Thursday, 25 February 2010

Meat Free Mondays!

So I should really do a post about Meat Free Mondays on a Monday but by the time I write about it next Monday, we'll be halfway through the day and you'd have to wait a whooole week more to take part! So here we go!

Meat Free Monday is an environmental campaign to raise awareness of the climate-changing impact of meat production and consumption. Livestock production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions and commercial fishing continues to wipe out biodiversity as miles of weighted nets drag along the sea floor, taking delicate coral-based habitats with them and sweeping up all the fish in their path, including a vast amount of the wrong species, which are then thrown dead back into the water. Here's a much prettier list of facts!

So by cutting your meat consumption by just 1/7, you could help to make a massive difference - to the environment, to your health and to the farmed animals themselves!

I don't eat (mammal or bird) meat, but I do eat fish, and I'm endeavouring to stop eating fish on Mondays, which will hopefully start to make a difference. So join with supporters including Richard Branson, Woody Harrelson, Mat Lucas, Monty Don, Twiggy, David Walliams and the McCartneys and make your Mondays Meat Free!

Have a look at Meat Free Mondays and Support Meat Free Mondays for more information, recipes and restaurant reviews!

I'll be back on Monday with my patented veggie chilli recipe - what are your favourite veggie-friendly recipes?

Don't forget to enter the giveaway in my post below! If you want to be entered, but haven't yet left a comment, please do!

Monday, 22 February 2010


Hello! I've been wanting to do a giveaway post for a while, but couldn't figure out exactly what to give away...after much thought I decided I'd give away something that I'd enjoy winning - and I hope you agree! So to celebrate almost reaching fifty followers, I'm giving away this pair of crocheted button-flower hair slides!

They're crocheted in fine cotton purchased from a charity shop, with buttons from a local haberdashery and comfy hair slides. The flowers measure 3cm across and the hair slides 6.5cm.

To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is:
- become a follower
- visit my shop (here!) and leave me a comment on this post letting me know which item is your favourite
- also in your comment, describe what kind of blog articles you like to read most - tutorials, reviews, recipes, general discussions, Folksy and Etsy favourites?
- don't forget to include a way of getting hold of you if you win!
- leave your comments before midnight (GMT) on 14th March

The winner will be chosen in three weeks on March 15th using!

Good luck!

I said in my last post that I'd been crocheting lots and here is the fruit of my labour so far! It's crocheted in a treble stitch with a raised treble to make the ribs - the front is really easy and a quick row to complete, but the back is a bit fiddly as you have to turn the work to raise the stitch from behind (if that makes sense!), so it's taking some time but it's the perfect craft for doing in front of the television, and it's really transportable, unlike card-making!

Look at my cute stitch marker! It came with the original wool I bought, and I only just figured out what it was...clever! I think it goes perfectly with this project!

Good luck with the giveaway!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Little Speedy Post!

Hello! Just a little quick post because my sister's home from uni this week and as a result I've had a surprisingly busy day off - we're off for food and Youth in Revolt at the cinema imminently! My day has, however, included a LOT of cushion crocheting (in a more *ahem* masculine colour this time!) so I'll share some photos of my creation next time as well as details of a little giveaway, exciting!

In the meantime, to jazz this up a little, here's one of National Geographic's 'Photos of 2009'...I have rather a thing for mooses!

Aww! What's your favourite animal?

Monday, 15 February 2010

Hurry Up and Be Spring!

I thought I'd show you a few new items I've added to my shop - the colours show pretty clearly that I'm fed up of this miserable weather and ready for a bit of sunshine! Click the images to go to each item's Folksy page!


Made with a beautiful butterfly bought in a charity shop!

Made with recycled paper, gifted embellishments and a hand-stamped message!

Made with recycled paper and gifted embellishements - this snail is also fed up of the rain!

Made with another beautiful butterfly bought in a charity shop!

Made with recycled card, paper and gifted foam embellishments!


Made with craft-fair cotton and a recycled button!

Made with craft-fair cotton and a recycled button!

Made with craft-fair cotton, wool and a recycled button!

I've not done it so far, but I've been thinking more and more about getting a stall at a local craft fair or two to get my stuff 'out there' - have any of you done it? How has it worked out for you? If you are pondering it, like me, there are some great tips over at LifeCovers!

And to share the love - Valentine's wouldn't be Valentine's without a handmade card or two, would it? So here's the one I made! Perfectly cheesy and a little bit mad on the hearts ha! Some of the tiny hearts were raised (though you can't really tell!), and I stamped a pretty flower on the back (highly masculine, obviously...).

Did you give or receive any handmade goodies from your Valentine? What did you get up to (even if it was shunning the rose-tinted world of hearts and chocolates!)?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Crafts and Feminism!

Hey there! On a message board last night, a poster posed the following questions about crafts and feminism as part of her dissertation research, and I found the answers really interesting, so I've asked her permission to pinch her questions to pose to you! I thought it'd be interesting to hear everyone's thoughts since a lot of you are crafters yourselves - I'll feed any answers back to her to help with her research if that's alright! My answers are below, too!

I'm writing my dissertation on the rise of knitting/crafts and how it fits in with third wave feminist analysis' of women's interests and hobbies and lifestyle choices. I'm doing some research into why women like knitting [and other crafts] and why they started doing it, so would anyone mind answering a few questions for me? I'm hoping to carry out real life interviews and I think it would be good to get a few responses to shape the questions I ask!

1) How did you learn to knit? Were you taught by a family member or friend?

2) Do you attend any knitting groups, such as stitch 'n bitch? If so, why?

3) Why did you decide to take up knitting?

4) What do you enjoy about it, what do you get out of it?

5) What image do you think knitting has? Do you think there is still an association with old ladies or has this changed?

6) Do you think knitting and crafts get the same attention as other arts? Do you think they should be worthy of the same interest?

7) Knitting has traditionally been defined as women's work, as something domestic which holds us back from equality. If this is true, why are so many young women engaging in it?


I can't knit yet, but I've recently taught myself to crochet, so these are about crochet if that's alright!

1) I've been trying to learn to both knit and crochet for years, and everybody (mum, grandma, many family friends!) who's ever attempted to teach me has almost murdered me in frustration ha so I subscribed to a 'learn to crochet' magazine recently and learned that way!

2) I don't attend any groups, but we do have friends who like to get together and knit so I might start joining them, because it does get a bit lonely crocheting on my own in front of the TV!

3) I wanted to be able to make things like my mum and grandma do - we have so many lovely things around the house that are homemade, and they've lasted for years and years and I wanted to be able to make things like that, perhaps for my children...and also to pass some time creatively because my job is only part-time!

4) I enjoy how quickly you can create something...although I'd like to be quicker! It's really satisfying and something to chat about!

5) When I was younger it definitely had an association with older people, but my mum has always knitted and crocheted since being a teenager, so the idea grew on me as I got older, and now I know so many people who knit socially, I think the image has reversed and it's a bit cool now!

6) No I don't think they get the same recognition, unless there's something really very different about what's been made. I'm not sure whether they should have as much recognition...I guess I think they should have more within fashion and textiles rather than art. A lot of what is created when you knit, certainly as a beginner, is done from a pattern, so arguably more repetitive and less creative than other arts, but I think really spectacular creations are getting more and more recognition, especially with the increase in fashion and craft blogs and information being shared so easily.

7) I think nowadays it's easier for young women (in the context of young British women taking up knitting and crafts) to do exactly what they want to do with much less fear of being judged than perhaps twenty/thirty years ago when a lot of feminist activity was focused on equality, and to be equal, women had to shake off traditional views of themselves. Nowadays, if women want to do something traditionally seen as masculine (engineering, armed forces, go into business etc), they are for the most part positively encouraged, so it gives the freedom to do exactly what you want to do without fear of being seen as either masculine or feminine whether it be flying a plane, building a train engine, making cards (my boyfriend will be delighted I'm sharing that he does ha!), knit a scarf or be a doctor. I really don't know enough about it to discuss it particularly intelligently, it just feels that way to me!

I'd love to hear all your thoughts!

In other news, the tiny bit of crochet at the top of the post was the beginning of my boyfriend's cushion (which I began rambling about in this post!) and I've since decided that the wool, despite being beautiful, is far more suited to a baby than to a 24-year-old boy and it's also so fine that the four rows above took me the best part of two hours...I should probably have realised this sooner, but now I have two balls of wool and no babies to crochet anything for haha so has anybody got any ideas? I also need to buy some more manly wool for this...I guess practise makes perfect, though!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Warming Winter Soup!

Today I got a bit preoccupied with organising paper into different coloured piles (constructive, yes?) instead of taking photos to show you my latest cards, so I thought I'd share with you my very own tried and tested recipe for Warming Winter Soup (carrot, lentil and butternut squash)! I love soup, but because I eat it about five out of seven days of the week (creative!) I get pretty bored of the old Cream of Tomato, addictive as it is, and do like a bit o' variation sometimes! This recipe makes an enormous pan-full - enough for everyone to have some for tea and then to have for lunch for the next couple of days, but you can obviously halve the ingredients if you're not feeling quite so soup-tastic!

- a couple of tablespoons of olive oil
- two onions
- a few cloves of garlic (I like garlic, so this had five cloves in!)
- a few large carrots (it's not really an exact science, this soup-making lark!)
- five sticks of celery
- a butternut squash
- a small bowl-full of lentils
- two vegetable stock cubes
- a tin of chickpeas
- salt and pepper to taste

But you can obviously add whatever you fancy (or have in the house) and omit anything you don't like!

Chop up the onions and crush the garlic whilst you heat the olive oil in a large pan. Fry on a low heat with the lid on. Don't add any salt until later, because it stops the lentils from softening.

Grate the carrots and add them one by one. Does anyone else have a fear of graters? No? Just me, then...I grated my finger AGAIN today!

Chop up the celery and add to the pan once the carrots have started to turn yellow.

Chop up the squash, scooping out the seeds and removing the skin (you can do this with the skin on if you prefer, but my dad doesn't like it!). Add to the pan once the celery has started to soften.

Measure out your lentils, and add them to the pan with twice as much water as lentils (this is why I measure lentils by the bowlful rather than by weight). Don't add any salt yet!

Once the lentils are soft, dissolve the stock cubes in 300ml of boiling water and drain the chickpeas. Add them both to the pan.

Once your chickpeas are warmed through, it's time to blend! You can do this with a hand blender or a food processor, but I tend to make such a lot it's easier to keep it in the pan!

Finally have a bit and add salt and pepper to taste! Eat with plenty of fresh bread, cheese, olives and humus...mmm!

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Buy Handmade!

Today I've taken the 'Buy Handmade' pledge, which...erm...pledges to:
'buy handmade for myself and my loved ones, and request that other do the same for me'!

And in honour of this (not JUST to fuel my new crochet addiction, honest!), I've purchased this stunning handpainted wool for my next project - I'm going to crochet a cushion cover as a Valentine's gift! It'll probably turn into more of an Easter gift by the time I eventually finish it, but you never know! It's not particularly romantic, but yellow is Oliver's favourite colour and he has a forty-minute minibus ride to work in the morning so it can be a sleeping cushion (aww!)! The wool looks so soft - I'll let you know how it goes!

And here are my other little projects:

Aren't they sweet? Some of the petals are slightly larger then the rest but I don't think they're too bad for my first and second try! I'm not sure what to do with them yet...maybe sew them onto hair slides? Make them into brooches? I could crochet a cluster and add them to a tote bag perhaps!

Have you got any current projects in the works?

Wednesday, 3 February 2010


Hello there! I've mentioned my love of buttons before, in this post, but we watched the film Coraline over the weekend and although it was really really good, I found it absolutely's a good job I didn't watch it as a child! If you've never seen it, I won't spoil it, but it involves having buttons sewn in place of the characters' eyes...scary, yes?

Anyway, to alleviate my fears of buttons for eyes, and to get them back in my good books, I found these lovelies for your perusal! Click all the photos to go to their sources.

Nice, huh? Buttons are my friends again! Phew!

The second issue of my crocheting magazine hasn't yet arrived, but I have bought some beautiful autumny-coloured wool to start a project with. I haven't yet decided on the project but I'll show you in the very near future, hopefully! What would you make with these colours?

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