Cosy Cable Hat

I  just wanted to share with you this little hat. I made it in December and to be honest it only took me about two evenings to knit. I think it is very difficult to find a hat which is suitable for work. It has to be smart-enough, but doesn’t give you the worst kind of hat head and yet simultaneously could be stuffed into a bag in a moment. This little beauty achieves all those things. Although it does look like a cottage loaf on this photo it can look quite chic (not on me – but others).

During the coldest days of December it was a constant hat companion. If you are looking for the pattern here it is on the Sirdar website. Have a lovely weekend

The Birthday Season

With reference to my previous blog, the question is ‘Do I read too many magazines’. The answer quite blatantly is ‘Yes, Oh lady, Yes!’ You don’t read the quantity I do without something of ‘Table Setting’ editorial making its mark on your imagination. This weekend I had a number of different friends come over to visit us under the pretext of my birthday. A friend of mine pointed out that it wasn’t so much a Birthday, but a Birthseason. Frankly the Queen doesn’t make this much fuss.

Anyway having a little excitement provides an excuse to release the inner Martha Stewart and get table setting. I made these name plates very quickly and they are very simple and also use the on-trend Baker’s Twine which I have LOTS. I am going to use mine as a bookmark now.

The real serious effort and imagination surrounds flowers. Oh how I love flowers. This arrangement was very easy and not perfectly done. But I took a standard rectangle of oasis and a thin tray. Cut the oasis in half, so it was much shorter. I soaked the oasis in a sink of water for about 15 minutes. Then placed it in the tray and then positioned three tea lights across the length. I used about 4 packets of supermarket roses in deep and light pink. Each stem was cut about half an inch from the base of the rose and then pushed into the oasis. Over the years I have done this arrangement many times, sometimes as a circle or a square. If you are using it for a dinner table it is worth hiding the sides with the blooms. If completed a day before you need it, the buds will open out a bit and be even more beautiful. Enjoy

A Confession

I have a little habit. It might be an addiction, and perhaps it is not so little. Magazines. I love them. I think it is the images, the styling, the way things are arranged. Now, reading blogs and viewing wonderful flickr photos has helped with this. But there is nothing like lying in bed or a favourite armchair and a cup of coffee and just opening those fresh pages of a new magazine.

I can remember vividly that I was 16 and had a blissful weekend at my aunt’s house. Against her chest of draws in the spare room was an enormous tower of ‘Country Living Magazine’, and that is when the love started. Now over 20 years on I don’t think I have missed many issues. Although growing up in the glorious English countryside, I have spent the majority of my adult life a city dweller. The content and the pictures still lure me in, cheer and inspire me. I think the magazine must be quite a happy family or a indeed a delightful job because editors seem to stay for ages.

This month is fab, and there are so many really good features/photos. An indulgence perhaps, but a really beautiful one.

Presents with Presence – Part 2

Back in at the beginning of December I blogged about how some of my favourite gifts were things which people had made for me. Well, luckily for me, my birthday falls just after Christmas (if I let sarcasm slip through there, it was completely unintentional), this makes me a nightmare to buy birthday presents for. My sister phoned me at the start of the month to ask what I might like. I immediately said ‘Oh, please make me something, anything’. You can imagine how this wide and unspecific brief might irk in the busy run up to Christmas. But, Ta Dah……She made me this gorgeous little doorstop, which goes wonderfully well with the cushion she gave me two years ago. I love it!

Busy little fingers

I don’t know how you kept busy over the Christmas period. I hope you got lots of knitting/crocheting/sewing/relaxing/sleeping done. I usually like to keep my little fingers busy with a couple of needles and some yarn. However, I did quite a lot of this kind of fiddly work instead. To be very fair, this shot would be a rare moment of Mummy helping out. Shockingly I was told I had put something in the wrong place. But those who know Little B would not be shocked to know that indeed he was right. Mummy proved more of a hinderance than a help. But oh, how I enjoyed myself.

Wavy Waiting Blanket

The blog sites of Alicia Paulson and Lucy of Attic 24 have really encouraged me to jump in to the crochet blanket world. It seems like such a daunting prospect, but one you have mastered the technique and got past the breathtaking foundation row, a crochet blanket is a wonderful slow burn project which you pull in and out of your knitting basket. Having completed a few rows they also provide a wonderful knee warmer on wintry evenings (we have had a lot). Big B has been quite cross when I have had to turn the blanket round to start the next row, whipping the snug little covering off his legs.

This little blanket began as a stash buster and then I realised would be the perfect gift for a friend of mine who is expecting a little one quite soon. It will go very well with her décor. However we have the same sofa cushions, so it would go very well in my living room…’Be a good girl Emma, and find a better home for your blanket’.

I have enjoyed it so much that I am planning my next one, a different colour scheme, and perhaps a bit larger. We will see.

The photo above was taken by the very talented photographer Lucy West, who recently took some promotional photos for me. She is a wonderful lady and very talented. Happy New Year Lucy!

Happy Christmas to you and your household

It has been an exciting and challenging year. Well I have managed to start one of the hopes of 2010, writing a blog. So that, in itself is great. I have lots planned for this little site, however for the seasonal period I am signing off and wishing you a very Happy Christmas and wonderful New Year x

Seasonal stash buster #2

It might be too late to whip up another little pressie now. Or is it? I thought I would finish writing up this pattern which I knitted for Christmas gifts a couple of years ago.  I love teapots, I love tea cosies, but I am not a fan of tea. How frustrating. This little tea cosy is a perfect little snug jacket  for a small teapot.  You can knit it in one or two evenings and is great fun to begin learning cable. You just need one 50g ball of chunky yarn! The free pattern is available for the PATTERNS section of my blog – enjoy!

Things I have learned #1 – Blankets are the answer

Sometimes I really envy Little B. Everyday he learns something new, something clicks inside his brain and he realises something which never made sense before. Learning something for the first time or at least working out a problem gives me a real kick. So as a pre-New Year’s resolution I have decide to document things I have learned.

I think if you are constantly knitting or crocheting you are always picking up new stitches and techniques. I am certainly always wanting to improve the finishing of garments.

Number 1 lesson is an interior decorating tip. Not that long ago we stayed in a totally gorgeous cottage on the North Norfolk Coast. The interior was beautifully put together, with lovely cosy details. In the living room, each chair and sofa had at least one blanket draped on its arm. This looked very stylish, however the added benefit was as the night drew in we dragged the blanket across and snuggled under it. Suddenly I was sold. I have begun very slowly to add to our collection of blankets which have a dual use in the winter, instant snuggle and a small barrier against the rather dirty paws of our gorgeous cat. Blankets are the answer!

Christmas Mantelpiece

This weekend was all about decorating the house for Christmas. Both boys, Big B and Little B were very industrious and we sang and danced to festive music. As the afternoon progressed more and more baubles were added (just to the front) of the tree. Little B has very firm opinions about where things should go, those with a need for symmetry would disagree with his arrangement but we love it.

I was allowed to decorate the mantelpiece. Inspired by the fantastically creative Alicia Paulson, I took a photo. If you don’t know of her blog, you must visit, because it always up-lifts me and is a great place to find inspiration. Enjoy decorating x

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