animals, cats, home, Uncategorized

Kitty Update

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted about my kitties…

It has been a hard year and a bit since Paddy (AKA Sir Patrick) joined us, since Ella prefers to be the only cat.  But he had to be rescued from his horrible situation, and in time, Ella has grown if not to completely accept him, then at least reconcile herself to the fact that he is staying!

They are extremely hard to photograph at this time of year, mainly as they are both out a lot, but also because, as you can see from Paddy above, he never stays still long enough!

He’s a really happy little chappie and always wants to be around me, he is such a baby, in contrast with Ella, who is very independent but loving in her own way. ¬†We have progressed to the point where they can eat together, although Ella still grumbles away if he gets too close!

During this cold snap we’ve had this Winter, they have both wanted to be on, or near, my lap. ¬†Paddy has never been a lap cat, but he loves it now, if I dare sit down with a blanket or throw on my lap he’s on there in no time.

I have (albeit very poor quality!) photographic evidence that they can live together in harmony.  Here they are on my lap, Ella to the left and Paddy on the right, sat on my blanket.  It was such a breakthrough for us all, I have to admit that I had a little cry!

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Paddy is so fascinated and in awe of Ella, when she rolled over, as you can see, very relaxed even though she knew he was there, he couldn’t quite believe it. ¬†It was a lovely moment in what has been quite a difficult time in getting them both settled.

Clever old Ella has proved elusive today – she must know that I’ve got the camera out… ¬†So I will have to go and seek her out later.

Paddy’s brother was also rescued by my friend and neighbour Anna, and he is doing so well… ¬†Here he is in all his glory – (Professor) Brian. ¬†I love his little nose and bow-tie combination markings and his long socks at the back and fingerless gloves at the front!

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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…

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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!).

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Two РOpening 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…

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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!

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Four РYarn, 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.

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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.

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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)

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Ten – Art and Crafts

And back to my main loves Рart 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).

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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!

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craft, crochet, knitting, yarn

What a week! Thank heaven for Devon…

 

I am so looking forward to next weekend after what has been a rather stressful week…

Sir Patrick the kitten has been ill and undergoing various tests – thankfully it all seems to have resolved and he is now his usual – completely mental –¬†self.

I have have some big changes afoot at work Рthese will involve periods of anxiety and increased workload for my team.  Luckily, I have a positive outlook, so with the support of others, I am sure we will overcome!

There is one piece of news, though,¬†which has perked me up no end… ¬†I have a small Craft Fair to attend in Chagford, a beautiful village in Devon on the edge of Dartmoor National Park.

 

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My crafting buddy Anna and I last¬†attended this Craft Fair back in April – hark back to¬†this post, where we met the tiny ponies, lambs and where I bought these lovely felting bits from Jean at¬†Kaeravel Krafts¬†(and had a free drop spinning lesson into the bargain)…

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Last time we enjoyed our trip so much that we gladly accepted the invitation to come back for their Christmas Fair. ¬†I have been busy making some festive items¬†(along with a baby blanket I have been crocheting for a friend – more of that later…) – here is a sneak peek of some of the goodies I will be taking with me!

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Christmas stockings Рmini sized but big enough for some festive treats.  Just need to be sewn up and a sweet Christmas star crocheted on to the front.

 

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Christmas puddings –¬†they are festive treats for place settings¬†– hiding¬†a chocolate underneath.¬†I always sell out of these, so am attempting¬†a factory production line of them (total staff: me – with ‘help’ from Sir Patrick). ¬†I will only have time to make about two dozen of them for next weekend.

Finally two new ideas – this appears to be white but it’s actually a lovely soft cream colour – thought I might try to make a festive wreath… ¬†Not sure how it’s going to look but experimentation is half the fun!

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Lastly a¬†bit of a strange idea¬†I had, based on an idea from Craftseller Magazine (sadly no more…) of making gift tags in the shape of Christmas presents. ¬†The original idea was of birds with lovely embroidery, but it was too labour-intensive – this is a bit quicker, but I still find myself spending ages sorting through my stash to find all of the sparkly bits I am after! ¬†The back has a pouch for a piece of card to be slipped in with the name of the recipient… ¬†These are a bit of a work in progress but I like the concept.

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More news when I return from Devon!

 

 

 

 

 

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More Free Halloween Crochet Patterns

Morning all

I have a lovely week off at home now – time to kick back and relax, and enjoy my birthday week. ¬†Poor little Sir Patrick the kitten is having his “operation” on Wednesday, so he will have a bit of recuperation time before my Mum arrives on Thursday.

You may have seen my Halloween Crochet Pattern for the Spooktacular Halloween Cauldrons last week. ¬†This got me thinking of further Halloween designs for these simple crocheted baskets. ¬†I’ve amended the pattern this time for advanced beginner / intermediate crocheters… ¬†working in the round instead of finishing each row.

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Please note that all terms are written in UK style.

DK yarn in orange (alternatively make in black, white or any colour you fancy!)
3.5mm crochet hook
Embroidery thread in black, green and white or invisible thread
Offcuts of white, green and black felt
Offcuts of cardboard (I used a cereal box)

SS = Slip Stitch
DC = Double Crochet
st = Stitch
CH = Chain stitch

NB: mark first DC in each round with a stitch marker whilst working in the round

Start with a magic circle, SS into circle, CH2
Row 1: 8DC into circle = 8 sts
Row 2: 2DC in all sts = 16 sts
Row 3: DC, 2DC, rpt to end = 24 sts
Rows 4-9: DC in all sts = 24 sts
Fasten off at the end of Row 9 and sew in all tails.

Alternatively you can continue on for a row or two Рthis is a good idea when working with taller or bigger chocolates or other presents you may pop inside the little cauldrons.

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Cut out shapes from felt according to the pictures.
For the¬†Spider¬†‚Äď embroider around the outline with black thread, add the white felt for the eyes with a bit of black thread for the pupils and fill in the spider legs.
For the Skeleton¬†‚Äď embroider around the eyes, nose and mouth edges¬†with black thread and fill in¬†teeth with black thread.
For the Cat¬†‚Äď embroider around the eyes¬†with invisible or green¬†thread. ¬†Add the black pupils, embroider around with black or invisible thread. ¬†Add the ears and¬†mouth and finish off the inscrutable kitty smirk with black thread.

Fill with festive Halloween chocolates and enjoy!

As with my previous pattern, please clearly credit all designs and finished projects to Louise Robbins and/or Chester Bunnynuts, and provide a link to either my blog at https://chesterbunnynuts.wordpress.com, or my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/chesterbunnynuts.

Commercial use DOES NOT permit mass production or factory manufacturing of any kind.  Please do not reproduce any part of my patterns.  Thank you for your consideration, and happy hooking!

Lou x

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Unexpected Absence

Well, that was a rather¬†extended absence, it’s been a challenging, and at times difficult three weeks.

I was at the Shoreham Airshow with my family last weekend, when the Hawker Hunter jet crashed.  It was a huge shock and we were all very upset and horrified, even more so later finding out that 11 people had died as the jet crashed over the main A27 road.  It has taken a bit of time to reflect and reconcile what happened, but after a while you have to put it aside.

Good news regarding my new charge, Patrick, the seriously cute but cheeky kitten, he is doing really well. ¬†He has put on 50% of his bodyweight (considering he was previously neglected, this is a particular relief) and his latest vet check up has been very positive. ¬†So he’s gone from this slightly anxious kitten…

 

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To this super-confident little chap with a lovely glossy, sleek coat – apologies for the quality of the photos – took¬†these on my phone as he rarely stays still! ¬†It’s amazing how quickly they grow – he is clearly going to be very tall and is very solid and muscly. ¬†All that has been built up in the three weeks he has had good nutrition and most of all, lots of love and care.

 

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Last week I was away for a few days with work, which was a very exciting challenge.  As a Nurse it is strange to be based in an office and advising patients over the phone.  I had the opportunity to travel to Kent, the other side of the South of England, to train staff at a Hospital on our feeding pumps.  I really enjoyed the challenge, but it was quite exhausting!

So now I’m home, everything is settled and¬†back on track, and I hope to get on with some lovely crafting this Bank Holiday weekend (which I can only do when Patrick is sleeping!) and open up my Etsy shop soon… ¬†It seems to have been a long time coming.

Happy crafting

 

Lou x

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You Have To Be Kitting!

What a week I’ve had, best laid plans and all that!

On Thursday I had an early finish from work and was planning to finish a few items ready for my Etsy shop.  I was having a little mooch around the garden, planning for my fences to be put up.

Suddenly I saw this cute little black kitten strolling up the garden path, and he walked straight over and threw himself at my feet. ¬†I knew that he ‘belonged’ to a neighbour due to a recent incident of neglect¬†we witnessed,¬†regarding¬†him and his siblings. ¬†He was outside without being vaccinated, microchipped and neutered, too young (only 12 weeks old) and the neighbours’ children said that he was¬†unhappy at home.

With help from my friend, we managed to get him rehomed with me. ¬†By this time I had to go out to complete a Dementia Friends talk and so I borrowed some kitten food and left him with a bowl, some water and Ella’s litter tray (much to her chagrin!)

 

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Ella is not keen on¬†other cats and¬†I had always planned to keep to a one-cat household. ¬†Of course all of that is up the swanny as he has bonded so strongly with me within minutes. ¬†I can’t imagine life without him now, he is so tiny, sweet-natured and gentle.

I used to work for Cats Protection so have followed their excellent guidelines about introducing him into the house and taking it slowly, to ensure long-term happiness for all inhabitants! ¬†I got a Feliway diffuser which relieves tension in cats, for Ella’s benefit more than his…

 

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Ella is a bit put-out at the moment, but has at least not been aggressive or overly anxious, as these piccies attest to!

 

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So we will (hopefully!) be a happy cat household, he has had a check-up at the vets and his first immunisations, soon he will be free to go out into the garden, safely this time.  He is only 1.2kg but not too underweight for his age, and otherwise the vet gave him a clean bill of health.  Phew!

The only thing left was to pick a name for him, and since his brother is named Brian after the wonderful physicist Professor Brian Cox, my first idea was immediately to name him Patrick after Sir Patrick Moore (the late, great amateur astronomer and TV Presenter of The Sky At Night).

So welcome to Patrick – and lots of fuss and hugs for Ella, to hopefully smooth the transition so that she comes to terms with the interloper and they can live together in harmony.

Hopefully next week I’ll have more time to get on to other priorities including my delayed Etsy shop!

Happy catting!

 

Lou x

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Etsy Countdown… 2 (1/2) and kitty fun

In true Hollywood style, I have stopped the countdown early – having been struck down with a cold in the height of (British!) summer…

So I haven’t felt up to much today apart from cuddling my friend Anna’s new kitten, tentatively named Paolo (Catini) after the rather delicious Scottish singer Paolo Nutini.

He is the sweetest little kitten and is holding his own against Dave the Chihuahua, who of course is scared witless every time he approaches him!

 

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I’m really pleased to see that her boy Mikey has really taken to him and is very gentle and caring, they already seem to have a lovely bond…

 

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So, fingers crossed I’m back tomorrow feeling a bit brighter and with my Etsy plans for this week back up and running.

Happy crafting!

 

Lou x

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