About Me

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United Kingdom
Hi there & welcome to Annie's Place. A place inspired by and named after my late Grandmother Annie. Somewhere I can be creative, and share my love for all things hand made. I like nothing better than sitting with hook & yarn, crafting something home spun & completely unique, or rustling up some yummy baked goodies. I live in a town with a beautiful embankment, situated on the River Great Ouse. You may know me as 'Colour-Heaven' on Flickr or 'CosyKitty' on Ravelry. Why not stop a while.....?!!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Channel your inner Christmas....

Well, that's what Kirstie Allsopp suggests we do! For those that saw Kirstie's Vintage Christmas this past week, you may recollect her saying those four words, and it struck a chord with me. See, I don't think I have channelled my inner Christmas yet?!! 
It's been so chaotic thus far, that I haven't had chance to really soak up the atmosphere properly. I should finally have that opportunity this weekend, when I can take a deep breath and relax into the festivities. I hope to take in a Carol concert or two, that's sure to help. There's nothing quite like hearing a choir sing all the festive classics, to get you into the spirit of things. 

Sadly, there's been little craft action going on round here this week. Although I have been marvelling at the grand efforts made by lots of other lovely bloggers. So many fantastic ideas and inspiration! I have every confidence that there will be plenty of hooky action in the new year though, so watch this space!

If anyone wants me, this is where I'll be for the most part.  
Snuggled up under my Granny Stripe on the sofa! 


I would like to wish each and every one of you

A HAPPY CHRISTMAS 
& A HEALTHY, 
PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
x x x x x 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Christmas, Crochet & Crafty bits & bobs


12 days & counting. Really?!!

Don't you think the days are whizzing by far too quickly? I feel like I'm going backwards, not forwards with preparations. Help!!! I suppose the one saving grace is that the tree is dressed and the decorations are up. One thing I truly hate though is sorting the lights out for the tree. I always endeavour to put them away tidily each year, but I swear the elves get to them and tangle them up, just to infuriate me. Ah well, needs must.

Do you like my little santa pegs above?  My sister gave them to me last year and I have to say they came in very handy. A supply of assorted mini pegs is a real must for any crafter.  They can be used in a multitude of ways.  You can pick them up so cheaply in any number of stationary shops on the high street, or online. Plain or coloured, it's best to have a few of both I think....



I decided to string some jute twine across the mantel, 
to peg some decorations along. 

Crafty & Christmassy all at the same time...

I confess I also have a bit of a thing for East of India and Parlane ribbon. I'd happily buy one of each design, but of course that's not remotely possible, so I just settled for one spool of each. I'm using it very sparingly....

Before I go, I've tried my hand at another of Jan Eaton's blocks from her book 200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws & afghans. Certain patterns jump off the page at me, and one I've been meaning to try for a while is the 'Edwardian Fancy' page 77, block no.88. I suppose I'm known for my love of bright colours, but on this occasion I chose to go with a more earthy palette.


I didn't follow the pattern to the letter, as I wanted a more solid border.  So I adapted it slightly.  I really love the wheel effect in the centre.  I think it would look fab in an array of different colours, don't you?





p.s. those of you who are in the UK, how many of you are watching the finals of Masterchef?  Nail biting stuff eh?! I like all 3 of the finalists, but I must say I'd like Keri to win! Girl power an' all that ;) x x  

Sunday, 9 December 2012

DIY Scrapbook Paper Wreath


Hello readers, hope you're enjoying what's left of your weekend?!! Huge thanks to everyone who so kindly commented on my very first attempt at cross stitching post, I haven't stopped grinning since reading your wonderful feedback x x   

I've been busy you know? I thought it high time I put some of the paper I've accumulated over recent years to good use. I'm not a scrap booker, but I have a bit of a penchant for pretty card stock, much in the same way as my obsession for gift wrap, as discussed a few weeks back. 

I sourced a lovely selection from etsy some time ago, which included 12"x12" sheets from Amy Butler, Carolyn Gavin Greenhouse & Fashion District. So I thought I'd try my hand at creating my very own wreath. Granted I didn't plump for festive colours, but I don't necessarily think it matters, as at least this way it can be displayed all year round.

I gathered up my supplies and set straight to it.  

- large plate 
- small bowl 
- pencil
- empty cereal packet
- assorted papers
- mod podge
- small paint brush
- paper cutter
- stapler
- ribbon

all things you may have available to hand, right now?!?!


You can choose whatever papers visually excite you, there's no rule. It's about what makes you happy!! I decided to choose some pinks and greens. It really is very simple to do. This isn't intended as a detailed tutorial, but if anyone's interested I'll just give a very brief outline of how I created this wreath, and if anyone has any questions, feel free to comment and I'll answer as soon as I can.  

Here goes.... 


I just utilised an empty 750g cereal carton to make the wreath form. Draw around a dinner plate with a pencil, cutting out 2 identical circles from the card board box. Then find the centre of each, place a smaller plate, bowl, cup or glass (or anything circular) and draw around that. You can then cut out the smaller circle to create the gap in the middle of the wreath. Then just glue the two together, with whatever medium you have (I used Mod Podge), et voila, you have a very simple yet effective template to work on. Let's face it, you're not going to see it once it's covered in pretty paper, so don't worry about the crudeness of it. After all, I didn't have anything else, so I improvised.  Isn't that the first rule of crafting??!! ;)

I then set to the task of cutting a whole batch of paper strips, measuring 1" x 5" using my paper trimmer. Stapling each one end to end, as I went. Thus creating the little individual ribbons of paper for gluing onto the cardboard template. Now you're ready to get really creative. Just place a little glue on the back of each paper ribbon, at the stapled end and off you go. Stick, stick, stick away to your hearts content.....
Ribbon Detail

Again, there's no uniform way to do this. It's really up to you what shape your wreath takes. You can stick in rows, or just randomly.  It's one of those 'make it up as you go along' projects. You'll probably get into a steady rhythm, once you've stuck the first 10 or so. So trust yourself and you'll be fine.


Once you're nearly all the way round you need to remember to feed your piece of ribbon in through the cardboard template, so that you can hang it. You can then stick the remaining few ribbons of paper on until  completely covered.

To finish off, you may want to paper the reverse of the cardboard template, so that if you hang it on a mirror it will look just as pretty from the back. 

Well, there you have it.  A very simple DIY wreath, that anyone can try.  I decided to hang mine on the front door for all to see. Proud, much...... x x x


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Colourful Christmas Cross Stitch

Hey there lovely people, it's a wonderfully crisp frosty day here. Waking up to a dusting of snow was really exciting. I love it when there's not a cloud in the sky, and it's the bluest of blues. Makes me want to pile on the layers and venture out to enjoy it. From the inside looking out you could be deceived into thinking it was a warm sunny day! If it wasn't for the starkness of the trees and the obvious icy hue to everything, you could be easily fooled!!

I wanted to share with you the fruits of my latest crafty labour. This time in the form of some festive cross stitch.  It's something I decided to try on a whim. As a young teen I was a big fan of 'Forever Friends', a range of cards and gifts all centred around a cutesy little bear.I soon amassed quite a collection of bits & bobs, from sweet little trinkets to the adorable teddy bears themselves. 

I don't think I ever really grew out of it! So when I happened upon a cross stitch kit from the same brand, I couldn't resist snapping it up. I'd never attempted cross stitch before but was willing to give it go. It took a bit of time to get used to reading the pattern, but once you're into the swing of things, it's really quite easy. Would you like to see how I got on? 

Here's a few detailed shots




and the final result is this......


I decided it should have pride of place on my craft shelf, 
so I bought a simple white frame with a plain 
aperture to display it.


I'm really rather chuffed with my small piece of cross stitch art, 
and would encourage everyone to have a go x x x

Monday, 3 December 2012

Granny Stripe Colour Sequence


Happy Monday everyone! I've had a few enquiries recently about my Granny Stripe Blanket, regarding the order of colours I've used. So I thought it might be useful to post up a list, so that anyone who wants to create something equally as Rainbow-tastic can do so!!

I know what it's like to see somebody else's work and think 'Wow, I'd love to re-create that project!!' and how helpful it is when the crafter generously writes up a comprehensive list of the yarn and colours used.  So here's my offering.....

Hook Size - 3.5mm

Foundation Chain 
:Pomegranate

Two rows each of the following colours
:Pomegranate :Lipstick :Shrimp :Saffron :Sunshine :Spring Green :Meadow :Aspen :Sherbet :Cloud Blue :Aster :Turquoise :Denim :Bluebell :Lavender :Wisteria :Clematis  :Magenta :Plum :Lipstick :Bright Pink :Fiesta :Fondant :Pale Rose 

*:Pomegranate :Shrimp :Sunshine :Saffron :Spring Green :Meadow :Aspen :Turquoise :Sherbet :Cloud Blue :Aster :Denim :Bluebell :Lavender :Wisteria :Clematis :Magenta  :Plum :Lipstick :Bright Pink :Fiesta :Fondant :Pale Rose

:Pomegranate :Shrimp :Saffron :Sunshine :Spring Green :Meadow :Aspen :Sherbet :Cloud Blue :Aster :Turquoise :Denim :Bluebell :Lavender :Wisteria :Clematis  :Magenta :Plum :Lipstick :Bright Pink :Fiesta :Fondant :Pale Rose**

Repeat from *  to ** as many times as you like to achieve the required size blanket
Detail
I'm still striping away, not sure when this particular project will be finished.   I've done 174 rows so far, and at over 6ft wide it's been quite a task.  I'm hoping to add a really nice border to it.  

Hope this inspires a few people?!!!



Happy Hooking x x x 

Saturday, 1 December 2012

A pinch and a punch.....

So, it's the 1st of the month, and I've turned to the final page of my 2012 calendar. It's sure to be a hectic month !! So much to do, so little time.....

I have to say it's been a pretty manic end to November for me, so I thought I'd take five and pop my head in to welcome all my new readers.  How are the festive preparations going your end?  They're pretty much non-existent here at the moment, but I'm sure I'll get into the spirit of things in the coming days.  One thing I'm really looking forward to is decorating the house with colourful sparkly things. I bought plenty of lights last year, so once they're up I'm sure I'll feel all giddy with excitement.


On the hook this week are some little 4 round grannies.  I decided to use Grey as the framing colour this time, what do you think? They're a bit rough round the edges, but they should be fine once blocked, and crocheted together with a simple slip-stitch. 


I'm enjoying the gentle flow of creating piles of these colourful little treble crochet squares.  Not taxing at all, perfect for those moments when you just want to hook away without putting in much effort.

Right, I'm off to do a few more! Wherever you are in the world, I hope you're having a fab weekend.  

See you soon x x x  
  

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

The little things....

Isn't it funny how sometimes the smallest things can make you deliriously happy? Take for instance, the lovely MemeRose blogged recently about the new book 'granny chic' being available in the UK at 'The Works' for the  princely sum of £5.99, so at the earliest available opportunity I hotfooted it down to my local branch for my very own copy.  Whilst there I spied a few other little bargains too, which pleased me no end. I ended up with £60 worth of books for less than £20!!  I really do love a bargain, which is no secret to my friends and family. After all, times are tough and we could all do with saving a few pennies here & there, right? So you can imagine my glee when MemeRose kindly gave the heads up on where to buy this lovely new book for a steal.

Now, I think it only fair to offer up my 'steal of the week', so all you lovely people can take advantage if you so desire?!! 

So here it is......... 

The WI's Vintage Teatime. It only cost £2.99. Yes, you read that right, £2.99. It's worth that just for the gorgeous cover, if you ask me! Inside you'll find lots of lovely recipes from savoury teatime treats to biscuits & bakes , in addition to yummy pictures to salivate over. Why not grab yourself a copy?!! 

You can tell I'm easily pleased can't you? :)



It's the simple pleasures that give me the greatest satisfaction.  


Like playing with piles of colourful crochet........




Like the smell of freshly baked muffins, 
straight from the oven.....


Like collecting a stack of pretty cupcake cases.....


Like drinking tea from your favourite mug.....


What 'little things' make you happy????  x x x x

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Puffs and Clusters

Afternoon everyone! Halfway through the week again already, and edging ever nearer to Christmas.  I haven't even started shopping yet, I expect it'll be a mad dash last minute, as usual.  Anyway, I hope you've all had a good week so far? I've had fun experimenting with new stitches this week.  Trying to push myself to attempt more difficult patterns.  Let's just say it's been an eventful learning experience.  You can't beat a good ole fashioned traditional granny square, super quick to work, and easy too, but I thought it about time I moved out of my comfort zone.  So, armed with a small selection of my lovely new cotton, I got to work.

Most of my work up until now has consisted of simple treble crochet stitches, working in rows or in the round.  I've absolutely loved working my Granny Stripe by the wonderful Lucy at Attic24.  I love the simplicity of it's pattern.  I've spent many evenings  recently cosied up, hooking back and forth, back and forth.  Row upon row of colourful treble crochet.  A really great project for the colder months.  Any excuse to climb under it, I'm there :) 

However, I think it's time to start exploring the array of other crochet stitches that are available.  Half trebles, double trebles, clusters, shells, bobbles, popcorns & puffs. So many lovely combinations to try. Do you want a sneaky peek at what I've been working on?


Some of you may recognise this as the Sunburst Granny Square by Priscilla Hewitt. I followed a link via Ravelry to the free pattern, and decided to just follow the first 4 rounds, translated to UK terms. 

I found it a little difficult at first, especially the puff stitches, but I think that's due to the fact that I was using a small 3.5mm hook and quite a fine yarn.  After a few attempts though, I think I got the hang of it.

I've added a more detailed view so you can better see the stitch definition. 

Stitch Detail
There was no planning involved, I just picked colours from a similar palette for each block, and slip stitched them together. I think it could be the start of a new patchwork project , hmmm let's see?! 

Back soon x x x

Monday, 19 November 2012

Nature's palette


It was back in the autumn of 2010 that I picked up a hook and began crocheting for the first time, and I have to say I've never looked back. I knew I wanted a creative outlet, and crochet seemed like the ideal craft. Whilst out walking amongst the trees with my father yesterday, drinking in the wonderful colours of the season, it reminded me of that first foray into the crafting world two autumns ago, and the fledgling steps I took to begin on my crocheting journey. 



I remember thinking 'where do I start?'. All I knew was I needed a hook and some yarn, but what size hook? and what sort of yarn? I didn't have the first clue! So I trotted off to John Lewis in search of the essential items.  I knew as soon as I walked into the haberdashery department, and was greeted with a wall of yarn in every colour of the rainbow, that this was the place for me!  I got so excited browsing the neatly packed little cubbyholes, but the choice was overwhelming! 

Should I go for acrylic, cotton, wool, what? In the end I plumped for some Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in autumnal shades, befitting for the time of year, and a 4mm hook. I'd ordered a couple of books from Amazon, both by Jan Eaton 200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans, and The encyclopedia of crochet techniques, which had already arrived, and I'd spent many evenings watching YouTube tutorials for tips.  Little did I realise though at the time, but I was watching US tutorials which meant I was learning stitches in US terms and not UK.  Not a huge deal if you're a seasoned crocheter, but for a beginner it was a big boo boo to make. I'm sure there are a few people out there nodding their heads as they read this?

Still, I persevered and took baby steps.  Each day practising chain stitches, and initially working 'in the round' into a foundation ring using treble crochet.  Oh my, was it hard work? Hard work is an understatement! I really got frustrated those first few weeks, and although helpful, the books were of little use to me as a complete novice.  They may as well have been written in another language, I just didn't understand.  

I'm glad I didn't give up on that first project though, as I have a rather lovely cushion to show for all the hard work. Every stitch painstakingly worked, counting as I went.  Little colourful circles, all framed in cream.

It's far from perfect, and definitely has a homespun look to it. But all the little imperfections are a reminder of just how far I've come in those two years. It really does get easier, and in no time at all you're working stitches without thinking anymore, and patterns you once thought were far too difficult to attempt become easier to interpret.



I definitely think the time of year can subliminally dictate the colours we choose for our projects.  I'm sure many of you are reaching for the reds and greens now that we're heading into the festive season?! I always keep a stash of seasonal crafty bits & bobs handy, as well as the obligatory gift bags to package up those wonderful hand-crafted goodies.




So for anyone reading this that thinks it's too hard a task to try crocheting, STOP! Go pick up some cheap yarn, whatever takes your fancy, and a hook and have a go! x x x

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Diffused light

Mjonas Tealight Holders

I want to start this post by thanking each and every person who has taken a few moments out of their day to visit me here at Annie's Place. Your presence here is appreciated, and it pleases me no end to know you have enjoyed my first few posts! x x 

I spoke briefly in my previous post about my love of Autumn, and how I feel right at home during those months when the days are shorter, and there's an opportunity to hunker down, take shelter and settle in your own space.  I love home, I love the simple things.  As a crafter though, it's not the ideal time of year as you really do need plenty of natural light in order to create effectively.  I'm sure all you yarn crafters will agree, it's difficult crocheting or choosing colours for your projects when light is limited. So I try and cram in as much hooky time when the light's good, and if I do work in the evening I sit right under my standing lamp.

The rest of the time however, I generally prefer candle-light.  The sun normally sets at around 4pm here in the east of England, so out come the tealight holders, and on go the string lights.  It's another one of those simple things that can instantly change the atmosphere of a room.  Whether it's white light or coloured light, no matter, it creates an ambience that is warm and relaxed.  One of my favourite online retailers for lights is Blaze On, I've bought romantic roses for myself and rainbow lanterns for both my sister and my mum, and because they're LED, they last years and are safe to use.  I really would like some colourful ambient balls next, maybe Santa will oblige ;)
Romantic Rose LED Lights
These lights are so versatile, you can wrap them around your bed frame, drape them across a fire place (see pic in side bar), hang them vertically down a bookcase or along a window ledge. Whatever you decide it's sure to create the right mood.  

As far as tealight holders go, I think the Mjonas tealight holders from Ikea are great.  I managed to pick up a few when they were discounted to £1.99 each.  I do love a bargain :)  I decided to take just 3 home with me, pink, green & blue.  The diffused light they produce is wonderful....
Mjonas Tealight Holders

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Gift wrap obsession

What a grey day it's turned out to be, after starting out so promisingly!  There was blue sky & sunshine until a few hours ago, but now it's dark.  Ah well, no better excuse to close the curtains, shut out the world and snuggle up cosy and warm inside. I have to say I LOVE the autumn months, a chance to hibernate, a chance to enjoy plenty of hearty home cooked meals and stodgy puddings, without worrying about the calories, the trees shedding their leaves and changing to every hue of red & gold. Being able to wear lots of layers, (to hide the aforementioned calories), and get reacquainted with your favourite scarf or hat.  Or in my case, one of many!

So, I have a little confession to make.  I think I'm getting slightly obsessed with pretty gift wrap.  I don't think I need to seek professional help just yet, but it's definitely something that could develop if I'm not careful :) No seriously, there's so many talented designers out there, creating the most fantastic artwork for manufacturers of wrapping paper, it's really hard for me to resist buying a sheet each and every time I pop into town.  One of my favourite's has to be Paper Salad, their collections are fab, Fab, FAB! I've taken a few photographs of the gift wrap I've purchased to show you the fantastic detail in their designs. 
Paper Salad by Glick

Paper Salad by Glick

Paper Salad by Glick

Paper Salad by Glick

I bought my first few sheets from my local Art Centre,  but I'm pleased to see Clintons are now stocking selected paper and gift bags too! They deserve a wider audience.  Who wouldn't be tempted?  

I've also purchased some of Deva Designs paper.  Again, as I was browsing at the art centre, the temptation proved too great.  I just had to take a sheet. Just look at the lovely detail, giving the illusion of appliqued fabric.  
Deva Designs

Deva Designs
Last but not least I want to mention Soul UK, who are another design/publisher of wonderful, greeting cards, wrap and stationary.  

I love the fact that for less than a couple of pounds you can buy something that has been so thoughtfully created, and can be utilised in so many different ways.  Especially if you're a crafty type! It's far too lovely to just wrap presents with, if you ask me.  I'd happily frame some of it, and hang it on my wall, or use it to decoupage. The possibilities are endless.........

For now at least, I think I'll just keep collecting!


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