Friday, 22 November 2013

I Made a Book!

I think I mentioned a little while ago that I had published an ebook on kindle - well, it is now in actual paperback *seriously big grin*


It's a children's book about a magical teddy bear who helps kids through tough times - all around the world. I'm so proud of it, and I've had some lovely amazon reviews:

Sensitive, emotional and highly imaginative - a must for all ages.

Skilfully written with a heart warming story.

Thoroughly enjoyed this book. A heart-warming story. Lovely to sit and read with your little ones at bed time over one or two evenings

I have a facebook page for The Adventures of Brown Ben, just in case you might be interested in learning more/keeping up to date with news etc. And that's also the best place to get in touch if you'd like to order a copy. 

Oh, yeah, information that is useful:

The book is £4.95, p&p (according to Royal Mail's calculator) is £1.10 in the UK, and 50% of the profits from the book are being donated to The Children's Trust - an amazing charity. 

Anyway, I just wanted to share, because this is the coolest thing! Ok, so it's time to stop blowing my trumpet, but I'm just seriously excited that I wrote a book, and now it is in my hands *grins*

Monday, 18 November 2013


When I was posting about my latest yarn purchases, I totally forgot to mention another new yarn I have (I discovered it in my "special yarns" box and it reminded me).


And then I wondered why the hell I hadn't thought about posting my trip to Toronto before now!

The plan started last year. I mentioned ages and ages ago that I participated in a knitting competition in Ravelry, called Nerd Wars. Well, I joined Team Impala (fans of the TV show Supernatural) and quickly became firm friends with my teammates.

So much so, that when it was suggested that those who could make it try and attend a Supernatural convention in Toronto, I decided why not?!

Plans changed a few times, thanks to money and flights and general organisation, but I ended up flying to New York, spending an afternoon there (and then sleeping over at team captain's place) and then driving to Toronto, picking up another team mate on the way.

We even managed to find time to stop at Niagara Falls - somewhere I have always wanted to go *grins*


We got there as the sun was setting, and it was sooooooooo beautiful.

I then spent 3 days in Toronto, at the convention, getting to hang out with friends I'd known online for close to 2 years. And had my picture taken with Phoenix (one of my lovely team mates) and Misha Collins, who is as lovely in the flesh as you might think. 

And hey, a picture of me that contains a knitted item where the picture wasn't taken specifically to show off the item *laughs*

One thing I also wanted out of my trip was to buy some American junk food and some dishcloth cotton (when I discovered that Walmart has the cotton for about $1, and I pay A LOT more than that here). I'd mentioned both missions to my team, so captain and I stopped for a supply run on the way, and then lovely teammate TKS bought a huge bag of cotton for me *grins*

My haul (oh yeah, also bought Caron Simply Soft, because I really like it)


The cotton from lovely teammate


And the junk food:


While we had some downtime in Toronto, we stopped at 2 yarn shops. I bought some pretty fibre:


And the beautiful yarn at the top was another gift from lovely teammate. 

Wow, this post turned out a lot longer than I had planned - that's what happens when I don't post for a while, I end up with lots to say! And have apparently decided "lovely" is the only descriptor I'm using today *laughs*

Friday, 15 November 2013

Oh, Yeah, Blogging... ;)

Recently I got a lovely email telling me that I had been recognised as one of the top 50 crafting blogs in the UK, by Homecrafts.

In fact, I'm at number 5... 5! Wow.

Which gave me a bit of a kick up the backside to actually post something, can't really justify it otherwise! So here I am *smiles* I'm glad, because I have missed this, and also a little apprehensive - it's been a few months since I last posted and I'm a bit rusty.

I have actually crafted loads since I last posted, and need to have a mammoth "taking pictures of FOs, new yarn and WIPs" session (you know me, I hate posting without pictures). Which, if I'm completely honest, has been putting me off blogging... I stopped posting when I had nothing to write about, but now I have so much to write about I'm completely overwhelmed.

Gotta start somewhere though!

So, here's a bunch of pictures of yarn. Obviously in the months since I last posted, I have purchased yarn. What sort of knitting blog would this be if I hadn't? *laughs*

MadelineTosh in the most amazing orange (of course) I can't wait to use this, but I can't use it until the perfect pattern appears to me.

Countess Ablaze - I actually have a whole post's worth to say about this, but for now just look at how pretty it is ;)

Discontinued yarn I was sent as a random act of kindness. So squishy, just how I like it :)

Slightly fuzzy, sort of red, destined to be a scarf or shawl for a bit of winter colour

Debbie Bliss Andes - alpaca and silk (my favourite combination). I wouldn't normally buy it, it's a bit pricey, but I had a gift voucher and it was reduced. Who could say no to that?!

Bizarrely purple chunky acrylic. Not quite sure why I bought it, cunning boyfriend is not a fan of the colour, but it's turning into a reasonable blanket, so I'm calling it a win ;)

To be honest, that's probably the tip of the iceberg for new yarn, I have at least 4 other skeins that I haven't taken pictures of, but I think it's good for now *laughs*

Anyway, no promises on when I'll next post, but as I have a case of start-itis at the moment maybe I'll be more inclined ;)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

It's Either One Thing or Another

So, lately I haven't been posting (as you may have noticed *laughs*), because I seem to have had very little time to do anything worth posting about. But in the last few weeks I seem to have perked up a little bit.

  • I finished my Celestarium (and that I did post about!)
  • I finished my Reggae Reggae socks
  • I knit a hat, on a bit of a whim
  • I knit a shawl for cunning boyfriend's mum
  • I knit two dishcloths for my mum
  • I went on holiday to the Forest of Dean
  • I started, and have nearly finished, another pair of socks
  • I started, and have made significant progress on, another shawl
  • I still haven't decided what to do with the shawl I messed up
  • I've been promoting the children's ebook I published
  • Cunning boyfriend and I got a cat
  • I've bought, but not blogged, quite a lot of yarn *laughs*
  • I changed my hair - it's short (which I don't think I like) and red with black streaks (which I do like)

So, really, I do have plenty to post about. Maybe I should reappear! 

Oh, and in the meantime - here's me and cunning boyfriend doing a bit of archery *laughs*

Friday, 9 August 2013

So Beautiful

I finally finished my Celestarium! I can't tell you how happy this makes me - partly because it's one of the most beautiful things I have ever made, and partly because it felt like it would never, ever be done *laughs*

I love it, I want to wear it everywhere. To the supermarket, to the petrol station, even sat in my office with no one here to see it ;)

 I had quite a few beads, and plenty of yarn, left when I got to the border, so instead of doing the plain knit on border, I added a few rows of k2tog, yo, which gives a nice lattice, and added a row of beads. This plan also gave me the flexibility to block the garter stitch border into points... Which saved the headache of trying to figure out how to block a perfect circle *laughs*

This is an intermediate in-action shot, hopefully to be replaced with a proper picture of me wearing it once my photographer gets home ;)

The way I shaped the edges means it actually sits really nicely on my shoulders, which is great because I had no idea how I was going to wear it! 

I love the yarn (malabrigo sock - and I even have enough left for a short pair of socks!) and the colour, and the beads, and the pattern.... I just love it all, in case you couldn't tell!

It's my first circular project, and my first ever project with beads, so I'm really happy with how it came out.

Monday, 22 July 2013

I Published A Book!

I have some really exciting news - I have written and published an ebook *grins, a lot*

It's a story I wrote a little while ago, and I thought it was about time I did something with it. So I have published it to amazon kindle (which means that anyone with an ipad or phone can also read it, and there is even a kindle for PC service now available).

I'd like to introduce you to Brown Ben...

Brown Ben is a magical teddy bear, who finds his way to children who need him, whether that's because they're poorly, they're sad or they just need a cuddle.

The plan is to have a series of books, with Brown Ben visiting children struggling with all the different issues that kids have to deal with. This is the introductory book, and I'm so in love with it (even though I do say so myself *laughs*)

I love the cover - a friend from school is now an illustrator so I asked her to bring Ben to life, and I think she captured him perfectly.

I'm donating 50% of the proceeds from the sale of the book to an amazing charity - The Children's Trust. It's based in Surrey and provides services to children with severe disabilities, and is a specialist center for acquired brain injuries.

If you would like to know more, you can find the amazon page here. If you do read it, I'd love to know what you think!

Friday, 19 July 2013

Introducing Diego...

A slightly different FO Friday this week (I don't have any knitting even close to being finished currently!)

I'd like to introduce Diego, the Stag:

Like I said, a bit different *laughs*

Recently I was contacted by Homecrafts, purveyors of many crafty things, and asked if I would be interested in rehoming a deer head, decorating it and showing it off. Always up for a bit of a challenge, I said I would love to ;)

So, this arrived:

My mind immediately went to steampunk... I was envisioning copper wire, goggles, the usual. But I always go for steampunk, so I thought it was time I branched out. I considered all sorts of options and then decided I really wanted to try my hand at a Dios del las Meurtos design (Mexican Day of the Dead).

I painted the whole head with a couple of coats of white acrylic, to give me a base to start from, and then started designing with marker pens.

It was really good fun *grins* A lot of the styles and shapes are the types of design that I like to doodle anyway, but put together in a different way than I have done before.

The Day of the Dead skull, or calavera, is a sugar skull used to adorn the altar during the Day of the Dead.

And Day of the Dead is the annual celebration of those we have loved and lost, celebrated as a national holiday in Mexico (hence the choice of a Mexican name for my stag!)

Diego is currently residing in the guest room, although he may have to make his way into the office, where I keep all my toys and silly, creative stuff *grins*

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

To Frog or not to Frog

One of my Works in (limited) Progress that has been sat on the needles for a while is a shawl. It's going to be an Ishbel, but there's a small issue... I've made a mistake in the lace, but I have no idea where *sigh* In fact, I have probably made multiple mistakes, so I really don't think I can get away with frogging the lace section.

I felt like I'd done loads and loads of work on it, so I was reluctant to pull it all out, hence why it has sat in my knitting basket in time out for a while. But when I got it out to take a few pictures, it seems I haven't done as much as I thought.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing *laughs*

Anyway, the shawl in question:

And a better picture of the colours:

The yarn was originally purchased to be socks for my lovely boyfriend. I knit the toes and showed him, and he could see that I had fallen in love with the yarn - he rolled his eyes and asked if I suddenly wanted the socks to be for me *laughs* I said no, actually I thought it would make a really nice shawl.

This is where he gets lots of brownie points - because he immediately agreed that the yarn would be much nicer as a shawl, the colours will look great with jeans, and insisted I rip out the socks and make myself a shawl *grins*

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Hello, poor neglected blog!

Yep, I'm still alive, and still (just about) crafting. I never expected to be too busy to post here, and I find myself missing my blog and all the blogs I love to read. I'm not making any promises about posting more regularly because I know as soon as I plan something it flies right out the window, but I hope to be around a little bit more.

I feel like I should have more to update, having been absent for a month, but nothing is springing immediately to mind. Maybe I should make a list. I like lists *laughs*

  • I've just come back from a week's holiday with my mum. Had a fabulous time, read a lot of books and generally did little more than lie on the beach for a week. It was a much needed break. 
  • I've been working really hard on my business, having a great time doing all sorts of bits and pieces, and hopefully will have some exciting news to share soon. 
  • Knitting has been happening, albeit not much *sigh* I'm nearing the end of my Celestarium though, and I can't wait to finish so I can show it off. I started another shawl, but I've made a mistake and can't figure out where it is, so it's in timeout while I decide between fudging and frogging ;)
  • Other crafting - I have been doing some other crafty bits, some painting of unexpected items (like shoes, I must take pictures and share) and a couple of other things I will post about at some point (I'd say "some point soon" but let's not be too optimistic *laughs*). I've met a great lady who does lino and screen printing workshops, so I'm hoping to book myself on one of those soon
  • I have an interesting decoupaging project on the go at the moment, and I will be posting about that soon (no, really!)
  • My yarn stash continues to grow, because if I can't knit I can at least buy... Yeah, I'm not sure of the logic either *laughs*

Now I'm off to get reacquainted with the blogs I haven't read in too long - I hope I haven't missed too much!  And because I don't like posting without pictures - here's one of my new yarns ;) Pretty, huh?

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Ice Cream Bread

Yep, I do mean bread made from ice cream, really *laughs*

It sounds crazy, I know. In fact, it is crazy. But it actually kinda works.

You need 2 ingredients:

250g ice cream and 190g self-raising flour. As you can see, we opted for my favourite flavour - salted caramel *grins*

That's it - just 2 ingredients. I was sceptical, I admit *laughs* But I dutifully mixed them together, to make the weirdest dough I have ever experienced:

It looks like fairly normal dough, but it is freezing cold.

Bake in a 180 degree oven for 45 mins.

Take out the most surprising bread you have ever seen:

I didn't smooth it down before baking, hence the rough-looking crust, but those bumpy bits got extra tasty and crisp, so I'm calling it a win ;)

Slice and serve:

Bizarre, huh? Boyfriend and I made it, and found it almost impossible to decide if we thought it was awesome or awful. So we made another batch *laughs* The second one we made with cherry ice-cream, which was much nicer. You don't seem to get the flavour of the ice-cream particularly strongly, although you can tell the difference between flavours.

Monday, 3 June 2013


I thought it might be about time I had a bit of a clearout of my knitting basket:

It seems to be overflowing a bit *laughs* I think it's because everytime I tidy up, anything knitting related just goes into the basket. Very lazy of me, I know ;)

So I cleared everything out of it...

And now it is all neat and tidy, with WIPs in project bags and everything else put away where it should actually live.

I'm taking bets now on how long it stays this neat *laughs* I give it a few days ;)

Oh, and the John Lewis bag and colourful yarn you can see in the top picture will have their own post, because new yarn deserves it *grins*

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Noodly Appendage

I've been on a bit of a yarn buying kick at the moment - possibly to make up for the lack of knitting I've been doing (don't ask me how that logic works, it made sense in my head *laughs*)

I am actually saving a couple of purchases for their own posts, but I wanted to share this one right away...

It was half price in John Lewis, and I thought it looked pretty interesting. And it seemed like a nice, quick-fix to my lack of knitting time lately.

Essentially you use your hand as a knitting loom, churning out 4 stitch icord. Not quite as quick as the box says ("your own fashion accessory in minutes), but still pretty fast. I made a big pile of cord in a couple of hours...

Hmmm, that doesn't look like much. Here, have a picture with my hand in it for scale *laughs*

It's pretty chunky. Now, though, I have a long icord (or "noodle" as the box called it) and according to the instructions I need to sew it together in one of a number of ways, depending on whether I want a hat, scarf or snood.

Call me pedantic, but the box promised "knitting without needles", not "no needles until you need to sew it up, then you have about 8 meters of seaming to do" *sigh*

Who knows when this intestine will become an accessory! I'm glad it was half price (£6.49) as I wouldn't have been too thrilled if I'd paid full price for it. To be fair, the instructions are there on the box, I just hadn't read them ;)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Nameless Socks

Hey, check it out, it's Friday and I actually have a finished object to share *laughs*

I don't think I have actually posted these socks before at all, but they've been my "I have 10 minutes, I'll do a couple of rows" project for a few weeks now.

I haven't blocked them, because I wanted to wear them straight away - blocking socks is really only something I do for the sake of good pictures, and that doesn't always work anyway ;) So please ignore the lumpy bits *laughs* They are the same length, not sure why they don't look it!

They're made from KnitPicks Felici sock yarn - the same yarn I used for my Super Awesome Happy Rainbow socks. I love those socks, the yarn is so soft and they've held up really well, so I asked for some more Felici for my birthday.

I did a garter stitch short row heel. I'd used the technique on a different pair of socks and the heels are nicely bouncy, so I thought I do another set that way. It has nothing to do with laziness and avoiding purling, honest *laughs*

I do have on problem though...

These socks do not have a name. My mum is a big fan of the names I give my socks, but for some reason I haven't found one for these. The colourway is Hummingbird, so they could be Hummingbird Socks, but that doesn't sit right. So, any ideas?!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Creativity - ish

If you happen to follow me on instagram, you might have noticed I have developed a bit of a penchant for experimenting with nail varnish. I never used to wear it at all, finding it too much of a hassle - especially as I seem to manage to chip half of it off within a couple of days *laughs*

But I do like having nails that compliment my outfit, so I started playing again...

Copper houndstooth (to go with a reddy/orange dress)

My (not very good) attempt at yellow/orange/red gradient

I love this one, but somehow only have a really low quality picture :( It's lilac polish with lorem ipsum writing over the top of it.

The yellow with black dots makes me think of racing for some reason...

My first experiment - I had some old varnishes that had gone a bit gungy, so I scribbled them over boring grey varnish for a Jackson Pollock look ;)

I do sometimes go for the more classic look though *laughs*

The writing, dots and houndstooth patterns are all achieved using nail stamping plates - I'm not skilled enough to actually draw that kind of stuff on!