Finishing up toddler makes – a frugal birthday and some dressmaking

Whilst I’ve been sorting out the house and packing ready for our big move, I’ve also been making sure that I’ve finished all my WIPs and projects. The last thing I want is to move with lots of half finished things in project bags that could get lost or damaged in transit. I’ve started with the smaller things, socks and such that I’ve started, and most importantly, I’ve finished the Toddler’s birthday presents! Continue reading

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Reducing my stash, kind of…

A bought myself a new gadget. It’s an absolute life saver, quite possibly the most useful gadget I’ve bought besides the kettle. It has improved our quality of life no end, and all for the modest sum of £10 including postage. What did I buy?

A yarn winder!!!

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This amazing machine has reduced all of my knotted and untidy balls of wool into these neat little cakes that can be stacked. Isn’t it wonderful? It also provides hours of family fun. See?

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After two days of winding I reduced my stash from this

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to this!

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Worth every penny!

A cheaper kind of birthday

The toddler’s birthday is fast approaching. I’ve tried to keep costs down for the last two birthdays and Christmases, but this year she’s 3, and that means she has asked for presents! Luckily her lists of demands haven’t be too much. She asked for a Lalaloopsy doll. However, these are £30 each. That’s about 3 times what I was planning on spending on her whole birthday this year! I put a call out on Facebook and fortuitously someone came straight back to me with a second hand doll for £5. I nearly snapped her hand off! I found some patterns on Ravelry for clothes for her, so I will be making her a few accessories.

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I also managed to get a new box of Playmobil for her. I will go into the story of all our newly acquired Playmobil another day, but I was particular pleased with this. I also found this on Facebook, and it hasn’t even been opened. Again it was £5, and it’s around £30 new.

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Having spent the amount I wanted to, I will have to do anything else for free. That means I shall be making things. Not a new concept for me, granted. However, I haven’t done much in the way of amigurumis, and I have set myself the task of making the three Totoros from My Neighbour Totoro, quite possibly her favourite film. So far I have managed the two smaller ones

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I still need to do the big Totoro, her favourite and also the most detailed. I’m also planning on making an amigurumi Ponyo for her, her second favourite film. Aswell as this, I want to crochet her a dinosaur Island. Chances are this will end up being made for Christmas, a long with the dolls clothes I’m planning on making her. It’s a lot to do, but I’ve given myself a couple of months. I’m going to embrace it whilst she stills wants toys that mummy has made for her. I don’t know what I’ll do when she starts wanting clothes and dvds for her birthday. Run and hide probably!

Little Surprises

I was feeling pretty miserable during my hospital stay. I was thinking to myself that whilst I had a well stocked house for everyone, I wished I had got the washing done and the house tidied up before I had gone in. I was mostly concerned with how everyone else was, and how I’d look after the toddler when I got home. I most certainly wasn’t concerned with my own recovery.

Jamie came to visit me and told me I had a parcel at home. I was a bit excited as I had won a competition on a blog for a crochet book and four balls of wool. I couldn’t wait to get back and open it! This cheered me up enough to look through my Simply Crochet magazine to see what I could make. I was nil by mouth, so trying to find anything to think about other than food!

When I got home I was confused. The parcel was flat, so it couldn’t have been my prize. I ripped it open and discovered this

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Lots of wonderful knitting notions and needles, and a big sectioned knitting bag. I couldn’t work it out. Had I ordered something at the hospital that I had forgotten about? I looked again in the packaging and found a little slip of paper from Let’s Knit magazine. I had one something else! It was very strange, I hadn’t bought a copy of Let’s Knit for a really long time, but I had bought one on my way out of the hospital. This cheered me up so much! Here it is full of my projects, with storage at the back, and a pocket for notions at the top

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Then, a couple of days later, this turned up

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The other prize I had one! Unfortunately the day after I got this prize I went back into the hospital for my operation, but at least I had some new things to play with when I got home!

I’m back!

You may have noticed that we haven’t posted any blog posts in a while. Well, I (Danielle that is) have been in the wars a little bit. I was suffering with toothache, which led to an emergency root canal. Two days later I was sent to hospital with suspected appendicitis. I was sent home a couple of days later, after which I had the rest of my root canal treatment. As if this wasn’t enough, I was taken by to hospital two days later and had my appendix removed during a routine camera procedure. Turns out it was appendicitis. I had open surgery, so it took a little longer to recover than the normal key hole surgery. Of course, during all this, Jamie was left making sure the toddler was OK and looked after, whilst also juggling work and coming to see me. It’s been tough. I’m finally starting to feel myself again after a few weeks recovering, I’m still exhausted, but at least I can get on with normal daily tasks again!

The first time I was sent to hospital I thought I’d be sent straight home, so I only packed my crochet. I was there for three days, so I had to have basics brought to me, but at least I wasn’t bored!

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This is a cardigan I was making out of scrap 4 ply I had kicking around, which I finished when I got home

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The second time I went in I was a little more sensible about what I took with me. By that I mean that I took two projects! I tried finish my socks, but I lost one of my needles, and the nurses didn’t seem quite as concerned as I was! Whilst I didn’t get much of my socks done, I did start this shawl with some beautiful hand dyed, hand spun yarn.

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And of course, as I had access to my phone and A LOT of time on my hands, I ended up ‘treating’ myself to some new wool. Well, I think I deserved it after all that, don’t you?

Using every scrap

I finally finished the big fluorescent granny square blanket I showed you a while back. I kept thinking it was done, and then I added another row, and another, and finally here it is!

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Still trying to use up yarn, but…

So, I’m still slugging away trying to use up all my yarn. I finished my brightly coloured blanket, but still had some colours left, so I’m trying out Bavarian crochet, a pattern also known as the yarn eater, as it uses up so much. Don’t know what I’m making yet, I’ll  just keep going until I run out I suppose.

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I’m also making myself a pair of fair isle My neighbour Totoro mittens, which are using up a couple of balls. I finished one mitten, but as it’s my first attempt at this kind of colour work, the thought of following two intense charts at the same time with a toddler hanging off me makes me want to cry. I will make the other, I just want a rest!

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And, as always seem to happen when I use up some yarn, I was promptly given some more. This time, I won a competition in the magazine Simply Crochet, and I was sent a box with a whopping 26 balls of chunky wool in it! On closer inspection, I discovered there were only 22 balls of wool, and being the massively ungrateful person that I am (I still feel guilty) I informed the magazine that they had sent me four less balls than they were supposed to. As soon as I sent the message I felt bad, and they were well within their rights to ignore me, but this next day this turned up

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I feel even more guilty, as I’m using 7 balls of it to knit a big comfy jumper, not crochet the patterns that the yarn was meant for. I will crochet at least one of those patterns, mainly because I feel so bad about it!

More adventures in using up yarn

I’m still trying my very best to use up all my yarn, and I still haven’t bought any, however much I have wanted to. To continue this effort, I have been slaving away on this crochet granny blanket made of all the brightly coloured balls of yarn that I would never have used for anything else. I wouldn’t usually use yarn this bright for anything, but the more of this blanket I make, the more I love it! It’s fun to make up my own pattern too, and I think it has complimented the colours well, even if it doesn’t match anything else in the house!

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I’ve also started some socks. I promised myself I’d try and push myself this year, so I’ve cast on some lacey socks in  quite a masculine colour way, and I already like them. Let jsut hope they don’t take as long as the last pair (2 years!)

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Somebody up there REALLY likes me!

So, I may have mentioned my intention to stop buying wool until I have used up my stash. You also may remember that immediately after saying this I was given a bin bag full of wool – see here. Well, once again I stated that I wouldn’t buy any more wool until I had used up some of my stash. Continue reading

The wonder of Skill Swapping

Happy New Year everyone! I’ve read an awful lot of blog posts about resolutions and the idea of ‘new year, new me’. I’m not very good at that sort of thing. I have a short attention span, one day I can be completely adamant that I’m going to do something, and the next I will forget I said it. I stopped making any sort of new years resolutions a long time ago, but there is something I want to do more of this year, skill swapping. Continue reading