Amazing Clasheen Winter Swap update, no water, no central heating and in lock down mode with weather alert!

The first pictures are now being uploaded to our Clasheen Swap group on Flickr and I have to say that there have been amazing packages winging their way to swap partners all around the world.  Many of the participants decided to wait until 25th December to open their goodies and boy does it seem as if the wait was worthwhile!  Check out the discussion board to read what people sent and recieved and then search through the group photos to see some of the great images of packages in various stages of unwrap.  Once all the thank yous and photos are posted to the group I will upload details of our first swap for 2010!

I didn’t post yesterday about my lack of water but today the situation is even worse so I am now officially entering Clasheen lockdown mode!  On returning from my sister’s on Sunday I discovered that the water supply had stopped, probably from ice somewhere along the line from the well to the water pressure tank.  The ground temperatures have been as low as -9C which is totally unheard of for Ireland so it probably is not surprising that this situation has occured.  Unfortunately my central heating has now gone on the blink this morning but luckily I have the range and a great small wood burning stove so cooking and huddling in front of these are my best bet for now!  The weather outside is currently exceptionally windy and wet and heavy snow is forecast for the next couple of days.  I am praying that the rain will defrost the ground sufficiently for my pipes to unfreeze and then I will be able to fill both baths prior to all the snow, bleed the radiatiors, run the washing machine and have a warm and relaxing bath to round off the day.  Failing a thaw I will just keep the stove lighting as much as possible and get water from my neighbours farmhouse, if I have no water tomorrow I will also beg a bath!  I have rigged up a duvet cover over the front door to try and eliminate the draft and now I have discovered that I don’t have enough putty around one of my upstairs window panes so I have some towels held in place by toiletry bottles to help with the draft and soak up some of the water that is making it’s way inside the window.  My french doors on the north east side of the studio are also leaking badly (this is the current direction of the wind) so overall I will be glad if it actually snows and this horrible windy rain stops, at least then it might be dry but cold!

Felting has obviously taken a backseat due to lack of water and total chaos in the kitchen but if things are not better tomorrow I am going to start some kind of project and use a bucket of water which I will collect from my neighbours.  Withdrawal symptoms have definitely set in on the textile side of things as I prepare for the snow but possibly things will get back to some kind of normality if my water returns this afternoon!

Felt necklaces, Autumn Swap and Flickr

I ended last night and started this morning by stringing a few more simple but stylish felt necklaces.  Some of them were made entirely from felt beads or balls, some were felt and vintage buttons and one was felt with a beautiful hand painted African button as the feature piece.  Probably I am putting off starting to tidy my studio but unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) I am going to have to get stuck into it in the next half an hour or so.  Carmen is arriving just after lunch and I want to do a serious afternoons work, nuno scarves call, so really I need to clear the long table soon if I want to lay the fibres out on it!

I also spent some time setting up a new Flickr group called ‘Clasheen Crafty Swaps’ this morning, check it out and if you have been participating in our Autumn Swap please take the time to join Flickr (if you are not already a member) and upload photos of your swap packages.  My image of the amazing painting and other goodies I received from Anna is already there, it is really great fun to see what everybody has sent and received, it just adds another dimension to the swap.  For friends who would like to join in the discussions that we will have through the group please feel free to join even if you are not intending getting involved in the swaps.  I know that not everybody has the time to engage in the swaps, my only request is that members only post images of their current work if they actually do join the varaious swaps and this way I can moniter the group content without too much difficulty.

Finishing some felting items and swap news

Yesterday I put the last finishing touch to some of the items that I have sent out in the Autumn swap.  These necessary but fiddly touches really defeat me sometimes so it was really good to have a deadline to work towards, things like putting poppers on bags and sewing pin backs to brooches, all the little SEWING details!  Anyway it inspired me to get out those bowls of felt beads that I have just waiting to be put to use.  In the afternoon Carmen arrived and we spent the time happily sewing beads around the edge of a hand dyed silk scarf (Carmen) and stringing several simple but attractive necklaces (me).  Today I actually have a couple of things to do outside the house but intend on spending some time tidying out the studio, or at least starting it in preparation for a marathon day tomorrow.  I have organised a neighbouring farmer to help me for a couple of days before next Thursday, he has some fiddly but essential outdoor tasks and I have those essential but horrible indoor tidying tasks to complete before the first of my evening classes starts next week.  I am also going to be finalising Mehmet Girgic’s workshop dates today so keep your eye on the blog, they will go up as soon as they are organised.

By now all of out Autumn swaps should be in the post.  I have a small confession to make, I missed the post yesterday so appologies to my partners, they are posted now but you will be getting your parcels one day late and I really have no excuse except confusion and distraction!  Next time for the swap I may set up a group on Flickr to run everything through.  Things were a bit confusing here and I actually am involved in a couple of swaps (really enjoying them!) but operating through my Flickr account would mean that I would have less chance to miss anyone out or have any errors. 

My swap package arrived from Anna, thanks SO much Anna for the fantastic painting and the great cards.  I actually admired the painting on Anna’s painting blog at the weekend so was absolutely amazed when it arrived in the post yesterday!!  I am also looking forward to making the delicious sounding bread, it should tase great made in the Rayburn.  Please email me images of your swap packages as they arrive if you want to and I will set up a page on the blog so others can see them as well.