Saturday, August 13, 2011


I feel it's only fair to warn you that this post is rather photo-heavy!

It's been a funny old week. We're having our driveway block-paved and in our efforts to disturb the workers as little as possible, the children, Merlin and I have tended to avoid going out too much and have spent rather more time than we'd like confined to quarters.

This hasn't been entirely without benefits, as I've had more time to be creative than I have for a very very long time.

First off, I got stuck in to my next sketchbook page. For this challenge, Gina had asked us to choose a portion of one of our potato print images and enlarge it to fill a whole page. I loved doing this and really want to do more - unfortunately I got somewhat obsessed with something else (so unlike me!).

Too much time indoors led to me getting the urge to give some (more) of my cushions a makeover. The crocheted covers I made a while ago were starting to look more than a little tatty, especially as I didn't actually make removeable covers so they were decidedly grubby too.

Initially I only planned to make one cushion cover - a circular Granny cover in Cath Kidston inspired colours, using the fab Granny Mandala tutorial from Crochet with Raymond.

Could have done with making the semi-circles on the back with a little more overlap but no-one will see this bit unless they're being nosey!

Being me, I didn't stop there. I've seen so many lovely crocheted Granny things on Ravelry with a neutral background colour and this idea had been stewing in my brain for quite some time. So, here's cushion number two, again with a little nod to Cath Kidston's colours.

...and the back -again, the overlap could have been a little longer.

By now I was on a roll and as soon as cushion two was assembled and on the sofa, I got stuck into cushion three. This one popped into my head as I crocheted the back of cushion #2 and I obsessed about it the entire time I was finishing off the second cushion!

Luckily all but two of these colours were already in my stash and a quick nip out to the wool shop for a ball of lilac and a ball of blue cotton this afternoon helped me keep the manic crochet going. Mind you, this time I just couldn't face crocheting another cushion back and tried something new(to me) by backing it with fabric.

Here they all are, making my manky old charity shop sofa look really rather gorgeous - if I do say so myself!

It wasn't all plain sailing, however. My first attempt at the circular Granny didn't quite work - a combination of the colours not being quite right and me not reading the pattern - I increased too many stitches on one round and ended up with a very frilly circle.

Not wanting to waste it I set to and blocked and pressed it to within an inch of it's life, turning it into a nice flat circle.

Just perfect for my new jug and bowl :o)

In amongst all this hooking I was forced to take a break for a spot of birthday sewing for one of Minx's 'friends'. Apparently a fiver in a card would not suffice as the little madam in question (and she is a little madam, believe me) had already told my girl that a bag was expected. To make Minx's life easier I agreed to just make the bag....although it wasn't done with much positive energy on my part!

I'm not the only one who's been busy making this week. As soon as Minx saw Jodie's latest patterns she just had to make her very own Smith, with a little help from her Mum. This is Spot Smith - made with some gorgeous fabric given to me by the lovely Kitty quite some time ago.

Thank you so much for the pattern, Jodie - this made my girlie very happy indeed.

All of this creativity has made me so happy this week but the thing that has made me happiest of all happened just an hour or two ago.

A metre of crocheted chain. Minx's very first attempt at crochet. I'm now wearing a turquoise crocheted chain around my wrist - a friendship bracelet made for me by my baby as I was writing this post :o)

Phew! Well done if you made it through all that lot! Here's a little something to end with - one very big, and pointy eared, seven month old puppers.

Wondering where Trashy, D'boy and the little black dog have disappeared to after a very successful visit to Moogshouse on Thursday. Both pups were thoroughly exhausted after a very full-on play session :o)

...and yes, that is one of my beautiful new cushions the little git is standing on!

Happy hooking xxxx

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggety jig...

We're back!

The past week has been by turns both lovely and a bloody nightmare (Locket and Trashy have the texts to prove it!). Luckily, the good bits won out and we ended on a happy note.

We've been thoroughly spoiled by the in-laws, who treated us all to a week at the Manor House Hotel near Okehampton (as advertised on TV, people!!). This was a totally different holiday for us and all eleven of us found plenty to do.

There was indoor and outdoor tennis, badminton, bowls, crazy golf, ten-pin bowling, swimming, golf and even aqua-aerobics, salsa and zumba and falconry. Then there was hot-press printing, t-shirt painting, jewellery making, pottery underglazing, bisque painting, woodwork and pottery transfers.

I managed to make all of two things but both make me very happy. First there is the little jug that I painted with underglaze. I went back to collect it the next day, all shiny and ready for use.

I could have done patchwork, embroidery and drawing and painting but I chose to do crafts that I wouldn't normally get chance to do. The craft studios were so well equipped and staffed by a great team of very helpful folk and we all made plenty of lovely mementos.

I was really thrilled with my jug but the bowl I made in the pottery transfers class is my absolute favourite.

(I've just remembered that I did also make a couple of pendants in the enamelling class but they're still packed.)

I even managed to treat myself to some minx nail transfers, an eyebrow waxing and an Indian head, back and arm massage - according to the therapist my back was 'very tight'. After an hour of kneading, pummelling and stroking it was more relaxed than it's been in years.

I was a total beauty therapy virgin before this holiday but I may have seen the light and will become much more high-maintenance in future!

For now, I'll just make do with a decent night's sleep in my own bed, ready for my next Colour Sketchbook session.