Saturday, 28 April 2012

A week of treats!

Dan went back to Uni last Sunday which is always very sad and which can mean I feel a bit down for a while.  So this time I decided to organise some treats to give me something to look forward to during the  week.  It is particularly lovely buying handmade things, they usually come in lovely wrapping with a note from the maker; it feels like a birthday!   So I bought some lovely cards from Vanessa at  (not a great photo I'm afraid)

The are so cute and I'm sure now I'll never bring myself to give any away.Infact I'm thinking I might frame them for the wall.

I have had my eye on a block from Fee at and so it arrived this week - I haven't been able to bring myself to take off the lovely wrapping yet!!

It's really beautiful and has my boys' names on the bottom.

I also treated myself to a new book ....

.. It looks great ... taking you through lots of crochet techniques and projects to practice these so I'm sure there will be more of this later.

On the crafty front I have been getting on with my cross-stitch the subject of which can now be revealed.  This is going to be a baby sampler, baby isn't born yet so it while be a while before it is fully finished.  (I have no idea why this photo has turned itself this way!!!  It isn't like that anywhere else!   

To finish another photo of my lovely rabbit from Marmaladerose in its new home.  I think this is a fantastic idea for using vintage embroidery, don't know if I would every be brave enough to try this.

So did all this lovely buying help ... well yes it did.  I had something to look forward to and enjoy rather than noticing how quiet it is.  There are lots of good things about living on your own ... not least you can buy what treats you want without any explanation .... as well as the bad!

I also ordered some wool, but this hasn't come yet ... so more on treats soon!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

weekend fun and Give away winner

So I've had a fairly productive weekend.  I finished my Louisa Harding jacket, which is very chunky and so has only taken just over a week.  I'm reasonably happy and will definitely wear it ....

I realised that although I have knitted a few garments throughout my life - I didn't actually finish many of them and I find the making up a bit nerve wracking!   I have now discovered matress stitch and things have improved a lot so I did OK with the making-up here, although I really do find that hard and this was very thick wook with an uneven slub cotton running through it which I had to remove to use for sewing up.  The pattern had a very complicated knitted band but I went for a crochet picot edge again using a chain of 3 and extending this to 5 for the button loops.  My knitting confidence has raised a little and I am going to try some fair isle handwarmers and if that goes OK, who knows, maybe a fair isle jumper.

Gemma and I tried to make macarons... and I do say tried.  We didn't get the right texture, not runny enough, and although we were making 14 chocolate ones, after a bit too long in the oven only 3 were edible!  They all tasted OK and we are not downhearted but will try again soon.  It's interesting to have a bit of a technical challenge.

I bought a magazine I have never bought before, Sew Home, mainly because it had some free fabric charm squares and some makes from Helen Phillips whose work I really like.  You may remember when I made my quilt I struggled a bit with making all the edges meet accurately, so I decided to have a go a the little pin cushion in the mag with the free fabrics.  As I was making the 2 pieced sides I thought it wasn't really needed to have two pieced sides, so decided to make 2 and then to have a runner up prize in my giveaway.  It was still quite difficult for me ... don't know why  .... but I tried hard and hope they aren't too bad!  (Quite tiny though).  I do think I would find this level of technique in large quilting items quite challenging!  The magazine said it should take 45 minutes to make ..... I think it took nearly that to sew up the opening and the buttons on!


So I have drawn the winner of my giveaway which is ..... Trudy and for a runner-up Gillian.  So send me your addresses (try through my profile and if this doesn't work leave a comment and I reply with my email- as I'm not sure how it works).  Hope the items are OK!  I will have more in future.

I seem to be getting into the habit of a photo of Rosie in most blogs .... so here it is, bathtime ....

Thursday, 19 April 2012

A lovely day!!

No I wasn't playing hookey from work but had yet another day off, and where did I go?  Here is a clue ...

... and if you are wondering why I chose the less than cute illustration of a rat it's because here is the orginal

Yes, after living in Cumbria for more than 25 years I actually went for the first time to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's house. 

We had a fascinating time. If you haven't been it is a tiny cottage furnished exactly as Beatrix left it, and throughout you can find things which are illustrated in her books.  This is the range in the Tale of Tom Kitten

(Just need to confess the inside shots aren't mine as you aren't allowed to photograph in the house .. but courtesy of the National Trust and free to use).

There were her shoes, hat and bag.  The bed had a lovely patchwork, not worked by Beatrix but there was some of her (unfinished) embroidery.

... and Mr McGregor's garden ...

.... and there were even some real rabbits peaking around.

The village is full of buildings illustrated in the books.  A wonderful pub

seen in the Tale of Gemima Puddleduck.  All in all a great trip and definitely one to do if you get the chance. To finish a rather cuter picture ... did you know she also drew guinea pigs?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

More April fun

What a beautiful month April is and how much I have been enjoying the colour and sunshine ....

Rosie has loved the wind in her hair ... but a trip to the doggie hairdresser seems desirable!

Dan and Gemma have been in France ... so it's been quiet here ... but Dan sent a message from Callais

Some lovely crafting moments ... I finished the baby jacket

This was a Debbie Bliss pattern but the border should have been knitted and then stitched on and that didn't appeal at all, so I had a try at crocheting a border and my first attempt at a picot edging.  I enjoyed doing this and would certainly try it again.  I really like mixing crochet with knitting and it is enjoyable, whereas I hate picking up and knitting.

My next knitting project is using this very chunky Louisa Harding wool for a jacket - which is knitted on large needles (5mm and 6 mm) and so hoping to have it finished by next weekend.  The colour is really nice; duck egg blue.   I'm also going to try another crochet border rather than the knitted one in the pattern.

I've also started another baby project in cross-stitch for a sampler .... you may recognize the subject ... won't reveal it till later ... but it is a really simple picture with some nice blocks of colour

Meanwhile I treated myself to a lovely new present from Fiona at, who apart from doing the most wonderful embroidery also makes wonderful items from vintage embroidery.

I absolutely love her.  Here she is popping up with a cake I tried for the first time; lemon meringue cake - which was absolutely delicious and I could include the recipe if anyone is interested!

A weekend of treats finished with a trip to Holker Hall, lovely.  The gardens were fabulous and a really interesting house.   I find looking round historical places much more interesting than I used to and this was a lovely day out for all of us.  Puts you in the mood for an historical film!

Don't forget if you haven't yet you can still enter for my giveaway by just leaving a comment. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Spring Giveaway

So I have bravely decided to have a giveaway, for no better reason than to celebrate spring coming and how much I am enjoying blogging!  I only started crafting just over a year ago - I had had some pretty difficult years and I can't tell you what a difference both crafting and feeling part of a community has made.  I have got so much out of cross-stitching, knitting, crocheting and sewing.  I love buying the materials, deciding what to do next and reading others' blogs.  In fact I feel that I can once again look forward to something.  I've been blogging since January and it's great, infact I would say it is now urging me to do more ...just so that I have something interesting to write about in my blog!  Can only be good.  Anyway to the giveaway ...

.. to include Zakka Style book, some fat quarter, ribbon, buttons and because I thought there should be something I made (and this is the bit which is nerve-wracking, please remember I am new to the game and definitely not up to the standard of the lovely things many of you produce) - a needlecase and pin-cushion from the lovely Helen Phillip's Simple Sewn gifts book.  There may also be a surprise.  To enter leave a comment and if you are a follower (or join) you will get 2 entries.  Obviously you have a very good chance of winning and I am happy to post anywhere in the world (as I am very excited to see from the data that I have had some hits from over the globe).  I will draw the winner on Sunday 22nd April.

On the making front I made an Easter rabbit ... liking the little fluffy jumper ...

... and bought some more lovely baby cashmero wool (think I'm obsessed with this wool) to have another try at a baby jacket (photos in next post) - this is photographed on a vintage hand embroidered table cloth bought on Sunday at Arnside Vintage Fayre (for £8 a bargain).

Finally just a few photos from a wonderful walk we had in Silverdale (yes as beautiful as it sounds) ...

... and this is what Rosie thought ... it's such a joy to watch her when she is out ... she is so fast for a little dog and so joyous ...

Well back to work tomorrow.  Hope you had a lovely break.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

March Memories

Ok, so I know 2 posts in one day is excessive ... but I have finally discovered how to do a photo collage and it is great!  I used an excellent site - free and with an instant post to facebook and here is the result.  A pretty good month; sunshine, beautiful views, daffodils and hyacinths, quilting and kiss cushions ... all topped off with mothers' day.

Easter hols

Well what a great time I've been having!  Dan and Gemma came home on Saturday and its been lovely.  Sunday was full of spring sunshine.  I love spring, so full of new life and warmth.  We've had some lovely walks:

Everyone getting ready to go!

Rosie deciding whether to go on two feet or four!

Beautiful colours and blossoms ....

A walk in Levens Park with goats, deer and strange trees!

Walks are so much nicer with company and its easy to walk much further without noticing.  In fact everything is better with company.

On the crafting front I have two finishes.  I finished binding my quilt.  The mitred corners were more difficult than it looked on Youtube.  Maybe that is because I made mine thicker.  This has definitely been a learning experience and there are lots of mistakes, but overall I'm still quite proud of the completed item.  Jess likes it ...

So does Rosie (bit of a bad hair day though!)

I'm pleased with how the fabrics have worked together, though next time I might jumble them more and I really want to make one in duck egg blue.  I will definitely be more accurate cutting out (better still buy pre-cut ones) because any mistake affects everything right up to the binding.

I've also finished my cross-stitch hyacinths and given it a fabric binding and a Tilda button.

Finally last night we went to Blackpool to see Derren Brown.  Actually we have been to see this tour already but Dan absolutely loves Derren and he gives a great show.  I think its good at a time when you can't believe anything you see on TV or films with  all the CG etc to see a show where you are just as perplexed, but it all happens in front of you.  I have no idea how he does what he does.  What an amazing building the winter gardens is (where the show was) .... some great architecture.

The drive back was awful much for spring!  My hands ached from holding the steering wheel in the wind and heavy sleet all the way. 

All for now ... I'm still on holiday ... lovely and will be starting some new projects.  I've also decided rather bravely to have a give away this month - so those of you who are reading will have a really good chance of winning.  More later.