2 December 2014

This Month... November

Stuff that made me smile...

« A positive turnaround for a poorly ill little doggy wog « spending a weekend with my sis and the cutest baby nephew ever « Happy graduates at work « Driving « a dinner party with new friends « Spinning classes « the most fun night out dancing in aaages with the Cumbria bloggers « pretty, thoughtful gifts « mad half hour playing with Meggy Peg « a day out at one of my favouritest places « being happy with a completed craft project and a super happy customer « frosty cold weather and wearing my new coat finally! « Marky, always Marky!

Stuff I snapped...

« Erm business cards! what???! Screeeam! «A new sleepy spot for Meggy Peg « the prettiest Unicorn « naughty exploring as per usual « a super rare selfie « patiently waiting to play « fluffy paws « awesome new nail varnish « erm, Malteasers spread! I have died and gone to heaven! « Oh god Rice products are so utterly pretty! LOVE my new beakers « realising you are wearing odd socks half way through the day! « My new nail varnish makes my nails look like sweets!

Blog posts loved...

All About the Girl - Wedding: The Venue
I love Caroline's blog, she has such cool taste and impeccable style. I was super excited to see she was blogging about her wedding, whilst I may not necessarily want my own, doesn't mean I don't love hearing about others.  Caroline's chosen venue is perfection, just wow.

Zoe London - Life's Too Short to Not Just Go For it
Zoe is so cool, I wish I was 10 years younger and best friends with her! She has such good advice for her followers and is such an excellent role model to her younger readers. This post is excellent, I just wish I was as intelligent and together as Zoe is when I was her age, heck, I'm STILL not as intelligent and together as her!

Cherry Heart - Painted Roses Blanket
OMG this blanket is Cath Kidston in crochet blanket form, stunning. Oh my oh my! Super talented crochet designer, I am in awe! This blanket pattern is going on my never ending crochet to do list, perhaps i might get round to it in the long dark winter months...

Tilly and the Buttons - Choosing a Sewing Machine
This is a super useful post from professional, talented sewer Tilly.  I love my little red basic sewing machine, but should I need to consider a new one I will certainly save this post for future reference.

A Beautiful Mess - How to Stay Motivated and Achieve Your Goals
These kinds of posts are my absolute favorite. Understanding how super motivated and super successful people work and achieve their goals is fascinating. I felt instantly motivated and positive when I read this post.

Mode and the City - Double Trouble
I say this every month when Daphne's blog features in my faves every month that her latest outfit is my absolute fave, but this outfit THIS one has to surely trump them all. Oh my oh my, a red and navy striped dress, heaven! I loved this dress SO much I actually bought it! what? I never do that! And the great news, I look exactly like Daphne in it, like I could be her twin! LOL! haha, in my dreams! (i did actually buy the dress tho, its lovely!)

November goals review...

This month's goal was to get better at running and run further. I started off the month by measuring my usual running route, it is just about 5km.  I measure with either my Nike Running app, Map my Route website or with my little GPS logger, all work great.  On each subsequent run I went a little further, adding in one extra little section and it has worked quite well.

Didn't quite make it to park Run, but been Spinning a few times at the gym also and loving it! I think Spinning will certainly improve my fitness.  First time I did it though legs wouldn't work properly for a good few days after, so thats not exactly helping my runs! haha.

last couple of weeks have been super busy at work and my good start to the month has gone downhill, boo! Need to get more motivated again.

December goals...

No no no! December isn't a month for goals, (that's what January is for!) December is for eating, drinking and being Merry! The end of this month has been challenging in a few different ways so I would just like to chill this month and give up my to-do list for a little while.

12 November 2014

A Babygro Bunny for a Boy

Meet my latest Babygro creation, Babygro Bunny, this time for a little boy.  My first Babygro Bunny was for little Blair, you can see the pics here lots of pinks and girly colours. The dominant babygro for this new boy bunny was a rather lovely Cath Kidston train print in lovely bright primary colours.

When this order came through my friend was keen to involve some kind of 'feely' element to it, with different textures and shapes etc as she explained her son Isaac is in a very tactile stage and loves little details.  So we decided to go with feely tags and I thought why not make a feature of these, so I chose some bright coloured ribbons to match the trains in different textures for a band across the front.

To hide the joins I hand sewed on a button strip from one of the babygros, leaving the popper detail on.  I like to make it 'obvious' what the bunny is made out of by keeping in these little details.

The details are all hand sewn, the 'muzzle' part is simply the back of one of the gros. They were all patterned but I wanted a solid colour here for this part so thought this looked quite good on the back. 

The eyes are embroidered and then the nose and cheeks are little pieces of felt hand stitched on in contrast thread to make a feature of the stitching.  I like my bears and bunnies to look a bit 'rag doll' like!

I was so happy to discover this tiny bit of Cath Kidston star print hiding on the underside of the feet of the train babygro! Perfect extra little pattern here for the ears.

Here's the back view.  I really wanted to use all the babygros that my friend sent me, so like the front, I joined two patterns together.

I hand embroidered Isaac's name onto the bunny's bum, so we are in no doubt who this bunny belongs to!

It took me rather a long time to figure out exactly how to embroider a name successfully onto a babygro, with lots of trial and error the first time I attempted it with Blair's bunny!  I settled on using carbon paper. I printed off the name in a nice font the right size.  Then place the carbon paper over the babygro and the printed name over this. Then you go over the words with a ball point pen and press hard, this leaves an ink mark onto the fabric ready to use as a guide for embroidery.

I was so happy I finally got to use my new stamp! This little beauty was a birthday present from THE bestest sister ever! This is the first order since getting my stamp so I have been so excited to finally use it.
Babygro Bears (and bunnies) are currently priced at £15 including free P&P! They make such a lovely keepsake for a special little one.  Do get in touch if you would like to place an order.  perfecthidingplace@live.com
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6 November 2014

This Month... October

Stuff that made me smile...

« A day with Corey « cuddles with baby James « a little spending spree « excellent mountain biking « cold dark evening runs « a lovely weekend away with friends « Halloween stuff in all the shops « re-discovering favourite old games with Meg « new bedcovers « hot chocolate weather « Kara dog « the clocks changing for winter (cosy!).
Stuff I snapped...
« yummmmm Filling Station Cafe's Cinnamon sugar pancake stack « its frosty on those fells « a tent for Meg « Meg being cute « new covers yeah! « Meg helping with changing the bed covers « Corey with his grandad « new Cath « an Aunty Jo and Corey day « Meg is just the cutest this month! « Scary Halloween nails « an evening of baking pizza from scratch and apple crumble.

Blog posts loved...
Zoe London - Anything is possible if you just believe in yourself
LOVED this post, super fab inspiring advice and I SO know how she feels, it actually brought tears to my eyes.  My massive dream is to visit New York one day too! I've loved watching her YouTube vlogs all about her travels.
Ok so this might not mean much to anyone who does not know our uni campus but this post made me literally LOL loudly at my desk at work.  This is our uni, where I work, graphic design course blog.  There is actually some fab stuff on here for anyone with an interest in that area, super useful stuff but also some seriously funny stuff, this post being my fave yet I think.
HOW pretty is Claire's craft studio? I just love how everything matches perfectly in the pretty pastel shades. She's done such a fab job. Looks like such a light and inspiring place to work.  Not jealous at all, nope, not (grrr!).
I'm such a huge advocate of the To-Do List! I have so many lists its getting out of hand a bit! haha.  I love posts where people share the types of lists they make, is that a bit weird that I love hearing about other people's lists? probably!
What? How amazing is Meredith's apartment? I want to pack up and go and live there right now! Oh how I wish I was just a teeny bit as stylish. Loved drooling at these beautiful pics.
You know when you hear about a place and see it in movies and think well it can't possibly be as pretty in real life right? Well if these stunning pics are anything to go by Vermont has shot up to the top of my list of places I must see!
LOVED this post. Carrie talks about her pretty girly side versus her desire to dress goth and listen to heavy music.  I can SO relate! My style has changed a lot over the years, in my younger days I would think you were insane if you said I'd love twee floral patterned anything! haha. I may be old now but oh yes, there's still that grungy goth girl inside me who loves nothing better than blaring out metal as loud as it can go and bounding round my flat like a loon!
October goals review...

My goal for October was to get off my arse and do some serious exercise and I am pleased to report I have achieved it, mostly! I have certainly done a lot more exercise in the last few weeks than in the months beforehand and feel really positive about it. 
I love running the most at this time of year, layered up, some new gear to inspire me and pounding the pavements in the cold crisp dark evenings when noone can see my beetroot face, perfect!
We've done a bit of mountain biking too with a visit to Ae, my fave of the 7 Stanes and I paid the gym a few visits and signed up for Gelt Gladiator in May, which is half the length of Total Warrior but I think a good warm up for the main event in Summer.

November goals...
My goal for this month is related to October's goal and that is to get better at running! I have the same usual route and I never seem to progress.  I can run about 5km but I want to be able to run 10!
I am going to start doing some serious timing and measuring of distances, get down my local Park Run a couple of times too for that extra challenge.  I just need to push myself more and set myself some targets, which let's face it I'm not very good at!

29 October 2014

Buying Handmade - Layla Amber

I love unique jewellery and wear a necklace almost every day. By far my favourite necklaces are unique, hand made ones and what better place to shop for these than Etsy? Whenever I am looking for a special and different gift this is my go to place.  I can loose hours just looking through and discovering new handmade shops.

I recently decided to buy myself a present, as most of my Etsy purchases are usually for other people! Why the hell not, eh! One of the prettiest shops I have discovered lately is Layla Amber, I adore all of her stuff.  She illustrates and makes each piece by hand herself, such a talent.  The hardest part was deciding which pieces to go for.  In the end I chose two small necklaces, a buttercup and an acorn.

I noticed that the acorn came as standard on a longer chain but I emailed Layla and asked if it was possible to put on a shorter chain and she got back to me straight away to say no problem at all. 

One of the things I love best about buying handmade is the packaging, and Laya's pieces are no exception.  My neclaces came in paper tied up with pretty string with the cutest little thank you card with her social media links on the back.  Inide the neclaces were mounted onto printed card, illustrated beautfully with a gorgous typeface.  I almost didn't want to open them!

Here's my lovely buttercup, I love the detail cut out of the wood, so pretty.  There are 3 other flower designs to choose from in this range too, plus larger flower necklaces. 

I also went for a teeny acorn, how cute! I have a thing abut oak trees and already own 3 more oak themed necklaces, but not a single acorn so I couldn't resist this one.

Here is my neck sporting my new neclaces! I won't wear them together like this usually but just wanted to give a scale guide.
You can find Layla Amber on Etsy here, go now, buy pretty things...
Just to let you know, in case anyone is wondering, I was not asked or paid to write this.  I chose and purchased these necklaces with my own money. I love finding amazing new designer makers online and I think we should shout about their awesomness!

21 October 2014

A Crochet Dino - Pattern Review

As soon as I knew I was going to have a new baby nephew I began to think about what I could crochet (obviously!) and I knew instantly that I wanted to make him a dinosaur, specifically a T-Rex so I set about googling for a decent pattern.

I found THIS PATTERN from Bluephone Studios which you can find in their Etsy store here I fell in love, how cute! I love this pattern, I love his rounded shape and thought he would be just perfect for a new baby.

The Timothy T-Rex pattern costs just £3.18 and is available in an instant PDF download.

(Image credit: Bluephone Studios)
I really like the line of these dinos, the body is one solid shape rather than my usual Crochet Pals which are made up of a seperate body and a head. It takes a lot of skill to design a crochet pattern that is a little different like this, one that is molded into one solid shape.  I wasn't sure how easy it was going to be to make and just couldn't figure out how to get the shape without having to join sections.
The pattern itself is excellent, so well written and easy to follow with everything you need, yarn suggestions and hook sizes.  I really liked the joining up section, this made it very easy, with a instructions as to exactly where to place the pieces.

(Image credit: Bluephone Studios)
I set off crocheting, following the pattern exactly and I was so surprised and happy to find that with just a few rows in he was taking shape!
The hardest part of the pattern has to be the stripes.  I must admit to unravelling and re-doing this section quite a number of times to try and get it right.  I have not worked this way with colour before, changing colours mid way through a row so I was a little unsure how I was going to make this look neat.  I did get very frustrated at one point and considered abandoning the stripes, but how could I, look how cute they are.  I think it is so effective using a different shade of the same colour.
My stripes kept ending up underneath his chin which is just not right at all! I did end up going off pattern a bit to save my sanity and just working the stripes vaguely where I thought they ought to be.  They did end up a bit uneven in the end, but I think that just adds to Dino's charm! ;-P
My top tip for the stripes is to take your ends with you! Don't cut off your old colour and fasten off, simply bring the end of old colour with you and stitch over the tail, that way it is right there when you need to change colour again and you do not risk messy joins.  Do be careful though, if your stitches are not very tight and colours very bright you can see your lines of yarn a little bit.

I think my little blue dino turned out so well, he looks like the pictures right? That is testament to how well written the pattern is.

What I love best is the teeny tiny arms! When I made them up I thought, this can't be right, they are far too small, but they look so cute. T-Rex's have stupidly short arms don't they! This vid always makes me lol!

Scream! Look at all the pretty Dino colours! (Image credit: Bluephone Studios)

The pattern calls for a safety eye, but I changed this bit and replaced the safety eye with an embroidered eye as I felt this was safer for a baby.  You can just never be too careful and I didn't want any small parts.  I still achieved the 'pulled in' shape by simply pulling the thread through to the other side.
I couldn't resist making another dino! This time in green! This little guy is for my other little Nephew Corey.
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16 October 2014

Scarily Cute Ghost - Crochet Pattern

BOO!!! HOW scary is this ghost? Screeeam! hehe, it's the cutest ghost crochet pattern ever! I do NOT take credit for this pattern unfortunately, but this is the work of Amy Gaines, but you can find the pattern for FREE here yeah! I LOVE Amy Gaines's super cute patterns, do visit her shop here https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AmyGaines

The yarn I used for this little guy is Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake, the softest, snuggliest, loveliest yarn ever, but also the most frustrating and difficult to work with yar ever! Grrr. I was so excited when this yarn arrived in the post and couldn't wait to get started but basically you cannot see your stitches at all, so you have no idea what you are doing and for someone who has perfectionist tendencies with my crochet makes its very annoying.

Here is Amy's original photo (credit Amy Gaines) as you can see little scary ghost is meant to be a little plumper, have more of a peak to his head and a longer 'tail'.  I followed the pattern correctly, but my little ghost ended up a bit shorter with a less defined tail. 
I love the pattern so much and knew someone else who might just like him too... so I persevered with my frustrating yarn.  I wasn't pleased at first with how he turned out, but then when I put his little sideways smile on I fell in love.  He's my little imperfect ghosty pal.
Here he is modelling a side view pose!

Here you can see his little stubby ghost tail! This snuggly soft little guy now has a new home with my new baby Nephew James.  I just maybe won't show him the pics of how he is 'supposed' to look!
Have you worked with Snowflake or other similar 'teddy' yarns?  Any tips for making the process easier? I would like to use the yarn again as it is SO soft and lovely to touch.

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13 October 2014

Crochet Halloween Pumpkin - FREE Pattern

I believe I mentioned this last year on my Nails post and my Party post but I LOVE Halloween! Loved it ever since I was little and used to go out trick or treating with my sister dressed as witches. Friends and family seem to be reluctant to dress up these days and get in the festive spirit, something about being 'too old'! NEVER! Anywho... any excuse for some themed crafts.  I present to you the first of two Halloween themed crafts this week on the blog, meet my little Pumpkin Pal!

You will need some orange yarn, I am using Patons Fairytale Dreamtime DK and a small piece of brown yarn, I have no idea what this yarn is, it was just loose in my stash.  You will need black embroidery thread for face. You will also need a crochet hook, my trusty 3.5, darning needle and some scissors.

My pumpkin is teeny, he measures only 29cm round.  But you could probably just double or triple all the numbers in the pattern here to make a bigger one!

Here's the pattern... worked in a continuous spiral

  1. Ch 3, join with a ss to form a ring
  2. Work 5 dc into your ring, don't join (5)
  3. Work 2 dc into each st (10)
  4. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next st* repeat x4 more times (15)
  5. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 2 stitches* repeat x4 more times (20)
  6. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 3 sts* repeat x4 more (25)
  7. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 4 sts* repeat x4 more (30)
  8. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 5 sts* repeat x4 more (35)
  9. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 6 sts* repeat x 4 more (40)
  10. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 7 sts* repeat x4 more (45)
  11. *2 dc in next st, 1 dc in next 8 sts* repeat x4 more (50)
  12. 50 dc around (50)
  13. 50 dc around (50)
  14. 50 dc around (50)
  15. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 8 sts* repeat x 4 more (45)
  16. 45 dc around (45)
  17. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 7 sts* repeat x4 more (40)
  18. 40 dc around (40)
  19. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 6 sts* repeat x4 more (35)
  20. 35 dc around (35)
  21. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 5 sts* repeat x4 more (30)
  22. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 4 sts* repeat x4 more (25)
  23. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 3 sts* repeat x4 more (20)
Pause here and add your face! See below for face instructions.  For my pumpkin I left the front where the face is in one large segment, if you prefer to segment this bit see instructions below and segment your pumpkin before embroidering your face.

Stuff your pumpkin before moving on with the last couple of rows, pause again just before you finally sew it up to check you have the right amount of stuffing.
  1. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next 2 sts* repeat x4 more (15)
  2. *dc2tog, 1 dc in next st * repeat x4 more (10)
  3. Cut off your yarn, leaving a really really long tail (you need this to make the pumpkin segments later) and thread with a darning needle.
  4. Work your needle through each stitch and pull tight to close up the hole.

The Face

For the face I used some thick black embroidery thread, use all the strands.  I marked out my face with a little pencil mark first, using the stitches to line them up and as a size guide to get your eyes even.

I marked out a triangle shape outline with my thread then I simply filled it in with horizontal stitches across decreasing the size of the stitch according to the triangular shape.  Ensure you fasten off your thread at the back securely.  

If you are using a thick dense yarn it is fine to go straight from one eye to the next without fastening off and snipping but be careful as sometimes the 'trails' show at the front.

Stuff your pumpkin with toy stuffing.  Be careful to use stuffing suitable for children, flame retardant etc if this is for a child.

Use the same black thread for the mouth, simply mark it out how you want it in pencil and then I used a running stitch.  You can use your stitches as markers again to get straight lines.


Now for the pumpkin shape!  This is where your long tail comes in.

Mark out with pencil or a tiny stitch equal segments around your pumpkin shape, thread a darning needle onto the end of your long tail and bring the yarn out from the bottom and round your pumpkin and down through the top, pull your yarn tight so you get the desired squashed pumpkin segments.

Repeat this all the way round so you have the desired number of segments.  I put in 3 small segments in the back and left the front where the face is in one larger segment.  If you wish to segment the face as well it is probably best to segment before embroidering!

To finish off your scary pumpkin add a little stalk.  For the stalk using your brown yarn,  I simply made a ch of 7, then starting in the second ch from hook worked 1 sc into each stitch down, fastening off and leaving a long tail for sewing onto my pumpkin.

There you have it, a scary Halloween pumpkin! I probably wouldn't try sticking a candle in him, nor leaving him outside! I don't think a soggy wool pumpkin is very scary! LOL!
Do let me see if you make a scary pumpkin, or any other Halloween crafts! Tweet me, Instagram me, FB me, you can find all my social media links up there at the top on the right.
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10 October 2014

Bear Square Baby Blanket

The most special news ever happened very recently, my little sis became a mummy! Screeeam! Oh and what a fantastic mummy she is already, I can tell she is such a natural.  We welcomed teeny baby James Philip Raffles into the world on Tuesday 30th September, phew he just made it into THE best month ever! He was 6 lb 15 oz a teeny little thing but the cutest little baby EVER! I now could not be a more proud auntie to have the two bestest, most perfect, cutest nephews in the world!

So of course I crocheted! I crocheted quite a lot.  Let's start with this, bear square blanket as this was his main pressie.  I'm in LOVE with it, It's so good (if I do say so myself) I love how it worked out and the colours etc.
 Here's the blankie in all its glory.

My inspiration came from this image, I pinned from Pinterest and it linked to a pattern on Ravelry, which you can find here http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/funny-face-square for free, you need a Ravelry account first though.

I tried a few different 'fluffy' yarns for the bear's face but was not happy with any, I find fluffy yarn infuriating to work with and my circles just were not up to scratch, so I stuck with my trusty Lullaby by Stylecraft and my three colours are Misty, Primrose and Denim. I adore this yarn, super soft and perfect for babies as it is washable.

I joined the blanket in a traditional single crochet raised join, I love this join for a granny square blanket, I like the effect of the edging and it looks great in a contrast colour.  I then edged the entire thing in one row of triple crochet in the grey, with two stitches in each corner, and a ch 3 in between them to get the corner holes.  I then did a row of yellow triples, then a row of blue triples and finally another row of grey triples to finish it off.

All the bears have slightly different personalities! Some have eyes and ears closer together and they all have slightly different smiles.  It wasn't entirely intentional at first but after a few turning out different, I just went with it. My embroidery is not perfect so the back of my work is always a little untidy.  To hide this on my blanket I simply sewed a circle of grey felt to hide the messy stitches.

The finished blanket is super soft and quite heavy and thick, perfect for his pram on these blustery Autumn days.  I hope you like it James.