Sunday, 24 April 2016

Crochet Flashback - C2C Blanket

Hi everybody,

Can you believe it's been two weeks since I last spoke to you?!!! Time is just flying by! Today I'm feeling all reminicent (!) so I wanted to show you a project that I finished a few months ago. It was my first ever C2C or Corner To Corner blanket. My Instagram followers will already be familiar with it as you all watched it's progress over a few months.

It turned out to be ALOT bigger than I anticipated because I just carried on going until I ran out of yarn. In the beginning I thought it would just be single bed size but in the end, it was double bed size! I loved making this blanket sooo much. It took me a bit to get to grips with the pattern but once it had "clicked", the rows started whizzing up!!!

It does have a sad story to it unfortunately. I'd been making it for a friend who was in hospital at the time and who we thought would soon be returning back home and I wanted to have this blanket ready for her home-coming but she very suddenly passed away before I could get it finished. After that, trying to get the blanket finished had a very bitter-sweet feeling to it and for a while I didn't really want to do anymore to it. Once it was finished though, I decided to give it to one of her closest friends. I'm so pleased it's gone to a good home, to someone who appreciates it very much.

Every stitch is a labour of love, it's a wonderful feeling to be able to give it to someone who appreciates all the time, effort and love we put into our creations! I'll definitely be doing another C2C blanket sometime soon, because the pattern is so lovely and relaxing to make, but not until I've finished some of my other current wips (who knows how long that will take!!! ;oD ).

Well, I hope you're all having a lovely Sunday! Thank you so much for dropping by! Speak to you all very soon my lovelies!!!
Much love,

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Boscobel House, Shropshire

Hello everyone!

Today's blog post is on more of a lifestyle theme, as I've been ill twice in the last three weeks and not been able to get much crafting done to show you!  I hope you all don't mind this kind of blog post, let me know in the comments if you do/don't and the reason why!  We really want to make this blog something that our readers will enjoy looking through, so honest feedback is really appreciated!

Last Sunday we took a day trip to Boscobel House in Shropshire.  My sister and I were both homeschooled and had many a day trip out to English Heritage and National Trust properties with my mum, aunt, and two homeschooled cousins (let's just say we were never short of history projects!) so returning to Boscobel House was very nostalgic for us!  I guess the fact that years later I'm willingly writing a blog post about our day trip to a historic house proves that my mum did a jolly good job of instilling a love of history in both me and my sister!

(Apologies in advance for some of the indoor photos being
slightly fuzzy, I didn't want to use flash and risk being told off! 😄)

Even after all the times we visited here years ago, I still learnt loads of new things on this visit.  One of the things that struck me the most was the origin of Boscobel's name.  It's derived from the Italian 'bosco bello', meaning 'beautiful wood', as the house was at one time surrounded by woods, one of the trees being the very oak that Charles hid in.  Having a deep love for the Italian language this really made an impression on me!

The other is that after Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660, the five Penderel brothers - servants at Boscobel and White Ladies Priory, who risked their lives to protect Charles - were rewarded with a pension which is still paid to their descendants even today!

In we go!
Boscobel House and the Royal Oak Tree became famous as hiding places of King Charles II after he suffered defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.  We visited the hunting lodge, farmyard, gardens and the descendant of the Royal Oak.  There was also the ruins of White Ladies Priory (another of Charles's hiding places) nearby but we didn't visit it this time.

I love the brickwork on these old buildings!

One of the many priest holes within the house
There are apparently several 'priest holes' throughout the house.  The Giffard family, who were the original owners of Boscobel House, were Catholics who refused to participate in the worship of the established Church of England.  This meant fines, imprisonment and discrimination for them, but for priests it could mean inhumane execution.  The house itself served as a secret place for the shelter of Catholic priests.  This secret purpose of the house was to play a key role in the history of the country!

This is the upper floor of the hunting lodge, where there is another priest hole, the one that Charles II is thought to have hidden in overnight.

This would have been very uncomfortable for him, as the hole is only 4 feet in height, whereas Charles was around 6 foot 2!  Although here my sister looks as though she's thinking about going in there herself!

Further along the upper floor is the Bower Room, which was used as a bedroom in the 19th century.  In the background, you can see a large traditional spinning wheel!  I loved how all the bedrooms had these pretty washstands and basins.

This was the Settling Room, where the cream was separated from the milk

After the cream had been skimmed from the milk in the Settling Room, it was turned into cheese or butter in the Scullery
I've always loved the 'butter pats' used for shaping the butter into the traditional brick shape!

You can see the wooden butter paddles - or 'pats' - on the wooden board to the left of this photo. The butter maker would hold one of these pats in each hand and work the butter into shape. Butter pats and moulds were washed in salted water to help prevent the butter from sticking to them.  The pats were thin, light and easy to hold.  One side was serrated, both to grip the butter and squeeze out any further water.  It was also used to make patterns on the finished butter.

I wish I could have seen what Boscobel was like when it was a thriving working farm.  That's one thing I wish you could even slightly experience with English Heritage or National Trust properties, but everything always seems so quiet.  Unless you happen to time your visit wrong and end up going round with a coach-load of schoolchildren! 😄

After we had seen the house and some of the gardens, we headed towards the fields where the Royal Oak is housed in some fencing.  I didn't take any photos of the tree, though, as it's rather bare at this time of year and is looking a bit battered from all the high winds and storms they've had in the area recently.  The oak that is there now is the daughter of the original Royal Oak, and there is actually a sapling growing nearby that they are going to nurture as the granddaughter of the original, once the daughter is eventually chopped down.

I also couldn't take any photos of the gardens, unfortunately, as the brickwork sections of the house are being repointed so lots of ugly scaffolding was everywhere and was in shot no matter where I stood!  Hopefully we can visit again in the summer or autumn when the work will be complete and there'll also be some leaves on the trees!

We headed back to the car after this, but we stopped to admire this gorgeous barn conversion just down the lane from Boscobel's car park - isn't it amazing?  It looks quite small in the photo, but it was huge, with floor to roof windows on the right-hand side.

We really enjoyed our return to Boscobel, and definitely need to visit some other properties that we used to visit as children!

So that's it from me today!  I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Boscobel House!  My sister is back next week with another blog post for you all!

TTFN! :o)

Sunday, 10 April 2016

"You've Got How Many Projects?..."

Good morning everyone,
Hope you're having a lovely weekend!  The sun is out today and a lovely blue sky is beckoning me to come outside!

This week has been so busy, I'm not quite sure where the time has gone to be honest!  My Mum is now on Instagram too!  She's an amazing crafter, and loves making handmade bags in lots of beautiful fabrics! You can find her under @bizzydeezbagz.

Last week I started sorting through all my various projects that I have on the go, and was quite shocked to work out how many there are!!! So for the next few weeks I'm going to really try and get some of them finished... that's the plan anyway! Here is one of them that I would like to get finished first, it's about halfway there already.

So hopefully next time I speak to you, there will be a 'wooooohooooooo, it is FINISHED!' picture!!!

Anyway my lovelies, I have to go now and get ready, I'm so sorry it's a very short and sweet one today. Take care and speak to you again soon!
Ellie Xoxoxoxo

Sunday, 3 April 2016

March comes in like a lion...

Hey everyone!

Thank you for checking out our blog today! I hope everyone is OK, and that you all got through Storm Katie alright at the beginning of the week! I thought of the saying 'March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb' - not very true this year!

Crafting-wise I've been fairly busy at the beginning of the week but lots of other things are happening all the time so I never seem to get as much done as I'd like to!  I also came down with a cold virus on Friday so I'm coughing and sneezing my head off, and not really feeling like doing much crafting at the moment!

I wanted to share a blanket that I've made for my aunt and uncle's anniversary this year - I first made starburst squares last year when I crocheted a king-size blanket for my parents 30th anniversary in September. That was the biggest blanket I've ever made; I'm not sure if I could ever make one that huge again to be honest! It was a big commitment of working on it for at least 2-3 hours every single day for 2 months straight. I did really love the effect of the starburst squares that made up the central panel on that blanket though, so when I decided to make a throw for my aunt and uncle's anniversary this year (as I'd never yet crocheted a blanket for my aunt), I decided I would have another go at the starburst squares.

And here it is!

The colour scheme for this blanket was also found on Instagram, people said it reminded them of Black Forest Gateau!!  I showed it to my mum and asked her if she thought my aunt would like it, and Mum said that she really would as they were definitely my aunt's kind of colours.

I used a continuous joining method for this blanket - I love using continuous joining whenever I can, as you see the blanket growing before your eyes, and there are minimal ends to sew in later! Perfect!

For the border I did a simple picot edge, one of my favourite edgings when there's a lot going on in the blanket itself and you don't want anything too intricate for the border.

I used Stylecraft Special DK and a 4mm hook throughout. The shades I used were Cream, Parchment, Mocha, Pale Rose, Grape, Plum, and tone for the continuous join and border.

I'll actually be making another similar blanket as my first commission, it'll be like a smaller version of my parents' blanket - I've make sure to show you when it's finished!

Anyway, time for me to sign off now, my sister will be back next week. See you in a fortnight! :o)