Monday, 1 May 2017

Seaside bead bracelet.

Here's a tutorial for a simple bracelet designed for 8-11 year olds to follow and create their in their school Beading Club.

Seaside Bead Bracelet.

Use flat suede cord to make a bead bracelet, using simple knots- a relaxed surfer style that is perfect for the beach!
You can use wooden beads, pony beads or any type of bead as long as the bead holes are large enough for the cord to be threaded through.
The bracelet uses a 'donut' bead on one end which acts as a fastener.
Donut beads are sometimes known as 'Angel halos'.

  • One end bead-a donut, or other large, flattish bead.
  •  60cm fat suede cord
  • 7 coloured beads
To make:
  1. Cut the required amount of cord. The cord length will be longer than your wrist as knots are made to separate beads.
  2. Plan your design. use your favourite colours, colours that complement each other, or colours that contrast.Think about the colours you can see and find at the seaside! Experiment with different combinations until you find a design you like. This one uses ocean blues, turquoise and sea lavender.
  3. Take one end of cord and tie a knot to make a loop.
Thread on your first bead. Now tie a knot. You can also push the end from where the loop was made into this bead.

5. Thread each bead on in the same way, making a knot after each. Make knots loosely so   that you can adjust them slightly to make the spacing even.

 Before adding the final, donut bead, Try your bracelet around your wrist for size. If it is too big you can try pushing the knots tighter, or leaving out one of your beads. If too small, add another bead.
6..Finally, add your donut bead. Make a final knot, then another knot over the top of the first. Trim any left over cord.

 Now your bracelet is ready to wear. 
Perfect for when you are out in the sunshine!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Cute Halloween crochet.

Hope you had fun at Halloween!  Last week I had fun making some cute amigurumi pumpkins, a little witch and spider for my little granddaughter.

First I thought some little pumpkins would fit nicely into her baby hand. There are lots of patterns for these available but the idea I thought was most effective was where the pumpkin has more lifelike 'ridges' like a real one. 

Eventually I located a pattern called 'Autumn Bounty'  which you can download for from here:  Autumn Bounty . 

It has American crochet terms but basically it just uses sc which is simply dc in English terms. The ridges are created by working into the back loop of the dc (American sc). So effective! I used Patons all wool dk for mine because I already had 6 balls of it in orange! It  gave such a nice chunky texture to the pumpkins and is very hardwearing which made it perfect for being played with and squashed a lot!

The pumpkins were such a hit with my little granddaughter, aged 13 months. She loved the textures and played with them like little balls.

. I made the two pumpkins pictured on the pattern above according to the instructions then a tiny one by simply reducing the initial chain. With the wool dk I used a 3.50mm hook, usually you would use a 4.00 but I do crochet loosely and I wanted to make sure there were no gaps.

Inspired then to make a little witch I Looked for something which would stand up and be just the right size for a small hand. My search brought me to a super pattern -find it here: little witch pattern. It worked out so well-many thanks to Sanity by Stitches. 
For my witch I used my favourite Patons merino extra fine dk  which I use in my mermaid dolls  -it is so soft and has a very clear stitch definition, plus it comes in gorgeous colours. Again I used a 3.50mm hook. 

 What a success the little witch was-Isabelle did not let go of her all morning! The witch had a little cauldron but it needed a spider to go inside it......
Many thanks to Petals to Picots for this super little spider pattern. I did  adapt the legs by crocheting them onto a band together, before attaching to body. I also added my own version of crocheted 'googly eyes' . 
Crochet 'googly' eyes: 
Magic circle. dc x 8 into circle, join into first ch, pull up to close centre.
Using a tapestry needle and black yarn, work a big French knot, by wrapping yarn around needle three times for the eye centres. 
Repeat and shape the eye centres with extra stitches is needed. 
Then push remaining centre wool yarn end into the back of eye to give a bit of stuffing to the eye, making it more 'googly'!
Oversew eyes in place using one remaining white yarn end.
What fun they were to make. I'm afraid I got a bit addicted to the spiders.....they are still being hooked up in different fun colours-all ready for next year!

Have a good week,

Best wishes


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Pirate patchwork cushion.

It's a  lovely summer again with lots of visits this year from family. I love to make a little keepsake gift for my adorable niece and nephew and this year decided to make them a patchwork cushion to take home.

 Now for me, making anything for a boy is quite a challenge-I just have never had the practice and can't say my interest runs to football and the like! However, there is one theme that I do enjoy and it is so linked to Cornwall...pirates! Luckily my little nephew likes to be a pirate on occasions especially when he is down here in Cornwall. 

Inspired by this cute little offcut I decided to make the ship the centre of the cushion and match some of Ollie's favourite colours around it in simple strips, keeping the central focus. 
Love the clean lines, symmetry and bright colours of this fabric.

Headed for my quilting stash unfortunately being faced with the fact I really should stop the sewing and have a good tidy out. I blame this on being creative.
Eek! or as we are on a pirate theme...aaaarrrrggghhhh!!

Basically I don't have a clue what I do have in the way of fabric any more. I can only get away with blaming creative for so long-I may have to have a sort out before I disappear under an avalanche of Michael Miller and Amy Butler....

After much rifling through (and a few surprises-when did I get that exactly/oh I've just ordered some of that-didn't know I already had some etc) I put some sea themed pieces together.

Great-Ollie's favourite colours being red, black and blue I could do something with that. Would love to work in that cheeky shark with the jaws. I also love 'worded' fabric-aren't these old pirate sayings fun?

Well shiver me timbers...better get started! One of my favourite parts of doing anything patchy is mixing and matching colours, then noting how the colours interact with each other for best effect. 
I started with a black check around the ship as the ship was outlined ,then tried this deep textured blue which had a kind of wave effect: this gave focus to the waves and background.
 However, then trying out the red/white polka dots (Cath Kidston old favourite!) really brought the sails to life!

 If we try both, there should be some great lift to the central colours:

Coming along nicely...would love to fit in that cheeky shark but in fact he did distract the eye from the ship. He probably wanted to be the central piece!

So to finish had to go for 'Shiver me timbers/sharkbait etc.' Sharkbait?? Sounds ghastly but I think Ollie will approve, as he was keen to relate the most gruesome facts of the Great Plague as a conversation starter at dinner last week. 

I then machine quilted the patchwork 'in the ditch' to a lightweight wadding and backed the cushion in the original black check 'frame' of the ship. I gave the cushion an envelope style opening, using the overlocker for speed.

 Finished! Quite pleased with the co-ordination but most pleased that I really enjoyed making it! 
The cushion measured just 12 inches as I have a stash of cushion inserts to fit that size!

All ready for a little pirate and now oh what joy-a girlie one for my lovely niece who loves where did I see those gorgeous designs by Michael Miller??

Then it will need to be a good summer quilt fabric tidy more 'creative' excuses? Well maybe...

How's your creative space?  Sometimes it's good to find a surprise lurking amongst all that forgotten stash!
Hope you're having a fantastic and creative summer xx

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

21st Summer in Cornwall

Twenty one years again today we began our Cornish adventure.  
Moving from Worcester and me having never driven on a motorway, (still haven't!) I left the husband packing up the house three days before moving date and made a road trip with my one little girl aged 9  and our baby daughter only 14 months. 

Planned a route which took us down through some favourite stopping off places, through Bath, Weston, then over Exmoor, North Devon and down to the furthest county! Stopping off at country B&Bs on the  way, one a rather creepy old manor in deepest North Cornwall!

Uncannily, eldest daughter above and now 30, has moved to a new house with her own husband and baby today. This makes it a hat trick for her as it will be the third time she has moved house on 27th July! 

Much time has passed since then but the only time I felt regret about the move was the first Winter, when it seemed to rain incessantly! It still rains a lot but when it passes it can be so beautiful here.  The girls have grown up in a wonderful place and feel part of the county and culture-especially the younger one, who has known no other home, really.

One of the huge draws of moving to the county for me at the time, was the prospect of being amongst artists and makers in a county known for its arts and crafts heritage. Although I have made much of creative pursuits over those years, life has a way of choosing pathways which define how much of your time is spent. Children and family demand so much of our time and of course, making a living-having a career in education is a true privilege but I am still constantly wailing, 'I need more time for my crafts!'  'Me-time' can be such a precious commodity, but like most mothers (and now grandmothers!) I would not exchange any of it. 

...and there we have the reason for my lack of reading blogs and posting since last summer. Mostly on account of one truly precious little baby girl who came into my life last September! So when I am not helping out with her,

I am usually making something for her! She has quite a selection of crochet hats, blankets and rabbits! 

How wonderful it is to be Grandma to this beautiful little girl who is the image of my own daughter when she was tiny. Now she will grow up in this stunning county, warmed by the Gulf Stream, where wild flowers abound and cliffs reach down to beaches made for roaming. She will also be initiated into Poldark at the earliest opportunity. How glad I am that we took that leap of faith 21 years ago, and began our Cornish adventure!

With summer holidays here again, I may have time for all those WIPs...
Happy summer days!

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Mermaid summer

Such a long time since I posted-it has been a glorious summer with much fun with holidays and family and friends. 

My lovely great-niece Isla and her little brother Ollie kept me busy when they spent some weeks in Cornwall. We played all sorts of games, did crafts and told stories, particularly about Cornish ghosts, in which Ollie has the typical ghoulish fascination of an 8 year old. His imagination ran riot here at the old farmhouse!  

Isla adores mermaids -she is in and out of the sea like one herself so I set my mind to making her a mermaid princess in crochet. I have only just discovered amirugumi and the first ever attempt was earlier in the summer when in Wales I made a tiny rabbit for my baby grandaughter (now due in 4 weeks time).  

I used this pattern from  Zan Crochet - such cute bunnies! It worked out perfectly for the size I wanted by using Patons 4 ply cotton and a 2.75mm hook. She is just the right size for little hands to hold. 

Feeling empowered by the creation of 'Lexie rabbit' I was determined to make a mermaid doll. I looked at so many different pictures and patterns but somehow could not seem to find anything that fulfilled my vision of 'Isla the mermaid princess'. In the end I decided to make the head as the rabbit head, and just see where it went from there!! 

After much trial and error...Isla the mermaid princess took shape!

I wanted her to have more of a top than the usual shells so just crocheted it in pale lilac and added a neckline using a vintage edging pattern. The tiara was from a vintage edging design as well then edged with Anchor metallic thread. 
The hair had to be very long like the little girl herself and I did watch a couple of tutorials on the 'wig' method for amirugumi dolls for that. It must have taken longer to make than the whole doll itself but was worth it! I finished off the hair with a few threads of silver metallic chains. 
The little girl in question adored her own little replica Isla! 

The yarn used-Baby Rooster- was left over from a blanket project for the coming baby:

Oh my goodness-discovered Rooster baby Rooster when I found this delicious pattern in Nicki Trench's Cute and easy crochet. Just couldn't resist the delicious colours, and the feel of the yarn is just pure pleasure to work with. 

Having a little of the yarn left and purple being Isla's favourite colour, it was just crying put to be used for the mermaid. The shade Cornish seemed the perfect milky shade for her skin - must have been named especially for her! The shade is just like the delicious clotted cream ice cream the county is famous for-

 Well summer's almost over-hope you have enjoyed some lovely sunny days, warmth and fun. Will be catching up on those lovely blogs very soon!

Best wishes

Alison xx 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

One lovely Spring time

It's been a wonderful Spring time for me-such  a busy few weeks though with family events and much to do. Just to take time to write here is truly a pleasure! 

A few weeks ago my lovely friend Christine of was kind enough to nominate me for the 'Lovely blog' award. Thanks so much Christine, I feel very honoured!

It is always uplifting to see Christine's cheerful posts and beautiful needlework. Christine and I have so many things in common, similar little dogs and speaking French to name but two!

To fulfil the award, bloggers nominate others that they think 'lovely'. You need to link back to the person who nominated you in your post, share 7 facts about yourself, then nominate 10 other bloggers for the award. I do find the last bit quite hard because there really are so many truly 'lovely' blogs out there!

So here are my 7 facts:

  1. May is my favourite month. It has my birthday in it and is all about the celebration of Spring and new life. 
  2. My father was a Scot and my mum an 'English rose'.   Just found these pics taken  just after they met in 1941. I love the way he's smiling in the second one -his true character. After Burma, he looked very different.
  3. I adore the 1930s and 40s especially Fred and Ginger! Here's a new pic to frame for my little wall collection.

  4. I've had a teaching career and now am a part-time lecturer in education to new secondary teachers - I hope I inspire them!

    Well said, Oscar Wilde!

  5. I have a little French dog, Oscar. He is a bichon frise but he gets called anything from a 'Little lamb' to a 'Teddy bear in woolly pyjamas' ! 
6. I adore period dramas and a handsome, proper English gentleman with a cut glass accent -   Dan Stevens (Downton)  will do very nicely, thank you!

7.  I'm going to be a Grandma! My lovely daughter who got married last year is having a baby girl in October -I am over the moon with excitement!! All that lovely crochet and sewing! Have already been practising for two gorgeous baby girls of friends and family born recently-all that lovely pink...

Shells blanket

Candy pink floral edge cardigan

Finished with a cute vintage button

I agree totally, Pooh!

There are so many 'lovely blogs' that it is really difficult to pass on these awards...any of the ones on my sidebar are great and many, many others! I'll just suggest the following ones more recently discovered, if you have a moment do pop over and take a look-

Vicky at
 Chel at
Anne at
Linda at
Monica at
Sayjai at
Inspiration at
Inspiration at

Crafting, gardening, and beach visits for me in June I hope- what are you doing in June's beautiful weather?

Best wishes

Alison xx