Craft, Goals, Wellbeing

Me and My 2017 Goals – January Update

With reference to this post 2017 Goals here is my January Update

1) Read – halfway through Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Enjoying it so far

2) Craft – haberdashery and fabric sorted for 2 projects

3) Cook – nothing yet – perusing my books

4) Bake – same as above

5) Visit – weekend in Bournemouth booked

6) Skill – I had a visit to our local Woolshop who advised me that as a complete novice to Crochet, a ripple blanket might be tricky, but she showed me a knitted ripple blanket that I could manage. I’ve bought some yarn in my fave colour combo to give it a start. She also runs Crochet classes so I may well sign up.

6a) Skill Piano – I got the books out and got my fingers moving…it’ll take all year I’m sure!

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Baking, Cookery, Craft, Reading, Wellbeing

Me and My Targets for 2017

I don’t really do resolutions and I know we are almost halfway through January, but I’ve decided I need to have some goals for this year to keep my head from turning to porridge! I’ve mostly chosen 12 of each – one for each month of the year, obviously!

1) Read – I’ve already set a target on Goodreads to read 12 books this year. Last year’s was a washout because I got stuck reading a Classic that I really didn’t like and just couldn’t get past it.

2) Craft – in honoured my newly finished Sewing Room I want to make 12 items this year. I already have 3 in mind, so that’s a good start.

3) Cook – I’m going to try 12 recipes from the many Foreign cookbooks I have that I’ve been meaning to make and never got round to. 

4) Bake – Again, one recipe each month for a technique/recipe that’s a bit out of my comfort zone to expand my knowledge.

5) Visit – There are so many places on this fab island of ours that I’ve never been to, so I’m hoping to choose 6 in the next year, hopefully to include Wales, Scotland and possibly even Ireland!

6) Skill – I really like those wavey, ripple crochet blankets – if I start to learn how to do that now it could possibly be my final craft item for the end of the year, right?

Addendum. I’ve been reminded that we have a piano in our dining room and I need to restart learning how to play it!

So that’s it. I’ll try and update my progress at the end of each month, so that’s 12 blogposts sorted out too! 

Craft, Family, Halloween, Safety

Me, Halloween Costumes and the Glass Half Full

I consider myself to be one of those glass half full sort of people. I try and find the positive in as much as I can. But that can be fairly difficult with all the negativity that emenates from the news and social media. So much sadness all over the world. 

Sometimes though things make me cross because I think they’ve been over dramatised. Halloween is approaching and the whole thing about kids dressing up clothes being too flammable has been being discussed especially since the accident last year of a TV presenter’s daughter. But we all wear clothes every day that are not treated, and I have made my kids Halloween costumes for most of their lives, and flammability has never crossed my mind. So I must be a terrible Mother, mustn’t I? Making things so my kids can have a bit of fun. How could I?

I know that there are more candles around at this time of year, although nowadays I would imagine that most parents use fake led ones if they know that little ones are likely to be knocking at the door.

So unless everyone wants to wear fireproof overalls like Lewis Hamilton all the time, I think we all need to just chill a bit. Kids dress up all year round and I think the reason there has been this interest is because actually it is so rare that these accidents happen that it becomes big news when they do. We need to keep safe, yes…but I don’t think parents will stop buying outfits because of the label. 

I really hope everyone enjoys the dressing up spookiness of Halloween without getting into a complete stew over the costumes.

Baking, Craft

Me and the Square Bundt Pan

A little while ago my Bundt-loving friends on Twitter were all buzzing about a new Nordicware pan that was a little different from the norm…it was square! Here’s a link to show you what it looks like https://www.kitchenscookshop.co.uk/nordic-ware-square-bundt-pan

I know a few of my friends had to have it immediately, and within a short time it became quite clear that there was a problem. For a square cake you need a square cakestand and they are very hard to come by! I decided that I would hold off buying one for a while as someone in my family would be visiting the USA and said she would bring me one home with her (and that would be much cheaper) – and see whether I could find a suitable square plate or stand in the meantime.

Then I had a thought…my Twitter buddy Amanda over at https://www.citygirlgonecoastal.blogspot.co.uk does wood turning as a hobby…might it be possible to make one? It would be a bit different to glass or ceramic but I  really didn’t know how difficult it might be to make so I asked her, showed her some ideas and she said she’d have a think. A couple of weeks ago she said she was giving it a go and this week she posted a couple of pictures on Instagram to show me how it was coming along…so exciting!


And then she asked for my address and posted it to me. It arrived this morning and included one of her beautiful pens that she makes and a list of care instructions. I liked the “Don’t get it wet” – I hadn’t realised it was a Gremlin! 😀 I shall lovingly apply linseed oil, I promise.

The detail on it is beautiful…what a clever and talented woman she is.


My sister has already told me she wants one, so I may be asking for another for Christmas!

I really do need to get that Square Pan now, don’t I? Although, to be fair, a classic circular Bundt or any other cake will look just as good on it.

Craft

Me and my Bias Binding Maker 

I think it was last year, on the British Sewing Bee, that I became aware of a gadget that means you can make your own bias binding. This means you can make binding out of any fabric by cutting it into strips and running it through the machine that sort of irons it into shape. “This is a great idea” thought I, so I put it on my Christmas list, and Hubby did the right thing and purchased it for me. And of course I have never taken it out of the box! Standard…I just haven’t made anything.

 However, this morning my friend turned up on my doorstep and asked if she could use it, so we got it out of the box and gave it a go. There were a few hiccups where she had (correctly) sewn the strips together on the diagonal but had not snipped off the corners but nothing that couldn’t be remedied. 

I was quite impressed with it actually. It wasn’t a super expensive gadget, although you do need to buy a few extra heads to make different widths of binding, and now I’ve given it a go, I’m sure I will use it more often.

Now, where did I put that apron I embroidered last year…I need to put some pretty binding around the edges, don’t I?  

 

Craft, Fashion, Reminiscing

Me and knitting

My Mum and my Nan always had knitting needles in their hands. As kids we always had something hand knitted. A few things that I remember are a particularly fetching batwing jumper with 2 stripes from the waistband over each shoulder that my Mum knitted me when I was about 9, and one Christmas – it must have been in the 80s – my Nan knitted all us girls fair-isle leg warmers which we all wore with pride. I also had a fabulous cherry red knitted skirt and jacket suit that my Mum made me when I was about 20 that I loved wearing. In this picture of me and my Mum we are both wearing jumpers that my Mum knitted…I loved that jumper!

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I’m not sure when I learned to knit although I have a suspicion that it was in the mid 70s when due to a certain Dr Who we all wanted scarves that were at least 6 ft long. They were knitted on needles that were as fat as your thumb so they knitted quickly. I made mine in school colours so the 3 of us who walked to school together could all wrap it around our necks. I was advised that it really wasn’t school uniform, so to refrain ASAP. I still wore it with my long coat though…I think it came down to my ankles even wrapped twice around my neck.

I don’t remember knitting anything substantial since. I can do knit and purl, and cables, but some of the obviously more complicated stitches elude me and reading some of the patterns makes no sense to me. I love yarn and have bought some and stashed it away knowing that one day I would make something from it. I think that the fact that I need to plan it way in advance as I’m not a very fast knitter puts me off. I did make a lovely red and white striped baby outfit of a jumper and leggings in a gorgeous 4ply French yarn when pregnant with my boy, and was really pleased that he looked so adorable in it.

A couple of years ago I found some gorgeous textural yarn that I just had to have. I bought a few balls not having any idea what I would make. I didn’t buy very much, so decided that actually a scarf was the most obvious solution as I’m a scarf wearer, and there would be no shaping or trickiness. Because the yarn was so interesting, I knew that I’d only need to use a simple knit stitch so I cast on and got knitting! I was very pleased with the result.

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I was on a roll! I went through my stash again and discovered a beautiful variegated yarn, again a small amount, so decided that I’d try a Rib pattern. It turned out well…it’s very pretty and warm!

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Fairly recently I visited a Stitching and Craft fair with my friend and there were amazing yarns made of silk mixtures and they cost a lot of money! But I was drawn to a stall that had patterns and yarns bundled up with enough to make the garment at a really reasonable cost and this stole ( I know – it’s only one step up from a scarf) really caught my eye. The yarn is 90% recycled and the pattern didn’t actually look too complicated even though the garment looks great.

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That’s what I’m knitting now. It’s so therapeutic and it’s growing quite quickly. Now I’ve got the hang of it I’m thinking I might make my sisters one each for Christmas! What do you think? Would you like to receive this as a gift?

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Craft, Fashion

Me and Sewing

I have been making clothes for an awfully long time. When we were young, my mum was always running up something or another as there were, as I’ve already told you, a lot of us.
As a teen I remember going to the market on a Thursday and buying some fabric, cutting something out on the Thursday, pinning and sewing on the Friday and wearing on the Saturday Night, just so I’d have something new to wear that wouldn’t be the same as everyone else. Not everything was finished to the highest standard but that didn’t matter. When the Pirate look (Ahh, Adam Ant, *sigh*) was the rage I made the biggest white blouse that cost me £4 and I wore it with Peppermint Green jeans and Black Suede Pixie Boots – What? Don’t judge me, it was the 80s!
I made my Wedding Dress and Bridesmaid’s dresses and have made curtains and blinds and cushions. I was the wardrobe Mistress for my kids’ school productions. My son was Zazu in the Lion King and I had great fun devising his costume which included a baseball cap with a giant beak like brim. My daughter aged 9 would only go to the Victorian Day at school if I could make her a dress like Violet Baudelaire’s from A Series Of Unfortunate Events. I gave it my best shot and she was very pleased.
My problem is that I have to be in the mood for sewing, and it is the only time that my usually ladylike language gets a bit fruity when something goes wrong.
My mojo has been a bit lacking of late although I did buy a new Sewing Machine a few years ago with the small inheritance I got from my Mum – I knew that she would approve of that purchase. But Huzzah! The Great British Sewing Bee has rekindled my ardour, and this morning I went and bought myself an Overlocker as I have coveted one for years. I have a beautiful piece of Jersey fabric in my stash ( all us crafty types have one of those – fabrics we’ve purchased because they’re beautiful and one day we will make something from them) that will make a lovely maxi dress. And with 1 Engagement Party, 2 Weddings and my son’s Graduation this Summer, I do have reason to have new frocks!

Watch this space!