Monday, 29 April 2013

Sweet Birdie Cushion

Monday's are my busiest, it being my main cleaning day of the week.  But this morning as I sat among the chaos of toys, dolls and lego with the laundry baskets piled high with clothes waiting to be put away, I just was not ready to face it.  Out of the corner of my eye i spotted some fabric that for days has been willing me to use it.  So deciding that the mess would still be here tomorrow, I decided to have a quiet crafting day to myself.

I bought this lovely birdie material in Ikea a few months ago and i must say that I'm totally in love with it.  I needed it to cover a couple of stools that have seen some better days but I bought more than enough for the intended job.  I'm always in need of new cushion covers with all the pets that are in this house.  So decision made, all housework can wait!!

Mitred corners have daunted me and I've often found that written instructions for them in books can be quite confusing.  But I was determined that I was going to conquer them.  This I did not quite manage to do.  More of a gentle nudge than conquering!  It may be a little on the wonky side and I need to use a point maker on the corners but all the same I'm proud of this first attempt of mine.  And it's robust enough to be able to survive the battering that cushions take in this house.  It will probably be thrown straight on the floor by the kids when they come home so that they can sit on it while playing the xbox.

In other news, my pile of granny squares is rapidly growing.  I've already reached half way -  out of 35 out of  70 finished.  When I say finished, I'm not including weaving in the ends.  With the last blanket I found that the overall finish was better when I weaved the ends after the squares were all crocheted together.  Even though I was dreading the thought of all those ends, it turned out to be quite therapeutic.  I put on my latest audible book on my phone and mindlessly weaved in the ends slowly.  Better get back to more crocheting if I'm to have it ready for the campervan in the summer.

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Cake Plate

My Dad's anniversary is today.  It's now seven years since he passed away and of course this got me thinking a lot about him and his life.  It's a very long and winding story and maybe someday I will share it with you.  I'd love to dig around for some photos to go with the story.

There is one thing that my father truly treasured, his mother's cake plate.  He adored his mother and went out at a young age to help bring money to the house and family.  But he did not let this stand in the way of his education.  All the while he continued attending school at night and even went on to get his degree in textile engineering.  He had some really warm memories of sitting around the kitchen table with his sisters, his mouth watering at the sight of the cake that his mother had baked.  It was the only thing that my father had belonging to his mother after she died so he really did cherish it.

My Grandmother received the plate as a present for an engagement present in 1907.  It was very well used in her time but was too precious to use after and hung displayed on our sitting room wall for a very long time.   

I love how the knife scratches can still be seen so clearly on the plate rim.

The colours are as vivid as they always were in my memory.  The pattern is a little blurred.  I don't know if this was intentional or happened through time but I still love it anyway.

Rosie xx

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Secret Obsession

I must admit that I have a secret love!
A love of little things that are small and colourful and often round.
My love is for all things buttony.

I cannot walk past a habadashery shop without stopping to buy some more to add to my collection.
This pizza tray is at least five buttons deep.

I mean how could you walk away from these beauties.  
To me it's just unthinkable.

I have both new and vintage in the mix here.  
My local charity shop saves them off clothes heading to recycling and then sells bags of them for only a couple of cent.

These 2" buttons were found there.  
I just had to give them a home.

So the other day I decided that I wanted to make something special with all of these little treasures.  my large sweet jar that I normally keep them in was beginning to overflow.

I decided on a butterfly picture for my daughters bedroom wall.  
Lucy helped me to pick out the colours and to set them out.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out....
but what do you think?

Rosie xx

PS Only 8 more days until my blog's first birthday!!  
I'm thinking about a competition.
More to be revealed on my birthday.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Life in The Foest

The weather is very changeable here in Ireland at the moment.  Warm and sunny one minute and torrential downpours with gale force winds the next.  So today even though it was a little cold and windy, the sun was out and it was dry, we decided to make the most of it and  head off for a walk in the forest.  We've been so used to seeing the bare wood of the trees here since winter started.  The only colours visible were the brown of the trees, dull yellow of last years moss and the grey of the sky reflected on the fast flowing river.
But today it was different.  The change in the weather and the slight rise in temperatures, finally spring is making an appearance.

I love the contrast of the bright yellow of the willow and the brown of the bare trees behind.  We were trying to decide what these are called.  I used to call them catkins, Lucy calls them cats tails and Patrick says they are pussy willows.  What do you call them??

The next spot of colour that we met on our path was the wild gorse.  I love to see this blooming because to me it indicates the beginning of summer.  I love when they are in full bloom and the fields and hillsides glow yellow with their flowers.  Not flowers to be picked and enjoyed in the home but to be appreciated from afar.

The shaggy petals of the wild primroses make it so much more adorable and attractive to the cultivated ones.  They look so delicate that if a gust of wind blew they would tear straight of the stem.

According to my son the new fresh growth of the moss on the forest floor looks like something from an alien planet.  What do you think?  It seems so spiky and rough in the picture but it was just so soft and bouncy to touch.

I was glad that I took this picture because it made me finally look up it's name.  It's called Lesser Celandine. Why when a flower has such beautiful simplicity do they have to call it "lesser".  It seems so unfair to me!!

And finally just as we were about to walk back to the car, I spotted these on the ground at the base of a big fir tree.  There were mountains of them scattered in all directions.  The squirrels must have been having a great feast after waking up from their winter sleep.  I wonder did they sleep in this year due to the bad weather??

What did you spend your Sunday doing?
Rosie xx

Friday, 19 April 2013

Wriggling With Excitement

A few days ago while I was in my local Charity shop, I asked the owner if they ever got any donations of tablecloths.  She told me that the ones that they get can be very stained and not suitable for sale.  but  when i told her that I had read somewhere that these old stains can be removed with lemon juice, vinegar and sunshine, she said that if I have a use for them she will keep them aside for me.
So today after feeling low coming out of the doctors surgery, I decided to have a little look in my favourite shop.  The owner gave me the fright of my life when, as I opened the door, she screamed "you're here" at me and pottered into the back room.  Curious/shocked because I can never remember causing such joy to a shop owner on entering, I stood rooted to the spot until she returned with a bulging bag.  "Here's your tablecloths!!!".  I couldn't believe my eyes.  She told me they were stained and so had to be recycled if I didn't want them and so would not take any money for them.
Thrilled I jumped into the car and flew back home breaking all speed limits on the way.  I just could not wait to see what this huge bag contained.  I rushed threw the door, giving the dog a terrible fright and threw my jacket and bag on the floor.

As I slowly unpacked the bag, my excitement grew more and more, not believing my eyes at it's content.
There was:

Some beautiful lace edged handkerchiefs and one with gorgeous hand embroidered designs on it.

Two old tasselled cushion covers.

Four of these hand stitched table runners made from Irish Linen.

Two cute little embroidered linen doilies.

One large linen table cloth.  And green is one of my favourite colours too!!  Apologies for the creases.  I was so excited about sharing these with you, I didn't have time to iron them.
There was also 15 beautiful immaculate Irish Linen napkins.  Irish Linen is very hard to find now and is only made for export!  How stupid is that??  So to get these just makes me jump for joy.  Some of these pieces are badly stained but it's definitely worth a try cleaning them.

And there was one more thing down at the bottom of the bag...........

this dress.  Wow wasn't expecting that!  It just needs a good clean and it will be just perfect.

Must go now and begin with all this where did I read about that lemon juice and vinegar solution?

Hope you all have a great weekend,
Rosie xx

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Hexie Chaos

Well I've been so slack with my blogging lately and I just don't know why.  But I do know that I've been crafting and stash busting like mad.  I'm knitting a fluffy rabbit and a pom-pom scarf and finally took the plunge and started making a dress for Lucy. But more on that another day.

With the beautiful fabric that I bought from Ada over at Vintage Sheet Addict, I finally decided to begin the hexagon cushion cover that I've been dreaming/talking about for ages.  Now I've never done paper piece work before and I was so very nervous starting.  My hands were shaking as I began to cut into the beautiful material.  I cut about 40 hexies in total, about 5 in each colour.  I was going to do a hexie flower pattern but Lucy begged me to sew it in a "mish mash pattern".

I must say that as I sat down to start sewing the hexies together, I was in heaven!  It was so long since I did some hand sewing and I had forgotten how much I really loved it.  It is so relaxing sitting there with just a small needle and some thread, making the tiniest of stitches I possibly could.

But as more hexies were joined on to the cushion cover, I realised that it did not look right at all.  The pieces are not sitting flat and the pattern (or non-pattern) is just not working.  I am so disappointed and feel like pulling my, already scarce, hair out over it.  Can I even take a stitch ripper to it without even destroying the material??  I've watched You Tube tutorials and read lots about paper piecing and they always make it look so easy.  I just don't know what I'm doing wrong here.  Any hints??

Anyway, onto the Special Baby Unit knitting that I mentioned last time.  I found a great page that has all the patterns needed.  Knitting Pattern Central has some fantastic patterns for free and I'm going to be testing lots out.  I hope that if anybody has a bit of spare time and a little spare wool in their stash, that maybe you might help me with this.  It does not matter if it's a cardi, a hat or even just a tiny pair of mittens,I would be ever so grateful, as I'm sure the Unit and babies would be too.

That's the end of my babble for tonight.  I'm hoping to pick up on my posting again soon.  I aim to hit the 100 post mark before my blogs 1st birthday in May.

Rosie xx

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Campervan Blanket

I'm so behind with my blogging lately and I've got a lot of catching up to do on everyone's posts.  The two week Easter break with the kids has taken quite a bit out of me and last weekend I was barely able to lift my weary frame out of bed at all.  So I've been having a very quiet week slowly stitching away on my new blanket while listening to audio books.  I find that its a great way to relax and catch up on my books at the same time.  I also needed to recharge my battery so that I could be ready for son's birthday party.  And boy was I right to gather my strength.  A whole afternoon with twenty odd screaming boys and girls running riot in the house and garden.  For some reason we seemed to pick up more kids on the way as the afternoon proceeded and so even though we had bought lots in, we ran out of food, sweets, party bags and drinks for them.  But it was great to watch the kids having such a ball.  The boys being boys, attached the trailer onto the go-cart and with the biggest boy peddling the others jumped into the trailer or anywhere they could hold onto.  They started at the top of the slope at the back of the garden and flew as fast as they could past the vegetable patch, the greenhouse, the flower garden, down the drive and out the front gate.  I'm surprised that neither the dog nor any cat was completely flattened in the process.
I couldn't really say that the girls were any quieter though.  They bounced on the trampoline until they were red in the face and chased any dog that they found in the area.  But they had more time than the boys to come over and chat to me......and tell me when they were hungry again!!  All of the kids were as mad as march hares.  They were very funny and I laughed a lot even though I was totally exhausted.  There was just one little boy who was very quiet and sat contentedly playing with lego in the sitting room.  Maybe he had enough of the madness of the other boys after a long week back at school!  But I'm glad to say that they all went home happy and smiling even if completely wrecked with exhaustion.

Apologies now for the bad photos.  I only remembered tonight to photograph them.

I started the campervan blanket a couple of months ago but only made a few squares.  I was deciding colours and trying to figure out which yarns I could use up out of my stash.  I want to make it twice as big as the toddler blanket, so it will be 70 big squares in total.  This is really going to make a great big dent in my stash!  All those odd DK balls left over from other projects will be used up....I hope.

With this blanket I'm only going to make Granny Squares.  Some very basic with only two colour changes and others with three.  I want the colours to be the main feature this time.  When I started, I had wanted to do the border round in a yarn that I had in my stash for a long time.  It was Rowan Cashcotton in wheat.  I was soon to realise that I was not going to have half enough to finish the whole blanket.  I searched for it on the internet but unfortunately it was discontinued.  The only place that I could get it was France and the postage was twice the cost of 10 balls of yarn!!!  So I had to make do with what I had and I decided on a really warm mustard colour in Bamboo.  So far it looks well with the colours that I've chosen.  Well I think you?

Do you recognise this greeny colour.  I had a little left over from the last blanket and I just couldn't resist using it!!  Hopefully next time I will have some better photos of these for you.

Now before I go, I wanted to make a little request.  My son was treated and cared for by the staff in the paediatric ward of our Regional hospital.  The nurses and doctors were kind and caring and put my son and us at ease through all of his tests and illness.  So I wanted to give something back.  I was talking to one of the nurses at the Special Baby Unit for premature babies that is also in the ward and she was telling me that they could do with some help.  They have problems getting hats and cardis small enough for these little babies and so often have to rely on the generosity of knitters and crocheters to make some for them.  So I am calling out to you for and help possible with this.  Even if it's just a little pair of baby mittens that would be really great.  They need hats with no holes or bobbles and the cardis can't have any holes either because tiny little fingers can get caught in them.  I will post a few links tomorrow to some free patterns.  i wish that I could do one of those fancy link back boxes for my sidebar, but you know how computer illiterate that I am.
To anybody that can help out, I would be so grateful and I'm sure that the nurses and parents at the Special Baby Unit would be too.

Rosie xx

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Stash Busting

I have joined "Stash Buster Challenge 2013" over at Linda's Crafty Corner.  It sounds like a lot of fun and just perfect for me with my stash busting promise for this year.  it's always fun to have other people to join in with.  Yippeee!

See llink at my side bar.  You know me I'm useless on computers do i can't figure out how to have it pop up in my post itself.  Sorry about that Linda!


Toddler Blanket

This is my big "Ta Dah" moment.  Finally I've finished my Toddler Blanket and I must say that it's been my favourite project ever.  Initially I was not so happy making it because I didn't really like the colours that I was using and I was convinced that it wouldn't work out but slowly I found other colours in my stash to add to it and brighten it up.  I will confess now and I did break my stash busting promise that I made at the start of the year.  I needed something to crochet the squares together that would bring it to life and when I spotted the green in the local yarn shop, I just knew that it would be perfect for the job.  But I did only buy three balls and I did use all of it on squares and the border.  So here it is......

Well?? What do you think?  Did it turn out ok?  I decided to use a double crochet stitch to join the squares instead of just a slip stitch because I love to see the obvious join and to make it not too uniform, I set them going in different directions.  Maybe not to everybody's taste but I like it like this.

I had to do the border a couple of times to get the tension right and that was a little frustrating but i got there eventually!

Folded and ready to wrap up into a nice parcel.

I met my friend today after 7 years and it was just like she had never left as we sat down on the sofa together chatting and gossiping and just catching up on all that we've missed out with each other.  There was a lot of laughter because I saw her little son for the first time and he had the most infectious giggle and we just couldn't help joining in with him.  I was very sad when our visit came to an end and I cried after she left not knowing when the next time would be that I would see her again.  But the thought that she loved the blanket cheered me and that she would have a little bit of me to bring home with her again.

Rosie xx

Monday, 1 April 2013

A Hunting We Will Go...

Easter Sunday started off really well with big choc eggs galore.  This is mine, a lovely handcrafted Lir Co egg in a fantabby felt basket.  Sadly though i had to buy it for myself, knowing well that the Hubby was bound to forget.  And how right I was.  I was so glad that I bought this one.  The chocolate is thick and oh so velvety. plus I've been able to tease the Hubby for forgetting.  Mean aren't I!!

With icy cold wind blowing,we donned our bobble hats, sheepskin gloves and wellies and heading off to the Gruffalo forest to hunt for Easter Eggs.  In the deepest part of the forest, there is a small clearing and this is where the Easter Bunny lives.  We have been coming here to ask the Easter Bunny for eggs since the ids were able to walk.   And every single year he leaves a great trail of pretty foil covered eggs and maybe even a big choc bunny for each of the kids.

This year the hunt was the most difficult yet.  The eggs were really spread out and some were left in the strangest of places.  We were searching for over an hour but this made it even more fun.  The kids ran around frantically searching and screaming with excitement.

We ended up with a wonderful bounty of treats.  This is only half of what we collected.  We found eggs, beetles, ladybirds and bunnies.....all chocolate of course!

As we began to get too cold to stay out, I had to take a quick picture of this wonderful twisted tree.  It's amazing what can be found on nature.
Time for us all to have a glimpse at the pool in the forest to see how the frog spawn and tadpoles are getting on.  It was good to see that this spring time ritual is still going strong in this cold weather.  As the wind was beginning to sting our faces, we headed home to feast on our treats, the car smelling of chocolate and the rubber from our wellies.  Great day had all round.

Rosie xx