52 weeks of happy: 39/52

IMG_3601Some crochet stars that must have been inspired by beautiful the British asters we had in the house this week.

IMG_3620No need to say any more. If you have no idea why I would be excited about this, visit the website, here.

IMG_3635Pretty buttons and beads. A random moment of shininess while I prepare for my first craft fair this weekend.

IMG_3681Babykins and I harvested our first fully orange pumpkin this week. I made an enormous batch of pumpkin soup and unusually for me, decided to keep and toast the seeds. There are loads of recipes out there but I used this one, which is about as simple as it gets. They were delicious. Even Son Number One and the Middle Miss nibbled a few and approved.

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Hearts and buttons

IMG_6978Last Tuesday felt like a day to sit down and do a bit of button sewing-on. It seemed like the first time in ages when the house was quiet and I could indulge. I had enough hearts crocheted and stiffened to make two more hanging decorations. In the time that babykins was a playgroup I managed to stitch on almost all the buttons for them both. Stitching them all together into the final hanging shape always takes me ages but I finished one last night. Getting good pictures of these is so difficult. I wish I could afford a professional product photographer! When I do it there are shadows where I don’t want them, the colours don’t show at their best and the focus is off in places! I think it’s partly that they are so long – 60cm or 2′ from the top bit of crochet to the bottom. hanging heartsWhat a difference natural light makes to an amateur photographer. The photo in the centre above was taken at night with a flash and a Canon digital ixus 80IS. I have played around a little with it but it still looks wrong. The two outer photos were done in natural light with an iPhone in HD mode (iPhone 5 I think, it was my Mum’s).

I have one more decoration to finish off and then I will have to get on with more crocheting and blocking out and experimenting with more photography. Maybe I should take them out into the garden and hang them amongst some branches? I’d be happy to hear any top tips, bearing in mind that my cameras are limited those mentioned above.

52 weeks of happy 16/52

Before I record my happy things for the week, I want to reflect a little bit on these posts. Practising happiness is, I think, a good thing. Setting aside a little bit of time each week to be thankful for the small pleasures in life is something that humans have frequently done in one form or another, often as a part of prayer and religion. Mostly it was done privately, maybe it still should be?

I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to go away from here with the idea that my life is full of unremitting joy and that I never get fed up, frustrated, confused, angry or uncertain. Trust me, the last week has had it’s fair share of challenges. Not massive, life changing, insurmountable challenges, just everyday stuff. However, at this moment in my life, I want to choose to remember the good things and if someone else enjoys sharing those good things then that is….good. So, on with the happiness…..

knittingThis has been the week that I have finally got into knitting. In one week, I have completed three projects. They were all very simple, even if the wavy blue scarf doesn’t look like it, but it has given me a real sense of achievement. I’ve been able to do the basics of knitting for a long time but up until now I’ve always felt at a loss if I made a mistake. One of the things that has made me happy this week is discovering that I could unpick stitches and get them back on the needles again. Funny how that has almost been more important for me than actually making the items. I think I will have more to say about this at a later date.

IMG_6947I have no idea what I am going to use these for but the colours of the fabric and the buttons made me happy. The buttons were more charity shop bargains so that is another reason to be happy.

allotment april 2013Saturday was a beautiful day, reason enough to be happy. The Husband spent most of it at our allotment, Son Number One was away at a Beaver Scouts activity, The Middle Miss had some Grandma time and I shopped for seeds (as well as fabric and buttons) with Babykins. Later though, we went down to see how Daddy was getting on. It certainly is looking a lot more neat and tidy, now that the hockey season is over. The slightly warmer weather of the last week had brought on the purple sprouting broccoli so I picked our first harvest. I am very happy to report that I seem to be able to eat it with no ill effects, unlike last year. The sunny day also seemed to be waking up the butterflies. The pair of tortoiseshells in the top left picture fluttered around for quite a long time from patch to patch.

IMG_2221Finally, a picture that is just pretty. My favourite yellow roses, bought for me by The Husband, (along with a packet of croissants), some cheery narcissus with a rougue hyacinth, bought for me by my Mum and my blue heart hanging thing, which I think just looks lovely against all the yellow. And of course my knitted sheep. So, if that in any way made you feel happy, feel free to leave me a comment and make me even happier.

P.S. I think the 52 weeks of Happy thing originated at Little Birdie if you want to take a look.

Hook ’em in

Last Friday I was lucky enough to spend a few hours with two of my oldest and dearest friends. We don’t get that opportunity very often because one of us lives a good two hour journey away. We had decided to have a bit of a ‘crafternoon’, indulging ourselves in a bit of ‘hooking’. Now, that was all very well for me and the Out-of-Town friend, because we already knew how. The challenge was to teach our other pal.

Luckily for us, she’s very clever (got a PhD, you know) and picked it up quickly. After just an hour or so she was merrily making trebles in the round. The fact that her very first round bit of crochet was a bit wobbly was entirely my fault for getting her to make the wrong number of stiches. Ooops.

I was getting to grips with making teeny-tiny hearts. The pattern is by Lucy at Attic 24 and comes with the usual, beautifully photographed tutorial if you want to have a go yourself.

As you may be able to see from the photo, I kept on making them while I took Son Number One to his swimming lesson. I suspect the other mums think I’m slightly mad sitting there crocheting away. I usually get a visit from one of their little girls who wants to know what I’m up to. Maybe one day she’ll want to have a go?

On Saturday afternoon, as the snow began to fall, my clever friend and I took out our hooks again. In between supervising our children we managed to make a bit more progress. She was really getting the hang of it. So much so, that on Sunday evening I got a text photo of a completed crochet flower.

I couldn’t resist popping round on Monday night to see her first completed project in the flesh and to inspect the yarn she’d bought that day. Soon we were working on a mini project together; a set of four teeny tiny hearts. By the end of the evening, they had been made, embellished with buttons and added to an engagement card for my friend’s colleague.

Starting the first round…

A lovely stash of buttons from ‘Kitties Closet’

A useful set of stamps from Stampin’ Up

Adding colour to the stamp

The finished article

I’m pleased to say, I seem to have a new convert to crochet. Always a joy to recruit another happy hooker!