Friday, 20 March 2015

Ten Things.......

Thing One: 

I realise that if I put my mind to it, ignore my children for 2 days (save stick a bit of food in front of them 3 times a day and nod my head when they talk) I can get 60 sunshine day motifs made. Score. Granted, my eyes are a bit boggly, and my fingers are happy for a rest, but that's a mammoth motif session. My blanket might actually be ready by Easter, and at a size I am sort of happy with.

Thing Two:

I have yet another cold and I am like a bear with a sore head. They are a waste of time. End of.

Thing Three:

I realise I don't have a great memory.

Thing Four:

I am loving the magical properties of a Hoodie. I have NEVER been a hoodie wearer. Last month, as I was leaving the house to do a school run, I realised I had walked out of the house without a coat, and it was a tad chilly. Running late I grabbed the first thing off the hook, which was a hoodie. It was HUGE on me but the colour was 'winterberry' (if you are a big 'Friends' fan you'll get it) so I thought it didn't look too out of place on me. Actually, it was brand new and the fleecy lining inside was snug and cosy. I did the school run and on the way home popped into my local shop to pick up some food with Baby Bear. A bottle of wine was in amongst my groceries, and I was promptly asked for ID. I thought they were joking, and laughed a bit, until they just sat there waiting for me to produce some sort of ID. I thought it must be the hoodie. The snugness factor of said hoodie has meant I have adopted it, on 2 other occasions I have bought food with an age related product in my shopping basket, I have been asked for ID. This is one magical hoodie.Who'd have thought, all that face cream buying over the years, and all you need to do to knock 15-20 years off your age is buy a hoodie. I'm sold.

Thing Five:

I am loving fake candles. As an avid candle burner, I do worry about naked flames. I was over at my mums recently and she had some candles burning. I commented on how nice they looked and she told me they were fake ones. They looked so real and so cosy on. I found some and I think I might have to add to the collection. They are timer ones. They come on at 5pm and go off at 11pm daily. I don't have to worry about naked flames or leaving the room. They look so real, a couple of times my heart has been in my mouth when I have seen my mothers day cards close to them, then I remember it's 'A' okay. Who knew fake candles were my newest love?

Thing Six:

I've been feeling very mercurial recently.

Thing Seven:

Having thoughts about my blog space here. One minute stick with it, the next, lay it to bed, see.... mercurial. I always thought it would be a lovely thing to revisit in years to come. To remember the lovely bits of life amongst the not so lovely. I remembered when I was a kid and had diaries, I did the same thing, then re-read them a year or two later and chucked them in the bin. A waste of writing time. All rather boring. I wonder if I am heading the same way here. Blog wobbles.

Thing Eight:

I've discovered Rhubard and Custard  Jam. My taste buds screen 'more more more', my waistline screams 'are you kidding me?'

Thing Nine:

I went to a shop this morning and was given a free coffee. That was nice I thought. I then picked up a beautiful bunch of flowers, and the flower lady gave me a free same bunch to go with them. What a sweetheart. Then I saw a pretty crochet blanket. It was totally my style, and it was ready made........... and I happened to have it was technically free. What a nice start to the day. Things like that don't happen to me. I forget......maybe I was wearing the magic hoodie???????

Thing Ten:

Nothing beats a good drink, a bit of crochet, and an itunes list of all your favourite songs at the same time. NOTHING.


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Blissful Stupor......

These past couple of weeks have been rather lovely. I spent the first week walking around in a blissfully dreamy kind of stupor. I had ideas. Lots of them.

The sun has shone a lot too these past couple of weeks.

Oh it has been lovely.

I have mixed mundane, with dreams. When I get weeks like that, all the days just melt into each other, and I seem to 'float' along. Sounds incredibly weird doesn't it. It's hard to describe. I'm full of ideas, and dreams at the moment. I'm so deep in their thought that the days are just skipping past me without me actually engaging fully in them. Okay, let me stop now, before you think I'm totally bonkers. Anyway, suffice to say, it has been a nice couple of weeks. Gentle. Warm. Beautifully pleasant. Wonderfully ordinary.

I have finished my little footstool. I LOVE it. Needless to say, it was finished 30 seconds when Baby Bear put it to use. He thinks it's awesome. Just the right size for him to sit on and draw at the coffee table. His favourite little spot. Glad someone else likes it. It will be a well used little stool.

The sun shines on my bed in the mornings. It has been a nice place to be for a few minutes (whilst waiting for the wash loads to be done). A coffee, a pad and pen and some crochet. The sun on me, a feeling of warmth and what is to come, weatherwise, in the months ahead. Exciting.

I have faffed about trying to organise myself. Labels here and labels there. It's fun.

Middle Bear enjoyed becoming a year older these past couple of weeks too. I must admit, I'm not so enthusiastic. Where does the time go? My babies are growing up. Sigh.

Amongst other things, I have been searching paint colours this week. I want to paint my living room. It's currently a grey/blue. Farrow and Ball's 'Skylight'. I'm ready for a change. I'm ready for a different feel. I thought I knew what I wanted, but this week, it seems all up in the air again. So I have spent a lot of time thinking about what direction I go in and looking at paint samples. The walls will still be a shade of blue. I'm torn between soft or egg.........more green.......or more blue/grey? I'm done with florals......for now I think. I'm torn between 3 fabrics for curtains. Each one would create a totally different look and feel to the room. I cannot decide. I flit back and forth. I also bought shelving, but it's contemporary. I'm not convinced it's right however much I love it. Although Big Bear has his eye on it, so it will be put to good use either way. My dresser needs sanding and re-painting. Years of toy bashing has meant it is in need of some tlc and new knobs. A job for the summer months.......I cannot decide on colour.......ivory or white? Utility china stay or be gone? Sofa cushions to be made, colour choices? Furniture to paint, things to spray. Lots to do. Decisions decisions. But ones I love making. The trouble for me is that I love so much. I don't have a particular style. I often wish I did. I love everything. It all goes in. It looks messy. It looks lived in. It's the window into my head. Chaotic. Overflowing. I'll start with the wall colour I think. That will decide on what curtains to go for, which will then decide what colours I choose to make my sofa cushions in. Ooooh I like it, I have just made a semi sort of plan! woo hoo!

I have got to grips with the new family computer and set it just how I like it. Most importantly I have transferred over my music. For a couple of days it was so silent in the house.....and whilst I LOVE silence.......I NEED music in my life. It's a massive part of my life. I have been able to hoover whilst listening to 'Crash' by the Primitives. I look ridiculous, as I go all stupid when I have the hoover and music like that. But it's funny, and that makes the mundane so much more enjoyable. If the older Bears' are around, they roll their eyes. I have reached the stage to them when I am a total embarrassment. Ahhhhh love 'em! It has to be done.

I have enjoyed copious cups of tea and coffee and I have lovingly pawed over a new stash of cook books.

I have also enjoyed magazine reading........

The GoRgEoUs Ayda always inspires.

So there we go. My head has been in the clouds. Full of ideas. Lots to think about. Lots to make me giddy with excitement. Lots to clutter up my already cluttered head. But it's all good.......and the sun has been shining.

Have a super rest of a week all


Friday, 27 February 2015

This Week......

....has been a little hurried.....but not as hurried as I thought it was going to that was a bonus.

It mainly consisted of getting back into the school and house routine.

I don't really do New Year's Resolutions, but I did decide it was about time I gave my house an overhaul. Sadly, it's in need of a LOT of tlc. You do one thing, and it's the case of flowers on the windowsill. I'm tackling storage issues at the moment. I'm a magpie, a gatherer (I hate the word Hoarder). I live in a little house, and the Bears are getting bigger. It was only ever meant to be a stop gap house, but it's been a little more than that. So, it's small for us all now, but now is not the time to think about moving when the elder Bears' are starting a critical schooling period. So, I make do, and juggle stuff around. Ikea has been a blessing in the storage tub department. I did come back with a bed too though. That was a tad unexpected. So was the sofa cover, minus the sofa (I couldn't fit a bed and a sofa in my car). That's ok though, it just calls for another trip!

Geez, I really do have a lot of crap. Nice crap though, that I cannot bear to part with. Urgh, I'm useless. I have donated about 8 huge bags to charity shops in the last month, and I feel a bit pleased about that. I asked the Bears what they would like different in the house if I was to re-decorate. Weirdly they said they liked the house as it was. So, it's not all bad then. I think just moving a few bits, storing a few bits, slopping a bit of paint here and there and things can carry on as normal.

In between all this, I did mundane stuff like iron. It's a job I really really LOATHE. I don't find it therapeutic, I find it a complete time waster (like dusting). But I did it. A MASSIVE basket of it, and for one teensy tiny moment, I felt like a domestic goddess, instead of a cleaning loser.

I'm that sad that I stick a pic of all my hours work here too. I seriously was proud of myself for sticking with it! 

The weather has been a mixed bag this week. Bright sunshine one moment, and dark grey clouds the next.

This week, the family computer was updated.Whilst I love new technology, I like what I'm used too. New updated versions of everything annoy me. I'm having trouble commenting on peoples posts, and it's such a faff to work out why. I'm not geek minded at all. Oh well, it gives me a chance to have a play.

I have been enjoying having an endless jug of flowers in my house this year so far. Mainly Daffs and Hyacinths.

The pale pink Hyacinths on my Mantel faded so, a Hyacinth bulb and some Narcissi have gone up.

I do have a lovely little pot of hyacinths and tulips bringing me delight. I keep moving them about the rooms. It's amazing how just a few flowers can lift one so much. They seem to be relatively cheap at the moment too.

Baby Bear made my heart sing when he handed me his picture. He told me that he loves how I make the Mantel different (it's often a thing we do together, he's like my little artistic director) and he thought he'd draw the Mantel that day. 

Awe bless him.

I have enjoyed kitchen time. I love it in my little kitchen when the sun shines.

I am currently liking pink and aqua/mint together.

I am loving little additions to the kitchen too, like sheep. Something rather cute about this one.

I love sorting, and noticing. I love bright and cheerful. I like chunky and necessary also.

I like the useful too....

I have been loving making bread. Or should I say 'trying'. I have been trying different methods. Some work and some don't.

I really wanted this one to work here but I just am not getting any results from it. It's not rising. Tastes decent enough and not heavy which is weird for it not rising really. I wonder if it's my conversions. I find it really hard to convert USA cup sizes to UK metric/imperial. There are sites that convert things but I find it a tad confusing. I'm guessing if it says one cup of flour and one cup of sugar for example, you measure in the same cup measurement. If you convert that on a chart it's different weights in grams but I guess it's just done in cups. I know I sound like a complete thicko, but I don't get the accuracy. Well, something is going wrong my end. I've found, actually doing the suggested ingredients from my bread maker pamphlet in my bread maker is working well. I don't like bread made in bread makers. I find the tin sizes annoying, and hate how it bakes with the dough hook in the loaf. Most bread makers can do the first bit for you and then you just do a last prove yourself and bake it yourself. That seems to work well for me. It takes two and a half hours from start to finish. I really quite fancied a loaf in an hour! Really just because I'm lazy. It's not like it's difficult to put the ingredients in a bread maker and then just leave it for an hour and a half.

I still am determined to make a loaf without any help form my bread maker. I shall carry on testing recipes.

Whilst the sun has shone I have been sorting in my little kitchen. It has been a lovely little spot to be in this week.

I have even managed a little bit of relax time. In between wash loads and ironing, my treat for doing it was something naughty and a good hot cuppa. Mundane simply has to be equalled with something lovely for me. I remember being at Uni and having to write a dissertation on Greek Mythology. It wasn't a module I really wanted to do, but I had to fit it around my teaching modules which sucked at the time. Anyway, I remember wondering how on earth I was to write so much on something that I didn't want to do. So, I decided every 500 hundred words, I would stop for a really nice drink and treat to reward myself. That way, it all sort of equalled itself out. In twenty years, nothing has changed it seems.

Also, This week has been a week of creative juices flowing. Oh my, I have so many ideas of things that I want to start or try. It's that nice exciting time, when you just buzz buzz buzz. Also annoying, as I have that excited nervous energy feeling. It's hard to concentrate when I have that. Also annoying, that suddenly I have all these ideas and I want to start them all.

I'm still researching yarn for when I make the 'proper' Bella Wrap. Now I know I can do it, I'm trying to find the 'right' shade of natural to make it in first. No yellowy hue in sight. I like Drops Andes for coloured ones.

I'm still plodding on with the Sunshine Day Blanket, but it is slow going this week. I have made progress on my footstool.

The black shiny fabric that was under the black crochet cover was covered over with a bit of calico. Big staplers are great things for work like this (not great if your youngest decides to check it out and staple your table). 

Of course it had to be pink didn't it. A dirty pink, my favourite shade of pink. I thought it goes so nicely with the lovely bare wood of the little legs. I did think that blue/grey would be nice also (in the background). A little cushion project that was never finished as I ran out of yarn, but I think it could work well too. I may just mix and match when the mood takes me. Hopefully the pink cover should be finished by tonight. Better than the black crocheted cover it came with. 

I also couldn't resist these balls from my local shop. Aren't they delicious? The mottled ones are Drops Fabel in shades 800 and 801, and the mauve one is Drops Baby Alpaca in shade 4314. I'm still in layering mode and thinking these would make super wrist warmers (like I need any more). This shade of mauve is about the only purpley/lilacy shade I can work with (it's a little pinker than the actual pic). I particularly love it teamed with deep forest greens and dark olives. I'm thinking on a Bella Wrap in those shades, so mauve wrist warmers should compliment it well! 

I also have plans for more embroidery. One is a big project, but I like the idea of doing it. Not sure that if I do it, I'll have anywhere to hang it in my little abode, but I think I'll love working on it. The other is a smaller project. The idea is whirring fast in my head, and I'm loving thinking about it.

This year too, I am planning to get to know my sewing machine a little better. I have a dress I want to make. It'll take a mountain of practice. With crochet, I wanted to learn it just to make a granny squares blanket. Nothing else interested me, it was just one simple blanket. I wanted to learn crochet, make the blanket, and then move on to learning another craft. Seven years later, and I haven't yet moved on. The same may be said with sewing. I want to learn to sew, simply to make a particular dress......and an A-line skirt. Two things, if I can master and make, then I should be happy enough to move on. Let's see if that's the case.

So, it's been a making, baking, clearing, sorting, ideas buzzing kind of week. 

A happy one.

I'll take that.

I'll also take another slice of warm bread. The buzzer has just gone. The Bear's are not going to get a look in. Somebody stop me, I'm outta control............

Have a super weekend all


Saturday, 21 February 2015

Indulgence, WIP's and a Ta-Dah........

I have had been waiting for this Half Term for quite some time. Life has been REALLY busy over the past 6 months. I haven't really stopped. I've lost my weekends for the time being, so I don't get a day where I'm not up really early and rushing about. I had been waiting......longing......for a week where I could have a few lazy mornings, and a few days to just potter.......and be.

I sort of realised that it was probably going to be a bit of an indulgent week. A week full of naughty treats and sneaky bites.

Well, bread has been made.......a lot. No Pics for that. It didn't last long enough. Warm bread needs to be buttered and eaten fairly quickly in this house. 

I have been trying out different methods. Some have worked.....some have not. We have all eaten a lot of bread this week. I think I have grown twice as wide in seven days, but hey ho, I didn't really want to care.

Lattes. I LOVE them. Warm and frothy. Keeping chills at bay, and feeling very relaxed. A fair few have been made and lovingly sipped. It's been so nice to just silent......sip.......and think. 

Eeek, scones and clotted cream popped into my grocery basket. My excuse was that I had so many little jam pots to use up (I need the jam jars for a crafty project I'm planning later on in the year). Really indulgent and naughty......but super nice.

It has also been a week for finishing things, carrying on with things, and making plans.

So my Ta-dah.......

Well, that's my Block Scarf

Just a simple shell pattern scarf. I wanted a bit of texture instead of flat lines, and I just wanted blocks of colour. I had seen a picture of some bedding on Pinterest here in shades of pink, ochre, white and brown. I thought they were such a nice combination, that I took inspiration and ordered some Drops Cotton Merino in shades 01 (white) 05 (powder pink) 12 (brown) and 15 (mustard).

I used 50g each of white and brown. 100g of mustard and about 75g of pink.

The yarn is simply gorgeous to work with. It was so soft, you almost couldn't feel it gliding through your fingers. It was the first time I had used it, and I shall definitely be using it again in other projects. The colour range is nice, and the colours themselves in the yarns are lovely. It's not the best picture, granted, but maybe if you look super hard, you can see there is a slight dimension in the colour. It almost could look a little speckled. The cotton thread is slightly noticeable running through the wool...and it's really pretty.

I made it really quite long in length, as I like to be able to wrap my scarves around the neck twice. It's lovely and soft and warm too.

So, another make ticked off.

I have spent a lot of the week, bed lounging. For me, it's the ultimate indulgence. It's also a safe place to retreat to when the Bears are home and taking over the whole house. It's my little space to be quiet, lay all my projects all over the bed. Sit with a cuppa and ponder over crafting stuff.

I told myself that I couldn't start on anything new until I had finished the Sunshine Day Blanket. It was my intention to carry on with it towards the latter part of the half term break. However, my mind is flitting here, there and everywhere. I bought a great little stool this week. Cheap and cheerful with wooden little legs and a toadstool type cushioned seat pad. Fabulously, it already came with a crocheted cover, but alas, it was black.........and I struggle with black for the most part (except weirdly, I'm becoming really attatched to the idea of a big wall of black ikea ribba frames, and I have just bought a black storm lantern). Maybe there will be a slight turn around like my loathing of pumpkin orange.

Anyway, I digress. I found some gorgeous pink chunky yarn in my sort out this week, and  MAN ALIVE, it was perfect for a stool makeover. I think it was wendy Mode chunky yarn. As soon as I discovered it, they discontinued it. Argh, the perfect pink in a chunky yarn, HOW COULD THEY DO THAT?

So, my head is thinking a nice new pink cover that would compliment the chunky little wooden legs well.

Also, this week, on my Ikea visit, I picked up a handy little big french style raffia bag for £2. IT's very handy, but it's very head is thinking cross stitching on the front to cheer it up. I've got a pattern ready to embroider, I just need to make time for it now.

I picked up a lovely little vintage eiderdown a few weeks back from my local antique shop. A paisley print in duck egg blue was just what I had been searching for. It was a steal too. I was a little 'Phoebe' when I saw it, and whispered to thank the eiderdown gods for throwing it my way that day!

I figure though, that, it should sit with something to compliment it. I'm thinking a ripple in the same shades. It's my mission to get some colour matches and then make a start.

But, although my head is craftily racing with idea after idea, I need to concentrate on the Sunshine Day Blanket, and push to get it finished. I love how this blanket is coming on. The bright colours pop against the mid grey, but I got so disheartened after realising that when I thought I was almost finished, turned out I was only halfway done. I need to gee myself up again to just go for it.

I ADORE these little Motifs

And a sock photo bomb because it was quite clearly a pink and grey day for me.

This week has been much needed. I have felt relaxed. I have pottered, and I have seriously indulged. It has all been much needed though. Come Monday, things go back to being rushed and hurried.....and OH MY WORD I need to be good on the food front!

I shall have lovely memories to carry me through though, and nice makes to have shown for it. What more can I ask for?

Happy Weekend All


P.S. Thank you for all your kind messages with regards to my Bella Wrap make. I know that some of you had trouble accessing the pattern on Belinda's site, but if you didn't catch my edited bit on the last post, it is up there again for sale as an instant PDF digital download. I know a lot of you loved the pattern too. I know also, that some of you lovely peeps thought I was a tad harsh on my comments of the stylecraft yarn. I am an advocate of acrylic yarn. I make big blankets, and I would be bankrupt if I only used the expensive stuff. I know that Lucy from Attic24 uses it for her blankets and highly recommends it. I haven't really worked with stylecraft yarn much, as my local yarn shops don't stock it. I have used a couple of balls of DK for projects for others and it has been fine. I mix and match my acrylic yarns, as, I have said before, I have found that different dyes can affect the feel and look of the yarn, even in the same brand style. It could well be that this colour way in this super chunky yarn was not its best one in the range. I'm all for  seeing and feeling the WHOLE colour range. Yet, I stand by what I said. I wouldn't recommend this colour and yarn for this project. My own personal opinion. I'm sure others may use and think it's terrific. Good job we are all different. What a boring place it would be if we weren't!