Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First snow of Winter


Ok so far we've escaped all the previous snow. Yes I know, we've been extremely lucky.
A fews days ago we got a little bit and it stayed, this morning we got another dusting. Personally I love the snow, probably because I never really had any growing up. I just love the crisp, clean feeling I get from it, and yes, if there was a hill outside I would be sledging too!!! Even at my age ;oP
As you can see from the photo the road is white well packed snow and although is ok to drive on, you don't want to meet a big truck on it, just ask the guy behind me today who had a freaky slippery moment after one passed us. Thankfully he regained control and didn't bump anything. I got a bit of a start when I saw him coming at me sideways from behind!
Well let's  hope no one comes through the garden wall this winter.  Keep warm and be safe everyone!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa tree topper

This took me a while to make because I started it then put it aside, I couldn't decide quite how to do all the bits and what design to decorate him etc.
Basically I've had a bundle of bits or mess as some would call it, lying around my desk. Today I finally jumped in there and finished poor Santa off. Now he's looking very cheeky, or surprised on top of the tree. All made from scraps so he's an Eco friendly Santa....lol

Friday, December 10, 2010


Finally after much fighting and confusion I finished my legwarmers. The fact that the cold spell seems to have gone now that I've completed them is really annoying. Still there is more to come and anyway I'll still wear them when it's not so cold, just because I like them so much.  You can't really see the cables in these photos, but they are there.
I had a real problem with the pattern........ no doubt due to lack of concentration. Next time I'll write it out row for row perhaps it will be easier for me....lol It has two charts one has 20 rows and the other 22, that's where the confusion came in for me, as I kept losing my place.  If  I'd been smart I would've marked each row on both charts as I went along, therefore I would know what row I was definitely on!
Pattern is available for free on


I just love the pom poms!! I tied a bow so the poms are high up, if you want them dangling just tie a knot.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas is coming.......if you hadn't noticed!

With all the snow everybody has but me, I decided to make some decorative bows for the tree. As much as I'd love a real tree I won't be getting one unless it's potted with roots and can be planted out after christmas is over.
It would be nice if there was a scheme that you purchase such a tree and if you take it back in good shape you get a certain percentage refunded. At least that way it would be environmentally friendly.
So I took delivery of the fake tree yesterday, the red berry lights 2 days before that and bought gold baubles at the beginning of the week. So far it's been a very small budget, I'm guessing €30 will be the max. I'm only having a tree this year as it's just the two of us.

So I picked up some decorative ribbon in Lidl this week, perfect gold and red to match my colour scheme. I got 15 bows out of 5m, even re-purposed the spool into a top hat for Teddy!! Teddy does not look amused...lol!
Now it's time to think about the tree topper, perhaps a Santa??

Friday, December 3, 2010

Pile up

Well I don't like digging out the sewing machine just for one thing so generally what I do is start a "to sew" pile and when there are 2-3 things, that is when I dig out and dust off my sewing machine.
Yesterday, that said pile was starting to niggle away at me as to when I would be tackling it. So I got to work with all my clothing repairs, a seam here, a hem there etc. Since things were going smoothly I decided to tackle converting a half slip that I was given into a full slip, so I would have something to wear under my new dresses and since they are just above the knee length this seemed like a good solution.
So what I did was removed the elastic from the front part, placed ribbon folded over the edge, sewed in place and added more ribbon for straps. Then I decided that I would need some shape to the new waist area so after chalking, pinning and trying it on, I sewed and cut the excess. I'm pleased enough with the results and it's basic but serves it's purpose, especially under the wrap dress which was a bit too revealing for my liking! 
I have 2 more to transform, but have decided to use lace trim across the top, so it's off to Ebay and see what available......... what would I do without Ebay!!!
After finishing all that sewing and putting everything away.... guess what?.......... yep I saw the corner of another thing that needed sewn buried under knitting patterns!!!!  :op

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baking Wheat-free? bread ....

Baking Wheat-free bread is not as easy as I thought it would be, guess I just have to tamper with a few different recipes.   I tried a soda bread with wheat-free flour and it it reminded me of a pale cow pat!...lol

Well at least it was edible even though it wouldn't win any prizes for beauty.  I won't be trying it again as my sense of smell can't handle the buttermilk..... eeeewwwyy.

Attempt 2. Spelt bread. OK so it's a form of wheat but easier to digest. Well so far I've been having flat-breads and I'm quite happy with them. But sometimes you just want a BLT.... well I crave them now and again.
I tried the recipe that came on the packet but omitted the honey.... this is something that I cannot acquire the taste for.... and reduced the water as I thought it too wet. Joy.... I got something that looked like and tasted like bread.  Only problem is that it doesn't last long.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crochet top finished at last

I've been working on knitwear for the last month or so. And have recently taught myself how to crochet. I finally finished the crochet top I mentioned in a previous post, using chenille yarn. It took a while and was hibernating for a bit too, as I had socks and an Aran cardi (in progress) on the go at the same time.
I turned out quite well, but if I made it again I would definitely do it differently. Crocheting the bodice in one piece and making it a bit longer. The skirt part I would also modify to be looser.
I have tried to get a decent photo but can't quite get the right shot yet, maybe I've got an off camera day ;o)  I think I will try and find similar yarn to the one asked for in the pattern and make it again as a dress, this was a good dummy run!
I can't decide whether or not to line the skirt part, or just wear a cami under it, I'll see what I can find and have a good think on it!
Finally got a half decent shot, I think....lol...... have decided to make a cami, just waiting for the fabric.

Friday, November 12, 2010

River Cottage Everyday Cookbook

I've been waiting patiently all week for delivery of this book. I have to tell you I'm not one for buying books of any sort, definitely not cookbooks!! I mean there are so many to choose from and lets face it, the recipes are either too fancy or require ingredients that you can't find or can't afford.
The reason I jumped at this one is because I've been watching the TV series (on Channel 4 (UK)) that goes with it, yep every Thursday at 8pm, faithfully for the past few weeks and it really got the taste buds going.

My first task is making bread, soda bread this week with wheat free flour, I've missed my sandwiches! I've had to cut wheat from the diet and to be honest I never knew how many things it was in!  So I got all the ingredients and am ready to roll. LOL

If anybody wants to buy it I recommend the bookdepository.co.uk with free worldwide shipping. Off course they have loads of other books at bargain prices too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Pincushion or Storage?

Since I caught a good doze of creative bug earlier in the year, I've been trying to organise all the things I wanted to make and looking for new things to try.  I'm starting to think that a glue gun might be a worthwhile investment!

I saw this idea in a UK magazine where they were priced at £48 [Overpriced]. Then I stumbled on it again recently and decided to have a go at making my own.
First you cut a circle larger than the lid, stuff it, stitch and draw closed enough to fit the lid. Glue the cushion to the lid around the edges, Then make a decorative border or use a pretty ribbon [haven't any] handstitch the seam, slip over and glue in place.

There you have a multi purpose Pincushion/storage jar, for beads, buttons etc...
This one has beads in it, you could do the same with a tin, I'm trying to decide the best way to store my sorted buttons.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Creative Cutie Blog's First Giveaway!

As mentioned in a previous post, the one about the bags! Creative Cutie is a fabulous Blog for inspiration and tutorials in bag making.
Starting today and up to 15th November  you have the chance to win some goodies..... free stuff is every crafters dream. So check it out!

Paper Crafts

I really like paper crafts, but it's not something that I do. Personally I don't think I have the patience for it.
However today I made one with a difference, I don't know if it was boredom that got the better of me, but I was asked if I could rustle one up to save the walls  ;o)
The end result is quite cool, even though its a bit of polystyrene framed in cardboard and decorated with a printed border.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Devine cheesecake

What better way to test if you have a dairy sensitivity than homemade cheesecake?! It's been months since I baked up this mouthwatering delight and my DH was on the verge of begging! ;o)
I just had to hunt down a smaller springform tin which was easier said than done.  I had a 9" tin, but lets face it for 2 that is too big..... DH will disagree on that point. Finally I found a 8"/20cm tin and baked this on Saturday for the weekend.  It went down a treat needless to say.
Base: 120g crushed digestives
          48g butter, melted
Filling: 600g cream cheese, room temp, full fat
          120g castor sugar
          21g plain flour
          3 eggs at room temp
          48ml double cream (optional)
          Zest of 1 lemon
          1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Topping: 144ml creme fraiche (full fat)
               18g castor sugar
               1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F/177C.  Grease the tin around the sides.  Combine melted butter & biscuits, add more biscuits if too wet. Press evenly into tin base and up the sides a little.  Chill.
For filling. Place cream cheese, sugar and flour in a bowl, beat on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Add eggs one at a time beating well ( about 30 seconds each).  Add cream, zest & vanilla, beat until mixed in. Do Not Overbeat Pour into tin and place in the center of the oven. Bake for 15 mins at 350F/177C. Bake for further 1hr 15mins at 250F/120C until only the middle of the cake looks a little wet & wobbly. Remove from the oven.
Combine the Creme fraiche, sugar and vanilla. spread evenly over the cheesecake and return to the oven for 15 more minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake and prevent cracking when you remove the spring-clip.  Once removed from the tin, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate. Tastes better the next day.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Travel Accessories

Well I recently got my first ever passport... hmm wonder how many years before it gets its first stamp...lol

Anyway I had bought a pink leather cover for it but decided I didn't really like it. I wanted something a bit different. I found a great tutorial on http://sewbunnybum.blogspot.com/2008/04/passport-sleeve-tutorial.html
and had a few trial runs because I wanted straight edges, the ones I wasn't happy with were given away.
I decided that it might be cool to have luggage tags too. The tutorial for these can be downloaded for free at http://homespun-threads.com/hp_zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=77 you can't see it on mine but there is a clear plastic sleeve for the info card.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bag Making

Well I've already told you about the car boot load of fabric I got back in February. There was one piece of fabric that I wanted so badly to make into a bag for myself. Only problem was I hadn't a clue how to start.......thank goodness for the internet and the wonderful crafters who share their knowledge!
After a good few hours of scouring the web I eventually stumbled upon Daphnas site Creative Cutie. It had a number of tutorials from designing the pattern to completing the bag, without it I would never have attempt to make a bag.  I have made 3 bags so far and I am still learning, I have one more to make, but am still sourcing the bits for it as there is no shop here that stocks bag making hardware.Above is my first bag designed by me. I really love it. Inside are a velcro closed pocket, mobile phone pocket and pen loops. The inside is red  for contrast.

Bag No.2 was made as a gift. Has a magnetic snap closure with plenty pockets inside with zips for added security. you can see this in the photo on the right. The open zip is a center section and there is another zip pocket on the side you can't see. It was a bit fiddle getting the center pocket right because of the shape of the bag and I didn't want too much excess left inside.

Bag No.3 turned out way bigger than planned but due to the design it can have multi purpose use. I think it will be good when I go clothes shopping or take a day trip. It also makes a good diaper bag...... not that I have any use for it as one!
Again this was made from scratch, the fabric was fantastic and I loved the bold print. For contrast I used yellow  and green inside, to give a bright happy feel to it. I have also made a bucket hat from this fabric......lol.. 1st time I've had a matching hat & bag ;o) 
So if you'd like to learn how to make a bag then I strongly recommend you visit Creativecutie.com, there is a link on the left hand side.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Storage Rolls

I suppose everyone is like me and just has a collection of knitting needles and crochet hooks bunched together.  So when the time comes to use them, we have to rummage and hope that nothing is lost or misplaced!!

OK,OK some of you will be organized. The best way to describe me is that I have an organized mess.......LOL........but I know where everything is!
I recently made an organizer for all my stuff (pic on right), it took me a while to figure out how to make it but I got there in the end. I'm tempted to make a more 'ditsy' one.
A colleague asked me to make her a crochet hook case with room for the bigger hooks that she planned to get. I have to admit, I was a bit worried that I might make the pockets too small for all her hooks, so I used the few I had myself to guide me. The fabric came from the stash and I was really pleased with how it turned out, obviously since it was for some-one else I took extra care to get everything aligned ....... something I don't pay enough attention to when making for myself!!  Thankfully she was delighted with it and I could breathe a sigh of relief.
Of course you can apply the principle to other things too. I decided that the spanner set needed a new look, something a bit more practical and easy to find in the boot.  Made from leftover oilcloth and I think I lined it with a bit of thick fabric too, so that it would be more sturdy.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chair Re-vamps

I did this transformation back in March. This chair was destined for the skip if nobody rescued it. My other half thought I was insane, however he was impressed by the end result!
I had hoped to do it like it was, but it had other ideas when trying to fix the fabric on as not even staples would stay in. So it got a make over.
I used oilcloth for the seat pad and a 20" cushion to bolster it........ahh comfy! This is definitely the chics chair...lol... I must admit it is my fave chair!

The next one is a Deck chair that was gathering dust in the loft, it was really dirty and the material was nailed on and torn.  Despite all my best efforts to clean the wood, the paint still turned creamy brown. I had to get  some nice outdoor gloss and give it a few coats before I got the white to stay. I had been given a couple of black sacks of fabric in February so had a rummage through, found a bit suitable, did some binding on the edges and stapled to the frame. I'm pleased with the end result.

I hope this inspires you to transform rather that throw out!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Winter Woolies

Well it's that time of year again, where the days are getting shorter. This time it seemed to me that it came all of a sudden.
I've been making some knitted bits n pieces to keep warm this winter, as I nearly froze during the last deep freeze....lol....... none of us are used to long cold spells.  I'm trying to be a little better prepared, just in case it happens again.
So far I've crocheted up a hat, scarf and mittens with leftover wool I was given. the hat pattern can be found on Garnstudio.com and Ravelry. The scarf and mittens I made up as I went along, I got some fab buttons from Jumbletown.ie so added them to the scarf. 
I've just finished the second pair of socks for himself, lol.... despite the groovy colour, he has put in an order for more but will have to wait until our monthly trip into town. In the meantime I will be getting to grips with an Aran cardigan for him.
I managed to get a pair of socks done for myself in between it all, out of scraps leftover from other projects and wool that was given to me....... for some reason I suffer from what I call cold feet & hand syndrome, I'm sure there is a medical term for it too!  These were knitted from the toe up which was a totally new experience for me. The pattern is from the book called "Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson". I found this a really good book for sock knitting, nice designs and easy to follow.

I started this Babydoll crochet top using some of the chenille I got recently, however it has had to take a back seat for the time being. Well let's face it I'm not likely to wear it in the winter and I had to do a few modifications to get it to fit. But it is such a gorgeous design. The pattern was in Interweave Crochet Spring 2008, or the book Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution by Kim Werker. 
If you decide to tackle it, my advice is to work the bodice in one piece, unless you are a genius at seamless joining........not me that's for sure!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eat it Don't Eat it

Two months ago I started on a diet. Well I had put on a lot of weight recently and was suffering from fluid retention. To be honest I was starting to feel like a walrus :o(

I happened to stumble across a book called "The Waterfall Diet", I've been on diets in the past and even been to the dietitian but still couldn't really shift any more than 8lbs, now that was depressing!  So I have to say I didn't get my hopes up for this one either. You have to read most of the book to get a basic understanding of food and how it might be affecting you. Then you have to prepare yourself and your food cupboards for the diet - this took me 2 weeks to do. There are 3 phases to the diet and I have just entered Phase 2.
Phase 1 you have to cut out coffee, salt, sugar, fat, white flour, wheat, dairy, eggs, yeast, red meat, drink and food additives, which takes a whole chunk out of what you were used to eating. I thought geez what can I eat, what's left? Plenty! fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, brown rice etc and the key is drink lots of water to flush out your system.
I usually have porridge with fruit,(made with water) or a fresh fruit salad for breakfast.  Lunch can vary but it is usually a salad or sandwich with homemade spelt flat-breads, dinner can be anything from fish with tatties & veg to chicken stir-fry with rice .I drink water and snack on redskin peanuts. I have tea with rice milk, because soya has gone onto my no-go list.
Phase 2 (just started this) you re-introduce potential allergens, wheat, yeast, dairy and eggs.  I've just done wheat and started to bloat after day 3 so stopped it. I knew that pasta was something I had to avoid anyway. I can get away with eating it on the odd occasion, like when out for dinner for example or if I make soup using a stock cube.

Phase 3 of the diet you will follow permanently.

In the first phase I lost 9lbs in the first week and gradually lost more, slowly week by week. 2 months later I am 20lbs lighter.  I'm not going to the gym. I take the occasional walk and maybe cycle once a week weather permitting :o) so if you're feeling bloated and have swollen hands and legs this may be for you too. It's tough to start with but you have to stick with it and portion your meals properly.

Friday, October 8, 2010

What do you do with tins?

Ok so most of them go to the recycle bin...... well they should anyway and if you're not doing it....... Start!! Mother earth will not forgive you.

Here is a few things I reused them for
  • the desk tidy, yes we've all done this at some point in our lives..... why stop when you get older! This one to the left is covered with a fabric scrap.

  • A light shade....... yes that's what I said a shade,  sometimes a regular shade is just too big, and in my case, I would have head butted it every time I went up or down the stairs :o/ it's bad enough the upstairs ceiling is only a few inches above my head and I keep walking into the bedroom shade.......... I have tried to train myself not to.......lol so haven't done this in a few weeks. Again covered in fabric with a hole cut out big enough to fit the light fitting.

  • Next up in the condensed milk tin, you know the kind you get with the ring pull that leaves a slot. Makes a perfect money tin for kids and grown-ups alike. Best thing is you can't help yourself unless you get the tin opener out!!! Good for the spare €1 or €2 coins when it's full you can get a nice treat for yourself.

  • Being a crafter you can never have enough pin cushions...... so I've been told. To be honest I'm starting to believe it now ;o) so an old tuna tin weighted down with a pebble or two with a stuffed cap is perfect.

  • I almost forgot the last one. A mobile phone chair, It's a bit of a fiddly job and I still need to add some pizazz to it but you'll get the jist.. It's just handy because you always know where the phone is!!! Lol that is of course if you put it there in the first place ;o)

    First Steps

    Just starting out on the Blog scene, I have to admit although I have read quite a few, it is a little bit weird actually doing it myself.......... but hey we all have to start somewhere right! I guess I just wanted to keep track of all the things I made/recycled and thought it would be good to have it all in one spot.   Of course there will be random life comments too I guess we'll just see what happens  LOL!