Tuesday 31 December 2013

My overview of 2013

Blimey, this is my last blog post of 2013, and it seems strange to think that this time last year, I didn't even have a blog! (Let alone two - quick self promo again to Miss Chapter's Reviews here).  It was only the talents of my newly found bloggy pal Daisy Jones that even brought this blog to fruition, for it was her clever hand that went on to Blogger and set up this site for me.

Since then I've posted 84 times and had 12,000 views which to me seems amazing.  I'm clearly not set for world domination anytime soon, but who cares?!

I did have a New Year's Resolutions list that I set out on Facebook at the end of 2012:

° learn to crochet - I can wield a pair of knitting needles but am not so handy dandy with a hook. This year I aim to overcome that.

° start a blog - follow me at your peril!

° buy only 1 book a month - no mean feat as I can easily purchase double figures a month. This year I intend to actually read the books I have instead of just stroking them.

° make my own clothes - not just my trusty "whip it up in a hour" skirt variety but some actual frocks too.

° be a better, more patient wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Heck I know I am damn near perfect already but I can surely improve on this!

° not stress so much, smell the roses(when we eventually get our garden sorted) and enjoy life just a little bit more.

So, did I achieve any of this?  Well yes, I jolly well did!

I can now crochet - to a degree.  More practise needed but I'm better than I was a year ago.

First attempts back in January

Last attempt in December

I did start two blogs.

My book buying was a bit wobbly at the start of the year, but now I'm reviewing under my own steam I'm getting lots of books sent by the publishers which has reduced my purchased numbers to a paltry handful - and these have either been used copies or vastly reduced kindle buys - yay me!

I did make a dress from my Pip Lincolne book, I've also started another but have kind of hit a stop with the sleeves.  Am hoping to rectify that in 2014, and I've just bought two new sewing books which I hope to use lots.

More patient?  Hmmm, the jury may be out on that one.

And I don't think I did stress so much.  It's not people that frustrate me, but things. 

So...what's for 2014?  More building work to complete on the house.  Hopefully this time next year we will have heating throughout and a finished house - all down to hubby though, I just sit and watch to be honest as he builds around me!

To get Agatha caravan powered up with electricity and a deck and to be able to use here - v exciting!

To meet some of my bestest bloggy pals in April when I go back to Hope & Elvis - you know who you are!

More crafting ... and a bit of cleaning.

Btw saw this on facebook today - do you think someone has seen my blog?!

Photo: Before we enter the first day of 2014, have you got any crafty resolutions for the new year?

Whatever you do, have a good one. It's been delightful to 'meet' you all and thank you for dropping by and sharing in my adventures.

Til 2014

G x

Monday 23 December 2013

We wish you a merry Christmas

A very merry Christmas to all of you.

Thanks for following and all of your comments over the year.

I can't believe I've been blogging for nearly 12 months!

See you soon on the other side!

G x

Saturday 14 December 2013

Great Little Gifts to Knit

Great Little Gifts to Knit by Jean Moss
Published by Taunton Press
5th September 2013
Paperback Edition

I was lucky enough to get the chance to review this new book by one of Britain’s leading knitwear designers Jean Moss.  It contains 30 patterns for things to make, to gift to others.  I love making things for other people so was keen to find out what was inside.

The book is divided into four chapters
  • Baby
  • Hers
  • His
  • Home

The baby section includes the most gorgeous cuddle cacoon and some beautiful beanbags among other patterns.

Hers has patterns for gloves, shawls, legwarmers and bags.

Love these turbans!

His includes a beanie hat, socks and a guitar strap which I’ve never seen included in a pattern book before – I know a few people who would like this!

In the final section, Home, you can make cushion covers, a dog jacket and the most amazing tea cozy I have ever seen!

How amazing are these?!

I will admit, some of these patterns look a bit above my capability but as the title says, these are ideas for gifts, and why would you not want to spend the time and effort making something gorgeous for somebody else?

Great Little Gifts to Knit is a lovely book, with clear, colourful photographs and instructions.  I think there is something for everyone here.

G x

Thursday 12 December 2013

Rummaging around

On Sunday I went up to Stockport for the final Vintage Village market of the year.  If you haven't heard about it, it's held on the second Sunday of every month and is well worth a visit.

I had some birthday pennies to spend so had a very good rummage around.  I also wanted to say hello to Emma again from Oooh Betty as she was there with Maurice, her caravan.

Thankfully the trains run frequently from Crewe to Stockport so I was at the market only 30mins after it opened at 10am.  It was fairly quiet then too so time to grab some bargains!

I found this lovely suitcase

I've been after one for a while,and whilst it's not in perfect condition, it will be ideal to go into Agatha.

I also bought this

I went round about half-a-dozen times and it was still on the shelf so I told myself that if it was still there on my final jaunt then I'd buy it.  It was and no sooner had I handed my pennies over than a woman asked to buy it!   Serendipity me thinks.  Of course, I haven't so much as looked at it since bringing it home as the girlies have been playing shops ever since!

I had to get something from the lovely Emma too, (and can I just add, I have serious hair colour envy after seeing her new 'do')  and I'd seen this clock on her website prior to her going to Stockport.  The question was, would it still be there when I arrived on Sunday?  Well it was, so it's also going into Agatha, along with this marvellous sewing machine print. 

Can you see my clock on the top shelf?

*Both photos are from Emma's website, I hope she doesn't mind me using them.

I also got some more pyrex - a black snowflake bowl and another casserole dish.  I'm still looking for the middle-sized June or Antique Rose dish to replace the one broken last year as I did have the complete three dish set from my grandmother.  Alas, it wasn't to be this time, but one day....!

I also got some fabric that will make a brilliant skirt, if and when I get round to using it.

There were so many lovely stalls and lovely bloggy people there too; Ophelia Button was there with her peg dolls (I almost bought a broach and then didn't :(  but I should have) and Jodi Jo Retro was there too.  Had to get two Miffy's for the girlies for Christmas!

*picture from Jodi Jo Retro Facebook page - hope you don't mind Jodi x

Then a quick pop into the town centre saw me make this purchase in Wilkinsons.  I think everyone needs a reindeer chopping board - don't they?!

Then it was time to board the train home, with many of my goodies stuffed inside my little red suitcase.  Roll on 2014 so I can go up again.

Did you all have a rummaging good weekend?

G x

Friday 6 December 2013

This week

I'm trying to get a wiggle on with the Christmas presents to be made.  The hats are still wips but I'm making a start on the cowl for a friend from Mollie Makes magazine 11.

Then the hats need finishing, and so does that second crochet scarf.  So much to do...and it's December already!

I'm not panicking - honest!

I had two lovely packages this week too.  The first was from Clare over at summerhouse by the sea as part of the Christmas decoration exchange organised by Marianne over at Ladybird Diaries.  How pretty is this bunting?

Mmmm bath goodies and chocolate!

Gorgeous crochet snowflake bunting!

I also had a belated birthday present from my bestest bloggy pal A over at Lazy Daisy Jones - squeel!

I'm off to Stockport on Sunday for the final Vintage Village of the year.  Emma from over at Oooh Betty will be there with her caravan Maurice so I'm hoping to say hi, and to spend some of my birthday pennies too.

While I'm whittering away, can I ask a cheeky favour?  As you know, I've started another blog which you can find here.  Hubby has said if I can get some more followers he will donate £100 to Leukemia and Lymphoma Research so I'm asking if any of you would mention it on your own blogs - cheeky but for a good cause!

Hope the winds of yesterday didn't do too much damage - we lost another tree unfortunately but it missed Agatha when it fell thankfully!

G x

Wednesday 27 November 2013


It's finished, it's finished, it's actually finished!

And if you have no idea what I'm wittering on about, then let me refresh your memory.

It started with this

Then I took some inspiration from this

And it's turned from this

Into this!

My first ever crochet scarf!  I used Cygnet DK wool which is a snip at £1.95 for a 100g ball.   I used three balls for this scarf and could easily make another with the remaining wool - though actually it's destined to become a cushion cover for Agatha!  So...cheap, good looking and functional - what's not to love?! (Infact, it was so quick and easy to do that I went and bought some more wool to make another as a Christmas gift)!  And if you need a reminder of where to find the pattern for this, visit my friend Kath over at Inverleith as it's all her work!

Happy hooking!

G x

Oh, and if you haven't noticed yet, I've got another blog now for my book reviews - you can find it here  If you could follow, or recommend to someone who's interested in good books,  I'd appreciate your support in this new venture x

Sunday 24 November 2013

A new blog!

I've started something new!

No, it's not another w.i.p though there's enough of them going on at the moment!

It's a new blog!

I've been thinking about it for a while, and whilst I want to continue to show what books I'm reviewing at the moment, I don't know if here is the right place to do it, so I've set up a new blog dedicated only to books!

I do hope that some of you will follow me over there too - it's called Miss Chapter's Reviews and you can find it here.

I look forward to seeing you over there!

G x

Thursday 21 November 2013

Crocheting a scarf!

It's been a funny crafting week.  I started on a high with my alpaca blend mittens/wristwarmers from my Erika Knight book. 

And then I got to the thumb shaping part and I must be going crazy because for the life of me, I can't work out the pattern - so it's either wrong or I'm stooopid.  Anyway I've had to stop them for now until I can work out what to do next!

So that led to a bit of frustration as I wanted to make something - only not any of the projects I've already got on the go (those rabbits hats will never be finished in time for Christmas as this rate)!

That got me thinking.....and a challenge was what was needed.  Now I've only been crocheting since this year and I don't have much confidence in doing anything too exciting but I love the scarf that M made on her Ladybird Diaries blog.  Gorgeous isn't it (and hopefully she won't mind me posting her picture on her)?!

So I headed on over to my friend Kath's blog at Inverleith cause it's her pattern.  Could I make this with the wool that I'd originally bought to make a cushion cover with?

You see, I've never crocheted in a line before - I'm a granny square maker so I was a bit unsure if I could manage a straight line or not!  The first attempt went a bit wrong, in that as I was going along all 240 stitches doing 1tr I kept thinking to myself  "I'm sure this isn't right", but instead of checking the pattern, I continued to the end (what?!) and then rechecked it.  Yes, sure enough, Kath quite clearly says 3tr!!!!!  So I undid it all!

Now I'm on a roll and loving it.  I'm only using three colours instead of six but it's looking good.  Even the 7 year old has stated an interest in possibly learning to crochet, and the 5 year old has asked for her own scarf!  If you fancy, you can join in with the Ladybird Diaries Bloomin Crochet-A-Long with her and Chrissie over on their blogs.

I'm off to Lottie's on Monday for a sewing day - we are planning on making an item of clothing.  As to what it will be, well we haven't decided yet but I'll show and tell just as soon as I do!

I'm off to stroke my new book from the lovely author at Soulemama blog.  A bargainous £2.99 from The Works - what's not to love?!

Hope you're all okay.  Our boiler finally got installed this week after 4 years without one.  We currently have one warm room - it feels amazing!

G x

Thursday 14 November 2013

Sing a song of sixpence

A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston
Published by Tinder Press
31st October 2013

Not every death is a tragedy.  Note every silver lining is intact.

Annie’s father is dead.  She isn’t sorry.  A rich and domineering man, his chief passion was money and, long ago, when his lovely, fragile wife died suddenly, he sent Annie to school in England, and tried to ensure that her mother was never mentioned again.

But at last his tyranny is over.  And so Annie leaves her London life and goes back to Dublin, to the family house she hates, and discovers that now, just when she thought she was free of her father, he has left her the house and intends her to live as he would have wished.  Does she dare to defy him one more time?  And who can she trust to tell her the truth about her mother’s life and death?

Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Wasn’t that a dainty dish to set before the king?

She hadn’t really liked him very much, Dada (he preferred it if she called him Father; to him Dada was an untidy name for a man of his standing).

The king was in his counting house,
Counting out his money…

From the tip of his head, black hair slightly streaked with silver the last time she had seen him, which she would have to admit was ten years ago, to the toes of his highly polished shoes he looked immaculate, handsome, a man of class and wealth.  Which, of course, he was.  He liked things to go his way; his word was law, and always what he thought was the best for you.
     ‘I only want what is best for you.’
     How many times had she heard those unanswerable words?
     And now he was dead.  She wondered if he had ordered his death as he had ordered everything else in his life.
     She hadn’t been back here for over ten years.
     She had been barely eighteen when she had left Dublin.  She had just thrown some stuff in a suitcase and set off as so many others had done down the years and indeed still
do for their various reasons.  Her reason had been freedom, her destination London.  From London it had appeared to her she could survey the world; she would be able to make decisions, her own decisions, not her father’s.  Dada had a scheme mapped out for her.  He had wanted her to follow him into the money world.  He wanted her to move with grace and confidence among the wheelers and dealers and eventually marry one of them and consolidate their assets, their two worlds.  He had sent her to school in England a couple of years after her mother had died, when she was barely twelve years old and too young to fight her corner. ‘I only want what is best for you,’ he had said, when he had dropped the bombshell. ‘Your mother and I have only ever wanted the best.’

Booker-shortlisted author Jennifer Johnston has a number of acclaimed novels under her belt, and I feel that A Sixpenny Song should be no different.  Annie’s estranged father has died, and as the only child, she has to return to Dublin for the funeral and to settle his assets, as well as deal with ‘wife number two’.  Annie hasn’t been home for ten years, she hasn’t had a reason to.  She’s very happy with her life in London, working in a bookshop, which is a far cry from her father’s dreams of the life in finance that he set out for her.

Annie’s beautiful, but fragile mother, Jude, died when she was ten years old.  Annie doesn’t remember that much about her, or her death.  Returning home, she meets gardener cum handyman Kevin, and his aunt Miss Dundas.  Both of them knew her mother, though in very different ways, and through them, Annie starts to learn more about her mother and the tragic events surrounding her life.

But can Annie make a new life for herself in Dublin or will the ghosts of her past continue to haunt her?  This may only a short novel, but it is beautifully written and captivated me instantly.  Perfect for reading on a winter’s evening.

G x

Monday 11 November 2013

Lucky, lucky me!

Thank you for all of your lovely birthday wishes, I have had a lovely time - meals out, a fireworks party, flowers and more pressies than I could have dreamed of!

Would you like to see some of my treasures?

Well, aside from two caravans, a puppy and a mobile phone(!) I also got:

Beautiful silver bangles

Bracelet made from vintage Agatha Christie books!

And lots, and lots of craft books!

Fairy wings - enough said!

A crochet challenge!

I can finally return that copy to the library!

I forgot to tell hubby I'd already bought this - naughty!

I also had lots and lots of pennies to go shopping with - but what to buy?!  I did pre-order this last night

And to top it all off, the beautfiul Sam Eades over at Headline sent me this:

I may have squealed at this!

I think I can safely say, that so far, I'm loving being 40!

G x