Saturday, 30 January 2010

Pretty, exciting things

It was an exciting start to the day when my son, who is a paper boy, brought home our copy of the Daily Telegraph...my vintage embroidery handbag mirrors that I am selling via http://www.notmassproduced.com/ are featured on page 19 of the Telegraph Magazine! I still cannot quite believe it! The orders have been flooding in! Some of these mirrors have been quietly waiting to be bought for a couple of months or so...the power of the press is amazing!
As I have rushed about in my work area (also my dining room, office and library!) today sorting orders and making more mirrors, I have caught the gorgeous scent of this pretty, creamy white hyacinth as it emerges. It was given to me by W (aged 4, who lives next door) as a birthday present and I love it!
All in all, a pretty, exciting day!
Back soon,
Rebecca
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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

My Lovely Neighbour B

I know I said I would be more organised and that I would blog more regularly, but all those good intentions were swiftly overtaken by last week's events. On Thursday I found my lovely neighbour B collapsed on her kitchen floor.

I have to say that I am not usually very good in a crisis as I tend to panic and cry...I'm not really sure what happened to me that afternoon, but I really surprised myself! Poor B had a nasty cut on her head and the side of her face was all swollen and purple. There was a lot of blood, B was vomiting and choking due to the bad chest that she suffers from and, despite her injuries, she kept trying to get up, while I struggled to keep her on side, hold a cloth over her head wound and follow instructions from the lady on the receiving end of my 999 call.

B is still hospital. Miraculously, she has no broken bones, despite falling onto a stone floor (good going for a lady who's just turned 70), but has a nasty cut above her eye and bruises that are working their way through the colour spectrum! She's undergoing various tests to try and establish what caused her to fall - B doesn't remember anything of what happened, which, in some ways, is a good thing. She is in good spirits, but missing her two pussy cats very much indeed!

I have visited B in hospital each day, taking her the things that she needs from home, offering reassurance about the well-being of these two much-loved moggies...


and, generally, keeping her company during the long days that stretch ahead of anyone in hospital.

I just did what I had to do last Thursday afternoon and I didn't panic and cry. It was only when my husband said "you realise you probably saved B's life" that a tear rolled down my cheek.
Back soon,
Rebecca
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Saturday, 16 January 2010

A Returned Gift

We had sent Auntie Sylvia a neatly potted amaryllis bulb, boxed and well-packaged, on the 18th December. As I saw the postman walking towards the front door, I recognised the parcel in his hands...Auntie Sylvia's Christmas present had been returned!

It was not that Auntie Sylvia had been disappointed with our choice of gift - the parcel never even reached her on the South Coast because it had, somehow, lost its address label! I always tape over self adhesive address labels to avoid this kind of thing, so I cannot understand what happened, but I am so glad that my address, as the sender of the parcel, was still firmly attached, meaning that it found its way back here!

Unfortunately, whatever had happened to the parcel on its travels up and down the country meant that the amaryllis was no longer neatly potted, the soil having found its way out of all the packaging, and the poor, water-deprived bulb had started to grow! Just look at its pale, white shoots!

We are going to choose another gift for Auntie Sylvia - the amaryllis will be convalescing here in Yorkshire, rather than on the South Coast! I am hoping it will make a full recovery!

Back soon,

Rebecca
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Friday, 15 January 2010

Crocheted Hearts Pattern

I used Fine Filz-It yarn and a 4mm crochet hook.

Abbreviations


ch = chain

htr = half treble

crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec. – crochet two half trebles together in a cluster to decrease.

Starting position: yarn in your left hand and hook with one loop on in your right hand.
To decrease: put the yarn over your hook (make sure the yarn comes from behind the hook and over), insert hook into htr, catch the yarn with the hook and draw through. You should now have 3 loops on your hook. Put the yarn over your hook, as before, insert hook into the next htr, catch the yarn with the hook and draw through. You should now have 5 loops on your hook. Put the yarn over your hook (as before) and draw it through all 5 loops on your hook.
You should now have just 1 loop on your hook


To begin:


Ch. 3
Row 1: 2htr in 3rd ch. away from hook (2htrs)
Row 2: Ch.2, 2htr in each htr (4htrs)
Row 3: Ch.2, 2htr in 1st htr, 2htr, 2htr in last htr (6htrs)
Row 4: Ch.2, 2htr in 1st htr, 4htr, 2htr in last htr (8htrs)

Continue, increasing at the beginning and end of each row until you have the size heart you would like (remember, if you are felting your heart, the end result will be smaller).
I crocheted 10 rows (20htrs)

To shape the top of the heart (based on a row of 20htrs):
Row 11: *Ch.2, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec., 6htr, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec., and turn your work
Row 12: Ch.2, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec., 4htr, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec.
Row 13: Ch.2, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec., 2htr, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl. to dec.*

Check your work to see if you are happy with the shape of the top of your heart & fasten off. If you require a more pointed top, complete another decrease row as follows:

Row 14: Ch.2, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl, crochet 2htr tog. in a cl.
Fasten off.

With wrong side facing, rejoin yarn to continue shaping the other side of your heart and repeat from * to *.

Darn in the loose ends, but remember not to trim them if you intend to felt the heart.


Happy Crocheting!

Rebecca
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Knitted Hearts Pattern

Here's my pattern, as promised.

I used chunky Filz-It yarn and 7mm needles and felted the finished hearts in the washing machine before using them for my final project.

Abbreviations


k = knit

inc 1 = increase 1 by knitting into the front and back of the stitch. Knit into the front of the stitch as normal and, before slipping it off the needle, knit into the back of the same stitch, then slip it off (2sts).

k2tog tbl = knit 2 together through back loops (produces a left hand slope)

k2tog = knit 2 together (produces a right hand slope)


To begin:


Cast on 1st.
Row 1: K1
Row 2: Inc 1 as above (2sts)
Row 3: K
Row 4: Inc 1 twice (4sts)
Row 5: K
Row 6: Inc 1, k2, inc 1 (6sts)
Row 7: K
Row 8: Inc 1, k4, inc 1 (8sts)
Row 9: K

Continue to inc 1 at each side of the heart until you have 16sts (or the size you require)

Rows 17-20 inclusive: K

Row 21: K2togtbl, k4, k2tog, k2togtbl, k4, k2tog (12sts)
Row 22 (working on one side of heart shaping): K6
Row 23: *k2togtbl, k2, k2tog (4 sts)
Row 24: K
Row 25: k2togtbl, k2tog (2 sts). Pass one stitch over the other & fasten off.*

With the wrong side facing, rejoin yarn to complete the shaping of the other side of the heart, k6 and repeat from * to *

Darn in loose ends and, if felting your heart, do not trim until after it has been in the washing machine.



Happy Knitting!


Rebecca
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Hearts and Plans

How is it Friday again already? Where has this week of being 'back to normal' disappeared to? It's been a strange kind of week really...one filled with odd jobs and catching up!

I've finished the felted hearts for the wool shop workshop at the end of the month.

I used a yarn called Wash+Filz-it!. It comes in gorgeous colours and it felts beautifully in the washing machine, giving a sumptuously thick end result.

I made two of the knitted red hearts into a little pin cushion and stitched the pretty, multi-coloured crocheted heart onto a small calico bag. I have had quite a few enquiries about the patterns so I am going to post them here and here for you. Both patterns are my own, so I hope you will be able to make sense of them - please do let me know if you cannot understand what on earth I'm talking about and I'll try to help! Of course, you could always book a place on the workshop at Knit & Stitch in Maltby (Tel: 01709 817944) on Saturday 30th January (1.30-3.30pm)! It would be lovely to meet you there!

This week I've thinking a lot about my little business, rebeccamaryjane's, and where it will be heading in 2010. I've started work on my own website, and there are couple of exciting things in the pipeline that could turn out to be very exciting! I've been thinking about new colours and designs...I've been thinking about organising some more workshops...oh, the possibilities...I have so much spinning around in my head! So, just sometimes, it is nice (and necessary) to take a break and sit down with a cuppa and a good book...

My selection from the library this week...'good books' don't have to be fiction do they? I quite fancy squeezing in knitting or crocheting myself a hat...I will find the time somewhere!

Back soon,

Rebecca
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Monday, 11 January 2010

Warming up

The temperature has risen slightly here overnight, leading to a slow thaw of the thick blanket of snow that has had us all snuggled indoors for the last few days. I much prefer the snow to this cold and slushy Monday morning! However, looking on the bright side, it has meant that everyone has been able to carry on as normal this morning - hubby has gone to work and both children are at school, which has meant that I have had the house to myself for the first time since before the Christmas holidays.

I've made up patterns for these crocheted and knitted hearts, which are felting in the washing machine as I type. These will be part of a heart themed workshop at the end of this month.

It's been very quiet this morning and I've missed having everyone here! But, there's only a little of yesterday's homemade roasted carrot soup leftover...just enough for lunch for one with some of the bread that's just come out of the oven! Yummy!

Time to warm up the soup!
Back soon,
Rebecca
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Saturday, 9 January 2010

Garden Visitors

A fieldfare has been visiting the garden this morning and enjoying the soft pears on the bird table. He seems to prefer eating alone...here he is waiting for a clear run at the bird table, which has been very busy of late!


Back soon,

Rebecca
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Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Back to normal...or so I thought!

The decorations are down and the house looks so bare! This beautiful poinsettia is all the remains of the festivities.


I've never managed to keep a poinsettia alive from one Christmas to the next - how do you do it?

Back to school, back to work - everything would return to normal today after a very enjoyable festive break...or so I thought!

It started snowing at around 7am...and snowed...and snowed.....

I just love the way the snow has piled up on the garden table!

The bird table, looking more festive than Sunday's photo, and providing a much needed pitstop for these birds that scattered to the trees.

The children's school closed at around 11 o'clock and hubby made back home at about 12 o'clock, having spent 5 hours in the car!
We went for a walk in the snow this afternoon and everywhere looks so pretty, especially the trees.
The house might look bare, but things are looking very festive outside...and it's still snowing so I guess getting back to normal will have to wait!
Back soon,
Rebecca
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Sunday, 3 January 2010

We've been having a rather lazy Sunday, making the most of the last day of the holidays, with breakfast at 11 o'clock - scrummy smoked salmon and scrambled eggs. This afternoon I ventured no further than the back garden to top up the bird table...

and then I had a little walk around. Despite bright sunshine, the temperature has hovered around 0 degrees all day...
leaving gorgeous frost patterns and icy droplets on the broccoli.

I love the rich, russet stems of the philadelphus against the green conifer and blue sky.

There are signs of life as the daffodils begin to push their way through the solid ground.

I was being followed as I wandered around...

and, just as I was about the take the 'Christmas card' photo of the robin on the holly, he popped through the trellis and onto next door's bird table!

Back in the warm, the mission to return the house to normal mode continues - all the boxes are down from the loft and piles of Christmassy things wait to be packed away for another year.
I've made a start on the ironing that had begun to take over a corner of the kitchen. As I ironed...and ironed...and ironed a little more, I was able to look out onto the garden and watch the birds visit the freshly stocked bird table and drink from and splash around in the bird baths that I had defrosted.
The ironing's not over yet...but Christmas is definitely over for another year in this house - hubby's just poured the last of the sherry and turkey curry bubbles away on the stove as I type!
Back soon,

Rebecca
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Saturday, 2 January 2010

Happy New Year!

The festive season has passed so quickly! It was a fairly quiet one here, with visits from family and friends just before Christmas, and just one extra for Christmas dinner - our lovely neighbour B. We've all had a turn at being poorly over the holidays with a horrible throaty, virussy thing that's made each one of us feel utterly rotten so it was just as well that it was a quiet time!
Feeling under the weather made me stop...made me take time out to just sit, watch old films, enjoy time with my family...and I have to say it's been a real treat! I've been able to catch up on some reading, to browse through some magazines before they are months out of date, and managed to do some non-rebeccamaryjane's knitting! I made each of the children a pair of wrist warmers.
Today, I am starting to put the house back into normal mode...I've made a neat pile of all the cards we received and have taken a couple of decorations down in the kitchen...I shall do a little more tomorrow, after all there's still another couple of days before hubby returns to work and the children are back at school! So, for now, I can tell myself it's still the holidays...time for a cup of tea and a chunk of the delicious, homemade Christmas cake that was part of the delightful foodie Christmas present we received from our neighbours...mmm!
I tend not to make "resolutions" as such, but I have told myself that I am going to be more organised in 2010, part of which involves updating this blog more often - so watch this space to see how I get on! It also involves doing ironing on a more regular basis! I hope that the coming year is kind to us all and, above all, I hope that it is a year of good health and happiness.
Happy New Year!
Rebecca
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