Random Joy

Random

It’s that time of year when final assignments for the semester are due. I’m studying towards a masters in Librarianship and Information Management and have two classes currently; one on cataloguing, which is my personal favourite, and the other on records management. After working on my records management assignment, I glanced to the side where I had been temporarily placing the sticky note tabs that I had removed from my industry journals. I was struck by how pretty they looked, all random and jumbled. Life is a bit like that, it is in the random and the busy moments that we are sometimes treated to a reminder of how beautiful life is.

This week for me it has been little scenes like the above, seeing Pippin and Loki all snuggled together on their cat tree, the excitement in my husband’s voice when he describes a new game to me, seeing my parents relaxing in the sunshine. Little moments, completely random, but so precious. It is all the random moments and unexpected beauty that makes life worthwhile, that remind us of just how special the simple things are.

I love the feeling of friday evenings; the week is almost done and two lovely days of weekend time are ahead! There are meetings with friends over yummy lunch to come and some grocery shopping which I think is all the more fun when the store has a fabulous international food section! Do you like them? I love looking at foods from other countries, not to mention trying them! We are shopping at a different store to our usual this weekend so I am excited to see what their international food section is like. I’m hoping they have some of the Dutch rusk-like biscuits* that are big, puffy and crunchy bites of deliciousness, especially when spread with butter! My Grandmother loved these, so they hold a special nostalgia for me. If I find some I will share some photos so you can see what they are like, perhaps you like them too!

I’ve been blogging since the early days of pre-blogger, when Grey Matter was the software of choice. Actually, when I first started writing an online journal, there were few programs or apps for that purpose. I blogged my little heart out in those days but then had a sizeable pause when life gifted me with a visit from the anxiety fairy who kindly brought along the black dog. Now that I am blogging again I remember how hard those early days are! Posting and blogging and wondering if anyone is reading your words, thinking and thinking about topics to write about, things to share. At the moment I think it is mainly web crawlers and bots visiting me, but I shall keep writing because with time people will find my blog and we can have a good ol’ bloggy chat! We will be friends in no time!

I’m still nutting out what I want this weblog to be. I definitely want to share crafts and projects, perhaps a few rambling posts like this too. Whatever strikes my fancy at the time! I do agree with that grand old chestnut; a little of what you fancy does you good! 

 

* The Dutch rusks are like these, have you tried them? I love them! They are delicious and remind me of my Gran!

Meet the Team!

I have been far too slow in introducing the editorial and management team at alyshajane.com. This state of affairs was brought to my attention this morning after second breakfast. I could not be the cat lady that I am without my two wonderful companions, Pippin and Loki. Pippin is my big black panther, and Loki is my little golden lion. They are both excellent at supervising any household activities and always ensure I do not sit at my desk too long. Well, not without a cat on it anyhoo! They enjoy watching birdies, holding daily Grand Prix races up and down the hallway, decorating the house with their wonderful fur and like their meals to come with biscuits on the side. I proudly present Masters Pippin and Loki:

Pippin Pippin Loki Loki

Ah, my little feline friends, aren’t they gorgeous? :)

Adventures in Bag Land

I made my second drawstring bag recently (not showing my first one until I ummm…refine it), it was a comedy of errors! The material is lovely; I found it in an op shop after spotting the lovely cherry pattern from a distance. Now, to the sewing! My first mishap was when it came time to pivot the material to go around a corner; I forgot to raise the foot, it came loose and the needle hit it and bent. Oh well, I thought, now I know how to change the foot, as it had fallen off during the chaos, and needle.

Next, I eagerly sewed along the top seam. I was happy with how straight it was…until I noticed that I had sewn through both layers of material so I had sewn it SHUT! Sigh. I ripped it open again and sewed the top seams properly. Finally finished I happily clipped the loose threads and had a lesson in how sharp sewing scissors are – I snipped my finger! Ouch! Just as I did that my two cats ran into the room, so I was trying to get them out of the room while not bleeding on the carpet! But, all ends well, and I love my bag (not perfect, but I made it!) and I learned some valuable lessons!

bagadventures

Have you had any sewing mishaps, dear reader? :)

The Lure of Hexies

Making Hexies

Oh dear. I never thought I would have a fabric stash but it happened. I never thought I would learn quilting or related crafts; yet it has happened this day! Yes, it is true. I have succumbed to the lure of the sexy hexies! I kept seeing them on Instagram and Pinterest and finally had to cave in and have a go! I want to make many, many more! I did not do any fussy cutting the first time around, I just wanted to learn the technique of english paper piecing. I used lovely templates from The Printed Stitch and also followed a fabulous tutorial on YouTube from 3and3quarters. All it needs is a little pin on the back and I have a lovely brooch.

hexieflower

I have some Christmas prints in my stash so I am planning a hexie-based table runner. I used a small hexie template today but I will use a bigger one for the table runner so more of the print is visible. I might even try some fancy cutting skills! I can now understand why making hexies is so popular, the process is just as relaxing as knitting and spinning. Must make more!

Spambroidery Revisited

I recently came across an older project of mine that I want to get back into; spambroidery! One day, as I was going through the comment spam that was caught by Akismet within WordPress, I noticed that a few of the spam comments used quotes or were just extraordinarily funny and strange. I decided to embroider some of them with added images. The first of my ‘Spambroideries’ is below:
Spambroidery

I’m by no means the first to do spam embroidery, some fantastic examples of other spambroidery can be found here. This was my third embroidery project. I’m still learning and loving the journey! Next time, I will use a larger font and space the letters more. The kitten image is from doe-c-doe.

Crafting of the yarny kind

Knitting Projects

Lately I seem to be cycling through a range of crafts, so many ideas and things that I want to do! Sewing, knitting, spinning, embroidery – I want to work on all the things! My current knitting projects are a Miss Winkle shawl by Martina Behm and a pair of socks for my darling husband; the sock pattern is from an old issue of Yarn Magazine. I’m using Patons Patonyle (in what seems to be a discontinued colourway) for the socks and Lonco Multy by Araucania for the shawl. There is also a wee bit of french knitting going on, you may also know it as spool knitting! I had a Knitting Nancy model as a child, and, feeling nostalgic, started using my ‘modern’ french knitter with some Red Heart Aran yarn that I found in BigW – I couldn’t resist the big balls and colours!  I think I will make a rug with the finished knitting.

Random fun fact! The longest work of french knitting measures 26.33 km and is still growing!

Question, to anyone who still visits me *echo echo*, should I import my old blog entries or just leave it as a new blog? Is it too boring without archives? Am I too weird? What will I craft next? Stay tuned….

Crafting with Tea

Crafting With Tea

I love a good cup of tea, don’t you? My favourite tea is Yorkshire Tea, nice and strong with plenty of flavour. While I was drinking my afternoon cup, I mused about how much I love tea and wondered what tea related crafts there are. The result is a first, in what I think will be a series of posts, where I choose a theme or topic, find interesting links and make a Pinterest board about that theme. Naturally, the topic for today is tea, or rather, crafting with tea!

The links above and more can be found on my Pinterest board: Crafting With Tea.

Oh dear, weeds!

My poor little garden has been neglected of late. With the coming of Spring I have wanted to get back into it and boy oh boy, do I have a battle with weeds on my hands! I have more of a jungle than a garden. Yesterday I went out early and cleared one patch of grass and weeds and happily set to planting some new lovelies; some purple ageratums, mixed cosmos and red salvia. It won’t be long before the agergatums bloom, they already have tiny little buds. Unfortunately, the battle between me and my arch-enemy, the dreaded oxalis, is back on! I have my battle armour to wear in the form of a lovely Laura Ashley gardening apron and bright green gloves!

Garden Armor

The Snapdragons are flowering in a mix of beautiful colours, including the one below which was self-sown and quite a lovely treat to find! Last season we grew lots of tomatoes, eggplants, chillies, lettuce and potatoes. This year I want to mix in more flowers and herbs, I would love to grow some flax so I could prepare the fibre, dye and spin it and then knit something from the yarn. Going though the complete cycle of making something appeals to me immensely. Grow, harvest, prepare, spin and knit. It sounds a bit magical, to me!

Snapdragon Flowers

Sewing Tips and Tutorials

As I have only begun to learn how to sew with a sewing machine, I have been browsing pinterest and weblogs for tips and tutorials. Some of my favourites:

sewingmachine

I Can Sew!

Sewing Machine

I’m learning how to sew! After my previous machine started smelling like burnt rubber with use, my wonderful husband bought me a new machine. It isn’t a fancy schmancy machine but is perfect for me to learn on…and it doesn’t smell like burnt rubber! Of course, being a crazy cat lady, I could not resist the cute little sewing basket with kitty-print fabric. I’m collecting a little stash of tools and fabric and have so many things I want to sew. Ah, if only I had more time!

Crafty Lass

The main crafts I enjoy are knitting, spinning and most recently, sewing! I also love to get out in the garden and am in the middle of planning a new garden; a mix of ornamentals, herbs and vegetables. I have two Ashford spinning wheels, a Joy and a Traditional, as well as a teensy collection of spindles. My sewing machine may not be fancy but it doesn’t smell like burning rubber every time I use it like my old one did, which is fantastic! I have a basic Brother machine. I’m very new to sewing having only just mastered the basics like threading the machine. What I lack in experience I make up for with enthusiasm! I already have a small fabric stash and a collection of sewing tools. Other crafts that I dabble in occasionally are embroidery, paper crafts and crochet. Crafting is wonderful, whatever the medium!