Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Seasons Greetings

Everything has taken a backfoot since October due to me being on a course.  I can safely say I've done zero crafting, although I have had stuff out to start, only to put it away again.  I got as far as drying lavender for some sachets.

So I just popped in on my first day off to say........

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Friendship Bracelets

Lately I've had the urge to do something different, since I seem to have run out of steam with knitting.

When I was a teenager we had this phase or craze in making friendship bracelets.  Now I have to tell you that was way back.  Some things are like riding a bicycle, once you learn it you never forget.  Well in this case, for me, it was more like swimming.  I had to learn it all over again! Yep I learnt to swim twice.

Well I went to the euro store and picked up a pack of embroidery threads for the practice runs.  After a little google, I found a pile of tutorials and patterns. So I did my practice run in knot tying and had my first one done in no time.  Next I went to complicated,  think I must like the challenge.  I made a strap for my watch.  You knot the threads around the pins and work from there.  When I reached the buckle, it got a bit messy and I could have done it better. (next time I know better).  I sewed in the ends of thread, another not so tidy job. But no-one is going to see it right.  repeat for the longer strap, shaping the end.

And there is the end product.  Of course now I just have to get a battery put into it.  But it is so comfortable on the wrist and my skin will love it.

Having done that one I was ready for the big bad boy of a cuff, with 12 threads.  Yup double whammy. I had to look up and take note of how all the different knots were done to carry the threads.  I have to say when I started it was confusing and painfully slow.
But definitely worth the effort.  I had found the middle of the bundle of threads and braided them, before securing them with the white thread you see in the picture.  This is just to hold it all in place while I work on it.
What I haven't figured out yet is the length you need for each colour.  for example I ran out of yellow and had to join more, the orange only just mad it and there was plenty of blue, but the red and green just managed to be long enough.

This is the end result, I split the ends into two sections and braided them, so one slips through the other end, which is then tied. Below is the blurry shot on the wrist, well it's not easy taking a shot one handed and with your other hand!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Drum Roll........eh?!

Some people really do know what to do with the most unlike things.  Really, who  would have thought a washing macine drum would have so many uses in it's next life?
This is what I love about the internet.  You can find out so many things and even how to do them.

I've collected a few of my favourite recycled images for uses of the drum.  First up is this fabulous floor lamp using a tripod and washing machine drum, which has been covered in a variety of designs.
The  recycled lamps are a project of a Portuguese designer Tó Martins, check out Rewashlamp.

Number 2 is a firepit, to keep you warm in the garden.  Just weld some legs on, give it some stove paint and away you go. Instructions on How To are here

Number 3 is another firepit, but with an added extra of a grill.  So you can have a BBQ and be cosy, if you want to.  It's also quite decorative with the stones surrounding it.  Perhaps this is also a good safety precaution.

Number 4 and Number 5 are both the same purpose but different styles.  Stools or pouffe, one is called an ottoman so perhaps some storage space in that one.  Above No.4 made by Junk Munkez, whose designers are working hard to turn their city’s trash and junkyard scraps into bold furnishings inspired by their Lebanese roots. Their line, dubbed Knit Knack, uses old drums that have been cleaned and painted as colorful canvases, with what you might call the tapestry effect.

Number 5 has had wheels added to it and a nice bolster cushion, which is also a lid. You can find out more about this on Esprit Cabane.

Lastly, but certainly not least is Number 6.  This idea is just so brilliant I want to make one or two, but would have to sabotage my machine (not gonna happen) to get the drum, or beg for one!
this could do as a large side table or small coffee table even. Although you would have to think about the cables.   This one will set you back a cool £350 to buy.  Created by UK designer Max McMurdo, Silvana is Reestore’s most popular product.

Goodness I don't think there are enough drums to go round, hope you've been inspired now! :)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Eco Scarf Hanger

Just a quick share of an interesting but usefull idea for those small branches or sturdy twigs.  Why not turn them into a scarf hanger?  This was an image found on Tumbler ~ no I don't use it, I have enough trouble undertanding the point ot Twitter let alone Tumbler.

I would imagine that you assemble the branch pieces in the order you want them.  Then perhaps drill holes top and bottom to glue wooden dowels in (although this frame looks a bit thin for this, screws would be secure but untidy in my opinion).  Perhaps another way is using a glue gun to secure them and then when the frame is fixed in place everything is secure.

Sofa Protectors

Having recently invested in a recliner suite, I decided that I would like some covers on the head rests. More to keep any build up of dirt from gathering over time, than anything else.  Sound like we're dirty ;) I could have just wiped it clean every week, so you could say this is just my laziness!  However over time this would wear out or damage the leather.

I had this beautiful fabric, bought lining and eventually some wadding/quilting, I had to wait 'till it came back inot stock.  I had it all planned, measured and ready to go, when the other half piped up he wanted covers on the foot rests too please!
Aaaargh! My patterned fabric was limited, so out it went on the floor and after much measuring, huffing and puffing I figured I could get them to match with a few adjustments.

The head rests were pretty simple rectangles, with elastic, covered in fabric to hold it in place on the head rests. Since the top of the suite is rounded I also added elastic to the edges before turning them right side out, this gave them a more fitted look.  The ends, I had to rethink the design and added a panel of lining fabric and adjusted the fit on the sofa, before finally sewing together.

For the foot rests there wasn't enough fabric to cover the whole front panel so I had to add lining to the left, right and bottom.  Once the rectangle was sewn together I added ties to the top to secure the coverto the foot rests. I folded over about 9cm or so of the bottom and stitched the sides, this made a little bit of a sleeve to slip onto the rest before being tied.
Needless to say I'm still working on finishing the other ones, finding a good day without interuptions hasn't been that easy of late.  but it will get done eventually ~~ hopefully before the impending housemove.
I may have to cover the arm rests in plain fabric, since the stray cat seems to have adopted us.  We'll see how we get on.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

DIY Cat Toys

I don't really have a cat honest!  I took a stray female to the vet to be spayed, with the help of charity Animal Help Net Kerry.(AHNK)  It's 2 weeks since the deed was done, I have to say she's taking it pretty well.  Sure, she took it out on the Vet right enough, but she's been super lovey with me, despite the odd mood swing and huff or two.

I've learnt that taking her to the vet in a cardboard box is a bad idea ~ she totalled it (wrecked it) and ended in my lap learning to drive!  Thankfully on the way back I had the cage from the vet.....phew! My goodness she was mad during the car journey.

Anyway for a cat that has been outside all the time, she has been fabulous in the house. Uses the litter tray no bother, settled into a feeding routine.  Sleeps at the foot of my bed.  No interest in wanting out or scratching the furniture or the log post.  .... this puzzles me that she doesn't want to claw.

Anyway after 2 weeks in the house and with the stitches pulled out , I thought maybe she might like some toys  ...... cats are supposed to like them right?  Bet this one will have zero interest......... if so I saved a few bob in not buying them.

L-R: Stuffed sock with wollen tail, eyes hot glued on.  Denim mouse with a long tail, mini ball of wool with a tail, woolen spider on a string attached to garden cane.

Everything sprayed with cat nip, so far she is not impressed by the mouse and runs and hides when she see the spider on a string (arachnophobia perhaps? LOL)

Maybe it'll be just a simple case of playing with twine, I shake it she swats it.

On a more serious note.  Please pet owners be responsible and get your pets spayed/neutered.  Shop around for the best price and some organisations offer help towards the cost if you are unemployed.
For those near Tralee Mcgraths Vet will microchip your pet for €22.50! (price quoted by AHNK)

I've named her Juju since she put a spell on us.  I think she may have chosen us as keepers, I guess we'll see once she gets outside next week.  We managed to sneak a collar on during a cuddle and later adjusted it at the next cuddle.  Any other way would have been stressfull. She's still getting used to it, lots of scratching at it etc.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Braintree Clothing summer outfit

I stumbled upon Braintree Clothing who are running a competition for bloggers - by creating a holiday outfit from their line you can win your outfit! (Up to £200)
Normally I don't bother with these types of competitions mainly because, I rarely like the clothes.... yes I'm particular.  I thought I'd give this a go as they have a few things I adore, sadly a lot sold out in my size. But this is what I put together.

The Betula Birch Tunic in Nordic tile. As an alternative to florals. I teamed this up with the Deep Purple Ivywood Jacket (currently on sale ;) ) as the sea breeze can be rather cool or even chilly in the evening, to finish it off I chose Kips Leather Cross Body Bag, as I adore these type of bags. I also picked the Bibaka Bangle, as it's always nice to have a bit of jewelry other than my watch.
As you can probably tell I love Purple!! So that's my Purple Passion Summer Fashion choice from Baintree clothing.
If you want to take part in the competition head over to  #BtreeStyleComp before 21 July!!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sales: Why wait?

Well do you shop for fashion items regardless or do you wait for the sales? Me I don’t like being ripped off by companies, so I wait for the sales.

Today I’ve got a fabulous example of why. This has been bugging me all year. It started during the January sales, when I had my wish list set up and was watching certain items of interest. No big deal you say….. Well you should try it sometime!   You’ll be amazed at what goes on.  It was real eye opener for me.

What you’ll see is price fluctuations depending on the popularity of the item, remember the good old days when an item was marked down, it either stayed there or was lowered some more to shift it? Those days are gone I think. I watched items drop to the sale price and then, if they sold well, shoot back up to near the original price.

Say for example the item was €65, dropped to €30 in the sale, sells well and shoots back to €50 in a matter of days. Sometimes it may even end up as the €65 in the sale with the original price going up to something like €75 – 80.   Are you feeling ripped off yet?

Here’s my next example. I purchased a dress for my daughter. On the retailer website it is valued at €93.75, I bought it on sale and I’m happy with the price I paid for it €28.  Beloved is the brand not where I bought it.
So what is my problem? I hear you ask. The Retailers marketing strategy! That’s what.

The dress arrived from the UK depot. Lots of price stickers, obviously the euro tag is on top with the sale price, ok that’s fine. So I peel that label off and the blank one under it to reveal the UK reduced price of £22.50, which is fine too, that’s a fair enough conversion. But, there is another label under that which, after peeling off the next two reveals the original UK price of the dress to be £52.50. No more stickers under that.  So that leads us to believe that is the original shop price.  I have looked on the UK site and found that they are charging £75.  I don't think staff bother to remove the original tags do you?
Now no conversion rate even with that added extra that you expect would convert that £52.50 to €93.75 would it.

So the next time you are out shopping, remember this. The reason the UK price is removed from the original label is because you are being ripped off by that particular retailer.

Why the sales are good, I walked into Oasis the other week and bought a dress in the sale for €6 the tag said the original price was €84.  Now that WAS a Bargain!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Bromore Cliffs, Ballybunion

Our afternoon outing yesterday was to Bromore Cliffs. Now unless you like the sea view and cliff rock formations, this is not the place for you.  Prices are as follows;  Car €5, Motorcycle €3, after that it is €2 per person whether you come on foot, bicycle or bus. (although I do wonder how a tour bus would manage, with parking).
Through the gate and first up is The Fairy Wind Field on your right.  It is supposed to get mini twisters and tornados.  Or as folklore would have it, tis the Fairies conjuring up the Fairy wind from fort to fort.
There are information plaques dotted around the whole site, which are really the highlight of the short walk.  Without them it would be pretty disappointing.
So you head down and the path splits, we went to the left first and it seems most visitors do the same, this is the longer part of the walk.  Below is the view to the right.
Out on that point is Leck or Lick castle, which is just a ruin. We were rather hoping that it would be in the walk, but alas it is not. That was a dissapointment, perhaps it will be included at a later date?
Here is a close up.
I'm curious as to the entrance in the rock face? I will have to google and see what comes up.   Moving forward on the walk you will have plenty sea views and information plaques on a plane crash, The Seals Rock, not that we saw any seals,  Devils island which is more of a stack, whcich Eagles once nested on, but today it belongs to the gulls. Although someone else was caught resting on it.
I think it is about time I get myself a bird book, it's not the first time I have been left wondering what exactly kind of bird it is, or might be. Below is the actual rock.
Futher on it mentions seal caves, again we found the view lacking of seals. The Bromore Fox which lives on the cliff ledge, again a rare sight. puzzles me as why it would want to live in such a place (if it does).

The ledges

The next bay has much to take in according to the plaque, but it's good as you can then try and find each location.
The ruins, we could not find, but then there wasn't much left of them to see I guess.  It seems to be the case here, most ruins are just mounds in the grass, just like the ring fort in the field which you don't get near.
At least you can see the Hole in the rock, caves and rock layer colourings, as well as the rock formations. Towards the end of the track is The Pigs Jump, I have to say I love how some things get thier names :)

We sat on the bench for quite a while, just enjoying the peace & quiet. The whole area is cordened off with wire.... we wondered whether or not they were charged.... certainly must have been where the Cows where kept. Well I wasn't going to be the tester!

So we moved on the the final part, over towards the rare breed of Kerry cattle. Ahh the smell of cows, grass and the outdoors on a warm day, reminds me of my childhood.
This is obviously a well behaved Kerry cow as it still had it's horns, below is one of the many calves.
Okay back to the touristy bit. The cliffs, featuring the Starlings cave and The Mermaids caves and Rock......... yes I did just say Mermaids!! Well alright I didn't see them today but check out the bubbles ;)
More information on Bown Loss Strand, The Droinningen shipwreck and Glenachoor Waterfall, due to the dry spell not much water to spout today.
All in all we enjoyed our short stroll, even though we spent 2 hours there. I'm sure you can cover it in 20 mins, but like I said I love being outside.  I can say I came, I saw and took it all in. I just love the folklore bits. Most of the fauna had flowered, but I did spot some heather and a couple of other flowers.  
This is a relatively new walk, hopefully it will be further developed and expanded. Perhaps even a wee shop.  I suppose it will depend on how many visitors it attracts, as to how and if more is to be made of it.
If you want a free Cliff walk then visit Ballybunion, you can follow it up with the beach walk. You never know what you might see dolphins or porpoises perhaps. I have to go back there the next nice day and take some photos with my new camera (which I am still learning how to get the best out of).

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

In Limbo

It's safe to say I'm currently in Limbo.  Knitting has come to a halt mid pattern, that's never a good thing with me.   I can safely say this year is a testing one so far, with what looks like more to come. We're not even halfway through and I can't wait for it to be over.  Yup that's how it is!

It looks like we'll be moving to our forever home in four months time, if everything goes to plan.  That in it's self is going to be a challenge, thankfully it's only about 20km from where we are now. 
But I have to say starting again from scratch making a house a home, getting it exactly as you want it it going to take time and patience....... I can see some major debates about taste in decor, as we are exact opposites...... one likes black & silver whilst the other is bright and colourfull.

Anyway I had a quick look over the crafty pages and love this, hopefully I can do it in the new place to brighten up a room.
You could also spray the twig for an added clarity.  Goodness can we please have summer now!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

More Charity Knits

Phew! I seem to be falling behind in my postings, well more like keep forgetting or get distracted.
Anyway I used up all my Aran yarn scraps by making some charity knits. A couple of pet blankets and a bundle of hats.
 I really liked the Antler hat pattern, even reversed the pattern midway through on the blue one for a different look.

This is just a sample.  It cleared all the odd balls though. Just in time for the new additions of yarn to my stash.  so much for trying not to buy more yarn!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Biker Birthday Card

I swear everybodys birthday is trying to sneak past me... you know, there I am out shopping, seeing Mothers day stuff all over and so I get stuff to be prepared for it, despite not knowing exactly when it is.  Only when I get home and look at the calendar.........Duh...... Bro's birthday next week........ Darn it!

Ummmm what or how do you put together a "Man" card? Well even when I buy one it's not what I want ..... I mean really, when have you seen a card really suited to a guy who's into bikes, boats, or always up  to his elbows in engine parts?  Maybe I'm just blind, but it's been decades since I've seen one even half suitable.

Since his life is revolved around his bike I thought I may as well try a card like that.  I found some images online to use, although I don't know what he'll think of my choice.  But had I been allowed to go for my bike license, I would have one something like it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Rough guide to clog/croc sock liners

I promised this many moons ago, a basic how to, so to speak. Basically if you can knit socks you can make liners for your clogs/crocs.  What you are doing is making something similar to a trainer sock.

I used 50g dk. 3.5mm & 4mm DPNs.
First measure around the opening of the shoe, this will tell you roughly how many sts to cast on. Remember you will be stretching the rib, so you have to take that into account.

Using 3.5mm Cast on X (68 in my case). Rib for desired length. (This is the fold over part).

Divide for Heel
Put half sts on needle one (34), divide remaining between needles 2 & 3 (17). Change to 4mm needles, work 8 rows stocking stitch, on needles 2 & 3. With right side facing continue as follows;

Slip 1, K half the heel sts, slip 1, psso, K1 turn
Slip 1, P 3 sts, P 2 tog, P1 turn

Knit rows; Knit to 1st before the gap (where you turned) Slip 1, K1, psso, K1 turn
Purl rows; Purl to 1st before the gap, Slip 1, P 1 psso, P1 turn.

Repeat last 2 rows until no sts left to turn. (18)

Pick up sts along the gusset turn, purl to end, pick up sts along other side gusset turn.(5sts both sides in my case)

On a normal sock you would now work needle 1 ~ we are NOT going to do that. But we will take a stitch from it on each row.

Working on needles 2 & 3.

Place marker. K2, K2 tog through back of loop, K to last 4 sts, K2 tog K2. Place marker. K1 from needle 1 turn.
Purl to end, P1 from needle 1.

Continue until you have decreased down by the amount of sts you picked up from the gusset. ( I now have 52sts on 2 & 3). now we work Needle 1. I Knit across it decreasing 6 sts evenly so I had 46 sts in all. If you knit socks you will know roughly how many you should have at this stage. I think I should have left this at 50sts.

Continue in stocking stitch until about 2 inches short of desired length.

Put ½ sts on Needle 1, this is the sole. Find the center stitch from the heel and use this as you guide. Divide the remainder between needles 2 & 3.

Decrease toe as you would normally. In my case it was as follows

Needle 1 ~ K1, K2tog Through back of loop, knit to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1
Needle 2 ~ K1, K2tog Through back of loop, knit to end
Needle 3 ~ K to last 3 sts, K2 tog K1

Next row and every alternate row K.

Repeat until you have about 18 sts left. Graft together. I'm lazy so I just knit the corresponding sts for both needles at the same time and cast off.
I put the clog heel strap over the arch and used 2 strands of yarn to tie the sock in place.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The odds n ends

Well it's been a wee while, I don't know where the time has gone.  But I'm glad that January is over.  It's known to me as the too many bills month as everything seems to be due then.
I was trying to  think what I had been doing with myself other than running around like a headless chicken for a couple of weeks, trying to get everything sorted for forms that landed on the doormat on the 2nd Jan.  Being a Scot I was still enjoying the remnants of Hogmanay/New Year celebrations.

So what was knitted?  Well I've been using up the scraps. Starting with  this layette from Lion Brand with matching bonnet.  This is the second time that I've knitted this up.  This time it was a surprise for someone who's daughter had a baby.   It's such an easy quick knit.

Then I thought I'd try my hand at gloves. I've never ever made any before. Now that I've actually made a few I'm wondering what was so intimidating about them.  But then again I never had a set of DPNs (double pointed needles).

I took the pattern from Berroco here but found that I had to alter it a little to fit, which is surprising as I always thought I had big hands....... obviously they are not as man sized as I once thought......yippee!
I've made quite a few pairs, although the 1st couple were a bit, um, messy around the fingers. with the increasing, but I sorted that later so that it was neat.

My mother, bless her, gave me some knitting stuff for Xmas including wool.  She gave me some fancy pompom netted yarn which left me scratching my head as how the heck to knit it.  All I can say is thank goodness for the internet and You Tube.

The next step was to figure out how many stitches to knit with, I ended up using 6 after a little trial and error.  I was thinking a sort of skinny style scarf.

Well at least now I understand how my cousin was knitting with spoons whilst on holiday!  ;)

This is the end result. I think I'll get similar yarn in red or purple, as I'm not a fan of navy at all.

Cast on 6sts and knit up as stated on the band, I sewed the yarn when I had to join and tied a knot in the end when I finished.

Now that I've used it once I'll have no bother in using it again.