Thursday, 29 March 2012

Bow-knot Scarves

Do you remember the i-spy game we played a few weeks ago, where you had to spot my knitting bag in the photo of our chalet at Center Parcs?  I couldn’t show/tell you what was inside it then, because it was a little secret. 

I was knitting my first ever thing that was NOT just a rectangle of some sort!  It was pretty exciting – and I really enjoyed the challenge.  Of course, there were a few lots and lots of swear words along the way, and a couple of a great many ripping-back sessions.  BUT, the finished project – a cute bow-knot scarf for my mom (for Mother’s Day) - worked out pretty well.  In fact, I liked it so much that I made myself one too!!!  Here they are - a brown one for Mom and a red one for me.....

I found the pattern on Ravelry.  It’s a free download from Katherine Burgess.  I’d really recommend the pattern – it was easy to follow (even for a real beginner like me), it didn’t get boring, and it only uses about 50g of yarn.  When I got to anything new, I just had a sneaky peek at some YouTube videos.  My favourite bit of the pattern (I apologise for my lack of technical vocab here) was making the little hole to shove the end through (to make the bow-knot bit).  I had to use one of those giant nappy-pin-type-things and felt like I was doing something really fancy!  ;-)

By the way, if you’re on Ravelry, let me know so we can ‘make friends’ on there.....

I hope you’re enjoying some sunshine wherever you are right now.  Look out for me in the Guiness Book of Records.  I think I have a claim to a ‘world’s first’ – I am slightly sunburnt.....  visiting ENGLAND..... in MARCH!!!  Feels funny writing about sunburn and scarves in the same post, but that's how quickly it seems to have gone from winter to summer.  




Friday, 23 March 2012

Me! Baking!!!

Hello there, my lovely bloggy friends!

Guess what I did???  I actually braved the perils of the kitchen, and did some baking!!!  I know you probably don’t believe me – as you know me so well – so I took some photos to prove it.

Simon was out all afternoon, at a ‘magic lecture’.  I imagined him sitting in the Great Hall at Hogwarts, while Dumbledore imparted all his wisdom on witches and wizards from all corners of the globe.  It WASN’T like that, though, Simon assured me!  He said, “It was just a load of magic geeks, sitting in the basement of a magic shop!”  How disappointing!!!  

Anyway, the upshot was that I was Home Alone!  I had been catching up on my blog-reading, and was drooling over Jooles’ scones, at the Sew Sweet Violet blog.  I decided to give her recipe a try.....

I left out the sultanas, as I’m not a big fan.  But, other than that, I followed the recipe to the word.....

And my scones actually turned out LOOKING and TASTING like actual scones!  Success!!!  The ones I enjoyed most, of course, were the ones I sneaked (with a cuppa from my favourite mug) straight from the oven, while they were still hot!  Mmmmmmm!!!

Thank you, Jooles, for sharing your recipe!    

Oh, by the way, Jooles is currently running a FABULOUS giveaway over at Sew Sweet Violet.  To celebrate her 1st blogging birthday, she's giving all her followers the chance to win either some gorgeous pocket bunting, or a super-cute patchwork needle case.  So, pop over and take a look.....

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!



Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Hello everyone!  Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there!

And an extra-special HAPPY MOTHERDAY to my most frequent blog visitor – my mom!!!  

Mom, I looked everywhere online for a poem to send to you today, but I didn’t like any of them!  Some were too dull, some were too silly, some were too childish, some were too cheesy, some were too grown-up.....  So, I wrote my own, just for you.....

Mom, I’ve always said it –
That you are just the best!
Fun, kind, and supportive –
Better than the rest!

I am very thankful
For all the things you do.
I know I’m very lucky
To have a mom like you!

We have such fun together,
When we shop, or chat, or play,
Or laugh, or craft, or dance,
Or go on holiday!

Today’s a special day,
And I want to let you know
That you’re a super mother –
And that I love you so!

I think that’s all for now,
Except I have to say.....
I can’t wait to see you soon -
And happy Mother’s Day!



Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Rainbow Buttons

I LOVE buttons!!! 

Whenever I visited my grandparents as a little girl (and I visited often – they lived opposite us), I ALWAYS had to get out Nan’s button tin.  It was an old Quality Street tin, full to the brim with beautiful buttons.  I loved to empty them all out on the table and just ‘sort’ them – by colour, by size, by what they were made from, by how much I liked them, by how many holes they had, by whether or not they had shanks.....

When I visit my grandparents now, I still sometimes get the tin out!

Only, now I’m big (and crafty), I also have my VERY OWN button collection.  And I get to sort buttons whenever the mood takes me – which it often does.

I got my buttons out the other day, and picked out all the most colourful ones.  Then I laid them out in rainbow formation, and took some photos.  And, as I think some of you may be button-lovers too, I thought I’d share my snaps with you.....

Does anyone out there like playing with buttons every now and again???



Saturday, 10 March 2012

Kirstie Allsopp's 'Craft' Book Review

As my last crafty book review (on ‘Everything Alice’) prompted such a lot of feedback and discussion (thank you, LOVELY blogging friends ), I thought I’d write you another one – this time on Kirstie Allsopp’s ‘Craft’.

You might already have picked up on the fact that I’m a HUGE Kirstie fan.  In fact – I’ll let you in on a little secret here – if they ever made a ‘Kirstie’s BFF’ TV show (like the Paris Hilton one, where crazy girls battled it out to have the have the chance to become her new best friend), I’d be first in line with my application form!  Well, wouldn’t you???  Oh, the crafty fun we’d have together!!! 

Anyway, I was sure I’d love the book, just from looking at the charming basket of crafty bits and bobs in the photo on the front cover.  And – yippeeee – I was NOT disappointed!!!  I LOVE this book!!!

I love the fact that the book is a hardback, and the fact that the pages are thick and lovely to touch, and..... well, it even SMELLS good!  Does anyone else like the smell of certain books, by the way?  Or should I have kept that statement to myself? 

The book contains 47 projects, and these are split into seven sections – needlecrafts, textile crafts, paper crafts, food crafts, garden crafts, flower crafts, and gift crafts.  Each section has its own super-cute little symbol (a cotton reel for ‘Needlecrafts’, for example, and a watering can for ‘Garden Crafts’).  I love extra little details like that!  

Each section has a few introductory pages, in which Kirstie talks about her experiences with that type of crafting, offers a bit of crafting history, and gives some tips on sourcing materials and getting started with related crafts.  These parts of the book make it a lovely book to have just for the ‘reading’ experience.  

The ‘looking’ experience, though, is (for me at least) the best thing about this book.  The photography is stunning, and the diagrams are clear and visually appealing.  There’s a good mixture/balance of completed project photos, in-progress photos, instructional diagrams, and photos of Kirstie enjoying herself (making things and attending county shows).  Even the TEXT in this book looks good.  For each project, the heading, subheadings, stage numbering and tips are printed in coloured fonts, which ‘go’ beautifully with the colours in the project photos and diagrams.  Everything matches!  The style of the photos and diagrams, as well as the pretty fonts and regular lay-out of the pages, tie the eclectic assortment of projects together beautifully.   

The ‘crafting’ experiences that the book offers are fabulous, too!  There’s a great mix of easier and more challenging projects, quick projects and ones that would involve weeks (or months) of work.  There are projects that you could do with kids, projects that you could do with friends, projects for the home, and projects that would make lovely presents (for all occasions).  As the section titles suggest, the book offers an enormous variety of projects.  

As I did in my last book review, I’ll give you a potted list of ALL the projects..... vintage bunting; appliqué cushion; embroidered handkerchief; table runner; coasters; stack & whack quilt; cross-stitch cushion; devoré silk scarf; needlefelt bird; felt heart decorations; natural dying; paper sculpture bird; paper bead necklace (which I’ve made already); paper dolly chain; piñata; paper baubles; greeting cards; handmade paper; family scrapbook; fruit cake; ice-cream balls; marzipan penguins; banana cake; sugar flowers; scones; damson jam; garden pickles; carved window box; elderflower cordial; mosaic chair; birdseed cakes; scarecrow; willow nesting box; petite flower exhibit; flower table centre; garden wreath; corsage; floral line design; seedhead mirror; ribbon roses; perfume; lavender bath creamers; lavender bath bombes; silver button necklace; silver leaf pendant; AND decorated candles!  Have a little look at some of them.....

If you’re looking to perfect a certain skill, this book’s probably not for you.  But, if you’re looking for fantastic ‘general’ craft book, and fancy dabbling in a wide range of different crafts, you need look no further! 

Although I wouldn’t want try out ALL the projects in the book (anything involving power tools or acidic chemicals would, for me, be a no-no), I would be interested in having a go at most of them.  So far, I’ve only made the paper bead necklace.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and the diagrams and photographs were very helpful.  I also really appreciated how the intro to the project, and the ‘top tips’ box, offered ideas on how the project could altered and experimented with, to yield something slightly different.       

So, in summary, I’d definitely add this book to my ‘need’ list again.  I’d by it as a gift for creative friends.  And I’d recommend it to anyone remotely crafty!!!

I’d love to hear from you if you have this book already – let me know what you think of it, and which projects you’ve tried out.....

Until next time......



Saturday, 3 March 2012

Valentine's Presents Part 2

As promised..... my 'Valentine’s Presents Part 2' post!  I'm afraid there's not much craftiness going on in this post.  But, if you look VERY closely, you might spot a little sign of craftiness in one of the photos.  Let me know if you spy it!  ;-)

Our ‘main’ Valentine’s gift - to each other - was a stay at a Center Parcs in the Netherlands.  So, that’s where we spent our half-term break.  It was LOOOOOVELY!!!

We hired a really nice chalet, with a sauna (which we needed, as it was sooooo chilly there), a Jacuzzi, a log fire, and a pretty view over a little frozen lake.  Everything we needed for a cosy and relaxing few days away!

This was our chalet.....

We got heaps of free bread rolls delivered to our chalet every morning.  As delicious as they were, we just couldn’t get through them all before they went stale. So, I HAD to feed the ducks with the leftovers.....

There was a little farm there.....

How cute is the baby donkey?!?!

We hired bikes and did lots of bike riding around the site.  Luckily for me (as my cycling skills are pretty-much on par with my cooking skills), there were no hills (we were in the Netherlands, after all).....

We went for a night-time bike ride one evening, for an adventure!  I felt like we were in E.T., cycling through the woods at night! 

We did lots of swimming and sliding down water slides (Center Parcs pools are always amazing), played crazy golf and pool, went for walks, ate lots, watched lots of DVDs, and (mostly) just cosied up in the chalet.  Bliss!!!

And, as an extra bonus, I spotted a couple of signs that spring is on its way.....

I'll be back soon, hopefully with a more craft-related post....


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