Cup Cozy’s

Over the Winter months it became a bit of a habit… Coffee from my favourite coffee bar. It started out slowly.. “I’ll just have the one”… and pretty soon it was morning, afternoon and night. I landed up getting myself one of those coffee mugs which will in some way save the planet from all the card cups. But I still found the mugs too hot to hold and did not like the feel of the silicone sleeve adorned on my mug.

I love yarn. I love tea. And at the time, I loved coffee VERY much. (I still do love coffee but have had to ween myself off the caffeine for my running – but that’s another story). I crocheted myself a cup cozy to hold my mug as I sipped in mouthfuls of the heavenly drink. I soon realized, there must be others out there who felt the same and so set about making… well… quite a few!

Christmas time was great fun! I started recognizing the cosy’s that I made on the High Street which made me feel so proud. I had made every cozy ’til then totally random and each one was unique. Preparing for Christmas though, I used 3 basic designs and made a few of each – because I’m quite sure there would be more than one person wanting a Santa Belly Crochet Cup cozy.

All this talk of coffee… I think I might just go make myself a cup.

Take Care

Nina

Tea Anyone?

Cast your mind back to 23 March 2020… that’s when Boris Johnson initialized a lockdown in the UK in response to the COVD-19 pandemic. In Guernsey, we hadn’t quite hit that stage (although we would do the following day) but we had already started with procedures of our own form of defense against the virus (as directed by our leaders) such as closing 1:1 businesses like bars and restaurants; taking turns to work in the offices vs home to reduce the numbers in one place at a time; sanitizing everything that looked like it’d been touched… I’m sure you’ll remember the drill…

In the weeks preceding, small businesses were preparing for a full lockdown too and it was very important (and still is) that we as a community try look after our small businesses.

I decided to go show some support at my favorite small business of all time Iris and Dora and purchased myself a pottery mug to make. I was sitting in the store working on my mug, listening to everyone’s conversations:- what was going to happen; how would a lockdown affect us; what was it going to do to small businesses; how long did we all think it was going to last; etc etc… it was pretty surreal and slightly nerving.

The start at Iris and Dora

I didn’t get to finish the mug that first day (too much chatting with those in the shop 😊) and then as I mentioned, Guernsey went into Lockdown, so Denyse sent me home with the mug, paints and brushes to complete it on my own as I wasn’t sure when I’d be allowed back.

Setting up a working space at home 🏡

Over the next few days I had progressed with the mug and finally finished – it was ready to be fired. But in lockdown, I didn’t feel right to be dropping my mug off to the lovely folks at Iris and Dora just yet as I didn’t feel it was an ‘essential’ outing and so hung onto it in its ‘raw’, freshly painted state just for a wee while until Guernsey lockdown would relax a little.

 

I love pottery painting almost as much as I love crochet. And I love crochet almost as much as I love tea. My mug needed to be crocheted if I didn’t want it to be mistaken for someone else’s. So I decided to paint myself a granny square design on my mug. Hopefully this will avoid any doubt at the office that this is mine. 😂

By the way… Are you a tea cup or tea mug person? I love either but tend to drift to mugs for the larger quantities of the beverage these days 😝

I collected the completed mug earlier this week and have been using it at home. I LOVE this mug – thank you so much Iris and Dora! I’m constantly thinking of you and hope that you will all be ok through this difficult time and cannot wait to get back for some more painting…

PS… Iris and Dora do home deliveries of pottery painting kits (for those in Guernsey) if you’d like to try your hand at some pottery painting during this time and help support local businesses.

Take care everyone! Stay safe!

Nina

 

Catch up – are you OK?

Hi there. Are you OK? In today’s crazy world it’s important to catch up with your friends and family, check in, stay at home and stay safe.

I realize I haven’t written a blog post since September (!) which makes it almost impossible to catch up on ALL the things I’ve been up to since then in one go. If you’re not following me on Instagram or on Facebook you won’t have seen what I’ve been up to. Click the links if you do want to stay up to date with the ‘everyday’ posts I do there.

My time got rather swallowed up by running once I started training for the London Landmarks Half marathon, but I assure you I’ve still been making things!

To catch you up on the past 6months I think I’ll need to start with sharing the most recent works I’ve been doing, because most of this has been “Clovid-19” focused which is obviously a big topic at the moment and I’ll return later with some more bits ‘n pieces I’ve been making post September.

I was asked by several people if I was getting involved with making “mask extenders” for the healthcarers on the island and I was tagged on a message calling for mask extender makers / buttons / yarn. A mask extender, if you were wondering is a device used to ease the tension of elastic bands or ties found on face masks. Instead of tying the bands at the back of the head the ends are tied around a button on each side of the extension.

The “call” for extenders…

I contacted a friend who is a nurse. I really wasn’t sure exactly how “useful” these extenders could be and really didn’t want to make tons if they were not going to be used; were not appropriate for them or didn’t work. She was delighted to hear that I was considering making them and asked for a batch for her and her colleagues. In total over the last few weeks, I landed up making 103. I used all the buttons I had and a lot of the cotton yarn I was keeping for purses and managed to get a whole assortment of colours and buttons which I hoped would (if nothing else) bring a smile to those who are in the front line so to say. I sent a batch to several care homes and even to a nurse in the UK who asked for them too. I used my “exercise allowance” to drop these off where I could by either running to or walking to drop off points.

So here are the photos of well.. most of the ones I made.

I’ve been “lucky” living in Guernsey during this lockdown. Unlike a lot of countries in the world, we’ve been allowed out for “solo” exercising which means that I’m still going out for runs every other day. Unfortunately the London Landmarks Half marathon has been postponed and because I’ve not wanted to over exert myself (which lowers you immune system) I have been going for shorter runs than those I was doing in my training before the lockdown. Out and about I’ve taken tons of photos to share with friends and families stuck indoors. In the early days of the lockdown I was so impressed with the rainbow drawings on just about every home, made by the young people of Guernsey. It inspired me to make my own. And this is it:-

Last… but not least, a little superhero in today’s world. This little nurse dolly is just the cutest thing ever. I’ve made her for a friend who is also a nurse. She fits in my hand, has just the sweetest eyes (with eyelashes to die for) and gorgeous long hair! She is the spitting image of my friend… except for the “fitting in my hand” bit. I got the pattern for this dolly from Little Yarn tales. It is very easy to follow and the dolly was a delight to make.

’til the next time we meet … stay home… take care and stay safe

Nina

LLHM Raffle 1 – Crochet Purse

I’ve recently signed up to do the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March 2020.

I’m going to be doing the scenic London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM).

I will probably be posting a lot over the coming months on social media, asking for donations (apologies in advance) but I have a charity place, which means I am committed to raising funds for Cancer Research UK. As you may know, my sister has had Cancer MULTIPLE times. I really don’t want her to get it again and would do anything to help Cancer Research find a cure for all Cancers..

I will be doing special events such as raffling my handmade crochet items, which could be useful when it comes to Christmas gifts, so be on the lookout on my Facebook Page.

All the raffles will be run over Facebook and payment for your raffle tickets will go directly to my Giving page. The draws will not be done until all tickets are sold. I plan to do a few especially coming up to Christmas so don’t miss out and make sure you are following my page!

My Giving page for donations if you wish to donate is here:-

Nina’s LLHM Giving page

1st Raffle is for this purse! The idea is you pick a number 1-40. I confirm (on Facebook) that the number is available and yours, and you pay in £5 per number chosen. I will pay for international delivery! So far with this the first campaign, I’ve sold 10 numbers! Not much further to go, so get in there – you have to be in it to win it 😀

Thank you all for your support! Fingers crossed your number is picked!

Nina

Where has the time gone? Market update

Since my last post in May and the aftermath of the Seafront Sunday, I’ve been extremely busy! It’s not a bad thing being busy, but I’ve not been very good at keeping regular blog posts. I’ll try be gentle with the unrolling of posts to show you what I’ve been up to since 🙂

Firstly, here are some snaps I took at the Seafront Sunday. It was a rather tiring, but all in all a fairly successful day in the end! I had a lot of enquiries about crochet lessons, gave out tons of business cards, sold 8 items and got quite a few orders!

The stall holders around me were wonderful! So supportive and I really was welcomed to the community with open arms!

Following the Seafront Sunday, I had a lot of orders and requests for crochet items. I was even asked to crochet a pair of shorts for a man, which initially sounded a bit bizarre (I’m sure we’ve all seen ‘that’ image on social media of the couple in full crochet granny square outfits in the middle of some festival where the granny square centers are strategically placed to make maximum impact 😂) but I was assured this was a genuine request. I was given the color choice by my client and so I sets about crocheting some shorts. In the end, I really think these could’ve done with some Liquorice Allsorts embellishments, but nevertheless the client was rather pleased with the result:

'THAT' Picture :)

(this is ‘That’ picture if you didn’t know of it)

Whilst at the market I sat next to the ladies who had a stall for their traditional Guernsey jumpers (known as ‘Guernsey’s’). You can find their webpage here. These are knitted but they also happened to have crochet kits on sale and I of course had to have a nosey! With my Kitten due home any day, I bought the crochet tin kit (TOFT UK – Mackerel). These kits are AWESOME! Enough yarn to make 3 fish, I only made one and set it aside for the wee furbaby (I’ll replace them as they need to be). If you follow my Instagram you’ll know that the kitten bed I made was a HIT from day 1 and the Mackerel equally loved!

This got me onto making a toy fish for a friends’ cat. She wanted to be able to stuff it with catnip and re-stuff it when the catnip disappeared. I havent used a pattern for this one and dying to find out if this was a hit so that I can try make another!

That’s all I can say about the market (for now). I’ll be doing another post VERY soon as there is a LOT to catch up on. Hopefully be able to update you soon!

Nina

Preparations for Guernsey Arts Sunday

Brace yourself…. this is gonna be a long one!

I recently signed up for a stall at the Guernsey Arts Sunday taking place on the 9th of June 2019 along the Seafront in St Peter Port. I’ve never been a market stall holder and am full of mixed emotions including being extremely excited and on the opposite scale very nervous.

I’ve not written a blog post in quite a while as I have been SUPER busy trying to do as many of the ideas on my list of “things to make for the market”. Unless you’ve been following the Facebook or Instagram feeds, you’ll have no idea about the things I’ve been up to. Equally, I didn’t want to give too much away on the net so that I can create an air of mystery, so that you’d have no option but to come down to the seafront and see for yourself what I’ve been up to.

As mentioned above however, as I have shared some items on the social media platforms and to avoid having a longer post after the event to catch up, I thought I’d share with you what’s on my agenda so far…

*Heart Cushion

I’ve made about a dozen of these sweethearts. 3-D, crocheted in Amigurumi style using Extra-chunky yarn and a BIG crochet hook, I just LOVE how these turned out. The heart fills your arms as you pick it up and it makes for the most amazing hug buddy when you’re in need. 🙂

Heart pillow

*Tealight candle holders

I came across a stash of jars with handles on at a local craft store. 18 to be exact. I was suddenly struck by an idea of turning these into lacey tealight holders. Each jar cover has been made in different colours and I’ve also created different patterns for each one. With the soft colours and lacey crochet designs, they make for really pretty little lights to dot about your home, creating lace-like pattern reflections on the walls. I plan to make more covered jars, using recycled jars from home as you can see from the one picture, makes even a simple bouquet of garden flowers look like a piece of art.

Sweetpea crochet blanket

I follow Sweetpea family crochet on Instagram and around Easter time, saw one of her posts about a beautiful blanket she designed. I immediately went onto Knitting Network’s web page and ordered the pack which includes pattern and all the yarn needed to make the blanket. It arrived on time for me to make over Easter Weekend.

*Crochet Lampshade

Another item which I could not find a pattern for and I really wanted one for myself, is a crochet lampshade. I struggled with this one I must say. No pattern, I had to crochet this “freestyle”, making up the next row as I went along. It took AGES. I probably frogged it about 100 times, but with perseverance, I eventually managed to make my very own crochet lampshade. I haven’t made any others, but I will be taking it with on show at the market and with some luck, someone might want to order one and even more luck I’d be able to reproduce it in a lot less time!

 *Nox’s cat bed

Again, a one off that I’ll be taking with is this handmade cat bed as a “for order” item. As well as preparing for the market, I’ve also been very excitedly making preparations for a kitten. Currently, just over 3 weeks old (the picture was taken at 2 weeks old) I have a little while to wait yet before I can bring him/her home as its best kittens stay as long as possible with their mum. I’m pretty sure I’m going through some sort of nesting phase 🙂 as I’ve been distracted somewhat by making sure I have everything I need for a fur baby. I’ve crocheted a bed for the kitten in shades of grey using a tough cotton yarn for the exterior basket and a soft fluffy yarn for the interior. I’ve also added a layer of soft cotton cushion filling to make an extra squishy soft seat for Nox. (We’ve named the black kitten Nox because it is Latin for “night” and is also a Harry Potter term for “lights out”) Both yarns have their own difficulties when it comes to crocheting and both quite expensive. I’m not too sure if people will pay out much for a cat bed,  but when its homemade and made with love, I’m hoping someone will also appreciate the cat bed and place an order too.

Suzzie the Unicorn

As you will know, I have designed my own soft toys before. Over the last few months I’ve been thinking about making a unicorn. I didn’t have much time though, so I searched the world wide web and found a pattern of a unicorn which I immediately fell in love with. I’m fairly confident that every girl in Guernsey will love to own a unicorn just like her. I purchased the pattern from Tatsiana on her Etsy shop if you’d like to make one yourself. The pattern is easy to follow and I’m quite pleased with the end result. I found making the hair the longest part of the journey, but it really is worthwhile pushing on to complete this sweet little toy. The yarn I used is different to that on the pattern, but I could not find it stocked in the UK and so I used Paintbox yarn for the unicorn, and ordered the required hair yarn all the way from Europe. As it took me a while to make, I’ll also be taking orders for her at the market so that I can have more time over the next couple of weeks concentrating on works showcasing my own designs.

Hopefully I’ve mentioned most of the items already featured on the social media accounts. I’m hoping to take lots of photos at the market and will share with you a full list of items made and let you know how my first market experience goes. If you’re a follower, living in Guernsey, please do come along to the Seafront Sunday market on 9th June 2019. It’ll be lovely to meet my followers!

See you there!

Nina

 

Lavender Tea-for-one

I’ve recently discovered that my doctor has been booked off ill long term. Of course, I can see other doctors, but my doctor has become an important woman in my life and no-one knows me as well as she does. Not only is she my doctor, but my friend and confidant. She knows me inside out (literally, if you think about it). She’s probably the best doctor in the world and even a better friend. She’s helped me through some really tough times and has always offered the very best care and treatment, whether that’s a much needed hug, a cup of tea or through her tenacity and determination in doing the best for me whilst dealing with other medical professionals.

I decided to attempt to lift her spirits and hopefully get her back on her feet. She needs to know that I care for her and that I wish I could help her as she did me. Some may say that I’m trying to entice her back to work for my own selfish reasons mind you, but honestly, yes, it would be nice to see her again back at the helm of Nina’s health, but not if she’s unwell herself.

I decided to make her a pot of tea. A hug in a cup so to say… I went to Iris and Dora and selected a pottery tea-for-one set to paint. Inspired by some beaded lavender flowers I got on my recent trip to South Africa, I wanted to do a lavender theme. Pottery painting is SO much fun and incredibly relaxing! Listening to the tunes from the record player whilst painting sure makes time go by incredibly fast and before you know it, you’ve done your 3 coats of paint…

Once completed, the lovely people at Iris and Dora whisk the pottery away to be fired in their kiln. A few days later, the glazed and baked finished set appeared….

Being a crocheter by heart, I could not resist making a little tea pot cosy which gives the whole design a completely different feel…

Tea-for-one with *tea cosy on

I cannot wait to give this to her and sure hope she recovers real soon!

Nina

*Toe Cosy

What is a Toe Cosy I hear you say? Well, instead of a tea pot, these nifty little gems are meant to keep toes sticking out at the end of a foot cast warm and toasty – especially in the winter ❄️

Initially, I made myself one following my first foot operation back in 2015 (I had the other foot operated on the year after… but that is for another story). I found it difficult to find anything to cover my cold toes. When your foot is in pain, the cold really doesn’t help! Blankets press down on the toes and ‘big socks’ were difficult to put on.

Toe cosy

The finished project:

On one of my visits to the hospital for follow up appointments, the nurses and hospital staff loved my *Toe cosy so much and thought it’d be idea to make a few more for others in a similar dilemma.

I’ve since made and sold quite a few of these and even now get asked for more, sometimes for the individual themselves or as a ‘get well’ gift for a friend or family member.

I was recently asked for a Rainbow *Toe cosy, just like the one I made for myself all that time ago. So I’ve sat down and made two more of them, a plainer Green one (for the boy folk) and two of the new design I call Watermelon 🍉 *Toe cosy.

I’m so excited about the Watermelon design. I wish I’d have thought of that when I had my cast on – not that I’d want to go through another foot operation to wear one, but I think these might be a hit – who wouldn’t want a Watermelon *Toe cosy to brighten up their day! 😊

Here are some of the designs I’ve made so far:-

 

Very sad to hear anyone requiring a *Toe cosy, but always happy to help keep those piggy’s warm and toasty with a little cheerful colour to brighten the day.

Take Care,

Nina

My Christmas 2018 makes

Now that Christmas is over, I can reveal the crafty gifts and things I’ve been up to over December.  I never feel comfortable writing a blog post about presents due to be received, in case surprises are ruined. That’s the nice part of Christmas for me. I love the giving of gifts, but even more so when they are homemade…❤️

Not all of my crafts this year has been gifts. I have been making decorations and gift tags too.

First of all, using a video tutorial on Instagram (see my Instagram post here: MadeByNina_ post ) I was inspired to make some all important gift tags. I was blown away to have been mentioned on Love Crochet ‘s Instagram page.

So quick and easy to make, I landed up making dozens and may have to keep the left overs for next year!

Continue reading

Mandy’s early Christmas present

I don’t usually post about gifts made for others prior to them receiving it, but as Mandy already knows what’s coming her way and most likely already received it, here it is.

Mandy is my cousin. She’d contacted me wanting to order a purse. She wanted a *Blue Cherry Blossom purse, but if it could be made in a slightly darker blue than usual please as she was intending to use it day to day and was concerned the paler color would dirty fast.

When it comes to family, I find it difficult to accept payment for my hand work and agreed to make the purse on condition it could be her Christmas present from me (early or not).

I actually made *Mandy’s Purse in October whilst everyone else was making orange pumpkins, goblins and ghosts. But I enjoyed seeing it develop and quite like the new purse in this new blue!

I may have mentioned in the past, it’s an old custom I’ve heard of which I have taken on board as it is such a sweet sentiment. It apparently brings good luck or good fortune if, when giving a purse as a gift, to include a coin. It doesn’t matter which coin, but I have found some very special “lucky coins” which, on the back reads “Because you deserve all the happiness in the world”.

Mandy, I very much want to give you a big hug and say that everything will be ok. You truly do deserve all the happiness in the world and I really wish you well in everything you do. Have a VERY Merry Christmas and make only happy plans for the year to come. I hope you enjoy your purse and see it as a big ‘ol hug from me to you.

Much Love,

Nina