Oh I do like to be beside the seaside…


Oh what a lovely family holiday we had over the school May break! Although it’s not exactly relaxing when travelling with a baby, (so much stuff to take!), I think I speak for us all when I say that it restored our inner sense of well-being. It was just nice being together and not having to worry about work, school or nursery and a ‘change is as good as a rest’ so they say. 

We travelled down to Lincolnshire for the week which is somewhere we’d never been to before. It’s such a pretty place with a romantically English countryside and coastline. 

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View from the top of Tattershall Castle

We were blessed with beautiful weather for the whole time we were away which was amazing. It’s possibly the first time EVER I think for it not to rain for some part of a week away in England.  Some days the temperature soared to the dizzy heights of 20-23° which was practically tropical!!  We did lots of adventuring around with activities the children would enjoy but we also savoured some quieter gentler days walking around  Tattershall Castle and Gunby Hall Estate and gardens.

I do so love a pretty garden – I’m not much of an outdoor gardener myself (its more patio pots and house plants in the KCACOUK household) but I really appreciate the wealth of colour and the peaceful calming of the mind that a beautiful garden can provide. 

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Stunning poppies in the grounds of Gunby Hall Gardens

I especially love large gardens where you have to wind your way through the hedgerows and flowers. Little G and I had a great time exploring!

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We also all enjoyed glorious day out at Huttoft Beach  which is a large sandy beach with proper sand dunes (just as a beach should be).  

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At six years old Little G is getting more and more adventurous with going into the sea which delights me and terrifies me in equal measure because I’m ever the over cautious mother…  

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That said her joy at running in and out of the waves and splashing around made my heart very happy!  

And we actually saw a wild seal! We didn’t know that Lincolnshire is a bit of a seal watchers paradise. Apparently it boasts one of the largest breeding colonies of grey seals in the UK.  The one we saw was way out to sea but you could make out it’s head popping up now and again which was very exciting. Unfortunately it was too far away to take a photo of but I did take some snaps at Skegness Seal Sanctuary of some gorgeous baby seals which we all thoroughly enjoyed watching and learning more about.

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Our day out at Skegness was a busy one full of the noise and excitement of rides and amusement arcades much to the joy of both children – but who doesn’t love soft play areas and popping in the pence on the tuppenny falls?!?

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We also enjoyed the Skegness Aquarium, where Little G was overjoyed to have her face painted with a glittery mermaid and Little Miss was just entranced by the jellyfish tube! It was followed by ice-cream and obligatory donkey rides on the beach. Little G is just mad on animals / horses / unicorns so this was a definite highlight for her! We were all shattered at the end of that jam packed day I can tell you.

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And did I fit any crochet in? You bet ya! I did take a gianormous bag of yarn with me much to my husbands disbelief (horror) when I kept giving him more stuff to pack into the car (you surely don’t need all this? Well actually yes, yes I do). And on the still light evenings when Little Miss decided to sleep and in the early mornings when we were awake (but no one else was) I took full advantage of hooking away. 

I can’t give away too much about the projects I was working on (though all will be revealed here when ready) but I’ll give you a little glimpse at my work bag where you can see some lovely bright primary colours of Stylecraft Special DK.

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All too soon it was time to come home, back to reality, rain and mountains of laundry. I’m completely counting down the days until we can go away again!

Until next time! Keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Getting Crafty | Paper Flower Chrysanthemums


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Our amazing cake made by http://www.cakeholetutbury.co.uk

Last weekend it was a flurry of activity in the KCACO-UK home as we not only had Little G’s birthday happening (how fast another year has gone!) but we also held a naming ceremony for Little Miss.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me what a naming ceremony is…well it’s a non-religious alternative for a service such as christening to mark a child’s arrival. We held one for Little G when she was a baby and now it was the turn of friends and family help us welcome Little Miss into the world.  The naming ceremony was facilitated by the British Humanist Association (who were fab) who designed the day to be personal to us – and what a happy, fun and relaxed, wonderful day spent with family and friends it was!

But before that I had decided that I was going to get creative and make my own decorations and things for the party. As I’m a massive fan of Pinterest I created myself a board and got pinning…and lost several hours of my life!  The main thing I decided I wanted to make were paper flowers as I thought that would be something Little G would enjoy making with me.  

Next it was off to the craft shop where I picked up, amongst other things, everything I needed to make paper flowers. There are loads of different ways to make paper flowers but I’m going to show you how I made mine to look like a chrysanthemum. To make them yourself you will need:

  • At least 8 sheets of tissue paper 
  • Scissors
  • Longish Pipe cleaners (if making with younger children) or craft wire 

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Next you need to cut your tissue sheets into squares – the easiest way to do this is to take the corner of your paper and fold it to the opposite edge to make a triangle. Cut off the excess tissue paper at the top, unfold and you have your squares! Make sure non of the squares are joined anywhere so you have eight individual squares.

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Next you need to fold the paper into a concertina…

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Next fold the concertina in half and then wrap your pipe cleaner or craft wire around the middle securely.

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Next you need to trim each edge to create the petals, to make the chrysanthemum your edges should be fairly rounded…

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The next bit can be a little tricky; so you might have to help little ones. Carefully separate each layer of tissue paper to create the fullness of the flower on each side… 

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And that’s it! You should be left with a beautiful paper chrysanthemum. Make smaller squares for mini flowers or make giant flowers with big squares.

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The lovely thing about paper flowers is that you can easily dress up a party or room yourself. I added my flowers to some jam jars wrapped in hessian and twine and cut out some petal shapes from the left over tissue paper and scattered those on the table. I was really pleased with how they turned out in the end.

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Let me know if you give tissue paper flowers ago!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Toy Hammock | Pattern Special Offer


If your house is anything like mine after Christmas well it was a bit of a jumble…the culprits – a vast influx of more toys! Now with stuffies for two girls  pretty much taking over our house I decided it was high time to remake one of my old designs, a toy hammock. 

The one that I originally made for Little G was still fine (and that’s after 3 years and several washes!) so I moved that into the nursery ready for the emerging soft toy collection of Little Miss…

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and then I made a supersized hammock for Little G – because SO many toys!

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Are toys taking over your little one’s room? Then a sturdy toy hammock is just what you need to keep all those teddies off the floor or the bed. This pattern really is ideal for the bedroom or nursery to display and keep collections of soft toys tidy. You could also use the hammock for organising lots of other things around the house such as gloves & scarves or sports equipment.

And now the special offer! To help in your tidying endeavours from now until 31 January 2017 you can get my toy hammock pattern for just £1 / $1.21 over in my Ravelry store. No coupon code needed – just add the basket to your cart and you should see the discount appear. After the sale the pattern will go back up to full price so get your copy now and don’t forget to share this deal with your friends!

Until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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2016 in a Nutshell


I thought I’d do a little review of my hooky year in pictures…

January saw the release of the biggest thing I worked on all year. It’s also the item and design which I am ultimately most proud of. The Everything Is Cool and Groovyghan 2016 Crochet-A-Long is definitely the most challenging thing I have designed and shared so far and the finished groovyghans made by other crafters have just blown me away (you lot are amazing!). Although the crochet-a-long has now finished you can still make a groovyghan of your very own by checking out the details on the blog here.

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February and March I was busy growing a human which turned out to be quite hard work! So, aside from the groovyghan, there wasn’t a whole lot of crocheting going on…

Then in April my new shawl pattern, The Spring Blossom Wrap, was released in iLikeCrochet Magazine. Worked in a smooth 4ply cotton yarn and a 3.5mm hook I was really pleased with the floral look I eventually achieved on this shawl which I based on cherry blossoms.

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In May and June baby had finally arrived so I got back to a little hooking by working up some quick little hats and a headband for my new arrival. I just chose some patterns on Ravelry that I liked the look of and they actually turned out to be all free patterns. The hats and tie back I made include the Sedge Stitch Newborn Beanie, the Bonnie Bell Bonnet, the TopKnot Baby Hat and the 15 Minute Tieback.  The Bonnie Bell Bonnet was one of the first hats I hooked up. It’s such a cute design and as its worked in Aran (Worsted) weight yarn it’s very quick to work up.

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In July I hooked up a little Amineko cat for Little G’s summer fayre, such a fun design and super cute!

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In August and September I was working on some exciting patterns for October (more on that later) but I still found time to hook up a little Pumpkin hat for the baby and Baabara for this years Yarndale charity project

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and I finally finished a work in progress which had been started a year previously! The Corner to Corner Granny Stitch Throw  was a great pattern to use up loads of odds and ends of double knit in my stash…

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So October was a busy and exciting month; my RainBOW Clip Organiser was released in Issue 31 of Happily Hooked Magazine…and I was completely delighted to be asked to take part in the Stylecraft Blog Tour for 2016 for which I designed the Harmonious Hexagon Blanket (free pattern here).

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In November and December I hooked up several Christmassy items for my girls including some cute Elfin baby boots and some fabulous elf hats. I also hooked up a fab little mouse baby hat for a Micky fan – unfortunately this particular pattern is no longer available, there are plenty of alternatives out there though if you are looking for this style.  

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I also hooked up my special animals from my TOFT yarn and some awesome little Princesses for some gorgeous little girls; but I’m going to blog about those later so I’ll save those ta-dah moments for 2017!

Wow, I enjoyed that stroll down memory lane! I find when it’s all written down like this that I have accomplished more than I realised! Crochet is such a big part of my life that sometimes I forget what I have been up to in the year as I’m concentrating on the next design or project.  The most fantastic thing about crochet is that it continually brings me happiness, fun challenges, surprises, satisfaction at a job completed and most of all relaxation. 

So what can you look forward to in 2017 from me?

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I have so many plans for 2017! I’m extremely excited to be working with several crochet magazines this year on new designs, I’ve also got various exciting collaborations coming up, I’m going to be catching up with patterns that I didn’t finish due to being pregnant (and ill) and then having a newborn (for those waiting for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – this is at the top of the list!) AND we’ve got a brand new crochet-a-long to look forward to (starting in March) which is also in development behind the scenes as we speak.

Finally I’d like to say a mahoosive thank you to everyone who has followed me on the blog or on social media in 2016…

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My thanks is to everyone who may have brought and/or made any of my patterns, who have read my musings following me here on the blog and for those who have offered / or continued to offer their hands in friendship. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your support, enthusiasm and your camaraderie and how much I love to see your finished work!

Well until next time, happy hooking and keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…


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Only 4 more sleeps until Chrisssstttttmmaaassss!!!! I’m totally writing this post listening to Christmas carols, eating turkey, wrapping presents, baking mince-pies, sipping Baileys, trimming a tree all with a Santa hat on – well the carols are playing at least.  I do so love, love, love Christmas -it’s definitely my most favourite time of year. I love how decorations appear everywhere and twinkly lights adorn everything, (my inner magpie is totally satisfied), and as always I am looking forward to spending time with family and friends.

So as far as Christmas and crochet goes I’ve been busy making some presents, which I can’t share details of yet, and I found the most amazing wrapping paper to wrap my gifts in…

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Love this fabulous knitted Santa wrapping paper!   

I have also hooked up a few seasonal items for my gorgeous girls. I had in my head that I wanted to do a photo shoot with the girls for family Christmas cards; plus they were a couple of Christmas parties scheduled where I knew they would need dressing up outfits.

Little G chose the theme of Santa and his elf; she was to be a lady Santa and Little Miss was to be her helper.  We found some costumes but they needed some accessories – cue Mummy with her magic hook 😉

First off I made the Elfin Baby Booties by DIY Maven for Little Miss. The booties are a super cute free pattern for sizes 0-6 month made in Aran (worsted) weight yarn which are really quick to hook up.  As Little Miss is a beautiful big baby I did go up from a 4mm to a 5.5mm hook size to accommodate her tootsies, which meant the booties then fit perfectly, other than that the pattern is very easy to follow and the result is a fab set of booties perfect for any pixie babe.  

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The yarn I used for the booties was the new Paintbox Yarn which, if you are a yarn addict like myself, you have probably seen photos and reviews of floating about on the web and social media. 

The yarns come in acrylic DK, aran, chunky and cotton yarns and are exclusive to LoveKnitting.com and LoveCrochet.com and comes in 60 fabulous colours. 

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I have been waiting for the right project to give this yarn a try and I have to say it’s super lovely yarn to work with. The ‘Grass Green’ was the perfect shade, I thought, for my little elfin booties.

Next they both needed hats; a Santa hat for Little G and an elf hat for Little Miss. I’d had the free Crochet Elf Hat by Repeat Crafter Me saved for ages as I thought they were really cute and oh my goodness they were so awesome when they were finished and looked fabulous – just how I wanted the hats to look with a nice long tail and chunky pom pom! I used the Aran (Worsted Weight) Paintbox Yarn again (in ‘Paper White’ and ‘Pillar Red’ along with the ‘Grass Green’)

And the finished result…well after many outtakes we managed to get the most lovely photo, I was so pleased with how they turned out.

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Well I think all that’s left for me to do is wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

I’ve got lots planned for 2017, including a new exciting crochet-along to start Feb/Mar 2017, but I’ve still got one more post next week before the New Year kicks in.  You can read it in your pyjamas if you want – I’m hoping I’ll be writing the post in mine!  

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Tales of a Craft Room| Part 2


So you may remember me talking about the building work that we are having done at the moment…well it’s still an on going mission!  Unfortunately, due to a spate of bad weather, my dreams of it all being finished for Christmas are long gone.  Who knew that cement had an attitude problem and would only do it’s job under certain conditions! 

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Lots and lots of cement foundations! This building should survive anything!

We also hit some other snags; foundations had to be dug much deeper than anticipated, which meant more concrete (still with an attitude!), deliveries of materials not arriving when they should, skip men not coming to collect the rubble on time, wind, rain, frost – you name it, we seemed to have it.

However slowly but surely we finally saw progress…the floor went down. Baby and I had great fun watching the men ankle deep in cement smoothing it out, then covering it up (got to treat that concrete right!).

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A floor! A floor! So exciting if you are me!

The bricks arrived and the walls started going up quite quickly! 

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Then all of a sudden the walls were finished and we got roof rafters! Next we wait for the roofing chaps to come and fix the roof, then we can add doors and windows – oh I can’t wait!  

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It’s never easy having any sort of work done to your house or garden, and I am thoroughly sick of the mess but I can now start to visualise in my mind how it’s going to look and how I’m going to lay everything out – I can’t wait!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Autumn Days


I love this time of year! I like the fact that it’s time to get out the hats, scarves and gloves. It’s time for comfort food, bonfires, conkers,  Halloween and the red, orange, greens and golds of autumn leaves. 

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I know some people find Halloween offensive but I have always viewed it as a bit of harmless fun where children can dress up, play games and enjoy themselves.  It’s believed that Halloween actually comes from the Celtic pagan festival of Samhain, which was a celebration of the end of the harvest season, and as we slip and trip into the misery, coldness and ice that is winter (you might guess I’m not a fan!) why shouldn’t we have a bit of fun I say!

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Little G absolutely loves Halloween it’s probably her most favourite day (after her birthday) and she pretty much talks about it all year round asking how many days until the next one is (this usually starts the day after the last one has ended).  For her Halloween is totally about dressing up and playing jokes. As it’s been half term week here the children have been off school so there have been plenty of places to visit which offer Halloween / Autumn activities.

We took a trip to Moseley Old Hall with my mum and dad to do some pumpkin carving which was good and messy. The excellent thing about pumpkin carving is the innards being transformed into warming pumpkin soup served with crusty garlic bread (yummmm).  

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Children were encouraged to dress up and the house and woods were great fun for exploring.  They have a really awesome tree house in the woods and Little G enjoyed building some dens out of logs, rope and stones with her grandparents.

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It was the best sort of Autumn day, a bit chilly but dry with a bright blue sky and crunchy leaves underfoot.   I think we all enjoyed a walk in the crisp air to blow the cobwebs away!

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Another day we went with some family friends to a trick or treat village where Little G was a cute cat and Little Miss an adorable pumpkin.

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The hat pattern is the Pumpkin-Top Earflap Hat by Kimberlie Goodnough. I’ve made it a few times now, it’s such a fun hat to make, quick to hook up and just perfect for Halloween / Autumn.  I did change the pattern slightly; I didn’t add the ear-flaps on this occasion and just added a scalloped trim to finish it off. 

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The yarn I used was Stylecraft Special Aran in Spice and Meadow which are just perfect pumpkin colours. 

So now Halloween has passed it’s on wards to bonfire night! I need to finish off some new winter hat designs for my girls before the weekend so I’d better get on with it as hats unfortunately (as much as it would be amazing if they did) don’t crochet themselves!

Until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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