Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!!!

So this is Christmas!!!! Well its Christmas Eve anyway, and this post, as I am sure there are many others around the web, is to say thankyou to all my followers and my readers this season and a very Happy Christmas to you all!! Relax and enjoy, and keep those fingers crossed that they like all the things I have spent all year knitting!!

Happy Christmas from

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Christmas Fairies

I have successfully finished my christmas list. They are all knitted, blocked, stuffed and sewn and ready to be shipped around the country at this very festive time. Father Christmas will be very happy with me, I met all my targets! Now comes that wonderful time of the year when there is 12 months till the big day and I have no list to hang over me needing to be knit.

I have spent lots of time this week browsing all those patterns trying to make me procrastinate. And happily knitting away and not worrying that it is 2 days to go, the mince pies need to be baked and I cant find the sellotape. This week I have found a wonderful website full of lovely patterns and I wanted to share it with you.

The Flutterby Patch is a wonderful Blog by a fellow Brit, with some amazing patterns both bought and free. This week I have knit the topsy turvey doll (which is so perfect for new knitters and works amazingly- I am so so pleased) which is two dolls in one, and if you have ever seen Jean Greenhowe's cinderella topsy turvey doll but dont want to do ALL that knitting, please knit this one, so so cute and perfect size.
I have also knit the snowman and a sheep this week too, but my favourite pattern so far has to be the Autumn Fairy, so much so that I started knitting these yesterday, and there are now four little ladies in my living room

So visit the Flutterby Patch, read the most wonderful stories, be inspired and knit away to your hearts content!!
Sleigh safe everyone- only three more sleeps!!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Mini Hot Water Bottle Pattern

These little Hot Water Bottle covers are brilliant for lots of different things. Firstly, they make a really fun little decoration alond with the mini mittens and sweaters of the season. Secondly, they fit those little mini hot water bottles that you can get that you click and heat your hands up. In my version, I made little mini rice bags that go inside. Basically, cut two small squares of fabric. Sew together on three sides, leaving one side open. Fill will dry uncooked rice. Sew up the fourth side. These can then be microwaved in 10 second bursts until snuggly and warm. Put inside the cosy and you are done!
They take small amounts of DK yarn, whatever you have left over, and I can knit one in less than 30 minutes.

 You will need:
Small amounts of DK yarn
3.75mm needles
Tapestry needle

Tension isn't important for this project.

sts- Stitchs
K- Knit
K2tog- knit two stitches together
P2tog- Purl 2 stitches together
Kfb- knit into the front and the back of the stitch
Pfb- Purl into the front and the back of the stitch
St St- stocking stitch

Cast on 20 sts
Row 1: Purl
Row 2: K4, (kfb) twice, K8, (Kfb) twice, K4
Row 3: P5, (pfb) twice, P10, (pfb) twice, P5
Starting with a K row, st st  22 rows
Next Row: K5, (K2tog) twice, K10, (K2tog) twice, K5
Next Row: P4, (P2tog) twice, P8, (P2tog) twice, P4

Next Row: (K2,P2) to end
Repeat the last row 5 more times (6 rows of Rib in total)
Cast off in Rib.

Sew the side seam at the centre back, and sew the bottom up. The seam should be up the centre at the back of the work
Fill with stuffing, pot pourri, rice bag, mini hot water bottle, in fact anything you like. Ive knit quite a few of these now, in all sorts of colours, even a fair isle version. Let your imagination go wild and go for it

Guess who's coming to town?

Thats right, Father Christmas of course!!! Well he is as you can imagine pretty busy this time of year, so he has to employ a lot of elves to give him a hand. I just happen to be one of those elves. To be honest, the pay is rubbish and there is no health insurance or pension to speak of, but as they say, I dont do it for the money! It is this time of year I am knitting away like a demon to finish off all those orders and wrapping and writing like a mad woman to get it all done! But I can safely say, as of yesterday afternoon I am done. Now I am a bit of a procrastinating elf rather than a get it all done with a smug smile by November elf. I have in fact procrastinated so much I wrote a whole new pattern just to prevent me knitting up the things that needed knitting!! But I have sat down these last two days to finish.

This pesky little sponge was the last thing I had to knit. As always, he was easier than I had imagined to finish, and with the help of felt and the Blattman, he was finished up, and even if I do say so myself, he actually looks like Spongebob. All together now... He lives in a Pineapple Under the Sea....

Deck the Halls

So we have already made the Blog a little more Christmassy by this spangly new background, but the Bricks and Mortar Blattcave takes a little longer. We normally decorate early December, and then bits and pieces get added over the month in our advent parcels, our family and us picking bits up as we go along. So here are the festive highlights from our house to yours.

 This beautiful nativity was bought for us by my Granny when we went to the Friars in Aylesford for their christmas fair. It was a lovely day, and they had a huge animatronic polar bear that walked and growled and responded to the audience. Granny thought it was real, in fact she still does. Bless. We put a candle in front of this and the light from the candle makes it even more magical!

Another Granny buy, again from the Christmas Fair. She said it reminded her of us! They are actually sparkly too and textured and they sit under our TV with the light up nativity from before.

This is our first nativity we bought together. It is actually a candle holder too, and all the cutouts behind the holy family light up when the candle is lit inside. Next to it is also one of my favourite Christmas cards from this season, from Fr Brian, and it is just so lovely it got upgraded from the card holder to the side!!

These are my special cards. The big one at the front is from my lovely Mum and StepDad who always buy such lovely cards. The Snowman was a present for the Blattman from me, and he loves him!! He is a bit in the way of the lovely card the BlattGrandparents bought us this year, but he isnt in real life in the way. Also, one of our Christmas traditions is that the Blattman always buys me a poinsettia, and I never know when he is going to buy it, it is always a surprise.

Here is our lovely Christmas tree!! It is black with white lights, and has only our special christmas decorations on, ones we have picked up or people have bought us. The knitted nativity sits underneath, along with a totally awesome glittery blue camel!!!

This has to be my favourite bauble. We bought it in Florida on our honeymoon back in 2009 and it is so beautiful. It has pride of place on our tree, right at the front, as well as the picture being my phone screensaver this time of year, along with Cliff as a ringtone. What more can you want!!

Sleigh safe everyone during this very special time of year, and many christmas wishes to you all. Coming very soon (hopefully this afternoon) is a brand new quick gift pattern too made in about half an hour- great last minute idea.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Be Happy

I love to read other blogs. I could spend hours browsing years of posts, learning and laughing along. Being still in the aforementioned Slump, I found a great post that inspired me to write this one. Be Happy is something that makes us all look at the good things. Basically, 5 things that make you happy! In this festive time of thanksgiving and christmas, I think it is the best time to consider the things that make us happy.

Number 1: My Family and Friends
I completely couldnt survive without them. My lovely Mum and all of the family on my side, and my lovely In-Laws. We have had a tough couple of weeks, as the Blattman's cousin died suddenly aged only 30, and although this is an awful experience, it was nice to see how a family comes together and supports each other,. We did the same when my Grandad died and it is a reminder how family can be the best thing. The picture below is from our wedding (obviously-as much as Id love to wear my dress every day, I dont!) and is of us and our parents (and step-parents)

2. Knitting

How could this not be on my list?!! I love knitting and actually do it every day, it is my addiction and I am never going to give up!!! My name is Sarah and im addicted to knitting. It relaxes me, it calms me, it challenges me and I have met so many new friends from around the world with thanks to my knitting. What more can a girl want?

3. My Wonderful Husband

4. Christmas
I know I know, not more Christmas, but at least it is December this time. I am loving christmas, but I am getting a bit stressed now. I have a few presents still to finish off and still to buy but I am getting stressed, and I hate it. I love this festive time of year and I want to enjoy it. I will share lovely pictures of my christmas tree soon because we have put it up and the Blattcave is looking decidedly festive. I ahve all my lovely candles burning, my nativites up and my tree is twinkly.

5. The Dentist
No I am totally not one of those people who enjoys the dentist. In fact, I am petrified and hate every minute. But the reason that today the dentist makes me happy is that by the end of the afternoon, when I have finished up with the dentist it will be another 6 months till I have to go again!!!

Friday, 18 November 2011

One Slump or Two?

Now as the title suggests, I am in a slump! Ive been working very hard on knitting patterns and recovering from my tooth removal nearly 2 weeks ago that I have done pretty much nothing. And it is driving me nuts!! Totally round the bend. I am not a person who likes to not be doing anything, and I have lots of unfinished projects on the go that could really do with finishing so I have been trying to look for ways to kick me back out into the real world.

One way I love to try and pick myself up is shopping. Of course!! However, this close to christmas money isnt necessarily available for the frivolities, so I am off to shop my stash. Now for all of you who dont know what this is, you need to do it before you go shoppping, or like me, you need a little inspiration. Shopping your stash is getting out all your bits and pieces, whether it is make up (like I did last night), clothes or wool and crafting, and having a good old sort out. Last night I shopped my make up stash, and found a fab lip gloss I have never used because I wasnt sure, put some on and I love it. It is so brilliant and I guarantee you will find something you forgot you had. (unless you are one of those uber organised people who knows where it all is- good for you)

Another way to drag myself from this hole is looking at blogs. I love the blogasphere, so many people to do things you were afraid to do, or give you advice on how to do something new! I have found a couple of great bloggers this week that I want to share with you all. You might not be into makeup, as I wasnt, but I have got good advice from them both, not just about makeup


The first brilliant Blog is Katie's Beauty Blog. Katie reviews all sorts of make up and beauty products. Her pictures are brilliant and she reviews like a normal person. Which means she gives practical advice and normal language- how it really works.
Her review on Models Own Beetlejuice Collection is blooming brilliant, and helped me pick some for my christmas list. (picture comes from Katie's Beauty Blog)

Her review on moisturising changed my view completely and when I find it whilst reading Ill post a link but it is hiding from me at the moment.

Another brilliant Beauty blog is Fee at Makeupsavvy and her reviews are equally as good. But my favourite posts have to be her behind the scenes. Her latest is about affliate links and it is so so good for anyone who is a blogger. I have learnt so much from her and I cannot recommend this website and particularly this post for this information.

Some more of my favourite blogs at the moment include athriftymrs where fashion, decluttering and fun can all be found, and I am always envious of her brilliant charity shop finds! Charlotte at Teacher in Style has recently got her first Mulberry, the way she has written it makes you just as excited with her, and her christmas spirit is well and truly as alive as mine. And again, Its all fiddle fart is a brilliant crafting website, so many ideas, its hard not to be inspired!

Hope you like the new festive look to the Blattcave, i just loved this starry background. The bricks and mortar Blattcave is not nearly as festive right now, but I am so looking forward to decorating and making it warm and cosy. The christmas scented candles are already creeping their way in!!!
Sleigh safe everyone!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Cold Fingers, Warm Heart

All I am hearing about this year is Fingerless gloves. Whispers are all over Ravelry about fingerless mitts, whether they are useful or not, and whether we will wear them or they will be well recieved in stockings this christmas. Now I was a fingerless sceptic originally, my fingers are always cold, and surely they can't keep your hands warm right?
Well actually they are some of the cosiest things going, I can still type and use a till at work, I can still work the touchscreen on my phone and Ipod and of course, I can still knit. So I am a convert.
There are plenty of patterns out there for fingerless mitts. Ravelry of course is a perfect start, and here are a few of my favourite patterns.

Firstly, I have just finished my pair of Fable Fingerless Mitts. They were originally knit in soft cotton, but I have been gifted some lovely single skeins of Pure Silk, which is the softest thing that has ever existed!! For this pattern, I used a lovely Olivey green/grey colour for this season, as the colour will hopefully go with all my wintery outfits

They are plain at the moment as I have yet to add the wrist section and buttons. I have a lot of vintage mother of pearl buttons in my stash so they will hopefully be perfect for this pair of gloves.

Another pair of fingerless mitts I love is the Argentate Gloves, which have a lovely eyelet pattern. Please dont be put off if you havent done eyelets before. This type of project is perfect for trying out your lace on a small one skein project.

For a beautiful, delicate pair of fingerless gloves, I can wholly recommend Whisper. These are made with 4ply and are just beautiful. Perfect for dressing up a bit in the evening, but you still want a bit of warmth.

I also cannot resist Ysolda Teague patterns and her opera gloves are no exception. I have knit these in Black with Pink Ribbon and they are brilliant for dress up. I love them!! This picture comes from Ysolda's site because I dont have picturs of mine, but I love Teal anyway so they look brilliant!

And what is the point in blogging about fingerless gloves if you can't shamelessly plug your own fingerless mitt pattern. These Monty Mitts were designed for my little sister, and coloured for their Cat, Monty. This year she might have to have Fletcher Fingerless' for their little Pug Dog Fletcher.

Keep your hands warm this winter, and sleigh safe!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Angel Delight

Yesterday, whilst procrastinating and looking at knitting patterns, I stumbled across this beautiful (and free) pattern for an angel. So I decided to knit one, and see what came of it. I am so very impressed so I thought I would share it all with you. They take about an hour or so to knit, including the wings, and a little sparkly DK. So here is my version. The one in the picture is going to my Great Aunt, along with a jar of my homemade mincemeat (she provided both the jar and the apples!!) who I will see tomorrow when I go and pick up my granny. The other angel is a surprise for my granny who has been hinting that she would like one too!!

In the background to this angel is my favourite candle holder. I bought it in a cool January in the South of France at the Basilica of St Mary Magdelene in St Maximum and I absolutely love them. Whenever I light a candle, I like to think that these two ladies are looking after the people I light the candle for and take worries away

So I hope the angels will look after you tonight

Sunday, 30 October 2011

O Holy Night

Now one thing my house would not be complete without at Christmas is my nativity collection. I call it a collection now because I have so many and every year we buy a new little one. We have a T light holder one, we have a beautiful wooden one and a little olive wood one made in the Holy Land. And of course, how could I forget my first knitted one? (and my Husband, who I forgot was faffing about at the back of this one!!!)

This year, we decided to buy another from the Aylesford Priory. We had our eye on a small porcelain one that had sold out by the time we got there. But never fear, this one caught our eye. When I got to it, and saw how lovely it was, I was surprised to find a switch on the back. It lit up. Frankly it was coming home anyway but that sold it even more. It had to be ours!! Here is is. I love it so much.

 And for all of you waiting with baited breath for this pattern, here is a sneak peek of the newest pattern from the Blattcave, available on Ravelry soon. I am so pleased with how it has turned out. The photo is rubbish, I know, but its a secret sneak peek so you shouldnt expect david bailey!!

Let me know what you think of the new nativity!!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Round and Round in Circles

Now, as many of you know, me and knitting in the round are not friends. We are not even aquaintances. Frankly if I saw it out on the streets, I'd go back indoors. However, some of the lovely patterns I see are knit in the round, especially when it comes to toys. Many adore the idea of not sewing up, but not me. My patterns are always designed flat for that purpose.
Now I am getting much better at converting patterns, Ive decided to make a list of rules to follow when converting, so lots of other fellow flat knitters can create fabulous knits. Now my rules are pretty much for toys and smaller things like accessories, rather than seamless jumpers and socks so follow these rules and you should be fine!

1. Remember that when you knit in the round, in order to create stocking stitch you knit all the rows, and to create garter stitch you knit and purl. So when converting to flat knitting, if the end result is stocking stitch, convert every other row to purl. Normally the purl line is the one without the pattern or increase/decrease. If you want to garter stitch then convert the purl rows in the pattern to knit rows.

2. If you want to, add an extra stitch to the beginning or end of the work to allow for seaming. Personally I dont do that but that is up to you. This is something you will learn as you go.

3. You may need to change striping. This is because when you knit in the round, you can do just one row of colour and then start another. With knitting flat, this is more difficult, you will be changing colour all over the place, and adding ends everywhere. Instead, you can change the pattern to even number stripes or use two DPNS as follows:

Yes I did use that awful abbreviation DPN. It means double pointed needle for those who are ignoring their presence (i dont blame you- but stay with me) Use two, and if you want to do one colour stripes, knit in one colour, then slide the work to the other end of the needle and use the other colour. Trust me this works. Remember to knit on the knit sides and purl on the purl sides, even if that means you purl two rows. Dont worry it will work out!!

Here is a practise bit for you to try the technique- in colour A and colour B on 2 dpns, use whatever you got, this is only for practise and can be unraveled later!!
Cast on in colour A
Knit one row in colour B
Slide the work to the other end of the needle, Knit one row in colour A
Purl one row in colour A
Slide the work to the other end of the needle, purl one row in colour B

You should get the idea from this practise here. I owe all this ability on DPNs to Julie at The Byrds Nest, who taught me this technique when I knit the rabbit, the inside of his ears were done this way

4. Do not be afraid of I-Cord. There are plenty of tutorials for I Cord and it makes brilliant legs and antennae!! 2 DPNs are used to create a seamless cord. However if you cant do it on DPNs then there are also tutorials for doing it with your hands too!! Look it up on YouTube or Google, plenty of people are out there to help!!

The only way you are going to learn to convert from round to flat is to do it. Try something little, follow the pattern and sew it up. Here are a few patterns you can give a go, they dont take up much wool and you can give it a go and see. Hamster Beans is one, Pocket Rabbits is a pattern knit in the round and flat so you can see the difference and why not give this little halloween spider a go?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Holidays are Coming

I have been pretty quiet of late, and this is because I have a project on the go. Not just a small daily project like normal, and not a project with a pattern I have found myself. This time it is my own pattern. All my own, from the deep recesses of the brain, and it is pretty epic, even if I do say so myself. And, it is nearly finished, all bar a couple of animals. I promise the pattern will be here soon, so watch this space and get those needles at the ready!

Ive also been knitting stockings. Lots of stockings. So here is a picture of my latest advent that I have knit, and I am really pleased with it, and never knitting another one. I have knit so many of these stockings that I have finally had enough.

It is also nearly Halloween!! Last year (and this year) I made some great decorations for christmas using card and recycled carrier bags. So this year, I decided to branch out into halloween versions as well. These Boo signs below are made from Sainsbury's Orange carrier bags and some leftover cardboard. They are great decorations and I love them.

Take care everyone, and keep knitting!!!

Mystery KAL by a new Auntie!!

I am an Auntie!!! On the 25th October, my little nephew, Charlie, was born. He weighed a very little 3lbs 1oz and is currently battling an infection, but fighting his way through so we can hope he will get over this hurdle and be healthy and happy for many long years.

I was knitting for him way before we even knew he was a him, and one of those things was the mystery KAL in the toy lovers group over on Ravelry. This was a fabulous KAL (knit-a-long) run by Julie at The Byrds Nest and she very generously offered one of her amazing patterns for the group to knit. This was my first KAL and I was worried I would not be able to complete it, or Id forget!!! But luckily, this pattern was so good, I couldnt resist. It was originally knit in the round but I converted it as I went to create.....

This Rabbit is now going to be a present for my nephew when he comes out of hospital, as at the moment it is probably twice his size!!! So if you have learnt anything from this post, it is to go and check out the Byrds Nest (if only for Mango the Giraffe who is completely irresistable!!!) and to give a KAL a go- they are great fun and the mystery made me let go of rules and follow someone elses for a change!

Monday, 17 October 2011


On Saturday I learnt that my Brother and his girlfriend, who is expecting their first child, will be having a preemie. Unfortunately her placenta is not feeding the baby properly, and because of this it is not safe for baby to go to 40 weeks. So it looks like the BlattNiece or Nephew will arrive at between 30-32 weeks gestation so will definately be in the NICU for a while.

Premature babies are so very tiny, and the clothes sold in the shops are just too big. Since this baby will be small at 30-32 weeks, it will be even smaller than the average baby of that gestation because of the feeding issue so we are looking at a baby of around 2lbs. Luckily it has an auntie, and grandmas that can knit for it, and it can be cosy and safe in handknits full of love as it grows.

So this has lead me to knit a few bits and pieces that can be used for the baby, but as well for the other babies in the NICU who need a little handknit love. Here are my latest ones, and to size it, in the picture I have placed an AA battery next to the little shoes.

If you can knit, one of these little hats took me around 45 minutes to make, and the micro preemie shoes around the same. They take no time, and are made from acrylic as it is easily washable. I will be knitting a few in all different colours so they can be used by all.
Here is a link to Ravelry for all the free preemie patterns on there, so knit one and donate it. It takes no real time and you are helping out a little someone who needs it.

Needles and Books

After a great trip up to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace, I was lucky to get some brilliant books and patterns, and this inspired me to share some of these with all of you, as well as some of my favourtie books already in my bookcase. Knitting is one of the biggest parts of my life, I love to share my knits with my family and friends all over the world and it has brought me endless hours of fun and peace and destressing.So here are my hot picks for the christmas list of any knitter.

Now most of you probably know me as a toy knitter, and that would be accurate. I love to knit toys, and create a character every time, from my little frogs to the biggest Ark!! So at the show, I couldnt resist this book of Dinosaurs.
Knitted Dinosaurs
Tina Barrett has created this brilliant collection of fun dinosaurs to knit. They are all knit flat too and are so fun and cute. Each dinosaur comes with facts too so the book is great to use with children, learning about their dinosaurs. The first ones I have knit will also be off to Year 2, with special cards so they can learn all about their new friends. I love this book, great pictures and very easy to follow and knit patterns. I even learnt something new about jointing toys from this book.

I personally cannot live without Jean Greenhowe, and I know many toy knitters feel the same. She has been designing for many years, and toys from my childhood were knit from her patterns, and now I am knitting those same patterns. I love the christmas ones, especially this one as I have knitted the nativity from this one.
Jean Greenhowe's Christmas special
I have nearly all the books she has published, and her website is a great resource too, with some brilliant free patterns to get you started.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsThe 'twenty to make' series of books from Search Press are a brilliant series of craft books from all over the crafting world, including sugarcraft, papercraft, crochet and knitting of course, sewing and jewellery making. I have a few of these books and I love them. My favourites include the christmas knitting and knitted flowers, but there are so many to choose from, baby booties, egg cosies, mug cosies, aliens, food, cake and many more.

So here are just a few of my favourite books for knitting, and ones refer to for a lot of my toy knitting needs. They have taught me so much along with the amazing Ravelry so I am forever in debt!!!

Tis Nearly the Season

Now we are over half way through October, I can hear those jingle bells vaguely coming over the horizon, and I can see the Coca Cola Advert in my minds eye, and we all know that means Holidays are most definately coming!!! So because of that, I have been knitting a few more christmas bits. Ive moved from the presents and into the decorations now and the excitement of Advent. This post is all about what is on my needles at the moment

This is my latest FOs, and I love it!! My most favourite part has to be the plug!!! My string of lights was a pattern originally knit in the round, and as you have probably worked out, DPNs and me are definately not friends!! I have sewn them onto a satin cord that looks like the twisted cables that normal christmas lights come on, and each light is a little pocket for a chocolate or a little gift. I love it and Im so pleased. It was a great stash buster and a very quick knit.

Another of my knits at the moment is my own new design and I will hope to publish the pattern by November, so people can knit their own before Christmas arrives. This particular Nativity is going to be knit for Year 2 at St Domenics RC Primary School and the BlattMother In Law who is their teacher. There are ten pieces, created for the ten school days after the first Sunday in Advent. I have already designed the basic body, and my first figure is Mary. The second is Gabriel, and he is coming along nicely. Here is a sneak peak of the pattern, and I hope you will all want to knit them as much as I do!!

As always, Sleigh safe everyone and look forward to sharing more patterns with you soon

Monday, 26 September 2011

Brilliant Blogs and Incredible Ideas

Now, this week I have been putting out the Christmas cards at work. We have been putting this off for as long as possible, but this week we gave in. Half way through I was about to throw everything in the bin, but then it struck me. No not the extensive amount of cuddly santas we have, but the christmas spirit.

Yes, thats right, I am excited! So excited in fact it is very lucky that the Blattman is on nights or he would be subjected to almost as much excitement as Santa finally seeing the North Pole again after a long night shift. So, having organised my extensive handmade christmas list of knitted things, sewn things, even chutneys and spice rubs, I was ready. Ready to create and enjoy. And as you know, those things were coming along nicely. Then I looked again, and my whole list got longer. I can deal with that. And I should have learnt a thing or to then. But no, I clearly cannot learn, so I am sharing them with all of you in the hope of them inspiring all of you who havent decided yet, and those of you who have can suffer like I am!!!!!!!!!

So here is an amazing tutorial and in fact whole blog. Allsorts is an amazing blog and has so many ideas for every time of the year but I think she has Christmas down to a very fine art. Her pictures of her christmas trees are an instant inspiration and christmas wonderland. This advent calendar is made from felt and sewn.

Her blog has some amazing links for all kinds of sewing and papercraft patterns, and so many interesting posts. I am loving reading it. and her interior decoration is to die for. So pretty

Another link that I took from Allsorts was to another Blog by Jurianne Matter, and is for an amazing paper tree tutorial which looks brilliant on cakes. I am yet to play with this pattern but I am sure that I could make different sizes for the top of my christmas cake this year, and I know my sister will love this for her own cupcakes. They look pretty easy to make so I am sure everyone can have fun with these, and use all kinds of colours for all seasons

Now Disney has always been good to me. I in fact cannot wait for our trip in 2013, and my memories of our honeymoon are so amazing. So it was pretty obvious that there can be only one place to go for brilliant christmassy ideas for the whole family. The Disney website is brilliant for crafters and budding chefs alike and has so many brilliant ideas. Here is a link to the website for christmas ornament ideas. Just use the website to get to recipes and lots of other fantastic ideas.

Advent is most definately the most exciting 24 days of the year in my opinion so it is so important to me to have something fabulous to celebrate all those days. I have found a brilliant Flickr group for creative advents that are seriously not helping me focus on making things already on my list. Creative Advent Group. Seriously inspiring, I could spend all the days up to christmas just looking at those pictures!!
This paper bag one is probably one of my favourites and looks so easy and cheap to make.

And lastly, all my amazing sewing links recently are coming from a brilliant website where pretty much all the FREE amazing sewing tutorials can be found. Here at sewing stuff. Brilliant ideas, well thought out and laid out, easy to use and so very inspiring.

Sleigh safe all, it probably won't be long until I find something else fantastic to share with you!!!!

Monday, 19 September 2011


Ok so I am a huge fan of both Christmas and the wonderful notion of a list. My life is somewhat organised by lists. I love to organise all those favourite events with my lists, and the Blattman is happy because he doesnt have to do anything- just drive me where I need to be when the items get a little bigger than my motorcycle- although you would be surprised how much I can get on my motorcycle when needed!!

My christmas planning starts as early as possible, and this year has been no exception. Although this year I have decided that homemade is the future. I am fed up with buying stuff that either never gets used or the same old thing every year. Last year was my first knitted christmas, everyone got a little knitted gift, one I had spent ages creating especially for that person, and they all went down very well. This year, most have got that special knitted gift, and quite a lot of those are done now which is great, but this year I am going one more step towards handmade perfection.

So here are a few fantastic links that I have come across this year, perfect for a handmade christmas. Even if it is just amazing wrapping paper or pretty homemade tags, a handmade christmas is easy and always appreciated by most of your recipients.

The first of these afroementioned fantastic links is one I found today courtesy of Money Saving Expert, another of my favourite websites with brilliant links to getting the best of the bargains and freebies. The new forum there is about christmas savings and creating. Many have been talking of gifts in a jar. The shops towards christmas are always filled with recipe kits in jars and are normally so expensive, but perfect for the baker or chef in the family. I found a brilliant E-Book this morning to create amazing gifts at a fraction of the price. Here is the link to the blog where I found the ebook- Ultimate Gifts in a Jar.

This ebook is over 200 pages and has lots of ideas for all occasions, I personally LOVE the idea of chocolate spoons for cocoa and coffee mixes and I am intrigued by the idea of baking a cake in a jar! Also in the ebook are preserves and jams too so such a great link for all year round.

This is another Idea I love for any time of the year, christmas, easter, birthdays or even weddings. I love sweet topiary and this is such a brilliant idea too. Use florists foam for these to get them all in properly.

How about these fun wrapped chocolate bars? What a lovely gift for co-workers or teachers, or just a great addition to a stocking or hamper. These are really easy with some printed tissue paper and a plaque printed off the computer. Easy, but looks amazing! These come from Flyingpig58 over at MSE, and here is the link to the whole topic because she has so many brilliant ideas. Scroll through for the coaster calendar and the beautiful baubles and tree decorations. I am getting so many ideas. It is so exciting! Here is also a link to her blog because there are so many ideas on there too!

And of course there will always be a few of you scrooges out there, and to you I say...
Lots more to come over the next few weeks up to christmas so keep an eye out, and thankyou to all of you who read my blog, you make my day!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Curl in a chair with a good book

It has not been a good day. I dont mind working in retail, in fact sometimes I quite enjoy it. I love merchandising and most of my customers are nice and friendly, and buy one of the many thousands of cards that are in the shop. Today, it was not so great. "this card is entirely the wrong shade of green" or " I like this motorbike mug but his motorbike isnt on you do one with his exact make model and colour?" And I continued with the never ending battle with people's inability to match up the pictures. I could actually spend all day putting cards back in the right places. Add to that the cold ive been battling for ever (ok 16 days but that is a long time), a rather nasty and painful nail bed infection and a particulary stroppy early morning doctors receptionist and you can imagine I've pretty much had enough. Oh and due to aforementioned infection, I can't knit- I know- end of the world right?

Luckily this morning I picked up a book from the pile next to my bed. Now this is the bedroom equivalent of the Booker Prize, if you get next to the Divan, you've made it. Pultizer eat your heart out. This made me think about sharing some of my favourite books with you all. Now as hard as it is to get your novel next to my bed, you can come from any genre and be in any format.

When the Blattman is on nights or lates I always have a book on CD to put on. I used to do this when I was a child, when Phillip Schofield and his bible stories used to lull me to sleep, but now I like to be somewhat more intellectual. (Given half the chance mind you, and if good old Phil wasnt on tape, He's be on like a shot.) Alison Weir is my late night author of choice. My favourite is probably the Lady Elizabeth.
The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir
Alison writes an amazingly researched and wonderful story about Elizabeth I from the day she learnt of the death of her mother, Anne Boleyn to the day she became Queen.
There are two other books by Alison Weir I have, The Captive Queen, about Eleanor of Aquitane and her life, and Innocent Traitor about Lady Jane Grey up to her execution. All these books keep me enthralled throughout and you cant put them down.
Finally in the book on CD catagory is The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick, about the life story of a Knight, William Marshal, and his life in the court of Henry and Eleanor and Richard the Lionheart. A wonderful story teller and a whole life story

Now in Paperback, I hvae read so many it is tough to get to that all hallowed place. Today, the book that accompanied me to work was Needles and Pearls by Gil McNeil. It is the sequel to the equally brilliant Divas Don't Knit. Both live happily on the pile. They tell the story of Jo Mackenzie and her life on the Kent coast running her wool shop with her two young sons. They are two of the funniest books I have ever read, and I have read them countless times and I am never bored. (Having just looked for links to the first two, I have found that the third is out this year- I could    not be more excited!!!) 

Another Knitting related entrant is the story of Mary after the loss of her only child. The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood is a sad, funny, happy and brilliant novel and I could not recommend it more. For those of us who already knit, we can all find comfort in the act of knitting and in the act of reading this book. If you dont knit, this will give you a bit of an idea why we knit.

I am not a great fan of a cliff hanger. I like an proper ending. Idealy I like a whole story, where no questions are left unanswered. All three of these come under this catagory.

My non knitting related favourites are The Island by Victoria Hislop. This tells the story of a family, Crete and leprosy. It is amazing, and you really get behind the characters and will them to succeed and it is a sad and happy wonderful book. It was on the Richard and Judy Book list and I cannot recommend it enough.

Another of my favourite authors is Adriana Trigliani and my favourite of all her Books is Lucia Lucia, the life story of Lucia and all about the mistakes she makes in her life. it is a wonderful fashion novel too, as Lucia is a seamstress and Adriana creates a world you would long to be in.

Lastly and another of my favourites is The Future Homemakers of America by Laurie Graham. This is another of my escapist novels. This is the story of 6 women thrown together thanks to the USAF and the story follows the twists and turns of their lives. It is funny and well written, very entertaining and brilliant. So very much one of those books you cant put down.
So these are what keep me happy, Id love to hear what you think of them if you read them, or your favourites and recommendations too.