No longer a novice

I’ve been at it again! 
I should start by saying our home is a work in progress so we are still decorating and getting furniture bit by bit. The bedroom however was pretty much finished however we had a cheap IKEA chest of drawers in there that was neither attractive nor much use, what I really wanted was a proper dressing table, made with solid wood and a couple of drawers.

As luck would have it a table popped up on a selling page the other week for a bargain price so I snapped it up quickly πŸ™‚ 

Here is what it looked like… 

solid wood table
I’m pretty sure it was being used as more of a side board type table but it had space underneath for a stool and was just a smidge bigger than my chest of drawers so I saw potential. Even that crazy bright red colour wasn’t going to put me off! 
You know what I did next right? Yep,cracked out the Annie Sloan chalk paint! It would be rude not to really.
Annie Sloan paint

After giving the whole piece a good wash and dry I sanded a couple of the corners that were rough and then got set to slather on coat one. 
Starting coat 1
Now I was very much prepared for this to take more paint than my previous Annie Sloan jobs as I was covering bright red with Original (which is like an off white) however this was some stubborn paint and did take a lot of work to cover, the red vanished quickly but I was left with more of a pink hue coming through.
After coat 1

It took about 30 mins for this coat to be dry as I was working in the kitchen with the doors wide open, so I popped on coat 2.

After coat 2

Coat 2 also dried quite quickly so on went coat 3 and 4, I left a much bigger gap between coat 3 and 4 to make sure it was really really dry so the pink wouldn’t show through. I also only added coat 4 to the top and drawer fronts as the legs and sides were fine.

After coat 4

While this was drying for 24 hours I decided to also paint up a stool we picked up cheap from IKEA that would be the seat to go with this dresser.

Before
After coat 1
After coat 2

The next day both were fully dry and the waxing could commence! 

Wax on, Wax off

I used Annie Sloan clear wax and put 1 coat all over and then an extra coat on areas getting a lot of use like the top of the dresser. I allowed it to harden
for 24 hours between these coats too.

All painted and waxed

Next up was the finishing touches….handles! I spent ages umming and ahhing about what to go for and in the end settled on some that were simple and old, I had wanted cast iron ring pulls but couldn’t find any I liked so in the end I went for some brass knobs.

Here it is all finished…

Finished Dresser
I just need to whip up a simple cushion for the stool and then it is completely finished πŸ™‚ 

I really do enjoy using the Annie Sloan chalk paints, they make up cycle projects so quick and easy, even the tiny human was helping me to paint this (coat one only, I’m too much of a control freak for her haphazard strokes on any final layers! Haha).

Now, what’s next? 

P.s. You may remember I previously did my kitchen table in Annie Sloan Graphite, well it gets A LOT of use and was looking a little tired so I gave it a quick coat on the top only from the leftover tin, waited 24 hours and re-waxed and it looks brand new again. 

kitchen table drying after its refresher coat

Amigarumi Heaven

The end of 2015 and even into the beginning of 2016 it was all about the mermaid tail blankets so I was surrounded by thick chunky yarn and a huge 12mm hook.

Now however I have very firmly been sat in amigarumi heaven so I’ve cracked out the 2.5mm hook and the thin cotton.

I’ve lost count of all the unicorns I’ve made so far this year but I’m having an absolutely great time making them! So many colour combo’s and the difference a pastel rainbow or bold rainbow mane can make is rather snazzy πŸ˜‰ 

A blessing of Unicorn

It’s not been all unicorns however. I have also managed to squeeze in a dog, some koalas and a monkey! 

Amigarumi dog

Amigarumi monkey

Some of my fellow crocheters may recognise the monkey as a fabulous All About Ami pattern. It was such good fun to make and I love that the tail/arms are all posable. 

I loved him so much I even made a little video….

​
I’m taking a little break for the next week or two (I like to pretend it’s a summer holiday!) to work on the new range I will be releasing for *warning! Scary word coming up* Christmas which is both exciting and terrifying that we are this far through the year and then I will be back probably making more fabulously magical unicorns πŸ¦„

B x

Rainbows everywhere

My life is full of rainbows, mermaids, unicorns and pretty much anything colourful and magical at the moment. It’s like a young girls dream world. Obviously I love it! 

Sticking to that theme I set about making a baby blanket. I’m not a huge fan of long projects, my attention span clearly isn’t long enough so it needed to be something I could dip in and out of with ease especially during busy periods with customer orders. Therefore a granny square blanket seemed like the perfect solution. Lots of quick little squares that can be worked on at lunch, on the sofa watching TV or waiting for an appointment. 

And so I began….

simple granny squares

I chose 7 bright bold colours all from Stylecrafts Special DK range and bordered them all in white.

Finished with a border

These actually worked up super quickly in the end and as I used a slightly too large hook size (5mm to be precise) the squares ended up very neat and flat so thankfully no blocking of individual squares was needed!

Stacked and ready for joining

After weaving in all those pesky ends nice and securely I laid out my squares to check what order looked best and began the joining process.

Layout planning

I used the good ol’ whip stitch to join my squares but only in the back loops. I like the pattern this creates on the front (which you can see in the second photo below).

All joined and ready for a border
Blanket front joined with a whip stitch

I pondered for quite and while about what border to give this blanket. My first thought was a round of sc in each colour but I didn’t want to detract from the bold squares so white it had to be.

Border finished and blanket done

After a round of granny stripes in white I still wasn’t quite happy so I added a simple picot.

Picot edging

Despite my poor photos and wonky placement of the blanket it is a perfect square and perfectly flat…. No blocking needed. Winner! 

This blanket is so bold and bright it makes me happy just looking at it.

A rainbow view

And finally just because I don’t think you’ve seen enough, here is one last photo of it πŸ˜‰ 

The finished blanket

B x

Free Pattern Friday!

That’s right your eyes are not deceiving you, it’s time for a free pattern πŸ™‚

I recently had a commission for a set of cushion covers but the lady liked the look of the knitted style. As you know the art of knitting very much eludes me…give me a hook over needles any day. So I set out to create the look with crochet. Here is the finished result:

Knit effect crochet cushion cover

I made this with the humble half double crochet stitch (htr in UK terms).

Some of you might know this but it was only a short while ago that I realised when you do a hdc there are 3 loops, the back and front loops as normal and then a 3rd one behind. If you work into this 3rd loop it forces the other 2 to the front giving a knitted effect.

Special 3rd loop

This only works properly if you are working in a round. If you work back and forth you get a different look and the knitted effect is not as clear and defined.

When your working your last round will look like there is a large gap between rows (as seen below) but when you then add another row it will force the front down.

HDC stitches worked in the 3rd loop

So enough waffling and onto the pattern. I made these to fit a standard 16″ cushion but you can make them as big or small as you like just adjust your starting chains.
And remember we are working in that 3rd loop all the time unless stated otherwise

I use American terms and the ch2 at the start of each round does not count as your starting stitch.

Materials:

I used Stylecraft chunky in Graphite and I held two threads together at once so it was double thickness.
10mm hook
Tapestry needles
4 buttons

The finished effect

Method:

Ch68 and then join to 1st ch with a ss – make sure that there is no twist in the ch before you join it
1. Ch2 then hdc in the same st and around, join with a ss to first hdc (68)
2-25. Ch2 then hdc in the same st and around, join with a ss to first hdc (68)
I use a stitch marker at this point and count 34 from the joint st and mark it.
26. You then hdc still in the 3rd loops for the next 34 stitches. Ch2 and turn
27-28. Hdc across, ch2 and turn(34)
29. Working through both front and back loops as normal from now on – sc across, ch1 and turn (34)
30. Sc across (34) fasten off and weave in all ends.

You should now have a piece that is open at both ends with a flap at the top.

At the starting end of your work (i.e.the bottom) join some yarn and work across slip stitching the two sides closed. You will need to make sure your hook goes through both starting chains and then ss the together. (34)

Now sew on your buttons to the back, I did them about 3 rows down with 2 near the edges to hold the corners down and then the others evenly spaced. You should be able to just pop the buttons through the space of the sc’s

Finished off with a tag

These worked up super quick and I am a little in love. When I get a spare minute I might even make some for myself!

B x

Sneak Peak: Knitted?

I’ve been working on a little something different for a recent commission. 

It’s not quite finished yet so I cannot show you the finished product but I can reveal a sneaky peak at it.  

Rows of chunky stitches
 

What’s that I hear you cry? It looks knitted? You thought I only crochet?

 
Well I might have a few tricks left up my sleeve yet but all will be revealed soon! πŸ™‚ 

B xx

Another First…

Mandala centre

This week I have completed my first ever mandala!
I’ve wanted to make one for a while but never really had a need or time. However after recently revamping our kitchen table I really wanted a centre piece to pop underneath the big glass bowl we usually have on it.

I hunted online for a pattern but none where really catching my attention. I wanted it to have lots of stitch variation and texture. I’m aware I could have taken the time to come up with one from scratch myself but I didn’t really have enough time to plan the pattern and then make it so I continued searching.
The I remembered a really amazing blanket I had seen repeatedly (which I’m sure you will all know as soon as I mention it or show you below) that featured a circular middle before turning square –

Sophie's Universe Blanket
Sophie’s Universe Blanket – click pic for link to tutorial

The middle of this blanket is exactly what I wanted.
So off I go working on the first few parts of the CAL to make my mandala

After only a few rounds I am already in love! Look at all those patterns and textures…
IMG_6205

I chose to use shades of red with white and grey to balance it slightly (in case you hadn’t guessed our kitchen has red themes) in Drops Paris as it is a lovely thick cotton that has really nice stitch definition.

The further into the pattern we go the more complex the stitches get but it really is a piece of art you are creating.

Flowers & petal patterns emerging
Flowers & petal patterns emerging

I stopped a few rounds short of the circle part ending as itΒ  was big enough for my table by about round 18.

The completed Mandala
The completed Mandala

A rouge bit of grey yarn seems to have worked its way into the picture so do feel free to ignore that πŸ™‚ I may have only just spotted it myself!

I was far to impatient to block it so I have popped it onto the table already. I will block it soon as it has a rather ripply edge from the bobble stitch round that you can see in white near the outer edge.

In place on the table
In place on the table

I had so much fun with this one that I am going to carve out some time to design one from scratch myself and will most definitely be making lots of Mandala’s. I really want to pop some into frames as artwork for the walls.

B x

The month that we turned purple

Miss B’s has been quiet in March but it was very much by choice. I took a few less orders in preparation for some serious fundraising I knew was coming up.

March 26th was known worldwide as Purple Day which supports and raises awareness of Epilepsy. Our 3 year old was diagnosed with Epilepsy last year and we are still in the middle of hospital visits and tests so we decided to do some fundraising for 2 charities we have found a great help since finding out.  

Epilepsy Action
 

Epilepsy Society
 
I had a bake sale at the day job before hand and made some very purple sacked cakes…

Baked, cut and ready to build
  
OmbrΓ© cakes – stacked and Iced
  
OmbrΓ© cakes – side view
 

I had a minor disaster with food colouring previously when making a rainbow cake  and I used an entire tube of gel food colouring and the layers were still only pastel shades so this time I got serious and brought some Wilton food colouring. I had heard only good things but was very sceptical. Well how wrong I was… The bottom colour took just the tip of a teaspoon being dipped into the pot and mixed into the batter! This stuff is seriously amazing and although the pot is small it will last for a very long time.

As I had cut circles out I had a lot of left over cake so I crumbled it up and made cake pops for our main fundraising event on the 26th. 

cake crumbles for cake pops
 

Speaking of the main event… We decided to host a big ol’ party at our house (yes I know we are a bit crazy). Obviously it was purple themed so I got a bit creative with decorations. 

 This wonderful tassel garland was kindly donated but the very wonderful IndigoZebra (this just so happens to be one of my fav shops I follow on Instagram too! So pretty)

Tissue paper tassel garland
 

I then whipped up some tissue paper Pom-poms… 

Tissue paper pom-pom
 
…and a large confetti backdrop. The best investment for the party was a super large single punch hole punch. I got it from Hobby Craft for about Β£10 and it makes large circles the size of your palm…so fun to use!!  
Purple backdrop
 

There was also balloons and posters etc But they didn’t look as good in a photo πŸ˜‰

We were so busy on the day we stupidly left the camera sat on the side and forgot to take any other pictures but I did sneak in a rare selfie.

It’s Me!

We had a brilliant day, there was far too much food (I’m still amazed at how much purple coloured food we managed to whip up) games, an awesome raffle thanks to lots of generous donations and we managed to raise an fantastic Β£500!! This will be split evenly between the two charities and we are so pleased to have got such a healthy amount to be able to give to them both. It’s such a small thank you for all the help they have given us over the last year. 

B x

Blocking big!Β 

I don’t normally have much need for blocking my makes. Hats and amigarumi doesn’t require it so it’s a very rare day if I find blocking is required and when it is it’s usually granny squares before I join them to make a blankets so very small scale.

A recent customer order however meant not only blocking was required but on a large scale! 

I was commissioned to make a beautiful baby blanket (don’t you love her colour choices!) 

 

ripple blanket
 
Once finished I was left with a slightly mishapen square so I needed to give it a decent blocking. 

all finished by mishapen
 
Sadly my usual places/methods are far to small so I resorted to pinning it in place on the bedroom floor as its carpeted. 

pinned in place

pinning the corners
 Thankfully our iron has a rather impressive steam setting so holding it slightly above the blanket I steamed the entire piece with extra attention on the edges. I was also treated to a wonderful steam facial in the process and there was a rather large amount of bum wiggling while in the air as I stretch, leaned and crouched over the blanket to make sure it was all blocked. 

steaming away

Once completely dry and un-pinned the blanket was finally complete and ready for its new owner! 

finished blanket
 
B x