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!!

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

Sneaky peek

Do you want a little sneaky peek at a couple of my recent makes? I’m sure it’s safe as my nan doesn’t do the Internet and to be honest, I don’t really have much else I can blog about at the moment!

So as I said, these things are for my lovely nan. I haven’t seen her since the summer when we went down south to visit. She’s always been a keen gardener and especially loves flowers so I thought I’d make her a comfy cushion for her armchair.  

I used Stylecraft Special DK in Sherbet for the front but didn’t have enough to do the back so used Parchment instead which I think goes quite well. I did it in a UK htr (half treble stitch) and after the first row, went into the back loops only to create the ridged effect.

To make the cushion pretty I’d decided to make some flowers to attach to the front. As luck would have it, the same day, Lucy from Attic 24 shared a pattern for her Floras Flowers which were absolutely spot on for what I wanted.

I used up scraps of bright colours for these, they worked up very quick.

I’m just a little bit in love with them! I pinned them in place on the front of the cushion and began to attach them. That was such a therapeutic task.

And here it is in all its colourful flower power…

To go with this I wanted to make her a couple of granny squares to go over the ends of the arms on her armchair. Did your grandparents ever have those? You know the linen ones with a touch of embroidery? I thought a simple granny square would do the same job. I used the parchment as the main colour and then the rest of the sherbet and a dusky pink. If I’d had more time I could have perhaps done some more flowers. Anyhow, this is what I ended up with…

And here’s the lot all together looking rather cosy on my armchair.

I’m happy with those, and I hope my lovely nan likes them too on Christmas Day. It’s a shame I can’t give them to her in person but a little piece of me will always be with her.

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! ❄️🎄⛄️

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?

Three cute crochet cushions 

My original plan was to make one crochet cushion, a blooming flower one for my bedroom. After making them for my mum and mum-in-law for Mother’s Day, I thought how nice one would look on my bed.

You can see my post about starting it and my colour inspiration here. Before finishing it, I decided to start a second cushion in the same colours as I was so in love with them. I took this on holiday to start. I thoroughly enjoyed making this one and was finished in no time at all. Here’s my post about it.

All the while, my original cushion was sat there feeling all lonely and neglected. If I’m honest, I’d kinda got bored of it and kept finding other projects to work on instead. I already had a third cushion all planned out in my head but guilt got the better of me and I put all my efforts into finishing the blooming thing. It really didn’t take that long once I’d set my mind to it.

For the back of it I used every colour from the front but in blocks of colour (less ends!) I finished it off with one row of petals.

Doesn’t it look lovely and plump?

So with this finally completed I felt quite justified in immediately starting the next one. It was to be a granny square cushion.

And it grew and grew quickly…

Before long, I’d finished. It’d make a lovely blanket if I kept going.

So, stitched around my cushion pad at an angle, here’s the finished article and I have to say I love it!

A very simple project that looks very effective. And with all 3 together, they look great.

Three very different cushions using the same colours, but I think it works. I have to say though, I prefer the two I didn’t originally plan on making! Don’t think I’ll be doing any more blooming flowers anytime soon. Now these are done, it’s time to focus on my Christmas gift making.

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