Thursday, 29 March 2012

A different kind of creating...

Hello there!
Sorry for the longer than usual gap between posts but it has been a bit mad here :0
I know, I can hear you saying "but isn't that normal in your house?" and yes, that would be a pretty accurate description, but I mean even more so than normal! Because, on top of everything else that is going on right now, and after an almost 10 year wait, we are getting a new kitchen!!!!!!! Can you taste my excitement? Can you feel my happiness? Is it sad to get so excited over new units & a tap? ;)We had wanted to replace the tired old kitchen as soon as we moved here but funds wouldn't allow, so along with most other things, it waited in line for a lick of paint & made do. But no longer! We ordered new units in the hope they would be delivered in time for hubbie's week off at Easter & they arrived last Tuesday :)
So the last week has seen the house taken over by a lot of boxes. The cardboard kind the flat pack units arrived in & a large assortment of others to house the contents of the old units we were ripping out. Oh yes, did I mention we are putting it in ourselves? Around about Saturday night I thought we must have been mad to start this, but I think that was just the tiredness catching up with me. I have been doing the essential housework & other jobs during the daytimes, making up new units, then having supper ready as close to hubbie getting home from work as possible so we can get started on a full evening of DIY. So after five days of finishing work near midnight and with hubbie struggling with the pipework to fit the new sink I was having my doubts as to our sanity... But Sunday dawned & after a few more hours work there was running water & a working kitchen sink again! YAY! We are now on the downward slope (hopefully no more nasty surprises) and I will post some pics of the finished result, but in the meantime here are a couple to give you a taster!

This was the first one I made up, I read all the instructions carefully & counted out every screw & weird looking hunk of metal that came out of the box - now I think I could do them in my sleep!
Before I go I also want to share with you the lovely surprise that arrived in the mail the other morning from my awesome friend Lori at Hippywitch Crafts 
This is the front...
....and this is the back. How cute is that????? I don't think these pictures really do all those perfect, tiny stitches justice - it is just gorgeous!!! If you haven't seen her work before you are in for a real treat - just follow the link here to her blog, she has details of her folksy & etsy shops & her facebook page on there too. She also sent me a lovely card - and it's not even my birthday! When "normality" returns here I am going to find a special place to hang my wee mushroom house...
Well hopefully I will be back soon to fill you in on some of the other things that have been happening around here recently. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you have a lovely rest of your week :)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

My first award!

Hello hello! How nice to see some new folks have joined us too - welcome to you all :)
It has been a very busy week here so far, and it's still only Tuesday (ok technically Wednesday morning!) ... First off my brilliant friend Lori at Hippywitch Crafts has given me my first blog award!

Liebster is a German word, meaning favorite, dearest or beloved, and the Liebster is awarded by bloggers to other, newer bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers, to spread the word and help the new(er)bies gain wider recognition. There are a few conditions for accepting it:
  1.  Choose five up-and-coming blogs (with fewer than 200 followers) to award the Liebster to.
  2.  Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blogs so they know about the award.
  4. Share five random facts about yourself that people don't know about you.
Now I'm pretty new at this whole blog thing so I don't have a huge reading list (so far) and I've never really paid that much attention to how many followers the blogs I enjoy reading have! It was quite tricky finding five that have less than 200 followers but here goes:

I hope you will visit their blogs & enjoy what you find there! So now on to the last part, share five random facts about myself.... hmmm....
  1. I LOVE dragons!!! (ok so you might have guessed that one!)
  2. My favorite color is purple
  3. I was on a children's program on Canadian TV one time when I was four
  4. I love the snow!
  5. The first job I ever dreamed of doing as a little girl was writing stories
Well there you are! I want to share some other recent happenings with you but that will have to wait for another day. Thank you for dropping by & I wish you all a lovely week ahead :)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mother's Day

Hello there!
Just a quick post tonight to share some Mother's Day goodies with you all :) I've had a lovely day thanks to my three offspring & my hubbie, here's a collage of the lovely pressies I recieved: 

Aren't I lucky? I had breakfast cooked for me, followed by some of my pressies, and then spent most of the day getting on with jobs in the garden (kept well supplied with cups of tea!). The sun shone for much of the day and when it was out it was actually quite pleasantly warm :) I was able to work in the greenhouse when the rainclouds came over & pop back out again when they passed, there's something special about hearing the raindrops on the greenhouse roof again after a long winter of not being out there. Hubbie cooked a big and very yummy roast dinner for us all and my eldest son & his other half came to help us eat it & deliver more pressies. All in all a pretty near perfect day *big contented sigh*... 
Before I go I also want to share with you the card I made for my mother:
It's not the sharpest photo I'm afraid, but by the time I realised this it was already in the mail on it's way to her! This is the gift I stitched to go with it:
I hope all of you celebrating Mother's Day today have also had a special day filled with lots of good things, and the rest of you all had a lovely weekend too. Well after a day off today it will be back to all the usual jobs tomorrow morning, I wish you all a happy & productive week! 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Spring is springing!

Hello there & welcome!
Another busy busy week here but still too many things I can't share with you yet - next week I will have some new things for you to look at I promise ;-) In the mean time I can show you an update on the Ripply Goodness blanket.
When I started it I had planned on having it as a throw on our smaller couch with the ripples running horizontally, so I made it to fit across the width of that couch & measured the length of the throw we have on there at the moment to work out how long to ripple for. But now we have two kittens exploring outside & bringing it all back in with them (!) I have realised how much more time that throw spends going through the washing machine. As you can see they think the couches belong to them & I don't see that changing (that is Felix in the corner of picture below), so I decided to see what the ripples looked like the other way round on the bigger couch.
 This way round they won't really be sat on. What do you think? I think it looks pretty good this way round & actually will probably end up the perfect length for the space! I decided to reverse the colors from the center & have got up to the broad band of purple so you can see how much I have left to do. I am still totally loving making this but am restricting myself to only working on it at weekends as a special treat! (Less calories than a chocolate bar!) I have had a request for another one when this one is finished, one of my boys wants one so I will have fun playing with a different palette of colors :) I'm rather pleased actually because otherwise it would be akin to reading a very good book - you don't want to put it down but then you don't want to finish it too quickly either! If you fancy making your own Ripply Goodness then you can find the pattern here at Lucy's awesome award winning blog!

Another thing I can share with you today is Outside. I had been hoping for some sunshine last week to photograph the crocuses in the garden but it was persistently grey, wet, & miserable. Not very Spring-like is it?
I should add that this is a view of the field at the bottom of our garden, not our actual garden! I did manage to capture a few shots in between the showers though...

I just love how they open up to drink in the sunshine! Despite the gloomy weather there are plenty of other signs of spring out there. These little drumstick primulas are pushing their way up through the bark under the rowan tree at the bottom of the garden.
 These little Tete-a-tete daffodils are always the first to bloom & manage to look cheerful even covered in rain drops!
The first spring after we planted the hedge my daughter & I rounded up all the little daffodils we could find around the garden & replanted them along the base of the hedge. I'm so glad we did because every year I love seeing their bright heads popping up down the length of the garden. It signals Spring & the garden waking from it's winter slumber :)
I will try & photograph some more new life beginning to appear out there this week to share with you all, no doubt I'll be running in & out between the rain showers! Until then thank you so much for dropping by, I hope you have a lovely week :)

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

In the best Blue Peter tradition...

Hello there - thank you for stopping by! It's been a busy start to the month here with lots going on, but today I want to share with you one of the projects I was working on at the weekend.
As some of you know our first grandchild is due in May, which had seemed a long time away until the other day when I actually counted the weeks. Ten weeks 'til our daughter-in-law's due date. 10 weeks?? Oh help! There are a number of things I had planned to make before the baby's arrival & so far I have only started on one of them!
Back in January I had started making squares for a baby blanket. I had looked at a number of different blanket patterns but in the end decided to design my own using 4" squares. After making a few squares & looking at some more patterns I realised my first problem - 4" squares are fine for patchwork but an awful lot of the crochet patterns seem to use 6" squares, using 4" ones I would need 80 of them. Oh well there was plenty of time till May... Every so often I would do another couple & slowly the pile grew.
Well last week I realised I had better get a move on, so by Sunday I ended up with 52 of them done. I decided to have a play with the overall layout & have a "proper think" about how I might join them up. Except that before joining them there is apparently another step the patterns all refer to - blocking. This is the technique used to get all the pieces the correct size by wetting them or steaming them, pinning them to the size & shape you need, & letting them dry.  It doesn't sound too complicated once you have worked out which method to use. Uh oh problem number 2, the necessary information for deciding this should be on the yarn label apparently & a lot of the yarn in this project has come to me without labels. So it was back to the internet & more reading online to help me pick a method, now the only other thing I would need would be a blocking board to pin the squares on to. There are various instructions for making these online using plywood & quilters batting & other items I don't have so I "had a think". This is one of the things I really enjoy about crochet, you can have some quite productive "thinks" while your fingers are busy working away, especially when working up a simple 4" square! By Sunday afternoon it was time to put some ideas into action so I went up to the loft to root out my chosen materials.
Now I have a very hard time throwing anything away. I believe you can find another purpose for anything given enough time, & that there is an unwritten law stating that within a week of disposing of something I will find myself in a situation where that exact thing would have been perfect! Perhaps this is the legacy of too much Blue Peter, Tony Hart & other such TV programmes as a child?!Well the end result can be seen in our loft (!) but it has yielded up some great materials for various projects over the years. On Sunday I found a large sheet of polystirene & some checked fabric & headed back down the ladder to my craft area. On top of a self healing mat I cut the polystirene into a rectangle 24"x18" and then laid it on top of the fabric like this:
 I cut the fabric 32"x 26" so it was 4" bigger on each side than the polystirene. I used my omnigrid ruler & a craft knife to cut the polystirene & the omnigrid with a rotary cutter for cutting the fabric.
Originally bought as a quilting tool, the omnigrid ruler quickly became my number one crafting tool for just about any cutting job - the best £20 I ever spent - seriously! The grid means you can easily measure & cut parallel or at 90 degrees to an edge with either a rotary cutter or a knife, with a little bit of brainpower the other markings on it enable you to cut at just about any angle. Yes I really love my omnigrid :)
Well back to the project at hand. The fabric I looked out has 1" squares of green & white so starting with one of the shorter edges I lined the fabric up so that one of the squares in the fabric was right at the corner of the front of board. Keeping the squares straight along the edge I pushed in drawing pins:
I pulled the fabric taut & did the same on the other short edge & then the same on the two longer edges like so: 

Lying the board face down I ran a line of double sided tape down the short edge on the right hand side:
I folded the edge of the fabric over onto the back of the board, pulled it taut, & stuck it down on the tape. I repeated this on the remaining sides folding the corners in like so: 
 To secure the extra fabric at the corners I used a little bit of masking tape:
I repeated this for the other corners so that the back looked like this:
Turning it over the front looks like this:
 And there we go - one blocking board with an inch square grid for pinning out my squares! If you don't have old fabric handily checked in 1" squares you could use plain fabric & draw the grid on, of course you could make one in metric if that is your chosen measurement system.
All that was left to do was to start blocking, so I pinned out twelve squares, lining them up with the grid so they sat 4 inches square like this:
I held the board over the sink & sprayed the squares with cold water, patted them down & put them back on my desk to dry. Twelve down only another 68 to go! Oh well I'd better go get crocheting!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Crafty Collage - February

So here we are - the first few days of March already, how did that happen? Even with the extra day this year February seemed to have wings! Here is a collage of the craft from the past month:
Sixteen projects, fifteen completed & one well on it's way. There are two other items I have been working on during this last month, but as they are presents for people I need to keep quiet about them just yet. I will fill you in as soon as I can ;-)
Well just a quick post today as I am rapidly running out of hours before another weekend arrives.  Thank you for stopping by today, I hope you all have a lovely weekend however you choose to spend it.