Friday, 25 November 2016

Grumpy Bunny!

I've been AWOL for sometime now due to a disastrous laptop crash which really was an accident waiting to happen - it was slowing down to a ridiculous pace and shutting down on a regular basis.  Well, the inevitable happened and one morning last month it decided it had had enough and refused to come on at all.  A self imposed break from all online pursuits ensued - not a great time of year I admit to cease my crafty trading on Etsy but necessary until I figured out what to do (apart from borrowing my children's computers of course!).

Anyway I'm back with a nifty little budget notebook (popular with impoverished students I believe, haha!) which I finally decided to go for.  Just as well I'm getting spectacles for close up work - I'll need them on this little screen! 

In my imposed break I spent some time leafing through some of my fave craft books and finishing off the crochet cushion covers I'd started earlier. I had a go at making this little fellow from 'Homemade Gifts Vintage Style' . . .


He looks pretty disgruntled - poor thing! (maybe this is what I looked like without my laptop, hehe!)

But the one on the book cover did too . . .


Here he is on the settee surrounded by the finished crochet covers which I really enjoyed completing (at last!) . . .


I actually cheated with attaching the crochet covers - the square one was stitched onto a very old tweed patchwork one which had seen better days but the zip was intact and it was just asking to get reused . . .


The other two were simply stitched on to backing fabric without any opening - when they get grubby they'll just have to be unstitched!

Grumpy Bunny was made from an old fleecy hoodie so is quite soft and cuddly . . .


He was just an experiment - I might give him to a passing toddler!  I really love how this book reuses old and unloved fabrics and objects - very inspiring!

We've had some lovely frosty mornings this week, the chooks have been enjoying pecking about without being battered by rain and gales.  They didn't seem to mind the frost too much . . .


I love seeing them pecking about amongst the trees and shrubs :)

We've enjoyed a bounty of eggs from them since we got them - really lovely to be able to collect the fresh eggs and use them ourselves and pass some on to friends and relatives.  Last weekend I decided to treat myself and made 'Eggs Benedict' which was something I've seen on countless cookery programmes but never tried eating or making it.  It was very yummy :) and so much nicer with our own eggs . . .


You can get some recipes here.  Excuse the rather scruffy plate but it's just the right size for some things!

Hope I'll be back a little more regularly now - my Etsy shop is back open again so I should really get off and make some items for it!

Speak soon,
Alison x

P.S.  'Homemade Gifts Vintage Style' is written by Sarah Moore.  I might be using it this Christmas given my very tight budget LOL!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Playing Hooky :)

I picked up an old crochet project at the weekend . . . . and decided to finish it off, yay!  On thing led to another and I'm now trying to incorporate it into a little ensemble of cushions on my couch . . .


The cushion on the left is the one I finished at the weekend . . .


The block patterns were taken from Leonie Morgan's lovely book: 100 Bright and Colourful Granny Squares.  I had sewn the four blocks together and they had sat there for a good few months - on Sunday I added another round of double crochet to 'tie' them altogether and then three rounds of treble crochet all round.

The middle oblong cushion is a few years old I think from when I started to learn to crochet!  It's been lying dormant ever since - oooops!

The cushion on the right is my current work in progress . . .


The pattern is from Susan Pinner's fab book - Granny Squares - a lovely inspiring book of crochet projects for the home.

It's nice to get back to some crochet - so easy to pick up and drop whenever - just a wee bit addictive though :)  I'll be back to getting some 'tweedie' work this afternoon.

My latest addition to the ship is a personalised Harris Tweed cosmetics purse - quite fun and funky I think :)  Very pastel, sorbet colours - with a fresh gingham lining . . .


Better get the sewing machine out now for some tweedieness athough it would be good to get some crochet and knitted  items in there soon too!

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Oooooops, well that was Summer then!

Seemingly it's bad form for apologising for not blogging for a long time so I won't!

Summer came and went, with family home on holiday and a big birthday for me (with a '0' in it!), not fantastic weather but hey, it was fine :)  Our 3 lovely hens laying lovely eggs all the way through pretty much - which was very nice!  It all seemed to go by very quickly :)

I am a bit late restarting my blog as of course University term time is much later than school and it put things back a bit or me for restarting crafty/bloggy things.  Eldest is safely back in Uni and in study mode as youngest and I are now looking forward to October break - whoop!

I've been busy adding items to my Etsy shop, mostly zipper purses . . .

Some inspired by the local landscape . . .




One inspired by the chooks! . . .


And some just for fun - well, why not :) :) ...


We're all loved up here on the croft, hee hee ;-)

Well, I hope to be a round a bit more now - maybe some more relaxed personal crafting, or maybe not, who knows!  There'll be crafting anyway :)  Hope everyone enjoyed a long lazy summer!

Bye for now :)
Alison x

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Socks for my Sons Pal . . . and other stuff.

My eldest son came home from a weekend with friends a couple of weeks ago.  He happened to be wearing a pair of my handknitted socks which I'd foisted on him prior to a camping trip earlier in the Summer - "it get's VERY cold at night in a tent you know" I told him as I stuffed his rucksack with a couple of my knitted boot socks.  Now he loves wearing them inside his Doc Martin boots - perfect student attire!

Anyway, one of his pals spotted his colourful knitted socks and hinted that he'd like a pair like them - any chance of getting some??  He's quite a fun, quirky boy so I rose to the challenge of knitting him some socks with glee!  I decided to make a chunky pair though that would be quick to knit up and went for my '4 stitches to the inch' pattern in Ann Budd's sock knitting book . . . 


They turned out quite fun and funky - the kind of socks you might wear for warmth at night during a camping trip or for slouching about - I think they might be too thick for wearing inside boots but he hasn't received them yet so I'm not sure.  Now my son wants a pair like these so I'll have to go and get some more yarn - what a shame LOL :) :)

A little lace knitting started a couple of weeks ago . . .


It was going great until I was stupid enough to try and carry on with the pattern in the living room with the TV on and my Other Half started ranting about the European election/result - well, you can guess what happened!  The European referendum results have a lot to answer for and not just for messing up my lace knitting - but let's not go there!!!! NOT a happy bunny here though :( :(

Well, we're in the full swing of the Summer school and uni holidays so everything goes a bit belly up as far as crafting, housework, routine, etc. but it's also great just to be a bit out of routine and take a slower pace.  The chooks are laying eggs full out and seem really settled in their new home - I'm delighted!  We're having great fun with them and looking forward to a few antics over the holidays :)


Here's one eating oatmeal out of my youngest son's hand - they love this treat!

Hope to be popping by through the Summer holidays - but maybe a bit sporadically!  Who knows - holidays usually mean a bit of chaos, so we'll see how it all goes!

Bye for now
Alison x

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Life in the fast lane . . . . but not really!

Life in the fast lane . . . . but not really, just extra working hours at the office job and learning the intricacies of hen husbandry.  I've absolutely loved learning how to care for our new little flock of three hens - they are brilliant creatures, thoroughly absorbing and waste far too much of my time, hehe!

This weekend I was browsing through some lovely books I borrowed from the local library and took some inspiration or rather a direct pattern to make a little hen embroidery (you can tell I'm smitten LOL) . . . 


I used a lovely idea from one of the books below . . .


They're all great books - now I want to buy them all - ooops!  The hen embroidery came from the middle book Decorative Embroidery by Mary Norden which I've just flipped through briefly, it was the hen template that caught my eye in the library though!


I didn't actually copy or trace the template, just winged it freehand - hence some of the features area bit out of proportion but it's just for my own pleasure so no matter :)  I used stem stitch for the outline, a bit of back-stitch here and there and simple satin stitch for the beak and wattles (as suggested in the book instructions).  Not sure what I'll use it for yet - maybe the cover of a hen journal??  That would be fun to do.

Here are two of our lovely girls at the back patio door . . .


It was a big decision to take on actual livestock and a little scary for me - but I'm really pleased I did, even if I do have to get up at 7 am every morning to let them out of their coop - they're deifinitely worth it :)

Last weekend I embroidered a little zipper purse after going out to take some photos of wild flowers around my home.  I really love cuckoo flowers (or lady's smock) . . .


I used some crewel wool to do some free hand embroidery . . . .


Here's the finished purse . . .


This was made to go into my Etsy shop :)

Well, it's been a busy time but now work hours are back to normal and hen care is becoming second nature so I hope to be here more often.

If you're thinking of keeping hens, here's a little incentive but there's so much more to them than eggs - they're lovely pets and very entertaining :)


Back soon now things are a little more 'normal' if there is such a thing!

Alison x

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Allright Hen?

A couple of  weeks ago a kind family member heard of a hen coop that was free to a good home - it had been refurbished  from an old gritting salt container - not a thing of beauty but it had all the right components eg. a perch (for the hens to roost on) and a nesting box and a window for light to get in - very solid and water-tight too. 

I decided to cheer it up a little outside and drew a couple of hens in black permanent marker on the front :)  It really needed a little something extra I thought!


Yesterday was 'D' Day and my 'other half' sited it in a sheltered part of the back garden . . .


We had a rough bit of ground in between our garden shed and some trees at the back - so a good situation I think - shelter from the elements as much as possible.  Just need to add a little gate to get in and out :)  It'll get 'prettied' up as time goes by - we have the basic requirements for the moment though - safety and shelter :)  Just need to order the hens now!

Mostly I hope they will be able to cluck amongst the trees and the bushes when I'm at home and able to let them roam free . . . 


A new venture for me so I'll keep you posted as things develop - I'm hoping for hens in my backyard in early Summer - fingers crossed!  I'll keep reading my hen-keeping manuals in the meantime -a lot to learn, yikes . . .

Back to crafty posts next week though - I had so much to blog about today but the 'imminent chooks' have taken over the show!  Hope you're having a nice Bank Holiday if you're in the UK - hurray for Mondays at home - looking forward to it :)

Sorry, couldn't leave without one crafty pic - in between the hen enclosure creation I was making this lovely little thing - I'll fill you in next week . . .  (pattern by Julie Taylor of Love Fibres)


The scarf grew a little longer this week too . . . 


Well, it IS a craft blog, not a 'hen blog', hehe :) :)

Bye for now
Alison x

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Cat versus Sheep . . .

Hello peeps - so much craft stuff going on at the moment - hence the lack of posts, but I thought I'd share some cute photos of our cat's first encounters with my neighbours sheep and lambs.  This is her first year during the lambing season - she was quite fascinated!  I documented a little encounter one morning last week . . . . .

Looking very interested . . . .


Getting closer and checking no-one's looking . . .


A little closer still . . .


This little lamb is moving in on the action . . .


Up close and personal (Awwwwww!) . . .


What -  you don't want to play!?  A bit indignant . . .


Looking sideways . . .


Looking at other avenues of exploration . . .


A better view from up here . . .


Aw, come on - the sheep have finally completely lost interest - good try though 'Ji-Ji'!


Well, it was a fun thing to watch - even although I only went out to take a photo of my knitting as it is very sheepish looking . . . .


I'm using some North Ronaldsay yarn from Orkney - the sheep graze on seaweed on the island - I was so intrigued, I had to try it out - it's lovely to knit with.  Very sheepy and soft and natural - here's the stage I'm at today with it . . .


Looking interesting but taking much longer than I had thought it would - ain't that always the way with knitty things!  I'll tell you more about this scarf in another post - time to have a relaxing morning Sunday coffee I think - have a lovely weekend!

Alison x