Quick crochet update

I am desperately trying to finish bits and pieces whilst trying to resist the lure of starting a new project. I'm currently working on a couple of cushion covers, although I can't remember why I needed to make two and not one 😊. You actually only make the cushion front and then attach to a cushion cover which you can either buy or make. I've opted to buy mine as it is too difficult to wrestle with the sewing machine in our pokey flat. The pattern is from Simply Crochet magazine issue 57, and comprises a centre panel with the bobbles and then a border which you can make to the size you need for the cushion cover. It's lovely working with soft cotton in this warm weather.

Inbetween spells of cushion bobbles I've been trying to finish off some axminster wool from my circular rug and heart and flower garland. This featured in my Crochet Ferris Wheel Coaster post, but I've finally finished the second candle holder to complete the set. I also made a garland/halter for the moose - see below!

I also finished off a crochet bow for a daughter to wear in her hair or as a brooch. It's the same as Shamus the dog's bow tie, but obviously in a girly pink colour.

And finally, this is not my work and it's not crochet, but I need to share it as it's so lovely. It also evokes lovely memories of a great day with the family on holiday in Pembrokeshire. Thanks AC! (Aunty Christine to everyone).

Pembrokeshire Islands Seabird Spectacular Cruise

We have just had a fab family holiday in Pembrokeshire. One of the many highlights of the holiday was an evening seabird cruise around the islands off the Pembrokeshire coast. This particular trip was run by Pembrokeshire Islands. I did take some photo's but they mostly didn't turn out too well due to the low light levels and the up and down-ness of the boat, so if you follow the link you will see some much better photo's that represent the experience that we had. I wanted to see puffins and we saw thousands. It was really spectacular. Of course we saw many other birds and the guide on the boat was very knowledgeable and really interesting even though we did get a bit confuddled with information overload after a while.

The cruise ended as the sun was going down and it was a lovely sunset, which finished off the trip beautifully.

Pity I felt so sick all the while on the boat. Curse that dratted motion sickness. It was worth it for all the puffins though!

The bacon butty walk

A couple of weeks ago we decided to walk from the barns to Codnor Park reservoir to get some fresh air. It's a walk that goes down the fields, across the steam railway, along the coach road and then onto Cromford canal and then to the reservoir. It is a nice walk, not dramatic, but nice and it harks back to our industrial heritage. The weather started off sunny but we just reached the bacon butty van at the reservoir when the heavens opened. There was no option but to have a bacon sandwich and a cup of tea whilst sheltering from the rain. Well, I have to say it was the best bacon sandwich I've had in ages, and the cup of tea hit the spot as well. The Waters Edge bacon butty van has featured in Derbyshire Life magazine and manages very well without advertising but relies on word of mouth and facebook recommendations. After the rain we turned around and rushed back to the barns before the next deluge.....and almost made it in time.

The reservoir at Codnor park has become a favourite gentle stroll and bird watching venue. At the moment there are many baby water fowl including swans, moorhen, mallard and coot. Checkout my instagram feed for photos. 

Crochet Octopus for babies

I wanted to make a gift for a new baby and happened upon an article about crocheted soft toy octpuses (octupi?) for premature babies. Apparently the babies take comfort from the spiral tentacles as a replacement for the umbilical cord. Fortunately, the baby in question was born safely and on time, although clearly I could have been a lot better prepared! The octopus only took an evening (and a bit) to make so we wrapped it up and delivered it to the new parents straight away. Baby's big brother (aged 2) really liked the new octopus so we went straight round to the wool shop to buy a different colour and after another evening wielding a crochet hook we have a brother octopus to 'Holly' octopus. We will drop him round later today. I really need to get better at facial features on these amigurumi toys because the expressions on the faces makes such a difference to the finished toy, so whilst I was not completely happy with the eyes and mouths on the octopuses, time was of the essence. Also I'm in the middle of 2 cushion covers, one tea light jar cover and a hexagon quilt so I have to become quicker at finishing things.

The octopuses are made with 100% cotton yarn and washable filling so will be perfectly safe for babies and are washable. I used Wendy Supreme luxury cotton DK and a 3.5mm hook. These are such a good gift for a new baby, but clearly a great gift to a premature baby so I'm going to find out if our local neonatal units have a similar scheme.

Crochet Ferris Wheel Coaster and Tea Light Holder

I cracked.......I couldn't help myself. My crochet addiction just got the better of me and I had to rummage in the storage container for my stash of wool. Fortunately, it wasn't buried too deep and I only had to climb up one layer of boxes.......Anyway, I found some remnants of the axminster wool used for my circular doily rug and the heart and flowers bunting, chose a pattern and got started. I found the ferris wheel coaster pattern on the boys and bunting blog which I discovered after reading Simply Crochet magazine. The pattern is perhaps not a beginner pattern but would definitely be suitable for someone who is ready to progress past granny squares. It has bobbles and crochet cables (front post double crochet) so there is plenty of surface texture. The tea light holder pattern I made up with a bit of playing about. I made so many of these for homemade Christmas presents a couple of years ago that I could remember how to do them, and then added some bobbles since I had just been doing these in the coasters. I'm still finishing off a second tea light holder but I need to find a jar exactly the same size as the original as I'm using this as a pattern. Hopefully this won't prove to be more difficult than the actual crochet!    

Crochet coasters and tea light holder

Chocolate and Banana Sourdough Muffins

 I ran out of time to bake bread this weekend and my sourdough starter had been sitting in a warm kitchen and really needed some urgent attention so I made some speedy chocolate and banana muffins. The recipe is from Vanessa Kimbell on the bakery bits website and can be found here.  Even in our pathetically small cupboard of a kitchen, they were relatively easy to make and if the proof of the pudding is in the eating, they were all demolished at family tea so can be declared a success.

chocolate and banana sourdough muffins

Hardwick Hall - more glass than wall

I love where we live, not specifically our temporary rented hovel, but our bit of Derbyshire. It has many attributes but one of them is that it has stately homes all over the place. Today I dashed out to Hardwick Hall - it's only maybe 10 miles from where we live - and it was such a beautiful afternoon and we are members of the National Trust so it's easy to pop over for an hour. I took some really nice photo's of the herb garden in all it's loveliness but have just accidentally deleted them. Oh well, I will just have to pop over again another time and take some more. I did manage to salvage one of my photo's but I've a feeling that I've taken this very view before. One thing I didn't know about Hardwick was that it was featured in Harry Potter as the outside of the Malfoy mansion. When I saw it in the film I thought that it looked very much like Hardwick Hall!

Crochet baby blanket

I haven't any of my own home made offerings to show, but can share the crochet glory of a daughter. She did all the crochet hard work but needed a bit of speedy joining up by me to be able to gift the baby blanket at a baby shower the following evening. There wasn't enough time to do the edging, so it has been given and taken back to complete the finishing touches which may also include some little flowers if the baby is a girl. The photo doesn't really do it justice as the colours have a lovely fresh spring look. I have to say that the best bit about this blog post is that (at last) I have an offspring who has persevered with learning to crochet!