Friday, 28 October 2011

Finished Object Friday: Don't Slouch Stripey Hat

Nearly a year ago, I posted a WIP Wednesday about a stripey pink & purple hat I was knitting. If you'd like you can check out that post here.

And nearly a year on, here I am sharing the finished object with you! Now thankfully it didn't take me nearly a year to knit this hat, if my Ravelry project page is to be believed it actually took me about a week to finish it. But, as I promised I'm attempting to catch you up with my finished objects that I haven't shared yet.

This is a cute hat, and it definitely kept me warm when we visited the Alps last winter. We were in the ski resort of Avoriaz when we took these pictures, it's quite a bit higher than the resort we normally visit and the view was spectacular!

I used Fyberspates Scrumptious in Chunky and if I remember rightly the yarn was a little splitty to work with, but the finished hat is deliciously warm and oh so soft. I love the colour of this hat, pink and purple has got to be a winning combination in my book! If you'd like more details, take a look at my Ravelry Project Page for this hat.

Hopefully, we'll be visiting the Alps again this Winter (in which case I'm sure this hat will see some more use!) ,but we aren't booking anything just yet. It was such a poor season last year in terms of snowfall we're going to see how things pan out before we make any firm plans.

I'll be keeping an eye on Finished Object Friday posts today to see what everyone has been making, but I'd love you to leave a comment and say hello and let me know what you've been making. I'd love to have a look at your finished projects!

See you soon,

Emma X

PS - For those of you asking on my WIP Wednesday post this week what breed of cat Reuben is, he's a Siamese. I have 2 Siamese cats, Reuben who's a Chocolate Point Siamese and I also have Spencer who's a Lilac Point Siamese. Reuben is definitely the lazy one of the pair, and loves nothing more than chilling out on the bed!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

WIP Wednesday: Ripple Along - An Update

I can hardly believe that just 2 weeks ago I couldn't crochet! Well, maybe a tiny little bit to help me with my knitting but you couldn't really call it crochet if all I did was the occasional provisional cast on!

Anyway, inspired by Heather and Lucy's wonderful posts about a Ripple Along I decided it was time to take the plunge and give it a go. I've been admiring crochet blankets for some time now, particularly the lovely Ripple Pattern from Lucy.

You can read about me learning to crochet and my little baby ripple sample I made here, but now would you believe my blanket (well actually it's a Ripple Runner, but anyway...) is that big now! I can scarcely believe it myself, crochet is so quick.

The colours I'm using are some balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino I already had in my stash, but by chance they perfectly match the colours in my bedroom, particularly our bedding! That was great as it meant I didn't need to buy any yarn to get started on the project, so if I really didn't like it then there'd be nothing lost!

Oh and one of my cats Reuben was flat out on the bed while I was taking these photos, I couldn't resist snapping a few of him. Cute isn't he?

Anyway, as it turns out I really do like it and I can't believe how much I've done just by doing the odd few rows here and there as I watch TV in the evenings after work. I'm also really looking forward to working on this on Saturday when I'm going to Jenny's house for a lovely get together with some fellow knitters / crafters - Rachel, Heather and Clare.

Well that's it for tonight, I'm off to spend the evening watching some TV and a bit of crochet on my ripple! But first I'm off to check out what everyone's been working on! If you're here from WIP Wednesday or the Yarn Along please do comment and say hello. I'd love to see what you're working on at the moment!

See you soon,


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The One About: A Handmade Wedding

From the start, my wedding was always going to be a handmade affair. I love to make things, and so does my Mum and my bridesmaid Jenny. I think half of the fun was probably spending a lot of time on Pinterest and browsing the internet looking for pretty Wedding inspiration. If I'd had longer than 3 months, I would probably have made more but given that I only had 3 months from when we decided to get married this year to the big day I don't think I did badly considering!

The Centrepieces
One of the main things I found and fell in love on Pinterest where Manzanita branches as centrepieces. Which in hind sight was a bit silly really, considering it's a tree that grows in America and it isn't available to buy outside of the US! But, I decided I really wanted them and as we were having a small wedding I decided it wasn't outside of our budget to have them shipped over.

I also managed to find an eBay seller who was doing packs of vintage chandelier droplets in a variety of different shapes and styles that where perfect to hang from the branches. A lot of images online have tealights hanging from the branches as well, but as my budget didn't stretch to the hanging votive holders (seriously, £5 for one holder??? no thanks!) I decided to put tealights around the centrepiece on the table and it worked really well. In the evening the light from the tealights really caught the chandelier droplets and it looked so pretty! 

The branches I went for weren't huge, but I think they worked well with the size of our tables without being over the top. Each vase contains 2 individual branches, and I had them on both round tables (yes we really did only have 2 round tables plus the top table - see I told you it was a tiny wedding!).

By the way, I'm considering selling these as I really don't have anywhere to put them in my house at the moment until we've done the loft conversion. I'd be selling everything to recreate these 2 centrepieces (the branches, the chandelier droplets and the vases) so if anyone is interested get it touch!

The Place Cards
Of course I also made most of the paper related things for the wedding! I did my own invites and RSVP's, table plan, table numbers etc, but I think my favourite thing was definitely the place cards!

I designed the main part of the place card in Photoshop myself and printed them onto matt photo paper before mounting them onto purple card stock and adding the lace and beading at the bottom. I think my favourite part of them though is that each one sat on it's own mini wooden easel, seriously I love these so much!

The Favours

I also loved our favours - tiny mini succulent plants! Originally, I was thinking that I would give seed sticks as favours, but not everyone enjoys gardening so I thought about what else I could give that was a little different but the same sort of thing. Mini cactuses were suggested by Mark, but I didn't like the idea of giving people a spiky favour so a succulent plant was the ideal alternative. Easy to look after even for the least green fingered of our guests, and hopefully a lasting memento of our big day!

The Top Table Decorations & Table Swags

I also put together the top table decorations, vases of beautiful white and purple wooden roses and candle trays. I'd have liked to have the same centrepieces as on the round tables, but I didn't think branches were ideal for a top table as they'd obscure the view of the wedding party for the other guests!

We also did our own top table and cake table swags, they are so easy to do with a little patience and some safety pins! I'd suggest getting the wider width for the swag to ensure it's deep enough and the narrower width for the bow and it really is so easy to do!

The Guest Book
You can also see our guest book on this photo, it's the photo of me & Mark with the large mount and we got everyone to sign the mount. I got the idea from Jenny's wedding and I love the end result, now we just need to finish the entrance hall so I've got somewhere to hang it! It was really easy to do, I bought one of the large prints with a wide mount from Ikea (a print with a mount is here, or alternatively you can buy the same size mount with a frame here) and simply adding in our own photo! Easy and cheap too!

The Wedding Cake & Cupcakes
My mum made all the cakes, both the wedding cake and all the cup cakes although I did help! The Tuesday before the wedding I spent all day at her house helping to decorate the cupcakes, which to be honest was the best thing for me as it stopped me panicking about other things!

She also made super cute covers for the cupcake stands to make sure no flies could get at the cupcakes once they'd been set out. It wasn't intentional, but I love the way they look like mini veils!

The cake she made was stunning, a two tier fruit cake and handmade sugarpaste roses. She was so fab, it really was a case of me looking through cake books and pointing at one I liked and saying "make me one like this please", although I should tell you at this point when I was little she did have a business making wedding cakes and for as long as I can remember she's always promised to make my wedding cake!

I adore the sugarpaste roses, and best of all because they are sugarpaste I can keep them! They are currently in a little cardboard box, which I need to decorate a little so I can store it away with the rest of my wedding keepsakes.

The cupcakes were a big hit too. After much taste testing we finally picked 3 flavours (it was actually meant to be only 2 but we couldn't decide!); Lemon, Fudge Surprise and Chocolate.

Oh and we're also selling 4 of these cupcake stands (sorry to turn this into a selling post, but I thought I might as well say on here before I put them on eBay!). They are beautiful 3 tier ceramic cake stands in Ivory with a delicate lace design around the edge of each tier. If you'd like to see better photos of the stand itself, just let me know! Unfortunately the matching stand the wedding cake sits on is not for sale.

 I love this photo - hair and make up done, tiara on and putting out cupcakes. Fabulous!

The Card Box

 My mum also made me a beautiful card box, it started off life as a plain box and she decorated it to match everything else I'd made. It was perfect to keep all the cards people gave us on the day together. This was one of those last minute makes where my Mum asked me if I had thought of making a card box and I said no, and there was no way I'd have enough time to make one myself so bless her she made it for me and just showed it me when it was finished. It was gorgeous and matched my other wedding decorations perfectly. Hurrah for Mums!

The Jewellery and the Veil

All of mine & Jenny's jewellery (including my Tiara and our hair clips) was handmade by a Folksy seller with real pearls. I wanted pretty jewellery without it being too blingy, and pearls fit the bill perfectly! I fell in love with the hair clip and she then made all the other jewellery to match to my specfications. She even made my Tiara based on a photograph I'd found online! I had a really hard time finding a Tiara as they all seemed over the top when I tried them on, but I was really happy with this one - a double wishbone with alterating freshwater pearls and swarovski crystals.

My Mum made my veil for me and attached it to the comb. I love the fact she made my veil, it really added to the sentimental value!

Jenny also wore the same hair clip as me, just in a slightly smaller size. Her jewellery, was one of my gifts to her to say thank you for being my bridesmaid!

The Flowers
One of the big time investments in the run up to the wedding was making my own flowers, as I made all the buttonholes and corsages as well as the bouquets, but as I decided to use silk flowers it meant I could make them ahead of time. The cost of wedding flowers is ridiculous, and because we were travelling up the day before making them myself using fresh flowers wasn't really an option so I started to investigate silk flowers and if you shop around you can get really high quality ones that look fantastic.

The bouquets are just simple ivory roses, but they have a silk chiffon wrap that drapes down (another Pinterest find that I decided I had to have as it matched the silk chiffon panels on my dress perfectly!) and the stems are wrapped in lace with pearl pins studded all the way up. Oh and of course diamant√© pins in each of the roses for that added bling!

I don't seem to have any photos of the corsages, but they were all variants on the same theme. Compared to the bouquets these were made so quickly, a simple silk rose bud and an open purple rose (two for the groom, one for the other members of the wedding party) made sure they tied in the wedding colour - purple! The corsages were similar to the buttonholes, just a little bit more elaborate with some extra bling and lace added in for good measure!

The Bridesmaid Dress & Shawl

I've mentioned it before, but Jenny made her own bridesmaid dress - how talented is she? If you want to check out more details on it she's blogged all about it here.

She also knitted a beautiful shawl to coordinate - she didn't need it during the day (thankfully as we got lucky with the weather) and only used it during the evening so sadly there's no photos of it on the day, which is a shame because it's so pretty! She even used beautiful pearl beads to co-ordiante with the wedding theme. If you want to see more details she's also blogged the shawl here.

Seriously, how lucky was I to have such a talented bridesmaid?

Wow, I can't believe how long this blog post was! For those of you that are still with me after this mammoth post thank you! I hope I've not bored you all too much and you've enjoyed a little glimpse into the wedding. I've still got one more wedding related post planned, but I'll save that for another day.

I'll be back tomorrow for WIP Wednesday with an update on my ripple blanket... it's grown a lot since you last saw it!

See you soon,

Emma X

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

WIP Wednesday: Ripple Along

So it's yet another miserable rainy lunchtime at work, and rather than browsing Pinterest for pretty things this lunch time I thought I'd share with you a new project I'm really quite excited about.

I'm joining in a Ripple Along that is being organised by the fabulous Heather & Lucy. I was so inspired by their beautiful photos of their colourful selections of yarn.

Photo from Heather's Blog Post - Lucy's Yarn Selection

Photo from Heather's Blog Post - Heather's Yarn Selection

And how pretty are the ripples? I've got a bit of a thing about bright rainbow colours at the moment, particularly in stripes so I'm loving these ripples. Gorgeous!

Photo from Heather's Blog Post - Heather & Lucy's Ripples so far

Photo from Heather's Blog Post - Heather's Ripple: The First 3 Colours

I love the colour selection in that last photo of Heather's Ripple, it's truely gorgeous!

Now at this point, I should really tell you that I can't crochet. Well actually I can, a little bit. And I really do mean a little bit - as in I can crochet a foundation chain for the purpose of doing a provisional cast on for my knitting! However I've been wanting to learn to crochet for some time now, and the announcement of this Ripple Along was the kick start I needed to give it a go. So on Monday evening I raided my stash and found these balls of Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino in the perfect colours to make a ripple to go in my bedroom. Now I'm no fool, as I really can't crochet I wasn't about to try and do a HUGE King Sized Bed ripple as my first project, but I thought a small runner to go across the bottom of the bed was achievable. And best of all, I wouldn't need to buy any wool initially as I could make a start with these to see how I got on and whether I actually liked it.

Now I'm no fool, as I really can't crochet I wasn't about to try and do a HUGE King Size bed sized ripple as my first project but I thought a small runner to go across the bottom of the bed was achievable. And best of all, I wouldn't need to buy any wool initially as I could make a start with these to see how I got on and whether I actually like it.

So after consulting with the lovely Heather who told me a 3.5 hook would be best for this yarn, yesterday lunchtime I popped out to the local craft shop and bought these! A 3.5 for the Baby Cashmerino and a 4.5 for if I have a go with a heavier weight DK wool.

So last night, I settled down with my laptop and watched some YouTube videos and learnt first how to do a double crochet stitch and a triple crochet stitch. I'm not going to lie to you, there was much ripping out and starting again but eventually I got the hang of it. Or at least enough that I felt I was able to give the ripple pattern a go.

I'd like to point out that Lucy's instructions for her Ripple are amazing. The photos and the written instructions are really good and it's down to them I managed to produce this last night... A baby ripple! By the way please excuse the terrible photo - all these are Instagram photos from my iPhone in poor light (especially the last one) but you get the point!

Yeah OK so this was a particularly sickly shade of baby pink, but it was great to practise on and was a spare ball I'd somehow amassed in my stash. This was done as per the instructions on Lucy's blog (which you can find here) to do a sample before you start properly with a foundation chain of 31 (14x2) +3 for turning.

It really wasn't that hard when I followed the instructions step by step, and got over what I felt was the biggest hurdle - getting used to holding the yarn in my left hand.

By the way, you can just see my knitted chunky cabled blanket in this photo on my knee which is my other current WIP. It's over half way and I love it so much - but more on that one next week.

After this, I also did my foundation chain and first row (is it called that in crochet?!) for my actually ripple. After looking at the size of my sample, I decided to cast on 84 (+3) to make a nice size runner for the bed as I want it so the stripes go vertically along the bed not horizontally. No photos of that, as it was far too late by the time I'd finished it but I'm really chuffed I did it. I think the first row is the hardest, hopefully the next will be a lot easier!

So if you're feeling inspired, why not head other to Heather & Lucy's blogs and check out there posts on the Ripple Along. Heather's post is here and Lucy's post is here.

If you've made you're way over here from Tami's WIP Wednesday or the Yarn Along, hello! I'd love to see what you're making so please leave a comment so I can check out your current work in progress too! Also, if you're joining in the Ripple Along (or have felt inspired to start!) then please let me know as I'd love to see what you're making and follow your progress.

See you soon!

Emma X

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Scrapbooking Sunday - Honeymoon Layouts

Hi Everyone!

Hope you're all enjoying your Sunday. It's a pretty miserable day here, and apart from a quick dash into town earlier to buy a couple of things I've been spending the day watching films and working on a Blurb Book for our Wedding Album! It's very exciting to look through all our wedding photos, I love them all so much. Not only the professional pictures (although these are amazing), but I'm loving all the guest photos too. 

However, I thought I'd take a bit of time out of album designing to share some scrapbooking layouts!

It had been such a long time since I scrapped, I think I very much fell out of love with it for a variety of reasons, but the wedding was the much needed incentive to get back into one of my favourite hobbies. 

We honeymooned in a beautiful hotel in Crete. We'd never been to Crete before, but we'd been to several other Greek Islands and loved them so we thought it would be the ideal place. We didn't fancy the idea of long haul (as the Maldives had been our original choice, but we decided against them at the last minute) and so we booked a luxury spa hotel instead. It was an amazing hotel, so far away from the usual standard of hotel we stay in on holiday - it was seriously unbelievable.

This layout was based on one of Shimelle's starting points and allowed me to use a huge amount of journalling to talk about the hotel and how much we loved it. I think one of the most important things I've found when getting back into scrapbooking has been to not be afraid of journalling, after all I scrapbook to tell a story!

The hotel room we stayed in had a private pool, yes really! It was amazing, and to top it off the hotel upgraded us to a sea view room as well because it was our honeymoon (along with a complementary botel of champagne and red wine, score!).

I used an 8x12 enlargement on this page, something I'll definitely be doing again. It's such an easy way to make an impact with a favourite photo.

Another of Shimelle's sketches, she really has helped me find my mojo again! This page is a real mix of old and new stash. While I've bought a couple of bits from my local scrapbooking shop, I've been making a real effort to use up old stash on my layouts.

The hotel looked amazing at night, there was light everywhere and one night we went for a wander around after our evening meal with the camera (and tripod!) to try and get some cool photos. None of the photos on this page are really worth a layout on their own, but I wanted to tell the story of what we did on this night of the holiday and I think all 4 together make a good page.

I'm still not sure about this one. I love the photo of Mark (and so I'm sure it'll get scrapped again) and despite everyone else liking it I just don't know. It all started off with me trying to use up stash, and part of me really loves it and part of me feels there's something missing. Either way, it's going in the album and as a plus point Mark really likes it.

And finally a page documenting my fear of getting my head wet. I had a bit of traumatic accident in one of those wave pools when I was younger, and although I can swim I'm not really a big fan of getting my head wet. As a result I normally just sit in the shallow end or dangle my legs in the pool when I want to cool off when we're sunbathing - unlike Mark who dives in at the first given opportunity!

So you can all pick yourselves back up off the floor now, yes I really have been scrapbooking! I'm loving it at the moment, and I think it's because I have some big events I want to document and create full albums for. I've even separate out all my photos for the honeymoon album and written a list of the different layouts I want to make!

So if you've been scrapbooking, recently I'd love to see what you've been up to - leave me a comment as I've love to have a look at your layouts too. Oh and thank you for all the lovely comments on my snowboarder hat, it's my favourite hat and hopefully I'll be wearing it again next year when we go to the Alps again if all goes to plan!

See you soon! X

PS - Did you notice the AMAZING tealight holders in all the photos. They were a wedding gift from Jenny, I love them!

Friday, 7 October 2011

Finished Object Friday: Of The Snowboarder Variety

Today, I'm sharing a project I finished a long time ago but my extended blogging absence has meant that I have lots of things to show you. check out my post from yesterday to find out why I've been absent, I do have a good reason I promise.

This is my Twisted Limone Head snowboarding hat. I love this so much, it's the perfect slouchy hat for me! The actual pattern is a modified version of the Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure. I altered the brim and made the actual hat itself long - if you'd like to check out the actual modifications I made you can see them on my Ravelry project page.

I knit my version with self striping sock yarn - this project is a great alternative to knit with a pretty skein of sock yarn, other than socks! Mine is made with Twisted Limone in a custom dyed colourway by the fabulous Karen. You can find her shop on Etsy here, although it sells out very quickly. Updates are on a Saturday, normally at 6pm although due to personal commitments this week it will take place at 1pm. Don't forget to check out the Twisted Limone Ravelry Group for sneak previews of what colourways will be included in each weeks update!

Ok well that's it from me today, just a quick post at lunch time. As much as I love working in an office that's located in the middle of a Nature Reserve, when the weather is bad (like it is in the UK at the moment) there is nothing to do on your break! So, I'm off to check out some of your finished objects before it's time for me to go back to work. If you're stopping by via Tami Ami's blog and her Finished Object Friday post, please say hi and let me know what finished object you're sharing today. I'd love to take a look!

See you soon, Emma. X

PS - Thank you for all the lovely comments on yesterday's post - I promise I'll be sharing more details on the big day soon!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

So here's to you...

...Mrs Robinson!

Yes it really did happen. In just 6 months, I went from saying "I will" to saying "I do". As you can imagine, it's been a rather crazy time - particularly as so much of the wedding was handmade, but more on that another time.

I guess the other thing to point out about the big day, was that we ran away to Gretna Green. Yes really we did! Although we did take our families, and close friends with us to celebrate our big day, but compared to most it was a tiny wedding.

Gretna Green wasn't the most popular choice with everyone, but it was what we wanted and looking back now we have absolutely no regrets. It was a fantastic day, and everyone who came said they really enjoyed it! I also can't fault the staff up at Gretna Green, both at the Blacksmiths and the hotel where we stayed and held the reception. They really have got weddings off to a fine art and helped make our day really special!

If anyone is thinking about getting married up there, all I'll say is do it! You won't regret it, we certainly didn't!

However, one thing I wasn't prepared to compromise on was the photography. I nearly changed my mind on our venue when I started hunting for a photographer in Gretna Green as they didn't exactly live up to my high standards! However, after looking further afield we did manage to find a superb photographer who travelled up to Gretna Green to photograph our wedding.

But more on the photography in another post... this just a small selection of the professional photographs he took for us, I'll be dedicating a whole post to his wonderful pictures!

And now, I can't believe we've been married over a month. Does it feel any different? Well no, not really but then again we've been together such a long time (and lived together for years!) that in that sense there's been no real change. On the other hand, having a new name does take a bit of getting used to!

However, it is lovely to be husband and wife and that was the whole point wasn't it? To get married.

So, I've finally broken my blogging absence! I've got lots of posts lined up for you, both about the wedding (of course) and about the crafting I've been doing. You'll never believe it, but I've actually been scrapbooking!

Thank you, and see you soon! X