Sunday, 23 May 2010

Giant felted Granny Squares

Taking Granny squares to a whole new level ..

Read more in the NY Times here..

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Little Blog Awards :Dorset Cereals

We have been nominated for a 'Little Blog Award' ! I am so excited!! So, if you feel like voting for us, make my day and click on the link below.....

Dorset Cereals little awards

Thursday, 6 May 2010

I have been relaxing back in my new 'Box room' purchase. Perfect for reading the Sunday papers.

Go on, treat yourself....

Thank you Ali for the lovely surprise gift today..looks great in my kitchen (yes, I know I should have ironed it for the photo...not too big on ironing in our house!) and the tea tastes pretty nice too...!

Thursday, 29 April 2010


My new blog..I love contributing to GWI, and this new one - Northern Hi-lights, is my own personal blog. I would love for you to pop by....Elaine x

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Home-made Ric-Rac

So easy, so addictive, so many possibilities - why didn't I think of this?? All credit to Jellywares for this great idea and pattern - I'm thinking towel edgings, garlands, tarting up of t-shirts etc..

I adapted Jellyware's pattern slightly for finer ric-rac, by using SC and only 1CH, and now the seed has been sown I can see that you could use lots of different crochet motifs - hearts, flowers etc...very, very addictive!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

....there are no bounds

I sat down last night after a gloriously sunny day in North Eastern Scotland, and wanted a quick crochet fix. I found a ball of parcel string in my stash and remembered a pattern for a crochet skull in a book I bought a couple of years back

'Craftivity' by Tsia Carson, is a collection of projects for 'The DIY Lifestyle' and has a couple of crochet and knitting patterns.
The skull pattern was written by Diane Bromberg, and I love her introduction to the pattern:
"Knitting is like building with bricks, and crochet is like building with a fluid erector set - there are no bounds."
Possibly for me the skull is the highlight in the book, with a few misses as well as hits:-

Knitted Lampshade anyone?

I love this knitted hammock though..
To think, with a ball of string and some knitting needles, you will always be able to knock up your own bed for the night, Ray Mears watch out....!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Oxfam Online

How cool is this? Oxfam are now offering an online shopping service! Makes total sense when you think about it, how fantastic......!

As far as I can see delivery is free (or, more likely, built into the cost per item) but it's possible to make a contribution to the charity at the checkout too. Can't beat a bit of charity shopping for a guilt free, eco friendly retail hit that often offers an opportunity to buy something really quite special and unusual too. Super cool.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Bamboo Tape

I've just ordered a stash of the above Rowan Bamboo tape. I have never used it before to crochet with, but was very impressed last week whilst visiting my Mother -in-law, when she showed me a knitted tunic she had recently made using the tape . The finished garment had a lovely silky feel and a nice weight to it. Any other hookers have any experience using it? I ordered it for only 69p a ball from Kemp wool shop , so feel like I'm getting a bargain to boot.

Whilst browsing on Ravelry last night I found a fantastic cardigan pattern, and plan to make it using the grey bamboo tape.
I am now counting the days for my yarn order to arrive.....sad or what??

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Charley Harper

A small independent bookshop opened in our village about a year or so ago, and whilst I wonder at how such places can make a living in this day and age of Amazon and Book Depository, I admire the owners impeccable taste when it comes to Art and graphic design, reflected in the books and small stationary items that are stocked.

A while back my eye was attracted to the shop window, displaying a range of Charley Harper children's books. I have been an admirer of Charley Harper's work for a long time now, and couldn't believe my eyes, as he is little known in this part of the world compared to his native USA, where he is viewed as a legend.

Charley Harper's (1922-2007) unique view of wildlife is portraited by means of stylised drawings and paintings, capturing the essence of his subject in as few elements as possible. He once described his style as 'minimal realism' and joked that he doesn't count the feathers of the bird only the wings.
Charley has designed over 50 'Bio' posters for non-profit conservation groups and wildlife sanctuarys. In the 1980's he completed a set of 10 posters for the US National Park Service, each focusing on a specific eco-system and its inhabitants:-

Undecided in which book to buy I settled on this colouring book:-

I will selfishly keep it to myself, I might even unearth my set of Pantone markers from my university 'rendering' days, and do a spot of colouring in - it's too good for the children!! But...perhaps I will buy them a copy, because afterall I do want my boys to be exposed to decent art and graphic design in the hope they will appreciate it one day...

Friday, 12 March 2010

Tea Anyone?

As much as I love a good cup of coffee, too much makes me jittery, and really you can't beat a good cup of soothing tea. I am slightly fanatical about my herbal tea collection, and am a sucker for a nice bit of packaging and graphic design. I love the newly designed Clipper tea boxes:
The card is matt in texture, and the pictures so pretty. Clipper also produce my all time favourite, liquorice tea. Admittedly, an acquired taste, liquorice is renowned for its soothing effect on the digestive system and always makes me feel calmer in moments of stress. And what about Celestial Seasons?
You only get 10 bags in a box, so I like to think of them as the luxury tea, wrapped in waxed paper the flavours are very unique - have you ever tried a 'Red Zinger'?
Another favourite brand is 'Yogi' tea. They do a delicious chocolate tea, which combines vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa shells and liquorice. My 2 boys enjoy a hot cup of this, which is a nice non dairy alternative to hot chocolate. Anyone else a tea lover? any recommendations?

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Splash of Red

Not much happening on the 'Hooking' front right now, I am defiantly needing some inspiration. I guess as we start to emerge from the cold winter months, I don't much feel like making any cosy hats or gloves. I did pick up a bargain 50p ball of silk/kid mohair yarn from our local Red Cross Charity shop, and fancied making a little neckerchief to brighten up my all too grey outfits. This one was made during a half hour episode of 'Nurse Jackie'.

I started with 3 chains, gradually increased at either end of the row to make a 'tip', and then decreased until I had 5 stitches. Crocheted until it was long enough to go round my neck and then repeated the 'tip' for the other end.

I'm rubbish at 'accessorising' outfits, so I'm hoping this will make me try a bit harder - it's a start...

Friday, 26 February 2010

Da Font (Snow day activities -part 2)

I like to encourage my children to draw and colour in pictures as much as possible, but even I have to agree that there are some uninspiring kids colouring books and printable websites out there. I discovered the website Da Font (a free to download font website) a few years back, when I grew tired of the default fonts Microsoft supplied you with and wanted some fresh ideas. The Dingbat category (a type of font that uses small pictures instead of letters) is inspired!

yesterday I down-loaded a few funky fonts, opened a Word Document and let the little peeps rip - Lego was their Dingbat font of choice, but honestly there are hundred to choose from.

I converted a few of the docs into paint files and showed then how to use the 'fill tool' - very satisfying.

P.S - let me know if you need help with the technical side of installing fonts, and I'll do a quick tutorial.

This Week

Snow days are good for art......

...and alcohol is good for the heart

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Snow day..

The Schools were closed today in our part of Aberdeenshire after a day of mad snow storms yesterday. The weather has been pretty filthy outside again today, so I knew a day of indoor activities was on the cards with the little ones. Two ideas in particular hit the mark with my two boys (aged 5 and 7) who are both quite active lads, and crafting with them is usually a challenge in itself.

Idea 1- Recycling old Grotty Crayons.
I have seen this idea on the Martha Stewart website, but have never got round to doing it - so thank you HelloCayce for reminding me of the idea on your blog this morning!

Look out your collection of old, broken crayons.

Peel off the paper wrapping and snap up into small pieces.

Find some oven proof moulds, I used some little silicon cupcake cases, but your could use a muffin tin.

Fill up the moulds with the broken crayons and pop in the oven (coolish setting, around 150 degrees centigrade) until melted (about 10 mins)

Once melted, remove from oven and allow to cool down and set in moulds.

and there you have it, a very lovely set of new crayons - my two LOVED the whole process of making these!

(idea 2 to follow tomorrow)

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Cupcakes in the Post today!

This beautiful felt garland arrived for me in the post today - Thank you my Dear one !
Cupcakes and Hearts, I can think of no sweeter combination....

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Acorn hat Pattern - or how to make up your own design

I posted a photo of my acorn hat on the crochet board of Craftster, and was asked if I had a pattern to go with it. Well, I guess I just made it up as I went along, but if you know the basic principles of crocheting on the round, making a hat is very easy. So I have jotted down some steps for you to follow to make up your own hat pattern:-
Basic Hat pattern Instructions

begin by crocheting a flat circle,* until it is the diameter of the crown of your head (approx 15 -20cm)

Once you have reached your required diameter, continue to crochet around and around and around...until desired length

If you want your hat shape to look a bit more like this (as I did with the acorn hat) Decrease stitches as you crochet down. Make sure you decrease evenly for a uniform shape, but not too much or it will be too tight!

If you'd prefer a more A-line hat, Increase your stitches gradually as you work down

Keep trying on your hat as you go, that way you'll know if you need to decrease/increase stitches, and you should get a perfect fit.
I used very chunky yarn for the acorn hat and made it longer in length to allow for a brim to be turned up. For the stalk at the top, I broke off my wool once I had completed the hat length, and rejoined at the first round on the top of the hat (6 stitches) and crocheted another 6 into them and then went around and around the 6 stitches until my stalk was the desired length.
How to crochet a flat circle
R1: Ch2, 6sc in 2nd ch from hook (6)
R2: Sc 2 in each Sc around (12)
R3: *Sc 1, 2sc in next sc* x6 (18)
R4: *Sc 2, 2sc in next sc* x6 (24)
R5: *Sc 3, 2sc in next sc* x6 (30)
R6: *Sc 4, 2sc in next sc* x6 (36)
.....and so on, you will see a pattern forming, each round is increased by 6 stitches. I find I do have to count the stitches as I am crocheting at this point.
I hope this has all made sense to you, please email me if you require any help or clarification.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Squirrels and Scribbles

Fab Valentine's Day trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh featuring squirrels and a chance to hang a wee expressive moment on a willow woven dome inside the beautiful John Hope Gateway.