Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Two-whit Too-woo!

So, aaaages ago I knitted the legendary OWL jumper in Sirdar Peru, a lovely phased yarn I got on the cheap from Kemps Wool Shop. I learnt the hard way not to knit a jumper during winter in a darkened room, as the colour phase yarn wasn't exactly, well, phased.
It was a bit too unfortunately stripy for me to wear, shame as it fitted like a dream. I bought some FabDye, an acid dye good for dying wool. This is when I learned lesson #2: an unwatched dye pot will boil over and dye your dresser purple. Gah.
Hot water does funny things to wool. It came out a brown/purple marl which I could live with, but the arms are now fit for Mr Tickle. Still I can always roll them up.

34 buttons later (yes, that's THIRTY FOUR) and we're good to go. What do you think?

Thursday, 15 July 2010


Blackcurrant. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Mmmmm Jelly

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Retr-Oh moment

Retro-Oh Brixham vase
I pop into my very-local charity shop almost daily. Like all these things it's more hit than miss. Today, this cheeky little chap was sat on the shelf just waiting for me. It's Brixham pottery, a history of which is apparently difficult to track down, so I've no idea of age, but it looks Seventies-tastic to me!

I love these acid-type greens, they compliment the strange blue-toned purple of my living room walls so well, and that teaky-brown looks almost woodgrain to match my beloved G-plan coffee table.

I paid £3. No money in it, as The Duke would say, but this one's going to live with me a while, and bring me lots of viewing pleasure, making it cheap as chips................

Friday, 9 July 2010

Creative Open Workshops (or COW to me and you)

Last weekend was my dear friend Clare's hen do, and being a crafty type she wanted to do something different during the day. She discovered the marvellous Creative Open Workshop studio at The Custard Factory, and we went along to make our own tote bags.

Now, I'm still a little nervous when it comes to the old sewing thing. I have a machine but we've yet to fall in love. I was hoping that this workshop would help me with my reservations, and as it turns out I could have taken my own machine in order to learn how to work it. Instead, I used their (rather fabulous) ones and knocked up a bag to be proud of in a couple of hours!

Our hostess Francine was lovely; very patient, friendly and helpful. There was jasmine tea (in fancy vintage teacups nonetheless) and cakes to help us keep our sewing energy up, and the choice of fabric was dizzying! Everything was very step by step and simple, thankfully, and I would recommend this type of thing for newbie and experienced crafters alike.

It cost just £15 including materials. Bargainous.

Me and my bag

All the hens

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The place wot I live in

I feel very lucky to live in the historic village of Kings Norton, about 5 miles south of Birmingham city centre.

I'm a stone's throw from the village green, home to some of the most beautiful old buildings the city has to offer. St Nicholas church is a 13th century building, although documents prove there has been a church on the same spot since at least the 11th century.

Within the church grounds stands the Old Grammar School, which is one of the oldest educational buildings in the country, believed to have been built in the 15th century.

Together with The Saracen's Head, a medieval building turned coaching inn, The Grammar school won £3m from the BBC Restoration project back in 2004. The money was used to fully refurbish the school and create St Nicholas place on the site of the old pub. This tourist and community centre is a great place to visit for a coffee when in the area.

All this history aside, I'm down at 'The Green' most days, it has everything I need. A Spar, post office, bank, charity shop and a fantastic greasy cafe. My top two favourite shops though, at The Natural Health Centre, fantastic for massage, and the Fabulous Fabric shop.

I've met people in the past who have been..........well a bit sniffy about Birmingham. Well, I'm born and bred and I love it, particularly this little corner away from the urban sprawl.

Friday, 25 June 2010

To Upcycle or Recycle?

I bought this mirror in a local charity shop for £5. Apart from being a bit grubby (maybe I should have cleaned it before snapping it) it's in perfect condition.

I love these mirrors painted in vibrant hues, I love blanket colour showing off relief work, and was going to paint this teal to hang in my hallway. However, something about that faux goldiness is drawing me in. It's SO not my thing, but would it be a shame to paint it up?

Answers on a postcard.....

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

I love Belle and Boo

My love affair started when Gareth, in a rare flash of excellent taste, bought me the most beautiful Valentine's card I have ever seen. It featured this illustration called 'The Journey' with the tagline You Rock My World.

I love the childish themes, the retro styling and the muted chalky colours. I've since found the cards stocked all over the place, from Paperchase to a little shop in Cologne, and snap them up whenever I can. These are a couple of my favourite designs.

Aren't they cute? As well as there own website, they have an Etsy shop too. I've recently discovered they also sell homewares and even little girls' clothes. God help me.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Knitters, keepers....

I've been trying to get ahead on my Christmas gift knitting and managed to snap up a load of Regia sock yarn from Kemps Wool Shop for the bargainous price of £1.30 a ball. Included was this stripy goodness.

I looooove them. The olive green, the mulberry pink! Even electric blue, not one of my faves at all, looks fab against those earthy browns. The colours are a bit more vibrant in RL, this pic was taken at 9pm. Deliberate lighting ploy you understand, nothing AT ALL to do with me being a Slack Alice and forgetting until now ;)

Anyway, sod the presents, these are so lovely I think they'll be falling off the needles straight onto my tootsies thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Stick a fork in it...................

It's done!!!

After 2 years, 2745 squares and 4709625476804326739 yards of wool*, THE blankie is finished. This is definitely the most wow factor thing I've ever knitted.

Best of all, it's the yarn that does the talking. Sock yarn in beautifully variegated shades spanning the spectrum. The knitted itself was a breeze, I could watch telly and not look at the needles or ANYTHING!

I did consider a simple black crochet border round the edge to make it look more 'done', but that seems so finite somehow. At the moment, it's about queen bed sized; I *might* decide to add to that at some point. The back is really scruffy too but my plan is not to line it, just keep it facing out!

Next step is to wash it: on a very gentle cycle with a LOT of colour catcher sheets! Then it's onto the back of the sofabed I have to keep in my lounge. It's hideous and I'm hoping this will improve it.

But for now, in all it's glory (and yes, good photography could make it look a lot better but we all know that's not my forte)

And my favourite square; something about this orange one draws my eye every time.

* Numbers may be exaggerated for dramatic purposes.

Friday, 9 April 2010


You know when you put something off, and the longer you put it off, the more difficult it seems to get 'it' done? Well, that's kind of like this blog.

I haven't been forthcoming with the old finished objects, and for that reason I feel a bit naughty posting about anything else. This blog is heavy on the promises and starts, a bit light on the finished items of fabulousness.

Still, as that DOES accurately represent Minxy Real Life, I should just get on with posting. I mean, there are no blog police. Right? And I really need a place to record the list of crafty things I intend to do over Summer (the many things already outstanding aside............) Here goes

1) Finish Secret Crafting items #1 and #2. Can't say too much cause of prying eyes except #1 it turning out to be a mammoth knit and #2 could be on the hideous side of kooky, not sure yet!

2) Birds on a branch. Except might have to wait until the Autumn for the branch. Given my current rate of finishing, not a problem.

3) Cover my lampshades with funky fabric.

4) A Summerlin dress for The Daffinator.

5) My hallway. This really is out of my hands at the mo as it depends on Big G finishing his decorating. We are very alike so don't hold your breath!

That'll do for now. Back soon (sooner I promise) with some pics!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Found a lovely bargain today in a 10p book box at my local charity shop. Have checked the Amazon and it turns out not to be rare or valuable, but a real treat none the less!

It's a pre-war edition of The Pictorial Guide to Modern Home Needlecraft, and it's a wonderfully comprehensive guide to sewing and knitting. There's info on how to design patterns, make do and mend tips on just about everything from gloves to bed linen and a few fabulous articles such as 'A Chat on Grooming'. There's a couple of chapters I can't imagine getting much use out of (when am I going to work with fur? Never, I hope), but it's still a pretty good looking reference volume.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010


Just a quick entry as a note to self. It's show and shame time again! I love to start knitting projects, oh HOW I love to start. Choosing the pattern, finding the perfect yarn and imagining in my head how it will turn out. I'll knit it up, think about the sewing, buttoning and seaming that needs doing and...............start something else.

So I'm on yet another ban. I will not start anything new until I get rid of some of my half done backlog. And I'm going to put (fairly boring, admittedly) pictures and details here. Still, the finished article pictures might be more interesting to look at.

First up, CHRISTMAS items that are still not done.

A jumper for Gareth. I need to knit this together but am having a bit of trouble understanding the instructions.

A matching sock. I can knit basic socks in my sleep, but when you're talking a size 11 it can get pretty boring......

A little top for me. From this pattern, am concerned it looks teeny (I still knit pre-preggo sizes) but apparently there's a fair amount of stretching needs doing in the blocking process.

An owl jumper for me, if I don't get a move on it'll be too warm to wear it!

And finally, although this is top of list for finishing due to time, is a little cowl I need to knit for a Mother's Day swap on PF . This got tossed aside due to a mistake on it's frustrating lace pattern, with a view to having a look once I'd calmed down. Really need to finish it!

There may be more, but that's all I'm admitting to for now.............

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Thinking of Spring

It's been a beautiful day today. Cold, but the sun is shining and a walk in the woods cleared out the cobwebs for the Mabbs family. A tramp on muddy ground rather than the hard frost of late has me thinking forward to Spring, and the opportunities to be creative.

Feeling the lure of the outdoors has me plotting (no pun intended) for the garden. I'm such an indoor creature that there's a lot of potential going to waste at the back of my house. We've had such lofty plans for fruit and vegetable growing for the last 6 years since we moved here, but it's the loftiness of those plans which hold us back.

Instead, I am to start with a beginners herb garden this year, relying on pots so no landscaping needs undertaking. The area was pebbled with this in mind a couple of years ago, but now looks sad and neglected, as you can see!

Stanley tried to help with his little red wheelbarrow, but I think this little project needs a lot more work. Check out that lovely Belfast sink though, which the previous owners left. What herbs should I grow? Suggestions welcome.

Back indoors and the needles have been calling. Any readers who know me from another site may be sick of this picture, I've been spamming it everywhere, it's so adorable! Here's Daphne in the first of her Spring/Summer 2010 dresses!

I've had the fortune (or misfortune, time and my purse will see) to discover a fabulous new fabric shop locally, the bricks-and-mortar version of this. I popped in today and bought some lovely Kaffe Fassett fabric which I'm hoping to team up with a knitted bodice as a way to ease myself into sewing!

Finally, an update on the last post, Daphne's room is done! And we know she likes it, Night #3 last night as she slept 7pm until 8am!

Now for the resolution bit:
What did I do today that helped organise my life? I got stuck into Stanley's playhouse and sorted out all the little bits in there (play kitchen/work bench etc) ready for the warmer weather.
What did I do today to make my house feel a home? The roast lamb in the oven should tick that box.
What did I do today that made me feel good? That little trip to the fabric shop was a nice start to the day.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Clear out the old........

Oooh, I just love the day all the decorations go back in the loft! Almost as much as the day they come out early December. I'm left with a room ripe for decluttering, a cathartic and (dare I say it?) fun experience, for all it's initial frustration.

Luckily I had a pre-Christmas toy blitz so the children's Christmas treats have fitted in nicely. I just need a real clean of upstairs to clear the way for decorating. Daphne's 'room' (teeny tiny box) is first. So far that hasn't cost me a penny.

We found the furniture and paint on Freegle, and the cotbed was Stanley's. Daphne had some lovely cushions, lights and bunting from Laura Ashley as Christmas gifts from family, it's going to look fab!

I just need to clearout my old nursery stuff, John Lennon's Real Love collection, which I'm hopefully shifting as one job lot. I just need to find my camera to send pics to the interested party.

Now which pile is the camera hiding under............................