Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Colours Galore & Frolicking On The Edge

(Sigh) Would you just look at the view that greets me when I walk in the kitchen!!!! Isn't it gorgeous??? -if a little dull. It's rainy, cloudy and windy in my part of the world, although looking out of the window it could brighten up later on. The gladioli are steaming ahead with their blooming business...

...and I got a lovely surprise in the post yesterday which felicitated the joining together of the rainbow pages.
Did I show you Paula's blue page? I can't remember. Never mind, I will show you again- can never have too much of a good thing and this page is DEFINITELY a good thing!

My surprise in the post was the violet page from Wendy- equally as lovely as Paula's page...

Unfortunately it turns out that my indigo page was sent to someone else, so whilst I wait for that to be forwarded on I have made a start on stitching them together to make them into a book. What do you think of it so far??

We have: Red from Alison, Orange from Hazel, Yellow from Sue, Green from Annie, Blue from Paula...an unknown indigo one, and Purple from Wendy.

I might make a multicoloured, rainbow cover to keep them in when they aren't on display....or just mount them on my wall to add a splash of colour to my bedroom!

Oh, oh!! And, in other news, I have finished my hexagon blanket!! I was going to blog yesterday about all my rainbow loveliness, but I got so caught up with my hexagon blanket, frolicking on the edge I was until the early hours of last night. When I finished I was so tired I just tucked myself up underneath the blanket and went to sleep, so I didn't get a good look at it until this morning. And I LOVE it!!!
This is what it looked like when all of the hexes were in place, before the edge went on...

(Do you like my new spotty socks? They have stripes on the bottom and were another purchase from the Asda shop)

Are you ready? Here's the finished blanket all edged and beautiful......ready....steady....


Here are some close ups of the edge for you...

The edge was worked alternately in double and treble stitches, and also alternating in direction. The final treble round was worked in front loops only to prevent it curling too much.

I am very proud of my newest addition to the ever growing blanket collection, and it has already found a home on one of the chairs in the living room, along with one of my blooming flower cushions!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

General Happenings

Good day to you my friends! I have been having a very crafty few days- aided by my new books of course. I came to the conclusion one afternoon, Thursday I think it was, that I should crochet a crochet case for my growing number of crocheting tools. I based it on the pencil case made before my Portugal holiday- although this time I did some counting so I can tell you exactly how it was made!!

I began with a chain of 40 stitches (plus 1 extra for turning) and then worked 63 of rows of double crochet, making a chain stitch at the end of every row to enable a neat turn. My colour pattern was three rows of a blue colour and then one row of white (although sometimes the coloured stripes look different widths because of the thickness of the yarn used). To make the peaked flap I tried out a technique learnt in my 200 Crochet Blocks book by Jan Eaton where you make regular reduction stitches to curve your crochet.

So, as I wanted it to curve right in the middle, on the 64th row I dc 18 stitches, then dc3tog, then continued in dc for the rest of the row. (dc3tog = insert hook into first stitch, yo and pull through, insert hook into next stitch, yo and pull through (3 loops on hook), insert hook into final stitch, yo and pull through (4 loops on hook), yo and pull through all the loops on your hook) For the next few rows, you decrease the amount of dc stitches before the dc3tog- so, after that first decreasing row (the top white row in the above image), you dc for 18, then 17, then 16 etc before the dc3tog. Not sure if I am making sense here. I hope I am- I might try and do a tutorial for you all to try and explain better.
I continued for a few more rows (8 to be exact) and then on the last row, I made the buttonhole loops by chaining 6 after 5 dc (work in reverse for the other side). All that is left to do is to fold the length into 3, turn right sides together and sew up the 'pocket' bit, turn the right way round, sew on some buttons and voila!

Hmm, onto something less complicated I think...how about a shopping trip to Asda? My family go there quite regularly (it's where my Dad likes to buy his new clothes- we aren't followers of high fashion in this house) for big shops, and I was particularly entranced with these gorgeous Gladioli, going very cheaply for the grand old sum of £2!!

They are only just beginning to flower so I will keep you posted on their progress into blossom-hood. What do you think of my floral display there? The cards are for my parents, it was their wedding anniversary yesterday (22 years!!).
As well as Asda we took a quick detour to Dunelm Mill where my Dad decided he really liked these little lanterns- they are quite cute.

Ooo, would you like a trip round the garden? We haven't done one of those in a while! Come with me and we will gaze and drool over the beautiful flowers in the garden...

Thanks for popping by! Before I go, I would just like to draw your attention to a little white blob next to the bottle of vino in the photo of my gladioli- more on that blob coming soon, as well as some more gorgeous books! You're gonna love it!!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Big Giveaway

If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will know all about my big giveaway a few weeks ago, inspired by my reaching 200 blog posts. I asked readers to leave their name and a bit about themselves in the comments box, and then at the end of a week The Mother picked one of the names at random out of my crocheted hat and the lovely Lucy found herself on the receiving end of my giveaway. In between holidays and other projects, I finally managed to bring together my box full of interesting and hand made things- not that I could tell you about it as I wanted it to be a surprise. Now that it has been posted and received I feel I can share with you what was sent!!

So!! In the box we have:
-One jellyfish (crocheted with pink and green acrylic double knit yarn)
-A selection of my crochet flowers and leaves (crocheted in 100% cotton yarn)
-A fat quarter from Fabric Land
-A selection of ribbons from the Made In Lewes textile market
-An apple, an orange and a pear from The Mother

So what do you think? Nice enough for a giveaway? I was trying to do a mixture of the handmade, with projects that have been featured on my blog, and also the inspirational with a few bits and bobs that can be used in own craft sessions.

I wrapped them all up individually to make it even more a special surprise and arranged them in a shiny box with some lavender from the garden to add a nice smell.

Hopefully Lucy likes it, and thanks again to everyone who entered- keep reading, there may be another giveaway soon!!

Crochet Book Love

I have been waiting and waiting to write this post for what seems like ages!!! It all started when I was given two crochet books for my birthday by the lovely Mother (the two taller books on the left hand side), Crochet Workshop by Erika Knight, and 50 Ripple Stitches by Darla Sims. Oh my golly gosh!! They are jam packed full of interesting, lovely, fascinating, beautiful (I could go on...) ideas!!

The above photos are from the Crochet Workshop book and I really love the little coasters. Do you think Ziggy would like me to make him a cat basket? The basket is made from strips of fabric instead of wool- imagine the size of the hook needed!!

I really love the Violets pattern from the ripple book- it's just soooo pretty!! Here, have a closer peek...

I thought I'd try out a few other patterns first, although I have to admit, I'm only just starting this one and it kind of has me stumped!!

The Mother says I should persevere and work it out....or I may just chicken out and try another pattern first....to get into the swing of things you know....?
Hmm, anyway, these two books gave me a serious case of the wanties- I wanted (no needed!) more crochet books that I could delve in at any time for inspiration. I love looking on the internet and at blogs for ideas, but there is something about owning a book, holding it, flicking through the pages- you know what I mean? Of course, I often have to go on the internet to accompany the book reading as I often find myself looking up ways of doing new stitches (a surprising number of lovely American ladies doing all the crochet demos on Youtube), but now I'm rambling; what I'm trying to say is that good ol' Amazon came up trumps and with a few clicks I found myself the brand new owner of not one but TWO new crochet books!! Totally fab!

The first one to arrive (they didn't come on the same day so the excitement continued) was 100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet by Lesley Stanfield. If you click on the link it will take you to the Amazon page and you can do the fabulously clever 'looking through a few of the pages to whet your appetites'. It is a really lovely book, with so many flowers! At the front are the knitted things  and then at the back are the crocheted things.

I've already made one of the butterflies from this book, and have released it into the garden. Look at it go!!

This book appears to be part of a series, which The Mother made the mistake of telling me about--- there may now be two more books on order...check out here and here.

My final book is 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix-and-Match by Jan Eaton. I fell in love with this book when I realised that not only is it chocca with gorgeous granny square patterns, but it also encourages you to mix and match! An idea which has never occurred to me before, daft though that is!

I am very taken with these corner blocks- such a genius idea!!

So I hope you enjoyed looking through my new books with me. I now have so many ideas buzzing around in my brain I haven't a clue where to start!! Plus I still have the hexes to finish!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Star Gazing

 Afternoon All, bit of a random post this one (don't you just love those?). I thought I would begin with some truly remarkable flowers that I bought in the supermarket for £2. £2!?! I ask you!! Bargain in my opinion. There were lots of colours to choose from but I went for a bunch of nearly red ones with white tips and a bunch of nearly white ones with red middles as I thought they would compliment each other nicely, and don't they look fab in my fabric paper vase???
The vase is starting to look slightly tatty now though so I may need to jazz it up again with some ribbons or a lick of paint- apparently something terrible and wet happened to it whilst I was at uni so it has misshapen itself slightly, but never mind.
Did any of you look up last night? By up I mean at the nights sky. There wasn't a cloud to be seen and the stars were twinkling merrily away. I have a big thing about stars, even have glow in the dark ones on my ceiling, but it's the real life ones that I love best. Nothing better than sitting curled up in bed under a colourful ripple blanket gazing up into the nights sky spotting satellites drifting past (I saw two) along with the occasional aeroplane (my house is just off the Gatwick flight path). I can usually spot two constellations- Orion's belt and the saucepan. Can never seem to find Orion himself though, hope he isn't wandering around up there with his trousers round his ankles!

Eagle eyed readers may notice that a new favourite blog has popped up on the left hand side there- Silver Pebble, written by Emma. I first heard about this blog through Lucy at Attic24 as the two ladies decided to do a creative swap. I am very jealous of Emma's shed I have to admit and she makes lovely jewellery so do pop over and take a peek, I'm sure she'd love to have you round in her colourful garden!

It's been quite a lazy few days here, the weather has been gorgeous and I am starting to feel that summer has arrived (albeit a tad late!!). There are some lovely flowers in the garden too- I am especially enjoying the purple poppies which have suddenly popped up. We didn't really mange to get in much poppy appreciation time earlier this month as the rain and wind had taken the petals almost as soon as they had cautiously unfurled!

Today though has been quite busy. The cat seems to have found a wren's nest and has now brought in two baby wrens. The first one sadly didn't make it, but the second one was whizzed to the East Sussex WRAS (Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service) this morning and left in their capable hands.

Coming back home again I transformed myself into a Domestic Goddess (no mean feat!) and made a whopping bowl of cous cous, and tried out an Attic24 recipe for cheesy nibbles- I have sampled one already and golly they're good!!

The cous cous recipe is a firm favourite in this house and I make it quite often, varying the ingredients slightly depending on what is in the fridge/cupboard.
Generally it uses an entire packet of cous cous, several tomatoes, a half to a third of cucumber, big wodge of parsley (maybe some mint), chopped pepper, a dollop of butter, a bottle of Cesar salad dressing, pinch of salt and either some peperami or bacon (as in picture above) or sausage.
Very easy to make, just chop and chuck into the bowl along with some hot water until the cous cous is light and fluffy- mix every 5 minutes or so with a fork whilst you add in ingredients and then leave to let the flavours blend together. This recipe is best made several hours or even a day before as it improves with age.
I love the colours in it- just look at the pepper against the parsley! Talk about eye candy!

So I hope you enjoyed the random nature of today's post- more owls and crochet coming soon!!


Edited to add: The Attic 24 inspired cheesy nibbles were a roaring success and didn't make it through the whole day. I added my own spin to the recipe by adding in a smidge of paprika to make the cheesy taste POP, and they were delicious. I now have another batch on in the oven to take to a friend's house this evening. I can guarantee they will be just as successful!!