Thursday, 28 April 2016

Ruby's new collar

Ruby is a bullbreed - a Staffordshire / Boxer cross, or so they told us at the refuge.  She is definitely bullbreed as she can turn her head almost inside out when she yawns!  We think she is most beautiful.

However, sadly, not everyone shares our love.  She is very friendly and loving, but does have a strength - 29.9kg of solid muscle at last weigh in - and people can be afraid.

A couple of weeks ago I was doing our usual walk around the river - a great place for dogs to romp and play, when a young excited Springer came bounding up.  Ruby was like "hey, yeah, nice to meet you, let's play" when the owner started screaming at me to get my dog on a lead!

Of course, I asked why, she said Ruby was "out of control" as she wasn't on a lead.   I pointed out that her dog was also not on a lead and had indicated to Ruby that she wanted to play.  The snotty Springer owner then told me it was ok that her dog was not on a lead as it was a "nice dog"!

It took me all my time not to slap her with my steaming bag of dog poo.

Instead I simply clicked the catch on Ruby's lead, which was round my neck and also which indicates to Ruby that I want to put her lead on, and she stood stock still while I attached her lead and the Spaniel ran around her in circles, still wanting to play.

"Now, get your dog on a lead and leave please" I said.... there might have been an expletive in there somewhere  ;)

She finally managed to put a choker chain (I hate those things) around her dog's neck and it tugged her around the field almost yanking her arm out of the socket.  So THAT's the control bit I missed in puppy training classes.

Anyway.... that's just one story, we have had people actually picking up their dogs when Ruby approaches or turning to walk the other way, we are forever shouting "IT'S OK, SHE'S FRIENDLY".
We never had this trouble when we had a Springer  ;)

So, on a visit to the Vet's this weekend for a check-up, I saw these.  I have seen them before online, but I always like to check the sturdyness of collars in person.  These are great!  They come with big bold wording which leaves you in no doubt about the dog's personality.

We bought one for Ruby.  I wanted a red one really - red for Ruby, but Green it was  ;)  Hubster said he thought I should get the red one for myself.   Note to other dog walkers, the dog is fine, beware of the owner!

We took her for a walk, around the river, that very same day and what a HUGE difference it made. I could hardly believe it.  People relaxed as soon as they saw it, they even called her over to pet her.  Owners were happy to let their dogs play and it was a much nicer walk.

Happy Days.

We got ours from our Vets - Ashley Veterinary in Carlisle.

So, if you fancy one for yourself, I can tell you the quality is excellent (we just bought the large collar and the lead) you can find them here...  but check your local Vets too, they might stock them.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Flame Off, Uttoxeter 2016

A couple of weekends ago we made our annual trip to the Flame Off.   Now, for those unsure, or for those that thought I was going to a massive BBQ  (I'm vegetarian!) or a Chilli eating competition (you know who you are) let me explain...... The Flame Off is a meet-up for glass melting people.  It is in the UK, but we get people from all over the world attending which makes it great fun.  It is hostyed by Tuffnell Glass and Totally Beads.

This years teachers and demoists were ....

Rashan O Jones from Albuquerque in New Mexico.  We watched him make the most magnificent wine glass and candy dish. 

Then there was Gay Massender from the UK, who made her famous "Ladies That Lunch" bead and a vase bead with flowers in!

Vera Roder from Germany was also teaching and demoing.  She made some beautiful beads with enamels.  I must try to recreate them from what I learnt.

As well as watching demonstrations, there is a torch area where you can play with the torches and glasses and make things.  Here is Hubster (iMarbles) making... marbles, funnily enough.

Deep in concentration.

He made some lovely marbles while sitting there.

And also learn from Theresa at Tuffnell Glass, how to make a jellyfish pendant.  Here is the work in progress.

And I had a go, I would show you the beads that I made but I have no idea where I put them!

It was great to meet up with everyone again, and looking forward to next year!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

A rather posh lady with a fascinator

At Hobbycraft in Carlisle they like to inspire their customers with finished projects dotted around the store.  I had the chance of messing about with a styrofoam head to make it look interesting.  Well of course, I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into any crafty project, but, you know, I thought I would help them out.  (in other words, I grabbed the head and ran with it before they could change their mind!)

So, I gathered supplies.  The head, of course, and a couple of nice decopatch papers to compliment each other.  A fascinator base and some ribbons along with some beads on a length.

I covered half the head with one decopatch paper design.

And the other half with the other, trying my hardest to keep a straight line down the middle of the face.

Then it was time for the fascinator.  No feathers in this fascinator, I hate the blooming things!!

I started by attaching the thickest ribbon with a couple of stitches, then looped it randomly around securing it with a few stitches as I went.

I quite like the effect, but of course, it needed more than that.

I added a second ribbon in this same way, and then a third  (It's hard to see from the photo but the second and third are pale pink and silver)

Time for the length of beads, added in exactly the same way, but then I decided to add a dangle bit, as you do.

I hot glued it to the side of her head - don't worry, she didn't feel a thing.

Now she is all ready to go on display above the styrofoam section in Carlisle Hobbycraft.  Pop in and see her if you like  :)

Monday, 25 April 2016

End of the year Giveaway Blanket

Throughout this year I am periodically working on a new blanket.   It will be made from the free balls of yarn that I seem to pick up from magazines.   As it happens I don't actually buy any magazines, the yarn just gets donated to me from friends to do something with  :)

And this is what I am going to be doing with it this year.....
A C2C, or Corner to Corner crochet blanket.  I am just going to work until each ball of yarn runs out and let it find it's own colour pattern.

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning this blanket towards the end of the year then please keep an eye on my Facebook page for more details.  I will post updates on my blog, here, as I go along.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

C2C Baby Blanket - blue for a girl

When my son told me he and his girlfriend were expecting a baby, I knew I had to double up my blanket making skills and get some blankets made for the new arrival.  At this point I was wishing I had not made as many for Hope when she was on the way as I had to match the number of blankets made  -  I am not there yet and new baby Ellie is a month old now!!

Ellie's mum's favourite colour is blue, and years ago I made her a blue granny square blanket using this James C Brett Woodlander yarn.  I had a few balls left, so what better than to make Ellie a blanket to match her mummy's?

I decided on a C2C pattern.  C2C is Corner to Corner crochet, worked across a diagonal creating a lovely basket weave effect.  I did 5 rows of the variegated blue, then broke it up with a line of white.

It's a really quick stitch to work and the blanket grew quite quickly.

Then, it was done, time for some edging.  I decided on a shell pattern to go all the way around the edge.  Ellie's mummy loved it   :)

Better get on with making blanket number 2....and 3.....

Saturday, 23 April 2016

How to rainbow dye your hair

Ok, I am not one for plastering my photo all over the internet, and I am a bit reluctant to do it now, but it was a kind of craft project, and it might be useful to someone wanting to create a similar effect.

I dyed my hair rainbow!!

Of course there was some preparation stages, my hair was blue/black a few months ago and I have gone through the process of stripping and bleaching it in the vain attempt of going grey gracefully and having that beautiful silver hair I see on so many people.  Mine ended up a yellow, that looked not unlike a nicotine stained yellow.  It had to go!

I really didn't want to go back to black  (hey, that sounds like a song title right there!) so what else?  Blue, Pink, Purple.... how about all of them?

I had some Crazy Colors in the cupboard from a few years ago.  I had the tiniest bit of Violette (top left in pallette) and some Pinkissimo (middle bottom in pallette) and Peacock Blue (bottom right in pallette).  I also had some Colour Freedom in Poppy Red (bottom left in pallette).  I bought some Directions dyes to go with them, Apple Green (tub at top, not in pallette) Lavender (top right in pallette) and Flame (middle top in pallette).

First I washed and dried my hair with just a mild shampoo - no conditioner.  Then sectioned it off into random pony tails.

Then the dying began.  Now I did have help with this, my daughter-in-law Marie was on hand to get the bits I couldn't have possibly got.  In fact, she did it all  ;)

Once each bit was coloured we wrapped it in cling film and left it to set.  (Oh, that scruffy pink top is my painting/hair dying t-shirt, just in case you wondered).

Nice mess huh?   I left the dye on for a good hour, it says 15 minutes on the tubs but I like to make sure I get the most out of the colours.  I wouldn't recommend not following instructions for bleaches etc.... but these semi-colours seem to be ok with leaving them a bit longer.

A shampoo, good conditioning and blow drying later and we are done!  Rainbow hair.   :)

Send me photos if you do yours wont you?   :)

Friday, 22 April 2016

Patchwork Turtle - free tutorial

A little while ago I was asked by Hobbycraft to create a soft toy, aka Stuffie, tutorial.  It needed to be easy to make, but with a little skill, and using the Heather Jacks (winner of last years Sewing Bee) Fat Quarters.

I scribbled some ideas, including a dinosaur, a rabbit, a mushroom and a turtle.   The Turtle won, even though it was still just a pencil drawing I could imagine it's cute little buttony eyes and it's cuddle-able shape.

So I got to work, cutting, sewing, stuffing, tweaking.... and this little chap was born.

The shell is sewn by hand and the limbs either by hand or machine.

If you would like to make one for yourself, then the step-by-step photos are over on the Hobbycraft Blog.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

The North Lakes Tattoo Convention

Every year I am a little bit envious when the North Lakes Tattoo Convention is on in Carlisle, this is because it is usually the same weekend as the Flame OFF, which is a convention for Glass Workers held in Uttoxeter, and we are usually away attending that show.

But this year it was on the weekend before.... so I just had to go didn't I?  Hubster isn't into tattoo - he obviously doesn't mind mine, or at least he says he doesn't!, but he is clear skinned all the way through.  So I went with more like-minded people  ;)

WAS NOT going to spend any money, after all the Flame Off was the following weekend.  WAS DEFINITELY NOT going to buy a tattoo.

So I watched as my sister Julie sat down for the most beautiful Peacock  (she wasn't going to have one either!).  I wanted it!  

I hate feathers, but there is something about Peacock feathers that are quite stunning I think.  I just wish they didn't flap them about so much.

Isn't it beautiful?

By now the buzz of the machines was calling, Shona and I were just wandering about looking at the amazing art work when I suddenly found myself leafing through Jason Corbetts design book.  Jason specialises in black work and dot work, and although all of my other tattoos (way too many to count) are very brightly colours, I felt drawn to his work.  After a chat about swirls and curls and paisley patterns, he agreed to tattoo me.  He free-handed a beautiful paisley dot work pattern on my arm, then got to work tattoing it on.

I love it.

Poor Shona was abandoned as Julie and I got tattooed, but once we were finished we decided that she should have something too, it wasn't fair for us two to have one and not her was it?   We found a great artist called Rich Pearson who had a pretty butterfly design.  Before long all three of us had decided to have similar butterflies.

Shona asked for something "not too girly" and Rich suggested a traditionally coloured style, in black and red.   Not a colour she would have gone for and initially she dismissed the idea, then changed her mind and went for it.  I had planned purple and teal as my colours, but after seeing how fabulous her colours looked I changed my mind and went for those traditional colours too.
Julie stuck with purple  :)




Now hang on, that's two tattoos for Julie, two for me, once for Shona.... she needed another  ;)  We are SUCH bad influences.
 I should say at this point, that Shona was already tattooed, in fact her number is twelve right now, so it wasn't a totally inappropriate suggestion, although her Granddad would say different.

She chose this gorgeous lady from Alex Bage, she had to wait a while to get a slot, but so worth it.

As well as tattoo artists there was stuff for sale, clothes, bags, jewellery etc....  I found a cute little stall to buy the other little girls in my life a little gift.  A fabulous unicorn dress for Hope.

And a tattoo design jacket for Ellie.

There is a tattoo convention in Blackpool in August.  I think we might be visiting  ;)