Verb: pootle
poo-t(u)l To move in a leisurely unhurried way,
with no real purpose

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Its all about the flowers ... oh, and a few blackcurrants !

So there I was on Saturday all ready to go with this post, 
just a couple of pictures needing to be added, but all pretty much there.
And then,
on Sunday this little bundle arrived ...

... and from the minute he arrived that was it ...
absolutely nothing got done !
So, if I may I would like to formally introduce you.
 Otto, Everyone. Everyone, Otto.
There's an awful lot of doggy love going on in our house at the moment 
as well as quite a lot of sleepless nights
but we are totally in

So, coming back to this post, needless to say, all activities were carried out pre-puppy arrival,
 which already seems like quite some time ago !

I have to tell you first all about my daisy chain.
This started as a quick little pootle to finish off the lovely Sublime Egyptian Cotton that 
I had left over from my cushions.
I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of the smaller, fiddlier crochet projects
 but I have loved every minute of this one.

The pattern is one from Ravelry by Claire Maloney that can be found here.

It was a really clear and easy pattern to follow and the daisies worked up so quickly.
Because I wanted quite a solid look to my flowers I joined the petal chain together at the back.

I made the leaves in two different colour greens, and used a strand of each green to make a 
double chain to join the daisies together.

I took a bit of time to lay the chain out as it would be once hanging and then it was just a 
matter of threading everything on and tying and sewing in all the ends.

And then for the exciting bit ...
off to hang it up.
But it has to be said this didn't go as well as could be expected.
It just kind of went all floppy and wibbly,
quite annoying but certainly nothing to be beaten by
so back to the drawing board I went and I came up with this:
Step 1: A quick trip to the hardware shop to buy some wire.
Step 2: Threading the wire through the back of the chain.
Step 3: A bit of blocking and a quick spray with some ironing starch.

 And, surprisingly all three steps seems to have worked because once blocked and dry
here it is...

hanging on my fireplace, looking all lovely and summery.

I discovered here that its actually really quite tricky to take a picture of something bunting like -
you either have to get up so close that you miss the overall effect, or you have to stand so far back it disappears into the background.

So not the best photo's I'm afraid but you get the general idea.

From crochet flowers to real flowers as it was my turn on the rota this 
weekend to do the village church flowers.

I always get a bit nervous about doing the flowers because its not something that I've really
 done much of and the thought of lots of people sitting in church checking it out 
always brings me out in a bit of a cold sweat.

But flowers bought and with a bit of greenery picked from the garden off I went.

Fortunately once I had removed all the flowers from last week there was still quite a lot of foliage
 left which gave me a good shape to work with. Result !

It was so quiet and cool in the church that it really was a very lovely way to spend an 
hour on Saturday morning.

I just cut and poked ( thank goodness for oasis ) and cut and poked a bit more
and it just sort of evolved.

Hopefully during the week the yellowy orange lilies will open
 out and it should be a big old riot of colour.

Before I go I just have to tell you as well about one of my most favouritest puddings that I made this weekend,  blackcurrant flummery -  summer in a bowl !

It couldn't be easier as its just blackcurrants, simmered and strained and then sweetened 
with sugar and thickened with a little cornflour.

It makes the most deliciously rich fruit jelly you will ever taste.

Its best served cold, with shortbread,

and lots and lots of cream !

Yes, well - what can I say !

Long post today ..... 
I expect I'm quite probably talking to myself now !
So, I shall be off
as its almost certainly time for a garden visit with little Otto.

Have a lovely week and may the sun continue to shine - lots.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Creating Cushions .....

Cushions, cushions, 
lovely cushions !
( ooh I've said it too many times now and it sounds weird ... )
But today my post is all about them ...
It all started a few weeks back with a basket of extremely gorgeous Sublime Egyption Cotton
and the Little Woollie cushion pattern from Simply Crochet Magazine.

I had already decided that the cushions were going to be for the chairs in the garden
 so neutrals, a zesty green and a burst of burgundy seemed a good choice of colours.

I haven't made cushion covers before so what with my usual love affair for making 
blankets, in comparison, this little patterny square of 
loveliness just seemed to whizz along in no time at all.
There's also something very addictive about Jules' pattern because you really want to 
keep on going to see what each new row of pattern is going to look like.

Cover number 2 , in a slightly different colourway, was soon on the hook,

swiftly followed by an envelope style back in a neutral shade.

I managed to find some buttons for the back that go so perfectly with the wool 
you'd have thought I'd have commissioned them to be hand made !

For each of the two cushion backs I edged the square in the main colour
 and added a little strip of buttonholes.

On the reverse of the cushion  all of my ends were knotted 
securely and sewn down the side edge - another lovely bonus of cushion versus blanket, 
as all of this will be tucked away inside for nobody to see !

Joining the front and back couldn't have been easier as it was just a matter of 
double crocheting the two sides together all the way around the edge.
And here they are ...
in all their lovely stripyness.
And just to add an extra little scrumptiouness I added a border of 
bobbles all the way around the edge.

I truly love them.

They were so quick to make and I love how they look with the plain back as I think this
 really makes the patterned side stand out.
I love the contrast of the colour against the neutral back as well.

And this is where their new home is ...

.... on the two chairs in my little shady crochet corner

 right outside my back door.

Monday, 14 July 2014

THIS, this and that,and THIS !!

Oh I had such plans for today.
Following a couple of super busy weeks at Nursery I had decided to take today off as the end of this week heads into another busy time of seeing all of our little pre-schoolers heading off to school.
It was just going to be a day at home for catching up with all the mundane kind of stuff but it was a day off never-the-less.
But ... whilst I really tried very hard to ignore it I had a very sore throat niggling away this weekend and then last night I definitely felt yuk.
And today I feel even more yuk.
I don't know anyone who has a cold at the moment so where the heck has mine come from ?
Its one of those horrible hot and cold, feeling a bit sick, wibbly legs ones,
so in my bed is where I am staying today.
But, here's the silver lining - I can still use my laptop in bed - yay !
And whilst not a huge lot of crafting has gone on this week I have a couple of things that just had to make it in to a post today.
Firstly ......
our little Beth headed back to Bournemouth on Friday to pick up her degree results.
All very nerve wracking .. but she did it, she absolutely nailed it ...
she got a 2.1 - HOORAY !!
Those 4 years of slogging away were so totally worth it.

This picture is of Beth on her first day at school, standing next to big sister Meg.
And from this we now have two daughters who both have degrees behind them, Meg having graduated last summer, and we could not be more proud.
Our 'little' Immi is soon to head off to Surrey to start her Midwifery degree so lots of big changes ahead for us all.
Whilst all three girls were off doing their own thing this weekend Dave and I felt that it was entirely necessary for us to celebrate anyway so we headed to our village pub,

that very conveniently is just 2 doors away,
to enjoy lunch in the sunny garden

under the shadow of the village church.

It was also a bit of an early celebration for our 27th Wedding Anniversary
 which is happening this week.
The only downside, or possibly upside, of a pub lunch is that its very difficult to summon up much energy to do anything much afterwards ....
but a little bit of gentle crochet fitted the bill perfectly,

whilst sat next to a very sleepy Itsy,
who managed to fall asleep with her tongue sticking out !
I am still really, really loving working on my garden cushion covers.
The ends have now been secured and tied in,

and I have managed to find some perfect little buttons for the cushion backs.
Its just a matter of joining fronts and backs together now ...

and then I shall post the big reveal !
BUT NOW ....
I can hardly wait to tell you .....
Look what Dave and I went to see yesterday...
that we may just have put a deposit on ...
who will be coming home with us in two weeks ....
Meet Otto the Weimeraner,
a BFF for Lilou.

And, do you know where he comes from ...
Salisbury, where Dave and I got married in the Catherdral 27 years ago this Friday.
Full circle, fate, ... he had to be ours !

Monday, 7 July 2014

All sewn up ...

It doesn't happen very often these days but every now and again my sewing machine
gets to have a little day out from its cupboard under the stairs.
Its usually for nothing more exciting than whipping up a pair of curtains
but on this occasion it was for a bit of a 'winging it' project.
A friend had recently given me a really pretty dress in a beautiful ivory kind of 
broderie anglais fabric and as much as I wanted it to look really amazing on me it
just didn't as the style is quite fitted with darts and zips and the like.
I'm more of a smocky, loose dress kind of person so after a bit of a think I set to.
I love a project like this but its always a bit nerve wracking making
 that first cut with the scissors.
But cut it I did ... eek !
Right across the middle.
This sounds like I was terribly hasty - but infact rather than scissors I used a
quick unpick, and whilst it wasn't particularly quick it did what it was supposed
 to do and unpicked very nicely.
I took out the two bust darts and the back zip and
cut about 3" from the bottom of the bodice part.
This is my little pile of surplus to requirement bits.

And this is what I was left with.

I then made a small opening at the back so that the dress could be slipped
on,edged this with ribbon to finish it off

and reattached the skirt to the much shorter bodice.

Usually I'm a bit impulsive and don't bother to pin and tack but this time I made myself
take that extra bit of care as I so wanted this makeover to work well.
There were several quick try ons to make sure it was all working as it should and
then the final stitching took place.

And here it is .... ta-dah !

Now its so much more me - and I love it.
( I am happy about it truly - just apparently not that smiley
 at the moment this picture was taken ! )

Anyway, as they say, one thing leads to another and before you could say cotton reel this
 low waisted denim pinafore dress had become a little summery smock.

And the cut off bits of fabric ...

... made the perfect frill to edge my new denim shorts with.

Ta-dah number 2 !

All in all a good day out for my sewing machine and three
 newly up-cycled bits of clothing for me.
Of course my week would not have been complete without a little crochet action and I have been happily hooking away at my second  Little Woollie cushion cover.

Once I have finished this I'm going to sew both covers up and do a whole cushion inspired post
- so until then I'm afraid its just the one photo for now.
There's also been a spot of blocking taking place...
and once fully dry this little blanket will be pretty much cooked.
But far more exciting than any little crafty projects that have taken place this week ....
my Giveaway prize from Mitzi at Lazy Days and Sundays at The Willows arrived this Saturday !
Mitzi began her Blog about the same time as I started mine and we have followed each other throughout each of our first years of blogging.
One of my favourite things that Mitzi has made is the beautiful Homecoming from Afghanistan Afghan blanket. Mitzi made 182 squares to make this blanket, the exact number of days that her son was serving in Afghan. The finished blanket is so stunning and so very special in so many ways.

The Giveaway package that Mitzi sent me arrived in this lovely hessian bag decorated
with a photo of a poppy that Mitzi took in her garden.

Inside there was an assortment of poppy bits and bobs , from a notebook to some poppy
 ribbon to one of the beautiful handmade poppy brooches that Mitzi makes,
to a little packet of poppy seeds for my garden. 
There were also two balls of DK wool in exactly my colour
 ( I'm already thinking over what I can make with these .. )
and all of this was topped off with a bag of scrummy strawberry sweets.
It was like Christmas all over again !
Thank you so much Mitzi.
Anyway ..... probably time I got on really... but before I go I'm going to send you
 all a virtual bunch of roses that is currently in a jug on my kitchen table ...
I just wish you could smell them,
 I cant even describe it ...
 its just totally and utterly the smell of all things Summer.