Tuesday, 31 March 2009

On Holiday

apples, antiques and a coffee stop
after the mountains before a long stretch of nothing much

Off on our trip to visit my parents in Idaho, hotel by the airport tonight then a very long flight, followed by a hotel in seattle, walking up at stupid o' clock and having breakfast at Denny's followed by copious amounts of coffee. After fueling up its a 5 1/2 hour drive accross Washington state to get to my parents house in North Idaho. As this is my 350th blogpost I will do a give away when we return in a few weeks time.

if you wish to follow me on twitter I will be tweeting on my phone while we travel and the durration of the holiday, connection willing. you can find me here:


or just read the twitterfeed over there -------------->

you can email me too.. at meridianariel @ hotmail . com but I can't guarantee I will get a chance to reply to everything but I will try, but I will answer any direct tweets if you send them to me!

see you soon Mother and Daddy!

p.s. sorry I couldn't get hold of any packets of Oaties!

Monday, 30 March 2009

Time for Tea...

gorgeous wonderful coffee loveliness

...or coffee really, you know what I'm like. This morning I received a huge parcel of coffee themed loveliness from my Time for Tea swap partner Kathryn. Thank you Kathryn everything is so lovely, I'm going to light the candle in a bit, and have all ready stolen several chocolate covered coffee beans before taking a picture of the swap goodies. She sent me a fabulous latte cup, the aforementioned chocolate covered coffee beans, a candle with coffee beans in it, a metal bookmark with a coffee pot charm, a phone dangle with a coffee bean charm, cupcake stickers, and some lovely card stock that I can't wait to play around with...but I'm going to have to as we are down at the airport hotel tomorrow night and fly Wednesday afternoon so no crafty time for me, its holiday time.

tea card

What did I send to Kathryn I hear you ask well... that is a good question because I forgot to photograph everything but the tea card I made, and the tea time tag that I was so worried wouldn't be good enough for the swap. Yes I know I'm a ditz. I love how the card turned out through, with its vintage music paper, stained with black tea, and drawn with ink, pencil, and stamped with my lovely alphabet stamps. And as you will see I used the stamps on the tea tag as well! Big thanks to Vonnie for organizing the swap!

tea time tag

Right I have packing to do!

p.s. Katy I'm not addicted to fabric but I am having fun with it, you will know I am addicted when I come visit your house and steal fabrics out of your hoard! :P

Friday, 27 March 2009

M's Birthday

awesome coffee postcard

Yesterday was M's birthday so along with a amazon order of a book, a CD, and a box set (that still hasn't arrived *waves fist at the fluffy haired postie* I made the above card, well post card actually as I used the last card to make a birthday card for Flamesparrow (which I cannot post on here until she receives it as she will snoop). The card was made with a vintage music sheet hand stained with black tea, I drew a the coffee cup with pencil and my favourite ink pen, and stamped Awesome Coffee with my new alphabet stamp set and cherry red fabric ink (the only kind I have) then I used my little sewing machine to sew the music sheet to the recycled fiber postcard ( from a packet sold at Paperchase).

It was very important to H that we make something handmade for M, he said that it had to be a warmbag because that is what I make best, so he had a rummage though my small box of fabrics and dragged out some raspberry gingham from Laura Ashley (we have some cushions that were made with the same fabric that sometimes live in the lounge and sometimes migrate into H's room). I cut the fabric and sewed three sides then H helped to turn the fabric right side then fill it with high quality lavender and rice, then we used the ABC stamps to mark ML on a piece of natural coloured sewing tape. H then helped to sew the bag closed, pressing the pedal and listening carefully.

H was over the moon with excitement to give M the warm bag yesterday morning, and he made sure M took the bag with him to work today in case it is cold at the studio, bless. Instead of a cake H and I made some very decadent brownie cupcakes ( a slightly richer recipe than the one found on my blog here if anyone wants it I can write up the recipe and blog it for you) . I have some sewing to attempt to do now (doubtful) and I need to get at least one suitcase down from the attic before the day ends, as well as taking care of H who is home from school due to a rather chunky sounding cough.

and I must have a shout out to Gill of Hollingdale Designs who made the beautiful button ends of Kerry's black Glitter (Midnight Meridian ~wink~ ) knitting needles in the previous post.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

PennyDog Knitting Needles

black glitter knitting needles (the wool is Noro Kureyon)

Look what Mr. Fluffy Haired Postie brought for me on Tuesday! Fantastically fabulous black glitter resin knitting needles handmade by the incredibly talented (and published) Kerry of PennyDog Jewellery . I will admit that I may have badgered her quite a bit that she needed to get black glitter for her resin knitting needles, I won't take all the credit or blame though as Dria and a few others also annoyed her as well.

I wasn't expecting them as a gift, even though she said she would send me something for the balls of yarn I sent her for display purposes. Its the loveliest thing about being a crafty blogger, how lovely everyone is in the blogging/crafting community, its enough to make one cry, or at least make me cry that there are so many like minded and helpful people out there. It is truly a wondrous thing.

Kerry do these knitting needles have a name? Black Glitter or something more emo or goth glam?

I can't wait to start knitting with them, I'm not sure what my knitting is only very simple, but I do need to knit a rock cover for the Knitted Nature knit Graffiti Challenge on Crafteroo.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Knitted Java Jacket Pattern

Owlish Java Jacket (the button was made by Sam)

1 paper coffee cup for measurement
needles: US 8 (5.0mm)
yarn: 10 ply (I used Noro Kureyon I hd left over)
1 (owl or other vintage button)
yarn needle
needle and thread


Cast on 15 stitches.

1st row: knit

repeat until the piece of knitting wraps around the cup tightly

bind off leaving a tail of yarn 10 in long.

sew the ends together using the tail end of yarn.

Then sew on your button or beads or any other embellishments you wish.

Take it to the coffee shop and slide it on your coffee cup.

Drink copious amounts of coffee/tea.


Its a quick, simple, and fun project that uses up any oddments of yarn that are hanging around your knitting stash. It can easily led its self to more complicated knitting methods, cables, lace, or even bobbles.

I'm sure there are plenty of other java jacket/coffee cozy patterns out there, crocheted or knit in the round if you have a good search. I'm a leftie and as such I tend to get muddled when reading any sort of pattern, but if I go my own way and make things up for simple items things seem to work out quite well. I do intend to teach myself to crotchet by making various java jackets and simple items.

Java jackets protect your hands from hot or icy drinks, feels pleasing to the touch and is the perfect environmental alternative to cardboard coffee sleeves.The sleeve will stretch to fit most paper coffee cups and is small enough to carry in your purse or pocket. Or can be worn on your wrist to the coffee shop, although M says they should be gold in colour and wear two of them like Wonder Woman. Maybe next time.

* more pictures can be found here from the first time I posted this tutorial/pattern. I started this java jacket awhile ago and kept forgetting about it until the other day when I dug out the owl button that Sam sent to me, its a perfect match I think.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Alphabet Stamps

Alphabet stamp set, fabric ink, natural cotton ribbon, and fabric all from Karaku. I ordered these last week and they arrived Thursday and I am absolutely besotted with everything. The fabric, and the fabric scraps are adorable, and the first bits of fabric I have ordered online, I have been experimenting with the alphabet stamps and fabric ink for the tea time swap, though I can't show you what I have been making yet. There may be spies reading my blog. *looks around paranoid*

scrap Japanese fabrics ordered

more scrap Japanese fabric

H says he wants the robot one made into a lavender rice warm bag, its a secret who its for but I think I can guess it will go no farther than his room. I don't know what I will do with the rest of the fabric, probably more lavender sachets, door hangers, owls, and lavender rice warm bags.

the lovely fat quarter of Spool fabric

I would really love to make little zippered pouches and small bags, but my brain doesn't always interpret tutorials well, I love to read them and look at them, and if there are enough pictures something clicks in my brain and translates what I have seen and read into something I can understand. Which I'm not sure anyone else would understand but I guess that would probably just be me.

lavender sachets for Out Framed

Hey look aside from drooling over all of the Japanese crafting goodies I have actually done some crafting the last few day. Only a small amount of lavender sachets for Out Framed Gallery. Tomorrow I have a huge to do list for getting crafty things done next week, but its Mothering Sunday today and I'm not starting any projects that I know I won't finish. Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

This is me

Ok there I am with my new haircut, looking vaguely worried as I hate having my photo taken which you would think is odd as M is a professional photographer. Anyway its me, and now you know dear readers what I look like and stop imagining me as a.) skinny b.) of the twinset and pearls variety(Lilylola) c.) cool in anyway possible ( as the glasses show I'm a total geek. )

now that I have revealed my picture to you, I must dash out to the post depot to collect a parcel, drop books back at the library, go to the actual post office to send a parcel, buy some more dried lavender, drop off some sewn lavender sachets at the framing Gallery... I best get a move on because I need to make time for coffee as well!

book meme

Total number of books owned: um a few hundred here, and probably the same amount at my parents.

Last book bought: the last Laurell K Hamilton, Meredeth Gentry novel

Last book read: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Book that means the most to you: Stephen King's The Stand, one of my favourite books from when I was 12 or 13 my Dad gave it to me to read and I have read it 3 or 4 times unabridged.

Book you re-read time and time again? The Stand is one, but there are quite a few I have read again and again, A thousand Words for Stranger by Julie E. Czerneda, Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel. more but I can't think of the titles right now.

Science Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic, or Horror? Sci fi, fantasy and horror (I have been quite addicted by Urban Fantasy/horror recently) and I am reading my first graphic

Hardback or Trade Paperback or Mass Market Paperback? can I say all? it depends on the book and author, I prefer to hold a paperback, but sometimes I want a new book so badly that I will buy it hardback.

Heinlein or Asimov? Asimov, but to be honest I haven't read as much of their works as I should.

Amazon or real book shop? real, there is nothing better than wandering around a real bookshop, I love the smell of new books, and of old books too, add a cafe and I'm in heaven.

Borders or Waterstones? Borders as its American and smells almost the same as Borders in the states, *sad geek*

Hitchhiker or Discworld? Hitchhiker as I haven't read Discworld (Frizbe says she will bring me some)

Bookmark or Dogear? bookmark! though my favourite bookmarks are empty giftcards from Old Navy

Alphabetize by author, by title or random? vaguely by author, but most of my books are in the attic and not in a book case (I working on that though)

Keep, recycle or Sell? keep, occasionally I will trade in books I wasn't blown away by, and sometimes I lend/give them to friends. (I promise I will send you those books soon Flame)

Keep dust jacket or toss it? Keep

Read with dust jacket or remove it? remove it while reading, but carry it around with me and recover the book when I put it down for the night.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket? not read either, though I did watch the Lemony Snicket movie and thought it was much more fun and dark then whingy old Harry.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks? I try for chapter breaks, but most of the time I just leave my bookmark card under a paragraph break.

"It was a dark and stormy night" or "Once upon a time"?" once upon a dark and stormy night!

Buy or Borrow? buy *mine mine mine*

What makes you buy a book, reviews, recommendation or browse? browsing more often than not, I like to look at the book, at the cover read the back and read the first sentance/paragraph/page that is what buys the book for me.

Lewis or Tolkien? Tolkien, only because I have read Lord of the rings and not finished Alice in Wonderland (its on my list I have the book and only used through the looking glass for my art)

Hard SF or Space Opera? Space Opera, I don't mind some Hard Sci-fi but sometimes its a bit much and you loose the store in the science.

Tidy ending or Cliffhanger? tidy.. I hate when you read a book and get to the end and its a to be contined in the next 75 books, book 2 due out in 3 years time. argh

Morning reading, Afternoon reading or Nighttime reading? nighttime

Standalone or Series? both,

Urban fantasy or high fantasy? both, though I have been reading more urban fantasy lately

New or used? both

Favorite book of which nobody else has heard? A thousand Words for Stranger by julie E Czerneda, noone I know but me has very read it.

Favorite genre books read last year? Urban Horror/dark Fantasy

Favorite genre books of all time? Fantasy

Favorite genre series? laurell k Hamilton's Anita Blake books (the first 3, and a few in the middle and the last one, some of them are pulp inbetween*

Favorite genre short stories? fantasy/horror ...occasional fanfics.

Saturday, 14 March 2009

OMG I never posted my Owl Swap Goodies!

Owl Banner across the hearth

It comes to my attention that I am a complete scatterbrain, I'm sure many of you dear readers will have come to this conclusion all by yourselves. I was comepetely over the moon when I recieved my owl swap parcel from Hope, I took pictures and I carried everything around the house with me, I uploaded pictures to flickr and promptly forgot to actually blog what I got! As Homer Simpson would say..."D'oh".

a close up of the adorable owl banner

Hope made me this adorable owl banner, in lovely brown cream, and natural colours, with little orange beaks, on their tummies are little letters spelling out Apryl. Along with the banner I got all the lovely goodies you see below, an Owl journal, an owl stamp, adorable little owl note cards, stickers, an owl printed in green on a canvas tote, and as my treat (as if all the rest of that wasn't enough) some fabulous squares of fabric. I think they are quilting squares but as I don't quilt and only use small pieces of fabric in the things I sew they shall make for some fantastic crafting.

yummy goodies

That pink wood grain fabric is my favourite, I think, though I'm not even the biggest pink fan. What did I send Hope in return, well.... erm.... I have one photo of the little Owl Hanger I sent her, but I was in such a hurry to get everything sent off in time I completely forgot to take pictures of the chocolate, few bits of trim, fabric and the bracelet I made and sent her. I know I'm useless.

little owl hanger I made for Hope

Friday, 13 March 2009

Crafter...oo for Comic Relief

The Crafter...oo for Comic Relief shop has made over £400 so far on Folksy ... and more beautiful items have been added to the shop this morning, all handmade by members of Crafter...oo (including one of my lavender and rice warm bags.
Help us make it to £500 or more for Red Nose Day, so please link to the shop and spend some pennies!


lavender and rice warm back with Laura Ashley Fabric

Monday, 9 March 2009

Coffee on the brain and the PIF winners.

coffee themed lavender sachet

First of all let me tell you the names drawn to receive a Pay it Forward handmade gift from me.
Yvette, Jacqueline , Chloe I drew your names so sometime in the next 365 days you will receive a handmade gift from me. All you need do in return is hold a Pay it Forward on your blog or in life so that the good will and happiness can move on into the world. I will try to get things made and sent to you as soon as possible but with only three weeks until we fly to visit my parents in Idaho you may have to wait till I return home again.

The lavender sachet above is one for Out Framed gallery, its made with plain cotton fabric, lavender, ribbon from Katy, and the coffee cup was drawn with a fabric paint pen. I have a few more to complete before the day is out, which I really should be doing now, but its lunch time and I'm hungry so its break time.

p.s. this is my 344 th blog post so I think I will have to have a giveaway at 350 don't you think? plus the first week of April marks two years of blogging that's pretty good for me.

p.p.s don't make funof my dinky baby sewing machine! :oP

Friday, 6 March 2009

Chimera Book Group

I'll be doing some crafty blogging later today but for now I just wanted to direct your attention towards the new blog I have set up for the Chimera Book Group. So if you want to amble over and have a nosey and have a look at what the book group is about and our first book choice. Who knows you may want to join in and come to a meeting our join in virtually, via blog comments and the facebook group.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Little Red and the Wolf

Red Riding Hood fabric lavender and rice warmbag

I am the first to admit that I'm a procrastinator, I work slow and in my own time, you can push me but most likely I won't budge until I'm ready. I haven't been crafting much the last week or two because I really haven't felt the buzz of craftiness, and the happiness of playing with materials. I think mostly I am feeling homesick for the states, even though I'm well aware that I will be flying out to Seattle in a few weeks time to visit my parents in Idaho, and hopefully to meet with Selena on the two days we have booked to stay in downtown Seattle at the end of the trip before flying back here.

The picture is of a lavender and rice warm bag that H and I made for Frizbe's younger daughter's birthday this week, he choose the fabric and helped me sew in on my little sewing machine. It was very sweet that it was so important to him to make a warm bag for little N. When I asked why he said it was because I make them and they smell good. Bless.

I did have did have a bit of good news yesterday, when I visited Out Framed Gallery in Ripley, where they have a display of my jewellery on sale. I showed her the lavender sachets I have been making and she loves them and will be taking some to have in a little basket in the shop from Monday (when I can make a few more from a few different fabrics) and she went gaga over my little Owl pin cushion which I brought along to show her. So I guess I know what I shall be making over the weekend. Oh and she gave me a commission cheque for two bracelets that sold! I think that means I can order some goodies from etsy don't you?

I'll post the names chosen for the Pay it Forward scheme a little later today, and some further adventures in book clubbing too.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Cupcake Brownies

Brownie Cupcakes

1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup butter (softened)
4 large eggs
1 cup plain/dark chocolate chips

Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt, cocoa, sugar, vanilla, butter and eggs.

Fold in the chocolate chips and spread batter into muffin/cupcake cases about ¾ full. (Alternatively you could add nuts or dried fruit at this time) Makes about 24 cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for roughly 20 minutes.

Cool for five minutes in the muffin tins before moving them to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Once cooled you can top the brownies with butter cream, whipped cream as I did, or a dollop of your favourite ice-cream, or drizzled pouring cream.

cook's notes:I had been meaning to try brownie cupcakes for awhile now, after the mums at H's school going gaga for my brownies, it made sense to try to make small individual ones that don't make as much mess as still warm brownies with a gooey centre. They still all sold in gooey form but individual portions in cupcake size will work better for the next cake sale to raise money for school activities. Sorry the picture is less than brilliant, it was at night and the light was terrible, and five minutes later, less than that actually, M had gobbled up my model brownie.