Tag Archives: handicrafts

An Interest in Handicrafts

Things have been happening down in the garden – with preparations for various Autumn events.

The Day of the Dead Kitten is one example, as they get ready for Halloween. Halloween is a strange festival. When I was a child we used to hollow out turnips and swedes to use as lanterns and my grandparents used to talk about Mischief Night.

Now we carve Pumpkins and have the legalised extortion of Trick or Treat. And lots of plastic gimcrackery in the shops.

Another thng they have done is to make a perpetual calendar from the blocks they use to make pallets. This displays the date while Feathers McGraw from The Wrong Trousers looks on.

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The pallet calendar

 

He was built by one of the volunteers as an entry in a scarecrow festival and has now been donated to the gardens. He’s in the polytunnel because he’s too good to be left outside.

To complete the autumn handicrafts Julia has been making poppy brooches from beads and safety pins.

Poppy Brooch - beads and safety pins

Poppy Brooch – beads and safety pins

 

I’ll try to take a better picture over the next few days.

Me, impersonating a hamster

Well, we’ve bitten the bullet and announced the shed will be open every Friday from 10.30 until 12.30. Let’s see if the initial enthusiasm translates into a a viable membership.

I used to use a lathe with my grandfather when I was in my early teens and I wish I’d carried on with it, but I didn’t and I’m going to have to relearn the skills again. It’s just one of a range of handicraft skills I let lapse over the years. I’m also going to have a crack at making wooden toys. It’s another thing that runs in the blood – the same grandfather made so many black market toys from scrap wood during the war he was able to buy a bath. A proper bath, that is, rolled top and all, not a hip bath.

He was a very industrious man, my grandfather. He joined up twice and his employers made the RAF cough him up twice because they couldn’t do without him. He spent all day as a quarry foreman at a cement company (they need a lot of cement in wartime, what with runways and pill boxes and such) and all night as a fireman, serving in Manchester and Liverpool during the blitz. I’m not quite sure where his spare time came from but he didn’t let it go to waste.

As I sit here, frittering my time with inconsequential chat on a blog I’m not sure he’d be pleased to see the way I turned out.

In group terms the day started badly when the taxi turned up with only three people. They said they’d told the driver he’d missed a pick-up but we’re not sure, as they aren’t keen on the new arrangement where there are four of them in the taxi.

It was all sorted by a quick call to the taxi company, but it wasn’t a great start.

It’s also an example of what happens when cost-cutting leads to the use of cheaper and less efficient taxi companies, though some would call me cynical.

It was a rainy day and though we rewove some willow hedge, potted herbs for the Ploughing Match and polished off a number of odd jobs, it didn’t seem like we did much as it was all in bits and bats.

Apple pressing again tomorrow – they sold so much at the weekend we need another pressing just to restock the cafe. That’s good, but it also puts me in mind of a hamster constantly circling in his wheel.

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Party Time!

It’s the first party of the season tonight, the turkey tasting event. It’s not a Quercus event but we’re involved because we are trying to sell some our merchandise. We also ended up involved in some of the preparation because we’re naturally helpful! Or because we like to know what’s going on.

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On the left is a selection of table decorations made with foliage from the local hedges and flowers from the garden. On the right is a wreath made from strips of cloth: if you look closely you can see the remnants of one of my old shirts. Behind the table decorations is the rammed earth wall that serves as a heat sink – read more about it on the Ecocentre page.

Not sure what will happen tonight, but it will be brightly decorated