Crocheting Going Well!!

Well, a month ago, I picked up a crochet hook for the first time in my life, as I prepared to make decorations for our wedding later this year.

As we know, the initial teddy bear attempt wasn’t great!

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However, I wasn’t put off and rather than just keep practicing, I jumped straight in at the deep end and got on with dragons! I did inspire myself with some shiny new tools.

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I’m pleased to say, they’re turning out pretty well and I’ve already made three!

You can pick up varying crochet hooks online relatively cheap

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Learning To Crochet

I’ve decided it’s time for me to learn a new skill and hobby – crocheting.

My great-aunt used to be a dab hand at crochet and made all kinds of things when I was little. Unfortunately, I was only 8 when she died and hadn’t shown any interest in learning before she passed away.

I’ve been trying to learn for a week now. And whilst I’ve had a few mishaps along the way…

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….I seem to be able to follow a basic pattern for bunting and hearts.

Now, I’m trying to get my head around crocheting in the round, but that’s proving a little more tricky.

I have my sights set on a much bigger project, which I’m hoping I can complete for our wedding later this year.

To help me practice, I’m going to head back to the shop later to get some different sized hooks and yarn, along with a stitch marker and row counter. If only Auntie Babs could see me now – I’d like to think she’d be pleased that I’m following in her footsteps a little bit.

Festive Firelighters

I can finally write about these, as my friends whom I made them for have received them as part of a hamper, which they were allowed to open early for Christmas.

I got this idea off the TV the other day with Kirstie Allsopp in her Homemade Christmas series, which I love – festive firelighters. They looked easy, so I thought I would give them a go.

I started by drying some orange peel strips in the oven at a low temperature. It only took around 10 minutes – much quicker than I expected!

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Then I took 6 tealights out of their metal containers and popped them in their own individual Christmas cupcake cases and put them in the oven at around 150C I think it was, and allow the wax to melt. Again, this didn’t take long and I kept an eye all the time – just in case!

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Take the cases out of the oven, and carefully move the wick to the edge and whilst the wax is still molten, add your orange peel, cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves – or a mix of what you like – and allow the wax to cool.

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The idea is my friends can now light the wick, pop the whole thing in their open fire and their home should smell like Christmas as the fire burns.

So, thank you Kirstie for the idea, it works and was a lovely addition to the hamper.

Trying Giant Knitting

With Christmas drawing ever closer, I’m trying to up my preparations for the big day. For the past few days, I have been frantically trying to find some super chunky yarn to make a blanket for my mother-in-law for an affordable price – I was shocked at the cost online! Luckily, I found some in a warehouse-style shop in my town for just £4.99/ball. I bought ten to be safe, so still not the cheapest blanket out there, but certainly more affordable than the £20/ball I was seeing elsewhere.

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I chose a pale blue colour and set out to find a tutorial on YouTube to instruct me as to what to do. I was intending to do the whole arm knitting thing, but I found another tutorial, which allowed me to use the floor and be free to get up should the doorbell or the phone go (or if I just fancies a cup of tea!).

I have to say, I was shocked at just how simple it was to do. It still took me a good few hours, but that was still much quicker than if I had tried with knitting needles – something I haven’t done in years!

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I think the finished product is really nice and it feels very warm and cosy. Slightly miffed I’m giving it away to be completely honest, but that was the purpose of making it.

The only tricky spot I had, was blending two balls of wool together. Where it’s so thick, you can’t really knot it, so I looked up suggestions on YouTube and had a go at a method where you undo part of the wool and put the two lengths back together as one. It sort of worked, but not quite as well as I would have hoped, so if I do this again, I think I will invest in a felter to really join them in together properly.

But, overall, I really enjoy doing this and really hope my mother-in-law likes it!

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Upcycling For Christmas

I started my Christmas crafting today. I’m hoping to do a fair few homemade presents this year and this year’s gifts started with some upcycling.

For years, I have had a gel candle sat in my bedroom – do you remember when they were all the rage? Well, a few weeks ago, I went to burn it, only to find the wick was non-existent, so I scooped out the gel and gave the glass vase a good wash. It looked far too good to just put in the recycling.

So, today, I got out my brand new mini-glue gun and some sparkly beads and took to decorating it.

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I started with just one swirl around the vase, but I was hooked! I did two more swirls and a rim around the bottom. I’m pretty pleased with the result and I’m hoping my Mum will like it too.

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Crafty Time

Tonight, I’m taking some of my crafts along to my partner’s dance club. It’s the first time I’ve done taken my crafts out in public for sale for several years. I used to do it fairly regularly when I was younger, but then work and life just got in the way.

With Christmas coming, I’ve been working on some more Christmassy bracelets with the Loom Bands that I’ve recently started using.

I will also have my semi-precious gem bracelets with me, along with some that are more aimed at children, made with colourful dice beads.

It’s also time to drag out my handmade cards too.

I’m a little nervous about starting this up again, but at the same time, I’m quite excited! So, fingers crossed, that things get off to a good start for me!

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Loom Band Bracelets

Lately I’ve been feeling the need to be a bit more crafty and creative. Whilst I get up to lots in the kitchen, it’s been a little while since I made something other than food with my hands.

Now, I’m know I’ve very late to this party, but I’ve just been introduced to Loom Bands and making bracelets with them. For those who haven’t come across these yet, they are little rubber bands that you can weave together to form various jewellery and charms.

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I found a lot of reasonably priced bits and pieces on Amazon.

After initially getting frustrated with the instructions – these are for age 8+!! – I fairly quickly got the idea of the most basic bracelet, but I wasn’t too keen on its appearance, so I took it apart again. That’s something I do like, is that the bands can be re-used if you aren’t happy with the finished look.

There are loads of tutorials available online, which can help you to make all manner of bracelet looks, as well as charms and even ornaments! You can see above, that I have had a go at making an owl!

I’ve been having a play for a couple of days now and I have to say, I think I may be getting obsessed with it. I find it quite relaxing just to let your mind go completely blank as you weave the bands together. I’m already feeling quite bold and I’m keen to find more challenging patterns to have a go at – I saw a hat made from them earlier, so maybe I’ll try that!!

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I’d love to see any creations you’ve made with loom bands, so please do post them.