Welcome to my 'other blog' the one that explores my crafty side. I have been a maker of 'things' since childhood. By nature I'm creative. I still love to write, and you can click on this link to visit my blog: Hanging On My Word, which is where I indulge in the thought and word side. Although a teacher by profession, I don't offer tutorials. This is my showcase of projects I like to share. So pull aside the curtains and let's begin (I'm a bit theatrical too!).

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Serena and the Sea


The lovely creature lying languidly on the rocks of my local shoreline is my latest knitted creation. I used the pattern ‘Pearl the Mermaid’ in Issue 63 of ‘Let’s Get Crafting! Knitting & Crochet’. Once again, she was designed by the talented Amanda Berry of Fluff & Fuzz. As a novice knitter I find her patterns so easy to follow, and I’m learning new techniques as I go along. This time I learned how to make a bobble; very necessary for a mermaid’s thumb!

I used the yarn which was provided with the magazine, including a deep sea green with a sparkle;  just perfect for a mermaid’s tail. The only exception was the mermaid’s arms, which of necessity had to be made from another, slightly more peachy, colour from the yarn pack, in Amanda’s original design. As luck would have it I had a ball of baby-pink in my stash that matched the head and body more closely. I couldn’t find any small black buttons in my box, but once again my luck was in as there were just two sea-blue beads which fitted the bill. As a doll maker of many years, I couldn’t resist adding a subtle little nose and tiny smiling mouth. The hair came from the pack as well, but I had a pleasantly therapeutic evening, in front of the TV, separating each strand to give her a spindrift cloud of curls.

My daughter accompanied me on a morning walk ten minutes from where I live in Lanzarote. She wrote a lovely little acrostic poem using the word SIRENA, which is Spanish for mermaid.

Scent of the sea, and the salty air
If she's ever on shore, it won't be for long
Rocks make for her a nautical chair, while
Egrets and gulls flock to her song
Now that you've seen her are you sure she was there?
A flick of the tail, she is gone, she is gone



We had to give her a name that suited her personality; the name Margarita in Spanish stands for pearl, but she doesn’t look like a Margarita. I’ve gone for Serena, which means serene in many languages and she looks pretty serene to me, lying on the rocks in the sun! Serena the sirena has a nice ring to it I think.

Here’s my daughter among the rock pools this morning.


And the waves crashing on the shore.



I’m sure I’ll be making more mermaids; my granddaughter has already asked for one with pink hair!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Friendly Floella


My floppy friend above is so exhausted that she has to take time out for a rest. This is my latest knitted toy made from the pattern ‘Flamingo Friends’ in ‘Let’s Get Crafting! Knitting and Crochet Magazine', issue 61.

The designer is Lynn Rowe and it’s the first of her patterns I’ve attempted. The legs, head and neck have craft pipe cleaners threaded through them to provide stability, but I’m afraid Flo still looks on the floppy side, even though I can bend her into shape. Ah well, she seems happy enough. There’s enough yarn in the kit to make two slightly different flamingos, but I think I’ll quit whilst I’m ahead. I’m also hoping to be attempting my first knitted garment soon and I’ve still got my latest crochet bolero to finish.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Heart to Heart


My friend Pamela and I often have a heart-to-heart and when she moved house recently I made her these hanging decorations for her new dining area. Pam has a good eye for colour and co-ordinates fabric and accessories to great effect. Here in Lanzarote many of the dining rooms are situated in the outside shaded areas, a cool place to sit away from the always sunny weather we enjoy here. Pam had decorated hers with a winning combination of red, white and blue and, knowing my love for sewing, had given me the remnants from the soft-furnishing she had commissioned, to add to my stash.

Some of the pieces were quite small, but I thought that the best way to combine the colours was with a crazy patchwork effect.

I simply laid them out rectangles of the fabric and stitched them into several long pieces pieces first of all. Then I joined the long pieces but ‘staggered' the joins to create a random pattern.

Next the four hearts were drawn on on the reverse of the fabric and stitched along the drawn outline, leaving a small hole for stuffing.

The two hearts were then turned inside-out and trimmed closely around the edge, leaving a small seam allowance and clipping in to ensure that the curved edges were smooth.

All that was left was to add the trimmings, buttons, loop and ribbon, so that they were ready to hang.

My friend was delighted and we had great fun trying them out in several places to see where they worked best.









Thursday, 17 July 2014

Just Dandy!



Meet the new kid on the block. I’m honing my novice knitting skills by making these small projects from Let’s Get Crafting: Knitting and Crochet magazine. He’s designed by the talented Amanda Berry of Fluff and Fuzz.

In the magazine Amanda’s pattern is called Pipsqueak, but I’ve re-named mine Dandy. This partly because his yellow bow-tie makes him look so smart and ...dandy; but also his little red clown nose makes him look slightly comical. Dandy, the much-loved children’s comic, ceased publication after 75 years in 2012, so this is a kind of homage to that as well.

He took me a lot longer than any of the Bramble Bunny variations in my previous posts, and I’ve no idea why as the principle is pretty similar. I had some trouble with his mouse-ears and made several rather ragged looking ones until, eventually I gave in and got the crochet hook out - perfect.

Here he is with his new friends Wanda and Wendy. Yes I know, in real-life a mouse is so much tinier than a rabbit but we don’t talk about scale when it comes to making toys; after all, in real life rabbits and mice don’t wear clothes either!! These are designed to be cute and to make children want them as friends. Just Dandy!




Saturday, 28 June 2014

Baaarbara


Yes, my husband decided this one needed re-naming as well! Amanda Berry’s ‘Gruff the Sheep’ pattern in Let’s Get Crafting, Knitting and Crochet is so sweet that he thought Gruff sounded a bit harsh! I struggled with the loop stitch (I am a novice knitter after all) and the body section seemed far too large when I’d completed it. I laid it to one side and got one with other project for a while. When I resumed I just decided to work in the excess flesh as it were, as stuffing. The result is a small animal who sits in the palm of your hand.

There is nowhere for sheep to safely graze in Lanzarote so I looked for the nearest patch of green amongst the picon. It was only after I’d taken the photograph that I realised I had unwittingly placed Baaarbara in a bed of mint! As long as no-one mentions sauce it will be OK.

A safer haven

Monday, 16 June 2014

Flirty Fans




Finished at last! I saw this pattern in the very first Simply Crochet magazine, when it came out as a one-off Summer Special last year from the makers of Simply Knitting. It has taken me about a year to make as at one stage I got so fed-up with it I thrust it to the back of the cupboard until I could face it again. Checking on Ravelry it seems others have also had issues with the pattern. I found it quite difficult to follow. I have pulled back and re-done bits of it so many times that I really fell out of love with it. However, I was determined not to beaten, especially as I had lashed out on the (expensive) correct yarn.

Rowan Savannah is 94% cotton, 6% silk and not the smoothest yarn to work with due to the way that is made. I used a 4mm and 5mm crochet hook and my tension square made up OK so I wasn’t anticipating any problems - silly me. Once it was complete I decided the bow on the shoulder was too ‘fussy’ so I undid that too. The neckline didn’t lie smoothly and I ended up fudging it quite a bit. Other than that I still like the design and the colour (Arid - a sort of pinky brown).
The pattern is designed by Rowan’s Marie Wallin and also appears in a Rowan booklet as ‘Island’; the name Flirty Fans seems appropriate, although at times I substituted the word ‘flirty' for another!



Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Last of the Lot



















Here’s the latest (and last) in the series about small stuffed bunnies, as promised in my last post. These two were made specifically for two small people - my twin grandchildren. They were finished off to resemble as closely as possible the original soft toys owned by their Dad and his sister; and you can read about those in the previous posts.


I had to wait until a trip to England to be able to hand them over in person. It was well worth it as they were very pleased with them. Here are the photos taken by my son shortly after our visit. Can you see how they’ve cheekily swapped over in the second shot? Yes, Grandma did notice!


As usual the pattern Amanda Berry’s from Let’s Get Crafting Knitting and Crochet, which is still producing a new outfit each month for the original model - Bramble Bunny.