Thursday, 28 June 2012

Fabric Fusion

I've been experimenting fusing different fabrics with bondaweb.  I say fabric, but I've used lace, feathers, sweet wrappers, flowers and lots of other things too.

I decided to firm this piece up by machine stitching round the outside first then stitching round a 'window' which I cut open and stitched back with beads.

Still lots of granny squaring going on!

Anther fusion with window as above, using dried flowers.

To fuse the fabrics I placed a piece of sheeting on the bottom, followed by a piece of bondaweb, followed by scraps (any bits you want to put in) then either sheer fabric or netting.  It's fun and almost instantaneous, which I like.  My patience for big craft projects is limited.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Up the Patch

Well, there's another week gone by!  It's been a busy one and I feel I've lots to tell, but for today I'm just going to talk about our patch up the garden where the beasties hang out.

Alfie continues to spend too much time hanging out indoors.  Good job he's cute and only very rarely snacks on laptop cables.

The ducklings are not quite three weeks old yet but are huge in comparison to their size at birth.  They are probably more than ten times their birth weight now, if not much more.  It's remarkable.

They are starting to feather and their backs look as though they will be well feathered within another week.  Ping, one of the yellow ducklings has what looks like black roots!  He's going to be a black duck.  I say 'he' as I'm quite convinced he's a daddy.  He has a curled up tail and roams around with his mouth open making low level noise - not quite a quack, just more of a drone.

By comparison, Duchess' yellow fluff appears to be being replaced with white feathers.  What a flock of ragamuffins!

They have been loose in the garden now, but only when we can keep an eye.  I don't trust the hens with babies, they're like velociraptors.

A rare sight to see one separate from the other two; it was just a brief moment.

They have gone from being tiny little things in the bathroom sick, to only just being able to get into a washing up bowl.  I expected them to grow quickly but they have surpassed my expectations.

So, what else has been happening in the patch?  Up until this week I felt rather smug when other poultry fanciers moaned about their battle with Red Mite.  I felt particularly smug when our vet said his hens hadn't been clear for four years.  Well, that satisfied smirk has been well and truly wiped off my face this week.  We have Red Mite!

Red Mite live in the cracks and crannies of the hen house, coming out onto the birds to feed at night.  They're tiny things, not quite the size of a pinhead and they suck hen's blood.  They pose no risk in terms of affecting egg safety in anyway whatsoever, however, they can, if the infestation is bad, make the hens anemic and unwell.

Thankfully I think we have spotted it early on.  There are no signs of anemia or other issues in the hens, however, I noticed a tiny one or two on my arm when I had been working in the coups the other day.  Because I was suspicious we dismantled perches and other parts of the housing to have a thorough search.  Our fears were confirmed.  It wasn't mega, but they were there.

The trouble is they are very hard to eradicate and one of the main reasons I keep my own birds is because I want to know what goes into our eggs.  I want to avoid chemical solutions at all costs. Firstly we tried an ozone generator in the housing.  After an hour or so the tiny crawly things were scarcely moving, but we weren't convinced they were dead - most likely because the ozone couldn't reach necessary concentrations as there are so many ventilation holes.

Since our favored easy solution had failed it was time to bring in the big guns.  We nigh on dismantled the whole structure and blow torched every nook and cranny.  I felt so irrationally affronted by their presence that I almost set the (wood) houses on fire, such was my enthusiasm with the blow torch.  If you've never used a blow torch before I can recommend it.  It's very therapeutic.

So, there you have it, the ups and downs of this week in the patch.  Here's hoping this week sees those beautiful little ducklings continue to grow while the Red Mite remain totally and utterly frazzled.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Days

 Oh, where do the days go?

I'm pleased to say we've been busy pottering in pretty gardens...

..making pizzas...hmmmmm  yummmmm.....

..and feeling the luuuurve.

I've become the proud owner of this delightful little sheep, hand felted by a lady I know in person, which somehow makes it even more special.  It was a gift from nana; a special gift which i will need to think of carefully before placing her anywhere.  She's not a toy, she wouldn't stand up to rough handling, yet she's so tactile.

Lazy mooches through woodlands scattered with sheep.

Spotting glittery snail trails.  Oh, that's not all I spotted that afternoon either!  I saw a badger, a real, live badger, scuttling along in the tall grass.  I'd never seen a live badger before.

The babies have become ever so rascally...

...and big!  Here's Duchess at eight days old, next to a sizeable duck egg.  Quite remarkable.

Yes, I am talking about you Duchess!

I found a spot for the organza brooch I made.  I've revamped another lightshade.  I'm loving it on here.  It's ever so pretty when the light is both on and off.

Time to round up dirty children from the garden and usher them into the bath.  xx

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Organza brooches, textile clouds and stuff

 We went to our Arts Award textile session this morning.  I find the time there really relaxing and rather indulgent; oh the joys of getting crafty during the day when the text books and vacuum cleaner could be calling.

As well as progressing our textile landscapes we also experimented with organza and a heat gun.

This is a collection of colors and textures that I think will sit ever so nicely on my upstairs landing dresser.  Somewhere pretty for my lampshade butterflies to look out on!

This is a brooch; or 'could' be a brooch.  The truth is it's probably not very 'me' in terms of jewelry but I just know I'll spot somewhere within the house where it would look lovely.  It has a brooch clip at the back so I could attach it to a curtain, blind or the likes.

Pretty, sweetpea inspired colours.

Do you like the clouds I added to my landscape today? I made them from a jay cloth and cotton wool.  I wound them round a cocktail stick, smothered with pva glue and left them to dry.  Easy peasy!

Miles is romping along with his history read aloud with Nana.  They're up to the third volume in Story of the World and his knowledge of history is certainly now more wide ranging than mine.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

When I Lived In Modern Times

I bought this book last week when it was drastically reduced on Kindle Daily Deal.  An interesting insight into a period and place I know very little about.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Lampshade Makeover

Earlier in the week when I was waiting by the phone for hospital test results, (which thankfully were fine), I fixated upon the frivolous.  It's a common coping strategy round  here!

I decided that I could no longer live with such a naff and uninspiring lampshade on the upstairs landing dresser.  It was plastic-like and although we live in a  smoke free home, it looked like it had spent a good ten years living alongside someone who smoked thirty woodbines a day!  It wasn't cream and it wasn't beige; it was just downright awful.

Anyway, here it is now, having been wrapped in some mulberry paper with glittered butterflies which I picked up in the Paperchase sale, knowing it would come in very useful one day.  I cut it to size and attached it with watered down PVA glue - no posh modge podge stuff here.

It's not perfect and wouldn't stand up to close scrutiny, but it's bright and cheery.  If crafting had to be perfect and precise I'd never craft.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

First swim

 Taking it have to be very careful as ducklings can easily drown.

Mummy dried all the creases with a fluffy towel.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Last but not least

Spot the odd one out!  This little fella arrived shortly after breakfast today and Miles has claimed him as his own.  So, there we have it, two golden and one black duckling from a clutch of seven eggs.  Not bad considering the other four never showed any signs of being fertile.

I'm off to put my feet up now.  I'm off duty, chilling, trying to feel for a deeper ease.  I've test results to collect tomorrow, and hospital appointments to make; it's fair to say I'm rather uptight.  Ah, off to find solace in my wool basket......

Monday, 4 June 2012

New arrivals

 The first hatchling arrived shortly before breakfast; the second not long before lunch.

They stayed in the incubator for a few hours till their downy feathers dried out.

It's incredible to think that they came out of an egg just hours ago; they seem so big in comparison to the eggs now.

They're different to hen chicks.  They take time to find their feet and were much more sleepy for the first couple of hours.  They're much louder and imagine that's something that will only get worse!  Here's hoping we have mild weather so they can migrate from the kitchen to the garden soon.

After the initial couple of hours they were more alert than any other hatchlings we've had.  This one was determined to try to peck the button off the cushion!

Awww, they have the makings of Easter card models!

The other girls seemed to sense there was something going on today.  Perhaps they heard the tiny cheeps?

The biggest difference we've noticed is how cuddly they are and how they seem to really want to be picked up and close to skin.  This one was determined to snuggle into Hermione's neck and go to sleep.

One more egg in the incubator.  Keeping everything crossed and hoping we can score a hat trick!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Pipping and zipping

Quick update on our duckling eggs.

We woke this morning to find one of the three eggs had 'pipped'.  This means that they had pushed the shell outwards and cracked it in one small area.  I've tried to photograph our eggs but they've not photographed well.  Here is a picture of a pipped egg to show you.

Since then another has pipped, and the one which pipped first has now begun to 'zip'.  When birds are hatching out of an egg, they don't just flex their wings and push the shell off, they make lots of little cracks around the shell, usually in a zig zag (zip like) type pattern, which weakens the shell and enables them to push it open.  Ah, here's a better picture to show the difference...

We're shocked by how long it's all taking.  Chickens are usually out well within 24 hours of the first pip.  Seems the ducks are going to take much longer; apparently they rest for longer periods between stages.

Oh, very exciting.  I'm trying to really savor this hatch as once it's done we will have hatched chickens, quail and ducks.  I'm not sure if I can justify further hatches for educational purposes - what do you think?

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Textile landscapes, yarns and roses

It must be said, although I'm not actually doing the Arts Award, I'm certainly enjoying the ride! I have been joining in some textiles workshops Hermione has been partaking in.  I've always wanted to create textile landscapes, I love the landscapes by Helen Cowans, but I've not even had the confidence to try before.

We started out with a piece of cream cotton sheeting and painted it with silk paints and acrylics.  We then stitched on organza which we later fused and burned.

I made seed pod beads from copper wire and learned how to stitch a french knot (and various adaptations of a french knot!).

Incidentally, for those who live in my area, you may be interested to know the Pound Shop has some bright and cheery wool/acrylic blends in at the moment.   I love it when my crochet basket is over flowing with choice!

Ah another recent prurchase; the largest rose candle I could afford.  Rose is supposed to banish negativity.

My landscape as it progresses.  Can you see how the organza has shriveled and pulled away from the stitching in response to strong heat?  Not quite sure what possessed me to put that green piece in the sky.  It looks very seaweed like.  Ho hum......

The yellow flowers are made from an old thin cleaning cloth.  It's thinner than felt and lets the light filter through.  I'm amazed by how strongly I'm drawn to reds in this little piece of creation.  I don't usually use any true red at all in decorating my home, save for a wee touch in the kitchen.  I often feel too much red in my home stimulates energies which I'd rather temper, but it somehow feels right here.  I think it may be destined for a shady area of my bedroom landing which could do with an energy boost!

Whoops, almost forgot to say, remember I told you a wee while back that we set seven fertile duck eggs in the incubator?  Well, it turned out that only three were fertile.  We got rid of those so as they didn't explode and jeopardise the well being of the others.  They aren't due to hatch till Tuesday/Wednesday but when we arrived home from a Jubilee gathering a short while ago, we heard tiny cheeps and a quick candling revealed that one has broken through into the air sack.  This is an indication that it will probably hatch within the next 24-48 hours.  Eggciting stuff!!!