Category Archives: craft


Over the past few months I have managed to be completely immersed in the real world – to the point my hands hovered over the keyboard whilst I remembered my password – but it has been a pleasant immersion with lots of exciting things going on that I hope to share soon.

I thought I’d stop by and share the fabric I tried batik out on for the first time whilst the rain pours down outside:

Batik fabric - July 2013

Batik fabric – July 2013

Batik fabric - July 2013

Batik fabric – July 2013

Batik fabric - July 2013

Batik fabric – July 2013

Batik fabric - July 2013

Batik fabric – July 2013

Easy Peasy Newborn Rainbow Umbilical Cord Hat

Newborn Rainbow Umbilical Cord Hat - April 2013

Newborn Rainbow Umbilical Cord Hat – April 2013

I finished the hat I was making for my niece just as she had her first big growth spurt and was only able to wear it for a few days.

I really like the way it has turned out and although it took forever for me to make (that has more to do with my own knitting skills) I’d really like to make another for this winter.

I used this pattern Free Easy Peasy Leftover Sock Newborn Hat which is a nice and easy to follow one.

Saturday, March 30th 2012

Many years ago, when I was being made redundant from my first job which was in a community radio station, a colleague suggested that I should made an audio diary of my day-to-day life. I’ve always liked the idea but as the project folded and I became busy with other work and just general life took over I’ve never gotten around to it but it has remained an idea I’ve liked. I thought I would revive the idea here with a monthly post of what has happened during the day…

Morning: Woke up early as normal but made myself go back to sleep for a while. Yesterday I started a new job (HURRAY!) back working with young people, the shifts are long but not that much longer than I have been doing and fewer each week. When I wake up again I stay in bed for a while watching the end of an episode of A Touch of Frost I started watching the night before and ‘surfing’ (facebook/email and wherever those take me). Outside there is still some snow left but it is only really around the edge of the fields and where trees throw shade over the ground. It looks nice enough but still cold. I get up and go over to mothers spotting a ewe and her lambs we have been trying to get back from the edge of our run (the area of common our sheep roam over), the patch of grass she is on is long enough for her to stay for a while so I carry on back and collect mother to make bring her back easier. We bring her back and check the others. At the bottom of the pen is what looks like a dead sheep but lucky it is a ewe who has cast herself (when a sheep rolls onto their side, normally with their legs up hill and can’t get back up) When I reach her I found a MASSIVE lamb cuddled up behind her. I stand the ewe up, she is very wobbly on her back end not really surprisingly given the size of the lamb. I check the lamb over; he is fine but has only been half cleaned and the ewe (a first time mum) goes straight off to join the others without a backward look. We bring them both back to the house and put them in a pen, he gets a bottle and she gets a bucket of feed and some hay. We carry on with the other bottles, Enchantments and we have three lambs too. Then phone our feed merchant to check what time they are closing today it being Easter weekend. There is time to have a hot drink and hay and water the goats before we have to leave to collect the weeks feed.

Lunch time: We collect feed and a van full of hay and go back home for home made chips and butter bean curry.

Afternoon: It’s still cold and not at all conducive for working outside even though there are plenty of jobs to be done and stopping to eat lunch has made me realise how tired I am, so me and mother agree not to try with any of the extras today. We take hay and water to the ponies. At the moment my brother is fitting a kitchen and we have no outside tap, even if we did I would have thought it would have been frozen, so watering everyone involves filling our collection of 5 gallon water containers with an old plastic milk bottle from the kitchen tap. On the way home we stop by at a neighbours to drop off some feed and have a chat. Everyone is feed up of this weather; the frozen water buckets, the lack of grass, the driving wind that goes right through everything and all the extra jobs it makes. Back home I finish the goats, more bottles and I collect some eggs to take home. We open the bees and place some more fondant in with them, it isn’t really warm enough to open the hive but there was an alert go out the other day about feeding because of the cold weather and when we open the hive to add more they are out so good job we did. The sun comes out and the wind dies down and they start to fly for about ten minutes whilst it lasts. I feed the donkeys and call in on my sister on the way home to drop some bits off and cuddle the baby then home.

Late afternoon/evening: Back at home I get a second wind and can’t sit still for long so occupy myself with cleaning and starting an over due sort out whilst watching more A Touch of Frost. I have too much stuff; too many bags of things saved for craft project I’ve never even started, too many piles of paper work that needs filing and too many bags of ‘recycling’ so as I don’t have to put too much into the landfill bin. I think maybe next month I might try to de-clutter one thing each day; take one item I know I will never use again to the charity shop, put the bag of batteries out for collection, offer the pile of used jiffy bags on freecycle and tick off one of those sort of little jobs to stop hoarding so much of it. I find lots more packets of seeds and fill a bag of egg boxes and borrowed clothes to return to my sister. I stop at some point for some fried egg butties for dinner. It’s light until just gone seven pm and all of the snow seems to have gone from the fields, not so at mothers which still has a layer of white anywhere that is not in the open. I go to bed just after nine pm

Gloves, fingerless, or mittens??

I have done it! I have finally finished another whole knitting project a mere 3 or 4 years after I completed my first ever projects (a knitted flower that I can’t find the post for) I have made a pair of what I am calling gloves, but they might be mittens I can’t remember what the pattern I first started to follow called them;

FInished gloves - January 2013

Finished gloves – January 2013

They were based on a free pattern from Ravelry that I changed as I went along as they were much longer than I wanted.

  1. Cast on 30st and join
  2. Ribbing for 15 rows (k1, p1, k1)
  3. Knit stockinette for 10 rows
  4. 13 rows stockinette not in the round (knit one row, pearl one row)
  5. Join then continue in the round for 13 rows
  6. ribbing for 3 rows
  7. Bind off and weave in end

It is super easy when you get going, even though it has taken me the best part of 6 months to complete. After finishing my first second glove I weaved the end in much too tightly and so the whole glove was useless, I did try to unpick it but just made a bigger mess than I started with.

They are being worn with great pride.

Hand made winter greeting cards…

Winter greetings cards - December 2012

Winter greetings cards – December 2012

Made by own fair hand…

A visit back to my 2010 resolutions, and forward to 2011’s

I’ve done well with my resolutions/aims for 2010, even if I do say so myself, being now at the end of the year able to cross each one off the list that I made at the beginning of the year, all those months ago;

Visit the Eden Project – Last year I finally visited the Centre for Alternative Technology, the Eden Project is also on my list of places to visit so this shall be the year. I visited the Eden Project at the end of September and loved it. It just has a ‘feel’ about the place that is exciting and inspiring, I would have been more than happy to just sit around soaking it up all day.

The Eden Project - September 2010

The Eden Project - September 2010

Make my own cheese cake Cheese cake is my favourite so it really is silly that I have never made my own. Done, a few times now, and very yummy it was too. I am going to have to try making lemon cheesecake soon

Cut down the amount of needless “stuff” I own and accumulate –  I will carry on with the declutter already started and get better at not buying things on a whim. I will set up a wish list for birthdays and Christmas. I will use the library instead of buying books. I will continue using the Mooncup I have and give homemade shampoo a try again. I can’t really say that is done as it seems to be one of those forever ongoing jobs and I possibly could have done more but after reading Living the Goodlife I am inspired to keep going and to be aware of what I am accumulating. I’m getting very good at asking myself if whatever is in my hand is really something I need or if the ‘happiness value’ is really worth it when I am out shopping.

Grow more of my own food – I need to eat more leafy greens and the fresher they are the better for me they will be so I will make sure I grow more kale and look for some more recipes to use it in. By mid-April I will like to have the allotments plots ready for full use, and fill the space up with crops. Well I didn’t manage to get the whole two allotment plots up and running but one and a half which isn’t bad. This is another on going one I think, and next year I will have two allotment plots, a garden and a patio area to play with!

Potato flower - 16th of July 2010

Potato flower - 16th of July 2010

Stay in contact with friends – I know this is something I am very bad at, when I have time off work I like being at home doing my own thing and it often seems like to much effort to go out and visit people but I have some very good friends, who luckily understand I am a little odd and more of a loner than most other people my age, and I will make more of an effort to see them. Another ongoing one but something I have enjoyed doing

A few of my plans for next year are;

Finish two knitting projects – This year I finished my first ever knitting project, although I started countless things but for one reason or another, mostly forgetting what I had done or realising I’d made a mistake about ten rows after I’d made it. This year I would like to finish two knitting projects

Make my own Tofu (even if it has to be with bought in Soya Beans) – I have never really had Tofu before but it was one of the things that they made in Living the Goodlife and I have a packet of Soya Beans to try growing this year so am going to try making some myself

Make a carrot cake, using home-grown carrots – explains itself really

Save my own seed – I have saved a few seeds this year but not done so in the way that you ‘meant’ to

Furnish the new house with other people’s ‘rubbish’ (with the exception of a washing machine – I’ve already made a start on this, so far we have a sofa bed, table and chairs, some single beds for the share room, kitcheny things and I’m sure that we can make up a home without have to buy things new and save a few things from landfill as we go (I will post more about this soon)

I’m sure I will do so much more in 2011 than is on this list, this New Year is going to start a whole new chapter of my life!

Recycle & reuse; Charity shop green cardi

Well, I am proud to say that I managed to over come my habit of starting a craft project and then putting it down and never again looking at it in spite of always meaning to finished it. I managed to find myself a small project when I found a green cardi in a charity shop and instantly had ideas for how I could add a personal touch and brighten it up. 

Before and after - 28th November 2010

Before and after - 28th November 2010

My flower - 18th November 2010

The flower is mostly taken from this pattern from Alison Hogg’s The Creation of Crazy Dazy blog although I found I had unwittingly changed it a little without meaning to and I made my own way up of putting it together.

Painted button - 28th Noevmber 2010

Painted button - 28th November 2010

As soon as I saw the cardi I knew I wanted to replace the button with a wooden one and searched high and low in two towns worth of charity shops with no luck, so I paid a visit to a newly-ishly opened wool shop and found just what I was looking for;

Petal one (inside)

Row 1: Cast on 7 stitches. Row 2: Knit 1 row. Row 3: Purl 1 row. Row 4: Cast off 1 stitch, knit to the end of the row. Row 5: Purl 1 row. Rows 6 – 14:  Repeat cast off 1 stitch, knit to the end of the row and then purl back a row until 1 stitch is left and then cast work off

Medium petal, two needed

Row 1: Cast on 4 stitches. Row 2: Knit 1 row. Row 3: Purl 1 row. Row 4: Increase all stitches, up to 8 stitches. Row 5: Purl 1 row. Row 6: Increase all but 1 stitch, up to 14. Row 7: Purl 1 row. Row 8: Knit 1 row. Row 9: Cast off 1 stitch, purl rest of row. Row 10: Cast off 1 stitch, knit to end of row. Rows 11 – 22: Repeat 9 & 10 until end and cast off. 

Outer petal

Row 1: Cast on 5 stitches. Row 2: Knit 1 row. Row 3: Purl 1 row. Row 4: Increase every stitch, up to 10 stitches. Row 5: Purl 1 row. Row 6: Increase every stitch, up to 20 stitches. Row 7: Purl 1 row. Row 8: Knit 1 row. Row 9: Cast off 1 stitch, purl rest of row. Row 10: Cast off 1 stitch, knit rest of row. Rows 11 – 28: Repeat 9 & 10 until end and cast off 

Leaf, follow the pattern from here

To put the flower together fold the inside (smallest) petal down on itself, wrap one of the middle-sized petals around this, followed by the largest petal and then the other middle-sized petal. Have a play around until you are happy with the way it looks and then sew together. Add the leaf and then plait together the left over wool to make the steam.

Never ending craft projects

I think I am about to unpick the glove that I have started knitting. I am not following a pattern and I am not completely happy with how it is turning out but also now I have no idea how many rows of what stitch I have done so don’t hold out much hope for being able to make a second glove that looks the same, or even almost the same, by the end.

I am annoyed with myself. To date I have still not really finished a single craft project I have started. The ‘bag’ I am making out of the first wool I spun and knitted is still sitting in a bag with its button, popper and lining waiting for me to do something with. The bags of mohair that a friend gave me and I had clean and carded is still sitting in its bag. I have no less than four sawing machines of various kinds and states of repair sat doing nothing, two brother knitting machines, of which I have no idea of how to use, and my Victorian sock knitting machine are also sat doing nothing and I am sure there must be other forgotten things too.


I am just not sure how or when this will happen, as there is always just so many other things to do. Or maybe that is an excuse… But right now I am sat next to a tray of bare-rooted strawberries I was sent last weekend that I have put on the computer table so as I don’t forget again that I am meant to pot them up, there is a ton of washing that needs doing before it can all be fitted into the wardrobe out-of-the-way, the bedding needs changing and washing on both my bed and the kittens bed and that is all just within ten feet of me.

I don’t ever remember life being this busy when I was younger… Even unpicking my glove isn’t very high on my list of “to-do’s”, let alone starting all over again.

Sparkling in the sunshine

Glitter leaves - 11th August 2010

We have been making ‘glitter leaves’ at work this week, which I LOVE. I am going to have a think about how I might be able to do them on fabric to add them as patches to clothing or hangings. Can you get fabric glitter?

We have tried lots of different leaves; these two are a Sycamore and two Sweet Chestnuts. I think the Sycamore is my favourite.

Introducing you to…

There are a few ‘somethings’ I have been meaning to introduce.  

Jones hand sewing machine - 1st August 2010


 I think it is beautiful and I much prefer it to the look and sound of electric machines which have put me off from learning to use a sewing machine for a long time as I worry about stitching my fingers!  

I have tracked down a local sewing class/group where I have been learning how to use it but it would seem that it needs a new shuttle before it will work probably, something which I still haven’t managed to track down so I have borrowed mothers electric machine to get started with.  

Yesterday was pay-day so I went on a little shopping trip and came back with these:  

Pay day shopping - 1st August 2010


I am going to try making some Log Cabin patch work pillow cases to start off with (I have been told not to try doing a full-sized blanket as a first project as many people do) and I am going to make some fingerless gloves with the giant balls of wool that I just couldn’t resist.  


Biscuit and her kittens eating their first ever proper meal of scrambled egg - 1st August 2010


The other new arrivals are a litter of kittens! At Christmas me and Rhys were given a kitten that need a new home, she is all black (like my cat who went missing last year) and we named her Biscuit. We didn’t plan to have kittens but instead didn’t get her to the vets to be stayed in time. 

I didn’t think I have ever even seem very young kittens, let a played with them so it is nice having them around. They are different from other kinds of baby animals, at two weeks old they still seem too young to play but will happily purr if you stork them. 

Today we gave them their first real meal as they have started eating fingers when being held, they had scrambled egg which two of them gobbled down, one wasn’t too sure about and the other was to busy trying to get a sneaky extra feed from its mother to take much notice.