Thursday, 22 March 2012

My Life of Late (in photos)

Birthday trousers in the making (Treasure Pocket Pants). Ed Emberley fabric.

Small girl wearing my favourite trousers from when her brother was  small.

Birthday Owl for nearly-one-year-old.


Tea-dyed paper drying on the line (scrolls- my husband being creative for Sunday kids' work!)

Completed Cardi for a baby due soon...

Gorgeous spring day spent in the garden with lovely friends.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Intarsia and Lent resolutions

Despite my lack of blogging of late, I have been busy crafting (and even busier with my two lovely little people!).

One new skill I've mastered over the past few weeks is Intarsia (knitting colour work using little bobbins).  For my son's third birthday that is coming up at the end of this month (where did the time go?!) I decided to knit him a Thomas the Tank Engine jumper.  I've added a splash of colour to things before, so what could possibly go wrong?...

It totally bunched up!  I tried redoing this a couple of times, and after asking around for help a little, I emailed the brilliant knitter Catherine and asked if she had any ideas.  She was so kind, and sent me a really helpful email back, explaining that I'd pulled the yarn too tight at the back (what I'd thought, though had no idea how to rectify), and she suggested Intarsia as a good way forward.  She sent me this helpful youtube video, and after watching it, I resolved to rip back again and ordered some bobbins.

I'm so glad I did (I had been wondering whether just to leave it and carry on anyway, but was sure any time E wore it, I'd be tugging at it to try and get it to 'sit right').  I loved the intricacy of intarsia, and it was so much more satisfying having lots of little bobbins at the back of the work, rather than having lots of balls of wool getting into a tangle.

I'm so much happier with this result.  Thanks Catherine for the advice!

      *          *         *          *          *         *       *          *         *          *          *        

This year as a New Year's aspiration (I didn't want to make resolutions, as you fail so quickly) I decided that I wanted to be more Thankful.  I lead such an extraordinarily blessed life, and yet so often live life ungratefully.  Realistically, although I'd resolved this, I didn't know quite how to put this into practice, and so it was that I'd already arrived at Lent, without having taken any particularly great leaps in this area.

For lent this year I've decided to fast from reading the Facebook newsfeed (I know, it sounds so ridiculous, but so many precious minutes of my day are wasted reading that!) and am (amongst other things) writing down three things at least, that I am thankful for.  I am (alongside a lot of other people, I'm realising) reading a  fabulous book called "One Thousand Gifts", and was quite inspired by the 'gratitude journal' that the author started to keep.  The author has her own blog, and I was very challenged by a beautiful post she wrote on the Meaning of Lent .

Things I'm thankful for today are:

-Surprise Cath Kidston parcel from someone dear
-Little arms waving around above her head as she takes tentative steps
-A phone catch up with my Mum
-Snowdrops peeking through the soil in my garden

What are you thankful for?


Saturday, 26 November 2011

Christmas Presents in the making...

Life is very busy at the moment in the Crafternoon household!  I guess with two littlies, life is never going to be quiet (and come on, let's be honest- who want's a quite life?).  I am doing a little tutoring, a little child minding, and in amongst all of that, trying to be organised with Christmas gifts!

Al has been making lots of chutney.  I made several pots of Marmalade, and plan to get on with some jam and tomato sauce (great gifts for relatives who we don't necessarily see very often).  

E has been doing some Christmas stamping to help make labels for the said jams, marmalades and chutneys...

I am making good (but not speedy enough for my liking) progress on my Mum's cardi (though thankfully it is sleeveless, so I'm well over half way now.  Having said that, an hour of good old knitting time was spent today transforming that messy mound of wool into a nice neat ball (below).  I hate that about buying large balls of yarn- so often they are OK for the first little while, but then start falling apart and getting knotted.  This morning I was hanging out with my smallest one whilst the others were still asleep, and decided to bite the bullet and just unwind it and neatly ball it.

In other news, I had the pleasure today, of taking my son out for a Hot Chocolate- his treat for getting 20 stickers, and a really lovely opportunity to have some quality mother-son time.  I've been thinking a lot over recent days and weeks about how precious it is to make special memories.  This morning I was remembering how in the run up to Christmas, when my sister and I were at primary school, my Dad would take each of us out of school for a day (on our own) and do something really special.  I once had a day out in London, and remembering us going to the cinema and spilling pop corn everywhere!

What precious memories do you have?

C x

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Market Treasures

On our bi-weekly trip to the market for fruit and veg today, I spotted these beautiful hand-knits!  

Gorgeous little knitted dresses just the right size for Poppy (and an absolute steal at £2 each!)

Hooray for little hand-knitted treasures.


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Poppy for Poppy

With Remembrance day approaching, I, as is usually customary, bought a poppy.  This did not last long, as my seven month old daughter grabbed it, dribbled on it and tried to chew it...
As I arrived at church this morning, I saw these lovely hand crocheted wire and button poppies being sold.

Perfect! It fastens on with a catch, and is reusable.  The money goes to charity- half to the British Legion, and half to ingotec- the company behind the Dragonfly Co-operative.  Dragonfly co-operative was set up by an extremely enterprising friend of mine to fund I.T. projects for charities.  The jewellery made is largely up-cycled, and creatively knitted or crocheted together.  One for me.  One for Poppy (I couldn't pass up the opportunity of getting something with her name sake...!)

I am having fun knitting and sewing Christmas gifts and a commission, though life is rather busy, so I am having to do a little here, and a little there...

Have a lovely week.

C x

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Various Crafts and Cookery

For dinner tonight we are having spinach and feta filo pie.  I used the recipe from BBC GoodFood.  It looks very tasty, and to make it even scrummier, I added some chopped chorizo (a very nice way to make a mostly vegetarian [and therefore less expensive!] meal taste slightly meatier) as one of the reviews suggested and I can't wait to tuck in later.

On the sewing front, I have just completed a gift for a family member (who I'm almost 100% sure won't be checking the blog!), which was a travel sewing case from the book I love patchwork.  I'm mostly very pleased with the results, bar a couple of things.

I enjoyed making the patchwork bias binding to go around the edge, but looking at it later, it's not quite as straight as I'd like.  I also really struggle with sewing corners with bias binding.  Any tips for this one? I generally sew the binding on the proper way (i.e. opening it out, sewing on one side, and then slipstitching the other side) but the corners are always difficult, and never seem to go the way I have planned.

I just need to pop some pins, needles and threads in it now and it'll be ready to go.

Here's a sneaky peek of something I am working towards for Christmas...

I'm totally loving the lace knitting.  It feels lovely and methodical, though I hate it when on occasion, I lose concentration and then go wrong!

I end today's post with a picture of my two littlies.  Purely because they are gorgeous, and I enjoy posting pictures of them.  Her knitted outfit is a bonus!

Happy Wednesday, friends. I hope it's a good one for you...

C x

Friday, 28 October 2011

Folksy Shop: Autumn Relaunch

So. After many months of being a little thin on the ground, my Folksy Shop is once again running.
Please come and visit- especially if you are looking for a home made Christmas gift or two...

Back by popular demand are the ruffled scarves

Some hand knitted cabled fingerless gloves (I don't know what it is about fingerless gloves, but I love them rather a lot...)

And a host* of other things.

Hope to see you over there....

In other news I am having a lot of fun making some Christmas gifts.... A sneak peek at one of them...

What a lot to be getting on with.
I hope you are enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather, friends.

C x

* Well maybe not a host, but quite a few lovely home made things....!