Saturday, 3 October 2015

his and hers hats

Ben and I had a couple of festivals planned towards the end of the summer, and I know how cold it can be at night so I decided to make us a couple of cosy hats to keep our heads warm.

I only thought of this shortly before we were due to go to Green Man but luckily they take almost no time at all. I think I made each one in under a week, and enjoyed some garden knitting in the sunshine in the process.

It seemed a bit silly to be making woolly bobble hats at the beginning of August, but I think it was a good decision as it did get quite chilly at End of the Road.

They turned out really nicely. Very comfortable and stretchy. I will probably make some more for the winter months - I have a track record of losing hats so it'll be good to have some spares.

I don't normally post photos of myself on here, but here we are at End of the Road, wrapped up warm...

Luckily Ben wasn't too embarrassed that I'd made us matching hats. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

happy birthday derek

It was our good friend Derek's birthday on Sunday so Ben & I made him a mixtape as part of his present. 

It's a fun one! We added lots of songs by bands we all saw recently at End of the Road as well as a few that remind us of good times at ATP

I hope he enjoys it. You can listen to it here if you like. I'm sure Derek won't mind...

Saturday, 26 September 2015

a weekend Shibori workshop

At the weekend I went back to the Sussex Prairie Garden for a two day workshop in Japanese Shibori, Sashiko and Boro. My mum came along, and Lucy and her sister Colette were there too, which made it extra nice - it's fun making things with others.

I've been wanting to try out Shibori indigo dyeing in particular for a while now and it was the perfect opportunity to experiment and explore the possibilities, of which there are many. On the first day of the workshop we were encouraged to make lots of samples, experimenting with different methods of resist using a variety of tools.

I made sure to document my samples pre-dyeing so I could refer to them afterwards. I love how they look in these photos too - lots of interesting shapes.

The actual dyeing process is really quick and immediate (only 3 minutes in the dye bath!), and it's so satisfying when you unwrap your fabric after dipping them in the indigo and see the finished result. 

In all, it was a really lovely weekend - we were lucky to have some delightful late summer sunshine, which was handy as there were many trips outside to the dye baths in the barn while we played with creating our samples. 

And in our lunch break we got to explore the garden, which is always a pleasure.

I got a bit carried away with the Shibori and didn't get around to trying much Sashiko stitching or Boro (Japanese make do and mend) over the weekend. The embroidery takes a lot longer than the dyeing and involves less equipment so I thought this would be something nice to practise at home after the workshop.

I came home with so many samples, as well as some finished scarves and pillowcases, which I dyed on the Sunday re-using some favourite techniques from my sample pile.

I have a few small-scale projects in mind for these sample pieces, which I'll share as and when I make them. And I expect I'll probably try some more Shibori at home at some point soon too. 

It's addictive!

Friday, 25 September 2015

a work in progress

I've recently been finding myself with a lot of projects on the go that I've started and am yet to finish. So I thought I'd make a conscious effort to encourage myself to crack on by sharing some of my projects in progress here, with an aim to finish them off one-by-one over the coming months.

1.  I have a huge pile of these crochet sample squares which I've been building up since way back in 2011. I've got a few other colours and stitch patterns I'd like to try out but I'm almost there I think. I'd better be anyway...

2.  I started making these crochet flowers even longer ago than the squares. The plan was to make a flower garland to decorate my bedroom, inspired by one made by my friend Yumi. Well, I've moved house about 3 times since then and still no garland. The good new is I think I have enough flowers made - I just need to chain them all together.

3.  Thankfully this project hasn't been in the making pile for as long as the previous two. More crochet, but this time on a large scale. I'm working on a rug for our living room. It's nearly finished...I just need to complete a few more rounds. This one is top of my to do list - I figure once one thing is ticked off the others will follow.

4.  This sweet monkey embroidery is from a kit I bought from Kirik√≠ Press - so cute. I actually bought two, with this being the easier of the two to make. I only started this project about a month ago and I've been doing a bit of stitching every week or so, so it should be finished soon.

5.  This is a small part of a larger knitted piece. I'm knitting a new cardigan and this is the beginning of the first sleeve. The back and front panels are already off the needles and I'm hoping to have the finished cardigan completed for Christmas at the very latest. Hopefully much sooner.

-  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  - 

Phew, I feel a bit better now I've shared my work in progress and set myself some vague goals.

Watch this space for some finished projects coming soon...

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Hanover house numbers 1-25

I'm really enjoying my house numbers photography project - I'm up to number 30 now and still going strong. Here is a little montage of the first 25...

There are some really nice finds in there - people have lovely houses! I definitely lean towards photographing more of the handmade or hand-painted signs - just look at number 18 - it's so nice (and very Brighton).

I've been uploading the photos over on my instragram account under #hanoverhousenumbers if you want to take a peek at some of the more recent ones.

Unfortunately my daily commute is changing as of next week, taking me away from the streets of Hanover, so I may not be posting as often from now on - but my goal is to reach 100 so I'm going to keep at it when I venture into town at the weekends.

Let me know if you're a local and you spot any good ones!

Monday, 31 August 2015

let's cook: jam and scones

cream tea

Another cooking challenge - this time we made jam and scones. Mine are the ones with the blueberry jam on the left, and my mum's are the raspberry ones on the right.

I really enjoyed this challenge - it was nice to have two different elements which were then brought together for a nice cream tea feast. Perfect for a mid-summer challenge.

tea in the garden

So, how did we get on?

Let's start with the jam...

My mum probably deserves a bonus point as she went fruit picking and collected her own punnets of berries to use in the recipe. And she ended up making two different jams with them (one raspberry batch and one blackberry).

The jars of raspberry jam look great!

mum's jam

I found this recipe from Angela of Oh She Glows for blueberry, vanilla and chia seed jam which I was really tempted by, both because I hadn't used chia seeds in any recipes before and because it uses the natural sweetener of maple syrup, rather than white sugar, to sweeten the recipe.

I thought this might appeal to my no.1 judge (Ben) as he's always claiming he's not into super sweet things. Turns out I was wrong, as he voted it not sweet enough. Oh well!

my jam

It's nice to have a jam that contains a superfood though. The chia seeds were the magic ingredient that thickened up the jam a treat, and it has a really nice consistency.

Both me and my mum ended up with a few jars of jam so we've kept one aside to swap when we next see each other. I expect she'll agree about the sweetness though, as I found myself with the same opinion as Ben. A touch more maple syrup next time maybe?

blueberry, vanilla & chia seed jam

Now to the scones...

We both opted for plain scones (in fact I think we may have both used the same recipe from Mary Berry). I think we both wanted to keep it simple so as not to clash with the jam too much. I'd like to try some cheese scones soon though.

My mum was a bit disappointed that hers came out a little on the flat side, but she said they tasted good and they look like they've got a nice colour to them.

mum's scones

I ended up making some heart-shaped scones (it turns out I don't have a circular pastry cutter) and I was really happy with the results. They had a nice height to them and were pretty tasty.

I ended up with quite a large batch so we enjoyed them with cheese and chutney for lunch for a few days after. Mmm...

♥ scones

The results

I think my scones outdid my jam - Ben gave me a 7.5 overall which I think was a fair score.

My mum said that her jam was better than her scones but she scored very highly with 9/10 from my dad and full marks from her friends. Very good show!

afternoon tea

Next up, we'll be making stuffed breads. I've started adding some recipe inspiration over on Pinterest.
I think it's going to be a tasty one!

Sunday, 30 August 2015

things I like this July and August...

Columns (L-R):  1  •  2  •  3  •  4  •  5  •  6  •  7  •  8  •  9  •  10  •  11  •  12  •  13  •  14  •  15  •  16  •  17  •  18

Some summer Pinterest favourites. Lots of lovely things.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

sussex prairie garden

For anyone living in the Sussex area I would definitely recommend a trip to visit the Sussex Prairie Garden this summer. We went last Sunday and for nature and plant lovers it is such a treat.

The garden has been designed in a naturalistic free flowing style, with interlocking arc shapes mixing areas of open lawn with plant-filled borders. There are loads of little paths that you can follow through the planted areas which I really loved.

Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens

I couldn't believe how peaceful the garden is. It's nestled in a quiet bit of the Sussex countryside, so at times all we could hear was the rustle of the wind in the long grasses, and the sound of hundreds of bees hard at work.

Gosh, there were a lot of bees and butterflies! They were loving it.

Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens

There are loads of sculptural pieces in amongst all the plants too - and a great eclectic selection of birdhouses at the entrance to the garden. There are a few more photos over on my Flickr page.

Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens
Sussex Prairie gardens

We had a good explore, and then treated ourselves to a visit to the teashop before we went home.

The garden is open until the 11th October this year and I'd wholly recommend taking a trip down there. The sooner the better, while there are so many flowers in bloom!

They run a lot of events too, and I'll be heading back for a weekend Shibori, Sashiko and Boro dyeing and embroidery workshop in September. I'm really looking forward to it.

And I'm extra excited about eating my packed lunch in the garden.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

a rainbow chair

rainbow chair

It was Brighton Pride last weekend and I decided to decorate my desk chair to celebrate, after noticing that the holes in the back were perfectly placed for a rainbow shape.

It was a really quick little project, and nice to make use of some of the underused (very bright!) colours in my wool stash.


I'm really pleased with the end result - I keep turning round to look at it. And it's nice and tactile too.


I'm now thinking about whether to take it one step further and decorate the seat of the chair...
A project for a rainy day maybe. The perfect time for a rainbow.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Hanover house numbers

We moved house at the beginning of spring, and now my journey to and from work involves a big hill hike (familiar to a lot of Brighton residents I'm sure). In order to make the hill a bit more bearable and less of a constant climb I started trying out different routes, which often find me winding through the streets of Hanover.

Hanover is one of my favourite areas of Brighton and after living in Hove for a few years it's great to be back in the near-neighbourhood (we are actually even further up the hill!) I love seeing all the brightly painted houses and front doors, and recently I've fallen in love with the great array of house numbers on display.

As a result, I've started a mini photography project to showcase the nice numbers I find (and also to keep me entertained on my commute). I've been uploading them to Instagram under #hanoverhousenumbers if you want to take a peek.

My favourites so far are numbers 7 and 9. In fact, the number 9 was the initial inspiration for the project. Lovely wooden numbering.

Monday, 13 July 2015


iceland wall hanging

It took me a while but I finally finished my first handwoven piece at the weekend.

I started it way back in January last year using a loom Ben bought me for Christmas. We'd just been on a new year trip to Iceland which provided inspiration for the tapestry.

weaving detail

Weaving is something I really enjoy when I sit down to do it - I just found that I didn't get round to doing it very often. Although I quite enjoyed having a project on the go that I could pick up every few months and add to - slow crafting!

I'm really happy how it turned out though, especially as I feared it would all fall apart when I eventually came to take it off the loom.

weaving progress
tapestry bottom

I'm definitely going to make another. Perhaps inspired by our garden.
Maybe I'll have something for show and tell in 2017...

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

crochet like crazy

more crochet squares

Here are some more crochet squares that have been added to the stitch library over the last couple of months.

I should probably put them all together and see if I've got anywhere near enough for a blanket, especially as I'm running out of different shades of wool to use.

stitch library

I like the blackberry salad stitch the most here. Bobbly!

And I'm really not sure why 'cat's eyes' has that name - any ideas?