Draught Excluder

Giving my sewing machine a bit of a run lately. I made a draught excluder to take to the UK along with the cushion as presents. The fabric is just the ants pants! I love it. I’ve had it sitting in my cupboard for far too long instead of making something with it to put it on show. So maybe the wrong time of year… but weather in the UK is pretty much the same as over here so am sure it will come in useful.

The whole time I sat sewing, Jess was giving me the hairy eye – like I owed her a tenner for taxi fare or something! Turned out she wanted a shrimpie treat. Rods and backs…. Tesco do economy frozen shrimps that I keep as little treats for now and then; unfortunately, cats don’t have the same concept of time and the boundaries between then and now get very blurred.  I rinsed a handful under the hot tap to thaw them out and she soon had them scoffed and was a Gladys Glumbucket no more.

So soon be off to the UK, a nice long weekend there. Hope the weather stays fine.

Cushion Applique

A distraction from crochet – amazeballs – appliqué letters on a cushion. I finally used some of the Harris Tweed I bought a wee while ago (see here) and made a cover for a cushion (or possibly a pillow) for an Ikea feather-filled ‘cushion form’.

I used Bondaweb fused onto A4-sized pieces of fabric and put them through my trusty old Epsom Stylus Photo 1400  and printed a letter (in outline)  onto each of them. This made cutting the letterform out fairly easy and sharp.

I folded the cushion front horizontally and then vertically to find the centre front and then used tailor’s chalk to draw a couple of straight lines to align the tops of the letters to. The spacing was pretty much eyeballed. When I was happy with the arrangement, a deft and nifty squeak with the chalk here and there outlined the position for them to be ironed to.

The letters were fused, one at a time with a hot press of a steamy iron over a clean linen tea towel.

Then it was off to the sewing machine to zig-zag around the outline of each letter. I can adjust the settings for the length and height for the zig-zag stitch on my machine so I quickly ran a few samples to see if the settings were satisfactory.

You know the rest. Once the appliqué was stitched down, all that was left to do was to sew the cushion pieces together. It was an envelope-closure and so was made in three pieces.  A couple of hems and then the outsides – double-stitched. Regular straight stitch and an overlock (not a real overlock as I don’t have one of those machines) but a good approximation of one.

There. Job done, nicely stuffed and ready to be packed for its jaunt over the Irish Sea next week as it’s a house warming gift for a couple in the UK that I will be popping over to see this week.

My Sail-Rail ticket is booked. I was planning on flying but thought that even though I’m not off to Manchester on this occasion, following the recent dreadful events there recently, airport security would be on high alert everywhere, I whould imagine. And even though I would probably have flown Aer Lingus, the recent BA computer system crash won’t have helped matters at airport terminals generally.

So a life on the ocean wave for me – but I do love it. I really love the sway and kilter from the wind and waves and being just able to walk about freely is also very appreciated.

And I’ve promised myself that I shan’t be bringing back any more dinner sets. *Caveats*

Of course, nothing (at the moment, anyway) could totally displace my crochet mania.

There was another Amazon delivery… more yarn…. beautiful Baby Bamboo…. I was taking a picture of it when Gracie decided she was ready for her close up.

 

The yarn in all its colourful glory.

I’ve already made a Victorian Lattice Square (Ravelry – designed by Destany Wymore). It’s deceptively easy to make and is very pretty.

 

It’s not blocked so is a bit wobbly looking. Or maybe it just is wobbly.

 

I also got a lovely hooky bowl recently. Very practical and attractive, don’t you think?

Am loving the lustre and  sheen on the bamboo and the happy colours.

And, have started on a Vintage pattern – a Call the Midwife baby afghan. So pretty… So many unfinished projects… (lol)

And Gracie got fed up with Lights, Camera, Action. She declared it ‘A Wrap’ and went off to find somewhere to settle down for a bedtime wash and a good sleep. What better than my Poang? All my furniture is covered with throws and blankets these days. One, to be easy to wash and two, because I like my girls to be comfy.

Have a great weekend.

Moppets, poppets, hearts and flowers – crochet makes such happy hours

Am now venturing into amigurumi territory. This heart didn’t turn out exactly like the one in the pattern I used. Somewhere along the way I lost stitches and had fewer rows to decrease than I should have so it’s turned out a bit wonky. Nonetheless, it’s still cute as a button and am delighted with the little dote. I did try my hand at a snail, as well,  but wonky is too cute a word to describe the deformity produced on that occasion.

See the little pillow box? I was in Blanchardstown  and a shop called Sostrene Grene caught my eye. To me, it’s  the love child  of Ikea and Tiger. Lots of quirky, nice bits with a Scandanavian feel to them. And not at all expensive, either. I spotted a pack of these water-coloured, inkylicious  pillow boxes and popped them in my basket. The colours are just lovely.

So, bearing in mind that the list of things I want to make – or, to be more accurate, need to complete, is growing like Jacob Marley’s earthly chains,  I now want to make a short length of amigurumi hearts bunting. There aren’t enough hours in the day any more. I don’t even know what still needs to be finished. I come across all sorts of things in bags and boxes half done that I’d forgotten all about. Isn’t that the way of many of us? I wonder if you’re the same – I bet you are … **hoping I’m not the only one**

I was able to make a little earwarmer headband, though. Quick and easy pattern. It’s a minty green  yarn with strands of silvery, shimmery interwoven fibres that give it a pearl-like lustre and lift the flatness of the colour.

I’ve been looking through crochet blogs and books for inspiration (finding some WONDERFUL tips along the way such as Chainless foundation rows  on Little Monkeys Crochet blog) for flowers to decorate crochet hats and found some lovely specimens  in this one:

And used a couple to embellish another little Annie Bonnet:

How can you not love crochet when you can make such happy things?

More looking and hooking

Nice things in small packages. I made the little label in Illustrator using a rough brush to stroke the outline of a rectangle to surround the text. The text was measured to ensure it fitted inside the new textbox.

The pink paper is a mulberry mix – I think. Rarely see it these days and it was bought a few years ago so my memory may not be serving me well, here. Notice the flecks of gold and silver in it? It’s so pretty.

What’s inside?

A crocheted cloche hat for the new baby. I made four of them. Each time going up a size as mine turned out far too small for Freyja.

And another little package with little somethings in:

A flower ring headband…

A three-chain flower headband…

… and a large single flower headband.

It seems to have been quite some time since I did anything other than crochet. I am enraptured with colour, texture and pattern. It’s becoming almost an obsession. I have promised myself a couple of Furl crochet hooks for birthday or Christmas. They are uber expensive but extremely beautiful. Google them and have a look. I only want a couple in the sizes I tend to use most often – certainly cannot justify the expense on more.

This granny square is made from popcorn stitches and, if I don’t get too distracted by amigurumi hearts, will make 18 of them to stitch together to make the body of a woolly tote bag. White for the joining stitches will make the whole thing really pop.

Jess is enjoying a saunter round the garden more often these days. She takes her time and smells the flowers as she goes along. Gracie is the complete opposite. She zooms out for a good sprint across the lawn and only stops to smell something more intriguing, like other cat smells…

This little manny was taking a drink from a little dip that had caught some rain. I had some Photoshop fun with him and coloured his shell pinks and purples. I had to run in to get my camera but no need to have dashed, he hadn’t gone far. The thought ‘moving house’ came into my head and wondered if it was a sign, lol!

 

This is a close up of the most gorgeous pink gerbera I had in a bunch of flowers recently. It’s so pink and lush. Simply beautiful.

 

And these. Aren’t they just gorgeous?

 

And these.

 

The garden is also filling with colour – and scent. Wild garlic smells very pretty and is a nice scent to catch walking towards the house.

I have lots of these… Solomon’s Seal. We used to call them Fairy Bells when I was little. Apparently, Solomon’s Seal is a medicinal herb that has many healthful properties. It can be used as a herbal tincture or supplement. It can provide relief, healing or repair to sports injuries relating to tendons, joints, ligaments, bones, bruises, connecting tissues, cartilage, etc. It can also soothe gastrointestinal inflammation and injuries. It is alleged to be effective for menstrual cramps and PMS. And, it apparently can be used to lower blood pressure and relieve dry coughs.

The big question is ‘How’? That, I don’t know but Google is our friend and will ask it at some point.

 

Dandelions abound. They are so robust, resilient and so life-intent that you’d need a full-time gardener on dandelion watch to stop their infiltration around the garden. The seed clocks are really lovely. The gossamer-like parachute that carries the seeds off is such a pretty sight.

You can eat dandelion leaves as you would rocket or lettuce. Just don’t pick any from the road side as they will have systemically absorbed lead and other particulates from car exhaust. Pick from a back garden, free from such contaminants, then wash and chop them into salads as you would any other edible salad leaf. The leaves of the dandelion have diuretic properties. I wrote about them some time ago here: Dandelions.

 

Almost as tenacious and life-hungry as dandelions are these daisies. They march ever onwards invading and conquering the lawn. I love these flowers. When the sun goes in, they close up their flowers and have a daisy nap until the sun comes out again, then they all pop open with a ‘Yay’ and say hello to the bumble bees.

I’m noticing a good few more red-bottomed bumble bees. These are lovely fat bottomed boys and nice to see buzzing about purposefully and mindfully around the garden.

 

There are plenty of yellow poppies. They self-seed and are quite happy doing their own thing as and where and when they want.

 

These sunshiny poppies brighten the garden. I like to see these free spirits all around.

I have loads of bluebells down the bottom of the garden though I think they’re dying off a bit now. Grannies nightcaps and snapdragons are blooming very happily and filling in some colour as the bluebells fade away. I didn’t take any pictures of them, though.

I have pots of pink tiny flower *bushes* (for want of a better word) but couldn’t tell you what they’re called. They make big splashes of pinks and reds and refuse to go unnoticed.

The many hydrangeas are getting ready to bloom. I can see the buds colouring up and soon they will pop and be proud, loud, brash and ostentatious as they always are but deserving all the attention they demand. They are always surrounded by some flame-coloured  Crocosmia, or Orange Devils. Them and the hydrangeas dominate the front garden and just colour me happy.

Lavenders are coming along well, some gerberas, lobelia, pansies, forget-me-nots and other flowers here and there, are coming along. The lawns are generously sprinkled with lawn daisies which I love!

Anyway, time for tea. Cheese on toast with red onion marmalade will do nicely.

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