Sparkly, shiny, pretty things! 19th & 29th August, 2019.

Hello everyone, at last we have some weather which vaguely resembles summer in the UK! We have just had over 2 weeks in the Yorkshire Dales, and I am sure you saw on the news about Leyburn! Interestingly, that was where we were planning our first week in our little caravan, but I had a “feeling” that we shouldn’t go there, but spend the full fortnight in Grassington, and if you saw the floods on the news, you will understand how relieved we were to be in a flood free area, despite being drenched!
My thoughts go out to the Wensleydale Longwool Shop in Leyburn, as they were flooded. Kath, the owner had her home flooded too and her garden was ruined. I am sure you were joining me in wishing them all the best, hoping that they will be able to achieve some sense of normality in the near future. Wensleydale Longwool are still doing business online, and I am sure you will enjoy seeing their scrumptious stand at wool shows. Their wool is so luscious and the colourways make life difficult as you have to make a choice, and they are all so beautiful.
Talking about wool shows, we are getting excited as Bakewell Wool Gathering is drawing near, and there is a lot of preparation and making to do! August and September are very busy for us at the Sigley household, we have the following to attend before the show:-
30th birthday party (already happened, and thoroughly enjoyed it)
“Surprise” 80th birthday party (at our home)
Hospital appointment (takes up half a day)
Son’s birthday
Grand-daughter Edie starts school, and Grandson Miles goes up a class into reception.
Brother in law’s birthday
New Grandson to be born, involves popping over to Lincoln for as long as I am needed.
Lots of birthdays in September, hubby, friends.
All this is along with my regular activity of collecting my sister and spending time doing crafts, and then having a meal before taking her back to her residential home in the evening. Collecting Miles from school on Thursdays and Fridays, spending time with parents regularly, meeting up with my lovely sister in law for catch-up and lunch, meeting knitting mates twice a month, having lunch with my partner in crime Debbie, who does two of the shows with me, doing sewing with my best and life-saving mate Sue, and supporting Mike with his running events.
You can imagine how precious time with these lovely people is, and so when I have a moment, I think about the business.
Today when I collect Julie, we are doing stitch markers.

I have already made them, but Julie loves to help with repetitive activities, and she loves to print “The Knitting Companion” address and contact details on the back of the little cards that have been already guillotined by me. She loves to help and does a great job, she is so careful and makes sure that the print is central, and then asks me after every single one, “Is that alright Jan?”. She did about 200 for me before WOOL@J13, and everyone had to be commented on, bless her. She was great at quality control though, and if any didn’t print properly, she discarded it.
Well today we have a huge job, sorting out all the stitchmarkers and progress markers into categories, and then putting them on cards. Some of these will be entered on the Etsy shop, but I always like to keep a few surprises for the shows. Julie has to print the back of the cards that they are mounted on, then add a “hanger” so that it can be displayed easily at the show. She will help with organising the different stitchmarkers into sets so that we know how many we have of each. I always have a lot of single progress markers on a card, and pop one in with each Etsy order –(but don’t tell anyone, and then it’s a surprise)!!!

I learned jewellery making when I was working as a Mental Health Nurse, I hosted a wellbeing group, and invited a lady in to teach us! It was fabulous, some of the staff sneaked in and put in orders for earrings, and others had a little go. The patients had different levels of ability and dexterity and the beauty of doing jewellery making with beads, is that it can be as simple or complex as you want! I enjoyed the experience so much that I booked on a half day jewellery making course, learning even more skills. I love the aesthetic experience of choosing from the many beautiful beads, and particularly liked the semi-precious stones. At that time I was very much into crystal healing and still believe in the properties of crystals in promoting your wellbeing. I was a practicing complementary therapist as part of my role, and often used crystals along with auricular acupuncture, aromatherapy, reflexology and Reiki. I still use certain crystals to help with my health, and have jewellery of rose quartz, lapis lazuli, tigers eye, amethyst, as well as the more conventional things. I also love beads, and have lots of earrings and necklaces made by Hannah Baker, you can check her out in her Etsy shop. She is a silver smith and makes very delicate and beautiful rings, earrings and takes commissions too.
On visiting a wool show I saw the range of stitch markers and they were inspirational! There are some very clever crafty people out there! I decided to have a go, and at first bought some silver charms but was not always pleased with the results. I would never sell something that I would not be happy to receive and use myself. I bought some lovely charms off that famous online auction site, and when I saw that she was based in the Stoke on Trent area, asked if I could collect to save postage. Well this lady is now a friend, and I love visiting her to choose my charms. I can examine them before I buy them, and if I am looking for something in particular, she will source it for me! Sandie will show me what is new in stock and then it sparks off another idea for construction, or incorporation into a gift card, and that is really useful. This lady is private and only sells online through ebay. You can check her out on ebay:- Sandiesshop. She has a high standard for her goods, and so will only ever sell top quality items. I am due another visit soon and am looking for particular items for future projects!
Julie loves the tiny silver and gold charms, looking at the detail and how they sparkle.

On another occasion we will make some Christmas Cards together. We were just having fun last year, and I thought that I’d take a few with me to Kendal Wool Gathering, and they sold like hot cakes! Needless to say, we will be making a few more and putting them in my Etsy shop too. I have already started selling Christmas cards and posted a pack of four to the States last week. You will have to have a peep at them to see what the appeal is. I just love this one, the polar bears are so cute, The silver ribbon has a penguin stitch marker or progress marker on the end of it. You can’t tell by the photograph, but the gem snowflakes are iridescent and so sparkle with different colours. The inside has a simple “Merry Christmas” stamp, and the envelope has a snowflake stamped in the corner. These cards are £3.99 in my Etsy shop, and this includes a silver stitch marker!

They are unique, because they are embellished with stitch markers so the recipient also has a useful gift which they can use in their craft as well as a Christmas card. We will be doing the cards next week, and there will be some that are not a specific Christian Festive message, so that non-Christians can send a greeting card with added progress or stitch markers too.
I have lots of ideas on different styles and can’t wait to look at them.
In the meantime I have to plan for today though! I will complete the other half of this blog after we have played with my stitch markers.

See you later!
Well it is now the 29th August, and my activity has gone up a notch in preparation for the shows in October. Julie and I have been busy again, making cards together. Julie takes hers back to “the cottage” and I carry on making them all week! She also takes some materials back to make them with the staff. I have popped a few in my Etsy shop, but am also keeping some other designs for Bakewell Wool Gathering.

This is one of a range of “Fairy” themed cards. There is lace down the right hand side, and paper flowers and foliage, enhanced with gemstones in the bottom right corner. There fairy is holding a flower, and her dress is enhanced with tiny iridescent gemstones. The card has a cheery verse which means it can be used for most occasions, and a fairy is stamped on the corner of the envelope.

It is now Thursday 29th August, and this lunchtime I am going to Mike’s workplace to print the contents of “My Knitting Diary”. I take the paper, and Ecam Engineering very kindly allow me to use their printer, as it does double sided, and is very fast! Thank you, Phil Arme, MD for this tremendous help! Thank you to Sharon Lowe, PA, for enabling me to do this at a convenient time!
Julie and I had a very productive session and we shouted hurray when she had printed the last card! She loves doing them and even asked if there were any more that needed doing after doing a couple of hundred! Bless her. I gave her £2.00 to put in her purse – she has no concept of money, and this is managed by the staff at Ivy Cottage, but she likes silver coins.
We are working our way through the family events that I listed previously, Polly and Andre’s wedding was spectacular. She looked amazing, our granddaughter Edie was stunning as a flower girl, and our heavily pregnant daughter-in-law, was beautiful with her little sister Rosie as bridesmaids. A very emotional, beautiful wedding, and we met some smashing people, and I am certain, have made some genuine friends.
We had Dad’s party in our garden, and he loved it. The weather was glorious, we had bought a gazebo (thank goodness), and we all sought the shade in the hottest part of the day. Dad claimed that he was so relaxed and loved spending quality time with the family. He especially enjoyed watching my son’s, Paul and Craig, having a laugh together, and of course his great-grandchildren. My middle sister, Helen, was fabulous, she was such a great help, coming early to help to prepare, and generally being lovely all day, sorting out drinks, cups of tea, etc., and afterwards took Julie back to the cottage. Since my brain haemorrhage in February, when anyone offers to help in any way, I accept it! Something new for me, before I used to feel that I had to do everything, I think I wanted to be in control. I have since found that it is lovely to share the responsibility and chores in these things and in doing this, brings us even closer!
In the meantime, my house is now like a bomb site. Yesterday was a bit cooler so I did all the ironing in two sessions. Hurray! I have packed a little case with essentials, just in case I get a call, saying Zoe’s baby is on the way a bit earlier…

We made some lovely Christmas cards…I love this one, the background is dark grey with snowflakes, each one has a tiny pale pink gemstone in the centre, the stich markers comprise of silver lobster clasps, with a pale pink pearl, and two clear faceted glass beads. There are gems on the pink ribbon to add that bit of sparkle. There will be a few like this in the show!

I have card making goodies all over the dining table, stitch marker supplies in the lounge and conservatory. Boxes of Knitting Companions, Crochet Companions, notion kits, Travel Companions, Project bags and p&p stuff in the spare room, and all the admin stuff in the study here. Once the shows are over, there will be less stock, and it can all be neatly put away. Where I wonder???

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