Friday, 21 October 2011

Work in Progress! Yuk!

Why is it when you have lots of ideas about a project, just because you have set yourself a deadline or put it out there that you will achieve something, it just doesn't plan out like it should?  I posted that I would be joining in with the KAL with shannon from luvinthemommyhood on monday, and since then the cowl that I have been crocheting has been pulled apart 4 times as it's just not what I wanted!  Prior to monday I had just finished 2 cowls and felt like I was on a roll and that making my own design would be a breeze!  Now, believe me I am not a designer, by any means. I am learning and will have the confidence to get there one day.  I find free patterns or buy them from various sources.  I may adapt them to fit the yarn or if I need a different size, but I will always give credit where it is due.  But for this project I wanted it to be just mine, my idea, my design.  Well I am just not ready!

I wanted a large, squishy, cuddly cowl that drapes well and could also go over your head.  I wanted it to have some colour woven into it to show off the grey Rowan cocoon yarn that I had in the house.  I wanted it to be a little feminine, but not too frilly. I think I wanted too much.  The picture above shows my dreaded WIP.  It has been pulled apart and restarted 4 times in my desperate attempt to finish it this week.  I hate it! It looks too masculine.  I am afraid its never going to be finished,  I certainly don't want to waste the wool on something I will never use.  My husband suggested that I give it as a gift.  No way!  If I don't like it, I'm certainly not giving it to someone else, who would politely tell me they love it!  I have to love the outcome of very project, that's the point of making things yourself.  He didn't get it!

So here are the 2 other cowls that I finished last weekend.  I love them, but they are not for me!

This is a thick chunky cowl using Rowan big wool, beautiful colour. The pictures where taken in evening so are not the best. Sorry.  I followed this pattern found on ravelry.  I think I may enter this for Octobers Celebrate color.

This one I love.  I want it for myself, but twice the width.  It wraps around twice and is so snuggly.  It uses 2 skeins of Rowan cocoon and hangs beautifully.  I used this pattern here and just loved making it!

I think I may have realised my problem.  When I make gifts, lots of time and effort goes into making the choices about the style, yarn, and colours that I think that person may like.  Time goes in to making the item and the thought and anticipation of if they will enjoy it spurs me on.  But when making things for me, I must just think, "that will do", "its only for me". Perhaps that's why its not coming out as I would like.  Less love is going in.

Join shannon and all the other knitters in the KAL.  The ravelry thread has lots of good inspiration if, like me, you feel lost!

Monday, 17 October 2011

KAL with luvinthemommyhood!

I am really excited to take part in the current KAL with the lovely shannon from luvinthemommyhood.  I followed the summer sweater KAL with some envy, wishing I could knit a sweater too.  The inspiration boards that shannon put together were gorgeous!  Sign up to take part here!
I have tried knitting but get bored when using thin wool as it seems to take forever to see results.  I am far too impatient!  Big chunky wool is fine, but crocheting is even better.  That's the beauty of this KAL it can be crocheted too and its a cozy cowl so it will work up fast!  I have signed up and am busy thinking of what to do.  I am going to design my own cowl and its going to be big!  These last few weeks I have made two cowls, one for my shop and the other for a family members gift. can't say too much.  I also made a red one for the September Celebrate colour entry with matching mits!  I think I love cowls more than scarfs as they can just dangle round your neck and not drag on the floor and get covered in mud when your playing with your kids in the park!

                                                               Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                              Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                               Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

The nights are getting dark now, I have a craving for hot chocolate with cinnamon mmmmmm! So its time to get comfy and cozy on the sofa and crochet the night away!  (ummm, isn't it supposed to be dancing!) ;)

                                                                                  Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

P.S. I have made a promise to myself to try out some recipes again soon, just busy figuring out how to make my brother's wedding cake! it's in less than two weeks! eeeek! Don't panic it's just a sponge one! But i'm sure whatever can go wrong , will go wrong!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Crochet blanket

I have not posted much these last few weeks as I have been busy at work.  So to relax I have been busy making stuff in the evening and photographing things for my shop.  I must try to get quicker at these things and learn how to use my camera properly so I don't have to edit as much!

Here is my lovely crochet blanket that I have finished.  This project helped me to learn to crochet.  It is lots of granny squares in single colours, all joined together with grey borders then single crochet edged lots of times!  I love how it turned out and love sitting under it in the evening while working on a new project.

As you can see the granny square are in single colours, this is because at the time I didn't know how to join on a new colour!  I also went for a grey border around each square and the full blanket as I thought that a white one might be too girly.  It was supposed to be given to bear for his bedroom, but I have kept it on the sofa instead!

I used a flat seam joining method that I repinned on Pinterest here.  because the join is really flat it helps the whole blanket keep its movement, if you know what I mean!  The teal and pink colours on this pic are my favourite combination in the set.  If I had known what I was setting out to make I would have just bought these two colours!

Because I was making this up as I went along I decided to use just a simple border around the edge of the blanket. Inspired by this.  I now know how to crochet many different techniques but I thought that this would keep the minimalist look and be more suitable for the boy's room.

I really love this blanket, mostly because it was the first complete crochet project I have done, but also because it took me sooooo long! I started it in February and finished in September!  It was one of these that I kept chipping away at.  I hope the boys quilts don't turn out that way!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Space boy quick quilt

What a week! Eldest boy got the stomach bug at the beginning of the week, both husband and I had open evenings on separate days and then we had the School Inspectors in my school! This is the first time since last saturday that I've managed to sit down and write. Phew!

I just had to show you this cute little quilt that I made for bear.  I had never attempted to quilt before. I had aways been inspired to, but just couldn't take the plunge.  I think its because quilts are such large projects that I was scared to try.  I had seen this link on Pinterest and thought I would give it a go.  I bought the Michael Miller space boy fabric last year but never ever wanted to cut into it.  Is it just me or does anyone else just like having pretty fabric and wish they could decorate the walls with it or something!  I was so desperate to use this print but keep it as one big piece that I just very nearly framed it!  So this was the ideal project, I didn't have to cut into it and I figured that if I messed up I would just unpick and get my piece back!

The tutorial was easy to follow, but because it was late at night and I just had to do it  (or else it would never happen!) I used a fleece blanket for an alternative to batting that I had got from IKEA.  It worked great too.  I decided to do wavy random lines as the quilting lines, like the space boys zooming all over the place!  I even had a go at mitered corners. One is done wrong, I chopped off too much fabric so had to botch it but you can't tell.

I am pretty proud that I have completed my first quilt, although a simple one. But hey, you have to start somewhere!  My aim is to make 2 patchwork quilts for the little boys for christmas.  There I've said it so I will have to do it now!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Friday night toast!

Ok, so I know I'm late with this post, we have been recovering from the gross stomach bug that has swept through us since last week.  So when it came to friday night I just wanted pizza!  Well technically that is something on toast ;)

Pesto pizza

Spread really thin ciabbatta with some store bought pesto sauce, tom with slide tomatoes and small mozzarella balls, halved.  Place under a hot grill until cheese has melted.
Yes I know this is not really a recipe. I promise to get my butt into gear and try some real cooking for once. I am a busy woman! :)
Here are some cute pics of the boys from our walk this weekend after we had all recovered, just to make up for the lack of post!

Had a lovely day.  Bear is sooo cute at the minute, chit chatting away to himself, letting you know what he wants.  I wish this time lasted longer :(

P.S You know when you look through pictures and when you thought your outfit looked ok, then you notice on the pics that you can see all your wobbly bits? Yeah, well thats what I have just done! Eeeek! must do something about the mummy tummy! Not enough hours in the day!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Well this last weekend was a complete write-off, everybody was sick ( apart front he eldest boy, he never gets sick much!) Just when I thought all was better and could get on with doing my Pinterest crafting the baby was sick again! So didn't get it done last night either.  Soooo much washing to do.  I'm glad the weather has got warmer at least I can get the bedding dry!

Anyway,  I had to take the day off work today, but hey, kids come first!  So finally he slept this afternoon and apart from housework I managed to get a little crafting done, yippee.  SInce buying a new computer during the summer I haven't touched my poor sewing machine, preferring to crochet instead.  So I turned the monitor off and moved it aside to get the old girl whizzing again.  For a moment I thought I'd forgot how to use her! See what I made :)

Ok, Ok, so the pics are a little iffy (hubby would be embarrassed if he saw them! tut!) but I was rushing, he was stirring!
I got the idea from these on my Pinterest board.

                                                                           Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

They are from thespiltstich.  if you've never been to her site you must, there are lots of great ideas on quilting and embroidery. Not to mention the cute baby projects.  I am sure that there was a tutorial of hers that I read, yes found it here! 
Shame I didn't look at it before hand as I know for a fact that my coasters are a tad small. You need to have a good seam allowance so that when you turn it the right side out your opening can actually be tucked under and then pressed!  I also used felt for the back instead. With the liner it makes it a bit bulky.  Anyone else rush into thinking they know what they are doing!
Also my take on the 'sketchy look' for top stitching is a bit sketchy to say the least. I will try random lines across next time ;)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Friday night toast!

Ok so I really have cheated here! Busy week so I can be forgiven.  There is not really a recipe, more of a selection of foods!

Smoked mackerel on ciabbata, with water cress salad.

Toast the ciabatta with a drizzle of olive oil and place the smoked mackerel on top.  Drizzle with lemon juice and serve with watercress and rocket leaves.


See, I said it wasn't a recipe but served with a good chilled wine (courtesy of the father-in-laws wine club) it was a lovely, quick meal. In fact it was quicker than finding the takeaway menu. I know, I tried!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Roses are red...

...more like purple!   I have had these little things on my Pinterest board for ages now.
                                                                      Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

So finally got round to making some.  The links from Pinterest go to a sweet little tutorial, which you can easily adapt to suit your yarn, size, or style.  I made small roses about 3" across.

I wanted a flower suitable to make into a brooch, so it had to feel chunky.  I used a lovely 90% merino wool 10% acrylic mix so that it is lovely and soft to touch.  I have hand stitched a brooch pin on to a piece of felt and then hand stitched that to the back. All with matching embroidery thread.

It was soooo easy that I made them it a few colours.  I think they make the perfect little gift for family members or friends!  Or you could stitch them to a bag or a headband.  I think I'm going to put a few in my soon to be opened Etsy shop!

Now I've finished marking all my new pupils test papers, I hope to get round to doing some more projects, probably for christmas presents. What are your plans for the rest of the week?  Feel free to leave me a message in the comments below!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Crochet Cowl and Mits

As I have said before, Autumn is my favourite season.  I love the colours and the weather.  I like it chilly but sunny!  Wrapping up in cozy knits is comforting, it's like snuggling up on the sofa with a duvet.  Seriously I can wear scarves and gloves all day, even indoors (particularly when I'm feeling grumpy)!

                                                                          Source: via Rosa on Pinterest

I learnt to crochet about 6 months ago, and I LOVE it!  Crocheting is so relaxing. I think  it is because it works up quick too, that I like.  I always like to see a project finished in one sitting.  It stresses me out when it's left for more than a day.  That's why knitting has taken a back seat.  Crocheting is also easy to put down.  With little ones around when you have to leave it, you can, and only have to pick up one stitch if its come unravelled.

                                                                               Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

The wool I have used for this project I have had since I bought it in the January sales this year.  It's Rowan Classic Yarns, baby alpaca DK, cherry red.  It's soooo soft.  Everytime I have gone past it sitting on my shelf I have to touch it! I am so glad I have finally got round to making something for me in it, (is it just me or does anyone else give away the best stuff they have made!). I have the same yarn in blue and and green, but decided to go with the red as my autumn inspiration.  Lots of the leaves have already turned red in my garden!

I found the pattern for the fingerless gloves here, on ravelry.  Its a simple shell pattern.  The gloves only used up 1 ball of yarn so I decided to try and come up with my own pattern using the shell repeat stitch used in the gloves.  I crocheted (is this a word?) the cowl in the round so that there were no seams to join.  It pulls easily over my head, and like the gloves it is extremely soft.

This set will be my 'go to' set for work, to wear with smart dresses and boots.  Bring on the chilly weather!
Thank you to Rachel from Stitched in Color for organising the Celebrate Color event.  It was the motivation I needed to show some of my projects!  Must think of something for next months entry!

Celebrate Color

Celebrate Color entry - nearly there!

Ok, lets just say that I am really excited!  I have been following lots of craft blogs for just over a year now and been totally inspired by them.  Not just by the tutorials and ideas, but by the women behind them.  I was on maternity leave when I first started (what is the correct word for following others blogs almost daily? stalking sounds too strong!) Anyway, my husband bought me an iPad and it was so easy to sit with baby and read about what others were doing.  I then got a sewing machine and it went from there.  Sewing, knitting, crocheting.  I got hooked and still am.  I have always thought of myself as being scientifically minded  (as a Science teacher, this is a plus point) so it was easy to learn new techniques.  What I didn't expect was that I would start to become more creative, more at ease with my own ideas, more confident to give new things a try and go with the flow.

                                                                      Source: via Rebecca on Pinterest

So why am I really excited? Well, 2 of my most favourite blogs and inspirational women, Mollie from Wild Olive and Shannon from luvinthemommyhood are promoting Celebrate color with Rachel from Stitched in Color.   Rachel's blog is full of wonderful projects, photos and ideas.  Another blog to add to the favourites list!  Celebrate colour is not only a chance to enter a project and win some gorgeous prizes, but the chance for a community to get together and share their inspiration for Autumn/Fall projects.

So tomorrow, hopefully, I will be entering my first link up ever!  It sounds strange, but I'm actually nervous about linking up to what I would say are well known blogs.  However, it seems like fate. I started this blog at the end of August with the intention of putting myself 'out there' into the community (if you'll have me!) and this event came along.  One thing that I have learnt from my experiences this year is that I am not alone in juggling with kids, and jobs, and life.  I also know that it's ok if I make mistakes, along as I don't drop one!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Spiced Plum sauce.

I have mentioned in a previous post that my husband makes a lovely Spiced plum sauce/jam depending what you use it for.  I particularly like it with duck.  Sometimes he adds in whole cherries to make it extra special.  At this time of year I could eat it with anything, cheese, meats, breads.  I have even served it with ice cream for a quick 'grown-up' dessert for guests!

Anyway, I have finally pinned him down and got him to write down the recipe for me.  He's one those people who doesn't follow recipes and just bungs stuff in, so this is not very accurate.  So don't be afraid to just change things to suit your taste.

Spiced plum sauce.

2 lbs of ripe plums, stoned and halved
1/2 cup af caster sugar
1/2 cup of demerara sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 dried bay leaf
A scattering of whole cloves
2 tbsp of water
Optional - Whole cherries, dried orange segments

Put all the ingredients into an ovenproof dish.  No need to cover.  Bake in the oven at 200c for 20-30 minutes until the plums have broken down and are soft.
Transfer to a sterilised jar and leave to cool.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Posh on Toast! - Duck

I had been looking forward to making and eating this meal all week! It's kind of a cheat really, because it's out of a tin. But it is gooood! My mouth is actually watering as I am writing this.
Confit of Duck, basically duck breasts soaked in duck fat in a can. When you cook them the meat just breaks apart and is soooo tasty because of all the fat, eeeek!  Friends of ours introduced us to it when we went camping.  They used the fat to fry potatoes in.  Really good camping food!  It was in a camping recipe book they had, I'm sure it was called Duck hash, I will have to borrow it from them again sometime.
Anyway, this is what we did (I was putting the baby to bed, so technically it was the husband!):

Confit De Canard, with bruschetta, and plum and cherry sauce.

Empty the contents of the can into a roasting dish and place in a hot oven for approximately 20 minutes. I actually took the breasts out and kept the left over fat in the can.  This could be used to for cooking something else in. Like roast potatoes!  You can cook the duck for longer if you like it all depends on how crispy you want the skin.

Toast the bruschetta just after the duck is ready so its still warm. Using a fork tear the duck meat to pieces and place on top of the bruschetta.

Serve with Plum and cherry sauce, or orange slices, or both.  Enjoy!

After a short time this is what you will have.  And yes, those are finger marks on the plate, no apologies!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Babies galore!

I have been busy making gifts for 3 new additions to our family.  My husband has 3 cousins that live in France, and 2 of them have both had babies this summer! So I have been busy crocheting some little hats for them.  One had a little boy and the other twin girls. The twins were over 3 months premature and were born by emergency caesarean in late July, but are now both home doing well.

It was nice to be able to make some gifts for girls.  I decided to use this fantastic pattern from the lovely Anneliese's site Aesthetic Nest. She has 3 sweet little girls and makes some adorable stuff.

For the boy baby I made a cute little earflap hat!

Now to finish my Celebrate Colour entry!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Boots, boots, Lovely boots!

I have been seeing lots of gorgeous brown leather boots all over Pinterest, ready for the new season.
Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                                                            Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                                     Source: None via Lucy on Pinterest

                                                                      Source: via Lucy on Pinterest

Last year I was so annoyed that I didn't get any, so I just HAD to have some for this Autumn/Winter.  I know that I will wear them with everything. Skinny jeans, leggings and a long top, dresses, skirts, the lot! ( the husband says, I better had!)  So here they are!

Another thing ticked of my Pinterest boards!