Softplay and crochet lessons

Well I’d hoped that this Handmade Monday I’d be introducing you to a handmade baby but at 40+4, Peanut is still incredibly comfy and showing no sign of making an appearance.  Despite contractions that have been happening on and off since Tuesday it seems that I’ll be pregnant for a few more days at least.  Never mind, I won’t be pregnant forever and I’ll miss my bump once it’s gone.

So, in an effort to keep both myself and the children occupied I’ve been filling our days with all sorts of activities, one of those that I enjoy as I get to sit down and drink decaffeinated lattes and crochet is a lovely softplay.

Earlier in the week I’d gone through a few stitches with her and we’d tried the Lionbrand Gecko that I tend to use as a teaching tool so now we went to softplay armed with a magazine she’d bought, a hook and some yarn and she picked it up so quickly I was incredibly proud.  I can’t really explain the feeling I get when I teach people how to crochet or do other crafts, I’m proud of myself for being able to pass this skill on and so happy when the person finally clicks.  I suppose I get a bit of a big head really but crochet and crafting is such a big part of my life and gives me so much pleasure that knowing I’ve passed that onto someone else is a wonderful feeling.

Anyway, it didn’t take long for her to click with the pattern and after we’d done the first square together.  The pattern is from this weeks months Simply Crochet which has some adorable patterns in it this month, it’s the first time I’ve bought it but I’m definitely going to look at it again next month.

She’d purchased some lovely pink chunky yarn and fancied making this Sherbet Dip blanket by Nikki Trench who is a favourite designer of mine.  It’s a really simple pattern that’s incredibly similar to a granny square so it didn’t take long for us to both finish our first squares.  

Although at first, it was a bit problematic as it’s the first proper pattern she’s followed so she needed a snazzy chart to help her count the stitches.  As you can see, drawing charts isn’t my forte.

Mine and hers.  There is a little difference in size but her tension is very good. This was the only square I did, the rest is all her own work.

She tagged me in this picture on facebook yesterday to show her progress and I’m amazed.  She’s absolutely addicted and I can’t believe how many she’s made in such a short space of time.  Would you believe this blanket is for Lily, her spaniel pup!  All of this effort and she’s giving the blanket to a dog.  I’ve also introduced her to Ravelry and the amount of patterns she’s liked means that she’s now going to be busy every night for the next 20 years!

As a ‘well done’ gift I bought her some wool needles (I’ve always called them bodkins, does anyone else?) and some wool pins.  I’d mentioned that she’d need probably need some and she looked at me blankly so I thought I’d get her the ones that I tend to use by Pony. 
Earlier this week, she’d seen a Minion Hat I’d been making and said how much she loved the colour combination of bright yellow and blue, I couldn’t give her the needles and pins (Oh, there goes an earworm!) without something to store them in so I whipped up a quick needle case.  
I had some scraps of this fabric and I thought it contrast well with some bright blue cotton.

 I replicated the flower and swirl as best I could, added some bobble edging and a felt inner et voila!  It was so easy I almost feel silly writing a pattern for it but I need to practice putting patterns on Ravelry so I think I might have a go with this one.  It certainly would have been a good starter project for Laura to have a go on as it’s just rows and rows of double crochet then a circle.  If the baby doesn’t make an arrival I’ll definitely write up the pattern and put it here and on Ravelry.  
At the moment I’m finishing up an evil minion hat then I hope to have patterns and photo tutorials for that too.
If you’re popping over here from Handmade Monday do say hello.

Organising my home, organising my mind #1

I still haven’t found a new home for family Kitsch Stitch but it hasn’t stopped me making a start on the new little things that will make a big difference to organising my life.  

I’m trying to concentrate on storage (I need lots for the ever increasing crafting things and childrens toys) and keeping my organised as I’m guessing as a single Mother to 2 children and a newborn I’m going to need lots and lots of memory joggers.
One of the things I’ve had on my mind recently is something I’d seen on Pinterest, not as a blog just as a linked image so I can’t trace back the original creator.
I took an 8 aperture frame from The Range that was just under £10, a selection of patterned papers and cut them to the size of the individual frames.  After that I played about with a few different styles of writing and at the top of each sheet I wrote the days of the week on each piece of paper like this and went over it with a thicker marker pen.

Here they are all done (except Thursday, I noticed my mistake after I’d taken the photograph and the sun had gone).  Then I arranged them in the frame…

Et voila! It’s done, well, it’s almost done.  I haven’t finished the 8th aperture as I can’t decide if I should have an inspirational family quote, a family picture or if I should use the same paper to make a family tree with our names as the leaves.
I love the fact that you can use a white board marker on the glass and have an easy week to view by the front door and make it the last thing you look at as you leave the house.  Peanut is due a couple of weeks before school starts so hopefully, this way, homework and PE kits along with midwife visits and all of that palaver will be easily seen.  Also, Roux is becoming increasingly interested in what is happening on a day to day basis so this will be a way of showing him how our week is panning out and might stop the constant questions!  What do you think? What should the empty frame contain?
I’m linking up to Handmade Monday for the first time in a while so if you’ve come from there please do let me know x 

Handmade Monday

I’ve been taking part in Handmade Monday for the last few weeks and it’s been lots of fun looking at the various blogs taking part and seeing all the goodies they make.

This week, I’ve mainly been making things for a friend who is hosting a charity coffee morning in aid of the WRVS.  After reading the Handmade Harbour Blog this week and spotting the lovely Fabric and Pebble Hearts I decided it was time to stop looking at lovely sketchy/doodle stitched items on Pinterest and give them a go myself.

To start me off I had a go at a few hearts but then I drew out some flowers and butterflies and was quite impressed with my results.

A collection of them, some as you can see are still to be finished.
I need to make some monsters and I fancy having a go at a stuffed sketchy bird too but I need to get all these in the post on Tuesday so I have run out of time.  Ah well!  Another project for another day.
Roux adores crafting and he’s sewn from just turned 3 years old.  Today he decided to move on from a needle and thread to the sewing machine and insisted on helping to make a heart.  He’s only just turned 4 but I controlled the pedal and he happily fed the heart through keeping the line as straight as he could.  Unfortunately, I think this means I won’t be allowed to sew without him from now on so I’ve gone back to only machine sewing on an evening I think

 I’ve also been sorting out a new (very cheap) purchase that I made today.  Below is a car boot tidy craft bag courtesy of the lovely Percy’s Scrapstore.  If you’ve never been to a scrap store or even heard of one and you like crafting you need to change this fast and google for your closest one.  Percy’s is an absolute treasure trove of crafting goodies and is run by a bunch of fabulous volunteers that work hard to rescue unwanted items from local businesses that could be reused and recycled.

Take these carboot tidies craft bags as an example.  From the logo on them I’d think that they were possibly giveaway items made by the insurer or perhaps gifts for loyal customers etc.  For whatever reason they had a surplus and without Percy’s I’m sure they would have been destined for landfill but now I hope a bunch of them will be re-purposed.  They’re so spacious and with a zipped top on one half I knew exactly what mine would become…

Ta-dah!  A fabric bag!  I’ve put all of my scraps of fabric and felt in the section that can be zipped up and my embellishments in the other half.  Well, this is all I can find right now.  I’ve got bits all over the house but now I’ve got a place to collect them all to I can attempt to keep my stash tidy.  It’s absolutely perfect and will hopefully be the first step in organising my crafting.
I’m looking forward to seeing what you’ve all been up to over this last week, Hello Handmade Monday.

A Vintage sort of Sunday

Today is one of my favourite days of the month because it means it’s the For the Love of Vintage Fair
This is a fabulous fair that I only discovered at the beginning of the year, it’s packed to the rafters with handmade goodies alongside vintage clothing, accessories and tit bits.  Mum and I absolutely adore it and for such a small little fair (approximately 17 stalls) we’re there for HOURS.  It’s the sort of place where you need to look around then go back to a few things that caught your eye, then start from the beginning again then have a cup of tea then go around again.  
It doesn’t just have lovely stalls but it’s such a wonderful atmosphere, everyone is so friendly, the stall holders actively want to have a natter with you as do most of the people attending it, there is such a vibe it’s an absolute delight to be there and I’m usually still smiling a few hours after.  
Live music is such a wonderful thing and Becky who organises the fair always has a very talented (or two) local musician there to entertain us all.  This month I had Roux and Hurricane with me so frequently ended up jiving away with one of them.  Hurricane was quite taken with the music and spent a lot of time standing in the way of everyone swinging her hips to the beat.  What it is it about good live music that just lifts the spirits?
It’s hard to know where to start first to tell you about this little treasure trove of a fair, I think I’ll start with some absolutely DIVINE dresses courtesy of Devine Dolly.  I am such a Rockabilly girl at heart and it’s a style I’ve drooled after for years but I never had the confidence to go for it, I’m getting there slowly but surely and for the last few months I’ve been styling my make up with a definite Rockabilly theme and am rarely seen without my bright RED lipstick.  Anyway, the fabrics the ladies at Devine Dolly use are such good quality and they have a collection of styles that I just can’t wait.  Once Peanut is skin side and I’ve lost the baby weight I’m going to invest in some pretty dresses from here, it would be criminal not too.
Now to this scrumptious stall from Typically English.  I’m sure that she makes nearly everything on this stall herself and it’s using the most gorgeous vintage laces and pretty vintage style fabrics.  This is one of those stalls that I kept returning to so I could touch things and on every visit (I think I counted 6) I noticed something else.  I’d love to spend an afternoon with Helen, as I’m sure her home or workshop is a very fun place to be.  Those 6 trips back to this stall may have, ahem, led to some purchases
Look at all these sparkly things! Courtesy of Ragtime Vintage.  They were also the sellers of the pink dress below.  I absolutely feel in love with some crystals in a bowl on this table but I’m on a budget so couldn’t stretch this month.  If there still there at the next fair they are mine!
Look at this beautiful little number.  I drooled over this for a long time and I’m gutted to have left it behind but it’s a few sizes smaller than I was pre-pregnancy (not many now I’m losing so much weight) and I’m not sure of my body shape after Peanut so the sensible thing was to walk away.  Ragtime Vintage is ran by a Mother and Daughter team and the Mother said that she’d be able to make me one whenever I need so I’m making sure I keep her contact details so I can hold her to that.  I need this dress in my life.
Next up was another treasure trove of a stall and another one that I kept going back to time and time again.  Also a peek of the Hurricane touching *rolls eyes*  I know she gets this from me but she just touches every thing and she’s one of these children that always manages to get grubby no matter what I do.  She’s cute with it though so I let her off.  Thimble-Stitch have some vintage haberdashery that my Mum laughed over as it took her back to her childhood along with the tins below, threads, buttons and pretty fabric. I may have made some purchases here too.
Well all that shopping gave me an appetite and I’d promised Roux and Hurricane that if they followed me around and let me browse without too much trouble I’d gift them with cake.  Roux latched onto this and declared “Ok Mummy, we get to choose it and you have to pay for it”.  Hmmm, my boy is a bit too worldly wise for a 4 year old.  He’s right though, that’s what generally happens.  
The tea room at the fair is always ran by The Sitting Room (who coincidentally was where we stopped for cake yesterday) and they follow the vintage theme with an abundance of home made cakes and a very good cup of tea served in tea cups on crisp white table cloths.  
Roux was taken by some rocky road, Hurricane saw the rainbow cake and giggled that it was so many colours, Mum had Victoria Sponge and I had this lovely chocolate and hazelnut gluten free cookie.  I could have eaten this all over again and I wish I’d got one to take away.  Never mind, it gives me an excuse to visit their quaint little tea shop again.
This isn’t my picture, I’ve been naughty and lifted it from their Facebook page.

So now to my purchases… the best bit.  I’ve been making lots of the monsters that I’ve briefly mentioned and family and friends are demanding more.  They only take scraps of yarn and I love making them so I’m using them to pay for baby sitting and other favours.  The jar of vintage buttons are intended to be monster eyes, a beautiful necklace from an up and coming business that isn’t currently hooked up to the internet (Kitty Franks) She’s now online, check the link below, the fabric, sequin trimmings and brooches are going to be needle cases for myself, Mum and a few as gifts. 

Hurricane spotted the flowery lace and asked if I could make it into something for her hair.  She’s nearly 3 but very demanding! and the pin cushion is very strokeable.  I was considering making one myself but my wonderful Mother decided to buy this anyway as it so pretty.  

I should have been making a start on the needle cases tonight but I’ve spent so much time looking at the websites, facebook pages and blogs of not only the ones I’ve mentioned here but others that I couldn’t photograph due to the sheer amount of people crowding the stall that I’ve ran out of time.  I’m itching to make them though so it won’t be long!
I’ve recently been introduced to Handmade Monday, I’m not too sure how it works right now but I’m definitely a fan of home made, especially when you’ve got fairs like The Love of Vintage to go to and gather inspiration plus local goodies – spoilt for choice.

In an effort to buy local, hand made beautiful things I’m trying to keep a record of shops/individuals that sell amazing creations and items.  Here’s todays list of places I think you should visit.
Typically English – Helen,
Ragtime Vintage –
Thimble-stitch – Kate Watson,
Devine Dolly –

Kitty Franks –

Freda’s Vintage Clothing and Accessories –
Niamh’s Boutique –
The Profile Gallery & Sitting Room –