30 Dec 2010

Tools to go

I have got so fed up with taking shot after shot of really crappy pictures of my stuff because of the winter gloom that my relish for blogging is suffering - you take the shot, upload, sift, edit and it STILL is so not right that I have recently ordered an Ottlite lamp.  From looking around other blogs and Flickr these seem to be used quite a lot for the 'natural' lighting and colours they produce within a photograph.  So I await the postman eagerly to get on top of my WIPS and swappy stuff before I move on with them.  I have progressed a little more on my That Girl quilt and want to photo it badly. Plus I have loads of Flickr stuff that needs to go on for referencing for swaps.  Oh..........and I have got myself my OWN camera - Mr Neet got so fed with me changing the resolutions and whatnots on our shared camera - and him being TOTALLY 'gadget illiterate' that a solution of a personal camera each came about Yaaaaay - more stress free blogging for me.

Anyhow there is a very good chance I will not post again before Next Year!!  hahahah - so let me wish my readers - if I have any?? a very Happy and Productive and Creative New Year. xxx

18 Dec 2010

Prairie Points and a Bee

This is the finished quilt top complete with Prairie Points.  It is sitting waitng now for me to complete my quilt along top which should happen quite soon now, as the fabric ordered from the US is awaiting me to pick it up from the Post Office. Apologies for the dodgy photos - Arctic weather conditions aren't condusive to brilliant indoor photo shoots.

I have also joined/been accepted to take part in the awesome 3x6 Sampler Quilt Mini Bee over on Flickr.  I say awesome because of the number of participants - there are 25 'beehives' with 6 members in each,  I am in #25 - I think this is because I took the plunge to join right on the point of sign up closure. I look forward to the challenge with great pleasure.

16 Dec 2010

Quilt so far

Here are some pictures of the Pinwheel Baby Quilt so far ( I have actually got the prairie points and outer sashing done now).  This will be quilted when i get the top finished for the That Girl That Quilt quilt-along - I am awaiting fabric from US to arrive to complete it.

6 Dec 2010

Granny mountain becomes a blanket

This is my 'ta-dah!' post for my granny mountain blanket.  It was finished a couple of weeks ago but I didn't get to take any shots of it.  I absolutely love it and it is by far my 'reach for' blanket of choice at present, especially in this Arctic spell we are experiencing here in the the UK at present. I finished it off with a border of 2 rows dc and a picot flourish!

27 Nov 2010

Squares so far

As promised here are the squares so far that I have worked on for the quilt along that I am following over on That Girl - That Quilt blog.  I am now stalled on these as I am waiting for an order from the US for the next fabric.  I have tried my hardest to source this here in the UK but I had no luck at all - sorry UK fabric suppliers - and I was not going to compromise my choice for this project as  a) I want it to be as perfect as I can get it and  b) it does cost a little money to complete, and so any compromise would lead to a unhappy Neet at the end of the project.  I made this US shop as my choice to import the fabric from as they seem very popular in the Quilting World - plus they had my preferred colour of fabric.

In the meantime, whilst waiting, I am making a start on this little project.  I am using it to practise my 'skills' for quilting before attempting any big big projects.  I love, love, LOVE! the concentration and the use of brain juice that is needed to do these projects = totally absorbing.

20 Nov 2010

Nervous and excited

I finally plucked up the courage and organisation to cut the fabric ready for piecing together of my very first proper grown-up quilt.  After unexpectedly finding time alone without Little Neet for a Saturday afternoon, I managed to get stuck in without the distraction of 'Xbox drone'.  I was very nervous, as I really want this to be perfection - if possible, so I paid meticulous attention to everything that was required including getting the sewing machine A1 perfect for the job - which is a first considering I have had it for a gazillion years and this is the most technical thing I have sewn on it!

I even managed to do my 'chain piecing' properly - Woohoo!!!!!

I did finish the first round of my 40 squares, but the light got the better of me on this very dull, dank afternoon, so I will take a piccy of them in all their freshly pressed glory and post tomorrow

17 Nov 2010

Moonstitches' owls

I came across the 'tutowlrial' for these cute little owls whilst trundling around t'Internet and couldn't resist giving them a go.

16 Nov 2010

Scrappy Granny Cushion

This is a cushion that has taken ages to complete.  I wanted to do a granny square design but with a vintage 'scrappy' look.  It is all 100% pure wool with new and thrifted yarns.  When it come to making the finsihed shape I could not get the square shape of the cover - for some reason if  I 5 x 5d it, it was too snug for the cushion pad , but with the 6 x 5 layout it was perfect.  Strange???

12 Nov 2010

Granny mountain

I am finishing up my last crochet project for the foreseeable future - I am itching to go in another crafting direction.  I had the urge to make another granny throw and decided to make it with only yarns from my stash - no purchases.  So with colours-a-plenty for the squares and a deep blue to hold it all together I am making quite a decent sized throw and being 100% wool it is going to be really cosy.  I am using all the little leftover balls, thrifted bits, and even embroidery wool that has appeared along the way, so long as it is pure wool, it is being used up.  Once this is finished I want to tidy away all my yarns good and proper, out of sight, to concentrate on other stuff.  I still have SIX crochet cushion front to complete into cushions, I have all the throws I need, so crochet no more for me.

10 Nov 2010

I'm taking part

Check out the button on the sidebar for the quilt along that I am taking part in.  It is all very exciting and new for me.

Granny Stripe surprise

Little Neet snuggles up most mornings and evenings with a cosy black fleecy throw that lives on our sofa.  It is indeed a warm and snuggly blanket to keep toasty with, but.............about 2-3 years ago I started on a granny square blanket for him 'a la Cath Kidston' colourways and this has languished at the bottom of Wip
Mountain, occasionally seeing light of day, but nevertheless, always languishing at the bottom.  Well, I am in the fervent throws of whipping up another blanket at present and feel that after it is finished that my affair with all things 'granny' must come to an end for the time being. - there are so many other projects that I really, really want to put my hand to without granny distraction.  So I have decided that I WILL finish the blanket sitting at the bottom of Wip Mountain but it will appear in another guise - as a granny stripe.  The surprise will be - is that Little Neet is unaware of this blanket gift I am making for him - I just hope he gets it before he starts university (he is 9)!!!!!

2 Nov 2010

Needlecraft Heaven

The postman delivered me these two beauties this morning.  I used some 'birthday money' to treat myself to them and I have to say that every penny spent on these has been so well worth it (you know the disappointment you get when a craft book only half delivers?).

I want to do EVERY project in this book - in fact just looking at the pictures makes me want to squeal with delight!

This one is a gem - cram packed with cross stitch and embroidery projects, inspiration, stencils, charts and all done in a red, white or blue theme - beautiful.

I also spied this one after I had placed my order and I think it is an absolute must to have have in my craft book collection.

Anyway sincere apologies for the awful photos - UK daylight not being up to scratch today!

30 Oct 2010

Naughty chickens

The fact that we have about a third of an acre of garden for these naughty chickens to find a suitable place to bathe and not create havoc does not appear to worry them.

My plant pot containing a bay/laurel tree really is THE most suitable spot as far as they are concerned.

Never mind that I have to follow them with a dustpan and brush to return the soil to the pot.

At least they are free from bugs and nasties.

22 Oct 2010

African Flowers

I am sorry to say I simply can't grow to love these little crochet hexies.  I have tried and tried but they just don't rock my crochet world.  I think it is because of the edges that you find yourself trying to negotiate into a usable item that is just too much effort for me.  I am just a 'square' girl at heart I think.

So with the African flowers being ripped down I am so much more happier making these little beauties - so much happier.  I am using a little yarn stash that was given to me as a birthday present last year, so I am just seeing how far it goes to be able to turn it into a 'something'.

21 Oct 2010

Another Granny throw completed

This is Wip #1 of the Winter that I have set out to complete

It has only taken 3 years from beginning to now to get the job done!  After the last post, there is not even one single loose end that needs tackling! 
I am a bit of a yarn snob (unfortunately for my pocket) and this one is in acrylic yarns hence it does not compare to my cream granny as far as weight and snugglyness go which is made from 100% wool yarn.
But - it looks great in my room on the sofa and it is DONE!  Yaaaay.............!

20 Oct 2010

Loose Ends

I have a little guilty secret that I think I might not be alone in sharing

This poor granny throw has been part of our family for the best part of a year now, keeping us warm and snuggly in times of need and I still haven't got around to finishing off those pesky loose ends - I think I might have a bit of a mental block when it comes to this task.  There is about a third of the throw that needs this attention and I am going to do the right thing in the next couple of days and make it a throw to be proud of.  I am working on a couple of WIPs that are virtually complete - including finishing off the loose ends!! and once they are done, this old faithful will get full attention.

16 Oct 2010

Pillow Swap

I am taking part in this lovely pillow swap (now closed for entries)and my swap partner is Kath of Juicy Fig blog (which is a lovely read and full of insiration - *waves*)

Frantic cushion cover making is occuring as I write this post.

Plus I have a wardrobe full of neglected WIPs that are screaming out my name everytime I walk past!

>>>>>>>goes to rummage

6 Oct 2010

Hello again

Well....................I did take quite a long blog break this time but I can safely say I am back, revived and restored with vim and vigour.  Sometimes blogland can get in the way of life and it can leave my little brain quite confuddled. so sometimes a 'time-out' helps to get everything back on a calm footing once again.

I took time out from crafting so as it was virtually non existent really, but, I have at least mastered the Macaron - post to follow soon.

I have also been enjoying using food at home that has been made 'from scratch' as much as possible and I am trying to get away from the processed fodder offered by the supermarkets ..........*dreams of small-holding*

So with that in mind I would like to show you my first attempt at home cured bacon...........really.

I started with a whole piece belly of pork - this will produce streaky bacon - loin will produce back bacon.  It weighed 2 kilos or 4lbs approx.  If you are in the UK and have an in-store butchers at Morrisons - they are fabulous for help.

Next I had to make up the curing mix which consisted of sea salt, brown sugar and a  special curing mix.  This is then rubbed onto the dry belly pork (90% to the meat and 10% to the skin) and the belly is then either placed into a ziploc bag which will accomodate it flat or, in my case, wrapped in cling flim to make a secure parcel to prevent against any leakage.  This is then placed into the fridge for 7 days with the meat being flipped over once and massage a little bit every day.  You will need to place it into a ceramic, glass or plastic vessel because you will get a little liquid out of the meat (in my case not much) but do not use a metallic container because of reaction with the salts - but do keep it flat.

The special curing mix is available from here in the UK but I do believe that other countries do have their won suppliers of this type of salt. This site is very, very informative for home curing products

After 7 days remove the meat from the fridge and rinse the curing mix off it thoroughly and dry with kitchen paper.  Another 24 hours in the fridge on a rack or positioned upright, uncovered will help it to dry out ready for eating

Of course I had to do a little bit of my own quality control on this bacon and as you can see it was PERFECT.  No white, foamy gunk in the pan, just crisp flavourful meaty bacon.  Lovely.

Now would you like  to see my method for 'No knead bread' where you really do just stir the dough??

7 Mar 2010

Stripy project finished

My stripy project was this cushion.  I rather fancied this colour scheme for a little area where the chair normally sits.  I rippled in stripes until the piece was big enough to go around the cushion pad in one piece, then joined the seams and top to bottom edges.

5 Mar 2010

Macawrongs or Macarights!


 Almond Macarons.

Truly inspiring inspiration for these beauties/works of art can be found here.  After being nosey and  searching the Web for them, I understand that they can become a little bit of an obsession once you embark on making them.  But there certainly lots and lots of glorious examples to live up to. 

I can hear my ground almonds calling me from the kitchen cupboard!

22 Feb 2010

While I wait

for some extra yarn to arrive to complete the red, black and white project .....................I started this to get me through the weekend (even though there is a cupboard FULL of WIP's that need my attention!!)  The stitch although it may look difficult, is actually very, very easy to do.  A tutorial for Diagonal Box stitch can be found here.

17 Feb 2010

New project

This is my new project I started yesterday.

Yarn purchased from PurpleLinda

12 Feb 2010

I think I am in love

I came across this image whilst browsing the net and instantly fell in love, with the colours, ooh the colours, and the design.  It would so not match anything in my home but I think it is lush!  It is on a fab Japanese site with oodles of inspiration and free pattern downloads, once on there just click around the images and so what you can find!  There is also this Japanese yarn site that mails out yarn worldwide!

Check this out too.  Beautiful or what?

I feel another project coming on.

10 Feb 2010

Crafting companion

My little Jess loves to come and have a snuggle when there is a bit of quiet crafting going on.  It's even cosier when it is so cold outside.
(*Notice Rottie dog - top right - also enjoying the delights of underfloor heating!!)

9 Feb 2010

Lemon Drizzle Cake

I know there is always a fresh post about this ubiquitous cake popping up in blogs, so I thought I would add mine to the list
I use this recipe. You can't fault it, follow to the letter and results are perfect every time.  (You might want to add a few extra minutes to the baking depending on your own oven.)

This time I did something I have never tried before. I used my processor.  I am normally a 'chuck it in the bowl, beat it up' gal, but yesterday I decided to throw caution to the wind and see what results I got from this method...................

Well even if I do say so myself, I think it came our perfect (polishes nails on collar) There WAS an end piece but Mr Neet was circling like a hawk after it was baked and whipped it off for quality control purposes - of course!

8 Feb 2010

Corners of my home

I am quite proud of my little home and the bits and pieces collected for it.  I have tried to change things now and again but always revert back to the original design and choices I first made.

7 Feb 2010

Sock love #2

These socks can become very, verrrrry addictive.  There is some real nice pleasure in knitting them and being able to wear them with pride and very real satisfaction.
I don't know anything about the main yarn, it was a thrift shop find but it knits up as 4ply and has some mohair content.  They are beautifully soft and cosy to wear.  I knitted the cuff, heel and toes in some off white 4ply 100% wool yarn to make sure I had enough yarn for the main body.  I am using the Wise Hilda Basic Ribbed Sock pattern at present, it is so easy to follow and there is nothing complicated about it at all for a sock novice.

So now that pair is finished I am onto Sock Love #3

These are going to be for Mr Neet.  I am using Regia Design Line for these, a self-striping yarn.  Hopefully they will be finished for February 14th, just in time for Valentines Day, knitted with love as they say.

I have got one more pair that I have planned and they are going to be my 'scrappy socks', as in, knitted with any bits of 4ply yarn I have that work together.  Then...............................I may just indulge my growing love and splash out on some swishy sock yarn (read 'expensive') and tackle a more challenging pattern, after all there are a gazillion of them out there on t'internet.