30 May 2013

Crochet Flower Hanging

My little loft flat now displays quite a lot of my crochet creations!  I do enjoy seeing pretty crochet around the flat, it makes me smile.  One of my fave things I have recently made are these large flowers, they are so big and bright and look cheery hanging on my bathroom door.
The flower pattern is from the book '150 Blocks to Knit & Crochet' by Heather Lodinsky it is on page 118 and is the 'Two Tone Anemone Flower' if you have the book.  If you do not have the book and you enjoy crochet, they I can certainly recommend it. It is a pleasure to sit and make these simple pretty flowers, I often find myself just trying out new flower patterns never really knowing what they will turn into.
Here you can see I reversed the colours for each flower to make a simple pattern, then I chained a length of green wool and secured each flower in place.  I love how the flowers sort of flop and hang in different directions.
And here is the hanging in full, it is hooked onto the back of my bathroom door.  I can't possibly have a door in the flat without something hanging on it!  

14 May 2013

Fimo Crochet Hooks

Any other crochet fans out there get a sore hand from little metal hooks and find them uncomfortable to use after a long time? Well I do.  I have been admiring pretty handled crochet hooks for a while, wondering where people get them from.  I did eventually find some pretty polymer clay ones on Etsy but they were rather expensive, so in a lightning bolt moment, I thought I could attempt to make some myself! Can't be that difficult!

I LOVE Fimo! My sister and I used to make endless masterpieces from this stuff when we were little.  I have this little stash sitting on my shelf, Marky bought me it in a bundle of crafty stuff for my birthday ages ago.

Naturally I went for brightly coloured polka dotty handles!  They are super easy to make.  Simply roll the Fimo in your hands until it becomes soft, then roll out into a sausage, the same length as your hook at the desired thickness.  Then poke your hook (obviously it MUST be a metal hook, it is going in the oven!) down through the sausage shape and squish the end so it fits nicely at the top.  You can now spend some time rolling the handle on a flat surface to make it nice and smooth and even, I made mine slightly tapered, so wider at the end.

I gently tapped the ends onto the table to make sure they were flat, then I carved the size of the hook into the end using a pin.  Next you can put on the polka dots! I just rolled little balls and stuck them onto the handle, then rolled the handle on the flat surface again so they squish down into the previous colour.

When you are completely happy with them put onto a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes at 110c.  The Fimo doesn't shrink happily, so it will look exactly as it did when un-cooked! Plus I was happy that nothing happened to my pretty coloured hooks in the oven either.

I used the hooks last night for a few hours of lovely crochet and the handle felt really comfortable and no sore hand, pretty and practical, score!
What do you think?  What types of hooks do you prefer?  Have you bought any pretty ones?  Would love to see, if you could send me links.

8 May 2013

The Bookcase Project Part 3

And now.... for the third and final part of the Bookcase Project...  We left Part 2 you may remember, with a freshly painted complete bookcase and it was looking pretty good.  So what else could I be wanting to do to it??  
Step 10 Yep, we distressed it! So the pic above shows the tools we used, a wallpaper scraper, sandpaper and a wire brush.

I love the shabby chic look at the moment and have been dying to have a go at distressing something. I don't like things too new and polished and perfect looking, when things look a bit worn, old and battered they are more to my taste so distressed furniture appeals. 
We tried to think about the areas that would get the most knocks naturally as we wanted it to look quite genuinely distressed, so we scraped along the edges with the wallpaper scraper.  Mark made the first marks, it was a little upsetting to see all my nice paint work ruined but it's quite a satisfying job.
We scraped through so you could see the original wood and the white paint underneath.  We used the wire brush on some of the rougher parts in the shelf itself, just brush really hard until some of the paint flakes off. Then we finished off each distressed bit with the sandpaper to make it look worn.
Step 11 Varnish To seal in all the paintwork (to prevent actual unwanted chipping) and to protect the new distressed areas it is a good idea to varnish the whole thing.  It also makes it look shiny and finished off.  We chose a quick dry wood varnish from B&Q it was only a few pounds for a small tin, and we only used a little bit (plenty left over for further projects...).  The varnish is white opaque when it goes on, which is good so you can see where you have put it, but it dries clear and gives a nice sheen.
The finished result isn't too shiny, it is not glossy, it just brings out the brightness of the paint.
Step 12 Final 'Ta da' Moment and here it is in its new home in my little loft flat.  It goes perfectly in a little corner by my dining table.  The walls in the flat are not perfectly straight (it's old and quirky) plus there is a skirting board along the bottom so I asked Mark nicely to secure it to the wall.  You can't see it in the pic but we got some tiny brass plates, that screw into the back of the bookcase and then onto the wall.  I just had visions if it toppling over on Meg if she tried to jump on it whilst I was out, so thought this was a good option.
My pretty new bookcase is now home to my collection of small bowls and the start of my new collection of Iwako puzzle erasers...
And of course some books.  As it is a 'homemade' bookcase I thought it was only right for it to hold crafty books, so one shelf has my cookbooks on and the other all my Mollie Makes, crochet and sewing books.
I am really happy with my little bookcase, I think it has actually turned out better than I imagined it!  I am just itching to get started on a new furniture project now, next I think some chairs...
What do you think then now it is all complete?  Do you like the 'shabby chic' look or would you have kept it just nicely painted?

6 May 2013

Ok, so it's the second week of May now, so probably about time I should do my April round-up...

Things that made me smile...

« A visit to Kirklinton Hall « baby goats « eating healthy « lots of running « big long walks « a week off work « lunch with friends in pretty cafes « evenings crocheting new patterns « sunshine « first BBQ of the season « muddy bike rides « DIY « Blog meetups « Mark « 30 Day Shred « new recipes « new furniture « planning summer « meeting a teeny new baby.
Cool things  discovered this month...

I loved these photos of old crumbling buildings, they are so fascinating and seems to fit a theme this month after my visits to Kirklinton Hall and Brougham Castle. (Photo: Daily Mail)
These hit the shops this month! Scream! Maltesers are probably my favourite naughty treat so naturally I was super excited to try a Maltesers bar! Of course they are yummy.  I am impressed with how restrained I have been and have not actually purchased the large size yet, only a matter of time... (Pic: Maltesers)  
Jen's post on collections was one of my fave blog posts this month, had me chuckling away to myself.  Jen introduced me also to these cute little animal erasers on a recent visit to her shop, of course I bought some! (Pic: Jenny and the Magic Feather)
I am loving the really pretty dresses in Dorothy Perkins at the moment, these ones above are some of my faves.  I am on the lookout for a nice dress to wear for a couple of weddings that are coming up over the next few weeks.  I figure I can wear the same dress to both as nobody from the first will be at the second (well except for Mark, but he thinks all my dresses look the same anyway!).  I am leaning towards the red one, love the pattern, which one is your fave? (Pic: Dorothy Perkins)
New Movies/TV Shows...
The Hunger Games - This has been on my list for a little while, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed.  It was a lot more weird than I expected and not nearly as epic as I thought it would be.  The build up to the Game was a bit long and boring and it was a bit too predictable, I'm not even that bothered to see any of the squeals, (how many is there going to be?)
Take This Waltz - I LOVED this! But I knew I would as it has Michelle Williams in it, and I LOVE everything that she is in.  The film is a bit slow and dream like, but I really do like these obscure little movies.  I loved the look of this film, their home is all bright colours and they live in a lovely street, also loved her wardrobe of fifties style summer dresses.  Go watch this, so good!
Fringe - Mark and I started watching this, we were looking for a new series to get into after mourning the end of Game of Thrones Season 2 box set (we don't have Sky for Season 3, sob!) so Jen recommended this.  We are a couple of episodes in, it seems ok, I can't see myself getting as gripped on this as Game of Thrones or Dexter etc but it is watchable, the fact Pacey is in it helps a LOT!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Another one I have been meaning to watch for a while, and another one I loved.  In fact this has gone on my DVD list, I don't often buy DVDs as I watch so much online etc so only tend to buy movies I really love on DVD.  It is good to see Hermione in something else, she was really good in this and she doesn't make you think of Harry Potter.
New blog discoveries...
Raspberri Cupcakes - An amazing baking blog, Jen introduced me to this, check out her Gummy Bear cake and the Twix cake, droool.  Not the best blog to discover just as I have kickstarted my healthy eating and exercise routine, looking at the pictures is just as good as eating them right, right? (cries!)
Dainty Dresses - Great new blog discovery, I love Charlene's photos, she has a pet hedgehog (so cute) and has just got a teeny ginger kitten (super cute) also the pictures of her amazing flat do not make me jealous at all! (lies!)
Baby Love Brand - Yeah, another lovely crochet blog to add to my ever growing crochet category on Bloglovin.  Love this one, lots of inspiring colourful ideas.
Really enjoyed seeing the leaves starting to pop up and everything getting a bit greener this month, new flowers in the gardens and a little bit of sunshine! I am really starting to get optimistic about Summer, planning fun holidays and drooling over pretty sandals online, can't wait for the weather to get even nicer as we get through May... (I hope!)