Thursday, March 25

a cluster of 'sprightly spring' scraps...

oh yes! isn't that just the peachiest of peachy titles.
i do believe i have managed to say it two times in a row before tripping up...
but dearest readers,
i had no choice,
for 'sprightly spring' scraps is exactly what i have to show for my day yesterday.
of course i could also show you the 'crappity crap' stuff i did as well,
but i do not wish to,
no, i wish only to show you 'sprightly' sweeties today.

my perfectly pixerly moment of last week has me in love with little squares and rectangles,
and found me wanting more reasons to fill our mossy shed with their 'pick me up' ways.
so yesterday, with the help of Miss Ethel and my towering pile of 'scraps' and some vintage wallpaper,
and not to mention a pressing need to cover up an 'ugliness' within our dinning area,
i was inspired to create my 'sprightly spring' scraps from folded over bits of leftovers.

they are tres easy peasy to do,
and they do a tres easy peasy job
at brightening up any area you may care to hang them.
i needed to distract from the light cord issue in our ceiling,
due to a shuffling of table and chairs in our eating area i am left with a wonderful lamp that alas does not reach.

my man put a hook in the ceiling, pulled the cord over, still too short
and said "voila!"
i sighed, whilst pointing.
he looked where i was pointing.
he sighed at my pointing
and knew depsite saying
"it doesn't look that bad to me"
that his world would be easier
if the little bit of 'ugliness' Tif was pointing to
was put to the top of his never ending 'to do' list
and then Tif becomes happy
the light becomes happy,
and he knows, and we know,
that means
the shed becomes happy too.

but of course this little bit of ugly needs some serious rewiring etc etc so i know it will not happen miraculously overnight so i had no choice but to not stand there pointing any longer
and instead, hatch a cunning plan to disguise the offending visual before my eyes.

since taking my photos yesterday i have added more sprightly spring scraps, due to their addictive ways.
once you make one, you wish to make another
then you start to dream of a whole wall covered in them,
looking peachy and perfectly sprightly.

as i am wishing to see the world full of such sprightliness i am sharing them with you today...
so you may go forth and 'sprightly up' your own lovely abodes.
once again inviting a random passerby in, to admire your cluster of sprightliness
and perhaps pass on how you did it,
so the random passerby may go forth and pass the sprightliness on to their nest
and so forth...
and that is it dearest readers,
quite simple and quite sprightly i do believe.

each of my little lengths are between 25" and 30" long
(for those that do not speak the same language as me, that would be 63cm to 76cm)

i have little happy scraps of lace at the bottom of them

i'm thinking my pictures here give you a tres good idea of how sprightly they could look in a cluster of many
which i have now achieved this morning...

i am leaving you for a few days as my clan is on spring break shortly and i feel it most necessary to spend some time with them and my sprightly spring scraps.

she is hoping between now and when she sees you on monday 5th april, you will have been super busy ignoring the 'dull chores' and spending your time wisely and sprightly ~ Tif

Wednesday, March 24

a bit of beige and little olive...

yesterday i spent my day once again within beige and blah walls...
this time they were different walls,
walls that belonged to 'big people' high above
this time i was having my fingerprints taken.
we drove many miles to sit for many minutes...

i noted whilst 'whiling away' my waiting time that indeed the whole room was void of any kind of decoration other than a clock and a large american flag,
it was of no surprise to see not one person within this space wore a smile.
i noted upon leaving the room where i had past my day, the people working there could not actually see the outside from within their working space.
i looked at the little piece of paper i held within my hand, a small survey requiring my feedback. only 4 questions, quite simple... and question #4 perhaps the most simple of all.
"what do you think we could do to make your visit more enjoyable"
(or words to that effect, i cannot quite remember it, as at the time my little brain cells were struggling with being in a beige environment)
i said to my man
"well that's easy, this place is crying out to be doilified. next time perhaps i should bring one with me, and just leave it casually upon a desk."
i am now imagining that little doily trying with all it's 'little doily might' to bring a little bit of 'happy' into the space.
i fear that little doily may have it's work cut out...

meanwhile back at the shed, little olive is trying to move on from her puppy act.
i note on most days she is doing a jolly good job at it,
but other days it all goes to pot and she is tres pesky.
having turned 10 months she is trying hard though and that is all one can ask for...
her acting abilities are coming along nicely
and she tries most days to have her listening ears on.
for i mentioned some while back that listening ears were very important if we were to get along 'fine and dandy',
since then she listens as best she knows how

and then of course i had no idea at the time of getting a little doggie only a few inches off the ground, just how useful that could be.
to start with i saw her 'low lying' ways as a negative,
she could get into places and spaces i did not wish her to see, smell or taste.
but it would appear as time has past, there are advantages to her little 'ground level' ways.
yes dearest readers, i am most delighted to report that i have no need for a mini vacuum robot 'thingy' to go around the shed gathering dust bunnies and other 'iffy' things.
no sirree!
i have a 'little olive' that does the most peachiest job.

a most useful skill to possess and as i noted to her the other day after she had done a tres wonderful job at 'dust bunny' collecting
"that will get you far in the world little olive, perhaps your acting abilities are not enough on their own, but with a 'dust bunny' collecting talent added in, i'm sure its just a matter of time before 'they' come a knocking for you"

once again she wonders who 'they' are, all she knows is, 'they' are out there ~ Tif

Monday, March 22

show and tell...

it all began last week,
when i lounged upon my floor with little olive upon my lap,
used dog by my side
Mr Lurgy as my close companion...
and if you are sitting comfortable, then i shall begin.

once again i would like to report at the time of my 'ah ha' moment i was dressed in a rather stunningly bohemian outfit, hair just so, tousled without effort and my complexion radiant and light.
but that would be further from the truth then i have ever told before.
for i was dressed in several days old pyjamas,
hair stuck to the sides of my head, with rather too much frizzing happening on top,
and my complexion was gray and sallow
due to Mr Lurgy and his horrible ways.

with my trusty friends beside me i stared into the distance,
feeling quite fed up, for i did not wish to be entertaining Mr Lurgy.
after some staring, my gaze refocused upon my lovely cushion and recovered chair 'a la granny chic' style...

my lovely cushion came from lil chrissy.
her etsy store is full of wonderful retro goodness and i have to say, if she wasn't on the other side of the pond from me, i would have been tempted by the matching bean bag...
but i settled for the lovely pink cushion and it arrived in mossy shed a little while back.
so as i sat upon the floor staring at my little cushion it dawned on me that i was staring at a heart.
which i had not seen until that moment...

and that is when a 'thunderbolt' of inspiration hit.
the sort of thunderbolt i haven't seen in a while...
the kind of thunderbolt that makes you 'carry on crafting' despite being lurgified.

after several days of beavering away,

many rests inbetween
no cooking or mothering,
i had my 'perfectly pixerly' heart

i placed all my
'perfectly pixerly' lovelies in my little shop window along with some new designs for my 'every eventuality' cards sets...

i am thinking my 'perfectly pixerly' heart makes me most happy.

when my man took a look, i told him of my 'perfectly pixerly' name.
"but Tif, you do know that pixels don't actually exist in reality don't you?"
to which i replied, even more delighted then before
"well that's just perfectly perfect then, for when did dottie angel ever care about reality"

she is feeling much grander than last week ~ Tif

Thursday, March 18

a 'happy hanger' how-to...

dearest readers, my show and tell on friday is being postponed until monday...
but do not fret,
nor hang your heads and weep
for monday will be here before we know it
do you think i would leave you empty handed today?
for that is not my way.
no, despite Mr Lurgy and his unattractive ways i have for you
a 'happy hanger' how-to...

and just like all my how-tos
it will be a little bit of waffle and then i will leave it up to you to decode my waffle and make it up as you go along.
and i do not have 'step by step' pics because Carlos my camera is feeling a little peaky too.
so let us begin...

the nitty gritty ingredients required

*one old wood hanger,
mine is narrow in depth only 3/4 of an inch,
* some leftover happy colored yarn, i have used worsted weight yarn
* a Mr Hook, size F, 4.0mm
*i have used double crochet, american terminology

step 1: chain 65, chain 3 (counting as first double crochet) , double crochet into third chain from hook

step 2: double crochet into same chain, repeat two more times.

step 3: single crochet into third chain from your cluster of double crochets.
a shell has been made, next shell will be made up of 5 double crochets, this is the basic shell pattern that can be found in any crocheting how to book.

step 4: repeat all along your chain to end. you should have 13 shells.

step 5: turn your work but keeping the same side facing you and repeat the same row you just did, but along the bottom side of the chain.
a mirror image of what you have just done.
(lordy i hope this all makes sense)

step 6: finish off your final shell by slip stitching into the very first shell you made.
basically you have gone around in a circle. you first side is complete, 13 full round shells should be in your hand.

step 7: repeat all of the above for your second side of your happy coat

step 8: weave in your ends

step 9: place your two pieces right sides together
i chose to do this because i liked the wrong side of my crocheting best, you can chose to use the other side if you wish.
with a contrasting yarn color, begin the right end of your happy coat, making sure the stitches are lined up and start single crocheting them together.
i went though both loops of the stitch below.

step 10: when you get to the left end of you happy coat, pop your hanger in place, then continue to single crochet around the bottom of your happy hanger coat.
this is a bit fiddly and so you may have to take a breather every now and then...

step 11: when you get all the way around your happy hanger, finish off and weave in your last thread.

step 12: hang your happy hanger up for all to see,

make sure any passing strangers who come into your dwelling notice your happy hanger, taking time to admire your happy hanger handy work and perhaps cast an envious eye upon your happy hanger and your Mr Hook.

step 13: continue making more happy hangers, loving them all equally

and that's it! easy peasy except for my ability to make it super complicated with a lot of waffle... if you know how to shell crochet then you can make this happy hanger coat and spend the rest of your days addicted to filling your life with happy hangers...

they are wishing you all a lurgy free weekend ~ Tif and Mr Lurgy
footynote: any misprints or misleading crocheting things found within this 'how-to' are the responsiblity of Mr Lurgy and not Tif.
Tif is innocent of any mess ups resulting in following this how-to and all complaints must be made in writing to Mr Lurgy and not Tif :)

Tuesday, March 16

laying low...

Mr Lurgy has me in a vice like grip, he is being quite the stinker and so i'm laying low for a few days.
i'm not completely down and out, no sirree, where there is a will, there is a way!
and so i'm mustering enough energy to make sure Miss Ethel is still getting her fair share of attention but the rest of my clan must rely upon their own survival skills...

she will be back on friday with 'show and tell' ~ Tif

Monday, March 15

Mr Lurgy and his saviour ways...

it is a few days until i reach the half way mark in my handcrafted secondhand year and yesterday was, i do believe the greatest temptation to have crossed my path since September 20th 2009

yes dearest readers, yesterday saw Liberty of London hit the shelves of Target.
i knew the day was coming for i had stumbled across the info somewhere in cyber land.
i have been preparing myself for several weeks.
i took a good look at all they were offering,
now some may think this foolish for one that cannot have,
but i saw it as a way to deal with the situation.
i took a good long deep look,
and then i came to the conclusion that in fact there wasn't anything at all i actually needed and very few things that i wanted.
except the bike,
lordy how i love the bike
who wouldn't want to garden in those peachy things
and then lets not forget the mens shirts,
colin firth would look fabby in one of those and so would my man.
i don't have a little girl but i still would like a dress...

and so it continued and then i said
"enough Tif, this is madness... this is precisely why you took up your challenge!"
and dearest readers i was quite right,
it is the very reason why.
to see if indeed one can live without the temptations of the advertising world and the feeling of 'want', especially when it comes to such lovely wares as Liberty of London.

so armed with the knowledge that this past weekend was going to be all about temptation i kept myself busy...

i cleaned up my studio space, which was in dismal disarray due to shop work

i made a pretty curtain for my bookcase from pillowcases

i wrote the supply list for my workshop retreat

i finished up some coat hangers i had been working on,
i have done crocheted hangers before but when i found a cream and orange shell patterned one i knew i wished to try one for myself

i made a whatnot garland to hang in my shop window

and all those things kept me busy,
but at any time i could have walked out the shed,
got in my car
been tempted amongst the aisles of Target.

what stopped me was just as it always seems to be...
the handcrafted thrifty gods intervened
they noted me wavering,
they saw me looking online,
they heard me talking on the phone
and they made a plan.
for they were not willing to see me fall from the righteous path i have chosen for one year,
they saw a soul that was a little lost, a soul that needed saving.

so who should come knocking at the shed door late on saturday night?
well none other than Mr Lurgy.
a visitor i haven't seen in nearly a year,
a visitor i had been so pleased to have kept at bay,
but i knew the reason
i knew i must take what comes.
for Mr Lurgy has taken me down
thus giving me no energy to take a trip to Target
and despite his wicked and cruel ways
it would appear he has saved my soul from losing its way.

today as i tippity type with a hankie by my side
i feel good
i feel proud
i feel strong
(well actually i feel quite weak from Mr Lurgy, but you know what i mean)
that i did not cave
to the lovely, oh so beautiful,
lordy let me look at you closely, perhaps even touch you,
can i smell you?

she is thinking the second half of the year is going to be child's play compared to yesterday ~ Tif

Friday, March 12

dottie angel and her dearies....

i thought today would be the most perfect day to talk about my up and coming workshop.

("why is that Tif?" i hear you ask)
and that is indeed a very good question, why today of all days is it the day to talk of such things.
well firstly, because it is raining and dull outside,
secondly, because it's been a while since i dropped it into the conversation and quite honestly if i am going to fill my dottie angel dearie places i need to do some 'blabbing'
thirdly, what could possibly brighten up a day more than talking about crafting.
so if you are sitting comfortably, then i will get on with the nitty gritty...

the lovely Angela of ritchie ace camps contacted me a while ago, asking me if i would be interested in heading up a workshop.

i thought, oooh that's lovely, me just chit chatting for an hour, showing a little something and then going home to the safety of my shed.
the lovely Angela of ritchie ace camps then contacted me to say that wasn't exactly what she had in mind, what she was thinking was a two day workshop with three nights stay in a luxury old house in Seattle, with me teaching...

well right there and then you can imagine dearest readers i sat back in my eames swivelling desk chair and pondered,
then i paced,
then i started to get a little sick feeling
then i got a little excited feeling...
surely to be given an opportunity such as this was incredible.
to be asked to have my very own dottie angel workshop retreat was a show stopper in my books.

i then remembered how 2010 was my risk taking year and surely this would count as my biggest yet.
so i emailed the lovely Angela back and said "yes! i would love to", shaking as i pressed the send button.
and then the cogs began to turn, the wheels were set in motion,

i had the opportunity to share all that i love about recycled fabrics, lace, doilies and dottie angel with a group of lovelies... i can't think of anything i would rather do more.

it will be a small group, as i told Angela i wasn't sure i had the makings of someone who could stand in front of a huge crowd (by huge i mean more than 10) and talk,
so 10 was my magic cut off number.
i figured this out by looking at my family, i talk to 5 people everyday quite easily, it's not a big amount of people, rather cozy and nice.
i doubled my 5 that live with me and thought that sounds the perfect number...

i am actually tres thrilled at the idea of a dottie angel retreat, i believe it is going to be a wonderful weekend...
did i ever see myself as a teacher of sorts? no i did not,
do i think i have the makings of a teacher of sorts? i think i do
do i know what the weekend will involve? yes i do...

everyone will arrive at the beautiful Shuey House in Seattle on the friday afternoon of September 24th 2010,
we will settle into our accommodation and get to know each other around a lovely large dining table with food prepared by Angela,
which i am thinking is a huge relief for anyone taking part, including myself.
day one of the workshop, the Saturday, will see us starting work on our slips, customizing them dottie angel style

so we may look suitably lovely for our final meal at the end of the weekend.

in the afternoon we will begin work on customizing our thrift store stools,

now this could be a little tricky for those that are travelling from afar,
but not to worry, for i will be happy to provide an alternative, in the way of an apron wrap or sunshine sack project.

in the evening after a wonderful dinner, we will be sitting down to a film and some crocheting.
i will be sharing a simple 'how to' crocheted patchwork blanket, dottie angel style, if crocheting is not in your repertoire, do not fret, i will help you learn.

sunday morning is earmarked for making whatnot recycled garlands out of our scraps...

after lunch we will work on finishing up all our projects in time for a photo shoot 'dottie angel' style, so all dearies may have a reminder of their eclectic handcrafted weekend with moi and dottie angel.
in my mind i see a row of dearies, either upon their stools or standing with apron wrap and slips, garlands strewn all around and a picture taken by Carlos my trusty camera.

a record of the moment that i took a risk along with 10 other lovely dearies, and it was indeed a risk worth taking...
we will finish our day with dinner, dressed in all our fine attire and another evening of crocheting.

and if by chance you are reading this and thinking,

"oh this sounds just peachy, something i would love to do but i'm a little shy about coming on my own"
do not worry,
do not be a little shy
for i too would feel the same...
but you will be amongst friends,
already the lovely Jessie of SweetJessie is coming from afar
and wonderful Rita, who pops into my shop from time to time, she is coming on her own from Toronto!
some brave souls indeed...

and lastly if you do have an interest, but lots of questions are popping in your head then you are welcome to email me and i will do my besty best to answer them...
at the end of the day, my hopes for this workshop is to show how i make things,
how my process of working with my materials is...
i have a very 'hands on', where will it take me approach.
i love nothing more than to cut and patch with vintage fabrics.
i rarely read rules
i find, that in it's self quite freeing.
allowing me to just go with the flow and take all the unloved forgotten souls i come across and give them a new life...
be it fabric
little souls
each of them talk to me in their own way

i hope to pass this on, to show my enthusiasm for what i love most and inspire my dottie angel dearies to go back home to their nests and take what they have learnt and make it their own...

she is thanking you most very kindly once again for making her shop update a success and for always inviting her in for pea soup ~ Tif

Wednesday, March 10

me and my touting ways...

i feel a bit like a traveling sales person this week dearest readers,
every time i've knocked on your doors i've had wares to show
and today i fear, is no different

i am quite sure at this moment in time as i have 'rat-a-tat-tatted' your door knockers, you are now shouting
"harold, HAROLD! for crying out loud, i thought i told you to dim the lights and pull the blinds so she wouldn't know we were home. this is the third time she's been round this week, showing me her wares, talking about her little shop window full of recycled vintage goodness. and quite honestly harold, i've had enough..."

then again perhaps not,
perhaps i could be 'ding-donging' your little doorbells and you are now saying
"oh harold darling! how delightful... it's that lovely Tif at the door again, she's always so bright and cheery. i do like it when she stops by to show me her latest lovelies as she heads on over to her little shop to pop them in her little window for all to see. such a nice kind thoughtful thing to do..."

of course, i am touting my wares in a vintage suitcase
and of course i have dressed appropriately.
i have a catalogue within my hands, for your perusal
and best of all,
i love the days when i go to leave,
so you may get on with your pea soup and you say
"Tif, it's just a thought, but if you aren't in any hurry, why don't you step inside... after all it's a bit chilly outside, have a bowl of pea soup with me and lets 'look' some more"

yes dearest readers, those are my favorite days...

after her soup, she will be going home to sleep, so she may rise early to fill her window with recycled vintage lovelies, looking for their 'forever' homes ~ Tif