Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year

Celebrating the New Year with a little bit of crochet! Hope you all have a wonderful time bringing in the new year. We have already opened some bubbly and are relaxing at home this evening. The last few weeks of 2012 have not been good to us in the PB household so we are all hoping that 2013 will bring a happier, stress free time. Wishing you all a fantastic, happy and healthy new year. xxx

PS. Just been looking through some recent photos and I am wayyyy behind on my blogging. Must catch up - now there's a new year's resolution for me to try to keep!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Charity shops rule!

More charity shop finds. I bought this lovely little Kokeshi doll from the local charity shop a couple of months ago. She is very heavy and was only £1.50. I love her because the paint colours are so delicate - I don't know whether she was supposed to look so faded or whether that's just what has happened over time. E thinks she is freaky and keeps trying to hide her (!) but not long after I got her, I decided she needed a little mat to sit on.

So I crocheted this little doily. It's a made up pattern which I was going to do a tutorial for, but who am I trying to kid?! In the run up to Christmas I have far too much else to keep me far too busy. There are a gazillion other free crochet coaster patterns out there for you all to choose from anyway. :)

This is how she looks. So cute.

I got this stainless steel necklace a couple of months ago too and have been wearing it most days ever since. It was a pound. I seem to remember my Mum had a necklace similar to this back in the 70s.

We hung the 1960s painting a couple of weeks ago. I love it, it just fits in nicely on this wall. Such a good find.

Here is a dreadful photo of the Franco Albini table I got for £7 in the summer. Unfortunately it is being moved into the garage over the festive season.

F loves all things dragon and dinosaur related. I spotted this teak dinosaur whilst looking for 1950s teak animals on ebay. He was a bargain and F was delighted when he turned up in the post - I hadn't told her that I'd won him, in fact I hadn't even told her I had bid for him. Here he is sat on her new Ikea picture ledge in her bedroom with a lovely dragon print that I bought from etsy.

Recent charity shop trips have been dedicated to buying vintage Christmas decorations. I have managed to buy quite a few this year so my dream of having a 100% vintage Christmas tree are becoming more of a reality. I think by next year I will hopefully have achieved it. Will post some photos once the tree is up and decorated. x

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Absent again

No excuses, just been too lazy to blog! Hope you are all well and enjoying the wonderfully cold, crisp and sunny weather we are having - or maybe you are in the Southern Hemisphere and experiencing a different kind of weather altogether. The only downside of the sunshine is that it shows how dirty the windows are - must get cleaning tomorrow!

I had a few scraps Stylecraft which I thought would come into use for another diagonal crochet project - just a mini project mind you.

I made this a few weekends ago, sat with a cup of tea, the tv probably on whilst the kids were playing and doing their own thing. It was a lovely relaxing project, very satisfying making something from beginning to end in one sitting. Now that doesn't often happen, especially when I mainly make blankets.

Anyway, here is the end result - a little crochet mat for the kitchen windowsill, for Gerard to sit on obviously.

He loves his little mat and the colours tie in nicely with the colours currently in the kitchen. I hope you have noticed that there are nice bright white new tiles on our kitchen windowsill. Yes, we finally got round to getting the tiles done. The kitchen renovations have been going on for an eternity. It's been at least 18 months since I started painting the cabinets. M has a week booked off soon so we can crack on and prep surfaces, paint the walls and ceiling, re-wax the cabinets and lay new flooring.

Here's a sneak peek at the tiling just after it was done. The kitchen is so much brighter with all white tiles. We have also moved the dresser out of the kitchen so we now have space for a tiny table and chairs. So nice being able to sit in the sunshine with some breakfast and a cup of tea. When I say table and chairs I mean our camping table and some cheap folding chairs from the garage. Still searching for the perfect mini table on ebay - could take some time.

I've got loads of photos of recent charity shop finds. Can't wait to show you. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. x

Monday, 15 October 2012

Day trip out

We (my friend Alison and I) had the most amazing trip to the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace last week. This was our third year of visiting and as the stalls are all in roughly the same place every year, it makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for. This meant we could make a bee line for all the things we wanted to look at/needed to buy. And boy, did we have fun shopping.

The beginning of our journey there was a bit of a palaver as our train was cancelled after sitting still and going nowhere for 20 minutes at the station. Alison very kindly (and bravely) offered to drive us there and I quickly rang M to get directions - he told me about a very clever little sat nav app on my new (his old) iphone which took a bit of setting up but it directed us to a little leafy road next door to the Ally Pally which had free parking and was a short hop and skip away from the entrance. We even arrived at about the same time we usually would have. We would normally have driven to the station, got a train, the underground and then the laid on coach to the venue. Needless to say, we will not be getting the train next year as it was so much easier and quicker to go by car, even with the rush hour traffic in the rain on the way home.

I had a shopping list this year, I have not been so organised in previous years and just bought what I considered to be a bargain and gorgeous. Not this year, I had serious plans, lots of stuff written down, crochet patterns chosen for this year's haul. Unfortunately my top of the list yarn to make a blanket for our bed was not available at the show so I am having to order it online. Never mind, at least I didn't have to carry it around with me all day. I did get some supersoft Sublime baby cashmere merino silk dk in a beautiful indigo colour. And I got some ergonomic crochet hooks (4 for £10 bargain) and some pearl headed pins (2 for £1 - I love a bargain!). But the best buy of the day was this most incredible petrol coloured malabrigo yarn.

Having brought it home and admired it, I seem to remember seeing it at the show last year and wanting to buy it then but declined due to the price. This stuff is expensive but is totally worth it in my opinion. My sister gave me some birthday money and I said I would spend it at the show. And I did...and I treated myself. This yarn is so so gorgeous, I can't stop looking at it. I have wound one skein into a ball but can't bring myself to wind the other skein up just yet.

Anyway - details - it's a Kettle dyed pure superwash merino wool, sock yarn weight, 100g per skein. It was just over £14 per skein but at just over £7 per 50g, I don't think that's the most expensive yarn I've ever seen. I am going to crochet some kind of scarf/shawl with it but have not yet chosen a pattern, this being an impulse buy. I think it's going to take a long time to search out the perfect pattern for the perfect yarn and I think it's going to take a very small crochet hook. The label is mentioning a 2.25mm needle size. Yikes.

I also bought some stuff for my sister. She asked for an ergonomic hook, a clover thread cutter (here) to use on the plane and also some string to make more coasters. Sorry, no photos. I'm wishing I had bought the linen yarn that I saw too as it was kind of like very thin softer hessian string and it would have been perfect for coasters. Maybe next year.

Alison treated herself to some super duper Rooster yarn to make a blanket and she chose some fantastic colours. Can't wait to see what style of blanket she decides to make with it. We saw some people at the show from our local crochet/knitting group and just had a thoroughly great time. So exhausted when I got home though. Must be getting old. :O

Just to catch up on recent charity shop finds, here is one of two identical wooden bins that I bought the other week for £5 each.

They are Swedish and in near perfect condition considering their age. I have had to tell the other members of our household to be careful what they place in these bins to prevent any damage. Yes really. They can't put just any old rubbish in my nice new bins!

I also got this lacquered tray when out with my Mum the other week. It's got a nice Japanese style feel to it and I've just noticed that it goes remarkably well with my new table. I bought this table quite a while ago now. I was wanting a table to go with my wicker garden furniture and kept seeing this on ebay but it was way out of my price range. I got it from my favourite charity shop for £7. I have had a move around of furniture to fit it in as it isn't intended for the house but that's where it will stay for the time being. So pleased I found it and it's in great condition. Will try to remember to get another photo of it in all its glory.

Right, back to the real world and the joys of ironing. Speak soon. x

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


This blanket is growing so so quickly as I am loving making it so much. Mindless crochet, can watch tv whilst making it of an evening, no great stress picking out the next colour to join on. It looks so cute folded into the knitting bag that my sister got me. Which reminds me, I am going to the Knitting and Stitching show on Thursday and I have a list of crochet related things to get for my sister. She has made three crochet coasters so far and will no doubt be making several more on the flight over when she visits the UK yet again (twice in a fortnight, yippee!). Can't wait to see her again. Right, must get back to my shopping list for the show - it is growing longer and longer... x

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Jewel crochet blanket

Yes, you've guessed it, I've started another blanket. My major excuse is that I have run out of the grey wool for the blanket I started making in Wales. I need to ring the shop I bought it from and ask very nicely if they can send me some more. In the meantime I needed a new project to keep me sane so I turned to my "still can't believe I haven't used it all yet" stylecraft stash. I am sure I have a neverending supply of this stuff, the basket I keep it in just never seems to look any emptier. Maybe my husband keeps putting more wool in there every so often in an effort to keep me quiet!

I had always wanted to make one of these classic retro blankets with bright jewel like colours against a black edging. It just reminds me of the 1970s, garish and colourful - none of the colours matching but who would care? In fact, these photos don't do the colours justice as they are really bright. I thought I had taken more photos of this blanket but I couldn't find many and they are all a bit lacklustre compared to the blanket in real life. I have obviously been spending more time crocheting the thing than taking fancy photos of it.

I know a few people have been making these one colour per square blankets around the blogging world, inspired by Cherry Heart and I can completely recommend making them - fewer ends to sew in, quick and easy to make, no fretting over colour combinations. I just wanted something a bit different and when I spied the ball of black against all the brightly coloured balls of yarn in the basket, I just had to make a retro blanket. In fact, this blanket was decided upon within about 10 minutes as I needed a project to take with me to the park at the end of the summer holidays. Nothing like making snap decisions. I started off making the squares and then crocheting them together as I went along (a la Attic 24 - joining as you go method) but I have since crocheted 4 squares of each colour until I have a nice big pile and then joined them in one fell swoop. This is extremely satisfying as the blanket seems to double in size overnight.

I have been keeping all the squares I am yet to join in this cute project bag that my sister bought for me. It is quite squidgy but has a wire inserted into the top of the bag so it keeps its shape and means I can find the right coloured square really easily. Love it.

Talking of my sister, we went away this past weekend with my Dad  as a father's day gift - to research the family tree a bit further and visit the area where we originally came from over 160 year ago (Cork, Ireland). We had a fantastic time and my sister asked me to teach her to crochet. Well, she has well and truly got the crochet bug and was even crocheting on the flight back. After making a length of trebles, she had a go at making a granny square, seen below being used as a coaster by Dad. I told her she would have to make a scarf as a first project, to which I got a very quick no as she now lives in Singapore - round the year 30 degrees heat. Not really scarf weather! She will be making lots of coasters, placemats and throws instead. Hope she finds a good yarn shop out there.

So that's what has been happening around these parts lately. My husband is hosting a film club night this evening so it will be nice to have a glass of wine, chat to some old friends and join a few more squares onto this blanket whilst watching the film. Not sure which film has been chosen yet though, may be something I am really not interested in or a subtitled film - I haven't mastered the art of crocheting whilst reading subtitles yet!

Thursday, 27 September 2012

More charity shop finds

I bought this picture yesterday - it is a copy of a painting called Boats in blues and greens by Rutledge and it was apparently painted in 1966. It was £5 and I was quick to grab it and pay, before wandering around the shops carrying it with my Mum and sister. I was also asked a couple of times to see the painting and there was high praise indeed for it. I love it and am still wondering where abouts it will be hung up. Great colours, I feel another crochet blanket coming on...

These placemats were bought a while ago - 11 for £2. I think they are an old M&S design and my Mum still has the matching chopping board, which she keeps as a board for the kids to lean on when they want to do some drawing.

This fabric was from ebay - it's a vintage Sanderson design and I have about 3 metres of it. May make some cushions for the bedroom from it or maybe some bags.

I saw this Caroline's Home dollshouse at the charity shop at the beginning of the summer holidays. It was £10 including all the original furniture but I didn't buy it as I though my kids wouldn't like it (they don't normally like old stuff). I mentioned it to E and said that it was a 1970s style house and she asked to go round and see it. She absolutely loved it and bought it with her own money. The furniture has been rearranged many times and it is now looking for a permanent home for display in our house. E has suggested behind the sofa so I am now tracking down a long narrow coffee table for it to perch on.

Oh who left the loo lid up?

Dad's got his feet up watching tv again!

And we didn't get him or the water pistol from the charity shop but I had to show you this photo of Gerard fast asleep, obviously dreaming about having a water pistol fight with the neighbouring cats. Gotta love him!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A week in Wales

I thought it was about time I blogged about our week away in Wales. We had so much fun and the weather was fantastic as you can see from these photos of pure blue skies. These two photos are of our day trip to Aberystwyth, a lovely place where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch and a quick trip to the beach and playground.

The views out to sea were stunning and we had plenty of time to appreciate them whilst the kids played in the best playground they had been to in a long time. We couldn't drag them away!

Of course I found a wool shop (bang next door to a charity shop, how convenient!) and nipped in to see what bargain wool they had. I had brought my hexagon blanket on holiday with me but just didn't feel like carrying on with it so I bought two giant balls of aran wool mix yarn and made a start on another diagonal crochet blanket. With fewer ends to sew in, obviously.

We went to New Quay twice as it was so fantastic. The beach was small but clean and sheltered and the sea was so clear. We even saw some dolphins swimming not so far away. The kids made the most of the beach and buried their Dad's feet.

See how clean the sea is? A bit chilly though!

F couldn't understand why the moat wasn't filling up. We aren't really beach holiday people usually. E confirmed that she definitely doesn't like the feel of sand and didn't like being in the sun (we ended up buying a cheap beach tent to provide us with a bit of shade from the scorching sunshine) but I do love the occasional day trip to the seaside in the UK.

Quite a lot of relaxing went on too - the cat was called Lewis and he basically came with the cottage we stayed in, which was on a farm. It was in the middle of nowhere and a very welcome break. Would definitely recommend if you need to get away from it all.

And before we knew it, the week was over and we headed back home to see Gerard, who didn't seem at all bothered about another cat sitting on his crochet blanket!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Recent charity shop finds

Some things I have bought from the charity shop over the past 3 months.

First up, a Krenit bowl bought for £3.50. I saw it, picked it up (not believing that it could possibly be a Krenit) turned it over and saw the Krenit sticker on the bottom and quickly paid for it and rushed out of the shop before anyone realised what it was. Why is it that the shop assistant always says "ooh, this is lovely" and starts looking at it when you know it is the biggest bargain and just want to get out of there and skip down the street?! Love my Krenit bowl.

I bought this planter last week from the local charity shop around the corner. I thought it looked nice but decided I didn't need any more planters. I just had to pick it up and turn it over, only to find that it is an Arabia Finland planter so I thought it was well worth spending £2.50 for it. Love the colour too.

This was my only Welsh charity shop find, another £2.50 bargain, there's about 3 metres of fabric there. Will be making some bags out of this.

These barkcloth fabrics were bought at a charity table top sale in a local church hall for 50p each. Yes, you read that right. Everything on the table was 50p and there were so many fabrics to choose from but I just chose the ones I loved the most. I also got this bird print fabric which I might make some cushions from. It's not my usual style but I love it just the same.

I got the following scarf from the local charity shop for £1. I love the colours, not sure I will ever wear it though.

These were labelled as placemats. Not sure why anyone would want some woolly placemats - maybe to soak up soup dribbles?! I thought they looked very welsh and made up for me not finding a welsh blanket whilst on holiday. These will going into my crafting supplies, might be useful for making purses or small bags.

I'd been looking for a clothes valet for ages and finally found one for less than a fiver at the local charity shop so easy to carry home. My husband is using it and I am looking for another one for me so I can relocate my wicker chair which is a dumping ground for clothes. It will free up some space in the bedroom so that we can admire our still going strong purple shagpile carpet. Bleurghhh!

And last but not least, a Sylvanian Families Department Store, not complete but well worth the £8 I spent on it. This stuff goes for a fortune on ebay and the kids have played with it happily since I got it at the weekend, and will do for a few more months, I'm sure. It's a win-win situation.

What have you found at the charity shop/thrift store recently? Have fun thrifting! xxx