Wednesday 24 March 2010

Teeny Tiny Crochet Heart Bunting

The Teeny Tiny Heart Bunting is finished! And it's now hanging in my Little Daughter's bedroom, much to her delight!

As there was a bit of interest in this bunting from some of you, I thought I would attempt a step by step pattern for you to follow. I hope I've done it as simple as possible for you. Each heart doesn't take that long to do either, so its one of those smashing projects that you could probably complete in less than an afternoon.

I used Rowan Hand Knit Cotton DK for my hearts, and a 4mm hook, but feel free to use any other wool/hook size that you might prefer. I like Hand Knit Cotton as it tends to be a bit stiffer than some other wools, and holds its shape well (the colours in this range are also very bright and scrumptious!)

OK, lets begin! You're going to need to know how to do a slip stitch (SS), a chain (Ch), a single crochet (SC), a double crochet (DC) and a treble crochet (TR) (*Ive added a little 'How To' for the TR for those of you who aren't sure)

The Pattern

Round 1: Make 4 Chain stitches and join into first chain with a SS.

Next, SC 10 times into the middle of the ring as shown below:

Join with a SS into the top of the first SC stitch to finish the round.

Make sure you have 10 stitches to work into for the next round:

Round 2: Next, you are going to do 5 DC into the first stitch, this is going to be the first top curve of your heart and it will look something like this:

In the following 3 stitches, you need to do 1 DC into each.

This is followed by a TR, the bit that will form the pointy part of the heart. For those of you not sure how to do a Treble Crochet, here is a little explanation:

Wrap your yarn around your hook twice and push your hook under the stitch.
Wrap your yarn around your hook and pull back through (4 loops on the hook).
Wrap your yarn around your hook and pull through 2 loops (3 loops left on hook)
Wrap your yarn around your hook again and pull through the remaining 3 loops ~ Voila!! A Treble Crochet Stitch!! :D

By now, your heart should be looking a bit like this:

Into the next 3 stitches, you need to do 1 DC into each.
Then work 5 DC together into the following stitch. This makes the second curvy top of the heart.

You will see a stitch space (as shown below, where I'm pointing the tip of the hook) need to do a SS into this to finish off the heart before securing with a knot.

Round 3: Join your second colour by knotting your new yarn onto the first colour neatly.
Start by making 1 CH into the last SS of the previous round.
To continue with your edging, do 1 Sc into the next stitch.
The next 3 stitches all need 2 SC into EACH stitch.
Into the next 4 stitches make 1 SC into each.
Then do 3 SC into the following stitch which is the tip of the heart, the 3 SC's will help to make it more pointy shaped.
Working up the opposite side, its a case of reversing the stitch pattern that we've just done. So after doing the 3 SC into the tip of the heart, we need to do do 1SC into the next 4 stitches.
Then do 2SC into each of the next 3 stitches.
Into the next to last stitch, do 1 SC.
The last stitch just requires a little SS to finish, and a wee knot to secure.

Be sure to weave in any loose ends at the back!

Here is a brief run down of the stitches for you:

Round 1:
Ch 4,
SS to join into 1st chain stitch.
10 SC into centre of ring
SS to join into 1st SC stitch.

Round 2:
5 DC into first stitch
1 DC into next 3 stitches
1 TR
1 DC into next 3 stitches
5 DC into next stitch
SS to finish into last stitch

Round 3:
1 CH into cleavage of heart
1 SC into next stitch
2 SC into each of the next 3 stitches
1 SC into next 4 stitches
3SC into bottom point of heart stitch
1 SC into next 4 stitches
2 SC into each of the next 3 stitches
1 SC into next stitch.
Finish by SS into next stitch and secure with a knot.

Making your hearts into Bunting

This is really quite easy, and of course the exciting bit that turns all your colourful hearts into actual bunting. All you need to do is know how to chain stitch and slip stitch, and Im guessing if you have got this far with me, then yes, of course you can!! :D
I started my chain off with 15 CH stitches, this is the part you can use to tie or attach your bunting to something with.
Find the topmost stitch on your heart, and simply SS into it. You might find it a little bit fiddly at first, but you'll soon get the hang of joining the heart to the hanging chain.
Here's what it looks like:

Next, CH 4 across and work a SS into the next topmost stitch of the opposite heart top.

I then went on to crochet 7 CH stitches between each heart, but of course you could do more or less depending on the look you want for your bunting.

And here it is, all finished!

I hope you enjoyed the pattern, and found it straightforward enough. I've spent a while tweaking it, and re-writing bits so I hope I've explained it clearly for you - if there are any parts you aren't sure on though, please let me know and I'll do my best to help!

Oh, before I go, a good tip is to spray the backs of the hearts with a little spray starch and then iron gently - I found it helps the hearts to hold their shape even better and you can tweak them into shape if they're looking a bit too rounded on the bottom.

Much love
Julia x x x

Monday 22 March 2010

The Spring Give-away DRAW & a Happy Birthday!

Hello there!

Are you excited? I have to say that I was very excited to wake up this morning and realise it was the day of the Sunny Spring Give-away Draw!! I want to say a huge thank you to all who took part, its so much fun to do this, and spread a bit of arty-crafty joy out into the world!

Anyway...without further ado - I can't possibly keep you waiting a minute longer - I will now reveal the winner of this give-away (and the winner was chosen by Random, a lovely online number generator).

The number generator gave me a number...and it was number 40!!!

...and upon counting down the list of entrants, I discovered that the winner of the goodies is....

Blooming Felt!!

WELL DONE!!! Please do get in touch dear soul with your address, either through the 'email me' bit of the blog, or by going through the 'contact me' page on my website, and I will mail your prize to you this week! Thanks again to everyone who took part, I've enjoyed this one so much that I've decided I'll probably do another one in the not too distant future, so although I'm awfully sorry for those of you who didn't win this time, you might next time!

So! Thank you for your birthday wishes - I had a splendid birthday starting early in fact, on Saturday afternoon when a smiling chap turned up at the door with these!

...Oh I was so happy! What a very, very joy~filled looking bunch of flowers of the most colourful kind - choc full of most of my favourites!

Sunday morning dawned sunny and blue, and I was treated to some lovely gifts from my other half and the Little One. A new Cath Kidston mug and stationery, two new yoga dvd's, Thornton's chocolate, perfume, a beautiful scarf in shades of tangerine, fuschia pink and purple with shimmery silver threads embroidered through, a pretty bird house and also some birthday money which I plan to spend on some new wool supplies for the RR blanket and some new clothes for Spring! I felt like a very lucky lady indeed!

After a late breakfast, we got ourselves ready and picked up the parents and then headed out into Derbyshire, to Bakewell.

It was a lovely day for a stroll by the river...

...and there were several cygnets sailing along the twinkly water with their parents. We had a picnic sitting by the river and then headed to the park to let the Little One let off some steam! After a wander around the town, we headed off in the direction of our birthday meal destination, stopping on the way for a pleasant wander around the tiny village of Baslow.

Gorgeous snowdrops carpeted the church yard...
...and this pretty catch on the gate that took you through to a path that led to the river caught my eye!

Baslow is a very quaint place, with beautiful cottages and gardens that burst at the seams with scented flowers in the summer. There is also the added attraction of a gorgeous little shop called 'Avant Garde' that sells the most stunning home wares and trinkets, including pretty Green Gate (I bought a new tea towel and some napkins while I was there, its almost impossible to leave empty handed!).

After our wander, we drove to The Ladybower Inn for our meal, it serves the most beautiful food and we were lucky to have booked a window seat where we could sit and look out at the ever changing sky as the sun went down over the Ladybower reservoir. I think the good weather had brought everyone out with the same idea in mind as the place was packed to the rafters! I'd recommend this place to anyone who is out in this part of Derbyshire for the day, it was the icing on the cake for us and later, settling down to watch Larkrise in my jammies with a big box of Thornton's was the icing on the icing of said cake!! :D

Well, that's about all for today, I have noticed that a couple of you have asked about a pattern for the little hearts I showed you last week - well, I will definately try my best to do one for you of course!

I hope you all had a good weekend, I'll look forward to catching up with you soon!

Much love
Julia x x x

Thursday 18 March 2010

Daffodils and Bunting

Daffodils and Bunting
Acrylic on box canvas 20x20cm

Hello people!

I hope this warm March day finds you well! Im pleased to be able to share the finished painting 'Daffodils and Bunting' with you! After being inspired by Surfer Rosa, I painted in some cotton reels as the thought of the blackbird coming to find a spare strand of thread to line his nest was very appealing. Of course, I then sat wondering what the cotton reels might be sitting there for, all very well to have a couple of reels on the window sill and why not - but I felt a bit more visual interest was necessary and the idea of bunting popped into my head, and it seemed to bring the picture together! Do you agree? Im going to start putting some of my originals into my Folksy shop ~ 'Little Blue Bird' ~ so you will be able to find this, and other paintings and prints available to buy there too!

This morning I awoke at 6am - I lay under the warmth of the duvet for a few minutes but realised that the light coming from behind the curtains was tempting me to get up. Im not usually up this early, and generally Im the sort that will turn over and go back to sleep for another hour until the soft thudding of Little Girl's footsteps on the landing awaken us. But this morning, I felt compelled to be up before anyone else. I tiptoed downstairs, put on a pot of coffee and opened the backdoor...and thats when I realised what had happened.

Spring had arrived.

It's that wonderful moment that you get when the season is on the cusp of changing. A warm breeze was blowing (yes, at 6am - a warm wind) and I stood on the doorstep in my jammies breathing in this feeling of delight. It was here!! At last!! It's nothing actually noticeable, in fact, all looked the same outside as it did yesterday, but there was a very perceptible feeling of something in the air having shifted and changed. Oh isn't it delicious when Spring lands on your doorstep?!

The picture above, is another view of our lovely 'tops' looking out again over to Derbyshire. It was slightly hazy at 8:30 this morning as we drove over to Mum's to dispatch the Little One for a day of adventuring. Im very fond of that view, it's one of my favourites and sometimes feels as if the whole, beautiful world is spread out before me.

You can see that Spring has arrived, Im waxing lyrical and Im all over the place in a skippy happy sort of fashion today! Which leads me to more skippy happy stuff, of the crochet kind.

Ive made some hearts!

I was inspired a few weeks back by a post on Attic 24's blog, where she had designed and made the sweetest little hearts you ever did see. Now, I was quite smitten with them and searched the internet high and low for a pattern. But you know what its like, once you see something you like, you want that one - and none of the other patterns I found really did it for me. So, last night I spent a couple of hours working out my own pattern - Im nothing if not determined folks - and eventually, with a whole lot of tweaking and unravelling, came up with these, which I think look a bit like what I was after!

Im going to try and make a little chain of heart bunting, as I feel that our home is very much in need of some heart bunting! However, for now that will have to wait, as a new painting is about to be started! I was halfway through Daffodils and Bunting when an idea struck. Now, for me, this is not always a good thing, as it means that I get so excited by the new idea I become bored of what Im currently doing and discard it in order to get on with the new stuff. However, Im practising being disciplined, and did a few sketches to quench the excitement so that I could finish 'D&B' properly.

The next painting will feature a cat, and I hope to be able to share it with you soon.

I can't say Goodbye this week without saying 'Thank You' to everyone who has visited my blog to take part in the Sunny Spring Giveaway! Ive been delighted to find wonderful comments from old friends and new ones, and because of this Im discovering some wonderful new blogs, so thanks to all of you for stopping by! There is still chance to enter the giveaway, as it doesn't close until the 21st March - so if you would like to enter and haven't already, then please leave a comment on this post to guarantee a place in the draw, which takes place on Monday the 22nd.

I'm looking forward to catching up with your blogs, its been a busy old week here one way or another so apologies for not being able to get to as many blogs as I would like (and believe me, I like nothing more than a good hour of peaceful blog browsing, with cup of tea and something sweet and nice alongside!).

Have a warm, sunny weekend - I'll be posting again sometime on Monday so "Good Luck" to you, if you're in the draw!

Mucho love
Julia x x x

Thursday 11 March 2010

The Sunny Spring Giveaway!! (and some other bits and bobs)

Hello Dear Souls!

We've been to the seaside! My goodness, it seems an awful long time since I walked on the sands and inhaled the delicious tangy scent of a salt breeze, but on Sunday we took ourselves off to the east coast of Lincolnshire and enjoyed a bracing walk on the beach - although it was bitterly cold there the sky was a radiant cobalt blue and seemed to go on forever...I love Big Skies and a sense of space like that!
The sun shone all day long however, and it was a day for discovering once again, how pretty dried seaweed can be, collections of fragile, tiny shells on the shoreline and admiring the simple beauty of sunlight on tide rippled sand.

Little Person, needless to say, enjoyed it immensley and there was much sand pie making and pitstops for games of football.

Thoroughly refreshed and reinvigorated after our bracing day out, we returned home. And the homeland is much cheerier now that there is a promise of spring on the horizon. Ah yes, the days are definately getting longer, and the other evening we had a glowing sunset as we travelled over the 'tops' to go and fetch our daughter from Nanny Mum's house. (the 'tops' are a local name for the hills that rise up between the valleys here).

The view through the farmers field there, is over Bradfield and out to the Strines Moor- beyond that you can just about make out Winn Hill in the Peak District (teeny tiny pointy bit on the horizon).
I love the old marker stones you get around our way too that serve as road signs. This one in the top right picture is showing the way to Brighthomlee, with a helpful etching of a finger in the stone to point you in the right direction!

So, Spring is absolutely and most definately in the air...and there is also something else in the air too - yes, Im sure you who visit me often enough will know by now that Im having a little giveaway! is the day I can finally share the scrumptious goodies that will be on their way to one lucky soul!

The Sunny Spring Giveaway!!

This giveaway is a little celebration of the impending arrival of Spring, and also my birthday which coincides beautifully with this occasion! If you would like to enter, all you need to do is leave me a comment in the 'post a comment' section at the end of this post. That's it. It's that easy. On March the 21st, which is the Spring Equinox, I shall draw a name from the hat and post the winner's name the following day (I'd post it on the 21st but it's my birthday so Im hoping to be whisked off somewhere marvellous and nowhere near a computer!! ;-)

So, without anymore waffling, here is what you can win!

One signed, limited edition print of Moon Fishing, presented in a white mount
ready for framing.

A crocheted daffodil corsage, made by yours truly - looks quite splendidly spring like and colourful on a coat or jacket - or bag come to that!

A bag of the most delicious praline eggs - well, Easter is but a hop away and it wouldn't feel right not to include a little chocolatey goodness for you!

Four of my art print cards, of the designs shown

aaaannnnnnnd...last but not least, a lavender heart, made from pretty Erin McMorris Park Slope 'circles and stems' fabric, filled with generous spoon-fulls of garden harvested lavender, and finished with a shell, and vintage pink button.

And there we have it my friends! All that remains is for you to leave me your comments - meanwhile, Im off to finish a certain painting that I started last week - thank you for all your excellent suggestions about that, I really was in a bit of a pickle with what that dear blackbird could have come to find, but Im now happy to tell you that, inspired by Surfer Rosa's idea Im going to be adding a little cotton reel or ribbon to the scene!

I'll be back again as usual next week (if not before)!

Til' then - love to you,
J x

Thursday 4 March 2010

Simple Things

Hello there! Is the sun shining on you today? From the 1st of March, Yorkshire turned a new leaf weather wise - well, this little corner of the county seemed to anyhow - and we have been basking in sun filled days with high, white cotton wool clouds scudding gently across an impossibly blue sky. Ahhh, we are hoping this is a taste of what is to come, and isn't the sun warm already? Just around lunchtime today as I stood in the back garden, it was just warm enough to feel upon the skin which filled me with a huge sense of optimism I can tell you!

Little things are what keep me afloat - like this jam jar of buttery yellow daffodils. I stopped at the lovely little florist/gift shop 'Hacketts' in nearby Penistone earlier this week and was rewarded with 3 generous bunches for just a couple of pounds. They have filled two jam jars in an abundant manner and are showing off all over the dining table and kitchen windowsill! But aren't they glorious?

Another flowery thing to fill me with delight this week, was the sudden opening of these darling irises, which never cease to astonish me each year that they appear. I love their colours, the blue is quite stunning and such a gift after all that gloomy weather! We have been teased for several weeks by their juicy green buds that didn't seem to do anything, until one day I happened to glance out of the window and 'voila!' there they were!!

And in our kitchen, on our sunny windowsill, the seeds our Little Daughter planted just a few weeks ago are growing in their propagator home at an alarming rate!

These are her dwarf peas, their neighbours, minature cucumbers (La Diva from Sarah Raven should you be curious or tempted to sow your own) are competing height wise, as are the munchkin pumpkins...and we still have seeds to sow!! Where are we going to put them? ( I do wonder out loud, and frequently as it goes), as we have nothing resembling a greenhouse and it is but early March - but I think in a couple of weeks time, these green babies will be taking over the kitchen so I need to get my thinking hat on, regarding a halfway house type of spot for them to go to when they outgrow their current abode!

But all will be resolved, I don't doubt it - most likely over a cup of tea and a nice bit of cake. Oh yes, we've been at it again. Baking. This time: Chocolate brownies crammed full of walnuts and pecans...

It is getting to the point where the Little Baker is demanding we make something every day, which is all well and good but Im running out of tins and slowly getting fatter. Im also out of butter until I visit the next village to do a spot of shopping and so to placate her we had a very messy finger painting session yesterday, instead.

And, Ive been doing a bit of painting myself! I finally found some time to make a start upon my next piece after a rather busy time of it doing lots of other things. Ive been heartily inspired by spring flowers of late and felt I must paint a picture which included a cheery jug of daffs - yet I also had a whim to do a bit of a coastal scene too...doodles and sketches followed and Ive set to work...would you like a peek? Its a work in progress with far to go as yet...but I don't mind showing you how its looking...! Would you like to see it?

Oh, alright then, here you go!

Ive not got a name for the painting yet, but for some reason it had to have a blackbird in it. As I progress, the blackbird will look as if he's spotted something tasty to eat - at the moment Im pondering what that might be! So, for now it just looks as if he's come to have a nosey at the rather nice pebbles doesn't it?! Im quite happy with it so far - any ideas of what treat the blackbird might be finding on the windowsill would be appreciated, so let me know your thoughts!

Well! Another week has passed - (doesn't the time go fast these days), and I want to let you know that next week, I will be officially announcing my Spring Giveaway! The reason behind all this, is that it is my own birthday on the first day of spring (21st March), and to celebrate I wanted to do a little givaway to coincide with my spring birthday celebrations! Hurrah!!
Im planning some lovely treats for you, so do make sure you stop by next week to find out more!

That's all Im saying for now, Im going to do a little bit more work on my painting before I have to go and collect the child - toddlers and acrylic paints don't go very well together you see :)

So I hope you have a delicious weekend, oh - and thank you to everyone who is stopping by to leave such nice comments - I want you to know that I read each one and really appreciate the time you take to pop in and read. Im endeavouring to visit all of your blogs in turn, and look forward to catching up with you soon!

Till next week...sending you a nice cup of chai tea, your favourite song, a spring walk and drifts of snowdrops to smile at!

Much love
Julia x
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