Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Feeding the 'Birds'

Having stocked up on bird seed, peanuts etc and a new feeder, my son has taken over the duties of topping up the feeders, putting out fresh water etc for the birds. In the first few snowy days, before our supplies were replenished, we most frequently saw the blackbirds, feasting on berries in the garden, with occasional visits from the robin. The seed and nuts have encouraged the appearance of the usual varieties of tits, including - as often happens in winter, my favourites the long-tailed tits.

My son has enjoyed watching them, although he did complain about the selectivity of the Great Tits which pecked from the seeder, and discarded on the ground, any seeds which were not their preference.

The behaviour of a Coal Tit amused me. He visited the feeder, flew to a hanging basket, which we had neglected to take down, stabbed his beak through the mossy lining and flew back to the feeder. At first, I though he was wiping his beak, although most tits do this by twitching their beaks from side to side across a twig. I sat in the conservatory for closer inspection and found him to be 'planting' seeds for us. Whether 'squirrel-like' for another day, or because he preferred others I had no idea - although it seemed too much energy to waste merely to dispose of unwanted seeds.

My son was complaining about the waste of  dropped seeds but I pointed out that birds which do not naturally perch on, or cling to a feeder, would gobble them up! Our son bought a compact camera on Boxing Day - really intended for his Scouting trip to Sweden, but also intended to capture action shots of himself and mountain-biking mates. He was experimenting with the zoom and speed - being concerned that the focus might not be quick enough for speeding bikes. He popped out into the garden to test it out on flitting birds. The shots below were his first attempts. Clearly, we needn't have been concerned about any seeds being wasted!!!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

"Micro - Business"

.. a term I favour to describe Lynwoodcrafts. I am hoping that, one day, it will be elevated to the dizzy heights of 'small business' but, for the moment, this will do nicely.

I haven't any pretty photos to show you today. This short blog is more a reflection on the Christmas trading period (so far - not quite over yet!). I have been amazed and flattered by the number of sales Lynwoodcrafts' Folksy shop has had over the last few weeks. People who have 'favourited' items really have been popping back to buy them. In one case, a scarf sold, a few hours later someone enquired if I could make another, then a few days later  someone else who had marked it asked if there was any chance of yet another. Sadly the design depended on using a particular yarn and I only had enough to accept one of the orders!

I still have much to do and much more to learn, but Lynwoodcrafts is now generating a small profit.  During the coming year I will be working harder at on-line sales and investigating opportunities for 'real world' sales - locally at first. At this time of year we often find ourselves chatting to new people over mince pies or a glass or two of wine. After the weather, an enquiry about the other person's occupation seems to be the most frequent topic of conversation between previously complete strangers. During the last year I have been a little vague - saying that I have been exploring the possibility of an on-line craft business. This year I shall be proud to say, when asked, that

' I have a micro business specialising in hand- embroidered accessories!'

Thank you to all my customers and supporters who have made this possible!


Friday, 10 December 2010

A note about my daughter- Folksy Friday No 29

My daughter is quite musical. She played the recorder at 4 years old - in self-defense from the shrill sound I found her a battered second - hand flute (she was 5 by this time) . We now live with a flute, alto saxophone, drum kit, acoustic guitar, dad's electric guitar (occasionally), folk whistle, harmonica, djembe drum .... She is now 13 and still cross that I wouldn't buy her the shiny blue violin that she really wanted when she was 5. We should, I suppose be grateful not to have to transport a cello or double bass, or even worse - a harp. I suspect more musical experiences will be added during her lifetime - I think we are about at our limit! We were really pleased when she attained a merit in her recent Grade 6 Flute exam.

This selection of items is a tribute to L-------. Unfortunately Folksy was 'flute-less'.

Click on any item to see it on its Folksy shelf.


Kakes Makes


Ghettogran Stencil Art


MJ Woodcraft

Widget and Friends

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Frosty Inspiration

I haven't decided how to use these yet - I've got a couple of patchwork bags to finish for a customer to look at. Maybe I'll have time to play around with them next week.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Everything seems to be taking a little longer than usual due to the weather. We are fortunate not to have cancelled anything yet, but we are having to fit in lots of extra little jobs. I've set the kitchen timer to remind me to change the water for the birds. I forgot yesterday and a very sorrowful robin was trying to peck at the drips which were landing from our de-frosting van.

Whilst waiting for the cars to defrost on Monday OH took some of these photos. I thought there might be some urgency before thawing robbed us of the photos. Needn't have worried - it stayed like that all day and I was able to take some more:

It seems that every view from our house windows is crossed by incoming services. However, the views are pretty, if you ignore the power lines etc.

Just in case we should ever wish to sell our house - I should point out these photos were taken from first floor windows. We do actually have some lovely views and the power lines are not so prominent from ground level!


I have just listed this Icy Lake Brooch (loosley based on a frozen Derwent Water a few years ago):

Friday, 3 December 2010

Sea Bindweed

Whilst walking, and taking some photos, along the North Wales coast last summer,  I came across some tendrils of bindweed making their way along the edge of the coastal path. At the time, I thought they had escaped from the captivity of nearby gardens. Having read a little today, I have discovered that they naturally inhabit the edges of sand dunes, along the margins where marram grass is beginning to root. The bindweed has a trailing habit and survives happily with few rooted points. I have learnt many such snippets of information since starting my collection of wildflower brooches. I hope you like this latest one:

Mountain Pansies

I have been wanting to embroider a design based on pansies for a while. Having done a little research I have discovered that the little wild mountain pansies are found in areas of upland grass,  in mountainous regions. They survive particularly well in areas where they are not cropped too heavily by sheep.

This is my representation of the mountain pansy:

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I have produced several small pieces of felt today. They will form the backgrounds for some of my embroidered brooches and other pieces of jewellery.  They are quite flimsy, which is fine since they are always 'stabilised' by stitching to a base fabric before embroidery. The idea is to provide a unique, handcrafted background.

I thought I would show you these two pieces. Both produced using wonderful fibres from My Heart Exposed Yarns. Both use similar basic colours. The first piece has a 'double skyline'. Small backgrounds can be cut taking advantage of both. If larger pieces take one skyline and all the 'foreground' I shall have 'spare sky' for applique designs - nothing is ever wasted - far too precious! This first piece was quite successful and will probably be used for landscape designs. I have unintentionally allowed the brown fibres in the top layer to 'clump' together a little too much in the felting process, but the backgrounds can be cut to take advantage of these.

This second piece almost sent me skipping round the kitchen with excitement (well fortunately no one else was in and yes I am a big kid - the whole point of hand crafting is to experience, and for me, to share, this sort of 'buzz'). I had wanted a depth of coloured layers, with some fibres peeping through the top layer. When used in very small pieces as backgrounds this gives the appearance of meadow, hay field etc for my embroideries. I have managed one or two pieces like this before. The camera hasn't quite picked it up but the point is that a very fine scattering of short, quite coarse fibres, is dispersed across the final layer of fibres. These short fibres are in a rich blend of Helen's beautiful colours and they have had more affinity for the background than for each other so that they have not 'clumped together' like the browns in the first piece, but have felted to the background layers beautifully.

The flash coupled with the fact that the felt was supported by a piece of perspex in the light tent has caused the colours to appear  quite washed out here. In reality, against a dark background, they are beautifully rich. I now need to try to identify the type of this fibre so that I can talk to Helen about some more!


Those of you who have read my first blog posts will know that snowdrops are very special to me (Snowdrop Lady - March 2010). Variations of my snowdrop embroideries are also very popular at the moment. This is my latest:

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Criccieth Castle

Earlier in the year, we had a long day out on the Lleyn Peninsular, beach combing for sea glass and a beautiful walk. We had food with us to cook for tea, but we were uncertain about the time at which the car park would be locked and we didn't want to be evicted mid- stir fry! We weren't sure where else we might find a suitable parking spot, with good views. Fortunately Criccieth came to our rescue. Lovely views of the 'back' of Black Rock one way and Criccieth Castle at the other end of the bay - floodlit as it turned out.


I'm hoping to have my felting session today. I need one piece for a piece of work I should do. I do need to get to the Post Office and its snowing. Then Brownies - but the water in the Scout Hut is frozen - so far not the drains at least - so I need to load the car with lots of big bottles of water. If I manage to felt I'll post some pics - happy snow balling!!


I have just finished this item - (still uncertain whether or not the felting will happen today):

This brooch was sold last night:


Monday, 29 November 2010

Caernarfon Castle

Its now some weeks since we visited Caernarfon. My photos file is a little out of sequence. I thought I would show you these all be it a little late:

I am sure that I should have some other images but they were down loaded into OH's laptop and these are the only two he has emailed to me. We had not looked back at the castle and the town from the other side of the harbour before. It is easier to get a senses of the defensive importance of the castle and the walled area of the town which it protected. A long tall building to the left of the whitewashed pub, is roughly where more modern court buildings are and I assume this has once been the gaol. Very similar design to Ruthin Gaol where I was once involved in a craft cooperative. I hasten to add that Ruthin Gaol is a tourist attraction and houses some of the county archives.


I have just listed these two items:


Friday, 26 November 2010

New Colours

I have had a great day today. I met two fellow Folksters in Oswestry this morning. I enjoyed chatting and we have arranged to meet again in March. Visited one or two local shops - including Honeysuckle for organic, gluten free, Christmas treats!

I was happy to get home in time for the 'parcel postman' to bring me a fabulous parcel from My Heart Exposed yarns. Lovely packets of fibres in wonderful natural colours. In an attempt to 'understand' the limitless possibilities I constructed a palette. It was done very inexpertly - if I did it again the colours would be in a different sequence. I picked most of the 'solid' colours but the wonderful blending of dyes in Helen's processes has given me blends in many, many combinations of these. Wonderful - Thank you Helen!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tarn Hows

One of the prettiest of the 'waters' in the Lake District, and only about 1 1/2 miles from Coniston. My daughter decided to walk into Coniston with her Dad (see yesterday's post), whilst our son and I set off from the Lake Coniston car park up towards Tarn Hows. At 17, and stronger and fitter than I am, its pay back time for all the outings with cries of 'Muuummmm can you carry this pleeease?" He now gets the rucksack, 2 litres of water, first aid kit etc., I just have my walking poles. Shame we didn't carry a torch on this occasion.

The light was fading at Coniston and our way lay through Woodland. I snapped this creature at the beginning of the walk. Anyone know what it is please? Yes - I know its a sheep, but, as someone who uses a lot of yarn, I'm ashamed to say I don't know what breed. I was taken with the lovely fleece, my son was more taken with the strangely 'fat' woolly legs. Anyway it posed obligingly!

Onwards, and upwards, the path was well marked and quite easy. Across a minor road and carry on up. We reached Tarn Hows very much at dusk. I only know how to use the camera o settings with which I am familiar. Husband wasn't there to ask and I was without the tripod! Son improvised a slab of slate-like stone  with a smaller one underneath as an attempt at levelling it and set them up on a rocky outcrop. I scrambled up to him and managed to get the camera to balance on the 'platform'. 'Composing' the shot was trial and error - thank goodness for digital technology! The exposure time was about 5 seconds and, without the shutter release cable, I had to manually press the shutter control and try to keep my hands and the camera still for long enough. The results were not brilliant but you get the idea of the view. Son happily picked up very large and small stones and scrambled up to another viewpoint for a different photo.

Yes the Tarn does tip to the right in the top one and to the left in the bottom one - why do you think tripods normally have tree legs - a stone doesn't quite do the same job!

We set off back down the hillside. On the way up we had just kept going 'upwards' our path occasionally joined by others from the left or right. We both have quite good night vision and seldom use a torch. We had both remembered the map quite well but going downwards we were constantly presented with forks in the path, either of which might have been correct. Knowing there was a road to our right we chose that direction if doubtful. I was glad of the walking poles which saved me from a number of stumbles over tree roots. My son seems able to place a foot, check for balance and move his weight onto it at the same pace as my normal, 'daylight' speed.

Eventually, we reached the minor road again and decided to follow it back, rather than struggle back through the woodland. It was then that we needed a torch, as protection from on-coming traffic. We used  my son's phone screen to give some warning. Will carry a torch next time. People drive way too fast in the dark!


Have just sold these two brooches:

and listed these two:


Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Coniston Conkers

I was only part way through showing you my images of the Lake District, taken at half term, when I was overtaken by Lynwoodcrafts' Folksy anniversary. So to resume normal service...

It took us a while to agree which direction to head off in. We were still feeling a bit wet and soggy from the previous day's soaking. Finally we decided to head towards Coniston and then decide. The light was starting to fail when we reached the car park. Bounded by horse chestnuts we were amazed how many could still be found - they were long gone at home. I have always loved the thrill of prizing open the prickles to find such a shining fruit. Even my son spent a while searching with me - although in his case he was also keeping a look out for skimming stones.

Although the best of the light had gone the lake was still attractive

 all be it icy cold. The following have been added to my inspirations file:

I must remember to use the image of those yew berries over the next few weeks!


I have listed this new brooch today: