Sunday, December 27, 2009

A lovely day with my niece

My lovely little niece Rachel came to spend the day with me today and she brought a HUGE bag of things to do from her Christmas present stash. First of all we made some of these giant paper flowers, which were fun but a bit fiddly. While Rachel had a rest from supervising and lounged about on the settee, wrapped in a blanket and watching a film, I decided to make her a little crochet bunny.
Bunny then had to have a scarf, a football, a basket and finally a blanket (cobbled together from some old flower squares I had lying about). Then we made some little pipecleaner puppies but we're not brilliant at them as you can see. Rachel reckons the green one is a bit more like a sheep.

Not a bad day's work though, eh?

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Despite treacherous conditions since Friday, I've done my bit and traipsed, slid and skidded my way to and from work. Last night I spent a good hour with my neighbour chipping off the thick ice from the pavement outside our houses - our local newspaper is printing stories about how badly Brighton & Hove council have coped with this weather, and I'm inclined to agree given that main roads and pavements are still icy in places. Brighton is very hilly in places and it's downright dangerous - I'm lucky I'm able-bodied but it must be very frightening for those unsteady on their feet.

Anyway, that's not why I'm grumpy! I've done my best not to be, honest (despite the fact there is no way on this earth I'm going to be ready for Christmas this year).

Here are a couple of pictures and you can see I've tried to find nice things to think about instead of grumpiness.

This was about 8am on Friday morning and the snow was about 10cm deep. Looks quite pretty if you don't have to go anywhere particular.

I happened to mention buttons in a conversation with one of my neighbours and she said "oh, I've got loads you can have". Lizzie, eat your heart out.
See, it's nothing to be grumpy about.

After work today, I braved the supermarket and spotted this spud shaped like a heart. I bought it purely because I thought it was sweet (I'm going a bit soft in my old age I think). Still not grumpworthy, and you have to agree I've been trying not to be....

So, what has made me VERY grumpy? Well, standing staring into space at the supermarket checkout, I eventually noticed a large red display in front of me (I tune out when I'm in supermarkets as I find that's the best way to cope with them). Ooh, I thought, choccie! and the little choccie alert in my brain tuned me back in to reality. I did have to ask the lady behind me to confirm that I wasn't hallucinating though. She had a look at the object of my major grumpiness and agreed I was perfectly sane and not seeing things. (She also left the shop grumpy).

So, what was it that finished me off so that I've finally succumbed to a major grumpfest?


Nestlé, producers of Kit Kat, you should be ashamed of yourselves.
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

With no idea what to do, this is what happened!

Today was the day for sorting out my Christmas cake. I marzipanned it and put the white icing on (yes, I know I should have waited 24 hours but I don't have the time this week). Then I had a coffee and stood in the kitchen gawping at a bald cake. I had absolutely no idea what to do this year, and I was limited as I'd forgotten to buy a block of white icing which only left me with a pack of coloured (and the roads & pavements are literally sheet ice here today so there was no way I was risking nipping to the shop).

So, a few coffees and 6 hours later, this is what I ended up with. Santa blushing and looking shocked because he's woken up late, or is he wondering where Rudolph's other arm is? :-)) I'll let you decide.
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Friday, December 4, 2009

More crochet, and sore fingers

This is the second oversized cushion I was asked to make. It's more of a large pillow size and I did it with an envelope style flap. Hope she likes it!

As well as finishing off the little lap blanket for my Mum this week, I also made a little stuffed cushion for my OH who has a problem with his elbow. He finds it really uncomfortable resting his elbow on the desk while he's using the computer so I whipped up this little thing for him to see if it helps. He says it's great because it moves with him as he uses the mouse so he doesn't have to keep repositioning his arm on a folded up old cushion.

I knocked up a quick scarf while I was having a break from those granny squares, and there's another half done sitting here next to me..

Oh, and I've also made 5 robins but they're still lying about waiting to be stuffed and sewn up.
I've got beady stuff to do now for presents - good job I've ordered some new specs or I think my eyes may start complaining again. Must admit too that my fingers were a bit stiff and sore this morning. I'm hoping it's just the freezing weather here today and not crochet overload :-)
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Grrrrrrrrranny squares

Well, finally the oversized cushions I've been asked to make are finished. Yipee! Here's the first one, made with 50 granny squares which I made in 2 days. Those vile little ends took me 3 hours, yes 3 hours to sew in, and that's WITH a lot of them being caught in as I crocheted! Just looking at the pic brings back nasty memories and makes me shudder.

Just look at them, taunting me..

Here they are, still lurking in front of all the nice neat squares..

Squares minus those ends (well and truly stuffed at the bottom of the bin)..

Finally crocheted together and made into a huge cushion.
I hope she's happy with the finished effect!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009


3 projects I've got on the go this week. Phew! One is a little lap blanket for Mum 'cos I'm fed up with seeing her drape an old cardie over her little legs when she's a bit chilly. The creamy coloured mass is an oversized cushion cover I've been asked to make, and the piles of squares are for another oversized cushion cover for the same person. It's sheer coincidence they're all coffee/cream/brown colours, but much as I like them I think the next project has to be a bit different. I've done the 50 squares in the last 2 days, the creamy one in less than a week, and the stripy one in about 10 days, so I'm quite pleased with myself (if not a bit on crochet overload and with sore fingers!). My problem is this - I have a severe case of loose-endophobia. I'm extremely allergic to sewing in loose ends, and usually do anything I can to avoid it, even if that means starting something else and pretending all the current projects are finished. Poor deluded soul I am - these are for somebody else so I can't get away with it this time. Hmph.

The fun bit (the creating/making) is sadly over...

Here comes my nightmare.
Just the squares alone will mean 500, yes that's

evil little ends to sew.
I don't dare count the blanket ends or I may just faint....

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

All at sea or a turning tide?

This isn't meant to be a "poor me" post, but I don't know whether I'm all at sea or the tide is finally turning! Some of you know that my family has been through hell the past few years - 3 lots of cancer, 2 nasty divorces, loss of a business etc etc etc. Anyhow, we've been struggling to make a go of our leather shop and are on the verge of deciding to call it a day after Christmas. So, to get us out of a hole I decided I had to look for alternative work. My sister works for the rough sleeper's team which helps with all sorts of people from drug abusers to mental health patients, all of whom are living rough. She needs help in the office and I had it confirmed yesterday that I've been offered a job there on a part-time basis. We've also had a record week in the shop - 5 coats sold! - and added to that, I've been asked to make some crochet gifts and beaded jewellery for Christmas presents, as well as an offer for me to make some of my soy wax melts for somebody else to sell! What's going on? I can't quite figure it all out at the moment. It's going to be very, very weird not having my other half working with me, but I'm hoping that this means things will finally turn the tide for us. Fingers crossed! I hate change but I don't think I can halt this one......
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

How to spend a November Sunday morning....

Something I should have done in September but never quite got round to, yesterday I washed and dried a huge amount of fruit, blanched, peeled and chopped some fresh almonds, and lined a cake tin all ready to go this morning.

What am I up to? Read on...

Loads of yummy ingredients I only use once a year...

A whole block of delicious butter - a treat for me as I'm not supposed to eat dairy stuff....

Flour mixed with spices and nutmeg....

A generous amount of sherry......

All made in an ancient Kenwood mixer (I'm not mixing that lot by hand EVER again!)
Into the tin with a hole scooped out of the middle to hopefully stop a big mountain appearing in the middle.....

4 hours later and with a house smelling wonderful...
Ta da! My "C" word cake (can't bring myself to say it yet 'cos it's only November grrrrr).
The bumpy top will be cut off and the whole thing turned upside down so I have a flat surface to decorate at some point.

Best of all, she's all vegetarian and there's not one teensy weensy piece of that evil stuff known as candied peel anywhere near her. All she needs now is some loving tender care (that's brandy to you and me) until such time as she gets dressed.
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Here's a link to the post about last year's cake. Don't quite know what I'm going to do to top that one this year.

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Told you I was busy.....

There's a distinct lack of nice yarns available in Portugal, so I have to make do with some of the best of the worst (available in any self-respecting "loja chinesa" or Chinese shop to you and me). For want of something to do besides beading, I faffed about with 3 different styles of project bags. The pics are a bit rubbish I'm afraid, and some of the yarns are hideous, but there you go.

This one has a pocket on the front with a little scissor holder thingy

This one has a drawstring with an inside pocket, and a slidy thing I made for the drawstrings. Awful to photograph :-/

This one is just a very basic, pocket-free bag made with scrap yarns I had no clue what to do with.

A couple of little hook pouches I faffed about with.. (nowhere near as ingenious as the one Sarah sent me in the swap though)

Third attempt and I finally had one big enough for the larger hooks & scissors

And finally, I decided to make a blanket. It can get quite cold in an evening, so I took some yarns with me to make a snuggly blanket, working on the basis that I'd be nice and warm as I made it. Errrm, it's not easy to crochet in 32 degrees buried under an ever-growing blanket. That's about right for me though isn't it! Anyhow, I got slightly carried away and it ended up being about 5ft long, and so far about 3ft wide (sorry, I don't have a clue what that is in metric) and then I ran out of yarns. It's not what I envisioned in my head at all, and I'm not sure I really like it, but I am NOT unpicking that lot. Each row took about 25 minutes, so you can work out how many hours I've spent on it so far! I did it in a ridged ripple so it doesn't have a front or back. I have now run out of yarns, and am hoping a very nice friend of mine in Hastings will toddle off to the shop I got the yarns from and supply me with more........

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lizzie's colour swap

I recently took part in a colour swap organised by Liz. My partner was the lovely Sarah in New Zealand - her chosen colour was red and mine was turquoise. I had fun looking for and making red things for her, but look what was waiting for me when I got back. What a clever lady! Hopefully we'll keep in touch too as I feel I've made a lovely new friend. Thanks to Liz too for organizing the swap.

So, here goes.

First in my goody bag was a lovely card, handmade by Lucy one of Sarah's little girls. Looks like Lucy is following in her Mum's crafty footsteps. Thank you Lucy for such a lovely card :-)

Inside was this gorgeous handmade bag, beautifully lined with lovely turquoise fabrics. Wish I could sew and make things like that!

Just look at the little tag attached to the fastening! (It goes very well with my Croap Queen crown too).

All the contents of my lovely bag! Aren't I lucky? Look at that luscious yarn. Am thinking what I can make with it.

Looks like a jewellery roll? It's not and it's very ingenious....

A lovely crochet hook roll. What a great idea and will save me a lot of hunting for the right size hook.

And finally, a fab little padded cushion. Beautifully made as are all the other things. No idea how Sarah put the stuffing in it though - can't find any seams that don't look machine sewn! One day I shall release my machine from the depths of the wardrobe and have a go. I want to be like Sarah and my friend Joy when I learn to sew properly.

So, after all that, thank you Sarah for putting so much time and effort into the swap and sending me such lovely goodies. xx

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