March Makes – Monthly Challenge.

I did it … just.   I suddenly realised on Saturday that although I had done crafty things for me I hadn’t actually made anything for me.  I had spun yarn but made that into things for others and I had worked on my owl and flower granny blanket but I didn’t finish it!

I did not want to fail the challenge so as I needed another pen pot that became my ‘Me’ make.  I found an empty jar to cover and made this!

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I wanted to make up my own pattern and decided to go with spots.  It  took a bit longer than I anticipated to work it out and get it right but once I did it was really quick and I love the results.

For the children’s stocking present this month I decided to make coasters.

For Josh I chose to make this snail coaster adapting this snail motif pattern.

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And for Abi it was the owl I made out of the first lot of yarn I spun.  I just

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I added buttons to the eyes and needle felted the beak. It is big enough for the bottom half of the owl to take a mug.

I now just have to decide what to make next month!

I joined thistlebear for the challenge to make one thing a month back in January.  Here is her post for this month.

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

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Garden Fun and WIPs.

It is dull, damp and cold here this morning but the men in my life are happy outdoors!

Josh has lit a fire in the old bbq

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and they are busy moving 2 ton of soil to fill the veg boxes Hubby has been making!

Spice is with me indoors right now, busy investigating.

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I have been busy crafting,

tacking some hexagons while Josh had his swimming lesson

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using my second mini ball of spun yarn to make this little Easter Bunny. (sorry about the poor images, the light is so low today)

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I used this pin as a guide but made mine with a smaller head and longer body to accommodate eggs!

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I have sewn all 56 eyes onto my owls and I am so pleased with the result, I am glad that I decided to use buttons rather than yarn.

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I stitched most of those on with rather stiff fingers……

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….I had a tube of super glue leak onto my fingers!!

I have crocheted the first two square together using the new yarn colours and after my problems last week I am thinking now it may have been a blessing in disguise.

I have also had another little try at spinning using this video as guide as recommended by suzy sells sea shells. (Thanks very much for that). The video was so helpful and I would definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to give spinning a try.  My yarn is now about 1/3 of the thickness it was and it has answered a lot of questions for me too.  I am hoping to spin three different colours and then ply them this time for a mini project.

What have you been busy creating this week?

Happy Crafting… and if you are in the UK enjoy the Easter Hols!

Sharon xx

When Josh gets in the kitchen!!

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Sometimes after school I hear a clatter in the kitchen and secretly groan!!

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When Josh was little he loved to help bake, as he has grown older he likes to do it all alone.  Sounds fine, but the problem is that he refuses to follow a recipe. ‘No, I’m making up my own recipe Mum’!!!  (Groan) Well, as you can imagine we have had all sorts of doughy cakes and tough biscuits, Some have been okay, some politely edible and others discreetly disappear – uneaten….. until the last couple of months when all his experimentation is finally working out.

In February he made some ‘buns’ which were not just edible but enjoyable and very well presented on a scewer.

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Yesterday, again, after school Josh got busy in the kitchen.  I have offered him a recipe many times but he had always been adamant that he was doing it his way but this time I persuaded him to accept a basic cake recipe and he could add other things, eg chocolate chips, sultanas etc.  But Josh wasn’t going to be that boring and he decided to add lemon juice, milk, melted chocolate, cocoa powder and melted butter. I was not at all sure how they would turn out!

Into the oven they went, they rose, and they looked good.  Josh served them this morning for breakfast with fresh cream and raspberries.  They were delicious!!

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I am thinking that maybe now it is time to start trusting my budding chef a little more!!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

Spinning, WIP’s and a Bargain!!

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It’s been a creative few days here.  I’ve been spinning, unpicking crochet 😦 , I’ve started a scarf and made some progress with the pj cases.

But first I still have a bit spring left in the house from Mother’s day to show you.

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This is the last of the bouquet that Abi gave me along with some miniature daffs from the garden.  And of course a warm hot cross bun, with oodles of melting butter!

I could’t leave it too long before another attempt at spinning.  I chose these three softly bright colours!  The yellow and pink make me think of neopolitan ice cream and the blue is just yummy and goes so well with the others.

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I started by going from one colour to another but soon noticed that where the colours overlapped I was getting a two colour twist which I really liked.  So for the rest of the yarn I spun alternating colours together.

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I am really pleased with it but I’m not sure if I am doing it right, especially the amount of twist, this time I used less twist than last time which seems better.  It is not all an even thickness but I have managed to get a thinner yarn overall.  I now just have to decide what mini project I can create with it, any ideas?….

Josh is itching to have a spin, so I need to use my yarn up soon.

I have been steadily unpicking the squares I had already joined of my owl and flower granny blanket, I am also waiting for the buttons to arrive that I can sew them onto the owl’s eyes. Then I need to add my extra round to each square.

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I am thinking of using the join as you go method.  Have you have used it?  If you have, is it easy and do you know of any good tutorials?

My PJ cases are coming on nicely.  I have all the skirts sewn and have just started attaching them to the bodices.

They are really starting to look similar to how I remember my PJ case when I was little.  I am hoping that the aprons will really finish them off.

I find it really special when creating something that brings back memories. Do you find that?  I seem to be frequently down memory lane at the moment, maybe the memories just seem more special since Dad passed on.

I have started a scarf for my sister.  She has asked me to crochet one for next winter but I wanted to start it while we still having some wintry days!!  It just doesn’t feel right doing it on a sunny spring day so it will be my rainy and cold weather project!

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I am using a pattern I have used for several scarves, I will try to put it up on here when I have finished the scarf if anyone is interested.

Lastly my bargain!  I found this duvet cover at the local market for £1.  It doesn’t look worn at all and I have now got two lovely large coordinating pieces of fabric.  I think Abi is already planning things to make with it.

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Well, that’s it for now, thanks for all your kind comments, I am always pleased to hear from you,

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

Success and Disaster!!

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It’s been a week of crafting Highs and Lows! Starting with the Highs…

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I tried out my drop spindle and I spun!! ( I have spun once before at school but it was so long ago that I can hardy remember it!)

I found a very good video on YouTube and followed that method.  There seem to be several different techniques but this seemed fairly simple so I went with it.  It was so much fun and a lot quicker than I thought.

I had these wool tops left over from one of Abi’s A Level projects so I decided to use these as a trial.

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There is something so satisfying in taking the fluffy carded wool and making it into yarn.  And of course I then had to make something with it!!

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I decided to make an owl coaster for Abi.  I wanted to make my first item for Abi as I know she appreciates what goes into something handmade and also she had a couple of turns at spinning too so some of the yarn was spun by her.  I didn’t have a pattern but made it up as I went along.  I think it turned out okay.

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I still have a lot to learn,  I definitely need to work on getting a more even thickness and on getting a good rhythm going but hopefully, with practice, these things will come.  The only disappointment was that the action of the spinning, I think in particular lifting the spindle as the yarn gets longer, soon started to make my neck play up.  Maybe I just need to wind on a lot more frequently or just do it in really short spells as I do on my sewing machine.  I am determined to find a way around it as I enjoyed it so much.  I don’t know if any of you can help me but when I used the yarn, in places it twisted up as I unraveled it, is this because it was twisted too tight? Also, how do you get the ends to stay twisted?  Mine  un-twisted a bit and when I came to thread them through the back of the work they broke.

My PJ cases are making gradual headway, I machined a little of the dresses today.  I hope to put little buttons to fasten the shoulder straps.  The bodices will need to be shortened too but that’s fine, better that way round!

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And I have also made another beaded spiral necklace for Abi to give to one of her cousin’s.  The colours are actually a deep purple with aqua but they haven’t come out very well in the photo.

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And the Low !….

My Blanket. 😦

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I had finally got into the swing of things again with my blanket after over a year of hardly touching it (encouraged by Sandra’s Blanket along) and I was just crocheting the last few squares when I ran out of yarn  Grrrrrrrrr.

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This was the first blanket I had made so I had no idea of quantities needed and had just guessed, I had thought that I had plenty! It was the pale fawn colour I ran out of and I had also planned to use this to join the squares, two strips already being done 😦  So today I set off the shop to get another ball hoping that it would be a good enough dye lot match.

But,  NO…this shade has been discontinued, the very one I needed was no longer available.  I guess it was my fault for taking so long to make the thing!

Thankfully I had taken a couple of squares with me so I could match up alternatives.  The other pale shades were just no good at all, too different but not enough contrast.  Then I considered scrapping six the unfinished squares, adding another round to each square and rejigging the layout.  I considered the other colours I had already used, the red would just have made the whole blanket too bright,  the green would have also been too much because we have very little green in our colour scheme so I was left with the brown.  I deliberated for some time but it just felt too dark and dull.

Now it was a case of pulling out other colours and trying to choose an alternative.  thankfully the ladies in the shop are very friendly and there was nobody else in the yarn section.  I whittled it down to these three.

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The rust and green were similar to the red and green but different enough not to look like a dye lot mistake and they didn’t feel to clash and the yellow brough out the owls beaks and feet and seemed to liven it up.  Again long minutes spent uumming and aahing but they all felt too much to have just one of them.  So I considered using two colours together but it still didn’t seem right so in the end I took all three hoping that the new colours will liven the blanket up!!

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Back home I had a count and I have 28 owl and 56 flower square so the owls will be bordered by yellow and the flowers divided between rust and green.  I shall do a 7 x 12 layout, I need to spend some time working on that, I need to decided whether to go random or in some order, what do you think?

I am still not 100% sure with my choice.  I think probably because Abi hasn’t seen it yet and we nearly always run things past each other.  Whether we take any notice or not is a different matter but because we are both creative her opinion matters a lot!

So after all of that kerfuffle I am hoping  that this will prove to be a happy disaster…time and a lot of crochet will tell!!

Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

So Much Craftiness… and my Stray Sock Solution!!

I feel buzzing with creativity.  I have a couple of finished, lots of WIP’s and even more ideas to share with you.

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Firstly my sock solution.  As I mentioned a while ago we have a problem with odd socks in our house.  Josh uses them for target practice and Abi’s and Hubby’s are wherever they decided to take them off!

So, when I saw this pattern on pinterest I knew it was just what I needed to hang inside the airing cupboard door.

The Infamous Hanging Basket Crochet Pattern – In ENGLISH! | michellala

The pattern does not give any yarn or hook sizes so I went for some nice colourful super chunky yarn to get a good size bag.  I also added a few rows to make it a bit bigger.  I love it!  It is already full of odd socks and is used every time I do a load of washing.

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There is just one niggle and that is that on the green row where I was increasing it had pointy bits!

I have also made Josh’s stocking present for March and will try to get a photo up soon.

Josh decided at the first signs of spring that is was time for shorts again!!  I always keep his trousers from the previous school year and then make them into shorts for the following summer.  So I have converted two pairs of school trousers into shorts and also a pair of jeans and chinos because he had gone through the knees!

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Now for the WIP’s!!

I am still plodding on with my owl and flower granny blanket,  I have joined Sandra’s Cherry Heart blanket along and it is keeping me motivated. I have also made a rule that that is the only crafting I am allowed to do in the evenings until it is done!  I am getting back into the swing of it and enjoying it again now.

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I have been enjoying Memory Lane again and have been using the Knitting Nancy!!

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It has been fun to do this again after so many years.  Has anyone any idea what this yarn is??  I was given a dozen balls of it and want to do something with it but it is really unusual.  It is flat, about 3mm wide. It is slightly slippery too. It is fairly light weight.

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Then there are the pyjama cases I am making.  I am really excited about these!  I have made the mice/rabbit heads with a little bit of the top of the body.

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I have used coloured buttons to attach the arms

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and I have all of the fabric cut out for the dresses and aprons.

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I bought as good as new sheets from the chairty shop to use for the clothes.  I hope to embrioder the name on the apron waistbands and maybe something else on the apron itself.

Now my  to do list!

I have so many things I would like to make or try so here are just the ones I am hoping to start in the near future!!

A beaded spiral necklace for a gift  … This needs to be done by the Friday morning!!

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Hopefully similar to this.

Some spinning!!  I bought a drop spindle with my birthday money. I watched some tutorials yesterday and I am itching to give it a go!

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Some patchwork!  i haven’t done much before but I wanted some hand sewing to be able to just pick up.  So I have cut out some little hexagons.  actually that is not quite true, I have a bigshot so again with my birthday money (I liked big birthdays!) I treated myself to a die for 1/4″ and 1/2″ hexagons.

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I had cut out over 300 hexagons in less than half an hour!

I have Abi’s stocking pressie to do – I have plans for that.

I really need to start the blanket for Josh’s bed so he has one similar to Abi’s.

I would also like to start my dahlia banket, I think I just need to add a darker yarn to the mix, hopefully I can get that later today.

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Some more 3d needle felting is definitely on the agenda!!

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and then with my birthday yarn I would like to try some freeform crochet and make a scarf!!

WOW!!  That looks a lot!  But they are all things I really would like to do/try, we won’t even get started on the rest of the things I would like to achieve!!

Are you a lots of things on the go person like me? or do you like to finish one thing before starting the next?

I’m off to do some crafting…

Happy Crafting Folks!!

Sharon xx

Playhouse Project and Boyish Treasures!

At the bottom of our garden is a playhouse full of all sorts of boyish treasures.

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Last year we had to take a tree down and make a decision about the rather tired looking playhouse we were given when Abi was seven.

Josh has used it to play in for a few years but we decided to make it in to a proper den for him.  When we took the tree down we had an area that needed to be filled in with soil.  Hubby came up with the idea of digging out under the playhouse to create an underground camp and gain some soil.  He dug down, made four walls out of sleepers and put the playhouse back up over the top.

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Then all the rotten wood was replaced, the roof re-felted and the playhouse painted.

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Inside Hubby built a workbench and we moved all of Josh’s treasures in!!

This weekend Hubby and Josh have been creating the entrance to the underground camp.

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They plan to have steps leading down and a door.  There will be a pallet wall filled with soil and plants and Cammo net forming a roof to hide the entrance!!

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I love looking around Josh’s den.   He loves bugs and creepy crawlies and has a collection of all sorts of things.

Join me for a little tour around his den – that is if you are not too squeamish or eating your dinner!!

We open the stable doors and duck down to go in.  I can stand in the middle if I duck my head a little but then I am only 5’2″!

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On the floor to the left is a red tool box.  This is a special treasure, it was his Grandad’s and contains lots of his old tools.  The tools get lots of use as Josh loves taking things apart, fixing things and helping Dad.

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In front of us is the bench.  On it we can see the tank he used to keep stick insects in.  Now it has soil, rocks etc left from when he collected bugs to study last year before letting them go again.

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Then we have the child’s woodworkshop.  This is for Balsa wood and has a mini pillar drill, sander, saw and lathe.

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There is also a length of rope, necessary for all boys!!

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Above the bench is a shelf.  This has two old bird’s nests gathered from hedges when he helps Hubby with the Autumn hedge cutting.

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and one of Josh’s favourite treasures is also on this shelf safely in a plastic tub….

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A mummified rat!!!

Hubby found it in a customer’s loft space.  For some reason it mummified rather than rotted!

Under the bench are more bug pots and tanks, and some old blankets for camp making!

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To our right are two sets of drawers.  On top we see a box.  In it are Josh’s sewing bits – he enjoys a bit of sewing too.

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Next to the sewing box is a mini camping kettle.

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Josh, again like many boys, loves fire.  Hubby salvaged an old BBQ a customer was throwing out and they often have bonfires in it especially when the weather is cold as it was Saturday.

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Taking a peep inside the drawers is my favourite part!!  Have a peek…

first we have a drawer of fir cones collected on the walks to and from school and from the Isle of Wight last year.

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Then the tub containing a snake skin found in a customer’s garden.

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a drawer of shells and beach finds

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a couple more nests

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a drawer of pens, spoons and other oddments

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and a drawer of creatures that he has found after they have died … three butterflies, this one is in very good condition

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a baby bird skeleton

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a frog skeleton.  (There were two but I had to throw one away, it had been saved with some flesh still on and was rather smelly .. yuk!)

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A duck’s egg that never hatched from Grandma’s garden and the shells of the ones that did . SAM_0414920

A crab shell

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An empty chrysalis that Josh found and we watched hatch into a moth,

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a Gull’s egg shell from Great Grandad’s house where they nest on the chimney, and dive bomb you when you go up the front path!

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and an old wasp’s nest.

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And that ends our little tour.  It will be interesting to see what is added to the collection this year!

I hope you enjoyed your tour and that you weren’t too disgusted!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx