Sunday, November 27, 2011

Learning to sew!

It has been a while since I've blogged and I really have no excuse! But this week has been so exciting that I really wanted to share it with you all. I have finally learnt to sew! My soon-to-be-brother in law has inherited an old sewing machine and has lent it to me until they find some room for it. It hasn't been used for years so was really temperamental when I first used it - it kept stopping and starting for no reason. It really did have a mind of its own! But now, after a bit of coaxing and some TLC, it seems to be behaving much better.

I can't remember the last time I used a sewing machine so it was all very new to me. I bought lots of books, did lots of research on tools and equipment that I would need, spent a lot of money on eBay buying fabrics, interfacing, rotary cutters, cutting mats, pinking shears, bias binding (which I have yet to figure out how to use!)...etc. Phew. And then finally it was time to sit down with the machine!

And look what I managed to make! Little zipped purses - perfect as a make-up bag, pencil case or in my example, as a bag for storing all my ribbons!

This one is my favourite. I love the ribbon attached to it. 

I am really enjoying making these and now can't seem to stop! Luckily Christmas is just round the corner so I have a great excuse to make loads as gifts!

What should I try and make next? I'm thinking cushions might be my next project...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Required: a little encouragement!

I've spent the whole day procrastinating today. I am desperately trying to finish off my granny square blanket but just can't seem to motivate myself to work on it. I have 110 squares in total which means a zillion ends to sew in and thats the bit that I just can't bring myself to do - its just so mind-numbingly boring!

I have started the tedious task and managed about 10 squares. I then decided that maybe if I just start joining the squares together and so it starts to resemble some kind of blanket, that might help motivate me. I figured I could sew the ends in at a later stage when the blanket is finished. My living room floor is covered in granny squares and heres a little peek of my current state of affairs...

I have a long way to go and it doesn't help that I have already started my second blanket - a ripple one - which I love working on. It took me a few attempts before I got the hang of it but now I can't seem to put it down. I often take it to bed with me to do a row or two before I hit the land of nod. And once, I even took it onto the London Underground and did a bit of crocheting in public! (I was feeling brave that day)

Here's my work in progress...

How do you find the motivation to sew in ends and join up granny squares? I think I'm in need of some tips and words of encouragement! Otherwise, as my boyfriend pointed out, I'll just end up with a bag full of pointless squares!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fruity Delights

Yesterday I went to a 'pick your own' farm and had such a fab time. For those who live within the M25, you must go visit Garsons ( - its such a lovely day out. My friends said it was like a 'farm safari' which I guess it is. You drive round in your car and stop at various points when you spot a fruit or vegetable that you want to pick. Its so much fun digging up your own carrots or picking your own sweetcorn in the massive corn crops. And there's a wonderful garden shop, cafeteria and farm shop - its so easy to get carried away and spend the whole day there (like I did!).

Anyway, I came home with loads of strawberries, blackberries, plums and raspberries (oh and some yummy chicken from the farm shop for tea!).

And what was I planning to do with all this fruit? Here's a clue...

Yep - I've a lovely Sunday afternoon making jam!
Raspberries bubbling away in the pan

Here's the finished result - raspberry jam. And yes, it tastes just as lovely as it looks! It was surprisingly easy to make and I think I may need to make a few more to give away as presents.

I've also made strawberry jam and the plum and blackberry jam will have to wait til this evening as I really should be starting on dinner. 

Before I zoom off, I just wanted to add that my lovely other half bought me a present yesterday which I absolutely adore! I think it'll brighten up my desk at work so I'll be taking it into the office with me tomorrow for my endless cups of tea.

Hope you're having a lovely Sunday! xx

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hooky Sunday

How are you all today? I know I have been a bit slack at posts but I have been busy with lots of knitting and hooky in the background! I'm having a very lazy Sunday today and am thoroughly loving it. My BF has gone off to do boy things (go-karting) and I am enjoying having a bit of quality time with my crochet hook and yarn. I thought I'd take this opportunity to take a few pics of what I've been working on.

Crochet coasters...

Granny square blanket coming along nicely. I spend ALL my free time working on this at the moment as I am just desperate to finish it! Approx 75 squares so far...

I recently made this cute little knitted hat and booties set for a friend at work who has just gone on maternity leave. She loved it - I do hope it fits when the little one arrives! Its made with 100% alpaca yarn and is ever so soft (though not very practical being hand wash only!)

And last but not least, I would like to introduce you all to Edward the Monkey. I made him a while ago for my BF and he now sits proudly on our bookcase. Cute, isn't he? I'm also currently knitting a zebra to keep Edward the Monkey company.

What have you been making recently? xx

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The joys of wool

This week I have been soooo self-indulgent! But its made me oh so happy.

I have spent a ridiculous amount of pennies on the softest, loveliest wool and it's just been delivered by the nice postman. I am so excited!

I did ummm and ahhhh about this wool purchase, mainly because I couldn't bring myself to spend so much money on wool. I consulted crafty friends on the purchase and of course, they convinced me that it was money worth spent. I did a bit of research in blogland and realised that others often indulge in luxurious yarn. So after a lot of pondering, a few clicks here and there on the laptop and voila, 50 balls of Rowan Cashsoft Chunky was ordered. I did feel guilty for a little while and even now, I can't believe I was so self-indulgent!

But the wool has arrived and look!

12 lovely soft colours

Beautiful, aren't they? A blend of merino and cashmere. I chose more muted tones as I want this for my bedroom. My plan is to crochet a luxurious blanket for my bed. It will take me ages but the end result will be worth it. I can't wait to get started!

Have a lovely Saturday! xx

Friday, August 05, 2011

Summer colds, flowers and WIPs

I've been feeling run down all week, tired, grumpy, not sleeping and now, guess what? I have a cold. In the middle of Summer!

But I also have the most amazing boyfriend who has put up with me all week and then last night, when my cold turned into a full blown, snotty nose, sore throat, can't breathe kind of cold, he made me dinner AND bought me flowers! Now, my BF is not the romantic type. He doesn't know what romance is. So when said flowers were proudly presented to me, I was so touched at the thoughtfulness of it all that I actually cried! I kid you not.

Would you like to see the flowers? Beautiful roses. Look!

Beautiful, aren't they?

I've also been working on a few bits and pieces this week. My knitted teddy bear is all knitted but I now need to stuff and sew it up. I hate this bit and will probably leave it til the very last minute before I finish it!

Teddy bear waiting to be sewn up

When it's finished, it is supposed to look something like this!

Beautiful Debbie Bliss knitting book

I've also finished ONE sock which I'm knitting for a friend's birthday. I always seem to suffer from 'One Sock Syndrome' - you know, when you manage to knit one sock but never get round to knitting the other one. I have many lonely socks in the bottom of my knitting bag waiting for a partner to join them.

But I am loving this sock. It's made with a beautiful Lana Grossa merino and cashmere mix sock wool and its just lovely. Its the first time I've used this wool (having always used Regia sock wool in the past) but I love this one. It may become my sock wool of choice (although its not very practical being a handwash only wool!)
Lonely sock waiting for it's partner

My crochet blanket is still coming along nicely. I will post a WIP picture of it soon, I just haven't had the chance to get out ALL the granny squares for a photo session. I worked out last night that I will need 100 squares for it to be the 'right' size. I have 60 squares so far - only another 40 to go! Sigh.

And last but not least, look what arrived in the post this morning! I was SO excited.

I can't wait to learn to sew! My little sis has offered to give me a sewing lesson soon. This book is full of beautiful things to sew - I don't know what I want to make first. Will let you know how I get on with my first sewing project!

Have a fabulous weekend! xx

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Green Fingers

I'm working from home today which is always a nice treat, but its extra exciting today as I'm waiting for my new washing machine to be delivered! Isn't it strange how you can get excited by the simple things? I am really looking forward to fresh, clean laundry!

In my last blog, I mentioned all the lovely things that I am currently growing in my teeny garden - and just in case you didn't believe me, or are just plain nosy, here are some photos of all the said things.

Runner beans with lovely red and white flowers

Courgettes - lots of them!

Tomatoes, still green. Hurry up and turn red!

Bell peppers which will eventually turn red

Chilli peppers - hot, hot, hot!

More peppers (and a spiders web!)

 And last but not least, as these are sitting on my table in front of me as I work, I couldn't resist but share another photos of these lovelies with you all. I LOVE them!
Have a happy Thursday!
Nikki x

Monday, July 25, 2011

How does your garden grow?

I'm not much of a gardener but I have in recent years, got more and more involved with 'grow your own'. I have a teeny tiny garden but I have still managed to grow runner beans, courgettes, various tomatoes, strawberries, oriental lillies, red and green pepper, chilli peppers, and a variety of herbs! Oh and an assortment of weeds too :)

My courgettes and runner beans are doing really well, to the point where I actually have too many and gave some away to my sisters over the weekend.

My tomatoes are getting bigger but still green and I also have a few small peppers which I am getting excited about too!

But the most favourite thing I have planted so far has to be the oriental lily bulbs. I didn't think they would grow but LOOK!

How beautiful are they? I LOVE them and they smell absolutely devine. And the best thing? They'll re-flower every year so I'll have a lovely supply of oriental lilies every Summer. Yay!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Things I'm currently working on...

My flat is a mess with wool everywhere at the moment. I have so many projects on the go and keep adding to them!

I'm currently making a crocheting blanket - a bit like this one on Attic24 (p.s. check out her blog - its fabulous!)


Its taking me AGES to do but have finally got enough squares - I hope!

Knitting projects include:
  • A teddy bear for a girl at work who is about to go on maternity leave in a few weeks (so I don't have much time to finish it!)
  • A pair of socks for a friend's birthday which is also in a few weeks time.
  • A knitted zebra (which has been rather neglected recently!)
I have a busy few weeks of knitting ahead of me! But all I want to work on is my crocheted blanket - I can't wait for it to be done and am already planning my next blanket!


I finally finished knitting Ed's socks!