The Memo Pad

thememopad

Books:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard *****

I thought this was an interesting book, the first half especially, but without giving too much away, I thought the romance story was very unoriginal. Reading it I was thinking it reminded me of about 3 other books I have read in the last couple of years. It’s no secret I don’t much like romance plots and it’s mostly for this reason. It gets very repetitive. The world that was created was very good, shame about the romance.

Swarm (Star Force book 1) by B.V Larson *****

I’ve seen quite a few reviews slating this book. All I can say is with a name of the series like ‘Star Force’ you shouldn’t be expecting great depth. But for what it is, I thought it was action packed and an enjoyable read. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good Military Sci Fi book to wiz through. And if you enjoyed it then there are loads more books in the series after this one.

 The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau *****

I feel like I’m saying I enjoyed reading this but….. too much. It was a good read. A typical dystopian novel, the testing itself is intriguing and I didn’t want to put the book down. BUT. I felt like the characters should have been worrying about other things than they were. For example, without any spoilers, they were told something right at the start that would happen at the end of testing. But they didn’t start worrying about it until just before it was about to happen. I know they had other things to worry about but if it were me, I would have been thinking about it the whole time, not just when it was about to happen.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman *****

I wanted to like this book. I mean I really did. But Sephy (One of the two main characters) is just SO immature. I know she is young and is suppose to be somewhat immature but surely not THAT bad. If you were in the middle of everything that was happening, for ALL your decisions to be ignorant and immature, is just silly. That wasn’t my only gripe either. I thought the characters motivations for doing things were very thin. At some points it seems she pulls out great reasons and then completely forgets she mentions them/they become completely irrelevant. It was very annoying. There are good parts, though they closely follow things that happened it real life during apartheid and its aftermath. It was an alright read but I definitely won’t be bothering with the rest of the series.

DNF: 1

Pandora Star by Peter F Hamilton

It was just such a long book! I don’t mind that in general. Some of my favourite books are massive tomes but be long for a good reason, please. The book jumps around to different points of views, all of which live in different towns on different planets in the commonwealth. After about the 4th train station was described in all its detail I was starting to get very annoyed. I was sold on this book as ‘a solar system mysteriously disappears behind a force field, a spaceship is sent to find out why’. After about 10 hours of reading, they haven’t even built the space ship yet. But they have described every train station and the layout of every town we go to. I’m sorry I had to give up on this as it sounded so interesting and exciting.

Craft:

Now that my massive cross stitch project and my tunisian crochet blanket are out of the way I am looking forward to doing a lot of smaller projects. I’ve started designing a pattern for slip stitch crochet fingerless mittens. And I’ve also made a hat using a slip stitch crochet pattern (I’ll be making another of these as I have enough yarn left over to do it again then I will share it with you all). I’ve been doing a lot of mini swatching of crochet stitches this month. I want to figure out a way to crochet a scarf that keeps it soft. I much prefer knitting when it comes to scarfs as it’s just softer but I can’t knit anymore for health reasons. It just takes too much energy. I’m determined to work out a crochet scarf that I am happy with. Working through my yarn stash is going well. I’ve managed not to buy any all year!

My Month:

Christmas cards have been written, presents have started to be wrapped. And I hope (Fingers crossed) that I am able to get out this weekend to shop for christmas decorations. I’ve been planing for this all month, but have been feeling iffy these last few days (perfect timing!). We’re hoping to go to a garden centre that has turned into a bit of a winter wonderland with decorations everywhere. My dad keeps joking he would prefer to bring me to the pound shop but has agreed. Hopefully, I’ll have christmas lights and tinsel up soon (and a tree if they have them already otherwise dad will be going back to get one next week).  I’m averaging an outing about every two months, which is amazing for me.

I hope you’ve all had a good month.

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Quick Crafts: Christmas Edition

quick crafts christmas

1. Ribbon and Beads Christmas Tree ornaments: 

These lovely little things are over on Annettes blog Sunshine Yellow. They’re really quite simple and all you need is some ribbon a few beads and a needle and thread. You can make them in whatever colours you like.

2christmas craft2. Felt ornaments: 

I’m not going to link to a tutorial for these (I did attempt to find the original blog but couldn’t) as I think they are pretty straight forward but I wanted to share the idea with you all. There are loads more ideas for felt ornaments on Pinterest. I have a few of my favourite, very simple ones on my Christmas Craft board. But these ones are definitely my favourite ones.

 

3. christmas craft3Beaded Christmas Trees:

Okay so these aren’t exactly simple, quick crafts unless you are into beading. But they are so pretty that I’m including them anyway. A picture tutorial for these is over here. But it is just a picture tutorial unfortuantely. I couldn’t find the original tutorial but if you do, let me know and I’ll add it.

4christmas craft4. 3D paper snowflakes:

The tutorial for this is over
on wikihow and it takes you through the steps with great photos along the way to help. All you need is six pieces of paper (or less if you want to cut them smaller), scissors, a stapler and some glue or tape.

 

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Tunisian Crochet Blanket – TA DA!

blanket

So, I’ve finally completely finished my Tunisian Crochet Squares blanket. What do you think?

The poor blanket had been sitting on my shelf for the last seven months ever since the seams were finished. I did mean to take it out and get the border done quicker, honest, but life got a bit in the way with the move then other craft projects had taken over.

This is my first ever (completed) blanket, it’s been a long journey from the first squares (nearly two years in fact). I thought I would share with you what my initial idea drawn up on paint looked like all those months ago. This is what got me excited enough to take on such a massive project for me. The colours ended up being quite different but I love it just the same.

blanket

I want to tell you a bit about the border, if you are interested in how I made the squares and what colours/yarn I used you can check out this post here from when I was just finishing them (all 160 of them!). I go through everything there.

The blanket turned out a little bit longer and narrower than I would have liked so when it came to the border I decided that I wanted to make the lengthways border thicker than the widthways border (effectively adding more to the width of the blanket). My original idea had been to slip stitch  around the whole blanket starting in cream then choosing a handful more colours. Keeping the idea of slip stitching for the widthways border I started to think about what I wanted for the other two sides. Having toyed with a couple of different stitches, I settled on the moss stitch (also called the linen or seed stitch by people). The moss stitch is reversible (meaning completely identicle on both sides) so it’s perfect for a border, and while the slip stitch isn’t reversible, it does look nice on both sides.

The most difficult thing to do was definitely deciding on only a handful of colours out of the 20 that went into the blanket. I made a few small swatches before I was able to narrow it down to five.

Emperor, pomegranate, sherbet, gold and denim.

I used a 4.5mm hook for the moss stitch and went up to a 5.5mm for the slip stitching (I probably could have gone up another size or two but this worked fine).

And there we have it. Blanket and border all done. It’s found its way onto the back of the sofa which will be its home for now.

blanketborder

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Finished Hogwarts cross stitch SAL

I’ve finished my project! All in all it took me about four and a half months, it’s only my second ever cross stitch project and I’m rather proud of it! We washed and ironed it last week and here it is:hogwarts fo

I tell you, washing it was a very nerve wracking experience. I was certain something was going to go wrong when I put it in the water. It’s all packaged up and ready to send as a Christmas present to my friend.

I want to share this photo with you as I was only a few stitches away from the end when I finished the thread I was using, and was about to get very annoyed that I’d have to start a new bit and have all that extra waste when I found a small piece of the right colour left over. YAY. And then it was done!

hogwarts nearly

I’m pretty sure what project I’m going to do next but havent decided what fabric it will be on yet. I thinknext update I will show you the back of this piece though as I always find that interesting.

Check out the other SALers below.

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / KateJule / Wendy / Lucyanne / Cathy / Jacqui

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Crochet Christmas Bunting

bunting

I finished the first element for my Christmas wreath, I can’t show you it all together yet as I haven’t finished the base for the wreath but I wanted to share the christmas bunting that I have made. I’m including the tutorial for how I made the bunting at the bottom of this post if anyone wants to give it a go, I’m also including instructions on how to scale it up to make a larger version too.

My original idea was to have it say ‘Merry Christmas’ But it quickly became apparent that fitting the word christmas on my wreath just wasn’t going to happen so I settled for ‘Xmas’ instead.

I started by having a play around with some spare yarn to work out the shape of each piece of bunting. Once I had got the shape and the sizing worked out I switched to the colours that I wanted to use and started crocheting away.  This whole wreath is a bit of a stash buster project for me so for the bunting I’m eating into my left over Stylecraft Special DK from the tunisian crochet blanket that I made last year. I’m using Bottle Green and Lipstick here, don’t they look so christmassy?

Once I had the bunting pieces all done (I did 5 of the red and 4 of the green), I had a play with the lettering. I ended up deciding on using a yarn needle to backstitch the letters on rather than slip stitching. I used some Stylecraft Chunky yarn in White for this. Normally I quite like the effect of slip stitching on top of crochet work but I thought that on such a small scale it looked rather messy.

Now all that was left was to put it together. I used some christmas twine that I had (red, green and white) to connect them up, slip stitching across the top chain edges of each piece. I left plenty of twine on each end so that I won’t have any trouble attaching it to my wreath and I chained one in between each piece.

Tutorial:

sheild

 

Supplies:

  • DK yarn (I used stylecraft special DK in bottle green and lipstick)
  • 3.5mm crochet hook
  • Yarn needle

I’m going to write the instructions for the size that I made them. But the brackets will explain anything you need to know to scale up.

Row 1: Chain 11. (You want an even number of stitches so that when you get to decreasing you don’t have any left over. Here you are chaining 10 +1 turning chain. The larger one in the image above is 12+1. You can make it as large as you like so long as you follow this)

Row 2 – 9: Turn work and single crochet into second chain from hook. Single crochet in each chain across, this should be 10 single crochets. Chain 1 then turn. (For the size I made I did 8 rows of single crochet on top of the chain row, but if you are doing a larger version you want to do rows of single crochet until your piece is roughly square)

Row 10: Single crochet two together (sc2tog) for the first two stitches of the row. Single crochet in each of the next 6 stitches. Sc2tog the last two stitches of the row. Chain 1 then turn work. (From here on you are sc2tog the first two and last two stitches of each row. Remember to chain 1 each time you turn!)

Row 11: Sc2tog first two stitches. Single crochet in next 4. Sc2tog last two stitches. Chain 1. Turn.

Row 12: Sc2tog first two stitches. Single crochet in next 2. Sc2tog last two. Chain 1. Turn

Row 13: Sc2tog first two stitches. Sc2tog last two stitches. Bind off. Weave in ends.

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Quick Crafts: Christmas Card Ideas

quickcrafts cc

I wanted to make a quick crafts post for you all with ideas for easy, low spoon christmas cards. But when I started looking I found so many and most of them are pretty self explanatory that I decided to make a Pinterest board for them instead. It’s here, you don’t need to have a Pinterest account to take a look. There are loads of simple and great ideas, most of which don’t need any specialist equipment. I will probably add more as I see them so if you do have a Pinterest account then you can follow the board.

I do however have two tutorials to share with you that you can use for Christmas cards as well.

1. Washi tape tree. This is over at Ivory Bloom and is a great way to use washi tape on your christmas card without having the messy edges showing.

2. Folded Paper Christmas tree. The tutorial for this one is over at Cards and a Cuppa. This is a pretty old idea but I found the tutorial on their blog pretty easy to follow, with great pictures. They start with a circle from a die cut machine but cut yourself any size circle and it will work great, ignore the measurements if you do and just follow the general idea. These would look great on any card or gift tag.

 

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