Friday, 27 April 2012

Getting Down to Business

It has been a bit of a strange week here at Magpie HQ. To start with I have only had to do one night shift instead of the three I had been doing of late, so I have almost felt human again. Dare I say it but there have been no accidents or illnesses either, so another nice change!

Before much crafting could happen, there were a few jobs that have been waiting patiently for me to finish. The first one involved quite a lot of this.

I am in charge of painting around these parts. Pale walls and four children mean that this is almost a full-time occupation in itself. This week I gave the hall stairs and landing a much needed freshen up. It's hard to ignore this part of the house, it's the one space that can't be shut off but at least I can now ascend the stairs without cringeing. The trouble is, some of the other rooms look grubbier in comparison now so I might be plying the brushes and rollers again sometime soon. Ish.

Next on the list was a spot of gardening. I had bought a tray of bedding plants a few (ahem) weeks ago, but between accidents, illnesses and torrential rain, they had remained in their polystyrene tray, taunting me each time I looked out of the back windows. I took advantage of a break in the downpours on Tuesday to transplant them to my pots and gave the decking a little tidy while I was out there.

Thankfully you can't see my 'herbaceous border' in this picture (it runs down the right hand side of the garden) as it too requires a little attention. You might just be able to make out our raised veg patch on the left. The green stuff you can see on it is our strawberry plants, which seem to have benefitted from the rain. We have got a few flowers on them here and there so now need some sunshine to bring on the fruit.

I hadn't made it to either Wednesday morning Knit and Natter or Thursday evening Stitch and Bitch for a while because of work, so this week I actually went to both. I rescued this little project from the bottom of my knitting bag and am now well on my way to completing it.

Unfortunately (well, not really) I was once again tempted by the shelves of goodies I was surrounded by on Wednesday and this little pile found it's way home with me. Spurred on by the success of my blanket, I have got a few other items in the queue for future crocheting and I think these colours will fit the bill perfectly.

On Wednesday evening it was my craft group that I have at home fortnightly. I used the time to start a batch of leaves and stalks that I will need for my fruit pincushions that I will be starting soon.

I also made a start on the cushion back for the crochet cushion covers.

In between all of this, I had a very long catch-up with an old friend I haven't seen for about a year over a lovely lunch, and also had a nice lunch out with my Mum. With such a busy week, progress on the brooches hasn't been as good as I'd hoped but, all in all, it has been quite a productive week and the extra sleep and a few treats have done wonders for my soul!

I know I promised you a tour of the craft room, but to be honest, all the production has messed it up a bit, so you will have to be patient a while longer.

I hope you have had a good week, and wish you all a lovely weekend.

Thanks for stopping by,

Beth x

Thursday, 19 April 2012

This Week in the Nest

Finally the littlest Magpie has recovered from all his mishaps and we had a great time yesterday celebrating his birthday. As you can see, cake decorating is not one of my talents, although I can confirm that it tasted delicious and was speedily devoured by the clan.

Another little one in the family is having her birthday next week. so today I have been stitching up a teddy bear sleeping bag (designed by Florence), like the one I made one for her sister in February. This time I used another Annela Hoey fabric, from her new range 'A Walk in the Woods'. I love this fabric, and treated myself to a very restrained three half-metres from Alice at Backstitch.

Since writing the last post about my blanket, I have added another half-dozen or so rows, including my rainbow section. Work on this has got to slow down now though so you won't be seeing it again for a while.

This new granny square has taken the place of the blanket. the idea is to turn it into a cushion, along with the two other fronts already made, as these can be sold at Larmer Tree. This way I get my crocheting fix without the guilt that I am not making stuff to sell. Perfect!

I know I mentioned that I went to Ikea a few weeks ago, but I didn't show you any pictures of the fabric I bought. Ikea fabric really is great value for money, especially from the children's department. These fabrics work out at £2 per metre and they are really popular with my customers.

  The idea is to turn these into more drawstring wash bags like the ones below.

I have also been busily cutting out felt shapes to turn into brooches. At last year's craft fairs I sold pretty much every one I made, the bird design in particular was a big hit so I am planning on sewing lots of these to take with me to the festival. I'm not sure that the photo does the colours justice, but please can I have your thoughts on the colour combinations?

Well, I had better be off to feed the family. I'm hoping to go to Stitch and Bitch tonight as it seems like it's been ages since I went to a knitting group and I'm really missing it. Pop back next week for some finished brooches and that look around the craft room I've been promising!

Thanks for stopping by,
Beth x

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Easter Crochet

It has been a bit of a strange Easter Holiday this year. Firstly my daughter has stayed with her Dad for the whole of the break, which is the longest she has ever been away so I am really missing her. I have taken the opportunity of her absence to totally overhaul her bedroom though (with her permission) and I can't wait for her to see the result. It took two full days (including the construction of a flat pack monster) and yielded three full rubbish bags but it is now a teenage haven. For the moment.

During the first week off Mr Magpie was working and I had three night shifts. I took the two youngest boys out on a few outings during the day and we got some chores done too.

Over the Easter weekend we travelled up to Nottingham to see family. Our male teenager came too and his travel sickness relegated me to the back seat with the two younger boys. I took advantage of the journey to get some more work done on my blanket and the boys seemed to like having it draped over them as it moved left and right across my lap. Middle son in particular has taken quite a fancy to the blanket and is keen to know when it will be functional. He has also started to provide design input and due to this I have now commenced a true 'rainbow section'.

The weekend provided rather a lot of unexpected crochet time, so the blanket has grown considerably. Each colour stripe comprises two rows of trebles and takes roughly an hour if I can work steadily without mistakes. I have now completed 34 stripes and have realised that I have probably made the blanket too wide. Lucy of Attic24 crocheted 60 stripes on her granny stripe but I think that I will need nearer 100 to make the length look right against the width, which is almost six feet. A little way to go then. When the children go back to school I will be gearing up to full production mode on the sewing machine so I might have to ask Mr Magpie to hide the blanket away from me for a while to avoid temptation, it really is totally addictive!

After Easter my poor littlest Magpie whose leg is almost better caught a nasty tummy bug and has spent most of the week in a weakened state on the sofa. We have had to postpone his birthday party for a week to give him time to recover.

For the last few days we are hoping to have a few more little outings and finish off the overhaul of the house. I promise to show you around my crafty space soon.

I hope you all enjoyed your Easter break, thanks for stopping by,

Beth x

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Rainbow Colours

After a week of crawling and being ferried around in a borrowed buggy, I am happy to report that the leg of the littlest Magpie is now out of plaster. He hasn't broken any bones, but has damaged the soft tissue and is meant to be taking things slowly. Quite how you're supposed to stop a little bundle of energy from bouncing on the trampoline with his brother or from chucking himself around the park is obviously beyond me, but he does seem to mix his bursts of energy with a little limp or wanting to be carried so I suppose he won't hurt himself. Can you tell he's my third child?!

I was gadding about in London when the plaster came off, but Mr Magpie reliably informs me that at first the injury resembled most of the colours of my crochet.

Although I am intending the colours of my blanket to be rainbow-like, the shape similarities are not intentional. Can anyone advise me if this is normal? I am hoping that when I add the edging at the end it will sort out the problem.

I had a great day out in London with my daughter and our friends. We did a LOT of walking and sightseeing, although we didn't get to see the Hockney Exhibition after all as we got a bit lost between Brixton and Piccadilly and didn't have time to queue for the two hours needed for entry. We did find a nice old Irish pub to pass the time in until we had to collect our little goth chicks though, so not all was lost.

Although Mr Magpie soldiered on with the flat-pack construction while I was sightseeing, he did leave me my new desk to construct. I didn't have to swear once while putting it together, so can thoroughly recommend it if you are needing some storage. You get a pic of work in progress but the holidays mean some time away from craft, aside from the odd bit of crochet so you will have to wait a few weeks for a tour of the newly organised room.

After all the glorious sunshine, it is raining here in Bournemouth today so we are off out to find some indoor, leg protecting fun. Hmmm.

Thanks for stopping by,
Beth x