Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Round Up

Well good morning and a happy new year to everyone!  Out of all the posts of this year, perhaps fairly geekishly, this is the one I've looked forward to the most.  One of the reasons I started the EmmaMade was to give myself a wee space to record all my crafty projects and looking back through this pictures...it's been a fairly busy year.

Like many bloggers, I am going to be starting 2014 full of mince pies and full of excitement and ambitions for the coming year.  Before that though I'd just like to thank everyone who has helped make EmmaMade such a positive experience for me over the last seven months.  Thank you for the tweets, comments, tips and most of all for the crafty inspiration! 

Bring on 2014!

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December Round Up

Crochet Advent Decorations // Homemade Cushion Christmas gift // More Crochet Advent Decorations // Chevron Lace Cardigans // More Crochet Advent Decorations // Tutorial on How to Crochet a Foundation Chain

I'm now back home after a wonderful 7 days away celebrating, eating, drinking and just generally having a good old and ever-so-slightly extremely indulgent rest.  Steve and I flew up to Scotland on 22nd where we had a lovely few days over Christmas with my family.  We carol sung, pantomimed, ate chocolate, ate two Christmas dinners, drank, drank some more and just generally enjoyed each others company.  We then came back via York to see Steve's big sis, where we busied ourselves watching football, chatting and shopping (and yes...we did visit the lovely Duttons for Buttons!).

Despite the crazy Christmas busy-ness and losing a week to a horrible stomach bug, I'm pretty proud of my crafting this month.  Like many of you, my mind is currently a swirling swirl of excitement and anticipation for 2014!

How was your Christmas?

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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Handmade Wedding: Table Decorations

OK so, yes, I know, it is now more than 4 months since Steve and I got married.  But that doesn't mean I can't still be extremely proud of all the lovely crafty goodness that I produced with my mum and lovely sisters.  Seeing as recent crafting has been dominated by secret Christmas presents, I thought I'd take this opportunity to show you some of our lovely handmade table decorations.  Everyone loves a bit of DIY wedding action, right?

We bought square vases from Tesco for roughly £2 each and wrapped the top with some lacy washi tape and a blue ribbon.  We filled up the vases with knitted and fabric flowers, some of which I blogged about in a guest post for Buttons and Paint... and some of which I blogged about here and here.  Even the stalks were knitted.  12 stalks for 12 vases - that was a lot of green stalk knitting!

Menus and name cards were made from matching card and ribbon with tiny wee stick on gems to add a wee bit of sparkle.  We loved the luggage label around the wine glass look!

We also sewed knitted and crocheted flowers onto fake pearls strings and laid them round the vases.  Our table place names were photos of Oxford pub signs printed out and stuck onto co-ordinating card, primary school teacher style.

If you want to see more of my Handmade Wedding blog posts, click here.

Have you seen any handmade wedding ideas that you have loved recently?

For the last time in 2013, I'm linking up with Handmade Harbour for the wonderful Handmade Monday.

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Friday, 20 December 2013

Weekend Link Love 20/12

Oh my, oh my, oh my. Big piece of a advice for you today everyone ... do not catch Norovirus.  It pretty much eats away at your insides.  I seem to be recovering from this for days now.  Oh wait.  I have.  Anyhow I am definitely on the mend and now regaining a bit more focus on the fact that Christmas is merely a few days away.  And for me, that means a flight to Scotland between now and then.  Yippee!

The lovely Brittany for JustBCrafty made this beautiful crochet necklace and showed us how to style it. 

I spotted this lovely giveaway from the Ladyface Blog, including a cute wee crochet bow.
I thought this tutorial for a personalised stocking from A Beautiful Mess was just so cool.

And I came across this lovely tutorial which was a guest post by Laura from Wrapped up in Rainbows on Claireabellemakes.

And there you go - four lovely links four days before Christmas Eve!  I heading off for more wrapping and packing now. Can't wait to be up in Scotland!

What's been catching your eye this week?

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

10 Happy Things 18/12

i) Recovering from five days of the most horrendous tummy bug (these photos are from before I got sick!)

ii) Looking forward to feeling totally better and being able to eat one mahooosive burger and chips!

iii) Watching even more of the Monarch of the Glen box set.

iv) Receiving some lovely Christmas cards from friends and family wishing us well for our first married Christmas.

v) Fixing the html for blog buttons for Daydreams and Sunshine and Tales from Mount Pleasant.  I'm happy to fix yours too!

{see photos}

vi)  Adding a crochet advent decoration for every day that goes by until Christmas.

vii) Drinking out of this paper cup with knitted design...what more could a crafty girl want?

viii) Eating my first mince pie while writing crocheted Christmas cards.

ix) Present wrapping.

x) Decorating our mini Christmas tree, with wee lights, ribbon and a couple of shiny bells.

What's making you happy this week?

This lovely idea of listing 10 things that have made you happy this week comes from the lovely Cider with Rosie blog. Go take a peek!

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Monday, 16 December 2013

Sunshine Award Tag

Well.. hello!  I've just recently been tagged by Claire over at Somewhere Beyond the Sea, one of the lovely blogs I came across whilst blogging everyday in November.

11 Random Facts about Me

  • I've only had my hair cut once at a hairdresser.
  • I'm currently working through the Monarch of the Glen box set. 22 discs of simple viewing pleasure.
  • I failed my first driving test for stopping at an amber traffic light that was about to turn red.
  • I'm still bitter about this.
  • I found my wedding dress within 1 week of being engaged, even though the proposal was a complete surprise.
  • While I'm telling jokes, more often that not, I forget the punchlines.
  • I asked for a calculator when asked: "What's 2 to the power of 5?" in one of my Oxford interviews.
  • Snails and apple stickers terrify me.
  • I'm a completely self-taught crocheter.
  • I get jealous of men with really long eye-lashes.
  • My favourite smell is the smell of freshly-blown-out birthday cake candles.

11 Questions from Claire

  • When and why did you start blogging? Ahh, well, I've answered this one here...
  • What’s your no.1 blogging tip to new aspiring bloggers? Decide what it is you like about the blogs that you follow and use them as your inspiration.
  • Favourite blog? It's a toss up between One Sheepish Girl and Attic 24.
  • Favourite motivational quote? See below
  • Favourite Christmas tradition? It's an accidental tradition, but Santa always knocks over the same dining room chair in his rush to get back up the chimney.
  • Your signature dish? I'm not enough of a grown-up to have a signature dish.
  • Biggest disaster in the kitchen? Setting fire to a baking tray with the grill, setting fire to an oven glove with the hob, most of my baking.
  • What artist/song are you currently listening to? I wish it could be Christmas everyday, sung by myself, over and over in my head.
  • Favourite person and why? Unpredictable but I can't choose between my husband, parents or sisters.
  • Addicted to? Crochet
  • Finish this sentence: "On a regular Friday night you’ll find me…" If I'm in, I'll have fallen asleep on the sofa by 9 o'clock, my 50-ish hour working week means I'm exhausted.  If I'm out, in a cosy pub with friends and a burger.

Image from here

I'm not going to tag 11 other bloggers.  This time of year is crazy-busy so I don't want to put anyone under any blogging-related pressure.  However, do take this opportunity to check out some of my favourite blogs on my blog love page and leave me a comment if you'd like your link to be added.  

If you do want to take part in a Sunshine Award post, please feel free to copy and paste the questions below into your post to get you started.
  • Your inspiration? 
  • Favourite colour? 
  • Favourite blog? 
  • Favourite quote? 
  • Ideal three-course-meal? 
  • Your signature dish? 
  • Happiest when? 
  • What artist/song are you currently listening to? 
  • Favourite person? 
  • Addicted to?
  • Ideal holiday?

Just leave me a comment to say that you've tagged yourself; I'd love to pop over and see your answers!

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Friday, 13 December 2013

Weekend Inspiration: Crochet Gift Wrap

How cute are these little bows by FullMoonFlower?

And look at this lovely crochet wrapping by Sewing Daisies!

I loved this cute wee flower on ribbon.

And this lovely gift wrap inspiration from Curiosita Ellya and Ashley Thunder

Eeurgh, I've been feeling really unwell today so now I'm desperately trying to rest-up so I can salvage what I can from the weekend.  This time of year is always so busy and although the run-up to Christmas is so exciting, I think I have a tendency to over-do things.  Must. Slow. Down. Just. A. Fraction. and spend time enjoying Michael Buble's Christmas album and having long baths rather than trying to fit in a million and one things between now and the 25th.

What are you planning for the weekend?

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Tutorial: How to Crochet a Mitten String **Complete Beginner's Guide to Crocheting a Foundation Chain**

Lots of people have been complimenting me on my mittens on strings, which I made using this pattern and simply added a crocheted chain to them to run through my sleeves.  I pretty much believe now that every busy person should have a string attaching their mittens to their person.  To that end, I've decided to publish a crochet tutorial for complete beginners.  This is an ideal project for beginners.

You will need:

  • A pair of mittens
  • Wool in the same or a complementary colour (probably DK and you'll need a length about triple the length that you want your mitten string to end up - ie slightly longer than your arm span)
  • Crochet hook (I used size 5 but any size between 3 and 6 would do)
  • Scissors
  • Yarn needle

How to Crochet a Foundation Chain

  • Make a slip knot by making a loop and then putting the centre of the wool through.  Leave a long enough end for stitching the string to a mitten.   
  • Tighten the knot onto your hook, but not too much! Make sure you can still slide the yarn up and down the hook.  Hold the hook like a pencil or a knife in your right hand.  Use your peter pointer finger to hold the slip knot in place and stop it sliding around. 
  • Wrap the ball end of the wool over the hook from back to front so that you have two loops on your hook as shown in the third picture above.
  • Pull the slip knot along the hook towards the hook end.  
  • Pull it off over the loop you just made and the hook as shown in the second picture above.  You should have made a chain that looks a wee bit like a "v".  This is your first chain!
  • Make a second chain by wrapping the wool around the hook from back to front, using your peter pointer to hold the chain in place. 
  • Pull the chain over the loop you just made and the hook. This is your second chain! 
  • Keep repeating until you have the desired length of chain. 
  • Cut a tail. Leave a long enough end for stitching the string to a mitten. 
  • Take the last loop chain off the hook and pass the end of the wool through the loop as shown in the last picture.

Finishing Off

  • Use a yarn needle to stitch each end of your chain to the inside of the cuff of each mitten.
  • Darn in the ends.
  • Slide the mittens through the sleeves of your coat.
  • Wear with pride.

As always, I love getting feedback on my tutorials, so if you do end up using, please write me a comment! x

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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Crochet Advent Decorations

As many of you know, over the last week I have been getting more and more excited about Christmas. This year  I have decided to make myself a series of 24 advent decorations that I can hang year after year, one for each day in the countdown to Christmas.  This involves sitting on the sofa next to a basket of yarn, ribbon, pins and crochet hooks and working away at festive crochet motifs, while snuggling up in front of various films and tv programmes.  So relaxed; I'm almost already in school holiday mode!

I've been using leftover DK acrylic yarn from my stash, which is always a win.  Some of the ribbon was a gift and I bought the red reindeer ribbon from this lovely craft shop when I was there with my mum.  I also bought her a roll, so I can't wait to see what she makes with hers.  I've simply drawn on the numbers of the decorations with permanent marker and the buttons were from a local department store.

The best thing about this project has been getting to try out so many different granny-style patterns.  So far I've used this pattern for the tree and this pattern for the heart.  I've also pinned these to my Christmas crochet pinboard.  I couldn't find a crochet pattern I liked for the star and the bauble so I made them up myself.  I'll be posting these over the next couple of weeks. 

I'll be posting each decoration on Instagram, so do head over there if you want to watch this project develop.

Do you have a homemade advent calendar?

Linking up with Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday.  Head over to see other bloggers' recent craft projects.

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Saturday, 7 December 2013

Weekend Link Love 7/12

I have to confess that even with another couple of weeks of work, I'm mentally starting to wind down for the Christmas hols.  Recently I've spent more time dreaming about Christmas than I have since I was probably about ten years old.  I've even been theming my maths lessons on Christmas!

A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled along this amazing collection of social media buttons by 15 minute beauty.  If you are thinking about giving your blog a wee facelift, I totally recommend.

I found this gorgeous Christmas card tutorial over on Archie and the Rug, which was a guest post by Matilde heart Manech.

This amazing project is from Skip to my Lou in which her blog readers contributed crocheted Christmas decorations to a her tree. The result is overwhelmingly colourful!

This weekend will mainly involve Christmas shopping, Christmas card writing and putting up some Christmas decorations.  You can tell I'm excited right?

Have you got in the mood for Christmas yet?

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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

10 Happy Things 3/12

i) Making a start on my advent crochet project.  All through advent I'm making one Christmas decoration per day to celebrate the big countdown.

ii) Eating the most amazing paella that Steve made with chorizo and a lovely seafood mix.  The bottom was even crunchy!

iii) Designing a crochet boot cuff pattern and wearing them with my new black boots.

iv) Loving Google's doodle on St Andrews Day showing a Loch and various wee Scottish flags and landmarks.

v) Opening the first doors of our advent calendar.  I am more than a little bit excited this year!

vi) Wearing my crochet mittens.  I am getting so many compliments about them.  Granted, the odd person does have a giggle about the fact that I've got them on strings so I don't lose them, but if I can bring a handmade smile to people's faces than that can only be a good things.

vii) Enjoying my new simplified blog layout and all the things that I learnt from attempting to blog every day in November.

viii) Loving this Next Christmas decoration that my mum posted us.   We're currently trying to decide what to buy in terms of a tree - real or fake, what do you think?

ix) Planning out December's posts with pretty colours!

x) Enjoying a trip to London to catch up with friends and lounge about in the Windsor Castle.

What's making you happy this week?

This lovely idea of listing 10 things that have made you happy this week comes from the lovely Cider with Rosie blog.  Go take a peek!

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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Chevron Lace Cardigan

I've been working away on these cardigans for the last month or so and recently gave each one their first outing.  I love the chevron design: it just brings a bit of cosy, crochet glam into my winter wardrobe.

I used DK acrylic wool (nice and practical) and this pattern by milobo on Ravelry.  It's seamless, which I didn't believe until I actually tried and you basically just work from the top down for as long as you like meaning that you could make a wee bolero if you fancied.

Here's me mastering the art of the selfie in poor light.  Now you see why I'll never be a fashion blogger!

What have you made recently?

Linking up with Handmade Harbour for Handmade Monday today.  Head over to see other bloggers' recent craft projects.

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