Sunday, 26 February 2012

Granny ripple blanket

A very lovely and very old (by 'old' I mean that I've known her for ever, not that she's geriatric) friend of mine is having a baby in May.  This is a) very exciting and b) will hopefully quell these bloomin' broody urges that have been sneaking up on me lately - Mr N's tittering nervously to himself as I type that, whilst simultaneously Googling vasectomy clinics.  It took me about three years of constant badgering to wear him down to agreeing to have a third child - and as for four - what am I talking about?  I must be completely crackers - having a fourth child would send me completely and irrevocably over the edge...  Maybe it's just one of those things that never entirely goes away - maybe there's always a tiny little part of my subconscious brain that will always have thoughts of having another baby no matter how much I can rationalise the utter madness of the idea.  What do you think? 
Anyhoo, as this friend is such a gem I've been feeling a certain amount of pressure to come up with the perfect present for her baby, so the past few weeks have seen a fair amount of chin stroking and uncharacteristic mulling over of things and a number of fruitless trips to my LYS (aka John Lewis).   I finally found just the yarn I was looking for last week - it's Debbie Bliss Eco Baby organic cotton, which is a new yarn to me and I'm pleased I've discovered it because it's just beautiful - it feels like a dream when it's made up - just the sort of thing you'd want to be cuddled up in if you were a small, new person.  I already knew the pattern I wanted to use - granny ripple (which I found at the LazyHobbyHopper blog) and so as soon as I had the yarn, I could get cracking - hurrah, for I've been at a right crochet impasse recently. 
Here's a little peek at it so far:
And with that, I'm off to tuck myself up in bed with my hot water bottle, my hook and a nice bit of Radio Four.  It's middle aged rock n roll, baby. x
PS - there's still time to enter my giveaway, if you haven't done so yet!

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Blog birthday giveaway

To celebrate my blog's birthday, I'm holding my first ever giveaway (and I'm very excited and yet a bit nervous about it at the same time!)  I can't believe it, but unravelled was one on 12th.  When I started this on a whim a year ago, I had no idea how much blogging would affect my life - I look at things in a completely different way, always with the thought that I should photograph things to share; I've made some real, lovely friends; I've been unbelievably inspired and endlessly entertained - and I wanted to say thank you for that.  When I read your comments, especially those that you leave at the end of my posts where I'm not feeling tip-top (see 'winter blahs' for proof of my love of a good whinge every so often) it always, without fail and exception, makes me smile and feel better and think 'ah, there are people out there who understand the frustration/hilarity of poo-falling-down-trouser-leg-related-incidents' and that's a good thing to know.
So, without further ado, here is what I have on offer:
A copy of 'Cute And Easy Crochet' by Nicki Trench (I have it and I love it!)  This was a pristine, sparkly new book until about four seconds after I took this photo and dropped it on its spine on the floor - that'll teach me not to take photos in the hall as I'm trying to get the kids' shoes and coats on ready for school.  Error.  Anyway, every time you look at the dent on the spine, you'll be able to think of me, shouting and getting stressed on my way to the school run...
A lovely little hardback notebook from Pip Studio.  I've included this because my post about my gubbins 'bible' really seemed to resonate with a lot of you and I wanted to share the crafty notebook love.
A packet of 'Pretty Please Mix n Match Stationery', which includes writing paper, envelopes and stickers - all in a slightly camp, 'hello sailor' sort of vein.  I might find it quite hard to part with this...
There are also a couple of other little goodies that I've collected together, which I will keep as a surprise.
If you would like to enter this giveaway, which I will leave open until 1 March, please:
* become a follower of this blog, if you aren't already
* leave me a comment to let me know you'd like to be entered
* if you blog about it, let me know and I'll enter your name into the hat a second time.
And before I go, I should let you know about two blog friends of mine who are also having giveaways (cor, it's giveaway central round here...) Nicki and Ashley both have some beautiful goodies on offer, so do pop over to see them.
Good luck! x
Edit: Blimey, I'm really nervous now that no-one will enter - this is worse than having a party and thinking you'll end up sobbing into your wine glass at the end of the night because only your mum and best friend turned up...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Winter blahs

Ugh, I'm having a massive attack of the winter blahs today*.  Blah, blah, blah.  Big, fat, ploppy blah.
Blah one - one of my absolute best, most lovely friends moved a long way away on Friday and I am veeeeery sad about that.  She and I saw each other almost every day for the past six years - during which time we both had babies, we both had worries about our children being bullied, we discovered a mutual love of John Lewis, tea cakes, Chanel perfume, White Company lamps and white wine amongst other things and we discovered that we are both, in fact, sweaty buffoons.  I mean by that, that we get ridiculously intimidated by other people, jibber incoherently, go a bit red and sweaty and walk away feeling like we've made a complete tit of ourselves and then spend quite a considerable amount of time angsting over that fact that said intimidating person probably thinks we're an idiot.  I think if you too are a sweaty buffoon, you will be nodding in understanding and sympathy with this, in which case I salute you and say 'welcome to the club'.
Blah two -I'm currently experiencing a wellie crisis and I'm getting a bit fed up with it.  I need wellies, I spend a lot of time pelting about in the mud with my boys and I have an allotment (eeeek - did you see how I slipped that in there??)  It's a long and boring story, but it involves wellies that rub my ankles, wellies that perish after about five minutes, wellies that leak, wellies that I can't squish my sturdy calves into (when I lived in Lesotho I met a woman who said to me 'aaaah, you have beeeeg legs.  They are gooood legs, like mine.  You can walk well with your legs'.  She meant it as a compliment.  I felt like sobbing into my rucksack.  It's a cultural thing.)
Blah three - Yarn.  Horns.  Dilemma. 
Blah four - my daughter pooed on the floor this morning.  She did it in her pyjamas and it fell down her trouser leg onto the floor, where she trod on it.  This was my fault - I neglected to mention to Mr N that she was without a nappy as I swanned out the door to work.  Ooops
Blah five - I took loads of photos of my little heart chainy buntingy thing this morning - I think it looks really pretty in the hallway, but all the photos are really noisy and some are a bit blurry (I obviously took them before my morning cup of tea had kicked in) and I'm just annoyed about that.  So it's just the one photo today - I hope you can get the gist of it.  Soz x
* This is an expression that I have shamelessly copied from Lucy Attic 24 - I think it may be the best expression I have heard for a very long time.
PS - do you like the way I've used blah colours for my bullet points today?

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Play dough recipe and 'how to'

Now, here's a thing I've been meaning to share with you for absolutely ages - how to make playdough. You can make it for virtually no money at all and it lasts for ages as long as you keep it in an air-tight container.  The recipe was given to me by my good friend, Mrs Hen, who you may remember me saying previously has magic ways when it comes to children - now, I'm not claiming that is magic playdough, but you never know, it may buy you long enough to make the dinner in peace...
So, here it is - my playdough 'how to':

2 cups plain flour
1 cup table salt
4 tbsp cream of tartar
2 cups water
2 tbsp vegetable/sunflower oil
Food colouring

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a low heat for 3-5 mins.  Stir continuously, even when it becomes difficult to stir - stir on!
When you have something that resembles playdough in the pan (this shouldn't take more than a few minutes) remove from the heat and knead and squeeze so that it forms a big, smooth ball of dough.
Give to your assembled small people for them to enjoy (once it's cool enough for them to handle) then sit back, relax and enjoy watching them have fun, while you bask in the glow of thrifty satisfaction. x

PS - I'd really love to hear from you if make this - I hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine do

Sunday, 5 February 2012

The gubbins post

So today I present you with a random collection of things.
random thing one: these hyacinths smell a bit lush, sitting on my sitting room windowsill.  I've gone a bit bulb-crazy, actually - we've got a little pot of daffodils that middle brought back from school to raise money for Macmillan and a pot of narcissi that called out to me from the shelves of Waitrose as I was doing a quick sweep for weekend rations on Friday.
random thing two: I've sorted out my bunting.  aaaaahh - sigh.  It's so much more Zen now:
random thing three: I love this little jug, which a very lovely friend gave me for my birthday.  I've put it on the radiator cover in the hall where I can see it every time I come in the house - though this is does qualify as pure madness - it's almost crying out for some clumsy dervish to whirl past it and knock it off:
random thing four: I'm at a slight loss with my crochet projects at the moment.  I am desperate to start the starry blanket for my boy, but I still haven't located the elusive, perfect yarn - grrrr.  I'm also mulling over a ripply blanket in pinks, greens and creams for the sitting room and am thinking about using Drops cotton light - has anyone used this?  What's it like?  For the moment, until I can finally start my next big, 'proper' project, I've been fiddling away making some little hearts:
I have plans for turning these into a garland to hang on an old mirror that I'm going to paint white and hang in my newly-redecorated-yet-mysteriously-already-grubby hallway.
I've also been messing about with some little bits with a vague idea of making a hangy thing for my beautiful nephew, who I'm going to visit in a couple of weeks - the added boon is that his mum and dad (my lovely brother) will be there too.
random thing five: I've been given two awards recently - the Versatile Blogger from The Craft Giraffe - thank you so much, Niamh; and Liebster Blog from Chaos, Kids, Crochet and Cake - thank you Sandra!
And with that I bid you adieu - here's hoping we don't all disappear under a snow drift... x