Friday, 25 November 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Rainbow Coloured

I'm reading ... Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, as well as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as well as And Another Thing (the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sequel by the author of the Artemis Fowl series), as well as about 6 non-fiction books. I'm a bit obsessed by reading at the moment.

I'm working on ... a rug that I started twenty years ago. I wish I was exaggerating that, but I'm not! It's made from yucky acrylic, because I didn't know any better back then, and it's oh-so-70s, but I'm finishing it anyway. Yesterday I counted the sections and was delighted to discover that I've finished 3 more than I thought I had. Not long to go now!

I'm drinking ... endless cups of tea and eating chicken soup. I've still been sick on and off, so the simple comforts of flavoured liquids are my favourites right now.

The picture ... My rug doesn't look like this. I'd love to do something like this, but I don't have the patience for all that weaving in! Urgh!

The Month of November

Normally I try to post at least once a week, if not with updates, but at least a little interesting tidbit. The number of times I've wanted to post about my crafty progress, but didn't due to lack of photos, I can't tell you! Even in the middle of summer when I get home from work, I have a window of about half an hour to take photos in good light, slightly longer if I take them in the toilet. And who wants to do that?! (It must be something about the frosted glass that diffuses the light evenly??) Guess which of the following photos was taken in the loo? So now that confession time is over, a very short summary of my activities over the last month:

Boy had a birthday with a '0' in it at the end of October, and his fondest wish was for a Doughnut Cake, so I made him one:

No-one can say I don't look after my man!
I didn't do much for Dias de los Muertos this year, except for the one most important thing. My Opa (grandfather) was diagnosed with lung cancer in April this year, and passed away in July. I dedicated an altar to him. I decorated it with some of his favourite foods, and bought him a tie because he liked to dress nicely.

This year has been such a strange year. My Opa is the first person I've known well who has died. I'm 35 years old. I have a feeling it's quite rare to be so old when that happens to a person for the first time. I've noticed some changes in myself since he passed. Perhaps I'll talk about it a little sometime soon.
I mentioned in my last post my latest obsession - gingham embroidery! My first project is nearly finished already. It's a small table mat:

I scrounged through my fabric stash and I only had one small piece of gingham! How could this be?? But it was enough to make a small project to start off with. I wanted to lay out the design beforehand, but where to get a template from? I had a brainwave and printed out some downloadable gingham scrapbooking paper from the pastels section of this site here. I printed it out in black-and-white. I had to enlarge it by 200% so I didn't go cross-eyed, but then it was perfect. Most gingham embroidery uses white thread as the main colour, sometimes with a contrast colour as well. I chose orange. I designed it during my lunch break at work. I decided to use the full thickness of the 6-strand embroidery thread, because the squares of the gingham are so large (either 8mm or 10mm, I believe). Using the full thickness means that much more thread is used up in one go. I was worried at one point that I'd run out of thread, but I think I'll be OK. I've worked on it like an embroidery-crazy woman so far, and I'm nearly finished already! Then all I will have to do is sew on a calico backing and it'll be done. I already know where I want to put it.

And never fear, I've ordered some more gingham in 3 different colours from ebay for future projects. I'm starting to think I'll need more white thread, too. Lots more!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

BB Creams: What Are They?

I'm obsessed with beauty products at the moment! I've started to draw up an inventory of all my bath and beauty products, and it's taking a while! I've had to look, not only in the shower and bathroom cabinet, but in my cupboards, at my computer desk, at work, through all my handbags, etc! I'm getting there though. So far the big trend I'm seeing is with bath products. I'll buy them on a semi-regular basis, but last winter I used hardly any up. In the new apartment, there is a bath, but it's set up a bit differently to the old one, and I just don't find having a bath to be as relaxing as it used to be. So I've more been having a shower at night instead of a bath. However, that does mean I can use lots of lovely-smelling shower gel, so can't complain there. But I don't know what I'm going to do with all my bath bombs!!

I mentioned BB Creams last week and, yes, the obsession continues. After trawling through various reviews, I decided to hedge my bets and order a gift set of 4 mini size creams from Baviphat, a South Korean brand. I can't wait til they arrive! (Also got some essentials - face wash and nail polish topcoat - well, essentials for a girly, anyway!)

The world of BB Creams is a complex and (for a noob like me) confusing one. But it's also an exciting one. As far as I can tell, to qualify as a BB Cream (BB stands for Blemish Balm), it just needs to be a face cream that does more than one thing in one cream. For years I've been thinking, how annoying to have to apply moisturiser in the morning, and then sunscreen, and then foundation and whatever else you want to put on. Why can't they come all in one? I was so thrilled when I found a tinted sunscreen a few months ago, it was bordering on silly!

BB Creams are doing all that and more, and they've been doing it for a while. Most of them are formulated for oily skin and are tinted to hide pimples (as the name Blemish Balm implies). They can also have any combination of sunscreen, anti-ageing, whitening, brightening, moisturising, soothing, and others I can't think of off the top of my head at the moment. They have various textures, levels of coverage and colours of tinting. Just like any other beauty product, they can have various ingredients, from mushroom and peach through to caviar and gold dust!

How confusing!

Though, when I think about it, my sunscreen could be considered a BB Cream, I mean really. As well as being sunscreeen, it's tinted and has anti-ageing AHAs in it. I'll just get my label-maker and turn it into a BB Cream myself!

Why this sudden obsession with beauty products? I don't know. I've always liked bath and skincare products. I've liked makeup on and off over the years. I went from flat-out refusing to wear any as a teenager, to not being able to leave the house without mascara on a few years ago. For a few months at the start of this year, I had a problem with chronic eye watering which meant I couldn't wear any eye makeup at all for 2 months. It was insanely frustrating at first, but I got used to it. Now I'm a bit more relaxed about wearing makeup.
I started reading a new fashion blog recently; she has a lot of reviews on Asian beauty products and BB Creams. In one post, another blogger interviewed her - in answer to the question: "why do you wear makeup?" her reply was short and simple: "to hide".

How sad is that? She's a beautiful girl with a sought-after figure. And that's what she thinks of herself. It just goes to show. I had a think about it, and I realised that I'm the opposite. When I'm feeling bad about myself, I don't wear any makeup, or I wear less. I want to sink into the background, not draw any attention to myself. When I'm feeling good, I want to enhance the way I look. So I'm chalking this whole beauty product obsession up in the 'good things' category!

Here's a picture of my BB Creams; come to me quick!


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Embroidery

I have a sudden and all-consuming obsession with Gingham Embroidery, also known as Depression Lace or Chicken Scratch. (More about it and why it's called that here.)


1. Chicken Scratch blue on white, 2. Chicken Scratch tan and brown,
3. Chicken Scratch red and white, 4. Chicken Scratch black and white (Link not available.)


It all started on Sunday afternoon, when I was at Boy's parents house and happened to glance over at their side table and see an embroidered mat. Suddenly a flood of creative juices left me in a daze, and since then the ideas have been flowing non-stop. I love it because it's retro and whimsical, but the grid gives it a base of order and stability. Co-ordinating the threads with the colour of the fabric is fun. Not to mention that you can embroider directly onto the fabric without having to transfer the pattern first, which I always find highly annoying. It's put me off embroidery in the past.

I only found a small piece of yellow gingham in my fabric stash, but it was enough to plan a small rectangular doiley. I drew up the design earlier today, and I'm looking forward to starting it when I get home from work tonight. I haven't been so obsessed about anything for a while. It feels good!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Rainbow Coloured

I'm reading ... Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami, as well as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, as well as And Another Thing (the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sequel by the author of the Artemis Fowl series), as well as about 6 non-fiction books. I'm a bit obsessed by reading at the moment.

I'm working on ... a rug that I started twenty years ago. I wish I was exaggerating that, but I'm not! It's made from yucky acrylic, because I didn't know any better back then, and it's oh-so-70s, but I'm finishing it anyway. Yesterday I counted the sections and was delighted to discover that I've finished 3 more than I thought I had. Not long to go now!

I'm drinking ... endless cups of tea and eating chicken soup. I've still been sick on and off, so the simple comforts of flavoured liquids are my favourites right now.

The picture ... My rug doesn't look like this. I'd love to do something like this, but I don't have the patience for all that weaving in! Urgh!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} It's My Blog....

I'm reading ... the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. I mainly only started it to see if the author might be in any way qualified to write the sequel to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. (Many might wonder how anyone could do it justice, but I'm willing to be open-minded). I'm actually really enjoying them and I've chomped my way through to the seventh and final book in only two weeks.

I'm working on ... blankets and more blankets! The mindless crocheted squares are pretty much all I can handle at the moment. They're a perfect match for all the mindless TV I watch every night!

I'm sorting ... my clothes. On the weekend I did my semi-annual summer-winter clothes swap-over and purge. I actually did get rid of some stuff this time. I'm trying to tell myself that doesn't give me permission to buy more clothes! Perhaps I'll make some...

The picture ... I'm torn between feeling guilty for being so neglectful of my blog, of only posting shallow fluff and no actual project progress. On the other hand, I feel like going ... nyer-nyer-nyer, it's my blog and I'll do whatever I like with it! So I thought this image was appropriate.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Crochet Loving

I'm reading ... A Left-Handed History of the World by Ed Wright. Fellow left-handers who've achieved so much more than I have! I'm up to the section on Ghandhi at the moment.

I'm obsessing over ... reconciling the books I've downloaded with my list of books I want to read. I downloaded nearly 3,000, so there's a bit of work there.

The picture ... these hand-carved crochet hooks are just gorgeous. I've been heavily into crochet lately. Any other craft just seems a bit wrong and unfamiliar. I get like that when I'm obsessed with one craft! I'm even planning on some larger projects - blankets mainly. This is a big change for me; up until recently, anything bigger than a scarf would freak me out completely. Speaking of scarves, I finished (another!) one recently. I'll post pictures soon.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Crafty Home

Starting today, I thought I'd make Ditzy Tuesday a little more interesting by listing a few things that I'm doing, reading, etc, along with the luscious picture from Pinterest of my choosing. This idea is plagiarised from inspired by the weekly post "Things I Like Thursday" on Nessbow's blog. So here's edition No. 1:

I'm reading ... Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You can almost smell the gardenias and the summer rain.

I'm sorting ... my wool stash. Technically, I've finished, I just need to get around to bagging up the rejects and taking them down to the Op Shop.

I'm obsessing over ... finishing off my list of 1,001 Things To Do Before I Die. Finishing writing the list, that is. Not finishing doing all the things on it!


The picture ... How wonderful it would be to live in a crafty wonderland like this! At first glance it seems cluttered, but you just get that feeling that everything has a sentimental value.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Homewares

I was given some lovely cushion covers on the weekend, which has resulted in my feeling quite couch oriented at the moment! I love the calico cover here contrasted with the retro coloured granny squares.


Monday, 12 September 2011

Spring Cleaning

I'm in the mood to get rid of stuff, to purge, to make lists and cross things off them. Starting with my stash!

I mentioned last week that I have a list of all my yarn stash on Ravelry. I printed that out and went through it, trying to make some decisions about what to keep and what to toss before even looking at the wool. It was 9 pages. Nine pages!! A bit of a daunting task. But I was really in the mood to get it done yesterday. My ideal goal is to have all of the stash fit into our upright cupboard. This will free up a lot of the storage tubs and drawers that I have it all stuffed in. I did have some definite ideas going in: after my experience with making the Fuzzy Lavender Scarf recently, I know that one or even two balls is not enough to make anything useful. So I wanted to be ruthless with those.
Any eyelash yarn - gone! I hate that stuff.
Anything black - gone! I don't have a lot of black yarn anyway, but I can't see myself making something in black for myself or anyone I know. Plus it's hard to work with because of the dark colour.
Anything that I can't think of a specific project to make with it within the space of about 10 seconds - gone!

So it was a tough brief I set myself. Soon after I got started, I realised it was going to take even longer than I thought. About 20 minutes in, my head started spinning and I needed a short break. I had the typical hoarder's voice in my head: 'But I could use it for something' and 'but it's so pretty!'. I had to keep reminding myself that I'm ruthless, that I won't regret this.

I got about two-thirds of the way through my entire stash before I could take no more and gave up for the day. I was quite proud of myself though, and I'm looking forward to finishing so I can count the number of balls in the toss-box and see how well I did.

All this motivational de-cluttering has spurred me on to more, and I've decided to embark on a Spring-Cleaning-A-Thon. I've already done a bit with my books. I used the LibraryThing to check what series I have. If I had any unread series where I didn't have book 1, I tossed the rest. I got rid of 6 that way. Some other things I've thought of are:

* Toss 10 old make-up products.
* Toss 5 jewellery items I never wear anymore.
* Toss 5 pieces of clothing I never wear anymore/I really can't be bothered repairing.
* Go through the 3 boxes of random stuff I still have from moving house, and toss, toss, toss!

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Celebrating my 5,000th

... my 5,000th Pin, that is!


I mentioned a little while back how I'd just discovered Pinterest and was becoming increasingly obsessed with it. Well, the obsession hasn't waned. It's practically a full-blown addiction now. Yes, I'm a Pinhead! It's even gotten to the point now where I'm subscribing to photo-blogs just to find new images to add to my pinboards.

I tend my boards like they're farms. I've noticed that they tend to get a bit buggy if they have more than about 400 pins on them, so I'll start a new one and divide the images between them. I had to divide Fashion into Summer, Winter and Accessories, but the original board was still too big, so I added Nail Art and Skinny Jeans and consolidated some pictures from different boards into a more atmospheric-themed one called Forest Girl.
I created another one recently as well for Tea and Coffee-themed images, to take a bit of the weight off my Things I Want board (which I call 'Straight to the Pool Room').

At the moment I'm having trouble with Just So Pretty - it was where I was pinning any kind of gorgeous, atmospheric image that made me go, 'aaah' or 'awww'. But now it's insanely long, and there are so many different types of pictures on there, I don't know how to divide it up. So for now I've just created Just So Pretty 2, and I'll decide later - if I can - how I want to divide them properly! At the moment I have 36 pinboards.

If you think I'm a complete Pinhead ... in my wanderings around the site, I've found members who are a lot more obsessed than I am! The largest number of pinboards I've seen is 137, and the largest number of pins about 23,000. It's my dream to have that many one day!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Two Things I Really Like

1. Ravelry

I've probably mentioned Ravelry a few times already. It's website for cataloguing knitting and crochet projects, patterns and yarns, so it's highly relevant, to say the least! The reason why I remembered that I love it is ...
I started making this scarf last week:

I found the yarn in the drawer of the coffee table and started making it on impulse. It's just a very simple V-stitch, I could practically do it in my sleep once I got the hang of it. I was working away happily on it here and there for a week, when I suddenly noticed with a sinking feeling that the ball was looking a little anaemic. Will I have enough yarn to make a scarf that's not pathetically short? Did I have 2 balls of this yarn, or just the one?

Am I feeling lucky, punk??


So I looked up my stash of almost 250 yarns in my Ravelry database. The ballband had gone astray, and I couldn't remember what it was called. All I did was change the display settings to 'Alphabetical by Colourway', scroll down to 'lavender' and there it was! I do have two balls, and not only that, I know exactly where the other one is! Easy!
My careful record-keeping back when I bought the yarn (entering in the colour, location, a photo of it, etc.) has proved invaluable, but if it weren't for Ravelry, I could never have kept those records in the first place. Yay!

2. Protopage

I was put onto Protopage a couple of years ago by friend/mentor A., after I complained about my bad luck with finding a site/tool to read blogs with, that doesn't disappear after 6 months. Protopage is basically an extremely simple webpage creator. You add boxes to it which can contain blog subscriptions, links, lists, images or just text. You can make them open to the public, private, or password-protected if you only want to share your page with certain people. Mine is private, but I'll show you a screenshot:

I created tabs which can hold blogs on different topics: craft, art, fashion, culture, news, etc. My interests tend to oscillate between different things. I'll be totally obsessed with crochet for a month or two. Then I get bored with that and I want to read all about embroidery, or altering clothes, then back to crochet. I set up the tabs and boxes within them so it would make it easy for me to find blogs about things that interest me at that moment. And it's great!
Over time, however, I slowly noticed that I was slipping behind on some of my favourite blogs. While I was skipping straight to the Fashion tab to get inspiration from Le Blog de Big Beauty and By Anika, I somehow got 3 months behind on Crazy Aunt Purl and Little Lixie! I was strangely upset when I realised. It's like a friend that you love spending time with, and you suddenly realised you haven't called her in ages.
So I took the easy and obvious solution, and I created a new tab for my favourite blogs of all genres. Once I've read all the new posts from that, I then go to my current tabs of interest. I feel much happier now. Yay!

P.S. I started Yet Another new project last night. I'll post some pics soon!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday}

I'm crocheting a scarf at the moment, but it's certainly not like this. This one is beautifully intricate, but it doesn't look very warm, unfortunately!


Saturday, 27 August 2011

A Few Projects

I finished two projects earlier this week! Wonders will never cease!
Firstly, we have these Baby Jane hats. Technically, there are 4 in different sizes, but I'm counting it as one project. I made them on request from a friend. Originally there were supposed to be two, and I was most of the way through them when I completely forgot about them. This was about a year ago. I suddenly remembered them the other day and, wracked with guilt, pulled them out and started feverishly working away on them. Now, babies' heads tend to grow, in general. And it occurred to me that the size I was making might not fit any more. So, just to be safe, I made another two in a larger size. All I did was add 6 stitches to the original cast-on, and a couple of extra rows of orange and yellow, and they came out fine. I also made the pompoms slightly bigger. Here they are:


Baby wears a hat like that, he ain't afraid of anything!

I thought I'd get slightly arty and photograph them sitting on the cover of a book I borrowed from the library. It has a really cool patterned texture. (It's called Couture in the 21st Century, in case anyone's interested.)

The other project I finished was my Granny Square Headwarmer (aka Teacosy Headwarmer - I couldn't really decide what to call it). This one took quite a lot of work, so I'm breaking with tradition and modelling it personally so you can see what it looks like on.


From ze left.


From ze right. Or vice versa. Not so good with my left and right!

I'm really, really happy with this project. It came out looking exactly like I wanted it to. Occasionally when I'm wearing it out, I get worried that people are going to think I'm a completely crazy craft lady, but then I think, "stuff em!"

In other craft-related news:

* I'm about half-way through my horse-head filet crochet project now, and I'm looking forward to making and possibly designing more filet projects soon.

* I've made 3 1/2 squares of the Babbi L baby blanket now. I reckon I'll need between 16-24 to get a size I like; I haven't decided yet. This project is going a bit more slowly because the patterns I've chosen need a bit of concentration to work on.

* I started a new scarf! I couldn't help it! I found a ball of wool in the coffee table drawer when I was looking for a pen, and some urge in me just made me grab a crochet hook and experiment. The stitch is very easy though and it shouldn't take too much work to finish. I'll post a picture next time.

More soon, hopefully!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} I bought a magazine

On the weekend, I bought SBS Feast Magazine. I know what you're thinking - yawn, another food magazine. The ability to make rainbow-coloured ravioli or caviar flavoured yoghurt smears seems to be the highest priority in the media at the moment. But SBS is my favourite TV Channel, so I knew this would be something different.
Here's the front cover:


I was really excited when I sat down to read it. The shops and restaurants featured are a careful mix from throughout the country. There are over 70 recipes from many different cultural traditions, interesting articles, beautiful photos and a huge amount of useful information. In particular, the article on where to picnic in Paris made me feel like I'll have some insider knowledge when I visit again. The doughnut feature with Dutch oliebollen made my heart leap a little and made me feel all inclusive. Not only that, but the pages themselves are thick and glossy. I love that!


The recipes are easy to follow, and any unusual ingredients are explained. Ingredients are listed by both volume and weight in most cases - a detail I appreciate. This magazine made me really enthusiastic about cooking again, about trying new things. I don't normally cook with seafood, but I'm really tempted to make this:


I'm going to subscribe, and I really hope the magazine continues in this vein. I'm not affiliated with SBS in any way, and wasn't given anything for free. I just think this is a really good magazine!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Bye Bye Artfire

Artfire, the site where I host my secondary online shop, is closing their Basic (free) account option. From 15th August, I need to either upgrade to a Pro account, or let my shop fade into the aether. I 'missed out' on all the special offers, so I would have to pay US$9.95 per month to keep my account open as a seller.

(In comparison, on Etsy, you pay US$0.20 to list an item, and 3% ... (something like that anyway) ... when you make a sale.)

They've been plugging the Pro account option at me hard, for almost a year now. And they've been adding more and more features to the Pro account, and none to the Basic account. Now, I've sold a grand total of 6 items since I opened my shop there 3 (or more?) years ago. I will not be upgrading to a Pro account. The amount of money I would lose is staggering. It's just not worth it.

(In comparison, on Etsy, I have sold approx. 90 items in the last 3 years. I don't want you to think I'm bragging or anything! I'm just comparing the two sites.)

It's a shame, really. I did a comparison of the two sites a while back, and Artfire had some really useful pros over Etsy. (Sorry, I haven't been able to find that post. I'll try again later!) But things have gone downhill since then. There are an increasing number of messages saying, "this feature is available to Pro members only". Last last time I tried to re-list a sold item, (in May of this year), I couldn't for the life of me find out how to do it, whereas previously it just took one click. (Perhaps that's a 'Pro-only' feature now, too. Grrr!)

Yes, Artfire has been going downhill in the last few years - for the seller holding a Basic account, anyway. The site is harder to navigate, and the lack of features means my shopfront looks boring and daggy compared to a pro seller's. The last email I was sent encouraging me to upgrade pointed out that 85% of sales are made by Pro sellers, and only 15% by Basic sellers. Instead of using that statistic to encourage me to upgrade, perhaps they should have been looking at the site management practices which resulted in that statistic? Just sayin'.

When you think about it though, it was really just a matter of time. Artfire corners a much smaller section of the market than Etsy. It's less well-known. Speaking just for myself, I have 20 posts on my blog tagged 'Etsy love' and not a single one tagged 'Artfire ... anything'. I have to admit as well, that I've only bought one thing from Artfire in all that time, and it was from someone whose blog I read (the lovely Sparklebluefaery). Artfire itself didn't have anything to do with me finding out about this seller. They just don't have the word-of-mouth that Etsy has. Whether that's anyone's fault is anyone's guess. There's only one thing left to say:

Bye bye from me, Artfire.


Source: etsy.com.
(Ironically, this picture is from Etsy!)

P.S.
This article from October 2010 also has a comparison of Etsy and Artfire. However, it was written before the news that the free account on Artfire was to be abolished.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday}

Ditzy Tuesday is back! Because I have no real content right now!
I've been living in my flat for over 6 months now, and half the ceiling lights still need lampshades. How lovely would these be?

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Crafty Catch-up Session

Today I was finally motivated to take photos of all of the craft projects I've been working on over the last month or so. I used my trusty light tent - which I'm still getting the hang of, so the light may be a bit dodgy on some of them. But I figure the important thing is that I'm sharing!

FINISHED PROJECTS
I bought these toys for my little niece and nephew. My niece had only just been born. I didn't have time to make anything from scratch but I still wanted her teddy to be a little bit personalised. So I knitted a bow for it with some lovely soft yarn from my stash. It took a couple of hours. You can't see it very well in the picture, but I used decreases at each end to make the end curve back a bit. I was quite happy with the effect.

The other finished item is a tea cosy for a teapot I received for Christmas. I crocheted it to fit, and it took a couple of goes to get it right! It clings onto the pot without needing any kind of fastener. It has a cut-away bit at the back which looks weird, but it fits snugly under the handle, and I'm pleased with it. I was watching the Pride and Prejudice mini-series while I was making it, so I guess that's why I was influenced to choose the classic colour scheme and girly bow decoration.



UNFINISHED PROJECTS
This section has many more projects in it!!
First up is my Squares Blanket. I've decided it will be a blanket now, not a couch cover. I think I'd be better off making my couch covers from fabric (when I eventually get around to it!) So I now have 4 finished squares; plus 2 finished that need weaving in; and 5 squares in progress. I still haven't decided how big the finished blanket will be (i.e. how many squares I'll need in total), but there's plenty of time for that.

I started this one quite some time ago. Remember I was having an obsession with filet crochet a while back? Well, this is the project I decided on. It depicts a horse-head, nice and retro. It was originally going to be a doiley, but pretty soon I realised that it's going to be enormous! I'm using fingering weight cotton, which is a smaller gauge than I'm used to, but I can see why people normally use thread cotton for projects like this. I didn't want to use such a thin thread, but after a while I realised - no matter what size the thread is, it's still the same amount of work! Duh!
So I might make it into a (large!) cushion or possibly a wall-hanging.

This is a headband/earwarmer that I started a while back. I had the idea to make a series of crochet squares and join them together. I chose some from 200 Crochet Blocks that were nice and decorative, but didn't have too many holes that a cold wind could blow through. The colours came to me like an inspirational lightning bolt as well! I had to buy the grey yarn because I didn't have any suitable in my stash. I've finished the 5 squares, and I've stalled at the stage where I need to figure out if they fit around my head or if I need to enlarge them somehow. I hope I get around to it before the weather warms up!

Finally we have a project that I started just the other day! I came down with a bout of Startitis and decided I needed to start on a baby blanket for my niece. I made one for my nephew when he was born, and that one took me 6 months! So I thought I'd better get started. I chose 2 lacy-ish motifs from 200 Crochet Blocks (increasingly love that book!) and I'll do them in different colours, all with a cream-coloured outer row. This first colour is horrendous, I know! But I'm hoping it will blend in all right in the end. I don't know yet if I'll need to buy some wool for this, or I'll be able to work it all from my stash. We'll see!

I also have some sewing projects from the last few months, but I thought I'd save those for next time.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Unexplained absence - explained!

It's the middle of winter, it's freezing cold, and the light is terrible for taking photos. Those are my excuses for not posting too much lately.
Now that's over with ... if you're interested, you might want to have a look at my Health & Fitness Blog. There are very few pretty pictures or any craft-related content at all really, but I usually post at least 3-4 times a week. I whinge, I complain, I talk about highs and lows, and I review books. Here's a nice picture of some food to get you in the mood:


Love,
Katie.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Bathing

I haven't been in the mood to do much crafting lately, sorry to say. So I thought I'd post something a little bit different. I've always wanted to try soap-making, and if I knew how to make something like this, I'd certainly give it a go! How cute!


Source: alphamom.com.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Sweater Clips, I Swoon!

How badly do I want to try making these sweater clips?! Cardigans are my first love, and I can imagine myself with a set of clips to match each one. It seems to be very easy - just some clip-on earrings and a chain.
I've been doing a few things lately, but haven't had the time or right light conditions to take pictures of them. I'm hoping to show them soon.


Source: muchlove-anna.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} New from Old

I've been thinking a lot lately about altering my old, boring clothes and making something new and fun from them. This shirt alteration is very cute, and I can see myself jazzing up an old shirt or t-shirt in this way.


Source: rufflesandstuff.com.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Warm!

I love the look of this warm and smooshy scarf. No scarf is too thick for me at the moment!


Source: Chunky Oatmeal Infinity Scarf on Pinterest.

Monday, 30 May 2011

In The Kitchen : Tofu Jerky

On the weekend, I had a sudden impulse to make tofu jerky! I've made meat jerky before; tofu is quite a bit cheaper! I chose Portuguese Chicken flavour for the marinade:

I cut the tofu up into slices. I know from my experience with drying meat and vegetables that they shrink by up to half, so I kept the slices quite large:

I poured a bit of the marinade into a plastic container, but it was so thick it wouldn't come out! So I added some vinegar to thin it out a bit:

I alternated layers of tofu and marinade, making sure the tofu was thoroughly covered:

It's best to be generous with the marinade, as it will settle and you don't want any of your tofu to be exposed. I went ahead and put the whole bottle in, to make sure there weren't any gaps around the edges:

I put the container in the fridge overnight. The next day, I fished the tofu pieces out, wiped them off and laid them on the dehydrator. Even though it's a bit messy, I think it's best to use your fingers, as you don't want the tofu to break up:

I lined the base of the dehydrator with foil to catch any drips (I learned this the hard way after making beef jerky!) I laid out the tofu slices with space in between so they air nicely:

I left them in the dehydrator for about 6 hours, turning them half-way through (that's why they have marks on them). It's important to dry them enough so that they're chewy, but not so long that they go completely dry and hard. This is how they looked at the end:

If it was meat, I would have thrown the marinade away. But as tofu is non-meat, it's safe to save and use for something else (we used it as a sauce for sausages and mash).
The tofu jerky came out quite well. Yum! I found it an interesting snack for when I need some protein - different to the nuts I normally eat, and definitely more convenient compared to tofu as it comes normally.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Your Inner (Or Outer) Geek!

Today is Geek Pride Day. So get your towels out and use the force! It's been ages since I did a mosaic, so I thought I'd do one dedicated to Geeky handmade products from Etsy, whether they be computer geek, sci-fi geek, science geek or un-categorisable geek:


Credits:
Column A Column B
Circuitboard Tie by ScatterBrain Ties. Fake Moustache and Glasses Kit by Funny Side of Life.
Booky Badges by BeanForest. Wine Cushion by Yellow Bug Boutique.
Robot Riding Triceratops T-shirt by Happy Family. Day of the Dead Ereader Cozy by Rockin Mama.
Geeky Glasses Necklace by Emowieh. Spock Monkey Sewing Pattern by The Sock Drawer.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Shark Attack!

My obsession with warm, woolly things continues! Apparently now it's the coldest winter in 30 years, so that makes sense. How fun would these shark mittens be?!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Warm Those Tootsies

Is it Tuesday again already? Wow! Last night I stepped out of the bath and the shock of the cold nearly undid all the good the hot water had done. So I think I'd like to make one of these for my bathroom floor:

Saturday, 14 May 2011

{Ditzy Tuesday} Friday Edition!

I know it's not Tuesday, but I just wanted to share with you this lovely necklace I just bought from Etsy. I also bought a half-matching teacup ring and I can't wait til they arrive!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

{ Monthly Zakka } - Shiny Socks



Zakka : A Japanese term, literally "many things". An everyday object that, with its whimsy and charm, improves one's home, life or appearance. It makes you smile whenever you use it.
Monthly : Here, "monthly" means whenever I feel like it, or whenever I finish a project that I feel could be described as Zakka.

This month's zakka is a pair of socks I've made. I made them with variegated acrylic yarn in pink, blue and yellow that I was given a while back. At the cuffs I added in some fluffy eyelash yarn which happened to match. They're deliciously horrendous, but every time I wear them they make me smile to think that I made them myself. And they keep my feet warm, which is pretty important seeing as we're about to have the coldest winter here in possibly 10 years.