Thursday, 27 February 2014

Hot Water Bottle Cover

Isn't earache a stinker? Fortunately (as I tap wood reassuringly) I've not suffered with it for many a year, but during the last couple of days of the school holidays, eldest daughter began to complain of it!!!

Now, I remember as a child that when I got ear ache, I used to love to lay my head on a hot water bottle and hey presto, it used to take the worst of the pain away!  Alas, we didn't have a hot water bottle or anything else that might provide some warming assistance other than a warm flannel but that soon went cold. 

Anyway after a fretful night, I managed to get my daughter a doctors appointment early next morning and once we were sorted with a course of antibiotics for a now diagnosed ear infection, our next stop was the local supermarket and of course my reason was to try and find that all elusive hot water bottle.

Now, I haven't bought one in years, if ever, but if I have ever spied one for sale, they are usually quite a fancy affair, usually coming in it's own beautiful cozy with lovely designs etc and I did wonder if my local supermarket would cater for something so elaborate! Well, it did, only it only had on offer the bog standard rubber hot water bottle, no cute cosy accompaniment! So that meant one thing, I would just have to make one myself (or as my grandma used to do in the day when we visited and stopped over, wrap it in a hand towel - as if!!!!)

So, taking a brief break from rustling up triangles for my latest blanket, I took hold of my trusted bowl of left over balls of yarn and set about making a cosy. A cup of tea and a slice of date and walnut cake to set me up and off I set.

Now if you like the look of this cover, I'm going to make up a pattern on how I made it. But in the mean time, I am reliably informed my daughter, now very much on the mend, that the new hot water bottle is a resounding hit. Ear ache, now very much a thing of the past, the hot water bottle is now entrusted in keeping her tootsies warm at night, and there was me thinking that I might get my hands on it and warm my toes as I am reputed in having the coldest feet ever!!! 

So it looks like it's back to the shops for me to buy another hot water bottle for myself but in the meantime I'll set about editing all the photos I've taken of this one and piece together a pattern for it.

Will be back soon with that pattern!


Monday, 17 February 2014

Cheats Cheesecake

The school holidays are upon us here and I am utterly fed up with the weather, but I refuse to be all British about it and talk at lengths about how dreadful it is so will quickly skip over it!!

So in spite of the thing I'm not talking about and the very reason why I haven't been very far today, I have been trying to throw together meals that I already have the ingredients in for and at the request of daughter number 1, I was instructed to conjure up a dessert, a family favourite that I had to share, it's so simple it's ridiculous!

It's what I call my cheats cheesecake and goes as followed:

Serves 4 or a generous 2!

Bash 4 digestive biscuits (other biscuits such as Ginger Nuts or Nobnobs also work well) with a rolling pin to a crumb & throw in a handful of rolled oats.

Add to a pan 25g of butter & heat gently till it has melted and starts to froth ever so slightly, well that's the proper way but I never do and just add it all together and hope for the best - I have hungry bellies to fill, I can't hang around for frothing butter!! Add the crushed up biscuits & rolled oats and mix till all incorporated and forms a crumble.

Tip into individual serving bowls & leave to cool for a moment (save a small amount to one side)

Add Greek yogurt over the top of the crumb mix.

Add fruit of your choice or I like to heat fruits such as blueberries, raspberries or slices of apricot gently in a pan with a sprinkle of sugar to make a fruit syrup. Or if super lazy, use those yogurts that have the fruit served separately, just pour the serving of fruit over the yogurt, I do like to use Greek or natural yogurt, the regular stuff is just too sweet!

Top again with the put aside amount of digestive biscuit and add a drizzle of honey if you so prefer.

Voila! Empty bowls all round in this house!!!

Try it, it's real quick to put together, doesn't involve fancy ingredients or tricky techniques, ideal for a relatively fast dessert.

Enjoy the holidays and stay dry!!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Colour Inspiration

I have never considered I had a 'favourite' colour. I sometimes play it safe when choosing clothes to wear and a quick look at the contents of my wardrobe hardly reveals a rainbow of colours. But as I look around my house and see the items I own, again and again I see that actually, I quite like colour, small pockets of it here and there. I'm not talking single tones of colour or a hint of a hue on a wall or two, I mean, a good old dollop of an assortment of patterns, styles, textures and fabrics.

It's thought that colour can convey feelings, cooling pastel colours to encourage feelings of calm, bold colours enhance feelings of being bold, bright confident! I think anyone interested in the meaning of colour would find my collection of trinkets and personnel belonging hard to read and that's because I don't stick to one colour group, rather I like what I see and collect what I like, it just has to contain colour, be it bright, cool, subtle, vibrant or pale.

I love natural materials, wood especially, but the urge to paint it is overwhelming. I never buy wooden furniture brand new, probably a good thing because as soon as I get it home, its usually taken off to be cleaned up, sanded down and a base paint applied. Then I can think about what colour I want to paint it. The choice is never made on whether it will match a room or if it will be in keeping with other items I have got, but more often then not, the furniture comes first and the decor of a room will follow.

My current dining table and chairs cost £11 from Ebay (the wonders of Ebay eh?) and in it's original state was pretty grotty and dark and I mean really dark. It took a lot of sanding and plenty of elbow grease but once the paint applied, Theresa Green by Farrow & Ball, it looked a treat!

I never stick to one palette, my home doesn't flow with the sense of a carefully thought out colour plan. I love to read lifestyle blog's or flick through a house magazine and instantly can recognise that a scheme has been used or a theme adhered to and I tell myself I should do that, plan each room of my house one at a time and decide what 'theme' I should use, but it never works. I might manage to match wallpaper to a piece of painted furniture but then get bowled over by a piece of material that I know would look great as a pair of curtains but throws the whole 'theme' of the room off but then think, who cares, I love it and that's all that matters!!

I suppose my lack of theme, is my theme! It's all in the detail, I am utterly unable to leave anything to lack a touch of colour, ordinary pots are given a spruce up with a bit of crochet. Anything to help brighten up a dreary day. Something to be a little different and not looking like what anyone else might have. I'm more than certain that many of the colours I put together don't even sit well together, but I don't think I really mind. I suppose that's the joy of making something yourself, doing just as you like. None of this shop bought stuff that a team of design experts have spent a life time developing just to make your home look tailored and on trend, nope, none of that for me!

I think I"m a bit of a copy cat, I see something I like and it gets stored in the brain for a later date and suddenly it pops out and screams MAKE ME!!! I remember a time when I wanted to make covers for mugs and I mean all my mugs, I even bought mugs I thought would suit a cosy. I made them for me, for friends, for using at the allotment, at work, everywhere. They were plain, or decorated, embellished with buttons, multicoloured. No mouthful of tea was drunk in my house for months without it being adorned by one of my creations.

I think this momentary obsession came from my husband remarking about seeing these cosies in a shop and the amount they were priced at. I couldn't believe how much and if anyone would pay that much but could understand why a person would want one. They're hardly a 'must have' item, people have got along just fine before without needing their mug of tea wrapped beautifully in a woolly jacket but they just look so darn lovely and I knew that I could make one.... or two or maybe more

So why the sudden interest in colour? Well, this blog reaches it's first birthday tomorrow, a whole year old - YAY!! And a year ago today I had expectations of what this blog might bring, a record of my life, a gallery of photos showing my creations, a sense of improvement and an opportunity to channel my area of expertise, to cut a grove into what was my style. 

I had thought that seeing it all written down in black and white and a collection of all the photos I have taken, that I would see a style, a sense of what I'm naturally attracted too, something that screams 'me!', but in all honesty, I see what I saw a year ago, a collection of 'things', an assortment of every colour, trinkets, nick-nacks, stuff that I just 'like' and want in my home to make it my home.

It doesn't match, it doesn't flow, it certainly wouldn't adorn the front covers of any style magazine, but then after all, this probably is my style, eclectic, different, mine!

I will continue to fill ridiculously small vases with flowers picked from the garden and make even more cushions out of old clothes because it reminds my of when my children wore them. I will stick colours that don't match together.  I will choose colours that sing to me, buy them simply because they feel snugly. My obsession with blankets will continue on forever, I will not rest till I have tried every type of stitch, sampled every conceivable yarn, practised all manner of hooks. 

I feel truly in admiration of some of the people who's blog's I read or photos I see on Instagram, Ravelry or Pinterest and aspire to try be as amazing as them. Their work blows me away and their dedication to complete some of their work is remarkable, I'm glad I'm a part of it in some tiny small way.

This year has seen many changes in my life, moving house and having my second daughter have been monumental and has taken me away from time dedicated to this blog (understandably) and changes are afoot again as I face the prospect of returning to work and that window of opportunity to sit and crochet ebbs ever further away, but it is something I treasure and love with a passion so time will be found. I will continue to throw love and attention this way and not let work get in the way 

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my blog, I hope it will continue to encourage me to stay creative, to make me think about the next project, to keep taking lots of lovely photo's and capture my life surrounded by lots of colourful woolly creations.

For those who have read my ramblings, left comments or gone away a little inspired then I thank you for stopping by. I know I haven't or probably never will make great shakes in this talented world of all things 'hooky', I'll leave that to those truly more amazing that I'll ever be, but I'll keep plodding away, spreading the love of all things homemade and crocheted.

I will pat myself on the back for all the things I have made, for the ways it has shaped and bent my life and made me sit and enjoy the most simplest of hobby. It has meant that I can make gifts for others, or pretty up the rooms of my house

So I will continue on, my life with crochet, looking for that elusive style of mine and gathering inspiration from everything around me. This for me will probably only ever be a hobby, something to past the time and an opportunity to make great things. It must be wonderful to make a living from it and those that do are lucky people indeed and worthy of their abilities. 

But for now, nothing is more perfect then a pot of tea, a homemade cake and an hour or two of uninterrupted crochet, but alas, in this house, hours of uninterrupted 'anything' is unlikely and for that I am thankful as my time at the moment is 100% family and I will relish in it till I am drag kicking and screaming back to work!

Thank you for stopping by, as I write, the sun is shining and the weather after last nights storms seems to have calmed down. While the baby is sleeping I might just see if I can get a little more of my blanket done.  

Here's to another year in blogland, thanks for having me and speak soon xx

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Triangular Crochet Blanket Update

It would seem that at the moment, all that is consuming me, crochet wise, is this latest blanket. I've really taken to it so thought I would do a quick up date on its development.

At first I was unsure of the yarn I was using, its Drops Cotton Light and is a 50% cotton, 50% polyester mix.  I've not used cottons a lot before and certainly never for anything so big, but with a little more concentration with the hook to make sure I gather up all of the thread and not stick the hook through the middle, I can get along with it just fine. 

One thing that has struck me is how vivid the colours are. As the blanket gets bigger and the triangles begin to build up, its lovely to see how they all work well together. I can imagine it will be an eye catcher once completed, I can't wait to see the end results.

I hope that I have used the yarn to the best of its advantage and choosing triangles was a worthy idea. I had originally played around with other thoughts such as different sized squares, but I've done all that before and wanted to try something new. These squares did look tempting though!!!

No matter where I am in the house or out and about,  I can gather up my bag and take it with me and if I get chance, quickly add a triangle or two. I really am in love with it at the moment. These cold wet dreary days certainly make me want to get finished sooner, it's great to be tucked under it as I work away on it but to be honest, I don't know what I will eventually use the blanket for. 

Hope to have a reveal for you soon.

Take care xx