Spring, Spring, Spring! And Giveaway winners!


Welcome-Spring

Any fans of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers will be completely forgiven for breaking out into uproarious song after reading the title of my post. It’s my lovely mum’s most favourite movie so the show tunes have become ingrained from childhood! 

This weekend we definitely enjoyed ‘Ma Nature’s yearly miracle’ as we went on a visit to Tatton Park, an historic estate in Cheshire. And OH but the sun was glorious and the sky was so blue, the birds were a-twitterin’ and blossoms…well they were just so blossomy!!! 

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I can’t even begin to tell you how nice it was to get outside and enjoy some good weather after quite a grey March – and to walk about with no coat on either; just delightful!

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It was an absolute pleasure slowly walking round the gardens with all my family (as my mum and Dad came too), talking and taking in and appreciating the scenery.

I even spotted a bit of crochet in one of the farmers huts…though I might question the realism of the colour palette of the bottom blanket for the olden days – hot pink yarn?!!

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Then whilst hubby played with the girls on the play-park my parents and I wandered over to look at the house. Inside, amongst lots of other things, they had what seemed to be a little embroidery showcase. There was no denying the talent of the artists that had created some of the pieces – they were just stunning! I took a picture of my favourite work because I just thought it was so beautiful (silly me though I forgot to look for the name of the artist) I just love the colours, the composition of the piece…just everything about it!

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The highlight of the day for everyone though was Tatton Park’s lambing week…

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By some sort of wizardry they had synchronised their ewes to lamb within a 10 day period and there were so many of the little cuties bouncing about ‘waggin’ tails, rubbin’ noses’. Although we didn’t see any lambs actually being born, we saw some that had just been born! Little G asked lots of interesting questions…and was thoroughly intrigued by the whole thing.  

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By the end of the day we’d walked over 8.4km  (about 5.5 miles) round the gardens and house, enjoyed some eating alfesco with the first picnic of the year and all went home with happy hearts! So glad that Spring is finally here!

And before I forget there are some giveaway winners to announce aren’t there! Just to remind you, I set a little competition so some lovely people could win some pattern prizes (details in this post). Was the winner you? Did you get the answer right?  

Well the answer to my clue was my Daisy Chain Flourish blanket

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but some of you answered that it was my Daisy Chain afghan square  which was kind of right too – so I’ve tumbled you all into a random.org and the winners of a pattern of their choice are:

  1. Patricia Giles  
  2. Trisha Smith
  3. Nicola
  4. Yolande Timkoe 
  5. Kirsty

Congratulations folks! Please can you get in touch with me so you can claim your prize!

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

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Crochet Book Reviews | AmiguruMe by Allison Hoffman


Before I get onto the review I need to tell you a bit of the background as to why I personally was so interested in this book in the first place. If you are a follower of my little ole blog then you may well have seen my posts about how I created an amigurumi likeness of my brother and that dolls subsequent adventures (of Little Adam). Well what started off as a family joke quickly escalated and now all my friends and family want their own custom doll! That is definitely going to take awhile…but I plan on springing them on people when they least expect it so as to make a better surprise!

My basic Little Adam design was a simplified version of my elf pattern and a fab little guitar pattern I found on Ravelry. It wasn’t until after I’d given him to my brother that I realised I’d forgotten to give him ears! 

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My real brother does have ears! Just missed them off the doll – oopss!

I knew there must be a way to make any future dolls have an even closer resemblance to their ‘owner’ and that’s where the book AmigurumMe by Allison Hoffman comes in…

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How clever is that title right!?

AmigurumMe is basically a fantastic resource book for making your own customised crocheted characters. Each pattern is written in American Crochet terminology with clear and easy to follow instructions including detailed explanations and photos of the different stitches used.

The book is cleverly divided into sections for each component:

  • Making faces and heads
  • Upper body
  • Lower body
  • Feet and shoes
  • Hair
  • Accessories and more

I love the fact that a cat and a dog have also been included for pet loving mini-versions of friends and family.

Since the patterns show you how to make each different elements of a doll there’s literally endless possibilities that you can create. The book even includes step-by-step instructions of how to make some celebrities such as Mr.T, Tina Turner (as shown on the front cover) or even Michael Jackson, Madonna or Hulk Hogan.

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The customised doll I wanted to try this time round was one of my lovely dad… 

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Photo of me and my lovely Dad taken a few years ago…

I didn’t use all elements of the book, as I wanted Little Dad to be similar to Little Adam, so I concentrated on the face and hair to begin with.  Oh my goodness I cannot even say how long I spent trying to get his hair and eyebrows right!  Rather than make a wig cap (which I did with Little Adam) I embroidered the hair directly onto the head. I eventually got to a place where I was pleased with how it looked – and believe me any dreams of being a hairdresser were well and truly quashed!

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I used the details from the book to make a cap sleeved top, better hands, ears (didn’t forget those this time) and a cute pocket detail to his top.

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To make it even more personalised I added a fishing rod (as that’s my Dad’s hobby) and embroidered some tattoos onto my dad’s arms – these elements weren’t included in the book so I winged it, but I was pleased with the end results. After these tweaks Little Dad was finally finished and handed over to my Dad on his birthday. And in case you were wondering my Dad loved him (yay)!

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If you fancy having a go at making your own customised doll I would definitely recommend this book (I bought my copy of the book from Amazon) – I know I will certainly be using it again in the future.

Well until next time; keep calm and crochet on my friends xx

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Disclaimer: This book / pattern is one I have purchased (or used) for my own benefit.  I have not been financially compensated by the book company or the designer to write this review. All opinions expressed are my own and based on my own experiences of using the book / pattern.

 

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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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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My daughter’s fifth birthday…


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I’m in a reflective mood today so this post isn’t about crochet for a change!  My baby girl is turning 5 today which is a pretty big deal to me!

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Five seems like such a grown up age, a real milestone, an age where babyhood is left behind as she begins to do all sorts of things by herself.  She’s going to school now, she’s beginning to read, she can pretty much get dressed by herself, she’s lost her first tooth…the list of her accomplishments grows and grows.  

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I’m so proud of her independence and how she is maturing yet I have the secret sadness (that I’m sure many mothers share) that I’m not prepared for the fact that she is growing up so fast!48.jpg

I have to say I thought she was pretty incredible at 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 and I know she’s going to continue to fill our lives with love, joy and laughter as she turns 5 (and older) but there is still a big part of me that wants her to stay little forever! I want her to keep her innocence, continue to believe in fairies, and still think that wearing a really twirly dress is the best thing ever (well do we ever grow out of that?).

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As I see her getting older I know there will be a day where she doesn’t need me as much and whilst I know that will mean I have done a good job at the moment I can’t see that I will ever be ready for that day.  That said I know my memories of this time will fade, as these things inevitably do, as I concentrate on how fantastic my older child is.

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But thank goodness we are not quite there yet!  Today I finished work early so I could be there when she finished school.  We’ve made fabulous ice-cream creations with her new Playdoh set, we’ve played with her other toys and then we’ve all gone out to her favourite restaurant for a birthday tea; lovely memories for all!

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Well baby, I love you more than anything else in the world – even crochet! I hope you love your birthday as much as we love you!

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June in a Nutshell (Part 2) Holiday in Brittany | 2015


We spent some blissful days at the end of June in Brittany, France (again!) on our big family holiday.  I think we are falling in love with the Brittany region; the sun, the sea, the bread, the cheese and wine…need I say more!  

We were blessed with beautiful weather and we did lots of adventuring around the various nearby cities and towns. One of my favourite places that we visited was Mont Saint Michel, which for people that don’t know, is a magical island topped by a gravity-defying medieval monastery and is easily one of France’s most stunning sights.

keepcalmandcrochetonuk.wordpress.comYes we climbed all the way to the top, even Little G and let me tell you it looked an awfully long way down from the top!  The people at the bottom look like teeny tiny ant’s don’t they!

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So you remember me telling you about the Granny Square Crochet / Fabric Dress by Mon Petit Violon I was making Little G for her holiday? Well she wore the finished item the day we went to Mont Saint Michel.  I was really chuffed with how it turned out in the end especially as I’m the first to confess that sewing DOES NOT come naturally to me!

The pattern is very well written with clear written instructions and accompanying photos.  It comes in sizes 9-12 months and up to 3 years; as Little G is a very tall 4 year old I played around with the pattern a bit to match her measurements and used double knit rather than sport weight and a 4mm (US size G) hook rather than a 3.25mm (US size D) to help up the size.  

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The top half of the dress I made from Young Touch 100% Cotton DK from my stash which has sadly been discontinued (which is a shame as it’s lovely to work with).  The fabric for the dress part Little G and I fell in love with at a local haberdashery; it was so bright and summery it was just crying out to be made into a dress – and it matched the Young’s Cotton perfectly!Dress+Logo

What would a summer holiday be without a trip to the beach.  We had one full proper day at a pretty beach which Little G thoroughly enjoyed – the rest we were off gallivanting around Brittany.

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Other beach trips were to look for treasures such a unicorn horns (twisty shells) and other exciting things – we got quite a collection of lovely scallop shells.

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There was a most fantabulous pool / water-park at the place where we stayed so we spent many an enjoyable afternoon there all playing on the slides!  I think this is one of my most favourite pictures of the holiday – I love how much fun Little G and my husband are having just shines through the photo!

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We all enjoy exploring where we were and taking in the sites of Saint Malo, Zooparc Tregomeur, Village Gaulois and Perros-Guirec.  Though we did have a couple of chill days to recharge our batteries.  I did take my crochet with me and before the sun came up and the day got too hot I luxuriated in some peaceful hooky time with a cuppa.  I have to confess that I finished off Little G’s hat for her holiday actually on the holiday as I ran out of time before hand!  

When I first saw the Create A Cloche pattern by JoAnne Grimm Thompson I just knew it was the perfect hat I had been looking for! The pattern includes instructions for 2 different body styles, 2 bands, 3 flowers, leaves and stem with leaves.  I chose the solid version with the giant flower but I actually forgot to take the pattern with me so had to improvise on the leaf part which is why it looks a little different.  It’s a great pattern, clearly written and comes in sizes 0-6 months, 6-12 months, 1-2 years, 3-10 years, teen/adult and large adult and I know I’m going to be making more of these in the future!!

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I love how this hat turned out!! The pattern called for Lily Sugar’n Cream Solids & Denimwhich isn’t easy to get your hands on in the UK so I used Drops Love You 5 100% recycled cotton. It’s the first time I’ve used this yarn and it’s a super lovely Aran / Worsted weight cotton usually available at a fabulous price and comes in lots of bright / fun colours – I created the ombre effect using three different shades.  As it’s recycled cotton it’s also a nice environmentally conscious option for yarn.

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All in all we did manage to have a wonderful holiday whilst we were there and I’m so grateful for the time we spent away as a family.  I’ll end with a few more of snapshots…

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Wonderful memories!

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