Tuesday, 30 December 2014

2014 Year Review - Phew!!

I came to the computer this morning with the idea to do this year review for my blog.

I have learnt two things:

I have many, many photos on this computer that could be organised much better


I have made loads of things this year!

I carry on happily in my manic obsessional way and it's only when I take stock like this that I realise just how much I've done!

My goodness.

So I think it's safe to say that I have had a fun filled crafty year, and I have enjoyed recording it here and sharing everything with you, my friends.

Looking forward to 2015 I hope to get several 'house' jobs done - maybe a spot of painting and decorating even. I can't wait for my garden to come to life in the Spring as my friend Linda has been planting for me again (which reminds me, I must get her curtains finished off) and of course I have many ideas for future craft projects and a healthy yarn / fabric stash to play with.
I'm sure there will be many happy family times as well, and hopefully we will have some good weather this summer so we can get out and about lots.

A long time ago I used to read a lot of self-help books and in one of them (and I simply cannot remember for the life of me what it was called or who wrote it I'm afraid) there was the suggestion that your life should be made up of nine boxes. Each box should contain one element of your life, so family in one, work in another, relationship in another and hobbies in another and so on. If one area fell apart - you get made redundant or spilt up from your partner, then it's not the total end of your world and you have other aspects that are still important. I'm not sure I have explained this too well, and I think it's quite a simplistic view but I like the sentiment of filling your own time on this earth with lots of positive and enriching facets, and making the most out of life in a way that suits you.

So with me feeling all positive and hopeful I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year. Thank you for your friendship, encouragement and inspiration and all your lovely comments.

'till next year...

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas One and All!!

Merry Christmas to all my friends from all over the world that visit me here, and thank you for stopping by....

It's such a joy to be able to connect with you all in this positive and happy community...

Wishing you all joy and happiness (whether you celebrate Christmas or not) and I hope that whatever you are up to over the next few days you are content, healthy, warm and loved

Happy Holidays One and All!!!!

'till next time...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Dressing Up

I have been making dressing up outfits for years now. The best thing about being able to sew is making costumes for my children. Unfortunately, some of the older outfits have been lost or given away, which is a shame, and I discovered the 'dressing up box' that had been stored in the shed had got all damp and some of the outfits, including cowgirl Jess from Toy Story had gone all mouldy and were beyond rescue :o(

Any excuse to buy more fabric!

The first to be made was the Belle dress. Beauty and the Beast was a firm favourite when the older girls were little, and now my youngest adores the film too.
She is not keen on having her photo taken these days and to get her to stand still long enough not to have a blurred feature to the image is rather difficult!

A cousins fancy dress birthday party meant I had to get the Frozen Elsa dress done, with slightly better luck at getting pictures!

"It's got sparkles!"

My 14 year old wanted one too, of course. Someone commented she could make appearances at parties as Elsa as she looks quite like her!

Looking at these photos does fill me with pleasure but I have to say I did not enjoy making these dresses. The fabric was difficult to work with, the satin was slippy, the stretchy shiny fabric used for the bodice did not like to be stitched at all and the glitter on the tulle overlay ended up all over my house!!

I couldn't leave my son out...

A crochet beard - completely made up as I went along, to go with his Santa hat :o)

This gingham fabric is for the last of the costumes, and as we have the shoes to go with it I need to crack on and get it made. Bet you can guess what it will be...

The pattern for the Belle dress is Butterick B4320 and the Elsa dress pattern is McCall's M7000. The fabrics for both dresses were ordered from this site, except the moondust tulle which was from here.

'till next time...

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Home images for this time of year....

I'm home this Saturday afternoon. It's just me and my baby girl. I'm pottering and she is playing. Her sweet play talk fills me with delight. We come together for a cuddle, a tickle, a chat and a play. I hear her sing 'head, shoulders, knees and toes' and organise her toys for their tea-party.

I've still got gifts to wrap, a few still to buy (and finish making) and let's not mention the card writing out, but I don't feel bothered about all that today.

 This morning was spent at my Catch Up & Crochet workshop making Christmas Pudding decorations and teaching a newbie the basics. Such a pleasure and a joy. And a privilege! One of my regulars thanked me for bringing crochet into her life - I was so touched, it really made my day!

My family spent an evening during the week putting up the decorations. The children did the tree together, with no bickering or sarcastic comments it was almost like some TV film! I cherished that moment too!

Old and new decorations, some made, some brought fill the house. It's good to unwrap the favourites and put them in place for their festive outing. Memories flood out with them, ready to make more memories over the coming weeks. 

I'm sure I will feel harassed and rushed and disorganised again when the wind changes direction, but for now I am enjoying the gentle breeze of contentment and thanking my lucky stars for all that I have.

'till next time...

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Crochet Rib How To

Hi everyone, me again.

On my last but one post I showed you my Rustic poncho which I made by mixing 2 patterns. The original poncho pattern was mostly crocheted but had a knitted cowl neck. I wasn't that keen on changing to pins over hook and as my latest copy of Simply Crochet (issue 25) had a poncho pattern inside with a crocheted cowl neck that look fab (a gorgeous design by Simone Francis) I could see it would be easy to apply that part of the pattern to my poncho.

Pammy Sue left a comment asking for a demo on how to do the neck and so of course I am happy to oblige!

So just a few photos to show you how I made the cowl neck of my poncho. It's made alternating Front Post treble (FPt) and Back Post treble (BPt). I'm not sure what the US stitch translation is but I'm guessing FPdc and BPdc? Anyway basically it is just ordinary treble stitch (US dc) but the difference is where you 'stick your hook'!

I'm using a dk yarn here and I chained 96 and joined with a slip stitch to form a ring (big enough to fit over my bonce!)

Then I chained 3 (which counts as first treble (US dc) and then worked 1tr (US 1dc) into each stitch. (96 stitches) and joined the round with a slip stitch into the top of the first 3 ch made.

*I have switched to different colour yarn here to make the process more clear for the pictures*
Ch1, make 1tr (US 1dc) as usual but after the first yarn over, when you would normally insert your hook in the loops at the top of the tr (dc) instead insert the hook from front to back behind the first treble (US dc) of the previous round as shown below:

and then finish the tr (dc) stitch off as usual.

Start the next tr (US dc) and insert the hook from back to front going in front of the next stitch along, I hope you can see this in the picture below:

and then finish off the stitch normally

The picture below shows the first 4 trebles (US dc) worked, the front post treble and the back post treble alternating each other.

Below is at the same stage but in the original yarn.

Work all the way round, alternating front post treble and back post treble and slip stitch to the first treble made to close round. 96 stitches.

And then you just repeat the last round until you reach your desired measurement, remembering to start each round with a chain 1. It really is a very easy and effective stitch pattern that I can imagine using for loads of applications.

And yes, I think I will make another poncho. I'm not sure if I have enough of this yarn but I'm going to see how far I get before I run out. Hopefully to the end. It's like jeopardy.

'till next time...

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Taking turns...

Hi all!

How's it going?
Do you have your Christmas decorations up yet?
I have seen a lot of Instagram posts showing peoples decorated homes, and my neighbour has done her usual over-the-top version of the Blackpool Illuminations on the front of her house, but for me it still is a bit early, I think it will be next weekend that our decs go up.

Of course the children have their Advent calendars to open and the older ones have already cemented the dreadful habit of eating the chocolate as soon as they wake up onto the baby of the family. (Fourth time round you would think I would be better at this child rearing business and have a perfectly behaved, no bad habit little girl. But no. Saving grace though is that on the whole she prefers cheese to chocolate, and usually will pick a babybel over sweet things)

As well as the supermarket character calendars they have, I made a fabric one from a kit I bought from the wonderful Kate. Having ordered it in plenty of time I still made it last minute and finished it off on the 30th November.  I have wanted to do something like this for years and have never managed to be organised. I like the idea of little knitted/crocheted stockings with the numbers on attached to a garland but we don't have a fireplace, and therefore no mantle so I'm not sure where I would hang it.
This kit comes as a single piece of fabric, with written instructions on how to make it up and with the delightful print with cute Christmas images it was super fun to make, has come out really lovely and I'm so pleased with the result.
We have filled it with chocolate coins and chocolate Santas and snowmen (I know, I could've replaced some of the chocolate with little gifts, I should've shouldn't I?) I popped them all in randomly but then my eldest re-organised so each one of the children would get exactly the same, as they take it in turns to open each day.

They work it on age order (so being the 6th today it is the second turn of my son - being the second youngest) There are 25 pockets, which of course does not divide by 4 so the last pocket is for me and my husband, oh how lucky we are!

Having sewn on mini jingle bells means it makes a pretty noise whilst being raided :o)

The countdown to Christmas is on now, I feel a wave of panic as I type this!
Good luck with all your preparations my friends,

'till next time...