Baby Blackbirds

For the past month or so we have been watching the comings and goings of a pair of blackbirds that chose to build a nest in a clematis right near our living room window.

As they were building the nest it was very visible as the plant hadn't yet started to bloom. It wasn't very high from the ground but luckily we don't have many cats passing through our garden. 

We kept our eye on the birds activity from eggs to little bald babies

and the cute fluffy stage. (I think they look like grumpy old men here).
 While I thought they were relatively safe from cats I noticed we were getting more visits from magpies and crows (there are more birds nesting in the hedges at the moment) so I kept coming out to shoo them off.

Only one day after that last photo they all left their nest and were hiding in various places near the back of our house. One hopped in to our kitchen and ended behind the freezer. As we were putting it back near the nest site the baby's chirping alerted the parents who then began the shout and swoop at us. The parents were still coming back to feed them yesterday but today there is no sign of any of them. It was nice to have them so close to the house and watch them grow.

Boston Terrier Cushion

This is the latest cushion that I have finished. It was going to be another rabbit one but I started again and chose the boston terrier as it is my favourite breed of dog.

The floral fabric was from the kidney shaped dressing table that I re-covered. This piece was underneath the glass top so wasn't faded or stained like the curtains. Being restricted to the fabric size, this cushion is slightly smaller than others I have made and measures approximately 12" x 12".

It was very quick to put together once I'd made a template but I spent a lot of time faffing around with the eyes. I had them closed then completely round before sewing them like this.

After looking at it for a week I decided to stitch around them with some white embroidery thread. 
Some of the changes I'd make to this if I were to start again are to reduce the size of the ears and make the face symmetrical. I think this is going to be one of my projects that I might hide away then take a look at in a couple of months to see if it has grown on me .. it sometimes works.

As Good As New

Yesterday I spent some time mending and altering one of my dresses. It is one that I have had for a couple of years but have only worn once as I ruined it the first time it was washed. 

After washing it by hand I threw it in the washer on a spin cycle and when it had finished all the buttons had been ripped off leaving holes down the front. They must have got caught in the holes on the washer drum as it was the only garment in there.

I used a strip of black grosgrain ribbon to cover the holes. (This can't be seen when it is buttoned up)

These gold buttons were the original ones on the dress but I replaced them with some flat black ones so hopefully I won't have a repercussion of the spinner incident.

I wasn't too keen on the sleeves so I unpicked those from the dress,  took the side seams in slightly then sewed a narrow double fold hem around the arm hole.

All I need now is a bit of sun shine.

Granny Square Baby Blanket

For the past couple of days I've been working on this baby blanket for one of my friends.

 It is a simple granny square edged in lemon with double layered flowers added to each corner. I used two 100g balls of white DK wool and roughly 60g of lemon DK wool. The blanket measures approximately 34in x 34in.

Precious Petals Beauty Box

Latest In Beauty and British Beauty Blogger have teamed up again to launch another fantastic beauty box. This box contains L'Occitane, Erborian and Melvita products. The latter two are also part of the L'Occitane group. I don't think I have heard of those brands before so I can't wait to try them.

I love the colour and floral design that has been used on the box.

The contents are - L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Hand Cream 30ml, L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil 75ml, L'Occitane Divine Cream 8ml, Erborian CC Cream 15ml, Erborian Carmellia Essence 3ml, Melvita Rose Floral Water 28ml and Melvita L'or Bio 17ml. There is also a £10 voucher for each of the brands included.
As the box only arrived this afternoon I've only had the chance to try out the Melvita items and from those two I do favor the body oil, it has the most lovely scent to it. 
The Precious Petals box can be purchased at Latest In Beauty priced at £20 free p+p. With the contents amounting to £61.50 if bought separately it really makes it excellent value for money.

You Beauty Box - May

Yesterday my You Beauty box was delivered, just the thing to brighten up a miserable rainy day. This is only the second time I've tried this box and I love it. It is the least expensive beauty box I have bought so far and it's contents make it very good value for money.

It is a subscription box which costs £6.95 free p+p - subscription may be cancelled at any time. You Beauty select a shortlist of products each month and as a member you can choose two to be put in your beauty box. As well as your two chosen items the box also includes a couple of samples, a booklet with information about that months shortlist products and some promotional codes.

The extra's this month were a popband, which I was delighted about as I use these to loosely tie my hair up in bed, a sample of VERSO Super Facial Serum and a £15 Anne Semonin gift card.

My first choice for this months box was this SHOW Pure Treatment Oil for hair (RRP £50). I love the packaging, the bottle reminds me of an old fashioned perfume bottle. It is suitable for all hair types and can be used on wet or dry hair. The oil strengthens and moisturizes the hair, smoothing and taming fly away hair.

The oil has a dropper dispenser which I didn't expect. As I've said before I'm always wary of trying new products on my curly hair. Bad results can go one of two ways, my hair could get a wet look to it, my curls go hard and crispy or my hair looks limp, a bit oily and my curls drop out.
I tried the oil on wet hair, applying just to the length, then clipped it up and left it to dry naturally. ( I clip it up because that way I don't just get curls at the bottom of my hair due to the weight ). I'm very pleased with the results from the SHOW oil. My hair was wonderfully soft and shiny, my curls big and bouncy. Its a fantastic product for my hair and as it is a 60ml bottle, it will last a long time.

My second choice was L'Occitane The Vert & Bigarade Eau De Toilette (RRP £8) simply because I love to try out new perfumes. It has a lovely fresh light scent, great for Summer but unfortunately after wearing I found it to be quite weak and could hardly smell it. This fragrance is also suitable for men so I know that one of the males in my house will use it instead.
I can't wait to see what the shortlist is for the next You Beauty box.

Doily Dream Catcher

I started to make this dream catcher quite a while ago after the outer ring of one of my embroidery hoops broke. The attachment for the screw completely split away from the wood but I kept the inner ring in case I could find a use for it. I'd seen lots of dream catchers on Pinterest using lace or doilies in the centre so I thought I'd try to make my own. 

 I gathered up some scraps of lace and ribbons,some fabric to cover the hoop and a doily ( I crocheted mine as I could not find one the right size to fit the hoop )

I cut some fabric in to strips, mine measured a little over an inch, and began to wrap around the hoop. The ends and any fabric joins were secured using a hot glue gun. During the wrapping my fabric began to fray slightly so I snipped off the threads.

Using crochet cotton I weaved through the edge of the doily and around the hoop. When I reached the end tied the cotton in a knot.

I then threaded the oddments of ribbon and lace through the bottom of the hoop. I also crocheted some chains, threading beads randomly as I went along and added some small tassels to the ends.
All finished.

Libbie Club - May Box

May's Libbie Club box arrived this week.

These are the three products that I've tested this month.

James Read Tan 
This is a transparent gradual spray tan. I've never used any kind of fake tan products in the past so I was a bit wary of trying it. My Mum in law (who has been using them for years) has been urging me to give them a go so with a bit of advice from her I tried it out on my legs. It was easy to apply even for a novice like myself and made no mess at all. I was pleased with the results and may actually be a fake tan convert.

Girl Meets Brush
A brand of make up brushes found by celebrity make up artist, Lynne Mills. I received a powder brush in my box which I was very pleased about as I've just thrown one of mine away due to it feeling a bit hard and stabby (it never felt right after I'd cleaned it). This one is a lovely soft, dense brush.

Chin Up 
This is non surgical face lift kit claims to shrink double chins, jowls and loose skin. The kit includes a tape measure, face masks and an elastic strap. A mask is applied to the bottom of your face then kept in place using the strap for 30 minutes. 
I'd love to say that I liked this product but unfortunately I didn't. I was expecting a tingling and warm feeling to the skin but what I experienced felt more like a burning sensation. I had to check under the strap to see if it was causing any skin reaction. After 20 minutes I had to remove it so I saw no results from using this.

Crochet Cover

This week I crocheted a simple slip on cover for one of the small stools that we have here. 

They were at my Grans house for years and when I was young I remember them being covered in a fine needlecord fabric, forest green with a ditsy flowers. When I was little my feet could not touch the ground when I sat on them so I used to drag them to one of the living room walls, scuffle my bottom on and lean on the wall. My Dad told me that my Grandparents acquired them when a pub up the road was being refurbished and he always remembers them being there so I don't know how old they are.
My Gran passed them on to my Mum who owned them for a few years then they were passed to me. During my Mum's ownership she reupholstered one of them.

 My Gran made the tapestry cover on the other sometime during the 80's and it badly wants sorting out but I'm not sure what fabric to use yet. 

This is why I wanted to make a cover, just to make it look a bit prettier for the time being (not that I will be seen as my husband uses it to dump his clothes on)

Anders offered to sand and stain the legs but I kind of like them looking battered and worn, they have always looked this way to me.

I crocheted the cover using two strands of DK wool and a 6mm hook. The pattern I used was this one from Dottie Angel's site.