Thursday, 27 June 2013


Well so much for trying to make 12 blankets in 12 months, I think its not going to happen. I'm not that bothered though, it was a passing whim and as I already know I hate to knit/crochet to a deadline or work under pressure it was never something I took seriously.

I get al busy in winter crafting and completely forget that when it comes to summer I'd prefer to be out in the garden gardening etc and so I don't get as much done.

Still I am getting somewhere with my blankets. I'm working on the last strip of my colourful crochet squares blanket. All I will need to do next is sew them up and crochet the border. (All? thats the worst bit!)

I've still got a skein to go on my 15 stitch blanket:

I'm still really enjoying this knit, its going slowly because I'm spreading out the knitting because as much as I love the acrylics for blankets there's nothing like knitting with some beautifully dyed yarn. I miss the subtlety of colour when I knit with commercial yarn.

I very much doubt that either of these will be finished by the end of the month, but as I'm enjoying myself who cares?

Monday, 24 June 2013


I don't post much about my health on here, I've mentioned ME/CFS a few times but thats about it. I don't intend on turning this into a blog about my health, there are plenty of better ones out there that explain various things far better than I ever could.

However in the last few weeks everything I thought was wrong with me has been turned on its head. After being ill for about four years and being told there was nothing wrong with my thyroid and that it was ME, it turns out I have a goiter (swollen thyroid gland).

So if there is anyone out there with ME type symptoms please spend a bit of time doing some research into iodine deficiency, selenium deficiency and adrenal insufficiency, because there are a lot of conditions out there which the general health profession just doesn't bother to look for.

Luckily I have a fairly open minded GP who is going with iodine supplementation for this rather than the surgery which was the first option and one I wasn't sure I wanted to take.

Unfortunately treating this with iodine kicks up all sorts of nasty detox symptoms and has left me feeling very rubbish. Its starting to pass but its not been a fun few weeks.

To cheer myself up I might have bought some yarn on Saturday:

This picture in no way shows off the loveliness of this yarn, it was impossible to capture.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

FO - Let them eat cake part 2

I mentioned yesterday I wanted to do something with the little canvas to go with my cake embroidery, well here we go:

Its was my first time using stamps so please excuse the imperfections! Its cute and I think they are both going to look great if my craft room.

Friday, 21 June 2013

FO - Let them eat cake

A quick little FO - my kit from my Crafty Creatives Box 6 is complete. You may notice (if you have been paying attention) that these aren't actually the colours which were included in the kit. Those colours were nice and vintagey, but I want this to go in my craft room and these colours will work better with the blanket in there.

There weren't supposed to be beads on there, there were supposed to be green crosses but I thought the beads would give it a 3D feel.

This only took a couple of hours to complete and I'm very happy with it. I have plans to do something with the mini canvas from the blue box to go alongside it.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Small Skein Society - No 6

Its shiny and sparkly and some of my favorite colours - what's not to love?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Crafty Creatives - June Box

I can't believe I've been getting these boxes for 12 months, normally I get bored of this kind of thing after only a few months. I have to praise the Crafty Creatives team though, 12 months on and their boxes are still the same high standard as they started and their themes and still diverse and appealing.

In this months box the theme was "treats", so it was fitting that the art card was covered in drawings of sweets, my favorites are pink shrimps and yellow bananas, both of them have something in the colouring that send me slightly loopy:

The kit this month is a cute little embroidery kit. I like the pictures that come with it to embroider but I am toying with the idea of doing something with this and the little canvas that came in the blue box.

Also in there were charms, beads buttons and more:

There were little extras like the biscuit cutter, tags and two lollipops (the Husbeast looked happy at those!):

There was a fat quarter of this lovely fabric which would look great on an apron or perhaps covering a notice board in a kitchen, or just as a little bag to hold biscuit cutters in.

Then there are some cute crafty papers and a recipe card from Cathryn off Great British Bake Off. Cathryn was out favorite to win it, we were disappointed that she didn't. Although she was the Husbeast favorite because he has a thing for redheads, but I am assured he liked her baking ideas as well. Hmm....

This is possibly not my favorite box because its a lot of pretty pastel colours which is not really my thing. Having said that I love the kit, the fabric and the card. Now that I have 12 cards I have plants for them as well.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Why I hate lazy manufacturers

Working in a more traditionally male industry I am surrounded by products that are perhaps perceived as being more masculine. What irritates me is when manufacturers of traditionally male products decide they need to spread their market and start aiming their products at women as well but they don't do their research. Instead off they go and make a product which is slightly more flowery/fruity/curvy and to make sure that we women realise that this is for us they brand it pink or a pastel colour, because we all know women would be too stupid to realise they were supposed to buy something if it wasn't pink.

I don't even understand where this pink thing comes from. Sure most little girls go through a girl phase when they are about six, but here's a hint manufacturers, most of them grow out of it! Most little boys go through a dinosaur phase when they are little, why don't manufacturers put pictures of dinosaurs on the front of all products aimed at men?

Admittedly there are some grown women who love to wear lots of pink, however I know a woman who only wears red and black (and looks stunning in it) or women who wear lots of purple, or blue, or green.  You only have to look through the shops, or a fashion magazine to know that colours come and go in fashion, but there is always an abundance of choice. As for black, have none of these manufacturers heard of "the little black dress"?

On top of that I know very few women who want to only have things in pastel colours. They are pretty enough, but again we like a choice, we don't want to go to buy something and be confronted with pastel pink, pastel blue and pastel purple, because we're women and what more could we possibly ask for?

It makes me wonder sometimes if these items which are marketed at women, are marketed by people who haven't done any research into what women actually like. In their heads all women still want to be a fairy princess and dress like a Barbie doll.

So to all those manufacturers out there guilty of this, if you are trying to make a traditionally male product more appealing to women, real ale for instance or shaving products, then please don't put some fruit in it or put some glitter on it, package it up in pink and say its for women unless you are deliberately trying to patronise and irritate the very people you are aiming it at. At least have a quick flick through a few women’s magazines and find out what other colours are out there. It may surprise you to find out that women do love black, red, green, yellow, orange, turquoise.... 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Anniversary presents

In case anyone wondered after my post of earrings, I did give the Husbeast a present back!

This was what he got:

No its not a clutch bag! Its a 1970's gentleman's leather dressing case which I got off Etsy here. It has sat unused in an outfitters for years. I have added a few bits to it but here's whats inside:

You might notice the edges of the case are blurred, that because it couldn't stay flat long enough for me to open it up and take a photo.

I added in the toothpaste, from Muji and very dinky although the taste is not 'traditional', the shaving soap and the shaving brush.

Speaking of the shaving brush isn't that the cutest shaving brush ever, its tiny!

The Husbeast prefers to use a shaving brush when he shaves so he was delighted with this kit. I will admit I was a little nervous about buying it for him as its more a "me" sort of present than something he would pick out, but luckily he loves it. Its already beed on its first outing and hopefully it will go on another one soon.

Now I am on the lookout for a brown leather toilet bag which would go with it for his deodorant and shower gel etc.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


Every year for our wedding anniversary the Husbeast buys me a pair of earrings as a present, and I then wear them for the majority of that year. I love this because it means even if we don't have much money at the time I still get a lovely present, and I can look back at them and remember what year he bought them for me and where we were at the time.

Normally we go away for our anniversary and he buys me something from wherever it is we are staying. This year though due to a combination of a funeral and a busy time at work all we ended up doing was going to the cinema.

Literally a couple of days before our anniversary I spotted a pair of earrings on Etsy that I loved. We knew they wouldn't come through in time for our anniversary but because we loved them thats what we went with.

So when I saw this land through my letter box today I got very excited:

It could only be one thing, my earrings! Inside I found a very professional looking parcel:

I love it when things come through looking pretty rather than just bunged in a jiffy bag.

Also included was a little cleaning cloth which I thought was a nice touch and a card thanking me for my purchase. One of the things I love about buying through Etsy is the personal touch you get.

Because my earrings had taken a little longer to arrive than they should have done, as Emily at Silken was moving at the same time (poor thing!) she put in some extras for me:

The earrings at the bottom are "my" earrings, the other two pairs are little extras, which I thought was very generous of her. If she's been moving I'm sure she's had plenty of other things to worry about.

A close up of my lovely earrings. I always go for studs for my anniversary present, so that I can wear them every day without them getting in the way. I love things that are simple but beautiful, and I think these earrings fulfill both criteria.

If you would like to see any more of Emily's lovely jewelry then here Etsy shop Silken is here. Emily is still off at the moment, but you can sign up for an email to tell you when she is back.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Catch up

I can't believe its been nearly a week since I last blogged. It's not been deliberate, just life has a way of going a bit fast sometimes. That's why I like this its a way of slowing things down and looking at what I am doing rather than rushing around at 90 miles an hour.

This time of year its mostly gardening, gardening, gardening here, oh with a bit of weeding thrown in. We (the Husbeast rather) has mostly cleared the side beds of weeds so we've been putting some new plants in. We went to the garden centre last week and bought a lilac and two buddleia to put in. I also want to buy some lilies for the back garden but they will have to wait a few weeks because there's other things taking priority at the moment.

 We did have some decking at the bottom of the garden, but it was built so high that if you sat on it you were on view to all the neighbours and it felt like you were spying in their gardens. So we dismantled it. Underneath was a raised bed. The Husbeast has slowly been digging it out and getting rid of the rubbish that's in there. So far he has found:

1 plate
3 bottles
Numerous beer cans
1 mug
Part of a sink
A tricycle
2 concrete fence posts
Metal fencing wire
A metal bed complete with springs!

He's not even half way through....

I hate to think what else is going to be in there, I'm just hoping there's no dead bodies! We're going to need a skip to take away the rubbish at this rate. Living this near where they discovered the Staffordshire Hoard it would be nice if we found something a bit more interesting under there.

Monday, 3 June 2013

May round up

Projects started:

I haven't actually started any new projects this month, unusually for me. I don't really feel like I've got much done at all this month, but then it is May and that means gardening time, so I suppose there will be a natural decrease in the amount of time I have to spend crafting.

Projects finished:

Monochrome squares blanket

Projects in  the WIP pile:

Colourful Crochet Squares Blanket

Diva Tunic

High speed knitting - I think this is going the very opposite of high speed

15 stitch blanket:

Yarn in this year:

10250g - I had to buy another pack of 17 colours of stylecraft for my current blanket, which adds a massive amount of yarn into the equation. That said I've already knitted up the last pack so its not like its just sitting around looking pretty (like the rest of my stash)

This converts into 32692 meters or 20.2 miles

Yarn knitted or crocheted this year:


13167 meters or 8.17 miles

Books reviewed:

Week 18: Mary Barton

Week 19: To kill a mockingbird

Week 20: Twopence to cross the mersey

Week 21: The upstart

Well its not been the most productive month in some ways, but if you could see everything we've done to the garden... Plus we've seen more of friends and family this month than some, which is nice.

I've got two blankets nearing completion and I'm already planning the next two (well technically the next six or so...) so I've got plenty to keep me busy. My smaller projects are suffering whilst I do these big ones but as they are keeping me happy at the moment I'm just going to keep going.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Some WIPs

Here's what I'm working on at the moment:

My 15 stitch blanket is on my current to finish list, now I've dithered enough over what yarn to use, bought more and then ended up using what I already had (as you do).

Another TVG (high speed knitting) like this one. This isn't really something I'm trying too hard to work on at the moment, its what I pull out if I want to concentrate on people talking etc and need a portable project.

My colourful crochet squares blanket - this is half finished but I've just had to buy some more yarn. I was enjoying making it and so I know when I got the new yarn I would dive straight into making it again and ignore the 15 stitch blanket, which was why I'm trying to be very good and not buy the yarn I need until I finished the purple blanket.I gave in in the end though. I don't have enough will power.

A Diva Tunic - I made two of these probably about four years ago. A blue one for me and a cerise pink one for my sister. My sister made the mistake of putting hers through the washing machine and felted it. As she felt suitably guilty I'm making her another one out of superwash this time!

Hmmm seeing as I started the year trying to finish one thing at a time I seem to be failing miserably here! Still once the 15 stitch blanket and the coloured crochet squares blanket are finished that will be two big projects out of the way and will give me a bit of time to finish up some of the smaller projects.

I have a secret ambition in my head to make 12 blankets this year. Whether that happens or whether I lose interest half way through I'll have to wait an see. I have plans for all 12 and I fully intend inflicting at least one on my sister, because lets face it who really needs twelve blankets!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

52 Books - May

I think I'm finding it easier to lump a months worth of books together in one post rather than trying to separate them out. Sometimes I might read two of the books in a week, some weeks I don't read any books I feel warrant being on here so its easier to do them all in one go.

Week 18 

Book Title: Mary Barton

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell

Enjoyment: 7/10

Would read again: 8/10

Comments: I love Elizabeth Gaskell, Cranford is one of my all time favorite comfort reads and has been since I was a teenager. However Mary Barton is a different kettle of fish. Its less dreamy and much harsher and I found it less enjoyable. That said it reads as a realistic and insightful portrayal of the time and if it had been written by another author I probably would have had different expectations and enjoyed it more. So I can recommend it, but don't expect it to be in the same style as Cranford.

Week 19 

Book Title: To Kill a Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Enjoyment: 9/10

Would read again: 10/10

Comments: This was one of the books we studied for GCSE English. Normally I hated reading the books in English class. We would have to read them together so slowly, and I am a really fast reader. So I would be reading ahead and the person at the desk next to me would have to nudge me when it came to my bit to read out loud because I'd be in the wrong place (thanks Gemma, you probably don't even remember doing it but you helped me a lot). By the time we finished reading it in class I would have been bored of it, and I know plenty of other people out there who are put off reading certain books just because they are chosen as required reading in English class.
This one however, I never ended up getting bored of, and I have voluntarily read it several times since leaving school. I sincerely believe that its a book everyone should read at least once.

Week 20 

Book Title: Twopence to cross the Mersey

Author: Helen Forrester

Enjoyment: 8/10

Would read again: 7/10

Comments: This is another book I first encountered at school, primary school in this case. Looking back it was probably a bit advanced for me then, but because I was a quick reader I think I often read books a little too young and so didn't properly understand them fully. Not the language, more some of the concepts in them.
In this case although I read about the poverty and the appalling living conditions, I don't think it was until I was older I really understood that Helen Forrester had had such a bad experience.
She wrote a whole series of books and her life does improve in many ways. This book is not a happy one though, which is partly why I don't read it too often.

Week 21 

Book Title: The Upstart

Author: Catherine Cookson

Enjoyment: 8/10

Would read again: 8/10

Comments: When discussing Catherine Cookson, my family often agree that she can be a bit depressing. She has a habit of killing off lots of characters and making them live very grim lives. Its gritty and realistic, but as with Twopence to cross the Mersey, I find Catherine Cooksons books should not be read if you are already in a depressed mood. (Or maybe they should to show me how much worse my life could be?) They are alsway interesting though, she writes mainly to highlight the social divide between rich and poor and this book is no eception. Its got engaging characters, even ones you think at the start aren't very engaging become more so.