Friday, 28 March 2014

Yarn Bombed Storage Basket

image of yarn bombed basket
Whilst at the hairdressers a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of reading a lovely magazine called Style at Home. The contents ranged from info on small scale accessories for the home to fully fledged kitchen makeovers - I thoroughly enjoyed and absorbed every page. There were two features in there that got my creative mind a-flowing. One I am revealing today - the other has been logged in my creative notebook for the future.
image of Ikea metal storage basket
This storage basket from Ikea was one of the items featured in there and as soon as I clapped eyes on it I just knew I had to go and get it because I had *A Plan* - I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, and the idea would not leave my mind alone for a minute.

Now I think in it's original state it's quite aesthetically pleasing if used in the kitchen, but I didn't want it for that. You see I have a dream, a b-i-g dream, but one that isn't too unrealistic if I can just set my sights on it and work hard, but still for the moment it's a dream...and that is to have my very own studio/craft room. My winter craft area is the living room either on the dining table or in a comfy chair by the fire, and during the warmer months I craft in the conservatory. My yarn, fabric, haberdashery items and sewing machine live in various wardrobes upstairs in my house, and I would be ecstatically happy to have a designated crafting area where everything is in it's place and there's a place for everything. So I wanted to yarn bomb and prettify this basket in a woolly way so I can hopefully one day sit it on my work table in my dream studio-office-work-space of the future where it would look very much at home. 

The idea didn't start with this Ikea basket, I'd already had a yarn bombing project in my mind, and it is this...
image of metal heart memo holder's a metal heart memo holder which lives in my kitchen. I really would love to give this a makeover! First I think I'll spray paint it with a nice light shade to brighten it up, then using these ready made loops around the outside...
image of close up of metal heart memo holder
I was thinking of working a bobble stitch in each metal loop or making a pretty lacy border around with the addition of a few pom poms maybe - I don't know may actually turn out completely different to what I initially imagined.
That's just what happened with my basket see I hadn't planned on what the finished basket would look like, but I had imagined crocheting a stripy yarn jacket to fit around the vertical bars of the basket...which after numerous attempts just didn't work out, it was too tricky a task, it didn't look right, plus I would have needed a U shaped hook to work around the bars - which I'm pretty certain doesn't exist.
I did think of cutting strips of fabric and winding them around the bars which is an easier option if you don't know how to crochet, but for me it HAD to be a crocheted jacket of some description. In the end I decided to keep it very simple and to go with a design that worked well with the square shape of the basket, and what better than the basic granny square of course!

I bought the yarn from Black Sheep Wools which I visited a few weeks back for the first time. This shop is lovely with very helpful, friendly staff. They have a huge selection of different yarns to choose from at great competitive prices (if they stocked Drops yarn - which I love and I know is very popular with a lot of you, then it would be the perfect yarn shop).
This is the yarn that caught my eye as its quite unusual and I've never come across it before. It's called Rosas by Schachenmayr (smc for short) and it was on sale. I also bought two pom pom makers by Clover which were also on special offer. Here are the colours I bought...
image of SMC Rosas yarn

close up image of Rosas yarn
What I love about this yarn is the contrasting shiny coloured yarn on the inside of the strand with multi coloured bobbles for added interest. They make the most sweet colourful pom poms. Just look -
image of pom pom
Pom pom POW!
image of pom pom
 How gorgeous is that! What a riot of colour.
image of granny square
This pretty trim compliments the colours of the yarn perfectly. I love those little beads. The colours and the beads remind me of  beautiful Indian Saris.
close up image of colourful beaded trim
I had to stop myself from getting carried away and adding more pom poms. Although I may add more crochet to the sides of the basket in the future, but for now I'm happy with the way it is. Pretty bonkers don't you think?!! That's why I love it so much - it's all mine, it's unique and I had heaps of fun making this. This was my first attempt at yarn bombing and I don't think it will be my last!
image of yarn bombed basket
The moment it was finished it was put to good use - I carry and store my current WIP in it... my crochet daffodils. I will try and write the pattern and tutorial next week to share with you.
image of Amjaylou's crochet daffodils
So until then I bid you all a fond adieu. Have an enjoyable weekend. Ttfn.

Edit to Add: You can see some other people's wonderful inspirational craft room ideas on my Pinterest board

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Woolly and Wobbly

image of lambs in field
The picture above was taken at the weekend from my bedroom window. We are all over the moon to have these adorable creatures as our new next door neighbours. There have been sheep in this field on and off over the four years we've lived here, but there have never been any lambs...until now. 
image of lamb in field
It was such a joy to hear the first lamb bleating outside the bathroom window a few weekends ago. We all rushed outside to take a peek - honestly you'd have thought we'd never seen a lamb before! On the last count there were twelve, and I don't think it's stopping there. They are so energetic, they run, leap, jump and spin around that it's so difficult to do a head count. To have these cute-some creatures in such close proximity makes me so, so happy and thankful for my life in the beautiful English countryside. I'm so glad I left the city life for this. Spring is definitely here at last!

This has given me a happy boost even though I haven't been very well lately, I tell you I've been sorely tested at trying to give up negativity for Lent which I mentioned in my last post. It all started with a bad head cold accompanied with an awful sore throat, followed by a bad chest, and it's still around after two weeks. Just when I think I'm over it, the next day I'll wake up feeling worse than ever. My dog walking friend said it sounds like a boomerang virus - ?? Never heard of it before, but she's been ill for five weeks...five! Crikey - I can't be doing with this. My energy level is in my boots, so haven't felt up to my regular jog. My get up and go has gone. My grey matter isn't functioning the way it should, it seems to be creating a caffuffle of some description at every opportune moment. For example, last week whilst out shopping (doing my very best to ignore said brain dysfunction) I went to withdraw some money from the cash point before going to the local yarn store. 
Do you want to know your bank balance it said?...
Yes I said.
Would you like another service?...
Yes I'd like £10 please.
Ok now here's your card. Go on take it...
Thank you kindly I murmured vaguely....and then I put my card in my purse...
I know I'm shouting but I just couldn't believe my stupidity, plus, it took a whole twenty minutes before I realised what I had done. Too late - what a numpty - I could have bought 2-3 balls of yarn with that.
Oh well at least I'd unintentionally made someone very happy that day. Very happy and smiley indeed - now there's the positive side of looking at it. (don't know how positive I could force myself to feel if it had been more than £10 though)

My brain has been and still is woolly and wobbly.

I haven't crocheted as much as I would have liked lately, but I have finally finished my own pattern for a daffodil. Want a sneaky peek? Here they are...
image of crochet daffodils on a spring mandala
...looking rather appropriate on my spring mandala. 
I really wanted to share a lot more with you but my brain is fogging over so I will go now. I will (hopefully) be back in a few days to chat again. 
Bye for now lovely people.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Happy Crafternoons

image of crocheted spring mandala
I've been doing my best to balance my days of late...trying to pack all that I want to achieve in the six hours the girls are in school is quite a juggling act - a dog walk every morning or an hours run 2-3 times in the week, 1-2 hours max on household chores, grocery shopping, laundry, catching up on my blog and with others, then a quick break for lunch and if I'm lucky, very lucky then I may get to spend the last hour or two with a hook and yarn in my hand. Obviously there are times when this doesn't always work out, but I am trying to be more mindful of how I manage my happy days at home.

I'm also trying to focus on being thankful for everything in my life (yes even when I'm cleaning the toilets!). So for Lent I'm giving up Negativity, and have a 'glass is half full' outlook. This shouldn't be too difficult as Spring is just around the corner - so looking forward to sunnier warmer days. 

When I saw this blog post by Hannapat over at her lovely blog cosmosandcotton I just knew I had to make a mandala too - the timing was perfect for me. She explains the meaning of the mandala and what it symbolises to her in crafting such a beautiful, and complete piece of work. Go take a look - thanks for sharing Hannapat!

So last weekend I spent a blissfull crafternoon making my own beautiful mandalas. The pattern I chose was Barbara's Little Spring Mandala from K-town blog - a beautiful and appropriately named project. It was so easy and quick to make that I made addictive, and relaxing a process. It was so nice not to have to spend time designing my own patterns (which I've been doing a lot lately).
image of crocheted mandala in spring colours
I loved making every stitch of this, and the yarn although slightly splitty was a joy to work with. It now resides on my dining table looking pretty darned nice I tell you! I'm smitten with them. The yarn is Drops Paris which I bought last summer when it was on sale at  woolwarehouse. Here are the range of colours I bought... 
image of Drops Paris yarn
...such fresh, happy colours. I bought it with the sole purpose of making a blanket for the colder months ahead, but I didn't like the pattern after a while so that's on hold for the moment. I'll be turning the squares that I've made into a cushion cover which I'd like to share with you soon. Drops Paris is an aran weight yarn, worked on a 5mm hook so the end result was a more pleasing substantial sized mandala for me (I'm not a classic vintage doily type of gal). The next one had to be completely different so I chose the brighter colours -  inspired by Karin aan de haak's colour work. I love her bright happy colour combinations, so I followed hers with just one colour change...
image of crochet mandala
This one now lives on my bedroom wall. I think I'd like one in every room!

Just one more thing I'd like to share with you before I go is my latest project...
image of crocheted granny square
yes it's the humble granny square. I won't reveal what it is for just yet, but it's not for a blanket, cushion or scarf. Now I'm not big into the whole granny square thing (eek - sorry!), well, that is, until I saw this...
 ann great british sewing bee - Google Search
This is the lovely Ann who won the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee TV competition. The scarf  looks very stylish and gorgeous on her. I love those subdued autumnal and earthy colours, and it's hotch-potch style - this is definitely on my project list for the future.
 I'm off to spend a Happy Crafternoon making some more grannies, so will love you and leave you for the now. Hoping you have some Happy Crafternoon time yourselves this weekend. 

p.s. will be linking up with Chrissie's crochet projects today :-) x