Thursday 27 November 2014

Chunky Crochet Bowl

I've made a funny little bowl!

Last Christmas I was given a kit for one of those frilly ruffle scarves...

I love the colours, but the frilly scarf itself isn't really my style.  I've been thinking for ages what else I could use the yarn for, and there are ideas out there for other non-scarf uses, but I've struggled to find anything I liked.

So, I decided to crochet it up into a little bowl!  I used a 15mm hook, and it was quite hard going, as the yarn is very thick when used in this way, as a single "thread", so to speak.  The yarn does not go very far like this, but I managed to get a dinky something.

Apart from struggling with the thickness, it was a quick make, as it's only a few rounds.

(dc = tr for UK)
Round 1: ch 4, sl st into first ch to form ring
Round 2: ch 3, 7 dc into centre, sl st into top of ch 3 [8 st]
Round 3: ch 3, 1 dc into same st, 2 dc into each dc, sl st into top of ch 3 [16 st]
Round 4: ch 3, 1 dc into each dc, sl st into top of ch 3 and finish

Although, I'm not sure what to use the bowl for now!  It's a funny little thing.  Maybe I'll end up undoing it and making a scarf after all.

What do you think, keep it as a bowl or try something else?  Any ideas of what else could be made with this ruffle yarn?

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Santa Bottle Topper

Another bit of Christmas crafting.  Now, this one I made back in... June!  I'd had it pinned on my Christmas board for a while.  It was one of those moments when I just had to make it then and there.  Initially I had visions of making loads for my family for Christmas, but I'd had enough after one!

It's Santa's boots stuck out of a chimney pot.  The boots are boot-shaped, but it's quite difficult to get a good angle to photograph them.  The pattern I used is here.

I think it turned out ok, although I showed my Mum back in August and the conversation went a little like this:

Me:  Oh yeah, look what I made!
Mum:  Mickey Mouse!
Me:  No, think Christmas... (giving the benefit of the doubt, as it was August after all)
Mum:  Oh yes, a reindeer!

Ahhhh well..... 

Sorry, I went a bit mad with the sparkle effect to make it all more festive!  Shown here with my star jar covers (free pattern).

On the topic of Christmas, whilst wading through the mess in my craft room (nope, still not tidied it!) I came across some Christmassy ribbon I'd forgotten I had.  I got very excited, pulled out a couple of fat quarters from a stripy pack, and am loving how it all looks together!

It seems very elfish to me.  I can't decide what to make, though.  I'm probably just going to keep looking at it and produce nothing!  Any ideas or suggestions?  I'm sure there must be a really cute Christmas something or somethings I could use this for!

Friday 14 November 2014

Vintage Knitting

Thanks for the great comments recently - I always love reading them, and appreciate you taking the time!

This is a project I've been working on for I don't know how long - over a year and a half for sure.  The Lumberjack decided that he had his heart set on a sleeveless cardigan - and bought a PDF of a vintage pattern online...

Don't laugh!  Ok, do laugh - I can't take it seriously myself!  Well, it's been very slow going, and it's nowhere near finished.  My original plan was to tell you about it when it was finished, but who knows when that will be!

I've never knitted an item of clothing before, so this is a first.  I don't really know what I'm doing, but so far it's just standard stocking stitch.  Unfortunately, the colour doesn't really inspire me, which is one reason why I've taken so long with it.  (I mean, where's the aqua... or pink?!)  Also, I take forever with most projects.

I've picked it up recently and knitted quite a few more rows, so hopefully I can start making some progress with it.  I thought for a second it would be good if I could get it done for Christmas, but maybe Christmas next year would be more realistic!

What do you think?  Is it going to look ridiculous?  Will he look like an old man??  (Well, by the time I get it finished he probably will be an old man, so it could be perfect!)

Monday 10 November 2014

Make Your Own Gift Basket - How To

It's always lovely to give a gift that has that personal touch, but we can't (or don't have time to) make everything!  A nice idea is to collate a few chosen items into a gift basket.

There are plenty of these sorts of gift sets for sale in the shops, but I enjoy putting the contents together myself.  It's fun to do and shows a bit of extra thought for the recipient.

A month or so ago, I was shopping with the Lumberjack's Mum and she pounced on some beautifully wrapped soaps in TK Maxx, saying how much she loved it when they had these in store.  My little brain took note ready for Christmas!

One that I remember she particularly liked was the orange scented soap.  After spending some time this weekend smelling nearly every one they had (don't mind me passed out on the floor in a soap-induced stupor!) I decided to go for an 'oranges and lemons' theme.

Not only do those soaps smell delicious, but look at the gorgeous packaging!  (This isn't a sponsored post by the way.)  Some lemon hand-wash and orange body-wash went with the theme and also smelt delectable.  The flannel was from BHS as there was nothing suitable in TK Maxx - it had to be orange or yellow!

I found a cute little basket in the perfect size (also TK Maxx) and then it was just a case of popping the smellies in the basket in a pleasing arrangement...

To call this a 'how to' is a bit of a stretch really...
  • Buy some stuff
  • Buy a basket
  • Put stuff in basket
Wow, bet you'd never have figured that out on your own!  But hopefully it might spark some gift ideas for some of you out there.  It's fun to put together something you know is going to be liked and enjoyed, and it doesn't have to be smellies.  Other gift basket themes could be:
  • Nail Care Kit - nail-varnishes, hand-creams, emery boards, etc
  • Baking Basket - cake cases, biscuit cutters, wooden spoon, pretty spatula, etc
  • Tea and Biscuit Basket - posh tea bags, pretty cup and saucer, fancy biscuits, etc
  • Car Care Kit - (this is too boring for me even to list what you might want to put in it! - but it might be a good one for car-loving men in your family)
  • Book Lover's Basket - a good book or two, some cosy socks, some chocolates to nibble on (oooh, I like the sound of this one!)
The possibilities are endless - have fun creating personalised gift baskets for the people you love!  (And do let me know if you get any inspiration from this post - that would put a smile on my face.)

Saturday 8 November 2014

Nearly New Wood Challenge

My lovely friend Alex, aka Hydrangea Girl, has started a Nearly New Wood Challenge.  Alex explains it perfectly in her post, so I won't repeat it again here.  But, briefly, the idea is to go down the second-hand route when buying new furniture, to reduce the demand on mass production and thereby help to reduce our impact on the environment.  It's a bonus that you should/could end up with a bit of individuality in your home.

When I read Alex's post, I thought I only had one second-hand piece of furniture... then I actually looked around and realised we're not doing too badly!

A friend was moving last year and wanted to get rid of the below dresser, so we took it off his hands for free!  It was the original pine when we started, but we painted it and changed the knobs.  This is how it looks today, but you can see the makeover here.

Our dining table is a hand-me-down from the Lumberjack's grandparents...

He ate many a Sunday dinner at that table as he grew up, so it's nice that we can keep the memories going.  (There is usually a fourth chair, but I moved it out of the way for the photo.)

I guess I should have styled the table with some pretty bits and bobs - instead I just removed all the piles of accumulated junk off it, so be grateful!!  Bad blogger!

The Lumberjack also did a makeover last year on an old Ikea chest of drawers he had from before we met...

Read more about the transformation here.  This is in our bedroom - mentioned, but actually hidden off camera, in that post - as the top of it wasn't very tidy!  I guess it wasn't officially second-hand - but making it over meant we didn't need to buy a new chest-of-drawers instead.

The most recent addition is the console table for the hallway, blogged about here...

That was found on Gumtree, and bought second-hand, to go with the Lumberjack's great great grandfather's clock which he recently inherited...

So that's another bit of old wood!  (Not that we would have actually gone out and bought a new grandfather/grandmother clock, mind you... but still.)

We have bought new furniture from Oak Furniture Land, and an abundance of Ikea furniture too - so we are far from perfect!  I'm pleased to see that we've done better than I thought, though.

Do you feel like giving it a go?  Next time you are planning to buy a new item of furniture, maybe have a bit of a search and see if you can find something nearly-new that could do the job.  It's very satisfying when you find the perfect piece, or transform something a bit old and tatty into a pretty new thing!

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