Friday, 31 January 2014

Weekend Link Love 31/1

Well this is it friends. We made it through cold and bitter January, and quite frankly I'm feeling relatively unscathed. As usual I didn't get nearly as much crafting done as I had hoped; full-time work really does get in the way doesn't it?

This week I totally fell in love with this gorgeous Japanese flower blanket by Matt. In his blog post about it he tells the most beautiful story about the inspiration behind and the story of how it was made. If you only look at one crafty blog post this week, make it this one.

I also came across yet another crafty blog this week called Made Out of Things.  I adore this mixed stitch cushion cover and I'm looking forward to catching up with more posts at some point in the near future.

I also love this handmade Valentine's zip card created by a couple of my favourite bloggers from ...Buttons and Paint.

...and look at this beautiful new branding/blog design over on Joanna's blog, Adventures and Tea Parties.

Did you see Matt's beautiful blanket? What did you think? What else caught your eye this week?

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

January Projects

I know bloggers often start off monthly round up posts in this way but...seriously...where has this month gone?!  I'm more than ready for February and some, hopefully brighter weather and spirits, but honestly where did the last couple of weeks of January go?

This month has been busy.  I've been really enjoying work much more and enjoying crafting even more.  I've made lots more craft blogging friends and I've spent far too much time on Twitter.

How has January been for you?

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Monday, 27 January 2014

Just A Minute In...January

Recently I've been feeling a bit out the blogging, tweeting and pinteresting world that us craft bloggers live in.  Had you noticed?  No?  Well, maybe it's just me.  Anyway, it's not that I haven't been crafting much, just a couple of quite big, time-pressured projects have been busying my hands, hooks and crocheting agility.

I thought I'd have a go at Just A Minute, a lovely idea I spotted on Helen Limbrick's blog which give you a little time to reflect on what you've been up to recently.

Watching: The Great Interior Design Challenge (really appealing to the creative in me!) and The Hunger Games.

Reading: The Secret Footballer ... bit of an odd choice for me, but after reading Cath Kidston's book I fancied something a bit less girly!

Listening: The radio - we recently got a digital radio and I'm really enjoying it!

Eating: carrot cake (see above)

Working on: gifts - lots and lots of gifts - more on this later.

Looking forward to: Nervous about: our skiing holiday, booked for next month!

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Saturday, 25 January 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Crochet Collars

Burgundy blouse with crochet collar by Plum and Pigeon.  This is a gorgeous folksy shop full of lovely vintage-inspired clothing.  Beautiful.

These amazing designs are by Berri Drum of Hand Hook Yarn an stunning designer from Melbourne.

 Look at the lovely chunky button on this striking design by WellRavelled

 ...and look at the lovely vintage button on this collar and the lovely colours on this collar.  Both these designs are from Lululoves blog which is one of my all time favourite crochet blogs.  Do go and have a wee indulgent peek.

Can you tell what project I'm plotting to take on next? I'm really excited about this one. I love the fact that there are loads of different looks that a crochet collar can create. Apart from dreaming about crochet collars, this weekend I'm not-so-spring cleaning, going for walks and coffee and cable crocheting.

What are your weekend plans?

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Monday, 20 January 2014

Crochet Engagement Card

Wow-oh-wow-oh-wow. Today hurt. You know when you have just one of those days? Well, mine's been a bit like that today. I'm glad to be home now and drowning my sorrows with tea and lots and lots of chocolate-based comfort eating.

Luckily I saved this lovely engagement card that I am oh-so proud of to share with you for Handmade Monday. If you want to see some other lovely makes, head over there.  But not before scrolling a bit further down my blog please!

I used these lovely alphabet stampers that were a Christmas present from good ole' Santa Claus.  I attached wee crochet hearts made with embroidery thread using this pattern and then got a wee bit creative.

I was so pleased with the finished product and the recipients' said it was the only handmade engagement card they received.  Win!

What makes have you been proud of recently?

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Friday, 17 January 2014

Weekend Link Love 17/1

Yay! I tentatively have been enjoying work since we went back in January so long may that continue. I'm still glad it's the weekend though, isn't everyone? What has everyone got planned? My weekend's going to be quiet just some chilling out, maybe a wee bit of ever so gentle exercise (the only type I like) and probably a wee bit of crafting.

This week, I also fell in love with this fabric flower bookmark that the Creative Pixie made and showed us as part of her Make it Monday posts.

I also fell again a little more in love with Brittany's blog.  This time she completely blew the misconception that it's difficult to crochet guys gifts by showing us these wonderful Star Wars crochet friends.

And, oh my goodness, could you get anymore wacky than a pink and brown crocheted chess set? I'm struggling to think how!

I also feel the need to mention that at the start of this week Emma, host and founder of the wonderful #craftblogclub, launched her new blog Frugally Peachy.  It's already shaping up for some interesting reading and it was such a pleasure to help her with her blog button.

What have you spotted on the interweb this week?

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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

How to Make a German Star

I know, I know, this German or Froebel star is technically a Christmas decoration, but wouldn't it be a wonderful paper decoration for a present all year round?  There simple-ish to make so don't be put off by the number of steps.  Just make sure you have plenty of paper to hand in case you make a boo-boo. I promise once you've got the hang these are quick and easy to make.

You will need strips of coloured paper in your chosen colour(s).  For your first star I recommend using four different colours as you can see what's going on better.  The strips can be any width/length but they need to be roughly 20 times as long as they are wide and it is TOTALLY ESSENTIAL that they are all identical widths.

Choose four strips of paper and fold each one in half length ways.  Hang strip 2 (pink) across strip 1 (blue).  Hang strip 3 (green) across strip 2 (pink).  Place strip 4 (purple) across strip 3 (green) and pull the ends through strip 1 (blue).

Pull all four strips tightly together as shown in the first of the above pictures.  Grab the top layer of one of the strips and fold back over itself.  Repeat until you have done this for all four strips.  When you fold back the final strip (pink in the middle picture above) push it under the first strip you folded back. Roughly tighten your star so it looks like the third of the above pictures.

Turn it over so it looks like the first of the above pictures.  Fold any of the left-hand strips at right-angles as shown in the first of the above pictures.  Fold again as shown in the second of the above pictures.  Make sure the folds on the all the points are sharp and fold the strip over itself as shown in the third of the above pictures.

Push the end of the strip under the horizontal strip underneath.  The first of the above pictures shows the pink strip has been pushed under the green strip directly underneath the point and is being pulled out the other side.  This stage is probably the fiddliest, so go easy.  Continue until all four left-hand strips have been turned into points as shown in the second of the three pictures above.  Turn over your work as shown in the third of above pictures.

Check your star is now lying on the table as shown in the first of the above pictures.  It would be identical on both sides.  Continue to use the strips that are sticking out.  Lift up on of them and make a loop on the strip by gently turning it downwards then back on itself.  Tuck it under the strip that is round the corner from it.  In the second of the above pictures, I have looped the pink strip and tucked it under the blue strip.  Push it under that strip so that you pull the end of the loop out from under the triangle which is diagonally opposite where the loop started.  You can see me pulling out the pink strip from under the blue triangle in the third of the above pictures.

Carefully pull the strip tight so that a star point rises up from the initial look.  Repeat three times until there are four points sticking up.  Turn over your work.

Grab the top layer of one of the strips and fold back over itself, leaving room to tuck in another strip. Repeat until you have done this for all four strips.  When you fold back the final strip (blue in the third picture above) push it under the first strip you folded back.

Roughly tighten your star so it looks like the first of the pictures above.  Cut off any excess strips.  Give yourself a pat on the back and go try another one!

German stars - give it a go.  They're easy once you get the hand of it!

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Recent Crafting

...and we're back to Sunday, psyching ourselves up for another busy week ahead. Welcome to all of you who have arrived from Handmade Monday at Handmade Harbour and thank you for all the lovely friendly comments on my previous Handmade Monday post. I'm feeling pretty relaxed here after a great day out in London yesterday and a morning spent in bed crocheting.

I've actually found time for an amazing amount of crafting this week, despite being back into the throws of another busy term at school. I've taught myself how to cable crochet and my first sample is above. I'm going to be honest, to start with I hated it. It's pretty fiddly and it's tricky to get into any kind of rhythm. Nonetheless, after a few rows, I think I am crochet cable convert.  Have any of you given it a try before?

I also sewed up my draught excluder, which I originally blogged about here.  In the end, I stuffed it with old fabric scraps and tights to keep us cosy.  I got the fabric from John Lewis with a voucher and I'm loving the kind of country cottage feel.

On Friday evening I spent a blissful hour catching up with some BBC iplayer and playing with card, embroidery thread and my new alphabet stamper box.  The finished product is still top secret as it was a make for some friends, but safe to say I enjoyed my Friday evening!

What have you been crafting this week? Something for yourself or others? Have you had a go at cable crochet?

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Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Better Late Than Never

I know, for me included, Christmas seems like a distant memory now the decorations are down and we've all trudged back to work.  However I still feel pretty lucky with all the lovely presents I received and wanted to share the lovely handmade ones that I was so touched to receive.

First up is this gorgeous stripy hand-knit jumper made for me by my talented sister Cat.  You can't quite see in the photo but the shoulders have cute wee colour-coordinated buttons on them.

Secondly my mum made me this gorgeous pair of fingerless gloves made with crazy stripy wool.  They are so amazingly cosy and cheerful.

Completely unexpectedly I was given this lovely handmade bunting by a girl in my class whose mum is really into crafting and fabrics - what a fabulous surprise.

Finally this lovely lace-knitted scarf was made for me by my talented mum.  It's absolutely amazing and I still can't quite believe she made it.  She also made an identical one of each of my sisters.  That's 9 feet of lace knitting altogether folks...pretty incredible stuff.

Did you receive any handmade goodies this Christmas?

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Crochet Birds

Happy 2014 to all of you who have found my wee crafty corner from Handmade Monday at Handmade Harbour.  I'm back at school tomorrow, so I'm just enjoying the last few hours of freedom with a bit of oily goodness in the form of sun-dried tomatoes and olives.  As one does.

I wanted to show you something today that makes me extremely happy and proud.  My mum gave it to me while I was up staying at my folks over Christmas.  It's beautiful.  A thing of wonder.

The best thing about this project is that my mum and I made these cute wee crocheted birdies together. Well, she mainly made them. In fact, back in October I taught her how to crochet a circle and various other stitches for the wings and beaks. When I left she finished it all off and added some lovely wooden beads.

The inspiration came from this image of knitted birds on Pinterest and we used the amazing Attic24 guide to crocheting a circle bird.  My mum chose these lovely colours from the Sirdar Baby Bamboo selection (incidentally the same lovely texture that Cath Fearn uses for her poppies).

This is possibly one of my proudest crochet moments yet and it's fallen in a good week since I've just had to frog almost an entire cardigan because I used the wrong hook size.

What crafty moments are you proud of?

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Friday, 3 January 2014

Weekend Inspiration: Draught Excluders

During some recent Pinterest adventures, I fell a wee bit in love for these tartan babies by TotallyTartan.

 How could I not show you this lovely crochet draught excluder made with beautiful granny squares by Trish at MadeByPatch

 Straight-forward draught excluder tutorial from the Guardian website

Amazing Underground-themed draught excluder from John Lewis

Hello everyone and a happy new year to you all!  I hope the first few days of 2014 haven't seen you swept away by all this crazy weather. I've spent most of the day cuddled up inside sorting wedding photos, dreaming of craft projects and tentatively starting a bit of gentle school and housework to get myself back on track before the start of term.

A rather exciting thing happened yesterday.  Steve, who's never been very sure about my crafting (I tend to prod him accidentally while knitting and tangle him in wool while I crochet), actually suggested that I make something! His idea. His very own practical but creative inspiration. And my very first commission of make a draught excluder.

What is a girl to do with such an exciting new design brief?

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