Sunday, 24 April 2016

Little Box Of Crochet

I have been trying out a number of subscription boxes over the last year and here is a review of the most recent one I received.

Amanda Bloom's Little Box Of Crochet.

I came across this box via a friend on a social media site.
Each month you receive a cute little box filled with all you need to complete a crochet project.
Amanda started the subscription box after her daughter became ill and she needed to find work that would enable her to care for her daughter, but also be rewarding and fulfil her need for creativity. You can read her story here:Amanda's story. A truly wonderful way to work.
So what's in the box?
The first thing that struck me was how beautifully wrapped it all was. The yellow box is so cheerful and very sturdy and the contents were tightly nestled in pink tissue paper.
Inside I found a booklet with the written pattern and information about the designer, the yarn and the stitch marker maker. The pattern itself is well written with clear photographs to accompany each step. This months designer is Alia Bland from The Little Bee. Check out her site.
 There were 5 balls of Rico Cotton Essentials DK yarn weighed for the project. I have used this yarn before, it is a strong cotton for detailed crochet as it holds it shape well. The colours are also very vibrant. I do find that it splits very easily though which can be frustrating in crochet especially when working on small items.
Also included was a 3.5mm crochet hook, a darning needle, a project bag, a herbal tea bag and a really cute stitch marker by Beth Chapman of Korutumi
It's a beautiful project box and this morning I made a start on the project Bellberry Garland. It is quite intricate but using easy stitches like dc and tr it's easy to follow. Even a beginner able to do these stitches could follow, as the photos are so clear.
Here is my first little bellberry. Looking forward to completing them all.
For details of subscriptions look here:-subscriptions

(I bought this subscription box with my own money and the views and opinions expressed are my own.)

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Sketch Book Club

  So another little creative activity that has crept into my life this last year is drawing and painting. I took art at high school, both O' level and A'level and wanted to go on and study art at Uni but was put off by the many comments from parents, teachers etc who told me it was a waste of time and should be kept for a hobby only.  So I listened and toed the line like the good girl I was. Drawing/ painting took a back seat and eventually I stopped altogether.
That is until last summer when I stumbled across Jennie Maizels Sketch Book Club. Wow! Not only is Jennie and amazing illustrator but she also teaches art from her own studios. Now I live too far from her home to attend any classes but to my delight she has started running an online course. Just what I needed as I feel very rusty. So I signed up and last summer holidays my daughters and I spent one afternoon a week doing art.
Every afternoon was so relaxing and a truely lovely way to spend quality time with my girls. 
The work we produced may not have been gallery worthy but we had fun creating it and that's really all that matters. The modules included were, houses, fish, washing line and bugs. Each module uses a different technique and/or medium and Jennie guides you through the new methods introduced.

Each module has a video of Jennie showing you how to create the picture for the week. There is a list of resources needed (all of which you can buy from Jennies website), a selection of reference pictures that you can download and use as prompts for your drawings and full printed instructions. There is also a InstaGram group for you to share your finished art. It is very well written and put together.
 The way I used it was to set up all the resources needed. Then we sat and watched Jennie demonstrate, before finally getting busy ourselves. Jennie has a lovely gentle voice and is easy yo listen to. She also makes it look so easy! She does offer hints and tips on how to make things simpler, like tracing the pictures or drawing around shapes. She says it's not cheating, it just ensures you get a pleasing finish which is important if you want to take pride in your work.
 So we completed the first course and then the books got put away. 
Fortunately Jennie released a second sketchbook club - Course 2 . So the sketch books have come back out. This time the modules are :- Nature table, Jewels, Tea time and owls.  I have completed the first 2 and feel pleased with the results.

                                                                               

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Lollipop Box Club

Have you ever bought a subscription box? I have been trying out a few over the last year.
This month I bought the lollipop box club one off subscription box.
Let me tell you I was blown away by the contents. The box itself was small about 8 inches by 5 inches so I thought oh there can't be much in here. Wrong!
Inside attached to the lid was a card with a greeting and information about the contents, plus a hand written message on the lid itself. The goodies were beautifully wrapped with some Easter scatters on the top.
Inside everything was carefully arranged on cards, inside paper bags and gift tags. The box was crammed full all slotted together like a tetras puzzle.
 The first thing I pulled out was a heart shaped blackboard peg, a lollipop (of course) a tiny heart stamp, 2 rolls of thin washi tape, some wooden flowers and a tag with 2 pins attached
 Then there was a bag with an assortment of paper clips and coloured staples inside (which actually fit my stapler!) There was a tag with a crochet flower paper clip, A card with a good meter of pompom ribbon, a green fine liner pen and a little envelope tied up with twine containing beautiful buttons.
 Next there was a little Hessian bag with a heart printed on the front containing a rabbit paper clip, 3 gorgeous rabbit buttons, some page flag sticky notes and a chocolate heart. The little bunny on the tag is the same as the three inside the bag, so cute.
 The green polka dot bag above contained a sheet of stickers, a bunny postcard, some speech bubble post it notes, some flower die cuts, 2 rabbit stickers, a gift tag, some ribbon and some twine.
Underneath all the goodies I found some paper items. 2 sheets of patterned paper, a weekly tasks sheet, 2 sheets of bunny paper, some memo dots and a spring card. these will all work brilliantly in my planner, I can make dashboards with the patterned card and cut out the memos to glue in. There was also a set a challenge cards which I will add to my planner. They are personalised and the idea is to write a list each week and see how many things you get done. Love it
So all in all this was a brilliant box that I would definitely recommend especially if you keep a journal or are into Smash booking , there is so much to use to decorate pages or cut out and stick in a journal or planner. The colours are so well matched even down to the paper bags! The box retails at £17 UK for a one off kit, but prices are lower if you subscribe.
(apologies for the upside down photos I am unable to turn them at the moment.)
I bought this box with my own money and the views and opinions written here are all my own.






Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt.

So many years ago I posted about a quilt I was making with my 4 daughters. We were going to make it during our summer holidays as a memory quilt. We chose the colours together, cut the paper pattern hexagons, tacked all the fabrics to the paper and carefully stitched the hexagons into flowers and the flowers onto the green garden using teeny tiny stitches. Here is an early picture, still very much work in progress:-
The quilt only ever came out during the Summer holidays, so varying amounts were completed each year. But slowly, bit by bit completed it was. It has taken 10 years to finally complete this work of love and it doesn't disappoint. Knowing that each tiny stitch has been created by my girls and myself over years of growing up and family changes, is just magical. When I think about the hours of love that has gone into this quilt it makes me tear up. Yes some of the stitches may need repair, after all my youngest daughter was only 6 when we started! But, wow, it is breathtaking. I can't think of a nicer way to share memories than stitching them into a quilt.
Here it is gently blowing dry after it's first wash.
 I'm thinking of starting another one now they are almost grown up, one to share with grandchildren when they eventually cone along, we'll see.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Journalling.

Another activity that has been part of my life for some time now is Journalling. I bought my first fauxdori last summer from Lyra and Co. At that time I didn't realise what a huge community of journallers there is. Since then I have gone on to buy 4 more fauxdoris that I change around according to the seasons, plus the tiny one I use for knitting notes.
I am currently using the one with dream catchers on it.
So what do I use it for? Well, I have 4 notebooks inside and I use each one for different things. 
The first notebook is a brain dump journal where I write down all the stuff that churns around inside my head. Happy thoughts, bad thoughts, hopes, dreams etc. I also doodle and stick in photos of recent events or samples of things I've bought.
The second note book is a kind of Bible journal. I've been reading Trusting God day by day by Joyce Meyer. I'm not a hugely religious person but having been brought up a Catholic and no longer practising the Catholic faith I've felt that something was missing in my life. This book gives you a new bible reading everyday and Joyce talks about how it applies to her life and how you can take Gods words and apply them to your own life, It has made me think carefully about how I am living my life and how I want to change/improve the way I live. It's just right for me, gives me something to think about and keeps a small connection with my upbringing. 

The third notebook is used to keep a record of my pen pals and people in the travelling postcard group. I write down who I've written to and who I've received from and add any little bits and bobs that have been sent to me. these two cards arrived from America last week.
The final notebook is used for work. I write down any ideas I have for planning, I stick in pictures from pinterest and add any useful links for websites to browse through. Currently it is filled with pictures and links for improving the outdoor area at nursery. This is our focus for the Summer term. I have the ideas now just need to raise the funds to make it all happen.
And that is my journalling. I'll post some more pictures later on so you can have a peek inside.