Saturday 28 May 2011

Pirates 4

We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides last night. 

We had heard that it wasn't the best of the pirates films but Johnny's in it - what more do you want. 

We enjoyed it - but - it wasn't as good as the other pirates films.  So few of the cast from the earlier films were in it that it didn't have the same feel to it.  The best bits were when Captain Jack and Barbossa were together - good banter and thankfully Mr Gibbs was still in it - where would Jack be without him.  But we missed Pintel and Ragetti and Cotton and his parrot. 

Tuesday 24 May 2011

A Little Ray of Sunshine

PDF version
Where has all the nice weather gone?  I think I blinked and missed it.  We're all feeling under a cloud at the moment with all the exams and misersable weather so I made a little something to cheer us up. 

This is our Little Ray of Sunshine (Ray for short).  He's very quick and easy to make and brings an instant summery smile to your face. 

If you feel you need cheering up why not make your own or give one to someone you know who needs a smile.  Here's the pattern.

Little Ray of Sunshine

To make your own sunshine you will need:

Yellow double knitting yarn – the sunnier the better

3mm crochet hook or whatever feels right

Notions – row marker, toy stuffing, oddments of black yarn


(English terms used)
dc (English) = sc (American)
tr (English ) = dc (American)

Finished size – approximately 14 cm (5 ½ inches) in diameter.


With yellow and 3 mm hook make 2 chain.

1st round: 6 dc (US = sc) into 2nd chain from hook. Do not join at end of round, instead continue to work in a spiral – a row marker will be useful to keep track of the beginning of the round.

2nd round: [2 dc into next dc] 6 times. (12 dc)

3rd round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next dc] 6 times. (18 dc)

4th round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 2 dc] 6 times. (24 dc)

5th round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 3 dc] 6 times. (30 dc)

6th round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 4 dc] 6 times. (36 dc)

7th round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 5 dc] 6 times. (42 dc)

8th round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 6 dc] 6 times. (48 dc)

9th round: [2 dc into next dc, 1 dc into next 7 dc] 6 times. (54 dc)

Slip stitch into next dc and fasten off leaving a long tail for sewing up later.


Work as given for back but do not fasten off after ninth round.

10th round: [1 dc in next 3 dc, 1 ch, miss 1 dc, 1 dc in next 2 dc] 9 times.

11th round: [ 1 dc in next dc, miss 2 dc, (3 tr, 5 ch, sl st into 4th ch from hook, 1 ch, 3 tr) all in 1 ch space, miss next 2 dc] 9 times, sl st into 1st dc and fasten off.

Making up

Using black yarn, embroider a very smiley face on the front piece. Sew the back to the front leaving a small gap for stuffing. Stuff and then close the gap. Attach a hanging loop made by either a twisted cord or a crocheted chain.

Hang up your sunshine and see how it brightens your room.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Spider Web Doily

Isn't this doily just wonderful?  Just my idea of what a doily should look like!

This is the one I started in Madrid but didn't quite finish.  When I resumed work on it I wasn't happy with it - no matter what I did it wouldn't lie flat - no amount of stretching and pinning out was going to make a difference.  But I loved the pattern so much so I ripped it out and started again.  The pattern called for 16 repeats in the round but I altered it to 12 and hey presto! it worked.

All I need now is a nice vintage plate to put it on - Oh and some delicoius cakes to display on it. 

It only took two evenings to make and was an easy pattern to follow.  The pattern dates from 1951 and you can find the pattern for free, here

Tuesday 17 May 2011

Good Luck Cards

Yes, it's that time of the year again - exam time.  It always seems to come round really quickly.  The girls have been studying and revising very hard over the past few weeks (months infact) and now the dreaded exams are upon us. 

Here are the cards I made for them. 

I used organza fabric for the background.  Then used decorative paper to add edgings and to make the bunting.  Finally I used stampers to add the flower borders to match the colours in the paper. 

Good luck girls - you've worked hard so I'm sure you'll be fine. 

Monday 16 May 2011

Teatime Treats

Shortbread buttons and mince pies.  Someone has been busy. 

Sunday 15 May 2011

Russian Dolls

I've just had great fun making these lovely crocheted Russian Dolls. 

They took a few days to make because of all the embroidery detail but they were a great way to use up oddments of yarn.

The pattern is by Nicki Trench and is in the magazine Woman's Weekly Knitting and Crochet Special April/May 2011.  The pattern also features in Nicki Trench's book Cute and Easy Crochet. 

We've named the dolls Ada, Lily, Sally and Nancy.  A very colourful and jolly addition to our household.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Happy Birthday Mum

A big special HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Mum today.  "I hope you have a wonderful day - be good to yourself - you deserve it".

Here is the card I made for her. 

It's a very pretty and dainty design. Unfortunately the photo is a bit pale.  The central motif is slightly raised and I've added a ribbon bow.  I'm really pleased with the stamped flowers in the corners - I think I matched the colours of the central design very well.

And most importantly, my Mum liked it.

Friday 6 May 2011


I am being led astray!!  My friend Angela from Coventry sent me a message yesterday morning to say that Deramores has a sale of Sirdar Countrystyle yarn.  This is one of my favourite yarns - great value -usually around £4 for a 100g ball - now on sale for £1.79 per ball.  WOW!! How could I resist - and with free delivery in the UK on orders over £15. 

I deliberated  - could I justify buying more yarn - no contest - of course I could.  So I sent off my order and less than 24 hours later the yarn has arrived - how's that for service.

I see some lovely Fair Isle cardigans appearing in the near future - so exciting.

Wednesday 4 May 2011

New Pages

Hey!  I've finally worked out how to add new pages to the blog - a bit slow on the uptake, I know. 

So I have been busy and organised all my free patterns with pictures so that they are easy to view. 

Check out the tabs at the top to see the selection. 

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Snow Doily

Despite being away on holiday and having a wonderful time, I did not neglect the crafts.  Crocheting is the easiest activity to take away - very portable.  So I packed my thread weight crochet cotton and three doily patterns. 

I only managed to complete one doily whilst away.  A second one is half-way done and I'll hopefully get around to finishing that shortly. 

Here is the finished one. 

It's called Snow Doily.  The pattern is by Priscilla Hewitt and is available for free, here

Quite a quick pattern to make but it's a bit too 'round' for me - I like a nice 'pointy' edging!!

Monday 2 May 2011

Catching Up

This year seems to be going so quickly.  I blame my birthday, which took up so much time and energy - not that I'm complaining - it was the best birthday ever. 

But then Easter happened and I wasn't ready for it.  The holiday to Madrid, although anticipated for months, suddenly arrived and caused a major diversion. 

Now I'm back I realise that the house is missing all the usual Spring / Summer decorations.  We still have many of the Autumn / Winter decorations up - and this will not do, especially now that the sun is shining and the garden is starting to look so colourful. 

So out have come the sunny decorations. 

Pretty yellow and blue bunting, sunshine hanging decorations, knitted strawberries, bees and lots and lots of shells from the beach. 

So now I'm off to spread the summer sunshine throughout the house.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Holiday in Madrid

Happy May Day.  The suitcases are unpacked, the washing machine is on and I've just taken a delicious Victoria sponge cake out of the oven ready for afternoon tea.  Now I can settle down and tell you all about my wonderful holiday in Spain. 

The holiday was a special treat as part of my 50th birthday celebrations.  I've been looking forward to it ever since we booked it last year. 

My DH and I flew from Liverpool airport (very convenient) last Sunday and arrived in Madrid and we were immediately driven to Salamanca where we stayed two nights. 

What a lovely city - we had a guided tour and then just wandered through the streets seeing the beautiful buildings and visiting the Plaza Mayor.  We had a great view of the cathedral from our hotel window.  Here are some of the photos we took in Salamanca. 

After Salamanca we visited Avila and Segovia on the way back to Madrid.  Again we were impressed at how picturesque they were.  The only downside was the weather - it was freezing and I hadn't packed enough winter woollies for the trip - I got plenty of wear out of the two (only two!!) cardigans that I did take. 

Here are the pics. 

We then spent four nights in Madrid.  We explored Madrid and its wonderful art galleries.  The Prado is so impressive - it would have been possible to spend more time there but we wanted to see as much of Madrid as possible.  We loved the many plazas - each had its own character and atmosphere.  From Madrid we also visited Aranjuaz, Chinchon and Toledo.  Fortunately, when we got to Madrid the temperature improved and I was able to shed the scarf and jacket.  However, by Friday and Toledo the rain set in and it went cold again!

Here are the pics. 

It was an amazing experience - a great birthday treat - one I'll always remember.  Now after all that excitement I need a rest!!