My Crafty Year

As we are heading towards a new year, I took a look at what I had been doing craft wise during 2011.

I seem to have steered more towards embroidery and sewing this year. This is mainly because crocheting and knitting cause my hands to be more painful. I'm just going to have to slow down a bit with hooks and needles I think.

I joined in my first stitchalongs

and made my first tote bag.

I've also been using felt quite a lot this year. I find it nice to work with and inexpensive. Plus easy to find, my mum and sis often bring me a few squares when they have seen some out shopping.

Next year I want to make start on my youngest boy's blanket again. The blanket is a hexagon pattern but as you can see from the photo, I made pentagons. I didn't discover what I had done until I tried to sew them together and they didn't fit. I am such an idiot at times.
Another thing that I want to do next year is to start an ort jar. I only recently heard of them when I found this tutorial about how to make fabric using thread scraps. I think its a great idea to use the scraps which would otherwise end up in the bin.

Best Wishes To All For The New Year

Painted Owl Pictures

I recently came across this tutorial and popped it into my favourites. Although I don't have any spare windows knocking about, I thought that I could maybe make something like this on a smaller scale so when I found some old clip frames lurking in the back of a cupboard I knew what they were destined for.
I used the templates from All Things Thrifty for my pictures but instead of using felt for the owls I used acrylic paint and backed the frames with a small piece of fabric.

I printed out the owl template that I wanted to use then traced the outline on to the glass using a permanent pen.

I then filled in the owl using acrylic paints ( it took about 3 coats to cover it properly )

Using spray adhesive, I glued some fabric onto the back of the frames. When the owl's were completely dry, clipped them in to place with the painted side facing inwards.
The owl pic's now have a home in Little L's room.

Oh Christmas Tree

Yesterday our Christmas tree was put up. The decorating is always done by my husband and children, I play no part in it at all. Our tree doesn't have a theme, it's a multi coloured mish mash of all sorts of decorations. While I knew I would be left alone for some time, I snuck off upstairs to do a bit of pressie wrapping.

My Love Of Cuckoo Clocks

When I saw this cuckoo clock decoration posted on the Wild Olive blog, I had to make it.

I just love cuckoo clocks. My Gran still has one which my Grandad acquired during WW2 from an American soldier based over here at the time. He traded something for it but I have always thought it a bit odd that someone during that time would be carrying around a spare cuckoo clock.
Anyway I always loved that clock when I was little and every time I visited I used to ask them to wind it up as I did when I took Little L to see my Gran not long ago. My Grandparents never had it going all the time as the cuckoo used to drive them bonkers. The clock has now seen better days because at one point it took a tumble from the wall which resulted in a bit of the top snapping off which my gran glued back on and it doesn't keep the correct time any more but the music still works and the cuckoo and people continue to make their appearance. I still love it all the same.
There are more Christmas decoration patterns to choose from on the Wild Olive blog. Thank you for sharing Mollie.

Little L's Party Outfit

Little L will be going to her first Christmas party next week at her pre school so we went shopping for a party outfit. Now I know that there was no chance that she would choose a dress or skirt so that really only left us with top and leggings outfits to choose from. The outfit that she picked is not party-ish at all and no matter how I tried to swerve her towards something with embroidery or sparkle on it there was no changing her mind. Oh well, at least she will get more wear out of it than just once or twice over the holiday season.

The photo first top is more like the true colour as I took that one in the daytime.
The top was far too long for Little L and when she tried it on with boots her legs were not visible at all. Which she didn't like because it looked like a dress so I just cut off the bottom frill and hemmed it. From the fabric that I cut off the top, I made a hat, scarf and mittens for George, Little L's favourite doll which he has been wearing all weekend because apparently he is a bit feeling poorly.


I have made a start on a new crochet blanket which is for my youngest boy. While I was looking through Flickr over the weekend he spotted a blanket made from scraps of wool and asked if I would make him one. He hasn't got his own blanket like his brother and Little L as he could never decide on a colour scheme so him choosing multi coloured is easy enough. The pattern I am using is Ruby Hexagon Blanket which I found on Ravelry.

A little pile of hexagons started.

This pic I snapped last night as my hubbie was trying to have a nap under Little L's blanket. ( He did open his eyes and mumble at me at one point ).Her blanket seems to be permanent feature in the living room, she just keeps dragging it downstairs as soon as I put it in her room so if anyone gets chilly or sleepy, they use her blanket. The new blanket is thrown over the back of the sofa so I asked why not use that one instead but apparently he didn't want to mess it up.

Close up pics of some of the patterns I used on the blanket

Winter Woolly Hats

These little woolly hats are an excellent wintery project for children to make. If the wool and cardboard is precut, great for little tiddlers to join in ( until their limited attention span wavers that it is ).
I found the tutorial for the little woolly hats .. here. Thank you Lisa

It's Finally Finished ..

 the blanket which I started back in March. I don't think that it has ever taken me this long to complete a blanket. I know that my achy hand played a big part in slowing me down but it just seemed never ending.

 My husband prefers this blanket compared to any others I have made as do my mum and mother in law. My mum as already said that she would like one, to which I just groaned. I won't be rushing into another one like this just yet but I saw a pattern for a blanket made with crocheted hexagons the other day which I might try, if only I can remember where I saw it.

Something which was a lot faster to make were these fingerless cable mitts made with one of the patterns from the hand knitted things giveaway. I actually finished these at the end of last month and worn them on a little jaunt to Manchester with the family. This photo was taken on the train on the way there.

Everything In It's Place

At the end of last week my lovely husband made a shelf unit at work especially to house all my crafty stuff. It has come in very handy that he works with wood, he's made all the shelves and bookcases which are dotted about the house, plus a couple of rabbit hutches. It also helps that he works for a very nice boss who lets him buy the wood at cost, allows my husband stay behind at work to use the machines and then gives him a lift home in the van with what ever he has made.

The unit was assembled at the weekend and put in it's place on the landing ( the only available space in the house ) and I spend yesterday happily filling it and sorting through my crafty bits and bobs.

My box of ribbons looked more like a nest of snakes until it was tidied

Fabric and wool which was just stored in large bags was sorted out and put into plastic tubs

This chest of drawers has been on the landing for a while and has lovely deep drawers. It is used to store items used for parchment craft and paints but after having a quick look through at the weekend, quite a number of unfinished cross stitch and embroidering projects have crept in there so I shut the drawer up to sort through another day.

This bag has been hanging here for some time as well and contains crochet cottons.
 Now besides a large basket of threads and a bag of stuffing, which still reside in our bedroom, I think all my bits are together and not scattered throughout the house. I know the landing probably isn't the most ideal area in a house to store this kind of thing but I love that I can look at my things on the way up the stairs instead of a blank wall.

After sorting through a lot of my belonging over the weekend I've got the urge to go through the house and declutter. It may be a bit late for me to join in the 30 Day Declutter mentioned on A Thrifty Mrs blog and I may have a job on my hands trying to find 90 items due to having a big clear out at the beginning of October but I'm sure if I rope the boys in and I sort through the whole house, we can create some well needed space in time for Christmas.

The New Visitor


Today I tried out a new recipe using damsons as I still have bags of them in the freezer and need the space plus I think we have enough jam to last us a year. I made damson cobbler using this recipe. It looks OK but as I don't like damsons I'll have to wait for my food testers, my husband, dad and son to try it for their verdict on taste.

While I was tidying the kitchen I spied our new visitor. We have had a squirrel visit the garden every day for about a week. After living here for eight years and only seen one in the garden once before, I don't know why this one has become a bit of a regular visitor. Not that I mind, I went and bought some nuts for him so you would think he would let me take a few snaps in return but this chap doesn't hang about.  I've tried creeping up on it to take photos but I don't stand a chance,it's far too fast for me so today I ran upstairs to take one of it. He seems to be doing quite a bit of digging around in the borders so I wonder if he's hiding his food stash for over Winter.

Growing Up too Fast

Last week I enrolled Little L in one of our local pre schools. When I rang to enquire about places at the school, the woman sounded a bit shocked that I hadn't put her in a school already. As she has already turned three, she is one of the older children attending. This is mainly due to rules being changed for pre schools where children still in nappies can attend. The reason why Little L isn't already in a school is that she is going to be one of the youngest children in her school year and will be aged four for most of the year and I didn't want her to spend most of her toddler years in a pre school.

Anyway last week I took her for a session and stayed to make sure she was OK. She took her favourite doll, George, with her ( he goes everywhere ) which caused a bit of friction as some of the other children tried to take him off her but other than getting upset about that she was fine.

Today was the first time I left her and I think I was more upset than she was. We had come to an agreement that George was to stay at home and I was to look after him. I didn't know what to do when I got back home. I popped the telly on just to make some noise, made some biscuits and just watched the clock until it was time to collect her and time seemed to go extra slow this morning. One of the assistants said Little L settled in OK and joined in with more things on this session.

Here she is flat out with George after an exhausting morning.

Reusing Crayons

Yesterday on the Salamander Dreams blog Amy posted about recycling crayons. I've never tried this before and knew that Little L had lots of broken crayons in her pencil case. For the mould I just used a cake tin which I use for small cakes.

Now they won't get any marks for looks and I did chip them a bit removing them from the mould but Little L was pleased with her new crayons. I think these will be much better for her to hold due to the shape and less chance of her snapping them because they are quite chunky.

They are so quick and easy to make, I don't know why I haven't tried it before.

First Timer

Last night was Little L's first time trick or treating. It was also the first time we have put up our Halloween decorations since she was born as the boys have sort of grown out of it.  We didn't put them all out as she was frightened by some of the things, spiders and body parts mainly. Little L was so excited all day and had her costume ready first thing in the morning. Here she is in her Sully suit ( which was actually my youngest boy's first trick or treating outfit ).

She really enjoyed herself although there were a couple of houses that she didn't want to get to close to as she thought the Halloween decorations were too scary. One house had a life size animated figure by the door, that really scared her and she didn't stop talking about it all night. To be honest I wasn't that keen on it myself. As soon as we were home she started discussing what she would like to be next year, so far it's a werewolf.

Tutorial Sites

I have looked around the internet for tutorials of how to make this and that plus recipes for ages now, which is how I stumbled upon the world of blogging in the first place. I used to bookmark any tutorials which I liked the look of and if I found myself keep getting drawn back to the blog I'd follow it. Lately I've been looking more at tutorial sites, I could just click my way through all the categories for hours,oohing and ahhing at other peoples creations.

Craftgossip is the first one which took my fancy. Not only does it have absolutely tons of tutorials, they also do book/product reviews plus lots of giveaways. You can also submit your tutorial to be featured on Craftgossip.

Cut Out and Keep is a place for sharing tutorials which are put on the site and not through links. I like that anything which catches your eye can be favourited so you can use it at a later date.

I only stumbled across Freubelweb recently as I was curious as to where some of my blog traffic was coming from. After investigating, I found a lovely tutorial site and through the site found

diy:LIVLIG. As well as tutorials on here, there as lots of links for tutorials on other blogs. I only happened to find this one today so I know that I'll be doing alot of clicking yet to look at everything.
What are your favourite kind of sites or what keeps you looking through the wonderful world of blogs far longer than you intended to ?

A Nice Surprise

Yesterday while reading through some of my favourite blogs I discovered that I'd won my first ever give away. I was so excited I couldn't wait to pounce on my husband the minute he walked through the door from work to tell him my news. My prize was this fabulous collection of patterns designed by Julia of handknittedthings.

I love them all and don't know which to start first. What I do know is I'll be off to do a spot of wool shopping this week. If you like the look of these patterns they are available to purchase from the handknittedthings shop as well as some ready knitted items.
Thank you again Julia. It made my day, it was like being given an early Christmas pressie.

Christmas Bunny

This is what I have made this week, a Christmas bunny decoration. I know that rabbits aren't a creature traditionally associated with Christmas but I love them. The pieces that I used for the rabbit are at the bottom of the post.

A bell, pom pom or button to add to the hat - (The bell I used on mine was originally on a chocolate bunny)


I placed my rabbit pieces in position on to the felt I choice as my background colour. I used a dab of craft glue to keep them in place.

The pieces were stitched in place using tiny straight stitches.

Next embroider on the rabbit's face.

I then cut around the rabbit leaving a small edge of the background felt. With the same felt which was used as a background, cut out a matching shape and sew the two pieces together, inserting a small length of ribbon at the top for hanging. Slightly stuff before closing up.

Bobble Crochet Pillowcase Edge

I love bobble edge trim and wanted to try and replicate a bobble edge using crochet. I'm sure there must be another way of making a crochet bobble but this is the only way I know.

Foundation Row  Edge the pillowcase using blanket stitch, 1cm down from the edge and the stitches 1cm apart

Join the wool in to a blanket stitch using sl st

Make bobble - Ch4, 3tr (leaving the last loop from each tr on the hook), pull wool through all 4sts, ch4, sl st in to htr.

Row 1  - 3dc in to each blanket stitch, join the row end with sl st

Row 2 - 4ch, skip 2dc, htr in next dc, * 2ch, skip 2dc, htr in next dc. Repeat from * to end, sl st in ch2 of beg 4ch.

Row 3 - Ch4, 3tr (leaving the last hoop of each tr on the hook), pull wool through all 4sts, ch4, sl st into beg of 4ch, * 2 sl st across 2ch, sl st in to htr, 2 sl st across 2ch, sl st in to htr and make bobble. Repeat from * to end. Fasten off with sl st.

Noel Hearts

I've finished these hearts off just in time for when my Mum nips here for a brew and natter after work. My Mum loves Christmas and I made these with her in mind. The free tutorial can be found here. There are more tutorials and recipes plus lots of lovely photos on Cherry's blog so it might be worth a visit if you have not popped over there before.

Fourteen Years Ago Today

I can't believe it was 14 years ago today on a very foggy evening, that my first born made his appearance into the world .

Where has this cheeky little chap disappeared to? The years have gone far too quick.

Unfortunately his Birthday has fell on a school day so he has tried to swindle a day off ... nice try . Instead he has put in a request for a chocolate cake so that is what me and Little L will be up to later.

Winter House

This week I have been making more of these Christmas trees which I made last year and this little winter house decoration.

All the pieces are cut from felt and sewn together using tiny straight stitches. Seed beads were sewn on to look like snow. A small length of ribbon was inserted at the top for hanging and it was slightly stuffed before closing. The pieces I made for the house are below.

Chocolate Pizza

Last Friday evening the children made a chocolate pizza. I had seen one being make on a food programme so bought some ingredients and let the children have a go.

 This is what they used for their pizza -
Ready made pizza base
Chocolate, white, plain and milk
Toffee sauce
Digestive biscuits, crushed.

I part cooked the pizza base before I let the children loose on it as I knew the chocolate wouldn't take too long to melt.The children broke all the chocolate up and sprinkled it on the base along with some marshmallows. The base was then popped in the oven for a couple of minutes for the chocolate and marshmallows to melt. When the pizza was ready it was topped with toffee sauce and sprinkled with the digestive biscuits.
As much as I love chocolate, the pizza didn't appeal to me. I think it was a bit too chocolately looking. Everybody else said it was nice, though youngest lad said that it gave him a dry throat.

Crochet Kitties And Fighting Bugs

This last week I have mainly been fighting bugs off. A lot of lounging and soup eating was done as every one in the house fell victim to coughs, colds and sore throats but we are all slowly getting back to our usual selves.

Over the past couple of days I made these crochet kitties. The pattern was a free one found on Ravelry by Stina Berggren. The pattern name is Kitty Coin Purse. The size is ideal for a mobile phone so I made 3 for my youngest son and his friends and 2 which I filled with a bit of stuffing and sewed the end up to make a little square cat.

To cheer myself up because I was bug ridden I bought this book, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I was Christmas shopping on a book site at the time and I can't help popping myself one in the basket. I love watching Triple D and seeing the restaurant owners cook. I think its because we don't have anything like it round here. All we have is the usual big name fast food chains and I would have to be paid to eat the muck they sell. It may be a bit difficult to find some of the ingredients in the book in one of our supermarkets as they are American but there are afew online sites which ship American food in the UK and looking through them, the ingredients won't be too hard to find. I can't wait now to get my taste buds back so I can try some of the recipes out.

I hope everyone has a great weekend.
( Still having comments problems so thank you to Val, Tracy and Linda for the comments on my last post )