*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

Forever Spring Garden overview

Firstly, I want to thank everyone who ordered one or two things in my shop over June. The final total raised for Lisa turned out to be £350! Lisa is a rather extraordinary person and sure does deserve as much love and support anyone can give. My sister has had cancer many times from starting with her initial cancer diagnosis at about 2 years old.  After several battles with the big C, she was eventually diagnosed with “LFS” (Li-Fraumeni Syndrome) which resulted from genetic testing. Without going too much into this, very basically it means that Lisa is missing a gene in her DNA which has tumour suppresser tendencies. Unfortunately, without careful monitoring and crucial management, Lisa is more likely to have (certain) cancers at any point. Last year I had done a fund raising to help pay for the genetic testing which worked out wonderfully, but Lisa is very shy and was not happy with the idea of asking for more help.

Cancer has many complications. There are the countless surgeries complex and minor, after surgeries, there’s the chemotherapy and the complications on your body from taking the “essential” poison, there’s the side effects and necessary procedures following treatment of the tumour, the life long testing, the emotional trauma… the list just goes on forever. Unfortunately, the medical world is not a funny place to be dependant on when you have a unique history such as Lisa’s with multiple cancer diagnosis’. Your medical insurances don’t last forever and there are always limitations on the help from the “bank of Mom and Dad”. Over this last month I have concentrated my efforts, despite her shy objections to raise some funds to help her. I’ve been very clear, the funds made in my shop she can choose to help pay medical bills, however I want her to have something to look forward to so, however she decides to use the funds – she will have some pennies available to hopefully take some stress off her and focus on something fun.

Included in the monies raised, I had been contacted for a custom order. Two purses. One a “Rose *Card Purse” and the other a “Forever Spring Garden *Card Purse”.

I’m still working on the Rose purse, but I have finished the Garden purse. This design has been quite popular. I think each one made may be ever so slightly different from the one before, however, all have the same concept. a garden frozen in time, forever in Spring.

Here is the latest one which also fits credit cards:

I thought I might show you the timeline – the evolution of this purse from the first one made:

Quite a difference when you see them together like that 🙂

I’ll show you the Rose Purse once I’ve managed to complete it.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Nina

Rainbow Cloud *Card Purse

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud” – Maya Angelou

So I’ve come to an end of a stressful situation. It’s not often I make a stand for myself, but when I do, I find it incredibly hard and believe me – it has to be a particularly hard push to get me to that point of just saying ‘enough’. Its so much easier to let things go by to “save the peace”.  On review, lessons learnt are that if the things you’ve tried to change are not working out or won’t change and when things are not right, its ‘ok’ to just let go and move on in the best way you can.

Amidst it all, I came across the above quote. It was beautiful. I wanted to be that rainbow in someone’s cloud.  I want to be remembered for the positive things I’ve done. I want to be recognised for my achievements. I had tried hard and really thought I was that rainbow. Doubt crept in.  

Out of the blue it hit me. Like a ton of bricks… I am! I am a rainbow in many other clouds. 

I’ve come to realise that actually, I am a big ‘ol shinning glittery and sparkly full HD rainbow deluxe! Especially to the relationships that matter most to me. And it feels great!

This purse design is dedicated to all my friends and family who have helped me through this time by reminding me that even faded rainbows in dark clouds can brighten up with a little sunlight and for some magical reason, shine best in clouds you love.

Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Always.

 

 

Something different

I wanted to try something a little more “arty”, after all crochet is an art form. A “Let the creative energy flow and see what I could come up with” idea.

I started, unlike with the other purses, with the fabric! I loved this fabric – grey with little specs of reds / yellows / peaches here and there.

Grey Speckle *Card Purse (Fabric lining)

I happened to have two tones of grey yarn and so I set out on an adventure. The grey cauldron had gone through several frogging. First I tried crocheting one stitch dark, next stitch light grey. Then I tried one row dark, next row light grey. I even tried dark bottom, light top. In the end I preferred the four bands of contrasting greys.

I had in mind an image of the grey purse with splashes of red (to compliment the fabric) scattered over the one section of grey. It worked! It looked fab, however, something was missing. I thought – “why not try adding another colour?”, after all the fabric didn’t only use red dots. Once the second colour splashes were filled in, I was ready for another and so it kept evolving. AND it was such fun!

There seems to be a fine line between  something that’s been made “elegantly simple” and something which looks to be “over worked”. It’s knowing when to stop working on something before it becomes hideous that is tricky. I think I’ve achieved that in this purse and I’m really quite impressed with this little “arty” purse (even if I say so myself) 🙂

If you think you’d like this purse or want to get someone a little something special, you can find it in my shop. As mentioned in my previous post, any sales until 1 July 2017 will be going to help brighten my sisters day.

Bianca’s Birthday *Card Purse

One of my biggest fans, fellow scooter enthusiast and good friend had her birthday recently. She arranged a birthday brunch but unfortunately I was really unwell at the time and couldn’t go. Disappointingly, I apparently missed a fabulous day and fabulous food & prosecco “elevensies”. I’m not too sure which I was more disappointed about though, missing the brunch or missing the opportunity to give her the purse (I love giving gifts). However, eventually we’ve been able to catch up and birthday gift safely delivered to a very happy friend.

Bianca’s favourite colours (in her words) are “Oooh laaa laaaaaa. I Love colours. Too many to choose from. Orange is up there or lime green. Got me wondering now – haha”.

Bianca has loved the purses I’ve been making and I just had to make her one. So here it is, created just for her using the ‘up there’ colours 🙂

Happy Birthday Sweet friend x

 

 

Owl be there for you *Card Purse

Making the Owl be there for you *Card Purse has been so exciting. I had seen a pattern on Pinterest for an owl motif quite some time ago and I had in mind that I might make my Mom an owl purse (she LOVES owls) but wasn’t really sure how to bring my idea to life.

The *Coin purses are a little smaller than this new shape to fit credit cards which makes things a little tricky when it comes to making motifs or designing magical scenes.

I’ve had my sister on my mind recently as she’s preparing for big life events and for some reason amongst all the mixed emotions, strangely,  I recall a pair of pyjama’s she has with the “Owl be there for you” slogan on it.  I suppose I’ve named this purse as a big sister extending the sentiment to her and looking at the purse the imagery is there too 🙂

All the owl references popping up combined with finding the last dregs of a fabric roll (with owl print on it- yay!) at a local craft shop – it was destiny and a ‘no brainer’. The doors have been opened to creating the hugging owl scene I had in mind.

I’ve used embroidery thread to stitch the tree branch and leaves. The owls are made with cotton and just to finish it off, I’ve added an owl button on the back 🙂

 

Seahorse *Card Purse

I was contacted last week with a request for a card purse. If it could please have a seahorse on it and the preferred colour would be green.

I’ve never crocheted a seahorse but immediately my crafty senses were zinging with ideas. Challenge accepted ✔️ At first I was going to make the seahorse using a colorful beadwork assortment. Although it looked great on paper it just didn’t look the part on the crocheted purse. I decided the purse needed a crocheted seahorse and so I searched the world wide web for patterns:- I found this one. Whilst it is in graph form only which I’m not really too keen on (especially when working on projects after a days work – who wants to figure out what to do on a graph pattern?), I pushed on and finished the seahorse. I actually finished several. But no matter which yarn or hook I used the seahorse was way too big for the side of a *card purse. With perseverance and a little tweaking I fortunately, eventually managed to make a seahorse the perfect size! It was a tough challenge, but I am now so pleased how it turned out. 😍

Finished off with water bubbles and soft contrasting beading on the seahorse and a few seashell buttons on the back, makes this a rather special handbag accessory. I managed to also source some seahorse fabric for the inside lining -the icing on the cake for this sweet aquatic purse. 🙂

Lisa’s Blanket a year on…

While working on a project, I’m not sure if its just in my case, but I find it funny how one thinks back to previous projects made, trying to compare the times it took to make the previous and compare it with your current WIP. I’m constantly trying to compare and often hear myself asking “How long did that take again?”… It’s never easy being in that position (especially if you receive a reply from other voices in your head 🤣)  but joking aside – the “so excited to see the finished product” feeling that spurs you on combined with the thoughts of “what a monstrous task! What was I thinking? It’ll never finish” conflicts in your mind and is a strange phenomenon…

Then you eventually get to the end – the last stitch and suddenly you think – “was that it? It cant be finished?”. Never a truer time than with Lisa’s blanket. I LOVED making this blanket and was sad when I’d finished. Mind you, making this blanket was very emotional for me and a lot of love was poured into this work so the emotions were running pretty high by the time the last stitch was made.💕

As people close to me will know, my sister was not well. She lives a long way away from me and I miss her dearly. It’s even harder being away from those you love when they are facing very challenging situations and are hurting. I wished so to wrap her up in my arms and just give her a big ‘ol hug. Sadly, again this year, she is facing more tough times and I’m instantly drawn back to the blanket and thoughts (again) of “what can I do to help?”…

I designed the blanket myself using pens & pencils in a paper notebook that I keep all my “Made by Nina” patterns in. (My scribbles and my working out’s). I went in search of and found a pattern for a heart shape Granny square on Ravelry which would be the basis of my design and it just so happened that I loved the colors used on the heart square pattern and so decided I would make Lisa’s blanket using similar colors, mix it up with other shapes and mixture of the same basic colors.  I knew how to do a basic Granny Square and now had the heart pattern, but the other shapes I had to make up myself. I quite enjoyed designing new square shapes for myself and made a floral and diamond shape too. I also found a “swirly shape” Granny, but once I made one, I decided would not suit the style I was trying to achieve.

In the notebook, I played around a bit with the Granny Square shapes and how they would fit together. My notebook soon became pages worth of blanket designs. In the end I worked out a way to scatter the shapes equally across the blanket. To explain how it was “structured” if you can’t see it in the photo’s:-  looking at the blanket as a whole split it through the center into quarters. The top left quarter, is the exact opposite of the bottom right quarter and the same for the top right quarter -> lower left.

I loved how this design turned out – on paper it looks like the squares are randomly placed, but in fact they are strategically placed – because I’m a control freak like that ha-ha 😂 – to spread the love equally across the whole blanket.

I divided the amount of squares I needed by the amount of shapes I had and then also had to work out the color variations to try make each round of each of the squares in a different color. Obviously some had to overlap on color variations, so I landed up with 3 or 4 of the same color squares here and there. I calculated how many of each square I needed and I even managed to calculate (pretty accurately in hindsight) how much yarn to purchase.

I didn’t tell my sister about the blanket. Kept it a secret and every time I spoke with her I would give the square I was working on a hug whilst also trying to pass a hug to her over the phone. Each square eventually became such a part of me and received so many, many positive thoughts and love for her all of which was poured into each stitch.

After making all the squares, I put them on the dining room floor (as you do when you’re stuck for large areas to work on a blanket design). I put them in the order I had on my plan, adjusting the squares by the colors so that for example, all 4 of the same color/shape Granny Square would not be in the same quarter / too close to each other and also that the overall “flow” of color was more pleasing.

I researched borders in my crochet pattern books and looked on websites with free border patterns. As with everything else on this blanket design, I took the ideas that I found and just let it run into something of my own and made up a completely unique ‘Nina’ border.

Once the final stitch was stitched and the last remaining yarn ends darned, I was quite emotional to say the least.

She visited me in June 2016 and I gave her the finished blanket and explained that it was filled with lots of love and the biggest hugs from me to her and that whenever she felt down or hurt that all she need do is to wrap herself in the blanket and know that she is loved, especially by me. ❤️

Here’s quite a few photo’s for you to peruse.. start to fin:

 

 

Lisa's *Blanket - the border

 

Lisa's *Blanket -finished

Mystical Lantern Blanket – WIP

Change of hook

I quite like making blankets and fell in love with the shapes and colors of this pattern the moment I saw it. I came across it by chance and bought the pattern and yarn in a kit (find it here) from Blacksheep Wools without hesitation.  I love making the purses but I must admit that I am actually enjoying the change of hook and the  feel of the yarn.

Mystical lanterns - WIP

The pattern is easy to follow and I really enjoy the idea suggested regarding color placement:- Basically, you’re told (if you so wish) to remove the yarn bands, place all the balls in a bag. Have another bag at hand, preferably the  bags will have draw strings or are able to close in a manner that you cannot see the colors. You’re asked then to select a ball of yarn (without peeking) to begin round one. Once the round is completed, placing the used color in the spare bag. Then to repeat the process of randomly selecting a color from the one bag for each round crocheted to make the lantern.

I love this idea and applaud the sentiment of the total random placement of the colors and have actually associated it in my own personal circumstances I find myself in. The lesson learnt from this idea is so refreshing and totally apt to my life right now:- I’ve learnt that you don’t always have to have a plan, because as long as you have a positive attitude (matching colors), all the various issues you are facing (colors) can and will fit together once the bigger picture is revealed. I’m not usually this philosophical, but I have been totally reassured by this pattern that my own situation I find myself in at the moment, has a great many positives to it which will and can equally turn out just fine by concentrating on the “finished product” and not getting too hung up on the finer details. (Thereby also helping me with my control /OCD issues 😀)

Whilst I’m providing you a review on the pattern (so far), I wanted to also show you this beautiful work basket I got from The Knitting Gift shop. Ian’s baskets are beautifully made and I have nothing but high praise for the excellent service I received. The basket is just perfect to hold my yarns and bits ‘n bobs whilst I work – Thank you!

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And finally, I have received my business cards which I have proudly been giving out to friends, work colleagues and family. With my cards, I also received a branded “Made By Nina” T-shirt and a mug for my tea. I’m in love 😍

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Forever Spring Garden III *Coin Purse

I know I’ve been posting a LOT of coin purses recently. I promise this will be the last for a short while as I am quite busy on a new blanket (excited) and I also have a couple of other projects in the waiting… oh AND a custom order which is non-purse related. I wouldn’t want you to run away due to boredom ‘oh joy… another purse post’. 😝

The ‘Forever Spring Garden *Coin Purse’ design proved quite popular and I have had several requests for one. I haven’t had a confirmed order mind you, but I just thought I’d make one, (I  actually quite like making them) put it on my Etsy Shop and whoever is first to buy – all the luck to them 🍀. It will make a lovely Mothers Day gift however, so would any of the other purses if you’re still stuck for ideas. (Don’t forget to make use of the discount code!)

PS. Don’t you just love the ladybug? 🐞