Friday, 30 November 2012

pom tiddly pom pom pom...

Aren't these just the thing to make whilst watching weepy Christmas movies (that they started showing way back in October!)?

These Clover Pom Pom makers are foolproof; I never did have the patience for more than one made using the cardboard circle technique!

Meanwhile we have 24 felt mittens ready and waiting for the Christmas countdown. I'm ashamed to say that I bought something I could easily have made...given a little more time. My 'to do' list is as long as my arm and includes some ambitious crochet gifts.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

random acts of craftiness...

Rather than make a fabulous felt advent calendar or whip up some red and white Pom Pom garlands (both on my to do list) I have been cutting and sticking non Christmassy things.

Much to Mr H's alarm I recently bought a large bag of wooden bricks from a charity shop for next to nothing. I said I was sure I could make something with them and hastily thought of a few ideas on the way home!

Messing about with patterns and colours I hit upon the idea of picture blocks. I remember having some myself and still have the little wooden box they came in, but sadly not the blocks.

Most sets seem to have a different picture on each face of the block but I'm leaving this set with just the one. It seems a shame to cover the coloured blocks up completely.

Now what to do with the rest?

Friday, 23 November 2012


It's been a muddy week in more ways than one. It's not just the dog bringing in half of the field on his fur, the cat has been decorating the white windowsills with tiny paw prints too. Now the children are bringing home unidentified muddy objects...

(They both did really well in their respective cross country trials. *E* came 32nd out of 129 and *J* came 18th out of 126. *J* says he's not sorry he missed out on being in the cross country team by 8 places because its not as much fun as football and cricket; running for miles in mud, wind and rain, not fun?)

Thursday, 22 November 2012

it's all sausages...

I've had a crochet break this last week or so. A resting of wrists. On the plus side it meant I could have a leisurely browse through back copies of crochet magazines, crochet books and websites for patterns. (The next best thing to actually crocheting!)

When I learnt to knit I made mainly toys to begin with. The Jean Greenhowe patterns are so clearly written and don't use any off putting techniques for beginners. My children were smaller and loved these creations.

Now that I mainly crochet (knitting is too painful) I've hardly made any toys at all. In fact, despite the many amigurumi patterns out there I don't think many of them quite match up to the magic of Jean Greenhowe. Just my personal view.

The choice is even narrower if you can't manage a size 2mm hook and 4 ply yarn. I found that was a popular choice for small amigurumi.

Anyway, here's what I found in the end...

A Dachshund! He's already part of the family. The children have named him Sausage (such an original choice!). He likes naps on the sofa, Judge Judy and chocolate chip cookies. He'll roll over for a tummy rub anytime!

Harvey is not at all sure about the sofa privilege.

I used an aran weight wool and 5mm hook. He's about 30cm long. It took two evenings.

The pattern is a free from Lion Brand. I modified the nose because I didn't like the huge one the pattern offered.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

crafty things for teens...

This seemingly random selection of digits was *E's* favourite buy at Fred Aldous. £1 per letter.

You Me At Six (you knew that right?). Soon to be adorned with collage, paint, whatever takes her fancy.

The little artist I nurtured by introducing her to crayons as soon as she could grip will be one of their screaming fans at Wembley next month! Surely it was five minutes ago when I carried her in a little papoose?

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

retro photo booth...

How many of these have you got tucked away in photo albums? I've got one with a Canadian cousin (I must have been 14ish) and one with a school friend, I think I even have one with an old boyfriend too (don't tell Mr. H!)

That's me on the right hand side of the bottom strip. I really do hate being photographed!

My children, on the other hand, love it!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

the country mice visit the city mice...

We ventured into Manchester this weekend, all four of us.

Visiting Fred was the main purpose; Fred Aldous. The children were less taken with the vast choice of art and craft supplies and most impressed with the vintage black and white photo booth. Not only is it black and white but you get 4 different poses!!! (I hadn't even noticed that modern ones give you the same pose four times - I must get out more!)

After lunch we braved the crowds and looked round the Christmas market, which is a lot like our own in Lincoln. You can see the sea of heads in one of the pictures. We held fast to one child each and shuffled through the crowds, managing to buy a couple of things along the way (will photograph soon).

There was an awful lot of food and drink stalls, mainly German it seemed.

Cities are so exhausting. Both the children fell fast asleep on the way home, and I may have had a small snooze myself!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

nearly there...

This has been a perfect application for decopatch. The red floral design I chose in the end has covered up all the scratches and scuffs nicely. The glossy glue has given it a nice protective sheen which will cope with new knocks and scuffs well I am sure. In fact it looks like it was manufactured this way now!

I haven't got enough of the red decopatch paper to do anymore covering up (and the remainder of the case would be a bit fiddly anyway) but I think it needs a nifty luggage tag or something to finish it off. Maybe even a crochet flower charm (I know I'm not a flower person but I could bend the rules a bit here!)

It turns out that *E's* blue version is exactly the same size, not bigger as I originally thought. If my children were 5 and 8 all over again they could have had one each (the blue one with a geometric boy design of course).

Maybe one day I'll have grandchildren! 'Ugh No!' says *E*!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

crochet trim...

Here's the crochet trim we picked up on that recent bargain hunt! I've no idea what I'll use it for yet but I know it will be £1 well spent.

Friday, 9 November 2012

vintage bargains...

Leaving the men to do manly things (involving football) *E* and I visited my old selling ground recently. A huge site with hundreds of vintage, antique, salvage and junk dealers.

It can be overwhelming and you can lose a whole day in just one building but it helps if you know where to look for what you're after.

I was looking for a small shelving rack for *J's* cricket trophies and anything cheap and cheerful. *E* likes to look at the costume jewellery.

We came home with the perfect trophy shelving for £8 (pictures to follow when Mr H has fixed it to the wall), a 3m length of natural crochet trim (£1), a vintage wooden ruler (20p) and this fabulous vintage suitcase in bright red for £1.

*E* already has this suitcase in blue but slightly bigger and not so bashed up. She uses it regularly for weekends away.

Mr H doesn't quite get the vintage thing and asked why we were bringing home more junk after spending a week chucking out junk! Killjoy! When I explained the potential for beautifying this little find with decoupage paper and using it as storage he kinda came round to my way of thinking.

A small stack of these little cases with various decoupaged lids in the corner of *E's* room would look cool methinks.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

quick and easy reindeer...

I was clearly in a reindeer mood yesterday! An offcut of fleece fell out of my fabric cupboard whilst putting away some leftover ribbon and I instantly thought of making a reindeer cushion. How weird is that?

I sketched out a shape on two pieces of A3 paper taped together, pinned it to two thicknesses of fleece, cut it out and sewed it all up leaving a tummy hole for stuffing.

The blanket is a piece of old shrunken cardigan with needle felted swirls. The whole thing was done in an afternoon.

Just the thing to do after raking leaves and preparing a bonfire for the weekend. Harvey helped of course, dragging large branches up the banks of the beck for me. He really gets the whole bonfire building thing! Normally he would wait for me to throw the branch for a game of fetch but when we build bonfires he just gathers as much twig material as he can find. Clever eh?

Needless to say no-one in this household is very impressed with my reindeer. Having to put it away after Christmas was mentioned. Well yeah, the same as any other Christmas decoration then. Once upon a time he would have been named and squirrelled away to a bed full of other stuffed creations.

I like him.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Hamster no-name is settling in well. She is loving her wheel and climbing on the roof bars commando style. After exerting herself her nose glows bright red but alas 'Rudolph' is not in the running for a name.

*E* is delighted that she is weeing in one corner and one corner only. 'See? I've house trained her already!' Um, yeah, if you say so.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

14 weeks old...

We have a new baby in the house! She's a gorgeous peachy colour and sleeps all day. Yet to be named; suggestions welcome!

I finally succumbed to the hamster thing. I figured at nearly fifteen years of age *E* could manage the responsibility. We look at them every time we go to the pet shop for cat and dog food and last night we spotted this gorgeous little thing who was wide awake and doing Spiderman impressions on the roof of her cage.

She's an absolute character with no fear whatsoever. She thinks nothing of climbing on top of her wheel and then spinning off. She needs a name to suit her daredevil nature!

I must admit the cat is a worry, especially as she is a brilliant mouser. The hamster cage seems pretty secure and the bedroom door will always be firmly shut. Will I still worry? Yes. Dead animals and me just don't get on, dead headless animals require a husband or father with a good stomach.

When shall I break the news to my Mother that we'll be arriving for Christmas with a cat, a dog and a hamster?

Monday, 5 November 2012

him and I...

Whadyamean I can't dry off on the cream carpet?

He would, he really would.

P.S. this dog is usually black and 'white'.

Friday, 2 November 2012

a bit of a catch up...

I seem to have lost my blogging mojo since returning from my trip down South. The perils of leaving two children and a husband behind I guess. It's taken me quite a while to clean up the mud and dust that the dog creates when he is let through to the carpeted areas too soon. It's something Mr H and I don't see eye to eye on; literally I think because his eyes are not as good as mine when it comes to household dirt.

On the plus side it prompted a bit of an early spring clean and a dozen sacks were sorted for the next charity collection, which in our area is at least once a week.

I didn't take any photographs of autumn beaches and boarded up beach huts, it was just too cold and wet to venture down there.

Instead Grandad and I took a drive out to Surrey where I have lots of precious childhood memories. In the village Nan and Grandad used to live in we only needed to take a short walk to bump into half a dozen relatives. I used to think that was so amazing. I never quite knew whether they were Nan's sisters or Grandad's brothers back then but of course I do now.

We called in on as many as we could fit in a day. Each of us congratulating the other on a successful two way conversation after each visit only to discover that neither of us had heard much at all. We got renamed 'bluff and double bluff' when we returned to Sussex.

In fact there was some concern about the two of us setting off in a car together since we both need to lipread and one of us was behind the wheel of a car! Not a good combination but we did ok.

Mr H and I celebrated a wedding anniversary whilst I was away. Hence the photo below of my fabulous present. I'm not big on bling and I like nature and natural materials so the little wooden leaves on this necklace by Tatty Devine were right up my street. Mr H received cherry wood cuff links which he's very pleased with too. We just do small things for anniversaries.

Well we have had a very late October half term this year. The children go back to school on Monday, but not before yet another shoe buying expedition (tomorrow). *E's* turn this time. Oh joy! Boys are so much easier.

It's been a nice week actually. We've done manageable things. Yesterday we treated ourselves to the latest Trivial Pursuit family edition. I think the adult one might have been better because some of the questions were a bit too easy and the game rather short but we played it twice to make up for that. With candles lit and bowls of popcorn, the dog sleeping on his own chair and the cat sleeping on Mr H's lap it was a lovely cosy scene. Why we only ever saved that game for Christmas before I don't know!

Meanwhile I am declaring today a pj day. I'm staying in my tartan flannelette pj trousers all day so there!