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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ceramic pot number 4

Last week I went back to my favourite ceramic studio and decorated another pot for my craft room.

I’m not quite as happy with this one as the colours didn’t show up as well as I thought they would but hey ho, its hand made and I still love it really.

It looks good lined up with the others, I just love how they’re all so bright but so different.

I’m all done for pen pots now but I could do with a little dish to put my washi tape in, I think that may be next!

Karen x

A quick fix!

On Thursday night I felt the need for a quick crafting fix, something I could start and finish in one evening…and here it is.

I drew around a heart on the bag in pencil, then took the pencil ‘for a walk’ before colouring in each section with fabric pens. I finished by outlining the heart and each section in black to make the colours stand out. Once it has been ironed it should be colour fast and withstand being machine washed.

I really love how it turned out but I have no idea what I’m going to use it for yet. I have a feeling it’s going to find a use in the craft room (if little miss doesn’t commandeer it for carrying around highly important things such as her stone and acorn collection!) There are lots more ideas for bag designs swimming around in my head so hopefully there may be more to see soon! 🙂

Karen x

Ceramic Pot number 3

After writing yesterday about taking the family to my favourite ceramic studio, it dawned on me that I hadn’t posted about the last pot that I made back at the beginning of July.

Each time I go, I try to use a different technique so that I am learning something new. so, this time I started off by putting tape on the pot to split it into lots of small sections. I had to make sure the tape was stuck down tight so no colour could leak out.

Then I chose 6 bright colours and painted each section fairly randomly, just trying to make sure that no 2 adjacent sections had the same colour.

After letting the paint dry it was time to pull the tape off. I LOVED this bit, seeing the sections emerge and the crisp white lines between each section.

Then I had to leave my pot with the lovely Sabine and wait for it to be glazed. It usually takes a few days for the glazing and I always wait with eager anticipation to see the finished result. Once again I was not disappointed!

 

I think it looks great with the other ones on my craft room desk.

Just 2 days ago I went back to the ceramic studio and decorated  1 last pot for my craft room …watch this space for the piccies!

Karen x

A family visit

At the start of the summer holidays we had a visit from my Mum, Dad, niece and nephew. It actually seems like a really long time ago now but I didn’t want to let it pass undocumented. They arrived on a Saturday lunch time to glorious weather so we made the most of it by spending the afternoon in the garden. The following day we got up early and went out to our local bakery/cafe for a German breakfast consisting of bread rolls, croissants, cheese, salami and ham. Yum yum. Rich, Little Miss and I go fairly often and it is always a highlight of my Mum and Dads visits here. Sunday was all about the food as later that day we went to the Libori. The Libori is a yearly festival with fairground rides, stalls to buy all sorts of bits and bobs that you never knew you needed until you saw them and lots of food and drink stalls. As with most German festivals it’s really just another reason for lots of people to get together and have a good old drink if I’m honest, not that that is a bad thing! Little Miss went on the carousel and then I took my parents and niece and nephew on to the big wheel while  Rich looked after her as she point blank refused to join us despite lots of persuasive tactics. The big wheel isn’t really a ride as such, it’s a little bit like a teeny tiny version of the London eye, it moves around very slowly and gives you a great view over Paderborn. When we got to the top my Mum, who usually doesn’t scare easily, got rather clammy hands and clung on for dear life. She was rather glad to get off it and let her shaking legs recover! After that we had the obligatory German bratwurst and pommes followed by yummy garlic mushrooms. I was a bit rubbish and took very few pictures but if you want to read more about the Libori festival and see some pictures click here.

Unfortunately Monday and Tuesday were very wet miserable days and so we did a bit of shopping and pottering around.

As Wednesday turned out to be another grey day threatening rain, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to pay a visit to my favourite ceramic studio. Unfortunately lots of other people had the same idea and because it was so busy (alongside the fact that I took a restless 3 1/2 year old who can’t sit still for more than 10 minutes, along with me) it wasn’t quite the usual relaxing experience. Nevertheless, everybody enjoyed themselves and came away happy with what they had decorated and with eager anticipation of the finished glazed product. My nephew painted a ‘crazy eyed hungover squirrel!’, my niece sponged a lovely pot with stars for her Mum, my Mum used the bubble blowing technique and some peel off hearts and stars to decorate a pot for her craft room and my Dad was rather pleased with his mug which he painted over peel off stars.

 

 

Now, I had envisaged helping little miss to decorate a plate or a bowl which she could use for her breakfast on a daily basis but as soon as she saw the aeroplane money box she was adamant that she was making a pink aeroplane and there was absolutely no dissuading her!

 

Little Miss’ reaction to her aeroplanewas absolutely lovely. She was so excited when we went to pick it up and she saw that it was so shiny.

When we got it home and she was given  some ‘pennies’ to put in it, her excitement was just priceless. It now has pride of place in our kitchen for all to see! I didn’t make anything this time as I needed to be free to help everyone else at it was their first time, plus I had to keep little Miss on task and stop her from bouncing around the walls and causing havoc! I have since been back and will post pictures just as soon as I pick up the finished article after glazing, eek I’m sooo excited!

Thankfully by the Thursday of my parents visit the weather had improved enough for a walk into Bad Lippspringe and a visit to our local ice cream parlour for waffles and ice cream, yum yum!

On Friday Mum persuaded us to go back into town to revisit the parts of the Libori that we didn’t get to see on our first visit. I was a little bit grumpy about going back as I didn’t relish the idea of walking around the stalls again (over the years I have been to the Libori numerous times so it’s not really that exciting for me any more) but I’m glad we did as I found  a lovely present for a good friend of mine with a special birthday coming up later this year.

All in all it was a lovely visit and as usual went by far too quickly. It was my niece and nephews first visit to Germany and they went home full of news about what a great time they’d had and are eager to come back again. We’d love to have them to visit again but next time I may have to hide the monopoly or set a time limit on the game as I will never get back the 3 evenings I spent being slowly and painfully bankrupted by my nephew!!

Karen x

 

Ceramic pot number 2!

It’s been a while coming as I’ve spent the last week in England visiting family for the half term holidays but here it is, my latest hand decorated ceramic pot, glazed and  home to yet more pens. It now lives on the desk in my craft room. Having handmade/ hand decorated things around me in my craft room really does make me happy. I’ve got so many ideas of more things I’d like to make to have in there such as bunting and crocheted garlands but as always its just finding the time to do it with so many other projects on the go. I will definitely be going back to the ceramic studio very soon though to add to my pots  as I’ve more pens and scissors that could do with bright new homes too. The possibilities are endless…

Karen x

Dotty about crafting!

Last week a friend introduced me to a  local newish ceramic studio:
and oh my I’m hooked. The shop is a beautiful little place, very clean, fairly minimalist and not really how I would have expected a studio to look. It was very tranquil with relaxation music on in the background and tastefully decorated with just some examples of decorated items and of course the bottles of paint, adding a splash of colour.
After a lot of umming and aahing (I was like a kid in a sweet shop!) I decided on decorating a pot to hold some of my pens in the craft room. Then I had the difficult decision of how to decorate it it and what colours to use. There are ideas for techniques both on instruction cards and also on predecorated pots around the shop. It was such a tricky decision but I finally decided on a simple technique for my first time. I painted the inside in a coral colour, the outside in a light turquoise and then added raised spots.
 
I could have decorated so many things as I had tons of ideas whirring around in my head but I limited myself to the one pot for the first time.
I had to leave the pot there to be glazed and fired in the kiln. It was so hard to leave it as I wanted to take it straight home and admire my handiwork but leave it I must. I was able to pick it up a few days later and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. 
I am so much looking forward to going back again very soon as there are so many things I want to make…the possibilities are endless!
Karen x

Variations on a theme

As much as I do love crocheting, it can take some time to finish a project especially if I’m working on a blanket.  I’ve got 2 blankets on the go and another longish project in the pipeline but I just had the urge for a quick crafting fix. A bit of crafting where I could achieve a finished product in one evening. My go to craft for a quick fix is often cards. I find it really difficult to make cards for a particular person or occasion but sometimes I’ll just get an idea of a theme and make a few variations. This time it was flowers:

I’m really taken with these flowers, they’re just so fresh looking and perfect for Spring. These cards were the inspiration behind the flower bag in my last post Easy no-sew embellished bags. They were so simple but enjoyable to make and I’m so pleased with the outcome.  Making these cards has reminded me how much I enjoy card making, it really gives me a sense of achievement, I really must start setting aside time every now and then for an evening of card making.

What’s your go to for a quick crafty fix?

Karen x