A Creative Backdrop ~ Accessories That Make You Wanna Make

Ha ha – I can’t believe I used the word ‘wanna’ in my title. I’m so down with it.

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time being creative with the old crochet hooks over the last few weeks. I mean A LOT.  So much so, that now that I’m waiting for my new yarn order to arrive and I’ve finished my last commission piece, my hands are twitching in a muscle memory fashion – desperate to get back to work.

I’ve filled the temporary crochet void by reading a lot of lifestyle blogs and staring wistfully at beautiful posts screaming ‘Your life could be as beautiful, golden, arty, with a touch of pale pink icing as this… insert incredible photograph.’

Gold tealight

… golden tea-light holder from Chickidee …

… and I lap it up each time. Yum, yum, yum. I always want my life to feel like that. Icing and all.

For me, having a cosy, lovely space to work in does make each part of the process a joy. Except perhaps the paperwork bit, which is not fun, whichever way I try to spin it to myself.

BUT! I have found a few more little things to add (*whimsically buy), so that I can create that I-could-be-living-in-a-blog atmosphere.

I discovered this new online shop CHICKIDEE which is like all my home decor dreams in a box. (This isn’t a paid post, but I got a free mug, which was kind of due to a postal accident… anyway, I digress, my point is that this is an unbiased post)! 

Gold tealight on mantel

… doesn’t it look at home already? …

I instantly fell in love with this star-punched, golden tea-light holder and knew that it would go perfectly with the ever growing assortment of lovely bits on our mantelpiece.

I also splashed out on this piece of greatness:

drop it like its hot mug

… oh yeah, I’m down with the kids …

As it made me laugh and feel trendy at the same time, I went for it.  There’s nothing like a good whimsical purchase to make you feel on top of the world!

So I urge you to take a look at Chickidee – if only to look through their gloriously minimalist themed website. Be warned though, they’re really nice and you will probably end up buying more than you should.  To quote Sheldon Cooper (Big Bang Theory)… ‘What’s life without whimsy?’

I stand by that.

Have a great day. x

 

Beautiful Things

This week seemed to be full of beautiful things.  Either surprises from friends or little parcels in the mail.  It was one of those weeks where everything seemed to come at once.

I was thrilled to find that the person who bought my festival blanket was a fellow colour-lover and fantastic company as well.  We spent a lovely morning chatting about crafts, flowers and crochet over a cup of tea.  Hilary (of Eliza James Flowers) had the perfect place in mind for the blanket and kindly sent me some pictures of it already looking quite at home in this beautiful country bedroom.

festival blanket in situ

… looks like the idea place for a cup of tea and a curl-up with a book …

Hilary also surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers in her signature relaxed and carefree style.  Bursting with colour and scent from the various herbs and flowers, I proudly carried it home where it is now sitting in the kitchen for all to see!

Eliza James Flowers 1

Eliza James Flowers 2

…. breathtakingly beautiful …

All of these events were certainly making my week a great one when something else exciting dropped through the mailbox.

custom stamp

… great product wrapping from Creatiate

Now if you go crazy for stationery like me, this shop will have you in fits and whoops of joy.  I found it after a lengthy search for a custom stamp for The Dorset Finca.  My plan was to stamp away merrily on the backs of envelopes, packaging and anything else I could get my hands on.  It seemed like a much more eco-friendly solution than buying branded stickers all the time.  Although saying that, I love stickers badly too. 

When I found Creatiate’s shop, I knew they were the ones to sort me out, mainly because it took me about four days to choose which design I liked – there were too many delicious ones.  Furthermore, once I had chosen, I already had my eye on another purchase! Yes, my whimsy-self was in true form this week!

The Dorset Finca Stamp

… ahhhh, perfect …

This bad boy was made, wrapped, shipped and delivered within 1-2 weeks. From America.

Me = one very happy customer!

To keep up-to-date with these two creative dreams you can check them out here:

Hilary at Eliza James Flowers; click here for the website, here for the Facebook Page and here for Instagram.

Sarah at Creatiate; click here for the website, here for the Facebook Page and here for Instagram.

 Speak soon x

An Odd Collection of Happenings

This post might seem a little disjointed but my week followed a similarly randomised pattern. Although, looking at my feeds on Instagram and Facebook, recent events still surround my favourite themes: the outdoors, food and crochet. Funny that!

maize fields dorset

… a rapidly growing maize crop with a great view …

As we’ve been so lucky to have all of this deliciously warm weather, we have been getting out for our daily walk a little earlier than usual.  With our various routes all quiet, dewy and with the promise of spotting a deer or two it has been one of the best parts of my day.  We finish up with breakfast, cups of tea outside and a quick read of a book before the day’s jobs start properly.

pissaladiere monegasque

… Pissaladiere …

I tried my hand at making Mr D-F’s favourite – Pissaladiere.  Well, actually this is how it went down; my mother-in-law kindly sent us a recipe book of traditional Monegasque recipes and that very same day Mr D-F said that he would like me to make some of this delicacy.

For his lunch.

“Yes please, here are the onions you need,” he said.

Right then.

So, to avoid the sad look of disappointment on his face, which is the worst thing to behold ever. I had a go. I was a little dubious about parts of the recipe, but sure enough, it allowed me to make a pretty authentic attempt.

…and the verdict? “This is the best, thank you so much,” he declared.

Air-fist-pump to me!

“But you can just tell it’s not the same as the real sort. It’s the English tomatoes,” he continued.

…hmmm….

If you want to have a go at the Nice version, there is an easy recipe on BBC Good Food here.

Enjoy x

 

Pasteque and Crochet Hooks

Hello my friend. It’s been a while – sorry.

It’s been rather an intense few weeks with lots of Finca jobs to do. Despite my efforts, annoyingly many are still languishing on my to-do list. With the lovely long, warm (mostly) summer days, the time has passed in a sort of blurry breeze. There has been lots and lots of crochet goodness to keep me occupied, which on the whole, I have undertaken under a shady tree in the garden with a pot of green tea with lemon – yum!

Last week we were due to go and spend time with family, so I packed as much yarn as I could get away with. I stowed my finest merino wool in my hand luggage (I mean, Mr D-F’s luggage – it was bigger) and checked with the airport and airline that my crochet hooks wouldn’t be taken off me – I actually got a very lovely response from Gatwick about this. They obviously appreciate the importance of having some crochet-on-the-go in every situation.

view towards Monaco

… the view towards Monaco …

We had a lovely time and I ate a serious amount of my favourite foods; pissaladiere, barbajaun, pasteque…

…we watched the fish swimming in amongst rocks and boat hulls and shrieked when they came to try and take a nibble of our legs!

Both plane journeys were pretty bumpy and I’m afraid I was not cool, calm and collected. I felt sorry for the man sitting next to me (not Mr D-F – the man on my other side)! I could see him having a little snigger whenever the plane decided to pretty much barrel-roll through the clouds and cause me to emit pathetic whimpers.  I did offer him some of my m&ms, which I think smoothed things over. The only thing that finally forced me to relax was to concentrate on my latest crochet pieces…

Thyme bag charm

Thyme flower bag charm available on Etsy

I have been so excited since I decided to make a range of key rings/bag charms that represent some of the most familiar Andalusian plants and flowers.  Now that I have the whole set completed, I keep swapping which type I wear on my bag because I can’t decide which is my favourite.  Currently, it’s between Prickly Pear and Aloe Vera.

crochet carnival bunting

… carnival bunting …

I also have lots of new bits to photograph and put in the shop (like the bunting above, which creates serious fiesta vibes once hung), some raggedy bits of garden to tidy up and a little dog to walk.

Speak soon x

Holiday Essentials Challenge

I have a little challenge for you…  and I’m sorry if it is tipping down with rain where you are (it is here too) or if the thunder and lightning seems to be shaking the roof off your house and a relaxing holiday seems a distant thought.

For this challenge you might have to do a bit of imagining…

I was contacted by the people at HomeAway – a holiday company – to come up with 5 things that I would be lost without when on holiday.  I promise you, they didn’t offer me an ‘all expenses paid’ trip to the Maldives to have a go at this and they haven’t given me a million pounds (or anything) to write this post, but as I saw it as a bit of fun, I decided to have a go anyway!

Now, I initially said ‘bit of fun’ but actually the whole process was slightly stressful for my brain. I mean, only 5 things? What if I left out something really important? Maybe I should only list practical things? Breathe…

Firstly, it’s your turn.

holiday essentials challenge

Imagine you are on a wonderful holiday – where would it be? Are you staycationing, being trendy in a camper van? Are you on a beach in the South of France? Are you doing something brave and extreme like abseiling down massive cliffs?

I chose a warm, sunny, quiet beach. Preferably somewhere with unbelievably good food.

Once you have chosen your dream destination, you need to come up with 5 things that you would take with you to make your holiday the best ever.

Here are mine (yes, the food came first):

A picnic - olives, ham, melon - the works!

This talking of holidays is making me feel even more wistful for a beach, a glass with an umbrella in it and a good book, but for now, I think I might just have to re-create this in the garden – when it stops raining.  Hmmm…

I’d love to know what you would take and where you would go.

Speak soon x

 

 

A Whimsical Thrill :: Crochet Heart Door Hanging

You know how much I love a whim… and I had to share this one with you because it is such a quick and fun way to brighten up a doorway (or in fact, anything). So, while in the midst of making the last few remaining squares for my festival blanket – only 12 more to go – and finishing off some lovely commissioned pieces, I felt like making something colourful for the back of our front door.  As we’re still in the middle of decorating, the front hallway is still looking a little cold and needed cheering up.

crochet heart blocking

… blocking my heart with starch …

I did a bit of a search and found such a huge array of lovely decorations on Pinterest; from little birds to wreaths and garlands – all made out of crochet.  Then I came across this pattern for colourful hearts. It’s easy to follow and for the centre section, you are directed to use this pattern (which, don’t panic, has an English translation)!

The only thing to bear in mind, is that the patterns are written in US crochet terms so you have to do a bit of mental jiggery if you’re used to working in UK terminology. There’s always this handy chart from Simply Crochet Magazine to help.

crochet heart door hanging

… I added some buttons and a tassel and voila …

I’m so happy with it. It makes me smile every time I look down the corridor or come home and  I am already thinking of the different ways that I could use more hearts (any excuse)…

Right, back to these squares now… 114, 115 …

Have a great day x

May’s Greats

Thinking back to the beginning of the month, I remember wishing for a bit of sunny, warm weather.  We spend a lot of time outside and I was getting desperate to finally hang up my waterproofs and be able to go out without a coat. Well although we are set for a bit of rain this week, I feel really lucky to have had some lazy, bright days out in the garden, walks by the coast when the sea is so clear you can see the bottom and dog walks through cool woods filled with early summer flowers.

I’ve loved looking at pictures that my friends have put online of evening beach walks, families enjoying a (probably pretty cold) dunk in the sea and newly painted garden sheds.

May's Greats

… the highlights of my May …

As you can see from my round-up picture of May, there was quite a lot of crochet involved (as always)! I started some new commissions this month; I love the beginning of a new project, the preliminary discussions and seeing how it develops as the design evolves.

I’m also almost finished making all of the colourful squares for my festival blanket.  This has been one of my favourite projects EVER.  I wanted to create a blanket that could be taken with families to festivals, used to make a tent cosy when camping, placed on the seats of a camper van or to be used out on picnics.  I wanted something really colourful and joyful but made with yarn that was not fussy and could be thrown into the wash only to come out as good as new. No one wants to panic if someone spills pickle on the picnic blanket!  Within the next few days I’ll make a final decision on how the colours will go together before I start joining the squares up, which I am really looking forward to.

So looking towards the new month, I’m hoping for one just as colourful, with some more warm weather please! I am wishing for lots of good times with friends and a bit of discovery of new places.  What are you hoping for? x