Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Rosie Posy Tea Cosy

Sharing a cup of tea is a treasured family tradition of ours as I'm sure it is with millions of other families.  I often make mine directly in a mug but love the ritual of making it in the pot too.

We made a visit to my brother and his family in the school Easter holidays and it was so lovely to spend time with them and share a pot of tea.

My brother has an old vintage book with all sorts of housekeeping instructions and tips. I should have taken more notice when it was written and published (and even noted the title!) but I'm guessing early 20th century? Anyway he showed me a section on how to make a good pot of tea and we mused over how one should always use a 'cosy'.

As it was my brothers birthday yesterday I felt a crochet cosy was in order. The colours of blue and yellow were set so to match with his kitchen and as I am soooo in love with the Rosie posy granny square pattern by the talented Sandra (find pattern here) that I was silly giddy with the fact that I could use it for this project AND it rhymes with the item's name!! Childish delight I know but Rosy Posy Tea Cosy ??? ---- so perfect it had to be done :-)

Stylecraft Special in colours: saffron, denim and cream is the yarn I used and after making 4 squares, joining 2 pairs together I then made up the rest of the pattern with half trebles to fit the teapot I have that is similar to the one my brother uses.

I used a matching button as the fastening under the handle.....

and finished the top edge with a shell pattern.

A very satisfying and useful project that came together quickly and successfully! 

I'm very glad to report the my brother loves his tea cosy and it has been in use already.

'till next time.....

Sunday, 28 April 2013


Hello there, how's your ebb and flow?

As I've got older I have learnt to understand that life does ebb and flow, all things have their time and all things pass. Sometimes I'm glad to leave certain events in the past, other times I wish I could conjure times up to live again. Joy and pain, sunshine and rain.

My week has been so full of different emotions for me that I sort of don't know where to start, my mind is a tangle of emotions and thoughts, some good, some bad. But this week is an end of an era for me, I feel like it's the end of the holiday, 6 o'clock, on the dot....

I did get a long awaited job done at the start of the week (hence the title) I got around to painting the sweet little bookshelf I'd bought for my baby's room back in December (I think) It was from Carlos and they have them in the store as bare wood and you can choose what type of wax finish you want. All the finishes look the same to me but I wanted it painted anyway and as that wasn't an option they offered, I decided I would do it myself and so took it away as was. It then lived in the bedroom, still covered in bubble-wrap until a few days back when I rolled up my sleeves and cracked on.

It has come out ok, looks better in the photo than close up. The paint I used was the one coat stuff, I prefer the quick-dry paint that I used for the old stools I'd painted as this stuff was a pain to use. I tried to get it finished Sunday evening but as the light was so bad I didn't realise I had missed bits and so I really could do with rubbing down and painting on another coat. I'll get a roundtoit. Again.

On Monday I attended a funeral. Although not really very close to the deceased I wanted to pay my respects as he was a lovely, kind and gentle man. A real goodun. I was sad to see his immediate family upset and by my being there was my way of showing them love. It was held in a pretty church, in a village not far and |I can tell you it was bitterly cold standing by the grave :-(

The weather has since improved and the sun has been out. In fact it has felt quite summery this week and I've been out in the garden more. I am, at best, a fair weather gardener. Last year while pregnant I flatly refused to do any gardening at all but things do need a tidy up so I think it's time to get my hands dirty!

It is lovely to see everything coming into bloom all of a sudden. Mother nature seems to be playing catch-up since the very cold weather at Easter. I think that's a Camellia bush in the photo. It's pretty whatever it is.

And this is the blossom tree that I used the branches for my Easter display. Would've been gorgeous if the blossom had bloomed back then, right?

Tuesday evening I held a crochet workshop at Fancy, and during the day I busied myself getting ready - typing out the pattern and drawing the chart.

 It was the most popular and busy one I've done. I knew I was a bit over-subscribed but it's hard to say no sometimes, isn't it? It indeed was hectic and I was exhausted after dashing from one group to the next to show people how to do the stitches and where to stick their hooks, lol. My sister and one of my daughters were on hand to help and so that eased things well. And then, about half way through the evening, it seemed to 'click' for a lot of people and lots of granny squares were held in the air with the exclamation of 'by Jove I've got it!' - so happy was I to hear those words!

Crafting wise I've not done so much. I've drifted from one long-term project to another. Crochet to quilting and back to crochet.

These two crochet lovelies have set up permanent residence near my favourite spot on the sofa and I've done little bits to both of them.

I have also been doing a spot of stitching on my rose quilt.

I've had a go at patching up my son's jeans. Normally I would just buy some more ( he grows out of them so quick anyway) as I hate this kind of sewing - the words 'repairs and alterations' sends shivers up my spine, but as almost every pair of trousers he owns has holes in the knees I thought I should sort it out.

I've also made a sunhat pattern for baby - hopefully it will work out ok ;-)

So that's a peek at my busy week. Why an end of an era?

Because after 10 months of maternity leave I return to work.

If I had the choice I would be a stay at home Mum. But I don't have the choice. I work part-time and I do like my job so it's not all bad. Less time for crafting and that includes blogging but I will still make sure I fit it some hooking and stitching here and there and show you the piccies when I can!

In actual fact I started this post on Thursday evening, the day before I went back to work but I didn't finish it. Now it's Sunday morning and after my first 2 days back I realise it's not that bad and the Registration service doesn't change much, in fact it feels like I have never been away!

I think it will take a few weeks to adjust to the new and busy routine of life as it is now but all will be well and when all gets hectic and mayhem rules out I will hide away with my crochet hook and tell everyone not to disturb me as I'm undergoing therapy!

                                                        'till next time.....

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

In the flow....

Hi all, how you doing?

This morning,  I was afforded an hour or so of free time with the older children back at school after the Easter hols and baby napping. So, leaving Daddy in charge at home I decided to take a drive out to Tudor Rose in Oakley so I could buy the batting, backing and binding fabric for my patchwork cross stitch rose quilt.
I briefly mentioned the start of this project in this post and have been piecing in stolen moments ever since and am jolly glad the quilt top is now done. 1600 small squares later I am extremely happy with how this is turning out - the idea of my creative imagination becoming a reality.

It was lovely to catch up with a friend who works at Tudor Rose and to see the new coffee shop section that is now open there. It was also a good opportunity to get ideas of what sort of quilting method would work well, having 3 members of staff (including the boss) sharing their invaluable knowledge totally for my benefit!
I really could not decide whether it would be best to machine or hand-quilt, and whether to stitch quilting lines through the whole thing, either diagonally or straight or following the shape of the rose and leaves. My gut feeling, or rather what my heart said was to hand stitch around the shapes but my head (who was considering all the other projects I have on the go or who are sitting waiting to be started even) thought machine quilting would be the better (quicker) option.
As usual, I went with my heart.
I referred to a gorgeous, gorgeous book I have called material obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. It's full of wonderful patchwork projects many of them, if not all, hand quilted using perle cotton.

I love love love this book. Just sitting looking at the pictures can cheer up a black cloud mood in me. The beautiful hand-quilting felt right for this quilt and I was very tempted to give it a go. After a little play around testing out the idea I knew it was what was needed to bring this quilt truly to life. 

Okay, so the finish line on this is further away than I envisaged this morning but the extra work will be well worth the effort I think. I have hand-quilted before and having learnt my lesson I am wearing my thimble this time - see here for the playmat I made for my baby that was abandoned for quite a while because of a finger injury!

Having made the decision on what type of quilting method to use it has motivated me to crack on - however I am very easily distracted so we'll see how long it takes to complete. The good thing about blogging the progress is you can look back to see how long things take to make.

                                                   Lovely to catch up, 'till next time.....


Friday, 12 April 2013

Gathered Cushion

It's twenty past ten at night and I should be going to bed but before the week is out I thought I'd do a post about the 3rd item I finished last Saturday. This cushion was started goodness knows when and has been sitting in my chair in my craft area for ages it seems.

This photo shows my messy play area and the cushion in question is on the pink chair, behind a fabric bag.
It basically consists of fabric strips (I used some of a jelly-roll) sewn all around the edge of a circle-shaped piece of lining and gathered into the centre.

I joined all the strips of fabric together to form a tube shape with the same circumference as the circle ( which obviously fits the cushion pad I had in mind) When attaching the strip tube to the edge of the lining piece there should be no gathers. The gathers come in on the other edge of the strip tube which is the centre of the circle. This I found hard to get right as it would not lie flat, in hindsight I think it would've been better to have the strips measuring slightly shorter than the circle radius, instead of the same measurement which is what I had done.

A crochet doily, a covered button and some gorgeous fabric for the back was what was needed to finish this cushion off. This was where I picked it up last Saturday, I think my monster cushion was my inspiration to get this one done too.

I even put an invisible zip in! However it does distort the edge of the cushion. Not the best example of my sewing work :-(

I still love this cushion though, it has an exotic feel to it.

And the bright prints make for a jolly addition to my ever-growing cushion collection. (Amy Butler fabric I'm pretty sure.... got the jelly roll free when I subscribed to Mollie Makes)

Would you like to see a bit more of my play area? I love nosing into other people homes, either through their blog photos or when I'm out walking of an evening, just as it's getting dark and people have turned on the lights in their front rooms but have yet to close their curtains. I can't help but glance in, view the cosiness of their room, see if it's tidy or messy, stylish or drab, cluttered or clear. Either way it's a joy to see - it's someones home after all. And I'm a nosy parker!

These are my shelves, laden with books and magazines, fat quarters of fabrics and yards of lovely yarn, WIP's and buttons and trims and lots of yummy bits and bobs.

It's not a big area at all. In fact it's a dead end corridor. You can touch both walls if you hold your arms out straight. I have jammed in so much stuff that it's a bit hard to manoeuvre and it's a bit difficult to get to the sewing machine at the end.

It's got a glass ceiling which means it's lovely and light - even on a rainy day like today.

I do love it though. It's away from the living area of our home and yes I do come and hide out here sometimes, just to get away for five mins and enjoy all my crafty treasures. And it's not big at all, these photos are it - nothing else to declare, but I feel lucky to have it and fill it up to my hearts content with things that bring me joy.

I have had a 'orrible day today and so visiting blog land and counting some of my blessings has done me the world of good. I'm just going to do a spell check then I'm off to bed - I just hope baby doesn't wake too early in the morning!!

'till next time


Monday, 8 April 2013

My Monster Cushion

Well hello there, how are you?
Well, I hope, we are all ok here.
It's still the school Easter holidays and I have to confess some lolling is occurring but I do manage to get everyone out of the house for a park visit, a bike ride or maybe a walk to the green for some fresh air and exercise at some point during the day now the weather has turned a bit milder. I generally like to keep busy myself so as to keep on top of things and if you read my last post you will know I was very productive on Saturday and had a bit of a 'finishing' kinda day project wise. I had weaved the ends in on my giant granny square blanket but also, as my postman had delivered some fabric that morning that I had ordered I was also able to finish off my 'monster cushion'.

There is a reason why I call it that, not really the size although its fairly large at 48cm square. It's because I bought the yarn used from Monster Yarns, a new online yarn store run by Judit who lives not too far from me.

It all started back in February when my friend asked me if I knew of Monster Yarns and as I hadn't at the time I just had to Google the name. I couldn't find anything apart from a registered business address but then my friend said the online store was opening that weekend so I made a mental note to check it out again. So that Saturday when I no doubt should've been doing something else my curiosity got the better of me and I googled again, this time to find the website straight away.

I scrolled through the pages, delighted to view many gorgeous yarns, at reasonable prices and by a make I had never heard of. (I actually like that as I think it's exciting trying out new things to see what it's like). And so, because I like to support local businesses (and not because I am addicted to buying yarn) I placed a bit of an order (coy face).

Rather embarrassingly it turned out I was the first customer! This won me a free pair of knitting needles ( will use them soon) and as Judit was sitting at the time in my friends coffee shop the connection was made and emails were sent and the very next day I was invited around to Monster Head Quarters to pick up my yarn and face temptation of all the stock that sat in gorgeous piles, ready and willing to be squeezed and felt and appreciated.

My order consisted of Ice Pure Alpaca in various colours: gold, light green, candy pink, fuchsia pink, light pink, light blue and navy. I had the idea to add it to my stash that is intended for a future large blanket but when I got home I found it didn't really sit well with what I had already ( I should've known). So what shall I use it for?  It sat a while in my craft area and I pondered on hexagons or maybe a few ripples?

And then, a few weeks later, while thinking about Judit coming to my crochet workshop (she's an amazing knitter by the way and teaches knitting herself but feels she would like to brush up on her crochet skills) I thought it would be great if she could bring some of her yarn with her to the workshop so others could have a nosey. And of course I should make up my Ice yarn into something as an 'example', that's when the idea of a patchwork cushion came to mind and that was that, decision made.

Lots of little 2 round granny squares, joined as I went (as it were) using all the colours (of course) to make up this fun cushion. I did find the yarn on the fine side and it felt a bit fiddly, probably because I had just finished using chunky yarn so I doubled it up and off I went, and I loved it!!

I didn't have enough to make a back as well so this time I used navy fleece for the reverse and little wooden effect buttons sewn with the coloured yarns to close the opening.

I really enjoyed crocheting this cushion but I love it more now it's finished. It looks great with my ripple blanket and I'm pretty chuffed with the button opening.

So if you are coming to my April workshop don't forget your pennies as you will be tempted to buy some yummy yarn and if not check out the Monster Yarns website  ( see my side bar too) where you can place an order (postage costs are very reasonable)

'till next time.....