Heart Dressing Table Mat

Every which way I tried to decide on a title for this “thing”(!), I stumbled.  If I call it a tablemat it could be thought of as a placemat, but it’s not large enough for that, and the beads would probably get in the way.  Looking at its spoke-like configuration, it was very nearly entitled the “Heart Wheel”.  Imagining it on a dressing table with a bottle of perfume standing on it, it seemed only fitting it should become a Heart Dressing Table Mat – and just in time for Valentine’s Day!  However, in reality, it is a decorative little crochet mat for placing on your tabletop, or on top of your sideboard, or anywhere you might please, where you would like to stand a little vase or ornament or suchlike on something for the sake of displaying it. Inkeeping with my recent Valentine’s theme, I included red, white, and pinks and crocheted some hearts.  The centre is made from a series of crochet circles.  Then I joined eight red hearts onto the circular mat, along with a red wooden bead for each heart, by creating an outline around them all.  Finally, I crocheted a long pink chain and joined it at the base of each heart to hold everything in place.


“Heart Dressing Table Mat”.

Approx. 26cm/10 and 1/4″ across.

I won’t be offended if you call it a “Heart Wheel”, though. 😉



“Minty Valentine” Hat

Following on from yesterday’s post, I have another Valentine themed hat to show you, but this one is adult-sized.  This hat is crocheted throughout.  Again, I used two strands of DK yarn to give it a chunky look and warm feel.  Five light pink and two darker pink crocheted hearts decorate this hat.  While I know some people love Valentine’s Day, I also know that it holds no appeal whatsoever for some people, which is why I thought it would be nice to make the colour scheme of this hat a little more subtle.  While it has pinks and hearts, it is not the traditional red and white that we so often associate with Valentine’s Day gifts, and which I know I usually gravitate towards when I’m trying to come up with ideas for that occasion.  Having used two strands of yarn at a time, I was able to make a number of soft, gentle colour combinatons using mixtures of pinks of different shades and a little white.  Then, nearer the bottom, I added a little green and some light blue just to mix things up a bit.  That is where I feel the “mintiness” comes in, hence the name I’ve given this hat.  Largely because of the colours, I feel this hat could be worn any time it’s cold, not just in mid-February!



“Minty Valentine” hat

Approx.22cm/8 and 1/4″ from top to bottom.  Approx. 52cm/20″ around the inside of its brim.


Kinda cool and minty, yet warm and snuggly at the same time!


“Little Sweetheart” Hat

Hi!  I had no idea it had been so long since I had last been on here.  This is why a few of my replies are a little late.  😮  (I hope I didn’t miss any.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I say this because the turn of the year has been and gone since I last posted on here, but that said, every day can be the beginning of a new year, can’t it?

With February 14th on the horizon I have been making a few Valentine’s themed crafts of late.  Today I’d like to share this one with you.


“Little Sweethearts” hat. 

Approx. 18cm/7″ from top to bottom.  Approx. 38cm/15″ around the inside of the brim.

“Little Sweethearts” hat is a child’s hat I have knitted.  Some people love Valentine’s Day, some people hate it, I know, but the emphasis with this is on cuteness rather than romance.  Even though I was inspired by an occasion, it wouldn’t look strange to wear this hat at any time when it’s cold. After all, who doesn’t love a good heart?!

I have knitted this with two strands of DK wool throughout, except for the very brim, which I knitted solely in pink and with only one strand.  As you can see, I used pink and red and white to provide a “nod” (pun intended!) to Valentine’s Day, especially with the six crocheted hearts I have made and sewn on for decoration.  The brim is rolled up and sewn into place with red wool to make a fixed woolly brim – hopefully that should avoid having to keep rolling it up or unfolding it.

It feels quite warm, which judging by the forecast for here later this week, that’s not such a bad thing!


My Garden Diary

Almost since I started gardening with purpose I have liked to record what I plant when, what grows when, which things change and how, and all sorts of other things that occur.  It is brilliant for gauging how long different things take to progress, and it is a valuable resource for learning from successes and problems, though no two growing years are the same.

Last year I decided I would like a fancy, pretty book especially for the cause.  A notebook with an appropriately patterned cover would suffice.  Looking in a garden centre I saw a lovely A5 notebook with flowers and possibly a watering can on, and I thought it would be just the ticket.  Until I saw the price.  Knowing it is possible to buy a notebook the same size for several pounds less I had a sudden change of heart!

Wait a minute, I thought, couldn’t I fashion something myself?  Then I would have a design of my own choosing.  Obvious, really!  So searching through my stationery I found a plain cover hardback A4 notebook with only a page or few written in.  The very thing.


Next I looked through my scrapbooking collection and found all sorts of pictures of various fruit, vegetables, herbs, trees and the like.  I cut out anything that appealed to me for this little project and arranged them in two groups, one for the front of the book and one for the back, until I had an overall look I was happy with.


For the title I soaked some paper in tea to give it an aged look and then I wrote on it in fountain pen, I think, to give it a more traditional vibe. Also I wrote the names of all sorts of plants on the same paper, chopped it up into little bits and added those to the pictures.


When I was satisfied with the layout I glued them all together.



Trimming the rough edges off to neaten them up, I stuck the front page to the front cover of the notebook and the back page to the back of the notebook. Then I covered front and back, though not the spine, with that see through stuff they sell for covering your schoolbooks – ah, those were the days?!?! 😉 – so that my new gardening diary would be wipe clean if it got messy in any fashion.


This book has now had a year’s worth of little gardening anecdotes added to it and I am now writing all about my new plants in it.

Autumnal Skirt

Considering spring is due to begin here tomorrow, now might seem a bit of a strange time to be posting this, but I never claimed to be organized.  😉

The summer before last, I decided I wanted to make some pretty trousers and, since autumn was approaching, I’d like them to have an autumnal theme.  After a bit of searching, I found a trouser pattern I liked and I started trying to find suitable material.  As I’ve said before, I do have a bit of an obsession with all things pumpkin and squash, so it’s no surprise that they feature in the material I chose.  Quite heavily.  Having found several different designs I liked, I bought a little of each of them and thought I would make some patchwork trousers.  Sort of.

Well a year passed and the trousers still had not been made.  As a practise run I thought I’d try some shorts, using the same pattern.  Those I did make (and they can be seen here), but still no trousers.  Autumn arrived and I started thinking about my pumpkinny material again.  Spreading it out before me, I came to the conclusion that I was probably not going to have enough to make the kind of trousers I was envisaging, once all the seams of the patchwork had been taken into account.  But I did like the idea of a skirt.

Years ago my Mum had made me some panel skirts.  Retrieving a short one from the wardrobe, I figured I could make a panel skirt with my pieces of material, but if I made up each panel from these different pieces of fabric I would have a large patchwork effect.  Best of both worlds!

I set about tracing the shape of one of the panels from the skirt my Mum had made for me.  After some faffing, I worked out how deep I would need my “patches” to be, added on some seam allowances, and Hey Presto! I had some patterns of my own to work with.




Cutting out is not my favourite part, not least because I recognise that if you get that wrong, even just a little, everything will end up skew-whiff, even if only a bit.  With that done, I marked my seam allowances with tailor’s pencil (and biro, because the lead/chalk/? kept breaking) and began to pin the patches together for each panel.

Having tacked and sewn most of them together, I discovered that I didn’t have quite enough material for one of my smallest patches.  Not wanting to add something else completely different to the mix, I managed to make up a patch from the off-cuts, so at least I was still using the same material.




Once I had stitched that on to its corresponding patches, I had six completed panels with various designs in varying orders.




First, I stitched three panels together to create one half of the skirt, then I joined together the remaining three panels to make a second half.  Once I had sewn the two halves together, I added elastic to the waistband, and stitched the waistband and hem.




The end result is a skirt full of autumnal leaves, sweetcorn, pumpkins and squashes, scarecrows, and sunflowers – all the symbols I think of when I think of autumn and the slide towards Christmastime.  And lots of orange, of course.  After all, it is my favourite colour.




Happy Weekend! 🙂

February Crochet Patches

Though I am a little later posting this than I meant to be, here is a photo of the patches I crocheted in February.  As you can see, I even included an extra one for the leap year.  There is the occasional heart themed patch and patches of cream and red and pink as a little nod to Valentine’s Day.  So far, the March patches are up to date, too, which means the crochet-a-patch-for-every-day-of-the-year idea is still looking like a possibility, but under no circumstances is it looking like a resolution!  It is still early in the year, so we will have to wait and see how far this “idea” goes.  😀

There are a number of small, two-round squares in this collection because I was a bit short of time as I have also been making some other crochet projects.  One of them is a cowl, which I gave to my Mum for Mothering Sunday.  It took quite a while to make, but it was worth every minute.  I liked how it turned out and, more importantly, Mum really loved it.




Happy Saturday! 🙂

Little Copper Kettles

Well just the one kettle!  Several years ago I painted two acrylic paintings of this little copper kettle.  All the reflections that get temporarily trapped on its shiny surface are too seductive to ignore sometimes, though.  So a few months ago (my posting habits slipped big time during December and January!) I was drawn (!) to having another go at capturing the kettle, and this time using coloured pencils.




“Little Copper Kettle (1)”


Coloured pencils.

A couple of days later, not being entirely excited by my little drawing, having seen it through the slightly uncompromising lens of the digital camera, I thought I’d have another go.  This time I used watercolours, and I painted in the dark October evening using a desk lamp as my source of light, instead of the natural, if somewhat muted, light of the cloudy late morning a couple of days before.


“Little Copper Kettle (2)”


Watercolour painting.

Either way, I never tire of reimagining this little kettle on paper or canvas.  It used to belong to my Great-grandma and feature in a little game we used to play.  So focussing on this ornament is always a welcome excuse to relive particular happy memories.  🙂

Happy Saturday!



31 Crochet Patches For 31 Days

Well who would have thought that a whole month of 2016 could have gone by already?!

Now I tend to have a bit of an odd relationship with New Year’s resolutions.  Not least because I don’t fancy the guilt if I break them, or expending the energy on justifying to myself why it was not only a downright good idea, but necessary that I break them.  😉  So I don’t make them.  Any more.

That said, I thought to myself just before the turn of the year, “Wouldn’t it be cool to crochet a square for every day of the new year?”  Or some other shape.  Then I could either make a mammoth blanket at the end of it, or several smaller blankets, or some other such project depending what I came up with.  Hmm.  Sounded fun, but the idea of committing myself to something that sounded suspiciously like a resolution threatened to send me into a mild panic.

Instead, I told myself that, because I liked the idea, I would try to make a shape for each day, and see how I got on.  If I made two one day, none another, so be it, but we would see how it would go.

So here we are with thirty-one crochet patches for the thirty-one days of January!




Of course, it would have been better if I’d sewn the ends in before taking the photo, but we won’t worry about that.  We’ll just say I was going for authenticity.  😀

No rules, no pressure as to the next month or months.  We’ll see how it goes.  😉

On the gardening front, I haven’t done much of note recently, other than looking at seeds in garden centres and trimming the dead flower heads and leaves off the winter pansies, cyclamen and primroses in My Barrel Garden.  But when we had a quick frosty interlude the other week, I did get a bit happy snapping away with my phone camera.  Novelty is a marvellous thing, and I’d just discovered filters on it!  If you’d like to see those pics, hop across to my Facebook Page by clicking on the box above right.


Happy Tuesday! 🙂

“Lonely Aubergine”

When clearing out the greenhouse the other week, this was one of the last items to be picked before the plants were wrestled out of their pots and dispensed with. I still can’t believe how empty the greenhouse looks! How did so much ever fit inside it earlier in the year?! 😀



“Lonely Aubergine”


Watercolour painting.