RSS Feed

At a loose end

I’m not a fan of this wintery weather but with a roaring fire going it is quite nice to sit with one’s rug on one’s lap and darn in ends.  OK, so nice is maybe overstating it but it warm and cosy.  With the TV on I have spent several hours with a fine crochet hook and a darning needle and my loose ends are disappearing.

I have also had instruction on how to avoid so many joins in the joining by stitching the squares into long strips – ie joining in pairs but then just joining that pair to another pair by using the same piece of thread.  I can see how it would work but it must be very “floppy”. 

If I find myself making another blanket with squares I might try it.

Actually I am doing some squares.  With this blanket I had bought some DK baby yarn to use but the squares came up smaller.  I have unpicked my brown edging and done another round in the baby yarn.  Friends have a baby due at the end of March so I think I shall make a baby blanket.  I will try the smooth joining method though as I think that will be nicer for a baby.

Ruffle edging!

Ruffle edging!

To be honest I still have ends to darn it and the odd seam still to do but having bought a lovely book of borders I couldn’t wait to get started on the edging. I went back and forth through the book (I think there are 150) but kept coming back to this one and I am loving it.

I didn’t block my squares so the whole blanket isn’t entirely square which makes this choice of border ideal – because it means the blanket is no longer square anyway. It puts me in mind of a poppy and I really want to do it in black and red. In fact the book is so nice I just want to do borders now!

I bought the book from Amazon, having been given a gift voucher, the details are:

http://www.amazon.com/Around-Corner-Crochet-Borders-Instructions/dp/1603425381

I should mention that it is an American book so the stitches are called by their US equivalents. I always check the working of a stich before I start a pattern so this didn’t bother me.

Borders book

Crochet

It has been a while but I am just dropping by with an update!

I went away for a few nights between Christmas and New Year, staying at the beautiful Thoresby Hall.

As a result of some intensive crochet around the beautiful old parts of the building I can now report that my blanket is all in one piece.  There are couple of seams unjoined I think and lots of ends to darn in but the worst is over.  I don’t think I will do another with a “pattern” to it – far easier to just be able to join as you go along.

Harrogate show

On Thursday I went on a coach trip to the Harrogate show.  Last year I had gone on the Saturday.  It was nice to be able to go on the first day as everything was nice and fresh and most of the grass hadn’t yet become the paddy field that I am sure it was by the weekend.

The day didn’t get off to the best of starts with the announcement that the coach had broken down and another was on the way; this meant we were half an hour late leaving.  The delay did mean an unexpected bonus for me though as the friend I met at the coach stop said she had  a present for me:

Rudbeckia Herbstonne

This is a really tall yellow daisy which I have been trying to find for a while.  It is for my yellow border and will go next to my Solidago (Golden Rod).

So, first plant of the day and we hadn’t left the village.  I did reward my friend for her generosity, more of that later.

En route we stopped off at services and we availed ourselves of the Costa Coffee there.  We got to to the showground at 11.00am.  The plan had been to leave at 3.00pm which my friend and I (by a long way the “babies” of the bus) thought was far too early.  It was eventually extended to 4.00pm.  We had to stop off at a garden centre on the way back though so that people could sit down for something to eat…..

Having had our latte fix we decided to head straight for the plant halls and begin shopping.  I had euphorbias on my list and possibly hostas, though I am concerned that I am just providing slug and snail food by continuing to plant them.  As it happened my first purchases were a really tall euphorbia and a poppy which just looks a lovely colour.  It reminds me of a Pulsatilla.  Crocus have them on their website if you fancy one:  http://www.crocus.co.uk/plants/_/perennials/unusual-plants/classid.78339/

Euphorbia characias wulfeniiPapaver orientale Patty's Plum

My friend bought some plants at the same time and with the Euphorbia being so tall we dropped them all off at the plant creche to have our hands free for the next lot of shopping.

The outside stands included plant stalls but also lots of home and garden “things”.  Some very nice little “pods” for the garden, though for the same price you could have a wooden garden room which I decided I would rather have (both were around £6,000 so this was only a pretend purchase!).

A few mentions:

James Wilkinson the blacksmith http://www.jameswilkinsonblacksmith.co.uk/gallery-collections/gallery had some heavenly gates which were a commission.  On a more moderate budget I bought my friend a leaf keyring!  I was very tempted my the ram’s head pokers.  Do have a look at his work, it is amazing.

For lovely shabby chic home and garden treats have a look at www.theneweden.com – some lovely bits.

We had just got inside the marquees when the heavens opened.  It was an absolute downpour.  A lady was demonstrating flower arranging and trying to explain what she was doing but was drowned out by the noise.

We had a quick look around the flower arranging but the “floor” – boards on grass – had us feeling seasick and the floral art comprised too many accessories for my taste.  We did enjoy the daffodils and tulips though and had a quick skirt round the crafts and foods.  I got myself a lovely hook made from an old fork.  I have “lent” this to a friend and given him a bag of old cutlery….

Not wishing to lose plant time by stopping for lunch we had tea and flapjacks on the go.  After a quick break at the “gardeners questions” it was time to head back to the creche with a stop for more plant purchasing on the way.

I added two anemonellas and another euphorbia to my collection:

L to R Anemonella thalictroides Betty Blake, Anemonella thalictroidesAnemonella thalictroides, Euphorbia polychronum

L to R Anemonella thalictroides Betty Blake, Anemonella thalictroidesAnemonella thalictroides, Euphorbia polychronum

Sizzix Cravings

I have been getting the urge to get out my Sizzix machine.  Well actually I must confess that I now have two!  On 31 January (the receipt is beside me on the dining table that suffices as an office) I was walking past a charity shop when I spotted one in the window.  £15 which included some dies.  It had to come home with me.

If you are not familiar with the delights of Sizzix then it is a gadget which lets you cut paper and card using biscuit cutters.  Well, it doesn’t actually, but that is a very non-technical explanation of the effect.  At some point I will try to do photos and videos and things but I expect you can hunt the web or even go to the Sizzix home page to find something along these lines.  www.sizzix.com www.sizzix.co.uk

Anyway I’ve not used one for some time but they are great for cards and scrapbooking and all sorts.  I am going to dig out some pictures of previous projects.  You will see I got quite hooked on the tags punches.

Card Making

I’ve not done any card making for a while but thought I would publish some I have done in the past.

On 3rd August 2004 I attended my first card making class at Spire Crafts, which was a craft shop in Louth.
The class was presented by Sharon Bramley aka The Glitter Diva.

It was both enjoyable and inspiring.

Here are pictures of the cards I made – together with some notes on how they are made.

Lace

Materials:A5 sheet of white card
Wide double sided tape
Glitter in white and a colour
Small piece of ribbon
Best Wishes peel off
Piece of wide lace

Attach a 2″ wide strip of double sided tape to the outer edge of the card front. Remove top paper and attach the lace so that the scalloped edge of the lace is against the outer edge of the card.Smooth the lace down onto the tape and sprinkle over glitter – in this case white. Rub the glitter onto the glue and shake off excess.Gently remove the lace and then sprinkle over another colour of glitter. Rub in gently, so as not to disturb the first colour of glitter. Remove excess.Stick a Best Wishes peel off onto white card and trim close to the peel off. Cut a piece of double sided tape slightly large and put onto card. Place the Best wishes greeting centrally and then sprinkle with glitter. Rub down gently and shake off excess. Trim to give a sparkly border to the greeeting. Attach this to the card with glue or double sided tape. Attach a small bow just above the greeting.
TagsMaterials:A5 piece of card
Double sided tape
Thick paper for stamping on
Two stamps – tag and text
Stazon ink in black
Ink pad in brown or gold
Ink pens in red, blue and yellow
Piece of paper for tearing
Small piece of ribbon
Stamp two pieces of paper. The uppermost tag is a rubber stamp of a tag. The tag underneath is just text. (Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than believing herself to be beautiful). Cut around the tag stamp and use this as a guide to cut the piece with the text to the same shape.A little ink from yellow, red and blue pens is then put on a metal tray and picked up with a wet brush and daubed onto the tags. The tags are then brushed with water to spread the colour thinly.Allow the tags to dry thoroughly before daubing with an ink pad to “age” them.Lining up the holes attach top tag to bottom tag – it is best to put glue or tape on the uppermost tag. Thread ribbon through both tags.Take a strip of plain paper and make a tear down one edge. Tear the paper you don’t wantaway from you. This means that you don’t get white underneath part of the paper showing on the piece you want. Apply wide double sided tape to the strip of torn paper, as closed to the torn part as you can get.Fold card in half and position the paper on it with the straight edge slightly overlapping the fold. Then trim the paper to the edge – this gives a neater finish than just lining up the edges.
TreeMaterials:A5 piece of card
Black and white card for matting and layering
Double sided tape
Patterned paper for tree
Brown paper for stem
Paper for flower pot
Coloured paper for flowers
Small greetings stamp
Ink pad
Small piece of ribbon
2p coin to draw round
Tiny flower punch
Flower pot punch
Take the piece of paper you want to use for the tree shape and fold it in half. Use a 2p coin to draw a circle which is against the fold. Cut round the circle making sure you don’t separate the circles.Stamp a suitable greeting on the inside of the circle with the pencil lines on. Decorate the top circle with punched flowers.Take some brown paper and cut two curvy pieces and then intertwine them for the stem.Take a punched out flower pot and assemble the tree on a piece of white card. Remember to put the tree and the flower pot over the ends of the stem. Attach a small bow to the stem.Cut round the tree leaving a small border and then layer – white onto black, onto white, onto black. Then attach to your card.
Three FlowersMaterials:A5 piece of hammered card
Double sided tape
White card for stamping on
Black card for layering
Small flower stamp
Stazon ink in black
Shadow in ink pad in harvest
Ink pens in red, blue and yellow
White glitter
Use shadow ink to stamp a repeat design on your card with a small stamp. It is often most effective if some stamps go over the edge of the card.Using Stazon ink stamp three of the same stamp on a piece of white card. Using the technique described in the “Tag card” colour these in.When dry cut around the edge of the stamp and attach each the cut outs to a piece of card using a piece of double sided tape which is larger than the stamp. Sprinkle with glitter and rub this onto the tape. Remove excess and trim to a square.Mount each square onto black card and trim to give a small border before attaching to the card.
Three HeartsMaterials:A5 piece of hammered card
Double sided tape
White textured card for stamping on
Small heart punch
Pink glitter
Best wishes peel off
Sticky fixers
Hero arts “Snow” background stamp
Hero arts Bubbles stamp
Pink ink pad
Onto a small piece of textured card stamp Hero Arts “snow” in pink. Onto the card itself stamp bubbles in the same colour.Use a small heart punch to punch three hearts from the “snow” piece of card. Keep the left over pink card. Use the technique described above in “3 flowers” to give each heart a glitter border.Stick a piece of double sided tape larger than the three hearts onto white card, peel off the paper and stick the hearts onto it leaving a border around each. Sprinkle over the pink glitter and then cut out the hearts with a glitter border.Attach greeting to the left over “snow” card and again give it a glitter border.The hearts are attached with sticky fixers to lift them from the card, the greeting is attached using double sided tape.
ChineseMaterials:A5 piece of card
Double sided tape
White and black card for stamping on and matting and layering
Gold paper
Red paper
Black ribbon
Black Stazon ink pad
Tiny rubber stamps of Chinese/Japanese symbols
Stamp the symbols for Health, Good Luck and Longevity onto white car and trim close to the stamp. Layer the white onto black, onto gold, onto black again. Use glue or double sided tape to do this.Use double sided tape to put a wide band of gold paper down the side of the card. Do the same with a narrow strip of red paper, overlapping the gold.Then use small pieces of double sided tape to attach the black ribbon. Wrap the ends inside the card and use a liner to cover.OR – use red card instead of paper and wrap the ends of the ribbon round the card before attaching to the gold to give a neater finish.
BearsMaterials:A5 piece of card
Double sided tape
Gold paper
Velour paper in a fur colour
White and black card for matting and layering
Gold peel off of animal(s)
Glitter
Small piece of ribbon
Felt tip pens – optional
Take a peel-off that has an animal on it and stick it onto a piece of fur effect paper. Using a pair of sharp scissors carefully cut the fur fabric away from areas where it shows which are not snimals – in this case the window frame, the stars and the moon.Put a piece of double sided tape onto white cardboard and then stick the peel-off over this, ensuring that double-sided tape is under all the blank areas. Sprinkle glitter over the exposed tape and rub in. You can use a felt tip pen to colour in any area which you want a different colour – eg yellow for the moon.Cut around the outline of the peel off and mount onto gold paper. Cut to a rectangle close to the edges. Mount on black, white, then black again. Mount on your card.Use a bow to complete.

Barbecue Seasoning

Barbecue Seasoning

I like that play on words!  I’m so looking forward to warm weather.  On a shopping trip on Monday my friend and I failed miserably as far as shoes were concerned but she got a picnic basket and I added some melamine to my collection.

I like to buy my plates in 3s and couldn’t resist adding a butterfly dish (Bhs).  The ice cream bowls are from  Primark – £2 for four, with spoons.  Same thing in M&S £7.50!

Roll on Summer