whatever makes you happy dear" says Dad.
...Paint furniture... it'll change your life!

What a Difference a Day Makes.... less than 24 little hours.....

 Really, the story needs little narrative.
I moved house. I needed studio.
I built one in the garden, with a little help from some Men.
 Ben laid the concrete base, with some help from Tom.
Steve discussed the requirements we had and Dave made sure it was pre-built to Spec.
 Dish #1 made sure all the wooden parts arrived and were put in the correct places.
 Dish #2 wore a fantastic Tool Belt and did stuff with insulation and electrics.
I was sitting in the garden, over on the swing, with a cup of coffee and my zoom lense....
 'Dishes' left the site and Ma & PaFish came to Ooohh and Aaahhhh at the beautiful Wood smelling, Willow Green structure with whitewash windows *sigh* tis too cute.
(i am feeling inspired to write children's books now)
 Exit the Men - Here come the Fish...
 Yep, the door works.
Yep, the window works.
 Yep that nasty garden chair in the foreground needs to go the tip....
 Now PaFish needs to design a racking / shelving system that allows us maximum work and storage space. He loves this bit.
And yes indeed, too many Pennies from Heaven have been spent. I must get on with sanding down an old cutting table and getting the floor sorted.
Cheesy Grin.
Life, Business, Loving, Living.... must all begin again.

SALE TIME on Etsy....

You may not have heard the news...?
Lots of Etsy UK sellers are having a *sale* in their Etsy shops.
Just search in the handmade section of etsy for
"UK" items or "silly sale"
Many shops have a sale section - some have sale items listed throughout.
I have many older designs 'reduced to clear' also xxx

and many more shops.....
Take a look?

Things making me happy on a Saturday Morning....

Things that are making me happy on a quiet Saturday morning....
*new* blue spotty pumps. They won't stay this clean for long. Thank the lord for a bit of Cath Kidston frivolity. The sun is shining, i might not need my Welly Boots today?

Fresh Bed Linen in random combinations. Pure cotton sheets and a salvaged over-sized Quilt.
I love to 'dress my bed' like some people might dress their living room.

A fun photo... who is that?....
it's me and my big brother at my Grandads wedding, or maybe my Aunt's?
(How many people can say they were at their Grandads wedding?)

Knowing that i am loved and that somebody somewhere has a thought for me and will sometimes think "i wonder how Kirsty is today" xxx

Tea. Of course. Always Tea.
A cuppa served in Car Booty 50p cup and saucer whilst sewing Christmas stock and looking forward to what might happen in my life today.


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