Welcome to my blog!

You can expect to see ramblings including but not limited to the following: knitting, sewing, crochet, housework, DIY, interior decorating, gardening, family, music, comedy, history and local events. There may also be rantings, which are likely to be mainly about rudeness and bad grammar, but you will be warned in advance when a rant is about to happen so you can look away.

I'd be delighted if anyone wanted to comment on any of my ramblings or rantings.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

A crochet tah-dah!

 Do you remember me saying quite a while ago that I just couldn't stop crocheting?  Well here is the end result.  It's a baby blanket for a very dear friend of mine who had her first baby, a little boy, last week

 The squares are just little granny squares with three rounds.  I single-crocheted them together in defiance of the pattern which said double crochet but I thought it looked too bulky.  The border is stolen from here.  The yarn I used is Stylecraft Special DK - I wouldn't normally use acrylic but I wanted it to be easily washable because it is for a baby.  I was pretty impressed by how soft it is actually.
 The spooky thing is that our other friend who we lived with whilst at university, also had her baby, also a boy on the same day!  She was 5.5 weeks early so it was a big surprise.  Quite strange that two of my friends should give birth on the same day but the fact that they know each other too....  Should make it easier for me to remember birthdays though!

I love these little labels, they're so cute, they make me scrunch my face up

So the second one of these blankets is having to be prioritised over all my other myriad projects due to the cheeky impatient baby coming out early!

Of course this post wouldn't be complete without saying thanks to dear Cuckoo for showing me how to make the squares, suggesting the size and recommending the yarn. xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Cross stitch and proper embroidery


Hope all is well with you.  I've been a busy buzzy bee lately, lots of WI things going on which you can see over at the WOW WI blog.  It may be apparent to you from the style of the posts that I have taken on responsibility for maintaining it!

At the end of April I went down to the Creative Stitches show at Shepton Mallet.  I tried to convince various people to go with me, but it was a bit short notice so eventually I went on my own.  In the end I was glad I did go on my own as I didn't feel lonely at all and could just please myself without having to think about anyone else's interests!  Quel selfishness.

There were lots of brilliant things there and I spent a FORTUNE on future projects, as if I need any new things to add to my list.  I picked up cross stitch kits, a tapestry cushion kit, a machine sewing picture kit etc etc.

I also did two embroidery workshops with Katie Pirson - one on whitework and one on silk shading.  I've done cross stitch for years but never really done any "proper" fine embroidery.  Katie is an excellent teacher and the workshops only cost £5.50 each.  The whitework in particular is the kind of thing I never imagined would be achievable for mere mortals such as me, but after seeing how it is done I think it is something I could really get into.

I'd like to say this is what I made on the day, but that would be a big fat lie, it's the example we had to follow - this is what I made on the day:

There was lots of lovely cross stitch stuff; it seems that cross stitch has undergone a revolution recently whilst I wasn't looking and whilst there are still lots of naff designs around, there are also some gorgeous new ones.  I particularly liked the ones from Little House

I've bought Cross Stitcher magazine a few times recently as well.  I've had to stop myself though as there were at least three things in each issue which I wanted to make and I haven't saved up enough money to completely give up work yet, and that's the only way I could have time to do all the craft I want to do!!

From there I did this for my sister's birthday.  I didn't quite finish it in time, by which I mean I didn't give it to her until my birthday which is over a month later, but she loved it anyway and it looks great on her bedroom wall.

I've started Emma Bridgewater's Diamond Jubilee cross stitch as well which is progressing quite quickly so hopefully there will be another cross stitch ta-dah to share with you soon.

I'm still crotcheting away;  I've assembled one baby blanket, but need to decide on an edging for it.  The pattern just says to use a plain double crochet but I fancy doing something a bit extra.  Can you do bobble edging with crochet?  You must be able to.  If anyone knows how, please share!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

My sister's birthday

It was my sister's birthday in the middle of April - so she will be only two years younger than me for the next month or so!  Ha ha ha!  I made this for her:

She loved it and obviously the first thing one does on receipt of a tea cosy is to put it on one's head:
This is her moody model look

The children were slightly less keen models:

We headed into Exeter with the intention of having lunch, a trip to the play park and a browse of the shops on the waterfront.  Hhhmm, it didn't quite go to plan....  There was screaming and it didn't come from me or Sally....  We grew up near Exeter and both had a few drunken nights at the waterfront as that was where all the nightclubs were.  Now there are lots of lovely cafes, an antiques centre and little shops selling handcrafted products - looks like the waterfront has grown up in the same way as I have!!

Who's that trip trapping over my bridge?!
One of the things I love most about my sister's birthday is the opportunity to take a photo of her blowing out the candles on her cake with her cheeks puffed out.  I first did it when we were quite little.  She loves it.

Sooooo pretty
I know lots of people say it, but my sister truly is my best friend - I wish everyone could have one like her.

Happy Birthday Sally!


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Belated Happy Easter

Long time no see!

Have been busy busy busy with loads of different things - very few of which have actually been finished; so many WIPs and ideas, so little time.

I made some Easter bunting to decorate the house.  It has since become something of an addiction, my mind is buzzing with bunting-related ideas.  Fortunately it doesn't take very long to make!  If you want to see how I did it, here's the tutorial I did on the WI website - it's a little way down the front page.

We had a lovely Easter, my family came up, so it was a lovely family day with my mum, her partner, my sister, brother-in-law and my darling niece and nephew, which is twins.  No, that's not me having a grammar failure, it's a reference to the fact that when they were babies, people would constantly ask my sister "is it twins?" instead of "are they twins?".  She was very good and always held back from saying "yes IT is".  People say lots of silly things to twin-mummies; another classic which she often came across was "are they identical?" - well as one is a girl and one is a boy (and they were always dressed in pink and blue) it would be some kind of medical miracle if they were (or if it was!)

I hid little chocolate eggs all around the living room for an Easter Egg Hunt, I had wanted to do it in the garden but the weather let me down.  This met with much excitement as you might imagine.  

I made slow-roast leg of lamb with roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese and purple sprouting broccolli.  For pud we had hot cross bun bread and butter pudding.  It was yum, even if I do say so myself!

Hope you enjoyed Easter too!


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Can't.... stop.... crocheting

This year, three very dear friends of mine (so far, numbers seem to be increasing all the time) are expecting babies.  The problem with being a known crafter is that you feel an obligation to make pretty things for people's new arrivals.  Not that I am complaining as it is satisfying to make things as presents but at the moment I have SO many things I want to make.

Anyway I saw a lovely crochet blanket in Mollie Makes which said it was ideal for beginner crocheters and I thought it could be easily adapted to make baby blankets.  Normally I make everything from fancy luxury yarn but thought that would be a bit silly for baby things - so I took some advice from Cuckoo and bought some Stylecraft online.  VERY impressed with how soft it is, much better than I would associate with acrylic and LOVED the price - £15 including postage for 8 100g balls!

I started in Cuckoo's kitchen last Thursday - and since then I haven't been able to stop.  I've even crochet before leaving the house to go to work - and I leave at 6:45am!  I think I have gone crochet bonkers!  I'm so happy with the colours I've chosen and I just want to make loads more granny square blankets for myself and everyone I know!  I've done 40 so far - here they are:

The week before I made a little patchwork roll to keep my hooks in - don't look to closely as it was my first attempt at patchwork!

Got to go - the hook is calling me!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Charity Shopping

At the end of my road is a Weston Hospicecare charity shop.  I could probably see it from my bedroom window.  I've lived here for 8 years.  I love old things and I love bargains.  Weston Hospice is an excellent cause.  Yet I've only been into the charity shop about three times!  I think it must be one of those things which you never get around to because they're so close at hand - a bit like appreciating your husband or noticing how nice your life is!

Anyway, yesterday on my way back from a super day crocheting with Cuckoo (more on this next time, suffice it to say I am totally obsessed with granny squaring and just cannot stop making them), I decided to carpe the diem and get into the charity shop.  And these are the spoils:

 I am planning to use them as covered vegetable dishes.  How I wish I had a sideboard next to the dining table to put them on.  The pattern is on the inside too.

I put my rings on the plate to show how teeny they are.  Just big enough for a single cupcake.  Can you imagine how sweet that would look?  I suppose it is a sandwich set really.  If only I liked cucumber I could put crusts-off little cucumber sandwiches on them too.

Oh, I am so pleased with my finds....

Hope you are all well, my hook is calling me, must answer.....


Sunday, 5 February 2012


I don't very often sew; usually only when I need to make curtains but my machine has been out loads lately.  I seem to be in a sewingy frame of mind of late and keep thinking of things I need to sew.

It all started when I said I'd make a roman blind for my sister's bedroom.  I had about half a metre of fabric left over from a blind I made years ago (and got paid for it!) and bought some extra to go with it - luckily there was a tiny flaw in it so I got it for £2.99/metre rather than £8.99.  Then when I opened the bag of lining I realised that it was blackout lining rather than ordinary so it was even more of a bargain!  I love bargains...mainly because I am tight I think.  This is the story so far on the blind:

"Just" got to add the tape and rods and hem the top and bottom.  Oh, and find time when Mr D and I can go down to Devon and put it up.

Then, I was sorting out my knitting stuff as I had a new knitting bag from my (not wicked) step-mother for Christmas.  I looked at my needle roll and it was all tatty with about 3000 needles stuffed into each segment and I thought, "ooh, I could make that".  Then I thought, "ooh, I've got all the things I need to make that," and THEN I thought, "I'm going to make that".  And I did.  And here it is:

Of course as soon as I'd finished it I thought of loads of ways I could have made it better, but that's ok, because I also thought of lots of other things I could put in rolls.  Like my small but growing crochet hook collection, my DPNs and the lovely knit pro needles which Mr D gave me for Christmas.

Aren't they pretty?  They are lovely to knit with and very portable.  One of the girls at Knit Club has them and says she will never go back to using straight ones.

And finally on the sewing front (for now), I went to visit my friend in Exeter yesterday and we had a lovely crafting afternoon at her house whilst our husbands went to visit an old friend. She has been having Taiko (sp?) lessons and wanted to make a bag to put her drumming sticks in (as you do) and I'd seen instructions for a sewing machine cover on the Mollie Makes blog, so we perfected the art of chatting over the noise of the sewing machines.  Here's my cover (you may recognise the fabric!):

By the way if anyone has any tips about making photos on blogs look better, like making little collages and stuff, do let me know as I think my posts look a bit samey.

Sew long all!