Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Thrifty Times

On Saturday I realised it was the 23rd of April. That meant it's been a whole year since I signed up to take part in Tif's Challenge of the Utmost Kind to buy only handcrafted and secondhand. Before I joined in, if I had the pennies, I bought what I wanted. Desire was greater than need really. Being skint forced me to think more about buying just what I needed. I reasoned that taking part in the challenge would make those times when we were skint a bit more fun. Mind you we've always lived a fairly thrifty life. The only new furniture we own are the sofa's and fridge and they were presents from my folks. The rest has been collected or inherited along the years as we prefer this style to new stuff.


I've made clothes and worn charity and vintage since I was a teenager. I've always loved to make things for our home, for the Buns and gifts for others, but they've always taken second place to making things to sell. As the months of the Challenge rolled by I found myself really thinking about what I needed and we needed as a family. It became a really refreshing way of shopping. The time I might have wasted in shops or online quickly buying new stuff is now spent making stuff which is even better. I've found it impossible to avoid book and yarn shops though. I've been tempted and given in there a few times, but even so that's been to make things for us.


Wearing the same clothes has been dull at times. Favourite jeans sprouting holes everywhere has been plain unfair. I've patched tatty jeans and made it a feature, rather than chuck them out. My most loved pair have five patches on them. I've also re-discovered my love of searching out vintage clothes, when they actually fit me, before I preferred buying new vintage style. I haven't gone off this idea though, I still love Noa Noa.


I've also started making clothes again. I did treat myself to a great book with tons of patterns in it. I reasoned that made sense as then I could make lots more clothes. I've always loved buying clothes and to be honest I'm getting pretty bored with the clothes I have got, but I just can't see myself rushing out to buy things for the sake of it anymore.


The most important change that has happened as a result of the challenge has been for me to be less wasteful. I'm not saving string and bits of soap yet, but I'm getting more like that. We only ever buy the food we need now so we eat really good home cooked food, no tv dinners. The bin isn't filled up with food that we never got round to eating and the hens, rabbits and Alfie will always help out by scoffing the leftovers.


Thankfully I've always been a hoarder so when I've felt the need for a change at home there's always been something in the stash to make a new cushion cover or two.


I couldn't believe my luck when I found some 1930's curtains I'd never finished lining. The ones we had in our bedroom got so grotty they had to come down and in my stash a beautiful pair were hiding waiting to be made and hung.

Although technically my year is up, there's no sense of it being an end of a year as I like this way of living much more. I certainly won't be denying myself something new if I need it and like it now as plain old desire is good too, but I won't be rushing out to get things I really don't need. I've always got more of a buzz from finding that much coveted thing at the car boot or in the charity shop anyway and making something myself gives me real pleasure. On the whole it's been more about rethinking what I already did so I'm really glad I took part in Tif's great idea. Now I can get back to lusting after a pair of red shoes I've seen and hunt them down.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Jolly Good Egg

Last minute knitting of egg cosies for the Bun's. Once I saw this Julie Arkell inspired cosy in Debbie Bliss's magazine I couldn't stop thinking about making some.


Once they were done I decided they needed something more. So I stitched and added a wee phrase of my own in true Julie A style. I was tempted to stitch good egg on one and bad egg on the other. Somehow I doubt this would have gone down too well - so we've got two very good eggs indeed.

Happy Easter to you all.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Tempations, Distractions & Delights

I think it would be marvellous if every day was like this Easter holiday. I'm between jobs, so  we might be watching the pennies, but not the fun. No school routine and a whole month off to enjoy being a mum and doing what we want when we want. On top of all that the sun's shining. This is Bliss. Mind you at the back of my mind is all that work and planning I should be doing for my new job. Mmmm.


Instead I'm getting distracted and tempted by other things. I  had a peek at Teawagon's fabric which ended in me pushing the add to cart button. I'm slowly getting the right collection ready for Eldest Bun's quilt. One day I'll start cutting and patching I'm sure. Jane sent the fabric along beautifully wrapped as usual with a wee chick and a lovely handmade card.


Then there's my yarn addiction. I figured as I'm very nearly near the end of a year of the Dottie Angel challenge I could buy new yarn to make a wrap for myself. Not that I can ever see myself buying in the same way ever again. More about that another day. For now I just want to enjoy the pleasure of being tempted by the delicious colours Rowan have in their Amy Butler range.


I wanted the yarn to be just so and all the same weight if I was going to make the Japanese Flowers wrap. This yarn is wonderful to work with. Even better, the colours are delicious, which makes choosing very difficult. I ended up wanting them all, but sadly my purse said no.

 

After two great days out with my lot, I was getting badly itchy to get going with my new yarn. Finally, this afternoon after a long walk by the river, cake eating and getting all hot and bothered we just wanted to just flop. Little Bun hid in the tent I made for the Buns last summer and Mr Bun and I sat beside her chatting every now and then. Five flowers were hooked and I felt very happy. All done just in time for Eldest Bun and my parents to arrive home for tea.


My greatest delight this week has been finishing the Easter Bunny I've been making for Eldest Bun. I cut out all the pieces weeks ago and then got sidetracked as usual. I've always been a last minute work like a loon into the wee hours finishing stuff kind of person. This time I've actually finished something with days to spare.


As each piece was so fiddly I decided it would be better to handstitch the rabbit and all of his clothes. Somehow it made making him all the more pleasureable. I can't wait to see what she thinks of him and what name he'll be given. Little Bun chose Timothy when I showed him to her today. She's very good at secret keeping by the way.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Sweet Things

It's getting a bit like the countdown to christmas here with the Buns forever asking "how many days to Easter?". What they really mean is when's the Easter Bunny coming, because Easter's already begun here.


I keep thinking of cheery Springtime decorations I can make to cheer up corners that need a splodge of colour. Last night as I walked past the kitchen window, I thought I know what that needs. So off I went to pick fabrics and started cutting and sewing. Not the best timing really as Mr Bun was busy putting together a picnic tea for us all. I sewed as quickly as I could, banged in a couple of nails and tied my bunting up all as tea was being served. Sometimes you have to go with the mood when it grabs you.


Today I've decided is a day of feasting and gardening. I wonder how long before they find the choccy treats I put out this morning?


Bunny and chick biscuits are baking in the oven and will probably be scoffed before they've cooled down.

Best get in the garden and work up an appetite first.
 
 

Hope you're having a lovely weekend too.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Snippets

Little Bun has been very poorly for a couple of days with high temperatures and night sickness. Thankfully she's her smiley self again. 
Having to snuggle up at home was just what we all needed. I finally tried out the Japanese Flower pattern from Attic 24. I've been wanting to have a go at these for a while now. I love the look of them and think them fine enough for me to buy the proper yarn for them. I've still not decided on colours yet, bright and zingy or muted tones.

Eldest Bun and I couldn't wait any longer to make our Easter tree so we went scavenging in the garden for twigs and sticks. We weren't pleased that Mr Bun had hacked the cherry tree so high we couldn't reach it.


Without any blossom we decided to make our own. We picked out some of the mini flowers I'd crocheted an age ago and tied them on to the sticks. Eldest Bun had a lovely time arranging wee creatures here and there. They're now peeking out from every shelf.


My other favourite are these wonky birds. I've had them for so many years that they are getting harder and harder to tie on to the twigs. Mostly they swing round and perch upside down. 


Now with two girls with pink in their cheeks we're off to play with friends in the park. Mr Bun is joining us next week for fun and frolics. Being self-employed he only ever has about three weeks off a year, so it's precious time and he badly needs a rest. Doubt he'll get it as we have plans for him.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Grow Your Own Posy

Rather more quickly than I thought I would, I've put together a plan for you to grow your own Springtime Posy Brooch. I started on another one this morning, so I took a picture or two along the way. Hopefully it'll make sense as you go.

 

You can make them large like mine or smaller if you want. Just change the hook size and yarn to whatever you fancy and off you go. I used a 4mm hook and DK cotton, all in UK crochet words so you'll need to change if you're used to American crochet. 

To make the three leaves chain 12. Work 1 dc by missing the first chain and working into the next one along. Into the next chain work 1htr and then work 1 tr into each of following seven chains. Next work 1htr and then 1dc. Now you've worked all the way along the first side of the leaf and need to turn to work along the underside - so make 1ch and then work 1dc into the first space just behind the slip knot. 


Continue along the underside of your leaf to make a leafy spine. Work in exactly the same way as before - 1htr, 7 htr, 1htr and 1dc. To end you need to make one chain and then ss into the first dc you made on your leaf and fasten off. Hope that made sense and was easy to follow. Make two more leaves and then you're ready to pick your flowers.

 

I chose different colours this time as I wanted a splash of red. The flowers are quick and easy to make up, I already have a bowl full as I use them in quite a few projects.

To make your flower, make 1 ch and then work 1dc into this chain. It can be a bit slippy and fiddly so hold on tight. to make the rest of your first petal work *1tr, 1dtr, 1tr, 1dc* all in the same chain you worked your first dc. Continue working in this same chain to make the rest of your petals by repeating the instructions in between the stars. You can make a flower with either four or five petals it's up to you. Once you've finished pull up the slip knot as tightly as you can and then make a ss into the first petal to join. Fasten off and knot the ends at the back leaving a long thread for sewing on to the leaves.

It's all pretty straightforward from now on. Sew your leaves together so they stay in place for you to add your flowers.


Decide where your flowers will go and then stitch them to the leaves. I sew with one end of the yarn first and then sew down with the other, before knotting them together at the back. This way they stay on pretty firmly.


Once all the flowers are on they'll need a splodge for the middle. I use a french knot and wrap the yarn three times round the needle to make a larger knot.


Before you add the felt backing you might want to stitch the flowers together to make sure they lay flat. Then pin your posy to the felt and cut around before stitching all around the leaves.


Once everything is neatly hooked and stitched, it's up to you whether you add a bar fastener to make a brooch, or  a hairband or slide to pretty up your hair. Have fun whether you make one or two or three.


Right, I'm off to see if my girls want to come and play with their mummy.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Pick a Posy

End of term celebrations done, weekend party taxi service chores over, morning work meeting today done and dusted and now I'm mixing working from home with full on enjoying being at home with my gorgeous girls.


This afternoon Little Bun was busy decorating an egg and Eldest Bun was trying out how loud can your music go in her room. Me, I had a crocheting itch. I'd seen some brooches I really liked on Friday that inspired me to make my own. The ones I'd seen were all the same colour, but I chose a spring posy of colourful primula's.


If you fancy making your own spring posy, it's quite easy really. If you like I'll pop a pattern on here as I did what I usually do and changed the basic shapes I used to get the sizes I wanted.

I've loved wearing this today and might make myself a few more in different colours.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Sunshine & Lollipops

Ten whole years of marriage to my best mate today. All gone in the blink of an eye. Guess we've been having too much fun to notice the time passing. This morning I was given a bunch of anemones which were the flowers in my wedding bouquet. I adore them, they always remind me of the rich colours of one my favourite places, Charleston. Then I end up thinking of the South Downs on sunny days laying beside windmills with my love and heavily pregnant with our first daughter. Blissful days and memories.


This whole thing started with two teachers and a lollipop. I was invigilating an exam and Mr Bun came to swap so I could go and teach. He walked past, pulled the lollipop out of his mouth and stuck it on my forehead. I burst out laughing and kind of got that you only do that if you fancy someone. Pretty handy then as I was already smitten.


I've not been here for so long as I've been feeling really run down and just plain exhausted. The project I was working on ended last week which was emotional and now I'm straight into developing and planning for the new one. I'm really excited about it and can't wait to get going. Saturday was Little Vintage Lover which was fabulous as always. Completely down to Zoe running a great event.


I didn't have many new things made to sell as I'd been busy making up a Hexy Jeans patch for a friend and stitching a brooch for my mum's mothers day present. I got carried away and made four in the end for her to choose from. On Mother's Day I had two lovely girls climb in bed for a cuddle and then they surprised me with heart shaped toast in bed. Best presents in the world cuddles and kisses.


I did manage to finish up the flowery cosies which Little Bun wants as hats for her bears. The rest of my time has been taken up with sorting tedious stuff like MOT's, accounts, bills and paperwork. It takes up far too much precious time this nonsense when really I want to just get on with enjoying life. Well Easter hols are a coming so some sort of rest soon.


I also need to pot up these velvety pansies that I was kindly given by a friend who popped over yesterday. Pansies always remind me of my Nan who's front garden was filled with them. Flowers bring back so many lovely memories. 

Now I'm off to the school church service where they'll be singing along to Sunshine & Lollipops with different words. It's been buzzing in my head since the school run this morning. 

Wishing you a lovely week too.