A long break

It’s been over a year since I last posted and an awful lot has happened in that time. I had a baby!

During my pregnancy I didn’t do a lot of crafting. I think I was always worried that something might go wrong so I didn’t feel like making anything. My best friend got engaged so I spent the time working on a cross stitch for her.

I feel a bit sad that I haven’t made many things for my baby, I have made so much for other people’s children. However, since she has arrived I have started working on some projects whenever I get a chance! I have made a jumper using the new Rico Baby Dream dk. It is so soft and I love the stripes it makes when it is knitted up. I used the same Debbie Bliss pattern I used for the whale jumper I made a couple of years ago. 

I have also started crocheting a small blanket using the daisy pattern from the Color ‘n Cream website

I have really enjoyed getting back into crafting and have been getting lots of ideas for making sensory play items for my little piglet from Pinterest that I will share as I make them.
Please excuse the photo quality, I haven’t managed to find enough time to get the big camera out so have been relying on my phone.

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The never ending blanket

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It started to feel a bit colder this weekend and much more like Autumn, we even put the heating on! The colder weather inspired me to get out a long running project, my never ending blanket!

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I started this blanket about 3 years ago to use up my left over DK yarn which was taking up lots of space. I really don’t know how to crochet and am not very good at knowing where to insert the hook correctly but I felt like doing something other than knitting for a change! I did think about doing lots of little granny squares but didn’t think I would like sewing them together so I opted for one giant granny square.

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I have been adding colours randomly with one round in each colour and like how it is turning out, it’s lovely and bright. I love getting to the end of the round and picking the next colour but as the rounds get bigger, it takes longer to get to this exciting bit! It is no where near big enough yet and I seem to work on it fairly intermittently so it may be a few more years before I finish. It does seem never ending and I am not looking forward to sewing all those ends in!

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Cupcake Magic

I haven’t blogged about Guiding yet but we do so many crafts and fun things it seems silly not to record the things we do. As a leader it will also be helpful to have a record of the things we have done when coming up with future programmes. I am a leader at a Guide group currently consisting of 21 girls aged 10-14 and coming up with activities that are fun and suitable for all can be quite a challenge.

At our last meeting we had fun baking and decorating cupcakes. We don’t have a kitchen at our HQ so baking and cooking can be a difficult activity to do but is one the girls love so we try to think of ways to fit it into the programme. For the cupcake decorating we bought some plain cakes from the supermarket and roll out icing, sprinkles, spreadable icing etc for them to use to decorate. One of the other leaders even made up some royal icing so they could have a go at piping. We gave them rolling pins and cutters and other tools and let their imaginations run wild. I think they did an amazing job, they are all so creative and it’s great to see the different designs they came up with including a pig, a Minion and a character from the film Spirited Away!wpid-img_20150615_203719102.jpg

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We have a microwave so decided to have a go at microwave mug cakes using this recipe. It was great fun and really messy! Some of them girls added a little too much cocoa powder and had extremely chocolatey cakes. The recipe makes a lot of mixture and was perhaps a bit too much for the size of their mugs but the exploding over the top of the mugs made it even more fun! When we do this again I will bring another microwave as one was not enough for 21 cakes. Some of the girls decided to decorate their mug cakes with icing and sprinkles too. I just hope they did not eat it all on their way home as they wouldn’t have slept for days eating that amount of sugar!

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MoonWalk London 2015

My aunt and uncle completed the MoonWalk London earlier this month to raise money for breast cancer charities. This year marked 10 years since my aunt had and recovered from breast cancer so it was a special milestone. Participants walk a marathon around London over night and all must wear a decorated bra (including my uncle!). The theme this year was ‘Saturday night at the movies’ and my aunt asked me to help decorate their bras for the event. I jumped at the chance to help, my aunt asked for something Harry Potter themed and my uncle left the decision up to me! I decided to theme his bra on the minions from Despicable Me as they are bright, colourful and fun. I had a great time in Hobbycraft buying all the bits and pieces and this is how they turned out: image

For the Harry Potter bra I mostly used felt to make Harry and stuck it on with a glue gun. I also used embroidered the phrase from the Marauders map and stuck some felt footprints around this. I made a sparkly golden snitch and stuck it on along with plenty of glow in the dark stars as the event was at night.

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The Despicable Me bra was also mainly felt cut and stuck down with a glue gun. I wanted to have both types of minion on to make it look more interesting. I used pipe cleaners for the yellow minions hair and feathers for the purple. For their goggles, I wrapped cardboard in tin foil. I was on holiday on the day of the walk so I was disappointed not to be able to go and support them at the finish line. I was told my uncle became rather worryingly attached to his bra and didn’t want to take it off! They both did really well and completed the walk and have raised over £900 for the charity. I am so proud of them and can’t wait to see pictures of them wearing the bras.

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First steps

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I started these Mary-Jane baby booties about two years ago for a colleague who had a baby girl. I finished one and never got round to finishing the other and by that point her baby would have grown out of them already. Nobody I know has had a baby girl since so I had no reason to knit the other. Last week my cousin-in-law had a baby girl so I decided to finish!

I used this Easy Mary-Jane baby booties pattern from Ravelry which is a really good, easy and quick pattern to knit up (even if it did take me 2 years to finish!). I used Debbie Bliss cashmerino yarn in a coral colour which is so soft and I love that the colour is not the normal pastel pink often used for baby girls. My gauge has changed a little over the years and I definitely don’t knit as tightly as I used to meaning one bootie was slightly larger than the other but Mr Pig said he couldn’t tell! I used two white buttons from my sewing box for the clasp, I think they are the decorative ones that come on the label when you buy White Stuff clothing!

I will definitely use this pattern again. Two of my friends have had baby boys recently and I am struggling with choosing something to knit for them. It is too warm for hats which is my usual go to! Anyone got any suggestions?

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Today on my needles…

At the beginning of the year I read this post on Knittingsarah’s blog and knew I wanted to take part. I am looking forward to having pictures of all the projects I do and being able to track my progress. It is such a great idea and there is also a Ravelry thread which should help me keep my projects updated on Ravelry!

So here goes for my first ‘today on my needles’…

I have two projects I am working on at the moment, firstly, the most recent Knit purl hunter knit-a-long Endgame. I am really enjoying this so far but I am a little behind! I am only on clue one of three but I am sure I will get there eventually. I am not sure who this scarf will be given to but I am thinking either my step dad or father in law. It is very rare I knit something that is suitable for men! It is such a clever pattern and the cables look great from both sides. It also has an i-cord edging stopping it from rolling and curling up.

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Today I cast on a hat for my friend’s baby due in February. I felt like a quick project so I found a pattern on 5mm needles and using aran yarn. The pattern I chose was Aly’s Owls. I think I will finish this today and am just trying to decide whether I should embroider eyes on the owls and/or add a pom pom.

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A new lease of life

When we moved into our first home the previous owner kindly left some furniture and I was very excited when I found out she would be leaving her dresser as I have always wanted one! It had a very dark stain on and did not fit with some of our own furniture so I decided to have a go at up-cycling. Below are pictures of how it looked when I started.

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Mr Pig suggested I just gave it a light sanding before painting with undercoat but the varnish was coming off in huge flakes and it was leaving the surface extremely lumpy so I decided to sand it all off. Thank goodness we have an electric sander as it look me the best part of two days to do and I dread to think how long it would have taken without!

Once I had sanded it all I gave it a brush down and a coat of primer before painting in Farrow and Ball “White Tie” which is not quite white but not as yellow as cream.

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It took a couple of coats to get it even and looking nice. I replaced the hinges and got some lovely handles from Marks and Spencer. I also picked up some floral paper from Hobbycraft and stuck it in the middle of the doors with some glue. I am really pleased with how it turned out and it now sits perfectly under the stairs covered in my favourite crockery!

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Just in time!

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I finished my advent calendar late on 30th November. I could have finished it sooner but I struggled with the quilting, got frustrated and put it down for a week or so. I have learnt a few things in this process:

1) I am not patient and always rush to get things done. I didn’t pin it well enough the first time as I just wanted to get started which resulted in me having to take the quilted bit out and start again due to bunching up of the material. The buttons in the top corner of the quilt were a life saver. There was a tiny bit of bunching in the corner on my last try but I managed to cover it with  the button. I don’t think I could have coped with taking it out for a fourth time!

2) I should follow instructions properly. I totally ignored the article I read that told me to start quilting from the middle outwards which is of course brilliant advice I should have followed to save me time and having to rip the quilted bits out for the third time!

3) I am better at knitting!

4) I actually really enjoyed the challenge and want to do more quilting in the new year. I just need to remember that things wont be perfect the first few times you try. I am really pleased with the final product and the perseverance was worth it!

Here is a picture of it in situ above our fireplace and under all the Christmas lights.

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I have been working on a few other Christmas crafts, more about these to follow but here are some pictures in the meantime:

A wreath inspired by this one I found on Pinterest

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Some decorations for the tree:

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And finally, the Christmas cake:

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Counting down the days!

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My new favourite website/shop/blog/Facebook page, etc. is The Homemakery. I mentioned in my post the other week that I had ordered the Dashwood Studio Christmas Wish advent calendar and things needed to make it in my lunch break on the Friday and was totally shocked when the postman delivered a parcel on Saturday morning. I could not believe how quickly it was delivered and all the bits were so beautifully packaged in striped paper bags and tissue paper, it was so exciting opening it. There was also a handwritten note on the invoice which was a lovely touch. I will definitely be ordering more things from here and keep mentioning how much I love it to Mr Pig seeing as Christmas is just around the corner and he might need some inspiration….

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I could not wait to get started but I am not very experienced with sewing and quilting and the instructions on the calendar itself made absolutely no sense to me at all. I was so thankful for the detailed blog post from the Homemakery with step by step instructions. I got started with the cutting and pressing and top stitching and pinning and it all took a lot longer than I thought it would but I wanted to get it all pinned nicely. I have made a quilt once before and decided not to bother with pressing which I discovered was not a good plan and I learnt to be patient and not to cut corners!

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Once all were pinned I started on the sewing. I found it quite difficult to sew without stabbing myself with the hundreds of pins and it definitely got easier as more pockets were sewn on. I think if I were to make another I would probably pin and sew each row at a time to try to avoid the stabbing! Maybe I went a bit over the top with the pins… I took a few pockets off and redid them as they were a bit too wonky and I knew they would annoy me every time I look at the calendar when it is finished!

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Now it is time to start the quilting and I am a bit worried I am just going to destroy my hard work so watch this space! I love all the pictures on the pockets but my favourite at the moment are the owl and ballerina mouse.

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