Monthly Challenge – July. A rummage, yarn and …

This month has flown by.  When I saw Jennifer’s July Martha and Me post (the inspiration for my own challenge) I sort of panicked!  I still had Abi and Josh’s stocking pressies to make!

First though here are a couple of pics of what I made for myself.  If you didn’t see the original post you can read more about them here.

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So, on to the kids makes.  I was starting to get a bit stuck on ideas for Josh, why are boys and men so hard to make for?  I think I need to start a new trend for men wearing shawls and boys using pretty bags!

Anyhow, off I went to Pinterest and had a good look and (just) managed to find enough ideas that I liked and also think Josh will like to last me to the end of the year, Yay!!

Next I had to order bits so it was off to ebay for some cufflink blanks!

Then a rummage in here

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and a good dose of superglue later I had transformed the blanks into these.

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Still puzzled?  You may have seen the card I made for Abi’s 18th using bits that Dad used in his watch repairing, well I managed to find two watch movements to fit the blanks.  What do you think?  Certainly different.

I think that Josh will love them as he and Abi – well me too actually – are all rather sentimental about any connection to Dad.

Abi’s pressies has been in the back of my mind for a while after reading this post on sadieseasonsgood blog. A teapot sewing caddy!

I searched the charity shops but there were no really pretty teapots about but then I came across these…

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perfect!  I quickly decided that I could do with a caddy as well 🙂

One is a bakery

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and the other a bookshop.

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Ideal as we both love cake baking and books.

It was simply a case of cutting a piece of fabric about 3″ larger than the lid on each side, gather the edges with a running stitch, fill with stuffing,

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pull it up and stitch it closed

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before gluing it into the inside of the lid!

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Tada!  a very different sewing caddy!

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Another month done and I am already halfway through Josh’s make for August.  I am really enjoying this challenge as it really focuses me to keep to my goals (thanks Jennifer).

I may not about much over the next few weeks, Hubby has two weeks off coming up and we are hoping to have a ‘holiday at home’, days out, friends to tea, etc (and hopefully a few jobs around the house if we get a wet day!).

HappyCrafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Some WIP’s Finished!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in a nice creative way.  I told myself that I couldn’t start anything new until my spinning, slippers and shawl were finished, this included not being able to start the kids stocking presents for this month so now I have really got to get busy!  I love starting new projects so this really spurred me on to get a few things off of my wips list.

Did I start anything new in that time?  Well yes I did actually, probably no surprise there but they were all things that couldn’t wait. Firstly this hat for Abi that she wanted to wear to a funeral (sadly two dear Elderly friends/relatives passed away, we have the other funeral tomorrow).

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I have already used this pattern from chic crochet twice to make a cream and a white version.  The pattern is fairly easy but really effective.

Previously I have used a wool mix but being summer I decided to use cotton this time and I am glad I did.  It feels lovely, the pattern show a lot better with the cotton and it is also less stretchy, the others have had to be washed to get them back to size!

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Another project I started I will tell you more about soon but it couldn’t wait because it involved flowers.

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The last extra make was another gift for my Sister’s birthday, a peg bag.  She wanted it to be similar to the design of her old one, below.

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Firstly I bought some wooden child hangers as I wanted it to be sturdy (a lot of washing comes with having 9 kids!!).  I drew around this to shape the top and added four inches to the bottom of the bag so that I could bag out the corners to give it a wider base.  I used a saucer to mark out the hole.

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I used some very strong fabric for the lining, and a brown for the outside so hopefully it won’t show the dirt  (both from stash).

I wanted it to be pretty as well as useful because with such a busy household practicality always comes first.  so some little flowers and a bird were hand appliqued on.

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I just drew these out roughly and used bond-a-web to hold them in place before hand stitching them on with a blanket stitch. I also added french knots to the centre of the of the flowers for a bit of texture.

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I used Abi’s new machine to add some pretty stitching to the edges of the hole.

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She seemed really pleased with it and I am hoping it will last for many years.

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So, now onto the finished items from my wips list!  Firstly my two latest yarns that I spun have been plyed together and I really love the effect of mixing the four colours.

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I now have 300 metres of a dk yarn.  I am thinking of crocheting a shrug, what do you think, are there any patterns you can suggest?

I have also finished my slippers and they are lovely to wear.

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I used this pattern from Ravelry with the Hobbycraft Womens Institute soft and silky and soft and cuddly yarn.  It is so soft against your skin and lovely to wear.  By far the softest acrylic yarn I have ever found.

I decided to add a slightly different border around the ankle to finish them off.

So how did the knitting go?  I am actually beginning to enjoy knitting!  I am so glad that I stuck it out with the budgies. I still need to work with my tension as one slipper is slightly larger than the other, but they do fit!  I can’t see it ever taking the place of crochet in my crafting life but there is definitely a little place for simple patterns and maybe even one day a pair of socks!  Yes, I still have that little bit of me that longs to knit a pair of socks 🙂  So many of you knit such gorgeous socks and you keep inspiring me to keep working on the knitting until I get there.

And my shawl?  I love it, really love it.

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(Abi kindly modeled it for me 🙂

I used Sandra’s (from Cherry Heart blog) new pattern , Feeling Dotty.  It needed quite a bit of concentration at first but once I got into the swing of it, it was a pleasure to work up.  I used Drops lace in light brown yarn and it is a beautiful blend of baby alpaca and silk.  I have never used lace weight before so it felt a bit strange but I soon got used to it and really enjoyed it.  I am so pleased with the result!

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I’m not a fan of doing the same pattern over and over but there will hopefully be at lest one more made as Abi would like one.  There may also be a couple more made for my nieces.  I still have just over half of that ball of yarn left plus four others that I bought in the sale earlier in the year for just £5 for 100g so there will be more working with lace in the future all being well.

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I was amazed at how the blocking opened it up, it made a huge difference.(Before and during blocking).

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I had already worn it a couple of times before taking the main photos but it is still nice and open.  Thanks Sandra for such a gorgeous pattern.

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Aside from all the creativity we also looked after this little fellow for Abi’s friend for three days over the weekend.  The colours in his coat are amazing, I struggled to capture them on camera but there is a colour scheme in there somewhere!

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He liked to jump up onto the windowsill and peep out,

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and was also a bit of a scrounger when it came to lunch time.

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He would pat my leg to attract my attention!  He also curled up with me when I laid down for a rest on the sofa.  Such a sweetie!!

Abi and I have just finished baking four batches of our favourite cookies for the funeral tomorrow so I shall try and share the recipe soon!!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

A Quick Recipe for the Weekend!

One of our favourite snacks at the moment is homemade tortilla chips.

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All you need is a pack of tortilla/deli wraps, oil and seasoning.

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First cut the wraps into 8 wedges and lay out onto baking sheets.

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Brush each individual wedge with vegetable or olive oil.

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Sprinkle with your favourite seasoning.  So far we have used chili and garlic with a little salt.  Just salt on its own.  Garlic powder and thyme.  salt and vinegar (if you do this brush each wedge with a little vinegar before you put the oil on.

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Pop in the oven (Gas mk 4, 180c, 350f)  for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.

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Enjoy!

Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

A Country Walk!

A walk in the country probably doesn’t sound so exciting to most of you but for me it is a very rare treat.  Due to the Lupus and Fibromyalgia I am only able to walk short distances with a stick or else use a wheelchair or my mobility scooter so walks through the fields are not an option any more.  What I am able to enjoy though are the walks some of you share here.  A couple of my favourites are Ericka Eckles (I love learning about all the wild flowers in her posts and then seeing them embroidered a few weeks later)  and also Bunny Mummy whose walks are through the most beautiful English countryside.  But last week was different.

Abi and I took another trip to the pretty village of Alfriston in East Sussex.

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(We went there to explore on her birthday and had a lovely meal out in the Singing Kettle.)

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The streets are narrow with gorgeous flint cottages, some with tiny little front doors, people must have been considerably shorter back then!

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Abi was meeting someone for coffee so I took myself off on my scooter and treated myself in the little village stores

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to a bakewell tart and some posh lemonade

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which I ate on the green by the village church and then enjoyed the sights and sounds of village life while I crocheted.

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When Abi rejoined me we decided to see if I would be able to access the river path.

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To the right the path was rather bumpy but I was able to glimpse the view through these trees.

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After a while and I grounded on the tree roots!  After a lot of pushing from Abi I got going again and we headed the other way.

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Here a smooth grass path ran behind the back of church and parallel to the river.

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I managed to bump the scooter up a small step to cross this long bridge.

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Looking over the edge we could see some water lillies

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and at the other end a kissing gate led into the field.  (As children we loved these gates and one would pass through leaving the gate halfway and we would kiss over the gate!)

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There were steps at the end of the bridge so we turned back, past cottages

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and down a narrow track where there was this lovely gate

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and back into the village.

In the car park there was a flint tower

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on further investigation we discovered that it was built as a playhouse!

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It was so lovely to find a partially accessible country walk and lovely to have some girly time with Abz.  I hope you enjoy our walk.

Happy Crafting, I’ll be back soon with a couple of finished items 🙂

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Problems, Lists and Knitting Again!

Firstly it’s my own fault, the problems that is. When I set up my site at the beginning of the year I started following the quick tutorial, uploaded photos and posted my first post and thought I didn’t need to learn any more… how wrong I was!!  I was doing exactly what Hubby does (and most men that I know do) and tried to do it first without reading all the instructions!  You know the feeling, oh yeah, I can do this, it’s easy 🙂

All went fine until a couple of weeks ago when I realised that I had used nearly all of my media storage space and they said I could upgrade my site  for £89 per year – no thanks!!  So it was off to ask google! I soon realised where I had gone wrong. I had just uploaded the pics straight from the camera without compressing them first.  As a result I have spent rather a lot of precious crafting time compressing photos (four times before they all compressed as I didn’t realise I needed to do the portrait images separate from the landscape images) and replacing and deleting the original pictures!

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Thankfully we do have Adobe Photoshop so I was able to compress multiple files at once .  Anyhow, all done now and lesson learnt – read all instructions first – (until next time) and I now have plenty of storage space for more posts 🙂

I am trying out knitting again as after my budgie attempts I thought I really ought to try and do a bit occasionally and maybe, just maybe, one day I will be good enough to knit a pair of socks.  I looked on Ravelry for easy patterns and came up with this pattern for simple garter stitch slippers, brilliant. I need some new ones for the summer as I am still using my slipper boots from the winter, although Josh kindly told me yesterday as he watched me knit that it will probably be winter again before I finish them!!

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The pattern said Needles: 3.5mm circular or two straight needles.  I thought ‘Great, now I can do a bit of practise with a circular needle on something easy’  but as I read on it said ‘if your’e feeling adventurous you can use a seamless CO technique’  I do not feel adventurous where knitting is concerned and I wanted the seam anyway as I think it enhances the slipper so I wouldn’t need the circular needle…but I used the circular needle anyway as practice.  What a pain that is, the thing has a life of it’s it own and twists and curls as though it’s alive, maybe the feeling is mutual and it doesn’t like me either!

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As far as the pattern goes I am getting on fine this time but only because all I have had to do is cast on 40 stitches and keep knitting!  I did manage to gain a stitch, I guess that’s better than losing one.  I really didn’t want to undo any of my hard work – I find knitting so hard to pick all the stitches back up, unlike crochet where you have only one loop to find again – so I just knit two together!   The only other slightly annoying thing is working with two strands together but mostly it has been fine.

I am using the women’s institute soft and cuddly 4 ply yarn from Hobbycraft.  It is a bit more expensive at £3.00 for 50 grams but they are usually on a buy two get one free deal and I love it so much, it has to be the softest acrylic yarn I have ever used.  There isn’t a huge range of colours yet so I went with a pale blue and cream. (I have just realised as I took this photo that one ball of yarn is soft and silky and one soft and cuddly.  With the soft and silky you get 100 grams for the same price, both gorgeously soft.)

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I am probably about halfway through the first slipper so not too bad going but I do find that I am very tense when I knit and I have to consciously make an effort to relax my shoulders. To be honest just working in garter stitch can be a bit boring so I am saving them to do when I really haven’t the concentration for anything else.

I have also been busy writing lists.  I love lists, I love crossing things off of them even more, in fact I have been known on occasion to write a couple of things I have already done on my new list, so I can cross them off!! I Hmm, rather sad I know but I always feel better when a couple of things have been crossed off.

I have an A4 notebook dedicated to my craft lists and notes.  Things to make for Abi, for Josh, for the nieces, for men, for the mums, for the home, for me soon, for me one day, gifts already made etc!  I also have this great weekly planner but things often end up getting transferred from one day to the next and the next before they get crossed out, I think I am too ambitious about what I can achieve in a day!

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But this week I  realised I do not have a wips list…What??.  I have posted on here about my wips but the list is changing so often that it is out of date in a few days but no list.  Well, of course, that had to be rectified and here it is.

WIPS LIST JULY 2015

small hexagons – on a bit of a go slow with these

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large hexagons (I have been reading too many of Ericka’s posts lately and she has got me using up my scraps with larger hexies.  Ericka has made some gorgeous hexie cushions with scraps you would never normally put together but they look amazing!  If you pop over you could join her on one of her rambles and learn a lot about British wild flowers. ).

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spinning – only about 4 more lengths to spin and then I can ply, Yay!

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crochet granny flower and owl cushions.  (Hmm, those were a bit buried and forgotten, to be honest, crocheting a back is rather boring.)

crochet patchwork blanket (here).  I’m still enjoying this.

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knitting slippers

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crochet shawl  (this is another new wip using this gorgeous pattern by Sandra over at Cherry Heart blog.  It is lace weight and so, so pretty and delicate.

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embroidery (I’m still working through the aprons for the pj cases, only 2 to go!)

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To be honest it is no as bad as I thought but my to do list is items 17 long and two need to be made for gifts this month plus stocking pressies for Abi and Josh so I’m going to say toodleoo and get crafting 🙂

Happy Crafting and have a crafty week!!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

My New Blanket Idea Revealed!

After starting and quickly scrapping the spiral blanket for my next blanket project I did some middle of the night thinking!  I always find that the best ideas come when I am in that half asleep half awake state.  I have had the most amazing conversations, great ideas, written my best blog posts and given the best comebacks then, the only problem being they are usually forgotten by the morning!  Well, not this one, I now have a notebook and pen by the bed and I was awake enough to write it down.

So what was my ‘great idea’ that has got me so excited?  It has involved making lots of these…

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any ideas??

I am crocheting a patchwork blanket.  I have made up a half square (triangle) pattern and have made triangles in two different colours for each block.  I have then joined these two colours together to create 16 squares and these have then been joined to create my first two blocks!

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(The two yellows are the same, you can see how much difference the lighting can make!)

I am so pleased with these blocks, I like them even more than the picture I had in my mind.

I am using Sirdar Hayfield Bonus Dk yarn.  I use this yarn a lot because I can buy it locally and it is great value but still soft as well as being machine washable and suitable to tumble dry. Each crochet square is 5″ x 5″ and each block is made up of 4 squares by 4 squares making a 20″ block. Once all the blocks are completed I am hoping to crochet solid strips between the blocks and around the edges of the blanket.

These are really quick and easy to make and so much fun and the great thing is that you can do the triangles bigger or smaller or just make more or less blocks to create the perfect sized blanket. The triangles can be joined after you have made both of the two halves or you can join as you go which I have started doing as it makes a neater join and means fewer ends to sew in!

If you are interested in joining me the pattern is below.  

I found a great sheet of block designs on Google so I got my block patterns from that.

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So, am I enjoying it?  Yes!  The triangles are brilliant, they are portable and so easy that I can do them when I am too tired to concentrate much! I love the way that the triangles can create such different patterns. I would love you to join me if you fancy giving it a go!  (Pattern below)

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx

Patchwork Crochet Blanket Triangles Pattern by Sharon.

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You will need

4mm (U.S. – G)  crochet hook

Dk yarn in at least 2 colours

Large needle

scissors

Stitches used

ch – chain

ch sp – chain space

sl st – slip stitch

tr – treble (U.S. dc – double crochet)

Instructions

Please take time to read the pattern through first.

In first colour ch4 then sl st into first ch to create a ring.

row 1 – 4ch (this creates one tr and one ch sp), 3tr, 1ch, 3tr, 1ch, 1tr, turn.

rows 2 to 5 – 4ch, 1tr in 1ch sp of previous row, 1 tr in each tr to next sp, (2tr, 1ch, 2tr) in 1ch sp of previous row, 1tr in each tr to next 1ch sp, 1tr in 1ch sp of previous row, 1ch, 1tr in 3rd ch of previous row, turn.

At the end of row 5 fasten off.

To join as you go you make your 4ch circle in the second colour and then as you crochet the first 3ch pick up a loop from the back of the corresponding 3ch of already completed triangle, work your 4th ch and contiue as for pattern until the last treble and as you work the treble pick up a loop from the back of the equivalent stitch on the completed triangle before each time you pull the yarn through.  do this for each round remembering that the back will switch sides each time you start a new row.

I hope you enjoy using this pattern, any queries just ask in the comments section and I will answer you as soon as possible.