Bonitocrafts on Facebook

I am something of a heavy facebook user, however as I teach it is not appropriate for me to ‘friend’ my students on there. I have been thinking of setting up a ‘page’ for a while now and have finally taken the plunge and done it. You can find my page at www.facebook.com/Bonitocraftscreations to see more real time glimpses of what I have been up to in my crafty and creative adventures.

Come and have a look if you are a facebooker, like my page if you like what you see and I hope you enjoy looking at my crafty shares.

I shall be back this week sometime with my next catch up post. Am getting there, slowly.

Thanks for reading

Advertisements

Morris Dancing – Blog catch up 7

No. Not me. This body is not built for such things. However, my son, now 15, at 14 and a half decided that he wanted to join a local Morris side. Not exactly the most mainstream hobby for a modern teenager to take up, but then my boy is not your typical modern teenager.

Actually, to be honest, this story starts rather earlier. Back in August 2011 when William was 13, he was given a little single row melodeon by my Dad, that he had knocking around, with the now immortal words “See what you can do with that.” Well. What he could do was nothing short of genius, and not just in the biased eyes of a proud and doting mother. In minutes ‘the boy’ had picked out a recognisable tune. We were most impressed.

William had been dabbling musically for some time, mainly playing flutes from India, China or Japan and since the previous January he had also been playing the tabla (Indian tuned drums) which he had picked up incredibly quickly and showed a real talent for. I did say he was not your typical teenager didn’t I?

Anyway, I digress. Very soon the little melodeon was not enough and the boy started dreaming of a second row of buttons on his melodeon. So, for Christmas 2011 family and friends clubbed together and bought him a lovely Scarlatti 2 row melodeon. He has been playing almost continually ever since to the amazement of everyone that sees him perform.

Melodeon, Bouzouki and Mandolin

Melodeon, Bouzouki and Mandolin

During the first few months his musical skills went from strength to strength and he also taught himself to play the mandolin, bouzouki and the five string banjo. Playing alone is all well and good but William wanted the opportunity to play with other musicians. His main musical interest is in folk and traditional music styles and my boy decided that he would like to play for a Morris side. Now, if you are in the UK you probably now have an image in your head of men in cricket whites sporting bells and sticks and waving hankies in the air. Ah. Not so for this unconventional lad of mine. He wanted to join a local Border Morris side. I think of Border Morris as Morris dancing with attitude and in my humble opinion is way cooler than the Cotswold Morris that many people think of. Look here for more on Border Morris and the side that William has joined.

William approached Motley Morris in May at the Rochester Sweeps Festival asking if they had an opening for a new musician, The lovely group welcomed him with open arms and William starting joining them at their weekly dance outs throughout the summer. They loaned him a rag coat and we got him a top hat while Motley agreed what ‘colour’ he should be to maintain the ‘Motley’ ness of the side. Once they had settled on Lime Green it was time to get William his rag coat.

Funnily enough, brightly coloured rag coats are not readily available in the shops. Indeed this kind of garment is even too niche for the wonderful world wide web. So, what to do? If you read my blog and I know that someone out there does, you will by now know that I always try to rise to a creative challenge when one is put before me. So, after seeking some advice from the lovely Lisa of Motley I set to work. I purchased a large quantity (approx 10 metres) of polycotton sheeting and a large men’s shirt. Splitting open the side seams and sleeves I then cut wide strips of the fabric on the bias from the sheeting fabric. These strips were then machine stitched onto the shirt in overlapping rows until the shirt was covered. The collar was removed and covered as were shoulder panels to cover the raw ends of the sewn on strips. The side and sleeve seams were then re sewn.

base shirt

base shirt

split seams

split seams

Once covered in panels these were then cut into rag strips to finish off the tatters. I added press stud closures to the front where strips were sewn to cover the raw edges at the shirt front. His outfit is completed with a top hat bedecked in badges and pheasant feathers and a long scarf to match his rag coat. Black trousers, heavy boots and a neckerchief complete the kit. (He is currently borrowing knee bells) Once his face is blacked in the traditional style of disguise (face paint rather than soot these days) he cuts quite and imposing figure.

Full Kit

Full Kit

Motley in Action

Motley in Action

After the main summer season William started attending the weekly practice sessions and started learning to dance the dances leading up to his first dance out as dancer and musician on New Years day just days before his 15th birthday. I have posted some videos here, here and here if you want to have a look.

I really enjoyed this creative challenge and am most pleased with the finished coat. However I will be more than happy if I never have to make another one ever again.

My next challenge for him will be to make him his own set of knee bells. For this I shall need a couple of dog collars, large bells, plenty of ribbon to match his coat and leather to attach the bells to. AlthoughI am most proud of my creative achievements on this one. I am most proud of my talented son and his seemingly never ending abilities. Here’s an extra video of him playing a lovely Italian tune on his melodeon.

Me and my lad

Me and my lad

 

Look out for my next update for another folky make for our annual festival visit.

Brugge

This post should actually be before the previous one, but unfortunately I have got slightly out of kilter. Hubby and I both turned 40 in April and Tim asked me if I would like a weekend away in Brugge, just the two of us to celebrate the occasion. Well what a tough decision to make, would I like to spend a weekend just me and hubby surrounded by stunning buildings, lace, chocolate, waffles, chips and mussels? Well let me have a think about that.

It took all of a couple of seconds to say yes. I absolutely love Brugge, having been there once before with friends. We had a wonderful time in beautiful weather strolling through the streets looking at the sights, soaking in the atmosphere and being together. Blissful.

Here are some of my pictures from the weekend.

Aww

Night time at Belfort

Classic Brugge

I'd like this one

Chocolate shop

On the river

Sweet Lovely Nancy

On the 17th May, my lovely cousin Nancy caught up with me in the age stakes. Some of the happiest times of my childhood were spent with Nan. Running barefoot to the seaside at Felixstowe in the summer holidays. Roller skating at the roller rink, riding round the town as teenagers singing at the tops of our voices. Singing, laughing, dancing, playing and working at the Spa Pavilion in the summer of ’85.

There was a big gap sadly as we grew up, went our separate ways and all but lost touch, but with the advent of Facebook I get to speak to her regularly and see her more often. While I have spent the years crafting, Nancy has been singing her little heart out and is now quite rightly very well respected in the folk scene now.

Anyhow, I digress. On the 21st of May my boy William and I joined other family and friends to celebrate Nancy’s birthday, so of course a card must be made. Here I shall share not only the card I made for Nancy but the lovely one the boy made for her too. Nancy has a love of owls and as well as her solo work she sings with the fab band The Owl Service. There was only one theme for her birthday cards.

Here is mine.

Twit twoo

I made a girly pretty owl using the lovely fruit scoop range from Craftwork Cards. This is an easel card, which is a style I love as it’s a little bit different.

And here is William’s

Concertina Owl

Nancy is not only a fab singer but a fine musician too. I reckon she could play just about any instrument. She also plays the concertina and this is what William chose to capture in his card.

He drew this great cartoon and I mounted it simply on grey and black layering mats to give his card the finish it deserves. I love this card and think William has a real talent for cartooning. Nancy was thrilled and all her guests were shown William’s artwork.

Well Cuz. Here we both are. The other side of the hill. Here’s to us celebrating many more occasions together.

Happiness

This is the first of a number of catch up posts from the last few months. You’ll probably be bored rigid by the end of them if you stick with me that long. On the plus side I’m sure it will be a good cure for insomnia.

Going back to the beginning of April for this one and the time that I hit the big four zero. Did I go out and get drunk? No. Did I throw a huge party? No. What about go out and buy a mid life crisis car? No. What did I do? I bought a food mixer. I say I, in fact I paid for some of it but numerous people kindly chipped into it for my birthday present.

This is not just any food mixer though, I should think not, considering what it cost. This has been the object of my baking desires for a number of years now, it has been paraded before my eyes in it’s many colours on more cooking shows than I care to count, taunting me every time with it’s stylish retro looks and fabulous baking performance. This, my friends is none other than a Kichenaid food mixer. And I am so very happy it is finally mine.

The hardest decision was which colour to choose, they come in so very many gorgeous colour-ways. Common sense however, prevailed and I finally plumped for the classic Almond Cream variety. It fits in with my kitchen and the classic colour-way means that if our kitchen changes it will still fit in.

So how to celebrate and welcome my new arrival? Well I had to bake of course. I love my new toy and indeed spent the whole day on my birthday in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

Here she is then. My new baby and the first lot of cakes. I was such a happy birthday girl.

My Birthday Toy

Cupcakes

Mini visitors? Mini Baking.

We have friends coming to visit this afternoon with their sons Fergus and Ben aged 4 and 2. The arrival of these mini visitors I felt was a good excuse for some mini baking. I have been thinking of making some lemon meringue cupcakes in miniature so this was a good opportunity for it.

The mixture to make 12 lemon meringue cakes was enough for 48 miniature versions. I took some to a stitching day I went to yesterday leaving the rest at home for our expected guests.

This morning I thought I would add some choice for our guests so made up a 2 egg chocolate sponge mixture which made 36 mini  chocolate cupcakes. A little piped ready made chocolate frosting and some hundreds and thousands (or sugar strands as they insist on calling them these days) and we have a rather large amount of cake to work through with our guests later on.

Here are some pics for you to drool over.

Mini Chocolate cupcakes

Mini Chocolate cupcakes

Mini Lemon meringue cupcakes

Mini Lemon meringue cupcakes

Review of 2010

2010 in a nutshell.

I thought I would use today to have a look back over the last year and think about what I have in store for this one. I thought the best way to go about this would be to have a look back at the last 12 months worth of photos, to see what I recorded throughout the year. I have covered quite a lot but I have noticed some gaps. Since Tim took up Photography, when we go out and about I have found myself leaving the picture-taking to him and looking at his pictures afterwards. His pictures have been fab and you can have a look here. I think in 2011 I shall make sure I take my own pictures whenever we go out and about so I have my own record of events to look back on.

I did still take quite a few and have put some of them together to show a few of the events and achievements over the last year. To see these pictures in more detail have a look here. I was quite pleased with some of my shots from our visits to Rye and to the Borough Markets.

The big event for the year was my Mother and Father in law’s Golden Wedding Anniversary. So my first picture had to be the family pic that Tim took of us all this time last year. In May we had a family holiday all together, taking Pam and Ron to the Isle of Wight for the week where they had their honeymoon 50 years before. We had a lovely week with the weather being mostly kind. Tim, William and myself even managed a day’s bike ride which was lovely and where Tim met his furry friend who just came and joined us as we were resting on the grass. A couple of weeks later we gathered with other family and friends to celebrate with them at home. I made the cake for them which you can see in the pictures and was not unhappy with my icing attempts.

I had a lovely weekend away with the girls in April to Eastbourne and Tim, myself and William had a couple of camping trips too which were lovely and restful. We had a camp fire on one trip and we all enjoyed relaxing in the countryside and I worked on my blanket that I have blogged over the course of the summer. William and I also had our annual trip to the Cambridge Folk Festival with Grandpa.

I have managed some making and baking this year as you can see. My lovely ripply blanket of course was my largest achievement sizewise but my lace has given me my proudest moment. I finished the piece in March and many of my lacemaking friends persuaded me (firmly) to enter it into the Triennial Lace Guild Exhibition. I bowed to the pressure and sent it off. I was thrilled and surprised in June to receive a letter from the guild saying I had been awarded a Medal for Excellence for my work. I also finished a couple of other pieces of lace and a crocheted bag using some of the yarn I had left after making my blanket.

We have also managed some TLC for the house this year. In January we treated ourselves to new lounge furniture so gave the room a clear out, scrub up and a new coat of paint. Then in the summer while William was away at Scout camp I spent the week giving our bedroom a spruce up stripping it down to the bare walls and making a restful sanctuary for us to enjoy. This was long overdue as we last decorated this room when we bought the house 15 years ago.

This year was also the year when my little boy definitely became not so little by growing taller than me. It was always on the cards but I had hope it wouldn’t be quite so early as him turning 12 when it happened. He takes great delight in looking down on his poor old ma. (Bless him).

Late September saw the opportunity to visit Stonehenge with my mother’s coven. Tim can honestly say that his Mother in law is a witch. It was a wonderful experience to be able to go right into the stone circle and enjoy the stones with a small group of people. The coven performed their annual Mabon ritual ( Autumn Equinox) and it was a fascinating experience and lovely to be a part of. Hopefully they will let us come again.

At the beginning of December winter hit with a vengeance and landed us with the heaviest snowfall I have seen in 24 years. As we were going nowhere I used the opportunity to finish a piece of lace that I started on a weekend course in Idrija lace that I attended in Folkestone in November.

This year I have also started on my second teaching course to complete my qualifications for teaching Adults.

We have a lot to celebrate in 2011 William becomes a teenager on the 3rd of January then toward the end of January it will be 20 years since Tim and I first met. Then in April, Tim and myself will both turn 40. I hope to successfully complete the first year of my teaching Diploma and with any luck manage to still get some crafting time in to share on my humble blog.

I hope that you have enjoyed my offerings for this year and I wish you a very Happy New Year for 2011.

Previous Older Entries