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!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Hooking!

First of all, don't forget it's Handmade Monday today, so why not have a look at what everyone has been up to on Wendy's site?! I see she is showcasing some lovely photo frames as well this week!

It's been a quiet week really here and I have only given crafting a fleeting thought. My child-free Thursday afternoon did not pan out quite as I would have liked, as I was too tired to even move off my chair. Wimbledon on the telly didn't help out there either I have to say! However I did take advantage of a more sedentary state by starting a throw (finally) for Caoimhe's room. She has had the same tired old Ikea throw on her chair since before she was born, and I have had a bag of wool put aside to make something for her for quite a long time. I have now finally found a pattern I quite like the look of so we'll see how that one works out. It's in squares so it will kind of con me that I'm not just endlessly crocheting row after row, like Tilly's cot blanket did!

Talking of Tilly, some while ago my mum gave me a spare ball of yarn she had found in her cupboard, which, if memory serves me, had been left over from a fluffy bat wing jumper she made when I was about 12. From what I remember it was knitted on chunky needles, from cuff to cuff and was pretty much in demand, she made at least 3 that I can recall and probably more. Luckily it was a quick knit! I had one too and I have a feeling the wool she gave me was left over from the one she made for me. I have looked at that leftover yarn for quite a while wondering what to make out of it. I don't think there was quite 50g left although I didn't weigh it. Anyway flicking through an old crafting magazine on Saturday I saw a pattern for a little hat. The yarn provided for the hat has long since been stashed and used for other things but I gave it a go with my lovely leftover fluffy wool and came up with this in just a few hours:

The top picture is more representative of the colour, it is a white yarn with wispy orangey/pink yarn going through it. I was thinking initially of doing the flower in a contrasting colour, but as I have nothing in my stash with the same texture I decided not to. I was also going to put a button in the middle of it, but I think it looks nicer and simpler as it is.

I crocheted it on a size 5 mm hook and it has given quite a dense structure, which will hopefully keep Tilly's head nice and warm this autumn (as long as it fits her, and she doesn't have a big head like her sister did!) It is supposed to be a hat to fit 0-6months but I have long since realised that that actually means nothing as far as patterns go!

I find it quite hard to believe now that as a teenager I bought myself a crochet hook and a crochet book and struggled for months to learn. It is, in fact, easier than knitting in many respects and I am amazed I found it so difficult to learn! Still, I'm not brave enough to actually try anything complicated yet. But the demands of two little girls might put just encourage me!

Til next time!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's about kids

If you ask my daughter what she wants to do she will usually say *painting*. It seems that painting is her favourite activity at the moment. Not so long ago it was *sticking* so it will be interesting to see what she likes doing next.

With that in mind, the other day whilst in Poundstretcher (looking for a cheap cable for our lovely new telly) I came across one of those 'paint your own' kits, it was a boat money box. In true Lee fashion, my little girl likes to count her money (tho she tends to like to share it which we are trying to dissuade of course!) and the money pig she was given at birth is now looking a bit sad and tatty from the endless emptying. filling and carrying around. So yesterday morning we set about having a go.

Obviously she needed quite a bit of help (it was a 5+ item really) but she had great fun and she chose which colours she wanted where. Of course the paint did not stay just on the boat and before long she got a bit bored of painting the boat with mummy and instead decided to paint her hands, and my arm. So instead I was left painting the rest of it. Not easy when your child is painting stripes on your arm. And the brush that came with it wasn't so clever and made painting a bit tricky, but for a quid what do you expect?!

Not very neat but she seems happy enough with it and that's what counts.

We also started knitting together this week. I've been wondering when to get her started on knitting and crocheting as she seems very interested when I am doing it. She wants a scarf for her cuddly dog, so she chose some yarn from my stash (of course it would have to be the wool I had put aside for a throw for her room!) and picked a pair of plastic needles I have in my case. We managed 2 rows until she got bored and wanted to do something else. but it was a start!

No 'adult' crafting has been attempted this week so far, though I have a child and husband-free afternoon today and if I can stay away from the nesting then we might be in with a chance!

Til next time!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Work in Progress

I'm getting it in a bit early this week, but thanks once again to Wendy over at 1st Unique Gifts for hosting Handmade Monday, a really good opportunity to see what fellow crafty bloggers have been up to this week.

As for me, I don't really seem to have achieved an awful lot of crafting this week. It seems to have been quite busy in other ways. I'm blaming the nesting. From a crafty point of view I have finally got round to emptying and sorting my two yarn boxes, and several yarn bags. The boxes are now empty and waiting to be turned into toy boxes, and the yarn has been organised into several (more) bags and is waiting to find a home in the blanket box upstairs.I fear that at least one of the bags of yarn will not make it, however, as I have seen a couple of things I want to make in my Art of Crochet folders (also reorganised this week, and now in order and not in piles waited to be filed!) There is still quite a pile of things in the living room, including several books, folders etc, and I'm sure they will find a new home somewhere accesible pretty soon.

One of those crafty books is a gorgeous book called The Crafty Minx by Kelly Doust. I have spent quite a lot of time recently looking through the projects and deciding which I am brave enough to try out. If you are handy with a sewing machine, or interested in upcycling/recycling etc then this is definitely worth a look. I have taken some inspiration from the book for my next project, which is (hopefully) going to be a cot mobile for Tilly.

It's very much a work in progress. I have bagged a few wire coat hangers from my mum and hope to do something with them, covering them in bright coloured fabric of some description (she suggests bias in her version) and as for the hangings, I have made a start on a few things:

A stuffed cat. The front.

The back (I used fabric from an old top, how's that for upcycling!)

Star, so far unembellished and I may leave it as it is, who knows!

I used spotty fabric for the front of this heart, and glued on some flowery sequins

I also covered some wooden curtain hoops in ribbon, although I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them yet! Any ideas gratefully received!

So nothing completed last week but with any luck I will be able to finish off this week and post up the results of my labour soon. As long as it is the only labour we have this week that is! (Stay put Tilly, not quite ready for you to put in an appearance just yet!)

Til next time!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I won! I won!

It's not often I can say that I won something because I so rarely do. But I had a lovely surprise in the post the other day, when I received my first official blog candy. It came courtesy of Jo over at Everyday Adventures of a Yummy Genius (you can also find her at The Stamperie ) and it consists of a large handmade gift tag, some beautiful ribbon and some brown wrapping paper.
It really does look even nicer in the flesh, and I am thrilled with it. I believe Jo intends to sell similar sets in the future at around £2.99 and I honestly think they are worth every penny of that. Please have a wander over to Jo's blogs and see what other lovely things she has been making!

All that remains is for me to now decide who will be the lucky recipient of a present wrapped with this lovely set, and whether the gift I choose is worthy of it!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Books and Butterflies

I can't believe it is Monday already. The weekend seems to have gone by without me really experiencing it! I am now officially a lady of leisure, for the next 9 or 10 months at least, although I very much doubt that there will be much time for leisure! But there is time, of course, to have a look at what other crafters have been up to this week, thanks to Wendy over at 1st Unique Gifts and Handmade Monday I will be having a look myself very shortly!

Last week was a relatively quiet one craft wise, I didn't seem to get going until Thursday afternoon when I had a child-free couple of hours. My intention had been to sort out my two yarn boxes which are overflowing with bits and bobs of wool, patterns, unfinished projects (of which, I am ashamed to say, there are several) In fact it rather overflows into a fair few bags stuffed down the side of the armchair and even on the shelf under the telly! We are trying to make room for the baby and the inevitable increase in the number of toys and other paraphernalia, so my yarn stash is going to be accommodated in the blanket box upstairs instead. As you can guess, I got distracted, and it is still waiting to be done! Instead, thanks to my friend Sharon (and you should visit her blog : Chasing Art ) I spent those child free hours making a mini book instead. My paper craft contribution usually extends only to card making really so I thoroughly enjoyed my wee dip into paper. So much so I spent most of Sunday morning making one for my mum too!

It's not easy to see on these pictures but there are lots of pockets inside the pages for stashing small mementos. I also added the frames for mum to put little pictures in. I followed the instructions for maze books, and a quick google will direct you to some good tutorials. I think that these are a potential gift idea and I can see me making lots more in the future. Very addictive and very satisfying!

I spent most of Saturday making a butterfly puppet for Caoimhe. I made it from a book I got for Christmas from my sister in law, Crocheted Finger Puppets by Gina Alton

I optimistically thought it would be a couple of hours work at the most, even with my crochet skills being on the novice side of amateur if I am honest. But I did not really take into account how fiddly it was to make, or the fact that, although on first skim through, the instructions looked simple enough to follow, they are written slightly differently than other crochet patterns I have followed. As a result I had to redo the wings several times before actually understanding what I was doing! Moral of that tale is that I really should take more notice of the pattern I am following and make sure I concentrate!

No big crafty plans for this week as yet. We made Father's Day cards last week (although I have mine still yet to make) but I'm sure this weather will keep us in so Messy Play will probably feature at some point!

Off to see what my fellow crafters have been up to now! Til next time :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Proof that toddlers and knitting don't mix.

Unusually I don't have any projects on the needles at the moment. This is the first time in several months that this is the case. You may recall that there was a cabled cardigan on the go a few weeks ago. Sadly, this is now in knitting heaven, plans have been shelved, yarn unravelled.

It seems that my yarn bag (or that should really read 'bags' since there are many more than just one hovering around the house!) has an electro-magnetic pull for inquisitive, toddler hands. We frequently play 15 hook pick-up, when she has emptied my crochet hook case on the floor (she likes the colours and also the noise the hooks make as she rattles them against her teeth!) and my needles apparently make good drumsticks.

It would also appear that knitting on needles makes a good train driver's flag. Unfortunately it has been discovered that knitting comes off needles when waved boistrously around encouraging the passengers to hurry on to the train. And anyone who has tried to put cabled knitting back onto a needle will know how hard it can be. Pulling it back a row, too, complicates matters, and before long I was very confused about where I was up to in the pattern and instead frogged the lot.
The pattern and wool has been stashed and will be made into a bigger version instead.

I should really have known better than to let Caoimhe within a mile of my knitting. Not that I allowed her to use it as a flag intentionally, those of you with small monsters children will know they can wreak havoc in less than 10 secomds flat. But she does have previous for the same crime. A lovely fan and feather patterned shawl, many hours of work, destroyed within seconds when she decided she wanted to play with the needles. Not even my mum could help me out there. Many tears and pulling back row after row to try and get it back on the needles were in complete vain.

Still, I look forward to the day she comes to me with the same problem. I will nod sagely and say, karma sucks doesn't it!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Recycling (and fairies!)

Well it's the start of another week, and time to mention Handmade Monday over on Wendy's blog. A lovely opportunity to see what fellow crafters have been getting up to, and maybe get a bit of inspiration too :)

I've had my Domestic Goddess head firmly in place this week. On the food front there's been lots of freezing and cooking going on, stews, pasta bakes etc, all in a vain attempt to rein in the pennies a little bit now I'm a lady of leisure - well for the next 9 months or so anyway. I've even repaired a pair of Tim's jeans which have been languishing in the bedroom for ages waiting for me to do something with them. A bit disappointed that I successfully mended them actually, since I was making plans on how to upcycle them! However it has saved us some money on buying a new pair, so I suppose I should be thankful (and proud!) of that fact!

While I had the sewing machine out I also knocked up a couple of phone socks too. They started off as a couple of odd socks and had been lying unloved in the sock box for ages, waiting for their partners to return, but I fear the Sock Fairy may have whisked them away for her own means. Well, honestly, what is the other explanation for the disappearance of socks?! Quite pleased with the results.

Tim's new phone sock

This one's heading for my sister!

We also had a visit from the Dummy Fairy this week. Caoimhe has done very well, sleeping without her dummy now for 2 nights, and with minimal fuss. This was her reward:

It took me a couple of days to make it, and there was a fair bit of swearing late on Saturday night when I was rushing to finish it for her to wake up to on Sunday morning. It is partially machine sewn and hand sewn. Not the neatest of finishes, but the first toy I have made since Needlework lessons at school when I was 12! Probably the last one I will make for a while, or at least until I forget how much I swore making this one!

Off to make chocolate crispie cakes now with the Flip Flop. Yep, there is *still* chocolate in the house - not many people can say that in June, can they!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A new skill?

The Book Man has been to work this week and delivered our book selection for this month. As usual there are plenty of kiddies' books to umm and ahh over, which, of course, I did before having a look at the adult choices. Normally there are a couple (at least) of recipe books, but not today. Instead there is a book on quilting. 50 projects for the home, apparently. Lots of lovely things from various bags to rugs to throws. And there was me thinking that quilting was all about, well, quilts, really.

It got me thinking. I'm getting along a bit better with my sewing machine now. We're still not best friends, don't get me wrong, but we are rubbing along quite nicely. I even managed to repair my hubby's jeans the other day. Could i extend this relationship and have a stab at quilting? Is it really as simple as it looks in this book? Or will it be another book flipped through and then shelved without completing even one of the projects? Bit strapped for cash at the moment, especially with my expanding waistline, but is the £4 they are asking for this book worth the investment?

Think I'll sleep on it!