Saturday, 19 January 2019

The Knitbots..

I've decided recently that it would still be OK to share some of my favourite finished projects, even where it's been quite a while since I finished some of them. I think my blogging fell a little by the wayside last year when things got particularly busy. I seem to be getting worse and worse at time management. Or, possibly, taking more and more on.


But anyhow, this is probably one of my favourite things I've ever made. Whilst I used to take a lot of sewing (and a few knitting) commissions, these days I only really make things for people if I think they're going to appreciate them, and if I actually *want* to.


With the announcement of a new baby in the family, I decided that I would need to find a suitable gift to make, and was torn for a little while between two of Vikki's patterns on Ravelry - fluffy white clouds and these rainbow coloured robots. I knew I wanted something bright and colourful and gender-neutral as the sex was unknown at that point. I decided that the robots were amazing and more of a challenge. Plus, the robot blanket is constructed in smaller squares which are later attached together, which makes it more practical for me to take with me on weekends away etc, than a large blanket on giant needles. So, that was my decision made and I printed the pattern out, ordered the recommended wool from the internet, it arrived a couple of days later and off I went.


For a few months, I worked on these little critters in my Monday evening post-guides craft sessions, in the passenger seat of the car on long journeys, on weekends away, in doctors' waiting rooms; just about any spare moment I had was broken down into how many stripes I could get finished before I had to leave for an appointment etc.


As with all of Vikki's patterns, the instructions were clear and I found that I quite enjoyed working from the charts. This is also the first time that I paid much attention to actually blocking the squares, as I was finding that some of the stripes ended up being a little larger than the robot blocks. I'm not sure why that was, other than maybe being pretty loose with my casting on of the initial stitches. 


I stitched it all together when the blocks were done - there's another thing I'd like to learn to be a bit neater with. Once joined, I had to knit a border, which at least secured everything around the outside edges, by picking up stitches from each block along the edge. This didn't take too long although the top and bottom edges had a lot of stitches to keep on the needles - longer circular cables would have helped me here.


But, it was finished just in time - literally on the day it was required. Which means that the above photo was taken in a rather hasty rush. I don't think it ended up being as wonky as it looks there. But, the main thing is it was finished and gifted to it's recipient, who will hopefully appreciate it. I love the feeling of knowing that you've made something for someone which they'll hopefully treasure. 

Friday, 18 January 2019

Friday Favourites 297..

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005

A little bit of living room decor inspiration in today's wishlist, since that's the next room on the list to be redecorated. 
Before we moved in, we'd discussed a few things we definitely wanted; a log burner in the living room being one of those. We also thought we'd decided on wallpaper (by which I mean I found my dream living room wallpaper and cajoled agreement), but when the sample arrived, I didn't love it as much as I'd expected to - the print was far too big and the background far too dark. So, it was back to the drawing board. 

With the Wallpaper Direct January sale, I restarted my search and ordered a handful of potential samples and I think we're decided on this one (005). Need to get that ordered!

And now that we have more of an idea about colour schemes, everything else seems to just come together. 

001: I never thought I'd get so excited about shopping for light fittings, but there are some lovely ones out there. I like the mix of colours and textures in this one. 

002: Storage baskets like this are destined to keep things like matches and kindling by the fireplace.

003: I can't stop mentioning this clocks - I love them so much. Currently have a savings jar on the go for one of these. 

004: Oliver Bonas never fail to come up with some amazing homewares. I love these plant stands - maybe a couple in different heights next to one of the windows?

Where to start with making home decor decisions? It's a tricky business, no?

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Tuesday Titles 166..

At the weekend, I sat down and wrote up a big list of the things I want to post about on here, as there are so many. Let's get this show back on the road. I'm starting with a small round-up of a handful of the books I managed to read over the holidays. I've a terrible habit of reading several things at once and there are currently several books lying about the house in various states of unread, but let's begin with a few that I actually finished.

One More Chance
One More Chance: Lucy Ayrton
One More Chance: {TW: drug abuse}. This was a step outside of my usual kind of book, but I as intrigued by the synopsis and thought it was worth a try. 
Dani is in prison whilst her daughter is being raised by a foster family and naturally this is pretty upsetting for her. She'd do anything to be with her baby again, and when her new cellmate, Martha, offers her a way to be reunited with Bethany, Dani doesn't hesitate to get on board with the plan. 
Which, if I'm honest, is a little weird. The book goes from some incredibly realistic descriptions of prison life, drug abuse and a life of petty crime, to a kind of strange eggshell based magic spell. 
I stuck with it and although the ending felt a little rushed, this wasn't a bad read all in all.

The Christmas Lights
The Christmas Lights: Karen Swan 

 The Christmas Lights: OK, so I'm worried that it's possibly a little late to still be talking about all things festive, but I read this one on Christmas Eve and it was a nice Norway, where travel bloggers Bo and Zac are staying for their next sponsored trip. They'll stop at nothing to get the most "authentic" shot for their Instagram grid, even if that means taking part in risky climbs in the snowy fjords of Norway.
This was the perfect book to read around Christmas; lots of snowy scenery, some fairly vacuous characters and a bit of a time-slip situation where alternate chapters shift back into their host's childhood years. Oh, and a dark, brooding guide with a terrible secret in his past.
This was pretty good and I longed to be in the depths of icy Norway. 

The Cactus
The Cactus: Sarah Haywood 
The Cactus: I finished this one a little while ago - it was mostly read (via Kindle) whilst I was on the treadmill at the gym. I'm not sure if that, or something else, was the reason that it took me quite a while to get into it, but I started out a little skeptical about this one. I wasn't wildly drawn to the protagonist, Susan, and it all felt a little bit too reminiscent of Eleanor Oliphant for my liking. But at some point something must have clicked because I began to enjoy it and found myself genuinely interested in how Susan would cope with her new challenges. Gentle to the end, and a little bit predictable, I'd recommend this as just the tonic for a long train journey. 

Christmas Camp
Christmas Camp: Karen Schaler 
Welcome to Christmas Camp: You know all of those so-terrible-they're-good Netflix Christmas movies, which are just about everyone's guilty pleasure in the run-up to the big day? Well, now imagine one of those in book format and here you are. It's even written by the same person as A Christmas Prince. There's the perfect mix of cheese, Christmas cheer and predictable ending, as Haley, who always skips the festive cheer by planning holidays over the Christmas break so that she can spend her time working, is offered the opportunity of her career. A big client which could be her big break. She's confident she can win this, but her boss isn't so sure and wants her to go to "Christmas Boot Camp" so that she can learn to be more festive. 

Of course, there's an eligible guy. Of course there's a loveable-but-annoying colleague who decorates his desk with more candy canes than a Christmas elf, and of course there's one of those will-they-won't-they moments? I'm pretty sure this has also already been adapted as a movie, too.

Have you read anything good lately? 

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Hello 2019..


It's probably a little late for all of that Happy New Year jazz, now that everyone is back into their normal routines and Christmas has all but been forgotten, but here we are.

I also realise it's been a really long time since I wrote anything on here. And, to be honest, I've really missed it! At one point, when Flickr were being super difficult and deciding to charge for photo-hosting, I toyed with the idea of just deleting my entire blog, but I do like sharing things and have a lot of draft posts going with things I've made, finished or been up to, which I'd like to share, so it stays. For now at least.

So, what have we all been up to? Well, I had enough days off over the festive break that I was able to visit and/or entertain a lot of the important people. We had our own real (my first ever) Christmas tree* and it was lovely to get that pine-tree scent when we walked into the living room. (*our tree was not the tree in the photo - that was from a display at our local stately home!!)

I also had the chance to finish off a lot of projects - most of which were Christmas presents which I'd opted to make, then realised I was going to be pushed for time. Thankfully everything was finished in time (cue me literally sewing up a pair of baby booties as we arrived on the driveway of their recipients, but I guess they were technically finished before I made it through the door at least..!)

It's also been pretty nice to spend some time at home and get a few more decorating / finishing off / unpacking jobs done. It's starting to feel a lot more homely than it has before, for which I am super thankful. My sewing room is almost ready to actually do some sewing in, and I can't wait to share some progress photos as we do things to each of the other rooms, too.

Other than that, I've done a little bit of thinking about goals and challenges for the year ahead and have already planned a couple of exciting things to look forward to - a weekend away with the THFC girls and a skiing trip. Yay. I think it's always good to have something to look forward to.

Do you have any goals for the year? I love a good excuse to set more challenges, and I'm a fan of resolutions, although I know they get a bad rep sometimes.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Friday Favourites 296..

Isn't it funny how sometimes the things you pick up on a complete whim can become some of your most-worn items? A few years ago I bought a pair of shiny silver lace up brogues from the sale shelf in Tesco, as part of my weekly shop. They cost a whole £6 and I wasn't sure whether I would wear them much, if at all. In fact, I'm now looking for some alternatives to replace them with, as I've worn them so much that the shiny silver covering has worn right off at the fronts, leaving patches of white underneath.

If you'd like to see them in action, here they are in a range of previous posts: 001, 002, 003.

Here's a little shortlist of the possible replacements I've found thus far..


001: These aren't really that similar at all, but considering how well buying on a whim went last time, perhaps starry glitter trainers are the way forward? 

002: These Espirit brogues are probably the closest match to what I;'m trying to replace. They have more sole than 005, which probably makes them harder wearing, and less than 006 or 004 which seem to be creeping more into creeper territory. 

003: These ones are probably the least likely option - they remind me of a pair of shoes my Nan used to save for cruise ships, which I think is how they made the cut - nostalgic pumps.

How do you go about trying to find a replacement for one of your wardrobe staples? I find it quite difficult when trends dictate the styles available each season. 

Friday, 30 November 2018

Friday Favourites 295: Xmas Decor

I've never been a big fan of Christmas. I have a confession: I've never put up any decorations. This year is probably going to be a little different, as living with someone who is very into festivities means that there is no doubt going to need to be some compromise. So, I've been giving some thought to the kind of decorations we will need..

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005 // 006 // 007 // 008 // 009
001: Not being too fussed on chocolate, I've always been a fan of the little drawer-style advent calendars you can get and fill with tiny treats. I also recall having a pretty felt-pocket advent calendar as a kid, which hung on the wall with a star which could be moved along each pocket as the days went by - perhaps I'll have a go at making one, one day.

002: I've always been obsessed by nutcracker dolls - one of my only festive traditions is to see the Nutcracker ballet, whether it's at the theatre or a recording, as for me it's something which reminds me of childhood Christmas holiday days out. So, I'd need to find a nutcracker doll who could guard the tree.

003: I love the rustive look of this reindeer. 

004: I don't think I'd be very good at sticking to any kind of theme with dressing a tree - I'm all about the kitsch and colourful, so these frogs would make it onto the tree, for sure.

005: This little mouse makes me smile; I'd make space for her.

006: All of the colours and pom poms - I should really work my way through my wool scraps, and get busy with my pom pom makers..

007: I spied this pretty little angel nutcracker on someone's Instagram feed the other day and have completely fallen for her - been trying to track her down ever since!

008: What is Christmas without flamingoes?! I kinda want this for the front lawn.. 

009: I love the pretty colours and the vintage shapes of these baubles. 

Maybe I am coming round to this Xmas idea after all. How do you choose your festive decor? Do you stick to a colour scheme or a theme? 

Friday, 23 November 2018

Friday Favourites 294..

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005

Often, by the time Black Friday comes around, I've put together a long list of the things I'm planning to order, to get the rest of the Christmas shopping out of the way, or even just for me. 
This year, I've got to admit, there was just one thing I was planning to order using a Black Friday discount, as I knew that the manufacturer had a site-wide discount planned. Most of my Christmas shopping is done, with the exception of a couple of Secret Santa gifts which are troubling me, and this is where this week's picks come in. 

001: I know there are so many options about these days for reusable drinks bottles, but I do think that these Root7 OneBottles look great. Apparently they'll keep hot drinks warm for 20hours and cold things chilled for more like thirty, which I think is pretty good. They come in just about any colour, so there's one for everyone, and there is also currently a Kickstarter campaign running for a "chameleon" bottle, which changes colour to reflect how much water is inside. 

002: I feel as though this pencil set would look perfect on my recipient's desk. I love how there are a range of shapes and sizes in the pack. 

003: A little (OK, a lot) over budget for my Secret Santa, but these headphones just look amazing. A mixture of wood, leather and memory foam gives them aesthetic pleasure as well as also being super functional.  

004: Mica Peet used to be one of the designers we stocked when I worked in a little local gift shop, so I couldn't be more excited to see her work on sale at the British Library shop. This geometric necklace is a lovely combination of colours. 

005: I've personally been lusting over Lapute necklaces for so long, and I also think the attention to detail is fantastic - they'd make the perfect gifts, too. This pastel one is beautiful and the whole shop seems to be offering a 20% Black Friday discount today. 

Have you done your Christmas shopping yet, or do you wait for the Black Friday deals? Found any good ones?!