Thursday, 23 February 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Goodness me!

Is it really that time already?

The last year seems to have zoomed by again at a most alarming rate and here I am another year older and celebrating yet another birthday.

Is it just me or do the years actually start to go much faster when you reach a certain age of maturity? When I was a child it seemed like I had to wait an absolute eternity for each birthday to come around. But now they come around far too quickly for my liking ~ not that there's much that I can do about it, except make the very most of the occasion!

I got lots of lovely presents ~ including some beautifully scented lotions and potions for pampering myself, two gorgeous bouquets of deep pink roses and pale pink carnations and one of my favourite kinds of chocolate ~ a Terry's chocolate orange ~ YUM!

I really do feel well and truly spoilt!

The celebrations will continue this evening when I go out with my little family for a birthday meal at Pizza Express in Edinburgh courtesy of Tesco. I have exchanged £15 of my Tesco Clubcard vouchers into £60 worth of Pizza Express vouchers ~ an absolute bargain!! And I do love a bargain ~ especially on my birthday :O)xx

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Friendship Bracelets

My daughter has been going to a lunch time craft club at school for the last few months ~ where she has been learning how to make Friendship Bracelets. I am always amazed at how lovely her creations are and how intricate ~ and complicated ~ some of these braided bracelets look.

Anyway, as we had a few spare hours during the half term holidays, I asked her if she would mind showing me how to make them. We gathered together a few skeins of embroidery thread and a bracelet making wheel and started braiding. It wasn't as difficult as I had imagined it would be and soon after tying a few simple knots in some embroidery thread I had something that resembled a friendship bracelet.

This first one was made by attaching six lengths of thread to the wheel and then tying a forwards knot all the way down. Somehow it produces this wonderful spirally effect which I love.

My second attempt was made by combining a forwards knot and then a backwards knot all the way down the threads. I decided to pretty this one up a bit by adding some brightly coloured beads to the ends. I really like how this one looks too.

Once we got started there was no stopping us ~ the possibilities and combinations of these simple braided bracelets are endless. You don't always have to use embroidery thread either ~ you could use any scraps of yarn that you have lurking around the house that need using up. There are also plenty of ways that you can pretty these bracelets up by adding brightly coloured buttons and beads into the mix.

We all spent a really fun afternoon making these friendship bracelets ~ even small boys can join in the fun ~ and it was a fairly cheap and cheerful way to keep the kids entertained for a few hours during the half term break too :O)xx

Friday, 10 February 2012

Blanket progress

As promised, I'm just popping by to show you the progress that I've made so far with my Little Boy Blue Granny Stripe Blanket. Admittedly there has not been as much progress made with this blanket as I would have liked ~ but that is purely down to me doing my usual thing and letting myself be completely sidetracked with other projects such as knitting socks. Oh!! ~ and running out of a crucial component to hooking a blanket called yarn didn't help me much either!

When I first started planning to make this blanket I wasn't quite sure if I was going to just stick with using blue tones ~ I had been toying with the idea of adding red and cream into the mix. But when I tried the colours out together I wasn't completely convinced that they really worked and decided to follow my instincts and stay with my all time most favourite colour spectrum of blue. And I must say that I am very happy indeed with my final choice.

The yarn that I am using to hook this blanket is good old dependable ~ and very reasonably priced ~ Stylecraft Special Double Knitting. In the following colours :: Denim, Aster,Cloud Blue, Sherbet, Royal and Turquoise.

Each colourful blue stripe of the Little Boy Blue Blanket is made up of two rows of treble clusters, and there are 74 treble clusters in each row. At a rough guess I think that it usually takes me about 15 minutes to work one row of treble clusters, which means it takes me around half an hour to complete each blue stripe. Not too bad! I have managed to get six repeats of each colour from my first six balls of yarn.

I did think that I would manage to get seven repeats ~ but no amount of finger crossing and silent hooky praying would make the last little amount of yarn stretch to complete another stripe. Almost but not quite! I only had another few little treble clusters to go until I reached the end of the stripe! But the yarn totally refused to play ball! Still it gave me a great excuse to go online and indulge in a little bit of yarn shopping ~

Not that many of us normally need an excuse! I ordered another six balls of blue loveliness and then took the liberty of adding a few more colours to my stash for some future projects that I have already lined up in my little head!

We have now broken up for our Half Term holidays, so I am looking forward to spending a lazy week at home with my two small people. I hope that you all a lovely weekend and I'll stop by again sometime early next week :O)xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Winter Warmer

I think that there is nothing quite like a nice bowl of piping hot homemade soup to warm you up on a cold wintery day.

There were a few spare vegetables that had been lurking about in my fridge for a little while, so I decided to use them up and make some soup for my lunch. This isn't something that I would really call a recipe ~ as it isn't exactly rocket science to chop a few vegetables, bung them in a pan and make them into soup. But this is how I made mine today::

My ingredients were ~

5 Carrots
5 medium potatoes
2 small leeks
2 cloves of garlic
2 pints of stock

First, peel and chop your choice of vegetables ~ not rocket science!

Saute the crushed garlic and leeks in a little olive oil until softened ~

Bung the rest of the chopped vegetables into the pan ~

Cover with your choice of stock ~ I have to admit that I cheat a little bit here and always use shop bought stock ~ and then leave to simmer until the vegetables are cooked ~

You can then either serve the soup a bit lumpy and rustic looking as it is ~ or leave it to cool for a little while and then whizz it up with a blender.

I have to do this with all my homemade soups as my Miss Fussy Gussy daughter refuses to entertain the idea of eating anything that contains either onions or leeks! I have therefore done the good dutiful motherly thing today of blitzing the said soup to within an inch of it's life in order to eradicate all traces of leek! :O)xx

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Successful socks

Finally ~ after a few false starts and a couple of minor disagreements with the Double Pointed Knitting Sticks ~ I have finished my first ever pair of socks. And I can't even begin to tell you how ridiculously happy that makes me feel!

When I first embarked on my sock knitting journey I wasn't entirely sure if I would ever reach my desired destination. But arrive I did! And at the correct destination too! I am now the very proud owner of a hand knitted pair of socks ~ and not only do they actually look like a pair of socks, they also happen to fit me perfectly as well. Who would have thought it?

I don't mind admitting that I really did have the heebie jeebies quite badly when I first read the sock making pattern. But do you know what? Once I actually got started and decided to take it slowly step by step, all those sock making jargony words finally started to make a bit more sense. I now have a basic understanding about the construction of the sock ~ and all that sock talk of gussets and heel turning no longer turns me into a gibbering wreck! I still have a long way to go, but I really did enjoy my first ever sock journey.

In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I have already cast on my second pair. You might all be thinking that with all that Knitty excitement going on that I have forgotten about all my hooky trips. Definitely NOT! As you can see my Little Boy Blue blanket is still around and I promise that I will stop by and show you all the progress sometime soon.

I hope you all a have a very enjoyable weekend ~ whatever little woolly trips you may be taking :O)xx