Tuesday, 23 December 2014

November DI Craft Swap Part 1

There will be a few catch up posts over the next few weeks, I thought about leaving them and just starting afresh but I've received some lovely things and want to share them all with you.

November's theme was Woodland and my parcel came from Anna over at teawithmissbeatrix.com
She really looked into my need for things to be useful and she did a wonderful job.

 Firstly the box everything came in was lovely (and you can never have too many boxes to put things in!)

I got a lovely postcard from Anna herself and some lovely Beatrix Potter postcards which I think I might frame, they go lovely with our little Victorian house!

Inside the box were lots of lovely things!

These lovely leaves are now hanging by my fireplace

I adore the pegs, red an white polka dots are my favourite pattern, I'm looking forward to the weather getting better so I can hang my washing out with them.

A fox rubber (which was really hard to take a photo of!)

A hedgehog button that Anna made

And then there was this...

Anna crocheted me a lanyard, and I was so happy because I have to wear a lanyard to work and now I have a lovely crochet one rather than a plain boring black one. When I wore it to work I got loads of compliments on it and a lot of people asked if I had made it, I took great pleasure in saying it was a gift.

Every month I take part I am overwhelmed by the talent and generosity of the people involved. As always a big Thank you to Hannah for organising everything! What would we do without you?

This will probably be my last post before Christmas, I'm spending tomorrow morning with my mum and sister to do our annual tradition of watching "Its a wonderful life" in our pyjamas before coming home and watching "The nightmare before Christmas" with Dave while eating obscene amounts of cheese!

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and wish you all a fantastic New Year

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Christmas is getting closer! Less than 10 days away and I'm already wishing I could stall time because there seems so much to do. This will be mine and Dave's second Christmas in our house. Its the horrible truth that once you leave home for good Christmas is not the same. Last year was the first year my sister woke up on Christmas morning without me, I think that was the hardest part for me. It was odd having no one tell me to go to bed early on Christmas eve. No matter how old we were we were always sent to bed early on Christmas eve because my mum would wrap everything for our stockings. She made me and Dave stockings last year but warned it would be the last time. This year me and Dave are doing each others. He said he didn't realise that everything that goes in the stocking has to be wrapped up (obviously it does or you'd see everything straight away), and I have always to have a tangerine at the bottom of the stocking.

As it is my favourite time of year I thought I would share some photos of how my Christmas is shaping up.

Christmas trees are an important part of Christmas for a lot of people. In my family its tradition to go to Wheelock farm and pick out a tree. Last year Dave suggested we get an artificial tree and I threw a tantrum! They don't smell like a tree its not the same!

Here's a picture of my sister holding up a tree for inspection at the farm, she always seems to pick the ones we get. All except the year I brought my friend Liza home from Uni to help pick out the tree. It didn't even last until New Years eve, my dad got so sick of needles falling off every time someone went within a foot of the tree he took it down early.
And here it is all decorated, I have nothing to do with tree decorating. Once me and Katie got to the age where tree decorating got tedious, my mum would take a day off work and decorate it while we were at school and it would all be lit up when we got home. Now Dave does it while I give constructive criticism from my seat on the sofa.

For the last 2 years I have bought some tree decorations while at the farm, there are some lovely bits that are a really reasonable price. Last year I got these 2 stars (please ignore the photo bombing penguin)

Then this year I picked up a couple of these.i thought they were quite unusual and almost Great Gatsby-ish (loved loved loved the film!)

Also as the nightmare before Christmas is my favourite film (I own a 3D version of it and get very excited every time it snows in the film) last year we bought the set of nightmare before Christmas ornaments. They actually change every year so its nice to have the 2013 collection for the year we moved in together

I have started wrapping presents, I have a bit of a ribbon addiction, I put it on all the presents that I wrap! this one is for my mum, and in case she's reading this.
Mum the photo makes the box look bigger than it is.

Also as its Christmas, there has to be Christmas candles! Dave bought me a new one yesterday and it smells amazing. Its from the Glade Christmas collection; its roasted chestnuts and macaroons

Which leads me nicely onto my last few photos - Christmas isn't Christmas without baked goods!

I absolutely love Lebkuchen. These traditional German biscuits just taste like Christmas, I have been informed by Dave that there is a good selection of different ones in Tesco at the minute, I think they're getting more popular

And here is my contribution to Christmas baking, iced sugar cookies

I hope everyone is having a lovely time preparing for Christmas, and if I don't post again before, Merry Christmas to you all, I wish you all the best for 2015 x

(And here's a picture of Norris the elephant with Santa just to finish)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Blog Pondering

I've been very lax with my blogging lately. I have had some genuine reasons; being in hospital for a week threw almost all parts of my life out of balance. Even small insignificant things like having to throw away lots of food that didn't get eaten because I wasn't there to cook and Dave was at the hospital with me until late in the evenings so wasn't eating properly, washing backed up, crafting came to a grinding halt while I was there and my blog was the furthest thing from my mind.

Over the last two years I have gotten sicker and sicker and I feel like things are slipping through my fingers. The once meticulously organised me has slowly descended into chaos.

 I hate it.

I feel like I have so little control over my life at the minute. Tomorrow I may wake up and feel only slightly nauseous and be able to have breakfast or I might spend the majority of my morning dry heaving in the bathroom. I might be in minimal pain meaning that my painkillers will do their job, or I may be in crippling agony that no amount of pills will touch.

No matter how I feel I will try to push past it and go to work for the few hours I can manage; I've had the comments from my colleagues, about how lucky I am to finish early every day, to not have to come in before midday. 

It makes me feel like screaming.

I would gladly let them take my place. No. I don't mean that, I wouldn't wish this existence on anyone. That's what it feels like, not a life just existing. I'm now getting to the point where I'm starting to have to seriously consider the fact that I may not get better. Ever. If that's the case then something has to change because I can't carry on like this. 

Which brings me back to my blog (its been a bit long winded). I have to seriously think about whether I want to continue, my blog deserves a lot more care and attention than I've been giving it. I'm not under any illusions that there are loads of people out there who will be reading it, but its still a thing, a project I've been working on, and it deserves the same attention as any project. 

I've given it a lot of thought, and I'm not willing to give up on this just yet. The craft blogging community is large and so welcoming. It's something that I am proud to be part of it. I have met some wonderful people, and I have enjoyed sharing my crafting. So I vow to me much more organised; it may not kick in until the new year but I promise I will.

I'm also hoping to be much more organised with the rest of my life...I'll keep you posted on that one

Have a wonderful weekend xx

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Marscapone Frosting

I had my good friend from university Liza come to stay this weekend. I spent the majority of the week before she got here hooked up to IVs at the hospital; turns out my body can't cope fighting 2 infections at once! As I still wasn't feeling 100% we didn't do much, Sunday was spent sitting under a duvet watching Disney films, I had to limit my sing-along-ing as my throat was really painful. I did however keep my promise to bake her something. Of all the things I have in my baking repertoire her and Dave will always request the same thing - Brownies.

I made Dave some last week, just plain brownies that when microwaved were molten in the middle (Dave thinks they're the best ones I have ever made!) and wanted to do something slightly different. I found a recipe for brownies,baked as individual cakes rather than a traybake and with marscapone frosting on top.

I've only had marscapone frosting once, it was in a Lemon cake someone else made, and it was amazing but wasn't something that I had made myself. It's made pretty much the same as you would make cream cheese frosting for carrot cake; its just the cheese, icing sugar and vanilla essence. I also added in some chocolate shavings.

These are really good if like me you have a sweet tooth. They are very sweet, and I couldn't eat more than one (a day). The marscapone frosting is sweeter than usual cream cheese, I'm actually tempted to put it on my carrot cake next time I make it, see what the difference is.

Has anyone else been baking this weekend? xx

Monday, 20 October 2014

Amigurumi vs "mindless crochet"

Anyone who has had a little nosey on my blog will know how much I love amigurumi. Its quick, uses simple stitches and they're adorable.

Although I love it amigurumi can sometimes be quite stressful, because its not constantly the same pattern each row it requires a fair amount of attention. Sometimes after a long day at work I like to do what I call "mindless crochet", things like blankets and clothing.

This is not to say that this type of crochet doesn't require skill or concentration. I often find these projects more difficult, especially when it comes to putting them together. However they tend to have big chunks in the middle where the same pattern row is repeated over and over again. I think its quite therapeutic really.

Both these are actually for Baby Harvey, I make a lot more amigurumi than I do anything else. However I am looking forward to starting my first project using a pattern chart. One of Dave's colleagues wants a butterfly pillow, I'll keep you updated on my progress

Take Care xx

Monday, 13 October 2014

Work Crochet and Home Crochet

Despite the fact that most people would find my job undesirable, it does afford me the opportunity to get some crocheting done at work. I work in a call centre, and in between calls we don't have anything to do, and the devil makes work for idle hands!

I started crocheting when I had worked there for a few months, to begin with it drew a quite a few odd looks and people asking me what I was doing; now however no one bats an eyelid!

I always seem to have multiple projects on the go (as does every crafter), if I have something that is due for a deadline then I tend to ferry my project to and from work. However when no deadlines are looming I tend to pick a project and leave it in my locker at work. I choose things that require only 1 ball of yarn (or just one colour of yarn), this sometimes leads to me taking more clothing projects to work. As long as you keep track of how many rows you have done, it tends to be easier than amigurumi as the stitches are just repeated.

 My current work project is a little hooded jacket for my "nephew" Harvey, he's the new baby of one one my oldest friends. I cannot wait to go down and visit them.

I have the above book by Nicki Trench, and am making this lovely V-stitch jacket, I have decided however to make it in this colour; its called air force blue

Does anyone else have the luxury of crafting at work?


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

It's only 11 weeks until Christmas!

I know that people will be sighing at this, which I understand. I am baffled by the fact that there are Christmas items available in shops when we've not even had Halloween yet.


As I am sure every other crafty person knows, if you're going to craft for Christmas you need to get started early. Last year I wasn't organised enough and didn't get everything I wanted done. Determined not to repeat this I have already started on my list of things to make (I'm sure that more things will be added as time goes on)

I have the need to be overly organised when it comes to my crochet. Whenever I make something I right out the pattern in full so I can tick bits off as I go. I do this even if the pattern is in a crochet book or magazine.I feel that writing out the pattern helps me understand it (especially if its a new pattern). When I first started crocheting there were a few times where I jumped into a project without reading through the full instructions and then found myself completely befuddled halfway through.

So far on my list are:
  •  3 large snowmen, these are from my own pattern and will be sent down to Dave's grandparents. He has 3 full sets of grandparents, and I have none so I have adopted them. These were on my list last year and I ran out of time.
  • A penguin, again my own pattern, this one is being sold to a work colleague as a gift for her boyfriend's mum.
  • A Christmas jumper for baby Harvey, as a special gift for his first Christmas.
  • A Christmas tree, tree decoration that my mum has asked me for, she also has some snowflake decorations that I made for her using the crochet cotton and hook that my Yaya had been using when she passed away. The crochet hook is broken in half (I think) and held together with cotton but it means so much, I only use it to crochet sentimental things (like the snowflakes)
  • Then if I still have time I'd like to make some decorations for our house,I might make some snowflakes or garlands to go on the walls, and maybe a reindeer for the tree.

I'm not sure why it's snowing in this photo, its something my phone did all by itself - its pretty cool!

All the photos on here are from Christmases past, and I can't wait to share photo's of this years gifts!

Has anyone else started on their lists yet?

Have a lovely day xx

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Daisy the Cow - Free Amigurumi Pattern

I'm so excited to be sharing this pattern The last one I did was back in May for Steve the Octopus. Now I present to you Daisy the Cow

I had an old school friend contact me on Facebook and asked if I could make a cow for her young son as they are his favourite, I agreed and set about designing this pattern

Anyone who has made the elephant posted on Stephanie's "All About Ami" blog will realise the pattern looks similar I loved that with the elephants the legs were crocheted straight on It's so much easier once you get your head round it!

Here's what you need to get started:

White, Black and Pink Yarn, scissors, 2.5mm crochet hook, stitch marker, yarn needle, and some eyes, I always use safety eyes on my projects so they're not accidentally pulled off.

Abbreviations used:
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
tc - triple crochet
slst - slip stitch
inc - increase
dec - decrease

The only technique used outside of these is crocheting on both sides of a chain

Body - White Yarn
Chain 9 - foundation chain
Round 1 - 7sc, 3sc in next, then working on other side of chain, 6sc, inc in last (18)
Round 2 - inc, 6sc, 3 inc, 6sc, 2 inc (24)
Round 3 - 8sc, inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, 11sc (27)
Round 4 - inc, 9sc, inc, 2sc, inc, 2sc,inc, 6sc, inc, sc, inc (33)
Round 5 - 2sc, inc, 6sc, inc, 3sc, inc, 3sc, inc, 11sc, inc. 2sc, inc (39)
Round 6 - inc, 11sc, inc, 4sc,inc,4sc, inc,8sc, inc, 3sc, inc, 3sc (45)
Round 7 - 15sc, inc, 5sc, inc, 5sc, inc, 17sc(48)
Round 8 - 2sc, inc, 14sc, inc, 6sc, inc,6sc, inc, 8sc, inc, 4sc, inc, 2sc (54)
Round 9 - 4sc, inc, 7sc, inc, 7sc, inc, 7sc, inc,17sc, inc, 5sc, inc, sc (60)
Round 10 - 6sc, inc, 8sc, inc, 8sc, inc, 8sc, inc, 18sc, inc,6sc,inc (66)
Round 11 - sc around (66)
Round 12 - inc, 17sc, inc, 9sc, inc, 9sc, inc, 11sc, inc, 7sc, inc, 7sc (72)
Round 13 - sc around (72)
Round 14 - 2sc, inc, 18sc, inc, 10sc, inc, 10sc, inc, 12sc, inc, 8sc, inc, 6sc (78)
Round 15 - sc around (78)
Round 16 - 4sc, inc, 19sc, inc,11sc, inc, 11sc, inc, 13sc, inc, 9sc, inc, 5sc (84)
Rounds 17 & 18 sc around (84)

Then the body needs to be divided for the leg chains, carrying on from the last stitch of round 18, chain 6, skip 20 stitches and then join with a slip stitch, repeat 3 times until you have 4 leg holes and a central "belly" hole

Legs - White Yarn
All the legs are crocheted the same. For the first leg you crochet can be continued from your last leg chain.

Round 1 - 20 sc of body, 6sc of leg chain (26)
Round 2 - sc around (26) 
Round 3 - 18sc, dec, 6sc (25)
Round 4 - 17sc, dec, 6sc (24)
Round 5 - (dec, 2sc)x6 (18)
Round 6 - (dec, sc) (12)
Round 7, dec around (6)
Sew closed hole.

Repeat for the other 3 legs, the start of each leg is the stitch of the body closest to the leg you've just finished. 

Head - Start in White Yarn
Chain 10 - foundation chain
Round 1 - 9sc on either side of the chain (18)
Round 2  - inc around (36)
Round 3-8 [6rounds] - sc around (36)
Change to Pink Yarn
Round 9 - inc, 5sc (42)
Round 10 - inc, 6sc (48)
Round 11 inc,7sc (54)
Round 12 inc, 8sc (60)
Round 13 &14 (60)

This is what the head will look like at this point, to make the ears of the cow you need to put some stitches between the 2 ends of the original foundation chain to pull them up.

The difference may not be that noticeable but will be once it is stuffed. At this point you also need to add on the eyes, and some french knots for nostrils if you want to add them.

Round 15 - (dec, 3sc)x12 (48)
Round 16 - (dec, 2sc)x12 (36)
Round 17 - (dec, sc)x12(24)

Stuff the head

Round 18 - dec around(12)
Round 19 - dec around (6)
If there is a small hole sew closed.

If you do not seem to have noticeable points for the ears, you can add in some stitches going from the base of the head to in between the ears to lower it.

Now you need to sew the head onto the body. As all the legs are the same it doesn't matter which way round the body is.You need to sew it so at least 1/2 the height of the head stands above the body of the cow.

Cow Splotches

These splotches can just be random patterns made in black wool. If you are making it for someone special, you could consider making some little crochet initials. Here are the ones I have used:

Round 1 - 6sc in a magic circle (6)
Round 2 - inc around (12)
Round 3 - inc, sc (18)
Round 4 - inc, 2sc (24)
Round 5&6 - 5sc, 2hdc, 2dc, 4hdc, 2dc, 3slst 3hdc, slst, 2sc (24)

Round 1 - 6sc in a magic circle (6)
Round 2 - inc around (12)
Round 3 - inc, sc (18)
Round 4 - inc, 2sc (24)
Round 5&6 - 5sc, 2hdc, 2dc, 8hdc, 4sc, 2hdc, sc (24)

Round 1 - 6sc in a magic circle (6)
Round 2 - inc around (12)
Round 3 - inc, sc (18)
Round 4 - inc, 2sc (24)
Round 5&6 - 5slst , 10dc, 4slst,5dc (24)

Chain 7 - foundation chain
Round 1 - 6sc on each side of chain(12) chain 1
Round 2 - inc around (24) chain1
Round 3&4 - 9slst, 5dc, hdc, 3slst, dc, 3tc, 2dc (24)

Sew the splotches wherever you want on the cow body/legs

If you want to add a tail to your to your cow (not recommended if its being given to a child), cut 4 pieces of yarn twice the length you want the tail to be, mine were 6 inches. Fold them in half and using your crochet hook pull the folded end through the stitch were you want the tail to start

Then pull the loose ends through the loop sticking out to form the knot

Then tie the strands together towards the ends to form  a tuft

Stuff the body making sure you put enough stuffing into the legs.

Last Bit!

The colour used for this is down to preference, you can use white, but I chose to use pink, in place of adding any udders

Round 1 - 6sc in a magic circle (6)
Round 2 - inc around (12)
Round 3 - inc, sc (18)
Round 4 - inc, 2sc (24)

The sew into the gap between the legs, this is also 24 stitches so it should fit perfectly

And its finished!

I'd love to know and see pictures if anyone makes a Daisy of their own 

I'm on Instagram and Twitter as @craftycharlotte 


Please feel free to use this pattern to make your own cow(s), but please do not sell the pattern or anything created from it (special circumstances will be considered, please contact me). Please also do not post this pattern anywhere else, if you want to share it please provide a link back to this site.Thanks