New shoes are good for the soul

Hello everyone, seasons greetings to you all! Hope you have all had a merry time, and eaten and drunk too much.


I braved the sales yesterday for a bit of a mooch around. I had in my head, from I don’t know where, a pair of shoes that I wanted. Some burgundy patent Mary Janes with a large flower on the toe. Like I said, I have no idea where this came from, and not unexpectedly, the shops did not come up trumps. However I did manage to pick up a bargain pair of shoes that I decided to accessorize.


Take one pair of brown T-Bar platform shoes (thank you Wallis, £45 reduced to £10 – bargain!):

A pair of blue corsages, half price at £5 each (quite frankly I think £5 is a lot for these let alone £10 each!):

Pin broaches to T bar, et voila…




On the 11th day of Christmas my true love made for me…a garland of Christmas trees

Right, we’re on the home straight. It’s been a hideous week with everyone having some version of D&V, lots of wasted days, kids watching far too much TV and me not being able to get everything I wanted to get done. I’m nearly there though.


This lovely like garland, however, was made a few weeks ago. I found myself at Knitting Group with no project, mostly because I get all my patterns on line, and rarely print them off. The Knitting Lady was selling some of her yarn stash for silly prices, so I picked up some green yarn, which looked and felt like a 4-ply merino or something. Anyway, I started knocking it up into triangles. It’s easy enough, make a chain, DC into each stitch in every other row, then on the alternate rows DC2tog at either end, until you reach a point. I added a couple of rows of 2dc in brown yarn, and attached them to a chain. I also gave them a coat of fabric stiffener.


Unfortunately I don’t have a mantle piece or anything to hang them from, so they are just randomly in the middle of the wall! As you can see, I am almost a complete instagram convert now. Just give me a virtual slap when I start becoming a cliche!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love made for me…some presents for my family

Had the weekend from Hell here, with each of the family coming down with the Winter vomiting bug in turn. Sleep has been scarce. Bodily fluids have been plentiful. My laundry mountain is now so large it appears on an ordinance survey map.

Hey ho, enough moaning. I managed to finish off a couple of projects, the lure of the glue gun raising me from my bed. I have been panicking as this weekend has been a write off, and I have many projects that need finishing. I feel better having a few completely done rather than lots in a state of near completion.

These flowers are for my MIL, who loves anything I make her! The flowers are made using this Attic 24 tutorial, crocheting with DMC floss.

The hearts are for a family friend and were crocheted using this pattern. The box frames for both of these came from the Sainsbury’s website. They are cheap and cheerful, not brilliantly well made (in fact I have to send one back as it arrived broken) but for the money they are nice little frames. Both have the glass removed to get the benefit of the crochet.

And this sewing jar is for my niece. It’s made using one of the kilner jars I mentioned in a previous post. The pin cushion was a simple circle of fabric, with running stitch all around, stuffed, and gathered over the inner circle of the kilner jar. I’ve added a Cath Kidston tape measure, some buttons, some rubbon, pearl headed pins and some needles. I’m very pleased with this, and am loath to give it away! Fortunately I have another kilner jar left so I can make one for myself.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love made for me…a crochet warmer for a willy

I have no idea of the significance of this statue, but it was crying out for a yarn bomb

I am writing this from my sick bed at the moment but I wanted to share with you today’s yarn bomb. This was quite a quick and spontaneous one. A friend came to knitting group with a suitcase full of yarn that she had just found at the dump, all in great condition, just lots of odds and ends. Obviously the owner hadn’t discovered yarn bombing as way of using them up.


Anyway, I picked this yarn out because I thought it looked nice and Chrismassy, all spicy colours combined with snow. It was, however, quite a challenge to crochet with, and actually quite abrasive! Still, I knocked this up pretty quickly. I felt the Minotaur in this statue in town deserved a little something to keep his yule log warm (yes, he does have one).

I did this in the middle of town, heaving with people. Fortunately, most of those people were more concerned about getting to the shops than I what I was doing. Still, I decided to call DH up and talk to him on the phone while I was doing it to distract me, and also to give me an air of insouciance.


Let me tell you yarn bombers, if you don’t already know: cable ties are your friends. How can I not have realised this before? My fairy lights are still where I left them last week, held fast with cable ties. For this one, I tied the long length of crochet with a knot but added a cable tie for security. Happy Christmas Minotaur!


On the eighth day of Christmas my true love made for me…some fudge made of dark choccy


This afternoon Betty and I made fudge for her teachers for Christmas. As with most of the things that I make, it was super duper easy. I used Nigella’s recipe. It calls for 70% cocoa chocolate, the good stuff. But at 700g for 2 batches of this stuff, and minimum £1 per 100g bar…well, I don’t like them that much! So I use half the good stuff and half the cheap dark chocolate (Sainsbo’s basics). To be honest you can tell the difference, but I’m still not spending £7 on chocolate.


I made half plain and half with peanuts and cranberries for a festive look.


I wasn’t very imaginative with the packaging but I’m adding a load a bags in so that the teachers and TAs can all help themselves to some to take home.


This stuff needs to be kept in the fridge, and in actual fact is delicious eaten straight from the freezer, where it will (theoretically) last longer. An excellent Christmas gift, and one that is really easy for kids to help with.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love made for me…a sausage dog next to a tree

Sausage dog
Dreaming of a white Christmas

I’ve finally finished another pre-Christmas project. It’s another sausage dog, this one is a commission from my friend to give to her daughter’s friend. I’ll be sad to see this one go. I haven’t named him, as I don’t want to get too… <chokes> attached <sobs>.


Here’s the pattern again if anyone wants to make their own.


Jumping on the Instagram bandwagon

I’ve downloaded Instagram onto my iPhone and been playing around with it. I’ve been reticent up till now, not wanting to jump on a very full bandwagon. Blogs are full of delightfully retro photos, so much so that I was worried my photos would look mundane and out of touch.


Funny how now we have incredibly sophisticated cameras which slip in our pockets. But we are now using this technology to recapture a feeling of nostalgia and halcyon days.


DH is a photographer, and a damn good one at that. Our house is full of lovely natural shots of the kids, fantastic lighting, and photoshopped just a touch to enhance their natural features, but in a way that you would notice – like natural barely there make up, when we all know the real au natural look would scare the children.


Yet my 1980s/90s photo albums contain pictures of me and my siblings in mundane scenarios such as us just sitting on the sofa, us eating dinner. In 500 years time historians will look at these photos and try and figure out what the lurid orange stick like food is being eaten by people in the pre-Internet era. All the photos are in these albums. The ones with red-eye, peoples thumbs over the lens. I have a classic one from a uni Christmas ball of one of my friends snogging a random guy, all blurry and poor lightening, with a helpful sticker from Boots saying ‘subject too close’.


My husband would die rather than display a slightly out of focus photo with red-eye. With the aid of Photoshop he can even improve old photos, almost literally changing the past. Of course, he has great integrity and tries to stay true to his subjects. Though what picture of a gorgeous toddler isn’t improved by having the rivers of snot photoshopped out?


I’ll leave you with my experiments with Instagram then. Our Christmas decorations. We don’t go for minimalist or a theme. Just our usual mismatch of styles, and child friendly. But with special filters, courtesy of Instagram you can imagine that I am living the innocent life of some unspecified era, when things were better than they are now.