Sunday 30 March 2014

In a week from now it'll all be over...

Yes, this time next week I'll be recovering from my crafty day out at Hope & Elvis, back in my old haunt of Nottinghamshire.  The last time I was there was for my granny chic day with Tif and Rachelle, aka Dottie Angel and Ted & Agnes, and what a hoot that was.

This time, not only will I be seeing the lovely Louise and Miss Debs again, but seeing Caroline from gran plumley who was also at the granny chic day too,  This time I am going to a workshop with another bloggy pal, one who was also at the granny chic day, but on the Saturday, not Sunday, so our paths never crossed, and that is the lovely Letitia, aka Mrs Bertimus.

I can't wait to actually see her and her work up close and personal - as it were.  Heaven knows what I will be making.  I think I need to find an image to trace, I have an idea (of sorts) in my head so think will just go with that.  I'm meant to be wearing a daffodil in my hair but as I'm working every day again this week that plan is looking a little off of the beaten track but I'll do my bestest - mind you, if I do that, Mrs B has to be wearing a Carmen Miranda style turban on her head which I'm betting she doesn't do!  (I'll let you know)!

The other person who I'm super excited to be seeing is my other bloggy pal A from Lazy Daisy Jones.  We've been chatting in blogland for over a year now but haven't met as we live super far from each other, but she is coming up for the day too - squeal!

Of course I am also very nervous and worried that everyone will take an instant dislike to me and I'll want to cry but let's not dwell on that - for now!

I'm also joining in with the mand-a-long started by Daisy and Chrissie over on their blogs.  I've started my first one today.  Took me flipping ages to learn how to do the magic loop/circle thingy.  Thank heavens for You Tube again - it's a crochet dream for a visual learner like me.  I've got too many stitches though but I'm not thinking about that, no siree, I'm just carrying on like everything is fine!

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again

The pattern is by Wink from Simply Crochet issue 5.  If you want to join in, grab the sidebar button from one of the girls' sites and let them know - guess I'd better do that now!

Photo from

Happy Mother's Day - whether you are or not.  I made my mum a bookmark, a lavender bag and an extra special bookmark from my Handmade Home book that I mentioned in my last post.  I can show it now if you like...

Knickers lavender bag


Grandma bookmark

It's my mum as drawn by my 5 year old.  I then backstitched around it and sewed it together, with some fusible interfacing to stiffen it.  I'm pretty impressed with it and she loved it!

G x

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Crafty book inspiration

Oh, crafty books, oh crafty books, how much do I love thee? (sang to some rambling tune I don't think even exists, except in my own head)!

I have lots of them, only I don't always get the time to use them.

This week I pulled a load out looking for mother's day inspiration.  The first few left me feeling quite disheartened.  There was nothing of interest for me amongst any of their pages, though when I bought them, there must have been something for me to have decided to part with my pennies.

Thankfully, I found two ideas from two very different books.  The first was from my new Fiona Goble book.  More known I think for her knitting projects, this is a new book based around simple sewing ideas. (Unfortunately I can't reveal what I chose to make as my mum reads my blog - or at least I think she does)!

The other book that I found the most delightful idea in, is the Handmade Home book by Amanda Blake Soule, who some of you might know from her blog Soule Mama.  This has lots of lovely ideas in it too, and some that you probably haven't seen in other crafting books!

I decided to treat myself though and buy two new crafty books that I felt sure should have a place on my shelf.  The first is the Homemade Home book by Sania Pell, which I've had from the library before, and even if I never made anything from it, would calm me with it's beautiful photos.  I'm saving up for the Homemade Home for Children one next as that's just as lovely.


The other is a children's craft book by the fabulously quirky Donna Wilson called Creative Creatures and I'm quite sure the 5 & 7 year olds are going to have great fun choosing what to make from it.  I'm up for getting some jumpers and making my own creatures from the gorgeous illustrations inside too, so it's clearly a win-win all round!

Any crafty books singing your praises recently?  Do tell!

G x

Friday 21 March 2014

50 pincushions to knit & crochet

50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet by Cat Thomas
Published by Search Press
15th January 2014
Paperback Edition
Ah, the humble pincushion.  So important, yet available in so many different guises.  In this fantastic book by Cat Thomas, you can choose from 50 different designs! Yes, 50!
The photographs in here are so clear that I fear one could be put off by not managing to make a pincushion as exact as the glorious picture shows, but this is a trivial thing, no?  I do like the fact that the book shows all 50 designs first, in all their glory, before showing you how to make them.
As with all of the Search Press books I've come across, the illustrations and instructions are both clear and concise for users of all abilities.  Shall I show you some of the featured designs.... (apologies that my photos are no where near as good as in the book).
Look at that lion!
looks good enough to eat!
All crafters need a pincushion or two, at least and what better way to use up all those scrap bits of wool that are left-over from other projects and are too small to be off use for anything of great quantity.  I can see me making many of these for myself and then gifting a few more too.  My biggest dilemma is, with 50 designs to choose from, which one to tackle first!

G x

Monday 17 March 2014


Knitalong - celebrating the tradition of knitting together by Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown
Published by Open Road Integrated Media
Published 13th September 2011
Hardback Edition
The immensely popular knitalong--an organized event where people knit together for a common goal--has only grown with the explosion of the Internet. Yesterday's wartime Red Cross sock drives have evolved into today's meet-ups at locales as diverse as cafes, state fairs, and major league ballparks, as well as international online gatherings; in fact, at any given time tens of thousands of people worldwide are involved in knitalongs, organized around a particular yarn, a favorite social cause, an intriguing project, a special event, or myriad other themes.

Authors Larissa Brown and Martin John Brown present an inspiring look at centuries of people knitting together, and why knitters find the interaction so meaningful and worthwhile. Along the way, they offer 20 projects especially suited for different types of knitalongs. The Barn Raising Quilt and the Traveling Scarf, for instance, call on individual knitters to collaborate on a single project; while the Pinwheel Blanket and the Meathead Hat encourage a community of knitters to improvise on the same pattern to come up with a variety of results. Also included is essential information about finding, joining, and starting knitalongs.

Hundreds of knitters participated in the knitalongs hosted by the authors as part of their research, and this book will inspire thousands more to get involved in the knitalong movement. The only book that celebrates this tradition of community and purpose, "Knitalong" is sure to have a powerful impact.
I already have Larissa Brown's other book My Grandmothers' Knitting so when the opportunity came up to review this one, I was immediately interested.  Husband and wife team Larissa and Martin use this book to investigate the history of the Knitalong or KAL. 
 Whilst the focus is primarily on the United States of America, there is enough in this book to hold the attention of those of us outside of the States.  The book is divided into a number of chapters including where to hold knitalongs, for example in a cafe, the history of the knitalong from it's earliest days as a cottage industry and to using the internet as a voice for the knitalong. 
Entomology mittens
There are also 20 patterns included in the book, ranging from a vintage style baby's bonnet to socks, sweaters and a recycled sweater pincushion.  So it begs the question, who fancies holding the next KAL?!
I am in love with this blanket!
G x

Sunday 16 March 2014

Hooky in the sun

I found myself with a rare bit of 'me time' this weekend, as the girlies have been at their grandparents whilst hubby and I went out to the theatre on Friday night, and dinner at friends' last night.

The problem was, once hubby had vanished off to hockey on Saturday afternoon, I couldn't decide what to actually do.  There were so many things whispering in my head for me to make that it took me nearly an hour to reach a decision!

In the end, I opted for the granny square cowl that is in this month's Simply Crochet magazine.  It's by Jacquie over at bunny mummy.  I decided that this would be a good project as I've still got wool left over from my Cath Kidston scarf making at Christmas.

It started off fine, then came the joining-them-together bit.  Man was I foxed.  I can't begin to say how long it took me to fathom it all out, but I got there, in the end!  I managed 7 squares yesterday, catching up with Revenge on the tv.

After cleaning the house today, it was time for a little bit more, so I took the kindle fire plus my wool into the garden and played hooky whilst watching, or rather listening, to Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window.  I've now completed two of the sixteen rows.

It does seem strange to be crocheting a cowl when the weather is so glorious though!

Oh, and while I remember, I did cancel my Mollie Makes subscription in the end.  I've got one more issue to come so number 39 will be my last - unless I'm tempted by it in the shops!

Did you hook anything this weekend?

G x

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Ringing in the changes

Hmmm, it seems that spring just might be upon us, judging from the glorious weather we had over the weekend, and at the start of this week (today was a little chillier but I will not be swayed from this thought), and in lieu of one season coming to an end, and another beginning it's time for some changes here too.

Firstly me.  I've been blonde for the past three years, but recently have been umming and ahhing over whether to continue hitting the bleach bottle or not.  I did have it all cut off about a month ago but still couldn't decide what to do.  Today the decision has been made for I am now a brunette again.  At the time of typing, Mr T still hasn't seen the new 'do' so fingers crossed he likes it!  My girlies were a little surprised, especially the littlest as she was only 2 when I went blonde so doesn't remember me with dark hair!  Want to see the difference?!

From this at Christmas...

To this!

I'm also debating whether to continue my subscription to Mollie Makes magazine!  I know, shock, horror, gasp.  I have every issue but I never seem to make anything from it.  I love it, don't get me wrong, it's a lovely magazine, but surely the point of buying a crafting magazine is to craft from it, and nothing in there seems to hit the spot.  I think I need to see when my subscription is up for renewal and bite the bullet.  I think if I didn't have all of them it would be easier to do but I think it needs serious consideration.

So from something old to something new. A magazine that has caught my eye, as some of you might also have seen, is Tend and issue one has just come out.  It's an online publication edited by Debbie Qalballah from the blog my so called life and other lies and is a quarterly online magazine designed to nourish a mindful life.  For £4.75 for 200 pages it certainly seems good value for money, and the images I've seen so far, seem to show that it's going to be worth a closer look at.

I think there are various blogs running competitions to win the first copy too, so head on over to their facebook page to find out more.  I've already entered three times - think I might be splashing the cash though as I never win anything!

Anyone else ringing in the changes this week?

G x

Saturday 8 March 2014

Giveaway results

Thank you for entering my first ever giveaway care of Search Press.  The names were all put into a Quality Street tin, and drawn by my 5 year old helper this morning.

Drumroll please.....


Well done Gill, a copy of Jelly Roll Scraps, plus a vintage fabric bookmark will be winging it's way to you as soon as you send me your contact details!


G x

Wednesday 5 March 2014

Sunny Days

Blimey, it's dry and sunny this morning, making that a grand total of three days in a row so far!  The sun was so lovely on Monday that I got my (still not working properly) sewing machine out and decided to make a cloud cushion from my new Liberty book.

I found some aptly named Sunny Daze fabric and this is the result - not perfect, but a cheery cloud cushion nonetheless.

I also decided that I needed some new bookmarks, what with all the review titles I've got arriving at the moment - slightly snowed under there but trying not to panic.  Have I mentioned that I have a book blog?!  Do pop by and say hi if you haven't already - it's nice over there too!

The template for these comes from the lovely Chloe Owens book, but basically it's the side of a tissue box for an outline, and then two pieces of fabric and some fusible interfacing finished off with a button and some ribbon should you so choose.

I made four in the end - one for mother's day, two for me and one to go in with my giveaway book of Jelly Roll Scraps.  There is still time to enter, as it closes at the end of play this Friday.  The link is here and all you have to do is leave a comment, if you haven't already.

These two are mine

The one on the right is for the giveaway

Hope you have some sunshine too!

G x

Sunday 2 March 2014

A girl called Jack

A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe
Published by Michael Joseph
27th February 2014
Paperback Edition
As I mentioned on my last blog post (gosh, was it only yesterday?!) I bought this book on Friday and today I used it for the first time so I thought I'd share the recipe from it and tell you how much I like it already.
Quick re-cap, between 2011 and 2012, Jack spent a year unemployed, with a buget of around £10 a week to feed herself and her son.  These are some of the recipes she came up with. 
There are 100 recipes in the book, divided into:
Bread & Breakfast
Super Soups
Beans, Pulses & Lentils
Vegetable dishes
Sweets & Treats
Today I made the soda bread.
Juice of half a lemon or 2tps of lemon juice
300ml semi skimmed milk
400g self-raising flour OR 400g plain flour plus 2 heaped tsp baking powder
1 and a half level tsp of bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees or gas 4.  Add the lemon juice to the milk and allow to stand for approx. 5 minutes until it has curdled and separated.
Add bicarb to flour and after making a well in the centre, add the liquid to form a sticky dough.
Tip onto a floured surface and knead very lightly.  *The trick to amazingly light soda bread is not to fiddle with it too much.
Pop the shaped dough into a 1lb loaf tin, score a line on the top of the dough down the middle about 1cm deep with a sharp knife and dust with a little extra flour.  Place in a preheated oven for about 40 mins.  Once baked the loaf should sound hollow on the bottom when tapped and feel ridiculously light.  Remove from the tin and leave to cool.
Here's the one I made this morning!
yummy with strawberry jam!
But can I just say, I forgot to add the soda!!!!!!  It's only now, typing this up that I remembered!  Hubby did ask why it's called soda bread and I didn't even twig!  Bloomin lovely though but probably best to add all of the ingredients!  Next I fancy the peach and white chocolate traybake - yum!
Before I go, I'd like to leave you with this bit from Jack herself:
Poverty isn't just having no heating, or not quite enough food, or unplugging your fridge and turning your hot water off.  Poverty is the sinking feeling when your small boy finishes his one Weetabix and says, 'More, Mummy?  Bread and jam please, Mummy,' as you're wondering whether to take the TV or the guitar to the pawn shop first, and how to tell him that there is no bread or jam.
 G x


Saturday 1 March 2014

Food for thought

Thank you to everyone who has entered my giveaway - you still have until the end of next Friday to do so if you haven't already!

I treated myself yesterday to two new recipe books -

I already have the first Lisa Faulkner one, and really liked it so when I saw the second for a bargain £5 I snapped it up!

I'd sort-of heard of this book/blog but hadn't found the time to check it out.  When I saw this in the supermarket yesterday, I decided to grab it as it was half price.  I've had a flick through and it looks like it has some good recipes in it.  I don't know if I could manage to only spend £10 a week feeding my family but I certainly admire what Jack has done.

I've still got the ends to sew in on my shawl and my cardigan to finish - I'm halfway through the first sleeve (I hate don't like making sleeves, very tedious) but I'm determined to crack on and finish it!  Downside is that the weather has been so mild I've not worn any of the chunky knitwear I've made - not even my 'never to be repeated' poncho!  Still, mustn't grumble!

G x