February projects

Ok, so we’re 9 days into February already but better late than never!

January didn’t  go entirely according to plan on the crafting front see here but I did do a fair bit of crafting so I’m not too disappointed. We’re away for a week in February, so I’m going to do my best to make February’s project list achievable. (We are  escaping from the cold, it was -7 here this morning and are jetting to the sunshine and spring temperatures of Fuerteventura, yippeeeeeee! Of course I will be taking my crochet hook and a small amount of wool but I shall be making the most of family time so wont be doing a lot of crocheting.)

Februarys project goals:

  • FINALLY get around to blowing the cobwebs off the sewing machine and sew the two sets of bunting I’ve prepared.
  • Finish the stripes on the bright stripes blanket (I’m pretty sure I wont have time to finish the border too but if  I do then great)
  • have a stack of itty bitty mini squares ready to make into something delicious (I’m aiming for at least 100)
  • cut the fabric for 2 machine sewn tote bags.

Hopefully this is an achievable list given that February is a short month and we’re away for some of it.

I’d love to hear what your crafting goals are for February.

Karen

 

January projects review

So, January went by rather quickly thankfully, as it is probably my least favourite month. Weather wise this January has been pretty miserable and grey but I’m very happy to say that despite freezing cold temperatures, February is so far looking much better. Its only the 4th and already we’ve had a few mornings of blue skies. The bright blue morning skies really give me a happiness boost and as long as the sun is shining I can deal with the minus temperatures!

Anyway, enough talk about the weather and get down to Januarys project review.  In a bid to contain my wandering mind a little I decided to set myself a list of (hopefully) achievable project goals at the start of each month. Januarys goals:

  • Finish crocheted granny squares baby blanket
  • Continue and hopefully finish crocheted bright stripes full size blanket.
  • Start a crochet poncho for Little Miss
  • Make my first machine sewn fabric bunting.
  • 3x stencil/ applique bags ready for craft stall.

 

For the first part of January, all was going well, I was fitting in lots of crafty time and I felt as though I was on track see post here.

Alas, I have little further to report since that post. The baby blanket was finished and has been gifted. The bright stripes blanket is not as nearly finished as I’d hoped and the sewing machine has still not been touched (the desk however has been decluttered and the sewing machine is at least on top of the desk, albeit still in its case!)

I did complete a few bags and 2 sets of bunting are cut out and ready to be sewn.

  

 

 

The heart bunting I made a couple of months ago is now up in the craft room above where the sofa bed will go…

 

and for some unknown reason I have started to make some itty bitty 3 round solid granny squares…

I have really no idea why I have started making them other than I just love them. I blame Sandra of Cherry Heart as it was her Battenberg blanket post that inspired me to start making them. They just seem to fly off the hook and I find it extremely satisfying that they  stack up so quickly. I’m not sure yet what I am going to make them into, it may be  the poncho for little Miss that I had planned to make or it may be a bag/ bags but they are providing a welcome relief from the long stripes of the bright stripes blanket and a quick crochet fix when I  haven’t got a lot of time to spare.

Karen

Giving myself permission

Ok, so this dreary grey weather has finally got to me and that combined with being busy, not having much time for crafting in the last week or so and feeling a bit under the weather with the constant company of ‘Horace’ (my unfriendly headache companion) has left me feeling rather meh! Last night I was talking to my good friend Michelle at  craft and chat group about how I was feeling and having lots that I had planned to do on my day off today. Her response was to be kind to myself and give myself the permission to do things that make me happy rather than feeling like I need to achieve something all the time. I do have the tendency to set myself goals and feel the need to have something to show for my time, so today I decided to heed her advice.

Little Miss woke up super early this morning and came through to my room at 6 but it was actually really nice to be able to spend 2 hours with her, playing and getting ready for kindergarten without having to rush. After dropping her off at kindergarten I popped to the shops to get some supplies for my self indulgent day and I found these beauties in Lidl  (I love Lidl for its crafty surprises every now and then)…

 

I have no idea what I’m going to use them for just yet but they made me smile and the tapes make a pretty, colourful addition to my desk.

I also couldn’t resist these either:

They make such a nice contrast to the ever so dreary weather outside and I cannot wait for them to open and show their beautiful colours.

After a few small jobs around the house the rest of the morning has been indulgently spent sitting in my bed enjoying a bit of me time, crocheting, watching a bit of tv, reading, eating biscuits (I didn’t stop at the 3 pictured…oops) and drinking tea with the company of my beautiful kitties (pictured is Mina, Misty was feeling a bit camera shy today!) and I have to say it has been bliss.

 

I thought the book title was rather apt as that’s just what I feel like doing at times!

The rest of the day will be spent doing more of the things I enjoy. I shall be visiting the sunbed on the way to pick up little miss (I know its not good for you but 15 minutes with the heat shining  down, pretending I’m  in St Lucia is just the escapism needed on a dreary, rainy day), snuggling on the settee for a bit of afternoon CBeebies and maybe some colouring in, eating pizza for tea and finishing the day with a glass of my favourite wine on the settee with hubby, whilst crocheting. My idea of heaven! Stuff everything that ‘needs’ doing, today I give myself permission to be a little self indulgent and it feels great!

Karen x

 

ps. Sorry for the rubbish quality of photos in this post, as aforementioned the light today is pants!

 

 

January so far

You can take the Brit out of Britain but you can’t take the Britain out of the Brit and so with that thought in mind I’m going to start todays post, true Brit style with a bit about the weather. What a mixed bag of weather we have had so far this January! We have had the odd sunny spell (fairly few and far between, I must say), we’ve had rain, we’ve had hail, we’ve had snow and just this last Thursday we  had the mother of all storms, with winds over 100km, schools closed and trees falling left right and centre, it was a bit scary if I’m honest. Most of all though January has been grey, grey, grey and sooo dark. When its so dark outside its  easy to start feeling glum but I can say thankfully that this year it has not hit me in the slightest. In fact the only thing blue around here are the shades of blue in some of the fabric and yarn I’ve been using. I’m not sure quite why, maybe its the fact that I went on the sun bed, burnt my bottom slightly and had a glow for a few days…as the glow worm song goes, its hard to be glum when the sun shines out your bum!!

Image result for glow worm clip artSeriously though, I’m very thankful to be feeling good, whatever the reason.

I’m actually rather pleased with myself at how much I have managed to fit in this January and we’ve still got over a week left. The craft room sort has continued, the bed has gone and whilst we are planning on getting a bed settee to replace it, I’m actually enjoying having the space to spread out a bit at the moment…

At the side of the picture you can see a blanket laid out, this is the baby blanket I have been working on for a friends baby and as it has now been gifted, I can show you. Its actually the first time I have ever bothered to block a blanket as the squares had bunched up a bit. I was a bit nervous about blocking as I hadn’t done it before but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

I really love this blanket, especially the way you can see the crosses in the squares when the blanket is laid out. I’m very happy to say that the recipient was very happy with it too, which is after all why I make them.

I have been having a little experiment with appliqueing and stencilling bags with the idea of selling them at a craft fairs…

I’d love to know what you think of them.

In recent months as I think I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been  yearning to work with fabric and start using the sewing machine again. I have so many ideas for things Id like to make on the sewing machine but have decided to start with bunting and bags. The bunting is all cut out and ready to go…

and here is the fabric I have lined up for the bags…

I still haven’t actually got the sewing machine out yet, for some reason I’m procrastinating. Its maybe nerves as I haven’t had the machine out for 2 years and I’m a bit worried I wont remember what to do.  I am determined to get it out this week though and to have finished the bunting and a couple of bags by the end of January.

I’ve started running again after just not feeling like it for the last couple of months and am pretty happy with my progress. I even forced myself to go out on my own on a particularly cold and slushy Friday morning on my day off. I’m going to have a look for some 10km races to enter and once I see how they go, I may think about another half marathon.

I’ve even managed to find some time to do a bit of colouring (see top picture). Normally I don’t really see the point of those adult colouring books as you spend so long colouring the picture but don’t actually do anything with it. As part of one of my secret Santa presents at work I was bough a mindfulness colouring calendar, so I thought I’d have a go and as the picture will be displayed for a whole month I thought it was worth giving it a go. I have to say I really enjoyed it, Little Miss was doing her colouring alongside me and it was a really nice way to spend an hour or so.

I hope your January is going well  and that you too are escaping the post Christmas blues. I’d love to know what craft projects you have been getting up to.

Karen x

January projects

In a bid to assign more time to crafting and at the same time set realistic goals (with all the thousands of creative ideas going around in my head that I want to do RIGHT NOW, its definitely worth a try!), I’ve decided to start making a list at the beginning of each month of the projects I would like to do and then review the list at the end of each month to see how I got on.

Here’s what I’m planning to achieve in January:

  • Finish crocheted granny squares baby blanket (I’d best get a wriggle on baby is due on Saturday…eeek!)
  • Continue and hopefully finish crocheted bright stripes full size blanket.
  • Start a crochet poncho for Little Miss
  • Make my first machine sewn fabric bunting.
  • 3x stencil/ applique bags ready for craft stall.

I think this sounds achievable, right off to get started on the bunting, I’m very excited!

What crafty projects do you have on the go? I’d love to hear about them.

 

Karen x

 

Thank you 2017, welcome 2018

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I know its a couple of days late but hey ho, its the thought that counts!

New year is a time where we like to look forward to the year ahead and what we hope it will bring, along with our goals to achieve. Whilst I do like to do this, I think its important first of all to look back at the last year and to give thanks for all the good times it brought.

 

2017 was, on the whole a good year for our family. Of course there were some difficult times, especially the loss of a dear relative just before Christmas. However, lots of good times were also had and what better way to celebrate than with pictures:

 

January brought with it a fair bit of crocheting, mostly in the form of hats:

 

February marked the first of our holidays, with a trip to Holland and the start of the granny stripe/ mojo blanket :

 

March was all about the flowers and lots of crafting with little miss:

 

 

 

 

April marked the second break of the year, a few days away in Oberhausen and not forgetting my first half marathon of the year:

 

 

May was the month in which I was introduced to a lovely little ceramic studio and  the start of my addiction to ceramic painting. There was also a visit to England, including running the Liverpool half marathon:

 

In June I ran my third half marathon of the year, took part in a charity 5km run  and had a few nice family local days out:

 

 

July was the only month in which I didn’t post anything here but it was a busy month with 2 trips back to the UK for weddings and a visit by my lovely Mum and Dad and 2 of our nephews and nieces.

What a relaxing month August was with a 2 week holiday in the caravan at the Norfolk broads:

 

 

In September I ran  the Berlin marathon for the second time, raising over £500  and also finished making the squares for the eclectic mix granny squares blanket:

 

 

 

October finally marked the completion of the eclectic mix large granny squares blanket and some heart bunting :

 

November was all about organising my craft room and completing the granny stripe/ mojo blanket:

 

 

December was a busy month. Crafting wise it was all about making Christmas cards.  It was also the month our little girl turned 4, we went on Santa’s steam train, visited Christmas markets, had snow, had a visit from dear friends, had some more snow and  topped the year off with a fabulous Christmas with family back in England:

 

 

Looking ahead to 2018

I tend not to make too many ‘resolutions’ as I think we have a tendency to start the year off setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and setting ourselves up for failure within the first couple of weeks of the new year. With this in mind I have just set myself a few goals which I hope to achieve this year:

  • Build up my blog readership (I’m not  certain that anyone has actually been reading my blog for the last year and a half. If you read it regularly, please do let me know, so I can stop singing “All by myself…” Bridget Jones’ style as I’m typing )
  • Assign more time to crafting (my Fridays off are going to be dedicated to crafting and building up new crafty skills)
  • To make items to sell at a craft stall (I’ve been meaning to do this for years and have just never got round to it but I’m determined that this will be the year!)
  • To start machine sewing again (the poor sewing machine hasn’t seen the light of day in the last 2 years!)
  • To build on my photography skills and find my way around my new Camera (a Christmas present from my lovely other half).

As well as the above, there may be a bit of running squeezed in with possibly a few half marathons (I’ve got to keep feeding my medal addiction!) but absolutely no full marathons this year!

Have you set yourself any goals you’d be happy to share? I’d love to hear them.

Here’s to a fantastic 2018 and most of all… happy crafting.

 

Karen x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Granny stripe/ mojo blanket

What a long journey this blanket has had from when I embarked on the first chain way back in January to finally reaching completion 2 weeks ago. It has been a very spluttering, stop and start kind of journey, it has been worked on solidly for evenings at a time and it has also been abandoned in favour of other projects for weeks at a time. The yarn for this blanket was actually a 4oth present to myself a year and a half ago but I refused to let myself start it until I had finished 2 blankets I had on the go for Christmas presents last Christmas: ‘Hazy Days’ blanket and  Eclectic Mix large granny blanket

I eagerly started it in January but progress on it really slowed down as I began to find it too hard to concentrate on the long rows  due to  struggling with the winter blues which I wrote about here: A blip and a few days away 

I mentioned in a previous post The halfway mark that I was debating what to call the blanket  but have finally decided on ‘the mojo blanket’. It just had to be for 2 reasons. The first being that  its progress was so dependent on how I was feeling at the time and lots of memories of this years struggles are tied up this blanket, the other reason being that just the sight of this blanket now completed, really does lift my spirits. It is such a happy looking blanket, with its vibrant colours and I just love seeing it perched on the back of my settee.

Here it is in its entirety:

I have to warn you that there are quite a few photos  of this blanket. I always like to get an overall shot and maybe a shot of a couple of sections but I just felt that it needed lots of photos to do it justice. There are so may colours in it, it can give you a completely different feel dependning on which section you look at and how close or far away you are. Some sections are super vibrant whereas others are more pastel and sedate. Here take a look for yourself and see what you think:

and here it is with my granny squares blanket (Drum roll please…) :

This sight makes me very happy. Two very different blankets but both bright and happy and that is how they make me feel 🙂

The nitty gritty:

The yarn I used was stylecraft special dk. Now it was my first time using this yarn and I had heard it recommended on so many blogs that I just had to try it out for myself. I wasn’t disappointed, it is a lovely yarn to work with and it really does make for a rather snuggly blanket. It also has the advantage is that there are so many colours to choose from on the colour palette seems to get added to on a regular basis.

Here are the colours I used, although I didn’t keep a track of the order I used them in. I could work it out though if anyone really wanted to know.

Aster, Matador, Lemon, Apricot, Sherbert, Teal, Mocha, Turquoise, Saffron, Pomegranate, Shrimp, Clematis, Wisteria, Bright pink, gold, sage, pistachio: a total of 17 colours, I did order extra for the border though.

As is usually my way with making blankets, I had no plan, other than to use a granny stripe pattern. I selected the colours first over the internet from wool warehouse, using a gut feeling approach, I basically just picked 17 colours I liked and hoped for the best that they would look good together.

 

As I started the blanket I literally used the colour that I felt like using at the time, holding it next to the last row to double check it looked ok.

A lot of things about my work life are planned to the nth degree so I think to plan a blanket fully before making would take the fun out of it for me. Letting a blanket evolve as I make it is much more fun.

The border was ummed and aaahed over for quite some time before I finally got around to doing it. I actually put the blanket away for a good 2 months after finishing the main body of it before starting the border. I just wasn’t quite sure what border to do or what colours to use. In the end I just ordered another ball of a few of the colours I had used and just started, again by just seeing which colour looked right as I went along. when I started the border, I had it in mind that it was only going to be a couple of rows (partly because I thought that would look just fine and partly because I find going around and around the blanket to make the border a tad tedious if I’m honest) but after stepping back and looking at it and seeking the opinion of my husband, we decided it needed to be a bit thicker and so another 3 rows were added.

I didn’t bother to block the blanket as it wasn’t tremendously wiggly and I don’t think handmade blankets should be poker straight anyway. Plus the fact that it was being put into immediate use.

I really am very with how it turned out. Right, time to go and start my next one …

Karen x

 

 

 

Drum roll please…

After making my sister the Eclectic Mix large granny blanket for Christmas last year, I vowed to make myself one to keep. After starting it towards the beginning of the year, working on it alongside my granny stripe blanket and half heartedly picking it up and putting it down many times this year I am ecstatic to say that I have finally finished it. In the end it actually pipped the granny stripes blanket to the post for being finished first. The granny stripes blanket was actually finished except for a border as far back as August but after umming and ahhing over what to do for the border I turned my attention to my squares blanket in the meantime.

It has been a fair while since my Let the joining commence… post back in September but hey ho, its here now. Without any further ado, drum roll please, here it comes…

I love love love it! I love that it is so bright and colourful and yet fresh at the same time with all the white. Much as I loved the original eclectic mix large granny square blanket, I wanted to do this one slightly different, one reason being that I don’t like making 2 things the same, the second being I wanted chunkier white spaces between the colours and 3rd, I just couldn’t face the thought of making lots of 10 round granny squares again! Lazy I know!

The process:

I made 42 6 round granny squares from stash yarn, most were random bits left over from previous blankets and some stylecraft special dk left from the granny stripes blanket but I honestly couldn’t tell you now which colours were which now.

After making the squares, I bordered them each with 2 rows of white (using a treble stitch on each of the stitches rather than grouped in 3’s as for the granny squares themselves).

Then ‘borrowed’ the join as you go method from Lucy of Attic 24  to join them and add another row of white.

I really do love it and despite being only finished a couple of days ago, it has already been put to good use for snuggles in front of the tv.

Whilst I do love making blankets for other people it is so lovely to be able to keep this one for ourselves. The only other one I made and kept was a large single granny made in browns and reds to match our living room. I used to think that everything needed to match but have since embraced colour much more and am more than happy to have a bright, eclectic blanket to snuggle up under on cold winter days.

Since finishing this blanket I got a taste for finishing things and that combined with having a little more crafty time in the half term holidays, means that I have now actually finished my granny stripe blanket too. Yippee.

Right, I’m off for more blanket snuggles, watch this space for my granny stripe blanket unveiling in a few days.

Karen x

Let the joining commence…

It seems to have taken me an awfully long time to get to this point but I now have 42 squares all bordered in white ready to be joined! Woohoo!

I already love the eclectic feel of this blanket and just cannot wait to see it finished, which I’m hoping will spur me on to get it finished soon! I’m not going to set myself a time limit on when it will be finished but I’m really hoping it wont be too long now, its getting cold here and I need it for snuggling on the settee. I’m on a mission!

Karen x

summer holidays

How did the summer holidays fly past so quickly yet again? It only seems like yesterday that we broke up for the summer, 6 lovely long weeks stretched out ahead of us. Although it has flown, it has been a great summer. After my family left we had a week to prepare and pack the caravan and then it was off to Norfolk for 2 weeks. We were so so lucky with the weather and I actually came back from England with a tan…yes, I know, a tan in England! One of my sisters and her family stayed at the same site for the first week and my brother and sister in law stayed in their caravan on the pitch next to ours for the full 2 weeks.

Just look at that beautiful blue sky!

We also had a couple of friends stay for the middle weekend so it was a great mixture of relaxation and family time. The site didn’t have masses of facilities but there was a swimming pool and that kept little Miss happy. When we are away in the caravan we don’t tend to have lots of days out but spend a lot of time just enjoying being outdoors and making the most of being together. We did get a a few days out though, one being a day on the beach at Great Yarmouth. The day that we chose to go was lovely and warm and we even braved dipping our toes in the sea. There were a fair few people fully immersed and swimming in the sea but it was a bit too cold for me. It was so delightful watching little miss letting the waves splash over her toes (very cautiously at first, I might add). It was the first time she had been to a proper beach rather than a man made beach around a lake. We live quite a long way from the beach in Germany and although whenever we visit family in the England we are actually right at the seaside, it’s always been too cold to go. Plus, at Southport beach it takes about a half hours walk along the sand to even reach the sea! We’ll definitely have to make more of an effort to visit the beach next time we’re back though as she loved it so much. We did however, do the obligatory visit to the amusements whilst we were at the seaside. Far from being amused though, little Miss was not impressed when she put all of her ‘pennies’ into the machine and didn’t get anything out in return!

 

During our caravan holiday we also paid a visit to a farm at Wroxham barns. What a fabulous little place, Little miss loved being able to hold a chick and a Guinea pig. She was a bit nervous when they wriggled but did a great job, keeping still and calm, the chick was on the verge of falling asleep on her lap. She also helped to bottle feed the calves.

I think the highlight for us all (the adults at least) was taking a boat out on the Norfolk broads for the day. What an experience, pootling along the waterways, taking it in turns to drive the boat and enjoying the scenery. I have to admit, I wasn’t particularly good at driving it and much preferred leaving it to the boys. I actually took my crochet with me and managed to hook a few squares whilst Little Miss was being entertained by her Auntie Di. Rich was in his element and spent most of the time that he wasn’t driving, up on the outside of the boat. It’s definitely something we’d all love to do again.

Isn’t that view just beautiful!

It seems almost unbelievable that we’ve been back from the holiday for  2 weeks now…yes I know I’m a bit late posting about it. Since coming back from Norfolk we’ve continued to have beautiful weather and have been making the most of it, spending as much time outside as we can. We’ve been sitting outside a lot in the evenings (whereas normally we’d be inside with the tv on) and I’m determined to make the most of the good weather while it lasts.

It may be back to school for me tomorrow but it’s been a good break and I’m feeling refreshed. Long may that feeling last, I’m intend to do my best to hold on to it for as long as possible!

Karen X