Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Making Christmas Gifts

Stuck at home because I can barely walk, so I may as well have fun making things for Christmas! I like to give 'consumable' presents because I think everyone has so much stuff already. I like receiving things to eat / drink / use in the bath. In grey January when Christmas is over, you can look in the cupboard and find a lovely jar of chutney or some chocolates you had forgotten about, and it cheers you up, I think. 

Sloe Gin:
sloe gin

Chocolate lollies with cranberries, almonds, golden raisins and white chocolate drops. From an Ina Garten recipe:
chocolate lollies 
 chocolate lollies 

Peanut Brittle, from a simple Nigella recipe, except I doubled the quantity of sugar in the 2nd batch. This was amazing and my husband tried to eat it all:
peanut brittle

Paper gift bags with luggage tag labels:

Only 4 more sleeps!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Christmas Crafting...

Inspired by this gorgeous post at TeaWagonTales, I decorated some baubles. After trawling ebay for vintage glass baubles which cost a fortune, I managed to find a set of 12 in a charity shop for 50p. 

I used narrowboat style flower decals. A really easy and fun project! Got a bit addicted to making them. Our house is too small for a real tree, so I just used twigs in a jar.

Crocheted baubles from a pattern by Lucy at Attic 24. I love her patterns!

Santa & His Helpers

Crocheted Santa and his helpers, from this Gnome pattern.

Stocking pattern from my etsy shop. We put the decorations up early because it's H's first christmas and we're a bit over excited. Must calm down...

Other things...
Experimenting with Vegan Cupcake recipes, because our hens have stopped laying for winter.

Coconut Heaven Cupcakes

These are Coconut Heaven Cupcakes, from Vegan with a Vengeance.

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes

Golden Vanilla Cupcakes, from somewhere on the internet. The coconut ones were amazing, the vanilla ones not so great, although the 3 children I made them for managed to wolf down a couple each...

frome flea market

Frome Flea Market & Christmas Artisan Market, so lovely, but you can't actually get to any stalls because it's so crowded. The Flea market was much quieter. If I was rich I'd buy everything. 

caught with a camera

What's happing here? We stumbled upon a rabbit show, it took us a while to work out what was going on. Really bizarre! I dont really like 'pets'. I only like things like chickens and goats. I am absolutely terrified of dogs.
  posh first place rabbit

I'm looking forward to a couple of quiet weeks of present-making, baking, avoiding christmas shopping, snuggling on the sofa, and crocheting.

Happy Christmas Crafting!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

20% Off All Patterns at Etsy

To celebrate my best ever month for crochet pattern sales, I'm offering a 20% discount on all patterns in my etsy shop.

Just enter the code CHRISTMAS2011 at checkout, on the right hand side of the page where it says 'Apply Coupon Code'. Offer ends Saturday 10th December, at 8pm.

There are patterns to make lovely christmas presents, and many projects work up quickly, including socks, mittens and baby cardigans.

Happy making!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Free Crochet Pattern - Santa Hat

I found a Santa outfit in a charity shop, but it didn't come with a hat, so of course I had to make one. Here's the pattern.... Really its just an excuse to post pictures of H in his hilarious outfit. 

How to make a really simple Santa hat for a baby or child.

You will need:
100g Double Knitting Yarn in Red
20g Double Knitting Yarn in White
A white pom pom or a jingley bell
5mm Crochet Hook

This pattern uses British Crochet Terminology, so tr = dc in US terminology.

Starting at the point of the hat, and with red yarn Ch3, and work 5tr in 3rd st from hook. 
Do not join. You are working around in a circle and not joining, so when you get the the end of the first row, you just work the next stitch into the top of the first stitch you made.

Work this sequence of stitches: *work 1tr in each of the next 6 sts, inc in next st*. Continue until there are 12 rows in total.

Work this sequence of stitches: *work 1tr in each of the next 12 sts, inc in next st*. Continue until your hat has a slightly larger circumference than your littley's head.

Work 1 tr in each st around for 3 rows. Dc in next st. Change to white yarn. 
Dc in each st around for 8 rows. Fasten off.

Sew on pom pom or jingley bell. You also could make this hat in green for an elf's hat.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Waffle Stitch Bag

A bag for a custom order. It's based on the waffle stitch bag, just much bigger. I used double knitting yarn in charcoal grey and a 4.5mm hook. Details and more photos at Ravelry.

I want to enjoy autumn for a bit before I start to get all festive. We've been going on lovely walks around here, and gradually finding pushchair-friendly routes. The best places are along the canal or in the woods. I know if this pregnancy is the same as the last one, then I'm going to be housebound for the next few months. Its very painful to walk while pushing a pushchair loaded with shopping, but gentle strolls with my husband are just about bearable and I'm not going to give in just yet!

clanger wood

On Wednesday I bumped into a friend in town and  I nearly burst into tears because I was in so much pain and didnt know how I was going to make it home. So I've given up walking into town, and I'm doing all my shopping online unless I go with my husband in the car (I don't drive).

The weather has been lovely for autumnal strolls, and we're really lucky to live in such a nice part of the country, even if the town where we live isn't that great. I love woodlands, especially oak woods. I think the colours and darkness and textures are my natural habitat, the way that some people 'seaside' people or 'mountain' people. All good walks should invovle a country pub and real ale, although I have to stick to a Dandelion & Burdock these days.

clanger wood
In the woods we stumbled across this baby owl! H loves looking up at the trees.

in the woods we found a baby owl

This is Caen Hill Locks, on the Kennet & Avon canal near Devizes. There are 29 locks in a row, once I went through them in my brother's narrowboat, it took us all afternoon.

caen hill locks

I'm hoping this weekend will mainly involve vegan cupcake-eating, jerusalem artichoke-digging, compost-spreading, some more walking and christmas decoration-making.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Hurrah! Finished Socks.

I seem to have about a hundred crochet projects waiting to be started, mostly for other people, so I'm glad I finished my cosy autumn socks last night. Now I can start on something else...
They are made from 1 ball of King Cole Zig Zag yarn, (bought from ebay for less than a fiver) and I went up a hook size because my feet are bigger from being pregnant. I also added a few more rows to the main foot part. A really nice project to carry around because they're so small, I worked on them a lot during our 3 and a half hour car journey to see my grandmother, it was the first time she had seen her new great-grandson. The pattern is on Ravelry and Etsy.

It's time to start thinking about making things for Christmas; the raspberry gin is getting nicely pink in the back of the cupboard, I've made my little H his first stocking, and today I baked the Christmas cake. I've used this Delia recipe for the past 5 years and it always comes out great, the only change I made was, after soaking the dried fruit in sloe gin (instead of brandy) overnight, the mixture still seemed quite dry so I so added half a cup of strong black tea and let it soak for a few more hours. This will be my first christmas at home with my husband and baby, (we got married in July), I usually go to my parents in Worcester, so I'm getting really into the idea of making it really special. After 4 and a half hours in the oven this is what came out:

christmas cake

Really moist and yummy looking. I will wrap it in foil, feed it every now and again, then decorate it with fruit and nuts.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Crochet Tank Top... or vest if you are American.

Check out my handsome model! This tank top was made using a pattern I wrote a couple of years ago, available at Ravelry and Etsy. The pattern uses 4ply sock wool, and comes in 4 sizes up to 24 months. Perfect for autumn with a cute t-shirt underneath.

Reasons to be cheerful...

It's not much fun having SPD/PGP, so I thought I'd distract myself by writing about some much nicer things...

1. Finding a Christmas present for H in a charity shop, a Djeco vintage-style wooden puzzle. American bloggers sound so much more hip when they say 'thifted'!

2. Making a funny monkey, another present for H. I've been reading a book called 'Radical Homemakers', about reclaiming the home, not being a consumer. I'm not sure that its particularly radical, but I do like lots of the ideas. I can definitely relate to it since giving up work to be a mummy. When you work full time you do spend more money; for example, after work you might be too tired to cook so you buy a takeaway or a ready meal. At the end of a hard week, you might feel you deserve a nice new dress. I dont want to buy H plasticy toys made in sweatshops halfway round the world. The book talks about making toys for children, but you cant really avoid consumerism altogether, I mean I still had to buy the wool and the stuffing... The pattern was from Ravelry.

3. Making some lovely crocheted socks, just for me! I'm always making things for other people or for etsy, its sometimes nice to have a project that's just mine. Cosy socks for cosy evenings at home. They're made following this pattern.

4. What a horrible word 'weaning' is! H is 7 months old, and eating us out of house and home, and its nice that now we can all have bowls of porridge, just like the three bears. Mine has brown sugar, cinnamon, seeds and a sprinkling of bran.

5. Carving a Halloween pumpkin, then hiding upstairs with the lights off because we're scared of trick or treaters! We made spicy pumpkin soup the next day.

6. Best of all, my brother and his girlfriend had a baby girl, no name yet, but she was 2 weeks late and weighed 9lb 10!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Halloween Crochet Pattern - Kitten Ears Hat

This crochet pattern is perfect for Halloween, but you can wear it for any other time of year too! Its a black beanie hat with cute kitten ears, and can be made in one evening. You just need 100g of Double Knitting yarn and a 5.5mm crochet hook.


Available from etsy, folksy, & ravelry.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011


In between looking after a baby and doing tons of housework (how did it ever get done when we both worked full time?) I'm really enjoying getting back into crochet pattern writing. I've just re-opened my Folksy shop. Folksy is a British version of Etsy, lots craft-loving people selling handmade, vintage and quirky items. All my patterns which are available on etsy, ravelry and my website, are also now on Folksy. 

Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Tree Bridge Etsy Shop

Happy Hexagons Organic Cotton Baby Blanket

Happy October! We've having a heatwave, so it doesnt feel very autumnal at the moment. Yesterday I somehow a lot of work done, which isnt easy when you're looking after a 6 month old at the same time. I managed to get some patterns listed in my etsy shop, and this is one of them!

My brother & his girlfriend are expecting a baby in 2 weeks, so I decided to make them a blanket. They love bright colours and dont know whether they are having a boy or girl, so I raided my stash and found lots of different colours to make motifs with. I played around with squares, and stripes, and finally settled on hexagons. I wanted a plain kind of shape that wasnt too girly.


Later, I was making a cushion cover from some organic cotton, and when I had some left over I decided to make some more hexagons, as they are so nice to make! So I ended up with another blanket. It's made from lovely Twilley's Freedom Sincere Organic Cotton.

I enjoyed working with Sincere, it was a bit splitty, but all cotton yarns are. I often question the ethical and environmental sourcs of yarn. Acrylic yarn is essentially made from oil. When I was (mostly) vegan I hesitated about using Sheep's wool, also it makes me itch. There are soya and bamboo yarns available, but I guess there isnt really a truly sustainable yarn. 


Freedom Sincere is just like Rowan Organic Cotton, but about half the price. I stopped liking Rowan yarns so much when I worked in a wool shop. The colours and textures are gorgeous but when you come to work with it, it often has knots in, and it bobbles when you wash it, which isnt great when you've spent a lot of money. Modern yarns like Sirdar and Patons are so much nicer than they used to be, and are washable and dont bobble. When I'm making things for H, I tend to use budget acrylic yarns because they need to be washed so often, and he grows out of things so quickly.

Happy Hexagons Baby Blanket pattern is available from The Tree Bridge and Ravelry.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Northern Star Christmas Stocking

I wanted to make a stocking for H's first christmas, but I couldnt find an interesting pattern I liked, so I decided to make one up! I chose traditional green and red, and used a granny square motif. The stocking is made as two motifs, and then worked in the round, just like a sock. I had great fun decorating my fireplace for Christmas to take these photos when it's still only September!


The pattern is available at Ravelry and The Tree Bridge etsy store.

Peapod Soup Children's Clothing

Peapod Soup etsy store is now open! I decided to open a 2nd etsy shop, because I think people we getting confused between the crochet patterns available at The Tree Bridge, and with finished items. So now the tree bridge stocks patterns only, and Peapod Soup stocks colourful vintage-inspired childrens wear. Look out for colourful tank tops and retro christmas stockings soon!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Quite often I miss living in a city, I miss art and culture and shops and galleries. I miss the museum in Cardiff where I would go in my lunchtimes to look at the paintings. The town where I live is very small with not a lot going on.


So a couple of weeks ago we went to Salisbury for the day, as the international food festival was on. It's amazing how you can live near to somewhere but somehow never get around to going there. We spoke to people with American and Australian accents, like they had travelled around the world to come to Salsbury, but I've lived here for 5 years, and only ever driven through.


We went to the Catherdral where there were sculptures by Sean Henry. It was great fun going round the catherdral trying to spot them, after a while we didnt care about the historical gargoyles and architecture and things, we just wanted to take a picture of every single sculpture. They were so eeriliy realistic. There is also a copy of the Mappa Mundi there. Salisbury has a really nice feel to it, with lovely cafes and shops and interesting buildings.

The Sean Henry exhibition is on until 31st October.