Some Happy Times

PicMonkey Collage

Half term has been and gone, and I took the opportunity to lay down the paint brushes and have some heavenly time out.  Above is a mosaic, capturing some snapshots of that delicious week.  First off, a trip the seaside with my sister and her family; we went to the Norfolk coast and took a long walk on the sea front breathing in the deep gulps of tangy salted air.  The sea was like a mill pond, as calm as you like and dark silhouettes were framed on the shore line as folks walked their dogs, stark against the milky blue sea.

In the park, the aconites were a bright carpet of yellow and a cheery sight for a winter weary soul…there was also time indoors, leisurely breakfasts, time spent baking with my little girl and the acquisition of some new, shiny tins to put our freshly iced fairy buns in.  There were lots of sofa moments too where we just collapsed in front of the telly, where I crocheted or sipped hot, frothy coffee in my pyjamas.

I think we all need time out like this, time away from the computer, from work, from our commitments.  It’s a chance to recharge, reflect and relax.  It was bliss.

Back to work though this week – paintings for the exhibition continue to emerge and I’m on with this one at the moment:


And I’m also on with some of these…

PicMonkey Collage

These Easter hearts have been a nice little diversion for me, and I continue to sneak the odd one in here and there between my more Serious Paintings.  I am currently offering these through my Facebook Page, so if you are interested in acquiring one for yourself, you are welcome to message me although I must hasten to add that they are very Limited Edition due to time constraints and so only a very small number will be made.

I have some extra time on my hands today, my little girl is at an after school craft club so I’m away now to take advantage of this extra hour, and get busy with my paint brushes again.

See you soon x

Snow, yarn and other such ramblings

PicMonkey Collage2

There’s been a spot of colourful hooky going on in these parts.

After a bit of pootling on Pinterest and various and delightful craft blogs, I discovered a newish craze for granny square blankets emerging.  Aha! I thought; I could do with one of those very things for my own sweet bed!  However, Christmas was upon us, and I had neither the time nor inclination to contemplate a new blanket project, so I filed the idea away for future reference…fast forward to January, and I eventually caved in and bought a new stash of Stylecraft Special DK wool to set about making a granny square blanket of my very own.  My heart had been well and truly taken the moment I cast my eyes upon this beautiful blanket here although there are many fine specimens to be found upon the interweb as I’m sure you will discover.

I cannot lie to you, I was so smitten with Sandra’s colourway that I ordered pretty much the same shades of wool that she had used for her blanket.  And it’s coming on a treat; its a fine way to pass a happy hour on a winters eve, curled up on the sofa watching Miranda, gigglesnorting like billy-o and knocking up a few squares in deliciously vintage coloured yarn.

I’m using the join-as-you-go method, fiddly as heck, but saving me a lot of sewing at the end which can be a tad time consuming to say the least.

During the day, I’ve been working my little socks off on some new pieces of art for my solo exhibition…would you like a peek?  You would?  Here you are then:


The Coastguard Cottages


Beside the Waves

I also have a plan to create some coastal inspired characters on some small box canvases, with an element of collage and stamped text about them.  I’m mighty excited by this sudden flurry of inspiration and I’m making sure I write down lots of notes about these ideas in my book, should they happen to dissolve and disappear from my busy little head forever.

After a colourful week, our world suddenly turned very grey and white.  The snow finally came to our little corner of the world and we decided that we would go out and enjoy ourselves enormously.


There was sledging and snowman girl making, the obligatory snowball fights and wanderings down the back garden to see the river which had turned into a magical winter wonderland…



I love the sculptural shapes of the branches and seed heads, and that glorious blue sky!


As I work, I see my little feathered friends making more frequent visits to the feeder (which is hung a couple of feet away from my window).  I love to watch them, and wonder how something so small can survive such terribly cold nights…



Another feathered soul paid us a visit too…can you spot him?  He’s a regular visitor, and can often be seen stooping in the shallows, waiting to catch a plump trout for his lunch.


Back inside after our snowy meanderings, hot chocolate of the best kind, topped with the squirtiest of cream and tiniest of marshmallows is consumed and jammies are put on.  It’s only 3 o’clock in the afternoon, but it’s a snow day from school and there’s no need to be going out again; may as well just cosy up indoors and do a spot of painting with C…


…and on a whim, I dug out some papier mache style hearts and painted a whimsical little Valentine’s scene.  These hearts are secretly magnets, but would look rather dandy in a nice box frame I think.

So my week is only just begun, but already it is filled with the simplest and nicest of things.  And if it needed icing on the cake, it came in the form of an email from my lovely agent, who wrote to tell me that three pieces of my artwork have been accepted for licensing by a client, and therefore shall become cards or suchlike.  I am delirious with delight, because this is another one of my dreams come true.

And dreams do come true you know, if you believe they will.

I’ll see you again soon, have a wonderful week and thank you for coming to see me today.

Love J x

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

I’ve been busy of an evening this last week…

…hugely inspired by Attic 24’s latest creation, I felt a sudden need for a crocheted Christmas wreath of my own.  So the yarn basket was ransacked for suitable colours and once I had a decent pile (variations of DK yarn; acrylic, merino and cashmerino) I got busy making a long stripy rectangle to cover my polystyrene wreath (it’s a flat backed one which I picked up quite cheaply in Hobbycraft).

I wasn’t quite sure how the crocheted rectangle would fit around the wreath, but as Lucy reassured us on her blog; despite it looking like it won’t,  it somehow just does – and it did.

My wreath was going to need some adornments too…and there was a sudden flurry of pom-pom making the other night, and cutting out of holly from felt.  A little jaunt to Homebase resulted in a top find of some Jingle Bells – only £2.99 for a tube of 10, and a chance find of some mini decorative baubles on wires in Paperchase were just too good to ignore.

Once home, I raided the button tin and ribbon stash, and got busy.

I sewed the Jingle Bells on, but the rest of the ribbons, pom-poms and holly leaves are pinned on.  It’s very easy to attach them to the polystyrene using pins, and you can move things about a bit too, if you change your mind.

I think the mini decorative baubles and bells are lovely, they really catch the light.

We decided that it would be nice to have our new wreath hanging on the door which leads into our lounge, where everyone would see it best:

I’m so pleased with how this turned out, and I’m already planning another one for Springtime, full of juicy colours, flowers and lots more pom-poms!

As we huddle indoors of an evening now, and cosy up on the sofa under our crochted blankets, watching telly and reading books by the glow of candles and Christmas lights, we are grateful to be tucked up warm with one another as the weather has turned decidedly cold.

Yesterday morning there was a thick frost which glittered beautifully in the rising sun.  The trees down the valley were gauzy white; the sky was a soft shell pink and the air was very still.  As I made my way down to the little wall to peek at the river, a flock of wintering goosanders that had been swimming downstream suddenly took off into the air, their beating wings a percussion of noise which broke the freezing silence.

So it’s no surprise that we like cosying up in our little home together…

We love hunkering down of a Sunday afternoon to watch Elf and other favourite Christmas films, and we’ve also been enjoying a bit of Festive Makery together too…

This last Sunday saw an industrious bout of paper chain making (these are from Phoenix Cards), which we strung up alongside some of those funky and fabulous retro tissue paper balls.  I’ve seen these featured in a couple of magazines and on the internet but found them way too expensive to justify shelling out on.  Then we discovered some in Wilkinsons for just a pound a piece (the larger ones are still good value at £1.75 for a whopping 30cm sized ball) and we brought home some cheery red and white ones to go with our paper chains.

We think it looks very cool.

So, the house is finally decorated; the order book is closed and I’m winding up the last few hand painted goodies to go out to their new homes.  It’s been a whirlwind these last few weeks and I am now looking forward enormously to relaxing and enjoying the holidays.

I like this time of year, as we head towards the end of December.  It’s a very good time for Creative Percolation, and as I step back from my painting for a while to spend time with family and friends, I usually find new ideas blooming.  These are written down in my planner, for things to come back to in January.  But for now, the games will be brought downstairs and we’ll play Monopoly and Guess Who; we’ll eat too many mince pies and drink a tad too much mulled wine.  We’ll see the little ones sing in the choir at church on Christmas Eve and go to the panto on New Years Eve.  We’ll look forward to driving out to Castleton in Derbyshire to see the little trees lit up, a tradition almost as old as I am (my parents would take me and my sister, and now as we take our own daughter).  I like the gentle traditions of this time of year, and also the new ones that my own family are creating alongside them.

Sending love and peace to you and yours, wherever you are in the world.

Vintage Flower Doily Garland

Once upon a time, I discovered a crochet artist called Sophie Digard.  I fell into immediate rapturous love with her intricate lace like scarves; an alchemy of design and colour that had the inspiration levels soaring into overdrive!  I had never worked with cotton before, but decided it was something that I’d like to try crocheting with very much indeed.  My dear old Nan used to crochet doilies when she was alive, and these too held the same fragile allure for me.  Such care had been taken with the beautiful patterns, the elegant stitches creating a floral masterpiece that would have taken quite some time to create.

The thing was, a doily seemed doable, but a scarf or a shawl made with such fine threads seemed a little daunting.  Did I have the patience to work diligently at something that would surely be a labour of love, an endurance, a project that would take a Very Long Time?

In short, no.

I’m one of these people who sometimes like a quick result, a fast and happy little project that can be quickly made and installed; a project that I can work at alongside my Bigger Blanket projects.  And whilst I love the vintage feel of a crocheted doily, I wanted something a little more colourful and festive; something that would feel inspiring and exciting to look at.  So I decided to make a garland; a flowery, autumnal garland that I could hang in my home.  A garland inspired by my Nan’s pretty doilies and the delicate threads of Sophie’s beautiful creations, indeed it would be a miniature floral doily garland!

Oh the excitement at realising a new project is about to be undertaken!

So a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a handful of skeins of cotton thread.  I spent a happy half hour winding them onto old style wooden laundry pegs (my preferred method of storing all embroidery cottons).  I chose DMC perle cotton skeins #8, but you can also buy this in balls.

And then I dug out my Crochet Motifs book and looked for some pretty doily style flowers to make.

As most of the patterns are from the book, Im sorry to say that I cannot reproduce them here – but if you have the book yourself I can point you in the general direction of the flowers I chose (numbers 41 and 53).

I also designed a little flower myself – for which the pattern is here:

The stitches are written in US terms.

  • Ch4, SS to join to form ring.
  • Ch3, 14DC into ring, SS to join (15 stitches).
  • *Ch5, SS into 3rd stitch along* Repeat ** around circle, until you have 5 half circle loops made from the chain stitches.  SS to finish round in first stitch.
  • *6DC into each half circle loop*  Repeat ** into each loop to make petals, SS to finish and tie off.  Secure ends by sewing into the back of the flower.

You can use this pattern with any yarn of course, but for those of you who’d like to try out the cotton perle flowers that I made here, I used a 2.5 hook.

But now…it’s time for a little Ta~Dah moment!

I’ve hung my little flowery doily garland over some photos and decopatched letters.

What do you think??  I’m rather smitten by it, and am now contemplating making one for my kitchen!  The flowers, although a little fiddly to start with do crochet up quite quickly once you get the hang of working with the cotton (I’m used to working with DK yarn, so it was quite a difference to me and took a little getting used to).  However, I think it’s worth persevering with as the outcome is so delicate and pretty.

To  join your flowers to form a garland, choose a cotton/yarn colour and start by attaching with a SS to the top of a flower; then chain across (I chained 25 here) and SS to join your next flower.  Just carry on in this way until all flowers are attached and finish off with a SS in the top of the last flower, secure and tie in ends.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tutorial; I’m going to love you and leave you now as I feel a big mug of tea coming on!! Thanks for coming by today!

Much love

Colour Love


At last, at last the rainbow circle cushion is FINISHED!  To tell you the truth, I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve had a very poorly little girl to look after and didn’t get a chance to photograph it until now.

What do you think?

It’s the zingy-est, brightest, most eye popping cushion in the house!  I found the pattern to be really fast to work up and easy to follow (you can find it in that ever fabulous book ~ Cute & Easy Crochet by Nicki Trench) and the wool was generally delightful to work with (despite the fact it split a little here and there).  The wool was Amy Butler Organic Cotton DK and I’d absolutely use it again simply because the colours available are so gloriously happy ones!

So with a crochet project complete and a little girl at home ill,  I decided to have a look through my stash of WIP’s to give me something to do whilst she slept and lay on the sofa recovering (I hasten to add, she is much better now – thank goodness!).  I discovered my Granny Stripe blanket hidden away under a chair (things get sequestered all over the place in this house) and I suddenly had an urge to be doing rhythmical stripes again. Stripes, be they granny, straight or ripple have a very soothing effect on me; I find it most therapeutic to curl up on the sofa with a bag of rainbow coloured yarn and lose myself if the repetitive motion of going backwards and forwards.

Anyway, it’s coming along pretty nicely!  I’ve decided to be very random with this blanket which is destined for my daughter and am choosing colours as I go.  I wonder what you think of it so far?

I wasn’t too sure about the darker shades at first, but I think they’re growing on me.  If you like this pattern and would like to give it a go, you can find it over on Attic 24’s blog here.

What projects are you currently on with?  Share them with me here!

Sending love


Colour~Full Easter

We’re enjoying a bit of a relaxed Easter holiday here in our little corner of the world.  Last week we went down by our little river and collected some twigs to make our Easter Tree.  On one of my jaunts to town, I’d spied a cheap bag of coloured eggs to hang on our branches and brought them home with a box of tiny yellow chicks.  The eggs are those lovely sugary colours that make you feel instantly happy when you see them, and the chicks keep falling off their perches to hang upside down in a rather amusing way.  I’ve never decorated before at Easter, but it’s definitely something we’ll do again.

The arrival of Easter also saw the arrival of my sister and nephews who came to stay for a few days with my parents.  And it also saw the arrival of some rather unexpected White Stuff.  Brrrrrrr….

Yep, we had a fair old dumping of it and the temperatures plummeted.  Hard to imagine just a few days earlier we’d been sunning ourselves on the beach, and eating our tea out the back garden; slapping on the suncream and digging out our summer tops!!

Only in England…!

Still, a few inches of snow wasn’t going to scupper our plans!!  We wrapped up warm and ventured out.  We’d heard there were some new babies to be seen at one of the local farms, so we trussed up the Smalls and took them up to Our Cow Molly’s to see the lambs and partake of some of their delicious ice-cream.

Rushing around doing lots of family things during the days, it was nice to find a few moments of quiet time come the evenings.  I managed to sneak in some bed-time hooky…

The bag I’m working on is coming on a treat; only nine more squares to go and a couple of handles.  I’m trying to decide what kind of fabric to line it with too.  It’s going to be a smashing bag for summer though.  You can find the pattern in this book here by Nicky Trench.

I’ve also been enjoying a spot of relaxing with my birthday present ~ I was very lucky to receive a Kindle.  When they first came out I wasn’t too sure about these reading devices, being the Major Book Lover that I am.  What could possibly take the place of a real book, that feel of paper, the very scent of a book?  But you know, I soon began to realise that for someone who lives in a very Small House, and has an increasingly large book stash (much of it being housed in storage boxes as I just don’t have enough shelves, I’m sure you get the picture) they could be very useful indeed.

I’m mainly using mine for fiction books, as I don’t think I’d get as much pleasure from cookery and interiors style books on them, being greyscale as they are.  For reading books though, Kindles are the best invention in the WORLD and for travelling what could be better than a whole stash of your favourite books in one place?! Fantabulous!!! I’m a total Kindle Junkie now!

Once I had my little Kindle, I realised it would need a little Home,  somewhere to protect it from the inevitable bumps and knocks it would collect being jostled about in my shoulder bag and so on.

I knew I didn’t want a run of the mill shop bought one, no no – I wanted something special, something a bit different.  Something Hand Made!

So I approached Cathy who runs a beautiful business called Dear Emma, and asked her if I could commission her to make one for me.

And she did!  It’s so well made and I’m as pleased as punch with it.  The stitch work is exquisite and the fabric is very luxurious.  Cathy has a lovely website, and I believe that my Kindle cosy may be the first of many as it’s inspired her to start a brand new range!

So that’s about it for now.  In a day or so we head off to see the other half of our family down in Wales.  I hope you’re enjoying your holidays, thanks so much for bobbing by to see me today!

Julia xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Colouring the Days

Yesterday I felt compelled to rush out and fill my house with blooms.  I don’t usually spend too much on flowers, and will often pick up a little bunch of daffodils for a pound or so and be content to look at their sunny yellow heads.  But yesterday, overcome by a sudden need for colour, I went out and treated myself to a veritable armload of the things and plopped them in jam jars and vases around my house.
Candy pink tulips, indigo irises and a starburst posy of tiny, sweet scented narcissi.
I know it seems frivolous, but the satisfaction that these colourful visitors are bringing me is magnified and deep seated each time I see them.
Determined to make this a week of colour (to counteract the overcast behaviour of the weather) I also found myself some new threads…
Now I’m quite excited about these; you see I’m planning on making a necklace, but before I could start, I needed to unravel the rainbow skeins and instead of creating tiny balls from which to crochet from, I took inspiration from Pinterest here and did this:
Old style wooden pegs are the best thing ever for looking after your skeins of floss and embroidery threads.  I got very excited when I first saw that picture on Pinterest and was determined to do it myself.  
I shall share more about my necklace project with you soon!
In the meantime, we have been enjoying a snow laden weekend here…
Much fun was to be had out sledging, making snow angels and snowmen before retreating inside my Mum’s cottage to be handed big steaming mugs of hot coffee and cookies.  I took mine outside, and went for a wander.  I do like how snow makes everything look so effortlessly beautiful.

 The seedheads looked particularly beautiful against the white snowy ground, and a recent vapour trail looked ever so much like a pretty garland against that bright, azure blue sky…

I must confess to liking being indoors at the moment though.  I like my cosy house and all it’s homely corners and I’m slowly getting used to the fact that I have all this extra time on my hands now my Small is off being busy at school.  There are often too many hours in my day, but gradually I am fillling them with nice homely type things, such as tea drinking, crochet or like today, a spot of baking.  There is nothing more comforting to the soul than to have the aroma of baking in the house on a snowy day.

Todays bake was oaty cookies, enhanced with a generous scoop of chopped brazils and juicy sultanas.  I’ve already consumed three, and am tempted by a fourth…

On the arty front, I’m pootling about with my sketchbooks, contemplating a new painting and working on a couple of commissions here and there.  Here’s one I recently finished, now safely in it’s new home in Italy:

One last thing before I leave you (to dash into the kitchen to replenish my cookie plate) ~ a copy of Her Nashville came through the door just now.  Seeing it in ‘real life’ is all rather exciting I must say!

I hope you all have a lovely week, I’m so pleased you came to see me today!

Love Julia x x x

Anyone for Crochet?

Hello 🙂

Do you remember quite a while ago I started a blanket from that lovely book by Nicki Trench ~ Cute & Easy Crochet…

I had a stash of acrylic wool (a mixture of King Cole and Stylecraft Special DK), and started in earnest to make four hundred or so little squares…

…well it’s been a while since I did any little squares, but at the weekend I decided to dig the yarn bag out and crack on.

Thing was, I felt a little bit burdened by the idea of making four hundred squares.  I know I could have made a smaller blanket, I suppose you can make any shape or size you like with a pattern such as this one, but a New Idea presented itself.  Just as I was thinking ‘well if I’m not making my little squares blanket, what on earth can I use all this wool for then?’ the answer to that question popped in my head and there was no going back.

I would make a cushion out of the little pile of squares for my little girl’s bedroom, and I would use the rest of the wool to make a Granny Stripe! blanket

So that’s what I did on Sunday.

As luck would have it I already had a small square cushion pad, and I had sixteen little squares already made up which fitted just right.
Sunday afternoon was spent crocheting them all together, along with many cups of tea and spontaneous games and lego building in between.

I made the cushion envelope style, and sewed on some sparkly pink buttons to fasten it together.  Needless to say, my little girl is over the moon with it, and it now sits with Bunny on her bed.

But you know how it is, when you’ve got the seed of an idea blossoming in the recess of your mind, you want to get cracking on it.  Well, I do at least.  I was itching to start my Granny Stripe once I’d made my mind up to do it and once Small was in bed, I got busy.

Out came those gloriously sweet shades of wool…and out came the hook…a couple of hours of delicious hooky bliss ensued…

I confess to being in love with Granny Striping; how easy it is, how lovely and rythmical…how soothing it is to work up and down those colourful rainbow enriched rows, and how quickly it seems to grow!

I can heartily recommend doing a Granny Stripe blanket to anyone – it is one of the most satisfying things to have in your WIP basket.  I’ve decided to make this blanket for my daughter, the colours are so sugary bright and just right for a little girl.  As for the wool, I think I’ve mentioned before that as far as acrylic wool goes they seem pretty good, not overly greasy or squeaky, and the colours make it a very happy crocheting experience. 

I’ll keep you updated on my progress, if I carry on at this rate it might be finished in just a few weeks!

Before I go, I’d just like to thank you for your comments and enquiries from the last post, you’re very kind and it’s much appreciated 🙂

I hope you’re enjoying a bright sunny week, thanks for popping in to see me today…

Love Julia x

A Rather Hooky Ta~Dahhhhhhhhhh!

It’s finished!!

At long last, my Japanese Flower Scarf is completed!  I finished it last week but the weather has been so drab and grey here for days on end it has been difficult to photograph it.  Anyway, today the fog cleared for a few glorious hours and I managed to take a few pictures for you.  It was made from remnant balls of wool that were left over from my Rainbow Ripple Blanket; it’s mostly Sublime Cashmere Merino Silk DK with the odd bit of aran here and there.  It’s lovely and soft, and surprisingly warm, what with all those holes!

It’s a feast of colour…

…I am smitten!

And I am also pleased to share with you that my other scarf, my Stripy Rainbow Bliss one is also completed.  I spent a long while the other afternoon sewing in all the ends; you may recall me not so long ago sharing some WIP photographs with you:

To be fair, it doesn’t look that much different now it’s actually finished off properly, it’s just a little bit longer than it was.

I’m well and truly kitted out for the cold weather now, lots of soft warm woolly goodness to wrap around myself…I’m actually kind of looking forward to the colder days now so I have an excuse to wear them!

And of course with two projects done and dusted, it doesn’t stop there.  I have embarked on another Japanese Flower shawl! There is something so lovely and cosy about shawls and I’ve developed a bit of a need for them around the house; they’re so practical and yet so comforting.  I trawled the internet for a while, looking for another pattern but something kept on bringing me back to the Japanese Flower one.  It’s so easy, so quick…and it wasn’t long before I remembered something Vanessa did here.  I was all fired up with enthusiasm for this idea and before too long made an excuse to visit my local yarn emporium (aka John Lewis).  I came home very happy with a brand new yarn stash…isn’t that one of life’s little pleasures?  No, it’s actually a Great Big One.

And so here are my colours ~ a dark peaty grey, a vanilla cream and soft purpley heather shade.  The wool is a gorgeously soft, chunky merino by Wendy.  I’m rather glad it wasn’t super expensive either as it seems to disappear quite fast (it been made on a No.6 hook).  I haven’t used this particular brand before but I’m quite happy with it so far, and the shawl (due to the thickness of the wool) is growing at a satisfying speed!

It’s been a pretty creative time here this week what with all this hookyness and my on-going purges of decluttering.  In the middle of said decluttering a favourite painting was rediscovered.  Tucked away for safe keeping during our decorating renovations a couple of years back I had actually (believe it or not) forgotten all about it!  It’s an acrylic painting on a box canvas, and goes by the name of Yorkshire Snow:

I am wondering if it may make a rather nice Christmas Card, as an alternative to the illustrative ones I have on sale…?  

…I could perhaps temporarily re-name it, to make it more appealing to everyone…maybe ‘Winter Snow’ instead of ‘Yorkshire Snow’ – what do you think?

And it may also work rather well as a print.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!

Anyway, I’ve just noticed that I shouldn’t be here – I need to be getting my bod off to Zumba!!  Thanks so much for popping in to see me! 

Sending love to you

Julia x x x

‘Mug Hug’ – Making Handmade Gifts

I have recently become rather involved in Little Handmade Projects of the gifty variety.  I like handmade.  I love that you can pootle about on the internet and find all manner of inspiration and ideas.  I love that there is such a wealth of good craft books these days, such as this one and this one.  I like finding time to make something special for someone special, someone who I know will appreciate the effort and love that goes into handmade.

I also like the recycling element of it.  Using up scraps of old fabric from tiny toddler dresses and tops that don’t fit anymore; finding age old threads and buttons to make pretty things with.  But I also like trips to craft shops to buy the necessary ingredients to make things with too; embroidery floss, pretty textiles, new yarn, unusual buttons…

So, you get the idea that I’m all for handmade making and giving, and with a family birthday looming it was with some excitement that I finally got to make something I’d had my eye on for a while in this book here:

Some of you will be more than familiar with Nikki Trench’s book, Cute and Easy Crochet.  I have already started to make that pretty squares blanket, but these little Mug Cosies have been calling me for many moons.

It being Mum’s birthday, it seemed like a good idea to make her one of these.  She likes tea, she likes handmade and so I felt I was off to a good start.  What’s not to like eh?!!  I’d also seen something in the current edition of Mollie Makes magazine that caught my eye; an advertisement for their next issue featuring this:

Ooooh yes – me likey that!! A little teabag type thingy on the side of the Mug Cosy.  So I thought I would improvise and make my own.  
On looking at the picture and pattern in Nikki’s book, I noticed that the cups they had used were straight sided, whereas mine were curved.  I knew I’d have to decrease or add stitches a bit in order for the Mug Cosy to fit nicely, so I ended up making up my own pattern and working from the top down in double crochet and single crochet, with slip stitches in cream to finish.  Would you like to see how it turned out?

I’m really quite happy with it, considering I didn’t use the book pattern at all, and it ended up being an Adventure in Crochet as I fumbled my way along and hoped for the best!

To finish off the Mug Cosy (which from this point on I’m calling Mug Hug because it sounds so very warm and huggy which is exactly what it is meant to be and also because it’s my own slap-dash pattern and therefore methinks it’s ok to re-name it!), I found a little wooden flower button at the very bottom of my button tin!  What luck!  It finished off just nicely!

Next, I found a little piece of creamy muslin and embroidered the message “I ‘heart’ tea” on it.  I hand sewed the edges and then used daisy stitch to make the teabag string which I just ran up the side of the Mug Hug.

The wool I used for this was one of those bargain buys too – a ball of Sublime cashmerino aran (I used a number 4 hook as opposed to a 5 too, for a tighter finish).  It only cost £1.99 and the cup cost £3.00 from Sainsburys so I reckon that’s a bit of a bargain, don’t you?!

Anyway, one more bit of hooky news before I go.  You may remember a week or so ago I told you I wanted to give that teeny tiny crochet a crack, the one where you use a really tiny hook, a 1 point something or other and fine crochet thread…well let me tell you I’ve made a start, I’ve had a go and boy oh boy do I admire the folks that make ridunculously big scarves using this method.  I have made several circles, it took me forever:

Although I do like them.  Very Much Indeed – and I am thinking that rather than die of overwhelm thinking about making a scarf (thing of dreams at this point in time) I shall perhaps tackle a colourful doily to stand a nice plant on or something.  It’s the kind of crochet I’ve got to be in the mood for, and I’ve got to have natural daylight to be able to see it well enough as those wee stitches are very tricksy.  So I won’t be abandoning my rainbow bliss scarf just yet…oh no, infact I’m hoping that’s going to be my next completed project – the chilly weather has prompted me to dig it out and get it finished!

Right – I’ve a Special Birthday Meal to prepare, so I’m away to the kitchen to be busy!  

See you again soon, thanks for visiting today!

Much love
Julia x x x