Thursday, 31 January 2013

January round up

Its the last day of January, how did that happen so quickly? I've barely got used to it being 2013 and already we are one month into it.

So here is my round up for the month:

Recipes tried and blogged:

Home made deodorant - I have been using this consistently since I blogged. I sometimes have to apply twice a day if I'm having a more energetic day but it works well and doesn't stain my clothes or leave white marks like commercial deodorant. My underarms also feel silky soft which is a nice side effect.

Home made sugar free chocolate - these are beautiful, five to ten minutes to make and worth every second. Even my DH makes them. I've eaten hardly any proper chocolate since making these and they cure my cravings for sweet things.

Projects started:

15 stitch blanket 

Ombre Acrylic Blanket

Posh Purple Wristwarmers & Neckwarmer

Striped Crochet Blanket - a post to come on this soon

May rose wreath

High Speed Knitted Shawl - a post to come on this soon

Projects frogged/put into the WIP Pile:

15 stitch blanket

Ombre Acrylic Blanket

Projects finished:

Posh Purple Wristwarmers and neckwarmer

May rose wreath

Yarn in:

5950g ! I don't think I've ever bought that much in one go before! In fact that's probably as much as I'd bought ever before all in one go. Good job most of it was acrylic and therefore cheap, plus I don't think I'll be buying much yarn for a few months so this should keep me going for awhile.

This converts into 17,620 meters or 10.9 miles

Yarn kitted/crocheted:


2484 meters or 1.5 miles

So I have quite a bit of catching up to do,maybe I should stop buying yarn...

I did also give away 200g of yarn, which was 2200 meters or 1.4 miles which does help a little bit as that is now out of my stash.

Books reviewed:

Week 1: Alice in Wonderland

Week 2: Alice through the looking glass

Week 3: A country housewife's book

Week 4: Sense and Sensibility

Week 5:Someone at a distance

Quite a busy month I think. I hope you've enjoyed reading about my activities and continue to read my posts. I think they will probably slow down a little in February but I still hope to post at least 3 - 4 times per week.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Today's post was either going to be about how I love my new knitting needles, or hopefully some happy pictures of a finished object. I knit 70% of a shawlette over the weekend and hoped to have it finished by today but life got in the way.

I fell over on a patch of ice on my way to work on Monday and hurt my wrist and shoulder. My wrist is 90% better by now but I flared up an old injury on my shoulder and could barely move my arm yesterday.

I'm a little better today but I still can't knit. I can crochet so I have been working on my crochet blanket. No photos yet, I'm not up to hauling it around the house and holding the camera up.

I'm trying not to be frustrated because I am okay really, its only a little injury, I'll be better in a few days I have a lot to be thankful for. But I was so close to finishing my project...

Still hopefully this is just a small interruption and maybe by the end of the weekend I'll have it finished ready to show off.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

52 books - week 5

I had a delivery last week from Persephone Books, so my next couple of reviews at least are going to be about there books.

The book I chose for this week was "Someone at a distance" by Dorothy Whipple.

Its quite a gentle read, although the story is full of emotions, but the author takes you through them in a calm and almost soothing way. Its not a complicated read, the story is set over a few different families and houses but it doesn't tangle you up in hundreds of characters.

I enjoyed the book. It has a strangely satisfying ending. Its a predictable story, almost from the start you cans sense the ending, but it finished with the good characters happy and the bad characters unhappy in an almost child like manner.

Book Title: Someone at a Distance

Author: Dorothy Whipple

Enjoyment: 7/10

Would read again: 8/10

Comments: Its a pleasant read, not too taxing on the brain with a nice ending. Its not my favourite though because its just a bit too predictable. The book is trying to be ordinary people living ordinary lives and in real life nice people don't always end up happy and bad people don't always end up unhappy. I would read it again if I was in need of something soothing to read.

Persephone Books

Monday, 28 January 2013

A trip to London

I've been quiet over the weekend because on Saturday I went on a trip to London. Some people from the Posh Knitters group on Ravelry decided to meet up in London and I and a lovely lady from Stafford, Carrie, went down from the Midlands to meet them.

Carrie and I hadn't met up properly before so it was lovely to finally meet. We chatted on the train all the way down, all the way back up and a fair amount in between. I found out she is my ex house twin (my last lovely house sounds like it is pretty much the same layout as her house, which makes me slightly jealous as I miss my old house a little bit) amongst other things.

We all met down there at the Royal Festival Hall which I'd never been to before. Its a great place just to go and meet up as a group. There are plenty of chairs and tables around and no one seemed to bat an eyelid at a group of women sitting around knitting and chatting.

We did go on a little diversion along the way into Loop. I ended up with two skeins of Malabrigio sock:


All in all it was a lovely day and I hope we get to do it again sometime soon (and not just for the yarn shopping).

I started a new project because I had nothing on the go which I could knit without having to concentrate too closely. Hopefully I'll have more of that to show later on this week. 

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Friday, 25 January 2013


I have to admit I am getting a little bored of the bad weather now. I don't mind the snow so much, but the pavements have compacted snow which has frozen and walking to work and back is like trying to walk across an ice rink.

I fell over on Tuesday and luckily only hurt my dignity. Today I managed to hurt my toe which was already injured so I'm limping around feeling a bit sorry for myself. That was on my way to work. I set off on my way home feeling trepidation but after about two minutes a family friend pulled up in his 4 x 4 and gave me a lift home, for which I was very grateful.

Still the snow is still bringing pretty things, here's the monster icicle that was hanging outside my bedroom window:

About two minutes after I took that photo it fell to the ground with a crash. I'm glad I wasn't stood underneath it at the time!

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for clear pavements on Monday.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

FO - May Rose Wreath

On my inner front door I put a simple white hook, and I like to hang different wreaths on there depending on the time of the year. This month I haven't put anything up since the Christmas decorations came down and I decided it was time to do something about that.

 I used the May Roses Wreath tutorial from the Attic 24 blog as the basis my wreath. 

I wanted it to be quite simple, just a little something to brighten up my day when I come home. On the glass panels on the door is a pretty stained glass pattern with blue berries:

I wanted to pick up the blue of the berries with the wreath and this is what I came up with:

Not bad for my first attempt at crochet in a couple of years. It too me about six goes to get started but once I did it all came flooding back to me and this was a quick little project. It was all done with a 3.5mm crochet hook using a single strand of Stylecraft Special DK. The covering for the ring was rows of half treble (UK) crochet stitches. The pattern for the May Roses you can find here.

Its simple and pretty with clean lines, which is exactly the style I go for in my house. Plus its got one of the Husbeasts favourite colours in there, blue, so lets see if he notices it when he gets home from work.

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Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Frogging my ombre blanket

I think my Ombre Acrylic blanket is getting frogged. I'm about half way through the second section at the moment.

Unfortunately knitting it with 8mm needles is hurting my hands. When my thumbs started to go numb I decided it probably wasn't doing me any good. So I am frogging it and going back to my original idea of a crochet blanket with this yarn.

I still love the fabric this pattern makes, but I think if I try it again I'll make it out of 4 ply which will mean I can use a much smaller needle size, either 5 or 6mm. I've knit quite comfortably on 5mm before so I shouldn't have a problem with it (I hope).

I hate frogging, its so depressing, but I am being strict with myself because I know if I don't frog it then it will end up in the big WIP pile in the corner of the living room and I'll never doing anything with it again. It will make me feel guilty and I'd always feel like I couldn't use up the rest of the yarn because "one day I'll finish that blanket."

In the meantime whilst I came to this decision I've been practising my crochet skills on a mini project. Hopefully I may have that finished and ready to show you by tomorrow.

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Tuesday, 22 January 2013

52 books - Week four

My book for this week is a Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

When I was a little too young to have started on Jane Austen the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice came out on the television - the one with Colin Firth. I watched every episode and loved it. My Dad bought my mum a copy of the video before we even owned a video player. I think he may have regretted it once we did have a video player because of the amount of times we watched it. I have it on DVD now and I love watching it.

So naturally the first Jane Austen book I read was Pride and Prejudice and it didn't disappoint me. I've read others since but somehow I hadn't read Sense and Sensibility before. I've seen it on television, a version with Alan Rickman in it, which I loved.

So this weeks book was Sense and Sensibility. Here is my summary of it:

Book Title: Sense and Sensibility

Author: Jane Austen

Enjoyment: 910

Would read again: 8/10

Comments: I enjoyed reading it, I generally know if I pick up a Jane Austen I am going to enjoy it. I didn't find it as funny as Pride and Prejudice and its never been an ending I'm keen on. I always feel that Edward is too wishy washy for Elinor, I feel like she deserves a better husband. Added to that I feel like Colonel Brandon deserves someone better than Marianne. I think as readers we are supposed to like Marianne but I find her a bit too selfish for my taste. Colonel Brandon on the other hand is one of my favourite characters out of the book. In fact I think Elinor and Colonel Brandon would have been a better match.
That said Jane Austen did try to write realistic books and how many times in life do we see couples marry and feel sure they are doing the wrong thing. Sometimes they surprise us sometimes they don't. So I suppose this is fairly true to life, but if I needed some comfort reading I think I'd stick to Pride and Prejudice.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Utility room

My utility room is in the process of being decorated, mostly by the Husbeast. We normally share the decorating but in a room that is about a meter wide there isn't enough space for both of us to work. As I hurt a muscle in my back just before Christmas and it still isn't any better it makes sense for him to be doing the majority of the work.

Here is the before picture:

In fact this isn't the real before picture. I think we have one somewhere, I will have to dig it out sometime. There was previously a worktop along that long wall. When a room is one meter wide and a worktop is 0.6m deep you'd have thought the previous owners would have realised this wasn't a good move. But we do walk around the house going "now what would an idiot have done?"

In order to get to the washing machine or tumble dryer I had to contort myself in weird and not so wonderful ways which was starting to drive me potty - did I mention the bad back?

We are nowhere near finished, I have plans for this room which involve a sink, oh and a ceiling - its open straight up to the rafters at the moment, and with no radiator and a long outside wall and no double glazing, this room is freezing.

However the Husbeast has only just begun on it and here is where we are so far:

Please excuse the mess, this was taken at nine o'clock last night to send to my parents, I haven't managed to get a better picture because the room is currently having stuff done to it and my Husbeast learnt DIY in the school of "make as much mess as possible so people can see you are working hard". 

So far the Husbeast has:

  • Painted the walls white (some where white some where bare brick)
  • Covered up the fibreglass on the end wall and painted the plasterboard
  • Cut the worktop and mounted it at the far end of the room
  • Laid lino tiles on the floor

Still to do:

  • Put in a ceiling
  • Buy a freezer for down the other end 
  • Plumb a sink in down the other end
  • Install a radiator or heated towel rail
  • Put in a new light
  • Put a cupboard in next to the washing machine and a little one next to the tumble dryer

P.S: No Husbeasts were hurt in the decorating of this utility room, he had a little electric heater plugged in whilst he was in there, and he was regularly fed. 

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Sunday, 20 January 2013

FO - Swap knits

I've finished my knitted item for the Alice in Wonderland swap:

My swap partner likes purple and wristwarmers so these should be just right for her. I'm supposed to be the March Hare, so a yarn in the colourway Jam Session seemed perfect for someone who is  at a perpetual tea party. The little leaf buttons from my Crafty Creatives box seemed perfect to finish them off, straight from a woodland scene.

I've ordered a few more items for the swap over the weekend, one of which is some purple yarn called March Hare, I couldn't get better than that for the box.

I love doing swaps and finding the right things for people. Sometimes its quite difficult, I've seen people who have not given much information and say they are happy with anything go off and complain in other groups that what they received wasn't good enough.

Its hard for knitters of different ability and experience to swap unless everyone accepts that a handmade item is always going to have had a certain amount of time, effort and care put into it and so even if the knitting isn't as good as your own, its still something someone has worked hard over.

My knitting is certainly not as good as some of the things I've seen people knit on Ravelry, but, as I am not a quick knitter, I would hope that anyone receiving a hand knit off me would realise its taken me a lot of time and effort to make. Sadly that's not always been the case but hopefully this time my swap partner will appreciate and love the things I have made her.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Today I am...

Knitting some wrist warmers in Posh Yarn Bonnie Aran in the colourway Jam session:

Knitting my Ombre Acrylic Blanket, which is going to take awhile as knitting on 8mm needles hurts my hands:

Re reading one of my Chalet School books, perfect comfort reading:

Trying to figure out how to use my new (secondhand) camera, its a "proper" camera, a DSLR and I'm finding it very confusing:

Enjoying the snow we still have around the house:

Winding my Yard Yard yarn I got the other day one skein at a time:

Listening to Oomph and letting the Husbeast get on with putting plasterboard up in the utility room without interfering too much....

Someday that room is going to look nice, hopefully someday soon!

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Friday, 18 January 2013

Let it snow

I had something completely different planned to write about today, and then it snowed:

So have a picture of that instead. I'm off to do some knitting, watch the snow and hope the Husbeast makes it back from London at a reasonable time.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Crafty Creatives - January Box

I've been having the lovely Crafty Creatives boxes since they started and every month has been fantastic. Some months I've preferred to others but its given me the opportunity to try new crafts. Sometimes I get more out of the additional items in the box than the main craft itself, but that's okay because it means I'm building up a lovely stock of beads, ribbons, stickers, buttons, pictures and lots of other things which come in surprisingly handy.

If you haven't come across Crafty Creatives before basically they send out a box once a month. In each box will be a small craft to try out, I've made a notebook, a Gothic mask, bath bombs, a flower for my hair and so on. Also in the box are lots of other crafty bits and pieces. Each box has a theme and the items are linked around that.

January's theme is: Woodland

In the box this month is:

The Art Card
The Kit: this month needlefelting leaves
Toadstool beads
Wooden leaf buttons
Skeleton leaves
5 leaf pendants
Owly fabric
Flower soft and glue - I've never used this stuff before its apparently like glitter
Fox beads
Owl pendant
3 birch hearts
Pine cone

I've done needlefelting before, if fact if I ever get round to putting together my red needlefelted cushion cover you'll see just how much needlefelting I've done! So this kit is of less immediate interest to me than some of the others, but I will do it at some point as I think the leaves would make a nice addition to an autumn themed wreath.

In fact I find the whole box very autumn themed this time around, rather than winter, however I like everything in it so I'm not complaining.

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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Special little things

Today I have been appreciating:

  • The way the ice makes cobwebs really obvious so I can appreciate their beauty 

  • Quick meetings which are less noisy than I expected

  • My early finish on a Wednesday so that I can spend the afternoon knitting

  • Curling up watching my tortoise

  • DK weight yarn and 8mm needles for a quick, uncomplicated knit

Last night I started knitting some of this:

Whilst I wait for some more purple Push Yarn Martha Sock so I can finish my 15 stitch blanket.

What are your favourite little things which turn an average day into a special day?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

52 books - Week three

My book for the week is not actually fiction. Its one of Persephone books collection, number 80 to be exact - The Country Housewife's book.

If you haven't yet discovered Persephone books yet I urge you to go and have a look at their site (although don't blame me if you spend too much money). They have 100 books, all in the same calm grey covered with beautiful endpapers inside.

The Country Housewife's book is from the 1930's and so of course some of the ideas don't relate to modern day life. It does however give a good view of life in the 30's and it still has a lot of information which is valid today. I love books like this and have a few but this has to be one of my favourites.

Book Title: The Country Housewife's Book

Author: Lucy H Yates

Enjoyment: 910

Would read again: 10/10

Comments: This is funny, interesting and useful by turns. The preserves and vegetables sections is probably as useful today as it was when the book was written, and for a knitter the section on moths is pretty relevant. A pleasant enjoyable read if only to take you back in time. Great for fans of Downton Abbey and programmes of the era.

The endpaper pattern - Persephone books

Monday, 14 January 2013

Yarn that makes you happy

Have you ever bought one skein of hand dyed yarn and fallen in love with it and then realised its a one off, never to be repeated colour, and the other few skeins out there have been knitted?

This was the case for me with Posh Yarn Martha Sock in the Cha cha cha colourway. I only really bought it because of the name, I'm a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing and thought it would be fun to knit whilst I was watching the programme.

The more I knit it the more I fell in love with it. Martha Sock is my favourite yarn base. I might briefly flirt with other yarn bases but eventually I always come back to Martha. The colour of Cha cha cha is just beautiful. Its purples with subtle hints of cerise. Its what I imagine you would get if you mashed blackcurrants up and used them to dye with.

Other colourways have come close. I'm currently knitting with Martha Sock in Trumpet Voluntary which is purples with hints of blue and is also beautiful to look at. Still though, Cha cha cha is my favourite.

So you can imagine how happy I was when I saw on the Posh Knitters group on Ravelry that someone was destashing a skein which looked almost identical called Murder she wrote. Obviously I bought it, what else could I do?

It really is so close in colour, its maybe a little darker but the same underlying colours are all there. So I've decided its going to become a pair of fingerless mitts to wear with my Cha cha cha shawl. I already know I am going to enjoy every single minute of knitting because I will love watching the colours change and blend under my fingers as I knit it.

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Sunday, 13 January 2013

Small skein society

Natalie over at The Yarn Yard has started the small skein society. I signed up before the New Year and received my first parcel yesterday. I signed up for the two skein and choconastick option. This yarn club is great for those who like to knit socks or mitts or who want yarn suitable for colourwork.

I went for the two skein option because at some point soon I really must start knitting socks again. Both the Husbeast and my father keep asking me for pairs and I would really like some more myself.

The first delivery was fantastic as it contained two skeins which have so many of my favourite colours in them and three of the choconasticks.

Natalie has hand dyed these skeins with brushes in small sections to try to ensure there is no pooling if we do use them for socks or mitts, where you can get pooling on the heels or thumbs if you are working short rows.

I would have liked to have included a picture of the whole parcel, you know with the chocolate... But that disappeared within two minutes of me opening it! To be fair I did actually include the chocolate option because I thought the Husbeast might be happy about yarn appearing every month if it had chocolate inside for him.

Not that he is ever disapproving about my yarn stash luckily, he's very good to me, but still a little bribery goes a long way.

Apparently the chocolate was rose flavoured and made a hot chocolate which tasted of Turkish delight. He did at least let me have a few of the marshmallows which came with it.

So here is a photo of the first delivery of yarn in all its rose coloured glory:

However this wasn't the actual point of the post. I've mostly written it because I wanted to praise Natalie at the Yarn Yard for her fantastic customer service.

When I signed up she double checked my address because I'd moved since the last time she sent anything to me and she wanted to make sure she had the right address. She then offered from the second parcel onwards to wind the skeins into cakes for anyone who wanted it. Well considering I have pain in my right shoulder most days from an old accident, and winding yarn exacerbates it, I think I answered her before she'd even finished typing the request.

She then gave me the option to have it in one cake or two and just generally was so helpful and accommodating I wanted to just say a public thank you. Being a knitter who mostly uses yarn from UK indie dyers has spoilt me. If I order it its generally here within a couple of days, the dyers are easily accessible on Ravelry to answer any questions and they are so helpful. Unfortunately I now get grumpy with other shops both online and bricks and mortar if they don't live up to the high standards set by the yarn shops.

If you want to sign up to the Small Skein Society you can do so here.

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Saturday, 12 January 2013

A Posh Quilt

A few days ago I won a prize over on Dee's Posh Yarn blog. The competition was to say what your word for the year was. I chose patience, because my ME/CFS frequently means I can't do what I want, as fast as I want, when I want. So I need more patience.

I never normally win anything, but I won! I was so excited I had to keep double checking to make sure it was me who had won, I honestly couldn't believe it.

The prize was a mini quilt handmade by Dee, who is very talented at making and photographing beautiful things.

Which makes the next bit slightly nerve wracking as I want to photograph my prize and I know there is no way I will be able to do it justice. My photography skills are a bit hit and miss at best and part of my reason behind posting more frequently in this blog is to try to force myself to take more photographs and to try to improve my skills.

I tend to blame my camera a lot, and to be fair it is very cheap and cheerful and not brilliant. I would love a new one but I wonder whether there is any point until I've at least learnt how to use a simple one properly.

In the meantime here are the photos. First up my porch:

 Why my porch? Well that blank wall at the end there is where the mini quilt is going to live as a wall hanging to brighten up the room.

Here's the quilt down there to show how it will go (obviously not hung up because I haven't had chance yet but just to get an idea of how the colours will work):

And finally a close up of the quilt in all its beautiful, colourful quilted glory:

This manages to have in it most of my favourite colours and I think its fabulous. Thank you Dee I will treasure it.

Friday, 11 January 2013

WIP - 15 stitch blanket part two

I don't have enough yarn for this. In fact I'm not sure why I thought three skeins of fingering weight would be enough. I looked at existing projects and didn't realise how many of the projects were for baby blankets. I don't want mine to be for a baby blanket though, I want it to be an adult blanket for a specific adult. I now have a couple of choices:

1. Use what I already have, knit all three skeins of one colour, then another three skeins of another colour for a two tone blanket - which would involve buying three more skeins of yarn

2. Use what I already have, then use three different colours in turn - which would involve not buying any more yarn

I am actually, for various reasons, veering more towards option one, I think it will end up a less messy project. The more times the colours join I think the more chaotic it will look.

I am currently veering towards option one, I think it will look better. So now all I need to do is find three more skeins of purple yarn, preferably in  Posh Yarn Martha Sock, or another indie dyer with the same yarn base. I have been informed by the lovely Dee at Posh Yarn that there should be some Martha Sock in again in the next few weeks so I'm going to finish knitting the third skein of Trumpet Voluntary and then put it to one side until I have some suitable purple to add to it.

Disclaimer - I know this isn't the best picture ever, I've been hoping to get home in enough natural light all week to take a better photo but in the end I've given up and gone with electric light, isn't it dull weather this week?

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Thursday, 10 January 2013

New yarn - again....

Oh yes I have more new yarn. This is the second batch of the Stylecraft Special DK to go alongside the yarn I bought here, and this one came from Wool Warehouse. Their delivery was just as quick as Deramores, there was just a limit to how much yarn I could carry home from work in one day.

This is the yarn all together, giving the below combination of colours:

Ignore the weird blueish tinge to this I'm not sure quite what was going on with the camera at this point.

There are more balls of white than the greys and black because some of the white is to go with the colours to make a Pop blanket.

As for the greys etc I may have changed my mind about those. I was going to make a Granny stripe blanket, but then I realised this could be a great colour combination to make the Ombre alpaca blanket I've had my eye on for awhile (although obviously alpaca-less).

It's supposed to be knit on 8mm needles, which should theoretically make for a quick knit but in real life I find thicker needles more awkward to knit with, so I am a bit concerned it could end up being a slow and awkward knit especially as there are a lot of slipped stitches in it so I wouldn't settle into a rhythm like I have done with my 15 stitch blanket.

I may possibly at the end have enough yarn left for a Granny stripe cushion cover which would at least pacify my craving to do some crochet.

Which would you make? A crochet Granny stripe blanket, or a kitted Ombre blanket?

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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

52 books - Weeks One and Two

I've seen a few bloggers posting about doing 52 things in 2013, that is to do the same thing each week of the year. Some are taking photos each week and Natalie over on the Yard Yard blog has inspired me with her plan to read 52 books in the year.

I read a lot, at least five books a week. I can speed read and tend to re read a lot of books so I go through them pretty fast. I also tend to choose light reading, mainstream fiction, which is not exactly a challenge to the brain.

So even though I am little late jumping on the bandwagon, I am going to do something similar. I am going to try and read 52 classics.

My first book I've chosenm is going to count as two books as it is two stories. It is probably no harder on the brain than what I normally read but it is a childhood favourite; Alice in Wonderland, and Alice through the Looking Glass.

There was a copy of this at my Nain's house (Nain is Welsh for Grandmother) and so I read it quite often as a child. I haven't read it in years and so when I saw it in Waterstones recently I realised I would love to read it again as I had forgotten the story.

I've recently watched Tiim Burtons Alice in Wonderland which confused me when I was reading the book as he's mashed the two stories together and come up with a third. That's not to say I didn't like Tim Burtons version, I really enjoyed it, but it doesn't follow the book too closely.

Anyway here's my little challenge summary:

Book Title: Alice in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass

Author: Lewis Carroll

Enjoyment: 8/10

Would read again: 9/10

Comments: This is wierder than I had remembered, and quite a bit shorter, although being 20 years older probably helps there. Its worth another read as an adult, although a childrens book, the characters and story were enough to keep me gripped. I'd read it again although I would probably leave it a few years to make sure I had forgotten the story again.


Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Ravelry - Swap package

As I've mentioned I belong to the Posh Knitters forum on Ravelry and we've been having a swap to cheer us up after Christmas. My wonder swap package arrived today and here it is:

(Please excuse the very poor photos I had rain streaming  down my glasses but I was so excited by it I wanted to open it there and then and needed to photograph the packaging.)

This is from someone who stalked me very well because I nearly squealed with excitement when I picked up the jiffy bag and found my all time favourite cartoon character Snoopy on the front:

I may have wandered around the house for a few minutes sorting this out after coming home from work, chanting in my head "Snoopy, Snoopy, Snoopy". Maybe I shouldn't admit that....

Then inside were beautifully wrapped parcels:

 Which revealed this little lot:


Which was a lovely card, a skein of blue Brooks Farm Yarn, which I haven't tried before as its from Texas. I love trying new yarn so this is a great swap. The white box contains tortoise shaped chocolates, there's also tortoise stitch markers, a tortoise charm,pencils with tortoises on them, some winter spice tea and a tortoise tape measure. The tape measure and some of the chocolates are shown better below:

In case you don't understand why so much tortoise stuff was in there meet Speedbump:

 She is a bit bigger than this now but not much. She is always my profile picture on Ravelry so my love of tortoises is well known. My love of Snoopy is not so well known so my lovely swap partner stalked me and chose well. Thank you Sue.

Always nice to have a surprise when you get home from work on a dull, wet day.

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Monday, 7 January 2013

New yarn

New yarn arrived today and lots of it!

We were having a chat on the Posh Knitters forum over on Ravelry about crochet. The term Posh by the way doesn't refer to us (I am not in any way posh) but to our love of Posh Yarn. We were discussing some of the lovely crochet blankets over on the Attic 24 blog. I love reading Lucy's blog its always full of lovely colourful projects which brighten up my day.

On Ravelry we found quite a few people had recommended the Stylecraft Special DK for crocheting some of Lucy's designs. I'm not a massive fan of acrylic but they said this was soft and not too hard on the hands, so at £1.99 per 100g I decided to give it a go.

I wanted to make a couple of blankets and whilst I might be a bit of a yarn snob at times acrylic is good for blankets because its cheaper to buy in the large quantities needed for a blanket, and its machine washable. This is a serious plus in our house (how do you toilet train a tortoise?).

So I bought two lots of Stylecraft and my first lot arrived from Deramores today:

It is very colourful, in fact it is very not me. And despite the fact I bought it following a conversation about crochet, its actually destined to be knitted into a Pop blanket. Its DK and not worsted but I've never let little things like gauge and yarn thickness bother me before.

I am still intending on crocheting a blanket from Attic 24 and that's the yarn I'm waiting for in my second parcel. Not quite so colourful but will go better in the living room where I intend on it living.

I don't think I've ever bought so much yarn in one go before gulp lets hope this doesn't become a habit!

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Sunday, 6 January 2013

Homemade - Christmas gift tags

Does anyone else still make Christmas gift tags from their Christmas cards? We always helped my Mum with this when we were children. January seems the wrong time to be thinking about next Christmas already but as yesterday we had to take the Christmas decorations down, it was also the day to make my gift tags.

As you can see from the already cut ones I used scissors with a wavy edge. My Mum always made them using pinking shears, which looked better to me, but despite them being on my Christmas list this year I don't actually own any so the cheap wavy scissors came in handy. I did get some very nice Christmas presents though so I can't complain.

If you've never done this before simply collect together your Christmas cards and sort out the suitable ones. Charity ones often have writing on the inside of the front so they aren't suitable and sometimes the really posh ones have a picture on the inside as well as the outside so they aren't suitable. You don't want the gift tags to be too big or too small so depending on the picture on the front you might not always be able to get a gift tag out of each card.

Some cards though you can get a few out of. On the full card above I ended up getting one gift tag out of the two fir trees, and another one out of the Christmas wishes.

Sometimes there doesn't even need to be an appropriate picture, you may be able to see the plain gold on in the picture above. That came from underneath the teddies on the tag below it and makes a perfectly decent gift tag by itself.

To use just punch a hole in the corner using a hole punch and pop some cotton thread or cord through it to attach to the parcel.

I got twenty gift tags to use for next year, not bad for free. Do you have any Christmas traditions like this?

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