Working on my PHD

Yes you did read that correctly, I am working on my PHD – Projects Half Done that is!

I was looking in my living room at the steadily growing pile of patterns, yarn and project bits and thought enough is enough, I need to finish some of these before I start anything new.

So first up is my little crochet unicorn. I had already completed the head, body and horn, so it’s time to make the legs and mane.

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This is a pattern from LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine that I started several months ago. My daughter is mad about horses, ponies and unicorns, so it seemed like a great gift for her. With her real love of Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony, the colours were almost perfect too. We had an afternoon watching ‘The Cat Returns’ and I made all the legs, but the mane took ages! Who would have thought that cutting 80 20cm lengths of yarn and then tassling them into a 21ch length would take almost 2 hours!!! Maybe it’s just me being really slow….

Anyway I now have all the pieces ready to stuff and sew together.

Next up is a crochet snowman I started last year.

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Again it’s a pattern from Knitting and Crochet magazine and it uses up some of my larger left over yarn balls. I’ve made the head and body using baby yarn, so it was time to make the nose, scarf and earmuffs. This called for a watch of ‘Frozen’, something we haven’t actually sat down to watch for a few months. This was a bit fiddly as it meant using a 2.5mm hook, which is very delicate. Fingers crossed I have enough yarn to finish the headband, or I might be making it in a co-ordinating colour! Watch this space..

My next projects to finish are to start off my Christmas collection. I know I didn’t start in June, but I need to get cracking on some of the little stockings as they are always in demand for stocking fillers, teacher gifts, table presents and tree decorations. I have 6 rainbow stockings ready to sew up now, and I have finished my first two winter coloured ones, complete with fluffy tops!

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Finally I have the knitted and crochet blanket I started for Bury Show that I didn’t get chance to finish in time. I love the sampler feel of this and all the bright colours. I now need to finish off the connecting of the squares and decide how to edge it. Any suggestions are gratefully received.

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This will really clear up my living room and give me a chance to make something new for Christmas. I am newly enthused for these projects now and can’t wait to see them finished.

Happy crafting
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Summer Holidays

Well the school holidays are well under way now and of course, following the trend of the year so far, we have all been ill! I’ve had to have a week off doing anything with a bout of conjunctivitis, which having never had it before, I never want again. It has meant being unable to craft, read or use the computer as I couldn’t see very well. I spent an entire week wearing my sunglasses, which is not great when you’re inside the house.

Anyway, inspite of the set backs, I have managed to get my daughter crafting to a certain degree. I have been collecting up boxes, tubes and pots as usual, which will all be donated to the local nursery school when they start back in September. I love this as it’s so imaginative and is the ultimate recycling of re-useable rubbish. It certainly trims our bin and gives the school loads of things to use too. I really don’t know why more people don’t do it as it’s such an easy way to recycle and for the children to be creative. In the meantime, they make great model building materials at home.

My 6 year old is really enjoying making at the moment so we’re making the most of this. Here’s one of her larger makes, a city for some of her animals and figures.

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This was later populated with lego people and adorned with lego flowers, trees and bridges.

We’re also taking part in the annual Summer reading challenge at the local library. This year the theme is record breakers. As she managed over 30 books last summer, I think it will be a tough ask to beat that record this year, but she’s game for a try. The aim is to read 6 books before the end of the holidays and there are stickers to collect. We can’t wait to see what the first ones are. The fun books being chosen this year seem to be ‘Rainbow Magic’ fairies and ‘My little pony’. (A bit of a change from all the pirates and dinosaurs from the last couple of years).

As I am now on the mend from minor illness and my surgery we are hoping to get out-and-about a bit and maybe do some different types of crafts. We did get a lovely surprise in the post last week, as I must have entered a giveaway in LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine. I received a set of mini flower looms, so I can see these being found all over the place. Here are our first attempts, so I just need to find (or make) something to put them on.

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I can see them being added to some of my current under-construction projects, but we shall have to wait and see. They may be added to one of my previous makes that are currently residing in my daughter’s bedroom!

Well I see it must be time to get back to make some lunch before having a look at what we can do this afternoon – I can see paper, card and pens coming out of the making box!!

Happy crafting
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Last Day of Term

Well the last day of the school year has arrived again.  I can’t believe how quickly it’s come round.  My daughter is finishing year one today and has taken in her little cards and gifts for her teacher and teaching assistant.

We have kept with the homemade and apple themes, but changed things a little with the cards this year.  So instead of just having a personalised tag on the keyring, we have personalised tags on the cards as well. Hopefully the staff will appreciate something different from all the boxes of chocolates, biscuits and bottles of wine that we saw on our way into class this morning.

Personalised Thank You Cards

Personalised Thank You Cards

I also added a little red bakers twine bow to the tag at the last minute this morning – thank heavens for cosmic shimmer glue being so quick drying!

My daughter did all the writing inside, with no help from me at all.

Apple keyrings

I can’t believe she’s moving up to year two in September. She’s been at the school for three years now already, as she started in the nursery, and it’s flying by. So I am making the most of the last afternoon of peace and quiet around the house before I start to think about what we can get up to over the school holidays. I feel there will be crafting activities, hopefully I might even persuade her to learn to knit or crochet!

Happy summer crafting
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Baking Therapy

Just as I was starting to feel relatively back to normal, my daughter gets sent home from school!  Coinciding with the hot weather too.  So I have spent the last few days looking after her and worrying.  It turns out she had a virus and she’s pretty much back to normal again now.  So, to cheer me up a bit, I thought I’d do some baking for a change.

With not being able to have any fat in my diet for quite a while, I haven’t done any baking in ages.  And as it’s almost time for the local community group summer fair again (this Saturday coming) I needed a baking fix.

I decided to make some scones.  As we had some cheese left over in the fridge, I used that to make these delicious little cheddar cheese scones.

Cheese Scones

Then I thought I needed a sweeter fix too, and I found some chocolate chips in the baking cupboard.

Chocolate Chip Scones

As the scones take so little time to make, I started to hunt through the recipe books and came across a recipe to use up over-ripe bananas.  I have an old recipe for a banana and bran loaf which is fabulous, but I didn’t have any bran in the cupboard, so I thought I’d try another recipe, this time for a banana and walnut loaf.  I was given this recipe by someone at Bury Council Recycling Team and it’s quite different to any other cake I’ve made.  I’ve never added bicarbonate of soda to warm milk before – great scientific experiment!

Banana and Walnut  Loaf

The loaf took only 40 minutes to bake and is so light and moist.  It may take over as my new favourite way to use over-ripe bananas.

The house smelt amazing after that little baking session, although as there’s only 3 of us at home I think I may have overdone it a bit!!  At least I have something in if I get any surprise visitors.

My husband has kindly said I will make the scones for the cream teas at the summer fair on Saturday, so it’s time to make sure I have enough ingredients in.  If you have a cream tea do you prefer plain or fruit scones?

Happy crafting
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Learning to Knit?

‘But you can already knit’ I hear you cry.

Yes I know I can already knit, but I’m always open to learning more. I found a lovely lady with a stall at Bury Show last weekend and she has set up her own little business teaching people to knit. I was drawn in by the lovely balls of yarn on her table and picked up a leaflet and business card for a bit more information.

We had a lovely chat about knitting and it turns out that she doesn’t think her classes would be of any benefit to me. She teaches mainly adults, however, she is considering teaching children to knit, probably from the age seven. So I might well be taking her up on that option for my daughter in the next year or so. (That is if she wants to learn) It was great to chat with someone else so passionate about her craft.

So if you want to learn to knit or are ready to take on cables and/or knitting in the round and are in the Bury area, why not check out learn to knit bury

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Happy crafting
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Crafting for School

Like most schools, my daughter’s primary school has a summer and a winter fair each year.  These are run by the staff and pupils, and many of the stalls have items the pupils have crafted in school.  By far the most popular stall is the ‘pot goody’ dice roll.

The children are all given a plastic pint pot and asked to ‘decorate it’ in a given theme and fill it with little gifts.  It’s a great idea and there are some amazing creations every time.  We always have some fun trying to think of something to make.  The best one from each class wins a prize, and then all the ‘pots’ are prizes in the ‘pot goody’ dice roll game at the fair.

So this week, we have had to squeeze in making a ‘summer themed pot goody’.  I decided to have a look through all our previous makes for some inspiration.  Unfortunately, they have mostly been winter ones so far!  P1180745It was fun looking through the pictures with my daughter, watching how she has grown up since her first year in nursery!  We loved making this little snowman, I don’t know how she didn’t win this, maybe I should have worked harder on the carrot nose!

Next up was the summer, pirate theme!  Now this was a difficult one.

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It was fun making the face from paper plates and it’s such a great way of using up bits from the crafty stash box! I don’t think she won this one either, but it was fun making the pirate just the same.

The next two entries we found are both winter ones, and I seem to have let the side down somewhat as they are both Christmas trees!
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The first was when she was in reception and the second was last Christmas. It’s great when she gets to make something fun and add as much embellishment as she wants.

This year’s theme of Summer conjured up lots of ideas between us, flowers, sunshine, bucket and spade, sandcastle, but we settled in the end for a bee!

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We had to raid some of my crafty stash as well as the general box this time as painting wasn’t something we had a lot of time for this week. But I found some yellow washi tape and black ribbon for the bee body. We used some white funky foam for the wings and eyes and black pipe-cleaners for the antennae and mouth.  We then went mad with papers cutting out flowers and leaves using punches and dies.  We stuck them all onto a paper plate (coloured green), layering up some of the flowers and curling some petals to add dimension!  We finished by sticking the bee on to the flowers and added a few small flowers onto the bee’s body.  He’s (I’m pretty sure he’s a he bee) been filled with sweets and some pencils.

Having taken her bee to school this morning, she’s now waiting to see if she has won the prize this time.  Fingers crossed!  We should find out at the fair tomorrow.

Happy crafting
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