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June 5, 2020 @ 7:45 am

Episode 55 - Harder than you think

Hello there and welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast and the show notes for Episode 55 – Harder Than you Think.   

My name is Fay and this is my audio and video podcast for those that love fibre crafts, particularly crochet.  It’s a community for people that like to support their fellow humans regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, size or age. I hope you feel the welcome embrace and love of the Crochet Clan.  Come on in and stay awhile.  

In this episode, I cover: Old Dog New Tricks; Final Destination; En Route; Designs in Progress; Quick News Beats; Big Up and J'adore.   

This podcast is sponsored by Provenance Craft Co. 

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Thanks to everyone who tunes into the podcast whether it is through Stitcher, Podbean, Spotify, iTunes or the YouTube Channel. Your support and engagement are really appreciated and makes running a podcast very special and worthwhile.  The video version of this episode is available on YouTube (link).

If you would like to support the podcast, you can now do that through my new Ko-fi account, just click on the image, or follow this link:  https://ko-fi.com/crochetcirclepodcast kofi.png  

 

1 – General Update

I am stood at my desk as I type this and it’s really difficult to find the ‘right’ words.  I’m not even sure there are ‘right’ words.  The world seems to be on fire.  People are being killed, simply because of their skin colour. 

This episode was nearly called “Inconsequential” because that is how I felt about podcasting over the last few days – who cares about a crochet podcast when people are being killed, simply because of their skin colour. 

This crochet podcast is also a platform for morals, beliefs, community and showing solidarity.

So, instead, it is called “Harder Than You Think”.  Besides being the title for my favourite Public Enemy song (because it has lyrics that speak volumes to me (link)), it is also a reminder that life is harder than you think. 

It’s particularly hard on people that face oppression, brutality, racism and inequality on a daily basis.  That is what hard looks like. 

So, if you want to be part of the change, to support your fellow humans then know that there is hard work ahead and it will be harder than you think.  You will most likely take a step back at some point and think about your former actions and words and feel disgusted with yourself for not having done better.    You will make mistakes that you can learn from. 

I put three actions on Instagram (link).  Three simple things that can be your starting point if you are now ready to be part of the change: 

1 – Listen to the experiences of others and get angry about the injustices that they are made to suffer day after day and do something positive with that anger without being performative or centring it around you.

2 – Talk to your friends and family about diversity and inclusivity.  Keep having the conversations.  Keep pushing for solidarity over oppression.

3 – Your money makes a difference.  Donate money to organisations that make a difference such as ROTA in the UK (link) or National Bail Out in the US (link).  These are just two examples, there are many great organisations out there that you can donate to.

Let’s be part of the change.  Complacency is not an option.

 

2 – Old Dog New Tricks

I just have a quick one for you this month because time is utterly against me this week.  You may have the same issues I have when I go above a 5.5mm crochet hook.  I find that the hook gets too heavy and it can be difficult to manoeuvre and ultimately make your hands or wrist hurt.

I have some large plastic hooks in my hook case but I really don’t enjoy working with them and I find it difficult to get my tension right.  Instead, have a try with bamboo hooks.  They are lightweight, slippy enough to tension with and I find them comfortable to work with. 

So, if you have previously been put off working on larger gauge projects because of the hooks you, why not try a bamboo. 

 

3 – Final Destination

I have finished things!

Scrapvent Blanket is finished and I love it!  I’ll be writing up this pattern shortly.  My lovely friend Bec is working up a DK version with an advent yarn calendar she got last year.  I have never been that fussed about crocheting blankets, but I think the flood gates may have been opened.  I definitely prefer thin fabric without holes.

Ep_55_FO_1_6nfz4.jpgImage text: The left side of my bone coloured linen sofa has blue cushions and my Scravent Blanket draped over the arm.  A medley of 24 different coloured yarns with a peachy cream border.

Matthew called my Scrapvent Blanket “fugly” – how rude!  So, to get my revenge I used loads of the yarns craps from the blanket in a pair of Fugly Socks that he has to wear.  The truth is that I didn’t want to add a load of little yarn scraps back into my stash and I used up all the remnants of nine of my blanket colours in his socks.  I will use some of the other scraps to also make myself a pair of Fugly Socks.     

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Image text: A pair of scrappy, hand-knitted socks in stripes of forest green, acid green, teal, navy, grey and aqua.  The socks are placed on bone coloured linen sofa seat pad.

Last month I showed off some slubby/thick and thin yarn that my friend Claudia sent me from Germany.  I crocheted it into a cushion cover using a 10mm (bamboo) hook and linen stitch.  I chose linen stitch because it makes a nice flat fabric which has a decent amount of stretch which you need in a cushion cover.  Eventually, the cushion will go into my Stash Palace, but for now, Matthew is using it on his stool when her delivers training.  Who knew that metals stool seats aren’t that comfortable?!?

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Image text: A close up of my bone coloured linen sofa has blue cushions and my new slubby crocheted cushion cover at the front.  It has a light sky blue, olive green, spring green and white running through it and is nobbly because of the slubby yarn.

I have also been trying out wood whittling, and I love it.  I have concentrated on shawl sticks so far.

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Image text: Five hand whittled shawl sticks are placed on bone coloured linen sofa seat pad.  The sticks have a skeletal quality about them because of the blonde wood and finger-like quality of their shape.

4 – En Route

It is time to think about crocheting summer tops!  This has been on my to-do list for weeks now and I finally found time at the weekend to search for the right top.

I was specifically looking for a top that had been designed by a BIPOC/BAME designer and was size-inclusive (up to a 60” bust). 

So, where do you start?  Well, you go to the BIPOC in Fiber website (link) because it is an amazing resource that is easy to navigate and gives the details and links of BIPOC/BAME in all sorts of categories such as crochet designers, hand-knit designers, yarn retailers, photographers, podcasters – basically every element of our fibre community is covered and categorised, ready for you to search.

There were three pages of crochet designers for me to go to and they all link to website or Ravelry pages where I could see their full designs line-up. 

Because I was looking for a size-inclusive garment, that narrowed the field but I enjoyed going through all of the designer profiles, many of which I was familiar with because of the work that Claudia from Crochet Luna vlog cast had been doing. 

So, I settled on the Zig-Zag-Zummer top (link) by Sandra at Nomad Stitches (link).  You definitely will have seen Sandra’s work before.  She is the designer behind the Taroko and Aztec Sweaters.

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Image text: 1 - Boen coloured linen seat pad with a ball of olive green yarn to the right, the very beginnings of a top and an orange crochet hook.  The yarn has a sheen to it because it is pure linen.  Image 2 - White wall with Sandra's torso showing.  She is wearing her Zi-Zag-Zummer crocheted top which has filet zig zags at the bottom, working up to a plain v-neck top.  The top is a mid-dusky rose pink.  

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Image text: Dusky pink background with a white polaroid cut out and Sandra from Nomad Stitches as he photo held up with clear washi tape.  Sandra has mid-length brown hair and is wearing a crocheted top with love hearts at the bottom.  She is also wearing a big smile.

 

I plan on using my Rowan Pure Linen stash which is 130m/50g because it will ake for a nice cool summer top.

I haven’t really made much progress on the top because life, but have a deadline of the 1st July because I am joining in the @promised.fiber (link) Make IT Inclusive MAL (link). 

If you fancy joining in too, it is open to crocheters, knitters and sewers.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if lots of Crochet Clan people searched out a BIPOC/BAME designer from the BIPOC in Fiber website and joined in? 

I also wanted to highlight a couple of other sources:

1 – Lisa (LisaRaspCrochet on Ravelry) has made a bundle which has 133 different size-inclusive garments.

2 – Yelley (Yelley on Ravelry) also has a bundle with 158 size-inclusive crocheted garments.

Find the person on Ravelry, click onto their favourites and then you can search their ‘bundles’.

 

5  – Designs in Progress

I have finished all of my Positivity Spiral samples and have updated the pattern.  If you have already bought it or buy it in the future, it now gives options form heavy laceweight up to bulky/chunky weight.  I have added in estimated circumference and depth measurements so that you can choose how many stitch repeats you do to get the measurements you want. 

The updated version will be going out next week.

I also have the rights back for Omni and that has already been uploaded onto my website and Ravelry.  Again, that works in all weights between heavy laceweight and aran/worsted. 

 

6  – Feeding the Habit

There is no Feeding the Habit this month.  I have been buying sewing books, but no yarn. 

This will not last for long because this weekend is the John Arbon Textiles Mill Open Weekend.  I should have been vending and instead we are doing it all virtually from Friday through to Sunday.

I know I am going to buy yarn.   Especially because I got to design my own colour.  More on that in J’adore. 

As part of the Virtual Mill Open Weekend, we are having an online crafting session – much like the Global Hook Up.  Do come and join us on Sunday 7th June at 2pm on Zoom (same joining details as below for Global Hook Ups).  It will be some of the Mill Folk form John Arbon, Katie Green, me and hopefully, lost of friendly faces joining us. 

 

7 – Quick News Beats

1 - Global Hook Up – The June hook ups are on:

Saturday 27th  at 8pm BST and Sunday 28th at 9am BST.

The meeting ID number is 475-047-5819 and you will need to join via Zoom which you can do here:  https://www.zoom.us/join

If you are joining on your phone or tablet you will likely need to download the software in advance.  If you are joining from a PC or Mac, you can join via the link above.  Everyone needs to use the same ID number to get into the session. 

2 – Lots of yarn shows are moving to virtual events.  Obviously it is nice to meet face to face, but the beauty of a virtual event is that you can o to ones that were previously out of your reach.  Look out for Woolfest, Yarndale and others in the UK.

8 - Big Up

This one has to go out to the BIPOC in Fiber team.  The website that has been created is a wonderful resource.  You may not be aware, but the person behind the website development is actually Alyson from the Keep Calm and Carry Yarn podcast.  Alyson has and continues to do an amazing job on the site. 

7 – J’adore

My love affair with John Arbon Textiles continues.  When I first started crocheting and getting into really lovely wool and yarns, I dreamt about having my own yarn colours. 

I was asked to design my own for the Virtual Mill Open Weekend in their Yarnadelic range which is my current favourite wool of theirs. 

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Image text: Image split into two but features the same yarn, Another Friday Night.  The yarn is dark, dusky blue with slivers of silver through it.  It’s like the night sky when the starts just start twinkling but not all the light has disappeared.  In the left picture, skeins of the yarn are on a table with a chair tucked underneath.  On the right, the yarn is wound on colourful plastic cones and bundled inside a large white industrial bag.  

Obviously, I was tempted to do a mustard but they already have an amazing mustard in that range.  Instead, I went for a dark, dusky blue with slivers of silver through it.  It’s like the night sky when the starts just start twinkling but not all the light has disappeared.  I LOVE IT.  If you want some too, be quick (link). 

 

I’ll be back on the 3rd July.

Fay x

 

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May 1, 2020 @ 8:03 am

Episode 54 - Simple, Soothing Stitches

Hello there and welcome to The Crochet Circle Podcast and the show notes for Episode 54 – Simple, Soothing Stitches.   

My name is Fay and this is my audio and video podcast for those that love fibre crafts, particularly crochet.  It’s a community for people that like to support their fellow humans regardless of race, gender, sexuality, ability, size or age. I hope you feel the welcome embrace and love of the Crochet Clan.  Come on in and stay awhile.  

In this episode, I cover General Update; Old Dog New Tricks; Final Destination; Designs on Progress; Quick News Beats and Big Up.   

 

This podcast is sponsored by Provenance Craft Co. 

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Thanks to everyone who tunes into the podcast whether it is through Stitcher, Podbean, Spotify, iTunes or the YouTube Channel. Your support and engagement are really appreciated and makes running a podcast very special and worthwhile. 

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If you would like to support the podcast, you can now do that through my new Ko-fi account, just click on the image, or follow this link:  https://ko-fi.com/crochetcirclepodcast

   

1 – General Update

I know that globally, we are all on different states of stay at home/lockdown.  However, the reality is most likely a little like eat, sleep, distance repeat.  I’m used to working from home and probably only go at a handful of times a week anyway.  I’m a bit of an introvert, so although I am very happy in my little home bubble, I am starting to miss my people.  It would have been Wonderwool Wales this weekend.  It’s easily my favourite show of the year.  I get to catch up with lots of my yarn buddies, many of which I won’t have seen since the end of September.  It’s a chance to check-in and hug your friends.  So, I’m missing all of that.

I can only imagine that if you are a social butterfly this must be really tough for you.    

I know that many of you are being directly affected by the virus and have family members that are ill or have sadly died.  I am sending tender love and hugs. 

 

2 – Old Dog New Tricks

This month’s top Crochet Clan tip is from Caroline (Soltra on Ravelry).  Her tip is to regularly push yourself to try something new with crafting.  It could be a new technique, a new type of craft, just something that keeps pushing you forward.  Caroline references the fact that when she learned to do Tunisian Crochet, she made blanket after blanket and sickened herself by only doing blankets for 18 months.  It was only when she joined in with a Tunisian CAL that was all about skill-building that she really moved on with her Tunisian crochet skills and has worked her way through 13+ projects.

It’s really easy to stick to what you know and feels comfortable.  And I know that I have called this episode Simple Soothing Stitches because I don’t currently have the mental capacity to work on really complicated things, but new techniques and skills don’t have to be complicated.

 

I don’t know how many times I have told myself “oh, I’m not good enough to try that technique out yet”.  It’s folly to think that way because you are just holding yourself back.  Dive in, if it works first time – great, if it needs a bit of extra practice then that’s also great because you are really getting to grips with the new thing.  If it doesn’t work then maybe it’s not for you.  Often, that’s my favourite outcome because I can cross it off my list and move onto the next technique.  You will never see me do crocheted cables.  I hated doing.  It’s just not for me, but because I now know that, I’m never swayed to those projects and I let something else pique my interest instead.

 

3 – Final Destination

Let me introduce you to Heulwen.  It’s a laceweight shawl using Garthenor wool (link) and is in this month’s Inside Crochet (Issue 125 (link)).  Heulwen means sunshine in Welsh which is very apt given the design and that Garthenor is a Welsh-based wool company.

Heulwen is made from 2 x 50g of Gathenor’s Number 1 Laceweight Wool which is undyed Shetland (link) and 1 x 50g of their plyed laceweight, Pennine, in colour Tilia (link).

The entire thing weighs about 120g and although it’s lightweight, it’s nice and cosy.

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Image text: Image 1 - An undeyed grey, Shetland wool shawl is displayed along a wooden fence post with bright yellow oilseed rape flowers and woodland in the field behind and cow parsley in bloom in the verge in front.  The shell has details of the sun in the same yellow as the oilseed rape.  A semi-circle for the sun with beams of yellow coming off in fan stitches.  Image 2 - a close up of the shawl showing how fine the lace wool is with the yellow fan/sunbeam details.  Oilseed rape flowers and a blueish sky are visible behind.

 

I have been hooking up many Positivity Spirals (link to Ravelry, link to my website, link to Etsy).  This month I have made one from:

John Arbon Textiles Exmoor Sock 4 ply, 50g/200m,  Mackerel Sky (link).

John Arbon Textiles Knit By Numbers DK, 100g/250m, KBN111 (link).

John Arbon Textiles  Harvest Hues light Aran/worsted, 100g/200m, Bracken (link).

Gathernor Number 5, Chunky, 100g/70-100m, Pewter Jacob (link).

 

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Image description: Four different versions of Positivity Spiral Cowl lying over each other. L-R is an undyed Jacob, chunky version in a Pewter Grey, Then a rusty orange Aran weight version, an aquamarine 4 ply version and a long thin DK version in lovely dirty mustard colour.

I have one more to do and then I can update the pattern giving options for a wider range of yarn weights.  If you have already bought Positivity Spiral, as soon as it has been updated, you will receive a new copy with all of the weights on it. 

I also set myself a design challenge last month to get a design, knit and publish a pattern inside of seven days.  I managed it by the skin of my teeth and it was intense!  I created a stranded colourwork knitted hat called the Coho Beanie (link to Ravelry, link to my website, link to Etsy).  I also used it as a chance to document my design process, the tools I use and the amount of time that is involved.  If you are interested in seeing that process, head over to my design Instagram account @faydhdesigns (link) and look for the videos.

I used John Arbon Textiles Yarnadlic 25g/83m Minis (link) in colours Indigo Dust, Of my Hand, Woman in Blue and Ordinary Joe for the four-colour blue version and Harmonium, English Sparrows and Ordinary Joe for the three-colour green version.

 

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Image description: Image 1 - me with my long brown hair down looking back over my shoulder beside a large pool of water.  I am wearing the M/L, four-coloured, knitted Coho Beanie which ranges from dark teal through to a warm cream and has feature scallops in stranded colourwork.  

Image 2 - The five different size version of the hat laid out on a large mossy trunk, surrounded by nettles.  L-R they go from L/XL adult (green), M/L (teals), S (teals), XS/Child (teals) and toddler (green) sizes.  The green version is three-colours, ranging from a mid-forest green to bright spring green to the same warm cream.  Some of the hats have pom poms on them.

 

Me being me, I knitted it up in five different sizes, so it’s available from toddlers up to a L/XL adult.

So whilst I haven’t yet managed to whittle any wood – that’s my challenge for this weekend – I have managed to sew my first ever garment.  I managed to get some organic cotton from Fabworks (link) and used the Elise Tee from Fine Motor Skills (link) which is a free sewing pattern.  I really enjoyed this as a first attempt and I’m happy to be wearing it as I record.  I even regraded the pattern to make it a little bigger because it only goes from S-L.  Plop! There I go down the sewing rabbit hole. 

My Nana used to sew all of her own clothes.  Don’t think tea dresses, think fine tailoring pinstripe suits with satin and chiffon blouses.  Elaine Dashper was a woman with very defined tastes and standards!  I am hoping I have inherited some of her sewing DNA. 

 

4  – Designs in Progress

I have almost finished my Scrapvent Blanket.  Lots of work has gone into this month because although I am trying to set myself challenges to keep focussed, I am also really drawn to simple soothing stitches.  I just don’t want my crochet time to be challenging too and the blanket has been perfect for that. 

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Image description: Cream background with my Scrapvent Blanket coming in from the right having been artistically 'dumped'.  It has a cream border and 24 different stripes (6 rows per colour stripe) ranging from peachy creams to mustard, greens, teals and finally, dark plummy purple. 

Why not head to your stash and see if you have 24 x 20g leftovers or minis in 4 ply and 100g for a border?  Get them bagged up and put away for 1st December 2020.

I’m so pleased with the way that the blanket is coming together.  There are a couple in there that I maybe would swap out in hindsight, but as soon as I attached the border, it really helped to bring the whole piece together.  For me, it was well worth pulling together the 24 colour sequence.  Even if I did think I was drunk when I added the acid green in that I now rather like!

This will be finished next month, with a pattern to follow shortly.

I was working on a laceweight version of Positivity Spiral with Organically Farmed Merino, 50g/650m, natural white (link) but I just can’t do it.  It’s too fine and I’m not enjoying it.  Given what I said in Old Dog New Tricks, I definitely know that cobweb lace is a step too far for me.

I know that I keep on saying I don’t like laceweight, but clearly I must like it a little bit because I keep on going back to it.

So, my alternative laceweight version of Positivity Spiral is in Garthenor’s Number 1 laceweight in Smoke, which is undyed Shetland, 50g/350 (link).

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Image description: Image 1 - cream background with a cake of fine undyed, grey laceweight wool to the top left and a bundle of barely started crocheted rounds in the middle.  A pink metal crochet hook lyes to the right.  Image 2 - School green background with a photo of Jonny and Sally from Garthenor Organic.  Jonny with his arm around his Mum, Sally, as they stand in front of Niagara Falls.  

 

5  – Feeding the Habit

I am a very fortunate person.  I had three parcels turn up from lovely Crochet Clan folk.  Each parcel arrived just when I needed a little boost!

I received some beautiful seaweed yarn and skeins of hemp from Rachael.  She has also requested that I do a bit of a feature on vegan yarns.  I have one planned and have lots of yarns to go through but don’t quite know when I’m going to get to it – someday!

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Three skeins of hemp yarn in an acid green, rusty brown/orange a dark lavender blue/purple lye diagi=onally beside a card with a crocheted hexagon and cake of seaweed yarn.

Rica sent me through loads of German marzipan ( I even let Matthew have some) and yarn from her global travels.  So, I now have yarns from Germany, Iran, India, Uzbekistan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Peru and Bolivia in my stash.  I need to spend some proper time looking at the construction of the wools to see if there are differences from country to country.

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Image description: cream background with lots of different yarns from around the world.  Fluffy blue mohair from India, perfectly spun pecahy brown wool from Bolivia, loosely spun green wool from Iran.  The different plying methods from different countries is evident.

Claudia also sent loads of marzipan from Germany.  If you have never tried marzipan with calvados, you are missing out!  I have a new favourite.  My parcel from Claudia was full of all sorts of lovely goodies including some amazing art yarn which I think I am going to make into a cushion, using the mustard coloured buttons that she popped in the parcel. 

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Image description: A large hank of art yarn that goes from thick to thin and ranges from sky blue to bring green and a slurry green /brown.  

I can’t show you any marzipan because we have eaten it all! Nom, nom, nom.

Given that I was buying design wool from Garthenor, I also treated myself to a little set of 10g mini skeins from their little shop update.  Often small companies have small updates that go out to newsletter subscribers first.  That’s what Garthenor and RiverKnits do.  John Arbon Textiles do their Mill Membership for special access.  It’s definitely worth subscribing to your favourite small businesses. 

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Image description: Five mini skeins fo wool, each bound in the centre with a kraft paper label.  The skeins are different types of wool and move from light grey/brown through to a dark chocolate, peaty colour.

6 – Quick News Beats

1 - Global Hook Up – The May hook ups are on:

Saturday 23rd  at 8pm BST and Sunday 24th at 9am BST.

The meeting ID number is 475-047-5819 and you will need to join via Zoom which you can do here:  https://www.zoom.us/join

If you are joining on your phone or tablet you will likely need to download the software in advance.  If you are joining from a PC or Mac, you can join via the link above.  Everyone needs to use the same ID number to get into the session. 

 

7 – J’adore

Going back to the premise of simple and soothing, I have been going back to gardening and growing more of our own food.  The current pandemic has given me a bit of a jolt to look again at my environmental impact and what is important to me. 

My plan is to grow and make even more of our own food (we already do a fair bit) and to really work towards a handmade capsule wardrobe. 

I don’t think I’m the only one using this strange time to reassess what they want from this one life.

I have also been looking backwards through “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady” by Edith Holden.  It’s an illustrated nature journal, documenting what Edith saw in the English countryside month by month.  I grew up with this book and bought my own second-hand copy at the beginning of the year.  Every month, I go to it and look at Edith’s writing and illustrations for that month.  One of May’s mottoes is “Shear your sheep in May and shear them all away”. 

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Image description: The book is open at pages for May with beautiful handwriting on the left page and a delicate illustration of May flowers on the right.

 

I‘m basically taking pleasure from the simple things.  I hope you are too.

 

I’ll be back on 5th June.

Fay x

 

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Instagram: provenance.craft.co  

Instagram: FayDHDesigns

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