Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Post Christmas thoughts

Well it has certainly been a good Christmas this year....there have been

:: walks on a crisp Christmas morning on the Downs
:: lunches and laughs with friends
:: 2 Christmases with family (one more to come)
:: and of course Santa came with some little crafty treats for me, so here is little preview into what I'll be working on in the coming months


Santa brought me some beautifully soft alpacha and merino mix yarn
:: and a great crochet book to help me continue develop my skills

:: I've already had a quick go at a couple of the patterns already, the one on the left is obviously a classic Granny Square whilst the one on the right is a Croydon Square. My plan is to make another blanket with lots of different squares using my new yarn.
R bought me this fabulous quilting book along with a voucher to choose as much fabric as I need to make a quilt for our bed.
I'm really looking forward to getting started. My first quilt looks really cosy in the spare room so I'm excited to see what transformation will unfold with this quilt, but the colour selection is a daunting process...
do I go with something which will go with the current decor??
or take this as an opportunity to redecorate the room??
what should I choose as the acent colour???
should this match the walls ???
match the carpet???
red??? blue??? green??? neutrals???
oh I can see quite a lot of consideration needs to take place before I can get started on my pressie...
Poor R, I bet he thought he was buying a nice simple present which I will enjoy making (absolutely correct) and will keep me quiet whilst the World Cup is on this summer (it certainly will) without considering that this might actually mean re-painting the bedroom and could extend to new carpet and possibly curtains....oh dear!
I spent a few days with my Gran in Yorkshire over Christmas. I was sat having a nice cup of tea and flicking through my new crochet book making a pink 3 layered flower (which is now adorning Gran's windowsil) when Gran left me with a rather knowing look .... a few minutes later she returned with this box of knitting needles, there must be over 20 pairs of needles in this ancient chocolate box..... I can been assured that when I get round to starting to knit I will certainly have whatever size the pattern needs, she must have saved me a fortune....thank you
Well I am certainly excited about my craftiness in 2010... planned projects
crocheted blanket using my new book and new yarn
quilt for my bedroom
take up knitting
and of course my silver Jewellery making course in a couple of weeks
who knows what else....
its going to be a good year :o)

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Felting Failure

I've been quite fascinated by the world of felting wool recently, there are some fantastic blogs out there dedicated to this - Betz White and LucyKate Crafts are some of my favourites at the moment. The items I have seen online and in books have really inspired me to have a go at this seamingly simple craft and art-form.

For those of you who aren't familiar with this craft (and I really wasn't only a month ago) Felting is the result of washing knitted wool in the washing machine on a hot temperature and making it shrink or felt....lets be honest we have all done this accidentally at some point....I'm just wishing now I'd kept the results rather than throwing these away.

So I toddled off to the high street this afternoon in search of a wool sweater in a charity shop. I didn't realise just how little wool there is out there, I know that wool sweaters are always more expensive than man-made fibres but thought there would still be a lot of pure wool out there, maybe people simply don't give wool sweaters to charity shops in winter (that would make sense as it is pretty chilly outside right now).

It took searching through 3 charity shops until I located a 100% lambswool sweater that didn't come with the re-assurance that it wouldn't shrink in the wash ... not exactly what I was searching for in this project.

So I came home with my festive red lambswool sweater and felt really quite naughty putting it in the washing machine at 95degrees in the hope that it comes out teddy-bear size.

Well I either the sweater company did something to make the jumper indestructable or I did something wrong as my should-be-felted sweater is in the same dimensions as it entered the machine a hour earlier. I'm sooooooooo disappointed....

I guess the positives to this little project are that I have donated some money to charity and will donating a festive red lambswool very clean sweater in the next day or so.

Will try again after Christmas

Monday, 21 December 2009

yummy chocolate treats

Christmas came a little early in my house as a very dear friend treated me to this crafty book.
There are some great ideas in here for all seasons which I am definitely going to be trying soon but I couldn't resist having a go at the Chocolate Salami - sounds a little dodgy I know, but stick with me here
Apparently Chocolate Salami is made with some of my favourite foods ever -
Amaretto - ummmmm alcoholic liquid marzipan
Amaretti biscuits - yum yum yum
as well as a few other treats
I'd really hate to think how many calories are in this

AND it is Christmas which is not only the season of good will but also the season of good food ... so actually what I am saying to you is that it would have been rude for me not to make and eat this ...

It tastes good too...pretty yummy actually... having consumed quite a bit of this R has very kindly offered to take the remainder into work tomorrow so I may still fit into my clothes in the coming days.
I am really quite concerned at just how easy this was to make, I imagine that the likes of Rocky Road are just as easy (and pretty tasty too) might have to limit myself to one chocolate concoction a month so as not to end up on a very strict diet by summer time

Saturday, 19 December 2009

All wrapped up

As a sprinkling of snow arrived in southern England in the last couple of days it brough a little Christmas Cheer with it. There is something quite magical about the garden covered in a layer of crisp white loveliness that always make me smile, well once I have the industrial layers of warm clothing on I smile....

The layer of crisp white snow and finding that one of the TV music channels was playing Christmas tunes inspired me to dig out the wrapping paper and red wine and set too with present wrapping. Too much working recently has meant that I have been somewhat ill-prepared this year and after much digging around I discovered I've used up my stash of ribbon so I had to improvise..... its amazing that you can do with a hook and red hour later I had many of the presents wrapped in brown and gold paper decorated with yarn and crocheted tags....well I just hope that the recipients love them as much as I do, just goes to show you don't need to spend a fortune on ribbons and bows....a little time and some yarn is all you need

Many more to go.....but at least I have made a start and not only am I giving the actually gift this year I'm also giving a Christmas decoration in the form of the tag.....

I'm really settling in to this lovely world of crafting.....with the bonus of saving a few pennies its even better

Thursday, 17 December 2009

New Cross-Stitch Picture

Following the emails I received after the unveiling of my original cross-stitch pictures (which are now hanging in pride of place in my living room) I've been working on some smaller versions.

I knew these took quite a long time to produce, especially this pattern below as this involves so many thread changes, thought I'd give you a sneak preview as I'm almost there.....should be finished by the end of the weekend and then I just need to make one of the other design, always think these look better hung as a co-ordinating pair

Not really train friendly but is quite nice to be busy whilst relaxing and watching TV in an evening

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Winter Wedding Accessories

R and I are off to a winter wedding next Saturday, ah brings back memories of our big day, I wonder how the Bride and Groom are doing at the moment??? I always like to imagine that the Bride and Groom are totally chilled out and blissfully going about their pre-wedding businesses the dreaming about the I Do's but realistically they are probably running round checking that the flowers are all on order and whether the batty Aunt is actually coming or why the cousins from Oz haven't booked themselves into a hotel etc etc etc It's never as blissful a time as it really should be....

After A LOT of searching I have finally found an outfit for the big day, there is so much black in the stores at the moment it's really depressing and I don't want to look like I am off to a funeral so have finally managed to find something suitably bright and happy which is also going to keep me warm in church on the 19th December (brrrrrrrrrr). But there are simply no wedding guest accessories available, I remember there were loads around in the summer, maybe all the accessories shops assume there aren't any weddings in the winter, I can tell you they are wrong!

Well, this gives me the perfect opportunity to have a little experiment...I want something sparkly (it is Christmas afterall) but simple for my hair, something like these pictures I found online...

I bought a silver hairband, some beads and felt and dug out my beading needle and thread. I'm not a great artist and my free hand drawing leaves much to be desired so for safety's sake I developed a simple design on my 'pooter and pinned this to the back of the fabric so I wouldn't go too wrong.

I then set about beading the right side of the fabric keeping to the pattern in part and also going bit free-style in places. It only took me a couple of evenings to stitch all these beads on individually and then glue on another peice of felt to the back with the hairband in the middle. I LOVE IT

I can't express to you how proud I am of this....I almost want to wear a little badge that says I made this with an arrow to my head...although I suppose I might get some rather strange looks.

I need to try out the wear-ability of this to make sure I don't end up with a falling-apart hairband half way through the Wedding Breakfast so will be trial-running this over a couple of pre-Christmas drinks and dinner events this week....wish me luck

Becca-Lou on Flickr

I've never really been a technophobe but I haven't always been the first on the uptake (I think the fact I only entered the blogging world in the last 2 months proves this point!), but am proud to announce that I am not only a blogger but am also a flickr'er too.... check out my flickr page here

Christmas Garland

Having discovered Royal Sister's star and heart patterns on Friday lunch time at work I just about managed to stay focused and resited fashioning a crochet hook out of a pencil and unwinding my colleague's jumper, don't think I would have been very popular. I did have a go as soon as I got home though, Friday night with a glass of wine, chocolate and a crochet hook, Rock'n'Roll!!!

These are uper easy to make, couldn't have taken more than 10 minutes each and are definitely train friendly so think I might have a large collection by the end of this week.

My mini garland so far...

Think they have come out really well, I've already given one of the stars away as a Christmas decoration, think a few more might be donated to trees around Surrey and London, and of course my tree will be suitably adorned. In fact might have to get a bigger tree soon if I keep making and receiving new decorations for it, like the cute knitted Christmas Pudding, and crisp white snowflake

Friday, 11 December 2009

Weekend Craft List

With no plans for this weekend I have high crafty hopes...

  1. finish beaded headband - I've been a busy-bee in evenings this week...can't wait to finish this and show you
  2. make Grandma Hearts for Christmas garland and present decorating
  3. make a friend for Snowie

Looks pretty achievable in 2 days

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Coffee and Ice Cream

I was a very lucky girl today, I went to Fortnum and Mason's for coffee. I had high expectations for the coffee and was anticipating something slightly more than your average latte from Starbucks, but what I got was an absolute treat.

Not only did my coffee arrive in BIG also came with the most adorable little coffee ice cream, I've never seen an ice cream so cute and the perfect accompaniment to my hot coffee.
I wonder whose idea it was to give these little ice creams....and where they sourced the miniture ice cream cones???
It got me thinking about other accompaniments which I might like to try, maybe a mini pizza with wine or mini donuts with hot chocolate

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Christmas Stocking

Having just put up the Christmas Tree I'm beginning to feel the Christmas Spirit I've been trying to contain my creativity to only one project at a time, but got very excited when I found this picture of Granny style crocheted Christmas Stockings and I simply couldn't resist

I still had some green, red and white yarn left over from my Granny Square blanket so this creativity wasn't going to cost a single penny, just a little bit of I whipped my crochet hook into action and clip-clap had 17 of the hexagons in a neat little pile in no time

All stitched together into a funky retro stocking I think it looks pretty cool hanging from the mantle-peice...Oh I also picked up this fantastic stocking hanger, I have been good this year so here's hoping Santa remembers to fill this funky festive decoation full of goodies on Christmas Eve

Sunday, 6 December 2009

BIG Crochet

A couple of weeks ago when I was visiting my parents in Newcastle we visited Ingrid Wagner's shop. I was really tempted by the whole shop and if there was a way to bring it all back in hand-luggage on the plane I really would have.

I of course couldn't leave this big knit wonderland empty handed, so I treated myself to a big crochet kit which consisted a huge wooden crochet hook and 2 balls of yarn. (I've put my usual crochet hook in the picture for scale, this hook is a monster!)

I say yarn... but actually these are balls of woolen fabric strips which are the off cutts from the British woolen industry, so basically I'm helping the environment and being a fantastic recycler by making myself a new handbag....

The crochet hook is about 40cm long so not really something suitable for the train commute, but with the size of the hook and yarn this really does develop really quickly.

And so the finished article, I'm loving it. Just need to find some suitably fabulous fabric to line the bag and then you will be able to see me flaunting my handywork on the shopping streets of London

Saturday, 5 December 2009


Planned to do a little Christmas shopping today, well I did of sorts....managed to get some yarn, fabric, thread and felt for me (well I need presents too!!)

I know exactly what I want to make with all of it, its just a case of finding the time and in some cases the this space

Meet Snowie

As the cold dark nights draw in I have been in long running negotiations with R, my husband, as to when the Christmas tree should go up. I always vote for 1st December (there is no point even suggesting a month with a "N" in it), but R prefers to wait as long as possible. Like most people, our Christmas decorations are securely stored in the loft for most of the year and without an installed loft ladder the process of getting them out involves carrying a ladder from the garage through the house and up the stairs to the loft hatch and then climbing into the loft, most definitely man's work.

We have now agreed that tomorrow will be the big Christmas tree day (I'm very excited), however, I have managed to wait this long for the tree to go up as I have been sneakily making the occassional Christmas decoration over the past week.
I started by creating this little bag to store the chocolate coins which somehow fell into my shopping basket in the supermarket last week. Strangely there don't seem to be as many left as shown in this photo....looks like I'll have to find some more soon
... and then went on to create Snowie the Snowman yesterday evening. Not bad for my first attempt at a 3D crocheted item. He looks quite sad all on his own on the mantel peice, there is only one thing for it I will have to create Snowie a wife and maybe a full Snowman (should that be Snowperson ??) family

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Tracey Emin’s Embroidery in London's Royal Academy

As part of the new Royal Academy show on Climate Change Tracey Emin is displaying embroidered birds and insects (Photo Reuters).

Have to admit, I’m personally really pleased that embroidery and more traditional crafts are making their way back into being accepted as modern art rather than viewed as a hobby for older generations.

The industry saw a boost in sales of knitting needles and yarn when it was publicised that celebs and film stars were knitting and purling in their down time, I wonder if these latest pieces by Tracey Emin will be the first step in a similar resurrection for needlework?