I made a smocked evening bag back in January, wrote up an Instructables tutorial (Smocked Evening Bag / Purse) and entered it in a couple of competitions. It was a runner-up in one of them, for items that had been sewn by hand, and I found out this week that I’d won a second prize in the other, a bag contest. Which means that a second stainless steel mug will soon be winging its way to me from the Instructables HQ in California. Perfect! Now we’ll have a pair of unbreakable, double-walled mugs to take on cycle trips and for cups of tea consumed in the garden while doing something that’s liable to break pottery. (Like amateur lumberjacking – see below.) My prize also consists of a lightweight bag that will be ideal for packing enough clothes for one night away, and a small rechargeable Bluetooth speaker.
Incidentally, I’d never done Canadian (aka lattice) smocking before making this bag, other than a try-out on a small sample of cotton before I set to work on the purple satin. The whole thing was made from start to finish in a week of evenings with an hour or two at the weekend to make up the bag. If I can do it, anyone can – or at least, anyone who knows one end of a needle from the other.
Gardening – with added jewellery
Inbetween the gales this week, the weather has become milder, almost Spring-like. Garden birds are singing, wood pigeons have been heard cooing and it has been warm enough (10°C/50°F) some days to get on with jobs in the garden. We’ve had a borrowed chain saw in the garage since November, waiting for suitably clement weather, and this week we used it to start pruning (some might say butchering) an ash tree that is too tall for comfort, given its proximity to the house. Two of the three portions of its trunk have now been reduced to a manageable height and we’re considering how to deal with the last one, which is leaning towards the house. It’ll be difficult to get it to fall in the right place, especially as it’s near a boundary fence, the garage and a stone wall too. I hate to admit defeat, but this may yet be a job for a tree surgeon. In the meantime all the wood from the first two trunks needs sawing into logs and stacking, a lot of hard work. I’m going to save some of the timber to see if it’s good enough to be usable once it has seasoned, rather than putting it in the firewood pile, because I’ve always liked the grain of ash.
Maybe it’s something to do with the weather, but I had an urge to make a little bracelet. It has a garden theme, with green beads and charms that include a spade, a butterfly and a flower. I’ll enjoy wearing it when Spring comes for real.