Friday, 30 August 2013

My first crochet

Having been reading lovely blogs such as Tales From a Happy House, Thistle Bear and Bunny Mummy, I was inspired to have a go at some crochet.

I am not a knitter, I never have been.  I have tried, as you can see from the two pictures below.  I started these two about 4 years ago, and this is as far as I have got.  Talk about having WIP's waiting to be completed!!

As you can see though, I have accumulated a lot of wool!  It seemed a shame not to do something with it, but knitting was not going to happen so I just held on to it.  I have had most of this wool for about 6 or 7 years I reckon.  A shop was having a closing down sale, and given the price of Rowan wool, which most of my stash is, I couldn't resist it.  I wouldn't spend this much on wool now, that is for sure!

So, I found a tutorial on the Internet and also looked at Bunny Mummy's tutorials on her lovely blog and worked out how to do what I thought might be crochet.  I thought I would try and make a flower (not according to anything from any blog may I add, I just made it up).

As you can see, this is NOT a flower!

But........... it makes lovely seaweed to go in my rock pool bowl that sits with all my other summertime seaside items!

This is the granny square blanket that I have had all my life.  My Mum started to make this either just before or just after I was born blah de blah de blah years ago (I expect you can guess by the colour scheme when it was!).

I have loved this blanket, but it is getting a bit worn out now, and it needs some new squares here and there and some running repairs on some of the joins.  It would be of great joy to me if I could make some new squares to slot in here and there to replace the worn out ones.

This blanket spent many years on the end of my bed, it went in the garden, snuggled on the couch if I was ill as a child, all sorts.  It is too precious to use now, so I just cuddle it!

After the seaweed I "got it" a bit more and worked out how to make a square and things went a bit better.  Here is my first little square.

I then moved on and decided that I would just go for it and crochet one giant granny square as a blanket.

Of course not having enough green wool (I started with more than is pictured, but not a lot) to make anything particularly big I needed to add another colour, so I found some Stylecraft yarn in Parchment and decided to make "stripes" of the two colours.

The Stylecraft came in 100g balls so I decided to split them so that I would use the same weight of yarn in each "stripe" as the Rowan 50g balls, rather than trying to do a certain number of rows of each colour.  Hubby was very confused as to why I was taking a ball of wool and was making it into smaller balls of wool, he was even more mystified when I started to weigh them!  I bet you are all going to tell me that no one else does this...

Of course, when I got going I have realised that I still didn't have enough wool, so I need to buy some MORE wool to use up the wool that I already had - crazy huh.  There you go, I guess that is the nature of things and not planning properly.  I added some more Stylecraft in Meadow.

Anyway, I am determined that this will not be a WIP that is never done, so if you don't hear about further progress chase me up on this one please to make sure that I get it done.

I am looking forward to being able to snuggle under my first crochet blanket!  I have a nasty feeling that I could get quite addicted to crochet.  I guess there are worse things to be addicted to.

Hopefully then I will feel confident enough to try and make some repairs on my old baby blanket.

So, I'll update you as and when I progress, if you don't hear anything, chase me up until I post again with a bigger square.


Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Tales from our furniture repository

Very sadly, my Dad's Mum died earlier this year at the age of 87.  I was lucky enough to inherit several things, including her Ercol dining table and chairs.  My Dad remembers being a child when they moved to the house that his parents lived in until both of their deaths, and the purchase of the then new table and chairs for the new house.

I remember sitting round this table as a child having meals.  I was also sat at the table the first time that I drank any wine I liked (home made Mandarin wine, so it was probably sweet which is probably why I liked it).  I have moved on from sweet mandarin wine, but always loved the table.

It has been refinished since and also as more family members came along an extra top was made by my Dad's Mum to go over the table to allow for more space for more people.  She took an evening class to learn how to make the extra table top and to do the refinishing.  The table has seen a lot of action over many years, but it is still in great shape. 

Hubby wasn't sure about the table at all when I said that my Dad had offered it to me.  He couldn't imagine what it would look like in our house, although our house is actually exactly the right period for the table.  Of course as soon as he saw it in our house he was delighted with how it looked - he needs to trust me more!

There has been one downside to this wonderful inheritance though.  We seem to have turned into a furniture repository/rehoming service ever since.  First we had to rehome our existing table and chairs.  Until the new table came along we were quite content with what we had, but the existing table and chairs were nothing special so we were happy to let them go.

This picture shows "half" the table.

Our old table was in two halves of a half round and a flap each.  We took one half round to the local furniture project along with two of the six chairs.  Then, the other half went into the kitchen with two of the chairs.  This replaced the existing table and chairs in the kitchen.  Old kitchen table went to the garden (it was a very small metal folding table), chairs were taken apart and stored in the loft (not quite sure why!).  The remaining two dining room chairs moved too, one to the office to replace the broken office chair and one to the guest bedroom. 

We had one table flap left, and that became the top to our new garden table.

So far so good, we only disposed of one half round of the table and two chairs - and they would be rehomed to a deserving person who needed them.  Pretty good going all in all we thought.

Hubby and I assumed that once we had sorted all that out we were done with shifting furniture.  Oh no.  You must be kidding.

We stumbled across a wonderful shop called Pineapple Retro, owned by Sophie Crockett.  She stocks all sorts of items from the 1950's to the 1980's.  When Sophie had an Ercol Sideboard come into stock we went to see it.  You can guess were this is going can't you!  We bought the sideboard home.

Pineapple Retro was nearly award winning!  I hope that next year they will win.

So, furniture on the move again.  Old sideboard to dispose of and new one to install.  The old sideboard went to the garden shed for me to store all my gardening stuff in to keep hubby away from it so I know where everything is.  New sideboard soon filled up, so more rearranging of the contents and then shuffling with the contents of the bookcase in the corner of the room too.

You can see the old sideboard in the picture above, this was replaced by the new one below!  You can also see the curtains due for replacement in the above picture.

Stool from the comfy chair in the study that lived in the lounge - please don't ask, I am married to a hoarder in denial - had to be rehomed.  It has moved from the lounge, but is currently resting in the guest bedroom awaiting further action disposal.

Are you still with me - all this because of a new dining room table and chairs - aaaaaaaaaagggggggggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait.  It gets even better.  Turns out, when you get one piece of Ercol furniture, you have to get some more, and then some more.  It is addictive.  So, we are on the hunt for a set of "pebble" tables to go with our other Ercol.  They are hard to find and expensive, although not as expensive as the new sets that you can still buy from Ercol it turns out.

We are on the "hunting for" list with Sophie at Pineapple Retro so when she had a set come in, we went to visit them.  Sadly, they were too too dark for our other furniture so we left them behind.

However, Sophie pointed us in the direction of a local retro fair so I had to buy these instead!  I need more bowls like a need a hole in the head you understand.  I deny that I am a hoarder.  Actually, I probably need a hole in the head more than I need more bowls.

So, stool still needs rehoming, tables still sought and now we are onto repainting the room, ordering new curtains and putting up ceiling coving (crown moulding).  How on earth does one wonderful but relatively modest inheritance lead to all this.  I would never have thought it in a million years.  We are loving it though and loving our table far more than our old furniture.  It has history, it suits our house and room and our style.

Lots of fun though, even if I have never thought about furniture this much in my whole life.  When we are done with the redecoration I'll post some pics, but in the meantime here are some more pics from Pineapple Retro from our last visit.

The tables that didn't come home - but are now sold and on their way to a great new life I am sure.

Sophie doesn't want you to see this, but it is all the things that had just come in and were waiting to be priced and displayed!  She is a very busy lady.


Pineapple Retro do know I exist, but I have not received anything for writing about them, nor have I been asked to write about them, and I cannot imagine that I ever would receive anything from them for my writing.  If I did, I would tell you!

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

A little catch up

We are updating our living/dining room curtains and have had our eye on this fabric for ages.  It is VERY expensive though!
So, alternatives were needed for consideration

We decided on this one, but in a different colourway.  The new curtains are ordered and are on their way, should be here by the end of next week!!  These will be the first ever made to measure curtains that I have had, and therefore, the first pair that actually (they jolly well better or else!) fit the windows properly.  We have very odd sized windows in our house it seems.

Two of the whole three courgettes that we have managed to produce this year.  Very tasty, but a lot of work for a very small harvest.  No sign of any butternut squash to come!

The peas have done rather better though (sorry about the fuzzy photo).  I do love a home grown pea!

These are some of the beautiful flowers in my parents garden.

A new (to me) set of pyrex bowls bought on a recent trip - post to follow.  Of course, I need more bowls like I need a hole in the head, but I couldn't pass these up at £15.00 with a free casserole dish thrown in!

Our rhubarb has done much better than the courgettes, we seem to have had masses this year.  When we get too much we chop it up, cook it down and store it in the freezer for the winter - yummy rhubarb crumble.  Yes!


The off to the family gathering this weekend.  My dad made his special cheesy crunchy things.  Grated Cheddar and Parmesan cheeses, measured out in his special pastry cutter - reserved just for this! - and then baked in the oven until they melt, then leave to cool before serving.  If you can't stop eating cheese do not make these, as you will eat them all and regret it!

My second dessert to go with the pav that I made, gluten free chocolate bundt cake, with chocolate ganache - it was heaven!

We always get the flags out for the Aussies when they come to party!

Mum making pasta salads.

The finished pav with cream and fruit.  They ate it all, and then had chocolate cake!!  I told you it would all go.  I know I shouldn't say it, but it did taste fabulous.


And finally... some random oddness from the garden centre.  These are made as you can see from recycled oil drums.  We liked the bull best, but there was also a great chicken!

Well, that's all for today folks.  Hope you enjoyed the catch up.  I'm enjoying your visits and comments, so thank you for coming and for commenting, I really appreciate it and hope that you like what you find here.

See you again soon!