Quick Crafts: 4

1. Yarn Tassels: Kicking off the rather yarn themed craft ideas in this post, we have these lovely and very simple tassels. The tutorial for how to make them is over at My Sisters Suitcase (it’s a lovely blog with some other great craft ideas you can check out if you want to). They’ve used these by attaching the tassels to the edge of a bed but you could use them for so many different things. Your curtains need jazzing up? Done. You’ve got a cushion that could use some added fun? Perfect. Maybe even a drab lampshade that would benefit from some fun yarn tassels. The possibilities are endless.


2. Macrame Yarn Garland: The only thing you need to make this one is yarn. Lots of yarn. In any or all the colours you want, you can customise it to however you want it to look. This is from A Beautiful Mess and I might be doing this myself soon as I moving to a rented property and this will be just the thing to brighten up my new room without having to paint the walls.



3. Paper Gift Bag: I saw this tutorial over on hello sandwich which you should definitely check out. It shows you in easy steps with very clear photographs how to change wrapping paper (or a stronger paper if the gift is heavy) into gift bags. It doesn’t show you how to make handles, it suggests you buy some ready made ones from a shop, but I’m sure you could experiment with making your own.




4. PomPom Rug: This little gem is one of the ones that does need something bought in before you make it but its such a simple and lovely idea that I’m including it anyway. You can find the tutorial for this over at Say Yes. And you can find the rug canvas base at lots of craft stores, and depending on how big you want to make your rug, for as little as £10.


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SAL update

I’ve just started a new cross stitch project and joined in with a lovely group who are doing a Stitch-A-Long so I will be posting updates on this project every 3 weeks. It’s going to be the Hogwarts crest in case you couldn’t tell yet. It’s the first time I’ve started from the middle of a pattern so I was a bit nervous about that but think it is going well so far.


I actually started this about three weeks ago but had two weeks off as was resting then recovering from my birthday. It’s only my second ever cross stitch project and it’s definitely a bigger undertaking than my last. That was a one page pattern this is a 4 page pattern, but I’m really enjoying it. It’s going to be a present for my friend but she knows I’m making it so I’m not ruining the surprise by posting it. Plus it’s going to take me ages and I won’t be able to not share it in that time!

You should check out what all the other members of the SAL are doing.

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / Kate / Alison / Jule / Elizabeth / Wendy / Lucyanne / Cathy / Jacqui

I love looking at other peoples crafting projects and its great to see projects evolving.


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Butterbeers on me!


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It was my 23rd birthday on Saturday and, after having had to rest and do nothing all week in an attempt to not be too ill to enjoy it, I had a great day. Mum had made me some amazing nutella pastries that we had for lunch (fresh out the oven and lovely and warm). We decided this would be my birthday ‘cake’ so it arrived upstairs with candles on and accompanied by a chorus of happy birthdays.

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Then, as I attempted to ignore the presents sitting in front of me, it was time to open my cards. Normally, I would open some of them as they arrive in the post but this year I had saved them all to open on the day. It used up a lot of energy but it was a great feeling to have cards from so many people this year. Special mention to my friend Tracey’s card, its the green dragon one and she made it herself. It’s amazing and you can check out some of the other cards she makes here.

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After the cards we went quickly on to the presents! I started with presents from my friends. I’ve only taken a picture of some of the presents I got, I love them all, but they weren’t easy to fit in a single photograph! I’m really happy with the presents, they’re perfect for me. I especially loved the Slytherin quidditch top and the dragon letter opener. They are both things I had been toying with getting for ages but decided against it as I didn’t really need them. But I love them. Unfortunately, I didn’t open the letter opener till I had opened most of my cards already but I still got to use it on a couple and it was great fun!

WP_20150616_20_29_06_Pro 1I knew what my two main presents from family were going to be but I was still mega excited to open up my brand new Kindle. I’ve never had an eReader before as I really like paper books but we’ll be moving around a bit for the next few years so I thought it would be a good idea. I spent the rest of the day playing with the thing. And my new hoodie. It is also Harry Potter themed but why get a boring old (well new) hoodie when you can get one saying the three broomsticks, right? It’s showing up in the photograph as a bit purple but its a lovely navy blue colour.

After opening all my presents I had to lie down for a few hours and try not to fidget with anything to try and recover some of my energy for the second half of my birthday celebration.

My mum put all my cards up on my corkboard for me to look at. We had dinner early (6pm) which was brought to me in bed (as it usually is) and I ate alone (as I usually do) to save energy for later. After dinner, I lay back down and had a mess around with my Kindle for a while and rested. Then at 8 my parents came back upstairs and we moved into the spare room to watch a DVD (This is probably a good time to mention that there are 3 bedrooms in the upstairs of my house, mine, my parents and the 3rd we have converted into a living room for me as I can’t get downstairs). We ate popcorn and watched the new Godzilla movie. The popcorn was lovely and the movie was……entertaining.

Overall, I had a brilliant birthday although have been paying for it a bit this week. But i’m lying here looking at my birthday cards and smiling. Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes.

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10 Books on my To-Read Shelf


This is a queued post as its my birthday today and I’m not sure when I will be well enough to be back on the computer. I will be getting an E-Reader for my birthday so I thought what better time to show you all what printed books I currently have on my very physical To-Read shelf.

  1. Touch by Claire North
  2. The Final Empire (Mistborn Book 1) by Brandon Sanderson
  3. Empire: The Gates of Rome by Conn Iggulden
  4. The Magic Thief: Found by Sarah Prineas
  5. Proxima by Stephen Baxter
  6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  7. Septimus Heap: Magyk by Angie Sage
  8. The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan
  9. A Fairly Honourable Defeat by Iris Murdoch
  10. The Empire by Elizabeth Lang

Have you read any of these, I would love to know what you thought (no spoilers please!). I’m not sure when I’m going to get through these as some of them have been there for a while as I’ve added books on shopping whims and I’ll be exploring my new e-Reader but I’m determined to read them all.

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Craft Rating: Cross Stitch


Energy rating:                &

Dexterity rating:             &&&

Difficulty starting:          &

Difficulty continuing:     &&&

Cost:                               &&



I’ve given this a rating of 1 out of 5 because out of all the crafts that I have tried this was the least taxing on me. If i was feeling okay then it didn’t use up much energy at all. Of course this depends on how/where you craft. I do cross stitch lying down in bed with my work on top of me. If you’re planning on sitting up propped on cushions or at a desk you will be using more energy as sitting upright hunched over work gets tiring very quickly. How much mental energy this takes depends on what you are planning to stitch, if its a simple idea or pattern then you don’t have to use much, especially if you end up just filling in larger areas or straight lines as you don’t have to think about that much.


I’ve given this a higher dexterity rating of 3 out of 5 as you are using needles and they are very small, you have to be able to hold on to them for a long time and threading needles when you change colour and such could be really difficult (you can get threaders that help you with this though). The repetitive nature of this added with the small needle could be difficult or painful for some and there isn’t really anything you can do about the small needle like you can with other crafts like crochet or needle felting.

Difficulty Starting:

I’ve given this a 1 out of 5 as you really don’t need to know much technique to get started. It can be pretty confusing if you are buying all your supplies separately, but if you buy a cross stitch kit then all your supplies are….supplied, and all you have to do is get started. You may want to look up how to secure a thread when you start using it and when you’re finishing with it but that’s all you need to know to get started. This website has thousands of great cross stitch kits from just a few pounds for the small ones, if you’re just starting then go for a simpler one (not the massive pictures with loads of colours!) and you’ll be stitching away in no time.

Difficulty Continuing:

I’ve given this a 3 out of 5 rating because although there aren’t many new stitches or techniques that you need to learn there are other things that can get difficult or confusing. Like I mentioned in the last part, the supplies and equipment you need is quite difficult to get your head round. If you’re looking online at all the different types and sizes of needles and fabrics its easy to get confused. But once you’ve found a starting point (kits are good for this) its a bit easier to expand your knowledge step by small step. For example, 14 count Aida fabric is where you should be starting from, this is whats supplied in most kits you buy. But as you get better you can get smaller count fabric which means the ‘squares’ are smaller and more intricate and you can also transfer to any fabric once you’ve got confident. Patterns also get bigger and more complex, spanning many pages and many colours but you can progress as you want to, there are loads of brilliant things to make without getting to advanced.


I’ve given this a 2 out of 5 for cost. Most of the things you need are relatively inexpensive but the cost can add up. You can get lovely kits that are pretty big for around £20, though there are loads of smaller ones you can pick up for much less. If you are buying supplies separately, then you will need to buy the thread colours that you want (DMC is the most commonly used brand and they cost 69p each from sewandso), Aida fabric to work on (depending on the size you buy, this starts from £5.75 but you could buy a larger amount and cut it down to size), and a pack of needles which only cost a couple quid and should last you a while. Optional accessories include an embroidery hoop to hold your work on, I use one as I find it easier to work with the fabric but you may prefer not to, scissors, storage for threads and other aids such as a lamp and magnifying glass or aids that hold the work for you. These can all add up but the initial outlay to give it a go to see if you like it isn’t that much. If you decide you like the craft then you can buy patterns that you want to make, design your own or there are free resources online too.

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A New Hook


A few months ago I posted asking if anyone knew where I could find a double ended tunisian crochet hook that wasn’t acrylic. Well, I ended up buying an acrylic one becuase it was impossible to find a wooden or metal one. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I’ve never used plastic hooks before, only plastic knitting needles, and I knew I didn’t like those but it seems plastic isn’t so bad in hook form. I’m not sure why but I’m glad. I bought a 6.5mm hook and it was only a couple pounds so pretty good value too.

boxMy hook arrived the other week in an absolutely massive box. I know it’s 30cm long but surely there was a better option than this box? Ah well, it arrived safely in amongst all the packaging and I was able to give it a go nearly straight away (though it took me longer to find a way to get rid of the massive box). I decided to make a cowl using two different colours of aran yarn in the Tunisian simple stitch. There are some mistakes, (the starting join isn’t very neat for example) but I think overall I’m pretty happy with my first try at doing Tunisian crochet in the round. The downside is that this project was suppose to use up some of my yarn stash, more specifically some massive balls of yarn that I initially bought for a blanket that is now never going to get made. But having finished the cowl the balls of yarn I was using are no smaller than when I started!

I guess I’ll have to make a fair few more cowls (unless anyone has any more ideas for using up yarn with Tunisian crochet in the round?), anyone want one?!


7 Things I Would Do Tomorrow – ME Awareness Part 2


It’s the first of June, so I missed ME awareness Month by a day with this post but I’ve been really sick these last couple weeks and I just couldn’t get on my laptop to post this any sooner. I talked in the last part about the everyday things that I (and lots of others with this illness) are not able to do that most people probably take a bit for granted (who actually wants to have to get up to answer the door, right?). Now in this part, I’m going to talk about some of the bigger things that I would do if i got miraculously well tomorrow. I guess this is a kind of mini, condensed bucket list for the future. Again, one for every full year that I have been sick.

7 Things I Would Do Tomorrow:

  1. Meet some of my Best Friends for the first time. I know this sounds a bit odd. How can someone be your best friend if you’ve never met them? Well, over the years of having this illness I’ve talked to a fair few amazing people online who have really carried me through the boredom and loneliness. I don’t know how sane I’d be without them to chat to all the time so, if I got well tomorrow, I’d be off on a few worldwide trips to Australia and Germany (as well as a fair few closer to home).
  2. BBQ at my house everyone! A little more immediately, one of the first things I would do is have a BBQ in my garden with family and friends. If you read my previous ME awareness post, you’ll know that I can’t get to my garden anymore as i’m pretty much stuck upstairs. There have been many a summer day (Okay, well not many. This is England) where I’ve thought this would be a lovely day for a BBQ but not been any where near well enough to have one. So, i’d break out the shades, mix some cocktails or grab some cider (did I mention alcohol intolerance is one of my many symptoms?) light the barbie and sit back and watch the food sizzle (and maybe grab an umbrella if the weather turns).
  3. Play Tennis and Football again. Wimbledon fever is nearly upon us and I’d love to be able to go to the park with my brother and play some tennis like we use to do when this time of year came around. I’d also love to be able to kick a football around again.
  4. Get a job. I got sick at 15 and I have never really been well enough since to get a job. I managed 8 hours a week volunteering for about a month once a few years ago but that was too much for me and I’m much worse now. I would love to have the experience of just having to get up and go to work everyday for a while at least. These next few would cost a bit of money as well so I’d need to get a job to payroll them (I’m sure that would be easier said than done with no experience on my CV though).
  5. Scuba Diving Internship. My plan was always to take a gap year before I went to University. As my health degraded I changed my ideas for my gap year in accordance. But this was my number one. I was going to spend 3 or 4 months on a small Thai islands learning to scuba dive and do my PADI qualifications until I was able to officially help teach other people to scuba dive too. Working as a dive instructor would be pretty amazing. I think I was actually more upset about having to give this dream up than having to give up going to university.
  6. Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I don’t think I really have to explain this one do I? I grew up with the books, I’ve been to the Studio Tour, of course I want to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in America.
  7. Learn Spanish in Spain. I’m currently trying to learn Spanish but between the brain fog, learning by myself, and the fact that I’ve never been very good with languages, I’m not getting very far. This was also my 3rd, final and least energy consuming plan for a gap year before I had to give up on it completely so, you can see I’ve wanted to do this for a few years now. Going to live in Spain to learn Spanish at a language school for a couple months would definitely be my choice of ways to learn the language.