Thursday, 7 November 2019

Autumn - A great time for Crafting

Hi there everyone 😀

In the great scheme of things I'm fairly new to Facebook, only finally taking the plunge and joining back in 2014. I'd really hung back from joining, finding it hard to understand the appeal and, for some reason, it scared me just a little bit. Did I really want the world to be able to look into and comment on my life?

The driver for me finally signing up was my hair dresser of the time. I'd shown her the stuff I was making in the earliest days of Hand Made at Number 27 and she asked me how she could buy from me. She bought this owl fabric tooth fairy pillow from me, whilst I was in the salon, and was actually the first person to buy something I'd made that wasn't a friend or a member of the family ...
She was just so encouraging ... At the time I was trying to sell on Etsy but hadn't had any interest at all. She said I just had to get on Facebook ... it was where all the mums she knew were and where they looked for the kind of hand made stuff that I was making.

So I bit the bullet and created a Facebook account and set up my Hand Made at Number 27 page. It was so exciting seeing my friends following my page and even more so when people started liking it who I didn't even know.

I'm not looking to make a load of money from making stuff, but I do love crafting and needed an outlet for the end result. My aim really was for it to pay for itself, which it is doing. I've also had lots of really lovely feedback from people who have bought from me and that is really motivating.

Setting up the Facebook page was definitely the right way to go for me and I get a fair amount of interest on the majority of things that I post and I now have just over 300 followers, which I'm really happy with. It allows me to carry on making stuff, making enough sales to cover my costs, without lots of stress of having to make things in volume to short deadlines.

So now I'd best get to the point of this post ... Autumn being a good time for crafting ...

Well, when I joined Facebook I also signed up to Timehop, which provides memories over a period of time and this was what came up one day this week ...
This was last year and I was going hell for leather making up all kinds of things for Christmas craft fairs. Beeswax wraps and reusable face cleansing pads have both done really well over the last year and were made as a result of me trying to reduce my use of single use things like cling film and cotton wool pads ... it seems that there are lots of other people trying this too.

This next memory was from 2017 when I had a go at hand making some of my Christmas gifts ...
I crocheted this tea cosy for my good friend Lesley and it's the one and only one that I have, or intend to, make ... it was definitely a labour of love.

In 2016 I made a fair few of these paper cut frames ...
This next picture is from 2015 ...
I remember taking these Christmas decoration hearts away with me to Thorpe in The Peak District on our week's holiday, where I added bows and ribbons ...
The photo for 2014 takes me back to one of my very first makes ...
A stretchy glass beaded bracelet, made for my youngest God Daughter for Christmas ... in fact everyone I knew was given these for Christmas that year.

It's funny looking back at both the quality of the photographs and the quality of what I was making back then. When it comes to bracelets I moved away from the glass beads as they were painted and after time the colour rubbed off on some of them. I also found a better way of hanging the charms and I definitely upped my game on the photograph side ...
So, has Autumn been a good time for crafting this year too? Of course it has. There's no better way to fill a damp and miserable afternoon than by sitting at the dining room table, surrounding by all kinds of bits and pieces and turning them into something useful or beautiful ... or both ...

I've had a go at marking cards with fabric and free motion machine embroidery ...
More cards with words of positive affirmation ...
Christmas decorations ...
Plenty of beeswax wraps ...
... and reusable face wipes ...
... and as tradition would have it ... I will be aiming to have another Christmas gift tag making session whilst we are away later this month ... not sure we will make this many this year though ...
So there you go ... Autumn ... it really is a great time for crafting, so if you're feeling at a loose end, a bit lower than normal or just generally fed up with the dull and dreary weather ...  have a go at creating something. Doesn't have to be anything too taxing ... bake a cake, make a new cushion cover, have a go at making some cards ... anything. Make it for yourself or make it as a gift. Make it from scratch or make it from a kit. In my view there is nothing as rewarding as standing back and looking at something that you created yourself. Go on ... give it a go 😀

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Monday, 4 November 2019

Joy in the Everyday Ordinary - October, 21-31

Hi there everyone 😀

Seriously ... where did October go? It really seemed to pass in the blinking of an eye

The last 10 days pretty much gave us everything bar snow from a weather point of view ... we've had days of solid rain, which has meant we've managed to get cracking on some indoor jobs that have been hanging around ... clear blue skies and sunshine ... and we've now had our first frost ... Winter must be on the way ... and I am sooooooo not ready for it.

Looking back ... as well as being pretty productive ... we did manage to get out and about a bit too ... though one outing did result in a bit of an 'incident' with the car, which is currently away awaiting some repairs as a result of an insurance claim. I have to say I have been incredibly impressed with Direct Line so far. I've only had to make one phone call and they've done everything ... arranged for the car to be picked up ... arranged for the car hire ... kept us very well informed. Fingers crossed that it comes back when expected and looks fabulous ... but so far, so good.

November has started off with a really jam packed weekend of catch ups, baking and crafting and the rest of the month is looking very busy, with plenty of birthdays, a couple of Christmas craft fairs and a week away in The Peak District all on the calendar, so there will be plenty to keep you posted on but ... for now, here is the end of our October ...
Day 21 - The soup maker is really earning its keep at the moment ... today it was a scrummy tomato with orzo 💓
Day 22 - It may seem a bit odd but I can't tell you how happy this sight makes me. Pot saucers all scrubbed and clean and ready to put away until the spring ... it makes me even happier that it wasn't me that did them 😀
Day 23 - Today was a beautiful Autumn day and we spent it exploring Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens and taking in afternoon tea. The sky was crisp and clear and I took lots of photos and this is definitely one of my favourites.
Day 24 - Today was spent with us both in the kitchen on a production line of beeswax wrap making in readiness for Christmas craft fairs. We did really well and made up a mass of wraps to keep us going.
Day 25 - It was out for brunch, shopping and errands for us today, including calling in at mum and dad's, where I just had to take a photo of her fungi, which seem to be all over the place this year. This one is a proper fairy toadstool 🍄🍄🍄
Day 26 - Saturday and it rained pretty much the whole day. We were very productive and cooked up apples and blueberries for the freezer, packaged up beeswax wraps, made a start on a Scrabble frame order and went for our first real visit to my God daughter, Rachel and her Fiance Tom's for a home cooked Indian feast, which was just fabulous.
Day 27 - It was another wet and miserable day and we spent it cleaning out the kitchen cupboards, before settling down to watch the Halloween Strictly on catch up ... I can't think of a better way of spending a wet afternoon.
Day 28 - The grass had its last cut of the season and I wrote the first of many Isle of Wight Holiday Diary posts and this dropped on the mat. It's always a treat when the new calendar arrives, filled with photo memories of our last year.
Day 29 - Our first proper frost and how pretty do these succulents look ❅❅❅
Day 30 - It was Wednesday so after a few chores and a bit of crafting I had a wander round to Jackie's where we did the usual and sat curled up on the sofa putting the world to rights for a good couple of hours.
Day 31 - Just look how strong this love in a mist is looking ... planted with seeds from mum's garden. Planted in a circle, as per Monty's advice, so it's easy to tell the seeds from the weeds ... clearly it works well.

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Thursday, 31 October 2019

Isle of Wight Holiday diary #2 - Exploring West Wight

Hi there everyone 😀

Welcome to #2 of our Isle of Wight holiday diary. 

A big chunk of our first week on the island was spent taking it slow and exploring the less well known parts of West Wight ... well, less well known to us anyway.

Day 3 - Monday
We started our day heading back through Yarmouth to Fort Victoria, where I got up close and personal with the old pier ...


Now, I pretty much love a coastal pier of any description and, whilst an old disused pier always holds its own particular beauty I do always find it quite sad to them having fallen into disrepair.

There were the most fabulous views looking across to Hurst Castle on the mainland … somewhere that is definitely worth the walk out along the spit for a visit, if you are over that way ...

Whilst a good chunk of the fort has been demolished ... in the days before thought was given to how interesting this kind of place is I guess ... and the remaining buildings are pretty much all occupied by all manner of 'attractions', none of which were interesting to us, the site is fascinating ...

Being right on the very edge of the coast, whilst it was a glorious day it was pretty breezy ... especially up on top of the fort, but we really loved having a good wander around reading about the history and looking at the remnants of days gone by ...
From Fort Victoria we carried on down the west coast heading past Fort Albert, which can't be visited, to Colwell Bay, where we made our next stop.

We parked up here in a pay and display car park for an hour and had a bit of wander down to the coast, where we had a great view of Fort Albert looking in one direction ...
... and an intriguing looking promenade in the other ...
We both really wanted to know what was round the corner in the distance so headed off for a wander past the beach huts ...

We weren't disappointed to find a cracking view of The Needles in the distance ...

We were also fascinated to find the evidence of the 2012 landslide, which had completely wiped out the coastal path ...




In September 2015 the new stretch of coastal path was opened, bypassing the landslide, so it was possible to once again carry on along to Totland Bay. Whilst it wasn't that far we knew we were short on time so retraced our steps and decided to move down the coast by car instead.

At Totland Bay I was able to get up close and personal with another beautiful, but disused pier ...

We decided this was a great spot for lunch so grabbed the cool box and found a bench in the sunshine, overlooking the sea ... where we ate our very healthy lunch of home made Tuscan chicken salad, consisting of crisp fresh salad, chickpeas and grapes ...

... cooked chicken, bacon and pasta ...

... and a home made ranch dressing ...

It really hit the spot and boy ... did we feel virtuous ...
After a short walk along the prom and a visit to the facilities ...
... we decided to call it a day and headed back to Bramble Cottage for the evening.

Day 4 - Tuesday
It was another absolutely glorious day, boy the weather was really doing us proud. We decided to carry on exploring the coast of West Wight and headed for Freshwater.

We have visited Freshwater a number of times before, but never for very long. We've always just called in on our way back from somewhere else. This time we wanted to spend a bit more time there as it is just so beautiful.

Our route took us into Freshwater along the Military Road and the views were just stunning ... we just had to have a photo-stop ...
We were soon parked up in the car park across from the beach ...
It was truly beautiful ...
We headed right first ... past the beautifully decorated rain shelter ...
... and along the promenade ...
We could have been in the Med ... crystal clear sea, clear blue skies, bright warm sunshine ... it was absolutely perfect ...
We walked as far as we could, both really intrigued by the steps leading up into a doorway in the cliff and wanting to get a closer look ...
After spending a while just sitting in the sunshine, soaking up the warmth and listening to the sea we made our way back to continue our meanderings along the coast.

There are a number of National Trust car parks along this stretch of the coast and we called in at each and every one to see what we could find.

On our way into Freshwater I'd spotted this wooden archway from the road and this was our next stop ...
I definitely wanted to get a closer look and I wasn't disappointed ...

We did have a little bit of a wander along the coastal path to see if we could get to the beach ...
... but neither of fancied quite this many steps ...
Our next car park stop was the main Compton Bay car park and access to the beach didn't look quite so daunting ...
... so we grabbed the chairs, our picnic lunch and found a nice spot, where we could have another nice and healthy home made lunch with a view ...


We are not normally ones for spending much time on the beach, but it was lovely ... really quiet and relaxing and we stayed a while, before I decided to have a bit of a wander ...
Finally, it was time to drag ourselves away and head back to Bramble Cottage for another lazy evening.

We spent another two days exploring more of West Wight, with a visit to Faringford and the Tennyson Monument and a good mooch round the picture book village of Brighstone, but I will tell you more about those in my next post 😀

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