Sunday, 31 January 2010

Bye Bye January 2010

Bye bye January 2010, how you have flown by! Usually I find January the slowest month and then by mid February time speeds up to start whizzing through March, April ,May as Spring takes hold and then gallops through the summer months to slow down again in October....

Not so this year! JJ set up his own business and my business: Thame Marketing has a website that sells IT equipment:
OK that's IT for the advertising, all this had kept us very busy! Then there was all that SNOW!
But also I want to remember that this month I did quite a bit of SEWING again!
The little bag above was a birthday present for a friend and took about 6-8 hours to make.
The green approach was adopted in that 3 out of 4 fabrics came from dresses we have enjoyed wearing in the past! 2 from toddler dresses and one from a sundress of mine. Sewn together and quilted , the far left one in a free maching way.
The lining,batting and zipper were ''new'', the lining was a present very many years- at least a decade- ago.
I just LOVE love love the folded ends! Such fun and such a discovery in a quilting book from the library: ''A PASSION FOR PATCHWORK''by Lise Bergene.
First I had made a try out one for myself: from the sleeve of a machine knitted jumper that had gone ''wrong'' and had lived in my attic since the early 1980's....

This now houses a small portable crochet project. Like the donkey I had been planning to make....
This is the underside. January also saw me do much DE-CLUTTERING'' in the home and I cleared especially the ''prosperity corner according to the Feng Shui Bagua theory; which just happens to be Miss Y's room......and this is usually a mess with no floor visible!
A triumph I feel and well worth the many hours spent.
Long may it look like this!
Also in January I sewed Miss E some new pyamas from scratch in a lovely cotton lawn using a Burda pattern, it turned out a bit on the big ( not to say huge) side but she's chuffed to bits and declared they are the comfiest PJ'S EVER! So eventually she will grow entirely into them....
( even with an 11cm hem in the legs!)
Tomorrow will be February and who knows what adventures and creations lie ahead?!!!

PS There are a few recipes due in February blogland and a crochet cardigan is almost finished!
Also working on more patterns for Inside Crochet and looking forward to seeing- 2?!!!_ of my designs in issue 6!!!
Have fun and see you soon, work,children,dogs and home permitting....

Thursday, 28 January 2010

January Blues

Been blue, but these lovely images in Cuttlebrook keep me going. Am blessed indeed to be able to walk there for a half hour or more every morning!
Tuesday was college: 3D work and then Wednesday and Thursday were doing the extended work at home following on from the college work. Can you see a bird in flight?

Lovely linear elements: drew them the other day, or rather I tried to but the depth and feelings are hard to capture.

Our beloved tree: water is high and very muddy and is slow flowing here but has been very fast for some days.
frothy from the weir nearby?
Monday spent all day cleaning and beautifying the home for a ''Pampered Chef ''party to cheer us all up!!!

Pear and almond frangipani tart: yummeeeeeeee
Our helpful consultant Kate makes it all look so easy.

''smile for the camera!''
Bye again for now, but the above recipe WILL be blogged sometime in February I promise.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Looking back at those snowy days

Hello again, I'm back at last!
Fingertips split open in those frosty days and could not type, also kids off school a lot due to snow so we have had some fabulous ''family times''.Snow stayed from 5th January to 16th January and for the first few days it was very much enjoyed.
Lucy loved it.

Pippa loved it although slightly less so than Lucy who kept rolling in it!
Everywhere was so BEAUTIFUL...
Not our snowmen but those of some sculptural teenagers:

Lots and LOTS of sledging was done, me included: WEEEEEEEE!
The town was transformed.

We walked everywhere, once school was open again. Pulling our sledges with school bags and shopping.
Dogs looked on at the kids playing in the snow day after day.....

So fascinating did the windowsill prove to be that it's Pippa's preferred perch all day long ever since!
So that was our 11 days of snow and quite a bit of hibernating inside as well as all the fun in the first few days! It was fun but we're oh sooo glad it's all gone and we're back to normal: for now.
There's lots to catch up on: there's frost photos, cuttlebrook in the snow,recipes for applecakes and ''Holy Balls'' ,some crafting and some quilting and crochet too so I hope you'll be able to visit again soon!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


After the truly amazing frosts we had yesterday with the temperature at dogwalking time ( 8.30 am) at -6 and by 4pm it was still only -4: those frosts gave all branches a set of white ''spines'', it looked like there were white ''thorns'' everywhere and when you touch them they melted away.
After that THIS! Been snowing since 6 pm, now 21:42 and we have at least 4 inches I'd say...

It keeps falling off the branches, they cannot hold anymore...Lucy LOVES it, been out every 15 minutes to dash about and catch the large falling snowflakes in her open and upturned mouth.
Then she snuffles down into the deep powder and eats some more.

Kids are ecstatic: surely there will NOT be school tomorrow? The sledges are propped up ready by the front door- fetched from the garage while we can still get into the garage....
Curtains are being kept open so we can stare in amazement and wonder: snow like this in Oxfordshire has not been seen for quite a while.
JJ is stuck in a hotel in Chester: snowed in. Mum is OK, we have chatted on the phone she has food supplies; milk,bread and eggs and enough oil and wood for heating and open fires and had promised not to venture out in case she slips or falls.She too is watching the snow fall on the beautiful Hamphire hills and keeping the curtains open as it's just sooo ....beautiful.
A . White. World.
Quiet. Silent. No cars. Pure , white, innocent. No roads or gardens can be seen, the white blanket covers it all. Soft powdery, downey whiteness.
Will blog again when all the playing in the snow has been done, blogging holiday 'till then. Bye!

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year's day diary cover in crochet

As promised here's the pattern for the A5 size standard diary : a week per 2 pages to view.

I hope you all had a good New Year celebration: we did but more of that another day, more recipes to share . I will limit the exclamation marks because although I do feel them, my sister says they are booooring.


4 mm hook

Approximately 150 g of DK cotton or yarn : the finished cover weighs 122g but thta's after working in all the ends and 2 of my colours are a bamboo mix not 100% cotton.

YARNS used:

King Cole BAMBOO cotton: 1 ball lime green and one ball turquoise.( 230 m to 100g)

ROWAN handknit cotton: one ball dark red and one ball bright orange.( 90m to 50g)

Sirdar DK cotton: dark navy blue.( not labelled as from a market)

Wendy DK Supreme cotton : golden yellow ( looks like a pale orange)

Stitches used:

Chain: ch

Double crochet: dc ( USA : sc)

Crab stitch or revere dc ( USA :reverse sc)

It was made in 3 pieces and then crocheted( badly) together but could be sewn together or crocheted in one piece.

It is made slightly ( 1- 3 cm) smaller than the diary size so it fits snugly.

Gauge: approximately 15 dc stitches and 20 rows to 10 by 10 cm.

Foundation and row 1: ch 33 and then work dc in third ch from hook, dc to end: 32 sts.( in turquoise)
Change colour when about to work last dc in the last ch: choose a new colour and work it in when there are 2 loops on the hook, pull new colour in and turn.
Row 2:*Ch1 and work 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, continue in dc with the last one into the top of the turning chain, this is also where you change colour again.
Row 3-32 Repeat row 2. ( last colour change was from golden yellow to turquoise)

Row 33 Having changed to the colour choice for the spine( in my case turquoise) ch1 and work a dc in third stitch from hook in the BACK loop only, work dc in BACK loop only for remaining 31 sts.
The BACK loop is the one furthest away from your body when crocheting.
This creates a natural fold line.
Row 34 and 35 : repeat row 2 but keep the same colour. ( turquoise) Change colour at the end of row 35 in the usual way. ( from turquoise to navy)
Row 36 : CH1, work dc in the front loop of the third st from hook and then 1 dc in every stitch using only the front loop to the end of the row. Change colour on the end of the last stitch as usual.
Row 37-68 Repeat row 2, changing colour on every row, maintaining 32 sts.
Ending on a row to match the spine if you so wish.

Foundation: 33 ch.
Row 1 as row 1 for outside cover.
Row 2 : as row 2 for front cover except colour changes now take place after 2 rows of a colour with an occasional single row in a colour.
Row 3-32 as row 2 for outside cover ; ending on row 32 with the colour for the spine.
row33: Reverse dc or crabstitch in the colour that matches the spine.

Work in all ends neatly.

Lay the inside covers on the outside cover- matching sides and edges and leaving the spine uncovered- and work a dc using the spine colour all the way around working through the 2 thicknesses. ( a good place to start is one corner at the spine)
Where you are working a dc into the end of a stripe as at the top or bottom edges, try to make the dc into the end of each row and at a consistent depth. At the corners: work 3 dc in one stitch to create the turn and then work one dc into each stitch at the left and right- hand edges.
Hold the outside cover facing you when you work this dc edge.

Optional: finish with a crabstitch row all around.

To insert the diary: holding diary by the middle pages insert half of each card cover side into the crocheted ''pockets'' stretching and adjusting as you ease the diary fully into it's new ''coat''.

Colour sequence used- as guidance only:
Turquoise = A
Orange handknit cotton = B
Navy = D
Lime green = E
Red= F
Rows as per number for outside cover:
1, A
33,34,35 A