A Blissful weekend!

Being a self confessed homebody I love nothing more than pottering around the house, tidying, arranging and crafting whenever possible. With a demanding job I don’t get a vast amount of time pottering at home but  when I do get the chance I make the most of it. Like many people at this time of year, when it can be dark for much of the day, I tend to go into full on hibernation mode, staying in and getting cosy as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong I do like to go out and socialise but no matter how great a time I’ve had out, the best bit for me is always getting back home into the warmth, scented wax burners on, cosy lighting on, a warm drink on hand and a craft project at the ready.

This weekend has just been a blissful mixture of all the things I love best. On Saturday morning little Miss announced she wanted a pyjama day and as I was going out that evening anyway I was happy to oblige. Now sometimes, with a little one in the house, pj days can leave me desperate to get out of the house by lunch time after helping to complete umpty thousand jigsaws, watching cbeebies until my eyeballs want to bleed and being made to crawl around on the floor miaowing pretending to be a cat! Yesterday was, however, refreshingly different! Except for a brief foray into the outside world to do a spot of food shopping we spent the entire day inside. We had a lovely time doing a little bit of baking, watching a minimal amount of tv, doing a couple of puzzles, painting toenails, a little bit of crafting  and some colouring in. Bliss. In the afternoon she took herself off to play in her room, demanding I stayed in the craft room for a while (who was I to argue!). Then she decided she wanted to get in the bath to play with her toy boats and insisted that  put my feet in too so she could wash them! Later in the afternoon a good friend came round with her children and in the evening I went out to a very enjoyable early Christmas function with good friends and work colleagues.

Today has been just as relaxing. Rich took little miss out for breakfast so that I could lie in (which of course, being sods law, I couldn’t) but I managed over an hour of uninterrupted relaxing (slobbing) on the settee with a hot drink, fairy lights on, indulging in a bit of blog reading catch up time. Utter bliss! The rest of the day was spent chilling out in much the same way as yesterday along  with a visit to a friends house this afternoon, where little miss and her friend played beautifully whilst us grown ups got to put the world to rights. This evening Little Miss even decided she needed to go to bed early (absolutely unheard of!) as she was so tired and so here I am catching up on my blog. What a wonderful relaxing weekend.

The only thing needed now to complete the weekend is a little bit of crafty time, so that’s exactly what I’m heading off to do . I hope your weekends were just as enjoyable. Have a great week.

Karen x

 

 

 

Karen  x

Granny stripe/ mojo blanket

What a long journey this blanket has had from when I embarked on the first chain way back in January to finally reaching completion 2 weeks ago. It has been a very spluttering, stop and start kind of journey, it has been worked on solidly for evenings at a time and it has also been abandoned in favour of other projects for weeks at a time. The yarn for this blanket was actually a 4oth present to myself a year and a half ago but I refused to let myself start it until I had finished 2 blankets I had on the go for Christmas presents last Christmas: ‘Hazy Days’ blanket and  Eclectic Mix large granny blanket

I eagerly started it in January but progress on it really slowed down as I began to find it too hard to concentrate on the long rows  due to  struggling with the winter blues which I wrote about here: A blip and a few days away 

I mentioned in a previous post The halfway mark that I was debating what to call the blanket  but have finally decided on ‘the mojo blanket’. It just had to be for 2 reasons. The first being that  its progress was so dependent on how I was feeling at the time and lots of memories of this years struggles are tied up this blanket, the other reason being that just the sight of this blanket now completed, really does lift my spirits. It is such a happy looking blanket, with its vibrant colours and I just love seeing it perched on the back of my settee.

Here it is in its entirety:

I have to warn you that there are quite a few photos  of this blanket. I always like to get an overall shot and maybe a shot of a couple of sections but I just felt that it needed lots of photos to do it justice. There are so may colours in it, it can give you a completely different feel dependning on which section you look at and how close or far away you are. Some sections are super vibrant whereas others are more pastel and sedate. Here take a look for yourself and see what you think:

and here it is with my granny squares blanket (Drum roll please…) :

This sight makes me very happy. Two very different blankets but both bright and happy and that is how they make me feel 🙂

The nitty gritty:

The yarn I used was stylecraft special dk. Now it was my first time using this yarn and I had heard it recommended on so many blogs that I just had to try it out for myself. I wasn’t disappointed, it is a lovely yarn to work with and it really does make for a rather snuggly blanket. It also has the advantage is that there are so many colours to choose from on the colour palette seems to get added to on a regular basis.

Here are the colours I used, although I didn’t keep a track of the order I used them in. I could work it out though if anyone really wanted to know.

Aster, Matador, Lemon, Apricot, Sherbert, Teal, Mocha, Turquoise, Saffron, Pomegranate, Shrimp, Clematis, Wisteria, Bright pink, gold, sage, pistachio: a total of 17 colours, I did order extra for the border though.

As is usually my way with making blankets, I had no plan, other than to use a granny stripe pattern. I selected the colours first over the internet from wool warehouse, using a gut feeling approach, I basically just picked 17 colours I liked and hoped for the best that they would look good together.

 

As I started the blanket I literally used the colour that I felt like using at the time, holding it next to the last row to double check it looked ok.

A lot of things about my work life are planned to the nth degree so I think to plan a blanket fully before making would take the fun out of it for me. Letting a blanket evolve as I make it is much more fun.

The border was ummed and aaahed over for quite some time before I finally got around to doing it. I actually put the blanket away for a good 2 months after finishing the main body of it before starting the border. I just wasn’t quite sure what border to do or what colours to use. In the end I just ordered another ball of a few of the colours I had used and just started, again by just seeing which colour looked right as I went along. when I started the border, I had it in mind that it was only going to be a couple of rows (partly because I thought that would look just fine and partly because I find going around and around the blanket to make the border a tad tedious if I’m honest) but after stepping back and looking at it and seeking the opinion of my husband, we decided it needed to be a bit thicker and so another 3 rows were added.

I didn’t bother to block the blanket as it wasn’t tremendously wiggly and I don’t think handmade blankets should be poker straight anyway. Plus the fact that it was being put into immediate use.

I really am very with how it turned out. Right, time to go and start my next one …

Karen x

 

 

 

Double deskage!

I am ridiculously excited to be able to say that I now have double deskage. So excited in fact, I even made up a new word!

Look at all that lovely crafty space. Eeeeeeeeeeek!

For a while I have been wanting to give the craft/ spare room a bit of a reshuffle and make it more craft room than spare room. For the last few weeks I have been undertaking phase 1, sorting everything into clear boxes. The old boxes were perfectly serviceable but didn’t match and I do l like to be able to see at a glance what is in each box. Plus, I  love any excuse for buying storage boxes, I do get a bit silly over them.

Phase 2 was to sort out the furniture to make space for another desk. So far I have managed to empty out a set of drawers and am now working on clearing out one of the 2 wardrobes to make even more space. I was originally going to buy a drop leaf desk that I could put up when needed but just as I had started to look around for one, a work colleague was giving away a large corner desk for free so I snapped it up!

Phase 3 will be to get rid of the double bed in favour of a sofa bed (the room is used as a guest room for 4 weeks out of the year at most so a pull out bed that can double as relaxing crafty space will definitely suffice). Hopefully this will happen in the new year.

For now though I shall wallow in the glory of double deskdom! I now have space to be able to leave the sewing machine out and still have the other desk for other crafty pursuits and the occasional bit of work if I must! I am so so excited about getting the sewing machine out again, it hasn’t seen the light of day in almost 2 years (because I’m just too lazy to keep getting it out and putting it away again after use) and has been calling me recently. I have so many ideas for sewing projects but am forcing myself to hold off for a bit longer to finish other wips. It really wont be long though, so watch this space…

Karen x

3D heart bunting

I actually made these hearts a couple of years ago, inspired by an episode of Kirsty Allsops handmade Christmas programmes. I got a bit carried away with making lots of hearts but never actually got around to doing anything with them until now. In the half term holiday I had a look through my wips and decided that I was going to try to steadily work my way through them, so many of them being so near completion. So, I set about sewing loops onto the hearts and then sliding them onto a length of ribbon and sewing them in to place to stop them slipping. It literally took me about an hour, I’ve no idea really why I didn’t get around to it before 🙄 But as with all wips that stay wips for a while, other crafty makes just seem to come to the forefront.

Anyway, here is the finished bunting 😀

Here is how I made the hearts:

1. Draw around a heart shape twice on the reverse of the material and cut out.

2. Draw around the same heart on bondaweb and cut out.

3. Iron the bondaweb onto the reverse of one of the hearts and remove the backing.

4 Pin the hearts with reverse sides touching ( if you want to sew any buttons or embellishments on do it before pinning)

5. Using embroidery thread sew a running stitch around the heart, leaving a small hole for the stuffing. Don’t tie the thread off and leave enough for a couple more stitches.

6. Stuff the heart and finish the running stitch. Not on the back of the heart or if possible hide the knot inside the heart.

7. Iron around the edges of the heart to seal the bondaweb to the second heart.

Im really pleased with how the bunting turned out and although it hasn’t been hung up yet is almost certainly going to be an addition to my craft room. I’ve still got lots of 3D hearts left and even more cut out ready to make so there may be more bunting to come soon.

 

Karen X

Drum roll please…

After making my sister the Eclectic Mix large granny blanket for Christmas last year, I vowed to make myself one to keep. After starting it towards the beginning of the year, working on it alongside my granny stripe blanket and half heartedly picking it up and putting it down many times this year I am ecstatic to say that I have finally finished it. In the end it actually pipped the granny stripes blanket to the post for being finished first. The granny stripes blanket was actually finished except for a border as far back as August but after umming and ahhing over what to do for the border I turned my attention to my squares blanket in the meantime.

It has been a fair while since my Let the joining commence… post back in September but hey ho, its here now. Without any further ado, drum roll please, here it comes…

I love love love it! I love that it is so bright and colourful and yet fresh at the same time with all the white. Much as I loved the original eclectic mix large granny square blanket, I wanted to do this one slightly different, one reason being that I don’t like making 2 things the same, the second being I wanted chunkier white spaces between the colours and 3rd, I just couldn’t face the thought of making lots of 10 round granny squares again! Lazy I know!

The process:

I made 42 6 round granny squares from stash yarn, most were random bits left over from previous blankets and some stylecraft special dk left from the granny stripes blanket but I honestly couldn’t tell you now which colours were which now.

After making the squares, I bordered them each with 2 rows of white (using a treble stitch on each of the stitches rather than grouped in 3’s as for the granny squares themselves).

Then ‘borrowed’ the join as you go method from Lucy of Attic 24  to join them and add another row of white.

I really do love it and despite being only finished a couple of days ago, it has already been put to good use for snuggles in front of the tv.

Whilst I do love making blankets for other people it is so lovely to be able to keep this one for ourselves. The only other one I made and kept was a large single granny made in browns and reds to match our living room. I used to think that everything needed to match but have since embraced colour much more and am more than happy to have a bright, eclectic blanket to snuggle up under on cold winter days.

Since finishing this blanket I got a taste for finishing things and that combined with having a little more crafty time in the half term holidays, means that I have now actually finished my granny stripe blanket too. Yippee.

Right, I’m off for more blanket snuggles, watch this space for my granny stripe blanket unveiling in a few days.

Karen x

More techy problems and lots to think about

On Monday, 3 weeks since my previous post I decided I was going to catch up with my blogging. Imagine my horror when all I saw was error 404, my blog had gone! I’m not massively good with complicated techy things such as websites and didn’t really have a clue what to do. I spent 2 days procrastinating, considering whether it was a sign I shouldn’t be blogging any more. Then on Wednesday I bit the bullet and rang Bluehost and left it in the hands of a techy whizz. They confirmed it wasn’t anything I’d done and promised to sort it out. Lo and behold, less than 24 hours later all was fixed and so here I am. I’ve now decided to take it as a sign (I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason) that I am strong enough to sort out issues when they arise and that there’s nothing that cant be tackled if you seek the help of the right people.

Anyhoo, onto the post I intended to write on Monday…

When I was a little girl, I remember my Grandma saying ‘penny for your thoughts’ whenever any of us were daydreaming. Well, let me tell you, if I was given a penny for each of my thoughts I’d be a rich woman in a short space of time! I think about many different things and sometimes my thoughts just tumble around and around in my head like clothes in a tumble dryer. Crafting ideas and wanting to fit in so many things are the reasons behind a lot of my thoughts but to be honest, I probably spend more time mulling over things than I actually spend doing them. New ideas for crafting are always popping into my head and have lately come even more to the forefront. As a teacher, working 4 days a week and a young daughter, life is pretty hectic and I’m often too tired to spend the evenings doing the crafty things I had planned, resulting in me getting a wee bit (read a lot) grumpy about it! Whilst I do love teaching the younger children, the spark has gone out of it for me a little in recent years with the constant assessing and target setting that happens in education these days. Now, as it happens, my job is due to finish in about a year and a half when our school will close due to the military drawdown in Germany and myself and as a family we  would really like to stay living here in Germany. I could look at transferring into the German education system but the more I think about it the more I feel a pull towards my crafts and it just feels like a sign that I’m ready for a change.

About a year  ago I saw Dennis Quaid being interviewed on This Morning and he was talking about the advice he gave to his kids as they were growing up.I wrote it straight down and stuck it in my diary:

 

Recently it popped to the forefront of my head and I thought ‘yes, this is what I need to do!’

I have so many ideas about what possible direction this could take and when I spoke to my sister about having too many ideas and not being able to decide which ones to pursue, she suggested writing them all down, no matter how silly they may seem. So, last weekend I decided to start a folder/ scrapbook where I can pour out all my thoughts, in the hope that 1) it will free my brain up a little and 2) that within the next 18 months it will help me to build up a clear idea of the way forward. At the moment the folder is a just a plain dull grey but it will undoubtedly be jazzed up soon with the help of a little washi tape 🙂

Whilst losing my job is a scary prospect it feels like the perfect time for something new and I’m actually quite excited about where it could lead so watch this space…

Karen x

ps I’ll be back tomorrow with a less wordy post and  pictures of some finally finished wips! eek, exciting! For now, here’s a little sneak preview…

 

Berlin!

Almost a year ago I had a fit of madness and decided to apply for a place in the Berlin Marathon 2017. Having run  the marathon once before in 2015 and telling myself never again, I quite surprised myself with my application. In November, when the ballots were drawn, I found myself with a place and thought ‘What the heck, I’ve got a year to prepare.’ In the spring and summer I ran a few half marathons, didn’t particularly enjoy them and took longer and longer to complete each race. Throughout the training I’ve struggled both mentally and physically and so as the marathon approached I really wasn’t looking forward to it. In the few days before the event I was aching all over, had an almost permanent headache and wondered if I was even fit to take part. However, there was no way I was letting down all the people who sponsored and supported me, in particular my mum and dad, who came over from England for the occasion. I just kept telling myself I was in it to complete it and sod the time, no-one was going to think any less of me for taking a bit longer than last time. I spent the couple of days before the race dosed up on ibuprofen and repeating the mantras ‘I can do it’ and ‘Thank you’ over and over in my head.

As race day dawned I was so nervous and found myself wondering why the hell I’d put myself through this again, as its such a blooming long way to run, what was I thinking?! However, once there, the atmosphere completely took me over.

 

This photo was taken waiting to start by me on my tiptoes. It really doesn’t convey the massive amounts of runners stretching in front and behind us as far as they eye could see!

How amazing to be a part of something so huge. Even though it was a grey and fairly dismal day, there wasn’t a single part of the race that wasn’t lined with supporters, cheering, clapping and playing music and it really spurred me on. I decided to just set off at a nice steady, comfortable pace and see what happened. As I was so busy taking in the atmosphere and the sights, the kilometres actually seemed to whizz by and at around 14km I spotted Rich, little miss and my Mum and Dad, which gave me a massive boost. At the  20km mark I allowed myself a short walk and took the first of my power gels. I checked out my time so far and was astounded to find that I was actually doing really well and was on track to at least match and hopefully beat my previous time. This knowledge spurred me on no end and I can honestly say that I didn’t begin to struggle until around 36 km with only 6 to go. One of the hardest things at that stage when you’re on countdown to the finish line is that if you track your progress by gps the gps and the official mileage never exactly match. My watch was bleeping telling me I had reached 36km but it wasn’t until another 700m down the road that I passed the official sign for 36km and I have to say that really messed with my mind. I kept at it though, managed to spot my family again at around 40km (I even managed to run over and give little miss a kiss as I passed)and that really gave me the push I needed to get to the finish.

This was at the 40km mark, can you see the desperation in my eyes? Haha!

After all the worry and the self doubt, I am absolutely ecstatic to have beaten my previous time by almost 5 minutes, coming in at 04:19:54 which was beyond my wildest dreams.

Rich has been looking at all the statistics and has informed me that I came in at 4701 out of 11032 women, how amazing is that?! I am so so chuffed, particularly as a day later I’m not in nearly as much pain as last time, with just a few sore toes, one blister and a bit of aching. I would even go so far as to say that I may, possibly, be considering not totally ruling out ever  running another one. Watch this space…

 

Karen x

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Techy problems

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

For a long time I’ve not been able to work out how to claim my blog on bloglovin, so here goes. I’m also going to try to change the name as originally I set it up as a box of buttons and then changed it to a box of allsorts and it has shown up on bloglovin as buttons ever since. If I can crack this I’ll be as happy as a pig in muck, spending time on complicated techy things really does stress me out, especially as it eats into valuable crafting time!

 

Karen x

 

Edit: Yes! I did it! Oink Oink!

Edit 2: Check me out, I even added a widget!

Let the joining commence…

It seems to have taken me an awfully long time to get to this point but I now have 42 squares all bordered in white ready to be joined! Woohoo!

I already love the eclectic feel of this blanket and just cannot wait to see it finished, which I’m hoping will spur me on to get it finished soon! I’m not going to set myself a time limit on when it will be finished but I’m really hoping it wont be too long now, its getting cold here and I need it for snuggling on the settee. I’m on a mission!

Karen x