Friday, December 30, 2011

Handmade gifts

I made these coasters for my Dad for Christmas and they were very well received. He uses the travel organiser I made him last year regularly and promises to do the same with these.

The other gifts I made were mainly chutneys, as I made 8 batches this year using the vegetables we grew,  and also made some Christmas cakes.

Another little handmade gift will appear soon.....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I got an Accuquilt for Christmas and have been having fun. So far I've sewn half the rows but haven't joined them together yet.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Post Christmas

We've had a relaxing time and are enjoying time at home. The furry creatures are chilling as well.....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

I've been meaning to write a post for ages but never found the time.  Life has been busy since my last post. Yesterday was the second anniversary of my accident yesterday and although I'm not yet back to normal yet I have made good progress. I was discharged from both the hospital and Physio in July. I then did an 'exercise referral' at a local gym and now go regularly.

Knitting and sewing has been going on but I can't share any photos yet so instead have a peek at the basket of chutney I made for my Secret Santa gift at work.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


No prizes for guessing what we had for had for dinner tonight....
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Monday, June 13, 2011

Green fingers

After my accident left me unable to walk last year DH took over the gardening. These photos were taken last weekend and there has been a lot of progress in that short time.

Last year DH grew lots of different vegetables some where more successful than others and this year he's carried on:

These were the strawberry plants we started with last year. The position they were in was a bit shaded so instead of fruit we got a lot of runners


It was DD's job to plant them all up in tiny pots & then I put them into troughs at the end of the summer. This spring DH built a home for them with some timber we given to burn from a dismantled garage but it was put to better use:

strawberries shelves

There are 15 troughs of strawberries, 1 of lobellia to attract the bees and the 3 on the bottom shelf are lettuce seedlings. We've been enjoying strawberries for breakfast for the past 2 weeks and tonight had enough for pudding as well!

The original strawberry plants are much happier this year as they're against our new polycarbonate greenhouse so are very warm and toasty in a sheltered position. Last year DH grew both tomatoes and cucumbers in a cheap plastic greenhouse but this year he's taken things a bit further:

tomato plants
tomato plants in our new p/c greenhouse

He has grown 7 different varieties of tomatoes from seed most of which are in the 8 x10 ft polycarbonate greenhouse in the back garden with some chillies, okra and basil:

tomatoes, chillies, basil & okra growing in the greenhouse
various plants in the greenhouse

immature tomato
It won't be too long before the crop starts...

The other tomatoes can be found at the front of the house with the strawberry shelves and the plastic greenhouse from last year.

tomatoes growing upside down
Tomato tree

DH built the 'tree' last year when we bought the hanging grow bags. He 'over engineered' it so he can hang off it but it works wonderfully well and soon the plants will be covered in both cherry & cherry plum tomatoes. We've planted Petunias, trailing geranium and lobellia above them to encourage the bees.

In the plastic greenhouse he has cucumbers and courgettes:

cucumber and courgette plants
cucumber and courgette plants

Last year this small 'greenhouse' held tomatoes and cucumbers and was far too crowded and it ended up being a nightmare to water and care for. So this year DH has ensured that all the plants have enough room to grow.

A tiny cucumber:

courgette plant
cucumber plant

We had our first cucumber yesterday and like those from last year it was gorgeous! Fresh cucumbers taste so different to those bought in the shops as do all the fruit and vegetables we've grown so far.

Returning to the back garden, we removed 2 trees this spring in an attempt to improve the light for our new greenhouse which we hated doing. The wood has been put to good use but still it felt wrong. So I bought 2 apples trees which are currently in pots but will be planted out soon:


There are 3 varieties of eating apple on each tree so in a few years time we'll be self-sufficient in apples in the summer (as long DD doesn't eat them all) and the trees won't grow too tall so won't cause a problem with light.

We've also got salad potatoes growing which will be dug up next weekend:

salad potatoes grown in bags
salad potatoes grown in recycled dog food bags

The bags are left over from the dog food and we've found plenty of uses for them in the garden plus I've just given about 40 of them away on our local Freegle group. We had some potatoes growing at the end of last year but the early snow killed them off. This year we're planning on moving the bags into the greenhouse in the autumn when the other plants have finished which should help keep them going until Christmas.

Also growing but not photographed garlic (about 12 varieties), assorted lettuces, peas, beans, radishes, blueberries and plenty of herbs.

How does your garden grow?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Essential Tweed socks

Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed

Pattern: David's Toe Up Sock Cookbook
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential Tweed in Plum (now discontinued)
Needles: 2mm
Time taken to knit: 21st January 2011 to 2nd June 2011

Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed
Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed

The yarn was a present from my friend CL in Canada a few years ago. It's made a lovely dense fabric and is very soft after one wash. However I don't know how long the coloured flecks will last as they're very loosely combined with the yarn.

Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed
Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed

This pair were knitted toe up, two at a time. The feet and body of the socks are in 3x1 rib and the cuffs 2x2 rib as I like my socks to stay up. I decided to use a simple rib as the flecks would detract from a more complicated pattern.

Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed
Toe Up socks in Knit Picks Essential Tweed

Overall I'm pleased with them but would have liked them to be a bit longer.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Preparing for winter

We've been busy over the past couple of months chopping and splitting wood to burn on our wood burner. I'm not sure if we've got enough for the whole winter but I think we'll be ok for a bit.

We've had our wood burning stove for 3 winters and since then it's snowed each year. Last year we had a record 18" of snow in early December and there's nothing like sitting in front of a wood burning stove flicking and whilst it's snowing outside.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthday gifts

I've always wanted to sew due to the speed and ease that you can create a totally unique item. Knitting is always constant but it can take weeks to make a scarf or a pair of socks whereas a sewn item can take an afternoon or an evening. So for me now being able to do both is ideal.

After I made some presents for my niece last month her mum requested the same as she loved them so I obliged:

Strippy Charm Pouch in Moda Bliss
Make-up bag

a shot of the other side as I used lots of different fabrics:

Strippy Charm Pouch in Moda Bliss
Make-up bag

and the inside:

Strippy Charm Pouch in Moda Bliss
Make-up bag

Pattern: Strippy Charm Pouch from Modabakeshop
Fabrics: Moda Bliss

I fancied a change from the other make-up bag pattern that I've now made 4 times so book marked this pattern as soon as I saw it.

I also made a little purse just like her daughters as it had been much admired:

Zippy Wallet in Moda Bliss
Zippy Wallet in Moda Bliss

the lining fabric

Pattern: Zippy Wallet by noodlehead

Monday, May 09, 2011

And one for me

I made this using scraps of Indian batiks from 2 current projects.

I like the back as well.
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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Sunday afternoon......

It's nice having time to get things finished......
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Friday, May 06, 2011

Coasting along

I made a quick present for a friends' birthday last week:

fabric coaster
fabric coaster

The pattern is 'Coasters' from Quilting in No Time which I've used previously with the make-up bags.

6 fabric coasters
6 fabric coasters

They were easy to make and useful for an ice cold drink. I'm planning on making one myself soon for my desk.....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

And another one

My youngest niece had her 11th birthday a couple of weeks ago. Her Mum had told me that E had been caught 'borrowing' make up in an attempt to look more grown up so I thought that she would appreciate a grown up make-up bag of her own:

hand made make up bag with fish fabric
Fish make up bag for E

The only stipulation from my SIL was that she likes blue. So I started with the fish fabric from Fabric Freedom but then ended up adding a solid purple & variegated pink to compliment the fish.

My modification of reducing the width of the lining by 3/4" is definitely the right thing to do:

photo showing the fabric lining of a make-up bag
lining of fish make-up bag

As previously the pattern is 'Cosmetic bag' from Quilting in No Time

Then I made a matching purse as girls can never have too many bags or purses:

zippy wallet
Fish purse

It is a neat little pattern and I thought the pocket would be good for a bus ticket. I added a line of top stitching just under the zip the same as one the make-up bag as I like to 'hold' the front in place and also a vintage Mother of Pearl button on the popper.

Pattern: Zippy Wallet by noodlehead

The lining has a different construction to that of the make up bag and I prefer it:

lining in zippy wallet
lining in zippy wallet

Both were well received and Mum has asked for the same for her birthday....

Monday, April 25, 2011

Another year older

It was my birthday on Saturday and DH ensured that I was spoilt. It was a 'significant' birthday and we'd always planned to go abroad for it but due to a number of reasons including the fact that it was Easter Weekend we decided to stay at home. My main present was an upgrade to my sewing machine:

I've already been playing and LOVE it. In addition I've got a second hand Embroidery machine which I've no idea how to use but am looking forward to learning.

We went to York for the weekend and visited the 'Quilt Art' exhibition at the The Quilt Museum which I loved. The weather was like high summer so sun glasses were worn. We later went out for a meal with friends to my favourite vegetarian restaurant which was great fun.

I was also spoilt by my Secret Santa: :

Birthday gifts including

This thoughtful package included a little package that Oscar was extremely interested in and he was very helpful in removing the tissue paper.

Airedale eating dog biscuits
Oscar enjoying handmade dog biscuits

I hope he'll still accept the supermarket dog biscuits that he normally gets as his bedtime treat or am I going to have to start baking dog biscuits myself?

Friday, April 22, 2011

A rare sight

Oscar relaxed after his morning walk. He's the highest energised dog I've ever known, chasing the ball tires him out but not for long.

Nearly finished for another year

It's still gloriously warm here and my tulips are nearly over. It's more like mid summer than spring and we could really do with some rain to fill up the water butts.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Looking handsome

black & white photo of long haired blue & white cat
Frankie pretending to be black & white

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

More repeated projects

It seems that I'm unable to make something just once. After I'd finished the make-up bag for my friend DD came sidling up & asked if I'd make her one as "hand knitted socks have never been my thing"....

Red skulls make-up bag
Red skulls make-up bag

She loves it and I've now got another skull project lined up for her.

Then I made another one as a leaving present for a colleague:

Blue make-up bag
Blue make-up bag

Unlike the first one I made I'm much happier with the lining on these two and I've made it 3/4" narrower than the pattern suggests:

lining inside blue make-up bag
inside of blue make-up bag revealing lining

Pattern: Cosmetic bag from Quilting in No Time

It was also well received.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


DH made some blueberry muffins....
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Friday, April 15, 2011

It's cold tonight

so we've lit the fire possibly for the last time before the autumn. Oscar approves.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A few days later.....

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring at last

We've got a mini heatwave going on which is lovely after such a harsh winter.

Lots has been going on in our garden including a new greenhouse so I'm hoping for a good crop of tomatoes and want to make vast batches of pasata to bottle up for the winter. .

Both knitting and sewing has been taking place as well but photos are bottle-necked at the processing department so my phone will have to suffice.

I've also finally got some good news about my knee as I'm seeing another Physio and have started work in the gym. I can't wait to get rid of my limp!
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Wednesday, March 09, 2011

What would you make?

Last month I had the difficult task of making something for someone who has been amazing supportive to me over the past year. She is also an accomplished knitter and sewer and mentioned in passing that she'd love to have a handmade gift. So I knew that whatever I made would be appreciated but what to make?

Lots of ideas were considered, pondered and then discounted but eventually I settled on two:

red fabric door stop
red door stop

This was made with upcycled upholstery fabric before the other door stops but as it hadn't been given away then I couldn't share the details. The room it was intended for has just been replastered, a new hard wood floor laid and the walls are painted white with red as an accent colour. However instead it's found a new home in the hall way stopping the front door smashing into the very stylish designer radiator, but at least it's being used.

I also wanted to make her something more personal. Again I dithered between patterns but it was the fabric which finally dictated my choice. I had 3 gorgeous fat quarters that needed a pattern that took 3 fabrics - and found my answer in Quilting in No Time:

Cosmetics bag from Quilting in No Time by Emma Hardy
Cosmetics bag

Please imagine the base colour as lilac as you'll get a truer picture.

I couldn't resist the dancing couple:

dancing couple detail on make-up bag
dancing couple detail on make-up bag

The construction looks very stylish (in my opinion) but is simple to achieve:

base of Cosmetics bag from Quilting in No Time by Emma Hardy

base of make up bag

and I love how the patchwork strip brings the design together:

close up of Cosmetics bag from Quilting in No Time by Emma Hardy

close up of centre pattern

I added a cream zip:

cream zip on handmade make-up bag
I used a 10" zip rather than the 12" stipulated in the pattern

My one criticism of the pattern is that the lining is too wide once you put it inside the outer bag:

lining fabric bunched up inside Cosmetics bag from Quilting in No Time by Emma Hardy
lining fabric bunched up

So I'd recommend trimming an inch off recommended lining size given in the pattern.

I LOVED this bag and was reluctant to give it away. It was VERY much appreciated and is already in use. Since then I've already made another one and more are in production/being planned.