Sunday, 29 January 2012

New books

Oh-kaaay, so it's not, strictly, a book, but I wanted to sneak this in as it's my latest 'make' and I'm really pleased with it.  It's made from some lovely old fabric that my gran gave me - it feels like a linen/cotton blend, though I can't be sure - and I've had to patch it together as there were only strips of it left, but I deliberately made the joins visible because I think that they somehow enhance the look and 'old' feel of it.  And how could I resist adding a big, bright pink satin ribbon bow?  Subtle.
And now on to the booky bit hinted at in the title.
I went on a bit of an Amazon spending splurge over Christmas and thought I'd share my spoils with you.  The first book, Stitch With Love, I bought after seeing on Homebird's lovely blog, here
It is my mission for 2012 to learn to embroider and obviously, before I actually got on with any real, actual embroidery, I simply had to buy a book to gaze at first.  And embroidery hoops, fabric and a veritable rainbow of now I'm all set - just need to get my act together and get on with it now.
The second book I actually bought a while ago after an exciting discovery on Pinterest (oh Pinterest, how I love thee so, even though you suck me in and make hours of my life disappear before my very eyes.)  You may remember that I made a Little Boy Blue Granny Squares blanket for my big boy recently - well, in the interests of fairness and a peaceful life, I also have to make one for my baby boy - obvs.  I had it in my head that I wanted to make a starry blanket, but couldn't find a pattern for a star in a square that I liked.  So I was more than a little excited (some might say tragically excited, in fact) when I found this here.  Just what I'd been looking for!
The book is called Crocheted Gifts: Irresistible Projects To Make And Give and I have to say, I probably wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't been so in love with the blanket - a lot of the things in it aren't my normal style, but I'm glad I've got it nonetheless.  I am absolutely, one hundred percent, prime-time in lurve (name that film) with this pattern, but gawd I'm struggling to find yarn!  I want something fairly light (my Rico blankets are actually quite heavy beasties), I much prefer natural fibres to man-made, I can't spend a fortune, and I want grey, denim blue, cream and possibly a red.  Any suggestions??
And the final book is this:
There are some great things in this book, but why do so many crochet books use really dodgy colour combinations??  I don't get it - do the authors not read blogs?  Do they not cruise Pinterest for hours on end?  What's the deal with the fuddy-duddy styling?  Erk. 
That said, this above is lovely - and as for this:
there's not a chance I won't be making a load of these for a bit of spring-y, Easter-y accessorising! x
PS - I'm approaching some landmarks in my little blog - it's nearly my 'first birthday', I'm nearly at my hundredth post, and I've nearly got a hundred followers.  In honour of this bit of blog-related excitement, I'm planning a bit of a giveaway when I hit the first milestone, whichever that may be!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Bunting ta-dah!

The sun came out for about half a nanosecond today, creating this beautiful shadow in my sitting room.  I was laughing to myself thinking 'only a blogger would be doing this' as I clambered around in our big bay window, camera in hand, bum in the air, with the bin men outside looking at me like I was a complete mentalist.  As if...
So, in a giddy fit of activity, I bring you my third ta-dah of the year so far (if I continue at this rate, my entire house will soon be just one enormous mass of yarn, with tunnels running through it so that the kids can get out the door to school - much like the inside of a crochet-obsessed hamster's cage, I suspect.  Except, perhaps, without the poo all over the floor.)  So, with that picture in your mind, I present you with my Attic 24-inspired bunting.  Ta-dah:
I've said it before, I'll say it again: I don't mind a bit of wonkiness every now and then.
 Elegantly, temporarily held up with drawing pins (can you spot it?) until I find the perfect thing with which to hang it.
 So, there are two things about this bunting:
1) I am squirmingly irritated by the fact that it's not exactly the same width as the bay, despite the fact that I measured it.  I should have twigged beforehand really, but of course, when I hung it it stretched and so is all loopy.  This is annoying me immensely, but at the moment the annoyance isn't outweighing the fact that I simply can't be a*sed to get it all down, remove a flag and re-do the end bit.  In fact, looking at it as I type, I think I'll need to remove two flags,  Anyway, at the moment, laziness wins out.
2) You see the flag with the little blue flower on it?  Shall I tell you why the little blue flower is on it?  It's because my ever-present crochet-assistant-slash-tidy-upper decided to help me by relocating three of the unattached flags.  Eventually, after much searching and a slightly sniffy text to Mr N (where I may or may not have questioned whether he was responsible for the disappearance of said crocheted articles) I found them.   In the kitchen bin.  Oh how I laughed.  Ha ha ha.  I fair nearly split my sides when I discovered that one of them had a little blob of unidentified, yet highly staining, food on it.  Hee hee hee, said I.
Oh, and after that little outburst, I should point out that I do, actually LOVE it!  It's very pleasing and speedy to make up and the possibilities for a bit of adornment are endless.  I highly recommend it for a bit of happy hooky time.  
And finally, here's a thing I've decided to do with my projects from now on:
This book is my crochet/recipe/ideas/general gubbins bible and if I ever lost it, I would be bereft.  It goes everywhere with me and has pages and pages of stuff in it.  Anyway, as of now it also has little snips of the yarn used for my different projects too, so that if I ever want to know what yarn I have used previously I have the details at my fingertips.  Handy, eh? x

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Oooh la la - c'est le weekend

I do quite like this photo of me taking a photo of myself, though I do think it makes me look like a cross between the Michelin Man and a pair of tweezers.  In reality I look a lot more like a 37-year-old woman than you'd believe from this picture.
This was taken at Lyme Park, which is a really beautiful National Trust property not too far from where we live.  We quite often go there for a bit of a run around and a play in the brilliant play area (kids) and a cup of tea and a wodge of cake (me).  This weekend I had a rare Saturday off work and the weather was so unbelievably perfect that we had to really make the most of the fact that we had two whole days at home together and get out and about in the sun.  Got to stave off the rickets and all that...
It really is heaven for small boys - mud, sticks, big open spaces, climbing frames and hot chocolate - what's not to love?  It's places like this that make me really appreciate having boys, actually.  I have a teeny confession to make here - sometimes I don't really understand my little beasties.  By this I mean that I know they need to let off steam and 'express themselves' by running around, shouting, fighting and making bizarre noises, and generally I don't mind it too much, but I never really understand what it is that makes them want to do it.  Probably something to do with me never having had a willy, I suspect - Mr N certainly gets where they're coming from.  But I digress; what I mean is that this unfathomableness (good word!) gives me opportunities to experience things that I may not otherwise get to experience.  There are many times in a day when I can be found acting as some sort of UN-level peace-keeper, splitting up fights and sorting out arguments - and that brings a fair amount of stress, if I'm honest.  But the flip side of that is that I get to spend my weekends in all sorts of brilliant outdoor places, running around and pretending I'm ambushing people and I have a sneaking suspicion that I just wouldn't experience that side of life if I didn't have to my two crazy boys.  We went to beautiful Lyme Regis in the Christmas hols (clearly I love all places with 'Lyme' in their name) - and I had a real moment of 'boy joy' while we were on the beach - me and my girl sitting on the stones all wrapped up in a mound of coats just watching the three males running around, jumping away from the waves, skimming stones, throwing rocks into the water and generally having a high old time just amusing themselves.  I was so happy sitting there in the freezing cold on that beautiful beach and I said a silent thank you to my boys because I'm fairly certain that if I had only girls, I wouldn't have been doing that, and I was glad that I was. 
Not that I'm suggesting for one moment that girls are all calmness and Zen, oh no no! (Pause for slightly hysterical laughter).  Take this photo, for example:
Four and a half seconds after this photo was taken, Mr N had a bit of a slip into the stream (bet he regretted not wearing his wellies then...), decided it was all just a bit too risky with baby n there, picked her up, carried her up the bank and put her on the grass at which point the world ended and she had a ten-minute meltdown because she wanted to get back into the (freezing cold, fast-flowing) water.
Now, I've no real idea how to link these next two photos in to this post at all - they're completely random, but I do want to include them, so here they are in all their random-ness.  Firstly a rather brilliant birthday present:
I love this little bluebird cruet set and thought I'd been cunning in hiding it on the window sill by the sink where the kids would 'never discover them' and want to break play with them but sadly, despite my best efforts, they've been discovered and baby n is now obsessed with the 'gucks' (ducks?)
And random photo number two: my latest wip:
When I saw Lucy's beautiful bunting at Attic 24, I just knew I had to make myself some.  Originally destined for the bathroom (possibly the only room in the house not already bedecked with flags, now I think about it) I have decided that I love it too much and can't possibly hide it away where I'll only get to see it when I'm in the shower.  Watch this space for my latest bunting ta-dah, coming soon to a sitting room near you. x
PS - if anyone's seen our remote control, could they please let me know where it is - it's driving Mr N crazy having to actually get up and change the channel

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Granny squares blanket ta-dah!

My hook has been fairly flying the past few days and I have now finished my third blanket, which I have named little boy blue granny squares blanket (not the catchiest name, granted; and actually, does a blanket really need a name?)  Anyway, that's what I think when I look at it, and so as this is my little slice of life, that's what it shall hereto be known as...
I took advantage of a lovely sunny moment this afternoon when baby n was asleep and the boring jobs were done and school wasn't quite over, and I crawled around on my sitting room floor taking pictures of a blanket.  I would never tell anyone I actually know in real life that I take pictures of blankets while contorting myself into strange positions - they'd just think that was weird - but somehow I know that you know where I'm coming from with the weirdy picture-taking thing.  Ah (happy sigh) isn't blogland brilliant? 
I must point out that this blanket is a collaborative effort and my mum made the majority of the squares, while I just did the glory-grabbing finishing off bits.  Thanks mum!  It's made using six colours of Rico Creative Cotton and is seven squares by ten.  I joined it using double crochet on the right side and put two rows of granny along the edges and I love it!  I'm so pleased with it, it's turned out exactly how I pictured it and my grown-up baby boy has had it wrapped round him every moment he's been at home since I finished it.  He's slept in it like a cocoon, he's watched tele underneath it, he's even eaten his meals with it wrapped round his legs like a little old granny going on a train journey.  And the first morning after I finished it, I came down to find this.  'Look at my den, mummy':
I resisted the urge to flip it over so that the right side was upwards and I left it waiting upside down for him all day.  I'm self-restraint personified, me. x

Friday, 6 January 2012


I'm really enjoying taking ten minutes out for a bit of this:
and a spot of this:
before the madness of the bit between school and bedtime!
Happy Friday, hope you have a lovely weekend x

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Summer hols blanket ta-dah

Brave little hyacinths making a stand against the glum weather....I love 'em.
I, like the flowers, am making a stand against the air of cold/damp/back-to-school-blues that's pervading my house at the moment.  I'm standing on the side of all things bright and cheery and I'm finally ready to 'ta-dah' my summer hols blanket.  Had you forgotten all about it?  I confess that I did finish it quite a few weeks ago, but it's only now that I've been able to get my scrambled-egg head around photographing it.  (I'll add an aside here: my head is feeling a lot less like scrambled egg now than it was in the month or so leading up to Christmas, but I've still managed to double-book myself tomorrow and I'm on the horns of a dilemma about what to do.  Gaaah.)
So...with a small drum roll, I present you with: the summer hols blanket:
The vital statistics are as follows:
* I used Rico Creative cotton - two balls of each of the eight colours, plus one extra for the edge of the edge, and fourteen of the white (I think)
* the pattern is from here
* I made 180 hexagons and filled the edges in with half-hexagons, which are a bit wibbly, but I don't mind a bit of wibble every now and then
* the edging is just two rows of double crochet - the first in white and the second in pistachio
* some of the colour combos are a bit suspect, and if I were making it again I wouldn't use the dark blue, but on the whole I'm really, really pleased with it and I cuddle up under it with a certain sense of pride.
So there you have - my second blanket done and dusted - the first one wasn't just a fluke after all!
Unbelievably, I am half way through my third...(check me out - there's no stopping me and my hook now...)  It's made in Rico Creative cotton again and it's for my number one son, who may be nearly nine but who still loves a cuddle under a blanket with his mummy as much as he ever did!  My head is also full of ideas for a dreamy shawl, but I really, really want to make sure I get the right pattern and yarn before I start.  I'm trying to break the habit of a lifetime and be patient and think it through before I jump in with both my feet before I really know what I'm doing.  (It's hard, I can tell you - I have the patience of a gnat, and once I decide I want to do something I am virtually unstoppable.  Poor old Mr N, I must be a nightmare to live with!) x

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year (or: 'the one in which I have a birthday')

...and I hope 2012 is being kind to you so far.
We've had a busy, busy holiday - but it's been busy in a good way, not a crazy, stressful, manic way.  Life up to the holidays was just bonkers and I felt like the treadmill was defiantly stuck on full speed - something had to give or I'd have ended up in a little, soggy heap on the floor, sobbing into my wine glass - and so I just stopped blogging for a little while to create a bit of space in my crazy, hectic days.  So now, with the presents distributed; school plays dutifully observed and copious amounts of food consumed, I am back in the land of blog - three lbs heavier and another year older than last time I was here, but I'm here and I'm happy.  Hurrah!
I have ta-dahs to share with you and ideas to run by you (I rely on you talented gals for inspiration, you know) but for the moment, before I have another sneaky birthday drink (who'd have a birthday on New Year's Day, eh?) I'm going to share some photos from my fabulous, shiny, new Christmas present camera with you (thank you, Mr N, you really can take a hint...):
 The first one I ever took with my new 'baby' - so far, so good...
 Hmmmm....not too bad, a bit blurry perhaps, but okay...
 Ohkaaaayy...I really don't know what was going on here, but I will just say that it was New Year's Eve.  
(Note to self: alcohol does not improve performance as a photographer.), these two photos are proof of two things: 
1) I really need to get myself on a photography course; 2) my children actually do jump on each other's heads.
Here's to 2012 and hoping that it brings good things to you all x