Sunday, 29 September 2013

Handmade Monday: Daisy Diary Cover

Grrr.  I'm having major Sunday night blues at the moment.  Tomorrow, I'd love to stay at home, cuddle up on the sofa and work on a few more rows of my ripple blanket.  Still, Sunday night blues are the sign a of a good weekend, right?

I've had a lovely time seeing friends, going for a big long walk, making apple crumble and tomato and lentil soup and heading into London for dinner on Saturday...somehow I wonder how I ever have time for work...

I've also finished embroidering this removable daisy diary cover that I made for Emma's #craftblogclub challenge. It's cool isn't it?

It's actually the first time I've used an embroidery hoop and I loved working with it.  I'm going to be posting a tutorial next weekend so stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, I'm going to be hopping over to Handmade Monday to look at what everyone else has been making this weekend.

Who else has been making a notebook cover for #craftblogclub?

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Saturday, 28 September 2013

September Round Up

I love these monthly round up posts.  Each month, I am surprised and proud about how much crafting I actually manage.  I've also included some of the wedding craft projects that I blogged about this month. I suspect I will be blogging about my wedding crafts for another few months yet!

Crochet Ladybird Pattern // DIY Confetti Tutorial // Finished Secret Project // How to decorate your own wedding cake // Big ripple blanket - work in progress // Using two strands of DK wool instead of chunky // Crochet Remembrance Poppies - post to follow

I'm noticing that red has featured fairly heavily this month and I've been working on two projects where I've been using two strands of DK wool in place of chunky.  I hadn't noticed how much my craft projects reflect the changing seasons.

What craft projects are you cosying up with in Autumn?

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Weekend Inspiration: Crochet Blankets

Hi folks! It was a bit of a fight to get here but we've made it to the weekend!  Let's hope it's a lovely crafty one.  

This weekend I am going to a friend's for dinner on Saturday but I plan to get lots of blogging and crafting done...more stripes of my ripple blanket...more crochet poppies...and hopefully a #craftblogclub notebook cover!

Having started my big ripple blanket project, I'm currently a bit obsessed with crochet blankets.  Here are just some that I am loving on Pinterest.

[1] [2] [3]

[4] [5] [6]

I particularly love the different shades of grey and cream together in the bottom three blankets, but I also love the monochrome granny blankets.

Which is your favourite design?

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Monday, 23 September 2013

Recently 23/9

It was my birthday on Saturday and it was great to be able to celebrate on a weekend.  I had a lovely relaxed morning with breakfast in bed and then mooching and opening presents.  My friends came round for late afternoon cake, tea and fizz before we all headed out for Mexican and sobrero wearing.

Here are some of my Instagram piccies of late...

Crochet ripple blanket // Thank you card with my crochet ladybird // Dressmaking book birthday present // Birthday cupcake // Crochet poppies

The ripple blanket now actually consists of 10 rows and is rapidly growing.  There was a minor dilemma when I suddenly ran out of cream wool.... ripple blankets are massive yarn guzzlers.  Luckily I was able to leave work early today to go and pick up some more.  If that's not a yarn addiction I don't know what is.

I'm also really excited about my new book...stay-tuned for my first proper one-toe-in-the-water dressmaking moments over the next few months.

What crafty projects are you busying yourself with as of late?

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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Crochet Pattern: Ladybird

Today I'm sharing my pattern for making a crochet ladybird.  After receiving a lovely set of birthday gifts from friends and family, I've been busy making these to go on the front of Thank You cards. I love how easy this pattern is and I really think the end result is pretty cute!

I used embroidery thread in black and red and a 3mm crochet hook. You also need a yarn needle.

Abbreviations (UK)

dc - double crochet
ch - chain
sl st - slip stitch
st - stitch
hk - hook
fo - fasten off


Round 1: With red - ch2 (counts as 1dc), 9dc in 2nd ch from hk. Join with sl st. (10sts)
Round 2: 2dc in each st. Join with sl st. (20sts)
Round 3: *2dc in next st, 1dc in next st.* Repeat from * to * nine more times. Join with sl st. Fo. (30sts)
Row 4: Join black: ch2, 1dc in base of ch (counts as 2dc), 1dc in each of next 2sts, 2dc in next st. (5sts)
Row 5. Ch1. Turn. Dc in 2nd ch from hk and dc in each of next 3sts. (4sts)
Row 6. Ch1. Turn. Dc in 2nd ch from hk and dc in each of next 2sts. (3sts)
Row 7. Turm Sl st in 2nd ch from hook. Fo but leave tail long enough for embroidery.


Using back stitch, make a line of 4sts down the centre of the body of the ladybird.  Stitch 6 spots, 3 on either side of the central line, by making 2sts on top of one another for each spot.


Weave in ends

1) Round 1 :: 2) Round 2 :: 3) Round 3 :: 4) Rows 4-7 :: 5) Embroidery :: 6) Darn in ends

I've used my wee crochet ladybirds to make Thank You cards.  I simply stuck them to a blank card using double-sided sticky tape.

As always, I love feedback about my patterns, so if you do use this, please leave a comment to let me know how you got on! x

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Friday, 20 September 2013

Weekend Link Love 20/9

Oh my goodness, thank goodness it's Friday.  I am so ready for the weekend!!  It's going to be a lovely one, the sun is shining, I have a gin and tonic and a piece of chocolate by my side and it's my birthday tomorrow :-).

Here are some things that have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks.

Image from Attic 24 here
1. I've been massively enjoying using Lucy's neat ripple pattern and tutorial from Attic 24 to crochet my own ripple blanket.

2. Emma from Life is Peachy wrote an excellent recap of the #craftblogclub twitter discussion about what makes a good craft blog.

3. I loved this round up of monkey-themed crafts from Buttons and Paint.

4.  If you fancy baking bread with children, I cannot recommend this recipe from Food: A Fact of Life enough.

5. This DIY for a fabric notebook cover is giving me lots of good ideas for the #craftblogclub challenge.

What's been capturing your attention this week?

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Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Crochet Tips: Using DK Wool Instead of Chunky


The Problem

You've got a lovely new pattern that you've been desperate to try for ages.  Your first free Saturday comes and you pop down to your lovely local, but slightly limited yarn shop.  There is either no reasonably priced chunky wool, none in the colour you want, or ... shock horror ... no chunky wool at all.

Do not despair!!

The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller

Finding a Solution

I found myself in this exact predicament just a few weeks ago and so I had a quick search on the internet about using DK (double knitting) wool instead of chunky.  There did not seem to be any definitive answers and various chat forum threads said different things.

Hence, this blog.  Hopefully I can help someone out their facing the same problem.

My Advice

1.  Look at the yarn required in the pattern.  It should tell you how much you need in terms of weight and length.  In my case, this was 100g or 150m.

2.  Look at the weight and approximate length of the yarn on ball bands of DK wool in colours that you like.  I found one that was 100g or 300m.

3.  Apply some basic mental arithmetic.  In this case, the DK wool I had in my hand was half the width of the chunky wool my pattern required.  For the same weight the length of the wool was double.

4.  I simply bought two balls and crocheted away happily with two DK yarn strands.  

Having measured the finished product, it was exactly in line with what the pattern suggested and I'm sure it was all because I checked the yarn weight and length.

Two-Tone Yarn

Another difficulty I had was that one of the chunky yarns from my pattern was supposed to be slightly flecked.

My brainwave was to use two strands of DK in two different shades of grey (not 50!) and it had a similar effect.

As always, please do leave a comment if you find this post useful - I love to hear from you.

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Sunday, 15 September 2013

Handmade Monday: Ripple Blanket

Happy Handmade Monday to you all.  Grab a cup of tea and have a wee peek at the lovely crafts that have been happening this weekend over at Handmade Harbour.

I've had a lovely, restful weekend and actually feel like I'm raring to begin another working week. This is an absolute first for me - maybe it's to do with the vintage dress I have lined up to wear tomorrow!

I've started a huge ripple blanket this weekend - I'm not sure whether this is a good idea or not as it's by far the biggest project I've ever tackled.  No doubt you'll hear more about this over the coming months as I hook my way through this baby.

Having started such a huge project, I decided also that it was about time to make a start on a more portable hand-bag sized crochet project.  I'm hoping to keep this going on my way to and from work this week.

I am more than a little bit excited to be joining Cath Fearn's army of crocheters, who are offering their services to make poppies for her to sell in aid of the Royal British Legion.

You too can be involved.  All the information you need is on Cath's Facebook page, or you can contact her on Twitter.

You can buy the poppies from her Ebay store here.

Do you like having a portable project in your handbag?

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Saturday, 14 September 2013

Weekend Inspiration: Covered Notebooks

Well we're here, we've made it to the weekend!  It's looking like it's going to be a particularly rainy one and Autumn is now properly upon us...the perfect weekend for some cosy crafting.

After the success of #craftblogclub hosted by the lovely Emma at Life is Peachy, many of you I know are dreaming of pretty, covered notebooks.

To that end, I've set up a Pinterest board and here are some of the lovely ideas I've found, just to get you started.

I love the combination of felt and crochet, turquoise and grey on this notebook originally from NatkaLV's Etsy Shop

  And look at this lovely Fair Isle knitted notebook originally from the Shetland Heritage Shop

Beautiful floral notebooks from Bouncing Bon Bon // Lace and fabric notebook tutorial from Lydia's Treasures

So what inspiration have you found?  

What covered notebook are you planning? Crochet? Knitted? Fabric? Paper? Washi tape?  

Have you found any good tutorials?

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Wednesday, 11 September 2013

What's On My Work-Desk? 9/9

Yippee!  Half-way through my working week and I'm more than a little bit tired.  I'm looking forward to curling up on the sofa with my 'secret' crochet project.  How have all your Wednesdays been?  Today I'm linking up with Stamping Ground to share some wonderful work spaces.

Over the next few days I plan to...

- hang up some more of my lovely wedding bunting that my mum made for me.

- post a few thank you cards for people who went above and beyond at the wedding.

- finish hemming a vintage dress so I can wear it in public - don't you love the floral pattern.

- now that summer has suddenly gone, try some of the white hot chocolate I was given back in July.

What's happening on your desk?  Any craft projects on the go?

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Monday, 9 September 2013

Recently 9/9

September has begun with a great start.  I feel so refreshed after the wedding and honeymoon excitement in August.  I'm now back at school and, one week in, term is going wonderfully, so long may my enthusiasm continue!

Sweet treat - mini ginger bread men // tea and cake on a tray! // darning in ends // tidying up my stash // pink yarn needles // yarn embroidery // new-to me vintage cardigan with yarn needles // joined up granny squares

Crafty time in the evenings has mainly been taken up with a fairly big secret, project that I'm in the middle of.  I've been putting my yarn needle to good use with lots of darning in ends and joining up granny squares.

I've also got lots of lovely weekend plans in the pipeline including visits to Scotland and York and having friends over to stay.

Have you had any exciting adventures or had much time for crafting recently?

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Sunday, 8 September 2013

Tutorial: DIY Confetti

I almost feel a bit cheeky calling this a DIY/tutorial but I do think that making your own confetti is something that people don't always think of.  My mum made some for the evening tables in our wedding and it could not have looked more effective. 

Photo courtesy of my wonderful Uncle Mike

She bought a heart-shaped hole-punch like this one from Hobby Craft (only £2.99 at the moment).  She then set to work punching holes in brightly coloured tissue paper and old wedding magazines.
There was even some leftover to decorate the table for lunch the next day!

...and we found some sprinkled in our suitcase when we set off for honeymoon!

This was a lovely handmade touch to our big day and could be used to brighten up all sorts of parties. It's a really simple and effective make for anyone to try! x

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Saturday, 7 September 2013

Weekend Link Love 6/9

Happy weekend readers.  Today I'm mostly relaxing, crocheting, eating and pottering about the house.  It's been just what I needed after my first week back at work and copious amounts of wine last night.  Oops.

Here's some of the lovely things I've managed to spot round the internet over the last few days.

1.  One of my facebook friends shared this beautiful cake from Kelly's Cake Kitchen in Wimborne.  Isn't it just the most creative you've ever seen?!

2.  Meredith at One Sheepish Girl is hosting a flowery 'yarn drop' on her blog.

3.  Look at this beautiful Pinterest board, crammed full of romantic, floaty skirts and girlie dresses.

4.  Emma at Life is Peachy hosted the first  on Tuesday night and it was a resounding success.  Join us again this Tuesday at 7pm.

5.  Have a read of this thought-provoking post by Tilly about sewing for your own style.

What's been capturing your imagination this week?

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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Handmade Wedding: Marks and Spencer Cake Decorations

With lots of people looking to budget on certain aspects of their big day, it seems more and more people are going down the Marks and Spencer wedding cake route.

I have to say, the sponge and fruit wedding cakes both taste absolutely amazing and since our wedding I have bought sample bars of the fruit flavour just so I can have another little taste.  Going on taste, I cannot recommend Marks and Spencer wedding cakes enough.

Assemble It Yourself

If you want to opt for different flavours of cake in each layer, you have to go for the basic M&S cake option and then ask your florist to decorate it or better still decorate it yourself.

There is a really helpful video about how to assemble the cake but I did find that there wasn't a great deal of advice about how to decorate a Marks and Spencer wedding cake out there on the internet.


The first thing to say is that each tier of cake is not particularly tall at 5.5cm.  Really, if you are going for an M&S cake and are envisaging a tall cake you need to assemble with pillars between the tiers. Without the pillars a three tier cake will be just 16.5cm tall.

Florist Decorated

For the top and in between the tiers a lot of people ask their florist to also decorate their cake.  Ask about the cost of this, as I know from a friends' experience that this can add a fair amount to your flower bill.

Decorate It Yourself

Having sketched a design of beaded wiring in a wedding magazine, my mum offered to have a go at re-creating it.  After chatting to the lovely, helpful ladies in Bead Crazy, she set to work experimenting.

... and came up with this...

The ribbon had beads stitched onto it which matched the beads on the cake topper.  The ribbon just sat over the M&S cake ribbon and was fastened with double-sided sticky tape.  The cake topper was simply stuck straight into the top tier with a bit of wire.

Polystyrene Bases

One major tip, which I know helped my mum, would be to buy polystyrene bases so you can practise and experiment in advance of the day.

As always, do let me know if this post was helpful at all...and if you too are opting for an M&S wedding cake I'd love to hear from you!

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Monday, 2 September 2013

Handmade Monday: Cross Stitch Wedding Present

Good morning everyone!

It's Handmade Monday today so I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone's projects here later on in the day.

Today I'm sharing this wedding present with you.  It was made by Steve's very talented auntie and you cannot imagine my joy and excitement when opening a handmade wedding present!

It goes really nicely in our living room on top of the fire and I'm really enjoying having a peak at it while I sit of the sofa and work on my own craft projects.

The rules are also most important for us....number 2 being the most important!

I'm up early today for the first day back at school after the holidays. The kids aren't in today but there's always loads of setting up and planning to be done on the first day so no doubt it will be  busy one.  I'm already looking forward to crochet and risotto this evening after a hard day's work.

What handmade gifts have you been really pleased with?

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