More Crochet Snowmen

Last Christmas, I had a rush on little crochet snowmen. They are very cute, and they were so popular with the dance mums, that I had orders for five more for this Christmas.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been crocheting parts of little snowmen. It has really started to get me in the mood for Christmas. I hope we get a spell of cold weather though. It does seem a bit odd making snowmen when it’s still well above 10 degrees outside!

My first set of snowmen are a for a lovely family with two little girls.  Their favourite colours are pink and purple.  I haven’t come up with any good names for these two yet, but I’m sure the girls will!p1250303

This trio are for two brothers and their younger sister.  One brother’s a Manchester United fan, the other is a Manchester City fan (I don’t fancy being there for football arguments in the future) and their sister is a dancer.

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I love how each one ends up different although the pattern is the same throughout.  It just goes to show how different yarns make things very individual.

I think the most fun I had though was with my jar of buttons while waiting for Alice in her dance class.  Looking for just the right shade of each colour is very important.  I was counting on any of the other Mums loving the buttons too, so we had buttons everywhere and I had to promise to bring them again!

Happy Crafting
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Unexpected crafting!

I know I’m a crafter, so this title in itself is rather unexpected.  However, our Alice has been unwell really for a few weeks now, but she’s finally given in to being fully blown ill and is currently enjoying / enduring  some restful time off school.

This has meant I am now totally behind with my preparations for Halloween and Christmas, but that’s the life of a crafting Mum!  So today I decided to find something for both of us to do that would help lift Alice’s spirits and maybe go some way to starting my stash of Christmas decorations.

I’ve been thinking about making some simple, no knit hat decorations for a while and this seemed the ideal opportunity with a willing helper too!  What I wasn’t counting on was how much she loved making them.

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We had such a great crafty afternoon watching ‘Equestria Girls’ on dvd and making these hats, that she decided she wanted to make them and sell them too.  So it rather turned into me being her assistant and she’s planning on taking her little stash to her dance class at weekend and maybe even to the school Christmas Fair! I’m hoping that she will make her own gifts for her teachers this year too.

I think she may have caught the crafting bug – much better than the virus she is recovering from.

Happy crafting
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Birthday Fun!

I can’t believe just how quickly the years are flying by these days. It doesn’t seem that long ago when my birthday always seemed ages away, now it comes round far too fast! Anyway, it’s here again and I think I’m probably now officially middle-aged, although most of the time I still feel about ten!

This year I discovered a lovely local lady at the school Summer Fair. She makes pictures and decorative frames to order and I thought her button head picture of a cyclist was the ideal surprise gift for my husband – him being in training for the Tour de ……(somewhere).

He really loved his frame, so much so, I have been given one for my birthday too. I love it, although it will always remind me of my broken foot misadventure. I think they look rather good together and I have the perfect location for them in mind too.

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I have also been blessed this year with a homebaked chocolate cake from one of my dearest friends. I can’t wait to tuck into it after tea.

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Thank you to all my firends and family for the lovely cards and gifts.

Happy birthdays
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Do check out the lovely Artysan Gifts for her range of frames.

Summer Holiday Crafting

While I’ve been off my feet for a while this summer and since the end of the Olympics, I’ve been encouraging Alice to get a bit more creative. To be fair, it hasn’t been that difficult as we’ve had a few rainy miserable days here and it’s always fun to empty the making box all over the kitchen table.

Alice traded in some of her lizard cards from Explore Learning for a set of t-shirt graffiti pens, so we ordered her a couple of cheap white t-shirts to have a play with. They arrived earlier today so she had a great afternoon finding her inner fashion designer.

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I love how she put a design on the back too!

I’ve also encouraged her to start making cards for her friend’s birthdays. Her friend Daisy was seven at weekend and she wanted to make a bird card like the ones I’ve been making recently, so I gave her a choice of some of the girly floral papers to make one with. This is pretty much all her own work with the exception of the mounting for the happy birthday flag. Her friend loved the card and I do too.  I think it’s great how she made the bird fly, adding in a second wing behind.

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Another craft I’ve tried to do with Alice is some basic sewing.  I think it’s a skill everyone should master, even if it only means being able to sew on a button.  I know it is a skill that will help with her Brownie badges.  So on a recent trip to Clark Crafts in Ramsbottom, I found this little kit.  As she loves cats at the moment, this looked like the ideal kit to start with.

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It’s a pretty simple kit and comes with everything needed to make the cat, including stuffing and a needle (plastic).  It took a few goes, but she finally mastered the basic running stitch to put all the pieces together, then spent a good half hour deciding where all the embellishment pieces would go.  She loves the finished cat and it has slept by her bed every night!  I need to make sure she doesn’t lose this liking for sewing and get out some of the other kits I have hidden away that she hasn’t been interested in up to now.

Well it’s back to school next week, so it’s time for me to get on with some more sewing – name tapes in uniform!  And I must remember to get a new dance uniform too.

Happy crafting
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Birthday Crafting

Today is my husband’s birthday so we can finally give him all the things we’ve been making this week.

Alice made him a card in her own special style! I think he’ll love it when he gets home from work later. The envelope is a complete delight and makes absolutely no sense to anyone that hasn’t read ‘Danger in Everywhere’.

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And later it will be time for cake too! I made this sponge sandwich yesterday. It’s a simple all-in-one sponge mix with cocoa powder and Alice and I filled it with peanut butter! We then topped it with chocolate spread and flaked almonds (we’ll put a candle on it after tea tonight).

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I don’t think it’s my best ever cake and I’m really not sure about the peanut butter. I think this could end up very dry, so we might be eating it with ice cream.

I’ve also made a batch of biscuits which he’s already got and taken to work. I hope they go down well amongst his colleagues.

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And here’s my card. It took me ages to find some inspitation for this one. I’ve done so many bike racing cards over the last few years I wanted to do something different. I struggled to find a picture of a camera, so went with his other interest – red wine!

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So Happy Birthday Mr B.

Have a great day
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Good News!

This is going to be one of my last opportunities for a relaxing cuppa and blog as Alice is no longer going to be attending Explore Learning after the school holidays.  It was always going to be a temporary thing for her as she is doing well at school and doesn’t really need any extra help.  But she has loved going to the centre and has grown in confidence as well as speeding up her work rate!  I have suggested they run a holiday club with workshops over the summer holidays as I know that would be great for us and several other mums have said the same.  So I will be sending them a letter (or more likely an e-mail) to suggest it to their head office.

Anyway, today has been a complete wash out here.  I think the weather is obviously feeling like me as the Olympics have now finished.  I have Team GB and Olympic withdrawal and feel quite bereft without the amazing sports on the telly. At least I will be able to concentrate on my crochet again!

Roald Dahl Books

So with the weather being rubbish and our back garden once again a lake, we headed into Bury to do some errands.  Alice has finished the Big Friendly Read and collected the remainder of her Roald Dahl passport cards.  The library are going to send her certificate to school so she’ll get that in an assembly at some point.  We have our fingers crossed for her winning one of the lovely prizes.

The trip has also been a bit of a test for my foot.  I had good news last week at the hospital.  The bone is healing and I can start to get about a bit more.  I have to be careful and if I take my ‘Robocop’ boot off I have to wear stiff soled shoes.  But the hope is I should be back to normal in another four weeks.  Hoorah!  So I’ve walked further today than I have all summer.  I’ve even managed without my crutches, however, I have kept the boot on this time.  I wasn’t quite ready to risk my foot when I was going to be out all day.  I’ll get there!

Happy days
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A trip to Lytham

After last night’s cycling triumphs, I was feeling rather exhausted this morning.  But it was far too lovely a day to waste, particularly as we had plans.  And with hubby having the day off work, we were able to go out and do something different.

P1050467So following my plans from previous posts, I found a low cost event outdoors with the RSPB in Lytham-St-Annes.  I’ve been a member of the RSPB for almost thirty years now and thought it’s about time we started going to the nature reserves.  This is our second one this year!!  The event was £3 per child member (£5 for non-members) and accompanying adults were free. So I’ve been sat in the sun overlooking Fairhaven Lake, while Alice and her Dad explore the mudflats of the Ribble Estuary under the expert guidance of some RSPB and WWT volunteers.  They were apparently dipping for the creatures that live in the mud, although I’m still not quite sure what they did find.

P1050460I went armed with my binoculars, notepad and guidebook, but all I succeeded in doing was hobbling to the café for an ice cream and then having a doze in the sun! After an hour or so I decided to have a walk (rather a hobble) around the lake.  I need to move about or I get stiff, but I didn’t manage very far. I did catch the ‘mud-dippers’ making pictures in the sand though and it looked like they were all having great fun. I had to have a rest before heading back to the RSPB centre. I can’t believe how tired I am all the time – breaking a bone really does take it out of you!

P1050456The Discovery Centre is a little treasure trove of information and they have loads of activities on all year round, so it’s definitely worth a visit. I’d like to come back when I’m able to walk properly as there are loads of migrating birds that come to the Estuary. And I’ve still never found a mermaids purse when beach-combing and rock pooling, after over forty years of trying!

I feel like a tiny bird...

I feel like a tiny bird…

While the others went out in a rowing boat on the lake, I took the opportunity to browse the RSPB shop and I found some beautiful scarves which will do nicely for a couple of birthdays coming up. It’s also made me think there is more scope to make my little bird cards. I think I might have a go at turning them into robins for Christmas. I’m also planning to make some more masculine owls from a number of old OS maps my husband has donated to me, so there’s plenty to be getting on with for another couple of months card-making.

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But my focus for this next week has to be hubby’s birthday. So there will be at least one crafting session and probably some baking too! I did promise I would make him a batch of biscuits to take in to work. Mmmmmm, I’m getting hungry at the thought. Now, where are we going for tea I wonder?!

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Happy summer crafting
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Summer’s Here!

Summer has arrived at last!  We have wall-to-wall sunshine just in time for the flying ants to invade the patio.  How I love the summer.

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Actually I generally really do love summer.  There’s nowhere nicer than a warm sunny day at the beach in the UK (in my humble opinion).  I think my broken foot is taking it’s toll though this year.  Having a hot swelling leg and foot is just not much fun .  Anyway, I’ve managed to escape outside for a bit and it’s very relaxing to feel the sun on my skin again.  It’s been too long.

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While I’m out basking, I’ve been able to catch up on some reading and I’m thrilled to say that the Provident tips calendar has now been published.  And it’s a great read.  There are loads of ideas for the summer, ranging from things to do with children, to stain removal, crafts and baking too.  So do pop by and have a look, you never know what might inspire you.  For me it’s back to some more reading and the pile of work-in-progress while Alice does some nature work for her next Brownie badge!

Happy summer crafting
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It’s the Olympics

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am obsessed with the Olympics.  I always get swept up in the whole spectacle of it and nothing will ever come close to the enormity of London in 2012, but this year is just amazing.  It has certainly helped cure the boredom of resting my broken foot!  Mind you, it’s also making me itch to get moving again and looking at my wasting calf muscle is making me think I might give my bike another go (once the Robocop boot has gone).

I’ve been trying to spend some time on making things for the house.  The summer is always a bit quieter for making, so it seems the ideal time to do some home décor upgrades.  My problem is I can’t concentrate on anything but the amazing performances of all Team GB over in Rio.  Every time I start something, somebody does something incredible again and I can’t take my eyes off the tv!

I was watching the diving the other night and had to undo three rounds of crochet, so I gave up in the end.  I didn’t even get anything out yesterday. I was far too nervous watching Max Whitlock, Justin Rose and Jason Kenny to even pick anything up.  It’s so fantastic how all the athletes are doing and across so many different sports too.

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I’m missing the ‘dancing horses’ this afternoon as I’ve managed to tear myself away from the telly and hobble my way to town so Alice can attend a creative writing workshop.  And I’ve just discovered I’ve left my phone at home!  So I’m itching to get home to find out how the Team GB representatives have got on.  I don’t know how I’ll go on next week when it’s all over if I’ve got withdrawal symptoms now, and I’m only missing a couple of hours!

Being out for a bit has made me remember the 2012 Olympics and how I was obsessed with red, white and blue in my card-making.

Red , white and blue birthday bunting

As Team GB are doing so well again, it may be time to resurrect the patriotic colour theme, although I’m not sure if I can concentrate for long enough this week to make anything!  Hopefully I will get a little bit of time to think and pull some designs together.  I haven’t done any bunting for a while and I’ve just bought some new wash tape, so that could be another theme to follow through.Birthday Bunting Card

There’s also the Olympics theme to carry on, and sports isn’t something I’ve ever really done anything with (except a few bicycles for hubby’s birthdays or an occasional football).  I’ve always stayed away from the traditional ‘male’ style cards, so it might just be time for a change of focus – at least for a little while.

P1250047Actually that reminds me, I only have a few days to make hubby’s birthday card, and then it’ll be time to turn my attention to Christmas makes

But there’s still plenty of Olympics to watch yet, so

Come on Team GB
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School Holiday Baking

Well it’s been a tough first week or so of the school holidays.  It’s not much fun hobbling around with an equaliser boot when you have an active seven year old wanting to get out and do things.  Fortunately we’ve had some mixed weather here so we’ve had to stay in and concentrate on indoor activities.

I felt quiet good today so decided we could spend some time in the kitchen making some yummy treats to share with friends and family.  So we started with our trusted all-in-one sponge recipe from Delia Smith, to which we added some raisins, chocolate chips, cocoa powder and mini marshmallows.

P1250130We didn’t have any golden syrup or chocolate digestives so we couldn’t make any rocky road tray bake, so these mini cakes made up for it and are our version of a rocky road style muffin!  They certainly tasted chocolatey and went very nicely with a cup of tea.

Wile these were cooling we decided to make some scones and biscuits.  The simple Easter biscuit recipe was brought out and modified slightly as I didn’t have any lemons to zest.  I rolled out the dough a bit thicker than normal, so it made a few less biscuits than usual, but they tasted great straight from the oven and only took nine minutes!

P1250127I thought it would be nice to make some chocolate chip scones too as they didn’t take very long and could be ready to go in the oven by the time the biscuits had baked.  Not a big batch, only eight this time, but again lovely with some butter and a cup of tea.

All-in-all a good afternoon’s work and very tasty.  Time for a cuppa and a cake with a rest with my foot up now I think.

Happy crafting
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