Saturday, 28 December 2013

Rainbow Christmas Blanket

I hope you all had a great Christmas. Here at our house its been a very relaxed, chilled out affair, filled with lots of lounging around infront the TV, bracing dog walk in the gales and playing games and making models that Santa brought.

 Christmas Day was fab, we had to wake the kids up at 9am when we could wait no more, I think I was more excited than anyone! And everyone piled onto our bed in traditional fashion to rip open stocking presents, then dressed in new onesies we all crept down stairs to see if the man in red had been, and with a shriek of delight from little H, it was apparent he had. All those hours of wrapping, undone in a matter of minutes, but the look of delight on everyone's faces made it more than worth it. 
I looooovvvvvvveeeeeee Christmas and always go over the top buying presents, I love to spoil everyone rotten.

With all this lazing around, I decided to make the most of my time and have been working on my rainbow blanket. I actually began it a few months ago as I like to have an ongoing project, normally a large afghan, set to one side that I can pick up and put down as I please. I wasn't intending on it being a huge blanket, in fact I wasn't really clear exactly what the final project would look like so I just crocheted away and it is heading towards a snugly big blanket.  I made the first six squares and stitched them together but the result was a disappointing size that i just wasnt happy with, so I decided to make 6 more (like you do!) And now I'm not far off completing them. I think the 12 together, along with a border will make a good size.

The colours on the photo aren't great and it's making the dark orange appear red and the dark red appear lighter, but it gives you an idea. I put a navy border round each rainbow square and then joined the first 6 together with a single crochet.

I'm not over the moon with it, you know those type of projects where it just doesn't come together like you think it will? But I've decided o finish it and see whether a border will make a difference to it. There's a good few hours of work left to do but I'm determined to finish it rather than put it to one side on the "I will finish this one day" pile!

My mum bought me some new hookies for Christmas, and I've been using my lovely new Clover Amour 5.5 hook the past few days and I have to say, they are the nicest hooks I've ever hooked with. Highly recommend them!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Last minute bunting

I had a phone call from "The Green Monkey HQ" yesterday morning:

"Hi Jane, there's a customer here who knows its a very late ask, but could you make him some bunting for his grand daughter Lola for Christmas?"

Guess which sucker agreed! 

So yesterday morning I was making bunting, thankfully it was only a small amount, I think if he'd told me his granddaughter's name was Alexandra it may have been a different matter!!! 

I was starting to panic a bit about how to block each flag as i didn't have time to block it, spray it with water and wait for it to dry overnight, and as it was made in acrylic yarn, i couldn't iron it, and then I remembered that Lucy from Attic24 blocks her crochet items on an ironing board by pinning it out and hovering a steam iron over it. So, out came the blocking pins and I pinned it all out on the ironing board and hey presto, after a few minutes of steam, I achieved very quick blocking. You can see from the picture above what a huge difference it makes to an item.

I cut out the name from a lovely dark pink felt as it stood out beautifully on the pale bunting and using my glue gun, applied the letters.

I fiddled about for ages, trying to decide which ribbon to use and which buttons looked best but eventually settled on some spotty lilac ribbon and dark purple heart buttons. I don't think I have any finger prints left from gluing my fore finger and thumb countless times whilst applying everything! 

I originally started off with pale pink heart buttons but halfway through decided it a looked too pale and washed out, so spent the next half an hour prising them off and replacing them with the purple ones, which finished it all off nicely.

I love crochet bunting, it's just so different and each piece is unique as no two are ever the same. 

Here's the finished piece:

I hope Lola loves it :0)

Eeeeeek it's nearly Christmas!

I have been sooooooooooo busy this last week, I feel like my whole body hasn't touched the ground in days. 

Little H and lovely lady M finished school yesterday and now it feels like Christmas can really begin. I think I've finally completed my Christmas shopping. I woke up at 4am on Wednesday morning in a huge panic as I realised that although I'd bought the cake pop maker that lady M really wanted, I had forgotten to order the candy melts that are needed to go make the finished product and it was probably too late to buy them online so after dropping everyone to school, Jasper puppy and I had to make a last minute dash, an hour and a half up the motorway, to Bristol, in the most diabolical weather, to Hobbycraft to buy some. Thankfully they had them in stock, otherwise I don't know what I would have done as I've not found them sold locally anywhere. I'm normally mega organised with my present shopping but I think the excitement of Germany took over this year and everything else went out the window.

I'm feeling really festive now, I watched little H in his nativity as an Inn Keeper on Wednesday and it just filled me with so much pride to see him stood there on stage singing his little heart out, even if he was the only one who refused to wear anything on his head! #mummyslittlefusspot!    Then yesterday we went to the church for the end of year Carol concert, it was just wonderful hearing all those little voices ringing out Christmas cheer and has really set the scene for Christmas.

The next few days will be all about making mince pies, gingerbread houses and lots of festive fun, probably also combined with daily repairs to the Christmas tree after my furry friends have rearranged it!

Skye thinks I put it there as a new cat tree for her to climb

Lupin thinks I've hung lots of new balls up for her to play with

And Jasper thinks the tinsel is there for him to rip to pieces the minute I'm not watching!

Argh animals!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Beautiful Rudesheim

Part 3

If you are ever in the Rhine area at Christmas you HAVE to visit Rudsheim, it is the most beautiful, festive, magical place you'll ever come across, packed with traditional market stalls selling stunning goodies lining the streets of this very beautiful medieval town. 

To get there we had to climb aboard our coach and head up the mountainside, where to my delight, yesterdays ominous grey snow clouds from yesterday had sprinkled their fluffy white load! It was only a light dusting but it made those beautiful mountain villages look even more delightfu.

To get to Rudesheim itself, we boarded a huge boat seating well over 300 people and chugged our way up the Rhine. 

I can't remember the name of the town where we embarked but it was near the statue of the Loreley and in the tiny town itself was the largest suspended cuckoo clock in Europe

We boarded our boat for our 2 hour long festive cruise up the Rhine, along the way passing more death defying vineyards, above beautiful towns set along the banks of the river, many guarded by castles of old, some ruined and some restored, all accompanied by a very jolly German gentleman playing his accordion and singing his little heart out!

This is the only castle set on the banks of the river Rhine, all the rest are set high up on the hill sides.

The black and white building in the centre of this photo is the oldest guesthouse in Germany.

Two hours later we arrived in magical Rudesheim to the sights of beautiful markets, the smell of Gluhwein floating in the air and the sounds of traditional German bands playing festive music. To say I was in heaven was an understatement! Everywhere you looked, Christmas was in full swing.

I think this had to be our favourite stall. The men were both Hungarian and as you can see were selling the most beautiful hand painted items, we had little heart plaques with our names painted on hand made here and a Christmas tree ornament painted to remind us always of our trip here every year when we get our decorations out. Behind the man on the left are 2 beautiful mirrors, I am so cross with myself because I really wanted one and was going to come back before we boarded the coach home to get one and then ran out of time to return :0{

Ha, ha, 12 hours on a coach and 5 countries later and what do I find? None other than a good old red London bus!

This is Europe's largest nativity display, all the figures are life size!

And how about this for a sausage!!!! Half a metre of pure deliciousness, yum yum!

These illuminated stars are actually light shades and appear in windows at Christmas, they are beautifully stunning and painted in such a beautiful way


 I really really wanted one, but I just don't have anywhere in my little house to hang one sadly.

Even pets corner gets a bit of Christmas magic in Germany, I'm sure these rabbits were very great full not to be excluded for the festive celebrations!

Our trip to Germany was A Maze Balls! We had a brilliant time and I have to say the best bit was getting to spend real quality time with my beautiful daughter.

Friday, 13 December 2013


The second place we visited was a larger town, it could even be a city, I'm not sure, called Koblenz, set on the banks of the mighty river Rhine. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and was able to tell us an awful lot about what we were seeing out the windows of the coach. 

All the way through the valley of the Mosel River on our way to Koblenz were almost vertical vine yards, requiring a ladder to access the vines for tending and picking.

You can just make out the ladder 3/4 along the photo. How on earth the tend these vines is a mystery to me when they need a ladder to get to them and once there the sides are so vertical it must be nearly impossible to stand, but it must be worth it as the wine grown in this region is devine! 

Koblenz is quite a large town/city, overlooked by a massive fortress set high on the hill tops above. It is a very cosmopolitan place with stylish restaurants and bars and a fantastic array of shops and boutiques. The Christmas markets here were fab and once the light started to fade their magic really came to life.

This was an amazing bar with the fans on the top gently spinning whilst the locals all gathered to drink Gluhwein, a delicious type of mulled wine. I have to say I did indulge in one or two cups and then discovered it really was quite strong!

Another Gluhwein stall. The locals all gather here in the evenings wrapped up warm to drink the steaming hot red liquid. It really is a very social affair.

We loved this area of the markets, along with selling the steaming hot Gluhwein, they were selling traditional fried potato cakes and delicious bratwurst sausages, so we stopped for lunch and sat inside the amazing log cabin behind the bar to warm up.

I can imagine this being a very social place at weekends and in the evenings. So that was Koblenz and the next day was the big, traditional market in Rudesheim......................... 

Home again, home again, jiggety jig. Cochem Christmas Markets

Part 1!............

Wow! Germany was simply amazing, it was such a great trip and I now feel thoroughly Christmas-fied! The markets were out of this world, so beautiful, we went to a total of 3, Cochem, Koblenz, and Rudesheim. 

Cochem was a small, typically German town on the river Mosel, and oh so picture perfect, everywhere you looked was decorated beautifully, to the right of the Christmas tree in the picture above is actually a fountain that is completely decorated in Christmas trees, infact it was so stunning and almost unreal that my daughter thought it was like being in Disneyland! 

Look at that ominous sky, there was snow in it :0)

Teeny tiny shops dotted around selling the most amazingly decorated gingerbread and cakes like you've only ever seen in your dreams

Everything made entirely from Gingerbread

The biggest slice of pure chocolate indulgence you've ever seen (and yes my gannet of a daughter ate the lot!) and

The most delicious slice of warm German apple strudel you've ever tasted.

Although the Christmas markets in Cochem were only tiny, they were so lovely with local people selling traditional local goods and handmade items and the actual town so was beautiful and really started the festive feeling off. We spent the whole morning in Cochem and to be honest I think I could have spent all day there as it was so gorgeous.

The Germans really go to town with Christmas and everywhere you turn, everything is decorated so stylishly. I have no idea how many real trees are used but its got to run into millions.

As with many small towns along the Mosel river, imposing Castles keep watch over the town and river, in the past collecting taxes from the water users.