Friday, 24 April 2015

Fox Cape ::

I'm so pleased to finally have this pattern up for sale in PDF format. It's by far and away one of my favourite creations and something I wear loads.

Originally published in issue 48 of Inside Crochet, it's worked bottom up, mostly in treble stitch, with the colourwork sections in double crochet.
It's a simple and fun project, that will work up pretty quickly too. The trickiest part is the colourwork. I used the Fair Isle technique, carrying the yarns not in use at the back of the work, I really think this would produce much better results than tapestry crochet.

The yarn used in the sample is Katia Merino 100%, which is lovely double knit weight merino, available in a load of gorgeous colours.
When I was adding the pattern to ravelry yesterday I came across this amazing version by Candice Miller, who changed the foxes and replaced them with owls. I love this so so much!

I'm offering 50% off the pattern price until the end of the weekend meaning you can purchase for a bargain £1.75. Available here.

Photography by Britt Spring.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Sewing :: Springtime Clothes for Effie ::

My iron has been in overdrive in the last few weeks. Anyone who knows me well will probably be surprised to discover I even own an iron. I do but it only comes out for 2 reasons, weddings and sewing. There has not been any wedding going to yet this year, but there has been a lot of sewing.

Super cute baby romper and matching bonnet.

I purchased the lovely Simple Modern Sewing with a book voucher I received for Christmas, way back in January and have since been meaning to make some clothing for myself, so when Bex took up sewing clothing with a passion recently, I was inspired to join her. We took a trip to our crazy good, yet crazy full fabric shop and I purchased a couple of metres of cotton/linen blend in beige, for some skirt making for myself (more on that soon). With the fabric I had left over from that project, I decided to make a little romper with matching sunhat for miss Effie to wear on Easter Sunday.

I purchased this romper pattern from Puperita on etsy last year. I've made a couple of rompers for Effie with it, which I loved, though are sadly now too small and possibly slightly out of season. So I set about cutting out the patten pieces for the next size up on the Thursday night. I swear sewing is much more cutting than it ever is sewing. The bonnet is a free download available on the Purl Bee website. Which I also cut the pattern pieces for on the Thursday evening.

On Good Friday I picked out my fabric and got to cutting that out. I spent most of the day dipping in and out of sewing, when nap time allowed, or when Johnny was on hand to take care of the little ones. By the evening I had completed the whole ensemble. For someone who does not have a huge amount of sewing experience, I was pretty impressed with this.

sewing baby romper and hat

sewing baby romper and hat

sewing baby romper and hat

For the bonnet I used some floral print fabric I had left over from a fat quarter I've had for years and years and some plain blue quilting fabric, I also already had to hand. For the romper, as I said, I used cotton/linen blend for the main body, for the pocket I used the same floral fabric as the bonnet, ideally I wanted to use the plain blue for the inside of the pocket and the lining of the bodice, but unfortunately I didn't have enough, so I used some more floral fabric I had in my stash. As you can't really see these bits I don't think it really matters and my main goal was to just use what I had on hand, but next time I'll try to get everything to match up a bit better I think.

Super cute baby romper and matching bonnet.

Over all I'm massively impressed with myself and really pleased with the results. Both patterns were really easy to follow and included lots of pictures and instructions. The most difficult part was piecing together all the paper pattern pieces for the romper once I'd printed them off, as it wasn't always completely clear which piece needed sticking together where, but I got there in the end.

Details ::
Romper Pattern :: from Puperita here
Bonnet Pattern :: from Purl Bee here
Fabric :: various pieces I already had in my stash
Poppers :: KAM snaps from Plush Addict here

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Beginnings :: and the end of maternity leave ::

Last Monday my blog reader and social media feeds came alive with bloggers joining in with A Playful Day's love your blog challenge. At the time I thought 'what a fabulous idea' and loved reading everyone's stories of community and interaction, as was the theme. What with birthdays to celebrate and school holidays to contend with, my desire to take part was thwarted by a lack of time, but when I saw this weeks theme, 'beginnings', it seemed so apt I knew I should join in.

Yesterday I went back to work. I've been on maternity leave since the end of July. I decided to start my leave almost 2 months before Effie was due because it gave me the chance to take the summer holidays off and spend some time concentrating on Milo before his world was changed significantly. As it stands Milo is unbelievably laid back about these things and has allowed his new sister to slip seamlessly into his life without any upheaval. But having that summer break was such a lovely thing.

My time, however, is now up and it's time to get back to it. I know how lucky I am to be self employed. Going back to work for me is simply changing the location I spend most the day within my own home, which as it stands is still in the same room even. I still get to see my little girl throughout the day, I'm there when she's hungry, I can watch her play and develop and I'm there to settle her to sleep at nap times. I worked hard through Milo's early years to be lucky enough to be in this position. Now I have two to tend though I wonder how much more difficult balancing work and childcare is going to be.

If you don't know I have two main streams of income, my Etsy shop, selling handmade items from polymer clay and knit and crochet design. Both are pretty time consuming endeavours in different ways, but as they're such varied jobs it's quite easy to fit different aspects of work in around my everyday.

I thought a lot about starting a new venture when I was on leave, but for now, with everything else going on in my life I think sticking to what I know best is the best option for me.
So with that in mind yesterday pulled out all my existing etsy stock and started getting ready to open up again. Today I'm planning on working on the crochet part of my business and getting some patterns ready for republishing. Fingers crossed for long nap times and a baby who remains immobile just a little bit longer!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Six ::

Last Tuesday, Milo turned six. The passing of time is such a strange thing, in so many ways it seems like yesterday we brought that little bundle home from hospital in others it seems like a million years ago.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered an old video of him, probably around 3, singing and dancing and playing the drums. He was such a little one, super cute and bossy and with the sweetest little baby voice, things change so gradually and yet so quickly, there was never a day when he just stopped talking in that baby voice, I didn't even notice it happening. We celebrate all the firsts in our children's lives, but the last's go by completely unnoticed. Looking up at the sky last week, Milo pointed up and said to his sister, 'Look Effie, there's a helicopter', I don't know when it happened but at some point he said 'hellyhoptaper' for the last time and managed the correct pronunciation without any assistance. They just keep growing and growing and getting better at things and I guess there just isn't anything we can do about it!

Talking of firsts, the day before Milo's birthday he lost his first tooth. It had been wobbly for a good 2 weeks and I was doubtful it would ever come out. However Johnny mentioned that the tooth fairy may bring extra treats for those whose teeth fall out on their birthdays and Milo wobbled and wobbled that tooth with sheer force. Our lovely neighbour (Stitch and Spool) gave Milo his birthday gift from her a few days early as it was this tooth pillow. Personalised on the front with his name, in glow in the dark embroidery (so the tooth fairy can see it of course) and a diagram of all his teeth, so we can record when each one falls out, on the back there is a little pocket to store your tooth and for the fairy to leave your money.

So Milo awoke on his birthday to a tooth fairy visit as well as all the usual birthday shenanigans. There were a pile of gifts to work his way through before our birthday tradition of rainbow pancakes and berries. After that his annual lego building marathon, then it was a gorgeous sunny day, so we headed out to the park for some cricket (set from his Dad as a birthday gift). For dinner he requested gyoza and sushi, so we took him to Kibou Sushi. We'd never been there before, but it was really lovely, the food and atmosphere both. I'm sure we'll be adding it to our favourite Cheltenham restaurants.

All in all it was a perfect way to turn six (move onto another a hand as Milo has been declaring).

I've made a little video of his day as part of the Capturing Time Capsules course I've been taking with Xanthe Berkely. I'm loving making these little videos and already know how lovely they will be to look back over in years to come.

Milo Turns Six from vicki brown on Vimeo.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Easter :: Part Two ::

You can read part one of our Easter adventures here.

A picture heavy post for this one.

Sunday we took part in the usual Easter Sunday activities, a morning walk around the beautiful Bruton, an egg hunt, a trip to feed the ducks, a few games of pooh sticks topped off with a delicious roast lamb, before heading back to Cheltenham on the train.

All in all we had a perfect Easter time! I hope yours was just as fabulous.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Win :: Family Ticket to Wychwood Festival ::

I'm so excited to be offering you a chance to win tickets to this years Wychwood Fesitval.

Photo Credit - Simon Ager

It's a festival we've been hoping to attend for a long time, but haven't yet managed to. Every year I regret not going when I hear tales of it's greatness from friends the following week and admire their photos via social media. From what I hear it's a great little family festival with loads on offer for all ages and not only that, held up at Cheltenham Racecourse, it's just a short walk from our house.

Photo Credit - Simon Ager

This year there's music from The Undertones, Ladysmith Black Mambazo and The Proclaimers to name just a few, plus Justin Fletcher and Dick and Dom will be there, for the little ones. There's going to be a headphone disco, a roller disco, a kids literature festival and all manner of fabulous workshops. For the full line up of what's going to be on check out the Wychwood Festival website.

Photo Credit - Gary O'Brien

We're really really looking forward to going, with Effie still so little I think it may be the perfect festival for us this year.

Photo Credit - Gary O'Brien

To be in with a chance of winning a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children), plus weekend camping and parking all you need to do if enter via rafflecopter below, good luck :: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Easter :: Part One ::

Hoping you all had a glorious bank holiday weekend. Ours was indeed just that. We headed down to Bruton in Somerset on Saturday morning, to spend a couple of days with Milo's Great Grandparents and Grandma, as has become a bit of a tradition for us. It's a beautiful and not too long train journey from Cheltenham, with just a quick change at Bristol, we arrived in time for lunch.

After which we decided to head down to Bruton's new addition the Hauser and Wirth. I was really eager to go and check it out, but Milo was much less convinced. After a little bit of googling however, I discovered they were holding a special event over the weekend. The House of Fairy Tales were going to be there presenting The Giant Ogulon Egg and the Egg Edifiers. So instead of asking Milo if he wanted to go see an art gallery I asked if he would like to go and see a giant egg that had been discovered just down the road. Of course he did!

I was so impressed by the whole event The House of Fairy Tales had put on. The staff were so enthusiastic and Milo loved the whole thing. To be honest I think they had tried to do a little too much, but we were only there a couple of hours, we could have easily filled our day with all the experiments and spell making that was required. The general premise was; a giant egg had been discovered, thought to have risen from the earth and had been laid by the Ogulon, which had travelled here from another planet, choosing Earth to lay it's egg because it heard it's beauty through the sounds of the planets. At least I think that's the story, as Milo has described it to me.

The whole thing ended at the egg itself, which was housed in the centre of the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, which is a really interesting thing in itself. The egg had been decorated with clay by all the children (and grown ups too no doubt) who had visited over the weekend. As we visited right at the very end of the last day we were lucky enough to see the egg in all it's decorated glory. It looked wonderful. Milo, being not the most artistic creature, turned his piece of clay into a slug, which was proudly placed at the very top of the egg.

Milo loved it all and was so convinced by the whole thing that he keeps asking why the Ogulon hasn't been on the news and when we'll know if it's hatched. I haven't had the heart to tell him it's mythical yet.

Part two of our Easter adventures is here.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Happy Easter ::

So having two children at home this week has been quite the roller coaster (parents with more than one pre-schooler, I am in awe of you). I had so much planned, in terms of blog posts and activities with the babies that just didn't get done. Milo really tested my parenting this week, he's usually such a good kid but this week...there have been some trying moments let's say. We seem to be back on track now at least. 
One craft activity we did manage to sit together and get done from start to finish was this springtime wreath. 

Inspired by similar ones I saw on Pinterest (of course). Milo and I saved our egg boxes up the past few weeks, I set about cutting them into (vague) flower shapes and Milo painted them for me. We then cut out a large circle from an old cardboard box and painted that green. Once everything had dried we glued the flowers on to the circle and we were done. Sounds simple and easy but it took us 3 days and much bribery was required to get Milo to actually sit down and help! But now it's all done he's really proud of it and I love it.

We're now off to Somerset as is our Easter tradition to spend some time with family, hunt Easter eggs and eat lots of chocolate. 
Wishing you all a very happy Easter weekend.