Monthly Archives: March 2017


Crocodile stitch baby bootees

A pair of crocodile stitch booties. Finally. As you know, I’ve been practising this pattern using different wools, and like Goldilocks and the three bears, one was too scratchy, one was too shrekky-coloured but this one was just right. It’s a Sirdar Snuggly so is nice and soft and is easy care washing.

They are to be wrapped up with some other nice baby bits and shipped off to the UK.

See the green tag? I’ve been having fun playing with Deco Foil and making little gift tags. They’ve very easy to do – though you will need a hot laminator and access to a laser printer (printer ink will not work). My laminator is a Purple Cow and isn’t expensive.

I have plenty of images that I digitised from rubber stamps a while back. I scanned stamped images in Photoshop then saved as a brush. There’s a ‘How to’ on my site somewhere… which means I have the original images scalable for different applications.

Simply print out the image with a laser printer and/or text  you want. Apply a strip of Deco-Foil big enough to cover it, shiny or coloured side up.

Cover them with a clean sheet of paper and pop into the laminator:

When it comes through the laminator, simply peel off the foil.

The background paper is actually pink but I had to hold it an an angle to catch the light to show the reflective properties of the foil which cast it in the dark somewhat (umbra, penumbra or antumbra? I can’t remember. One of these describes the cast of the shadow.).

Then cut out. I’ve included a circle to indicate where to punch a hole to slip some ribbon in, in case you was wondering what it was for in the picture.

I have a house warming present to make and will include a foiled gift tag to go with it. They’re such fun and the foils come in beautiful jewelled colours. They really are OOh La La! The pictures don’t do them justice.


Playing Hooky

My head had been so full of chores and cleaning and decorating that I needed a creative break. Well, I mastered the crocodile stitch a while ago but didn’t actually use it to make anything with. Then, these little booties caught my eye. There are various patterns on the web and if you Google you’ll find plenty.

First I practised with just two rows of scales:

I liked the result so made another bootee with some sparkly wool. Very pretty but the sparkly wool doesn’t have a lot of stretch to it and – the bootees are being made for a real baby – excity pants but a secret for the time being – so it won’t do. At least I have tried the pattern, tweaked it slightly and know it works well. I’ll have a pair made by the end of the weekend.

Finally, I was asked if I would make a granny square blanket…

I tried out a couple of designs to see how big they would come up and how many I would need… turns out, around 200. And that’s before joing them together and doing all that weaving in…. but it’s a special present. Have ordered Cashmerino wool from Amazon and it should be delivered next week. This’ll keep me out of the pubs, won’t it? (Only joking, I rarely drink and see more unicorns than I do the inside of a pub these days).

On top of everything, there are some neat and nifty JS, CSS and HTML web techniques I need to master and develop a website or two with.

What gives? We’ll have to see.

Take care and have a great weekend.


This Old House

The fire and surround have been installed. The old fire was only some 30% efficient and most of the heat went up the chimney (no wonder the birds used to congregate around our chimney pot). The new one is 90% efficient. It’s gas and lights with a quick click of the switch. Soon takes the chill off the room first thing in the morning.

I’ve been busy putting up wallpaper and painting walls. Ceilings are left to Himself as I just don’t have the patience to do them. The ceiling was originally brown varnished wood. If the room had been turned upside-down, it would have looked like decking. White has certainly lifted it and it feels as though the ceiling has been raised by a few feet.

There are loads of things still to be done. More walls to be painted. Skirting boards need to be replaced where the original hearth had been removed. Then curtains and carpets or maybe laminate flooring. Still not decided on that question yet. Carpets are warmer and quieter. But, with two hairy cats, laminate is easier to clean. And can get nice rugs to dress the floors and stop them from looking bare.  The carpet down at the moment is oompaloompah-orange and forget having seen better days, it’s seen better decades.

I think a big rubber plant with those gorgeous lush green leaves in a nice pot would look quite fetching stood next to the fire, don’t you?

Anyway, the picture is of the fire and surround with its matching mirror. I am delighted. I’ve been rubbing the mirror frame and surround with blends of lavender, patchouli and bergamot essential oils (I get a soft cloth and drip from each of the three bottles any random amount and rub the wood to impregnate it with beautiful scent and feed it at the same time. I’ll finish with some wax over the weekend and buff it up. The black fire casing is cast iron – and weighs a ton. The actual fire fascia is not but I’ve rubbed it with some stove blacking to help blend it in.

We’ve still got drop cloths over most of the furniture. They’ll stay there until all the painting is done so the room is not yet cosy and comfortable but it’s getting there.


Molasses Sugar

I mentioned that Sainsbury’s sells Billington’s Molasses Sugar? Isn’t the packaging pretty? This afternoon, I’m going to make a Mary Berry Simnel cake and use some molasses sugar in the mixture for that treacly flavour that enriches fruit cakes so marvellously. Then, while the smells of baking pervade the house, I can sit, stitch and generally relax.

As an aside, I’ve been reading. I read a quick book about critical thinking by Harry Lorayne (of memory training fame). I’m guilty of allowing my critical faculties to get sloppy at times and for somebody who regularly gets told how logical I am, that’s really not good. (I once worked with a bunch of mathematical societies in the UK and a professor emeritus told me he thought I was the most logical person he’d ever met!).

There was a lovely line in the Critical Thinking book worth repeating just for the value and sheer ‘poetry’ of the words: ‘the harbinger of the false premise’. It sounds so Victorian and melodramatic. Or like something from a Pilgrim’s Progress. Very earnest and worthy as might befit someone who ‘suffered happiness’ (a Pea thing).

And, should you enjoy random words and sayings, there’s an interesting book called the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows that is a dictionary of new words and sayings to describe obscure emotions such as a ‘moment of tangency: a glimpse of what might have been’ and


n. weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had—the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.

Hmmm not sure I’d want to embrace that one! Anyway, that cake won’t bake itself so I’m off! Have a great day.


Making Pearls in Illustrator and Photoshop

I will be writing up the tutorial for creating these pearls over the weekend (probably). These ones were made in Photoshop and have a lovely rainbow lustre to them.

This one was created in Illustrator. I couldn’t quite achieve the same degree of reflectivity and sheen but it’s still fairly nice. I prefer the one made with PS though.

Anyway, watch this space, tutorial for both coming soon.

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