A sunny side up, cherry on top, kind of day

Today is a cherry on top kind of day even though the sun has stayed in bed and left the sky looking like a big bruise and ready to cry at the drop of a hat. So following doctor’s orders, I’m having more fruit and fibre and crocheted up a little bunch of cherries with leaves and stalks based on a vintage pattern called Cherries Boutonniere #2249.  You can see them in the pic above. Juicy and plump. And popped them onto a wooly hat and gave it a new fruity lease of life.

These squares are still a favourite – you can get the free pattern on Ravelry. I like them to have at least one colour change in them as they can look a bit dull.

You see what I mean? Dull Square. A plain Jane in her best frock.

Then I found these plumpy dumpy bobble tops. A double row  of popcorn stitches – worked in trebles rather than DCs for really boppy bobbles.

Pop them onto plain Jane and the bobble tops bring her to life! She’s no longer a wilting violet withering away in the corner – she’s  gone all flirty and vivacious in her pastie bobbles –  ‘look at meeeeee!’. (Does anthropomorphising a crochet square make me sound a bit bonkers? It’s okay though, am yarned but not dangerous).

Anyway, these bobble tops are worth the time and effort for the F.A.B they bring to all sorts of projects.

And they add texture and gorgeousness to all sorts of things.

And now you want to make some? The pattern is on Ravelry: Lily Pad Hexagons so go get! I left off the final few rounds that give the design a hexagon (or square – she gives both options in her pattern) shape. They are so gorgeous I’ve become a total and complete bobble head and loving it. For information, mine are made with a 4mm hook and Baby Bamboo which is so soft and comes in a lovely selection of colours.

What did the afghan say to the hat? You stay here and I’ll go on a-head…

Sunny side up but must run. I have to be ready to the last button in 30 mins! Time to get a wiggle on – byeeee

Birds and the Bees

Glorious weather, so good I ran out of fabric conditioner. If seeing a colourful line of washing all a-dangle on the line is a joyous sight, then I was in raptures. The bed got stripped, washed and hung out. I just absolutely love an evening shower and a freshly made bed. Sweet dreams.

The heat made any real exertion too daunting for me although Mr T is out there now mowing the lawns but it is evening and much cooler.

Nothing stops the bees from being busy though.

There was enough energy to sit an crochet a few squares today:

Butterfly Garden – I’ve done a few of these now and posted the link a few posts ago.

I can’t remember what this one was called!

The Victorian Lattice Square (again, I posted the link to this one a few posts ago)

The latest one to catch my eye was this one from Haafner. I think she calls it her Smitten blanket (she made several squares and joined them together). She based the pattern on a vintage design she saw. It’s really lovely. Lots of popcorn stitches, lots of yarn. Luckily, it measures 6″ square like my others so will join up with them eventually when I make my blanket. That way, I can mix and match it with my favourite designs. For information, my square is made with Baby Bamboo (Sirdar, I think) and a 4.0 hook.

I was also asked to make a pot for somebody moving into a new home. This is something I love doing and I keep a box of metallic acrylic paints at the ready for these happy commissions:

I used lots of copper and gold to give it lustre and  contrast against the cream paint on the pot (it’s an ordinary terracotta pot beneath its makeover).

While I was painting I dropped the paintbrush onto my new jeans so had to dash to get them under the tap and into the washing machine. Luckily that hot sunshine soon had them dry and no evidence of paint on them anywhere. No rest for the wicked, they say.

I work in Dublin close to a little park and like to go sit there on a warm lunch break. I’d love to know what this shrubby thing is that grows there – the leaves are so pretty.

When the weather isn’t so great but not raining, I go for a walk and explore little side roads. The main roads all lead to the Quays and are very busy. I’m just minutes away from the Facebook office block. On my wanderings one day I came across a cafe called Lolly and Cooks and it has the most wonderful windows:

They look like paper cuts. Super funky designs.

They look like they’ve just come off one of our cutting machines. I love the bee having a cuppa and the snail carrying a cupcake on his house.

Talking of creepy crawlies…

When I was in the the land of Bakewell Tarts and Yorkshire Puddings, I noticed my host’s cat staring out of the French Doors at a slug, of all things.

Just what was so fascinating? Here he is in a close up for you. I’m not a fan and they eat my lupins every year. One year I followed the advice of my neighbour to make a beer trap. Disposing of the slugs caught was gruesome and disgusting. I won’t tell you what I thought the fat, swollen slugs looked like.

I remembered that I’d bought this little thing in the UK as well. I collect hearts. I think I’m a not-so-secret romantic.

I thought I’d show you an accidental photo of the contents of my pencil case at work. Just looks a kind of cool shot. The ‘Made in Japan’ pens are from Muji and are 0.5 gel pens and come in lots of colours.

Reading is big with me at the mo. Have re-read several Philip K Dick. Have just finished The Obesity Code – well, quite an amazing tectonic shift in my core beliefs, I can tell you. If he’s correct, and I am persuaded by his evidence, then it truly is a diet revolution and a total paradigm shift. For decades I totally believed that all calories were truly equal regardless of their origin, they all represented energy and energy in should equal energy out for homeostasis. Net gains or negatives in either direction resulted in fat stored or fat lost. Now, it seems, the whole system is much more complex, physiologically, but paradoxically, supremely simple, in terms of actually managing your physiology and allowing your body’s systems to get back into a healthy state.

I’m just starting The Owners Manual for the Brain – so far, it’s very interesting. I’ve also skimmed the beginning of The Game of Logic by Lewis Carroll or, by his real name, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. I want to have a go at the games – they are intriguing.

TV is so dull. Nothing but reality shows and many of them with the usual panel of celebrities. Gah. That said, I do like project runway. That whole fashion forward stuff has a language of its own – I just don’t understand it and secretly think they speak pretentious sweaty dangly things but it’s entertaining, nonetheless. Best comment this week was that an outfit looked like something a gay priest would wear on a yacht. Loved the expressions on Fabio and Jay (?) faces when they were told they would be designing outfits for a gay couple’s first date. Had to rewind and watch a couple of times and laughed out loud at them. I think Fabio or Dimitri is going to win, btw.

Well, that’s me about done. Nothing more to see here, folks.

Summer days

My jaunts to the UK and back were fun and hope to go back soon. I made some cushion covers and sent them over when I got back – I knew they’d love that fabric though I must admit the hedgehog in the picture above does have the look of one who’s been on the beer all afternoon – look at the eyes!

I’m hoping that Hickeys still stock it as I’d like to get some more. I have a fancy for a tote bag or two. Will soon see – am off to Blanch to do a bit of shopping and will have a look-see.

Well, we had our blazing June three days last week. So guess it’s time to put away the garden chairs and start knitting some thermals.

I hope I’m joking.

The garden isn’t looking as glum as the weather. The hydrangeas are pinking up nicely and, out of nowhere, a poppy literally popped out!

One day – nothing – next morning the flower had burst out like a shooting star. I wish I’d been there to actually see it.

The hairy pod case it split out of in its excitement to see the world were flung onto the grass below like a pair of wooly slippers:

Hairy slippers!

The daisies are wonderful. These grown in magnificent swathes and were a favourite of my old tom cat who loved to sleep in his daisy bed  on warm summer days.

This is a small clump but there is a lovely bank of sprawling daisies. Each year they claim a bit more of the lawn – which suits me. When we moved in the lawn was a regimented rectangle and everything was contained in straight lines. Nothing grew outside of its given plot. Those days are over. I’m far too lazy to constantly check their growth and progress and I like the way the plants nibble away the edges to soften the garden into natural shapes.

And

I have hebes.

There. I’ve come out and said it… Maybe there’s a cream for it…

No, really, it has gloriously imperial purple coloured flowers and the bees love it. It’s always busy with bees, humming and buzzing away in their lovely biddy-bum way. I took a nice shot of one of them but it’s on my phone and I haven’t had a chance to move the pics yet.

Anyway, off to get ready and get out early so I can get back to doing some bloody painting this afternoon. Will this pleasure never end?

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.

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