Weekend nail art - blue

I’ve had a fairly productive weekend and in between shopping in Brighton, lots of crafting and a long walk with the boyfriend I had an hour to myself for some nail art. I’m so excited about spring and the return of pastel colours, but for now I thought I’d go with a bright blue (seeing as my hands have been almost blue with cold the last few days!) and to jazz it up a bit I included a few baby blue and white dots using my trusty dotting tool, also known as the end of a hair slide. I thought about putting dots on every nail but this way it’s understated enough to be work appropriate on Monday. Just.

Collection 2000 - French White / Barry M - Turquoise / No 7 - Poolside Blue
Hope you all had a great weekend.


For the love of books - memories and DIYs

In the last two years I’ve really been making an effort to read more, I used to be such a bookworm but at some point and for some reason I stopped. My favourite Friday evening activity was once (and I’m talking school years here) to get home and read my book with a supply of sweets, fruit pastels were usually my favourite choice, and that is exactly the memory which came back to me when cleaning out the attic last weekend and coming across these! You can certainly tell I had a thing for animals as a child and I’m happy these will now be going to the charity shop for others to enjoy.

Nowadays my reading material is slightly less animal focused although ironically I’ve just finished reading Wolves in Winter by Lisa Hilton, which I promise hasn’t really got much to do with wolves. I’d certainly recommend it, although for what looks like a historical novel it has a touch of the supernatural about it. Set in Renaissance Italy the book follows the life of Mura, a slave girl sold to the Countess Sforza and educated in potions and poisons. It has a few odd moments, mainly when the supernatural stuff starts, but that did keep things interesting.

Despite giving all those books to the charity shop I’ve also got a few book related DIY’s currently stored in my favourites folder. This book clutch from Erica at Caught On a Whim is genius and amazing all at the same time. Must find the perfect size hardback book.

With spring just around the corner I’m also keen to make a few book page flowers as seen on a daily something, you can never have too many flowers in the house!


Knitting in the round – a how to

Just when you think you’ve got the hang of something, the universe transpires to prove you wrong. I certainly found this to be true last week. After finishing my knitted cardigan (will post pictures when I get chance to take some in the sunshine) I’d planned to knit some nice and easy fingerless gloves from a gorgeous pattern I’d found on ravelry. I sat down on Thursday evening ready to start, opened up the pattern and saw the words ‘knit in the round’... umm... what?

It turns out knitting in the round involves either four needles or a long circular needle and is, as it says on the tin, knitting a round cylinder shape. I went for the circular needle and magic loop method, which looks a bit like an instrument of tourture but sounded less scary than four needles! So instead of a nice, easy pattern this one has been harder than the cardigan and I’m only eight rows in. However for now at least, I think I‘ve just about got the hang of it and knitting in the round and it's actually quite fun (although I may retract that statement when I get to the point of having to negotiate a thumb hole).

If you’re thinking of learning I’d highly recommend these two youtube videos - here and here, especially to get you started with separating the stitches in half on the circular needle as admittedly I was far too busy concentrating to take any pictures! After that you need to hold your needles in the position below – points facing to the right, with your ball of wool attached to the back needle. I had mine back to front to start with and I don’t think it did any damage, but it’s much easier to keep track this way.

Mark your first stitch by attaching coloured wool (tie it into the stitch, I just looped it over to start with and it kept falling out, so it’s pure fluke that the first few rounds worked out ok). From here on always remove the back needle, by pulling to the right, and use that to knit the front needle.

Once you've knitted the first row push the back stitches onto the back needle again and return to the position in the first image. Then pull the back needle out to the right as before and knit onto the first needle. When your coloured wool is at the front again you have completed one round. I know it may look and sound complicated, but once you've done a few rounds it does, amazingly, all become clear!


Animal print, but not animal print

This morning, when putting on my new favourite deer print socks I realised I own quite a few clothes with some form of animal printed on them, nearly enough to start my own little series of animals of farthing wood it would seem! So here’s a few of my favourites which include deer, squirrels, rabbits, owls, more squirrels, horses and dragon flies...


Cross-stitch and cranberry flapjacks aka Sunday afternoon

I’ve probably mentioned this before but I love Sunday afternoons. By this time in the weekend I’ve usually finished everything I needed to do and as it’s not a time I ever really make plans for, I get to do anything I fancy. This weekend it was cross stitch and baking. Cross-stitch has been on my craft list for ages and I started with a simple heart in preparation for the boyfriend’s Valentine’s Day card. I made the stitches up myself for this one (even I can just about manage a heart) but I’m desperate to try a more exciting design. All the patterns I’ve seen so far look quite dated – can anyone recommend a good book / magazine / website / blog with some modern designs?

I also found the time to make some cranberry flapjacks, definitely a favourite of mine. I can share the recipe if anyone is interested but basically just add dried cranberries to the mixture before baking. They always go down well in our house –I may have had three on Sunday alone. However, seeing as dried cranberries are supposed to be very good for you I'm hoping cranberry flapjacks can’t be that bad!


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