Tuesday 4 November 2014

Getting Back on Track

After my busy summer, I managed to get myself so busy that I didn't really have much time to do anything. I didn't have computer access in my free-time, and this blog ended up being a bit quiet for a little while. I have lots of post ideas in the pipeline so I hope you can forgive me for the inactivity.

After finishing school in the Summer, completing my exams and such, I ended up getting a full-time job at a small software development company in my city, as a marketing assistant. I am loving every moment of it, even if it is taking up a lot of my time. It's truly the job I've been working hard for in school, for all of these years.

More posts coming soon!

Monday 19 May 2014

The Busy Period

Unfortunately, as Summer approaches, my diary becomes very full and I have less time to commit to my crafts. Obviously, I would like to take up and participate in hobbies more frequently than I do, but as I'm a student my exam timetable doesn't allow for it.

I am slowly but surely continuing to make squares and various other wooly objects for my WIP blanket, and I will keep you posted on its progress as I promised previously.

Lately, I have been interested in up-cycling. If you are unaware of up-cycling, it's where you get an old object which is a bit worse-for-wear for example, a chair, and spruce it up so it looks as good as new and you can use it again. This got me thinking about an old wooden storage unit (Moppe) I have from Ikea. It is a set of six different-sized drawers made out of a very bare, untreated wood. I used to have this storage unit on my old desk before my room got decorated in 2008, and it has been hoarded in the back of my wardrobe ever since. Being a fairly creative child, this set of drawers has been battered and bruised, and its current state is definitely not its best. It is dirty, and has the odd scribble mark where a pen has been tested on it, so isn't particularly nice to look at, hence why it was shoved to the back of he wardrobe never to be seen again.

I recently decided that it was a shame for this storage unit to be left unused and abandoned, and that it took up far too much room in my rather small wardrobe. So now, it is left on my desk, empty and full of potential.

I believe that this is going to be my project over the Summer period, to make it look all pretty again. I have decided that I might decoupage the unit so it not only looks better after being primed, but it looks bright and appealing. I look forward to sharing my further plans on this with you soon!

I am also in the process of making the bunny I mentioned in my previous post. The poor little thing was thrown to the side (not literally!) to make way for revision and school work.

I'm hoping that in the coming weeks I have time to do the things I enjoy as school ends. Then again, I will be away camping a lot as it's that time of year. Perhaps I'll be able to fit in some hobby-time while I'm in the tent at some point... We shall see.

Until next time!

Tuesday 22 April 2014

A Visit to Toft

I have visited the Toft Alpaca farm twice over my Easter break. The first time (19th of April) was for an Easter Bunny crochet class, I had a lot of fun and Kerry (the creator of Edward's Menagerie) was incredibly helpful when teaching us how to make our bunnies. I may only have a body so far, but I'm looking forward to the finished product. The wool, as I've mentioned in a previous blog post, is very soft and nice to work with. I still love the colours that they have from the natural Alpaca wool. I'll keep you updated on the progress of my bunny!

As my class was very small, there was only about 7 of us in the room, it was a very relaxed atmosphere complete with tea and cake. There had also been some very exciting news, as that day the first Cria (baby Alpaca) had been born. Unfortunately he had been born a month early so we didn't get to see him prancing around as he was getting warmed under a heat lamp. 

I also managed to come away with my own Alpaca. He's very cute I'm sure you'll agree.

The second visit I have made to Toft this Easter was for their Open Day on bank holiday Monday (21st of April). One of the first things we did was visit the little Cria. He was really cute and seemed to be doing very well. He even had a sweet little coat to keep him warm. 

Toft are expecting around fifty Cria this summer, so I cannot wait to see the rest of them running around in the fields. I feel sorry for the females as they're pregnant for around eleven months! 

The next thing we did was walk up through the farm and alongside the fields which held other Alpacas. It was a nice walk on a fairly nice day. Some of the Alpacas were even rolling around in the grass. I found it very interesting looking at all the colour variations, and thought about what the wool balls they produce will look like. As it is approaching the summer, these Alpacas will start having their fleece sheered so that it can be spun into wool. Their fleece weighs quite a large five kilos, so they must be feeling pretty hot under all the sun we've been having lately! 

After that we made a visit to their new café, which opens in May. 

I then took part in an Alpaca obstacle course. This consisted of leading an Alpaca through a range of different obstacles, including going around poles, being led through a fenced area, and stepping over logs. It was very fun, and my little Alpaca was very soft to the touch. Although, in places his fleece was stuck together as he'd been rolling in a muddy puddle previously.

Within the studio, there were several craft workshops to take part in. Some of those were crocheting or knitting with the wool, and then there was a découpage a bird house table. I had fun decorating my bird house, and it will be joining my hanging paper and ribbon birds in my window. 

Again I managed to leave Toft with my own little Alpaca, even smaller than the first! With thanks to Kerry, I managed to give the last one a home. 

The Open Day was very fun, and I hope I'll be able to visit the next one in August. We might even go along to watch the Alpacas being sheered in a few weeks. It might even give me an excuse to buy more things from them...

Find Toft Alpacas on Blogger:

Tuesday 1 April 2014

A Work in Progress...

I started to crochet at around October-time last year. I've been doing it fairly frequently since, but haven't made much progress. This is due to me only having enough time to make one or two items before I have to go to school or whatever else.
I was taught the basics by the lovely Cath from Cath's Crochet. I have since been self-teaching through patterns online and books from the local library, I have even managed to teach at least two other people the basics of crochet, myself!

My aim is to have a blanket by the end, but it seems as though it might take me up to a year or more! Currently I have several Granny Squares, several Maybelle Flowers, a Fox and two Owls. If you hadn't guessed already, my plan is to make a woodland-themed blanket. I'm really excited for when it actually gets finished, which I know will be a long time coming, but I'm excited about it anyway.

I have been using little bits of wool that have been given to me by relatives or friends. So it is what might be called a 'scrap blanket'. I was recently given some advice to ask around at local Charity Shops to see if they have any wool lying around.

I am hoping to soon learn how to make a crochet Hedgehog appliqué, but am yet to find one.

I have been making small pieces on and off since I learned to crochet in October. I am hoping to have a blanket very soon, and am forward to learning all of the new things I discover for my blanket's theme. I shall keep you updated and post again very soon!

Monday 31 March 2014

Mothering Sunday Bake

This year, as it came to Mothering Sunday, I was in a panic. My purse was feeling quite light, and I had no ideas of what gift I should buy for my Mum. Then I had a brainwave!

I decided to have a go at making one of my first ever Victoria Sponge cakes. I'm normally one for making Vanilla Butterfly cakes or Gingerbread biscuits, but this was a challenge I was happy to accept.

I used the following recipe for my Victoria Sponge:
  • 4oz/125g Caster Sugar
  • 4oz/125g Self-Raising Flour
  • 4oz/125g Softened Butter
  • 2 Medium-sized Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract/Flavouring
  • Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, Gas Mark 4 or 180°C
  • For the Buttercream layer: 3oz/75g Softened Butter, 6oz/175g Icing Sugar, 1 tsp Vanilla Extract/Flavouring
  • A generous layer of seedless Raspberry Jam
  • A dusting of Icing Sugar on the top
  • Cake decorations
Personally, I feel that my cake turned out okay for a first-attempt. It definitely went down a treat!

I'm hoping to be adding a few new recipes in the future, so definitely look out for those. See you soon!

Saturday 29 March 2014

Hobbycrafts Spring Show 2014

On the 22nd of March I was lucky enough to visit the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC in Birmingham. The event contained a large array of stalls, if you are interested in anything from Pyrography to Quilting then there's something for you! There was even a good amount of workshops to take part in, I took part in a Décopatch workshop and made a lovely coaster.

One of my most favourite stalls by far was TOFT Luxury British Knitting.  
TOFT have an Alpaca farm and shop in Warwickshire, meaning that all their wool is soft and naturally coloured. They sell some really nice Alpaca pom-poms, as well as crochet/knitting patterns (their animal ones being some of my favourites), and all of their wool is great quality too. I came away with a really sweet Orang-utan crochet pattern and a ball of their Steel-coloured wool to make him with, the bag that they give you is a really nice fabric drawstring bag as well.

A few of my other favourite stalls were Décopatch, MosaiCraft, Cathie Shuttleworth Papercrafts and Multipom. I came away with some really nice products, including a Décopatch beginner's set with a fox, a hedgehog cross-stitch set, and an owl mosaic set. I will be having lots of fun this summer! I'll update my blog once these projects have been completed so you can see how they turned out.

Overall, the event was fantastic. This was the first time I've been to anything like this, and I'd happily go again. It was interesting to see how certain crafts were done, or to discover things I'd never seen or done before. The freebies were obviously a bonus! I'd definitely recommend going if you're a craft-lover of any kind, and are hoping to get some more materials or try something new.