Monday, October 5, 2015

Doggie Knits

I'm a bit behind in posting some stuff, so better make a start on catching up. We got a new addition to the mad house in the form of a furry 4 legged little pooch. He's been taking up most of my time over the past year as he came from the pound and was about a year old with no training and no idea how to be a dog either. That's a whole other story.

I noticed that despite his lovely fluffy fur coat, he was feeling the cold last winter. So I thought I better knit up some sweaters this year just in case.  I picked up some cheap yarn in Dealz and chose a Drops pattern to try my luck at.  I've knotted some before for charity, but never knew how the fit was, or didn't like it.  For example the Biscuits & Bones pattern by patons, I didn't like the fold over neck.  I felt that this was just too much.  However it was a good pattern other than that.  I did some mods as you can see below.
Next up was Drops 102-42 Dog coat with traditional pattern again with that stupid fold over collar, which I omitted. I made the S size, but had to use the lengths for the XS to fit my little furball.  It was a good pattern and easy to follow and the fit was perfect.
My cousin was rather impressed and ordered an XS for her friends dog, which I made with a lovely navy glitter and cream.
Now that I was in full swing, I decided to make another glittery geansai for the festive season.  I chose the Drops Valentino  but found that the pattern wasn't as easy as the first one. I managed to adjust it, but it's a little big on the chest and I think I should have used a larger needle for the cast off under the belly.

If they had enough of that glitter yarn I would make one for myself

Monday, July 20, 2015

Summer blooms - even though Summer is hiding.

I've returned to my original method of card making.....yay! for me.  However getting aperture cards locally is difficult and I'm yet to find a steady source, which offer value for money.  So in the meantime I'm doing the folding and cutting by hand.  The card on the far right is upcycled materials, wallpaper, curtain hem and punched card.

Which also means if you have odd sized cards, that you will have to make the envelopes to match.  Which in my case turns out to be the square ones.  I did find a supplier, but shipping was a flat rate of €6.95 so I'll be looking for some interesting paper to make my own.  Especially since discovering you can make homemade envelope glue, using vinegar, sugar, gelatine and vanilla essence.  To my astonishment it works perfectly and stores in the fridge, you just have to heat it up everytime you use it.

There is an abundance of flowers by the roadside, so I don't need a garden full of blooms after all!  I'm hoping to make a load, and perhaps attend a car boot sale to see how it goes.  I've not seen any like these around, so I might be lucky and sell a few.  I also have a pile of stuff I want to get rid off..... declutter here I come.

Now if only I could find the stamina to finish that Rooster painting too!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tyre upcycling

I just have to share a post with you on tyre upcycling.  Some are new ideas, others are old favourites just follow this link for ideas

I love these lights, but oh my the patience to carve the designs out!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Second Canvas Sneak Peek

Whilst the first attempt at canvas painting went kind of alright.  I thought I would have another attempt.  Well I am beginning to wonder, if perhaps I am a bit ambitious or just a little impatient.  For the second one I decided on doing a cockerel, on paper it would be a doddle, with my other paints.  I'm starting to wish I chosen a different subject.

I keep telling myself just to keep at it and build on it, that it'll be worth it in the end.  Although it is now a bit further on, than pictured above.  I wanted to go at it some more, however the light wasn't right.  There have been too many dull days and for some reason I can't quite work the colours with the indoor lights on.  Perhaps I need new glasses.
I haven't decided yet whether to keep it to a white background or fill it in.  I suppose I'll see how I feel once it's done ~ whenever that may be.

I can safely say there will be nothing ambitious for the large canvas that's left, or even the smallest one for that matter!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Charity Cards

I have been a little active in the creative department, however, I have been falling behind in the posting of it all.

This is the next bundle I made, not so many Christmas ones this time!  I'm trying to use up all the bits and pieces that I have saved or hoarded, as well as using up card stock that has mounted up.  Really about time I got around to using it.
I really like bright colourful card, it's just so much more happier somehow. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


I had this crazy idea, that I would like to do some painting, basically to fill the empty walls of my new home. I bought the canvas set in Lidl, don't know how good they are, but they didn't go quick, so am thinking that they are not so good, for the professionals anyway. The fact that they sell tiny tubes of paint made me really laugh out loud in the shop....... wondering how many you would need of them to fill a canvas and would it even do the small one? What would I know anyway, I've never in my life painted on canvas........ they really should teach you that in school too.

Next step was finding paints that were affordable (after all, this is a first attempt). Who'd have thought getting the basic ones would be so hard. Black, White, Blue, Green, Red and Yellow. I couldn't find the yellow anywhere?? Turns out the white was totally crap (cheapo brand) and transparent when painted, I ended up taking the pot of ceiling paint from the shed and using that instead.......... so the next trip to town is going to be in search of some white and yellow, plus maybe a few other colours for the 'coughs' next one.
I wanted to paint a cow, and wanted to do a different style from my norm (when I have the urge to paint that is), it was supposed to be simple blocks of colour and fun. Nothing fancy.

I can say, it didn't turn out like I wanted and in the end I decided to just stop what I was doing and leave it as it is, before I made a complete mess.... I'm still trying to decide whether to like it or not, perhaps it will grow on me, as I have to look at it daily.

I suppose if this was something I wanted to branch out into, I would have to invest serious money into good brushes and Daler Rowney paints (I'm sure there's a reason Easons don't diplay the price).

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Card Recycle

Now that I finally have my desk to work at, I can make a start on recycling all the cards and other bits, that I have stored in a box for the last year and a half.

I'd bought some coloured card and envelopes to make some cards to donate to an animal charity. I'd also bought some card stock in Lidl and won a pack too, so it really was calling on me to get going.  It's great when you know what exactly you're going to do, unfortunately this was not me and therefore, the card making session was time consuming and most of that was spent cutting bits of card and toppers.

The first session went quickly, as I was making a bundle that were the same and also some toppers which I'd made months ago.  However the next lot, was a case of trying to decide how to reuse the bits, what card or paper went with them and what colour of card to stick them on. 

As you can see I only made a few in the afternoon, and it wasn't till I was nearly done that I realised most were Christmas cards, which made me laugh. I'll be keeping one or two for myself.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dressing Table Completed

It's taken a lot longer than I expected due to health reasons, but it's finally done. (Except for some fine tuning).  

The brass ringlets on the feet were the biggest challenge to me, not the rusty screws that broke and remained in the holes, nor the ones where half the head broke off, but by some good fortune I was still able to remove.

These lovely things were so tarnished, that even brasso just bounced off them with no effect.  I tried the boiling method, nada. Ketchup..nope.  Coca Cola on the other hand cleaned them fabulously, with the help of my little wire suede brush.

I'm so pleased, as I really wanted to use them to hide the join of the new feet. Since one of the castors was seized and the other broken, there was no hope of keeping them.  The beauty of the rings is that they have a lip inside, one part fits the table leg and the other was hopefully the perfect fit for the new feet.

First thing I did was clean the whole desk, followed by removing all that could be removed. Top drawer units came off, as did the back lip.  Took out the front drawer and the two panels.  Removed the castor feet, this required a bit of effort.
Next I sanded down the whole thing.  The top I took back to the natural wood, filled in the holes with wood filler and stained with antique pine before varnishing.  I did the same to the drawer fronts and panels.  I added a bit of wood to the front and two underneath for drawer rails, all of which were missing.

The legs I obviously had to sand by hand so that the paint would bind. I used Gloss paint from Woodies DIY, I have to say I hate gloss painting, but this was so easy to apply.  The first coat just got soaked up, so I let it settle for a day or so before applying the second coat.   Waiting for everything to dry fully is not one of my strong points, but it has to be done.  Since I was doing this outside, I was also hoping that it wouldn't rain! Of course the second coat was done indoors for 2 reasons, it rained and it turned very cold..... no good for painting.

For the new feet I bought pine knobs, stained with antique pine then varnished same as the top.  I had to drill bigger holes into them and made my own dowels to fit, because I came home thinking I had some, only to find out that they were too small.
I also wanted a really cool liner for the drawers, seems to be plenty choice in the States, but here appears to be very limited.  You could use a nice wall paper or wrapping paper.  I just went with a Nordic folk print design, which I tiled on paper and printed out.  For the small drawers this is easy but for the big on I had to use 4 sheets and glue the tiles together.  I could use sticky back plastic to protect the paper, but for now and the photos this is it.

So just to remind you, this is how it started off, very rough and a bad paint job.

And now it has been turned around into my little treasure, and is a keeper for sure.  If I put a mirror standing in the center it can be a dressing table.  Or I can use it as my craft desk as it is.  I'm really pleased at how it turned out.
So keep your eye on Shabby Shik Emporium and you might find a little gem too.  Don't be afraid to ask if they have project pieces. You can find all the links to them in my other post.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Brass Handles from Desk clean up

Well you know from the previous post that the brass handles on the desk were pretty dirty and painted over.  Here's a recap.

Now I tried the brasso first and nothing happened.  So I pondered for a moment, then decided to use my nail varnish remover (sure turps or white spirit would do).  I soaked them in a tub for a couple of minutes, then took an old toothbrush and gave them a scrub. Sure enough the paint, stain or whatever came off.

Step 2: Get an old pot, add 1/4 part salt to 2 parts vinegar, & 2 parts water, throw in the brass and boil for a minute or two.  It will go red or black, this is part of the process, don't fret!  See the pic below, the top one has been rubbed with brasso but not buffed.

Step 3: Rinse with water and dry.  Get the brasso and polish away as normal, buffing to a lovely shine. 

And there you have it, good as new handles.  Of course being me, I forgot to throw in the little screws and had to do the whole process all over again!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New Project - Edwardian dressing table

I've been drooling over those lovely shabby chic retro desks and dressing tables for a long time.  Now after the move and re-arranging of where things go.  I noticed I needed some sort of desk, but I didn't want a modern one, I wanted something solid, which in my opinion is usually an old piece of furniture (they don't make them like that anymore).

Just by chance I took it into my head to have a nosey at what was around.  I came across this little gem for sale by Shabby Shik Emporium, by pure luck.  I'm so excited about it I just had to share.

Sadly one of the castors is broken so I can't use them. It was originally a dressing table and is missing the mirror on top between the two top drawers.  I'm fortunate in the fact I can see potential in almost everything.  Yes it has certainly seen better days and some would throw it out, or use it in the shed.   Even my other half just shook his head at me when I arrived home with my bit of treasure (he thinks I'm crazy, but knows I can transform it somehow).
I had taken it apart, then popped it back together to take a photo, as you can see the castors have been removed. One of the screw heads had split in half so I was a lucky girl to get it out.  I'll have to find a replacement for them to raise it up so I can sit with my legs under it.  I've given it a good wash, so that is step one done.  It has been treated for woodworm, which it needed as there were some in the back legs and table top.  I think this might limit my options a little, as I had planned to sand it down and maybe just varnish it, as the original wood is light.  
Idea no.2 is to paint it all cream, except for the drawer fronts and top of the desk which I hope to sand down to the natural wood and just varnish.
The middle drawer has no support, the wood is missing from underneath, so that will be replaced.  I'm thinking about adding drawers to either side too.

So if your looking for Antiques or other little treasures, I strongly suggest you check them out.  At time of writing they have stock for sale on Donedeal & Etsy, you can follow them on Facebook and you can read Jeans blog.  I can say that their little cabin is just a treasure trove, with furniture, teddies, leather bags, jewelry and loads more. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quick Cable Aran

The pattern Cabled Yoke Pullover is from Patons and free. Yipee! This is the actual image from Patons.

This is knit in the round, once you have done the cable part that sits on the shoulders.   I really think that the pattern should ask for provisional cast on and kitchener stitch.  I knitted the cable then sewed it together and it was messy and you have that seam lump.

I didn't take it back, instead I grafted it together as neatly as I could.  Not by any means perfect but a lot better than having a seam.  Especially since the join is not going to be either in the middle back or at the side.  It will be lined up with the sleeve seam at the back, unless you are a whizz and calculate to perfection. (Not me!)

My stitch pick up for the body was a little messy, but I managed to tidy it up afterwards.  I knitted the body as written, however it was longer than stated in the pattern, which is fine by me as I added to this too, instead of 8 1/2 inches I made it 11, then did the cable rib.

When doing the sleeves I didn't do the cast on 6, I picked them up from the body instead.  Decreased down to 42 stitches and did the rib.  If I did it again I think I would go down to 48 and then make a longer rib for the sleeves to match the body.

I knit the neck up as the pattern asked, but it was so wrong for me.  There was to much bulk there and it looked just plain weird.  So I cast on 11 sts per cable pattern repeat, did the decreases in every 11sts repeat instead of every second one, until I had 3 twists and then cast off.  No high neck for me, I can hardly bear things touching the front of my neck.

Looks a bit odd in the photo, but it's a good fit and very wearable.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The "I ran out of yarn" Cardi

This cardigan has been on my needles for years.......... yes I said years.  I think I did so much knitting, that I just ran out of go go juice.
Anyway I picked it up again at the end of last summer, and of course had to unravel enough to make anyone cry, due to having to make it smaller since we both started looking after ourselves a bit better and lost a good few kgs of weight.

This is the first time ever I have ran out of yarn.  I'm so shocked, they must be less yardage on the ball or something......... probably why it's not written anywhere on the label.
 I managed to get some ribbing onto the neck, but not enough for my liking.  As for the button borders, well no sireee are you getting them, you ran out of yarn remember.  I added a zip instead, well what else could I do?
I knew what kind of reception was coming before I handed it over.  The collar is too low and the sleeves are a tad too short.  Exactly what I said well I ran out of yarn sweetie, if you don't want it, I can put it to one of the charity shops!
This is the same person who managed to felt a lovely pair of hand knit socks, that my mum made him!  And all he said was oops!  Mind you they fit me now and are well cosy ;)