Friday, 30 December 2016

Christmas Presents - My Family

Next up on the Christmas list we have my side of the family, which is my Gran, Aunt and Uncle.

This year I decide to make some mug cozies, using one of the patterns I used for Donald's family last year.

I used this mug cozy pattern by Crochet N Play Designs for all three cozies, as it was super easy to work up last year. I did however have to add a few extra rows to my Gran's cozy, as her mug was a slightly different shape, and needed a little more coverage. I did the little extra bit with the same colour as the detail, as it gave it a little more contrast.

I decorated my Gran's one with the little heart detail I used on the mug cozies last year, however for my Aunt and Uncle's I decided to decorate them with their initials, which I created using The Moogly Crochet Alphabet.

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

I also added a homemade little gift tag to each mug to explain what the cozies actually were, as I knew I wouldn't be there when my family opened them!

Crochet mug cozies

Crochet mug cozies

Yarn Used:
  • Patons Wool Aran:
    • Merlot.
  • Caron Simply Soft:
    • Blue Mint.
    • Orchid.
    • Robin's Egg.
  • Stylecraft Special Aran:
    • Graphite.
    • Magenta.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas Presents - My Mum

Christmas is upon us again and that means one thing - handmade gifts! I do love an excuse to make a little something for people, and it's so much easier to dream up something lovely to make someone than trying to find it in the shop.

First up this year we have my mum. I decided to make her a nice shawl/scarf, as I know she's a big fan of big scarfs, but not just in the winter. For that reason I didn't want to make a big, chunky scarf, and decided to go with a nice, lacy shawl instead, that can hopefully be worn more of the year.

I had originally picked another pattern for my shawl, but found it far too confusing once I got started. The pattern had really good reviews on Raverly, so clearly other people found it easy enough to understand, but my crocheting was never lining up with the place it was telling me to crochet into, so I swapped.

In the end I went for the My Friend Sheryl shawl by Rose Williams. Not only did it use the same weight of yarn as my original pattern, but it was also very easy to adapt to whatever size you wanted. As I had four balls of yarn, I decided to do the main body of the shawl until I had used up three balls, and then use the last ball to do the lace edging.

Shawl

Shawl

Shawl

I gave it a light blocking when I was finished to try and make the lace edging stand out as much as possible, but really the yarn was actually quite good as showing off the shape anyway.

Shawl

Here's a photo of me modelling it, so you can see what it's supposed to look like on. The edging looks lush!

Shawl

This was super quick to work up, as it was just loads of triple crochets, and even the edging was really easy, but looks totally beautiful.

However, I did accidentally do one row of triple crochet and one row of double crochet around the finishing edge instead of two rows of double crochet, but I think it looks totally fine, and just means the edging is a little thicker than it probably should be.

Yarn Used:
  • Schachenmayr Originals Glanzperle:
    • Veilchen.
Raverly project page.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Chalkola Pens & Christmas Windows

Since we moved house last year, it's so nice to have a whole lot of extra space to decorate. In our old flat, everything was sort of crammed in one corner of the living room, but it's so nice to have additional places to put decorations, as well as actually being able to hang things on the wall!

This year when I decorated, one thing I did which I have never done before was decorate my windows! But before we get into the photos of my awesome Christmas drawings, let's go back to why I decided to give my windows a festive spruce-up this year.

The lovely folks at Chalkola Chalk Markers sent me a couple of sets of their chalkboard markers to have a go of this week. I'm always super keen to get new stationery to try, but I wasn't sure what I was going to use chalk markers on that would really show off their full loveliness. Then I read that one of the best surfaces to use them on was glass, and an idea was born!

I got both the 6mm pens (which are listed on the packet as 10 party colours) and the Earth Colors, so I had a lovely range of colours to work with.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

The pens take a little bit of prep time to get them going, but I did them all in one go at the beginning, and after that they were super easy to use the whole time I was decorating my window. Basically, you have to shake them, upright and with the cap on for about 30 seconds, and then pump the nib of the pen up and down until the ink start to flow freely. 

When you first take the lid off a brand new pen the nib is white, and once the nib is full of the coloured ink, you can tell they are ready to go.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

As I said above, these are great to use on glass, and are specifically to be used on non-porous surfaces such as chalkboards, whiteboards, plastic and obviously glass, as they are super easy to clean off afterwards, just by using a damp cloth or some window cleaner if you need it. Obviously it's still best to test a small area first to make double sure, but I made plenty of mistakes in my window drawing escapades, and it was really easy to wipe it off and start again. I also read reviews online of people who used these markers on things like shop windows and left them up for a number of weeks with no issues, so I'm hoping they'll be just as easy to clean off after Christmas.

While these are recommended for actual chalkboards, it is worth noting they're not recommend for use on chalkboard paint, as the paint can make the surface porous, which would make it difficult to clean off afterwards! 

I have to say, these were super easy to use. After the initial set-up time (which like I said I did all in one go so I would have all the pens ready, so it did take a wee bit of time) the pens flowed really smoothly, and I only had to stop a few times to re-pump the nibs to get the ink flowing again, and only if I was using a specific colour for a long time.

I'm super impressed by how bright they were on the glass, as I was a bit worried they might be a bit wishy-washy when the light was shining through, but the lines are really solid, so all my drawings are super clear.

So let's have a look at my finished window. I had a search on Pinterest for "Christmas window drawings" to get some inspiration for some cute, line only designs that were simple to replicate. You can see the pins I used for the stocking, the snowman, the snowflakes, the Christmas tree and the baubles by clicking on the links!

It's quite hard to get a photo of my handiwork, because glass is obviously full of reflections!

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

And here's some photos from the inside, which hopefully makes things a bit easier to see.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

Christmas window drawings.

I like to say thanks to Chalkola for providing me with these lovely chalk markers to review. I will definitely be using them to decorate my windows in the future. I'm especially excited for Halloween! But I also think they'll be lovely to use for things like scrap booking and card making. Imagine how lush the colours would look on black card?!

If you would like to pick yourself up some Chalkola chalk pens, I've got an awesome 20% off discount for my readers on all Chalkola products! Just enter the code 20OFFSTR at the checkout when you buy any Chalkola products on Amazon to get your cheeky discount.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Pom-Pom Christmas Bauble

I have definitely calmed down in my Christmas ornament making in the last couple of years, but I saw this cute little kit to make a pom-pom bauble in Hobbycraft, and decided that one more ornament couldn't really hurt.

The kit was really easy to make, as you got a little polystyrene ball, and just had to glue the pom-poms to it, pop the ribbon on, and you were done.

However, my tacky glue would not work at all! The pom-poms kept falling off, so I decided to use my hot glue gun instead. Now, this did work brilliantly, as they stuck quickly and stayed on, but I did realise about halfway through that I was just melting the polystyrene ball underneath. Whoops!

Never mind though eh, because it worked and it looks super cute!

Pom-pom decoration.

Pom-pom decoration.

Pom-pom decoration.

So I have added this little cutie to the madness that is our Christmas tree! We are definitely running out of room!

This project is a step towards completing my New Year's List. You can check out my progress here.
  • Clear as many free and purchased craft kits as possible.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Ivy's First Birthday Party

Last week marked Ivy's first birthday and we held a little birthday party for our family. Obviously there was no need to go overboard with the party, as Ivy had no clue what was going on, but I had seen a couple of things on Pinterest that I wanted to try and make, teamed with some baking! So please enjoy my roundup of Ivy's birthday party!

First up we have the baking side of things. I obviously wanted to make a cake, but I've never had much luck with full size cakes before. My mum gave me the recipe for Mary Berry's all-in-one Victoria sponge, which was super easy and turned out lovely. I put jam and butter icing in the middle, with butter icing, pink sugar and mini jazzies on the top.

Ivy's first birthday party

I also made a batch of brown sugar spiced shortbread, which I made into ovals, and then put mini number 1s on top, topped with pink sparkle icing.

Ivy's first birthday party

From a crafty point of view, I made three party decorations to brighten up the place. First up was a poster all about Ivy, which we hung on the wall. There are loads of examples of how to make these on Pinterest, as well as pre-made personalised versions you can buy from Etsy. I just bought a huge sheet of light pink paper from Hobbycraft and picked my favourite elements from all the posters I had seen.

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

I also made some cupcake pom-pom bunting. Again, I had seen a few different versions of these on Pinterest, including this one for sale from Cupcakes Wishes & Birthday Dreams. I used my second biggest pom-pom make to make 10 pom-poms and then hot glued them into cupcake cases. I think topped with a mini pre-made felt pom-pom (again with hot glue) and threaded them all onto some bright pink wool. I got a lot of compliments for this on the day, and it was super easy and fast to make!

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

Finally, I read a post on Life as Mama about high chair decorations for first birthday parties, and thought it would look super cute for photos on the day.

I made 4 tassles using these instructions from Honestly WTF. I also made two white pom-poms and cut the letters for "one" out of different shades of pink card. I then threaded it all onto some cute "Happy Birthday" ribbon from Hobbycraft and tied it onto the tray of Ivy's highchair. I was worried she would pull it off instantly, but she actually left it alone all day.

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

Ivy's first birthday party

Phew! It was a lot of work for something that Ivy won't even remember, but hopefully everyone who came had a lovely time, and all my crafty stuff got captured in the photos!

This project is a step towards completing my New Year's List. You can check out my progress here.
  • Craft for Ivy

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ivy's Christmas Stocking

Last year, just before Ivy was due, I decided I wanted to make a set of stockings for me, Donald and the baby, that we would be able to use every Christmas, and that I would be able to add to if our family got any bigger.

While they turned out quite well (anytime I get together with a sewing machine there is a chance it'll go really wrong!), I just wasn't super happy with them. They are super cute for general Christmas decorations, but I wasn't sure if they were exactly what I wanted for Ivy to use for hopefully years to come.

So I decided to have another bash and crochet a stocking for Ivy this time. After a lot of research, I settled on this Fur Top Holiday Stocking by Jessie Rayot because I liked the cable effect.

For some reason even though I laid out the correct size crochet hook for this project (5.5mm), I ended up using a 5mm for it and didn't realise till about half way through. So it's possibly a wee bit smaller than it should be, but it's still more than big enough for the amount of sweets Ivy will ever be getting, so it's all good.

Ivy crochet stocking

Ivy crochet stocking

To do the fur edging I was supposed to use a 9mm hook, but I literally could not fit it through the stitches I had done, so I had to down-size to a 7mm hook instead. I also used 4 strands of the furry yarn I had for the edging as it wasn't quite as thick as the yarn listed in the pattern (and it still isn't, even with four strands, but it looks a lot better).

Ivy crochet stocking

I also decided to add her name to it, which I did using The Moogly Crochet Alphabet and The Moogly Lowercase Alphabet.

Ivy crochet stocking

I bought me and Donald some geeky stockings from the pound shop, a Spiderman one for me and a Star Wars one for Donald. And at least I know that if I do ever need to make anymore in the future, I can actually manage the pattern!

Yarn Used:
  • Caron Simply Soft:
    • Autumn Red.
  • Red Heart Soft:
    • Kiwi Green.
  • Ice Yarns Sale Eyelash:
    • White.
Raverly project page.

This project is a step towards completing my New Year's List. You can check out my progress here.
  • Craft for Ivy