Eclectic Mix large granny blanket

I love love love this blanket. Out of all the blankets that I have ever made, this has to be my favourite. I’m not quite sure what it is about it, whether its the random mix of colours, the white bordering the squares that really seems to make the colours pop, the chunkiness of the squares or maybe a combination of all of those things.

 

Whatever it is, I love it so much that I have set straight about making another one for myself even after promising myself no more time consuming blankets for a while. Oops! this blanket was gifted to my sister Sarah for Christmas and thankfully she loved it as much as I do. The colours in my blanket won’t be exactly the same or in the same order but it will have giant granny squares in random colours and it while be joined and bordered in white.

 

I’m so excited, I cannot wait to see it folded in my living room and snuggle under it on the settee. I swore that after finishing the two blankets I made for Christmas presents, I would not make any more for a while and concentrate on smaller projects but I just cant seem to help myself, so here we go again…

‘Hazy Days’ blanket

I started this blanket way back in June to give to my sister for Christmas. Its a good job I started it so early as it literally took me  until 2 days before Christmas to finish it. This blanket really was a labour of love. I enjoyed making the squares as each one only took me about 20 minutes and many of them were done during the Summer holidays, hence the blankets name. Joining the squares (all 144 of them) was however, a different story and one that I did not enjoy unfortunately. I decided I wanted to try a different way of joining that I hadn’t used before and I really didn’t want to sew them together. First I tried a single crochet method but you could see the joins, so after a few squares I frogged it back and carried on searching for a suitable method. In the end I stumbled across a method by Lucy of Attic24 see here which involved joining the squares with slip stitches. She does such good tutorials with loads of photos so it was easy to follow but my goodness, it took a loooooooong time to do. It was a very effective method though and produced a lovely finish where you can only see the joins if you look extremely closely. I was very pleased with the finished result and thankfully so too was my sis.

In the rush to get the blanket finished and wrapped in time for Christmas I totally forgot to take pictures of it. Thankfully though Jen has taken photos of the blanket for me in its new home and here it is…

Even though it was a bit of a beast to make I do love the way it has turned out and most importantly the recipient loves it too. I love giving blankets to people who appreciate the love and effort that goes into handmade things and I know this blanket will be treasured for many years to come and that makes me very very happy.

 

Karen x

A bit of sparkle!

Whilst back in England I found some gorgeous sparkly wool in a pound shop of all places. I really didn’t need any more wool but it sparkled at me and even the hubster encouraged me to buy it, so it would have been rude not to!

As soon as I could, I set about making a hat for one of my nieces. Having only made 1 hat before (last year for little Miss and it turned out far too big, it may fit her in about 3 more years!) I was a bit unsure of sizing and had to frog back a couple of rows to get it just right. In the end I was pretty please with how it turned out and so was Em. 12 year olds can be fairly hard to please so I was delighted that she loved it so much, even wearing it to have breakfast in the day after I made it!

After the success of Em’s hat I decided to make one for our little Miss too. Again the sizing was a bit wrong to start with so I had to adjust the crown size a couple of times until it was just right. It was worth it though as she loves it, especially the pompom and has been wearing it around the house saying ‘Now I’ve got a hat like Em.’

As I seem to be on the roll with hats now (they really don’t take long, especially if you get the size right first time!) I’ve started yet another using the same wool, this time for a work colleague and friend. She has requested a flower though rather than a pom pom and as I’ve been meaning to have a go at making flowers for about the last year this gives me the perfect reason to  make my first one. Watch this space for more hat pics to follow…

A few thoughts for a new year

I know I’m a bit late with it already being the 3rd of January but better late than never!

New Year was a quiet affair for us this year (as most years to be honest) as we only arrived back home on New Years Eve and hadn’t made any plans. This was absolutely fine with us, we’re not ones for big New Year celebrations and enjoyed a relaxing evening at home and a snuggle in front of the tele.

As I’ve got older (and maybe just a teensy bit wiser?!) I don’t tend to make hard and fast resolutions any more.  I think people have a tendency to set their sights too high, and set themselves up for feeling a failure if they don’t achieve them all. I certainly used to write a whole list: eat better, exercise more, drink less, be a better person, read more, be more positive etc etc etc. In the last few years I have managed to achieve a much better work life balance and positive outlook and on the whole I try to eat well, exercise where I can and do as  much as I can of the things that I enjoy, especially spending time with family. I do tend to try to do too much though, so I suppose if I had to think of a resolution it would be:

‘To be kinder to myself.’

The world will not end if I don’t get every bit of work done in the time I was supposed to, S will not grow up to hate me if she’s the last one to be picked up at kindergarten, I’m not suddenly going to become unfit and overweight if on occasion I don’t go for that run and the house will not fall down if everything is not tidied away into its own space. I’m going to try so hard to live by the ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ school of thought and try to just chill out a bit more and if I don’t manage it then hey,

WHATS THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN?!!

Karen x

And there it was gone…

As always, this Christmas holiday has passed in the blink of an eye. As we live abroad, Christmas is one of the main times  when we get to catch up with family and I am always left feeling rather sad when it comes to an end and we’re on our way back to Germany. We had an absolutely amazing time, S was in her element being surrounded by family, especially her cousins and having so many more people to lavish attention on her.  I always think it must be a bit of a disappointment for her to come back to spending so much time with just Mummy and Daddy. To be honest though, I think its me that finds coming back the hardest. I’ve lived in Germany for 12 years, so you’d think I’d be used  to it by now but every time we leave family again it hits me hard. I try not to dwell though, if we didn’t come back then we wouldn’t get to be excited and look forward to the next time we visit. Every cloud and all that!

Anyway, I was a very very lucky lady this Christmas and was far too spoiled by my lovely hubby and family. I had a wonderful array of presents including these beauties which I just had to show you …

Silicone button coasters for our caravan. Before too long I may feel the need to crochet some matching cushion covers. Hmm….

STATIONERY, EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

Now, I have a bit of a thing for bright colours and for stationery (I still get the thrill of buying new pens, pencil cases etc at the start of each new school year, I think its a teacher thing!), so imagine how excited I was to peel the wrapping paper of these treasures. I haven’t actually used any of them yet as I have a strange tendency to look at new things for a while before actually using them, its almost like I need a special occasion to put new things into action. they will undoubtedly be made use of very soon…once I have stopped gazing at them.

Karen x

 

 

Busy! Busy! Busy!

On the whole, I love being busy as I feel that being busy makes you more productive, you tend to make the most of every minute. However, there’s busy and there’s BUSY! and sometimes I would just like to slow life down a bit and appreciate every moment a little more.

I almost can’t believe that it’s been well over a month since my last blog post! In that time I’ve been so so busy but I don’t feel as though I have an awful lot to show for it. Work has been unbelievably hectic and so time for craftiness has been somewhat limited. I have however been plugging on with the blankets I’m trying to get finished for Christmas presents. In my  previous post WIPs & IIWs (works in progress & Ideas in waiting I think I mentioned that I had almost finished the squares for one of the blankets. After laying them out it turned out that I had too many for one blanket (I literally made as many squares I could with the yarn that I had and counted them at the end) and so have been able to make 2 blankets, one a double bed size and the other a baby blanket size. I spent quite some time playing with the layouts until I was happy with them and so here is a pre joining sneak preview…

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Since then I have almost finished crocheting them together using a single crochet method from Lucy of attic 24 joining granny squares (what a labour of love, that has been!) and have JUST got the border to do! Oh and to think of a name for it.

The other blanket that I’m making from 10 round giant granny squares, is still very much a work in progress and I really do need to get a shift on! I’ve got 5 more giant squares to do and then need to finalise how they will be joined (I’m still mulling over a couple of options but I think I’m close to a decision).

In other news I have set up a craft and chat group, something that I’ve been meaning to do for years. It’s still a very much in its infancy with only a few regular members but I’m sure in time it will grow. I was so nervous about it and didn’t want to have to teach as I teach at work all day, so I set it up as a group where like minded crafty people can bring along whatever project they are working on whether it be knitting, crocheting, sewing…anything goes and we work on our own projects and have a good chat. Now that I’ve got past the nerves of being responsible for a group (it felt a bit like hosting a party, I was worried that no one would come but on the other hand worried there would be too many people), I’m even considering running some crafty workshops next year. Eek!

As well as crafting I am a keen runner and have applied for a place in the Berlin marathon 2017…. ?! I should know by the end of the month whether I have a place, so  fingers crossed and watch this space!!

Karen X X

Feeling thankful

As a primary school teacher and Mum, the start of every school year is an incredibly busy one. There are labels to make, routines to set in place both at school and at home, plans to write and just so much to do. In the midst of being so busy it is so easy to get bogged down with it all and let the mounting to do lists swamp you completely. I don’t mind sharing with you that six years ago, at this time of year, work pressures  amongst other things did get to me and I had a period of time where everything became too much and depression and anxiety took over. Thankfully, with a lot of support from family, friends and counsellors I managed to drag myself out of the darkness. The memory of that time still lurks at the back of my mind, especially at this time of the year when the days begin to shorten and the darker evenings and mornings take over. That is why I am so careful now to count my blessings and be thankful for all the good things I have and the good times I experience. I am not particularly religious but I do make sure to say thank you (I’m not quite sure who to, I just send it out there) as I’m a strong believer that giving thanks and being positive breeds more positivity. For that reason I wanted to post about one of the things that I am feeling most thankful for at this moment in time.

I am very fortunate to work 4 days, so that I have a Friday off to get some jobs done and spend some time with our daughter. On my precious Fridays and at the weekend I try to avoid using the car and walk as much as possible and one of my favourite things in the world is to be able to walk to kindergarten to collect Little Miss from her morning session. When I collected her this Friday her little face lit up when she saw the pushchair and not the car. It was so lovely walking along at a leisurely pace, enjoying the sunshine and chatting with her about her morning without being in a rush to be anywhere or get something done. After about 10 minutes she drifted off for a nap and I savoured the sunshine and fresh air. In December she will be 3 and I know the time will come in the not too distant future where she will no longer want to be in the pushchair and so I shall make the most of all of our little pushchair walks until that time comes.

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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

 

Karen x

WIPs & IIWs (works in progress & Ideas in waiting

Like so many  creative people, I always have so many ideas whizzing around in my head waiting (not very patiently) to come into fruition and too many projects already on the go.

In the vain hope to help organise my thoughts and  work methodically through projects I have decided to list them, with the plan of working through them one (or maybe 2!) at a time. So, here goes:

WIPS

  1. Small granny square blanket – I only have 10 granny squares to go on this one before I can begin joining them together. Eeeeek!image1
  2. large granny square blanket – I love love love the randomness of the colours on this one. Only 8 squares done and 14 colours to use so quite a lot still to do. image4
  3. pom pom rug -So near yet so far finishing this one. Over 100 scrummy, fluffy pom poms made but no idea how many I need until I start attaching them to the backing. Less than 3 months to complete this as  I want it done for my daughters 3rd birthday. No pressure then!image3
  4. NOEL Christmas bunting – I ran out of time on this last year and had no urge to finish it after Christmas. Only  the binding to finish, so not a big job.
  5. chevron knitted blanket – Sadly, I think this may remain unfinished for some time as I’m more keen on crocheting than knitting at the moment. I started this when I was pregnant but ran out of time and then lost the urge to knit. It is often on my mind though, so I am sure I will finish it one day, when I finally dig it out of the depths of the craft room.

IIWs

  1. Garden bunting – I only bought this yummy oilcloth fabric at the weekend and I cannot wait to get started on it. I want this done and in the garden asap so I can enjoy it before the weather changes, we’re due a scorcher at the weekend! image3
  2. Reading/play tent – I love adore this bright fabric from IKEA! This has been on my to do list for quite some time but must be done ready for little ones 3rd birthday in December to house the pom pom rug. image1
  3. crocheted blanket for moi! – when I turned 40 earlier this year I treated myself to this bag of gorgeousness. I fancy making myself a lovely bright blanket but I haven’t decided what its going to be yet. Maybe granny stripes or zigzags. There’s no time limit on this one and I’m determined to enjoy the process of seeing this grow gradually.image2
  4. Tote bags – This zingy little stash of fabric has been growing gradually and waiting patiently to be made into bags for Christmas presents. image5
  5. Crocheted snowflakes – I was gifted this book for Christmas last year and am itching to get going with making some lovely little snowflakes for the Christmas tree this year.51dvlj6ml7l_small2
  6. Crocheted flower picture – For at least the last year I’ve had the idea of making lots of lovely bright crochet flowers, stems and leaves and somehow attaching them to a canvas. This feels like a springtime project so may well hang around at the back of my head until it pops up again ready to burst into life.

Well there we have it, my first blog post with pictures! Whoopeeee! Its taken me ages but its all a learning process and I’m loving it. Hopefully listing all my projects and ideas like this will help me to work through them in a sensible order. Watch this space for some finished projects…

Karen x x

Confusion!

After setting up my blog a couple of months ago, I found out that I had chosen a name that already existed as a blog. Whilst I had done some research it obviously was not thorough enough! I was gutted, as I had put it off for quite some time as it was, not being hugely technical and a bit scared of the whole process of blog set up. Anyway, after much deliberation and a lot of procrastination (a couple of months – largely because I really wasn’t sure how to go about changing the blog) I have now made myself sit down and worked out how to register a new domain and change my blog  to A box of allsorts instead of a box of buttons. It still comes up on the tab as a box of buttons but I really haven’t got a clue about how to change that. If anyone has any ideas I would welcome the help.

Anyway, that is hopefully all the techy stuff out of the way, so I can now get on with the more interesting job of posting. I’ve got an awful lot of projects and ideas in the offing, which I am very excited about, so I will post about them very soon. Watch this space…

Karen x x