Thursday, 27 January 2011

Postcards From The Edge of a Village

A little while ago I put together the Little Tin Hut website, which has a gallery of some of my favourite projects that I have made since we took to the road in our Airstream. The sock creatures get great reactions, and I have had some 'commissons', which I have been very pleased about. Recently I have put other projects on hold while I have been sewing and stuffing until I now have a box of critters. Next, I'm hoping for good light so that I can photograph what I've made so far and then put them in an online shop.

I have the trailer to myself a lot more at the moment while Pete is out helping a friend with a vintage Airstream restoration project. I have even become an early riser, although this week it's been more of a struggle. As well as an alarm to wake me, repeatedly, I need one to yell at me at night, "Get to bed!" We have always been nocturnal creatures and it is a really hard habit to break. I always want to squeeze a bit more out of the day. Plus some of the most absorbing films are shown late at night. You don't get any Pedro Almodovar in the nine o'clock prime time spot, or Roadhouse! (Mr Swayze does T'ai Chi and defends a crappy bar against thugs. What more do you need to know?).

Regular brisk walks also have to be fitted into the days. It is about half a mile to the nearest village and if there was a village shop I could perfectly combine picking up milk and bread with stretching my legs and taking the marvelous Worcestershire air. But there isn't. Instead I have taken to writing post cards to friends, you know, like we did in the old days, and then striding out towards the post box, envelope in hand. If you receive one of these and wonder why I didn't just text you or send you an email, just indulge me and know that you will be helping me to keep alive the ancient art of handwriting whilst looking after my cardiovascular health in one gesture. I thank you.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Photo Archive

I was going through some of my photographs, trying to arrange them into albums, as you do on a rainy, wintry Saturday, and I came across this one. It is from our summer of 2009 trip around the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. That journey is still with me, beauty you can actually inhale and take away with you. More here if you missed it the first time around.

Even though it might seem like a shame to turn those blue skies grey, I rather like the drama of the landscape and the silver of the Airstream and car in monochrome.

And here's one from my 'Stuff' album.

I will admit that it is not the prettiest photo I took on Orkney, but I do like random stuff in a field. I wouldn't swap it for the Airstream, but it has potential.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Winter Projects

I did finish the shorter mittens from Hand Knitted Things and made another pair to give as a gift. I have, as I expected, had more use out of these than the longer, 'arm warmer' version of the pattern. There's just too much bulk to tuck up into my jacket sleeves. Maybe they're more suitable with just a sweater, or a gilet?

They knit pretty quickly, although when it comes to sewing up any project I usually lose momentum. My attention wanders and my eyes glaze over and I will allow pretty much anything else to grab my interest. So, if you are not me, these mittens are brisk gratification.

Currently on the go is a knitted camper van from The Little Knit Kit Company, one of my lovely crafty prezzies from Pete. So far the pattern looks simple, no shaping involved. The kit comes with everything you need, including some 4mm needles (although I'm using my own longer ones) and some pretty beads to use as headlights and decoration.

We live in an Airstream now but we used to have a red 1973 VW camper van and I still love them to bits. Living in one might be just a bit cramped though. My mission to fill our trailer with sewn and knitted stuffed things is going rather well, except I have been thinking about putting some sock creatures up for adoption.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Silver and White

Well we're just about back to our own version of normality, apart from conscientiously eating our way through a small hillock of cakes and puddings that is still sitting here on the galley counter. Most of it would probably keep for a few months, but the usual space restrictions apply and we need our horizontal surfaces back. We'll soldier on.

We have just experienced the most beautiful winter weather I can remember. It's been a challenge at times, but stunning to look at. There has been freezing fog, which resulted in the thickest and spikiest frost I have ever seen, literally covering every surface in jagged white needles. And then there was the snow, which just kept falling. The temperature never rose above freezing, so it remained light and powdery and as pure as when it fell.

The nation attempted to carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred, but of course that didn't really work.

We kept warm and toasty inside the Airstream, using up the gas at a ridiculous rate, but things froze up outside. Some days our chores would take way too long. We have to fetch our fresh water every day and dispose of our waste. Normally I'm perfectly happy to get out there and do what needs to be done, but the winter days are short enough without having to spend the daylight hours thawing out pipes and taps.

Our internal tank and pipes were fine but our external tank would freeze, as would its connecting hose, the fresh water tap, our waste water container, the waste water disposal point and the 'black water' disposal point. Many trips back and forth to the trailer to fill up flasks with hot water were required to thaw everything out. The trick is to ensure that there is sufficient water left in the internal tank overnight so that you've got enough for the thawing out business the next day, plus your morning beverages of course.

I was just hoping that the winter wonderland would stay in place for Christmas day. After all the rigmarole and the nationwide gnashing of teeth it would have been a disappointment to have a big thaw and end up trudging around in slush and mud instead of snow. I got my wish, and the sun came out too. It was glorious.

Now there's mud, lots of mud. Hey ho.