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Robin Week

With the new year and living in the countryside and also wanting to learn more about my surroundings I have given myself a weekly project. I don't actually know yet what each week will be in advance because I am going to choose a topic depending on what presents itself while I am out walking. I want to combine birds, trees, animals and flowers. 

Last week - the first week in January I was learning about robins, their calls and what they eat as we had two - which I believe are a mating pair as they are not defending their territory - in our garden and on the bird feeder. The feeder is seeing some good action following a wee bit of snowfall and the low temperatures. Also cool news : the RSPB are running a birdwatch between the 29 and 31 January for which everyone can take part and the instructions are in this link. RSPC BIRD WATCH HERE.

I cross stitched this robin, the pattern for which had two robins on it but I was not ever going to finish two in a week so I scaled it down. The pattern came with a cross stitching magazine a few years ago and it is by Wrendale designs - I love all of this artists work and they are everywhere on homewares in gift shops where I live. Some have be turned into cross stitch patterns and I have a stash of freebie ones that came in a 2016 calendar with the World of Cross Stitching magazine. Part of my 'do when I'm retired' stash of magazine ideas - some date but these just don't. There is a British company that sell kits and patterns called Bothy Threads.

At the start of the week I made a robin wreath with some felting supplies I had from a felting advent calendar which was great fun to open every day on the lead up to Christmas from the Makerrs. I had ordered it way back in October and totally forgotten about it. Si likes felting too so it was something we could both share. We opened it every morning with a cup of tea before he went to work (yep at 6.30am!)

The wreath is a series of interlocking wreaths the was in a box of wreath advertised by a friend on Facebook as a free to a good home - so it was the best price ever - FREE!! 

I used some little pine cones I foraged along the roadside before Christmas (or rather from in a hedge - a car did stop and the occupants were interested in whether there were still blackberries to be picked but I informed them the blackberries although late this year had gone and it was pinecones I was after - although even these I was leaving a little late, hence having to push myself into the hedges to get them - Wallace my trusted walking companion was amused). I cut some felt holly with a die and sewed it with some floss adding bead berries.

Its hanging in the kitchen here while I'm making it !
Other projects on the go :
I caught up with my eldest daughters 3rd wedding anniversary banner piece, her wedding banner is growing. Her wedding anniversary was back last April so I am a bit behind. I am now making a baby boy  heart to add and I might as well go ahead early with the 4! Third anniversary is modern - crystal and traditional leather. I incorporated a leather heart piece at the edge and ordered 4 swarovski sew in hearts. I have used chain stitch around the edges and not yet frayed them but I need to do this to tie in with the other banner pieces. The '3' is cross stitched with a backstitch edge. I love the font it is from a cross stitch book / magazine called 365 cross stitch designs and it has quite a few sweet alphabets in it including the baby one I am using for Van. It is published by immediate media back in 2019 (volume 8). 

I continue with a large blackwork project that will be a chess board when it is finished, also a couple of jumpers are on the go - one in crochet and one in wool. I am also loving knitting socks and now I have sussed out the basics I am beginning to venture into more complicated designs and styles. Allied to this and knitting in the round I recently found a beautiful tea cosy knitting kit (strangely from Amanda Blooms Little Box of Crochet website) It is teaching me double knitting, magic loop knitting and its going to look great when its finished - the box was a backordered one from September and it was such a joy to receive filled with some fab goodies. I am loving stitching felt following a marathon making of a cloth book for my little Grandson Van in early December and it has now arrived safely in Canada and I can share a couple of photos. 

Its incredible that I often find something in my stash years later that is just right for a project and such was the case for this cloth book. I had some great patchwork material that co-ordinated throughout the pages with files and sheep and trees and houses. The letters are a die I usually use for paper but they work quite well on the felt too.
Here are 2 of the 12 pages. The first is to match the pairs of socks on the line and the second is to sort the apples into red and green baskets but there is also play value in the book too. I bought a stack of stiff felt but everything else I had. The crates were cut using a die. I used a die if I had one but mostly I drew the pieces onto paper and made a pattern. Everything has velcro on the back and I soon learned not to use the stick on velcro as it is too difficult to sew through and makes a gooey mess of your sewing needles. I could just about sew a straight line through on the machine but soon reverted to sew on velcro instead. The patterns were inspired by pinterest but I did buy a couple of patterns online that I could print out - for a farmyard and for some tractors both of which I had no skill to draw!!

Having fallen in love with stitching felt I want to make more little stitched things and perhaps a bit more vintage and grown up - so to start me off I have joined a monthly kit box with a company called The Stitchery (its all lovely and vintage) and I'm looking forward to receiving my first box - in the meantime as I type I am planning a little stitched picture of a mole , which is this weeks subject to learn about (more on this next post).
Just the one sock completed so far and the cuff of the second. They are a bit long I followed the pattern to the letter to see where it took me but I think in future I will make my socks a bit shorter. I might need to make myself a skirt that I can wear so you can see the socks properly otherwise they are hidden in my jeans. I do need to make a winter skirt, I don't have any except a couple of old office skirts, and I noticed a pattern in this weeks Prima magazine that was nice. The wool is self striping so not having to deal with colour changes - I just need to unravel a bit from the ball to get the second sock to match up.
OMG such gorgeousness The box included a couple of other bits you can't see in the photo - a little book with the patterns and a needle and 3 little gem stitch markers.

Sadly I have finished my Stampin Up business and my online shop will close at the end of this month. I am selling off some of my stamp sets and dies and I will list these during January on my Facebook pages. Some people can really make it with Stampin' Up but when they do they sort of turn into a posting machine and have to meet newsletter deadlines and catalogue posting  and I really prefer to go with my flow and I dont always feel like pushing the latest products and just want to sit at home and craft and use products made in the UK and support local businesses. I recently fell in love with the Hey Chick offering that is coming out next month which is two stamp sets and two sets of dies but after calming down I realised that I would be making maybe a handful of cards with the chickens and the cost was £81.00 - so I decided that I have enough - more than enough in fact. I will be selling some stamps off soon on my Facebook page. Some of my sales of stamps are current so I will be frowned upon if I am continuing being a demonstrator - but as I am not it doesn't matter! I am mainly selling the ones I have used a lot because they have made lots of cards and I don't need to repeat them. I am keeping all of the ones that are letters and ones I have not properly used up yet (projects in my head) and also keeping all the boxes and bags because they really come in handy as well as words. 
I will be popping into my blog every now and again as I do enjoy writing it. I have been writing a diary also and putting in photos of my day - like a smash book. It reminds me that I am doing things and it encourages me to be creative. 

I will leave you with the robin in my garden that inspired me for robin week!! 

Love JoP x