Monday, 28 November 2011

Handmade Phone Crochet Cover

After having 'sold out', to the initial disappointment of friends, I have actually grown rather fond of my iPhone and its myriad features. To safeguard my new phone from my clumsy hands I thought it was a good idea to invest in a cover. Would I really have joined the fancy phone club if I got a smart, expensive official cover? Possibly. The only thing for it was the polish my crochet hooks and make my own.

I wanted to create a more interesting feel and texture than the standard double crochet so I alternated treble and double crochet stitches, and then alternated these rows with rows of double crochet to give a textured look and feel. The fabric is quite thick and has a lovely soft 'sponginess' which would provide more protection if (read as "when") dropped.

The case is crocheted in one strip and then sewn up along the edges with the same yarn used to crochet.

It's not as uneven as it looks in the photos-I was just too lazy to press!

The flap is done in double crochet and I created a button hole. Unfortunately I didn't have a more interesting button than the plain cream one.

I'm thinking of experimenting with different stitches and making a bag and a cushion. Will see if I can track down some really nice yarn on eBay...

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Pretzels After Reminiscing About Germany

Many, many moons ago I lived in a town called Augsburg in Bavaria, Germany for a whole nine months. Uprooting yourself to live by yourself in a strange country is challenging but ultimately character building and I can definitely say that the me who returned from Germany was a little different, a little stronger than the me who left for Germany nine months previously.

I liked many things about Germany...but this blog is dedicated to just one of the those-the mighty Pretzel! I fell in love with Pretzels in Germany. Sweet, savoury, plain-they come in many guises in their homeland. My favourite was a savoury Pretzel cut open and filled with butter and chives and I have fond memories of eating them on the German trains when heading into the Alps. They certainly shame much of the fast food I've seen at many of the train stations in England.
So today we made sweet Pretzels, based around this recipe HERE.

A picture (not mine) of Augsburg

Bavaria is incredibly beautiful

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Snake Belly Bar

I've recently been inspired to try my hand at knotting after seeing some amazing things made from paracord.

I've eagerly awaited my two deliveries of purple and silver cord so I could try one of the knotted bars. First up was the snake belly bar.

It was surprisingly simple to make. This is my first attempt so not as neat and tight as the pros but hopefully I'll improve. I've plenty of ideas for knots and bars so there will be a lot of opportunities to practice. This bar will probably become a bracelet, wearable once I have found a suitable clasp. I could also see it as a handle for a bag..or..or...anything really :)

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

First Crocheted Soft Toy I Made for Toby

I had some yarn left over from the scarf I crocheted which I decided to use to make a soft toy rabbit for my nephew Toby.

I couldn't find a pattern I liked (most crochet rabbits I saw were in the Amigurami style which I'm not that fond of) so I decided to crochet without following a particular pattern. Sometimes it is actually easier, as long as you can time your increases and decreases fairly accurately. Sometimes I did and sometimes not-there was a fair amount of trial and error involved. Also I had only a certain amount of yarn and had to unravel a few times when I realised I wouldn't have enough yarn to complete the rabbit. I This is only my second crochet project and I learnt an awful lot about crochet and shaping projects.

He's not symmetrical or perfect but he was made with love, sweat and the odd exasperated sigh.

"That's the first 'dog' I've seen with a moustache!" (My Dad)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

International Hermit Stitching Weekend.. apparently every third weekend of the month, and practiced by an international community of enthusiastic stitchers. I was glad I was alerted to its existence as I'd made a mistake on my current cross stitch and had avoided sorting the error out. I'm working all weekend so cannot immerse myself in the idea. However the weekend was all the incentive I needed and this evening I unstitched my wrongly-placed stitches :)

Hopefully I can now stitch full steam ahead and finish this piece of work. Christmas is coming up in a few weeks and I have a few patterns I would love to complete. As usual though, I've got sidetracked by too many other things.

You can sign up for the weekend at the blog below:

Friday, 18 November 2011

Perfect Indoor Plant for Forgetful Waterers

My new kalachoe!

I visited the florist today to find a pretty flowering plant for my room to brighten it up.

The florist led me to a group of kalancoes and told me they are happy indoors, don't like being watered too much (perfect if you are forgetful about watering your plants) and last long.

I fell in love with this bright pink one which is now sitting on my window sill, all pink and lovely.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

First Celtic Knot!

No, it's not spectacular or perfect or even that neat...but I'm posting because it is the very, very first decorative knot I have ever tied.

My paracord arrived today and I see endless possibilities to decorate...anything and everything!

Surely as a Celt I'm allowed to get excited over knots...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Hidden Treasure Chest in Maidstone

Cakes forks and plate

Off Week Street, hiding down a alley is a new vintage/secondhand shop. They sell all sorts of beautiful things: vintage cutlery, china, clothes coats and bags, jewllery...and well all sorts of lovely things. Upstairs, they have furniture. Nothing ancient but I did see a lovely iron hat stand which unfortunately I would not have been able to carry back home. The lady who works there is very nice and told me they get new stuff in every work so it's worth returning regularly as the nice things go quickly.

It's not on the main street and the only clue to its existence is a 'trash or treasure?' chalk board directing you down the alley.

Worth a visit if you're in Maidstone and like the whole old-fashioned/vintage thing. Or if you just want something beautiful but the money tree in your backgarden isn't faring so well this year.

A lovely relative, who likes tea and cakes,  had a birthday coming up so I paid the shop a visit to see if they had anything that would make a present for her. I actually had to make a short list but finally settled on a plate and some cake forks which looked like this!:

Not made in China!

Cake forks

Happy Birthday Harriet!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Every Hit Ever!!!

I've promised myself that even as I grow older, I will NOT become one of those people that gets stuck listening to the music of their youth all their life, never opening their minds to new genres and styles.

Having said that, I do love listening to the music of the early 1990s and remembering the hours spent religiously listening to the chart on the radio every on Sunday evening. I still have the tapes of those songs, complete with clips of the heinous presenters who used to talk over the end of the songs.

Hours of fun :)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Beautiful Art From the People of Skógar

In the south of Iceland, there is a little village called Skógar-barely more than a cluster of houses-with the star being a beautiful waterfall, Skógafoss . The grand population of Skógafoss is currently just 25 people.

Despite the lilliputian population, there is a museum dedicated to the way of life, traditions and, arts and crafts of many generations of Skogarians (I may have just invented this word).

Anyway, what struck me as I walked around the museum was the quality and variety of exhibits-boats, clothes, all sorts of wooden objects (eg horse stirrups, farming tools to name just two), metal objects (cutlery), stuffed animals, furniture to name just of the few of the objects which grace this eclectic and fascinating museum. Each of the members of the community had their own skills and talents, and contributed handmade objects to the village and its life-some vital, some useful and some just purely decorative. Yet all handmade and displaying a level of craftmanship which has nearly all but vanished and it made me feel a little sad.

A cross stitch chair cover

My favourite objects were on the needlework floor. The rooms are packed to the rafters with all sorts of objects-there is a barely a flash of wooden wall to be seen. Chairs, cushions, tapestries-all beautifully decorated, it is hard to believe that so many items were produced from such a small, isolated settlement, whose current population stands at 25.

I believe this is a stool cover

Unfortunately, we had only 30 or so minutes in the museum before the bus took us back to Reykjavik. However I could happily have spent a number of hours in that museum and given the collection the time and attention I wanted. In the basement was a room of skilfully stuffed animals. Whatever your feelings on stuffed animals, there is no denying their fascination and the expertise required. Another member of our tour party was so enchanted by the stuffed birds, he raced back downstairs when he realised he had another few minutes before the bus left. His wife was stone-faced as they walked back to the coach.

If you're in Iceland and have a chance to visit Skógar and its wonderful little museum, I would say "go, go, go, you must!". There is such a variety of things in the museum, you are bound to find something you love.

The famous waterfall. The rainbow lasted about 3 minutes!

The museum website is: