Saturday 7 December 2013

It's that time of year when this tip may be useful...

This is a re-post:

I have a love of fairy lights. I have a few strings up all year round. They lift the gloom on a grey day and make me feel festive. However, I am really not keen on the clear white bright LED lights. Nor is my Mister. One year I bought new Christmas tree lights. I spent a good while placing them on the tree and then popping on all the decs. With great expectation and excitement I flicked the switch on to see the tree in all it's glory.......and... Oh my eyes! Bright light Bright LIGHTS!!! The Mr and I squealed like gremlins. I stripped the tree back to naked and went on a Soft Fairy Light Mission. If only I'd had my eureka moment back then.

My Eureka moment was nothing short of sheer cleverness in the Hermione Granger fashion. Yes I'm bragging. Yes I'm smug. Yes maybe you are all way ahead of me and have been secretly altering your bright white lights with gay abandon. Well whatever the case here is how I literally just now turned a Way Too Bright White Hurt My Eyes ornamental heart into the Sweet Cosy Soft White Light Heart that you see above.

Here is my magic wand. A glass painter pen that I bought from Hobby Craft. I'm sure any glass pen would work. I found the yellow pen I had bought to be too cold. The orange above was perfect. Only put a blob on the end of the light though as when the lights are off, if you have been over zealous, you will have orange dollops in your decoration. This makeover took me about 48 seconds. It took longer to write this spur of the moment post.


Sunday 17 November 2013

Pimp my cardi

Before I begin, I have replied to everyone who was so kind to have taken the time to comment on my last two posts. If you've not heard from me then it is likely that you haven't entered your email dress into your blog settings and are a "No-reply Comment" blogger. This means that when I get an email alerting me of your comment, if I reply via that email it just spins off into space and never reaches you. I must have sent thousands of replies into the ether over the years. It's not so bad if I notice you're a no reply commenter and you have a blog because I could find you that way but if you haven't a blog then I can't get in touch.

See more of this here

Me and cardigans, we're good mates. I like most cardigans. I've not met very many that I don't like. My preference is for a soft cotton cardigan that costs very little so that I don't feel bad when I attack it with ribbon, embroidery, scissors, buttons.... I'd feel a bit of a cowbag if I did my meddling with a Brora cashmere cardi.

It wasn't possible to get a good pic of this black cardigan. I don't wear this one very often as these days I rarely wear black. It shows up too much boy bogey. Mini Cuckoo likes to rub his snout on me a few times a day. Oh the glamour.

Like the blue cardi above I used a Cath Kidston pattern from her "Make" book. I enjoyed stitching these cardigans. It was like colouring in with thread. Something I spent hours and hours doing as an only child.

I have a swillion ideas for pimped up cardi's and I have about 5 New Look/H&M cardigans ready for attacking waiting in the wings.

This one was a little cheapy cotton cardi from H&M. It was sweet just as it was but after an addition of a velvet and lace trim it is sweeter still. At least I think so and a few other people have complimented it too.

It only took about an hour to hand stitch it on. Quite a satisfying thing to do when the kids are in bed and the husbando is watching some crubbish on TV like Ice Pilots or that gold digging one with the Hoffmans (who have wonderful architectural facial hair) who are always looking for a glory hole *snigger.

This cardi is pimped up Marie Antoinette style by snipping a hole in the middle of a doily and sewing it on to the inside of the cuffs. This too took very little time. I used doilies with cotton fabric centres and cotton crochet edges. I snipped the hole with pinking shears and zig zag stitched them to the cardi. I reckon this took me just half an hour. I love a quick craft.

This is the same cardigan as above but with a removable crochet collar. I wear this collar pinned to a number of cardigans, jumpers, dresses and even my denim jacket (though it is quite a bleeder to pin on to my denim jacket). I have two of these collars, one small and one large, they are very versatile. I wear the large one backwards sometimes. If you want to make one then go here.

I have noticed I like to end my posts with a ps or something funny. So here we go:

ps. My youngest son is a very gorgeous child. At least I think so. He is quite a placid little chap and has a sweet funny nature. We all adore him and thank our lucky stars that we were blessed to have him.

However he is two and a half years old and has his moments........





So ugly! It is just too funny!!!!

But really he is a cutie....

That was a really lovely lipstick. Humpf

er...maybe not!

Nah, truly he is.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

The blanket that should have been my first knitting ta dah

Remember way back when I started knitting? (There's a whole post about it here) I built my stitch repertoire and skills up by following the monthly instalments from The Art Of Knitting mag. Each month there was a pattern for a new square for the patchwork woollen blanket. The mag came with revolting yarn and I decided early on to use gorgeous yarn so I could enjoy every moment. Well, when I say I 'enjoy', that isn't what really happened. I'll admit to crying over my knitting as I was learning. I found it frustrating. 

I wasn't naturally good at it to begin with. I couldn't pick up a dropped stitch and had to unravel so much I wondered if I may as well stick to crochet. But I rarely give up with anything. I'm a stubborn bird. To my detriment sometimes but often, like with knitting, to my benefit. I'd say my stubborness (is that even a word?) is a good thing on the whole. Actually, as I think of it, stubborness with a little laziness maybe the perfect combo. You fight for the important and let the trivial slide. Yes knitting is important to me! I love

I couldn't say if I prefer knitting over crochet though. They each have their attractions. There are few crochet garments I would wear aside from mittens, scarfs etc... I've not found a cardi pattern I'm dying to hook up. Where as I have hundreds of knitted cardi's, jumpers and even skirts ear marked in my ravelry account. 

I don't love knitted patchwork blankets like I love crochet patchwork blankets. I do have deep fondness for this blanket for all it taught me but the back of it looks a right mess to me. The seams aren't neat even though I mattress stitched them. A crochet blanket tends to look good from all angles. Of course a solid knitted blanket would look nice from both sides. 

I will always be both a crocheter and a knitter for I like them for different reasons. If I'm watching a programme on TV that needs a bit of attention then I would always opt for some simple knitting so that I could keep my eyes on the TV, I can feel where the needle needs to go whereas with a hook I have to look. 

I'll never abandon my hook, not least because it makes me feel connected to my Great Grandmother who I never met. Nanny Laura. She was my Mum's Mum's Mum. There's a mouthful. I was very close to my Mum's Mum, Nanny Dot. She gave me my nickname Cuckoo. I loved her dearly and miss her fiercely. My heart can't reconcile that I've not seen her for eight and a half years. I digress, my Nanny Dot used to talk about her mother a lot. From all accounts Nanny Laura was an amazing woman. My own Mum loved and misses her grandmother the same as I miss mine. 

My Mum saw a spiritualist/medium chap a few years ago. Now, you may or may not believe in these things but sometimes they aren't vague and they truly know facts that they could not pick out from body language alone. I'm not going to go into a debate about authenticity here, sometimes I want to believe because it comforts me, other times the scientist in me whistles through her teeth. Anyway this spiritualist described my Great Grandmother and gave a few other personal facts for verification. He told my Mum that Nanny Laura had been watching members of our family waiting for someone to show an interest in the things she was good at in life (I know this sounds stupid) and she had decided that she would give her skills to that person. The medium told my Mum that Nanny Laura had chosen me. Funnily enough when I sat with a book to teach myself properly how to crochet (my Mum had shown me in the past but I couldn't retain it) I had the most enormous sense of de ja vue. It was like I suddenly knew what to do. I never struggled to hold the yarn and control it. My hook felt like an extension of my hand. My tension was fine immediately. I felt a sense of contentment in those early days that I'd not felt in that precise way before. I could almost smell a new smell. I'm sure I'll lose some followers for saying all this and I know I sound barmy but I speak the truth. This is how it was. I seemed to instinctively know what I was doing all of a sudden. Shame I wasn't given the gift of knitting. That was blood sweat and tears!

And now for a little silliness. Those of you who read my blog and know me in real life will know Mr C and will find this pic of the poor man hilarious. 

Yes he was in pain.....because his Father was removing a plaster from his leg. The wuss!!!!!!


Sunday 3 November 2013

Peg bags are stupid...usually

Now there's a statement. Borderline inflammatory talk. But they are stooooopid. They are never quite where you want them when hanging out the washing. It doesn't matter if you have a rotary drier or a long traditional line dryer. You have to keep moving the wretched thing. I don't know why this annoys me so.

Little hearts all in a row...I know they are there

Don't get me wrong I like how a peg bag looks. I adore the cute fabric ones, I'm dotty over ones made from old childens clothes and I own a rather fetching enamel bucket peg bag. Yet I still think they are stupid. Cor, I am a feisty one!

My mate Princess has got it sussed. She has always used a long across the body bag from India. That was until it fell to bits and she mused out loud that she should make herself one using Jane's bag pattern as featured in Mollie Makes mag issue 10. She had made her eldest son a school bag and said it was a doddle to make.... so I jumped on the bandwagon (as I always do, when will I have an idea of my own?) and made one hell of a clever fancy pants peg bag.

It's genius. It gets slung across my body and travels around the washing line with me. The pegs are constantly in the most convenient place and it hangs happily off the corner of my rotary drier till I get the washing in. 

I hate pegging out. It's a bore. I like the look of white washing on the line but a dark wash disgruntles me. I like outside dried washing smell but I flipping loathe that there is always a spec of bird crap on something. Gah. 

Using my Fancy Pants Peg Bag does make up for these grumps, a bit.

Erin gave me this button

But if I am frank, the thing I like about it best is it looks nice hanging on the utility room door. 

Just in case there was any question over it's handmade status

I love it. I just do. I'm not sorry. I'm happy to gloat over it. I show everyone who comes to my house my cLeVeR peg bag. Yeah, scratch my BIG head. Or rather, scratch Princess' head for the idea and Jane's talented head for the pattern. That Jane is a clever devil.

Whilst I was stitching my middle boy, Little Cuckoo (though he is hoooooge now), said he wanted to sew a blanket.

He chose some felt and some embroidery thread and started to sew.

He was totally absorbed in his task.

So much so he stitched his lovely blanket to his pyjama bottoms.

He thought that was hysterical and laughed plenty. That blanket is as cherished as any crocheted blanket I have ever slaved over. It is adorable.


Tuesday 29 October 2013


I love a swapsie, I do. I really enjoy it. I like making things to swap as I enjoy thinking about the person who will receive my gifts and shamefully I get rather excited with anticipation about what I might recieve. Truthfully, I would be happy with any old thing as long as there was a teeny bit of thought behind it. Yet when it is a swap with an awesome crafter extraordinaire, well, I could pee my pants with giddiness and fear. Sending off my swap parcel was nerve wracking because I just knew I was going to get the better deal.

So imagine, if you will, my sheer glee when this little lot turned up from Ness.

Ooooooooooo! Yessssssssss! These babies are mine all mine! I'm cackling here. You see, Ness had instagrammed (back in the days before she left) the big doily below and so many people had gone bonkers over it. 

She is a very clever bugger.

I sent her some wrist warmers, she couldn't knit at the time and had said she loved the Button Moon wrist warmers she had seen on ravelry. So I made her a pair. Actually this was how the whole swap thing came about. She mentioned the button moons, I said I'd knit her some, she said only if we did a swap. I wasn't going to argue, I mean who would?

I love reverse stocking stitch. I really like how the colour change makes little stripes.

I left the buttons off so that Ness could have fun with her own choice. She would certainly choose better ones than I could. But when she received them she said she liked the bows. Nutter.

They knitted up so nicely and the pattern was a doddle to follow. Looking at these I'm reminded that I would quite like several pairs myself. Just to add to my ever growing collection...

What do you think of these fair isle wristies? Fab huh! Whipped these up in just 20 minutes.  Am I not the most marvellous knitter these days? No, I am not. I didn't knit these. They were a little tank top that my boys all wore when they were 12-18 months. I couldn't bear to part with it, I couldn't even pack it away. I wanted to see it around so now I wear it myself and feel terribly smug at my upcycling. 

On to another swap. This was an Easter swap organised by Rising_dawn on instagram. I was lucky enough to get so_laura as the person to send my swap items to. I swoon regularly over her photographs of her gorgeous home so it was a pleasure to have an excuse to stalk her and work out what to make.

Any ideas what this is?

It's a heart shaped oven mitt, or trivet pot stand thing.

You use it like this:

I sent Laura a few other bits and bats too but it was so long ago I can't remember what they were. Ribbons and trims I think. I can't show you what my swap person sent me nor can I thank them as my parcel must have been lost in the post. Dawn never revealed to me who it was. But if it happened to have been you, I thank you and I'm certain I'd have enjoyed whatever it was you made. Thank you.

Suzie wearing her Button Moons

My mate Suzie nearly, so very nearly, moved away. Well, she did move away but happily for me she returned. I made her a leaving gift, a little something to hang on the wall.

Bit of a rubbish photo, I really must get to grips with my big girl camera and stop relying on my iPhone all the time. You can't see very clearly from this but the word "Beans" is cross stitched on to some pretty ditsy floral fabric. Suzie's nick name is Beans because she eats millions of baked beans every year. I used waste canvas for the first time. It's fantastic stuff. My mind is swimming with oodles of ideas using this magic stuff.

Been a bit of a jumpy post, hey? To finish, I'd like to show you this Spring Time throw my friend Jen made. Crochet has helped her keep sane through some tough times. Crochet is amazing therapy. But I do not need to tell the majority of you that, do I?

Shame it is such a blurry pic

Sunday 8 September 2013

Flash back to Easter

I love this picture. Everything about it makes my heart feel happy. I love the colours. I adore the flowers. Ranunculus are gorgeous, each bulb springs forth about ten flowers. They just keep coming.

The knitting, a scarf called Princess Margaret was a true joy to knit. It's a very simple pattern but so effective.

It is not a quick item to make, it takes about nine fifty gram balls, but boy oh boy it is tremendous. I'm looking foward to making another in cream his Autumn. I have all the yarn ready and waiting. I intend to do a Ta Dah blog post for it soon, but er, you know how long stuff takes me these days, so don't hold yer breath

I started knitting my scarf on the way down to Salcombe at Easter this year. I was looking forward to our holiday there so very much because we had Mr C's family coming to visit and also 

Hard core crafting, man! In Dick and Wills after lunch

For me, although I have been to Salcombe so many times over the last five years, it now feels strange to me if The Mates aren't there with us. The Mates are Fee, of Chipper Nelly fame and her husbando, Cleggy and their three boys. We all enjoy ourselves so much that we have decided to make a jaunt to Salcombe an Easter tradition and we are slowly weaving in other traditions like breakfast at the diner and chip supper followed by crepes and The Winking Prawn restaurant the night before we leave for home. I think I blogged about Easter 2012 but I'm not sure if I just got a draft post together, or just thought about blogging about it.....

Laughing her head off, pimms in hand, crochet hook between her legs. Too Funny

We had bank August bank holiday together too last year and again this year. Another tradition it seems.

They brought with them a giant Easter egg. It was well heavy.

Geordie Boy reminds me of Monica in Friends when she wore the thanks giving turkey on her head and did a wiggly dance.

Cousin Weese was taking the pic. L to R - Poppa, Big, Uncle Dorv, Granny, Little, Mr C, Great Aunt Laura, me, Alfie, Geordie Boy, Boo. In the front Mini and Kenzie
Here's the rabble. I don't know where Fee and Cleggy were. I think we had stolen their boys for the afternoon. Is it bonkers that I can't remember? I honestly cannot recall. To be truthful these gaps in my recall worry me. They happen all too often.

Love the graffitti ceiling in the
Island Street Diner

Delish posh fish and chips to
be had here
The Island Street Diner is quite eclectic and cool.
I like it there. I like the waffles.

Fee and I sneaked off together for coffee, chatter and cake. I'm dribbling at this photograph. We have just returned from a week in Salcombe and I had half an hour on my own in this lovely cafe, Bibi and Mac. I sat at the same table and ate bakewell tart and waited for the ringing in my ears to stop. Nine weeks holiday my boys have had and my oh my the boys are so LOUD! Loud and very, very energetic. Luckily there is plenty do do at the seaside to allow them to let off steam.

The boat yard is boy paradise

Just down the road is the fire station.
These are our holiday home neighbours boys.

The South Sands tractor ferry is always a ride eagerly anticipated

Our pad is very close to the church. I enjoy hearing the bells from my bed. I adore church bells. I particularly love wedding bells. One thing I feel a bit sad about is that I never had wedding bells because we didn't get married in a church. I wanted my Dad to walk me down the aisle and I knew he wouldn't set foot in a church (atheist) so I never even considered a church wedding. Mr C wasn't bothered either way and I couldn't face the conversation about it with my Dad. I knew he would do it if I made him but I'd have had to persuade him and I knew I'd feel like he didn't want to walk me down the aisle, which of course wasn't have been the case, but getting married is an emotional thing and I only wanted happy memories attatched to the planning and the day itself.

I do love our little Seaside House. It has a wonderful feeling about it. The atmosphere is as though the walls have seen much happiness

I made a bit of bunting....

...quite a bit

I've finished this Springtime Throw now. Ever so happy with it. That's another post for another day. It was 18 months in the making and I loved having it waiting in the wings to dip in and out of whilst I made other things. I did quite a few squares whilst in Salcombe that Easter. I stayed up after everyone had gone to bed. I like quiet time to myself. It's the only child in me.

I enjoy end weaving, it's all thereaputic hand stitching to me.


*Please don't think badly of my Dad. He had not long had brain surgery and that, coupled with his medication, altered his character. It seemed to amplify the more difficult elements of his nature. He was always a stubborn man but at that time he was unmovable. Ten years down the line and he is finding his way back to his old self. It's great to see. It's really lovely to see the man of my childhood return. No one could have asked for a better Dad throughout my teens in particular. He was ace. (Don't worry Mum, you've always been ace!)