Love, Giraffes, and Belated Gifts

My current list of projects includes not only those which I have yet to finish, but those which I have yet to start. For gifts whose occasions are long since past.

I have a friend waiting on a birthday gift from last year. And her Christmas gift. And her birthday for this year. It’s lucky we’re old friends and she understands about delays.

My projects, therefore, are listed by time-sensitivity, starting with Late Gifts, which are then listed by Who Can Wait, rather than by the length of time they are delayed. Some people understand, others may but are not as close so probably ought to get things quicker. Like a wedding gift, fortunately only delayed by less than a month at this time. I’m still making, so it might be delayed by longer, although I’m working on GiraffesinLovethis first.

The giraffes were supposed to adorn the wedding-card, but I didn’t finish in time, so I adjusted my plans. Instead, once I’ve sorted out the detailing on the love-birds, I’ve decided to make them into a cushion cover with two cross-stitched panels. Patchwork it a bit, although I still have yet to rummage through my fabric chest to choose the backing colours. Something plain, not too pink, I think.

But at least one of these panels is now finished. Mind you, I haven’t really got much excuse for the birds not being done. I started it ages ago, long before the wedding, and got it to this point sometime in July, I think. Maybe early August. Ho hum. Such is life.

I’m still deciding quite how these panels will work. Diagonally, obviously, but I’m not sure which way, or which will be top and which bottom. Probably giraffes on the bottom. Probably.

I have, however, decided that the fastest way to get the crochet projects finished, of which I have two time-sensitive projects, will be to start carrying around my crochet bag and completing them during my lunch-hour at work, since it is actually an entire hour. Not sure how this will work with remembering which round I’m on; will give it a go and report back…

The New School Year

Oh it is nice that pretty much anytime you want to make a change there’s a New Year of some variety just around the corner to justify New Beginnings or what-have-you.

Of course, most of my changes tend to be necessitated by, ahem, long breaks in writing or posting anything. Life has got in the way; I have more than one unfinished craft project lying by the wayside, several chocolate ‘trips’ planned, and writing projects galore.

That all said, I also have ideas to revive and remould my wordy sort of blog. Not as books: I find writing reviews a bit forced. I’m a Yay or Nay sort of person, sometimes with good reason, usually none. I’m going to be changing how I write about books here, by the way.

As previously discovered, though, I have not the time in my life to maintain two blogs with many weekly posts. I seem barely to have the time for one blog with a thrice-weekly schedule. Certainly haven’t the time for that plus all the crafting required for a weekly craft post.

Instead, I have decided on a once-weekly post, with a loose schedule involving crafting (crochet and sewing), chocolate, and books.

Crafting will be as it always has been, with projects. Chocolate will be recipes and my chocolate ‘trips’ for single-origin bars. Books will be a monthly round-up of my reads, accompanied by a Yay or Nay.

We’ll see how this goes…

 

Simple Stitches

It’s easier, I find, to discover simple,  good, recipes than simple, pretty, cross stitch patterns.

This, I consider a crying shame in my current time-poor life. Same goes for the crochet, although that’s more because my tired brain can’t quite cope with the concentration required for my monster projects. I’m hoping this will change shortly.

However, and for which I will be very grateful because my April is full of birthdays, a recent edition of CrossStitcher held within its pages simple, but effective, birthday card designs.

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There was another design similar to this, but a smidgeon smaller with the words ‘With Love’ picked out. I have a strong suspicion that these designs will be my go-to birthday card patterns. Especially since they only took an hour or two each.

Have you any favourite simple cross-stitch designs? Where did you find them?

The Life of a Crafter

My plan for today’s post is uncertain. It says “Easter card?”.

When I was planning this revamp, and deciding what to write about and when, I decided that I have four general topics – cross-stitch, crochet, chocolate, and Life – and that each week two posts would be written. Nice theory, not sure about the execution, especially given my current, busy life. That, and, especially with the crafts, there are only so many posts which can be “Look! Look what I did – aren’t I amazeballs? Clever me to make this!”

Thus – the Life of the Crafter. This crafter, specifically, but no doubt there will be some universals which apply to all crafters.

My crafting life has been sporadic. I stitched as a child – I like hand-sewing items, more so than machine-sewing – but in fits and starts.

Pooh's Thinking Cushion

I started cross stitching in earnest about four years ago, with a Mouseloft hedgehog, and then a Winnie the Pooh and Piglet cushion cover. And that was that. I was caught.

I’ve extended my crafting repertoire to crochet since then, though my sewing machine remains sadly neglected. I have plans to change that, eventually – I received a quilting kit for my last birthday, primarily to help with cutting straight edges for cushions, but at some point I will also learn to quilt.

“You Made That? Gosh, How Clever!”

There is something terribly clever about crafting. I know this to be true because of the number of comments over the years which go along the lines of “You made this? Gosh, you are clever!” when told that whatever is being admired was handmade.

Certainly there is a skill with most handicrafts, I’m not for one instant suggesting that there isn’t, but when the sewing on of a button is met with the same sort of admiration, it does make one wonder…

To be honest, I think the cleverest thing about crafting is in the creation and establishment of a craft-based business, especially when it comes to dealing with the taxman! The other clever thing is in not letting the fact that now your hobby, which you enjoy, is your life and you will probably occasionally hate it, stop you from continuing.

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Sometimes I wonder about setting up a chocolate shop. I like chocolate; people say I make pretty good truffles, which I enjoy making. But I’m not sure if I’d want to spend all my time making them. Mind you, a thought occurs to me: Roly’s Fudge, which I realise probably means little to those of you who haven’t been to Taunton or Barnstaple.

Roly’s make fudge in the shop and they change their menu daily, I presume on the basis either of ingredients available or mood of the makers.

Although the idea I had recently for my ideal chocolate shop is a moving one on a canal boat. Not wholly my idea, there’s a floating chocolate shop which turns up in Stockholm at Easter-time. But again, would I want to spend all my time making chocolates?

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What’s the cleverest thing about crafting for you?

Keeping Warm this Winter

In these dark and dismal days of winter, it’s nice to think of brighter things – of sunshine and daisies and warm summer days.

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But until we get there, I’m making this brightly coloured granny square blanket to snuggle under. I just couldn’t resist the wool when I saw it in Hobbycraft..

It might take me a while – and a lot of wool! – but I’m finding it very therapeutic for an anxious mind, all these trebles and sets of three. Nothing complicated and I can nip along a line quite quickly.

For the interested, the yarn is by James C. Brett, called Party Time, shade PT4, and I’m using a 6.5mm hook. Oh, and it’s 100% acrylic.

A Way With Words

I got my stuff ready for July’s Project – cut the right-sized bit of linen, gathered my threads, found something to watch – and went straight back to June’s.

Which is now nearly finished. Just the last few stitches and the outlining to do.

A Way with Words

I think part of why I went back to this pattern was the relative mindlessness – cross-stitching squares. Nice and easy, straightforward. And now I’ve got to the point where, really, I need to finish this one before I can move on to July’s teapot-clock. At least up to the outlining.