Saturday, 12 October 2013

There's a spider...

It's a monster spider, but there's no need to worry because Penny's onto it. 
Also, she won't need feeding after she'shad  it - it's that big!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


Penny has learned to climb the fence. It was only a matter of time. Fortunately, she hasn't yet learned to jump down, so she hasn't got stuck in anyone else's garden yet. Yet. It's only a matter of time. 

In the meantime, I've been getting her down from our fence with a wash-basket. What is it with wash-baskets? Every cat I've known has loved them. They're good for sitting, fighting, playing and sleeping in. Penny finds our one almost compulsive, so I hold it up to the fence and she jumps in. Three times so far this morning. The back door is now closed. She can't yet work the cat-flap, but that is also just a matter of time. 

Penny in her wash-basket, contemplating her next adventure. 

Saturday, 22 June 2013

R and R

A lovely low-key Saturday afternoon, spending a couple of hours in Birmingham. 

My lunch - a skinny cappuccino and cinnamon swirl at the Starbucks in the back of Selfridges, with the most fantastic view -
St Martin's in the Bullring. 

I love a bit of downtime. :-)

Saturday, 15 June 2013


I've been meaning to open an Etsy shop for a while, to go with the Folksy one, and I've finally got around to it.  There are a few items on there - a selection of my favourites from Little Lovely Stuff.  I'll gradually add to it, so that both shops carry the same range.  The idea is hopefully that Etsy reaches a wider audience.

So, find Dizzy Duckling here - Dizzy Duckling.


Friday, 14 June 2013

Domestic bliss...

Well, maybe not totally yet, but getting there! As much as you can expect two unrelated female cats to live in domestic bliss. And it's only taken a couple of months. 
The bureau's not normally in the kitchen - its place in the living room is currently occupied by Penny's pen. 

Admittedly, there was a mad chase up and down the stairs after this, but even Hattie's starting to enjoy that. Six of one, half a dozen of the other...  *rolls eyes and jumps out of the way* 

Monday, 10 June 2013

New Stuff

Some new items on my shop today.

A pretty little pincushion.

Some bunting.  These colours remind me of seventies shades.

A little handbag, decorated with crochet flowers and beads, with ribbon threaded through the handles.

 And some relistings - colourful hearts decorated with ribbons, buttons and sequins.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Flower Power

I got a book out of the library recently about crochet blocks.  Who doesn't like crochet blocks?  Trouble was, everything I tried needed altering one way or another because the patterns just didn't work.  Whether that was down to me getting something wrong, or the pattern being written wrong, I don't know.  However, I made my alterations and wrote the pattern down the way it worked for me.

Both of these blocks are lovely flower patterns, and really versatile.  Decorations on a top, bag or skirt?  Tick.  Coaster?  Tick.  Flower garlands?  Tick!  The eight-petalled flower could even be joined together as a  throw or shawl.  I've worked them in Paton's 100% Cotton 4 ply with a 3.00 mm hook, and it works perfectly.

Patterns here!  I hope they work.  Any problems, let me know.

Granny flower

  • Ch 5, join with sl st to form ring
  • Ch 2 (counts as tr), 2trtog (1st cluster worked), ch 2, (1 tr cl into next ch sp, 2 ch) 7 times to end, join with sl st to top of Ch 2
  • Sl st into 1st ch sp, ch 3, 2 tr into same sp, ch 1, (3 tr, 1 ch) into each ch sp to end, join with sl st to top of Ch 3
  • Sl st into next 3 sts and ch sp, ch 3 (counts as tr), 2tr, ch 1, 3 tr into same ch sp, (3 tr, 1 ch, 3 tr) into each ch sp to end, join with sl st to top of Ch 3
  • (7 tr in next ch sp, sk 3 tr, sl st between sts) in each ch sp to end, join with sl st to last sl st of previous round
  • Fasten off.

Lacy Flower

* Ch 3, join with sl st to form ring
* Ch 3 (counts as tr), 10 tr into ring, join with sl st into ch3 - 11 st
* Ch 3 (counts as tr), 1 tr into same st, 2 tr into each st to end - 22 st
* Ch 4 (counts as tr & ch), tr into next st, 1 ch, (tr into next st, 1 ch) to end, join with sl st - 44 st
* Ch 3 (counts as tr), 2 tr into next ch sp, 1 tr into next st, (2 tr into next ch sp, 1 tr into next st) to end BUT lose 2 st on round by only working 1 tr instead of 2 in 2 ch sp - 64 st
* Sk 3, (7 tr into next st, sk 3, sl st into next st) to end, join with sl st
* Fasten off.

Here are some flower garlands I made with these patterns.

All these will be going on my Folksy shop later on, when I've got them measured up.

I've also started a new cushion cover, in  my ongoing bid to brighten up our living room.  I made a cover for the chair in the extension, from a pattern in Inside Crochet Issue 36.
It worked really well with that Rowan Lenpur Linen yarn I had, and the colours match the scheme there really well.  I had an idea, though, that if I took the central two squares and used them as blocks, then I could build an interesting fabric from that, so here's the start of that project.

One block...

Five blocks...

Each block seems to be a little less than 10 cm, so 16 blocks and an edging should make one side of a 40 cm cushion cover.  That's the current plan, anyway.  We'll see how it works out.

On to measuring bunting!


Sunday, 26 May 2013

New Pictures

We've had the same pictures on the walls for some years, and lovely as they are, we've started looking round for some new ones. The old ones have been prints of Lakeland watercolours, which are admittedly a little bit dull. It's time for some brighter colour, methinks.

With that in mind, I bought a picture on impulse when I went into town a few weeks ago. The local art circle was having their Spring Exhibition, and I saw a picture I just didn't want to walk away from. Here it is -

It's of Castle Combe in Wiltshire, in ink and watercolour.  I love the light in it, and the sense of distance and space, and the feeling of season - it's obviously early summer.  It's an amateur picture, and it only cost me £35, but I could imagine it in a fancy gallery for five or six times that amount, and people happily paying it.  Right now, it's on the chimney breast in our living room and every time I look at it, I like it more.

This is the other picture I bought recently.  It's a print by Loretta Grayson, called Backyard With Fireflies I.  I saw something similar on a bookshelf on Lucy's wonderful blog - Attic 24 - and fell in love with it.  When I caught sight of a picture and a link to her shop, I flew there!  Here is her Etsy shop - StellaViolet .  She's based in Australia, which makes it even more exciting.  The picture was delivered perfectly, wrapped beautifully, in A1 condition.  (Cue rant about Royal Mail - restrains self).  Framing was done wonderfully by a local company.

I just love the bright colours and the way it's inspired by the old test cards.  That will make sense to people of a certain age, like me...  I did buy it for my study, but it's currently by our front door so I can look at it every day.

Anyway, back to Case Histories.  Another set of books I really need to read.  I just read an Inspector Banks one by Peter Robinson, and I think I liked it.  Not sure he really has a good grip on writing female characters, but I'll read another few before I give up on him.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Bestest toy!

Meet Penny. She's about four months old, from Team Cat Rescue in Birmingham. A total mischief!  It's a little unnerving that she's such a robust little cat, because our others (rescue cats too) were all quite delicate as kittens.  Penny's a healthy little madam, with a good appetite and plenty of energy. 

There is a house full of toys, of course, and this is the new favourite. A shoe box with holes cut in the top and a bunch of toys inside. She loves hooking them out, then poking them back in. We saw a similar thing on sale in a pet shop for £15!  Robbery!  Other favourite toys include scrunched up receipts. You might almost say she was a cheap cat, if she weren't eating us out of house and home. 

Hattie, above, (lookalike and role model) is happy to be a most expensive cat. Only the costliest food is good enough...

Sunday, 10 February 2013


I love Ebay.  However obscure is the thing I'm looking for - textbooks on early music, original Giles annuals, super-sparkly yarn - someone out there has it and is looking to sell it!

I'm having a little sale on Ebay at the moment.  A few lovely hats and a bunny.  I may direct a fair bit of my crochet through Ebay in the end - I just don't have time for the upkeep of even an internet shop right now.  (The first assignment of my new OU course is due on March 7th and I'm panicking already...)  Ebay may be the best informal way to sell products.  Worth a try, anyway!

Here are my items, then!

Go here to have a look at more pictures and see my selling page.


Thursday, 10 January 2013


As promised, here are some pictures of my UnFinished Objects.  Is it normal to have so many things on the go at one time?  I find that I often get to a nearly finishing point and can't quite decide what handles or what brim to put on and I defer the decision by starting something else.

Here's my most recent start.  The crown of a hat which may become a cloche-type or a beanie-type or a bonnet-sort-of-thing.  I feel my way a bit and do what seems right as it develops.  It will definitely have a bundle of flowers and leaves on it though!  Pretty as this Sirdar Click yarn is, it'd be a little sombre with no decorations.

This is another bag, also destined for a contrasting decoration.  This yarn was from a bargain bucket, and I love the mix of colours.  The feel is quite fluffy too, and it creates the effect of already having been felted.  Handles still to come!  It's going to be a handbag, with crocheted handles strengthened by ribbons.  I just need to do the sums of numbers of stitches...  

Now, this is a cushion cover, or the first half of one.  It's from an actual pattern, rather than from the bizarre recesses of my head.  Pattern to be found in Issue 36 of Inside Crochet.  It's intended to create an optical art effect, and I'm doing it with the last few balls of my Rowan Lenpur Linen.  The colours are perfect to go in our kitchen extension!

And this is what I'm doing with all the wool I bought back in October -  It's for me - a big granny stitch throw using a pattern from Granny Square Crochet by Catherine Hirst.  It's only supposed to be 14 squares wide, but I increased it to 18 so that it drapes properly over a double bed.  Easy enough, and quick to work with the granny stitches.  You could do this with a minimum of experience, I think.

 Here it is laid out - about 6 feet wide and 2 feet long.  Two bands of squares and the rest ought to be stripes.  I may decide to change that, but we'll see.  It's more fiddly doing squares than stripes.  Stripes can be worked with only half my mind on the crochet, and there are fewer decisions about colour to make as I go along.   Mind you, with something this big, it's hard to carry on when Herbie decides to climb on my lap.  He's my quality control supervisor, and he takes his job very seriously.  

So, this is what's going on right now.  Slowly, because I'm back into term-time and there's sooo much to do!  Plus I'm starting work on a Masters degree with the OU this month, so that's most of my spare time accounted for.  

Did I mention I got a banjo for Christmas?  It's brilliant!  I am a guitarist, so it's not a totally new pursuit for me, but the techniques and notes are different enough for me to have to practise.  I seem to have committed myself to doing Duelling Banjos with a colleague at a concert in February.  *coughs*  It'll be fine, I'm sure it will.

More practice then!


Sunday, 6 January 2013

New Stuff!

I've been pretty productive over Christmas, if a bit uncommunicative.  I'm pathetically attached to my routine, and as nice as a holiday is, I'm really thrown by the change to my routine, so I've been curled up on the sofa crocheting a lot.

Firstly, I finished the bags I've been working on.  The Spice Circles bag has its handles and lining, and the pretty pink buttons are sewn on too.

Spots on the outside and on the inside.  Webbing on the straps to strengthen them and prevent stretching.

This is the small bag made in Rowan Revive.  I couldn't think what to decorate it with, but then I found some embellishments I'd made for brooches which turned out too big and floppy.  Perfect for the bag!

A stripy lining and cotton webbing again for the handle.

A little Hermione-style bag.  It's just a little pouch, rather than the carry-everything-including-the-kitchen-sink one that Hermione had.  (Must get one of those!)  It reminds me of the kind of little bag Jane Austen's ladies had for keeping their little love-notes in.

And some new Hippoos!  In pairs this time.  I cut the pattern size down by half to make some tiny ones, and decided to make some mummies and babies.  This is Terra and Cotta.

And this is Coconut and Ice (Coconut on top, getting a good view).  Totally cute, yes?

I've finally got round to putting these lovelies onto my shop at Folksy here, before term starts again in earnest and I get stuck into my new OU course.  I have a few crochet projects still on the go, of course, but work is going to be slower and more relaxed for a while.  Pics soon, I hope - watch this space!