Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Almost There and New Books

We are Almost There. It feels like the end of term, and the end of the school year, and, for Little Miss, the end of primary school, is tantalizingly close now. We've still got a Summer Fayre, an Awards Evening, a School Play, a Leavers Picnic, a Leavers Disco, and a Leavers-Actually-Leaving-Thing to get through before we can breathe a collective sigh of relief at having survived another school year.

Meanwhile we are also Almost There with the house decorating. The painter was here for over 4 weeks - groan - but finally - hurrah - finished today. We didn't have anything structural or particularly messy done - thank goodness - how do people live through kitchens being ripped out and extentions built, knocking through etc ?? We only had cosmetic stuff done and it was stressful enough for me. As nothing major was done and we are only Almost There I'm afraid my photos aren't very exciting yet.

In all 9 rooms were painted - kitchen, front room, downstairs loo, playroom, our bedroom, our en-suite, main bathroom, Little Tomboy's bedroom and the under-the-stairs-cupboard-come-cloakroom. Does that count as a room ? Well, I have to say that once emptied and cleaned out and re-painted it looked amazing, I wanted to shove a mattress in there and lock myself in with a lamp and a book. And maybe a cup of tea. Each of the rooms was painted ceiling to floor, skirting boards, doors, door frames, and radiators. Lots of little jobs got done - new loo seat fitted, shelves put up, and - rather expensively - we now have lovely new chrome door handles - our old ones were very tarnished brass, very fiddly and fancy with twiddly little ends on which and I was forever catching my arm as I rushed past. They drew blood lots of times, I have little to scars to show for it - yikes.

We even had our front door painted and some nice new numbers affixed. The reason we are only "Almost There" and not actually "There There" is that we still have loads of general cleaning to do, furniture to be put back, and Stuff to find homes for. Stuff. So much Stuff. Where does it all come from ??? I'm sure we don't need it all. Hoping to have a bit of a purge over the weekend.

Meanwhile, rather unusually, I have broken out the knitting needles - I've seen so many people doing the Hitchhiker Scarf - most recently Meredith ( and I really fancied doing one myself. For the first time I purchased a pattern on ravelry, rather than using only free ones. And I must say it was worth it, I'm really enjoying it.

I'm a slow knitter, and I can't be doing with the counting etc that knitting seems to entail more than crochet, but I have to say that this is a great pattern, really simple and easy to follow, but produces a piece that is interesting in its structure. 

I'm doing it in this Sirdar yarn, I bought it ages ago because I just liked it - well, why not ?! The effect it produces is really quite intriguing, and I love the colours.

My crocheted star blanket is growing nicely too ....

I really need to crack on with it, I'd like to give it my friend before we go on our summer hols.

On a whim (I was looking for something else which I can't even recall now) I made a couple of eBay purchases this week - crochet books - yet another crochet-related addiction. I do like a good crochet book - as much for flicking through, as for making things from. Each of these were about £3, bargain-tastic.

"crochet love" has the tag-line "27 Sweet and Simple Zakka-Inspired Projects". Ever heard of "Zakka" ? No, neither had I. According to the blurb inside "Zakka is a Japanese term for a design sensibility that is cute yet sophisticated, playful yet profound, contemporary yet nostalgic". Glad we cleared that up !!

I don't know about profound but the designs certainly are cute and playful, here are some pictures from the book ....

"i love crochet" has some great really simple projects, some with a nice little twist .... like this little beaded pencil-case,I'm love the envelope-style closure, and the beads make it so pretty ...

... And there's a section on edgings and how to use them .... for example on this denim skirt ....

There are also some really fun pages .... very silly :)

Ooooh yes and I nearly forgot, I bought this one - full-price from Amazon - on the recommendation of a friend, and oh boy it is a beauty.

I reeeeeeally want to make everything in it Right Now. just look at these gorgeous gorgeous projects ....

Just totally swoonsome and gorgeous. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous. Did I mention they are all gorgeous ? Another book that's a joy to just sit and flick through with a nice cup of tea. Which is exactly what I'm going to do now :)

Til next time,

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Blue and Green Granny Cushion

Hello dear friends and readers - thankyou for popping by, and a big hello to my new readers and followers, I'm so glad you could join us :)

My weekend has mostly been spent moving furniture around to accommodate the decorator who is painting most of the inside of our house. It was just too big a project for me to take on, as basically the whole thing needs doing - from some skimming on the ceilings, and covering some bare plasterwork on the walls, right down to painting radiators and repairing skirting boards. It has not escaped my notice that the paint we're using is called "Endurance". Very appropriate I feel.

If you remember a short while ago I made a blanket for my Dad. He only had it a week before he passed away, but it's very special to me, and so my Mum let me have it back. I love the colours in it, plus it is a good match for my front room which is greens and blues, so I decided to make a granny square cushion cover to match the blanket.

It's a very simple design using a traditional granny square with 4 rounds. Each side of the cushion is 5 squares by 5; I made 25 squares for the front and 25 for the back. I also made an extra 5 as a sort of envelope type flap enclosure. All the squares were joined using the join-as-you-go method, mainly to avoid dealing with all those pesky ends.

To fasten it closed I sewed on 5 buttons, one for each square of the flap - no button-hole needed, the button just slots through one of the gaps in each granny square. I messed about with loads of different combinations of buttons but in the end decided that the best solution was a button for each square to match the colour of the square - plus that way I didn't have to find 5 buttons that matched each other.

There was talk of a lining at one point, however, seeing as I couldn't make up my mind whether to go with a green lining or a blue one, or even grey come to that, I just left it with no lining at all. What a rebel. The white you can see through the granny squares is just the cushion pad, and I think it looks great as it is :) The yarn is all Stylecraft Special DK (who doesn't love a bit of Stylecraft) in the following colours:
              Aster - Pistachio - Kelly Green - Sage - Lobelia - Silver

Sadly I rarely get to see my cushion - it's normally stuffed behind me on my seat on the sofa. Well, I couldn't let anyone else squash it, now could I.

My current project is a baby blanket for a friend who's just had her second little baby, a boy, no name yet that I know of, but so exciting, I can't wait to go for a cuddle (with the baby, not my friend). It's a really easy pattern, a bit like a circular ripple, if that makes sense. Here it is so far ....

I am slightly worried that because its round my friend won't get that it's a blanket, and she'll think it's a mandala. Except she's not a crocheter, so she won't know to call it a mandala, she'll just think it's some weird giant doily. Oh well, I'm enjoying making it, so hey-ho. More details to follow when I've finished it.

Hope you've had a lovely weekend,

ps: I am not very political and I sit on the fence most of the time, but even I am shocked, dismayed and deeply saddened by the result of the UK's referendum last week. In case you've been living in a cave for the the last couple of days - the UK voted whether or not the vote to remain in the EU, and the result was a very narrow majority wishing to leave the EU. To me this is narrow-minded, short-sighted, and irresponsible. How anyone can think we are better off cutting ourselves off and trying to succeed in isolation, is beyond me. I believe we and our children belong in an inclusive society that embraces diversity. There's nothing else to say really 😞

Friday, 17 June 2016

Back Again

I have literally no clue where the last 2 months went. I've missed you all, missed catching up on everyone's posts and projects, but at the same time I had just totally lost interest in everything. I haven't picked up a hook in weeks. I suppose dealing with the loss of my Dad this is to be expected, and I've tried to just sort of go with the flow and not put too much expectation on myself.

Since my last post I've been over to Norn Irn twice, once to help my Mum after she had an operation on her leg (she's fine, nothing to worry about), and then we all as a family went over for a week at half-term. It's still hard going over there and for my Dad to not be around, but we did manage some fun days out with the children, and with their cousins 😀😀 the weather was AmAzInG - blue skies, sunshine, not a drop of rain all week. Perfect. 

Here's a few, ok a LOT, of photos from our trip ....

We've been back a couple of weeks and the house is in total disarray as we are having it decorated at the minute. I've really missed my crochet and have decided to pick up the hook again this weekend - just got to pick a project :)  I'll be back soon with hopefully with details of whatever I choose to work on, and definitely with some exciting yarn photos 😊

Til then .....

Jill xxxxxxx