Made from scrap

Made from scrap
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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Happy To Be In A Spin

Not only did last week zoom past in a blur, I can not believe it was two years ago since we had our Alpaca Adventure.  My concept of time is all over the place.  Does it happen like this for anyone else or is it just me?  It has been far too long since I have had some quality time with my spinning wheel, literally months.  Yesterday I had a rare couple of hours to myself and I ignored the housework piling up around me (crafters are good at turning a blind eye to the trivial stuff in favour of expressing our creative genius)!  I do not think it is a good idea to store my spinning wheel next to Bob the Budgie for long periods of time, I had to blow lots of little blue feathers away.
When we win the Lottery Euan and I would like to become farmers...we would specialise in Free Range Poultry (eggs only of course).  We would also like alpaca, pygmy goats and pigs.  Any other cute critters would be a bonus.   There is just one problem with this plan, I never buy Lottery tickets! 
  I bought a gorgeous black alpaca fleece from the farm on the day of our visit and it has sat patiently waiting for my time and attention.  I already had a white fleece.  Then somebody gave me several sacks of alpaca fleece in beautiful shades of copper and brown.  The shed is bulging at the seams with fleece as I also have several sheep varieties!  It's ok, it really is, I do not have a stash hoarding problem!  Do I?  Short of finding Rumpelstiltskin it aint gonna spin itself.  I do not believe in saving the best until last.  Life is too short.  So yesterday I chose to start spinning with the best fleece I have.  The fleece belonged to a handsome male alpaca called Ace.  Ace is sadly no more and I see it as a fine tribute to him if I can turn his fleece into something beautiful.  I have a preference for using locally sourced fleece where possible.
 This is 'raw' fleece, unwashed.  You can see it has a good crimp.  We spinners admire such things as 'crimp'. I really am no expert but I know this fleece is a beauty and I have spun some beasts!  My very first fleece was a Hebridean that looked like it came of a sasquatch and I knitted Bullet Proof Socks.  You can wash and card your alpaca fleece if you prefer but I am spinning it in the raw, unwashed state.  Individual spinners each have their own preference, there is no right or wrong way to do it it my humble opinion.  Alpaca fleece has no lanolin like wool, it has no grease and no smell, alpaca are much cleaner than sheep.  Alpaca do not get mucky but they do like a dust bath and there is a very small amount of grass seeds and vegetable matter in the fleece but I just take it out as I spin.  It feels very natural and organic to spin this way.
 Slowly but surely this bobbin will fill up.  Then I will fill another bobbin and ply the two together.  I have Navaho plied alpaca before for peg loom weaving and I had a very chunky yarn.  Some of you may remember my 'Trouble with Tribbles'.   Navajo plying creates a 3 ply yarn.  I am aiming for something finer and will two ply this.  This is a long slow process and this fleece will keep me busy for months.  I have delusions of grandeur that I will be wearing a beautiful, hand knit or crochet, alpaca cardigan.  I may be waiting a few years.  It is a good job I am in no rush.
          Alpaca fleece has some amazing qualities over wool I blogged about it Here last year and there is a photograph too of my fleece mountain!   Come the 'Alpacalips' this fleece mountain of mine will be a real asset.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Who stole my week?

I can not believe how the weeks and months are rolling on by!  It is ok though because I am just hanging on for the ride and life is good.  My crafting Mojo is yet to return.  It has not left me altogether, my head is full of 'crafty' stuff.  Not a day goes by without daydreams that contain brightly coloured yarn!  I may have to timetable crafty stuff into my day because it really does make me feel happy to make and do.  I have a crochet project to finish, a knitting project to finish, mountains of fleece to spin and in my decluttering exploits I unearthed some really cute vintage fabric I have had for 20+ years.  It was vintage when I got now it must be approaching antique!   Life is about doing more of what makes you happy and less of the stuff that makes you unhappy, right?  I will have to stop thinking and start doing. I am going to get stuck in to spinning some gorgeous black Alpaca fleece.  I have been been feeling the love for my spinning wheels again and they look lonely and neglected.
      I also need to find more time to read especially as my Blog Buddy  Joan has sent me 'The Secret Scripture'.  Joan volunteers as a 'book giver' for World Book Night.  Isn't that a great idea?  You go along and pick up your books and then it is your job to 'gift' them out to people.  I have told you before about The Fifty Book Challenge.   I think I have read a grand total of three so far!  I have already asked if I can cheat and include 'Mr Men' books and Ladybird books.  I can manage books with more pictures than writing at the moment.  The rate I am reading I will be 50 before I complete the 50 book challenge.   Joan has sent a copy of this book to those of use taking part in the challenge and we are going to do a 'read along'. Timed perfectly for the Bank Holiday Weekend.  I have visions of me getting so far behind in this read along!  Reading the blurb it sounds like this book will be 'my cup of tea' (especially if the sun is shining and I can get some peace in the garden);

"Nearing her one-hundredth birthday, Roseanne McNulty faces an uncertain future, as the Roscommon Regional Mental hospital where she's spent the best part of her adult life prepares for closure. Over the weeks leading up to this upheaval, she talks often with her psychiatrist Dr Grene, and their relationship intensifies and complicates. Told through their respective journals, the story that emerges is at once shocking and deeply beautiful. Refracted through the haze of memory and retelling, Roseanne's story becomes an alternative, secret history of Ireland's changing character and the story of a life blighted by terrible mistreatment and ignorance, and yet marked still by love and passion and hope."

In my 'former' life I used to work with adults with 'Learning disabilities and Challenging behaviour'.  They had spent their adult life in institutions.  Many large 'hospitals' were closed and the clients were moved into 'care in the community homes'.  Much smaller and more homely homes.  This was a really positive and progressive change.  Some of the 'carers'/nurses moved with the clients and would talk about how things worked in the larger institutions.  The move to smaller 'homes' greatly improved the quality of life for many individuals.  In the larger 'hospitals' patients slept on wards, often clothes, linen etc were communal.  ( I would not like 'communal clothes' I like me own thanks).  In smaller homes each client had their own room and their own possessions.  Each client had an individual care plan that catered to their individual needs and preferences.  Staff saw dramatic changes in the clients as previously medication was used over zealously as a regular/daily form of low maintenance 'behaviour management'.   It kept individuals passively subdued.  I worked with some clients that were in their sixties or seventies.  I was told a story about one of the ladies that I could not verify...but she was supposedly institutionalised for getting pregnant out of wedlock she spent the rest of her life 'in the system'.
         There was a move away from the terms nurse and carer, the term enabler came into use.  That subtle shift in language created a subtle shift in thinking.  To enable somebody to achieve things that they could not achieve on their own is so much more empowering than simply 'taking care of them' and doing everything for them.  (I had no idea I was going to waffle this much again)!
          I think I will enjoy this book, it is already making me appreciate the progress society has made within the field of social care.  I know there is always more progress to be made.  It makes me think of this quote by Gandhi;

"A nations greatness is judged by how it treats it's weakest members".  


Saturday, 20 April 2013


Today I have had a busy one.  I have decided to write it like this. . . 

It must have been the warmest day of the year so far
Blue sky and sunshine
Day 2 of Juice Fast
Youngest has a day with his Dad
I give the oldest a lift to work
Drop 3 black bags to the charity shop
(Come on...where does all this crappitty crap keep coming from)?!
Found three fantastic juice books, one fabulous crochet doily,
One quirky colourful, ethnic embroidery 
and a new version of Checkers. . . with a twist.
Great work from 'The Angels of Thrift'.
Went to the farm shop and Display garden/garden shop
Bought tomato plants and a pot of peppermint
some nasturtiums 
went into large farmshop
Not a great idea on a 'Juice Fast'
Behaved like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory
Olives, crackers, fruit, vegetables, cheese, salad, yogurt, dates
I had forgotten how good the farm shop is
Came home unpacked all of the goodies
Put wellies on and made the dogs day by telling her it was 'Walkies'!
Went for a long walk in the sunshine with dog.
Spring has sprung.
Listened to birdies, admired the new shoots and soaked up the sunshine.
Tried to train the dog to 'stay'...hilarious!  
Came home, ate cake...yeah on a juice fast...I forgot to tell you about the Farm Shop cake
soooo good after a long dog walk.  Gooey Chocolate Tiffin!
Repent...get the lawnmower out
Mow the long grass
Notice more new shoots
notice Celandines in a clump on the lawn
Cheery blooms of sunshinieness
Admire newly mowed lawn
Youngest returns
Visit my parents
Leave youngest with Grandad, Me and Mom visit my Aunt in hospital
(My Aunt is not well at all at the moment but she is on the mend)
Come home then go and fetch the oldest from work
come home again. . . envy the dog snoring soundly, sprawled on the sofa!
Play checkers. Lose!  To an 8yr old and yes I was trying my hardest!
Feed the Bob the Budgie some nice new seed and change his water giving him Malvern Spring Water!
No wonder he chirps so much!
He also had some 'Lambs Lettuce' from the farm shop...he really liked that!
Watered the plants in the greenhouse with my 8yr old Garden Manager.
Watered the seeds we have sowed in the garden.
Come in find matchsticks to prop eyes open.

I do like a busy day like this.  I am sure I would have time to fit 'chicken buddies' in there somewhere. . . 
Hope you are having a good weekend. :) xxx

Thursday, 18 April 2013

This gave me a chuckle so I had to share...

This feels like a quick, cheating sort of post.  Sometimes I discover things and I just have to share.  This gave me a good chuckle this morning.  I hope it makes you chuckle too.

'Fireflies and Tuna Cans' Blog - Flat Stanley Visits Aunt Amy

Stan and the canon!  Stan and the goat, I can imagine Auntie Amy getting a panic on at this point!!  Stan in the window seat looking as proud as punch and then Stan in his artists costume.   I want 'Flat Stanley' to come and visit our house.  Stan is definitely the man.  I like the concept of travelling Teddies too and garden gnomes that travel the globe.  You can read Here: About Garden Gnome Liberationists .
    Thank you.  That is all!  :)
Lucy XXX

Monday, 15 April 2013

Hello Strangers

It has been a long time since I have blogged.  Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana or something like that anyway.  I don't really have much to say at the moment but I could just waffle on for a while and see where it gets us.
       The sky is blue, the sun is trying to put in an appearance and I can hear the blackbird "Making a noise that is too big for itself".  That quote is from an Audio book Euan has enjoyed this week. 'Stig Of The Dump' by Clive King.  It was one of my favourites when I was about Euan's age.  Stig Of the Dump was ahead of his time and a master in recycling and upcycling, in spite of the fact he is a caveman lost in time.  I told you I would waffle. . .but there really is a blackbird singing his heart out.  This morning I saw a sparrow looking very pleased with himself.  He had a beak full of . . .chicken feathers.  There will be some cosy nests around these parts!
       On the matter of chickens. . .I have been very very tempted to get more.  'No' it is not practical but 'oh' they are funny.  On the school run today Euan asked me 'When can we get more feathers'?  he made a Freudian slip there. He meant 'chickens'.  Of course we would not get so attached to our next 'flock' of 'egg producers' we are now hardened to the world of 'Poultry Farming'.  We know animal = food.  We would not endear to their over enthusiasm and little bright beady eyes, we would not become mutual friends, we would not talk to them in silly voices like they are babies and hold clucky conversations, we certainly would not give them pretty names, we would not get to know each of them for their own personality quirks, we would not refer to them as if they were family...our sisters, our babies. . ., we would not sit hugging a chicken in the garden or let them climb on our shoulder and they certainly won't get first pick of the fruits and vegetables in the garden.  It would be straight down the line Chickens = eggs.  Anyway for now 'No more chickens'!  Twould be madness.
         I have undertaken another 'new' fad during the last two weeks.  I have a 'Juicing Machine' and I know how to use it!  Every day for a fortnight I have been glugging my way through 'raw juice'.  I have read all about the benefits of consuming raw vegetable and fruit juice and for now I am hooked and feeling some benefits.  My 'breakfast' will typically consist of 4 sticks of celery, three handfuls of spinach, 1/4 of a cucumber, a carrot, 2 Apples and a slice of lemon.  That lemon is a god send.  I have just had a Pear and Parsnip Juice.  It sounds wrong but tastes right.  The kids will drink the 'fruity' juices and I will try and sneak a vegetable in there but they are not sold on juice just yet.  I have had some disasters and learned early on that Broccoli juice is gross!  Generally the greener the juice the healthier it is for you, of course though such is life, the greener the juice the nastier it is to consume!  'Crapple Juice' is tasty, Carrot, apple and lemon.  Cantaloupe and Carrot is also delicious.  This link will explain five health benefits of Cantaloupe.  You can google this information for all sorts of herbs and fruit and vegetables.  Celery is very healthy and neat celery juice is not bad.
         I feel like I have waffled quite enough now.  I could waffle a bit more though.  I think if you have read this far you have done very well and I should give you a break.
         I hope life is treating you well.  XXX  Lucy