Wednesday, 17 August 2011

{ Baking Bonanza }

Over the past week or so we've been experimenting with new recipes and practising some old ones. One of the first to try was a Banana Loaf cake. We had some very very ripe bananas left over so I decided it would be a nice way to use them up, whilst trying out a different recipe. I used a Hummingbird Bakery recipe and have to admit that the results were fantastic. It was wonderfully moist and didn't have too strong a banana flavour as it included ground ginger and cinnamon.

During the weekend I also baked some cupcakes for Dave's brother's 21st birthday. We decided to make a vanilla cupcake base with caramel buttercream for the finish. Cupcakes are a fantastic way to show someone you care and they're very straight forward to bake too, along with the topping of course. Again I used a Hummingbird Bakery recipe - and it's such a cute cookery book so a great excuse to leave it on the book stand! One thing I would mention is that the caramel buttercream sets very hard and begins to crumble off if too much pressure is applied to it. But otherwise, it'd definitely suggest it.

Baking is such a peaceful way to spend time and provides great rewards at the end too! Have you been doing any baking?

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 11 August 2011

{ Current Crocheting }

I’m always working on a few things at once as I get slightly bored of doing the same stitch / pattern over and over again in a large project. Currently I’m working on a very large venture. Again, using "The Art of Crochet" for pattern inspiration, I found a wonderful blanket using square blocks which are sewn together, and bordered, to create the finished item.

In total there’ll be 48 squares, to make a double bed sized blanket, as well as three border lines so there’s quite a bit of work in it! I’ve finished 43 of the squares, in four varying colour schemes, so I’m well on my way to getting it done relatively soon.  I’ll be sure to let you know how it looks when it’s all finished!

I’m always trying to expand my stock for Folksy, and possibly future craft fairs, and thus I’m forever experimenting with colour combinations and embellishments. At the moment, I’m making brooches which use varying tones of the same colour so as to appeal to those people who are fanatical about only the one hue. Also, I’ve crocheted a selection of roses and I’m trying to decide what to do with them – either adding fabric leaves or creating posies.... possibly. Anybody have any ideas?

Then it’ll be onto my to-do list for the next project... There are always items on this list, using varying patterns and techniques, so I hope to always be busy crocheting. What are you all working on at the moment?

Love and lacery,

{ Projects from the Past }

I’ve done a few crocheting projects throughout my short time at the craft, as a way to experience new stitch patterns and instructions.

-  Christmas Bunting  -
My first completed item was a string of ‘Merry Christmas’ bunting to adorn the wall of my and Dave’s first house. I had wanted something colourful with a festive message and couldn’t find anything suitable in the shops so decided to make my own! It’s a very straight forward triangle shape in treble stitch with hand embroidered letters using DK (double knit) wool. The holly and mistletoe are from a wonderful book called “100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet”. I also made Christmas tree shaped ‘baubles’ to give to family members using the same shape.

-  Embellished Blanket  -
My first blanket was of single bed size and used a very simple ‘net’ base comprising of chain and treble stitches with stripes of ‘shell’ stitch, along with more detailed appliqu├ęs to give it a bit of colour and interest. This pattern was adapted from a fantastic magazine called "The Art of Crochet".

-  Presents  -
Occasionally I also make crocheted items to give to family and friends as presents. One which springs to mind is a floral scarf which I made for Mummy. It uses striking greens and pinks in flower squares which are then chain stitched together to give length. Very warm yet stylish too!

-  Folksy Items  -
More recently, I’ve been making items to sell upon my Folksy page and at future craft fairs. These include floral brooches, gadget cases, bunting and a variety of other items which are yet to be added – I’ll keep you posted as these come along!

-  Cushion Cover  -
I gave good ole' granny stitch a try and made a cushion cover which I'm very pleased with. This pattern came from "The Art of Crochet", although granny stitch is very straight forward. You'll soon realise that a lot of the patterns I try come from this magazine as it's got such a range of ideas and patterns for beginners and more advanced crafters.

I’m sure that there are more projects that I’m forgetting but they can always be added as and when I remember them.

In the future I hope I'll have gained enough confidence to start making garments as well as home and personal accessories and I'll continue to let you know what I'm up to.

Love and lacery,

{ Tools of the Trade }

Knitting and crocheting have always been a family past-time. My Nanna started knitting when she was about five years old and thus has amassed around seven decades of experience. There’s no pattern she can’t complete and is a wealth of knowledge upon the subject – truly inspirational. As a result, she knew exactly what to pass on when I kept up the tradition.

I adore this folding wool tidy. It was a present to my Nanna from her mother and it’s now been passed down to me. Its floral fabric and pine coloured supports are still fashionable today and it’s such a good way of keeping wool and other little items together. The little crafts box was a present from Nanna also. It’s a perfect size to keep small lengths of wool and embellishments along with thread and felt for making my brooches, and taking them with me when I travel. I keep my hooks, scissors, needles and other little items in the fabric pouch in the front of the picture – a present from an Auntie for my 21st birthday. Lastly, the little collapsing storage unit is an ideal place to keep my completed squares and related wool. The large stack to the left is the first 40 blocks for my starry blanket and the little wicker box underneath houses my Folksy items.

I use metal hooks when crocheting but was wondering if maybe some wooden or fancy ebony / stone ones would be better? They’d definitely be more pleasing to the eye than the ones I use currently! I suppose there are also pretty looking plastic ones available too. What do you use, and suggest?

Love and lacery,

{ Teacups and Crochet Hooks – The Launch }

Hello! Welcome to my blog! This space will be a way of me sharing my musings as I crochet, along with a few other little craft projects, and showing you all what I’ve been working on with the intention of inspiring you! There will also be some interjection from other subjects as I take tea-breaks and generally experience things. You’ll soon find out that I have quite a few hobbies so there’s always something to share with you all! I hope you enjoy my thoughts and images and that you at least go away with a smile on your face or a thought on your mind!

Right, I suppose I’d best introduce myself. My name is Leah (as you’ve probably already seen from the ‘About Me’ section) and I recently graduated from university with a degree in geography. I’ve always been a creative person and thus crafts have always interested me and helped me to express this side of my personality. Crocheting is relatively new to me, having only started it towards the end of 2009, yet I absolutely love the items you can create using it and I'm already quite addicted! I was inspired to try my hand at the craft after observing a friend making a blanket, and I'd always loved a blanket Mummy had made when she was younger. I suppose a further reason was that I didn't take to knitting very well and thus it was a great substitute. However, I've been card making, scrapbooking, drawing, photographing and many, many other past-times for many, many years.

You’ll probably hear me mention the names Dave and Brindle throughout my future posts so I’d best put some faces to these names for you. Dave is my partner and the person I share a house with. He’s my all-time favourite person and the one who sees my finished items before anyone else. Brindle is the family dog. She lives with my parents and brother in Northamptonshire, my home county, and so I only really get to see her at weekends and holidays now. She’s adorable, very clever and snugly... and getting on a bit now really. There might be more introductions along the way too.

Okay, I think that’s enough rambling for this introductory post! I really do hope you enjoy the images and information I post and that you’ll be itching to show your creative side as a result. Please do visit my Folksy page to find some of my finished items.

Love and lacery,