A cushion jumper

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Hello friends, how have you been? Life here has been the normal mix of school, church and craft activities. I’ve transformed my living room from fresh spring…

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…to cosy autumn.

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I updated the twigs above my fireplace with sparkly apples, autumn leaves, felt apples and mushrooms and a couple of orange slices.

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I also changed my cushion covers for cosy knitted/crochet covers in autumnal colours.

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And this week I celebrated one year of (fairly) successful homeownership – hurrah!

I’ve just enjoyed a week off from school. My challenge was to finally unpack those last few boxes which had been lurking under beds/taking up space on my craft room floor! It took three days, multiple black bin bags and a trip to the charity shop, but I now feel that I’ve properly unpacked – hurrah!

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This jumper very nearly ended up at the charity shop, but at the last minute I snatched it back from the bag. I’ve rarely worn it (it was way too big when I bought it but I couldn’t be bothered to take it back to the shop!) but I love the colours. And I realised that it would make a super cosy cushion cover, a perfect addition to my autumnal loving room!

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I was a bit hesitant at first – my Mum and Granny always drilled it into me that you can’t go cutting knitted fabrics! – but I took the plunge and found it was actually easier than I expected. After I cut the pieces to the right size I whizzed it through the sewing machine (going over all the seams twice, just to make sure they hold), turned it the right way round then crocheted along one edge to make button holes to keep it closed.
Ta dah!

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I’m really pleased with how it turned out and it only took about half an hour too! I’m now on the look out for other jumpers to cut up…

Half term challenge

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Since going back to school after the Easter holidays I’ve been counting down the days until half term! However, despite the fact that I’ve been desperate for a holiday, I’ve made no plans at all for this week. So, in order to avoid just frittering my week away on Facebook, I’ve decided to set myself a challenge – I’m going to make (another) blanket.

I’ve been drooling over several gorgeous patterns on Pinterest and have decided to have a go at making a blanket using these blocks…
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The first five rounds are the Willow block from Jan Eaton’s 200 Crochet Blocks book (a birthday present from my parents).
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I then experimented with the outer rounds (in grey) – the one on the top is a slight adaptation of this pattern found over at Annie’s Place. It was actually her solid willow block blanket that inspired me in the first place. The one on the bottom follows the rest of the original Willow pattern. After some dithering I decided to go with the more solid block, although I really like the other one too.

I think this may be a slightly ambitious project for just a week, but it’s always good to try to do impossible things!! And after all, I have already completed the middles of eight blocks – how hard can this be?!
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And yes, I know I could finish one of the five unfinished blankets I’ve got lying around the house, but that would be the sensible, grown up thing to do, and therefore sounds like no fun at all!

I’ll keep you updated on the progress. And pop over to my Facebook page for more pics. Have a lovely week!

Springy Eastery Garland

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Some of you may remember seeing this photo on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.

"The creativity continues :)"

I was having a particularly creative Saturday (it was the day I made my peg bag out of shorts) and decided to spruce up some sticks I’d bought from Ikea. I’d bought them because I could imagine them hanging over my fireplace, all covered in pretty springy decorations, but up to that point they were just sticks with a few flowery fairy lights!

So I grabbed some plastic eggs (really cheap from the supermarket), a jar of paper flowers and a jar of buttons and this is what happened…

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I loved the colours of the eggs, but not how plasticky they looked. The paper flowers disguise plastickiness nicely! And I love the bright, spring colours too. I hadn’t really planned them to all look so coordinated – it was only once I’d finished that I realised I’d chosen really similar colours for each flower.

In addition to the eggs, I also cut up some fake flowers to add to the flowery fairy lights (the big white flowers in the photos below). I’m not usually a fan of fake flowers, but I’d bought these to go in my basket when I was Red Riding Hood (it was a dress up day at school – I don’t usually dress up as fairy tale characters!) and it seemed a shame to let them just gather dust somewhere. I really like the different pinky colours too.

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As I was unpacking boxes I came across a couple of other decorations. I think this tin egg was a gift from a child at one of my placement schools when I was training to be a teacher.

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And I made this heart several years ago when I was experimenting with sewing fabric and paper. I really like it, but think it must have been a bit of a pain to make since this is the only one I have!

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I finished off the garland with a few tin heart bells that I found in a lovely local shop. I love their colours and the soft jingles they made as I hung them up.

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Here’s the finished product, complemented nicely by the bunting which used to hang on my bookcase.

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So things are complete – for the time being! I love the fresh feel of all the combined items together, but at some point (probably soon after Easter) I’ll take the eggs off and replace them with other things. Not sure yet what I’ll replace them with though – any suggestions?

Easter Bonnets

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I’m sure schools all over the world are taking part in Easter bonnet parades this week. In our school the children in KS1 make bonnets or hats and children in KS2 make a model. Some of the children (and their parents!) get very creative! We then walk the whole school around the village with the children wearing their hats or carrying their models. Lots of people from the village come out to see what the children have made and there’s a lovely festive atmosphere. These are some of the fantastic hats and models that children in my class made for the occastion.

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All this springy/Eastery creativity has made me want to go to Hobbycraft and buy all sorts of lovely supplies to make my own Easter bonnet!

Peg bag

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A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine smashed a hole in my concrete garden and put up my washing line. I got all excited about being able to hang my washing outside again – then realised that I had no pegs! I hurried out to buy some and greatly enjoyed hanging my washing out in the sunshine. However, my beg bag looked like this:

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Not pretty! I woke up this morning wanting to make something and, with several piles of washing to get through, a peg bag seemed like the perfect Saturday morning project.

I had a little look on Pinterest and found a pattern for this bag:

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I was going to adapt it slightly by adding a long strap and had some fabric in mind. But as I was rummaging for said fabric, I came across a pair of pink shorts.

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I’d bought them in a sale several years ago because I liked the fabric!

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I think they were super cheap (probably about £1) and have been stuffed away in my fabric box ever since. But they suddenly seemed the perfect thing for a peg bag!

I started by cutting the bottom off to make it straight.

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I also cut a section out of the back because they were a bit too wide.

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Then I got out Granny’s old sewing machine to stitch the edges. And this is where the process became a whole lot slower! I’ve not used the machine for a long time (in fact, the last time was probably when I was a teenager and Granny was sitting next to me explaining what I needed to do) and although I have the original manual, the language is slightly old fashioned and it takes a while to work out what it all means.

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Eventually I managed to wind thread on to the bobbin, attach it correctly (it took a few tries!) and get the thread ready for stitching. It coped surprising well on even the thickest parts of the fabric, but I found that the thread kept breaking – so frustrating. It ended up looking pretty messy! If I was giving this to someone else I’d probably have lined it to hide the mess – but since it’s only for me I decided not to bother. Anyway, I adjusted the tension and, even though I made it worse to start with, I managed to get it right in the end.

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I trimmed the bit I’d cut off so I could use it as a strap. I also cut some plain fabric to back it, then stitched both sides together before turning it the right way round.

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I hand stitched the strap in place. At this point Maisie decided to ‘help’ me. It’s actually really hard to sew with a cat in the way – she kept twitching and trying to catch the thread.

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Anyway, when the strap was attached I filled it with pegs and put it to use straight away.

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It’s a slightly different pink to the other things on the back of the kitchen door, but I figure the more pinks I can get in my kitchen, the better!

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Craft room

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One of the best things about my new house is that I get to have a craft room! It started off as a bit of a dumping ground…

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…but the cat loved exploring the boxes and found some great hiding places.

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I’ve had some time to do a bit of sorting and tidying, and even though it isn’t completely how I want it, it’s definitely useable! I have quite a lot of storage space on my two shelf units, and I love having all my pretty, colourful things on display and easily accessible.

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I’ve added two of my drawer units to a shelf. They fit perfectly and don’t take up any desk space – bonus!

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I have Granny’s old sewing machine…

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…and pretty plates holding Useful Things.

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This is the ‘I’ll-get-round-to-sorting-it-out-one-day’ area! Not great to look at, but stuff is out of the way but easy to get to when I need it.

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I even have somewhere for the cat to sleep in the sun…

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…although she sometimes prefers to just sit next to her cushion and look out of the window.

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And my favourite part of the room – my colourful wall! I love all the different bits and pieces on this wall, some useful, some holding great memories, some just decorative. This wall is a work in progress – I plan to add more things to the spaces around the edges, and will probably take down/put up different things at various points.

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This bright, colourful space really makes me happy!

Spring decor

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I had lots of fun decorating my house for Christmas. As well as all the usual decorations I also added red cushions and a super thick red rug to the lounge which made the room feel even more cosy and Christmassy.

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But with Christmas over and the decorations packed up and back in their boxes for another year, I decided it was time to get rid of the red.

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Red is a great colour, and I particularly love it at Christmas time, but it’s not how I want my front room to look all year round.

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Pastels are my most favourite colours, and they just shout ‘Spring’! Now, it’s not really spring yet. Although we’ve had some wonderfully sunny days it’s still very cold. But it feels like winter needs to be given a bit of a push to make way for spring, so out come the pastels!

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It didn’t take much effort – I simply swapped cushion covers, putting away the red ones until next winter. Some of the cushion covers didn’t need to be changed because they work with both colour schemes.

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I like having blankets around no matter what time of year, so I just put away the red ones and brought out the pretty pastels again.

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When I first moved in I had the pink rug on the floor, which I’d put away for Christmas. But it’s back from under the wardrobe, looking slightly grubby (I think I’ll need to wash it, but only when the weather’s a bit warmer so I can dry it outside!) but very spring-ish.

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The look is completed (for now – I’m sure I’ll be adding more Easter related decorations soon!) with my colourful bunting and some flower fairy lights…

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…and of course some beautiful flowers in colourful vases.

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Lovely!