Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas

Not sure where the time has gone over the past few weeks.  I have been so busy shopping and wrapping presents, buying all the food and preparing the house for Christmas there has been little time for crafting.

In between fixing a leak in the roof!! and installing a new wall light in my hallway, I just managed to make a felt reindeer and crochet a snowflake for my tree.

I managed to grab a photo of the boys sharing a sofa which I turned into Christmas cards using readymade photo cards.  This was quite a rare occurance as they each have their own sofas and never the twain shall meet usually.  It hasn't happened since.

Before returning to trim my tree I would like to wish everyone in blogland a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.
Shirley and the gang

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Sweet Swingers

This is my latest finish, Sweet Swingers from a knitting pattern by Debi Birkin.  I fell in love with her patterns after seeing them on Ravelry. It only took a few nights and I changed the colours of the right hand budgie so it looks like Dudley.
I have just finished a course on Craftsy on joining and finishing crochet and learnt so much.  This is the class project below. Each segment in the throw was attached using a different stitch and then the whole lot joined together with one ball of yarn so there was only one end to sew in.  Brilliant.  When I think of all the hours I used to spend sewing projects together.  Never again 

When deciding how to join the segments I laid them out first so I achieved the right balance of colour.  Then as I laid it out to photograph, Higgins decided he wanted to Christen it.  I think he approves.

I finished putting my Christmas cuties ornaments together.  This is my least favourite part.  I really struggle to get them looking neat no matter how I try.  These are a bit better than some of my previous efforts but they could still be better.
 With the time for Christmas visitors coming up I will be definitely by making these cheese straws.  The recipe was in the Co-operative Supermarket magazine and they are delicious.
I don't really know why I put them in a tin as they never lasted very long.  We all love cheese in this house, including the boys so they were soon polished off!


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Mr Fox Stole My Heart

That is the name of my latest knitty finish - an animal friendly fox stole.  The pattern is from Stephanie Dosen's book, Woodland Knits.  I used Aran weight yarn doubled so it was very quick and only took me a few days.  I love him and look forward to wearing him now the weather is turning colder.
I always have numerous bags throughout my house with either part-finished projects, ones that are finished and need putting together and sometimes just the materials for a new project.

The amount of bags has been getting out of control recently so I have been trying to finish some projects off.  This crochet wrap scarf jacket was started about 18 months ago but my tension was not even on the pieces I'd finished so I ripped it back and restarted.  It didn't take long to crochet and I even made the buttons to match.
One of my longest UFOs has to be this Rupert the Bear, it took me 12 years+ to sew the pieces together and finally finish him.
 The Airedale Terrier Amigurumi also took about 18 months, it is the sewing together that does my head in although I am pleased with him now he is finished.  The crochet pattern is available as a download from Planet June.
As if I don't have enough crafty projects already, I recently enrolled on a scrapbooking course.  Although I have been scrapbooking for years I thought it would give me the impetus to finish some more pages and maybe learn some new techniques at the same time.  The course included nine pages but I have only managed three so far.
 This one reminds me of when we had the four boys all together and the fun and happy times we shared and the other is my first page featuring Dudley.
Talking of pets, there was an article in the paper the other day that said one in four women love their pets more that their partners.  Now, I am not saying that is true in my case but the cartoon next to it made me chuckle:

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

As most crafters know, you can never start your Christmas projects too early.  In fact many, including me, make them all year round.

I have made a few new decorations this year including these three, I just have to decide how to finish them off .
 I like to try any new craft magazine that comes out and no. 1 of Love Patchwork and Quilting is a good one.  It came with a kit to make a patchwork Christmas bauble but with careful cutting and stitching I was able to make two from it.
I don't make so many cards these days but was determined to make a few for special people this year.

Of course, no Christmas is complete without some sweets and this recipe is one of my favourites.
 Unlike many recipes this one uses milk instead of cream or condensed milk so as long as you have a bag of dessicated coconut in the cupboard you can make it when the mood strikes.
I even spotted the ideal Christmas jumper in a magazine, no not one of the corny reindeers or robins type and when I went to Wallis to buy it there was 10 pound off  too.  I didn't go for the matching trousers though, head to toe leopardskin may be a bit too Bet Lynch from Coronation Steet or Kat from Eastenders! I will wear it with my skinny jeans instead.
The boys love all their presents at Christmas although it is pretty much Christmas every day in our house with all the treats they get.  John got them a bag of giant sausages (about 18" long) although by the time I went upstairs to get my camera this was all that Higgins had left.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Making and Baking

We have been very busy today bringing in the last of our apples and pears of which we have had a bumper crop this summer.  Tomatoes and blackcurrants have been plentiful too.  We are expecting a bad storm overnight tonight according to the weather forecasts so do not want to lose the last of our crops.
I am always looking for new recipes to try out, if they are good I add them to my cookery book.  I am always tearing recipes out of magazines and this Pear and Lemon Curd Tart is one we enjoyed a lot.
I seem to be spending all my spare time crocheting at the moment but I am signed up for four different crochet courses!  The purple ripple throw was made entirely from yarn left over from other projects.  I had some odd balls of eyelash yarn which are quite tricky to crochet with as you can't see where to put your hook.  I came up with the solution to spray it with Febreze   which made it easier to see where to put the hook and smells nice at the same time.
 I have been learning some more advanced crochet techniques and this cushion is my first attempt at Tunisian crochet.
 This skirt is my first hairpin crochet project.  I bought a white cotton half slip with a ruffle around the bottom and random dyed it with the same colours as the wool using a piece of sponge.  I am really pleased with the result and have worn it a couple of times this summer.  I was thinking of making another thicker underskirt so I can wear it with boots in the winter but that is on my to-do list.  
 I always come back to my cross stitch and this little rose kit was free with a recent issue of Mollie Makes.  Before adding a circle of fabric to the back I put some dried lavender from the garden into it. 
 Turned my back for a while whilst baking and came back in to find Wilberforce innocently looking at me.  However, the flour on his beard gave him away, he had been up on the counter licking the flour!  Luckily everything had been put away, he is a real hooligan sometimes!!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Staying out for the summer

This summer has been such a scorcher, the best I can remember for years that we have been making the most of it and been out and about.  On Monday I went out wearing a t-shirt but yesterday it changed so I think winter is finally on its way.  Finished my Airdale Terrier, it is from Knit your own dog: the second litter by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne,  I used the recommended wool, Rowan fine tweed.  It took no time to knit but was a bit fiddly to put together.
Here are some pictures of the boys enjoying the sunshine on holiday, Wilbur at Hunstanton beach and Higgins under a bench trying to find some shade.
I have now returned to my craft room and computer although it is still very slow.  We complained to our broadband provider but because we are quite isoloated here there is no decent coverage so it seems I have just got to put up with it!
As well as the Block of the month course I have signed up for crazy quilting too, here is my work in progress.  I am just adding too it a little at a time so it will take me a while before I am finally happy with it.

It was my birthday last month and I chose some goodies from Hobbycraft.  I got a new Sizzix big shot and amongst my other gifts I bought these reindeer hearts kit from Docrafts, Christmas in the Country range.  I like to make a few new decorations ever year but it seems to come around faster every year.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Vote for Charlie the Airedale Terrier

Calling all Airedale Terrier Lovers !
CHARLIE has reached the final 6 in the UK competition to find ‘PAT DOG OF THE YEAR’ and the winner will be announced at Crufts 2014.
Charlie is a very hard working dog ! He ‘works’ at a hospital for young adults with learning difficulties , a residential home, a school and 2 prisons showing unconditional love to everyone he meets.
I cannot remember an Airedale reaching the final before BUT he needs your vote (and those of your family and friends to WIN !
Please email Type in Charlie in the subject box and press send ( before 15/11/13)

Friday, 28 June 2013

Scrap 365 July Challenge: Twenty's Girls

As soon as I saw the July challenge in my copy of Scrap 365 magazine I knew exactly what photographs and papers I wanted to use.  I wish it was always that easy.  The photographs are of my grandmother's family taken in the 1920's and the papers are mostly from papermania's Art Deco range.  I included a few bits from my stash including a scrap of black lace I knew would come in useful eventually! 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

This and that

I seem to be doing a bit of everything at the moment, hopping from craft to craft but I have managed a few finishes.
I am still going through an embroidery phase and this is the first of four designs in a kit I have had for about twenty years!  It came as a free gift when I joined a book/craft club.  Here are the other three designs:
I have now blocked the filet crochet piece I was working on.
I was going to buy a blocking kit but at 25 quid, including a yardstick (which I already have) I thought that a bit steep. So I bought a pack of welding rods for 2 pounds and using my cutting board with a sheet of plastic over, pinned it to size whilst damp, using the grid. Once dry I gave it a couple of burst of spray starch and voila...
The finished panel.
The March panel from my block of the month course is now completed.  I am not sure about the outer fabrics.  The centre is o.k. but I may redo the lilac/pink and blue section or else add some embroidery as I am not entirely happy with it.  I will leave it for now and have a think when a few more are finished.
 I am still working my way through the Wagamama cook book, I think this, the Teriyaki stir-fry is the best so far.  As with the other recipes I subsituted the chicken for Quorn.
I have just started knitted a dog, I think it is obvious what breed, ha ha.  It looks a little weird at the moment but will hopefully have it finished next time.