Friday, 25 January 2013

Mood Elevators.

Happy and cheery is how I love to be, especially when it comes to catching up with you guys for a little chit chat. But recently I've been a little lacking in the cheer department. I think I've had the January blues. The past few days I've been feeling a little glum, a tad tired, moody and generally out of sorts. I'm not too sure why I feel like this as I have nothing at all to be down about, It's quite the opposite really. It feels very silly when I sit here and write about it. But a feeling is a feeling and sometimes I think it's best just to let it run its course. So 'GRUMPY' has been my state for the last couple of days.

However, this morning I've had enough! I'm taking a stance against my winter blues and giving myself a spring time colour injection and a jolly old kick up the backside!

I know Spring is still a little while off but I figured I'd give the coming of the new Season a little encouragement and start with a Spring clean of the apartment (yes....in Winter). A little freshen up is what I need and when everything around me is a little more organised and focused, so is my mood.

I popped out to the flower shop and picked me up some mood elevators.  They come in the form of some beautiful Dutch Tulips in a delicious shade of red.


The lady in the shop gave me like a million tulips for 6 euros!!! I'm talking TONS of tulips!! I've scattered them around the apartment and am not only thrilled at how beautiful they are, but find the thought of so many tulips so ridiculously over the top that I laugh just thinking about it!



If that wasn't enough to shake my blues. I've made some more little flower pegs and attached them to a branch that stands in a vase in the living room. 


You can see in these pictures that it was a very grey morning when I woke and put my camera to work.  I think the little flowers really do a marvellous job  of breaking up the dull light of the room.


There is something quite magical about these flowers, I really find them enchanting!


It really is the warmth and light from colours that makes me feel good, being surrounded by luscious vivid colours really is my medicine.  I guess thats why I couldn't stop with the flowers  and continued my energy boost by unpacking the colourful candles my family sent me for Christmas. 


A rainbow of colour with the glow of the flames. Just what I needed!

Finally I threaded some string and added some beads to this little heart that my sister had also sent me for Christmas.


It's constant reminder of the colour and love that I have in my life!

It turns out whilst writing this post the sun has put its hat on and had come out to play! Smiley faces all round! :-)
Hope you're all doing splendidly?

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Me.....Knitting?!?!?!!?!

I finally took the plunge and completed my first proper knitting project!!! There was lots of stress, pure frustration and childish tantrums!!! But I got there in the end and am "oh so proud" of my first knitted project.

I've had a strong desire to give knitting a try for a few weeks now. Firstly I was hugely impressed by some of the knitting work I had seen Dennis create, and secondly I couldn't help but notice all of the knitting inspired Christmas ornaments that were in the shops last month.





Knitting inspiration was everywhere!

I finally got around to giving it a try and started by just playing around with the basics. I watched videos online and read books to help me figure it out.
I was told that the continental style would suit me as I was used to holding the yarn in a similar way when I crocheted. This was the first hurdle, I struggled to hold an extra needle!!!  STRESS EXPLOSION!!!! Figuring out how to hold two needles and keep any kind of tension to the yarn seemed almost impossible! The yarn would hang all loose, which meant my needles kept falling out!!! I tried so many times but it just wasn't happening!
The knitting needles ended up being put away for a few more weeks!!!

I let my temper simmer down and came back to knitting with a slightly different approach. I asked some of you on my facebook page for guidance and tips that would help me along the way. Many of you kindly suggested different methods, needles and yarns that would perhaps make my attempt at knitting a little easier. I tried many different things but the biggest help was to change my needles from metal to wooden ones. I found metal needles very very slippery and therefore kept on dropping my work. The wooden needles seemed easier to grip and made my knitting a little tighter and more manageable.

Wooop! So I could finally hold the needles and yarn, now to try some stitches! After watching videos about the continental style method of knitting and not fully understanding, I finally gave in and asked Dennis to show me how it was done. He was very patient with me (just like when he taught me how to crochet) and he kept showing me until I finally started to get it. Knit stitch was fairly easy but the purl stitch was extremely hard at first. It really took a while for me to get that. I kept trying and worked little swatches to practice with.


Once I was a little more confident with these simple stitches, I figured it was time to bite the bullet and give my first project a try.
I searched Ravelry for a fairly simple pattern and after a recommendation from Dennis I settled upon "Daybreak" a  shawl pattern by Steven West.
I picked some suitable yarn in some slightly darker shades than I normally work with. I planned on making this for myself to wear and didn't fancy rainbow colours :-) I chose some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. It is sooooo lovely and soft, I knew instantly that this would feel amazing wrapped around my neck on a cold winters day.



Off I went to start my new project! At first I needed a few attempts to start it off. It was a little tricky, but once I got going there was no stopping!


Before long my project was growing and I was becoming slowly but surely faster and more confident with the stitches.



I was loving how the yarn was feeling when worked up, It felt almost silky smooth! I was also extremely pleased with the colours as they started to grow and stripe together. Blue, grey, blue, grey, blue......



There were a few loose baggy stitches every now and then and I dropped a few stitches once in a while. I tried not to let it bother me and just continued to keep going with the project. My initial reaction was to pull all of my work apart each time that I made a mistake. I started to realise I would get nowhere if I did that every time a mistake happened. As the project progressed and stretched out, I realised that my stitches were actually starting to look pretty even. I also noticed that any mistake that was made could also be corrected with the help of a trusty crochet hook. Learning by doing!

Before long I was reaching the end of my project. The knitting part was all done, it was just time to block it and stretch it out to the desired finished shape. I did this by making my project wet and patting out extra water. I then placed it on a large beach towel (to soak up any excess water) and blocked it with pins to the mattress on my bed.



It dried out nicely and each section ended up looking pretty even.


My first knitted project was done!!! I'm so happy with it! So happy that I even decided to model it in a picture for you! You have to bare in mind though....
A dancer, I am. A crocheter, I'm that also.  A Model......I'm not!!! Here I am looking randomly in some direction trying to look a little modelesque. It didn't really work! :-( Anyways, Ignore me and take a look and my scarf! I'm so very proud of it and I LOVE wearing it. The Debbie Bliss yarn is so soft and warm against my skin and I am extremely happy with the colours!


I'm totally chuffed to bits with this project and I can't wait for the next! I'm already on the look out for something simple that will challenge me with a few different stitches. I'm not sure what that next pattern will be yet, but I'll keep you posted!
Until then I have a fair few crochet projects that I MUST finish!!! Once again, my pile of unfinished projects is quite rapidly getting bigger!! EEEEEK!!!

Thanks for popping by!!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Granny Square Blanket.....The Sequel!

Good evening lovely people! How are you all doing?
I'm having having a nice night in at home, spending some quality time on my blog. I'm hoping to finally get around to updating my facebook page and replying to some comments!! But first I have a little something to share with you all.
Remember back in October I finished a very special granny square blanket for a friend of mine.


I was in love with this blanket and really found it very hard to part with, I had to start one of my own immediately! I wasted no time in ordering myself a new supply of Stylecraft. This time I didn't stick to the 17 colours from the "Stylecraft colour pack" but ordered myself an extra selection of colours to add to the colour pack. I had 27 colours in total to play around with.


Now I was taking a bit of a gamble with the colours, as I wasn't really sure what the over all feel of the blanket was going to turn out like. I was very much enjoying working with different colours and was especially loving the more muted tones like denim, teal and grape.

I got cracking with my granny squares and made them whenever possible. My initial plan was to make all of the squares individually and sew them together at the end.


However, after becoming a little daunted by the prospect of sewing together so many squares, I decided to use the "join as you go method" to join my squares.


Normally I wouldn't make all of my squares before joining, it kind of defeats the "joining as you go" idea. However, I decdied to make all of my squares first, purely out of personal convenience. I worked a lot on this blanket in between my shows at work. So I found it much easier to make 25 squares in the same colour, this way I only had to take one ball/colour of yarn to work.

Within a few weeks all 675 squares were finished (I made 25 squares in each of the 27 colours)!


NOW THE EXCITING PART!! I began to join my blanket!


I was amazed at how different this blanket was looking if I compared it to my previous one. It feels deeper and darker compared to the last.  You can see in the pictures below just how different the overall colour is. The picture on the left is my last blanket and the one on the right my current one.


I've had a little niggling feeling when I compare the blankets as I feel like I prefer the one that I gave away. I had moments when I almost decided not to finish my current one. I'm so glad I pushed through that phase though. As adding a border to it made me see it in a different light.
Here it is in it's full state of granny square greatness!!! (A little tricky trying to get it in one shot!)


Here's what I did with the border:


It's a little darker and maybe a tad moodier than my last blanket, but I think I'm liking that now. It just took me a little second to realise that it is a different blanket and so I'm aloud to feel differently about it.
It does look quite at home spread out across our bed!




This blanket was by far the quickest I've done. It took just six weeks to complete. I think it came down to pure determination and being very organised and strict with my blanket making regime! I'm so happy I still have some cold winter months to get some use out of MY granny square blanket. That's right.....I'm keeping this one!!!


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Spoiled Rotten!

I'm slowly getting myself back into a routine after indulging way too much over the past weeks.
For me, food has got to be one of the biggest and most enjoyable things about the Christmas festivities (along with spending time with loved ones). However,  I do find I get to a point when I just can't do it anymore. No more sweets and chocolate but a trip to the gym instead to lift my spirits.
It's been quite hard to break the cycle of eating too much junk food, especially as my family (very kindly) sent me a great deal of chocolate over from England.
Sometimes I think that maybe my mum doesn't realise that they also sell chocolate here in Germany :-)

Well I've finally got myself back to the gym and I am feeling good for it. The Christmas decorations are coming down and life is returning back to a somewhat normal pace. I do hate taking down the decorations, everything looks so empty and bare. I can hardly believe that for 95% of the year the decorations were not there anyway.
To fill the void that removing the Christmas decorations had left, I had to splash out on something a little cheery for the apartment. Some lovely bright roses. They make my heart feel all fluttery!!


I could stare at them for hours! Gorgeous, bright colours and everyday they open up a little more spreading bucket loads of light.


Tidying up the apartment and removing the tree gave me a moment to go through all of the lovely gifts I received. I really am very lucky!
Along with the mountains of chocolate my lovely family sent, I also received some clothes, candles and of course socks!! I've learned to appreciate receiving socks for Christmas, I used to hate it as a kid. I have to say, thanks to my mum I have a rather splendid sock collection for 2013.
Along with all of these lovely gifts I also received some rather amazing crafting goodies.



An adorable selection of buttons and ribbons from my amazing sister and my lovely friend Tracy.


Aren't those buttons crazy and I really can't get over how cute the ribbons are.!
I will definitely be putting these to good use, although part of me doesn't want to sew or cut the ribbons up as they seem practically perfect just the way they are.


I believe my sister purchased them at the cute little craft store in Bath. (The Makery Emporium)

You may have also spotted the cute little owl? it was also from Tracy, she sent me this as a 'thank you' present for the yarn I had sent her earlier in the year. She really didn't have to as she was actually doing me a favour by giving my unwanted yarn a new home. Nonetheless, I was chuffed to bits to receive this cute little needle holder. Thank you Tracy!!!


So sweet! I love his googly eyes, not to mention how organised my little needles are!

 My final crafty present, was a brand spanking pair of new handmade slippers! Ok I know it sounds a little crazy to get so excited about new slippers, and what's so crafty about them? Well...let me explain :-) These were my old ones:


Dennis made them for me. I loved them so very much and wore them all of the time, which very sadly meant this happened:


Soo sad! They were well passed retirement and sadly needed to be sent to slipper heaven.
But, imagine my utter delight when I received a new pair on Christmas day!! WOOP!!


Aren't they just lovely! Dennis did a great job making these and picking out a lovely set of new colours. I love them even more than my last pair.
I'd wear these on the street if I could, just to show them off to passers by :-)


I'm so very lucky and extremely grateful for my new gifts. I can't wait to play around with those crafty goodies whilst wearing my new slippers!!
Not sure what I'm going to conjure up yet. First i want to finish my current projects! Here's a little snippet of something I've been working on over the Christmas period.


It's my first time trying out some entrelac crochet and I'm enjoying the feeling of playing with this technique. I'll keep you posted with how it progresses!

What "new year projects" are you all working on? Something amazing, I'm sure!!!