Friday, 30 December 2011

2011 Turns Into 2012

So 2011 is going to turn into 2012 on Saturday evening.  I found this fabulous photo on facebook. I have no idea where it came from but I wanted to share it. Such a simple but effective idea.

I'm not going to bore you with a 2011 roundup thing.  If I want to know what happened at a later point I'll look back through the archives on the right hand side of the page.

I did have a few goals for 2011 but I was rubbish at keeping them is all I will say.

In 2012 I am going to try and:

Keep up with my own A to Z Discovery Challenge (see post from a couple of days ago for details). Last night I prepared a notebook with a few pages for each letter and will have it somewhere nearby for the whole year. The aim being that if any of us have an idea for a particular letter before we reach it then we will put that idea into the notebook and when the letter comes around we will try/read/do that thing.

Resume the couch to 5k running I started in September.  I got to week 3 and life got in the way/I was too lazy to be bothered (delete as appropriate) so this time around I want to at least try and get beyond that point.

Decorate the kitchen and replace the cupboard doors (this was a goal last year)

Take part in a couple of craft fairs

Be a bit more organised with design team projects and not leave assignments until the very last day.

Take each day as it comes and try to stay a bit calmer when things get to meltdown point with the boys.

One last one which I have tried to incorporate for the last few weeks is to have a recipe plan for the week and make a shopping list.  My grocery bills were getting ridiculous and we were throwing so much food away but since taking this step I have found it so much easier.

Happy new year everybody.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Christmas Skywatch

For the last skywatch of the year I have chosen two photos.

The first one is one I took very very quickly on christmas eve morning whilst I was out and about. It was around 830am and the sun was rising.

and second up is a picture of the clouds on christmas day afternoon just before sunset

Thanks for looking.  To see more skies around the world please head on over to Skywatch.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A To Z Of Discovery 2012

A couple of years ago a group of friends did a challenge to discover the alphabet.  We gave each letter of the alphabet a fortnight and went on a voyage of discovery of new things. We found and tried new (and old favourites) things from each letter in turn over the year.  I only managed a few letters though so have decided this year I am going to do it again by myself.  If anybody would like to join me along the journey that would be fantastic. I intend to do a fortnightly post on here dedicated to the particular letter I am discovering eg on 15th January I will do a post for the letter A and have a linky thingy so if anybody wants to play along they can link up their own blog post and share what they have discovered.

I'm looking forward to trying different foods, recipes, places, books, etc etc etc. There are so many things to discover starting with each letter.  I know certain ones are going to be more difficult than others - X for example but I'm up for giving it a go.

There are probably hundreds of A to Z challenges starting this week but if you want to play along for however long you wish you are more than welcome.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

I went down to Elland Road on Sunday for some Christmas presents from the Leeds United superstore.

There are still tributes by the Billy Bremner statue in memory of Gary Speed who died earlier this month.  I took the time to have a look and snapped the above picture on my phone. It was heartwarming to see tributes from other teams in amongst the lovely bunches of flowers, shirts, scarves, hats, flags and teddy bears. The large wreaths just above the teddy bear's head to the left of the base of the statue look like they are the ones placed in the ground during the first home match after his death by the Leeds and Millwall managers and his former team mates (Gordon Strachan, Gary McAllister and the ever gorgeous David Batty). Pictures courtesy of my husband who is a season ticket holder at Leeds.

I'm using this picture I also took of the statue on Sunday morning as my skywatch picture for this week.  To see more skies from around the world please visit Skywatch this evening.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Book Tree

It's my turn over on It's A Creative World today. I made a tree out of a book.

All the details about how I made it and a link to the tutorial is over on the It's A Creative World post

Monday, 19 December 2011

Making In 2012

Gosh - 2012 just  a matter of days away.

I came across this post over at The Felt Fairy and am going to play along.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Bit Of A Wash Out

We went to the German Christmas Market in Leeds on Sunday.  I was quite excited about going but it was actually rather a let down. 

The weather didn't help, it poured it down for most of the day.  I don't really know what I expected to be honest.  I went with the intention of buying my 16 year old son a nice hat. I absolutely didn't want to get him one of those horrible flourescent chav type ones everybody seems to be wearing. It just isn't him at all.  There were only two stalls with hats, one was boring and the other, whilst it was lovely and I could have spent a fortune on my littlest son, just didn't have anything suitable or the right size.

There were some lovely little stalls with handmade wooden toys and gorgeous christmas decorations but I wasn't really wanting to buy anything like that.

There were lots of food stalls and booze stalls

It was a bit early in the morning for drinking alcohol but those little cups they served mulled wine in are adorable.

Loving this table

and then there was the honey stall which had various beeswax candles. On the train home I was asked by my middle son if they were for eating. I'm assuming he thought they were edible with them being on the honey stall.

He did get to eat some German sausage in a bread roll. It was really nice and made up for the rest of it being a bit of a let down.  I was peeved aswell because I'd planned on taking some arty farty Hipstamatic pictures of the cabins but the latest update crashed everytime I opened it and I ended up having to restore my whole phone back to a previous backup. This was to September and it deleted everything since then including messages. Not impressed because they know about the trouble it has caused a lot of their customers and they still have the update in the app store. 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Meet Fred

Fred is our resident house elf or at least until Christmas Eve.

He is The Elf On The Shelf and has been quite a godsend this year. It is his first year with us and I discovered him at just the right moment as our 7 year old was starting to ask a few awkward questions and his random statement of 'I know Santa isn't real so you can stop pretending' sent a tear to my eye. I did start to put doubts back into his mind about his statement by asking who eats the mincepie and carrot we put out and then I asked him to watch the video on the Elf website. He seemed to go back to the innocent little boy again so I figured if we can get another year or two of magic back then it would be money well spent.

Anyway the elf appeared on the morning of 1st December along with the accompanying book explaining his rules about needing a name so the magic could start, how he reports back to Santa each night and appears in a different place each morning and the big rule of NOT touching him. So far this has worked and he hasn't dared touch him.  I suggested calling him Gary after the late Gary Speed but his little mind was set immediately on Fred. Why I really don't know but Fred it is.

So far he has appeared in a number of places each morning and so far he has only come back to the same place once (yes you get what I mean by that lol).  The last couple of mornings he has appeared in positions that would indicate a bit of a party going on at the North Pole and he feeling a little worse for wear.

Fred was my inspiration for our Punky Scraps Christmas challenge. Full details are at Punky Central.

I used Hipstamatic pictures, the background was stamped with a stamp from the Cocoa Daisy November stamp kit using the Tim Holtz winter distress ink pads. I covered a chipboard christmas tree in some red and white spotty paper from My Minds Eye and added some bling, the journalling blocks are Websters Pages and the lace is some I had in my ribbon jar.

FO Friday

Finished Object Friday. Yipppeeee I have something to show you this week. It isn't all my own work but it is all mine. The travelling sock journey is now over and I have my socks back plus a few goodies aswell.

For those of you who don't know how a travelling knitting journey works - There were a few people in our group and we all started our socks with the toes and posted them to the next person in the group who worked the next section and so on and so on until they eventually end up back home.

There will be more finished objects at Tamis Amis at some point during today.

Thursday, 8 December 2011


A sky from late November just as the sun was setting

Skies here are very dark at the moment here in Yorkshire. Lots of high winds and stormy conditions forecast for the next few hours especially in Scotland. Stay safe everybody.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Trying Out The New Pantene

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Supersavvy saying I had been selected from an application I made some time ago to trial the new Pantene range.

Shortly after that I received a box containing some of the range. I had chosen coloured as my preference so I received a shampoo, conditioner and treatment mask tailored to that preference.

I also received some samples of the coloured items aswell as normal and fine products aswell to give out to friends which I did. 

I tried the colour shampoo and conditioner on my hair and was quite impressed. I wasn't as impressed with the mask as it left my hair a little greasy.  I had a normal/thick sample of all the products left so I tried that the next time and the mask for that was much better for my type of hair.  It's definitely something I will buy again and they provided lots of vouchers to do so. I've also distributed some of those to friends aswell.

Next step is getting some questionnaires filled in.

The new range is starting to filter into the shops now. I'm quite disappointed that the Ice Shine range is being discontinued but this new range seems to make up for it.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Novelty Yarn Christmas Tree Decoration.

It's my turn over on Its A Creative World again today and I've written up a pattern for a tree decoration as follows:

How many of us knitters have some novelty yarn in our stash that we will probably never use?

I know I certainly have.

I turned mine into some reasonably easy Christmas tree decorations.

It doesn't matter what size yarn you use. You might want to go down a size needle from the one recommended for the yarn so the knitted piece is denser and you are less likely to see the stuffing. So you will need a little bit of stuffing or tights or old bits of fabric to stuff your decoration.

The pattern is as follows working from the tip downwards:

You have a choice of leaving a long enough loop to hang it with or crocheting a chain. If you are crocheting a chain then chain 30 and slip stitich back into the first chain to make the loop. Transfer the loop onto your knitting needle and then knit as follows:

Row 1 - knit into the front and back of the stitch (abbreviated to kfb)

R2 and all even rows up to and including row 26 - purl

R3 - kfb on each stitch

R5 - knit

R7 - kfb each stitch

R9 - knit

R11 - (kfb k1) to end

R13 - knit

R15 - as row 11 (18sts)

R17 - knit

R19 - as row 11 (27sts)

R21 - knit

R23 - (kfb k1) to last stitch k1 (40 sts)

R25 - knit

R27, 28 and 29 - knit - this provides a garter ridge for the base of the tree

R30 - (p2tog p3) x 8 (32sts)

R31, 33 and 35 - knit

R32 - (p2tog p2) x8 (24 sts)

R34 - (p2tog p1) x 8 (16sts)

R36 - p2tog x 8

Cast off

You have the option of sewing on beads or buttons at this point or leaving it plain. On the yellow ones I added buttons to the top to make a star. I just added a few beads on the pastel eyelash ones and on the dark green ones I added lots of gold seed beads.

Turn it inside out making sure your loop is on the inside and start sewing the seam until you reach the garter ridge you made at row 28. At this point turn it the right way round and stuff it. Then stitch the bottom seam adding more stuffing, if it needs it, as you go.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Cushion Love

This month on The Craft Garden blog I have set a recipe challenge.  Full details can be found here

My layout is about a cushion my youngest son claimed as his own the second it entered the house.  He can often be found hugging it.

I used some sewn cardstock by We Are Memory Keepers, a piece of fur, various flowers, ribbons, buttons, flower centres and I also made some flowers using twine.  I entered this layout into the design team call for The Twinery. I don't hold out much hope of being successful but I enjoyed making the flowers so I thought why not try?

Wednesday, 30 November 2011


What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. Not played along with this one for a very long time. 

I think I've mentioned before that I don't have a dedicated workspace so everything has to be cleared away when I have finished.  I generally use the worktop in my kitchen and glass lid of the oven as a workspace.  Don't worry - never ever when the oven is on.

I've been playing with the December journalling thing that a few people seem to be doing.  I can't justify spending the cost of Journal Your Christmas at the moment so may well either do my own thing and make it into an album of December my way or I might take inspiration from the Ali Edwards December Daily. 

So always being last minute with everything - yesterday was the time I pulled out anything I could find in my stash remotely christmas related. First up was the question do I make myself an album or use one I already have with maybe one or two layouts already in? My question was answered when I stumbled across a 7gypsies package in the bottom of my basket which is around 8 chipboard pages all in different shapes that make up an album. Everything being different shapes I thought it would make it more interesting to work with.  I got a pizza box of Websters Pages goodies earlier this year and there are all kinds of christmas bits and pieces in it including some die cut pages which are ideal sizes (again all different shapes).  I found lots of other bits besides and plan on making a start today.  Quite how much I will get done is in the lap of the gods as the kids are off school for the strike day, I have a badly timed optician appointment for an eye test which I made before I knew they were off and my eldest son has one later in the day at a time which was perfect to coincide with the end of the school day.  Anyway these things come to test us and here is the stash I have got out

I also came across this mystery package

It contains a kit to make advent bags from Sweetwater. I loved Sweetwater when they made scrapbook papers. I will go so far as to say they are my all time favourite manufacturer so it is such a shame they are now only doing fabrics and patterns.  Anyway I bought this kit just before last Christmas and never got around to making them and obviously I haven't done it this year either. I'm thinking if I leave it on the worktop it will be in my way and I might be motivated into doing something with it even if it isn't ready for 1st December which unless you have been living on another planet is TOMORROW - arrggghhhh.  They are supposed to look like this link

I'm sure people have got lots more interesting workdesks this wednesday - pop on over to WOYWW to see what they are up to.

WIP Wednesday

I've not done Work In Progress Wednesday for ages.  I've only got one item on the go at the moment which is the Twist and Flounce scarflette

I'm hoping to start the Advent scarf on 1st December. I've got some gorgeous yarn and beads for it so fingers crossed next wip wednesday I will have some progress to show you.

I have been asked about last year's advent scarf. The ravelry group is here. I didn't actually get around to the whole thing and I no longer have it to take a picture.

To see what everybody else has been knitting WIP Wednesday can be found here

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A Lost Few Days

I did a craft fair a week or so ago and for months I've spent every moment I've had making things for it.  I won't say it was a massive success because it wasn't but I made the cost of the stall plus materials and a little bit extra so I'm not complaining. It was mainly due to the fair being in two rooms with Santa between them who caused quite a bit of congestion. Nothing to do with the organisers as they did their best but unfortunately a lot of people had already spent most of their money in the first room or couldn't get through the congestion.

 A few piccies:

taken by my son and perhaps not the best pose of me sat behind my table

getting me own back with a pic of him

these were by far the biggest seller.  Die cut shapes stacked with foam pads and beaded on top. Some customers were going to use them for cards and layouts but the majority were going to use them for the finishing touches to christmas presents.  I've made up some lucky dip bags of what was left and put them in the shop here

these are some coasters I attempted. They aren't stitch perfect but I've listed them on Ebay here

some more of the stacked ones.

some christmas decorations

these were some corsages/brooches that I crocheted. They sold quite well but again I made way too many. The ones which didn't sell will be going in the shop in the next couple of days ranging in price from £1.50 to £4 so great stocking fillers.

As it was my first craft fair I really wasn't sure what to expect and if I'm totally honest I was pooping myself just a little bit (not literally but you know what I mean).  I think I made way too much stock and my table was maybe too cluttered so I think I would do it differently if I did it again.  I really enjoyed myself so I think another one might well be on the horizon at the right place.

The week running up to the craft fair was very stressful for a number of reasons so once it was over I took the opportunity to relax and do something for me for a change.

I spent time watching both series of Downton Abbey.  I hadn't really taken any notice of it when it was on telly but I heard so many people talking about it I decided to order the dvd from the library. The timing of it's arrival from another library was perfect for my down time after the fair.  I was hooked from the very first moment.  So many familiar faces in the cast but all absolutely perfect for their roles.  I will admit that  Mr Bates aka Brendan Coyle is rather a nice distraction.  I don't know if it is that he has a look of somebody else I can't think of or that I've just seen the adverts for Downton Abbey as he has a familiar face but I don't recall watching anything else he has acted in. Looking forward to the christmas special now.

Anyway my absence from the blogosphere is the work I created for myself with the craft fair and having a lazy few days watching Downton Abbey. Back to business this week. See you tomorrow.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Football Mourns

the loss of Gary Speed.

Gary Speed

Photo from here

He was somebody held in very high esteem in this house as are all the title winning Leeds squad from 20 years ago.  When the news broke yesterday I think we were all in shock as was probably most of the country.  I doubt we will ever know why he brought himself to suicide.  He was always professional when he needed to be so it goes to show that things are not always what they seem behind closed doors. May his troubled soul now be at peace and he is playing the game of his dreams up there with all the footballing heros who have gone before him.

I will always remember him as the floppy haired young player in this photo

Photo from here

I imagine the next home game will be very emotional for both players and spectators alike.  My husband and son are season ticket holders.  I would also imagine that there will be a permanent tribute at Elland Road eventually.

RIP Mr Speed

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Easy Crocheted Brooch

Today is my very first post on It's A Creative World.

I made a crocheted brooch. It's easy peasy if you can do basic crochet.

US terminology

You will need a few scraps of leftover yarn. The thickness is totally up to you. I used chunky which I believe is called bulky in other countries. It gave me a brooch of approximately 3 inches in diameter. You could use thinner yarns doubled.

I used a 6mm crochet hook.


Using the magic circle method (explained here) chain 3 and then do 10 double crochet (explained here) into the circle. Join with a slip stitch into the top of the chain 3.

It should look like this:

Chain 3 and then do 4 lots of double crochet into each double crochet from the previous round. Slip into the top of the chain 3. Weave in your ends and your crochet part of this is done. The 4 lots of double crochet makes it slightly ruffled. If you prefer it to be flatter then simply substitute the 4 double crochet for 3 double crochet.

It now looks like this (yes I was naughty and took the picture before I got rid of the ends):

Now comes the fun part. Grab some buttons and beads and let your creativity loose.  I used just ordinary sewing thread doubled for attaching the embellishments as some of the items I used were too small to fit yarn through. Invisible thread would be great for this part.

Sew a pin to the back and you are done.

There are numerous other ways of using this project. It would be great to dress up a bag, for fastening a scarf, as a hair accessory or on your papercrafting projects.

Thanks for looking at my design.  I've linked it up to Ravelry here

Friday, 11 November 2011

Punky Scraps Sketchy Challenge

This week on Punky Scraps we have a sketch challenge.  The details of the sketch and yummy prize are over at Punky Central

My take on the sketch is this

The backing paper is Prima Alla and everything else is Websters Pages apart from the orange pompom flower from Basic Grey and the camera die cut which is Amy Tangerine. Oh and a few splashes of various mists.

Take A Moment... remember all the very brave men and women who have lost their lives over the years to make our world what it is on today - Remembrance Day.

I got to thinking the other day about the first world war prompted by a book series I am currently reading (we never did the world wars in history at school). The books are the Sutton series by Elizabeth Elgin. Definitely worth a read if you like a bit of history mixed with a spot of romance.

Both my grandfathers were born around the time of the first world war and then both served in the second world war and met their respective spouses. My paternal grandfather met my grandmother while he was stationed nearby. He originally came from Wales so probably would never have met her otherwise.  They then went on to have my dad a year or so after the war ended.  I only found out how they met when it was mentioned at his funeral 3 years ago. I also found out recently that my paternal grandmother had an uncle who she never met as he lost his life at the tender age of 17 for his country. My dad and grandmother will be placing a cross on the cenotaph today for her uncle and a cross on my grandfather's grave.

I don't know how my maternal grandfather met my grandmother. She came from Northern Ireland and him from England so I am assuming they met in the war considering the age of their eldest child. Unfortunately she tragically died not long after my mum was born so nobody really has any tales of her history and my grandfather died in the seventies.

On my husband's side there is also a wartime tale as his maternal grandfather was an American soldier stationed here.  I don't know much about his father except that he was born just before the second world war started and served in the RAF as my husband was born on the base which is now Robin Hood airport.

Without the war bringing those people together who would otherwise not have met lots of people would not be here today. Kind of thought provoking really.

So I am wearing my poppy with pride today in memory of those who have died to make this world the place it is today and those who served and lived but unfortunately are now no longer with us to share their memories.

RIP my grandparents Walter, Lancelot and Margaret and my grandmother's Uncle Harry and my husband's father who is also no longer with us.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Punky Scraps Challenge 33

This week the challenge over at Punky Scraps is a two parter to take inspiration from.

We were given a quote and a photo by Nat

Now I don't swear - well not the f word or other really big ones - so I do apologise if anybody is offended by the quote. 

However it really did strike a chord with me. Having had a few really bad days with the little one and his aspergers outbursts (mainly due to frustration because his thought processes are very different to normal people) I read the quote again and thought yes I really need to do just that.  I am the worlds worst for over analysing absolutely everything and sometimes it is difficult for me to move on from one of his meltdowns. I am still wound up but he is nice and calm and the perfect child most people see his as again. Mind it took 4 hours the other day for him to reach that stage and all over something really silly in my mind but in his it was very big. Even the tallest, ever patient, big brother had reached a stage of losing his temper with him. 

Anyway MOVE ON is what I must learn to do and not just in this situation but in other situations too which really mean absolutely nothing at all. I'm a terrible grudge bearer and I think trying to live a bit more by this quote might help with that a little bit too.

So here is what I made with those two fab pieces of inspiration

Monday, 31 October 2011


I'm really happy to announce that I got myself a place on the It's A Creative World team.

My first post over there is due in the middle of November.