I’ve moved!

Hello, long time no see! That’s getting to be a bit of a habit isn’t it? Anyway, this is just a really quick pop-in to tell you I’ve started a whole new blog with my new name and lots of lovely media space! You can pop over and see me in my new home here. Please, please, please come on over and follow me, I really don’t want to lose all you lovely readers who’ve been with me in this lovely piece of cyberspace! It was quite a big step for me to start over again but also necessary and I’d been procrastinating far too long.

I’ve done a little introductory first blog post and even got techy and put links in to my Facebook and instagram accounts. Get me working out how to even do that!

I’ll soon do a crochet catch up over there too so I look forward to seeing you all there.


Craft room compromise 

This year, we had big plans for our forever home. We were hoping to extend up into our huge loft which would have given us the most amazing master bedroom with en-suite and dressing room. In my head, we’d also have had a conveniently placed window giving us the most amazing view of the Liverpool skyline. And a beautiful freestanding roll top bath in the middle of the bedroom. It was going to be spectacular. By doing this, we’d have also gained a huge guest bedroom/craft room for me (or should I say Huge CRAFT ROOM for me/a room for my family to sleep in once or twice a year when they visit). Also it would have freed up our little basement for my hardworking hubby to create a mini mancave. But alas, it was not meant to be. Due to ridiculous estimates, a major shortage of reliable builders and an unenthusiastic architect, we’ve made the sensible decision to not go ahead. Sad, but I do think it’s the right thing.

We can board out some of the loft to provide storage for the majority of stuff in the basement, but the dilemma is, where the hell do I put all my crafty possessions ?!! My dining room has tended to be my craft haven, it’s a lovely room to spend time in. It’s peaceful, relaxed and frankly the only space that could ever be an option. But storage is an issue. I have this lovely dresser which is a magnet for random crap. It’s stuffed full of a lot of my crafty bits already but is just screaming out for a spring clean .

See what I mean?

Well the other day, I set to, and started to create my calm, organised craft space. It was really therapeutic. I took the opportunity to have a bit of a clear out and filled a bag for our little community shop. When it was emptied and cleaned I gasped to myself, doesn’t it look good! 

It’s a bit of a shame to have to put stuff back on it, but on it went. This was the fun bit.

What do you think? Perhaps still a little cluttered but organised clutter wouldn’t you say? My husband made some comment about why have we opened a branch of Abakan in our dining room (a local craft shop) but I think it’s ok. Still got a way to go, I haven’t touched the drawers yet and there’s still tons of stuff in the cellar. At some point we’d like to get some built in cupboards and shelving in our alcoves either side of the fireplace. Then just imagine how much craft crap I could store in here!!

Breaking all the rules 

I’ve been playing about with the most beautiful paper this week. You know the kind that’s just so pretty you never ever want to cut it? The kind you can just ooh and ahh over. You see I had a few cards to make, one for my nan, and a couple that a friend asked me to make. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed creating these although I did make rather a mess doing it! Well, you have to get ALL your stuff out don’t you? And I seem to accumulated quite a bit of stuff already, even though paper crafts is relatively new to me.

As with many things, making cards is something I’ve just been making up as I go along. I’ve not researched it, done a course or even looked on YouTube for tutorials. I’m very aware that I’m probably breaking lots and lots of card making rules so huge apologies to those of you who do it ‘properly ‘ (I know there’s at least a few of you clever clogs who read my blog). I’m just drawn to a certain style of card, which is quite basic, simple and modern. They’re the type of cards that I’d go for if I was buying in a shop. Now I’m not trying to take anything away from all those very talented card makers out there, cos trust me, I know what a lot of work goes into making them. Also, my painting, drawing and colouring skills are about the same as a 6 year olds so they wouldn’t turn out very good !

Here’s the first one I made.

The brief was tea pots. I picked this gorgeous green paper and used a punch on the corners to give it some interest. I used my big shot to cut out the hearts and  letters and then used teapot embellishments to finish it off. Inside I stamped a simple ‘happy birthday’ in silver.

For the next one I used a brown kraft card. I used die cutters for everything apart from the baby butterflies which were made with a punch I’ve had for years. I love this patterned paper, so beautiful. I used a coordinating paper for the 3D butterfly and finished it off with a couple of diamanté style gems on its tentacles (is that the right word?) I stamped the same greeting inside and decided a bit of blue bakers twine would finish it off perfectly.

And finally, this one was for my nan, Florrie. (Namesake of Florrie and Rene) She’ll be 92 years young on Friday 10th February. I’d love to be able to give her this in person but it’s a good 5-6 hours drive so Royal Mail it is.

I used this beautiful peacock die which I’m quite in love with, and some colourful dotty card. I used a fancy punch in the corners which looks pretty but hopefully doesn’t take away from the main event. Again, I stamped the greeting inside in silver.

I’m really looking forward to making more cards, think I’ll do some for Mother’s Day to sell. But first, I MUST crochet some more. I know, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it 😉

Flyby January 

Well hello! Where did January go? I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s zipped by in the blink of an eye. I’ve been so busy but I’ve actually loved every minute of it. I started January with some big changes ahead of me, some of which were out of my control, like my baby starting pre-school. We’re a couple of weeks in now and it seems to be going well. The first week was surprisingly easy, then the novelty kinda wore off and the reality of going to school every day set in and he started to cry when it was time for him to go in. Which in turn made me cry, watching him through the school gates, being carried across the playground with his arms reaching out for me and calling for me. That was hard. But thankfully, he seems to have gotten over that and goes in fine. At home time, seeing his little face beaming and calling mama, while he runs over to me, well that just makes my heart burst! He’s obviously very happy when he’s there which is fantastic. My little boy is growing up!

One of the other big events for me was launching my little crafty empire, Florrie & Rene. I’ve tried to put as much time into it as possible, promoting the page, spreading the word etc. It’s going well so far, I’ve had a few orders which I’m almost done with. Here’s a couple of the finished ones..

These have been very well received by their new owners which makes the days of hooking my fingers to the bone all worth it. I’m very much looking forward to what the future holds for my one woman show.

The third big thing happening in my life this year has been my Slimming World journey. The first week had my head in a spin just trying to understand it all but now I’ve got used to it a bit it’s so much better. The first week I managed to lose 2 1/2 lbs which I was very happy with. It was just what I needed to hear to give me the motivation to keep going. By the end of the second week , I actually started to feel better in myself and could see I’d lost some weight around my tummy. That week I lost 3 1/2 lbs! The third week, I was doing everything I should have been doing but just felt really bloated and quite sluggish. I was convinced that I’d either gained weight or at best maintained. I was quite nervous to step onto the scales on Monday, but I needn’t have worried, I lost another 2lbs. Phew! And look what I picked up…

My first award! It feels good knowing my hard work and dedication is already paying off. Although I’m not yet properly organised with my meal plans, I have enjoyed trying new recipes, new foods, and knowing that I’m eating healthier. I’ve actually surprised myself at how good my willpower has been (thus far  anyway)! I’ve been able to buy chocolate and treats for the kids without being tempted to nibble. I’m going to have a go at baking some SW treats this week as I do miss getting my pinny on and there’s some yummy looking recipes in the latest SW magazine.

With all that’s happened in January, it’s left me in a very positive mood. Not that it’s like me to be down or anything, I’ve always been, ‘ever the optimist’ and a glass half full kind of girl. But I feel a sudden surge of energy and positivity and am happy to ride this wave for as long as it lasts. And spring is not too far away now and I CANNOT wait for some warmth, fresh air and the signs of new life that comes with possibly the best season of all.

Sending positive vibes out to you all…. x

So much to say, so little time 

Hello! Sorry I’ve not found time to post for a bit, it’s all been a bit of a blur recently really. So, where to start…

Well, I suppose firstly, I’ll tell you that I’ve taken the leap and joined slimming world. I’m on day 6 as I’m sat writing this and I have mixed feelings about it so far. I’m completely ready to make a change and willing to do what I have to, but it’s been a very long week. My head’s been in a spin trying to work out what I can eat and what I can’t. I’m constantly checking in my little handbook and on the app, how many syns for this. Are these a speed food? Must eat more speed. I know it’s one of those things you’ve just got to get used to but it’s taken up an awful lot of my time. And trying to think of what to cook for dinner that is to everybody’s taste, that’s always been hard but even more so now. I really hope I’ll see some results for my hard work tomorrow at my first weigh in. That’ll spur me on to keep going. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

My little baby started pre-school on Friday! Can you believe it? What an emotional day. I’d been gearing up to it for a while and was actually excited to get some time for myself. I’d planned to start exercising as that’s just impossible with a toddler in tow. I would get the housework done in half the time, be able to shop in peace and not get bribed into buying a toy. And I’d get more time to craft. But my god, did I miss him! I stayed with him for over half the session then said to him I was going and would be back soon. He just said bye-bye! Not a tear was shed, I was so proud. It’s the first time he’s been left with anybody so the boy did good.

Do you remember this post from back in the summer? A lovely blogger friend of mine painted a beautiful picture from a photo I took in my garden of our blueberries. She said she’d send me a copy of it, and look what came this week!

Isn’t it beautiful? And a lovely handmade card with it too. It made my day receiving this, I’ll treasure it always, thank you Hannah. I’m afraid I don’t know how to add a link to her blog but it’s called The Artisan Duck. Do go and take a look if you can, she’s one talented lady.

So, crochet time. I had a break from it for a few weeks over the Christmas period as things were just so hectic. I missed it terribly so picking my hooks up again a couple of weeks ago was bliss. I started a little baby blanket before Christmas so carried on with that.

I picked 6 yummy colours from my Stylecraft stash and made 5 solid granny squares of each. I then edged them all in my joining colour, parchment.

Then joined the rows…

I think they look rather nice like this, they’d make good scarves! Anyway, I joined these all together then finished with a simple border.

I’m very pleased with this. It’s now washed and put away, waiting for a new home when someone decides to buy it from my Facebook page. Speaking of Facebook, I decided that this year I really need to get my act in gear and make something of myself. I love making things and there’s only so much I can make for our home and for presents, so I’m going to start making to sell, properly. I’ve had a bit of a re-brand, started a brand new Facebook page and changed my Instagram name to…….. Wait for it……..

Florrie & Rene.        Ta-Dah!!! 🎈🎈🎈🎈(Hopefully the blog name will change soon too)

I’ve named it so after my two nans. I think us crafters owe a lot to our grandmothers who all used to knit, crochet, sew, amongst other things. So I’ve stocked up on yarn and started touting for business. I’ve had 3 orders in the first week so hopefully that’s a sign of things to come. As well as crocheted items I want to make a few cards and tags to sell, well any excuse to play with my new toy I got for Christmas! My hubby got me a big shot and I’m quite addicted. It was my mums birthday this week so I got to try it out.

It took me all evening to do this as I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do. I was happy with the result though and I think my mum liked it too.

Well, I’m busy, busy, busy so I think that’s where I’ll leave it for today. Thanks for reading, keep warm everyone.

Vicki xxx

A little catch up

Hello! Happy new year to you. I hope you had a nice Christmas? My favourite part is the build up. I love decorating the house, watching festive movies, listening to Christmas music. My favourite Christmas song has to be Last Christmas by Wham. I ordered myself a copy on vinyl the other day. It was very emotional listening to it this morning. George Michael played a huge part in my musical upbringing. I still can’t believe he’s gone. So very sad.

I hardly had chance to blog much before the big day, I was so busy. Would you like to see what I was up to?

Well, I actually managed to do all the baking I had planned. First came fudge. Chocolate and cranberry fudge to be precise. The cranberries were soaked in orange liqueur overnight so they had a little bit of a kick to them.

I gave these to some of my neighbours and friends, I hope they went down well.

Next there was good old fashioned peppermint creams. There’s a very unhealthy theme going on here…

And lastly, mince pies.

Although these look ok in the photo, I made the mistake of leaving them in the baking tin too long (multitasking) so they got stuck and just crumbled to pieces when I tried to remove them. Oh well, I shall remember for next time.

There was a fair bit of Christmas crafting happening in December too. My friend arranged a Christmas crafts day at her house for a few of us in aid of MIND (mental health charity). She provided all the materials (of which there was enough for the whole of my village to have joined in!) and we all brought some food for a little buffet lunch and made a donation to the charity. It was lovely. We made some string balls first which was rather messy. It involved balloons, glue, yarn/twine and glitter, great fun! Then there was jars with paper cuts of snowy scenes inside with fake snow and fairy lights, then the outside coated with glue, soda crystals and glitter. They were so pretty. And lastly was our snowman hot chocolate jars. Three jars stacked upon each other filled with hot chocolate powder, marshmallows and chocolate treats and candy canes. Then the jars were decorated with buttons and ribbon for a scarf. We slightly overestimated how much we could get done in a day, especially with a toddler around, so we ended up coming back another day to finish off. Sadly I didn’t get around to taking any photos of our makes.

I made a few gifts for people this year. You’ve already seen my nan’s one here, I’m pleased to say she liked it very much. I also had a play with oven baked clay. It was just some little decorations for my friends to hang on their tree with their children’s names on.

These didn’t turn out how I’d hoped, there’s definitely more practice needed here! The thought was there though.

I crocheted my mum and mum-in-law an infinity scarf and wrist warmers set each. I was quite pleased with how these turned out. Here’s my mums one.

The yarn I used was Stylecraft cabaret in rainforest, I absolutely love the colours. It has a slight glittery fleck to it which is really pretty. Here’s the other set…

I made this with a gorgeous chunky acrylic/wool blend called Shetland Mist. I got it when I went to Yarndale  in September. It was the first time I’d used a real chunky yarn and I loved it. It worked up really fast and is super soft.

With both of these I’d completely underestimated how much yarn I’d need so ended up buying more. I actually have a whole ball of the Shetland mist left over so I might make something for myself. Maybe a beanie?

I haven’t picked up a crochet hook for a few weeks now as I just haven’t had the opportunity. I’m actually a bit concerned that I’ll have forgotten how to do it if I don’t get back to it soon! I also have a new craft obsession. After playing with my friends big shot to make the paper cuts, I mentioned how much I enjoyed it to my hubby. On Christmas Day, I unwrapped my very own one! It’s very addictive I have to say, but also very expensive to buy all the dies. I got myself some gorgeous Christmassy ones in the sales but will gradually build up my collection, as and when I see a bargain.

I spent yesterday de-Christmasing the house. It’s a big job and I’ve still got cleaning to do but it feels so much better already. I do love a post-christmas de-clutter. Everywhere feels bigger and more organised. Just need a nice bunch of flowers now and then ‘normal’ can resume in our household. I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine, I have big plans for this year. Slimming world being one of them. I think I’m going to be brave and share my journey with you. It might give me that extra kick up the bum I need to keep going.

Right, although it’s been lovely being back in blogland for a bit, I must go and clean, tidy, mother, potty train and all that other stuff I do on a daily basis. Thanks for reading xx

A little catch-up

I’m so sorry that I’ve not posted much lately. I can’t put my finger on quite why, perhaps it’s because this is just a busy time of year. Or maybe it’s cos I can’t show what I’ve been busy doing as it’d let the cat out of the bag. It could be the whole lack of being able to share tons of photos with you, a problem that I still haven’t gotten round to doing anything about. Or perhaps I just don’t have much to say at the moment? I think it’s all of the above. Anyway, I’m here now. 

I’m actually not in my usual panic for this time of year. I’ve done most of the Christmas gift buying, online shopping is ace, beats trekking round in the cold, fighting  through the crowds. The decorations are half up, by the end of the weekend it’ll all be done I hope. I’m taking my time, no stress here.

Here’s a little peek at this years ‘thing’. I got a good way through this last night with Mr. Buble singing softly in my ear, but I ran out of snow. The lovely Hubby is bringing me more tonight so I can finish them.

I’m even up to date with my magazine reading, I’m normally reading Decembers in January getting all that Christmas inspiration! This year I might even get to try out some of the crafts and tempting recipes. I’m planning on doing lots of baking this year, last years jar of mincemeat is still in date and I’ve purchased a new bottle of peppermint essence and bulk bought icing sugar so I’ll keep you posted on that! The diet starts in January, and it actually will. I’m going to sign up to Slimming World and start running again. A whole new world will be opening up to me as my little baby starts pre-school! I can’t quite believe we’re here already. It’ll be very strange but I also cannot wait to have a few hours a day to myself. I’ll be able to get so much done.

I’m going to leave you with one little hint of what’s been on my hook recently. You’ll have to wait for the finished result. Bye for now…

Where I’m up to

Hello! I’ve been rubbish lately at blogging. I used to manage a couple a week but more recently it’s been one every couple of weeks. I can only think it’s because there’s been so much going on family wise. There’s been a lot of birthdays to celebrate, including my little boy turning a big 3! How is my baby 3 already?

I feel bad as for his 1st birthday I made him a cake (a two-tiered one no less), though never again. For his 2nd I made him a big card that got shown on cBeebies (Woo!) but for his 3rd I’ve done nothing. No party, nothing. We are going to Thomas Land this weekend so he’ll absolutely love that. I just feel I haven’t ‘created’ anything special for him this year. It’s not like he’s noticed though, just me being me.

I’ve been hooking away behind the scenes making a couple of Christmas presents. I’ll share those with you at a later date when it’s safe to do so. I’ve also started another blanket, it’s going to be one to sell. Do you remember the skittles rainbow blanket  I made in the summer? Well I sold it!! My first ever crochet sale, I was over the moon. I sold it through my Facebook page, if you fancy popping over to see me there you can click here. And I’m also on Instagram, I’m not sure how to link to that so search for vickimccav. I don’t do Twitter, I’m afraid I’ve never got it and never will!

I’ve been getting that festive feeling already, I’m like a big kid when it comes to Christmas! I’ve got a couple of new things planned for this year but otherwise it’ll be pretty much the same as last year. I opened up my December issue of Country Living magazine this morning. I’m completely in love with the cover!

Wow, I just want to wrap up warm and go sit there in the snow with good food, wine and friends. It’s so magical!

We’ve had a bit of white stuff here this morning, shame it was just hail, but still looks pretty.

I’m still mulling the whole blog/media storage thing over. I had my eyes closed tight and just peeked a teeny little bit when I was uploading these photos, half expecting them not to go on!

Right I’m off to go and do some jobs and get ready for The Fabulous Frost Fair this evening, I’m very excited and will be child free too so I can get fully festive with freedom! ❄️🎄⛄️

Bloggy Dilemma

I’ve known this day would come but was hoping it wouldn’t be for ages yet. I’ve used up my 3GB of media space here in my little blog which means I can’t upload any more photos!!! Arghh! This is devastating for me as a big part of my blog writing is done through my photos too. I’m in a right pickle and really don’t know what to do. I had to delete a few older pictures the other day just in order to do my poppy post. I really don’t want to delete any old posts or pictures because to me this is a lovely diary that I can look back on and see my progress and remember some great times.  It’s not just the pictures but how I felt at the time.  So my options are to pay an annual fee to upgrade my blog to get more space which will run out again at some point in the future. Not really happy to be paying out either as the blog doesn’t earn me any money. The only other option is to start up all over again with a different blog provider. I’ve had a quick look at what’s out there and it seems there are free options with unlimited storage.It would also mean leaving behind all my lovely WordPress followers that I’ve built up over the last 22 months. Starting to build up a new following all over again doesn’t appeal but what can I do? Do any of you have any suggestions or experience with other blog sites? I’d love to hear any ideas you may have.

Thanks, Vicki xxx

Hello cosy

I’ve decided to make more effort to decorate the house to reflect the seasons, well the dining room at least. It’s the perfect room as it’s a bit of a blank canvas and has a very relaxed, calm feel about it.

My first idea was to do something with the leaves I collected the other week, here’s my post about it. I wanted the leaves to stay their gorgeous colours for as long as possible so I decided to run them through the laminator and see what happened.

There, not too bad. They stayed like this for a couple of weeks until I decided what my plan was for them. Last week I decided I really must do something with them so I cut around each leaf.

The colours haven’t really changed much since laminating them so I guess it worked.

I went for a walk in the park the other day on the hunt for the perfect branch. The park was very pretty indeed.

It was good to get out of the house and see a bit of nature, we’d had a poorly house for quite a while and we hadn’t ventured out apart from to the shops. It was much needed to lift my spirits. Anyway, with perfect branch (covered in moss which was a bonus) in hand, I was finally able to finish my little project. I punched a hole in the leaves and threaded them onto some string tied to the branch. Ta-Dah!

I’m quite pleased with that. A little bit of outdoors brought indoors and some great Autumn colours too.

The area I wanted to focus on mainly was the fireplace as its the focal point of the room. I bought some artificial leaves from eBay and threaded them onto some yarn to make a garland. I then hung it together with my fairy lights which are a permanent fixture.

I got some lovely looking squashes, the young girl on the till in Aldi said to her colleague “how much are the funky looking pumpkins?” Ha ha!

And from our local wholesalers for all things lovely, I got some other autumnal bits for dressing the room. Some faux hay bales, leaves, acorns and berries.

I love how it’s all come together, it feels very homely and cosy. Along with our new comfy chairs so we can sit (and I can crochet) by the roaring fire.

I feel like we’re the old couple from the movie ‘Up’ with his and hers chairs!

I’d also planned on doing some crochet decorations but it just hasn’t happened.  I made about 5 little leaves which look rather pathetic on their own.  I might make a nice wreath ready for next autumn, who knows?

This year was my first ever time carving pumpkins, I can’t believe I’ve never done it till now. I got a bit carried away and got 6 but I think they look great all together. The kids helped with these and thoroughly enjoyed getting their craft on.

Although they look good outside, I am rather worried they might go walkies so indoors is where they’ll live.

Once the log fire and a few candles are lit, it’s super cosy. Add some gentle music, a mug of tea and some nibbles and there you have a perfect evening right before you.

It also fits in well with a concept I’m very interested in called Hygge. It’s a Danish word with no direct translation but it basically means, cosyness. I’ve asked for a book on Hygge for my upcoming birthday so I’ll maybe do a post all about it sometime. But for now, this is my Autumn set-up, and it shall stay this way until December when Christmas will come and sprinkle festive cheer around.

Thanks as always for stopping by.

Vicki xxx