Wednesday 29 August 2018

Messy Bun Hat

This is a great little crochet make for on the go. It is a messy bun hat with a hole in the top. I have made it for Little M's best friend for her birthday. She sports a brilliant messy bun all the time. I have a feeling I might have to make another couple of these and master my own version of a messy bun!

The wool is just a ball of acrylic aran worked on a 4.5 hook from this pattern. There is a video to go with it if you are a beginner.

At the end of every other row you make a stitch in a hair band. You can add a button or a flower or a bow. I made a freeform flower which I was pleased with.

Thanks for dropping in, I feel a bit like I am dropping in on my own blog at the moment! Busy, Busy... Jo xx

Friday 24 August 2018

Make a School Satchel

This is an epic make; a project of crafting proportions which I really enjoyed. I wanted to make a bag for my Big Girl who is going to Secondary School in September. 

 The pattern is called the Barcelona Bag from SusieDDesigns on Etsy but you could download any satchel style bag from the internet. The cutting out alone took a whole afternoon. It was advised to label all the pieces so I DID!

The fabric is grey denim with a combination of cotton fabric from the Camelot Fabrics Drops Coraline Quilting Fabric collection. I used one metre of denim and two fat quarters of each patterned fabric. I had a lot of denim left over, more on that later. Other specific haberdashery was required: thread, belt rings, interfacing, needlework plastic canvas and fusible fleece. I already had a nice recycled satchel strap.

I took my time with this make. It has been made in little stages since June. The pattern is in small steps which I crossed off as I went along ensuring that it was made properly.

Bag making is good for my instruction following skills. A successful bag is made in the right order, no going off piste or making it up as you go along. 

There were lots of little details: pockets inside and out, top stitching on the strap, strap ring and fusible fleece padding. The plastic in the base really gave it strength.

A new school bag satchel for my big girl, starting big school. 

I thought it would be too small but A4 books fit into it easily.

The denim gives it strength and the strap is comfortable.

The fusible fleece really adds to the professional finish on the pocket front and adds strength to the whole bag.

Internal pockets have little hiding places to stop things getting lost. She really likes it and her house colours are navy and light blue - I didn't even know that when I picked out the fabric. To top it off Bloke said, "did you make that bag or buy it?" Perfect!

Thanks Minerva for some top quality supplies.

Jo xxx

Monday 20 August 2018

Just stuff

This post it a little random, you know, just the ramblings of a woman out of routine with children at home on Summer holidays and a  bloke starting a new job on shifts. Just a general fuzz of too much stuff to do and so little time to do it in. Anyway, here is what we have been randomly up to:

Crocheting and listening to my ipod at Cardingmill valley. The weather was variable in a kind of Irish weather way: windy, drizzle, baking sunshine, humid and cloudy all in two hours. I watched the girls and my God daughter play in the depleted stream. There was barely a trickle due to the early summer heat wave but they made a dam to get a pool to play in.

Going to the farm to check progress on our house build. If we don't go to the farm, the girls don't see their dad! He is working very hard both in his new job and at the farm at weekends. This has a knock on effect for me because I am single handely running a shabby household 24/7 and trying to go to work myself while the girls want to do other stuff.

It was a good day to go and find Bloke yesterday, the weather was settled and the view from the house was mighty fine. It was good to see the Stone Masons at work on the front of our house.

We have an ongoing house building job - my dad bought these tiles three years ago for 99p on ebay and there is enough from a rough estimate to tile a room in our house - we just don't know which one yet! My dad made piles of building materials he bought in this way but now that he is not here we don't know what they were all intended for. 

We need to count and dress them. The girls were little stalwarts on the wire brushes. I tapped the cement off the back with a hammer. We lasted just over an hour but then I started wondering who is going to feed these children and what can I cook them when I am eight miles from home at 4:30pm? We all ended up in an Indian restaurant.

My crafting is at a crossroads or possibly a roundabout. I keep going round and round different projects but not really getting stuck into any of them. I have two baby vests, a hat, a jumper and a blanket on the go. The Beatnik jumper is a slow burner but I have just about got the hang of the pattern but I can only do it when there is no one else in the house. One call of "Mum!" or "could you just..." and my concentration is broken.

I am making a couple of quick crochet boys tank tops because we have been invited to two christenings in September, one of which we are God parents. I like making gifts for friends and family. I will buy two little shirts to go under them.

These teeny tiny squares are made when my mind is numb and I can't follow a pattern. They are a bit like eating crisps - you just make one more, then one more...oh go on, another one....etc.

I am aware I sound out of sorts. I am. I am longing for my term time routine. There are some nice events and things on the horizon though so I am trying to focus on those. Anyway we all went to the Zoo today to get out of the house. I must say it was fun.

Jo xxxx

Thursday 16 August 2018

Crochet Bunny

Here is a new creation: a crochet bunny. It used up some of the Drops Muskat cotton yarn left over from a baby blanket. I forgot how much counting was involved with toy making but I pressed on. Making two of something is not my forte. I go off piste all the time and then have to remember how to replicate what I have done for the other leg/arm/ear.

Anyway, it was fun to make and will make a lovely addition to the baby blanket gift.

Making the face for a toy is always a deal-breaker. This one is a better style than the one in the book but could be better; it is satisfactory even if he/she does look a little pensive.

The ears are really tactile, all soft and squidgy, due to the double layer of crochet and the addition of felt. 

I like his proportions and can imagine him being dangled from a toddlers small hand by either his arm or leg - but not his ear that would hurt him too much!

The pattern is from the DK book of bumper Crochet which was given to me in a bag of stuff the week I was trying to declutter but I couldn't resist keeping this versatile book of patterns and techniques - I have more ideas in the yarn bag.

Thanks for dropping by.
Jo xx

Sunday 12 August 2018


Making - An easy peasy crochet blanket from teeny weeny squares.

Eating - Wimbledon Cake: Genoese sponge, fresh cream and strawberries - Well done Big Sis a super light cake!

Growing - gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants,
courgettes, fennel and french beans.

Building - Taking delivery of lots of items for our new house: log burner, underfloor heating and a bathroom - but we don't have any windows!

Watching - My big girl get ready for Secondary School. She is keen, for now.

Loving - How much Big Sis loved her birthday presents. 

Disliking - Clutter!

Fixing - The back of the children's wardrobe and book case from over filling.

Getting - The children to sort out their stuff.

Considering - How much Little M has turned into a big girl, she doesn't seem so little now.
Enjoying - Dancing out with the Severn Sisters. I am at the back in Orange. 
Deciding - What to plant in the garden for late summer flowering.

Wearing - ALL of my summer clothes!

Buying - A new hair dryer before the other one burnt our house down. It was turning itself on and off on its own!

Wondering - How long the warm weather will last.

Thinking - About how much we enjoyed our beach break with family.

Wanting - To get back into scrap booking our family history. I have found some interesting documents in my dad's filing which I would love to record.

Feeling - Lighter with less stuff and objects to deal with.

Jo xxxx

Wednesday 8 August 2018

More Socks

Sock knitting has been well and truly nailed this year. It took me a long time to learn the craft of sock knitting but I am now the proud owner of four good pairs and have gifted many more.

These ones were made using one ball of Wendy Roam Fusion 4ply superwash sock yarn. I don't remember where I bought it but my guess is that I went into a new yarn shop somewhere, on holiday  perhaps, and wanted to support the shop owner in their woolly venture. Since knitting socks it has been great to be able to leave a shop with one ball of wool!

This is Christina's free sock pattern. I have knit three of her patterns now and they are so easy to follow. I got into the rhythm of the rib knitting which makes for a super-snug fitting cosy sock.

There are always things to improve and my kitchener stitch is still a bit knobbly at the corners but I will get there.

I love the yarn colour changes. I have made these a bit little longer than normal because I always have quite a bit of wool left over at the end. I am still getting a feel for how long I could make the ankles, I could easily go even longer.

I enjoyed finishing these off on holiday this week. Bit hot for socks though eh?

Thanks for dropping by. Jo xx

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Not so much on the making front this week folks. Just mahoosive amounts of decluttering and mindful recycling. I can't go to the tip anymore because it upsets me too much. People throw so much stuff away and for a fixer like me, it is too much for my heart to bear.

In this second week of the Summer holidays I promised the girls I would change around their room for them. There had been an escalation of bedtime bickering and I wanted to divide the room a little. This is what it looks like now. There was also a proviso for me in that they sorted out some of their stuff. It had got way out of control. They could no longer keep their room in order because they just kept rearranging the clutter - there needed to be less of it.

I went for the TV shock approach and asked them to put all their drawer and desk contents into plastic boxes and tip them out onto the dining room table. It worked. It was so overwhelming that they both wanted there to be less objects in their little lives. The children were asked to keep anything that would now fit into three drawers each. They did it with gusto egged on by milka chocolate breaks!

Both girls had physically outgrown a vintage desk given to us nine years ago and Heidi had been asking for a space for her sewing machine since Christmas. By chance I spotted a desk in a house clearance shop which just needed a little TLC. I struck a bargain of £30 if the guy delivered it, took away the old desk along with four infant sized chairs and a mirror which we had kicking around the house - all outgrown. He was delighted, I was delighted; I didn't have to go to the tip. 

Heidi enjoyed using the orbital sander to remove some marks and take down the colour a touch. She waxed it and I sprayed the knobs grey for her until we find some nice ceramic handles.

Other desks were jiggled around too. I now have my machine on a marble washstand that stood in the hallway which is actually a bit bigger and Megan has my old smaller wash table as her desk. 
We are all happy.

Outside of the girls bedroom declutter I have sold vinyl records: 2 Smiths albums were sold in a record shop for £30, I don't even have a turntable to play them on anymore! I have sold CD's, Books, weighed in textiles for recycling, given things to friends, taken bags to the charity shop, sold things on Ebay and I am happy that we only took three carrier bags to the bin. The house is breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Much more to go but gosh it feels good. We have sorted dressing up that doesn't fit anymore and there are more toys and books from their toddler years to pack up. Heidi is starting secondary school in September and I have just payed an extortionate amount of money for her new school uniform. My little money pot, which got to just over £100 from recycling, has gone towards this. We have enough school uniform from Primary school to open a shop! This pile needs sorting into a few things to keep for Meg and other items for like minded second hand friends. 

Do you love a good sort out? 

Not very exciting today but thanks for dropping in. Jo xx