Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Little stacks and large lists

Hello again, I've had a few very tired days not being able to sleep very well, a hundred and one thoughts swirling around my brain about all I need to and have to do in the next month or so. I panic a bit when I feel out of control, I like to know where I begin and end with my work-life balance and lately I am having to pack up a job I have been in for 10 years and dot the i's and cross the t's tying everything up whilst juggling a busy home life too. 

In amongst all of this I have felt fretful of not having enough time for my creativity. I guess something will have to give when I go to full time employment in March but I can't/won't allow my blog to slip away into pale insignificance as the pro's far outweigh the (if any) con's. I think I am just a little anxious about how all things will pan out with juggling Alice and her activities, her growing up and having to walk home to the child-minder's for the last 6 mounts of her Year 6 and spending as much time as possible with her and squeezing in some me time. I know it will be just fine, I will just have to be a little more selective as to what and how much I can do :0) I'm writing large lists to say the least which I always find helpful as the thoughts don't swirl around in my brain for long feeling impossible to conquer and I can gain perspective when I see them in black an white and can slowly tick things off.

Anyway, more about my little stacks. I went to The Owl and Sewing cat in Eastbourne on Saturday afternoon when Andy and Alice went to watch football in Brighton. It was lovely to peruse the newish extension into a yarny shop as well as fabrics galore. I treated myself to 3 merino Rowan balls in these lovely mute blues/green. I had pinned an image on my Pinterest page here under my "must make" inspiration board. Namely, this pretty thing....

Ravelry Source
Is it not just exquisite? And such a fun and easy thing to make for beginner's and the more advanced hooky people? 

I found a small hot water bottle for 50p in a charity shop on Saturday morning so I plan to cover it with the tiny granny stacks I have been creating in the photo's above. Just in time for this icy weather we are all of a sudden experiencing. A bit of good granny fun don't you think ?

My other little stacks that are forming are my hand sewn hexagon's which I really am enjoying watching these grow and choosing which fabrics to add when making Alice's quilt. It's all good hand therapy as far as I am concerned and a brilliant "de-stresser" for the evenings.

I also had to buy my first daffodils yesterday, they were calling out to me in the supermarket and I am so loving the simple bright yellow and sweet fragrance they are providing today. I hope I haven't come across as too stressy in this post, in fact I feel quite the opposite now I've had a bit of a moan. Thanks for listening and hope to be back soon with a 
hotty botty in my hands.

ps. a cheeky edit after reading Planet Penny's post and being inspired (thanks Penny x)to make a January mosaic here's my first attempt.....take a look at Alice's end of the month catch up too. It's good fun, you should have a go!

Friday, 27 January 2012

Yarn doctor's orders

It's so lovely to be here in the sanctuary of my little blog space, I have had a full on busy busy day at work and am pleased to be in the comfort of this space where I can switch off from the complexities work can bring :0)

Did the sun shine bright in your part of the world today? It was glorious here on the South East Coast of England and one of the many joys of my job is working in the community and driving from place to place where I can soak up the day whilst doing my job. It also gave the opportunity to stop for 10 minutes and eat my lunch on a bench on a little patch of green with bare Winter trees where I could just breathe in all the surroundings. 

I had my camera with me and thought why not take a few snaps of my new crochet fingerless gloves I made yesterday? I have 3 pairs of gloves but seem to have lost misplaced the second one of each pair , so I thought I'd hook up some sumptuous pink ones from my stash.

They are ever so warm and cosy and fun and have kept my mitts warm today. I started off with good intentions of following the pattern from this book which I was given for Christmas but soon found myself doing my own thing. If you have ever made crochet fingerless gloves you know how easy it is to "do your own thing" once you get going as it's a basic tunnel you are creating for your hands to slip into. I did a mixture of dc and tr stitches to accommodate for wrist and fingers respectively.

I did, however, find the pattern really useful for helping to create a thumb space which now looks so easy but I couldn't figure out for myself yesterday?! 

All in all I'm rather pleased with these bright and pretty in pink hand warmers. It was soooooo good to do some crochet again after all my recent knitting projects. I had almost finished knitting Alice's first sock when I got bored (oops...) and needed some instant gratification, the only kind that crochet can give you and this quick and easy and "happy with the end result" project was just what the yarn doctor ordered!

Here's wishing you all a marvellous weekend 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Gentle fun


Thanks for all your lovely encouraging and lovely comments, it is good fun having a rapport with other bloggers with similar interests. When I started my blog, I genuinely thought it would be a great place to log my new found love of crochet and knitting, as well as logging a teeny tiny fraction of my/our lives to look back on when we are old and grey.Never did I think that I would meet such a great community of "virtual" friends. So, what I am trying to say is thanks for stopping by, I really appreciate it.

I am at home today with sweet girly Alice who is all snuffly and blocked up with nasty cold and sneezes. It's a juggle with work but it's also kind of special as we get to do nothing but snuggle, read stories and be gently creative on sick days. 

We were looking through a jar of some of my badges that I've collected over time. I really like badges but know that some people see them as a childish thing for a woman to wear but then again, have I really bothered about such things... maybe when I was younger but, now I feel I can be a little bit frivolous wearing a badge or two on the right occasion.

I think I probably would have been through a political, vegetarian, feminist and hippy badge stage if I had chosen to wear badges when I was younger but now in my forties it's more gentle and less of a statement...just some gentle fun. What are your thoughts on wearing badges on your bags/ shirts/ jackets?

I'd like to make some of my own badges one day and I am sure there is some super duper gadget out there which will enable me to. I also want to learn to cover buttons in fabric too, something I have never done before. Maybe someday soon...

After a little scouring the net I found this very sweet and gentle Valentines idea on Funkytime blog which was perfect for Alice and I to do this morning. 

Valentine tea bags we heart you

I did the tea bag sewing while Alice cut out hearts from the old musty music sheet

A bit of cheap and cheerful fun to make for your loved one if they like a cuppa or two

We used herbal tea 'Wild Berry' Clipper tea bags 

It smells divine and is pinky /red when you make a cup
which is exactly what we had to do in the name of quality control you know :0)

Only problem is that your camera lens gets a steamy facial when you try to take a photo 

A rosy glow of gentle love


ps. We plan to sew our music sheet hearts into a window hanging of sorts ~

Monday, 23 January 2012


We have had a very cake orientated weekend, what with little Miss. Alice and her new found baking skills and determination to create a recipe book for herself and the joy of sorting out our baking cupboard {yes we have a cupboard dedicated to baking - I am far better at baking than cooking if the truth be known} with the view to having a new kitchen installed towards the end of February. It's going to be fab to have all new appliances and shiny clean cupboards - does that get me off the hook with not being too fastidious with cleaning our current kitchen?

I collect / buy fun cupcake cases if I see them / feel the price is justified, some are just ridiculously expensive as far at I am concerned. I like to also go  "au naturale" with baking/parchment paper and tearing off squares and plonking the cake mixture into these and placing in a cupcake tray to help keep their shape whilst baking.

Saturday's cake recipe choice was this really simple one, free from the Waitrose Supermarket website and in view of us having packed away most of our cake baking tins (did I really think we could go for a whole month without baking a cake?)I suggested Alice use the beautiful rather large polka dot cases I won on a blog give away about a year ago from Julie at Swedish House. This resulted in 6 delicious small Victoria Sponge cakes for afternoon tea on the weekend. Perfect!

Andy was telling us that one of his brother's used to be called "Cakesy" in his cricket team as he used to be the biggest cake devourer at tea time when he played a cricket match! Alice and I swiftly concluded that we too live with our very own Mr. Cakesy :0) when we realised that by Sunday evening a certain somebody had enjoyed these cakes a rather great deal. Say no more.

I've also started on a pair of socks for Alice, unfortunately she had other ideas about her colour choices for her socks (not the Noro yarn from my previous post) and she chose this Rico sock yarn and so far is pleased with how it's turning out. I am starting to have a real fondness/love of sock yarn, I love seeing how the stripes form during the boring 'round and round you knit' rows.

I am also knitting her socks with my first pair of metal DPN's and although I find the bamboo kind easier as they are lighter in weight, I am getting used to these which I am pleased about as they are cheaper, especially if you lose one or two which is becoming a slight habit of mine. I don't know what's out there for safely storing DPN's, I must investigate.

Last but not least I wanted to show you this sweet Pebble Vest I knitted last week (as explained on this post). It is the most scrumptious thing since hot buttered toast! I cannot remember Alice being this small all those yeas ago. I've made it for my sister-in-law who is expecting her first baby in April and still need to sew some buttons on. I think I'll use a little mixture of colour's to go with this "using up scraps vest".

I do hope these colour's will be fine and dandy for a little boy or girl? What do you think? 

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend? I'm being summonsed into the kitchen by a hungry girl for dinner, I'll leave you with a close up pic of the inside of one of my lilies I've enjoyed watching open. 
They smell divine!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

I couldn't resist being cheerful

Thank you Sweeties for all your lovely comments about my socks, I'm still being a little secretive-smiley about wearing them and knowing I made them with my very own hands. OK enough smug, more humble please!

I know that at this time of the year here in the Northern hemisphere it's easy for us all to lean into the "January Blues" and even easier to find little to feel cheerful about so if you are feeling somewhat blue why not try and take part or have a look at Penny's Reasons to be cheerful and it might {or I hope it will} make your week a little lighter. So here goes my reasons...

I have decided to make progress with my hexagon paper pierced hand stitched quilt for our girly Alice. I am really loving the therapeutic sewing, so soothing and a little addictive. I plan to work on this for months and months and have made Alice promise me that she will stamp her feet and yell like a wild feral thing if I decide to give in and make it small in view of my impatience.
Fabric source: Old, new, vintage, tea cloths, sheets, pillow cases, shweshwe, Alice's old clothes and anywhere I can find a scrap or two.

Who can complain that this fabric is not cheerful? Bought from here last Summer. The fact that I've retrieved it from the attic is progress in the right direction. I might just have that dress I'm dreaming of this Summer.

A little February something to look forward. This was my little Christmas present to myself {do you do that? Not sure where this little "tradition" of mine started but it sure as polar bears is not going to stop!}. I spotted the CK workshops advertised in the December copy of my Country Living Mag {which is actually the January issue} and thought for £16, a 2hour patchwork workshop in the Tunbridge Wells CK store and a copy of the book...Why not? Did I get a subliminal message when I booked this to get cracking on the hexagon patchwork? Hhhmmm!

My cheerful ADDICTION of needles and yarn... what more can I say? I am using up all scrapy left overs as Alice did here when she made the loveliest waste-not want-not vest. I'm knitting a little Pebble Vest that Alice has also so beautifully knitted too. 

And, last but not least a little Noro sock yarn to cheer the soul. I am hoping that little Miss. Alice will like this and allow me to grace her feet with some very old fashioned hand  knitted socks. I think I will add a little Alice in Wonderland twist to this yarn to encourage her to choose it, as it invokes thoughts of what kind of rabbit hole I would have liked to fall down and hopefully she'll agree? {we are going through an interesting exerting her independence phase at the moment, all good but a little challenging at times!} 

So to end off today some encouraging words;

If it’s snowing or it’s hailing,
Or late winter checks the spring –
If the northern wind is wailing,
Still this heart of mine will sing. 
                                                                                                             (sorry I can't remember where I scribbled this down)

Hope you have found this a little cheery too xox

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Fully socked

Despite it being grey and gloomy I am best pleased to have a whole day to myself waiting for the new cooker, hob and extraction fan we have ordered for our new kitchen we plan to have by the end of February. I forgot how divine it is to have a day off in the middle of the week. A day for ME and only ME is worthy of celebration non?

Well, I have spent the morning reading, writing and pottering together with copious cups of tea, listening to Woman's hour and finishing off my second sock. I'm wearing them right now and every time I look down I feel a little pleased with my victory over double pointed needles and knitting the heel of a handmade sock. So please let me indulge you with the ode to my socks.

I am ever so pleased with these little feet warmers and for those of you who are experienced sock knitter's I am sure you will be able to distinguish the first from the second knitted sock? The left is my first and slightly more experimental than he right which I managed to follow the pattern to a T {where did that saying come from?}

The heel was a challenge with the first but by the second I got to actually enjoy the process without sweat beads forming on my upper lip!

All in all I am a bit nerdy and have always treated my feet to Birkenstocks, either shoe or sandal ever since I can remember. Having these new socks and not wanting to hide them away in boots I have decided to wear them with my Birkenstock clogs which are about 6 years old now and I feel snuggly pleased to say the least.

Nerdy or what? I couldn't be happier :0)

According to the pattern and my size 6 foot, I am a small man or large lady. Personally i'm not sure what I
 would prefer to be called!?!

I will simply kick my heels, smile and head off to my LYS for some more yarny goodness. 
What better way to continue having a ME day xox

Sunday, 15 January 2012

A picture an hour January 12

I have been inspired to do a photo (or 2) an hour blog post by Meredith of One sheepish girl who's stunning blog I have been following for a while now. I thought it might be a bit of fun on a Saturday as it's the weekend day that for me generally has something of some vague interest in it. So here goes...

9h00 Re-arrange the storage space in our Victorian down stairs 'out-house' {yes it's a loo and a convenient storage space in winter}

10h00 Cups of tea and Saturday Live

10h00 Domestic non-bliss that Saturday's bring, I have to get all of this out of the way before I can really relax into the day. Friday night's I sweep the house and do the laundry at various intervals between sips of wine. A little of the old ethanol to make house work vaguely mindful goes a long way.

11h00 Consider a shower, getting dressed and making my hair vaguely presentable before exposing the outside world to it. A late breakfast / brunchy thing too with my latest food obsessed combination of cottage cheese and marmite on a toasted bagel, followed by a satsuma to balance the savoury {looks/sounds? worse than what it tastes like I promise}

12h00 Ponder on and giggle at Andy's slight addiction / obsession? with mid-century lamps. I think we could open a lamp emporium with his collection. This Bauhaus beauty winged it's way over from Germany this week and was delivered today. Mr. tried to convince me of what a bargain he got and I just quietly smiled as it's no doubt true as he is a thrifty Mr and he knows and loves quality. He explained that it was his Christmas present to himself {a habit he's adopted from me, I'll show you my Christmas pressie to myself soon} 

13h00 Alice goes to ballet for 2 hours rehearsal for her show, Peter Pan and I scootle into town to buy some fruit and flowers. Got 5 primroses for £2 to cheer up the gloomy afternoon and collected some fab old photo's a friend found for me sometime ago

14h00 Browse the net, visit some blogs and Pinterest. Pull out my sewing bag with some hexagons I started to make last year and I haven't touched for a few months. I really want to do some hand stitching, I have been longing to move forward with this project and hope I feel motivated to see it through. Mrs. Bobo Bun has inspired me with this post on her gorgeous blog. If you haven't visited her blog before I suggest you do, you won't be disappointed :0)

15h00 Alice is back and ready to do some Winter afternoon baking, she adapted her butter biscuit recipe to encompass choc chips and cocoa, not bad at all.

16h00 Feeling like a bold DPN knitter I'm considering hexi-puffs with this gorgeous hand dyed yarn. But, my senses reign me in and I stay with completing the second sock

17h00 Sara and Holly {Alice's friend} pop over for a quick cuppa and a chat, I need to consider what to have for dinner tomorrow when family is coming over

18h00 Time for my short run, yes I am attempting to get fitter this year, shift a little lardy 40-something extra bits. Life can be so cruel at times can't it!

Happy week-ending and thanks for stopping by 

ps. I wasn't sure about putting this post up but in the end I decided I would. Part of me think's it's a little contrived despite it being the truth about my day. My life is very plain and ordinary and it's ultimately a bit of fun and a record of what I did today. Should be interesting for me to look back on in years to come~