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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Friday, November 13, 2009

Some beady things

I was a very busy girl while I was away, and I'm working my way round to taking pics and blogging them. (Don't hold your breath too long as you may have noticed I'm rubbish at doing that bit!).

So, to start off with, here're a few beady things I knocked up to amuse myself - bracelets so far (the earrings went horribly wrong and I left them in a box to sulk on their own). By the way, beading while sitting outside where the light is good has its drawbacks when it's windy. Small beads and windy conditions don't go together, just so you know.

This one I'm calling "Dawson's Diamonds". We had a famous comedian here in the UK called Les Dawson, and he was a master of playing the piano badly - not easy to do deliberately and still make the tune recognisable. So.......these "diamonds" were "deliberately" made to look wonky, so there. And, they weren't as easy to get wrong as you may think.

For anybody interested in beads, this was an odd-count peyote stitch using size 11 seed beads, and edged with a mix of size 15 and size 11 beads. I'm not keen on odd-count peyote as you always get one edge more rigid than the other because of the "turn" you have to do to make it work. Any beaders with any helpful hints on that - your advice would be much appreciated!

These are some bracelets I knocked up for the dreaded "C" word prezzies for my sisters. I've yet to track down some nice 2-strand clasps here in the UK that aren't all fancy and fuddy duddy looking. Hmmm, might end up making my own with toggles - we'll have to see what I can find.

For the beaders again - it's a right-angle weave with embellishment. Can't say as I'm too chuffed with R.A.W as I can't get a regular shape to my weave, but overall I'm quite chuffed with them as I've never had a go at this stitch before.

Finally, this one will be for my Mum - she chose the colours. Now all I need to do is remember how the heck I made the fastening on the last one I did in this stitch, so I can finish it off! This one is done in St Petersburg stitch - easy to do but very effective I think.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back again.....

Well, the ground keeps shifting under me so I've been to Portugal for a bit of R&R and me time. I can't believe I last posted here in August - lazy moo, I am - but in my defence I haven't had access to a computer for a while!

Anyhow, my "me time" involved quite a large amount of crochet and beading but sadly no soaping whatsoever. What a relief I hear you cry.... Hang on, though I think I did make a couple of new ones back in September so will have to look for pics (if I remembered to take any). Other time involved desperately seeing if there would be a chance of work or a career in Portugal - trouble is, they're part of the world crisis too so I didn't get very far again, but it wasn't for lack of trying. I even asked the local police when they drove past if they needed any native English speakers at the local station! Well, they didn't say no, but that Portuguese shrug could mean yes, no, or I don't give a whatsit, so I'm not quite sure :-)

Anyhow, now that I'm back I'm absolutely pooing myself with nerves - I should be starting part-time work next week, after 26 years of being my own boss. I am terrified. The only saving grace is that I'll be hopefully working with my sister so I won't be completely at a loss and faff about like a complete moron. Even though our shop (leather coats etc) is doing absolutely NO business, I'll carry on slogging away at it as I have for the past couple of years until we finally decide to call it a day. Hence "the ground keeps shifting under me" comment earlier!

When my head clears a tad I'll look for some pics of what I've been making. Been up since 5 a.m and I'm in shock - didn't know there was a "5" anything at that time of day.
So, until the fog clears, TTFN.


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