Sunday 24 June 2012

Heat-pack pocket make

A while ago I had a plan, a plan to do something with my lavender I grow in my potted courtyard garden. Lavender is one of my all time favourite healing fragrances. I know it's commonly used and readily available,but despite that I have a real love of it and a soft spot in my heart for this divine plant, flowers and scent. 

So, I picked some of my own grown (seen in the bathroom photo above) and waited for it to dry out. Patience together with an amazon order here for a bigger stock of flowers paid off as yesterday I was able to make my 'secretly desired in the back of my mind' heat pack. I got the idea from here a few weeks ago and had to be oh so patient for my flowers to grow and dry out.

So, here's what I did yesterday afternoon...

  • Some rice and lavender in a ratio of 3:1
  • Some old fabric from my stash, I chose to cut an old embroidered pillow slip and part of a tablecloth I had bought in a charity shop 
  • An old doily from my stash - yes I am an old doily collector!
  • Pinking scissor and some normal ones

Simply cut out a shape you fancy, I copied my inspiration and used a dinner plate to make a two round shapes with a pencil marking at the back of the fabric. Cut your fabric with pinking scissors to try and stop the fabric from fraying after you have sewn the pieces together.

Hand sew a doily onto one piece (or on both if you like) of the right side of the fabric.

Then, machine sew the two wrong sides of the fabric facing each other together , leaving a gap to fill your heat pack pocket with rice and lavender.

I quite like the 1970's brown of the table cloth fabric that I chose, it feels rather retro and the old embroidered pillow slip is so soft and cotton dreamy. Perfect for cuddling up to on a cold evening.

As you can see I had some pale blue cotton thread in my bobbin and white cotton threaded through my machine and I quite like that the blue shadows some of the embroidered blue of the pillow slip.

Remember not to sew all the way round and to leave a reasonable space to pour your uncooked rice and lavender into. I filled my bag up by about half, I guess it's up to you as to how much you'd like to fill it up by. Once this was done I continued to sew by machine to complete the circle.

And voila... 

A little round heat pack pocket for popping into the microwave ( I heated mine for 2 minutes on 850W high) which was more than adequate to warm my cold toes after a windy cold cycle at 8pm last night. I just LOVE this little pocket and even had it's fragrance wafting in the room as I slept last night with it tucked in our bed.

Such a sweet gift idea too I think, something handmade and personal for a love one no matter what the time of year. 

Well, I hope that might have inspired some of you too? If you don't have a sewing machine you can do this by hand stitching, just make sure there are no gaps left in-bewteen your stitches to stop rice escaping into your bed :o)

Last but, not least I had to show you a photo of my poppies which are really floating my boat at the moment. How divine are these?

See you all very soon 

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Baby blanket Ta-dah

I was so pleased to getting round to finishing making Mrs.W's baby blanket this past weekend. Mrs.W is one of Alice's year 6 teacher's whom she adores. She is off on her maternity leave today and we wanted to thank her in a special way for all the love and care and nurturing she has shown Alice over this last year.

These photo's are of some very white little crochet cotton doilies I bought from a charity shop some months ago and stashed away waiting for the perfect project. Now, don't get me wrong i like white but sometimes it can be a little too stark for my liking, so I decided to dye these with good old fashioned tea bags. All I did was pop 2 normal teabags in a bowl of boiling hot water and a half teaspoon of salt to ensure the colour fixed.

Here's how they turned out...

I quite like that more "antique" look about them rather than the stark, crisp white on this occasion. What do you think? Have you ever tried this before?

The idea for the style my blanket came from here, although this is just a little baby buggy blanket and not quite as big.
As you may remember I posted about the beginnings of making this blanket here

I quite like the "hole-y" effect that was made by me hooking the squares together. I made the squares with Rico baby classic yarn in UK trebles, chaining 30 + 3ch(as 1 treble) and crocheting 16 rows in each square. I don't normally go for pastel colours but I allowed Alice to choose these as I wanted her to be part of the making, so, here it is in it's entirety with me playing around for positioning of the little doilies.

Can you see more of the hole-y effect I was taking about? All in all I really enjoyed making this sweet, soft baby blanket of 12 squares and first a half-treble row and then 3 treble crochet rowed border followed by a slightly shelled/picot edge.

I just made this up as I went along and seemed quite satisfied with the end result.

I also had to stain some white cotton thread in the tea before sewing the doilies (I used 6 in the end) onto the blanket so as to make it match the doily colour.

I think I like it, despite never having made a blanket with such pastel colours. I do hope Mrs.W will get pleasure out of using it to keep her second baby cosy.

All wrapped up in this pretty Ravilious ABC wrapping paper and vintage lace bow. Alice wrote her the sweetest card which she preferred for me not to photograph for my blog (she's at that age!).

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have enjoyed this bit of crochet for a change. I am linking up to Ta-Dah! Tuesday on Lakota's blog where you can see her makes as well as links to other great blogs and their makes.

Now...... for my next project!
Take care and see you soon

Saturday 16 June 2012

Noticing: Yellow

Hi there, I have been thinking on and off about doing this teeny thing on my blog. I want to call it Noticing after re-reading the meaning of notice in the dictionary:-

"the act of noting or observing; perception or attention. Respectful attention or consideration. To perceive with the mind; detect. To comment on; to mention. To treat with courteous attention."

Today, I wanted to see what I noticed as the day progressed and what I was treating with courteous attention the most and it seems that it began with my choice of accessories. Today was the first time I wore this silk flower corsage and it made me feel light and flimsy. Just what I need right now. Oh and it happened to be a shade of yellow

Mustard algae on the wall

Some pretty vintage buttons I bought a dew weeks ago

My mid-morning coffee packaging and cake

A local door

A yellow poppy emerging

Broken glass

Charity shop pyrex

Glass vase

Mustard 1950's fabric

Yellow balloon

Arum lilly


A lovely note written by my girly a couple of weeks ago

A buzzing bee on a neighbour's flower yellow centre

Even local property for sale signs

It's everywhere if you just stop and notice. 
Show respectful attention or consideration.

Have you noticed anything lately?
Maybe you'd like to play along with me? 

In the meantime, don't forget to recognise that every minute on earth is a miracle. Each breath we take is a new moment - a moment to be savoured and noticed.

See you all soon

Friday 15 June 2012


Hello all you lovelies
Thank you so much for your heartfelt get well wishes, you are all so kind and caring. Andy is healing slowly but surely and his beautiful mind is being restored each and every hour.

I don't want to use my blog as a space for the "heaviness" of life, instead, for me it must be a lighter, more joyful place where I can concentrate on the little things. The smallness of events and makings and sightings and collecting in my life.

So, to cheer me up this post is just about the things that I have seen, done, eaten(food is my comfort) and found joy in amongst the heaviness.

Old suitcases, ah...I love you. Way back in my early 20's I bought a lovely old leather suitcase from a junk shop in Pietermartizburg, South Africa. When I immigrated to the UK in 1996, I packed some of my precious belongings in it and each time I went back to visit would sift through it and reduce the contents as I grew older. Some of the things I felt so important in my my early adult years seemed so funny and silly to me as I grew older. One of my biggest regrets about sifting out bits and bobs was getting rid of my cats eye glasses collection! Bah, they would sell well now on etsy or e-bay. Anway, when we went back to SA this Easter unfortunately a moth (or 2) had eaten away at it causing it to crumble and I had to throw it away. That was a sad day and now I am on the look out for a replacement but don't want to pay the earth for it! My original one cost R10.00 equivalent of less than a pound with today's exchange rate.

{I will tell you a little secret though, I have a little suitcase up in the attic which I bought years ago at a car boot sale for Alice to put her dolly's clothes in and after we gave a lot of them away to a charity shop, the case was no longer needed. I promised to get rid of it at our next carboot sale but I just couldn't help myself and have kept it! Ssshhh, I plan to hopefully transform it into something as gorgeous and of course functional as this}

These are some of the images that have kept me distracted this week in amongst hospital visits, keeping things as normal as possible for Alice, multiple phone calls and texting and finding some time to keep creative for my relaxation.

When the elusive sun came out once this week I was like a lemming down to the sea and needed to dip my toes in the cold water.It made me feel real again after the traumatic events of last weekend. It was good.

Playing with my plastic deer I bought in Sweden last September (childish non?)

Admiring my potted plants in our courtyard garden
gimme that colour

Eating delicious French yoghurt and Green & Blacks mini choc bars from Judges bakery  in Hastings old town. Delicious.

Playing with nail varnishes and choosing colours I would never have tried before. Life is short after all? and 42 is the new 32?

Hanging washing on the line once this week and admiring Alice's pretty cotton PJ's matching her hanging basket she planted afew weeks ago.

Rooms with a view

Watching lettuces drown grow with all the rain we have had this week

Trying not to be as lonely as a cloud {these beauties were made by my stunning friend Bronwen}

How clever is she

Sewing an A-line skirt from my beautiful South African shweshwe fabric which I buy when I am out there

Helping our growing up girl pack for her PGL 4 day school trip to the Isle of Wight this weekend {Rose, her hippo is her sleeping companion/cuddly, no other will do)

Eating more comfort food ~ goats cheese, spinach and roasted veg on toasted granary, yum
Not sure about you but food is my go-to comfort thingy, nothing else will do :o)

Aaahhhh yes and some simple 'no concentrating too much' sock knitting with Noro silk garden sock yarn

Thanks ever so much for visiting and your comments are so welcome. I have a 101 plans for being creative this weekend whilst Alice is away and Andy is resting. I need to finish off this baby blanket for next Wednesday and the knitted rabbit too as Alice's teacher goes on maternity leave. I want to paint, bake this cake, knit, make this, package up my give-away which poor Stephanie has been so patiently waiting for, watch a movie or two, cycle along the coast weather permitting, pick flowers, sleep, eat and just stop for a while.

What are you up to?*
Hope it's a relaxing one
See you all soon

*ps. Doing NOTHING is my favourite answer to this question by the way, it's my favourite waste of time x