Monday, 28 January 2019

2018 - A Year in Crafts

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

I was looking back through the photographs of what I made last year on my iPad and, whilst a fair amount have been shared over the course of the year, I thought it might be nice to just bring them all together for a bit of an annual round up ...

January to March
The first three months of the year are typically slow with orders for Hand Made at Number 27, though I did have a trickle of bits and pieces to keep me busy ...
I crocheted four sloths for an order and they really were a labour of love. They may be tiny, but they certainly aren't quick to make ๐Ÿ˜€

I also had two orders for box frames, one for a new baby girl and one as a family gift.

Towards the end of the Spring I started to have a go at some new makes for the craft fairs that we were planning on attending throughout the year including my first attempt ever at applique ...

Some generic button art heart frames ...

A batch of sensory taggy blankets ...

And ... after a number of attempts ... these little birdies ...


April - June
May and June were fairly busy with craft fairs. We attended our first fair at the Hoar Park Shopping Village in May and we were also out at the Armitage Village day and Lullington Open Gardens in June ...

Consequently most of my makes through April and May were to make sure we had plenty of stock to display including a brand new funky range of peg bags, which completely sold out at Lullington ...

More taggy blankets and my first play with pom poms ...

Appliqued hoops and fold up shoppers ...

And a stack of lavender hearts ...

In spite of all the time spent at and preparing for craft fairs I did manage to complete a pair of sensory taggy blankets as a special order ...

As well as a few bits for myself ...

I also managed to fit in my first morning at my local craft group in May, where I worked a bit more on a crocheted blanket that I have had on the go for quite some time...

July - September
These three months certainly gave me plenty to go at with another couple of craft fairs on the calendar and a steady flow of custom orders starting with these memory cushions that I was asked to make for a friend ...

I also had a fair few orders for personalised frames ... for weddings, teacher thank you gifts and a memory of a beloved pet no longer with us ...

And, even though it was only July it was time to get started on this year's Christmas makes ... some new things for 2018 and some old favourites ...

There was also time for a few projects for me too ... including my flamingo cross stitch phone case ...

... the recovering of our old and faithful footstool ...
... and a patch of crocheted pumpkins ready for my autumn mantel ...

October - December
In October we were really starting to get into our journey to less waste and I had my first attempt at making beeswax wraps, which ended up being very popular in the run up to Christmas ...

Another less waste make were these sets of reusable face cleansing pads ...

I completed a large sensory blanket for a customer who had bought from me before, which she absolutely loved ...
I didn't make many of my own Christmas gifts but I did make this matching pairs game for the little man, which turned out really well ... 

I also made him this cute little robot fabric drawstring bag to hold his toy robots ...

There were a few more bits made for a Christmas craft fair that we attended ...

And I finished off the year with an embroidery session for me in readiness for the Spring ...


Looking back I can't quite believe how many different things I've made and how many new crafts I've had a go at this year. It's been lovely to make things for our own home and garden and I really want to do more of that this year.

We do have more craft fair plans for 2019 but I want to make sure that my crafting never becomes a chore. For 2018 it seemed to work out just right ... Just enough to keep me busy doing something I love but not so busy that I've had to struggle with the pressures of deadlines ... after all, I am retired ๐Ÿ˜€

Here's to lots more crafting in 2019 ๐Ÿ˜€

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Thursday, 24 January 2019

50 Things to do before I'm 60 - What's Next?

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

Following my post earlier this week you will have seen how I am getting on with the first 30 of the things I want to do before I hit 60 in 2024 ... it seems like ages away I know, but I am sure that it will come round really quickly.

My overall aim this year is to make sure that I have fully completed at least 25 of these things before my 55th birthday in November ... the halfway point.

That leaves me with just two things to complete this year, and actually I've already achieved one of them, so I would say I'm in with a very good chance and should manage to even get a little bit ahead.

So, what do I want to do this year ...

25 - Finish telling Will Sidney's WW1 story and decide what to do with his memorabilia
With regards to Will's story I only have a few more posts to share so I am really going to try and make sure that I do get this finished this year. This will actually be quite fitting as it will be 100 years since Will was discharged from the Yorks & Lancs. We will then need to decide what we want to do with all of his papers and bits and pieces. Will we share them with a museum or will we just keep them tucked away for posterity?

20 - Go up Snowdon on the Railway and 29 - Visit Portmeirion
I am so determined that I will achieve both of these when we are holidaying in North Wales in May, so I am very hopeful of being able share our experiences with lots of photos with you later in the year.

31 - Celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary
I can't quite believe that this year it will have been 10 years since we got married at The Inn on the Lake in Glenridding in The Lake District ...
I know it might seem that this will be an easy goal to achieve this year, but it is one I included on my list back when I started writing these posts but just haven't got round to sharing.

I'm not sure whether we will celebrate in any particular way ... we will be away on holiday on the actual date of our anniversary, but it will feel like a real achievement to have made it to the 10 year mark. I know that, compared to lots of people it's not actually that long ... I have lots of friends my age who have been married for over 25 years, but for me, it's something that I will be happy to have achieved ๐Ÿ’œ

32 - Visit the Longleat Festival of Light
This is another one of those events that I've wanted to visit for years and we actually managed to do this in November 2018. I still have to share my posts about our visit, but it was absolutely spectacular and we took lots of photos ... I think this was one of my favourite bits ...

33 - Turn one of my photos into some form of art
I think I have a plan for this one. When we visited Maryport on the North West coast last March, we both pretty much fell in love with the lighthouse. I did toy with the idea of turning one of my photographs into a cross stitch pattern ... but cross stitching and my eyesight aren't a good match these days.
What I've ended up deciding is that I am going to try and create a mosaic on an old slate tile which will be displayed somewhere in the garden. If this goes well I may try and do the same for other lighthouses we visit, but it's early days ... and let's face it ... it took me five years to build up to have a go at my first effort at mosaic!

34 - Hold an afternoon tea party in the garden
This one will be a bit weather dependent but I am hoping to be able to host at least a couple of quintessentially English afternoon teas in the garden this year ... as a bit of a change from BBQ'ing.

I gave a couple of sets of friends vouchers for this in the Christmas Advent calendars that I put together and I know they are all definitely up for it ... so we will definitely need to make sure that we make it happen ...

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I think that's it for now. Whilst it seems a bit weird not including a 35th goal, just to end on a number ending in five, not that I have an OCD problem at all, I think there is enough to be going on with and, looking at the other things I want to do, I really can't see any more of them being achieved this year.

I will be back later in the year to let you know how I am getting on. How about you? Have you set any goals for this year? Drop me a comment and let me know ... I'd love to hear from you ๐Ÿ˜€

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Monday, 21 January 2019

50 Things to do before I'm 60 - 2018 Update

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

We are coming towards the end of a January where we have taken it very slow and used the time to recover from the busy end of 2018 and start to build up our energy to have a good old go at 2019. We've had very little on the social calendar and even less on the list of 'things we want to get done' so I thought it might be a good time to have a look back at how I did over the last year with the '50 things' I want to do before I'm 60.

This November I will be 55 and will have reached the halfway point so, theoretically, if I've hit 25 of my goals by the end of this year I should be just about on track.

My last update was back in August last year where I shared that I had fully completed 19 of the 30 goals that I had shared so far ...


1 - Hand make Christmas and birthday gifts
2 - Make bramble jelly jam
3 - Have a posh afternoon tea
4 - Visit Balmoral castle

7 - Holiday on the Suffolk coast
8 - Christmas in a holiday cottage

10 - Upcycle my old placemats
11 - Go camping again, or get rid of the camping gear
12 - Have a cottage holiday on one of the
       Channel Islands
13 - Run my own business

15 - Visit Rosslin Chapel
16 - Visit The Kelpies

18 - Become an auntie again
19 - Holiday in The New Forest

21 - Replace old wonky and tatty patio in the garden
22 - Decorate all of downstairs
23 - Visit Warner Bros Studios - Harry Potter Tour
24 - Visit Castle Howard

26 - Visit all of the Shakespeare properties in Stratford-upon-Avon

I am pleased to be able to let you know that I have managed to add a few more to the list ...

5 - Make something in Mosaic
This was one of the very first goals that I shared when I started posting about my '50 things' back in February 2015. Even earlier than that, in November 2014, I shared how I'd come back from our holiday on Dartmoor in the October, all fired up for having a real go at making something in mosaic. I had lots of ideas and just needed to wait until I pulled together all of the equipment I needed to get started.

I'd been inspired by our visit to Bovey Tracey, where we had seen lots of really beautiful mosaics displayed around the village, including these below ...

I then received everything I needed as birthday and Christmas gifts ... tools, tiles, something to mosaic on, I just needed to get cracking.

I am so pleased to be able to share with you that ... just the four years later ... I have finally had a go. 

I have my monthly craft group to thank for this really. One of the ladies said she fancied having a go at mosaics at our next January get together and that was all I needed to get all of my stuff out and to start thinking about what I wanted to try first.

I decided to start small, with an MDF heart template that a friend had bought me from a craft show a fair few years ago and had a play with some random tiles to try and see what kind of design I would like ...

At the craft morning I stuck with my original design and managed to actually finish all of the tiling. I was really pleased with the result so far ...

Back home a few days later I built up the courage to have a go at grouting. I just bought some simple white bathroom grout and coloured it with some grey acrylic paint ...

It took a couple of coats of grout as the gaps between the tiles are quite large in places, but overall it turned out ok.

The last thing to do was polish up and add a hanging ribbon ...

Overall I am really pleased with it and I really enjoyed the process. I already have my next project in mind, which will be a bit trickier and will involve some tile cutting, but this will definitely not be my last piece of mosaic craft.

It's currently hanging in the dining room window where the sparkles in the glass tiles really catch the light ...
I was beginning to think that this goal would never actually happen but I am pleased I didn't write it off and am really chuffed that I can finally tick it off the list.

27 - Buy no clothes, shoes or bags for a year
Back in 2017 I started to clear the clutter from our home the Marie Kendo way. Even now, I am still working through the house, it’s definitely a long term project rather than a quick fix.

I don't know if you will remember but I started with my clothes and counted up 93 tops!! I did manage to slim them down a bit, but still had 59 ... so I definitely didn’t need any more tops. The rest of my clothes, shoes and bags weren’t quite so excessive but it did make me think that I didn’t really NEED any more.

At the beginning of the year I just decided that I wouldn’t buy any more clothes shoes or bags and I am so pleased to be able to say that I did go the full year without buying a single thing and still haven't bought anything so far this year.

I don't think I will be able to go another year ... there are already things that I feel that I actually need ... some new slippers, a new hoodie and some new black ankle boots. I can't see myself going back to shopping how I was though. I am definitely looking at things in a very different way. Do I really need it? Do I have an alternative? Will it stand the test of time?

Over the course of 2018 I have started a series of posts about 'My Journey to Less Waste' and I am sure I will let you know how I get on with my clothes, handbag and shoe shopping over there throughout the year.

28 - Use less plastic
Part way through last year I was really inspired by a number of programmes that I'd seen about the impact of plastic on our planet and decided that I really wanted to try and use less.

Whilst I can safely say that 'YES' I have used less plastic, this is definitely an ongoing journey and I will continue to share my progress with you.

The goal has also morphed into creating less waste in totality ... not just plastic.

Our journey started with me having a real good look at the wast that we produce on a couple of normal days. You can remind yourself of what this looked like here and here.

This led to a real feeling of being overwhelmed, like what I was trying to do was just not going to be possible and I shared how I was feeling here.

However, I didn't give up and actually managed to come up with a whole host of small things that I could do ... and keep doing ... that would make a difference, be it a small one.

I started by switching to paperless banking, re-subscribing to the mailing preference service and unsubscribing from unwanted magazines and catalogues. I stopped using clingfilm, plastic bags and cotton wool cleansing pads, replacing with home made beeswax wraps and reusable face cleansing pads.

I've drastically reduced our use of kitchen roll and managed to rehome a fair few bits and pieces that we no longer needed and I've found out so much more about what can be recycled and where ... and we've got a wormery!

As I said this is a goal that will always be able to be improved upon and it will be interesting to see whether we can sustain the changes that we have made and whether or not we are committed enough to make even more.

30 - Embroider something to display in an embroidery hoop
Back in the Autumn of 2017 I was struck with inspiration to complete something that could be displayed in an embroidery hoop and downloaded a free pattern for a Spring themed design that I wanted to complete to display on my mantel.

I dashed out and bought everything I needed to get started. Sadly, it just sat in the bottom of my sewing basket and didn't make it for display in Spring 2018.
Well, I was so pleased to feel in the right kind of frame to have a go at this in that period just before Christmas, when everything else was done and we were just spending a bit of time chilling out before the big day.

I still have to finish off backing it, but I am so pleased to have finished the actual embroidery ...

It will definitely be making an appearance on the mantel in Spring 2019.

So, by my reckoning that brings my up to 23 of my 30 goals so far pretty much fully completed ...

Of the others published so far there are four that still need more work ...

6 - Complete my on line photography course
9 - Holiday in all of the national parks of Great Britain
14 - Finish off the Explorer 232 series
25 - Finish telling Will Sidney's story and decide what to do with his memorabilia

The only one of these that has progressed over the last year is 25. I have got to the end of Will's war years and just have a couple more posts to write, to cover his life after the war, so I am hoping that this year will see this goal completed.

That just leaves three that I haven't really got started on ...

17 - Lose weight - go down four dress sizes
20 - Go up Snowdon on the railway
29 - Visit Portmeirion

I'm saying nothing about number 17, but we do have a holiday booked to North Wales in May this year and the plan is that we will definitely go up Snowdon on the railway, come hell or high water, and a visit to Portmeirion is also on the cards.

By my reckoning that should all add up to 30 ...
  • 23 completed
  • 4 in progress
  • 3 still to begin
I'm sure I will be back soon to share my next five goals with you but it's looking promising for having completed 25 by the end of this year ... the halfway mark ๐Ÿ˜€

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Thursday, 17 January 2019

A Fortnight in Cornwall #8 - Cafe Stopping & Beach Hopping

Hi there everyone ๐Ÿ˜€

I am really loving the fact that I am tucked up in the warm on a cold and wet January day, reminiscing about the last day of our two weeks holiday in Cornwall last September.

I know it seems like a long time ago but it is lovely looking back at blue skies and sunshine ... I can just imagine the warmth of the sun and the feel of the sand between my toes. It is making me long to be beside the sea but, as it will be May before we get to visit the coast again, I will have to make do with my memories.

It was Thursday, our last day, and Mum and dad and David, Alison and bobby were all heading home today.

The weather was glorious and we really wanted to make the most of it. We decided to take a bit of a drive north up along the coast to see what we could find. Beach and tea room hopping was pretty much the order of the day.

We started back at Crooklets, which has become a real favourite, for a big breakfast eaten sitting looking at the view, neither of which I think I will ever tire of ...
From here we had a short drive, through narrow country lanes to the National Trust car park at Northcott Mouth, where we were aiming to set up camp on the beach for an hour or so ...
The beach is absolutely stunning. It was lovely and warm and there was plenty of bright sunshine and blue skies ...


We found a nice spot tucked up against the rocks and set up camp ...
Whilst it was pretty quiet we were not totally alone ...

I really wanted to dip my feet in the sea for one last time and we wandered down to the waves ...
... where I got fabulously caught out by the waves for the sake of a photo opportunity ...

We wandered back to our spot by the rocks stopping to admire the natural beauty of the beach along the way ...


It was soon time to move on so we gathered up our bits and pieces and said good bye to Northcott for this year ...
From Northcott it was a short hop further north to Sandymouth where we availed ourselves of the facilities and had a quick refreshment stop at the tea room ...
... under the watchful eye of this cheery little fellow ...
Sandymouth is another beautiful beach, though we didn't take the walk down today ... we just admired the view from the top ...

Refreshed and raring to go we carried on with our gentle meanderings northward, along the coast through more narrow lanes and up past GCHQ, which didn't look at all sinister in the bright sunshine, against a backdrop of the blue sea and sky ...


Our next stop was Duckpool, where it is a bit of an effort to scramble over the rocks to the beach ...

We made do with another sit in the sun, which was absolutely scorching, and I just had to dip my feet in the river as it wended it’s way to the sea. It truly was just blissful ...
After soaking up the sun and cooling off our feet our next and last stop was the tea room at Morwenstowe ...

... where we couldn't leave without sneaking in one last cream tea, sat under the shade of the umbrella in the flower garden ...

We would have loved to have had a walk out to Hawkers Hut, but time was getting on and, as we were off home on Friday, we needed to get back to make a start on the packing.

We made our way back down the coast for our last drive back to West Holm along Marine Drive for one last look at Widemouth Bay early evening ...
It had been the best of days to end what had been a lovely holiday. We both love Bude and the surrounding area ... we won't leave it so long until the next time.

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I have to say that writing this post has made me more than a little wistful ๐Ÿ˜
I think I need to start looking for a cottage for this year!

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