Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Excitement!

I've just ordered a huge parcel of various yarns on Black Sheep Wools.  Not massive amounts of each yarn - just enough for a hat, Hippoo, bag or batch of rosettes - but I'm so looking forward to it.  Pretty, pretty yarns in gorgeous colours and lovely textures!  What more could a girl want?

It's just what I need to get me through the last few performances this term.  Only so much Jingle Bells a person can take, you know.  I wake up mentally playing it.  XP

BTW, Black Sheep Wools have free P&P until tomorrow morning, and I thoroughly recommend their service.  Go here - http://www.blacksheepwools.com/

~*~*~*~

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Tis the season...

...to start using my special Christmas icon.
Trouble is, the chorus uses exactly the range of notes the beginners have learned by this stage.  It's perfect.  Especially as the verse uses the range of notes the second year players have learned.  *grits teeth*

Only three more assemblies to go.  I can do it.

~*~*~*~

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Rosettes and a Hippoo stampede!

This was my present for my best friend, that I didn't want to post before her birthday, in case she saw it.  I did give her the cushion to go with this cover, but I handed that over before I'd finished this, because that was when we met, and cushion pads are hard to post!  So, the front of the cover...

And the back.  Because plain white is just boring, right?

I'm stocking up on certain other items too.  A lady bought a whole batch of rosettes off me at one go, so I made a new batch for my Folksy store (available http://folksy.com/items/3924166-Handmade-Crochet-Rosettes).  They've been sitting around for a week, waiting to be photographed, but I've finally got it done.  It is the season to be jolly, to get up at the crack of dawn to play Jingle Bells in various school assemblies and to stay out till all hours singing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (a special bluegrass version this year).

Here are my new rosettes!  (Backed by the lovely craft paper printed free in Craftseller magazine - I knew they'd come in useful!)
Carnival Cherry.

Deep Waters

Silver Linings.

Strawberry Cream.

Wine and Roses.

My other current projects include stitching the lining for my Spice Dots Bag.  I've sewn the dots on, sewn the linen spotted lining together, and I'm stitching the webbing to the straps now.  I've got some gorgeous buttons for the straps too.  


This is a close up of the other bag - pink and purple Rowan Revive - with the fabric I'm using for the lining.  Not yet sure what decoration I'll put on this one - flowers?  Circles?  Maybe a lacy square?  Jury's still out.

And new Hippoos!  I'm working on one using the same yarn as the Spice Dots bag.  I just can't seem to keep Hippoos in the house right now!  Only a couple of weeks ago, there was a small but thriving herd of Hippoos in my stock drawers, but then there was a stampede off up to the Ever After shop in Lincoln.  Another Hippoo followed them quickly for my Dad's birthday present - he lives there too.  And then the last one trotted off to an ex-colleague in Birmingham.  They were, in order of mentioning, Rainbow, Delta, Rosalie, Algernon and Lily.  I'm going to have to get a baby names book at this rate!  Not to mention keeping a rogues gallery of Hippoos past and present, so they're all truly unique.  Any suggestions?

Just time to stuff a Hippoo before bed, I think.  Or maybe search my stash for the yarns for the next one.  Or maybe just a glass of port and a cuddle with the cat...

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hippoos, Rosettes and a little (big) something for me...

A little while ago, I sold a couple of Hoot Hats and a couple of Hippoos to a shop in Lincoln.  This week, they were back in touch to see if I had any more Hippoos!  I sent some pics and they've bought three more from me.  I'm hoping this means the first ones sold well.  

So, if you're in the Lincoln area, pop into Ever After in Garmston St and see if (from left to right) Rosalie, Rainbow and Delta are receiving visitors.  I sent them off with luggage labels threaded through their ears, with their names on and a short character description.  Rosalie dreams of being a ballerina, Rainbow likes painting and playing football, and Delta has a love of blues music.

Actually, Delta was going to be my dad's birthday present.  I've still got time to make him another, though.  It'll be with the same yarn - Patons Fusion - but it'll be totally different, because the variegation will stripe in a different place and I'll put a different decoration on.  Dad doesn't do internet, so he won't get a sneak preview if I post pics here.  I've finished (and posted) my best friend's birthday present, and I won't post pics here until her birthday's passed, because she might see...

These little pretties are on my shop now.  Little layered rosettes with backings of fabric and ribbons and pretty buttons.  It takes so little yarn to make these and such tiny scraps of fabric and ribbon that they're fab to make and sell.  You can go as wild as you like, or keep it subtle and classy.  They're nice affordable gifts for people to buy too.  I had a number of purchases for teachers' gifts at the end of last term, so I'm aiming to stock up a little.

And a little something for me...
Well, it's not little.  It's a granny square and stripe blanket from "Granny Square Crochet" by Catherine Hirst, using these colours.  I got them from a local yarn store, and it's great yarn to work with.  It's lovely working on a blanket in the colder months too, covering up your knees in this horrible cold weather.  Roll on Christmas!  At least there will be pretty lights and music!

~*~*~*~


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Award!

Now, I have been terribly remiss.  I was given this award a couple of weeks ago, and I've only just scraped together enough time to do anything about it.

Look!  Award!
It was awarded to me by Lisa, whose blog is here .  Thank you very much!  I'm extremely flattered.

Now there are certain rules to follow when you get this award.

* Explain 11 things about you 

* Answer the 11 questions about yourself 

* Choose 11 blogs and name in the post 


* Follow the blog of the person which awarded ​​you 


* Visit at least three blogs awarded by this blog

  1. I'm a musician.  My main instrument is classical guitar, but I also play violin, viola, flute, recorder, piano, mandolin and lute.  I think that's all...
  2. I teach guitar, from beginners right up to the most advanced, and this year I have some flute and recorder pupils too.
  3. Despite my involvement in music, my biggest passion in life is books.  My Kindle is always with me!
  4. I've been married for 15 years to the best husband ever!  Still madly in love.  
  5. I'm a cat person.  We currently have two, both ginger and white, who regard us as staff.
  6. I learned to knit and crochet as a child, from my mother and by experimenting with various patterns.
  7. I cannot sit still and do nothing with my hands.  This is where the vast bulk of my crochet work comes from.  I crochet while watching TV, while reading, while on car journeys...
  8. I prefer crochet to knitting (at the moment), because I find it easier to create my own designs with crochet.  The shaping thing seems to make more sense.  Plus, the hook is shorter than a pair of needles (important on a car journey), and you have only one 'live' stitch at a time.  Less potential for disaster...
  9. I love colour and the effect that colours have on each other.  My dad's an artist, but I'm not able to paint or draw to my (or his) satisfaction, so I indulge my love of colours in creating things in yarn.
  10. I'm addicted to Strictly Come Dancing.  Every year, I watch the main shows, the results shows and the weekday It Takes Two shows.  Every New Year, I have withdrawal symptoms.  And no, I don't dance.
  11. I like to write.  Maybe there's a book in me.  I'd like to write a book, but something's stopping me.  Time?  Maybe.  Fear that it's not good enough?  Could be.  
11 Questions to Answer
-How do you define yourself?  Just me...
-What is your favorite dish?  I like curry, mild and flavoursome.
-Would you rather cook or be cooked for? I don't like to cook.  If I were the cook in our house, we'd both be a lot thinner.
-What is your favorite dessert? Haagen-Dazs ice-cream with pralines and cream.  *dribbles*
 -If you had to stay with an ingredient, what would it be?Salmon.  Love it, and it's good for me - win/win!
 -What is the best trip I've done? A short break in Barcelona.  The first time I'd been on a plane, and I loved the city!
 -What is the best restaurant you've eaten?The Boot, a pub/restaurant very close to where we live.
 -Do you prefer meat or fish? Fish
 -What is your favorite cheese? I like cheese, but I can't eat it.  It makes me very snappy and weepy, so it's more trouble than it's worth even to try a little bit.
 -Black or milk chocolate? Milk
 -What is the worst dish you've tried?I had a beetroot salad as a starter at a local restaurant.  Normally I like beetroot, but they'd done something to it so it didn't taste anything like it should.  Lord knows what they'd done!

11 Blogs I Love
Attic24 - http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/
Bunny Mummy - http://bunnymummy-jacquie.blogspot.co.uk/
Mind Escapes - http://mind-escapes.blogspot.co.uk/
Patchwork Chickens - http://patchworkchickens.blogspot.co.uk/
Mary-Jane's Tearoom - http://www.maryjanestearoom.com/
Wild Rose Designs - http://mywildrosedesigns.blogspot.co.uk/
MemeRose - http://meme-rose.blogspot.co.uk/
Millefeuilles - http://sbmillefeuilles.blogspot.co.uk/
Fleur Cotton - http://fleurcotton.blogspot.co.uk/
Emma Lamb - http://emmallamb.blogspot.co.uk/
Caroline Rose - http://carolineroseart.wordpress.com/

All of these cheer my world!

Reading all the rules, I see that the award is to be given to blogs with less than 100 followers.  I haven't done that with all the blogs on the list that I love.  I have to admit that I don't know enough blogs to only choose -100 followers ones.  Maybe that's the point - to get me visiting more blogs.  I will do that.

In the meantime, thank you very much to Lisa, who gave me this award in the first place.  I'm off to visit some of the blogs on her list!

~*~*~*~

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Finished items!

Some of the works in progress are all done and ready to go!  Mostly the ones that needed stuffing.  The ones that needed some sewing done are still waiting.  But then, these are quite Christmassy ones, so it's sensible to get these on the shop ASAP.  I'm trying to make things that look mildly Christmassy but not overly so, so that they're still saleable after Christmas.  I set up a little pile of Christmas-looking bags and the tiny Christmas tree we forgot to put back in the attic last Christmas and hey presto!  Christmas birds!
Big Christmas bird.  You can see the gold sequins on the wings.

Small Christmas bird.  Again, sequinned wings and Goldfingering around the edge.  (I really don't envy the Strictly designers sewing on all the sequins they have to.  Fiddly in the extreme!)

Two little birds...

A silver sparkleheart, with silver sequins and little pink glass beads.

And introducing Lily the Hippoo!  I considered several different embellishments for her, and eventually, on the advice of Susan from Mary Jane's Tearoom, decided on a little flower behind her ear.  It's in a paler, slightly variegated shade of the teal-blue of her lower half.  Very pretty!

Lily, looking out into the garden.

Lily's flower.

These items will be going onto my shop as soon as I can manage it - before I have to go to work today, if possible.  You can find them here

~*~*~*~*~

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Works in progress...

I always seem to have a number of projects on the go at any one time.  And they seem to come to a close in batches too, somehow.  Right now, I have a batch of things that need stuffing and another batch that will need some sewing and fabric to complete them.

A group of danglies, made with Christmas in mind.  They'd look great on a Christmas tree, or just hung somewhere on their own.  The birds will probably have some sequins added - I got some goldy-bronzy sequins at the weekend.  The heart has a row of silver sequins and pink beads on either side, and all the items have sparkly Goldfingering yarn in them.  Some light stuffing and hanging loops and they're ready to go!

Another Hippoo to stuff.  I love these colours - it's in Rowan's Lenpur Linen, which is really cheap in sales now so it's great value.  These colours remind me of India.  I was tempted to do a paisley motif for the side of the Hippoo, but Hippoos don't come from India.  Do they?  I think she's going to have a flower or two stuck behind her ear instead...

This is from another batch of yarn I bought in a sale - Rowan Purelife Revive at £1.00 a ball!  It's a bit splitty to crochet, but it looks lovely worked up.  It's going to be a bag, a little longer than it is right now, with handles long enough to hang on your arm, and a contrasting design on it.  I haven't decided on that yet.  It will also have a nice lining to it.

Spot the difference!  Same pattern, more or less, turned upside down, ready to become a Hoot Hat.  Again in Lenpur Linen, waiting for its jersey lining, little felt beak and big googly eyes.  Time to get the sewing kit out!

This has been my car project for the last few months.  I really can't sit still with nothing to do with my hands, so I try to have something simple to work on on long car journeys.  This is just treble crochet in circles, with occasional stripes of double crochet and working into one side of the loop to give subtle stripes - nothing I have to keep my eyes on too carefully.  You can just see that at the top and near the bottom.  I've made straps which will be stitched to wide ribbon to prevent stretching.  I got four lovely buttons in a sale at the weekend too, to go at the ends of the straps.

I've got some lovely linen fabric to make a lining for the bag, and I thought I'd do a spotty design on the outside.  I've gathered up the oddments of yarn that look good with this variegated colour and I'm making circles of varying sizes, just playing with the placing before I sew them on.

This does mean that I'm going to need a new car project.  Maybe a new bag?  It's nice looking at my stash and wondering what I could create with the lovely things I've got.  I've got an idea for a bag using triangle shapes, so that might be in the offing soon.

Okay, lunch, then off to work!  Frankly, I could happily go back to bed right now, but I will drag myself off to work.  Wonder if anyone would notice if I just had a snooze in the corner?

~*~ZZZ~*~

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Oh joy...

Hattie's brought a mouse in and released it in our bedroom. Just in time for bedtime.

Hearts and Other Warm Things

The pretty hearts are stuffed and decorated and all ready to go on the shop.  Pretty, eh?  I think they'd be perfect on a Christmas tree, but they're not so all-out Christmassy that they'd look over-the-top hung up somewhere all year round.  Just something bright and sparkly to pretty up the house!

I threaded fine white ribbon through the central line of this heart and left the ends elegant and long.  The original plan was to tie a bow at the base of the heart, but this looks so much better.  It would be a lovely gift for a wedding or for Valentine's Day or a birthday or...  I just love it!

Here's my Thistledown Scarf.  It's a long triangular shape, based on the idea of a shawl, but certainly not old-ladyish!  It's as light as thistledown and beautifully warm, with a toning sheeny, silky stripe.  Just right to keep your neck warm on chilly Autumn days.

And a Hoot Hat!  This is the largest of the three I made, and the other two are going off to Ever After, a new shop in Lincoln.  This one is adult-sized, because we're all kids at heart, yes?  Or is it just me?

Watching yoooooooooooou!  A lovely little spot of orange at the centre of the eye to match the beak.

Lined to keep the head warm.  Stretchy cotton jersey, hand-stitched to retain the stretch when wearing it.

All these will be going on my shop on Folksy here tomorrow morning, if everything goes according to plan.  *looks at ever-growing to-do list*

Off to watch Downton Abbey now!  I want to be Maggie Smith when I grow up.

~*~*~*~

Saturday, 6 October 2012

It was only a matter of time...

The arch that we put up in the garden wasn't intended for pretty climbing plants at all.  It's really a pussy-cat climbing frame!
Conveniently situated next to the bird feeder...


Hattie approves thoroughly!

*~*~*~*~*

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Arch is up!

And it hasn't fallen down yet.

Seriously, with the amount of 'Postcrete' that went in round the legs, it'll survive a nuclear attack!  It looks really good.  Eventually, there'll be clematis and roses growing across it.  For now, I've parked a couple of pots of Nicotiana at the base.
In yesterday's lovely weather.  Today, it's cold and wet - a different season entirely.

~*~*~*~*~

Friday, 21 September 2012

I have some new projects nearing completion and some old ones going to new homes.  Very exciting!

A shop that's setting up in Lincoln has been in touch, expressing interest in my Hoot Hats - see here - and they also want two of my Hippoos - Mudbath Mungo and CandyStripe Hippoo.  They want to buy them upfront for their shop, rather than taking them on sale or return, so that's lovely!  I've started a new Hippoo already to go on Little Lovely Stuff on Folksy.  Some of my older items have been relisted there too, so things that may have disappeared are back!

New items.  A heart dangly in three parts.  This uses the same colours as the cushion cover I made, and it's covered in buttons and sequins.  They'll be joined together to hang with the largest heart at the top and the smallest at the bottom.

I use half treble crochet a lot, because it grows quickly and it's effortlessly decorative in a subtle way.

Another heart dangly - a single one this time.  I was experimenting with ways of increasing from the bottom to the top and this was the result of increasing in the middle instead of the edges.  It makes a nice chevron effect!  All these heart will be lightly stuffed to make them soft and three-dimensional.  I haven't decided how to decorate this one yet.  I'm thinking of threading a thin white ribbon through the holes down the centre and tying a bow at the bottom.

This is the Thistledown Scarf.  I'm using Rowan's Fine Lace, and it really feels as light as thistledown!  It may have a toning colour added to it soon, as I finish this ball, but I'm making it up as I go a bit.

Close-up of the granny stitch.  Really simple, but very pretty in such a fine yarn.

And the other project in these busy new-term days.  A new arch for the garden!  I painted the legs that go in the ground in five coats of fence preserver, and gave the top bit a coat too.  Better painting it on the ground than when it's up in the air, I thought.  The sides will get their coat when they're standing in the ground.  It's going to go beside the greenhouse to make a lovely separate garden room behind the greenhouse where we've got newly sown grass.  Clematis and other climbers will be planted to grow up the side.  Hopefully, that's going up this weekend.

And this is the cat that was at death's door on Tuesday.  Hattie was throwing up, squirting diarrhoea, and generally being very distressed.  Himself took her to the vet, got her an antibiotic jab, and she's back to her mischievous little self.  It's much more important to make love to the old buddleia stems than it is to pose for Mummy's camera, apparently.  She's got a few more days of antibiotics, but she's doing well, thank goodness!

Okay, time to go to work.  Bye for now!

~*~*~*~

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

September Already

Well, that was the summer holidays...  I don't know where they went.  Back to school we go!  Actually, I like the routine of termtime.  I'll have had enough of it by about November (September 14th), but after the summer hols, it's a bit of a relief.

I have not been entirely idle, although my study is still full of rubbish.  Slightly less full than before, having cleared the surface of the desk and filled the recycling bin with paper, but the shelves are still untouched.  Between outings, I've been crocheting like a maniac, always with two or three projects on the go.  Here are my creations!
Another little Folky Bird.  The wings are outlined with pearly beads and it's got heart-shaped shell button eyes.  I'm thinking that these might make good Christmas tree ornaments.  I might make some more for the shop for the season of joy and jingle bells.

Hoot Hats!  Daddy Owl, Mummy Owl, and Baby Owl.  A lady setting up a new shop in Lincoln got in touch with me through Folksy expressing interest in hats like the one currently on my shop.  These new ones are actually much better because they're in a nice cotton Rowan yarn and they're lined with the cotton jersey in the next picture.  Cuteness! 
Using my ironing board again for cutting out fabric.  It's just the best way to do this!  I use it for wrapping presents too.  Top tip!

Now, a senior moment.  The Hippoo hiding in the tissue paper isn't terminally shy, I just forgot to photograph it before wrapping.  *is idiot*  It's a very pretty Hippoo, made as a present for a friend who's having a baby.  Not sure what kind of baby, so I used a lilac shade of Baby Cotton Kapok and made little white hearts to go on the side.  I wish I'd taken a picture, because it was very pretty.  The next picture shows the yarn and the very first stage of making.  *rolls eyes at forgetfulness* 


And the major project of the summer - a gorgeous flowered cushion cover!  I worked out a pattern for a rosette square and picked some pretty colours in Patons 100% Cotton 4ply.  There was quite a lot of experimenting, and I originally thought of making the squares into a bag.  Much better as a cushion cover, though, I think.

The back's in plain white granny squares.  I had wanted to do a single large granny square to cover the whole back, but I cannot do one that doesn't swirl round.  More experimenting necessary.  I'm obviously doing something wrong...

The cushion cover has a plain white cotton pillow-case style liner, and the crochet cover slips over, closing with five little ribbon ties.  Sweet!
More pictures of this in progress are available on my Flickr photostream - just click on the badge in the sidebar.  The cushion cover and the Folky Bird will also be going onto my Folksy shop later on this week.

 And now for something completely different...
If anyone's interested in encouraging wildlife in the garden, this is a fabulous plant - a Monarda or Bergamot.  We put it in last year when we redeveloped a border, and it's been brilliant!  The most amazing flowers, and every time I look at it, there are at least a dozen bees on it.  They adore it!  The picture above was taken in June or July, I think, and the one below was taken this morning.  Still flowering away, although it's going over a bit, and the bees are still in love with it. 

Okay, I must go and get on with things, and I must resolve not to neglect my blog during termtime as much as I have over the summer.  More updates soon, I hope!