cats, craft, crochet, knitting, music, Uncategorized, yarn

Top Ten Review of the Year

Well, another prolonged absence due to work – I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions, but next year I will make more time to post on my blog as I have missed not being able to post so regularly.  Getting organised is half the battle I think…

This year has been an interesting one (in all senses of the word!) – a new addition to my family (OK, so he’s a kitten) and a rebranding of my blog and business as well as opening my Etsy Shop.

Add to that the most manic year of my (full-time) working life and major changes within my working structure – which are all still in a state of flux!

But in many ways a fantastic year, much love and laughter with friends and family, and finding a kindred spirit in crafting in my friend Anna (and her five-year-old Mikey who’s favourite phrase is now “let’s get crafting!”)

So here is my Top Ten Review of the Year on looking back through my blog, I do hope you enjoy it!

One – The arrival of Sir Patrick of Naughtiness

As an Astronomy geek, I managed to persuade Anna and Mikey to name their rescued kitten Professor Brian (Cox) after everyone’s favourite physicist and ex-popstar.  I was amazed they went with it…


I was even more amazed that I ended up rescuing his brother, whom I named Sir Patrick (Moore) after the famous and much beloved Astronomer and BBC Presenter (RIP).  It particularly helped that he had a squinty eye in which I could imagine the real Sir  Patrick’s monocle.  I met the real Sir Patrick once, he was absolutely delightful, and was very kind to me when another celebrity was very rude to me (you know who you are, Michael Fish!).


Two – Opening my Etsy Shop

This was a long-term aim over the year and was delayed many times due to factors outside of my control!  In the end it was opened in October and I had my first sale within 24 hours.

I haven’t quite had the time since then to promote it as much as I would like, and I have exciting plans for my Etsy shop for 2016, so my upcoming week off in February will be spent at home getting things sorted…

IMG_0039 IMG_0025










Three – Vintage Shopping at the Car Booty

Regular readers will know that I love a bargain.  Most Sundays I can be found at Frome Car Boot Sale, rummaging around in other people’s junk.  For several months this year I had an amazing run on vintage notions and patterns and went a bit overboard buying them.

I have now decided to offload some of them in 2016 when I take part in a Craft Fair which also lets you sell related goods.  Some, though, I cannot bear to part with!

IMG_20150208_121059 IMG_20150208_120903








Four – Yarn, lovely Yarn

I wrote about my yarn addiction on several occasions, it has perhaps got a little out of hand, especially after I visited the Kensington Olympia Knitting and Stitching show in March – but I did get some beautiful yarns, including the cashmere / cotton blend to make this lovely shawl on my Etsy Shop.

IMG_20150315_135204 IMG_0095










Five – Devon knows how they make it so lovely

Through my lovely friend Anna, I’ve had the chance to visit Chagford, in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, twice this year for Craft Fairs.  Such a beautiful place and the people are so friendly and welcoming, it’s a real treat to visit there.  Bonus treat – the tiny ponies and other cute critters at the Miniature Pony Centre nearby.

IMG_0654 IMG_0655










Six – Holidays-a-go-go!

I’ve been extremely lucky this year with holidays – having a gorgeous week in Marbella in March, with Mum, and then again in Bayeux in June with Mum, Dad and my brother.  The first time we’d all been away together for several years.  Both were fabulous holidays, much needed and much enjoyed, and allowed me to expand my stash even more with some really lovely yarns and notions (as well as some cheeky goats producing the softest mohair)

GetAttachment (20) GetAttachment (19)







IMG_20150724_192608 IMG_20150703_104826








Seven – My first giveaway of Crochet Patterns

In October I gave away the pattern for my first designed project, some mini Halloween Treat Baskets – to fill with yummy chocolates.  I had great fun designing the different faces and putting together a beginner’s project which I was happy to share for free.  Although a simple design, it has given me a taste for more!

IMG_0150 IMG_0159








Eight – Geek Loveliness

A fabulous year of nerd-dom has been bookended by Star Wars.  In May I posted about my trip to Marbella and the surprise of hearing a youth orchestra starting up with the Star Wars soundtrack – I have never departed a cafe in such a hasty fashion before…  In May I also posted a cheeky geeky guide and then followed up with a visit to the Doctor Who Exhibition in September with my family.  There is an adventure to go through which is rather interactive – I was more scared than the kids!















Nine – Animals A-Plenty

It never surprises me that my most popular posts tend to be around my two black cats, Ella and Sir Patrick.  After all, they are endless sources of amusement to me!

IMG_0162 IMG_0186








Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves – art and crafts.  In April I visited Standen, a home filled with delights from the Arts and Craft movement which I so admire.  Moving on to June I waxed lyrical about Salvator Rosa, one of my favourite artists, and in July I wrote about the beautiful lace that I encountered on my goaty adventures in Bayeux (and of course the famous Tapestry).












download (4)

And finally, throughout the year I have been extolling the virtues of crafting, thank you for joining me on my journey this year, and here’s to 2016!

craft, music

Apart from crafting, one of my other passions is music.  I have a rather eclectic taste from indie rock to classical and everything in between (except Country Music which I can’t abide!)

When I’m sitting down to craft my taste varies even more – sometimes I need to concentrate with a deadline coming up and at other times I’m just crafting for pure relaxation.  At the moment these are the top tunes that are firing my creativity…

  1. Morcheeba – Big Calm – the singer has a wonderfully soulful voice, this is gorgeous trip-hop-pop.  It’s very relaxing so no good for the run-up to a craft fair!
  2. Muse – Showbiz – one of the biggest bands in the world, one of my few regrets in life is that I have not yet had the chance to see them live in concert.  It’s quite loud and speedy so good for times when I was under pressure.
  3. The Streets – Original Pirate Material – I’m not a big fan of garage/hip-hop but Mike Skinner et al have a wickedly funny way with words and an ear for a great tune.  Not one for the kids though as it’s a bit sweary in places!
  4. Tracy Chapman – Tracy Chapman – when I saw her televised performance at the Nelson Mandela Concert, like many, I was astounded by her presence and vulnerability.  She has such a strong moral compass and, like me. is governed by a sense of justice.
  5. John Grant – Queen of Denmark – the richest baritone voice, a wry, witty intelligence and a cult following.  I almost don’t want to share him!
  6. DJ Shadow – Endtroducing – low-key instrumental hip-hop and great background listening which doesn’t disturb my concentration on complex tasks.
  7. The Bluetones – Expecting to Fly – a seminal indie debut album – tuneful with glorious harmonies.
  8. Tricky – Maxinquaye – more trip-hop – a very funky record with sharp, clever lyrics and rhythms which don’t age.  Some very fruity language so perhaps not for the faint-hearted!
  9. Any classical music – although I love Opera it’s too disturbing to attempt to sing along – so classical music is a safer bet, especially if I am writing or proof-reading.  One of my favourites is Grieg – In the Hall of the Mountain King.
  10. Sigur Ros – Takk – this is a wonderful Icelandic band who saw me through my Nursing degree. Their song Hoppipolla (translated as ‘jumping into puddles’) is used on just about every natural history programme on the BBC.  A truly beautiful album which is almost exactly an hour long, so it is perfect to schedule in exact chunks of work.

These are my favourites at the moment, but it is always subject to change!


Music to Make Crafts By