Tuesday, 28 February 2012

In my sketchbook

I can't believe it took me this long to start a sketchbook. It is so much fun to have somewhere just to doodle, play, draw and paint whatever I want. Here are some of my favourite bits so far.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Recipe: Crunchy Munchy Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds

I had some sweetened, roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds and they were so yummy I thought I'd see if I could make them myself. I looked online for inspiration and after trying a few things, this is what I ended up with.

They are very munchy and more-ish, and approved by 100% of three-year-olds (that live in this house).

1/4 cup sugar
1 tbspn butter
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

Melt the butter and sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the seeds and stir well. Keep cooking for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the seeds are all lovely and toasted and golden brown. Pour out onto a sheet of tin foil and leave to cool. Try not to eat all at once.

(this is also very yummy with desiccated coconut instead of the pumpkin seeds)

Friday, 24 February 2012

Free miniature knitting pattern - socks for Pukifee or Lati Yellow

I wrote up this pattern a while ago, while I was experimenting to see whether I could knit socks for my Pukifee Felicity using DPNs. It's a bit like wrestling with a porcupine but perfectly possible! The pattern is based on a fairly standard sock pattern, just with very few stitches. Give it a go, it's not as hard as it sounds!

Socks for Pukifee or Lati Yellow

I used 2mm double-pointed needles and lace-weight/2-ply yarn. Worked top-down in the round.

Cast on 14 and join to work in the round.
Work 3 rounds k1, p1 rib.
Knit 5 rounds.

Put 7 sts onto one needle and the other 7 sts onto a safety pin for safe-keeping.
Working just the sts left on the needle:
1: sl1, k6
2: sl2, p6
Repeat rows 1 & 2 twice more.
7: sl1, k3, ssk, turn
8: p2, p2tog, turn
9: k2, ssk, turn
10: p2, p2tog

K3, pick up and knit 5 sts down side of heel flap, place marker. Knit sts from safety pin. Place marker. Pick up and knit 5 sts down other side of heel flap.
Next round: k to 2st from 1st marker, k2tog, knit to 2nd marker, ssk
Repeat this round twice more.

Knit 5 rounds.
Next round: k2tog round. Break yarn and draw through sts on needle, pull tight and weave in end.

This pattern has been previously posted on Den of Angels and on my beepbeep designs miniatures site.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Back in the garden

Our garden - front and back - has been hideously neglected for the last six months or so, while the building work was going on. Part of the back garden is now under the extension of course (directly under where I'm sitting, in fact) and a good half of the remaining part was a building site, but as the building materials were slowly cleared away it was becoming just a big expanse of mud. And for the front garden, I have no excuse other than laziness and apathy.

But now all is lovely again! Well, all tidy, anyway. This is due to two things. One, we found the money to have a proper patio put in - just plain paving slabs, but it's covered the worst of the mud by the house and given us somewhere for the bench and some of the girls' garden toys. The rest of the lawn just needs some grass seed and some time now. And the second, most important, thing is that my parents came up to visit this weekend and did huge amounts of gardening. My dad weeded and dug and my mum pruned and tidied. And bought a tray of primroses that Laura helped her plant in the front garden. I can't thank them enough for all the work they did, it's taken a huge load of my mind. And now I can look out of the patio doors and think 'garden' not 'ugh'.

So now we have a garden that is maybe a bit empty in places but is at least tidy - and it's coming up to spring, the perfect time to sow some more grass and think about what flowers we want this year. I think Laura and I definitely need to grow some sunflowers.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Appearing around the web

Quick one while the girls eat breakfast.

I wrote a guest blog post for my sister over here at Jennifer's Little World.

And my parents were up this weekend, and my mum took a photo for her blog, bitstobuy.

It's like I'm on tour!

Monday, 20 February 2012

12 things

My big sister Jen tagged me in a meme thingy so here goes! It's a bit of a long one this time. Here's what I have to do.

1) You must post the rules
2) Post 12 fun facts about yourself in the blog post
3) Answer the questions the tagger has set for you in their post and then create 12 new questions for the fellow bloggers you plan to tag
4) Tag 12 people and link to them on your blog
5) Let them know you tagged them

So here goes.

1) Done!

2) Twelve fun facts about myself:

1. I've never been to Scotland or Ireland
2. I'm approximately 5/32nds Welsh
3. My degree is in Computing Science and I worked in IT before having babies
4. I eat M&Ms in pairs by colour
5. I'd rather be too hot than too cold
6. My favourite Disney film is The Lion King. I saw it on the IMAX in Manchester about ten years ago and it was amazing. The West End show is fantastic too
7. My index fingers bend in towards my middle fingers
8. I'm short-sighted and wear lenses, I hate wearing glasses
9. I wouldn't call myself superstitious but I don't like the number 13, it's completely irrational but it makes me uneasy! So stupid
10. I love strategy-based computer games, things like Rollercoaster Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, Theme Hospital, Sims 1/2/3
11. My new cloakroom is painted pink
12. I have a toddler sitting on my lap nicking things off my desk. She gets away with this because she keeps leaning into my chest and going 'aaaah' and it's adorable

3) My answers to Jennifer's questions:

1) What is the opening line to your favourite novel?
'There was no possiblity of taking a walk that day.' Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
2) Which film makes you cry?
Lilo & Stitch
3) Twitter or Facebook?
Facebook, some Twitter. Bit of both
4) Do you hoover under the sofa?
5) If you were to come back as an animal, what would it be?
Something that sleeps a lot. A cat maybe
6) If you had to move to another country, where would you go?
7) Marmite - love it or hate it?
Love it!
8) Disney or Dreamworks?
9) What is your favourite holiday destination?
Disneyworld in Florida
10) What is your earliest memory?
Playing Duplo with my mum, or maybe walking Jen to school, sitting on the seat on top of the pram which contained our baby brother
11) Would you wear your pajamas to the supermarket?
The very thought makes me shudder. So no
12) What would you say to your 16 year old self?
Not a lot really; by 16 I was pretty much OK. I have some things that I'd say to my 13-year-old self. If I could send a message back in time I'd probably just say 'by 30 you'll be married with two children' because we had some fertility issues that caused a lot of grief at the time, it would have been very nice back then to know that it would all work out in the end.

I can't think of people to tag! I always have this problem, don't want to bother people. So I'm going to chicken out. So I won't write any new questions (so lazy). Sorry Jen! But I hope you liked my answers. :)

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Mark's guest blog

Ok so I guess you are reading this hoping to hear some amazing craft type things Anna has been up to. But she is busy. Why is she busy I hear you ask? Well……

We’ve been through a massive program of building works which is pretty much over. However I wanted to somehow try and do two things this evening. Firstly I wanted to paint the new downstairs wc and secondly I wanted to try and finish all the filling of walls that needed to be done under the stairs in the old part of the house.

So Anna has been painting the downstairs wc

While I filled the holes in the walls

I finished earlier than Anna so she joked that either I should paint or I could blog for her. So here I am.

Normally every evening Anna would either be found here

Writing blogs, checking forums or playing games. Or she would be found here

Knitting or doing something involving yarn of some type or other.

Anyway I wanted to tell you all about our trip to the theatre the other week. We were offered complimentary tickets (comps) to go and see the tour of Legally Blonde at the new (ish) Waterside theatre in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

The theatre is a very nice modern theatre designed around trying to remind the audience member of some sort of woodland, therefore the walls are very wooden with very nice built in LED lighting. The only thing that freaked me out about the theatre was that they projected advertisements onto the Iron Curtain (Safety Curtain) at the interval. The legroom is also very good.

The production of Legally Blonde was good. I had seen a recording of the Broadway production and our version had a very cut down set to allow it to tour weekly. The performances were very good and the lighting which had been relit for the tour by Alastair Grant and Stuart Porter was very well done and in keeping with the original style. My only technical thought was that the sound was low in volume. Anna said she enjoyed herself too!

Last week was busy at work with open evening etc. my first year students created a sound to light show for the occasion and I was very proud of their results as it was only two hours of work.

This week Anna has been swimming with Laura and been out to lunch with her friends to allow Laura to play with her friend too.

Tomorrow until Saturday we have the builders back to do some work for us. To allow us to go out as a family we are going to visit an open farm which also has birds of prey.

Friday I am going to rip apart part of the kitchen to sort out an issue of levels within the floor. I will then decorate that part of the house before putting it back together so it will be a busy few days while I am on leave from work.

Anyway I hope you are still reading this, normal crafty type service will be resumed with the next post!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Felicity's Winter Jumper

Here is a little jumper for Felicity, and she needs it with the weather here recently!

Another couple of inches of snow overnight, which I know is not much for some, but is still plenty for around here. Time to wrap up warm, even for dollies.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Toilet Tube Birdies

I showed some birdies briefly before I think but Laura was making more so I thought I'd do a proper post about it. These toilet tube birdies are easy to make and Laura is now big enough that I can lay the things out and she can get on with it by herself.

So you will need:
Toilet tubes
Feathers (ours were from Tesco, about £1 for the pack I think)
Glue (we like glitter glue but normal PVA is fine)
Googly eyes
Coloured card to make a beak (cut out a diamond, fold it in half)

Then get sticking!

Potential pitfalls include losing the eyes, feathers stuck to everything in sight, glitter glue on your brand new floor and using all the toilet tubes you were supposed to be saving for Grandad to grow parsnips in.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Watercolour ACEOs

On Monday Laura and I did some watercolour painting. We shared the same paints. She did a large painting of Mummy Getting Dressed and I did some ACEOs.

After they were dry I added some silver pen until the pen started going all blobby (with hindsight, letting Laura use it was a mistake).

This one is my favourite:

But I like them all. They were a lot of fun to make, I only stopped because Emily had woken up from her nap and needed bringing downstairs. Now I think I might embellish them a bit with some embroidery, buttons, sequins, that kind of thing. Lots of fun!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Teeny tiny buttons

I ordered some tiny (4mm and 6mm) buttons from a seller on Etsy, planning to use them in miniature things I make. But I have so many I think I might add them to my Wind The Bobbin Up shop, and possibly also my Etsy shop as well - I sell the miniature knitting patterns there, so maybe people will want supplies too! Worth a try.

I have 4mm flower buttons in pink, green and orange:

And 4mm star buttons in yellow, blue, green, pink, red and orange:

And 4mm heart buttons in pink, green and red:

And 6mm round buttons in darker colours:

And in bright ones:

So many tiny buttons! And so many pretty colours. Look for them in my shops soon.