29 January 2014

Little Crochet Bear Pal

Hello! Meet my new friend Crochet Bear.  He is yet another new make for a new little baby (seriously is the whole world having babies at the moment!?).  A friend got in touch after seeing I posted a picture of Itty Bitty Bunny and Monkey 2 on Facebook and asked if I could make a bear.  I haven't made a crochet bear before, so set about looking for a pattern, and my first stop was of course this lovely Etsy shop.

The yarn I chose was Lullaby by Stylecraft,  I love the vibrant red, and love this yarn, it is just a shame that the colour choice is limited.  (Please make some more Stylecraft!).  It retails at £2.80 per 50g at my local craft shop and you can certainly get a couple of bears from that.

Little Bear all ready to be sewn up.  This is always the scary bit, it is when he is sewn up he develops his personality. 

Half way there, think he looks kind of cute with no limbs...

Yeah, all done, hello little pal, isn't he cute! Notice the little rib detail on his red jumper, love it!

I used a safety nose, but embroidered the eyes on, not too confident in my embroidery skills to attempt the nose shape.

What do you think of little bear? Have you found any super cute amigurumi patterns lately?  I would love to see.

27 January 2014

Some recent projects...

Goodness I have been busy lately! I seem to have had one crafty project after another, and I'm certainly not complaining.  I have had some little crochet pal requests from friends and always happy to oblige... 

My Friend Amy got in touch recently as it was nearing her daughter Madeline's first birthday and she wondered whether I might make her an Itty Bitty Bunny, she had seen my blog post here and knew Madeline would love one.  So I picked out a lovely grey colour in my new favourite yarn Lullaby by Stylecraft.  The pattern is of course from Simply Crochet Issue 2.

Another project was of course to replace Corey, my nephew's monkey. I blogged about Monkey recently here and added the sad note at the end to say that Monkey blew out of the pram  in a storm when on route into town shortly after Christmas, sob sob.  After a Facebook campaign and around 150 shares across our friends and friends of friends no luck, so obviously he jumped onto the nearby train tracks and is safely in London visiting with Paddington Bear.  As Corey was missing him greatly I set to work on Monkey 2.

Little head...

And final monkey, shhhh, don't tell Monkey 1, but I think Monkey 2 turned out a little better! You can find the adorable pattern here.  I love this little pattern, relatively simple to make and can be done in one evening. So I made a special visit to Corey to drop off new Monkey and he seemed pleased with it, he instantly grabbed him and gave him a big gummy slobbery kiss!

Look how Madeline's Itty Bitty Bunny turned out! I'm rather pleased with him.  Amy said strictly no pink, so I thought a cute red gingham ribbon would finish him off nicely.  I've been working on perfecting my bows.

Itty Bitty cutey.  I was a little nervous posting bunny off for his long journey south to Berkshire, but was super happy to receive a cute pic from Amy with Madeline and bunny yesterday morning saying that he arrived safely, phew.

What have you been crafting recently?

21 January 2014

The Year I Make it Happen

January is the month for setting the year's goals and resolutions.  I have always been a massive fan of New Year resolutions, there is nothing better than picking out new diaries and stationery (but of course!) and sitting down to a lovely afternoon of day dreaming...
January can be such a dreary depressing month, it's always a bit of a come down after Christmas and the New Year celebrations so it really helps me to stay positive and motivated to think of the year ahead and a few little things I would like to achieve.
 I find just making a few small goals, things that you are excited about would like to make happen and makes me really happy.  I'm quite an organised type and making lists and having things to look forward to is what drives me..

When considering my goals for this year Lloyds Bank got in touch and asked if I would like to take part in their Year I make it Happen campaign! As I always set goals anyway I thought why not.  They have set up a really useful ap through Facebook which allows you to select a goal split into handy categories of home life and money and make the pledge to try and achieve it on your Facebook page.  I always think that being accountable for your goals by telling friends and family helps you to achieve them.  The ap then opens into a super helpful list of links to help you achieve specific goals.
I try not to be too hard on myself if I don't succeed it is all about trying and having an end in sight, something to aim for, this is what keeps me motivated and ultimately keeps me happy.  I have split each one down to explain a little bit about how I plan to achieve them, they are a process and goals can so easily be broken if you only worry about the big picture.  Splitting them into easy achievable bits is a much better way of looking at them, then you can review your progress on a regular basis.
 So, my goals for this year....

Get my driving licence
This is something I have put off for WAY too long! I am determined this is the year I will finally do it.  I have been having lessons for a little while now which I am actually enjoying and I think I am just about over my big fear of driving!  So to achieve this I will...

  • Continue to have a 1 hour lesson every week with instructor
  • Work on improving speed and confidence on larger roads
  • Once I have experience of busier roads rent a dual control car with dad for added lessons each week.
  • Practice theory tests online
  • Swot up on Highway Code
  • Continue to ask Mark and friends and family to 'narrate' their journeys so I pick up more tips from experienced drivers.

Complete both red routes at Whinlatter in one day
Whinlater is the forest we love to go to for mountain biking, there are two red graded routes of around 10km each, and we are not talking flat roads, oh no these are serious purpose built trails with scary bits and obstacles.  We usually do the South loop as the North loop has loads more technical elements.  But it is my goal this year to get to grips with both routes properly and to be able to do both easily in one day.  In the Summer we hope to do a little mountain biking holiday to Scotland so I need to get good! This is how I plan to do it...
  • Continue with red south loop as much as possible
  • Mark to follow me on the trails and give advice on the technical sections
  • Do North every third time we visit to practice
  • Attempt to complete South Loop and blue route (easy, shorter one) in one afternoon
  • Visit other mountain bike trails to practice new routes
  • Buy a better bike! (this is where my next goal comes in...)

Save enough money for a shiny new bike
I'm not very good at saving money! But this year I do hope to get a little promotion at work (eek!) and that will help a lot in hopefully achieving my goal of saving for a fancy bike.  I took a photo of the one I want, it is a Cube and looks so pretty, bright blue and orange with fancy gears and breaks and stuff (should probably learn some technical how the bike works stuff too! haha). So my plan...

  • Write my target amount on my notice board and make a count down to my target to cross off each month as a constant visual guide.
  • Work out an achievable budget each month that I can put towards savings.
  • On each payday (before I get chance to spend it on other things) ask my mum to keep savings safe for me (If I put it in my savings account it is too tempting to get it out again, harder to ask my mum all the time!)
  • Any extra money I get (promotions, council tax and utility bill savings etc) to go to my bike fund.

Open my Etsy shop and start selling my crafts
I think I have mentioned this before and I have probably been considering it for about a year now but I would love to see if I can start selling some crafts.  This would just be a hobby to see if I can, I don't expect to make any money, certainly not a living from it.  But any bonus money would go into my bike fund of course! Here is what I plan to do...

  • Collect and read as much advice from existing Etsy shop holders and books etc.
  • Start accepting commissions from friends and word of mouth to sell at low prices for practice.
  • Develop my own patterns and think about a couple of initial products and test them.
  • Spend proper time considering pricing, packaging, marketing, costs etc and all those important things.

 This was a sponsored post, I am taking part in Lloyd's Bank Year I make it Happen Campaign

15 January 2014

Cute Little Crochet Monkey

One of my nephew Corey's Christmas presents this year was this cute little crochet monkey.  Of course I had to crochet him something for Christmas!

I simply Googled 'monkey crochet pattern' and looked through the images to find a suitable one and this pattern was the clear winner, how cute!!!

I purchased the pattern from this amazing Etsy shop Luvly-Gurumi https://www.etsy.com/shop/luvlygurumi it was only £2.50 for a beautiful, easy to follow PDF pattern.  I think it is SO worth it spending a few pounds on an Etsy crochet pattern, you support small craft business and get super cute, innovative patterns.

This is the image from the pattern, I don't think I did too badly did I?

I LOVE the little design details on the monkey, like the funny little 'hair' on the top of his head! The head is made in two parts, the beige colour and then the brown 'hood' is made separately.  It is a completely separate piece, with little holes for the ears and fastens under his chin with a little strap and button, how cute is that!

OK, so I didn't know if I wanted to mention this or not.... probably a bad decision.  But Corey loved his little monkey, and I was super proud of it, got some really nice compliments on him.  But a little while after Christmas Corey and his mum Nikki were out for a walk and it was a really blustery day and Nikki had not realised but monkey blew out of the pram! We searched for him, put out a campaign on Facebook (which got 140 shares!) and put him on the Teddy Lost and Found database but no sign of little monkey... we are all a bit heartbroken. But I like to think that a little child has found him and he is now in a new loving home. sob sob.

Have you found any cute Etsy crochet patterns recently?

3 January 2014

2013 - A Year of Pretty Outings

Ahhhh.... I can't tell you how happy it makes me to look at these pictures.  I am writing this just after Christmas and frankly it is horrid outside, absolutely yuk, rainy, windy, black, cold, ugh.  Looking back over all my pretty outdoor adventures this year makes me very very happy indeed.
Here is a little recap of where I have visited in 2013...
  1. Kirklinton Hall
  2. Armathwaite Woods
  3. Belsay Hall
  4. Pooley Bridge
  5. Barnard Castle
  6. Lanercost Priory
  7. Brougham Castle
  8. Early Spring Flowers
  9. Brampton
  10. Hutton in the Forest
  11. Bike ride to the Seaside
  12. Bothy Camping
One of my (many) resolutions this year is to visit lots more places I have never been.  So here's hoping this time next year I will be sat here editing lots more even prettier photos for my outdoor 2014 recap post!
What has been your fave place to visit this year?