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Everything has a story to tell me

not always with words.

My guide to pomming!

Here are my tip for basic Pom-pom success – basically it's all in the trim.

You can get Pom-Pom makers in loads of places, they all look like This) They come with instructions, but basically wrap the yarn round the two jointed halves, clip them together and cut the strands between the two halves. You then tie a yarn strand between the two halves and you can pop out your pompom.

This is a Pom right off the maker, shaggy and uneven.

This is because you layer the yarn wraps, which means the last ones go over over all the others and so are longer. If you've ever got to this stage and given up, thinking how messy it looks, that's because you've never been told to trim them afterwards.
To get a smooth, cute pompom, you need to use sharp scissors to cut the yarn back.
Imagine you're trimming one of those posh hedges you see in stately homes, and bee ruthless.

This pale green one is half way through.

All "fresh" pom-poms tend to be oval or have long and short sections off the maker, whether you're using a purpose made pompom maker or the old school card circles, so cut the long bits off first, then keep going.

Keep turning the pompom round and round as you cut, visualising a tennis ball or similar as you go and be brave – you'll cut away at least a quarter of the yarn to get down to where the strands are most densely packed, which gives you the best finish.

This is a big bowl of cut off fluff, it's best to cut over a bowl to catch it all, and keep it for toy stuffing
– waste not, want not!

Eventually you will get to a ball about two thirds the size of where you started out,but far more dense, smooth and velvety in feel.


Of course, if you want a more shaggy look, you get less off, but even then you will probably need to trim as the shape always comes out a bit wonky. But I do love me a velvety smooth Pom-Pom!

Simple pompom wreath


I'm a bit obsessed with Pom-poms and wreathed, so it makes sense to combine both and feed two fetishes at once. Although I love huge, complex ideas with lots of bits, sometimes the simplicity of colour and texture wins out and makes the best statement, and this wreath is a case in point.
I wanted to express the change of season in colour, as well as the sense of leaves falling, so I thought if I graded my colours from summer green to brown, that would create the right effect

I started with the largest size in my pompom maker kit and made 12, starting with the dark green and blending two colours together to create the transitions smoothly. As a ball of wool is a finite thing, I didn't always have enough (I bought one ball in each colour at first) to do two pale green, two green and yellow mixes and two dark and light green mixes, for example, but I found that just making as much as I could and not having two solid colours in each stage worked fine.

I decided the first row needed more fullness, and so I added in a second row of smaller balls mixing up what I had left. I did buy a second ball of pale green, orange and yellow, but I didn't use exactly the same mixes though I tried to reflect the colour changes in the main ring never the less.
I should add I built this on a simple copper wreath ring and first of all I wrapped the ring in a random layer of yarn to create a base. I have some cool vintage sail making needles –

Which are perfect for stitching the poms in place and are easy to thread, but any big eyed needle will work.

All in all, as I buy my yarn from the Saturday market and charity shops so it's pretty cheap, as you only need basic acrylic dk yarn for pom-poms, the whole thing cost me £15 to make including the wreath frame, and I think it's really affective!

Bring on the autumn!

Nemesister Sophie Jonas-Hill

for the first time, for a long time, I read a book that kept me on my toes. It kept me hooked like no other book has for years.

Source: Nemesister Sophie Jonas-Hill

#BlogTour #Review #Nemesister by @SophieJonasHill @urbanebooks

Anne bonny book reviews

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Nemesister by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Synopsis:

An American Gothic thriller of deception and obsession, slicked in sweat and set in the swamps of Louisiana.

It’s a psychological mystery where the female protagonist stumbles into a deserted shack with no memory but a gun in her hand. There she meets an apparent stranger, Red, and the two find themselves isolated and under attack from unseen assailants.

Barricaded inside for a sweltering night, cabin fever sets in and brings her flashes of insight which might be memory or vision as the swamp sighs and moans around her.

Exploring in the dark she finds hidden keys that seem to reveal her identity and that of her mysterious host, but which are the more dangerous – the lies he’s told her, or the ones she’s told herself?

My review:

Nemesister is #1 in the Crooked Little Sisters series. Chapter one opens to a chaotic scene…

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10 minute baby safe pin cushion make!

I wanted to make a pin cushion which my baby boy wouldn’t be able to get to and hurt himself with, but also one I could see the needles and pins easily when I needed to. I had an idea, and got a clean clippy lid type jar and the first bit of scrap fabric I could find.

Using the principal of guestimation, I drew a circle round a bowl I had to hand and cut it out.

I then ran a running stitch round the edge to draw it up into a….well, a….cushion? And stuffed it with wool off cuts to make it nice and……cushion-y.

 

Then you just pop your cushion into the bottom of the jar, glue it down if you want, and you can add your pins, then lock them safely away. Ok, I would imagine you could make a more complicated and prettier pin cushion by cutting a circle to the size of the base of the jar, and then cutting out segments all in a pretty fabric, but then I was in a bit of a hurry and this is a quick and easy make. But I might have a go at one when I have more time, now that I’ve somewhere safe to keep my pins!

The pumpkin wreath

To add to the pumpkins I’ve been making for my Autumn wreath, I’ve used up the spare circles of fabric to make simple spiral roses. These are dead easy, you just cut a spiral from your circle and roll them up, stitching through the bottom as you go. Sometimes I pleat as I go to make the ‘petals’ spread out more, and after its done I pull and pluck at the edges to fray them, as I like the slightly tatty feel this gives them.

Now I’ve finished all the roses and pumpkins, I thought I’d show you how I assemble the wreath. With the pumpkins, I like to sew them onto a copper wreath frame. It’s always a good idea to arrange your pieces on one wreath frame and then transfer them one by one onto the frame you’re actually going to use, as this mean you can get your arrangement right before attaching, so you don’t make a mistake and have to un-attach things.

I first wrapped the top section of the frame with twine, as I wanted a rustic feel. And yes, you can wrap the whole wreath like this first, but sometimes I find that make it harder to attach the pumpkins, as they’re firmer sewn to the copper frame rather than string wrapped over the copper frame. Oh, and I didn’t have enough twine, and I’m on a budget.

 

I sewed on the pumpkins, some sort of front on, some balancing on the others to give a feeling of a pile of produce. Then I added the roses, which I sewed onto the frame in the same way at the pumpkins.

If you do wrap the whole frame in twine, you can poke the roots of the roses through the twine and stitch, as they’re lighter this works better with them than it might the pumpkins.

 

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There we go, my pumpkin patch wreath – bring on the Autumn!

 

Got my book from the publishers!

Water feature three!

​So, to see how I got here, today I found these beautiful heavy glass bowls in the charity shop. If I had the right drill bit, I would have been tempted to drill holes in them and turn them into a cascade, but I haven’t and I’d only break them. Oh, and I don’t have a pump, just a bubbler.

Any way,  the bigger dish was too big, it would have channeled the water out of the concrete bowl. But the smaller one fitted fine, and the holes round the edge let me thread the tube for the bubbler into the centre.

I had then put in some rocks to raise the bowl up to the rim of the concrete bowl, and poured in some of my sea glass collection underneath, which is visible through the glass. Of course this all takes adjusting by trial and error, but finally I was happy and added in a traditional glass fishing float I was left by my mum. And then, the power of the sun and……..

Well, there wasn’t much sun about, because although yes, this is a shade garden, the solar panel is on top of the wall which creates the shade….only it was behind a cloud. When there’s a bot more sun, the bubble creates masses of bubbles which should both oxygenate the water and keep it moving to hopefully keep down algae, though I may try adding salt to the water which also helps. Or alcohol,  that helps too!

Plump pumpkin project

I know there are lots of tutorials on how to make pumpkins, but hey, just like spiced lattes, I’m sure you can find room for another really good one!

So, start with a top I bought from a car boot sale for 25p.

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I gave it a good press, broke it down into it’s main parts and used different plates as templates to cut out as many circles as I could squeeze out of it. I would always recommend pressing the circles again before you use them, it just helps.

Start with a running stitch about 5mm in from the edge of the circle. (Do you like the circle frames, do ya?!) and go all the way round the edge. As a tip, if you’re using two different colours of thread, have two needles and thread one with one and one with the other, it’s a lot easier than having to thread and un-thread one needle.

At this point I put down my pumpkin body to make the stem. You can of course use a twig or piece of rope, but I like to use either a ribbon (this top came with some matching ones which helps a lot) or a strip of fabric cut from the same stash, or something contrasting. If you’ve ever liked rolling a ribbon into a tube and then wondered if you could use it for something, then this is for you – you start by rolling the ribbon round on itself, then keep rolling it round in a downward spiral. If you overlap as little of the ribbon as possible, you’ll create a thin tube for the tip, then as you work down you over lap more and more of the ribbon on itself, which makes the over all shape fatter. Pin it to hold it together, and then sew the layers together. I find as it gets wider, you can fit your finger into the ribbon tube which really helps to hold it as you work. When you decide it’s long enough, cast off your thread and feed a little piece of wire up inside. You can attach this with a few stitches, and to make this easier, bend it into a sharp, hairpin bend first so it doesn’t poke out when you’re finished.

To stuff the pumpkin, you can use wadding, but if you’re working with light cottons which can be slightly transparent, I’d recommend using scraps of the same fabric instead. I also use something like dried lentils or rice, as this adds weight to the finished thing. Pull the thread to draw up the circle, stuff the pumpkin and pull it all the way up until you can’t tighten it any further. I then like to do some long stitches from the underneath, round and back through the top to create the sections of the pumpkin.

I can then poke the wide end of the stalk into the opening and stitch through the opening and the stalk to fix on to the other, working round the wire. Don’t worry if there are raw edges and threads from the fabric edge showing, that’s part of the charm. With this one, I added one of the self covered buttons which came with the top, and then split another piece of the ribbon and stitched it into a loop, leaving the ends trailing to create the effect of vines. As a final touch, I heated the ends of the trails with a flame to melt them, and of course give the stalk a spiral shape to finish.

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I’m off to make some more of these, when I next blog I hope to show you what I do with them all.

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