Monday, 20 December 2010


Photography conditions are never great in our house even on the brightest of days but we love this scrappy garland so much that I had to show it

old decorations have come out

for some reason we do have a pink giraffe on top of our tree rather than the more traditional angel or star, blame it on father and daughter doing the tree decorating!

 a feathery home made angel

still writing christmas cards, crocheting snowflakes and a little bit of amigurumi which will hopefully become a snowman

We're going back past the wicker man for christmas so my blog space will be quiet for a week or so. 
I hope you have a wonderful christmas, (I'm hoping for a white one but I understand that not everyone feels the same way!!) See you in the New Year
Kate x

Friday, 17 December 2010


We have a plan for next year, well ok it's my plan (thanks to Dottie Angel) but I have agreement from two children and one partner, the third child is too much the teenager but he may join in eventually.  We are planning to attempt the Dottie Angel challenge to only buy hand crafted or second hand for our home and ourselves for the coming year.

and it has begun quite wonderfully with a typewriter from one of our many local charity shops.  this has been a resounding success, with two children who previously would not put pen to paper without many threats sitting together all day typing a joint story.

and we also found some appropriately orange and yellow fabric that Annis and I intend to turn into a Dottie Angel style garland in the new year once the decorations come down. 

I am really quite excited by the idea and will blog our progress on a relatively regular basis.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Kate Rusby - Sweet Bells - 02 - Sweet Bells

We are just loving this cd as a change from the usual christmas carols!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Button, button who's got the button

I realised this morning that I had run out of my favourite wooden heart buttons so I am going to have to take a trip to Truro tomorrow.  But this gave me the idea for a folksy friday theme, and what a lot of gorgeous buttons there are out there.  Here is just a selection of the loveliness of buttons
Click on the image to be taken to the shop

Monday, 6 December 2010

winter surfing

It seems strange to me that just when it's cold enough to wear all our clothes, scarves,hats,gloves...

all some people want to do is get in the sea

and so the magical moment of father and son body boarding together

Sunday, 5 December 2010

December elves

This is a little post for the folksy December elves, still listing one a day.  I have been very poor at blogging recently but will try to remedy that this week.  Here are a few of my listings this week




and here's some lovely elvish stuff

Gaia Noir
Steam Punk Storm
Alicia's Stones
Just K Jewellery
Click on the pictures to be taken to the shop

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

it's cold outside

so I'm thinking about knitting.  Of course I'm getting ahead of myself as I am still knitting my socks but they are almost ready for the grand tadah!  and I can start dreaming about my next project, which will be from this lovely book

I have already knitted a few pairs of wrist warmers and one pair of fairisle gloves from here but now my daughter has asked for something a little more complex, isn't that what daughters are for (and sons for that matter)?

fingerless gloves with little hats for the tips of your fingers when it gets really cold

the only problem is that I would like to make these with all that lovely cable and those bobbles

and I only have one ball of luscious wool from Loop.  I was quite worried about this when it occurred to me that I could order another ball!!!  and then we can both have our luscious gloves.  Am I being ambitious?

Is this really likely to stay long enough for me to finish my socks and knit two pairs of complicated gloves?  Oh well, mine will fit next year I suppose

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

winter beaching

Sunday, 21 November 2010

The last master of the Biram

Oh I wish I'd taken a camera.  It's always the way, it didn't even occur to me!  Last night we went to Mount Pleasant Ecological Park to see Mamane Barka play the Biram, the last instrument of it's kind.  If I'm honest I didn't really know what we were going to see, there were free tickets for the children and we just booked it.  But it feels as though we spent an evening in Niger.  Barka spent as much time talking about Niger and the stories around the Biram as he did playing and it was wonderful.

It is a five stringed instrument that is shaped a bit like a boat and comes from a fishing community on lake Chad.  It was played whenever there was sickness or other bad things happening in the village to call for protection from the spirit of the lake.  Barka (who is from a nomadic tribe in the North of Niger) came upon the instrument when he was researching the instruments of his country.  The old man who had the Biram had not played it for fifteen years because the villagers had become (in his words) 'modern' and no longer needed him to play.  As a result there was no-one to take over and when he died that would be the end of the Biram.  Barka was so moved by this that he spent four years finding funding to go and learn from the Biram master.  The old master has died now leaving Barka as the last master of the Biram. 

Barka is touring Europe to talk about the instrument but also to talk about the incredibly rich cultural history of Niger.  He is a fantastic speaker and we all loved it.  We came away wanting to visit Niger and the museum of musical instruments that he and his drummer work for.

His drummer Omar was incredible too, he is a griot which wikipedia describes as a 'repository of oral tradition'.  He played two drums, the douma or talking drum and the calabash below

He played the calabash using his hands and his foot to get different sounds.  While Mamane is an excellent talker and his instrument is interesting because of its history Omar's drumming was just amazing.  I feel as though the children (and us adults) learned so much in those few hours.  Stories of spirits and old ways of living were brought to life.  We all want to go to Niger although he didn't talk about any unrest there.  Failing that perhaps WOMAD next year.

One final thing he told us was that the village where the instrument is from has a market full of fish and the fishermen are not allowed to take money for fish so the people in the village will never go hungry.  Sadly the village he described is a dying way of life.  One where everything is natural and they fish and farm their own food, selling fish outside the village when they need money.  Barka and Omar live in the capital city and do not live such a natural life.  The master of the Biram used to be fed, housed and clothed by the rest of the community because his value was recognised.  The idea of not charging for food in your own community seemed so moral, a community where everyone has their role to play and everyone gets fed. 

Friday, 19 November 2010

long time no blog and folksy friday/November sparks

I have been a bad blogger recently.  I may have underestimated just how much time essay writing really takes.  But I have sent my second one in now so a little break and a little blog.  Some gorgeous dark choices from some of the November Sparks
just click on the images to be taken to the lovely shops

Gaia Noir
Just K Jewellery and gifts
Gifts Shack
Gew Gaws
Northfield Primitives
Diomo Glass


Tuesday, 16 November 2010

stuff we're enjoying right now

I have been very slack with my blog recently.  My laptop is utterly unreliable at the moment and I may have underestimated the ammount of work needed for a level three literature course!  But I'm starting to organize my time a little better and all of a sudden I find I have a few minutes spare to share some home ed stuff.

I wrote about the scientist cd in this series a while ago, we are still listening to that one.  We are often distracted, and rarely do anything in any kind of order.  I like to think that this leads to interesting connections in our learning!  Anyway we love this explorers cd just as much as the scientists one.  It's great for those mornings when we all just want to curl up on the sofa, I can feel as though we're learning while we're lazing.

Annis is obsessed with fashion, she absolutely wants to be a fashion designer.  We saw this great book on fashion illustrating by Bethan Morris in the Tate St Ives at the weekend.  Unfortunately it was about £7 more in the Tate than it is on Amazon so we will be ordering it for christmas.

Back to essay writing and sewing after this brief interval.

Monday, 8 November 2010

starting to think about christmas shopping with November Sparks

Well, this year I'm going to be organized.  I've already done a lovely swap with Anicca (she has a folksy shop too) for some gorgeous earrings for J's mum  Now it's time to start thinking about everyone else.  The only problem is that when I go through folksy I keep seeing things that I would definitely like to keep all to myself!

for example this beautiful locket from Mia Scintilla

and then there's this beautiful charm bracelet from whimsical wren

the wizard of oz is our halloween film.  My partner finds the witch very disturbing, along with the childcatcher in chitty chitty bang bang.  But he'll happily watch halloween!  And I've just always wanted red shoes, and the shoes on this charm bracelet are perfect.

I also love this scenic jasper pendant from Unique beaded gems .  It really does look like a landscape, just beautiful

and there's this gorgeous rasberry beret (yes it is a reference to the Prince song) from NOfkants curios

and it even has matching fingerless gloves to go with it.

Oh I suppose I'll have to go and start thinking about other people's christmas presents now.  There are just too many boys in my family!