Monthly Archives: July 2012

On holiday

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Right now I’m preparing to go away. I’m surrounded by clothes, books and 101 other things that I want to take. I’m trying my best to pack light, but it’s really not working!

However, by the time you’re reading this I will be camping in the middle of a field with some great friends, and hopefully not too much mud! I won’t be anywhere near a computer (which I’m really looking forward to) but thought I’d try doing a timed post. This may or may not work!

Anyway, here’s a little of what I’ll be doing while I’m away.

This is how far I’d got with my blanket before I left, and I’m hoping to get all my current squares added to the blanket whilst chatting with friends (unless I have too many kids surrounding me, in which case I’m guessing I won’t get much of anything done!)

I also have this baby blanket to finish.

It just needs another few rounds and the oh so boring sewing in of the ends. It may get finished this week, or it may just come home in exactly the same state!

I’m also planning on doing a lot of reading (my kindle is loaded up with a lot of books) and just generally relaxing and having fun with my friends. I’ll let you know all about it when I get back.

Have a lovely week!

All is revealed…

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Today is the day I can finally tell you about my Top Secret Project. I’ll start from the beginning (because it’ll make more sense that way) and be prepared for a lot of photos!

A friend of mine lodges with a family. I sort of know the family through other mutual friends, but don’t really see them often. A while ago I heard that the daugher, Becky, was getting married. A little while after that her mum, Heather, got in touch with me and asked if I could do something special for Becky’s wedding day.

For Heather’s wedding (several years ago now!) she had been involved in arranging all the details of the day. But when she walked into the church there was a banner at the front that she knew nothing about. Some friends had designed and made it as a surprise for her. She said it was just so special and a wonderful surprise on a day when she thought she knew exactly what was going to happen and when.

So Heather wanted to do the same for Becky. I met up with her and found out what size she wanted and got some examples of the colour scheme from the invitation and some flowers that would be used to decorate the church. Not long afterwards I went shopping and managed to get fabric of just the right colour.

Then came the fun (and slightly scary) part – designing and making the banner. I’d asked Heather if she had anything in mind, but she didn’t. She said she’d be happy with whatever I came up with and she didn’t even want to see any plans before I started making it!

I decided to start with the lettering. I managed to find a font fairly similar to the one on the invitation. And the words I used (Forever In Safe Hands, along with their names and the date of the wedding) came straight from the invitation too. So far so good.

I then used my trusty (and very dusty!) light box to trace the words in reverse on to bondaweb…

…before ironing it onto the orange fabric.

I spent a long time cutting out all the letters, then arranging them with the ribbons on the white background.

After playing around with different layouts I decided that having ‘Forever In Safe Hands’ in a circle looked best. But how to make sure that they were properly in a circle and not wonky? A washing up bowl of course!

It was the perfect size. I drew around it with my magic vanishing pen, arranged the letters in the right place and got ironing. (You can see where I washed off the magic pen before ironing the overlapping letters.)

Then came the longest part of the process – stitching all the letters. I lost track of how many hours it took, and at times I wondered why I’d even started. But I was really pleased with how it looked when it was finished.

You can see the stitches more clearly on the back.

It was when I got to this point that I realised I’d missed a key component from the invitation – the fish! Becky and Scott are Christians and wanted that fact to be celebrated as part of their wedding ceremony and marriage. (And for those of you who haven’t realised, the first letters of Forever In Safe Hands spell out FISH!) I had to draw a fish, and managed to get it looking pretty good, and in a similar style to the text.

I played around with different placements for the fish, and finally decided that it should be swimming around at the top.

With most of the key parts in place, I sewed the ribbons around the edges. I decided to machine stitch them, which was a lot quicker than hand sewing!

I added the backing before adding one last thing – a flower on the opposite corner to the fish. The church will be decorated with lots of these flowers, so Heather had given me some to include on the banner if I wanted to. Originally I’d planned to have them across the top, but realised that they were too close to the lettering at the top. So instead I handed them back to Heather with the suggestion that they be draped across the hanging bar when the banner was in place. But I thought it would be nice to include at least one little flower on the banner itself, and I like the little splash of greenery in amonst all the orange.

And here is how it looks in it’s completely finished state:

I was really pleased with how it turned out, and so was Heather, so I hope Becky and Scott like it too!

Baking and gardening

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Despite having nothing in my diary for this week, it’s ended up being a busy one.

At the beginning of the week I booked a last minute holiday – hurrah! The last few years I’ve been to New Wine with a group of people from church. This year I really wanted to go, but by the deadline came around my car was due it’s MOT, which took priority. But because of the Olympics not as many people are going this year, so I was able to book this week in time to go next week! I’m so excited!

In preparation, I’ve been busy baking snacks for the group.

So far I’ve made snickerdoodles (which look really different to the picture in the book, but taste good anyway!)…

…oatmeal lace cookies…

…and chewy ginger cookies.

All the recipes came from my most used cookie book, Fabulous Cookies. Yum!

This morning I took my friend’s kids to the park (so she could pack for New Wine without them in the way!), have done 2 loads of washing of things I want to pack, found all my camping bedding and dusted off my suitcase. I’m now having a bit of a sit down before I face actually packing things!

Now, do you remember that I took a trip to the beach with some friends earlier in the week? On the way we got talking about different ways I could arrange the book corner in my classroom, and one suggestion was to have a reading garden. And while I was in the supermarket yesterday I came across some really cute gardening things for children.

I just love this little guy!

I’m so excited about going back into school to arrange my new book corner, and will get the kids to make all sort of flowers to decorate when school starts again.

Right, now I’m off to decide how much yarn I’ll be able to take away with me…

Productive morning, lovely afternoon

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I spent some time at school this morning, sorting out my new classroom. I was there for about 4 hours and still have loads to do! But I have a much better idea now of what still needs sorting out/printing/sticking on the walls. I could easily have spent all day there, but my friends invited me to the beach which seemed like a much better idea!

We walked down the very steep hill from the car park, stopping to admire the colourful houses on the way.

We wandered around the shops, then stopped for a drink and ice cream.

We had a little paddle in the sea.

It’s Lifeboat Week in Lyme, and there are special events going on each day. One of today’s was pavement art. There were probably about 100 pictures drawn along the sea front. These were some of my favourites…

While we were eating our ice cream, a little girl walked past with a pink sparkly windmill. We all loved it so much that when we saw some lovely spotty ones, we decided to buy our own! (My excuse was that I’d use it in my classroom – somehow!)

The girls held their windmills out of the car windows most of the way home – a great way to end our little trip!

Starting again

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I was merrily hooking away at my blanket. I was pleased that the squares were joining together quite quickly. And I loved how it looked when it was spread out across the floor.

The problem came when I properly looked at it when it wasn’t stretched out. The squares looked bumpy and misshapen and just not right.

I’m not entirely sure why either. They looked fine when I practised on a few squares. The problem may have been that I changed hooks. The one I started with (a boring grey looking 4mm one) disappeared, so I picked up my shiny pink 4mm hook instead. But the pink hook isn’t quite as rounded on the end, so I had to hold it slightly differently to get it smoothly through my loops. I’m wondering if this made me change the tension in some way?

Anyway, I decided to have a proper look for the boring grey hook. I’d had a bit of a rummage around in my bag without finding it, so this time I just tipped out the whole lot on the floor. As I was sorting through, checking each ball of yarn (I often tuck my hook inside a ball so it doesn’t get lost!) I found another colour I wanted to include in my blanket, a warm yellow called Saffron. Eventually, in the last ball I checked, I found my grey hook – hurrah!

But what to do now? Should I pick up where I left off? Or start again?

I decided to start again. I pulled apart all the squares I’d joined (but kept the white wool already attached to each one).

I also whipped up 8 Saffron yellow squares and worked them into my pattern (with one or two other slight changes).

 

I’ve now got the first row joined. I’ve done it differently and it’s working much better. Hurrah!

Let’s hope I don’t spot any more problems…

A sunny Sunday afternoon

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The weather this afternoon is just right for spending in the garden. I’m not normally all that eager to dash out at the first sight of sun (I burn really easily and my eyes water if I’m facing the sun) but it’s been so wet and cold here that I’m determined to make the most of the sun while it’s here!

I was happily reading and hooking when I noticed a snail not far from my feet – ew! It got worse though, as soon the snail was crawling up the leg of the bench. It was at that point that I decided I’d had enough of being outside (for a while at least) so I got packed up and have carried on with my hooking inside.

Anyway, this is how the blanket’s looking so far:

More scarf like than blanket like (apart from the funny little block of squares on the end!) and I’ve already realised it’ll be far too small, so I’m thinking of different ways to make it bigger. I’ll let you know what I come up with!

Also, I’ve found a new home for my teeny tiny bunting:

It seemed a shame for it to just be used on the top of my display boards (especially as I won’t be using them any time soon) so thought that in the meantime they can join my ever growing bunting collection on my bookshelves. It’s on the shelf right next to my teeny tiny crochet bunting.

Blanket progress

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With the arrival of my new yarn I was able to make up my last 4 (for now) squares. Look at all the lovely colours together!

Then came the fun part – working out how to put them together. I tried a few different combinations. This…

and this…

…until finally I settled on this.

I had half thought of this kind of arrangement anyway, but wanted to try out a couple of alternatives just to make sure.

After I’d decided on the order I put them all back on my stitch holders in the right order. (The post it notes are to indicate the ends of the lines so I don’t forget!)

I spent some time joining the first few together last night, whilst playing a great game of Articulate (made all the better becuase I won twice!) I don’t have photos yet, but will hopefully post some tomorrow when I’ve made a little more progress.

In the meantime, have a lovely day!