Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Joyful Tidings!

I tried desperately to post before the Big Day, I even got as far as typing a fair amount, but alas, I could not quite find the time to finish it off, what with all these festivities going on! I guess there is still time to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, even if Christmas Day has passed.
The lead up to Christmas was as usual, busy. I was far too excited this year, that's what having a little one does to you! I was far more excited than her, as she is still too young to really understand. But the look on her face was priceless when we went downstairs in the morning to find a load of presents spilling out from under the Christmas tree.

It's the most I've ever seen for us all, even if 80% of them were for the Little Lady. We counted 99 to open in total, which took some time to wade through.
Little P opened her first present which was a lovely box of Crayola colouring pencils. That was it. She was so happy with just them, there was no need for the rest. In the end I had to hide them so she would forget about them and open some more. I opened a lot for/with her as she was totally overwhelmed with the whole thing. How could she possibly have all these new things at once? I was excited too for her, as apart from what I had bought her, I didn't know what she was receiving.
After a marathon of opening, the lounge looked somewhat like a tip. We waded through the debris, sorting paper from presents, and cleared a little area to test all the new toys out. The pencils were still hot favourites. Which was fine, as my present to her was an easel. A lovely little double-sided, chalkboard and magnetic white board type thing, with a roll of paper and a handy tray. I set to assembling it, eager to have a go! Her Nana and Grandad had given her two lovely magnet sets, so we started playing with those on the board. No need for messy chalk today! As usual, I began to take over, as I love all that stuff!
She did really well present-wise, not too much bulky stuff either so no frantically finding 'homes' for things. There was a lot of nice books and clothes, a couple of DVDs (for when I need a 5 minute break!) and a few toys and colouring books. Lovely. I'm very happy. For her obviously!
I didn't do so bad either, as amongst those 99 packages were some with my name on. Some I was expecting, as I had asked for them, like the usual slippers and dressing gown, but others were a lovely surprise. My parents took note of when I had said in conversation that I'd like to do an old fashioned jigsaw, and they duly delivered. We managed to get the edges together last night, so I will be continuing with that adventure today!
My friend also spoilt me with some crafty gifts. I got this treasure:

...a novel, combining two of my favourite things, crochet and a good old murder mystery, so I'm looking forward to reading that! And also these lovely stitch markers...

So pretty. Later in the day, I received an e-mail from Crafsty, informing me that said friend had also gifted me an online class - Design Your Own Amigurumi Monster by Stacey Trock aka Freshstitches. This is brilliant! I can't wait to have a proper look later, and get started on my 'classes'!

Crochet lately has been understandably slow. There has been too much going on, that by the time Little P has gone to bed, I'm ready to sleep too! She has also dropped her afternoon sleep, meaning my little bit of after lunch hooky time has disappeared. But I can't complain, as she is great fun and no trouble. She's started more imaginative play now, making tea for everyone! She is quite hilarious, turning in to a proper little toddler, it's wonderful.
When I have had a chance, I have continued with the Tree Skirt for my parents, using a pattern I found on Ravelry here.

I'm using Stylecraft Inspiration Chunky in Flame, Sorbet and Cream. Whilst I love the colours, this wool is far too itchy for me, which is fine for a tree skirt, but I wouldn't want to make a blanket out of it.

I also made my own little snowman to go with Ronald the Reindeer. I loved had cute and chunky Ronald was, and wanted to create a similar feel with the snowman. I haven't done this! My prototype is OK, he looks like a snowman, others seem to like him, but I still think he looks a bit scary. Child-catcher (from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) comes to mind. I think maybe its the hat, and he would look better if it was something softer, so I'll mull it over for a while! Shame, I was proud of how the hat turned out too!

Right, best be off, much jigsawing to be done, and rest to be had. Plus I think I am getting a cold, which is terrible timing! Until next time...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Mystery Solved!

So another week has flown by, which is scary as it means Christmas will be upon us before we know, and as usual I am not prepared. I am not panicking however, it always comes together in the end, right? And I have started the most important task... list making. Yes that's half the battle, working out who I have to buy for and who to send cards to. I just need to act on it now!
But where is the time for that when there is all this crochet to be done? Thursday signalled the release of the final mystery crochet-along clue. I was very excited in the morning, but had to wait for those Americans to get up! I went out for a play-date with little P to pass the time and then made my way home thinking 'this is about the time the last clues were released!' only to find that the internet was down in the house. No explainable reason other than the supplier was tinkering about with services again! So I waited. My friend kindly informed me it had been released, just to rub salt into the wound!
Eventually, service resumed (it wasn't actually that long, just seemed it!) and the final clue was on my screen. Obviously, I whizzed through it to see the pictures of the end result. And it was...

... a dog.

OK, so my initial reaction was of a little bit of disappointment, just because I'm not a dog person and it would be way down my list of things to make. But he does have a lovely face! I then though about the mystery project as a whole, and realised it had to be something 'common' as a more exotic animal would probably be a dead giveaway. In terms of mystery, it was 10 out of 10 for FreshStithes. I did not have a clue even once all the pieces were in front of me. The way she planned the shapes and putting together was very clever and certainly made it a really fun project! So I feel bad that I feel disheartened that it is a dog, but that's just me, I'm sure loads of people love dogs!

So yesterday a new yarn store opened up in town, but I had no time (and it was snowy!) to get there for grand opening so I paid it a visit this morning. My friend and I went to suss out the place, wondering if it would be an old fuddy-duddy type wool shop or a bit more up our street. We were pleasantly surprised. It offered a nice range of more 'upmarket' yarns in a variety of colours, including a lot of bright, cheerful colours. I often find in wool shops that a lot of the stock is brown, grey, purple and completely dull, so to see yellows and blues and pinks staring at me was a complete treat!
I didn't want to go overboard on yarn just before Christmas, but with a little encouragement from my friend, I filled my arms up (literally) with wool and made my way to the till. Here is what I came away with...

Sirdar Click chunky yarn to make little P a blanket for dolls and toys...

And Stylecraft Inspiration chunky to make a tree skirt at some point (for next Christmas me thinks)...

So I'm now going to sit down and continue crocheting my new project... a stripy elephant for a new arrival due in the new year, and eat this lovely chocolate my friend gave to me from her weekend away in the Cotswolds. It looks super pretty and tastes pretty yummy too!

Yes, that IS chocolate!

In other news, probably the most important news of the week, Ronald the Fat Little Reindeer made his was into this week's issue of Gathered by Mollie Makes. For anyone who hasn't come across it yet, it's a digital craft magazine for iPad by the makers of Mollie Makes. It's a lovely little magazine packed with craft ideas and projects and I'm really chuffed they liked Ronald enough to put him on the Show and Tell page. I'm such a proud Mummy!

And, there has been a little bit of progress on the rainbow blanket too...

So , now I must continue crocheting, squeezing as much in as I can before the little P arrives home!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

That Festive Feeling

Well, it's official, it's December so that festive feeling is allowed to take control over the next month... or more!
And what does the 1st of December signal? Opening of the first door of an advent calendar usually. But no such luck for me, as I am calendar-less this year (if anybody wants to send me one feel free!) Little P was lucky enough to get one, but as she is allergic to dairy products (poor girl) she had to settle for a picture one. Which, in fairness is all I ever had as a child as I wasn't allergic to chocolate! She was ecstatic to open the first door, only problem was, she didn't want to stop... so up on the mantlepiece that went, out of reach of little hands!
But, alas do not fear, I did not go without a treat as, right on cue as usual, my package from Deramore's arrived, bursting open with colourful yarn! And it was totally fair to treat myself and stock up, as they had a good offer of 15% off aran weight yarn.... time to stock up Rico Creative Cotton!

In the package was Rico Essentials Cotton DK in Chocolate, much needed to finish my second reindeer. I wrote up my pattern after I finished the first prototype design, and began on another run-through to check it over. And the little guy had already found himself a home before I even made the first stitch, winner!

I ran out of the brown yarn frustratingly near to the end, but ordered some more and it was here the next day (great quick service from Deramore's!) So this afternoon, I sat down to finish him off. I made a couple of tweaks to the original pattern but it worked fine and I was pleased with the result. I also added so plastic pellets to the stuffing in the body to help him stand better. And as I'm feeling utterly festive, I also added a bell around his neck. Ding dong.
So the pattern is now typed up, looking pretty as a shiny PDF to download, please see top-right corner for a link to the page!
It is the first pattern I have properly written up, so please feel free to let me know if anything is a miss!

A frosty looking Ronald complete with bell...

Yes, that is the white stuff. Just a dusting this morning, but enough to get the little lady excited! It was the first time she's really seen it as she was far too young last year. All she kept saying was 'snoooo woooow'. Now I am actually looking forward to proper snow so I can take her out to play, but we never seem to get too much here, which is probably a good thing as it just causes chaos!

So now, back to the mystery Archer crochet-along by FreshStitches.... it has got me baffled. I'm nearly finished clue 3, and I literally have no idea what it can be. Thursday signals the release of the final clue, which we have been informed, contains no crochet, just assembly.... so I have all the pieces now, just got to figure out how to put them together. FreshStitches has done an amazing job with this, you would think it would be easy to tell what you are making when you have all the bits, but far from it. And I'm not alone... those in the Ravelry group seem to be in the same boat. I've seen some good interpretations but nothing that says 'yep, that's what it is!'

So I'm off to maybe squeeze in a bit of hooking before bed. Poor little P is under the weather again (I hate these winter germs!) and she has only just settled down, so I won't be far behind her tonight!

Until next time...