Week 1 – Social Distancing in the Sun

Well last week was a very unusual one for everyone.  We spent the week mostly in and around the house, which is not that unusual for me, but it’s been strange having my husband and daughter at home as well.  Fortunately the weather was lovely and I spent a lot of time outside, reading and doing some garden tidying.  I really love being out in the garden and I would very much like to be doing more out there, but being unable to go to a garden centre is limiting how much I can actually do.

My garden in Spring

My husband bought me a book for our anniversary last year, ‘This Golden Fleece‘ by Esther Rutter.  It’s basically a trip through knitting history, where the author travels around the country discovering knitting traditions and having a go at following old methods.  It’s quite an interesting read and as she travels somewhere new each month, I’ve been trying to read a chapter every month.  (I’m also reading other novels as well).  I’m finding at the moment, that I would like to have had a pattern in each chapter as well, but as I have plenty of patterns to work through, I don’t really need any more just now.

I set myself a New Year’s Resolution to read more and to finish my enormous reading pile.  My aim being to read at least one book a month.  So far I have finished 9 books!  I think these strange times will further increase my reading, particularly as I am encouraging my daughter to read for at least half an hour each day and I am trying my best to settle down at the same time and read too.

Crafting hasn’t been something I have felt much like doing this week.  I managed to finish off a couple of card orders before school was closed, but I just haven’t had the inclination to pick up anything at all!  I keep looking at the enormous pile of unfinished projects sat by the settee in the living room, thinking I must actually finish some of them off.  I will at some point, probably when I’ve done everything else I can think of to do instead!  Talk about procrastination.

My craft space has been transformed into a home office for my husband, so making cards is more difficult at the moment.  I really do feel like making something, but what I don’t know and I would very much like to have my space back.  I moved my old record player from my Mum’s last year, and it’s a great opportunity to listen to some of my small vinyl collection while I peruse the various card and paper stashes.  Anyway, that’s off limits for the foreseeable future, so I will have to get to grips with a routine that includes utilising the kitchen table and includes craft sessions for my daughter!

It’s surprising how much I have wanted to bake though – I think it has something to do with the lack of chocolate in the house and the need for comfort eating.  So I have made some delicious peanut butter cookies and a gooseberry crumble.  Both very simple things to make but very tasty.

Sometimes you just need baking!

Stay safe and happy crafting.

x

 

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I’m back!

Hello again, it’s been a long while since I posted anything on this blog, but I am back and hope to be able to post a little more frequently in the coming weeks at least!  Over the last couple of years I have been working in the local primary school during lunch hour, doing admin work on the school website and volunteering to read with some of the younger children.  This has taken up far more time than I had imagined it would and I guess this blog is what I sacrificed.  However, I have been crafting when I can and my facebook page has been updated more often than the website.

I am currently not able to do my lunchtime role in school and the additional admin work I was doing seems to have dried up as well.  Yesterday was the official end of my contract and I don’t predict that to be renewed in this current climate, so I am now back to crafting and looking after the home again full time.  Of course, my daughter is also at home and I am trying to find ways to keep up with her school work as well as keeping her busy and interested each day.  I would love to hear of any activities you think would be useful to share with an eleven year old about to leave primary school!

So while I sort out the rest of the day, here’s a card I made last summer, using Tonic adorables die and stamp set – Kirby and Lulus Wash Day.  I think it sums up how I feel at the moment.

Cute cats in washing

Stay safe and happy crafting.

x

 

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Art fun with the kids

A few weeks ago I became aware of a local activity that was starting to gain in popularity.  I think I stumbled across it in a post in facebook.  It’s called Rammy Rocks and involves painting on small rocks and pebbles and then leaving them for other people to find.  It’s not unique as there appear to be groups all over the country (if not the world) that have taken to leaving lovely messages on stones for people to find.

This one has really taken off in the local area, with a couple of talented Mums using this to get their children being creative and getting them outside.  Rammy Rocks seems to have captured the imagination of hundreds (if not thousands) of local residents.  and it’s not limited to the children either, there are loads of talented artists painting little rocks and hiding them about for people to find.

I, personally, am loving this craze.  It’s great fun to go out and find some pretty stones while on a walk.  So we’ve been doing a fair bit more walking over the last couple of weeks.  It’s a shame the weather has been so rubbish as we would have liked to get out a bit more.  (So it’s been great for getting Alice away from her tablet and minecraft and it’s doing me some good too).

We had a couple of snow days from school which meant we missed World Book Day (much to Alice’s disappointment), so I decided we would make the most of it and paint some book inspired rocks to hide later.

I have to say Alice’s are far superior to my efforts!  Her Matilda and Wimpy Kid rocks are quite brilliant.

We have great fun hiding the rocks too.  Alice rather likes to give them to people rather than hide them for other’s to find, so several of our efforts have been left on doorsteps of her friends.

We will be painting and hiding more over the next few weeks as well as going out and about to find some more.  As we have a trip to Southampton planned for the Easter holidays I think we might be finding some to take down there.  I’m also working on Alice’s Brownie leader to get them to make some to hide in the local park and woods.

It’s great to see all the posts from people when they find them and I’m not sure whether I’m more excited to find a great rock or to see one of mine that’s been found!

I hope we get some more nice weather soon and we can get out to hunt for rocks again soon.

Happy Rocking

xx

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Unicorns

Last Summer I was trying to make up all the knitting kits I have in my craft space, in order to free up some space and to see how they look when finished.  One of the kits I made was a little knitted unicorn.  It was a lovely little make and proved very popular with my daughter and her friends.  So much so I have been asked to make several more. (This pattern was printed in Let’s Knit magazine and is by Christel Krukkert)

I love it when people ask me to make something for their children for birthdays and make requests for favourite colours.  I’ve also enjoyed making these in my own colour combinations to give as gifts.  They are so cute and when made in baby yarn, they are so soft and cuddly too.  I’ve embroidered the eyes on these as well, so there are no problems giving them to smaller children.

This lovely pink creation was for a gift for a friend’s daughter.  She loves horses so I think a unicorn made a lovely present.

This one was a Christmas present for a friend’s daughter.

Alice was desperate for a unicorn of her own and she chose this colour combination as it reminded her of Twilight Sparkle from the My Little Pony series.

The next three have been made as gifts.  The pink one made a lovely new baby gift for my daughter’s dance teacher.

I was starting to think I wouldn’t get to do any crochet again, until one of my work colleagues asked me to make her a different unicorn for her grandaughter. (This pattern was posted in Let’s Get Crafting magazine and is from Moji-moji designs).

These are all so lovely to make and I can’t help but feel happy when I making one of these creatures.  Long live the unicorn revolution!!

Happy crafting
x

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Back to School Crochet

Back to school and all the extra-curricular activities are back on again as well.  So it’s back to dancing class both for Alice and for me, but I’ve decided to carry on working through my draw full of knitting and crochet kits.

As it’s dancing on Saturdays, the next make I’ve chosen is a little ballerina cat from an old issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet magazine.  I am still loving practicing my crochet and I feel like I am beginning to speed up a bit.  Alice is completely cat mad and it was her that really pushed me into making this cat.  I think it might go down quite well with her dancing friends too!

I find that crochet is a great activity for long car journeys, and we had a run down to Bristol to visit the in-laws, so this was the perfect accompaniment. I managed quite a lot on the way down as it was a very bright fine day (for a change).  The kit contains a lovely collection of yarn and I love the combination of pinks with the bright purple.  It’s a lovely weight yarn too and it’s been easy to crochet with.

The kit also came with a white fluffy yarn which I added to the end of the tutu with a double crochet stitch.  The ballet slippers were finished using a strand of light pink yarn and tying them to resemble ribbons.

This has been a fairly simple pattern to work through and I’ve loved adding in my own take on the facial features.  I’ve made the eyes using an embroidered chain stitch which I think matches the other embroidered features.

This little one has now joined my other summer creations.  My shelf is filling up quite nicely now.  I think I’m going to enter the Toymaker of the year competition in LGC magazine too, but my problem now is deciding what to make!  Time to get my thinking cap on!!

Happy crafting
x

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A little knitted kitty!

With only a few days left until we are back at school, I’ve finally got around to making something for my daughter and her friend. They are both mad on cats (we have two and her friend has one) and whenever they have got together this holiday at least one of them has been wearing cat ears on a hairband! It’s very cute and I hope it continues for some time yet, as they are growing up far too quickly.

Anyway, as they are off to Blackpool Zoo at the weekend, I thought I’d make them a little cat bag each from the last issue of LGC Knitting and Crochet, to carry their little bits and pieces in.

I stuck to the pattern colours for my daughter’s bag, although she insisted on a change to the handle colour as her favourite colour at the moment is white!  It’s a really simple pattern mostly in garter stitch, so very quick to make. Her friend asked for a black one with pink and purple features!

They certainly liked them before I finished them, so fingers crossed they will like the fully finished articles.  I think they will be purrfect for carrying around a little mouse purse and a few sweets each!

Happy crafting
x

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Here comes the Chameleon

I’ve continued to be hooked on crochet this week and having finished the lion I wanted to make something else to ad to my now growing menagerie of summer animal makes. I found a lovely pattern for a colourful chameleon in another back issue of Let’s Get Crafting magazine and he looked too cheerful not to make.

He was designed by the lovely and very talented lady over at Moji Moji Designs. I’ve made a couple of her patterns before (owl purse) but never attempted one of her animal creations. So this was a real test of my improving crochet skills.

I put this over on my facebook page to see if anyone could hazard a guess at what it was going to be, but no-one guessed correctly. Mind you, with just the body to go on, it really could have been anything!!

The yarn colours in the magazine kit are really bright and cheerful but it was a real test for me to keep changing colours every round. I think I managed it ok in the end but there were a couple of times when I had to undo a round or two and start again! It’s not easy changing colour all the time and keeping the yarns from tangling up! As with most of the toy patterns I’ve followed, it is mostly made from double crochet

I’m really enjoying crochet for toy making as it makes a much stronger and thicker fabric than knitting does. This means I am finding the toys much easier to stuff as the stitches are more rigid. Over stuffing is too easy in a knitted toy, so I usually use smaller needles than the pattern suggests.

The official name for this little man is Karma, but I’m not sure he looks very serene. He seems a bit angry to me, but I love him and he looks great on my shelf with his new friends lion and unicorn! I hope I get the chance to make some more friends for them all before we go back to school.

Happy crafting
x

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Summer crochet

After all the baking, I’ve moved back into the realms of toy making.  This time I decided to get the crochet hooks out and found a rather cute little lion project in an old issue of Lets Get Crafting magazine.

My daughter is obsessed with all things feline at the moment, so this seemed like the ideal project for her.

It hasn’t taken me very long to make up, but the stuffing and sewing together of the limbs was a bit fiddly.  I love the mane though and I am going to try and incorporate this new stitch style into some of my other projects in the future.

I love this magazine for all the hints and tips when knitting but particularly for crochet.  I still consider myself a novice crocheter, so any help with new stitches is always welcome.  The patterns in this magazine have helped me learn and practice.

After finishing the lion, I decided to put together all the toys I’ve made using patterns from the LGC magazines.  This is my little selection that I’ve made for Alice over the last couple of years.

It’s nice to see them all together and to compare how I have improved with my amigurumi crochet animals too.  The little blue bird (chirp) was my first ever try at amigurumi and when he sits next to the lion, the difference is quite striking – well I think so.  So much so, that I have sent a copy of this picture to the magazine!.  Fingers crossed it might make it into the next issue.

Not long to go now until the end of the summer break, and I’m now working on a couple more projects to use up some of the yarn stash in the craft room!

Happy crafting
x

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Summer Baking

It really wouldn’t be a holiday from school without a spot of baking, and with the disappointment of not being ale to finish my dancing hippo, we needed some cake to cheer us up a bit!

We started off with some all-in-one vanilla sponge.  Alice was given a fabulous junior baking set for her birthday, all good quality utensils, not the usual kids plastic stuff.  It’s all silicon and stainless steel, just scaled down a bit for smaller hands – ideal for me too!  So we made some vanilla sponge mix, and made it into a victoria sandwich and 6 cupcakes.  The fun was definitely in the decorating (and licking the bowl).

The kit had an icing set with three different nozzles too, so we had a practice making some rosettes.

After the cake, we moved on to some cookies.  We’ve never really done cookies before, we’ve always stuck to pretty basic butter biscuits, but we fancied a change.  I had a look around the internet and found a couple of recipes that looked simple for us to have a go at.  We started with some peanut butter cookies, which were incredibly simple to make and very tasty too.

We finished with some chocolate chip cookies. This had a few more ingredients, but again it’s pretty simple to follow. We enjoyed making it, and it was great practice for Alice with measuring out. The really great part is not having to roll out a dough and use cutters, just taking a teaspoonful of the mixture and putting it on the baking paper means less washing up and it’s a lot simpler for smaller hands.

Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the finished cookies, but suffice it to say they tasted delicious and we had plenty to share with family and friends.

Happy baking
x

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A Dancing Hippo!

After the completion of my knitted unicorn last week, this week I’ve been working on another of the knitting kits I have been meaning to make for ages. It’s quite appropriate for many of our friends and their children, as it’s a dancing hippo!

This was a gift from Let’s Knit magazine and included two balls of grey and one ball of pink yarn. I set about following the pattern , but I decided to use slightly smaller needles as I wanted a tighter knit fabric.  I love this hippo and the addition of the ballet tutu and little bows are so sweet, I can see this being popular at dance class next term!

It’s another knitted toy and I was doing quite well with all the pieces for a while and managed to get the little hippo to this position

but I have now run out of yarn to make the nose, arms and legs!!  So I have spent the last few days looking for a match.  No luck so far, but I shall keep on trying.  I think I will also contact the magazine and see if they can provide me with another ball of the grey.  I think I have enough pink for the ballet shoes and bows.

Wish me luck.  Hopefully |I will be able to find some more yarn as the poor hippo is looking very forlorn in my knitting basket.

In the meantime I’m going to get out another kit and see what else I can add to the menagerie this Summer!!

Happy crafting
x

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