Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Cottage Ripple

When I first started to crochet, the Ripple blanket was on the top of my To Do list. But as much as I wanted to make one, the thought of it terrified me! It just looked so complicated!

Lucy of Attic24 fame has produced some beautiful Ripple blankets (here & here ) & I'd read that her instructions were the best. So I gave it a shot, but to be honest, I never made it past the foundation chain!! All that counting & trying to crochet into the foundation chain just wasn't happening!! So I put all thoughts of a Ripple aside & carried on with other projects.

But the Ripple kept catching my eye.

Lucy created the Coast Ripple & the urge to attempt the Ripple arose again. But as much as I liked it, the colours just didn't grab me enough, they felt a little cold to be honest.

Then this happened, the heavens opened & angels sang lol!! How stunning are these colours?

Now I was determined to crochet a Ripple!! So I bought the set from The Wool Warehouse (amazing service by the way!!) & gave it another go!

Not sure what happened differently this time, but I was Rippling pretty much straight away!

The instructions just made so much more sense than before. I'm not sure why? Maybe because I've got more crochet knowledge now? I don't know.

But its happening! I've only had to rip back one row so far which is definitely a success lol!

But I am the slowest crocheter (is that a word?) ever, so hopefully this blanket will be finished by the end of 2015!

Do you Ripple?

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Polychromos Pencils

How gorgeous is this rainbow of pencils?? These are Polychromos pencils by Faber-Castell & they are an absolute dream to draw with. I used to have a set of Karisma pencils & I have to admit I guarded them with my life! I never let anyone use them, in fact I hardly used them myself. But one thing I have learnt is not to keep things "for special", as the special rarely happens. So when I started to draw again, I used my Karisma pencils frequently. I even let my girls use them & was pleasantly surprised when they treated them with great care & produced beautiful pieces of art with them.
Unfortunately Karisma pencils have been discontinued, so I needed to find a replacement. The Polychromos were very highly rated by many artists, so I decided to treat myself for my birthday (that's not weird is it? To buy your own birthday present?) & I got this set.
I really wanted this set, but that wasn't going to happen!! Unless I win the lottery..........
I spent a few hours on my birthday (while the Hubby & kids cooked me an amazing dinner!) drawing a butterly. I found a photo on Pinterest & used that as inspiration. The Polychromos are amazing to shade with, & the colours all blend beautifully together. Obviously it will take some practice to master drawing & shading with them, but I'm looking forward to hopefully mastering them.

The finished piece, took a few evenings to actually finish it, but I loved the process! The second wing looks completely out of proportion though lol!

There are some amazing artists using Polychromos out there, search instagram using #polychromos & prepare to be astounded!!

Friday, 9 January 2015

Slowing things down.

One of my goals for last year was to take better care of myself. Well I failed miserably at that! I suffer from hypermobility-syndrome, & currently am dealing with a massive flare up of symptoms. I've not been able to work this week & have been hobbling around like an old person. I'm not sure what has caused this flare up, the weather? Or just generally overdoing things? I woke up feeling better yesterday, but thought practically & made myself rest, rather than trying to get the housework etc done as I normally would (my house is trashed!!). I stayed in bed as its the most comfortable place to be, but cleared all the meds & rubbish off my bedside table as it was annoying me to look at them. Instead I filled it with things that I love, flowers, a candle, a cup of tea & a photo of my hubby, & I relaxed.
Until I had to do the school run & so today I am back to being in lots of pain. But instead of feeling down about it, I've lit my candle, there's a bar of chocolate next to my cup of tea & I have two new magazines to read. I've got no plans for the weekend, apart from a party on Sunday that my youngest has been invited to. I'm hoping that more rest will mean that next week will be better!
So top of my goals for 2015 is to take better care of myself, to rest when I need to, to exercise more & eat better. To get my hypermobility under control, so that flare ups like this become rarer (unfortunately this condition doesn't go away).

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Today is a new start.

                                                               Image found via Pinterest

Happy New Year!!
Wow, its been a while eh? Is anyone still out there? I really didn't mean to leave it so long between posts, but I have to admit 2014 kicked my backside. It wasn't a bad year, in fact it actually was a successful year for our family. But in order for it to be so successful, my time here was just not possible. I returned to work last July, only part time but for the first time in 12 years.
Rejoining the workplace after 12 years as a SAHM has definitely been a struggle. Trying to balance childcare between two working parents is a nightmare I wouldn't wish upon someone. Hats off to those parents doing it on their own, you are Superstars!!Don't get me wrong, its been nice to return to work, to have a reason to put makeup on etc everyday, & have conversations with other adults. But at the same time, trying to do this plus continue to have all the responsibilities as before has ground me down. All the things that I do for me, crafting, baking, blogging, has been pushed aside while I have tried my best to keep my head above the water. This has made me pretty unhappy, as these things are my stress relievers. If it wasn't for Instagram, I may have gone insane. Therefore this blog, with its list of things I wanted to achieve in 2014, has been pretty much ignored. Plus my laptop was so slow that blogging took too long & I tried to blog from the ipad but it just wasn't the same. (Now I have a new shiny purple laptop that Im very happily using now, thanks Santa aka my lovely hubby!!)
Ive been thinking a great deal lately about how to change these feelings & so Im going to do my best to carve out time for me. At this time I'm loving the saying "Happy Wife, Happy Life" (or Mum) & its true. If I rush around trying to do everything without making time for me, then Im miserable, & if Im miserable, then everyone else is miserable.
The photo above is then a very apt photo. I'm going to start this year as I mean to go on. And to be honest, the year has started amazingly. We had a lovely relaxed New Years Eve at home, with all of us curled up on the sofa watching tv. Only one of the kids stayed awake to watch the fireworks at midnight lol. Then everyone slept in till 10 am today, which was heavenly. After a relaxed morning, we went to see a vintage car show, followed by lunch at GBK which was so yummy! We came home where some of us napped, some of us chilled on various devices & some of us blogged. Next on the list is a game of Cluedo, which my eldest received for Xmas. I just need to remember how to play!
Over the next few days, Im going to take a look at my list of goals for 2014, which is posted at the top of this page, to see how many I actually achieved. Then Im going to make another list for this year, it wont be as long, but Im going to try harder this year to achieve them.
Phew, thanks for reading (if anyone is still out there!!)
So, how was your Christmas & New Year? What do you have planned for 2015? Im looking forward to properly catching up with everyones blogs soon, I just couldn't comment when using the ipad, so I fell out of touch with everyone.
Take care of yourselves.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Biscuits, biscuits, biscuits

A few months ago I had a little idea for a new garland. I scribbled the idea down on a piece of paper with the intention of giving it a go, but the idea stayed on the piece of paper till this week.

It's half term here in the UK, so the kids are off school for the week. Typically the weather has been rubbish this week, rain everyday, plus both myself & my youngest have been trying to shake a crappy cold which doesn't seem to want to go. So we've spent most of the week snuggled up indoors. On Tuesday, while the girls were busy drawing, I sat with a cup of tea, some felt & embroidery threads & a plate full of biscuits & transferred the idea off the paper & into felt form.

The pink Party Ring was first up.

Then a few more appeared.

I may have eaten 1 or 2 Party Rings, just to ensure that I was doing them justice!!

Then it was Bourbon time!!

I had to stop there as I was missing the right colour felt for the Jammy Dodgers & Custard Creams, but luckily I picked some up yesterday & so biscuit production shall continue this afternoon (once I've made a cheesecake with my middle daughter).

Here's hoping after all of this, the garland idea actually works!!

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

#30daydrawingchallenge Day Three

Day Three's theme was "Favourite Food".

It was hard to choose just one!! I mean come on!! How would I decide between cake, chocolate, biscuits, strawberries, roast chicken, roast potatoes, steak........... (Hungry now!!)

Then I remembered how I wanted to have a go at drawing cupcakes & the decision was made.

I decided to put a bit more time into this one. I painted one cupcake & drew the other in biro. These cupcakes were heavily inspired by Jenny & Aaron over at

My blending skills need some work but I'm happy with this for a first attempt!! If you haven't checked out Jenny & Aaron's work, you should definitely take a look! It's amazing & I cannot wait to buy some of their prints for my kitchen (& maybe a die cut or two!)


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The #30daydrawingchallenge

I've really missed drawing, as a teen I drew all the time. I did really well in Art in High School & went on to study at college. Originally I was going to do an A-Level in Art but everyone kept telling me how Art wouldn't be a career & to look into the design field. So instead of taking Art, I took Art & Design with the intention of going into Graphic Design. I passed the first year with a Merit & began the second course, but my heart was no longer in it. I no longer loved drawing, nothing I created was right in my teachers eyes, the criticism was just negative, nothing constructive to work with. I fell so behind with my work that I would have to retake the year, so I made the decision to give up college & start working. From that day, I didn't draw. My art supplies were packed away & that was that.

Until a few years ago where the drawing bug started to resurface. The first time I picked the pencil up & sketched something, it was total rubbish. In fact everything I drew was rubbish & I began to wonder if I'd lost the skills I had. But in reality, if you don't practice & keep trying, then your skills won't grow & develop, so I kept trying. Not as much as I did when I was younger but now & then.

Last week, someone I follow on Instagram posted that she was going to take part in the #30daydrawingchallenge. It was as if a lightbulb clicked on in my head!! What better way to reignite a passion?! It's simple, there's a list of 30 things, one to draw each day of the challenge. No rules, it can be as simple or as complex as you would like. Now normally I am rubbish at these challenges but I really hope I can complete this one.

So far I'm two days in lol!!

Day One - "Yourself'. It's not the best sketch, but I'm happy with it. Just a quick 10 min max drawing. I was never good at drawing people but its definitely something I'd like to improve on.

Day Two - "Favourite Animal", mine is an elephant. I just love them so much, they are so gentle yet powerful & majestic at the same time. I am really happy with this sketch, I did it right before bed last night after watching a film with my Hubby. I kept it simple (again 10 mins max), although I'm tempted to recreate it in colour!!

Day Three is "Favourite Food", which is hard as there's too many to choose from, although I've wanted to sketch & paint cupcakes for a while so maybe I will do that.

In fact yes I will. The sun is shining & the birds are singing (oooh I want to paint birds too!!), so I'm going to make myself a cup of tea (a necessity to aid the creative process, chocolate helps too but I'm out of that!) & draw some cupcakes.

Have a great day, whatever you are doing.