Category Archives: craft

Happy Christmas Crochet

Some of you may remember this…

my attempt at broomstick lace earlier in the year.  Now although I didn’t dislike the effect the whole effort of wrapping the yarn around a big fat knitting needle on every other row was a pain in the proverbial – to say it didn’t flow was an understatement and I couldn’t have done it in public as it involved way too much propping of the knitting needle against a leg, stomach or other convenient body part.

So I abandoned it and used the yarn in my second holiday project which I have now finished…

It is intended to be a Christmas present and I’m sure it will be but we all like it. I’m taken with it, B has actually said he thinks it’s one of the nicest blankets I’ve done and this is what Bud thinks of it…

I only moved it to one side to get up to answer the phone and whoosh he pounced.

While attempting to do the above earlier Bud was getting a little restless as I decided that he wasn’t getting a second walk tonight and he didn’t exactly concur so I made him a super quick toy.  I had thought about this the other day and decided it would be a good thing to keep him occupied.

I took three old pillow cases I’d been hanging onto because they may ‘come in handy’  one day.  It may also have been because I used to buy organic bedlinen and at that sort of price (even if I could get it on sale) I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out when they got worn out.

So I cut the pillowcases up the sides so they looked like this…

plaited them and tied a knot at each end.

‘What do you think Bud?’



Seems like a winner, although it probably won’t last that long but then none of his soft toys do, and I don’t think he likes pretending to be a sumo wrestler in it.

Plastic bags are so versatile!

Because

1)  I didn’t have another basket handy and I didn’t think I could do much with the foliage to hand and a plant pot

2)  It was cold outside on Thursday night and surprisingly dark

I decided to go with a variation of the plastic bag Christmas wreath for my Mum’s plot.  So courtesy of Tesco for the background and Billabong for the flowers here it is.

Because I didn’t feel up to rummaging in the glory-hole for a small embroidery hoop (let’s face it you have to be in the mood for that short of thing) I decided to use two pieces of cardboard – not one of my best ideas, it eventually tears so I ended up sticking the torn hoop, with cool glue gun glue (I wouldn’t like to deal with a hot one), to a cardboard background and then  sticking the remainder of the strips in a continuation of the circle and popping just a few in the middle to fill it out.  It’s only dinky about 8″ across.

To  finish it off I made some flowers as per this template here and glued them on too.  I have made these flowers before from fabric and they are very simple and very effective especially if you bunch them together like a mini bouquet and you can always throw in a leaf or two depending on the look you want.

Things I learned – it takes more glue than you think to stick plastic to cardboard and do not under any circumstances mix plastic bags with a lap top.  The strips and more importantly little off cuts become so staticy they stick to EVERYTHING – you, your jim jams, the floor, the desk, each other, the door frame and the small furry family member and thus migrate (even though you think you have got them all) to the landing carpet, downstairs and the bed!

Oh and because the Hetty (vacumn) was downstairs on Thursday night and I didn’t want to risk carrying it up to hoover the landing I had one of those moments that you normally only see in comedy programmes with a friend yesterday.

We were going to take Bud for a walk – Chris isn’t completely settled with him yet but getting better – so after we’d been to the dentist, a retail park (rug – no, dog food – yes, a foot pump – yes), B&Q quick bite to eat (I realise this doesn’t count as going out) and some light bulbs not the ones we went for because even though B knew exactly what we wanted when faced with all the choices – he didn’t!  After two furniture shops on the way home where we bought two settees (we’ve had the others about 15 years so I think we’ve had our moneys worth) we arrived home to find Chris had been outside for about 10 minutes.

B opened the garage, Bud went crazy, we’d been out three hours, and then B went crazy as Bud had chewed some more door frame.  We went in the house and left Bud and B ‘discussing’ it.  Chris nipped to the toilet.  When we were out walking she said…

‘Er, I think Bud might be in extra trouble.’

Me:  ‘Why?’

Chris: ‘Did you see the state of your landing carpet, with all those bits?’

Me:  ‘It was like that before we went out!’

Chris: ‘Oh, I thought Bud must have done it while you were out!’

 

 

Final Countdown

Wow – I’m done and ended up just two pressies short of a Christmas – I did start them last night but it was after 23:00 – and I didn’t think I had the relevant concentration to do them justice.  I had a few things to finish today but knew they wouldn’t take that long…

Some more paper baubles (I should probably have taken a pic of the card before I cut it up – that might have been an idea – it was very nice)

A buddy from my ready made ones

A crochet cube lined and stuffed

A fleece (yes all I had to do was hem it)

For the mother in law, who tends to never use/wear presents I thought food!  So I made double my Christmas baking…

Chocolate fruit Christmas cake made into individual cakes after seeking advice from Lorna.

Coconut bread – B’s favourite

And some Apricot Crumbles which I’d never made before and mine are blackcurrant.

The best bit – all are edible – which is always a plus with my baking – it’s either really good or really, really, really bad.

And my next to last present – a Christmas table runner…

So other than one more present, which shouldn’t take long, I only have a date with our little furry family member and a set of reindeer antlers – don’t worry I’m not going to use the staple gun.  I couldn’t find the staple extractor and since Buddy sleeps on the bed I didn’t fancy waking up with an antler up my nose! 

Made – 25/29 with 5 hours 15 mins to go – so that means two get bought (e vouchers) and the other missed the Christmas post date so with the snow as well there was no urgency there)

Panic level – 0/10

Just Ghastly

Yesterday afternoon I felt just ghastly (said the only way it can be correctly said – in a really, really far back English accent).  I awoke feeling a tad headachy but thought maybe I’d just slept funny (resulting in a stiff neck) and it would wear off but no by 11ish it was settling in for a performance.  However I thought maybe I can cut it short so I took some extra painkillers and at lunch time felt okay enough to take Bud card posting to various neighbours.

I’m not taking Buddy too far at the moment since we had a few slides and slips whilst out walking on Sunday.  B was with us and Saturday it hadn’t been too bad – I just insist on going out in the snow – as it was so fresh but as it’s been compacted it gets slippier and so there was a few ouuuuuhs, a bit of swearing and at least two hugs – one extremely one sided since my sheepskin mittens were caked in snow so B agreed on a hug as long as I didn’t hug back!  There was one ‘jar’ as well on the neighbours’ drive which has all of a 2” kerb which was disguised in the snow.  I think I was read that on expeditions most accidents happen on the way back and close to base as people can get careless!  So needless to say I spent some of Monday half expecting to collapse in a heap everytime I stood up.  Yes I know it was just muscular aches and pains but who out there with bone damage hasn’t thought something similar?

It’s just a matter of time before we’re out again – we just have to wait until B forgets he advised me against it – it’s not so much the risk of fracture I’m concerned about but the endless ‘Well if you’d listened to me…’ that would ensue.

So back to yesterday. By 15:00 I was feeling ghastly (you’ve got to say it out loud as well – you can’t just think it – it’s not the same), sickly, migrainey, wanting to nod off.  I had picked up a survey report to type, it’s quiet at the moment, it always is leading up to Christmas so I couldn’t pass it up and I slogged my way through it eyes closing, head in hands, head over the toilet bowl when I through  my salmon sandwich was about to do an encore.  I took some more painkillers and an anti-sickness tablet and at 17:00 I finished the report I took my screen break.  I lay down on the settee and nodded off for ten minutes and awoke feeling a bit better.  When I finished at work at 18:00 I was feeling much better and after a bath, more or less back to usual and had some tea.

I’ve had migraines since my teens but what I’ve found since my SCT holiday is that when I get them they don’t last for three days like they did and I don’t get as many but I do feel decided queasy.  I don’t think my stomach has ever quite recovered from the trip and when watching something gory on the TV it’s the first to lodge an objection to the point where I gag!  Isn’t that nice for you to know.

Anyhoo, here’s what I was able to finish last night…

Placemats (in case you were wondering – sorry if the odd angle gives you vertigo – I had to stand on a step to get them all in the pic and its a bit warped)

Felt and cotton decorations

And I do like to keep a tidy sewing space…

well normally, I do.  If I was an elf I’d be getting the elbow!

You know the old saying ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ and I don’t think I need to say which ‘tree’ in particular.   At 17:34 B’s brother turned up with the Christmas presents – we call at theirs briefly on Christmas Day but that’s by the by – now B is an extrovert, he will talk to anyone and everyone, once on a bus in Edinburgh he had a whole conversation with an old bloke who then turned round and said ‘I cannae understand a wurd yur sayin lad’.  So the doorbell went and I thought ohhhh, maybe it’s my hair clippers, because I desperately need a haircut.  I ordered them last week before I ordered B’s Christmas present, a garden vac, which arrived on Monday but so far no sign of the clippers and I’m starting to look like Ken Dodd.  I didn’t think it was that obvious but B said this morning that if they don’t arrive he’ll see what he can do with it!  Oh yeah, back to the door bell, I was still working, so B answered it.  I didn’t hear enough of the voice at the door to recognise it as B’s brother and then B was shutting the door – I’ve had longer conversations with men delivering garden vacs!

Oh and a word to the wise – apparently it’s not big or clever and certainly not funny, following a conversation with one’s husband regarding provisions for his mother, to write on the shopping list…

A loaf for Mary (sounds like a fair swap to me)

Made – 18/29 with 1 days to go

Panic level up and down like a yo yo – 5 – 6 – 2* – 8 – 8.5 – 5/10 (*stuff it lets buy ’em)


Buttons & Buddies

Okay to bring us up to date with everything that is finished, there is now a button heart…

Which caused me some confusion as to how to transfer the heart shape to the linen because I wasn’t convinced my disappearing fabric pen would live up to its name.  Then I thought, doh, just sew the outline…

And of course, my Christmas present giving list couldn’t be complete without some Buddies…

One in Sirdar Snowflake, so it’s fluffier than the average Buddy but the rows were a pain to count

and a Rudolph and Snowman.  I did this snowman in Sirdar Snuggly DK for a change – its a lovely soft baby yarn but a little bit too soft for a buddy.  It had a tendenancy to stretch if overstuffed – a bit like me after Christmas lunch – especially since my Auntie Ann takes it as a personal challenge to see how much she can get on a dinner plate!

Made – 16/29 with 2 days to go (I know that can’t be right because I don’t seem to have that many started although some are for couples but still!)

Panic level – 5ish/10 (Fiona – I think it may be so low because we have a Lavendar Farm up the road, I don’t know what they sell as I’ve never been but have meant to – so what better time than when panic buying for Christmas – and Marks & Spencer open 24 hours – I just need to check if Marks and Spencer were related and if so – hey a family business)

 

Paper Christmas Baubles

For the past, quite a few, years we have had popcorn strings on the Chrismtas tree.  And even those these generally take two nights to make, which has nothing to do with the amount of popcorn that I eat instead of thread, I like the look on the tree.  In fact when the bathroom was refitted (now finished and lovely – pics to follow at some point) the plumber said ‘I bet this gets a lot of use’ as he moved the popcorn maker to get to the stop tap.  ‘Yes it does’ I replied ‘regularly once a year.’

This year however I had to give a thought to our new furry addition and I didn’t think that stringing the tree with something edible would be a super wonderful idea.

So I needed something to take the place of the popcorn.  Since we, well I say ‘we’ I mean ‘I’, decorate the tree with shells and wooden sea creatures – just one more reason why I refrain from using the n word ((((normal)))).

So I decided to make paper baubles – for want of a better word similar to the heart ornaments I made earlier in the year and decided to share the easiness of them with you…

Ingredients

Paper or thin card (I tried thicker card but it tends to crease rather than bend)

Stapler

Sticky tape (or masking tape! – I can’t leave the stuff alone)

Scissors or guillotine

Thread, ribbon or fishing line

Method

Take the paper or card and cut it into 1″ wide strips.  I printed Merry Christmas onto my paper, in varying sizes via a table in Word so I could also print the cutting lines.

 

Cut the strips to length

2 x 4″

2 x 4 1/2″

2 x 5″

Attach a loop of fishing line to one of the 4″ pieces with masking tape (ohhh)

Stack the strips together with the longest at the bottom (and with the pattern facing out if you are using patterned paper)

Place one lot of strips on top of the other with the shorter lengths in the middle

and staple at the loop end.

Line up the unfastened ends of the strips and stple them and you should end up with something like this…

Here’s some examples of varying sizes…

Obviously you can add as many strips as you want.

And since I can’t find the big seashell for the top of the tree (I know how do you loose a seashell – maybe Buddy ate it) I made a large heart to replace it…

And here’s our tree with them on…

And here’s another Christmas present off my list – I made these with two strips of paper to make them that bit more robust and used eyelets instead of staples at the ends.

Considering the eyelets required the use of a hammer and my wrist is still sore I thought it wasn’t going to work out too well however using a hammer is fine but slicing toast is a major no-no – apparently it’s the bending and twisting whilst under pressure it objects to!

Made – 12/29 with 3 days to go (3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) It’s okay I have a bunch half done and four I’ve not yet posted about so it’s okay, it is okay, IT IS!

Panic level – 4/10 (Although to keep it low I did something that I am about to confess and that you may need to look away now if you are a sewer, sewerist, er… if you sew – I used my dressmaking scissors to cut paper – this is something I have threatened to divorce B over in the past but I couldn’t find my craft scissors and then when I did they had sticky on them, possbily from cutting too much masking tape, and I couldn’t be bother to go get the nail varnish remover to get it of – I am so ashamed)

I can see Arthur’s Seat

After checking out of my luxury hotel, I mean hospital, last night I decided it would be a good idea to have a few days away particularly as it’s my birthday on Friday.  It’s one of THOSE birthdays, the ones that seem to amuse other people.  Yesterday morning I had been sitting on my bed about four feet off the floor (because this was the only way I could see out) admiring my view of Liverpool and the wind turbines on the Mersey thinking a few days away would be nice particulary as B had booked time off from last night.  By the end of the day, although I had squeezed out a sufficient number of stem cells, it was definitely a good idea.  So I can now see Arthur’s Seat from my bed instead, which for those of you not in the know is a hill in Edinburgh rather than the backside of a bloke called Arthur.  And here it is…

 

We only booked at 10 o’clock last night after frenzied discussions because we normally stay at the Holiday Inn but B had brought up the Malmaison on a late bookings website and this is somewhere I have tentatively mentioned several hundred times in the past.  But as B doesn’t like change it took two phone calls to convince him it was a good idea this time.  One was to see if the hotel offered a better deal than the internet and the other to see if any of the rooms with the view from the front were the cheaper ones (obviously assuming not) and the deal breaker – did they have their own car park.  The guy I spoke to was very honest about the views from the cheaper rooms and that the area is undergoing redevelopment, it is round the old docks after all.  Since he was so truthful and said they would endeavour to provide as good a view as was available, and they did indeed have a car park – we booked.

So here’s my current tea tray (I’ll be wanting one of these at home at this rate)…

You can see the little chocolate bunny on the plate with the glasses and the wine that my Auntie Ann got me as a little treat for my hospital stay.  B got one too, here’s his…

I think you can just about make out what’s left of Bernard’s bunny’s seat!