Thursday, 31 July 2014

Organisation: Jewellery Storage

Hi and welcome to new followers!  Thanks for all comments recently too, they are always great to read.

We sorted out some in-cupboard storage for my jewellery a month or so ago.  I thought I would share it here.

This tangled pile of costume jewellery (and a few random bits) had been hiding away in this box since we moved last May.  I thought it was about time they were freed from entanglement and put back to use again.

You may remember my hair station, hidden inside the old airing cupboard - turned wardrobe (when the hot water tank was removed).  I have added to it...

With the help of a few cheap supplies from Ikea, my jewellery is now untangled and easy to see and use.  Then it is tucked away out of sight when the door is closed.

Supplies were:

Bygel Rail (2 x 55cm rail) - £1.50 each

Bygel S-Hook (4 x pack of 6 - black) - £1 per pack

The back of this cupboard door has become a very practical spot!

While we were at it, we added a few hooks just inside the cupboard - to get my handbags out of a pile on the floor of the wardrobe, and into a more handy system.  My current 'in-use' handbag fits onto the bottom hook with the other bag, but it was probably dumped somewhere in the house at the time of these photographs!

Actually there are a load more that I need to sort through in a chest in the spare room (aka store room - it isn't used for anything other than junk at the moment... but things are in progress!)  But let's pretend that they don't exist for now - as they haven't been used for ages, and will hopefully soon be purged.  (Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned them, and given the impression of a highly organised and decluttered life!)

The hooks used are:

Bygel Hooks - (1 x pack of 2) - 85p per pack

So, the very cheap Bygel range worked wonders for all these jobs!  I suddenly just realised this sounds like a sponsored post - ha, it's not!  Who the hell would contact me to sponsor a post?!

Right, bed time for me... until next time...

Thursday, 24 July 2014


Hi!  Thanks for all the great supportive comments on my last post - I enjoyed them all and had a few laughs at some of them!  Work on the Sorbetto top continues - the day job is getting in the way.  Hopefully I'll have something to show you before long.  I've not given up yet!

I took pictures of our wildflower border a couple of weeks ago, and have been meaning to show you.

Earlier in the year the Lumberjack cleared the turf and planted some wildflower seeds.  For ages it was just a dusty old patch of earth... I found it hard to imagine it changing.  But it did!

These pictures really don't do it justice - I think the sun was too bright (not that I'm complaining), and washed out the colour a bit.  Hopefully you get the idea.  Just imagine these pictures even more vibrant and colourful!

Every day we go for a stroll to the bottom of the garden to check out what's appeared!  Over the last month or so it's been amazing seeing the different flowers popping up.

I absolutely love it!  It's just so wild and natural and pretty.

And here's a rose growing elsewhere in the garden...

Couldn't resist getting a shot of that.

Remember the Blog Hop?  Alex's post is ready to read over at Hydrangea Girl - so go check it out!

Hopefully back soon with a Sorbetto to show you... fingers crossed!

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sorbetto Hell and a Touch of the Sway Backs!

OH. MY. WORD.  I have spent yesterday evening and all of today trying to make the "quick, simple" Sorbetto top.  I am rubbish!

If you have any interest in clothes sewing, you will have heard of the Sorbetto top.  Everyone seems to have made it - and it's a free pattern!  Let me make it clear - I am not blaming the pattern for my issues - I'm blaming my body and my lack of skill!

The picture above is my toile/muslin - I appear to have bough vast quantities of some lilac fabric many moons ago, so I thought I'd make use of it as a practice piece.  I'm so glad I didn't rush into making the 'real thing' and cutting into the good fabric, as this has given me no end of trouble.

It all started when I couldn't print the pattern to scale - stupid pdf viewer in Windows 8 wouldn't let me change the setting to 'actual size' rather than scaling it.  We had more luck with the Lumberjack's laptop - except that the printer then ran out of ink!  So, a quick dash to Asda at 8.30 yesterday evening was required to buy some more.

Once that obstacle was resolved, I stuck and cut the pattern, chopped the fabric, and sewed the top you see above.  It actually sits better than it looks in that photo - the skewed result of me trying to take a selfie.  However, the bust darts are too high and the back of the top had a load of bunched up fabric.

After much faffing about and lots of Google searches, I learnt about Sway Back.  Who knew I was afflicted with such a thing?!  This link explains more.

So, following the instructions at the link, I pinned up a horizontal wedge of the back fabric.  When trying on it made a big difference to the fit:

Excuse the terrible photos!!  The Lumberjack wasn't around, so I had to make do with bizarre over-the-shoulder-mirror shots.  (Could've brushed my hair too - it's lucky you can't see the state of my face!)

I didn't take a 'before' picture, so you'll have to take my word for it, that pinning out that wedge of fabric made the back hang much better.  Also, surprisingly, the hem was straight all the way round the top when it was actually on me.  (Which is how it is supposed to work, as this gets rid of access fabric my weird shaped body doesn't need, but I was still surprised when it worked!)  However, I had to transfer that missing chunk of fabric to the pattern pieces - a complicated business!  (Instead of having a horizontal dart removing that fabric, the excess is taken out in another way.)

So, I spent countless hours researching online and trying to adjust the pattern pieces for these three things:

  1. Lowered bust darts
  2. Sway Back adjustment (using the link I mentioned)
  3. 2 inches of additional length (as I wanted the top longer - my toile was a bit short for my liking and wasn't hemmed yet)
Eventually I had something that might work.  I cut out another toile as I had to test my alterations.  By this time it was getting late and I accidentally sewed the box-pleat on the wrong side.  No harm done really, as I only need the toile for fit, and that won't affect that.  But the stupid thing still isn't looking right!  Still too much fabric in the back - and I don't know whether it's because my Sway Back adjustment didn't work - or whether it did work but was then thrown out by the 2 inches extra length I gave to the whole top.  Who knows!  So, I stopped for the night... and thought I'd tell you all about it.

Any helpful hints and tips would be appreciated if anyone has any??!!  If you can understand any of this garbled post - I've got Sorbetto exhaustion.......!

Oh, and thank so much for the lovely comments on my Blog Hop post.  Anna has got a great post up already - so go over and check it out if you want a lot of gorgeous crochet eye candy!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Blog Hop!

A lot of you have probably been seeing/partaking in the Blog Hop.  The lovely Sam of Betsy Makes has passed the baton onto me... so here is my post!  You can see Sam's Blog Hop post here - I recommend you have a good snoop around if you don't already follow her blog.  Sam makes such gorgeous things, and everything is photographed so beautifully - it's a pleasure to spend some time there!

Now, onto the questions...

What am I working on?

Well, there are always a few things in progress around here.  I think you can all identify with that!

This is my cotton stripy blanket - I started it in September, so it's been lurking around for some time.  I think it's about half way through now and it's got to a size where I can have a snuggle under it - and if there's one thing I like, it's snuggling under a blanket!  (Yes, I know it's summer, but I still like a dose of cosiness!)

I'm also working on a cross-stitch project.  It seems this might be about two years in the making - ooops, how did that happen?!

  However, in the last week I've got quite addicted to it and things are progressing...

I absolutely love the colours and the retro pattern.

The last project is in the very early stages and involves these fabrics...

When I say early stages, all I've done is washed the fabric.  I have to confess that is a rarity for me - I'm usually far too impatient for such things as fabric washing.  (Unless it's an ancient pair of the Lumberjack's linen trousers!)  You can see I haven't moved onto the 'iron the fabric' stage yet.  You'll have to wait to see what these pretty fabrics will become - if I ever stop over-thinking my plans and actually get cutting...

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

You know, I'm not sure my work really does differ from others of its genre.  It's hard to identify your own style I think (well, it is for me).

Waterlily Blanket

I would like to say my style is bright, colourful and funky.  That's the sort of thing I like, but I'm not sure the funky side comes out in what I make.

Cushion Cover

Maybe I'll just say 'colourful' which definitely isn't anything new or different!

African Flower Cushion Cover with Stripy Back

Why do I create what I do?

Well, I just love making things!  I can't really explain why I have this need to create.  My sister-in-law always laughs at me if we go shopping and I spot some miscellaneous item and start poking and prodding at it, "hmmm, I wonder if I could make this?".  "Why don't you just buy it?!" she says.  Sometimes when I'm in the middle of something fiddly and tricky I wonder the same thing myself.  What was I thinking???  Why have I created all this unnecessary work for myself?!  What was the point??  Usually, in those happy times that it all works out, I'm glad I made the effort.  I love that feeling of looking at something and thinking "I made that".

As to the things I make... sometimes it's something I need, such as a phone case.

Crochet and Cross-Stitch Phone Case

Or a make-up pouch.

Zipped Make-Up Pouch

Other times it's something I fall in love with and just HAVE to make...

Sidewalk Shawl

...even if, let's be honest, I never wear shawls!  Sometimes I put it on if I fancy a stroll in the garden and it's a bit nippy, but that's about the extent of it's use.  And I only do that so that the poor shawl can fulfil it's purpose in life in some small way!

How does my creating process work?

I'm constantly being inspired by things around me, by blog posts, by Pinterest images... it goes on.  Ideas pop into my head all the time and I try to get them down onto my ever-growing craft 'to do' list.  There are things that sit neglected on that list for years until the right moment comes, if it ever does.  There are other ideas that I jump straight onto because I can't wait to get started.

Lots of the things I make are using patterns that other people have created.  Even if I think I've come up with something new, a few Google searches usually reveal that someone has already thought of and written a pattern for it!  I'll either follow it, or adapt it to what I want.

My Christmas Star Jar Cover was one exception.

Free Tutorial

I had such a clear image in my head of what I wanted to make and was sure that someone must have made something similar already.  If they had, I couldn't find it.  So, I got to work attempting to turn the image in my head into reality.  That process involved playing around with yarn until the vision was realised!

In general, though, there isn't really much of a process at all - if I feel like making something, I make it.  Or at least give it a go.

Well, that was rather waffley and picture-heavy!  Maybe I went a bit overboard...

Enough about me... onto the blogs for you to hop to!

Anna of Nummer Elva

I used to work with Anna a few years back and we became firm friends - cemented by our crafty passions!  It was Anna who taught me to crochet - she really is a crochet whiz.  Her blog is written in both Swedish and English, and is full of beautiful photos and amazing crafty creations.

In her words...

My blog is called Nummer Elva (Number Eleven) after a little red cottage in the Swedish woods. I mainly write about my first craft love crochet but also about some other crafty bits and flowers and gardening. These are things that make me smile and make me happy. I am Swedish but I left Sweden several years ago and now I live in a crochet covered (if you ask my husband) 1930-ies house in Hampshire with my family and a black cat. Welcome to my blog!

Visit Anna here.

Alex of Hydrangea Girl

Alex and I have been following each other's blogs for two or three years I think.  A couple of months ago we met up for Blogtacular.  It was great to meet in person after so many virtual comments and conversations, and we had an excellent time together!  Alex has a very stylish interior design blog, full of perfectly styled images and great DIY projects.  As the Lumberjack once put it, "she's far too cool for us.  Why does she read your blog?!" - ha!

Alex has been frantically busy lately, and has now sailed off on holiday, so I've taken a few words from her blog...

Hello!  Welcome to my website.  My name is Alex and I'm addicted to all things design.  Here you'll find me talking mostly about interior design, DIY and incorporating affordable design into your home.  I also write a bit about felines, skulls, graffiti and anything unusual or out of the ordinary.

Visit Alex here.

Anna and Alex should be posting their blog hop posts next Monday 14th July (or there abouts).  Make sure you go and check them out!

Phew - a long post.  Thanks if you managed to get through the whole thing.  And welcome to any new followers, it's great to have you here!

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Lavender Sachet

Hi all, thanks for the lovely comments on my rocky road - I'm sorry to report it's long gone now.  (And it was goooood!)

This week I spotted something that I just had to make.  It jumped the queue of crafty projects floating around my head and scribbled into notepads.  It's small, it's simple, but it called to me.

Just a little lavender sachet, made of linen and decorated with felt.

I've seen so many lovely projects using neutral linens teamed with colourful fabrics and patterns.  I love the contrast.  Ages ago I tried to get my hands on some linen, but my local shop didn't have any.  (Why?!)  I was wary of buying online in case the colour looked different off the computer screen.

So, time ticked on until the other week when the Lumberjack was going through boxes of old clothes in preparation for our holiday.  (Our unpacking into this house has been a slow process!)  What materialised but an old pair of linen trousers!  He put them on, we had a good laugh, then they made their way into my craft room - yay!

On Thursday (I think) I spotted this on Pinterest.  The linen trousers got shoved in the wash, and yesterday I got to work!

The tricky part was picking colours from my felt stash!  I had a delve in my felt-scraps basket too - it's a great project for scraps.

Look at me, sneaking in a craft room peak.  Oh, how I toy with you!  Eventually I'll have the room in order, and will be able to show you more.  (Some of the contents of that shelf may now be scattered on the floor... maybe...)

I ended up keeping fairly close to the colours used in the tutorial - if it ain't broke, don't fix it!  Thanks to Checkout Girl for a great idea!

I am really pleased with it - in a completely disproportional manner.  Seriously, I love it.  I carry it around with me, stroking and gazing adoringly at it.

(The red and teal middles are different colours - one is pale green, the other beige - but they look almost the same in these photos.)

One last thing... you may have noticed I've changed my header!  I thought it was time for a new look.  What do you think?  I hope you like it!  There are also links in the sidebar to my Pinterest profile - come follow me - and my Facebook page.  I haven't done much in Facebook for a long time, so it may not be worth visiting - but I may change that, we'll see...  (How persuasive!)

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Rocky Road

I felt like a naughty chocolatey treat and making some rocky road seemed like the perfect solution.

I had to work fast, as the sun was beating down on that chocolate!  (If I'd taken more time I would have probably cleaned up the chocolate smears on the plate - but I didn't notice them at the time - I'll never make a professional photographer!)

The recipe was from a book my dear friend Anna gave me as a house-warming present...

Peggy Porschen's Boutique Baking, recipe "Chocolate Crunch Cake with Marshmallows and Pistachios".  "Rocky Road" was a snappier post name, though!  Also, I skipped the pistachios and the hazelnuts that the recipe called for.  I popped to the local shop to get the bits I needed, and I'd have had to remortgage the house to afford the nuts at those prices!!  I'm not that keen on nuts, so I'm happy anyway.

I made it last night, and the Lumberjack and I had a piece each in bed this morning with a cup of tea - how decadent!!  That's my kind of breakfast!

I hope you're all enjoying the beautiful weather!

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Hello!  The Lumberjack and I are currently enjoying two weeks off work.  We spent a lovely week in Turkey - the Oludeniz area - and are now pottering around at home.

We didn't do any shopping during our week away, so just picked up some Turkish Delight at the airport before we went home - you can't go to Turkey and not bring back some Turkish Delight!  It's difficult to tell the scale of this photo, but those squares are tiny - maybe 1cm cubes.  Very tasty.

We had an amazing day trip canoeing through Patara National Park - so very beautiful.  Here we are, safely sun-hatted up!

I won't bore you with any more of our holiday photos... other than to show you this amazing riot of colour...

We think it's bougainvillea, although haven't seen it in yellow before.  I love the colours!  I'm thinking I must use this as inspiration for blanket colours (Lumberjack: "Ha!  So we're having another blanket are we?!")  The blanket making desire is never fully sated it seems.  Better finish the stripy one first, though...

And back home it was exciting to see that some flowers had sprung up in the meadow bed we created this year.  ("We" = the Lumberjack)  A particular favourite is this gorgeous vibrant little flower - some internet searching revealed that it's a Scarlet Flax.  The petals are so rich in colour, I tried to capture the depth but it was tricky.

We've been pottering about trying to get things tidied and organised.  This has included some happy time filling and labelling jars in the kitchen - I know how to have fun!

My nana has been collecting up Douwe Egbert coffee jars for me - they are so useful.  I used pretty washi tape to label them up.

Ridiculous how much I enjoyed doing that.  I keep opening the kitchen cupboard to look at them sitting there all tidy and organised!

Thanks for the lovely comments on my crochet bracelet in my last post, they are much appreciated.  I think I'll have a little sit in the garden in the sunshine now.  Oh, these happy days (please don't make me go back to work on Monday!!!!!!).

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Crochet Bracelet

Good day!  Thanks for the lovely comments on the crochet baby blankets in my last post!

I needed a quick crafting fix this weekend, something I actually stood a chance of finishing... so I had a go at a pretty idea I'd pinned ages ago (40 weeks ago according to Pinterest).

I found the idea and pattern here - thanks to Claire at Haken en Meer!  I think I just about followed the instructions, using Google Translate - it seems to have worked.  I created a loop with the button on, instead of sewing it straight to the band.  Nothing to do with the fact I made the band too short... of course not... ahem...

I love it, and it's so comfortable to wear!  Sometimes normal bracelets get on my nerves, clinking and clunking against everything - especially on the desk at work.  This is all soft and you don't notice you're wearing it.  The colours are so cheerful and spring-like too!

I used King Cole Bamboo Cotton for the pink and mint colours.  The yellow is some left over King Cole Smooth from my Mum.

I'm very pleased I actually got round to making something I'd pinned, a rare occurrence!

I've been trying to get everything organised in the craft room, but it's slow going.  I'm not trying very hard to be honest, I'm a lazy so-and-so.  I look at all the mess and think "why have I got all this?!"  I have decided that I will not buy any more crafting supplies unless they are for a specific project that I am just about to embark on (not one I might do one day).  No more, "oooh that fabric is pretty, I must have it!"; no more "well, it's such a bargain, I'm sure it will come in use one day!"  My first port of call will be my current supplies - if I can use what I've got, then I will.  The exceptions will probably be when I finally embark on my clothes sewing activities, when I expect I'll have to go out and buy most of the bits I'll need for an item.  If I haven't got the right fabric already, I don't want to make do, as I'll end up not wearing what I make.  I want to ensure I make clothes that will actually be worn!

Before I go, I will show you the only bit of the craft room I've sorted... a ribbon and washi tape drawer!

I'm quite excited by it.  I called the Lumberjack enthusiastically, "Come here!  Come and see what I've done!!"  His response from the doorway: "What?  Put some stuff in a drawer?"


Sunday, 25 May 2014

Crochet Baby Blankets

Hello!  Well, life is passing in a bit of a blur lately, and I'm not achieving much.  Everything feels very disorganised and chaotic - hopefully I'll get back on top of things soon!

But... I have managed to do the mindless (and very boring) task of sewing some ends in so that I can finally show you this blanket...

I first showed you the colourful granny squares here.  I finished this last September, apart from those pesky ends!  It's taken me all this time to get round to sewing them in, but at least I feel like I've got something done at last.

I gave all the squares a double border of white and joined as I went.  To do the final border around the lot, I used Bunny Mummy's tutorial to give a flat border for granny squares.  (Thanks Jacquie!)

And I finished off with another one of her tutorials for the double-v edging.  It was just what I wanted - simple but enough to finish it off nicely.

I always struggle to get a decent picture when I try to smooth a blanket out on the floor, but this shows it as a whole.  It's not a big blanket - good for a cot probably.  It hasn't got a use as yet, but maybe one day if I am lucky enough to spawn some young, then they can be snuggled in it!

This is the third baby/mini blanket I've made.  The first one was in my early crochet days.  I wanted to try a blanket, and a small one seemed more manageable!  (I actually didn't finish it until after my second blanket - but it was started first).  Post here.

The second blanket had a proper purpose - it was made for my gorgeous nephew, while my sister-in-law was pregnant with him.  That one had a lot of love go into it, and is my favourite!  It is the biggest - I made it a good size to last him a long time.

You can see the post here.  I used this pattern.

That's all from me today... I hope you're all having a lovely bank holiday weekend!  Over and out.