Blue Blanket Heaven

So, I’m a slow one, but I do eventually, determinedly (is that a word) finish projects. And here is where I am with the blue blanket I started about two years ago:

IMG_5831I was trying to photograph it but Elvis had other ideas.

Its a mixture of crochet with some knit panels down the side as I realised it wasn’t wide aenough for the bed in the spare room.

I’m actually quite pleased with it. I’ve just started a dark blue border round the edge. Nearly there!!

Harrogate Find

pump room

The Pump Room Museum Harrogate

So on a recent lovely sunny trip to Harrogate I made a book find: a book I’ve been avoiding buying on the internet as it usually seems to be about £20. I went to an amazing second hand bookshop Books for All and was magnetically drawn to the craft section where I found a copy of Practical Knitting for £3.50!

practical knitting

SO HAPPY!

It was published in 1947 and has all the wonderful pictures of staid looking chaps, that you would expect:

 

This baby looks happier than I would:

baby

I think my favourite page is this really sinister looking peasant doll. Can you imagine giving this to a child?

doll

I’m currently trying out a simple “odds and ends” jumper using up all your old bits of wool. Very make do and mend. I shall report on my progress!

Yorkshire Arboretum

So, thanks to Groupon, I have discovered a little (well quite big) gem, only 30 mins from my house- the Yorkshire Arboretum. It’s basically at Castle Howard for anyone semi local. It’s absolutely beautiful.  

We took Elvis but could not explore all of it due to his gammy leg as it is a huge 120 acres! 

The trees in the Yorkshire Arboretum come from all around the world, and started with a collection of trees purchased in 1979 from Hillier Nurseries, in Hampshire. 

Many trees were grown from seeds brought back by collectors, many from the 19th century. I like the fact that there is a map and they are all labelled. 


Lots of the trees are ‘reserve’ trees for Kew Gardens, in case rare trees there are damaged or affected by disease. 


I also enjoyed some of the lovely flowers….


And I can highly recommend the cafe as well. It’s all dog-friendly (have to be on leads in places) and basically smashing. We will be going again soon!


Candles!

And so I am slowly trying to perfect the art of teacup candles. I’ve made a few now. I picked up…. Wait for it…. Over 60 teacups at an auction for £20 (as well as 3 teapots, numerous plates, many bits of Wedgwood and untold other bits and pieces which I am slowly trying to offload!). 

I’ve not dared to sell any of these yet as they are not quite perfect but they make good presents (I think, friends and family may disagree!!) 

If you’ve not made candles before, here’s how. 

Melt the wax in a saucepan within a saucepan of water (not directly on heat). You can buy pellets but I am working my way through a massive bag of broken candles Gary acquired for me!


Make sure you have pokey implements around eg old tongs to stir and mix, especially after you add the colouring which comes in shards like this, easily available on net, (as are all the supplies): 


A little bit of colouring goes a very long way btw. 

Then once melts you can add candle fragrance. I use these:


This has to be added at a specific temperature for best results, but I don’t have a wax thermometer yet. Not sure I’m acing with the fragrance to be honest. 

Pour into teacups which have already been prepared with wicks. 

I attach wicks using old pencils or wooden stirrers ‘liberated’ from coffee shops. 


Only fill three quarters. This is because the wax forms a depression in the centre as it cools. 

You need about 3 more gradual top ups (making sure completely dry in between) to achieve flatness!


And there you go, completed candles!

Anyone wanting to give it a go I can highly recommend starter kits. I got this one initially. It was great. Happy candle making!

Elvis is bored

So Elvis has had a little elbow op. He’s been on minimal walks for weeks- five minutes per day. He’s terrible bored. He’s laying around looking very sorry for himself. 


In between that he is begging for food with even more vigour than usual. 


He’s got a new pastime of looking out of the living room window in a kind of ‘help me I’m a prisoner’ kind of way. 


Poor little thing. He may be on longer walks next week (10mins) then 15 the next and so on. Patience little Elvis!


The skirt is finished! And teacosies rule…..

So finally the skirt is finished! The last bit took ages because the craftsy course suggested I stitch the waistband and hem on the machine, but I didn’t want a visible line so I hand stitched it all invisibly. I think it was worth it. 


Actually it was quite therapeutic. 

Here is the finished item….


I love it. I can even live with the pattern match fails at the seams. I think. 

In other news I have finally managed to get three tea cosies into etsy. I had a target of 5 this month but three out of five ain’t bad! I just love making tea cosies, here photographed with part of a lovely tea set I bought in vintage shop Flax and Twine in York.  (Amazing place -if you are visiting York take a look). 

Here are the three I’ve managed to get on:

Love this mad rainbow chunky wool.  Forget where I got the buttons… Whitby I think. 

Granny squares rule. This was going to be a cushion but it changed its mind. 


My favourite I think. Just because I love spotty ribbons. 

I’ve got about another three half done… Always the way!

Happy crafting weekend!!!

Clifton ings

So in a break from crafting I am delighted to be able to walk on Clifton ings again after the floods! The flowers are all back out and it looks like a beautiful meadow again! Elvis was also pleased. 


The ings has a fascinating history including being a racecourse, and the site of the North Riding Pauper Lunatic Asylum (what a grim name!) 

The hospital was opened in the 1840s and a chapel was added in 1873. This is still there:

Clifton

The hospital apparently closed in the 90s…

In 2014 the ings became a site of special scientific interest due to all the wildlife: 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/may/30/york-flood-meadows-special-scientific-interest

There’s a small green beetle called the tansy beetle which only lives there:


I’m not too good with insects though so I don’t really spend my time looking for it! I’m just glad to have such a lovely place 5 minutes away!

Skirt progress

So I’m nearly finished with the skirt! I’ve learnt a lot. First of all about pattern matching!

Cut out my two sides…..


Put them together then realised instead of overlaying them the same way to cut them…..


I should have turned one over!!

Result…. Fail on the seam….


So never mind, side seam, I think I’ll get away with it…. A bit!

Then, very pleased was I with my invisible zip… Until I realised it was perfect but on the wrong side!!!! How did I manage that??


Doh! Thank god for stitch unpickers!

The waistband and hem seem to be going ok though…


I think it will be wearable anyhow.

Elvis gets his bronze

So in exciting dog news, Elvis has achieved his bronze kennel club award for obedience!! It was touch and go. He had to do the one minute stay twice as he got distracted! Here is a dark picture of him celebrating with celery, which he loves….


And here is him looking even cuter 


Proud mummy!!!