Absences and Opportunities

Hello everyone – many apologies for my long absence. I would like to say that I’m travelling around the world or having an amazing time at an artists retreat but the honest truth is I just don’t seem to have had any time to post. I know – rubbish! Anyway now I’m back and here is some of what I have been up to.

Firstly, just before Christmas Little Miss H and I were trying to wrack our brains for a ‘different’ present for her gorgeous teacher. This is what we came up with – personalised notepad number one. This is the very beginning rainbow stage. We then stuck on some silver alphabet stickers to spell out her name and stuck some sticky back plastic over the top of it all. We were very pleased with our labours and I think that her teacher liked it too.



Next there was more animal hood creating.


Another bear hood with button. Please excuse the messy table!


Funny light in this one! Little bunny hood – it had a pink button added to the top and a pom-pom for the tail! This one was for Little Miss H – she was delighted. And just in time for the wintry weather.


And just because I’d experimented with one pom-pom I thought that I’d add them the next bear hood I made – I delivered it today and the lovely lady was thrilled.


Now I didn’t actually make this – I ordered it from a very talented lady in Jersey for Christmas. I loved it so much that it is still in situ (as are the fairy lights! – couldn’t bear to take them down – we all need a little sparkle in our lives and this is mine!)

Now for the opportunities. I have always loved history and pay regular visits to our magnificent castles and other historical sites (Hamptonne Country Life Museum where ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ was filmed and a dolmen called La Hougue Bie being among my favourites). I was given the opportunity back in September to join a medieval reenactment group in Jersey and jumped at the chance. My role was as a spinner – now I have never properly spun anything before but my Mum used to and I thought that I could always ask her for tips. Well it turns out that I am spinning on a ‘Great Spinning Wheel’, also known as the ‘Walking Wheel’ which is actually bigger than I am! Instead of sitting spinning you turn the wheel by hand and feed the wool at the same time. Now I didn’t have time to get any photos at the end of last year as the season had finished but when the new season starts I’ll post some pictures. How could I refuse this fantastic opportunity – two of my loves (history and yarn) at the same time! Since then I have been driven to find out more about traditional crafts and so for Christmas asked for a lace making kit.


Here are my bobbins all ready to be ‘spangled’ – I think that is the right term! This gives weight to the bobbins and stops them moving around too much when you are lace-making. I am using the bobbins and the wire and beads from the pack – all of which are plastic. In time and when I have practised with these maybe I’ll invest in some wooden ones – especially if I am using it in reenactment – plastic is not really the look I want!

The only thing that I have made from scratch is my bolster or pillow. The pack came with a cardboard thing and a bit of polystyrene and I didn’t think that I could pass that off as anything like traditional so I searched, and I searched and eventually I came up with something that I am happier with. This is my bolster pillow (stuffed with woollen felt). The research that I did revealed that there is a huge amount of pillows and bobbins that have been used through the ages but that the bolster may (I’m not claiming to be an expert on this!) have been the one that was used from the earliest date. I have stuck to the pattern that I was given with the kit – we’ll see how I get on!


I’ll keep you posted with details of my progress. My first job is to attach the spangles to the bobbins – very tricky – trying to do this with my bare hands did not go well!! So I will raid hubby’s tool kit for an appropriate implement!

I love it when life throws you something unexpected! (well most of the time anyway!!) and new opportunities open up that previously you would not have thought possible.

Until next time, I’ll be grabbing opportunities with both hands!

Emma x


About Toadstool Tales

Hello, welcome to Toadstool Tales! I am a wife of a lovely man, mother of two who loves to be crafty! I love anything crocheted, vintage, with owls or shrooms. I am inspired by the outdoors and enjoy long walks or long cups of tea after the long walks!! I hope that you enjoy my Toadstool Tales!

4 responses to “Absences and Opportunities

  1. Interesting post. Looking forward to more. And the hats are so cute!

  2. Ah thanks Rainbow Junkie … Your comments mean a lot to me x

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