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 😉

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

Christmas in a jar

I’ve been planning this little theme all year and it’s finally time to bring the ideas flying round in my head to life. I’ve been collecting the glass vases and cloches from places like T K Maxx and Home Sense whenever I’ve seen them. Some were in the sales but each one cost around £4.00 which I didn’t think was too bad. I can also use them for other things throughout the year.

For the glass cloches I obviously needed a base so after some searching around I discovered that my cake stands were perfect for the job. I’d got some small strands of battery operated fairy lights, fake snow, bottle brush trees and then lots of adorable little Christmassy pieces to create little scenes inside each one.

For this one I raided Jude’s car stash and used some bakers twine to tie a little Christmas tree on top of the truck.

It’s surprising how fast it is to fill them up, I thought I’d run out of stuff but I actually didn’t get to use everything.

These are some of my favourites, the woodland creatures. Although it’s very hard to pick a favourite, I love them all.

A sprinkling of cinnamon scented pine cones and the fairy lights really make these, although each one takes 3 AA batteries!! 

And here they are all together. I think they look really magical. These are keepers me thinks!

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…

Poppy love

This year (a little bit late, but better late than never), I decided to have a go at making some crochet poppies. I already had the perfect yarn in my stash and I followed the YouTube tutorial by BellaCoco. I only set out to make one for myself but I enjoyed it that much that I decided to make some more to send to some family and friends.

Do you like my little poppy field?

Here they are all sewn together.

I had to wait a few days to finish them off properly as I had to wait for the brooch backs to arrive from eBay. They came yesterday and I bought a piece of red felt to help attach them.

I used a pound coin size circle of felt, snipped two little slits into it to bury the brooch back, then mod podged that to the back of the poppy. 

There, all done. What a lovely satisfying little project.

And don’t you think black and red are very striking colours together?

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

So many WIP’s, so little time

I have recently gone against all my own rules about not having too many projects on the go at once. I don’t know what’s come over me but I have so many things stashed in bags and baskets around the place, all screaming to be finished. I just keep starting new stuff, even my hubby disapproves.

The longest standing one has to be this…

It’s been in this state for almost a year a half!! That’s disgraceful. It’s going to be a blanket for me. In the new year I will give it my full attention.

Then there’s my blooming flower cushion. Another one for me. I started it way back in July I think? I keep finding excuses not to finish it off, don’t ask me why. I’m just getting a bit bored of it. 

It’s so close to being done, well the front of it is anyway. Just a few rows to go.

I was keen to start working with some of the yarn I brought back from yarndale so I started this…

And this..

I can’t say too much about these as they’ll be gifts, but I’m loving how quick the chunky yarn is working up, really fast. I made the schoolboy error of not buying enough of each (I always underestimate) so both had to go on hold while I awaited delivery of more.

Aren’t the colours of this delicious?  Very autumnal. I’ve been taking every opportunity to sit and crochet by the fire, it’s so cosy.

I’ve also started some leafy things but I’ll show you those next time.

I started writing a list of all my current WIP’s and planned ones, well it was ridiculous.  I MUST start crossing things off the list, NOT add any more to the list, NOT buy any more yarn and most certainly NOT start anything else until I’ve finished a few of these.

If I stick to that then I shall soon be back on track. 

Vicki xxx

Red, gold and green 

Autumn’s definitely made an appearance now, I confess I’ve had the heating on a couple of times already. I’m actually really looking forward to it though, at least you can be sure of the weather. Summer was such a let down this year, as it inevitably is every year. We hardly got to do any of the nice beach/picnic/park trips I had planned.

Yesterday I decided to go for a walk to go foraging for autumnal inspiration. I managed to find quite a bit although felt rather silly as people walked past and saw me dithering over which leaves to pick up. I kind of hoped they’d think it was for Jude’s benefit, not mummy’s!

By the time we got home, little man was fast asleep so I took advantage and got my harvest out to have a play.

I had great fun I can tell you. Little things and all that! Aren’t the colours just beautiful though?

I have B I G plans for decorating the house this Autumn. I’ve never done it before but think it’ll really be nice. Last year I made these so I might do a few again this year.

I’d best get busy, lots to do! Xx