30 May 2011

I'd Just Like to Thank..

Actually, I have two lots of thanks to offer today, so in no particular order....

My first thank you goes to Sara at Tangled Happy for been so kind as to mention my Garden Curtain Ties on her fantastic blog.  I'm so very pleased to be chosen to be featured as I have found many beautiful and wonderful project ideas from her blog and feel quite honoured to be in such company!

I've had a lovely response from Tangled Happy readers, so I'd also like to take this opportunity to welcome my new followers and mention how much I've enjoyed reading all your kind and generous comments.  It's a wonderful heart swelling thing to receive a compliment on something you have thought of or worked hard on and I do appreciate you all, new or otherwise, taking the time to spread such joy my way.  I hope you'll enjoy reading more in future, I'll certainly look forward to hearing from you too.

My next thank you is the result of something that came as quite a surprise to me, as I have received the Kreativ Blogger Award from Jaquie at Bunny Mummy!  Thank you so much Jaquie.

Now, being one of those sorts of people, I did wonder a little about how this award came about.  What I discovered, from the admittedly little research I did, was that the award was originally created by a Norwegian blogger called Hulda in 2008.  I couldn't make out much of the Norwegian, even with the help of a translating website, but apparently the original award design was made from fabric and looked like this.

Pretty, isn't it?

The rules to receiving, as far as I can tell are these:
  • You must thank the person who has given you the award.
  • Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
  • Link the person who has nominated you for the award.
  • Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
  • Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
  • Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
  • Leave a comment on which of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.

The numbers of 'interesting things', 'nominations' and 'links' seems to have morphed from 7 to 10 but otherwise, things seem to be unchanged.

So, to keep to the current format, here come my Ten Interesting Things:
  1. My favourite song is 'Life on Mars' by David Bowie.
  2. I have lived in a four houses and one bungalow.
  3. I didn't like tomatoes until I was 35.
  4. I didn't like cheese until I was 36.
  5. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.
  6. My favourite thing to re-watch is the '95 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice.
  7. I love roses but can't stand rose bushes since I fell in a bed of them at age 11.
  8. I'd be obsessively tidy if I wasn't so incredibly lazy.
  9. I still have to build a sandcastle whenever I go to the beach.
  10. I got my first grey hair at 18.

My nominations for the Kreative Blogger Award, with links:
  1. Little Cotton Rabbits 
  2. Sewing Stars
  3. Pretty Little Things
  4. Tangled Happy
  5. Rose Hip
  6. Eggbird Designs
  7. Clever Cheshire Cats
  8. Eclectic Gyspyland
  9. The Quince Tree
  10. Yvestown
They are all fantastic blogs which I love and I hope you do too.

I also apologise if I've double nominated someone, I tried to take a look to see but I'm not certain!

I was going to share something of the projects I've been working on lately but you know, it took me so long to think of my Ten (Possibly) Interesting Things, that I'm worn to a frazzle now!  Sharing will have to wait for a new day and a fresher, rejuvenated me I'm afraid.

It will be soon though, for I have much I would tell you! 

S x

24 May 2011

A Very Flowery Blanket

I have something to show you!  Come and gather round so you can all see, I want you all to get a good look.  Here's a peak to get us started...

To tell the truth, I've been holding out on you a little while with this one.  It was finished early this month and I've been hanging on to it...  Partly because I've been waiting, in vain I might add, for some good weather to try and get better pictures.  But mostly, I must confess, because I fell a tiny bit out of love with this little blanket towards the end.

When I last spoke to you about this blanket, I was still totally in love.  I was enjoying mixing my colours and I had this beautiful stack of squares to look at.

All, in short, was right in my crocheting world.  It took a while to make all 99 of the squares needed, but although I was glad to be done, I did enjoy making them all.  Next, I pined them all out to block.  I've used some acrylic, so I knew it wouldn't be totally effective, but it does help straighten them out and tidy them up ready for joining together.

I was very happy at this stage, I love to see them all lined up, square and regular.

Next came the joining and this is were the trouble started.  I wanted to join them as shown in the book, because I liked the effect but although I tested it out on a few squares first, once I'd done a few rows I started to have my doubts.  They are joined by crocheting along the back, which means that each seam has a line of crochet along it.  I'm sure you know the kind of thing I mean.

The problem I had is that once joined, the squares, and in fact the whole blanket, doesn't really lie very flat.  There's a sort of valley at each seam which makes the blanket look all wavey and bumpy.  Have a look at this picture that shows the front and the back so you can see the seams.

Can you see the ridges along the back and the valleys along the front?  At this point, I had joined so many I had reached a kind of point of no return as I couldn't face undoing what I had done, so I carried on the the seaming and finished off with a lovely border.

I hope you don't mind if I just take a moment to drag you aside to talk about the border, which I do love.  It's from this fantastic book, Around the Corner Crochet Edges by Edie Eckman, which I can't recommend enough.  When I first started crocheting and saw books like this, totally devoted to edges, my mind boggled.  It amazed me that, not only could enough edges be found to fill a book, but that it could ever be necessary for anyone to have an entire book devoted to them!  How wrong I was.  Silly, naive me!  Now of course, I know that a good border can be the making of a project and this book is stuffed full of brilliant ones.  So if you get the chance, it's definitely worth a look.

Well, back to the story of the blanket.

Although I was pleased with the border, I was still left a bit unsatisfied with the finished article but what to do?  The cream edges and border are all done in Stylecraft acrylic, so there's no blocking it out, without steaming a whole blanket!  Not something I'm going to attempt, that's for sure.  Maybe I just seamed them all too tight, I do tend to be tight with my hooky sometimes.  Maybe the effect will wear off once the blanket is being used.  Ah well, it has been done for a while now, time to forget that and think of the positives.

My little one, who the blanket is intended for, was delighted with it.  She's going to be using it to keep her cozy on cold days in the car and she's been wrapping up in and wandering around the house in it since it's been finished.  I guess that it has her seal of approval, which is the main thing.

Time to show you the whole, finished thing I think, so you can look and judge for yourselves.  I took it outside to get a bit better light, but somehow I couldn't get a photo I was totally happy with either.  Maybe it's just one of those projects.

That last one shows off the bumpiness that I dislike to great effect, but I do love the colours and that makes me feel better.  When I look at the blanket now, close up, there are some squares and colour combos that I simply adore in there.  I'm certainly happier again with it now than I was when I finished it.  Given time, I may start to love it again.

Now, some details, for the detail minded:

Blanket size: 95 x 75 cm (3 ft x 2 1/2 ft)
Total number of squares: 99
Total weight: 832g
Total yards: 1555 (approx)
Total colours: 19 plus the cream
Total yards in cream: 1135 (approx)
Total yards in other colours: 420 (approx)
Yarns used:  A mixture of brands of mostly dk yarn with some sport and a 4ply.  Pretty much all from stash.

Time for me to go now, it's been a long day and I think it's time for a hour of knitting before bed.

See you all next time.

S x

17 May 2011

Lazy, Lovely Choccy!

On the first on May it was a glorious day here in my little village.  So lovely, that we decided to have a barbecue and eat outside.  I had been given a gift of strawberries earlier in the day and so we decided to also enjoy these lovely fruits outside.  Our first strawberries of the year.  I love 'firsts' don't you?

In that inspired and entirely accidental way that sometimes things rather wonderfully happen, my hubby, Mr G mentioned how nice it would be to have strawberries dipped in chocolate again.  (We last had them absolutely years ago, on holiday in California.  Umm, yummy!)  I agreed that it would, but as we had no chocolate in the house, with the exception of a bit of leftover Nutella in a jar in a cupboard somewhere, it was just a nice idea and we made to take the bowl of strawberries outside.  Then we both stopped and looked at eat other.... Nutella!

And so the idea was born and the delicacy know as 'Lazy Choccy Strawberries' was created and has become, in one sitting, a firm family favourite.  Due to the choccy getting quite stiff in the bottom of the jar, it was felt that it was best to warm it in the microwave for a few seconds to add to drippy, messiness of the whole experience.  A teaspoon is helpful too, for getting the choccy out and on your fruit without covering your whole hand in brown gloop in the process!

That's another 'first' then, my first recipe (in the broadest sense of the word!):

Get a jar of Nutella, comsume half in the manner of your choosing and leave in the back of a cupboard somewhere for say, six months?
Re-find Nutella, nuke in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, until nice and pliable.
Get a teaspoon, some fruit and maybe even some children and enjoy!

I'm off to buy another jar of Nutella, ready for next year!

S x

05 May 2011

Rose Ties

I'm happy to tell you that I have a little something to share today.  Not just words and pictures as usual, today I have another little something to share.  Hold on to your hats - it's a free pattern!

To start at the beginning, I recently re-decorated my bedroom.  Well, more of a re-vamp really as I just added wallpaper, updated the bedding, cushions and made some new curtains.  I'm happy with how it's all turned out but as it always seems to go, I had one more job in mind to finish things off and it became more and more overdue.  This time it was some curtain ties to go with my newly made curtains.

The fabric I used is quite bold and flowery, so I wanted something quite simple to go with them.  I decided on a plain band and just a small cluster of roses to compliment the curtains and luckily enough this was one of those happy, happy occasions when things actually turned out as I imagined them.  (Certainly not always the case, I can tell you!)

Here they are, doing their duty and holding back my curtains admirably.  I'm rather pleased with them, they are exactly as I wished, simple and yet I think they look cute and compliment the curtains well.

I decided to write up the pattern so that you can all enjoy, should you wish to.  It's a nice straight forward pattern.  Well, hopefully if I've explained it right it will be!  It did also occur to me that the flowers especially might be a good subject for my first photo tutorial, what do you think?

You can find the pattern in the Cherry Heart Boutique, on the crochet page.

I hope you enjoy making them as much as I did and if you need any help let me know.

Love to you all.

S x
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