Sunday, 8 January 2017

Christmas Presents - Donald's Family

Well we're finally on the last of my Christmas present posts! It was all a bit of a mad rush this year, but at least everything got finished in time and everything turned out lovely.

I tend to make something for Donald's sisters and their husbands that's for the house, so it's something I can give to both of them as a couple, and hopefully they will both get some use out of it.

This year I decided to crochet them both a little cactus, as I love the ones we have on our kitchen window so much.

I used the same Cactus by Yarnplaza.com pattern I used before. I made one design I had made for myself, but decided to make a different one as well.

First up we have the same design I made for myself, the cactus with the coloured ball on top.

Crochet cactus

Crochet cactus

And next up we have the different design I made, the circular cactus with the flower on top.

Crochet cactus

Crochet cactus

Crochet cactus

I really love the circular cactus, and sort of wish I had made this one for myself as well. If I ever grace our kitchen window with more crochet cacti, this one will definitely be getting made.

I am also in love with this green yarn, which is Seaspray Mist Lion Brand Vanna's Choice yarn. It gives the cacti a lovely effect, and makes them look a bit more realistic than a solid colour would have.

This time I popped them in these cute little home mug I got from Asda, as I thought they made a lovely little planter for them.

Crochet cactus

Crochet cactus

I also put a little gift tag on each of them to give them a bit of an explanation!

Crochet cactus

Crochet cactus

I love these so much! Crochet plants are definitely the way forward. You can make them in any colour you want and you don't have to worry about watering them.

Yarn Used:
  • Vanna's Choice Lion Brand:
    • Seaspray Mist.
    • Scarlet.
    • Toffee.
    • Rose.
Raverly project page.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Christmas Presents - Donald's Mum

While last year I was really organised and had all my handmade presents ready weeks in advance, this year I was still furiously crafting in the week leading up to Christmas! Whoops! I think this was because I decided to be quite ambitious with a few of my presents, including this spotty dog cushion for Donald's Mum.

Donald's Mum really loves dogs, so I knew I wanted to make something dog related for her, and as I also had a rather large cushion pad in my stash with no plans for it, I decided to make a dog themed cushion.

I could not find a full pattern that I liked for this cushion, so I decided to make it up with lots of different mini patterns.

Here's a peak at the finished object before I talk about all the different bits that made it come together.

Dog cushion

Dog cushion

The main squares for this cushion are made with Squaring the Circle pattern by Spincushions. I made 24 squares with a coloured centre and a white border, and 8 squares that were all white. I think it's quite impressive that I had 24 different colours of Aran weight yarn in my stash to use, and I even managed to finish off a few wee scraps that I had lying around too. The list of all the yarns I used will be at the end of this post and it will be super long, but check it out if you're interested!

Dog cushion

To make the cute motifs in the middle I used the Dog Bone pattern by The Hook Hound, the Paw Print Applique Set pattern by Moogly and the D is for Dog pattern by Repeat Crafter Me. I decided to not do the circle on the face of the little dog, as I was worried my surface crochet wouldn't be neat enough and would ruin his cute look.

So each side has a bone, a paw print and two dogs, one grey and one brown but both with mustard details.

Dog cushion

I joined all of the squares together using Attic 24's joining method, and then joined the two large pieces together with a row of double crochet, sealing the cushion inside.

Dog cushion

It's so nice to make something that's totally unique to me. While I didn't make any of the patterns myself, it was cool to put them all together in such a personal way and have such an awesome finished object. I'm so happy with how it turned out, and it's definitely one of those gifts I was really sad to see go.

Yarn Used:
  • Stylecraft Special Aran:
    • Spice.
    • Lemon.
    • Aspen.
    • Cloud Blue.
    • Fondant.
    • Teal.
    • Magenta.
    • Lavender.
    • Plum.
    • Emperor.
    • Graphite.
  • Robin Bonny Babe Aran:
    • White.
  • Caron Simply Soft:
    • Blue Mint.
    • Grape.
    • Autumn Red.
    • Lemonade.
    • Royal Blue.
    • Orchid.
    • Berry Blue.
    • Robin's Egg.
    • Kelly Green.
    • Black.
  • Red Heart Aran:
    • Kiwi Green.
  • Lion Brand Vanna's Choice:
    • Aqua.
    • Soft Pink.
  • King Cole Fashion Aran:
    • Lewis.
  • Plymouth Yarn Encore Tweed:
    • 100.
  • Hayfield Bonus Aran with Wool:
    • Barley.
Raverly project page.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Christmas Presents - My Dad

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen I got a lovely parcel of yarn from Lion Brand Yarn a few weeks ago. The parcel contained 12 balls of Vanna's Choice, which is a lush yarn I have used before in a couple of projects. I got to pick which 12 colours I was going to receive, so I tried to pick colours I didn't already have in my stash so I would have a wider range of colours on hand.

Lion Brand Vanna's Choice yarn 

The first project I tackled with these beauties was a scarf for my Dad. I don't craft for my Dad as much I do other members of my family, but I thought a few of the colours I picked would work well for a men's scarf.

I used this Ribbed Scarf pattern by C.L. Halvorson which was super easy to follow and made a lovely, chunky, squishy, ribbed scarf.

The pattern suggested working for 25 rows to finish it off, but I decided to make it slightly bigger so I could do a big stripe in the middle. I did 5 rows in the grey and the brown, then 10 rows of the green in the middle. I wanted to do 5 rows of the grey and the brown on the other side, but only managed 4 of the grey before I ran out of yarn. However, luckily due to the way the ribbing works (with rows looking like they alternate between flat rows and raised ribbed rows), the rows don't actually look the same, even when you have done the same amount of rows on either side, so I think I got away with it being one row short! For example, one of the brown sections has three raised ribbed rows while the other section only has two, even though they are both 5 rows wide.

Scarf

Scarf

I finished both sides of with a row of slip stitches through both loops of the last row just to make the edges look a bit neater.

Scarf

And here's a dorky photo of me in the scarf so you can see it on a person!

Scarf

This is such an easy pattern to work up, though as it's 200 stitches long, it's not something I found myself wanting to work on for a long period of time as it got a bit boring. So if you're going to make this for someone, I suggest starting it way in advance!

Yarn Used:
  • Lion Brand Vanna's Choice:
    • Patchwork Grey.
    • Barley.
    • Peacock.
Raverly project page.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year's Resolutions

Think what you will about New Year's Resolutions, but they have been the basis for my blog since I started it! It's nice to sit down and think about some fun crafty goals for the year ahead so I can think about different things I want to focus on, and perhaps challenge myself with something a bit different as well. It's also always super exciting to think about crafting anything I want after weeks of only making Christmas presents!

I've never completed a whole set of resolutions, and I try not to get too bothered about that, because I always have a good shot at the whole list, and I'm always getting my craft on, and that's really the point of the whole thing!

First up, let's look at 2016's list, and see what I managed to tick off.
  1. Clear as many free and purchased craft kits as possible. 
  2. Make all the things I've bought supplies for but am yet to make.
  3. Keep adding to my embroidery duvet.
  4. Make things from my huge collection of craft books. 
  5. Craft for Ivy.  
I didn't complete any of them fully, though there were only a couple that could be "finished" anyway. I'm sad I only did one piece for my embroidery duvet, but I feel I made a good whack at the rest of them, so I'm quite happy. I tend to like the resolutions that are worded a bit more openly, so I don't need to feel too bad at the end of the year, as it's just as good to make progress towards something as it is to completely finish it.

So here are my resolutions for 2017. I'm back at work this year, teamed with a very active toddler, so I'm sticking with a small list again, and hopefully I can at least make a wee dent in all of them. A couple have made the list again this year, as I want to keep working on them!

1. Make more progress on my embroidery duvet.
I knew this project was going to take ages when I started it, but I really thought I would have done a lot more of it this year. I love embroidery when I'm doing it, but I think getting the pattern transferred and the set-up puts me off sometimes, and I just do something easier instead. This year I want to add a lot more, and keep expanding my embroidery knowledge by trying out different stitches and techniques.

2. Clear as many craft kits as possible.
This feels like it's always on my list but I feel like this year I can actually manage it. I have hardly any free magazines kits left as I have been picking away at the stash and not really buying any more craft magazines. 2017 might be the year I finally tick this off once and for all.

3. Finish decorating my doll's house.
I've had my doll's house since I was a teenager, but it still isn't decorated. It's only half done. I need to put in the lights and the flooring (which I have just waiting to be done), as well as fixing a couple of things that got broken the last time we moved. I'm desperate to finish it and be able to put all the cute furniture back in. Again, this has been on my list before, and I didn't manage to make any progress!

4. Craft for Christmas 2017.
Next year we've talked about actually having Christmas dinner at our house, and my head just lit up with all the cute stuff I've seen on Pinterest but never been able to use because we're usually at our mum's houses. I also bought the supplies to make Ivy an advent calendar for next year, and I'd like to sew her a patchwork gift bag, so I will definitely be getting my Christmas craft on in 2017.

5. Fill in Ivy's scrapbook.
A couple of years ago I got a lovely Project Life kit as a gift, and I had been saving it till I finished my Smashbooks. I decided to make it all about Ivy, but as I've been filling out her baby book mostly for her first year, I've yet to start the scrapbook. I'd like to get going on this so it doesn't get too overwhelming. I've been saving some bits since she was born, so I'm ready to go.

6.Sew, sew, sew!
They say a bad workman blames their tools, but I stand by the fact that my sewing machine constantly having tension problems really put me off sewing frequently. After a bit of Googling, finding out a lot of people had the same problem with my machine, and reading suggestions that top-loading bobbin machines were much easier to use, I decided to get a new sewing machine. I was lucky enough to get a lush new Janome DC3050 for my Christmas from my parents and I want to use it all the time, get super awesome, and be able to sew Ivy any Halloween costume she wants. 

You can keep track of how I'm getting on with this year's list here, as I'll be updating it every time I make a wee dent in the list.

As usual I'll be doing the Goodreads reading challenge too, and you can see how I'm getting on with that using the Goodreads widgets on my sidebar!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas Presents - My Family

Next up on the Christmas list we have my side of the family, which is my Gran, Aunt and Uncle.

This year I decide to make some mug cozies, using one of the patterns I used for Donald's family last year.

I used this mug cozy pattern by Crochet N Play Designs for all three cozies, as it was super easy to work up last year. I did however have to add a few extra rows to my Gran's cozy, as her mug was a slightly different shape, and needed a little more coverage. I did the little extra bit with the same colour as the detail, as it gave it a little more contrast.

I decorated my Gran's one with the little heart detail I used on the mug cozies last year, however for my Aunt and Uncle's I decided to decorate them with their initials, which I created using The Moogly Crochet Alphabet.

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

I also added a homemade little gift tag to each mug to explain what the cozies actually were, as I knew I wouldn't be there when my family opened them!

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Yarn Used:
  • Patons Wool Aran:
    • Merlot.
  • Caron Simply Soft:
    • Blue Mint.
    • Orchid.
    • Robin's Egg.
  • Stylecraft Special Aran:
    • Graphite.
    • Magenta.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas Presents - My Mum

Christmas is upon us again and that means one thing - handmade gifts! I do love an excuse to make a little something for people, and it's so much easier to dream up something lovely to make someone than trying to find it in the shop.

First up this year we have my mum. I decided to make her a nice shawl/scarf, as I know she's a big fan of big scarfs, but not just in the winter. For that reason I didn't want to make a big, chunky scarf, and decided to go with a nice, lacy shawl instead, that can hopefully be worn more of the year.

I had originally picked another pattern for my shawl, but found it far too confusing once I got started. The pattern had really good reviews on Raverly, so clearly other people found it easy enough to understand, but my crocheting was never lining up with the place it was telling me to crochet into, so I swapped.

In the end I went for the My Friend Sheryl shawl by Rose Williams. Not only did it use the same weight of yarn as my original pattern, but it was also very easy to adapt to whatever size you wanted. As I had four balls of yarn, I decided to do the main body of the shawl until I had used up three balls, and then use the last ball to do the lace edging.

Shawl

Shawl

Shawl

I gave it a light blocking when I was finished to try and make the lace edging stand out as much as possible, but really the yarn was actually quite good as showing off the shape anyway.

Shawl

Here's a photo of me modelling it, so you can see what it's supposed to look like on. The edging looks lush!

Shawl

This was super quick to work up, as it was just loads of triple crochets, and even the edging was really easy, but looks totally beautiful.

However, I did accidentally do one row of triple crochet and one row of double crochet around the finishing edge instead of two rows of double crochet, but I think it looks totally fine, and just means the edging is a little thicker than it probably should be.

Yarn Used:
  • Schachenmayr Originals Glanzperle:
    • Veilchen.
Raverly project page.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Chalkola Pens & Christmas Windows

Since we moved house last year, it's so nice to have a whole lot of extra space to decorate. In our old flat, everything was sort of crammed in one corner of the living room, but it's so nice to have additional places to put decorations, as well as actually being able to hang things on the wall!

This year when I decorated, one thing I did which I have never done before was decorate my windows! But before we get into the photos of my awesome Christmas drawings, let's go back to why I decided to give my windows a festive spruce-up this year.

The lovely folks at Chalkola sent me a couple of sets of their chalkboard markers to have a go of this week. I'm always super keen to get new stationery to try, but I wasn't sure what I was going to use chalk markers on that would really show off their full loveliness. Then I read that one of the best surfaces to use them on was glass, and an idea was born!

I got both the 6mm pens (which are listed on the packet as 10 party colours) and the Earth Colors, so I had a lovely range of colours to work with.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

The pens take a little bit of prep time to get them going, but I did them all in one go at the beginning, and after that they were super easy to use the whole time I was decorating my window. Basically, you have to shake them, upright and with the cap on for about 30 seconds, and then pump the nib of the pen up and down until the ink start to flow freely. 

When you first take the lid off a brand new pen the nib is white, and once the nib is full of the coloured ink, you can tell they are ready to go.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

As I said above, these are great to use on glass, and are specifically to be used on non-porous surfaces such as chalkboards, whiteboards, plastic and obviously glass, as they are super easy to clean off afterwards, just by using a damp cloth or some window cleaner if you need it. Obviously it's still best to test a small area first to make double sure, but I made plenty of mistakes in my window drawing escapades, and it was really easy to wipe it off and start again. I also read reviews online of people who used these markers on things like shop windows and left them up for a number of weeks with no issues, so I'm hoping they'll be just as easy to clean off after Christmas.

While these are recommended for actual chalkboards, it is worth noting they're not recommend for use on chalkboard paint, as the paint can make the surface porous, which would make it difficult to clean off afterwards! 

I have to say, these were super easy to use. After the initial set-up time (which like I said I did all in one go so I would have all the pens ready, so it did take a wee bit of time) the pens flowed really smoothly, and I only had to stop a few times to re-pump the nibs to get the ink flowing again, and only if I was using a specific colour for a long time.

I'm super impressed by how bright they were on the glass, as I was a bit worried they might be a bit wishy-washy when the light was shining through, but the lines are really solid, so all my drawings are super clear.

So let's have a look at my finished window. I had a search on Pinterest for "Christmas window drawings" to get some inspiration for some cute, line only designs that were simple to replicate. You can see the pins I used for the stocking, the snowman, the snowflakes, the Christmas tree and the baubles by clicking on the links!

It's quite hard to get a photo of my handiwork, because glass is obviously full of reflections!

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

And here's some photos from the inside, which hopefully makes things a bit easier to see.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

I like to say thanks to Chalkola for providing me with these lovely chalk markers to review. I will definitely be using them to decorate my windows in the future. I'm especially excited for Halloween! But I also think they'll be lovely to use for things like scrap booking and card making. Imagine how lush the colours would look on black card?!

If you would like to pick yourself up some Chalkola chalk pens, I've got an awesome 20% off discount for my readers on all Chalkola products! Just enter the code 20OFFSTR at the checkout when you buy any Chalkola products on Amazon to get your cheeky discount.