Monday, 28 December 2015

Popular Posts of 2015

Well here we are again, the end of ANOTHER year - wow! Last year I really enjoyed looking back at what had been my most popular posts of the year so though it would be fun to do again.

1) I was quite surprised at this but the most popular post this year was the Adipose Cushion I made for my nephew's birthday. It's such a niche Doctor Who thing, I guess there are a lot of Who fans out there (of course there are - best TV show ever! Except maybe Downton Abbey, it's a tie)
adipose cushion tutorial

2) I made these little felt heart brooches and key rings back in February. They are easy to make and great for using up little bits and pieces of lace, ribbon and other trimmings that are too good to throw away.

3) This geometric gold DIY art was next popular. I had a few issues with this project and made it much harder for myself than I needed to. However I am happy with the end result and I wake up every morning and look at it (it hangs on the wall directly opposite the bed!)
DIY art gold geometric

4) I really enjoyed making this cluster drop necklace. The funny thing was it turned out quite differently from the idea in my head originally - better thankfully! (and it's red, I love red)

5) I made this little crocheted house and turned it into a card for a friend who loves all things craft related. Links to the free pattern are in the post.
granny square house

6) Next was an idea I had seen on pinterest, I think everyone has seen this, dividing up your drawers to organise your stuff better. Cereal boxes and sample bits of wall paper was all it took. I don't think I could manage without them now, this was definitely one of the most practical things I did this year.
drawer organisation

7) Succulents are still really popular house plants and I have a few that are REALLY easy to take cutting from, that's making plants for free - who doesn't like free stuff?
succulent plants taking cuttings

8) Making toys from kids drawings, sounds simple enough right? NO, it's really not! However it was fun and the toys are much loved so worth the effort. Impossible to give a tutorial for as every one would be unique so here I just shared a few tips that I picked up along the way.
how to make toys from children's drawings

9) I keep my make up brushes and mascara in this little gold heart pot, it started it's life full of a popular brand of chocolate spread. 
gold heart pot

10) Lastly my absolute favourite project of the whole year, our Wall of Wisdom. Hard to photograph to show it off well, this is a collection of quotes and sayings in our little downstairs toilet. Everyone who visits and uses the facilities comments on how much fun it is. We have quotes from everyone from Shakespeare to Dumbledore. Wise words from Star Wars, Doctor Who and Winnie the Pooh along side traditional expressions and saying.
displaying quotes as art

Happy New Year
Wishing you every good thing for 2016

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Friday, 18 December 2015

Crocheted Holly Garland

This might be a bit late to share for this year, but could be perfect for next year! A crocheted holly garland, my last Pinterest Challenge for 2015.
holly leaf garland crochet with link to free pattern
I fell over a free pattern to make holly leaves on pinterest a while ago. The link took me to an amazing blog that I'm pretty sure most crocheters already know (if you don't then you are in for a treat) Attic24

I found the written pattern a bit confusing to start with, but the super talented Lucy from Attic24 has provided brilliant clear step by step photos so with my ipad on my lap I was able to make a whole heap of holly leaves with some green yarn from my stash.

I used some green DK yarn and a 3mm hook, I think this could be a case of use what you have and it will probably be fine. Each leaf only takes about 15 minutes once you get the hang of them so you can afford to experiment.
Crocheted Holly leaf garland
Once I had 10 leaves I attached them to a chain. To do this I chained about 36 cm (14") then held 2 leaves at an angle to one another and slip stitched through both. I did 2 slip stitches as I found this helped to hold the leaves at an angle. Then I chained another 10cm (4") and repeated with another 2 leaves and so on. I finished off with another 36cm (14") chain. 

I blocked the garland, experts will be able to see I'm not especially good at blocking but in my defence this was a yarn which had been knitted up into a mistake before and frogged so it was a bit wavy! 
Basically to block you just wet the whole thing then pinned it out flat on a thick towel doubled up and leave it to dry.
crochet holly leaves with button berries
I finished it off with a red button stitched on the join of each pair of leaves.
Crochet Holly leaf garland

You can make a garland as long as you like with this pattern, the leaves could be different shades of green to use up your yarn stash, you could make little red pom poms to use instead of buttons, or circles of felt.
I also think just one leaf with a plain card gift tag would be SO sweet on a present (I might do that next year, this year I've made these paper napkin poinsettias for gift wrapping) 

December pinterest challenge
Don't forget to check out the other Pinterest inspired projects from these other amazing blogs, just follow the links below.

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Saturday, 12 December 2015

Granny Square Stash Buster Blanket

Whoop Whoop, I've finished it! My long term crochet blanket project is done and just in time to give as a Christmas gift.
I started this stash buster blanket project about 2 years ago, maybe even longer. I have picked it up and done a bit whenever I've not had something else on the go that I can get on with of an evening if I'm watching TV. I like to crochet or knit when the telly is on, it feels like less of a waste of time!
I feel very happy to have made such a lovely bright blanket without spending much money at all. However I am surprised that my stash doesn't seem to be any smaller....not sure how that works!
I shared some photos of this as an ongoing work in progress back in April 2014.
Most of the yarn I used is UK Double Knitting, which I believe is something like a light worsted, the thickness varied slightly as yarn does but it all evened out in the end. I used a 4.5mm hook (although it is possible a few squares where made with a 4mm hook - the big problem with long term projects!)

I cannot tell you how much yarn I used, it really is all my left over bits and pieces, except for the sparkly grey which joins all the central squares. I brought 3 100g balls for that. Originally I planned for the whole thing to be with the grey but when the 3rd ball ran out I found I had quite a bit of black in my stash so gave it a border of black instead of buying more.

The whole thing is made from granny square rounds, joined with the "join as you go method", no sewing the squares together - bonus!

For a border to finish it off nicely I did 4 rounds of UK trebles (that's US doubles) As you can see in the photos I just joined a new colour as the last one ran out, I like how this adds to the "stash buster" effect.

This blanket was inspired by this bea-u-ti-ful blanket from One Dog Woof.
photo courtesy of One Dog Woof
I pinned this when I first started using pinterest, it's just so pretty! ChiWei from One Dog Woof has a brilliant step by step tutorial on how to do this "join as you go" method. This was a really game changer for me, I was always a bit rubbish at getting the tension right when sewing crochet squares together.
The person we're giving this to is not on the internet so I'm quite safe sharing photos of it here. The other handmade Christmas gifts we are giving this year will have to wait so as not to spoil any surprises! 
Actually it looks quite nice on our sofa... maybe I need to start another one to keep! 
You might also be interested in:
Diamond STitch Crochet Baby Blanket
Diamond Stitch Crochet Baby Blanket
BasketWeave Cowl
Basketweave Cowl
Rainbow Heart Garland
Rainbow Heart Garland
I can make you that hat
I can make you that hat
I'll be linking up to all these great link parties, why not go and have a look!

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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Easy Paper Serviette Poinsettias

These pretty poinsettias are so easy to make from red paper serviettes or napkins.
Easy paper napkin poinsettias
I'm over at The Pinning Mama again today with a simple tutorial showing how to make pretty poinsettias from paper serviettes. I have no idea why I always seem to choose a project to share on The Pinning Mama which involves a transatlantic translation issue! Serviettes or Napkins - what do you call them where you are? I've always called them serviettes, I think a napkin is a very fancy damask thing you'd find in an episode of Downton Abbey! I gather though that, for all my US friends, these paper party thingumajigs are known as napkins.
Luckily the poinsettias are easier to make than the vocabulary is to work out.
paper serviette poinsettia

Pop over here to see how to rustle up a bunch in no time at all.

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