2019 : I’m here

Happy New Year woolly pals. I hope you are having a snug winter time.

I love a good new year’s resolution. I could write a huge reflective journal here which is what usually happens when I get onto this subject, but this year my resolution is actually to try to keep things simple and so on that note I will be brief and clear and to the point!!

The theme of my year is ‘taking control’. 2018 was a year of ups and downs and twists and turns, and it really hit me this Christmas that I am constantly trying to catch up with myself.

So this coming year I just want to try to focus better and try to get ahead of myself. To form some better habits and be more productive. To be more mindful with my time, to work hard and rest well. And really I just want to knit. Which is why I decided to make a post here in this woollen internet space of mine. This place is going to be a big focus for me this year.

So I know it’s really easy to make resolutions in January and forget about them by February, but I recently heard a saying – ‘What’s well begun is half done’ so here’s to starting the year on a high!

I love reading other people’s resolutions so let me know what your new year goals are in the comments yeah.

And have a happy wonderful new year

Air dried hearts

This weekend was a valentines weekend, and I marked the occasion making a little heart garland for our bedroom.

I have recently become aware of something called air dry clay. It seems like there are a lot of lovely things to make with it, like Tia’s super cute bowls, and Hannah’s little love hearts

In my quest to brighten up some of our bare walls, I decided a little bit of pottery would be grand, and decided a little garland might be just the ticket.

r e c i p e :

To make some air dry clay you will need:

1 cup bicarbonate of soda
1/2 a cup of cornflour
3/4 cup of warm water

m e t h o d :

Stir together the bicarbonate of soda, cornflour and water in a saucepan over a medium heat until it thickens into a dough (be careful to keep it moving so that you don’t get a layer stuck to your saucepan – although rest assured it soaks off in water no problem – voice of experience!) leave to cool before turning out and kneading until smooth.

homemade air dried clayair dried clay hearts

I coloured my clay using food colouring. I used liquid colouring so put some extra cornflour down on the worktop to help soak up the extra moisture and stop me getting into a sticky mess, added a couple of swigs of colour and kneaded again until the clay was an even colour. I had pink, yellow, blue and green colours to use, BUT something very strange happened. I am not sure why, but it might be a chemical reaction to the bicarbonate of soda… the blue was beautiful, but the yellow turned red (and dried a bit pink), the green turned brown (I didn’t use it after all. Too brown.) and the pink turned purple (but then dried beige) So weird! So I made up another small batch to keep white to add to my colour scheme.

The next step was to roll out and cut out my heart shapes. I used a freezer bag to roll out onto so that the shapes peeled off easily. I found it easiest to cut out all of my shapes, then peel away the excess from around them first before peeling them off and placing them onto grease-proof-paper on a cooling rack to dry. I put the clay I wasn’t using in bags as realised the surface dries quite quickly and this helped preserve it.

Once I had cut out all of my hearts I put holes through them using a knitting needle (I used a double pointed needle so I could thread it all the way through rather than pushing it in then pulling it back – this gave much neater holes) if you don’t have a knitting needle though something like a skewer would work, or even a pen might do it. I think my holes are slightly low as the hearts are not quite balanced when they hang (they want to flick out a bit) so it might be worth putting the holes slightly higher to help that.

air dried clay heart garland

My hearts took about 24 hours to dry well, turning half way, although I think probably another 24 hours to feel they were truely dried out. Once they were dry I used some thin ribbon to thread through and tied loops in the end to hang them. I was initially really disappointed with the colours, really it was just not at all what I had pictured in my mind, but now I have my finished garland and it is hanging in our room, I am really really pleased with it! Accidental colour magic. The colours are really sweet and compliment the colours in our room really nicely.

air dried clay heart bunting

I have recently read the Konmari book, and am feeling very inspired by her message to only surround yourself with items that ‘spark joy’ in you. We’ve started her tidying up method at home and I am getting into the habit of asking myself ‘does this spark joy in me’ – I asked myself when I looked at my little hearts and my answer was yes.

And I still have some of the clay left bagged up in the fridge – I am not sure how long it will last so I might have to think of another project quick!