Welcome to my blog!

If you ask me what my very favourite thing is I would not hesitate to say my family. I came into motherhood quite late on, and was immediately overwhelmed with how amazing it is. Now I would like nothing more than to be a Domestic Goddess, and surround my family in love, good food, beautiful things and lots of happy memories. And like the majority of families these days, we need to do it on a budget!

I firmly believe we all have a little bit of the Domestic Goddess inside us, just waiting to break out. Whether that is knowing how to make a roast chicken feed a family of 4 for a week, being able to make, repair or recycle clothes, hunting down a bargain, or simply turning everyday, simple things into pretty or useful items, with a little bit of imagination we can all dip in to the Goddess inside and make our lives that little bit more interesting.

I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I enjoy sharing my (challenging) journey into Domestic Goddessness!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Spreading the word

It's been a while since I last blogged. You know when time just takes over and suddenly you're months down the line and you wonder where they went. I haven't been idling about, it's been a busy few months in the Raindrops house, with 3 children at school, dance shows and exams, girlguiding activities, work stuff and trying to fit family time into that, too. I've rather neglected my blog and I'd like to put that right!

My intention has always been to use this blog to not only share all the stuff I get up to attempting to make my family life work, but also as a platform for my hobbies that I'd really like to turn into my work. I have dabbled for a while with crafting and making as you lovely readers may know. Now I'd like to seriously take it forward and offer up my items for sale. This blog hopefully will show off what I've made, and along the way I will share some of the skills I've learned while honing my crafts. For example I recently learned how to do a Russian join with yarn. A very useful skill if, like me, you hate the thought of weaving in all those ends. A photo tutorial will follow in the coming months!

I've also added an Etsy shop, which you can see here. Have a look! My Facebook page is still going, there's a link to it on the left there. Exciting times ahead I hope!

Here's an example of some of the things I've been putting together recently.

Some rather cute ballet shoe stitch markers (we are a bit dance mad in the Raindrops house!), though I guess there are many other uses for them too!

And an up cycled headband, made from a grown-out-of dress. You can get the pattern here

I have got lots of exciting ideas and plans for the future. Hopefully some of them will bloom, maybe some won't, but the thing is you have to try and reach out for that happiness, don't you? Life is far too short to waste it on what ifs. 

Enjoy your day! 
Til next time. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Roald Dahl Day!

I'm not sure if you were aware but this week it was Roald Dahl's birthday. It was a biggy too, 100 years. To celebrate there have been a lot of different activities going on around the country. I hope you have been able to take part, especially if you have little people. We haven't been able to attend as much as we wanted to because of that horrid work thing getting in the way. Even so we were able to get to some story telling, and literacy workshops, craft activities and treasure hunts! It has been great fun, and even as an adult I have enjoyed reliving some of the stories I heard and read as a child, and discovering new ones too. I think there are few people who have had the same impact on our young as Roald Dahl has. And his legacy continues, not just in his writing, but in his charitable works as well. If you want to read more about his Marvellous Children's Charity, the website is here.

Most Primary aged children have been celebrating his birthday this week. my children included. I was given the task of coming up with a costume for my eldest to wear, as she had been requested to dress up as a character from one of the books. (As usual I was given about 5 days notice. Why do schools do that??!) At first she wanted to go as Matilda, but quickly changed her mind when she realised it would be a popular choice with the other girls. So we had a chat about it and decided on the Roly Poly Bird from the Twits and the Enormous Crocodile. 

So I set to it armed with offcuts of fabric, craft paper, card, an old pillow case and a few bendy straws. And I was actually quite pleased with my efforts. 

But most importantly, Eldest was happy. And that's what it's about!

Til next time!

Friday, September 9, 2016

An Aladdin's Cave

On the North Norfolk coast there's a lovely little seaside town called Sherringham. I don't know if you've ever been, but if you get the chance, it's well worth a visit. I've been there several times with the hubs and our little family, and plan to introduce the Littlest to it next summer. I have happy memories of walking along the sea front, with it's brightly coloured beach huts, looking out to sea, stopping in the little cafe for a brew and walking along the high street, past the obligatory English seaside amusement arcades, towards the centre of the town, gorgeous little gift shops, traditional sweet shops but also one of my absolute favourite types of places - those eclectic  little shops that you go in not knowing what you'll find. There's one in Sherringham that I spent hours in (or was, I have no idea if it's still there) tucked away on a back street, and selling all kinds of gorgeous little trinkets,and gifts, items from all ethnicities. A real Aladdin's Cave.
I remember one in Hampton as well, that always drew me like a moth to a flame whenever we travelled through. That was like a curiosity shop, full of things people had discarded for others to find a home for, as well as spaces available for the local crafters and artisans to show off their wares, too. I haven't been to Hampton since before my children were born. I doubt, in today's climate of bargain buys and online shopping, that it is still even there. I hope it is, though.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, this , and all the other little shops and stalls I've spent hours browsing round, was the inspiration for my page, which is why, when you visit my page (and hopefully one day I'll have a website, too) you'll see a higgeldy, piggeldy collection of things I've made, up-cycled or just found to pass on to a new home. I hope you like browsing, just like me! You never know when you'll come across that one perfect thing you were looking for, and maybe didn't even know it.

This little pocket watch was one of those things I found accidentally on purpose.

I was looking for something else, and it caught my eye.

And I love it, and I'm not sure I can be parted from it! I keep looking at it. It reminds me of almost publicly embarrassing myself at my daughters' last dance show, when Biggest played Alice in a beautifully choreographed little ballet performance, and I was so proud.

(But I can't keep everything or else my husband will divorce me and I'll be on telly as Britain's Biggest Hoarder)

So on my page it goes, along with things I've made and things I've up-cycled, and other things I've collected along the way. Come and say hello! 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Time to Dye

Several months ago I was given a Tie Dye kit by the Hubs. It was in response to my complete obsession with hand dyed yarn and other custom dyes, such as those over on Rainbow Fusions (a really lovely page, go and visit it!) I vaguely recall tying marbles into t shirts and dipping in a pan of dye, along with eggs at Easter as a child, although it isn't a practice I've continued. But I do still hold a special place in my heart for that style of art. Tie Dye kits are readily available now and I urge you to give it a go. It's not as scary or complicated as it might seem...though it can be very messy!

I thought I'd share the results of my dying sesh with you all. It did take longer than i anticipated, and getting up early to start it all off without Little People round my feet didn't really work out, as they were up before I got to the dying stage! Incidentally this is totally an activity that you can share with the kids. You just need to be well prepared with messy clothes, aprons, gloves and covers .....the dye gets everywhere! But on my first try I didn't want to be worrying about dying the children ..or the walls...or the floor... (in the end I escaped with a multicoloured bin lid but that's a small price to pay really!)

The dye really does get everywhere but that's part of the fun, and the beauty. There are loads of tutorials and techniques available. or you can make your own up too.

Anything can be dyed, though natural fibres are the best. Most of the items I used were 100% cotton. I had some plain white t-shirts, that were new and bought especially to dye (I don't normally buy white clothing for my children, I hate laundry and spending hours trying to get whites white is just too much effort for me!) but I also had some old clothes, too, including a white school shirt that I've not quite finished altering, so will share another time.

I just wish i could have saved the paper towels, they looked so pretty.

The colours did fade quite a bit, more than I thought they would, but I've learned loads and hopefully next time the results will be even better. Even so I am pleased with my little efforts. And the children are, too, which is really the main thing after all.

Here they are...still abit damp so not pressed yet, but you'll get the idea!

And it's not just tees that can be dyed. Here's a pair of once white leggings, that had started to go grey. Not any more. 

I'm looking forward to doing this all over again, and involving the children, too. This would make a great activity for the school holidays, so I'll have to book a day in half term to have another dying day.

I hope I have inspired you to have a little go yourself! 

You can see more of my makes, finds and little adventures over on my Facebook page. Come and say hello!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy (unofficial) Birthday Baby Sis!.

You may remember in my last blog I mentioned my little sister's birthday. If you follow me on Facebook (either personally, or on my page) you may have seen the pictures already. But I just wanted to share it here, too. It is a very special birthday, as my not so little sister (she is bigger than me!) is turning 21 this year. And just like the Queen, she will be having two birthdays, her unofficial one was last weekend, and her real one is in a couple of months. The reason for this was totally practical, as she is away from home at university, and this was the only opportunity we all had to get together.

I wanted a special present, as you can expect, but I was completely flummoxed about what to get her. Then one afternoon I was browsing on Ravelry and I came across a pattern for an Elise shawl. I had seen other people post up pictures of their completed Elises and always thought the pattern was beautiful. I selected some gorgeously squishy yarn in lovely autumnal colours and off I went..
It did take considerably longer that I anticipated. I'm not the fastest hooker in the West anyway, but I found myself with something creative minded people dread. I Lost My Cro-Jo. I don't know why or how but it just went. not good when you have a deadline. Somehow I managed to bring it all round and finished the shawl with a couple of days to spare.

So here it is :

And a closer look at the stitches:

I did enjoy making this on the whole. It is a lovely, rhythmic pattern on a simple two row repeat. If you're a crocheter and want to give it a go, you can find the pattern on Ravelry It is called an Elise Shawl, by Evan Plevinski.(you might note that I have altered the border from the original. I opted not to do the picot border but it is simple to add)

I also made my sister some earrings in similar colours, though I completely forgot to photograph them in my rush to get everything wrapped in time!

That's all for now. I hope you have a great day :)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

School's out...

If, like me, you're a parent, I would just like to take this opportunity to offer my sympathies, and hope you are surviving the holidays. Back at the beginning of July, before my girls even finished school for the summer, I was so organised, with lots of things planned  so they didn't get bored. As usual the good old British summer has rather ruined it a little. We have had some lovely weather, but not nearly enough, and trips out to the park with bikes, and walks along the canal , and picnics with friends haven't had chance to happen yet. I only hope the last couple of weeks makes up for it...though it is now August, and we all know what that means! 

Having the children around (as well as trying to squeeze in work) has resulted in very little time making, I hope to remedy this in the not so distant future. I have managed to make a few special things for a special birthday...but since they haven't been gifted, I will spill more on that in another post. 

Today I'd like to share something that is in essence with what I am trying to achieve - making, upcycling and rescuing. I love browsing in all kinds of shops, I think it drives the hubster a bit mad, as I lag behind him spending far too much time looking at some random object (that I usually don't buy) but what I'm actually doing is looking at it, thinking about it, do I want it, can I do something with it. Sometimes (often) the answer is no. But even so, it might spark a little idea that I collect and put away for another time, and maybe get out every now and then, polish, twist about until it becomes clearer and ultimately give me something to work on. I'm full of these little ideas.
So I spent rather longer than I needed to looking at some cute bracelets made with wooden beads. And then they were in my hand and I was paying for them. 

And I thought about them, and they became these:

I've had some positive feedback about these earrings over on my Facebook page and I've added them to my Etsy shop as well. I'm quite pleased about how they turned out. 

I've been trying to promote my Facebook page a little bit recently. I update as often as I can, so please come over and say hello, and have a look at my new makes and finds. 

Have a great weekend. We're off to a birthday party later, a barbecue in honour of a special milestone for my baby sister. 
I'm taking my wellies. 

Have a great weekend. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's been a while....

...but I've been busy with life, work, family ...and finally getting on with doing some things I wanted to. I've been introduced to the wonderful new addiction of sock making. it was on my bucket list, and something I had avoided forever. i have no idea why, it just looked so complicated, and what were all those pattern instructions about?? I've discovered that socks can be made on double pointed needles, small circulars and even toe up, 2 at a time - which is one of my next must do's.. Thanks to a very good friend Sharon, who offered to do a knit along with me, and some fabulous indie dyers (Lollipop Guild Yarns, Pollyorange, Truly Hooked. to name a few) my yarny addiction is hitting a new level!

It's not only yarn that has me smiling, I've been busy with other makery, stich markers, earrings and even a little bit of sewing. yes, I'm pleased to announce that I even made myself a little project bag

I'm very pleased with my efforts. And I now have a little bag to replace the tatty plastic bag that was being dragged around everywhere. This is definitely a much better bag to contain my yarny project around with me. Sadly I still remain the world's slowest knitter. , it's really taking me forever to knit these socks, but I'm enjoying being able to take it out of my bag and knit a couple of rounds when I have a spare minute.

I was hoping that I would find those extra few minutes whilst waiting for my son at the new Street class he started a few weeks ago. Sadly not to be, as so far he has resisted my efforts to encourage him away from the apron strings and is refusing to go in alone. So unlike his sisters' who didn't give me a backward glance the first time they went into the dance studio...and continue to give me only a fleeting wave to this day. It's really quite strange how my boisterous, loud, energetic little boy tries to melt into my leg if anyone even dares speak to him. I think it might be a few more weeks until mummy gets the chance to sit and knit while he goes off and does his thing!