FRUIT SLICE CROCHET KEYRING

fruit slice crochet keyring

This little piece of crochet loveliness solved a bit of a conundrum for me this week… which all started with lunch boxes.  For about a month now, I have been desperately searching for a trendy-looking lunch box to take with me on my Finca travels around the county.

I would have never thought to indulge myself in this way, except that I had an unfortunate and rather comical accident which involved a knife, a fork and a hole in my usual lunch bag (for lunch bag please insert well-used and recycled plastic carrier bag).  I’m sure you can imagine the scene!

So the search for a replacement got underway and I dismissed one after the other: too big, too small, too spiderman-y… until at last I found a fantastic one.  The only problem was that it is very very similar to my friend’s.

I knew crochet would come to my rescue and help me sort out any possible future mix-ups.

In order to cultivate the food theme, I decided to whip up a fruit slice keyring, with the hope that once attached to my bag, would allow it to be easily distinguished.

 

cotton balls

crochet circle

Without time to buy a particular yarn, I rummaged in my stash and found some lovely  Rico Essentials Cotton DK in sage and teal.

The slice began as a magic circle and increased in 4 rounds of dc (using the sage). I finished the circle with a single round of dc in the teal before folding it in half and joining the two sides together.  It was at this point, that I realised that if I had wanted to add pips to the design, I should have embroidered these on before joining the two halves, in order to hide the tail ends of the yarn. Lastly, I fixed on a keyring loop for attaching to things.

birds eye crochet view

I’m really pleased with this quick little project and am now thinking of making a lemon, watermelon and other fruit slices – but this time with a quick yarn order! Please let me know of any other funky fruit slices that I could try out.

Have a great day! x

 

Make Your Own Pompom Garland

pompom garlands

Welcome to my newest craze! These gorgeous bundles of woolly joy are sure to cheer up even the darkest of wintry days… and I currently have them almost everywhere! My newest obsession began as I wanted to have a colourful pompom garland strung up in our window, where our alternative Christmas tree is planned to go (more on that next week, I promise). I loved the idea of bright pops of colour contrasted against the painted white of the window frames.

pompom makers

 

I toyed with the idea of cutting out two cardboard doughnuts for my pompoms and making them as I did when I was at school, but after spending half an hour wading through the recycling box trying to find just the right thickness of card, I was suddenly, enormously sold on the idea of PomPom Makers.

Using these, I can make uniform, secure pompoms in minutes… which is perfect if you have a long garland of twenty or thirty pompoms to finish! I found that by wrapping the yarn tightly and winding until there was no more space gave the best results.

Using white yarn and a wool needle, I threaded each pompom so that they were evenly spaced. At each end, I made a loop so that the garland could be easily attached.

Every time I look up and see the colour in the window, it makes me smile.  I’ve also heaped white pompoms of two different sizes into a bowl, to look like snowballs… and I’m debating whether to fill a mason jar with pink and white pompoms to resemble marshmallows.  However, I think I might just buy marshmallows – they’re better in hot chocolate!

places for pompoms

Have you joined in with any pre-Christmas crazes?

 

Cosy Afternoons | Stamping Christmas Cards

Christmas cards that christmas feeling

Some years, I hanker after the glossy, luxury Christmas cards on offer in the shops.  However, every other year or so, I want nothing more than to sit cosily by the fire in the late afternoons and make cards that are much more personal.  Obviously this notion appeals hugely to my craft-loving, stationary-obsessed self!

Usually, my self-made cards involve some sort of stamping.  I love the way that an image can be repeated using different colours to build up a big picture. I also love script and typography, so any stamps that have interesting lettering are first on my list.

inks and acrylic

This was my first attempt at using clear stamps on an acrylic block and I must say, this method had me hooked! Not only could I vary the position of the icons on the block, I could clearly see where I was stamping, so my final results were much more accurate than when I have used wood block stamps in the past.

Although I went a bit crazy when ordering my ink pads, I generally used the blues, reds, greens and purples the most. I also used my Ali Edwards word stamps to print words on the inside of my cards… such as MAGIC, BEST and SUPER.  I plan to add handwritten messages to incorporate the words… like ‘we hope your Christmas is PERFECT!’

Christmas cards tis the season

When it comes to Christmas cards, do you have particular favourites that you buy each year?  Or do you have a special recipe for handmade cards?

 

 

How To Give Your Pots Some Personality

painted pot face1

I am starting to bring some of the succulents further inside, towards the warmth, as the weather turns colder and wetter. The slugs are beginning to stir again and would like nothing more than to graze on the juicy petals of an echeveria.

It’s always a bit of a juggling act when the plants come inside. Some have more specific light and warmth requirements than others and as I only have limited windows that face west or south, Mr D-F often finds himself waking up to the sight of a large palm or some other frondy-leaved plant waving around in the window by his head… he doesn’t even question it any more!

We have family and friends staying over Christmas and the guest bedroom window has an excellent success rate for keeping succulents happy over winter.  I didn’t want our visitors to feel as if they were living in a jungle for the Christmas period, but instead that the plants were an intentional addition to the room’s decor!

potface collage1

After collecting together some white ceramic pots and painting terracotta planters in various shades of Farrow & Ball, I set upon them with a permanent marker pen (I used a sharpie pen with a medium thickness nib). I have seen pots with sweet little expressions on the internet and wanted my plants to have their own personalities as well.

succulent collage

When it came to re-potting the succulents I used an equal mix of cacti soil, perlite and sand. Each pot also had a nice layer of stones placed into the bottom, to aid drainage.

pot people

They look like a little succulent family now and will hopefully entertain our friends while they are all roomies over the holidays!

Have a great day!

 

How To Bring Nature To Your Table

pinecone placecards

… pine cone place cards …

This time of year always seems to be full of great excuses to entertain.  Although we don’t have any huge gatherings planned, I wanted to make the most of the informal parties that are coming up in the diary.

On Pinterest, I have gradually been accumulating lots of ideas for finishing touches for the table. Even for smaller groupings, place cards can make the atmosphere feel much more personal.  I like to invite my friends to take away their place names as a memento of the evening.

natural place cards

Natural place cards 2

… ribbon and leaves …

It’s easy to find things of interest while out on a walk or in the garden; colourful leaves, stones with holes in them, pine cones… all make for innovative ways to display friends’ names.  Handwritten script always looks friendlier than printed letters and I had lots of fun practising a calligraphic style of writing to achieve the style I wanted.

Now I just have to wait until the next opportunity to try these out… Have a great day!

Create Some Cosy With This Candle Holder DIY!

by day

The clocks turning back at the weekend rather took me by surprise this year.  We’ve had such a mild Autumn so far that I haven’t really mentally prepared myself for the onset of long nights, log fires and woolly socks!  The evenings arrive so quickly and I am always looking for ways to cosy up the atmos and make the darkness something to look forward to.  After searching through my hoards of pinterest images for pretty candle holder ideas, I came upon this fun and cost-friendly DIY… which looked, above all things to be simple!

step by step

Once you have dug out a jam jar that has not made it into the cupboard with this year’s mass of tomato chutney, ensure it is nice and clean before wrapping your twine or string around it. If you choose twine, your finished product will end up slightly rustic looking, whereas string will give you a more clean, minimalist feel. Try wrapping the string in an artistic manner, with a few crosses and overlaps.  Then tie the two ends together firmly.

With some white primer, gently paint the entire jam jar, including the bottom and leave it to dry for a few hours.  Once the paint has completely dried, carefully snip the twine in several places before peeling it off.  You should hopefully be left with lovely, unpainted lines criss-crossing each other.

Decorate the neck of the jar with a twine or ribbon bow, before placing a normal or battery-operated tea-light inside.

by night

I must apologise for this final photo… it was very dark! Rest assured that the jar, in real life, looked so pretty and homely.  The white of the jar glows warmly, while the light shines out of the unpainted stripes.  It makes a nice addition to the sitting room cosiness!

Enjoy!

Celebrate Easter With An Easy DIY Bee House

Bee House

Happy Easter!

To celebrate the warm springtime weather we’ve been having… I had a go at making some new bee houses.

These little hole-filled boxes provide safe sites for lots of insects, especially solitary bee species, who love to lay their eggs in the pre-drilled tunnels.

Using some spare wood, I drilled holes using a 7mm drill bit to about 6 cm in depth. I fixed a small bracket to the back, so that they could be securely hung outside.

In order that they looked extra smart, I painted the sides and a border in Farrow & Ball’s Pigeon. I took care not to get paint anywhere near the holes, as although this paint is very low in fumes and nasty bits, I didn’t want to take any chances.

As soon as I start to see little leafy/muddy stoppers in the end of the holes, I’ll know that the bees have started laying their eggs.

If you want to know more about these bees and their habits, have a read here…

The Garden Smallholder – Mason Bees

Inspiration Green – Insect Hotels

Mother’s Day DIY – Kitchen Blackboard

finished chalkboard

This may seem familiar to you…

I posted this DIY way back in 2012, but in the meantime, I made one for last year’s Mother’s Day (to give to my Mum) and it went down a treat.

If you fancy making something unique and creative for your gift… here is the how-to…

chalkboard step by step

  1. Take initial measurements and cut some plywood and beading/edging to the correct size that you would like. I wanted my finished board to end up at about 2 foot by 14 inches.
  2. Paint both sides with 2 coats of a suitable primer/undercoat – I used normal white matt emulsion as it gives a nice even finish.  Leave any bits that are to be glued, unpainted.
  3. Once dry, paint the back of the plywood and the edging strips with a suitably stunning colour.  I chose Blackened, No.2011 by Farrow and Ball.  Paint the face of the blackboard (the other side of the plywood) with blackboard paint. Most places like Homebase and B&Q sell it. Again, I needed 2 coats of both paints.
  4. Once dry, glue it all together and fasten it to the wall, either with a lovely bit of rope (in which case, you may need to drill two holes at the top) or screw it into the wall in the four corners.  I chose this way as I didn’t want it to wobble as I wrote.

Enjoy!

How To Easily Propagate Jade Plants

propagating jade plants

I have been waiting to write this post, for what seems like ages.

A friend of mine had a tired looking Jade plant, which she wanted to find a new home for. I was sure that I could repot it, revive it and make it look a bit better.  I also thought that I could make some miniature versions, which could be grown to look more compact (rather than spindly). So I did some research and took some leaf cuttings.

I followed instructions, I trialled different methods, inspected the cuttings daily (or hourly on some days)! Finally, I now know that they’re doing something and it has been a success! Here are my quick and easy steps to propagating your own Jade plants from leaves.

1. Choose some healthy looking leaves and remove them carefully from the mother plant.  At the place where the leaves were picked, the original plant will very quickly start growing new ones – cool huh?!

2. Leave the leaves out somewhere dry for at least a week. This will allow them to form a protective covering over the ‘wound’, which will help to avoid rot and disease.  Once this has happened, they can be planted singly into small pots (I used a mixture of succulent compost, a little perlite and some grit).

3. Don’t water. I read lots of different opinions on this, but found that by watering, it encouraged the cutting to rot instead of rooting. The plant can get everything it needs from the reserves that are left in the leaves.

4. Be patient! Roots will start to grow underneath the soil surface and it may take a number of weeks for this to happen. You can start to resume watering sparingly when you see a new plant forming at the base of the leaf (this should be obvious, so don’t worry that you’ve missed it)! Picture number 4 is actually new leaf formation where a stem has been cut. Your new plant will look similar, but unfortunately mine aren’t at that stage yet, so I can’t show you on a photo – whoops! 

These sites contain masses of great advice and were so helpful to me when I was just starting out:

Mr BrownThumb

The Garden Corner

How To Make a Chicken Doorstop

Easter Chicken Doorstop

The chickens are getting in their springtime groove with all the new buds that are appearing.

So, I thought that I would re-post this pattern for making your very own chicken doorstop…

…perfect to embrace the spring-like joy and Easter’s arrival (which is just around the corner, you know).

This pattern has had lots of clicks, so I’m wondering if there are lots of chickens like this one, adorning doors all over the world… I’d like to think so… it gives me the warm and fuzzies.

Stanley Chicken Pattern