Sweet sixteen

There was a birthday in the house yesterday, our daughter is now 16 and yet it doesn’t seem 2 minutes since I was asking for help with the birthday bunting for her 13th birthday.

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Perhaps some of you remember it? You can read all about it here  Each time the bunting comes out (and that is regularly plus it has been loaned out too) I’m grateful for all the help and good wishes I had. We love to look at each piece and remember from whence it came. My plan for this birthday was to give a vintage twist to the birthday table. I’m not sure I achieved it but I do think it looked very pretty and that’s okay with me. I don’t have much pottery etc.that’s floral so began by raiding the garden.

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Lavender and orange Potentilla, two favourite colours of Charlotte’s, displayed in a sherry glass. I’d really had the idea of lovely soft pastels hmmm, not very easy in mid October but I did find a few late blooming roses.

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Originally I tried to display the roses in a pink and white gingham box with the use of an oasis but it didn’t work. I then resorted to the jam jar above but I’d cut the roses so short I still needed to use the oasis. Now the oasis was visible so out came the ribbon box – I’m pleased with the results, it’s just the thing. BUT, my favourite of all has to be the pink shrub in the tea cup.

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I’m well chuffed with this and so was our daughter. Next came the cake or cakes. Having decided to make cup cakes instead this year I wanted these also to have a vintage twist and shot out to the shops for a few flowery additions, as this isn’t the kind of thing I usually have in the cupboard. So cakes baked, cooled and blue icing added, I reached for the icing syringe.

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Now this is vintage and was given to my parents as a wedding present in the 1950s. On TV, everyone seems to use icing bags. I’ve never used an icing bag but I’ve been using this for most of my life, shame I’ve never improved my piping skills though!  Wiggly bits done, on with the flowers and ta-dah!

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Aren’t they fab? Hubby thought they, and the table, looked good and our daughter, through rose tinted spectacles, thought they looked professional! I’m happy.

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It was worth the effort. the table looked so pretty it was a delight to sit there and eat. Hubby normally only has one iced bun at a time, as he’s more of a savoury man but this time he had three! Praise indeed.

 

 

Birthday

The long awaited 13th birthday arrived on Friday and I duly strung up all the bunting. The sixty felt flags I made into 5 sets of bunting and also had 4 sets of borrowed bunting. So with nine sets of bunting available it was very festive. In case of rain cancelling outdoor eating I put some bunting in the house where it twinkled in the light despite the lack of wind, The remainder has been outside all weekend. It was a quiet family party on Friday where our daughter opened presents and marvelled at the generosity of family, friends and even complete strangers – what a lucky girl. It was also the first time since last October that she’s got out of bed and dressed so quickly!

Saturday dawned fine and clear – party day. We’d asked her friends to bring a packed lunch for our excursion to become baboons and gorillas. After a very tedious journey we arrived at Go Ape in Rivington. It was a quick lunch not least because the temperature had fallen and we were all cold. Our mission for the afternoon was to traverse a course in the tree tops by ropes, tarzan swings and zip wires. Preferably with no loss of life or limb.We climbed into our harnesses or safety pants as the instructor called them, received our instructions and were let loose.

Ready for the off.

Birthday girl, cool and calm at thirty feet.

We were reliably informed that if you could climb a rope ladder you could complete the course. Not an activity I could check at home and I was worried that with my arthritic neck I wouldn’t cope. The first ladder was a struggle but I managed it. I really, really didn’t want to do the tarzan swing and would have given up but the four children had already done it so what choice did I have. I bravely (of course) stepped off and duly crashed into the cargo net. It was at this point that my problems began. Rope ladder the most difficult – hah! Movement left and right was okay but with my dodgy neck there was no way I could haul myself up the cargo net and onto the next tree platform. I sought help (shouted in pain) and was rescued by a man with a rope who instructed me to attach it to my safety pants and then proceeded to haul me up like a sack of potatoes. The saving grace was that the girls hadn’t hung around to see my ignoble rescue and I was free to continue the course. Not that I had any choice the only option was onwards!

At my next step into mid air I discovered it was possible without major upset to my nerves if I simply turned around and stepped off backwards, which is what I proceeded to do at every zip wire. I have to say that once you’ve let go and realised you’re not going to die then it’s great fun and you can get good views as you rush by with a whoo hoo. And the girls? Need you ask! Not a complaint or refusal amongst them. They took even the more difficult obstacles in their stride, had great fun and were a credit to their parents and themselves (unlike some children on the course). Without exception they did the big tarzan swing at the end which had a long drop before you then crashed into a cargo net. Me? No of course I didn’t do it. I was the only one of the party to take the optional chicken run but at least i didn’t then have to be hauled out of trouble. A brilliant excursion and now time for home, pizza and cake.

It was already dark when we arrived home, very still and cold under a cloudless sky. Without a breeze to flutter the flags they didn’t do as much sparkling as I’d hope but they did look lovely and it was magical with all the candles out there.

The girls huddled under blankets with pizza and mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails to us older ones) and pretended to be more grown up and not cold, but I could see them shivering! The cake was made with love but not much skill and was declared awesome before being devoured (sorry no pics). They finished the night in a tent on the lawn where they didn’t go to sleep before 1am and were awoken by a cold frosty morning far too early. Why do they call them sleepovers? Not much sleeping happens that I can detect. A successful birthday all round.

Our thanks to those of you who gave time and flags to help me achieve the target of sixty flags on my felt bunting. I heard my daughter proudly explaining to her friends how many countries the flags had come from and pointing out each contribution for you all. It’s time to take them down now but they will be back.

Crikey

In just over four weeks I’ll be the mother of a teenager! How did that happen? Time definitely accelerates as you get older, I’m sure summer holidays went on for ever when I was a child but the summer holidays this year flew by. My ‘little girl’ is now 5’4″ (and still growing), has pierced ears and a rather smart bob and looks way older than nearly thirteen.

It won’t be long before she’s taller than me and I’m not at all sure how I feel about that. One of the most noticeable things about her development is the change in how she moves. It’s no longer the movement of a child, unbeknown to her she’s moving differently and even starting to gain a modicum of grace. Now that really is unbelievable for a child that’s always been rather clumsy and accident prone. Apparently some people can even injure themselves in bed – trust me I know.

I’ve also realised I don’t have enough jars for birthday party candles so I’ll be appealing to the neighbours for extra and I still have 18 pieces of bunting to make so I’m off to get some work done and hope to show some more pieces soon.

Bunting happiness

Well, what a great week. Your response to my plea for help with bunting for my daughter’s birthday is wonderful. It’s heart warming to realise what a lot of helpful, co-operative and generous people exist out there and I’m so lucky because some of them actually read my blog!

So far there are flags coming from three continents and with each pledge of a flag my daughter’s grin gets ever wider. To know that the bunting now has more chance of being finished on time and each time we use it we’ll remember friends across the world is an amazing thought.

Heather has jumped in feet first with a promise of two, Kate was quick to offer loans of bunting, Reduce Footprints has really helped to get the message out, Mary Anne gave me an idea for quick sparkles (spray paint and glitter), Florcita is very busy but is determined to help if she can , Tiffane has promised two and Trudis a dutch feltmaker living in Spain has offered to make one.

Trudis is so quick she’s already made her flag and blogged about it too but she’s not the only one who’s been busy. Lucie promised one, has made four which are already making their way to me and has sent me a photo. Here they are.

Aren’t they great! I never realised so many different people were reading my blog and it’s taken me to visit some really lovely blogs too, a benefit of this project that I hadn’t foreseen. I’ll keep updating you as new flags arrive or are promised and I’ll show you my pathetic attempt at crocheting a flag. It’s really not going well.

Why do I do it?

I have quite enough to do so why do I do it? My daughter will be thirteen next birthday and wants to have a party in the garden with bunting and lots of candles. Candles – easy, I’m just saving all my jam jars of course. Although she;d really like them to be all different colours so there will be more work involved. I’m already wondering if I should paint them or just wrap them in tissue paper. Undoubtedly if I paint them I’ll end up doing designs rather than just colours because I always create more work for myself. Why do I do it?

There are lots of places to buy bunting and she’d be delighted with it but oh no, I have to decide that I will make the bunting and that if I’m doing it there’ll have to be lots of it. So I’ve worked out that I need a minimum of 60 flags to make the bunting. Easy you might think and it would be if I got out my sewing machine, but of course, I haven’t. I am a feltmaker so obviously I’ve chosen to make them from hand rolled felt. Again, it wouldn’t be so bad if I made large pieces and cut them up, I’d have the requisite sixty quite quickly.

No, in my wisdom I’ve decided that each flag must be different (like who’s looking that closely?) and they will be in colour only, no neutrals (even harder for myself). Did I stop there? No, I went on to decide that as they’d be used at night I’d like some sparkle on each one to reflect all these flickering candles I’ve yet to make holders for. Why do I do it? I have realised that if I put the sparkle in during felting then I won’t be sat there sewing on sequins later which would be another task on the list. I’ve used sparkly yarns, sparkly fabrics and angelina fibres where I can.

As soon as I had the idea I began to make a flag whenever I had a few minutes to spare and I now have twenty flags. It felt good to reach the one third stage but now, I’m still busy with other things and the two thirds yet to do seem to be looming larger every day. Here’s the ones I’ve done already.

Not brillinat photos but the light’s not good today, there’s a very brisk breeze and the cats kept helping so it’s the best I can mange for now.

I’m beginning to crack, maybe I should include knitting and crochet in the production methods as I could use some sparkly yarns and they would still be wool. So okay I’ve cracked, knitting and crochet are included and that will increase my potential working hours as I could crochet whilst watching TV in an evening. The bunting doesn’t have to be ready until early October but the school holidays are rapidly approaching and I have a show coming up next month for which I need to do work, so time may be in shorter supply than I’d like. Plus of course we will go away on holiday and if I try to take my feltmaking kit with me I’m sure words will be had. Reckon I can sneak in some crochet though 🙂

If any of you lovely people would like to: donate oddments of sparkly yarns; knit or crochet a flag or make a felt flag for inclusion then I would be absolutely chuffed and delighted to accept it. Not because it’s less for me to do but because I love the idea of including flags from different people and I’ll be reminded of those people each time the bunting is used. In return, you’ll go on a roll of honour on my blog and I promise faithfully to contribute to a project of yours whenever the madness seizes you and you’re sat with your head in your hands saying Why do I do it?

I know of course why I do it – I’m a besotted Mum and despite the extra work I think it’ll be fun. If you’d like to jon in and I hope some of you do, the flag should be approximately 8″ (20cm) wide at the top and 8″ from the top to the tip of the point. Any suggestions on other ways of including sparkle are also welcome.