Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Once Upon aTime

I've done this as a separate blog so it doesn't get lost in my drivel .
My friend Alan , who is a broadcaster on National Radio , has started a new website for children called The Story Mouse . He and some friends have recorded some traditional fairy stories for the little ones to listen to . The stories can be downloaded to the computer and then copied onto a CD or MP3 player to listen to anywhere . It's great . We've road tested some of the stories this week ,as our Grandson is staying . He has given them a big thumbs up and has loved listening to a different story every night at bedtime . We've enjoyed listening as well and Alan reading the Emperor's New Clothes is a hoot , especially as his voice for the Emperor's wife is very Dame Edith Evans . At 95p per story I think they are a bargain and I think said Grandson will listen to them over and over again. It's very easy to download the stories , if I can do it anyone can , and you can listen to snippets before you buy . I really think Alan is onto a winner here and it should prove to be a great success . I think anything to get children interested in literature is good . Why not click on the link and have a listen , it will make you smile .

Down but not quite out .

I had a phone call this morning from my friend from Dajon Designs to see if I was ok as I'd not blogged for ages . Well I am but to be honest I've not felt much like blogging . The reason being the July shows have been terrible . Cumberland County Show was cancelled because of flooding and we only found out after driving 100 miles up to Carlisle . Fortunately there was a silver lining to that black cloud. Remember the Ouessant sheep on my last blog well this is their ram .Isn't he a darling.
Just look at those horns and such a sweet face .
On our way back from Calisle we dropped in to the Farm Village where they live . The guy I'd spoken to at the Rose Show said he had some Saxon Merino fleeces so we called on the off chance he still had them and the silver lining was he had . I got a huge fleece and it's gorgeous . I also got a small Ouessant to try as well .
The Cumbrian Steam Gathering this last weekend was a great disappointment as well . We usually have a great time here and takings are usually good but not this year , it was the worse we've ever done . I don't think the weather helped either on Sunday , it was awful .But again there was a silver lining in the form of a Blue Faced Leicester fleece delivered to my stall by a tall handsome New Zealander . He was doing a shearing demo outside the Craft Marquee and I put my name on the fleece earlier on whilst it was still on the sheep's back .
It's not been all doom and gloom . We had a short visit from our eldest son and two Grandsons on their way up to the Lakes for a week . They stayed overnight and their way up and again on their way home . It was lovely to see them and to see how much they'd grown.
I'm now busy getting stuff ready to go up to Cumbria to work in ten days time .We are usually up there by now but we decided on a shorter visit this year . Perhaps the way the weather is going it's going to prove to be a better choice .
Hopefully the Fibre Fest we are going to do in Devon next month will turn out to be as good as Woolfest and make up for a rotten July .

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Open Road

I saved some pics from Skelton show as they deserve a blog post of their own .
My all time favourite book is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham . I have several copies, one of which was published in 1926. They all have one thing in common and that is they are illustrated by E. H . Shepard the original illustrator for the book and to me the best . My favourite chapter is the Open Road where Mr Toad decides to take to the road in a gypsy caravan with Ratty and Mole .To quote from the book "It was shining with newness , painted canary yellow picked out with green and red wheels " This is the original E.H. Shephard illustration .
When we bought our little caravan four years ago I fell in love with it straight away . It wasn't shining with newness but it was pale yellow and picked out with green . From then on we've been out on the open road jut like Ratty , Mole and Mr Toad .
What I really would have liked though was ......
One of these beauties . This is a real genuine gypsy caravan built by a real gypsy .
His name is Barney Maurice and he builds these beautiful caravans by hand . When I asked could I take some pics he said it was alright.I told him I was going to put the pics on my Blog and that he would be seen all over the world . He hadn't a clue what I was talking about and knew very little about the Internet.
What a life .
This is his beautiful lurcher dog sleeping in the van
Little cupboards all hand painted .
I fancy roaming the country in this . It would be great moving from place to place selling my crafts along the way .
To quote Mr Toad " The open road , the dusty highway ,the heath , the common , the hedgerows ,the rolling downs ! Here today , up and off somewhere else tomorrow ! "
Yes please .

Monday, 13 July 2009

Showtime Begins

It's that time of year again folks . The Agricultural shows have started and this is our first , Skelton, was last Saturday the 4th July . The committee had changed the day for the show from the third week in August because it had been blighted by bad weather for the past three years and it seemed to work .The sun shone gloriously and it was busy but unfortunately it didn't benefit us and we had a VERY poor day. A bit of a come down after the heady heights of Woolfest. It was on a yellow card anyway . We had just decided to do it in case a change of dates brought a change of fortune but it didn't so now it's got a red card and we won't be going back .
Got some nice pics though .Papa Bear makes a start on a walking stick handle .
Mama goat and kids shelter from the sun.Not sure if this is a Jersey or a Guernsey cow. She's beautiful though
This proud owner shows off his Shorthorn bull .
Getting some relief from a very heavy milk bag .
1950's / 60's tractors all open and no cabs ....
Present day with air conditioning , super sprung suspension and three times as big .
Little ....
and large.
This weekend saw us at the Lakeland Rose Show near Kendal . We had a good weekend , for a weekend away , but takings were down . Saturday was good but Sunday was abysmal for most people . I like doing this show though as it's nice and easy , not to far and cheap.
Early morning over the show field .
Rose basket
Lovely arrangement
Fountain of flowers
My favourite Sweet Peas
Pygmy Goat kids.
And these were just adorable . They are Ouessant sheep , the smallest sheep in the world . They weigh next to nothing and the lambs are about the size of kittens when they are first born .
This little fellow is only five days old .
Here's the whole flock. You can see how small they are compared to the man's foot on the rails .
I want a flock for myself .
Our next outing is on Saturday for the Cumberland County Show . What will happen there I don't know but I hope things pick up a bit .
I've got loads of dyeing to do over the next few weeks to get ready for Fibrefest in August at least there is more certainty of a full cash box there .

Friday, 3 July 2009

Laal Bear has a new logo.

I meant to post about this before Woolfest but time got the better of me and anyway I decided to do a special post all to itself .Back in December I met a lovely lady called Teresa Boast at the Grassington Dickensian festival and she had the most amazing paintings of sheep . All different colours and with wacky names . We had a long chat about her work and I bought some cards from her which had prints of her paintings on.
Fast forward to two months ago . I was looking for a new and eyecatching logo for my new wool labels and remembered Teresa's work . The one I particularly liked was Streweth who had a multi coloured coat . He seemed perfect for my multi coloured had dyed wools . I emailed Tersesa to ask permission to use it on my wool labels . To my emence delight she said "yes" and even sent me a jpeg to take to the printer. The picture above is the result . I would now like to publicly thank Teresa very much for allowing me to use her art work . The labels had their first outing at Woolfest and everybody commented about them . It seems to have brought me luck as sales were awesome . Hope you like it .