FNWL: North Rode Rally

Up until about Easter this year, I hadn’t driven in about six and a half years. Then, some time in the last year, I volunteered (was volunteered) to be a co-pilot on a 48-hour, 1500-mile drive around England in May. In my nearly half-century Triumph Herald.

So I had to relearn to drive. Which didn’t happen until about Easter, and the first car I drove happened to be the Herald. Around an empty Tesco carpark for half an hour. A month before the Drive.

And then I did the Drive, with a 2-hour stint in the early hours of the morning along an empty motorway (such a lovely time to be driving!), and I discovered another reason to add to the original for why I wanted a Triumph sports-car in the first place. The original reason was because they’re so pretty, particularly the Spitfires, Heralds and Vitesses. Now though, I’ve discovered I prefer driving the Herald to modern cars. The only thing I have to remember is the lack of synchromesh between first and second gear, which means you can only put it into first when at a complete standstill. Otherwise they grind horribly and Dad gets cross…

Anyway, having rediscovered my love for such pretty cars, I’ve been lusting after photos of them on eBay and wishing I had the money. Or at least the time and space for another restoration, although not such a complete strip-down and rebuild. Learnt my lesson from last time. Don’t mind stripping down for a respray, mostly because chances are I’ll want to change the colour anyway. But this is all by the by.

 

Mark is less keen on the beautiful Triumphs; he’s much more interested in American muscle-cars, which have their place, but I do have concerns with their ability to cope with windy English roads. Mind you, there was a quite fabulous Vauxhall Cresta at the rally, which probably has much the same problems.

But I still persuaded him that the North Rode Rally, advertising itself on Congleton high street with a Standard Vanguard, would be worth a trip. There would be military vehicles, which he rather likes, as well. Fortunately, he indulges me and my dreams of a Triumph of my own, and we duly set off.

Although it was quite a small rally, being just the one large field, it was an enjoyable few hours, wandering around and admiring some really beautiful cars. And not just the Triumphs (see above for the blue Vitesse and white Triumph TR2). Mark was stopped short by a Ford Mustang – the yellow and black above. And then by several of the military vehicles. And we were both amused by what appeared to be a Tractor Beauty Pageant, although only from a distance, so we’re not sure quite what was going on in the ring.

And there’s another rally in mid-September, so I’ve already marked it in my diary…

 

The Life of a Crafter

My plan for today’s post is uncertain. It says “Easter card?”.

When I was planning this revamp, and deciding what to write about and when, I decided that I have four general topics – cross-stitch, crochet, chocolate, and Life – and that each week two posts would be written. Nice theory, not sure about the execution, especially given my current, busy life. That, and, especially with the crafts, there are only so many posts which can be “Look! Look what I did – aren’t I amazeballs? Clever me to make this!”

Thus – the Life of the Crafter. This crafter, specifically, but no doubt there will be some universals which apply to all crafters.

My crafting life has been sporadic. I stitched as a child – I like hand-sewing items, more so than machine-sewing – but in fits and starts.

Pooh's Thinking Cushion

I started cross stitching in earnest about four years ago, with a Mouseloft hedgehog, and then a Winnie the Pooh and Piglet cushion cover. And that was that. I was caught.

I’ve extended my crafting repertoire to crochet since then, though my sewing machine remains sadly neglected. I have plans to change that, eventually – I received a quilting kit for my last birthday, primarily to help with cutting straight edges for cushions, but at some point I will also learn to quilt.

Changes Under Foot

A couple of weeks ago, I talked of dreams – of making those which I dreamed a bit more real. I’ve spent the last few weeks working on the plans which will do that. I’m hoping I’ve got them down.

In between whiles, I’ve also been having fun juggling full-time work with the beginnings of freelancing. I’ve been busy…I’ve also decided that I quite like working from home. Even the last few Saturdays, when I’ve been sat in front of my laptop, working. It’s been nice; I’ve felt efficient; I’ve even – dare I say it – enjoyed the work I was doing (which wasn’t, it must be admitted, particularly glamorous or exciting work). But I’ve liked being sat at my laptop, desk covered in stuff, just getting on with it. It’s been quiet and peaceful. And made me more than ever determined to become a home-worker. Especially when compared to the full-time office job…

But my plans! The changes under foot are not precisely changes; at least, not drastic ones. Simply that I will be spending this Camp NaNo working on being a more regular writer here in my Cocoary and over in my Library, and that there will be more structure to my weekly posts. My plan in the Cocoary is to write two posts a week, with each week having a different ‘theme’: Cross-Stitch, Chocolate, Crochet, and the Crafter’s Life (or just Life…). That should fill the average month. I might even manage to get at least some of them written and scheduled in advance.

Splitting Threads

One of the problems I have with my cross stitch kits is that the different threads tend to get all jumbled up.

This is especially true of the smaller kits which don’t also come with those nice thread separators – you know, the bits of card with holes punched in.

However, I have recently discovered, quite by accident, a reasonable alternative for this mini kits: my crochet bag, which usually lives, wool spilling out, on the sofa where I stitch.

ProjectBag0.jpg

Then, as I finish needing each colour, they go back into the paper envelope of the kit. Nice and safe for next time.

How do you keep your threads untangled?

A Change or a Rest?

A change is as good as a rest, they say. I’m not sure who the ‘they’ are, but after four years of this blog, and two in this incarnation, I am considering some changes.

Be not alarmed, I shall continue to blog, but my move Northwards and the trauma of having to find work have inspired me to try new things and dream new dreams. Well, re-dream old dreams, dreams which have fallen by the wayside of late, dreams which my brain thinks are done because they were written down…

I’m not wholly certain what all the changes will be, but please bear with me as I try to work them out. Feedback always welcome.

 

~ Ce

“You Made That? Gosh, How Clever!”

There is something terribly clever about crafting. I know this to be true because of the number of comments over the years which go along the lines of “You made this? Gosh, you are clever!” when told that whatever is being admired was handmade.

Certainly there is a skill with most handicrafts, I’m not for one instant suggesting that there isn’t, but when the sewing on of a button is met with the same sort of admiration, it does make one wonder…

To be honest, I think the cleverest thing about crafting is in the creation and establishment of a craft-based business, especially when it comes to dealing with the taxman! The other clever thing is in not letting the fact that now your hobby, which you enjoy, is your life and you will probably occasionally hate it, stop you from continuing.

DSCN1923

Sometimes I wonder about setting up a chocolate shop. I like chocolate; people say I make pretty good truffles, which I enjoy making. But I’m not sure if I’d want to spend all my time making them. Mind you, a thought occurs to me: Roly’s Fudge, which I realise probably means little to those of you who haven’t been to Taunton or Barnstaple.

Roly’s make fudge in the shop and they change their menu daily, I presume on the basis either of ingredients available or mood of the makers.

Although the idea I had recently for my ideal chocolate shop is a moving one on a canal boat. Not wholly my idea, there’s a floating chocolate shop which turns up in Stockholm at Easter-time. But again, would I want to spend all my time making chocolates?

DSCN2048

What’s the cleverest thing about crafting for you?

Monster Projects

The wonderful thing about Edward’s Imaginarium is the vast number of potential projects. Of course, the fact that the most difficult stitch is a double doesn’t hurt.

Currently I have two different monsters on the go. One’s being done in a multi coloured 4 ply sock wool, which actually is at least partly wool, and the other is a much larger acrylic yarn.

ProjectBag.jpg

It’s taken me a while to get used to such tiny stitching with the 4 ply wool and 2mm hook. I’m still not sure how much I like it. Normally not much. I prefer the chunkier yarn, especially when I’m counting to 54 for the round…Easier on the eyes as well.