Once we worked out a bedtime for Felix I started crochet again. I had some evening time back to myself and I was itching to do something to engage MY brain and completely non-child related. I had seen on Pinterest many stunning crochet wreath projects so I decided I wanted to give it a go. In my usual way I bought the polystyrene ring and just started crocheting. No forward planning or designing….the design would come as I made it.

^I knew I wanted to do a grass and sky scene so set to work with rows of differing greens to represent my land and then blue, white and grey to represent my sky with clouds. I added in a few rows of yellow for the sun. This didn’t take too long but then came the fun part of stitching it onto the ring. It took aaagggeeessss! At times I didn’t think it was going to fit and would gather on the inside of the ring. But once it was on it looked great! I sewed in the ends and voi là; a crochet covered polystyrene ring!!!!!

Then came the good bit; many crochet flowers! I really enjoyed making these. Some took a few minutes, others took a couple of hours!

^I made up my own pattern for the daffodils which shows as they all have a different number of petals! I also made the red roses and white daisies without a pattern.

^The 3 hellebores were patterns from Attic24. Lucy’s tutorial was so clearly written it was easy to follow and I’m really pleased with the result. They do tend to curl a bit but I used a stiffer yarn so they can be manipulated into shape a little easier.

With the pansies I searched high and low for a pattern I liked and the only one I found was in Dutch!!!!! Thankfully there were step by step photos and a really good English translation at the bottom of the page. My pansies turned out alot more curly than the pattern suggested but I actually really like that as it gives more dimention to the flowers.

^One of my favourite things was the heather. Now I did start by following a YouTube video which I think was in Chinese but I couldn’t get it to work as they suggested so, again, I just figured it out by myself. And then I wrapped it round a green pipecleaner! The little blue flowers were my own creation.

^Then there’s all the greenery.
I really liked the winter wreath from Attic24 so made some curly vines to hang from the hellebore.

Another super tutorial from Attic24 was the ferns. I made 3 of these in different shades of green.

Then I made a creeper vine with leaves. This was my own design and I think it came out really well.

Once I had made enough flowers and leaves I pinned them all onto the ring. I moved flowers around and tried to get the best fit visually. I wanted it to look random and natural. Eventually I settled on their positioning and got stitching. As fun as the making of the flowers had been, this part was quite tedious. But after a few evenings everything was attached!

I decided to make a couple of butterflies to add some interest to the sky. They were patterns out of my head. And finally I needed something so that the wreath can be hung. So I made a rainbow!

And here is the completed wreath!

Here are a few close ups.

^I think my 5 petal daffodil was my most successful.

^A very curly pansy!

^The heather! I think these 2 sprigs look really cute popping out of the creeper.

^I’m really chuffed with the butterflies. They were not planned originally but I like the idea that they are dancing in and out of the flowers.

^rainbow loop so that it can be hung on a wall.

I really am delighted with the finished result! It’s a real mish-mash of seasons and I guess shows how I just went with the flow and created what I enjoyed.

This wreath was made as a thankyou gift and I gave it away this week. It was a really fun project and probably the most creative thing I have made so far. I hope it is received well and enjoyed by it’s new owner!

Over the last few months I’ve been busy with crochet and sewing.  Once the exhaustion of the first trimester passed I found my cro-jo and have been hooking steadily for the last 3 months.

My first completed project was a baby blanket for one of my best friends.  I chose to do the ‘Call the Midwife’ blanket in Stylecraft Wondersoft acrylic yarn.

Once I got the hang of the pattern I absolutely loved making this beautiful baby blanket.  The yarn really was very soft and not splitty so very easy to work with.

It was a staple friend on my commute to and from work and only took me about a month to complete.  That may sound slow to fellow yarnies but in my busy life of work and kids it was pretty speedy!  I added in a boarder which I kind of made up – it’s supposed to be little triangles.  I think it works.

My friend had her baby boy last week and was thrilled to receive this gift.  I hope her baby enjoys snuggling in it once the weather cools down to Autumn.

Another completed make was some bandana bibs.  I’ve not made these for a few years so it was a lovely break from crochet to do some sewing.

I dusted off the sewing machine and got to work.  I’m really happy with them (and thankful I still remember how to sew!).

I’d really like to have a go at some clothes.  I think once we have a nice house (I hope this happens soon!) where things have proper places then I’ll feel more able to get into sewing again.  It’s definitely something I need quiet for to concentrate.  And that is few and far between in a house with a 4 year old and a toddler!

I’m now working on a blanket for the wiggly little baby growing in my tummy.  I’ve decided to use the Virus blanket pattern in Stylecraft Cabaret.

It’s quite tricky because I’m having to make sure I hook the glitter thread aswel as the yarn.  But I’m really happy with how it’s growing.  It’s not come out of the bag for the last couple of weeks because I just cannot hook in his heat!  Too hot!!!!!!!  I’m not wishing the summer away but maybe if it cools down a little then I will get back to work.  It definitely grows very fast!
Finally I’ve got this granny square blanket to show you.

This is something I finished around the start of the year but it took me a while to complete the picot border.  It is destined to be a baby blanket for another friend who is due in September.  It’s made in Special Stylecraft DK.

It’s the first granny square blanket I’ve ever made and I’m really happy with the finished result.  It’s bigger than a traditional baby blanket but not heavy so hopefully it will be well loved.
So that’s what I’ve been up to with my own crafts. There’s something else which I’m really proud of but I think it deserves a post all of its own once I’m finished.

I hope you like my makes 🙂

This week I have felt uneasy about my commute to work.  I travel by bus, train and underground to reach my office in central London.  Following the terrorist attacks at the weekend I have found myself being much more vigilant, wary and wanting to avoid large crowds.  As much as I do not want these attacks to induce fear in my heart and prevent me from living my life, I am affected.  Without meaning to, this week I have avoided travelling by tube during peak hours.  My commute has taken a little longer but a plus of this is that I get to crochet more and in all honesty the journey is much more pleasant above ground.  No stinky armpits in my face or fellow commuters pushing to squeeze on the train.  I am also getting a bit more exercise!

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This morning I had a really lovely journey in.  The sun was shining brightly and I felt relaxed.  I did some more of my gumdrops hat on the train – I could tell people around me were glancing over to see what I was up to and it did give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside!  Then I walked via Covent Garden to my office.  The first thing to make me smile was the giant Christmas Tree already standing proudly in the square!  The Apple Market was already decked out in beautiful mistletoe.  As I rounded the corner I came across this:

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My photos aren’t great but hopefully you can see that this is a filmcrew surrounding James Bowen and Bob the cat!  For those that don’t know, James Bowen was a homeless man who adopted this ginger cat. At the time he was staying at a shelter and the cat appeared with an infected wound. Bowen took the cat in and administered medicine to get him back to tip top kitty health. They forged a strong bond and would travel on the bus together to Covent Garden where he was a busker. The story became famous and there have been books written and now a film being made about his life with this cat! It looks as though I stumbled across the film being shot.  Only in London….!!

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I then made my way to the office. Safe and sound and without any problems.

 

I just hope that good will prevail…

 

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October was my first full month of blogging.  I have thoroughly enjoyed developing this little space of mine.  It’s been fun chatting to other bloggers and reading some really wonderful posts.  I like the idea of a monthly round-up so here goes.

Family life

October was the month of germs in our house.  Both kids had chicken pox, Ezra got Hand Foot and Mouth, I had sinusitis and now Ezra has a cold.  We have had very little routine to our weeks with the children needing to be off nursery at various times.  I really hope November will mark the start of a healthy family!

Ezra learnt to cruise along furniture.  It’s so sweet watching him shuffle over to see you (and try and pinch something off your plate!).  Next I guess he will learn to stand without support and then take his first steps.  Sometimes it seems as though his development is moving along so fast that the next milestone is imminent.  However I would be very surprised if he took his first steps by his first birthday.

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Violet has been loving pre-school so much.  She has some really good friends there and the staff tell me she is totally relaxed now and no longer anxious.  This makes me so relieved as I do worry about her nervousness.  In the new year we will consider sending her in for another day as she enjoys it so much and in the lead up to starting school I think this will be really beneficial.

I had a fabulous time on my 2 day crochet course.  I am putting my new skills into practice and have been trying to interpret patterns I am finding online.  My aim in the next couple of months it to make a teddy.  Please don’t laugh when it turns out looking more like a slug or something!

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Joe and I are very overdue some time together.  We have booked in babysitters at the start of December so that we can go out for a meal and to the cinema (Daniel Craig as James Bond anyone?!?!)

 

Blog life

I’ve been trying to work out what I want my blog to do for me.  First and foremost I want it to be an online journal of our life.  Time moves so fast and we will no doubt forget many things so I hope I can preserve some of those memories here.  I am trying to work out which posts get the best response and why they were successful.  I’m not yet happy with the ‘look’ of my page.  It needs a lot of improvement and currently I am trying to develop a nice banner for the top.  This will all come in time, I’m still settling into the blogging groove!

The most read post: The Promise Fairy – a tactic for toddler tantrums  – I got a really good reaction to this post.  Lots of people saying they hadn’t heard of such a tactic and it could work for their own children.  I even had a few mums sending me photos of their new Promise Fairy Doors in their homes!  The idea could be adapted in many ways to suit a child, I just hope it helps any parents out there who are looking for new ideas!

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My favourite post:  Skin-to-Skin from Birth  – I felt very emotional writing this post.  Remembering Ezra’s birth was really special and I am pleased I have it written down.  I doubt I could ever forget meeting him for the first time but I am glad I have it recorded here forever.

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My favourite blogger:  My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows  – A hilarious blog written by Mama about raising Baby in Thailand with Mummy.  Mama’s little drawings accompanying each post never fail to make me smile and perfectly capture the slightly crazed look parents can get bringing up their kids!

My targets for November

  1. To continue enjoying writing posts and taking photos
  2. To improve the look of my page with new banner and logos
  3. To make more time for my Facebook page

 

Thanks for reading and supporting Another Mum In London during October.  I hope you’ll come back for more in November!

Vix x

 

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For my birthday Joe got me a 2 day intermediate crochet course.  I just completed it over the weekend and had such a fantastic time I felt it deserved a post.

I have been crocheting for about 8 years now. My friend over at Curious Little Teapot showed me how to do a single crochet and from then on I was hooked (literally!).  I was never much good at knitting. Stitches were dropped more often than England dropped the ball in the Rugby World Cup and I had no idea how to correct my mistakes. But then came crochet.  It is such a forgiving art as you can easy add in a couple on extra stitches wherever you want if you find yourself a bit short. Mistakes are far less obvious. And then it’s great because it grows so quickly. I like to see progress for all the time I invest.

The first thing I made was a kingsize bed throw in luxurious Debbie Bliss yarn. It’s not the prettiest thing but I do love it. It’s so warm and cosy and now lives in our living room.

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Then I made a zigzag blanket for a future child.  I learnt the stitches from a book and it took about 2 years to complete.  Now that blanket lives in Ezra’s cot.  I also made a lilac and cream blanket which Violet used as a baby.

Next came a couple of gift projects…and blanket for my cousin’s new baby and another for my niece.

Vix 275Last year I caught the crochet bug pretty bad when I joined a particular Facebook group.  Yarn was being delivered every couple of weeks and I had great fun making little hats for Violet.  While I was pregnant I made a blanket for my soon to be baby boy. It was probably the first project where I had felt a huge emotional attachment to what I was making.  Once it was finished I started a Crochet A-Long (CAL).  I learnt so many new stitches and loved the clear step-by-step instructions.  I was so pleased with the finished product and gifted the blanket to my sister-in-law who was expecting her third child.Vix 093

Along came Ezra and time to sit and crochet went out the window again!

I am self taught and trawl youtube for good tutorials but I really wanted some formal lessons.  Joe got me the perfect birthday present.  I attended the class at Morley College in Lambeth with my cousin.  The tutor was called Katie and she has her own sustainably crafted knitwear label.  She brought along lots of her own creations for us to look at plus numerous pattern booked.  We were given a particular stitch to try and master and then to incorporate it into a swatch.

The class was much more than somewhere for me to learn new stitches.  It was somewhere away from home and my responsibilities where I could do something for ME.  As much as my family is my life and I love them more than I can explain, I do need time away.  This was just the tonic.  I got to sit and relax, natter about Strictly and focus my mind on just one single thing; learning the latest new stitch!  I felt so restored after each class and came home with new energy.

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Research suggests there are many health benefits to knit and stitch crafts.  10 years ago when I was awkwardly wielding two knitting needles and getting nowhere I would have said the only thing I was experiencing was frustration.  However since taking up crochet I can definitely say it has been a mainstay for improving my mental health.  Here are some of the benefits I have found online.

  1. Knitting and crochet relieves some symptoms of depression.  The repetitive nature of the stitches releases serotonin into the body which is a natural anti-depressant.
  2. Counting stitches has shown to help relieve anxiety.  In social situations, just sitting and concentrating on stitches can go towards relieving anxiety and keeping hands busy.  It bring peace and calm to the mind.
  3. Simply seeing your project grow is enough to bring about an enormous boost to the self-esteem.  It’s a real confidence boost to finish a project and look at all the effort it has taken to produce.
  4. There is some suggestion that yarncraft can help postpone dementia.  And it can also be very soothing for people who are already showing the early signs of age-related memory-loss.
  5. Yarncraft can help build communities.  Through a shared skill you can be wholeheartedly accepted in online, local and family craft communities.  When my lovely Nan was still with us she would talk to me about my crochet.  She was a knitter and was interested in me taking up crochet.  Now my cousin has started crocheting (she is really very good!) and it’s lovely to think we will have a shared interest and extra reason to stay in touch.

I have started taking my crochet with me for my work commute.  I get 20 minutes to just relax my mind and concentrate on the next stitch.  I almost find myself wishing the train journey was a little longer (notice I said almost).

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So this is why I crochet.  To make lovely creations, to give friends and family handmade gifts and to help keep my mind healthy.

Do you do any yarncraft?  Are you self-taught or did your granny show you?  Do you think it helps your mental health?  Let me know!

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