Catch up – Shilo’s Seahorse purse

When I said we were moving house, I didn’t quite expect the move to impact my creative work so much as it has. I’ve hardly had any time for much, except for a few stolen hours for a much needed head space in the form of a run. We’ve moved house and that’s only half the story. We’ve actually moved in with my 91 year old mother in law. A lovely lady and now that we’re here, I can see exactly why this move was much needed as she is very hard of hearing, getting tinier by the day and generally not been up to much in regards to house maintenance (which you can forgive her for – as much as she doesn’t want to admit it, she is no spring chicken)! I’ve been kept busy with cleaning mostly as her failing eyesight has clearly missed more than a few spots here and there and trying to clear out what I can and trying really hard not to step on her toes. 50 (plus) years my senior, I’m finding trying to change her old habits a little tough, she is ever so independent, so have to tread lightly and coax my way of thinking to get things done. For example, she’s so used to being on her own trying to do everything herself, I have to really bite my tongue when the little old lady tries to bring out the Hoover (which I might add is roughly the same size as her) and then gets annoyed with me for trying to carry it for her. I was caught red handed moving the sofas and tv to give the sitting room a good ol once over and I can tell you this upset her so badly, I think I may never attempt that one again. The invisible power struggle is a little tough at times, but I think we’ll get there.

Not quite the end of 2017 I was hoping for last year. I was sure I’d be knee deep in Christmas crafts. I’ve seen so many wonderful things and had so many ideas, I’ve had to jot them down but who knows where those papers are now! But it has been an important task, I know my mother in law, as much as she protests, really does need all the love and attention she can get now and any little bit I’m doing for her is greatly appreciated.

So to catch up on some of the things I have managed to do in between all the household changes (there have only been a handful), I thought I’d start with a post about Shilo’s purse, which I completed prior to our move.

A friend contacted me. Apparently Shilo loves handmade things and would appreciate a purse. My friend already picked out the design she wanted months ago we’d discussed it long before and I knew it was coming. But then suddenly,  it was getting close to her birthday and so I set off to make a *seahorse purse 😊

I’d sent the photos off and was asked if I could personalize it and add her name? I probably tried about a dozen different ways but eventually settled for her name to be embroidered in the water bubbles. This seahorse, for some reason (even though I followed the same pattern as before, turned out a little larger than the first, but I actually love how his tail curls around the bottom.

I hope you had a wonderful birthday Shilo! Our friend loves you very much ❤️

I’ll be back soon with some more catch up stories.

Nina

Revisiting helpful items

You may remember the post I wrote about something I call a *Toe cosy . I made the “cosy” for myself following foot surgery because I found my toes to be quite cold being open to the cold winter nights and basically, being a crochet addict, found both the usefulness and attractiveness of the *Toe cosy  very pleasing bonuses.

Since the post, I’ve made and sold 4 of them and the feedback I’ve had has been really positive. I don’t think there are a lot of people out there with casts, but when someone is in need of one they sure do appreciate this little helpful item and I’m very happy to be able to help brighten someone’s day.

People have bought them for themselves or as a “get well soon” token for a loved one. I’ve just finished making 3 more to add to my Shop and busy working on even more. No one with a cast should be without a *Toe Cosy and I’m really hoping they (or their friends) will find me and get those piggy’s pretty and warm 🙂

And if you missed the post before, Not forgetting the *Toe cosy’s who have already been their helpful selves…

 

Christmas is coming…

Etsy emailed me to let me know that they have given me a whole bunch of free listings in my Shop so that I can stock up with some Christmas supplies. Well that just got me all in a spin. I will never be able to fill the listings making purses by 18 October. I’m just not that organized 😝

With my re-joining a consistent running routine I’ve had a little time to think about it and well an idea struck me like lightning on one of the many pre-run preparations:- The earphones I take with to listen to my favourite running play list are constantly causing delays and frustration. No matter what I do with them on my return from a run, the next time I get up to go, the earphones are in a tangled mess and it takes an age to sort out. I remember seeing a post somewhere, ages ago for cable ties, which gave me an idea…

I started out making one for myself and have been using it with great success and excitement. As people started noticing it, they’ve asked me for one too and so the tiny spark of an idea has boomed into a full blaze Christmas stocking filler gift idea – which would also be perfect for the Etsy listings. So I made the earphone “Extraordinaire’s” (😆) and to make the deal sweeter for my customers, also include a pair of earphones (good quality I’m assured) all wrapped in a Christmas organza bag. Perfect stocking fillers for Christmas gifts I think 😊

If you’d like one or more (I don’t quite know which I’d choose myself – but perhaps the novelty buttons might give you an idea to match personalities)

Must warn you though – don’t delay – visit my shop before they’re all gone! 😉

Here’s how they work:Earphone *Cable Tidy - how they work

 

 

 

Peppermint Crisp Tart

You’ll be amazed to learn that I’m actually more than a crochet addict… Mostly I listen to the ramblings of my sister and husband (drooling) over recipes, but sometimes – especially combined with a 4 year homesickness – I actually find myself in the kitchen making something…

On my return from South Africa, instead of bringing back the usual assortment of extraordinary sweets / biscuits found on your holiday for work colleagues (just to add insult to their injury and remind them that you’ve been away somewhere exotic while they’ve been slaving away in your absence) Of course I’m not like that 🙂  I brought back the ingredients to make a delicious-very-sinful-packed- full-of-yum tart…

If you manage to purchase the ingredients from one of the South African stores which seem to have popped up in this increasingly small “global nation” we call Earth (how small is this world? – South Africans and their shops are EVERYWHERE) I’m sure even though it’ll work out costly compared with purchasing in SA, (but then who can afford the added flight cost for a tart?) it is actually, well worth it and will give you 5 stars in any social event – especially if you want to make a good impression with something sweet and interesting.

If you’re unsure about which products to purchase, I’ve included some photos for a guide (what a peppermint crisp chocolate bar looks like, etc). Just so that you know – do not accept a chocolate bar where the peppermint crisp is soft or “tacky”. It should be brittle, light and fresh. As an added side note: – I doubled the below recipe to make a really BIG tart (and a mini one for my MIL as a birthday gift for her) so don’t be fooled by the photo’s if they do not match yours….

Here is the recipe which I hope you’ll be able to try out sometime.

Peppermint Crisp Tart

  • 200g Tennis Biscuits
  • 1 pack of lemon Jelly
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 1 tin caramelised condensed milk
  • 1 large bar of peppermint crisp (grated / some of it crushed for decoration)

First of all… if you cannot find ready made caramel, (unlike me… ) do not stress. To make caramel, I ‘Mom’d’ it (as everyone does when they’re stuck on what to do) and asked her how she made caramel when we were young. Basically you need a can of condensed milk. Pierce the can (or if like me you cannot pierce the tin (?) –  simply open it). Put the tin in a pot of boiling water on the stove, water as high as possible… for 3 hours… I had no idea it took that long to make caramel and believe me my resolve to dance while the caramel was boiling to store some extra “unused” calories didn’t last long 🙂 but Dear Readers, persevere… ‘it is worth it!

Boiling the condensed milk

Once you have a tin of cool caramel and a tub of cold cream – you’re ready to start.

Using the 250ml boiling water,  dissolve the lemon jelly crystals and let it cool until its ‘just about’ to set. To speed it up – place in fridge but keep going in there to stir the jelly.  (It doesn’t have to be frozen – just at room temp so you don’t curdle the ceam)

Dissolving the jelly

Whip the cream until fluffy (but not stiff) and add the caramel and jelly – leaving some caramel for spreading.

Fold in 3/4 of the grated chocolate bar.

In a flat dish (square or rectangle) start layering as follows:

  • layer of biscuits
  • spread thin layer of caramel over biscuits
  • cream/ jelly mixture
  • layer of biscuits
  • spread thin layer of caramel
  • cream/ jelly mixture

Depending the dish size and amount of ingredients at hand, continue layering (even if its just twice) – finishing off with the cream mixture.

Place in fridge to set. Keep the crushed chocolate pieces in a cool dry place and just before serving (even an hour later), sprinkle with the last of the crushed peppermint crisp bar and remaining crushed biscuits.

Serve.

And Voila – there you have it – a South African tasty treat / dessert with flavours of caramel, crispy coconut texture (from the biscuits) and mint. Mind you… definitely not one for someone on a diet 🙂

Ta-Dah...The finished product

If you do have a go at making this, let me know your thoughts and post photo’s if you like in the comments below 🙂

Nina

 

Three finished and 3 on the go…

So do you remember the WIP I was making to hold my crochet hooks? Well… I’ve finished! Ta-dah! I’m rather chuffed with this little “purse”… I can see it being popular for new or “back-to-school-bies” as pencil cases too – but for now – I’m really happy with it and it being my favourite crochet hook holder…

To make your own if you wish, make 4 of your favourite granny squares (I chose the daisy granny), sew them together, add a zip then a lining and there you have it.. a ta-dah moment of your own. Or if you really can’t be bothered… contact me – I’ll be happy to make one for you too 😉

Second on my “finished” list is the Yellow credit card holder. Now available in my Etsy store. These little purses are proving to be quite popular. They hold more than 1 credit card at a time (if you wish), are easy and attractive to carry without a wallet and of course much safer than leaving your card in your evening purse on its own on a night out…

Which brings me to the third – a card holder I made for myself 🙂 – A girl has to “test-drive” the products she makes after all… As you know – I LOVE butterflies… little wonder why I made this one for myself 😀

 Lastly, a look at the WIP’s (obviously one finished – above)… I’m sure you can guess what the front one is gonna be!

September WIPs

Well folks – that’s all the news I have to report for now. This week will be my last at my temp day job and then its full on packing, starting a new perm job on the 23rd and then moving home (into my MIL’s) on the 1st… *yikes*

Wish me luck 🙂

Nina

Ava’s very special *Bunny

I really do LOVE love LOVE this little Bunny. She was made as a custom order for a very special little girl. Her Mum and Dad haven’t yet met her and are making preparations for her arrival from India. I’m so touched with their story of the adoption of Ava. They’ve set up a dedicated email account filled with diary entries, photos and special events so that one day when she’s older she can see all the loving preparation and consideration put into her arrival.

They wanted a handmade bunny companion for Ava to treasure that would also embrace her heritage and remind her of how much she is loved.

The ears are lined with fabric with an “Indian” feel. I went to an Indian haberdashery in South Africa to source something special. There were so many fabrics  to choose from and so many helpers who offered their advice once they’d heard the story in finding the “perfect fabric” but when I saw this (which is actually a wide ribbon) I knew this was the one and went with my gut.

Ava’s *Bunny is also special in two other ways.  I adapted the pattern to make the foot and leg all in one rather than the foot and leg sections separately. The other is the addition of eyelashes! I had several attempts to get them just right – but I think they are gorgeous!

Ava, if you’re reading this (in years to come) – thank you very much for the inspiration to make something so incredibly special and I really do hope your bunny has been an exceptionally special companion for you.

Nina

 

Back from my sisters wedding

If you’re linked on one of my social network platforms, you’ll have noticed a few photos and comments about my recent travels to South Africa to attend my sisters wedding. I have been rather quiet with blog posts, but I have been equally busy with plans, packing, new temp job, packing, interviews for a permanent job, packing, planning to move house…  travelling, wedding things and did I mention PACKING?

I’m just back from SA and if I don’t write a post now and update you on the works completed I am sure it will be lost amongst the packing plans and be left for a much longer post another time.

It seems an awfully long time since I told you about an order for something “Vintage” in my post Looking at things in a different light. The order was for a lady in South Africa, so it was a good thing I was traveling that way! Finished on time to travel with me and deliver in person.  The purse has been made in “natural” tones and decorated with beads and crochet roses.

I made the below purse for my aunt. She loves daisies and cats. Can you tell? As with all my purses given as a gift, I put a coin inside.  I usually put a “lucky coin” specially sourced in previous years for Christmas gifts but as I didn’t have a spare left, I put an “old” £1 coin (which is currently being replaced by strange new lighter versions with edges that no parking meter in the UK can fit) hopefully the old one will become a relic and with a little luck – become valuable for my aunt! Have you heard of the practice of putting a coin in a gift purse before? It’s a superstition, but I’m quite sentimental that way and always like to wish my friends and family well – and would never begrudge them good luck! Apparently according to the great Google, giving a purse, wallet, piggy bank or anything that is meant to hold cash, it is supposed to bring good luck to the receiver by putting in a coin and some even say so that the purse is never empty. Lovely Sentiment which I plan to continue doing.

I’ve returned home with a bit of a cold. Or it might be flu. Not sure. Its slowly creeping in with waves of feeling fine then feeling miserable. But no time to  stop – I’m working on two new orders (exciting), looking to complete my already out of date WIP’s and whilst in SA – I got myself a whole bunch of yarns (as you do) all with ideas of their own… I hope I can find more time amongst all this packing!

AND.. did I tell you?  I’ve won a prize (hooray!) – but I will tell more about this on the next post – I have some unpacking and then packing to do! ‘Til next time folks 🙂

Thank you for stopping by!

Nina

Looking at things in a different light

The long Summer days have unfortunately distracted me from my crochet. My handmade projects have taken the backseat to sunny adventures. My sister is getting married in August, so I have been preparing a speech for the day; I've sourced an outfit (I'm very pleased with the second hand shoes purchased on Ebay); we've had family visiting which of course meant dinners out in town and about; we've been sipping Pimms and eating Summer dinners outside in the garden and of course I've been enjoying the half hour running activities in the park every other day.

One project I have been working on and am nearly finished with is this "Vintage" Rose *Coin purse. A lovely lady contacted me with photos of her bedroom and explained that she was very keen to own a Rose *Coin Purse to fit in with her bedroom's colour scheme and "vintage theme". She wants to home her pearls in the purse and wondered if I would be able to create a purse in "natural" or "vintage" tones.

I started out by applying a filter on the photo of the Rose *Card Purse I recently completed to try get an idea of what this purse should look like.  I was pleased with the result of this method:- looking at things in a different way.

After taking the photo I had to decide on the yarn colours best for this job, initially looking at grey tones, however I eventually decided on a softer "sepia" approach. I'm nearly finished with the purse, just needing to add a lining and the clasp. Here are a few snaps of the progress so far:

Hope your Summer days are going well and you've been lucky enough to be distracted from projects to spend some happy sunny days with your friends and family.

Nina

 

July so far…

I’ve started a new day job. It’s nothing fancy, just a part time temp job to get some pennies in over the Summer before I visit my family. A wedding is happening and I’m quite excited! So it has been back to the daily routines of making my way to and back from an office, coming home and trying to find the creativity that was sucked out during the office hours hiding somewhere in a closet. Added to the usual ‘everybody needs to work’ and the stresses which come from that, over the years I am pretty sure the traffic here has increased drastically.  Now days instead of getting to the office by car (or scooter in my case) in 5 minutes – there are actually incidents of road rage and the unspeakable 15 min sits in traffic queues amongst the locals. Ah, the days of 2 hour (plus) commute are but a distant memory for most living here and we forget how ‘lucky’ we are to only have to endure short traffic jams. Walking to work takes 10 minutes and is a healthier stress free alternative which I often take, especially if my Tilly (my scooters name) is too scared to come out in the rain. But, even though our commutes are short, it does still create stress, especially if combined with road diversions which extend the commute time even more. If you’ve ever been to Guernsey you will know that this small island has many roads that need fixing it would seem. There is always a road blocked off and traffic diverted at any point of time down very narrow one way roads that take you along impossible to get out of routes, sometimes headed in the opposite direction of where you need to go. I often wonder who is in charge of the diversions and if they’ve actually been on the roads they reroute the public on or even if have a map in front of them, or if the person is sitting with a cheeky grin rubbing hands together plotting out the worst possible maze saying things like “good luck suckers”. These diversions can add up to 30 minutes to your journey and if you weren’t aware of them on the day that you first travel down the unknown, your stress levels quickly jump to super high. I don’t recall any day without at least one road blocked off somewhere on the island in all my time living here. I’m pretty sure the powers that be only do these road closures to keep the general public in a constant state of “where am I?”…

The mysteries of Guernsey Road diversions

Then there’s the running. Having had complex surgeries on both feet, one in 2015 and the other in September 2016, I have had over two years break from my other love. I’m trying hard to get back into it, slowly. I’ve got to take it slow, especially for my right foot which has only had under a year post op recovery. Having the extra weight from the two year slump I can’t say that I’m doing as well as I was before, but I am getting there and working on increasing the time of running compared to walking, very very gradually. I was told prior to the operations that I should not expect to be running again, especially not before at least 2018, but I’d say it’s going pretty well and I’m super proud of myself. Granted,  I’m not as fit as I was prior to the first op, so it is more of a walk run walk process at the moment, but my fitness is increasing and my weight slowly dropping. I’ve been given strict instructions not to overdo things, so I’m very happy just to have had the ‘ok’ by my dr and just to be out running again. I’ve managed to get myself in a routine – running 3 or 4 times a week. Restricted mileage mind you, but I don’t plan to take part in any competitions again. I have rediscovered my love for the outdoors with taking snaps of the beautiful Summer displays along the way. It’s been very good for the head and given me some ideas for crochet projects at the same time. Happy days.

As for crochet projects. I’ve been working on a few *Card pouches. One I’ve given away to my customer mentioned in my previous post and three are custom orders. The only one ready for my shop for now is the *Owl Card Pouch, but there will be more coming as I get adjusted to the new routines.

I’ve sold a *Bunny who has gone to a new born baby. I love hearing about new babies and it just so happened that I was reading a crochet magazine which had published a pattern for baby booties by Dedri Uys. I thought they were gorgeous and had to give them a try. I’ve made these and posted both bunny and booties off to the new baby girls parents.

I’m also working on a crochet hook case. I don’t have a pattern for this, but used the daisy square pattern by  Tillie Tulip which I used for May’s blanket. I’m putting in a lining but I just need to find a zip at the local haberdashery first before I continue.

The mystical lantern blanket has also been staring at me from the back of my WIP cupboard which I’ve taken out again this morning. It may go back to its slumber as I’ve just received a request for a custom purse!

I hope your routines and lives have had a wonderfully harmonious July so far and that you’ve managed to get in a few quality positive and creative hours.

Nina

Rose *Card Purse

The two purses are now on their way to their new home. It took a lot of time, but I really enjoyed making these. The Forever Spring Garden and Rose purses’ were ordered in time to be part of the funds I’ve donated to Lisa. It almost spurred me on to make the very best purses I could, thinking of Lisa with every bead sewn every flower and rose created.

I haven’t been updating my blog much recently and I apologise for not being around much to read my fellow bloggers posts, but I plan on doing a mass catch up over the next few days. It has been an emotional journey – the #MakeHerDay event I ran on Facebook created a huge response. Messages from people all over the world sending well wishes and praises for my work. I had an emotional cry nearly every day of the whole of June.

I learned only once the custom order was about to set sail, that my customer too is fighting her very own battle with Cancer. Not only that, she also knows what I am going through with a sister going through the same. I was so moved. Here she was, helping me support Lisa with her order, when she too deserves the very best support and love too. She doesn’t yet know (but probably will do once she reads this post) I have included a little something extra in the parcel just for her as a gift from me to say thanks and wish her and her sister all the best in their battle too.

Here is the completed Rose *Card Purse

All my love to you

Nina