Welcome


Welcome to The Gingerbread Bunny! I'm Sarah, a textile artist specialising in crochet and felt based in Wigan in the North-West of England.

On my blog, you can find my day-to-day craft adventures and tutorials.

You can find details of my work for sale and workshops on my website - www.thegingerbreadbunny.co.uk

Monday, 31 December 2012

Out with the old and in with the new


(Photo courtesy of anniemandbenc on Flickr)
I can't believe that it is New Years Eve 2012!  I'm not the biggest fan of New Year (I'm much more of a Christmas girl) but I do like the opportunity to spend a bit of time reflecting on what the past 12 months have bought and thinking about what I want the following year to bring.

2012

2012 has been a funny old year for me. 

Personally, it's been quite a tough year for me and I've made some pretty massive decisions about my life.  In fact, today is officially my last day in my current job as a full time primary school teacher (I'm not going to go into details now, that is for a future post!) The decision was a hard one but one I am extremley happy with.  I will be working as a supply teacher for a while, as well as continuing with my private tutoring - which I love.  I will also be able to devote more time to The Gingerbread Bunny, which I am really excited about.

The Gingerbread Bunny has continued to grow. I've developed some new designs and my funky applique clothing line as well as teaching more workshops and selling at a few events. 


Last year I set myself 2 crafty resolutions:

1:  To learn how to do Tunisian crochet.  I saw Holly (who has started a crafty blog - check it out) doing some Tunisian crochet and the final effect is gorgeous.  

I'm pleased to report that I have been learning the basic tunisian crochet stitch thanks to the beautiful shawls designed by Aoibhe Ni.  I have made a couple of Pax Shawls, for me and as gifts, and made the Elderflower tunisian crochet hat.  I have actually just ordered a set of hooks and a book so that I can get to grips with more stitches next year. 


2: I also what to attend more workshops next year.  I have already enroled on the next Textiles course at night school for this term and am really looking forward to it.  I really want to go on a dressmaking course and definitley need to get myself booked onto another art journaling workshop at Art from the Heart in Harrogate!

I started the year with a textiles course at night school - where I made my patchwork crochet bag.  Then I took a big leap and enrolled on a City and Guilds Textiles Level 1 Course (through felt) with Arty Bird in Carnforth.  I have to say, it is one of the best things I've done in ages and I love it.  I'm really looking forward to this years weekends and am hoping to stay on to do level 2. I did enrol on a dressmaking course but, unfortunatley, this was cancelled due to the ill health of the tutor. 

2013

So, what do I want 2013 to bring?  In terms of my life in general I have but one goal:

(Photo cortesy of coffeecupsandraybans on tumblr)

Being happy, in all aspect of my life, is extremley important to me so I'm going to make sure that I do things that make me happy (not what will make others happy but me miserable!)  If I'm happy, then those closest to me will also be happy.

2013 Crafty Goals

Following the success of 2012's crafty goals, I'm going to set myself a few more for 2013.

1. To sew myself a skirt!
I have the most beautiful Amy Butler fabric in my stash which is just crying out to be made into a skirt.  2013 is the year I learn to make a skirt (with the help of a few friends).

2.  To develop The Gingerbread Bunny through: a website, teaching workshops and selling at craft fairs.
2012 has seen The Gingerbread Bunny grow and I want to see that continue into 2013.

3. To blog regularly.
I am aware that I have neglected my blog over the past few months and I want to remedy this in 2013.  I love my blog and, unfortunatley, life got in the way.  I have so much to share with you all and want to make sure I do this.  I've 'borrowed' a few ideas from blogs I love to follow as well as developing some of my own.  New features include a WIP Wednesday post (Work's in Progress) and an Inspirational Quote of the Week on a Sunday (although the first will be tomorrow!) as well as other exciting book reviews and other crafty goodies dotted around during the week.  Hopefully, by adding some structure to my blogging, you will get to read more.


All that leaves me to do is to wish you all a Happy New Year where ever you are and however you like to see it in.  This year, me and Mr Bunny will be enjoying a Lord of the Rings marathon with a few cheeky drinks and nibbles.



Saturday, 29 December 2012

Swap it!

For a while now, the wonderful Lousie from  the Caithness Craft Collective Podcast, has been organising swaps in her Ravelry group.  I have joined in with all of them and have received some awesome items and gifts and got to know some fabulous people a little better.

The most recent swap was a christmas decoration and handmade letter swap.  My lovely swap partner was Twinset Jan from Pennsylvania and it was so lovely to arrive home one night to an amazing parcel full of goodies.  She had needle felted me 2 little bunnies who look exactly like the gingerbread bunnies, Hansel and Gretel!  They now have pride of place on my tree and will most definitley be coming out every year. 


Hansel and Gretel Decorations

Also in the parcel was a lovely letter, some Herseys chocolate (as this is made in the State where she lives), a packet of mocha mix - which is delicious, and a skien of sock yarn which is the most beautiful blue and has cashmere in it making it smoochingly soft and snuggly.


Gorgeous yarn - what will it become?

I can report that she has received her package from me complete with a felt owl and a felt robbin decoration and other lovely goodies for her to enjoy.

Swapping is a great way to receive 'nice' mail and I love spending time choosing things to put in my parcel and making items for it to.

The next swap has already been announced - dishcloth and recipe swap with an 'unwanted' christmas gift that you can pass on to a loving home.  If you fancy getting involved, pop over to Ravelry and join the Caithness Craft Collective Group.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Happy 'belated' Christmas Everyone!

It has been quite some time since I last posted - you'll be pleased to know that one of my New Year's Resolutions is to make my blogging more regular but I'll save that for a future post!

Christmas has been and gone and I hope yours was filled with crafty gifts, fun and love.  I had a lovely Christmas spent with Mr Bunny and Grandma Bunny (my Mum - she considers herself the creatures Grandma!!).  I received some lovely handmade goodies including a hand made Gingerbread Bunny as a Secret Santa gift and some crochet mitts and bracelet from my mum.  Mr Bunny bought me Kirsties Vintage Home (yay) and some pink sparkly yarn, a needle case and a whole box of goddies from Felted Fancies Supplies full of ribbon and buttons. 

I handmade a few goodies this year, although not as many as last year.  Inspired by Attic 24 and Julia Crossland, I crocheted a mini wreath for my aunty to go in her new house.  I loved making it and the colours look so cool with all the 'bits'. I'm planning on making one for my house to that can stay up all year round. 


Crochet Wreath

I knitted - yes knitted - a scarf for my goddaughter in some amazing pom-pom yarn I found and felted a knitting needle roll for my best friend, Shinybees. 

'Baaaa'

Who doesn't want a scarf covered in pom poms??

I made fruit and nut cupcakes for my brother and sister in-laws, decorated with marzipan, icing and some little sugar decorations.  They were a great gift to make and looked really cool all boxed up and wrapped with ribbon.


No event is complete without cake

I also gifted quite a few crafty supplies to inspire and get more people crafting - yarn and knitting needles for my mum and wooden spoon people kits for the children.

All in all, my Christmas has been lovely and crafty.  How crafty was yours? What was your favourite gift?

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Life is like a box of chocolates

Receiving an unexpected gift is amazing. Receiving an unexpected skein of beautiful hand-dyed Nurturing Fibres yarn all the way from South Africa is just awesome!

A good few months ago, I arrived home from work to find a package waiting from me.  I saw the South Africa postmark and Nurturing Fibres label and thought my friend, Jo (aka Shinybees) had sent me a gift. I was correct but my gift yarn was so much more then that.

I was the lucky recipient of a 'me please' skein called 'Box of Chocolates' which the lovely Carle had dyed for her birthday. These skeins were offered to people who had to gift them to someone else (in this case me!)

The gift yarn was accompanied by a letter to explain why the yarn was for you and my letter was truly moving and did, in fact, make me cry.
A few weeks ago, I turned this extra special skein into a shawl! The pattern I used was the Chakra Neckercheif from a past issue of Inside Crochet magazine which worked perfectly to show off all the different colours.  I also added added the bead edging using larger beads which worked really well.

My shawl is, quite possibly, the most important item I've ever made. It is filled with love and hope and lots of happy memories.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Simply Crochet - Issue 1

Squeal!!! There is a new crochet magazine about to hit the shelves in January.  I am so excited about this - a whole magazine dedicated to crochet from the makers of Simply Knitting and Mollie Makes (so it's bound to be fabulous!)

I am lucky enough to be able to share the front cover of Issue 1 with you all and when I saw it I was all excited.  They are also having a special offer - 3 issues for £5 - which I have obviously partaked of!

Roll on January!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The Wool Boat!

Sunday mornings generally means yoga! If I'm not off on my felting course or away, I can be found in the quaint village of Parbold relaxing in a yoga class before returning home to partake of a little crafting.

Today was different.

As usual I left the WI hall, heading back to my car, when a poster caught my eye. A poster for the wool boat! The Wool Boat is a barge which sells wool and other knitted goodies. During the winter months, it moors up in Burscough, heading up to Parbold once a month. Over summer, it travels along the waterways of England providing yarn addicts with a little treat.

Of course, I headed there straight away, with Mum in tow, and yes we did buy yarn. Eventhough it is a smallish barge, it carries a good range of yarns: acrylic, wool, bamboo and cotton can be found aswell as buttons, books, hooks, needles and knitted items. The owners are super friendly and we had a lovely chat about my need to sniff yarn before I buy it! I bought a ball of very bright variegated yarn and some subtle variegated pink yarn.

If you ever get chance, it is well worth a visit, even if it is just for the novelty value of buying yarn on a barge!!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Reader Appreciation Award!



Oooh!  How exciting! I have been awarded a Reader Appreciation Award by the wonderful Corrie of Plutonium Muffins.

So, there are three guidelines I have to follow.

Thank the person who nominated you
As I've already said.  I've been nominated by the lovely Corrie, author of Plutonium Muffins blog.  I've been following Corrie on Twitter for a while now and we got to know each other a little better when I answered her plea for someone to join her in a KAL for dog blankets for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home earlier this year.  Her blog is well worth checking out I love catching up with her through it.

Answer 10 Questions
There are 10 questions to answer so that you, my readers, can find out a little more about me.  Here goes!

1.  Your favourite colour
I love colour and my favourite does  tend to fluctuate between teal, pink and purple.  Currently my favourite is purple.

2.  Your favourite animal
I am a vegetarian who loves animals.  I do live with many, many animals - rabbits, guinea pigs, gold fish, Giant African Land Snails and a hamster.  I also love cats (the only reason we don't have any is because Mr Bunny is highly allergic to them!)  As far as non-pet animals go I think Owls and elephants are beautiful, and have lots of owl and elephant related items in my house, love donkeys, want to own goats, sheep and alpacas one day and adore whales and dolphins and am a big supporter of Sea Shepherd.  What is my favourite animal? All of them!

3.  Your favourite non-alcoholic drink
I love elderflower and Aldi do great bottles of sparkling elderflower water and apple and elderflower juice - mmmm.  If it's tea, I like Assam and fruit teas.  I'm also partial to a caramel latte and a hot chocolate when it's chilly outside!

4.  Facebook or Twitter
Both!  If you don't already you can find me here on Facebook (gingerbreadbunny) and I'm GingerbreadBun on Twitter.

5.  Your favourite pattern
Now there's a question.  It will have to be a collection of patterns - Aoibhe Ni's Tunisian Lace Shawls.   Theya are gorgeous and I can't wait to make more of them over winter to keep my neck warm.  They are great as you can make them with your ordinary crochet hook.

6.  Getting or giving presents
That's a hard one.  Of course I love getting presents but I also love giving presents, especially when it is something handmade - although that can be pretty nerve wracking to!

7.  Your favourite number
Oddly enough, 7.  Why?  I like the way it looks, it is an odd number and I always think thinks look better in an odd number and it is the number of attempts it took me to pass my driving test.

8.  Your favourite day of the week
It depends on the week and what's happening.  Weekends are a favourite because it is my time for crafting, chilling out, dancing etc etc etc

9.  Your favourite flower
Roses.  They are the flowers I had when I got married.

10.  What is your passion?
Craft.  I adore it.  Being able to make something for yourself is amazing.  Wearing clothing you have made yourself is so satsifying.  I love teaching craft and empowering people to be able to make for themselves to.

Nominate some fellow bloggers

Obviously, Corrie from Plutonium Muffins but apparently she can't be an 'official' nomination. 

In no particular order we have:

Shinybees - Jo is a very old friend of mine who now resides in South Africa.  She is a keen knitter and her blog is very well written and a great read.

iMake - Martine is from Guernsey and explores lots of different crafts.  Her blog is a treasure chest of information and defintley one to subscribe to.

Random Wooliness - Ali is a keen felter and, with my new found love of felt making, her blog is one I check out regulalry.  She makes some beautiful things!

Fresh Stitches - This is the newest blog on my reading list.  Stacey is the designer of the most adorable amigurumi creatures and I can't wait to find the time to make Nelson the Owl. 

I hope you have found out a little more about me!

Thank you again Corrie for the nomination!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Choosing the one

This week I have acquired a new lady in my life and I'd like to introduce you all to Dorothy, my new sewing machine.

A few Christmases ago, my husband bought me my first sewing machine (much to the horror of a few of my work colleagues who couldn't believe that I was getting a 'tool' for Christmas!) I chose a John Lewis mini in bright pink. It was reasonably priced and basic. I chose it because, quite frankly, the more advanced machines scared me to death with all those dials and selectors and so I wanted something easy. It was perfect and did what I needed - straight and zigzag stitch. It was a great little machine to get me started but I needed more from my machine. It was time to say goodbye.

There are so many sewing machines out there that picking the right one is, quite frankly, like choosing a partner!

Can I live with this machine for the rest of my life? (or at least for the forseeable future?) Sewing machines are a big investment with some costing hundreds of pounds!

You have to pick a machine that is right for you and suits your needs. Are you just doing a bit of sewing for fun? Do you want to make clothes? Are you interested in embroidering with it? All important considerations when buying a machine.

These where all questions I had to answer.
My new machine is also a John Lewis model (which I'm led to believe are made by Janome) As me and my first machine got on so well, I decided to stick with what I know.

I want a machine for sewing and dressmaking. Im not interested in using it for embroidery (and am not likley to in the future) Dorothy (my machine) can do button holes and has a removable bit to make cuffs and legs easier to sew - very handy for a wannabe dressmaker!

Looks also came into it to (some people may consider this when choosing a partner!) Dorothy is a stunner! She is purple with contrasting pink dials and very sleek. I know I shouldn't be, but I was drawn to her looks!

Like most people, I was working within a budget. I could have spent a little more than I did but I certainly didn't have the funds to buy a fancy machine (which I probably wouldn't use because it would be to complicated and intimidating!!)

I have had a play with Dorothy and she is amazing! I feel like a professional seamstress.

Me and Dorothy are going to be very happy together!

Please Note: no sewing machines where harmed in the making of this blog. Mini machine has been rehomed in Freckleton (with my sister) where she is leading a productive and seeing filled life.

Now, that's not to say that we can't substitute effectively. Last weekend I discovered that a pair of £5 dog brushes work very well as carders. Sometimes we can use a different tool and get the job done equally well.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Craft Junkie

When I was sewing at 7:30am on Friday morning (it was the first day of the half term holidays) Mr Bunny came into Gingerbread Bunny HQ and declared that I was a craft junkie.  It made me chuckle as, quite frankly, it is true.  I am addicted to craft.  I love it.  I would go without new clothes so that I could buy wool or a new sewing machine.  I have swapped Cosmo for Mollie Makes.  Any opportunity to craft, I grab with both hands- I crochet in cafes, in the car and in the waiting room at the doctors.  I do it because I love it!

This weekend I have been a craft junkie all weekend.  It was weekend 2 of my City and Guilds Level 1 course in Textiles through Felting.  I am really enjoying the course and finding it so challenging and rewarding.  It is really developing the design side of my craft and, quite frankly, aspects of it make my brain hurt - in a good way of course! 

We made 2 felt pictures, inspired by our sunset paper collages.  We used carders to blend colours, which is just amazing, and used both a white and a coloured background.  I discovered that I am a 2 layer felter and that I definitley think in pictures rather than the abstract. I love the second felt picture much more than the first as it has more depth.  I wish I'd added a touch of blue to the sky, but I will be able to do that when we embroider and emblish. 


First picture before felting

Felt picture 2

We did some uneven dyeing using our accent colour, mine being orangey yellow.  This was very cool - I have discovered a real love of dyeing.  Not knowing how it was going to turn out was very exciting. My felting friends created some amazing dyed fabrics in purples and reds.  It was fabulous.


I love uneven dyeing!

Of course, there was much more going on over the weekend.  In fact, it was nonstop and we got so into our felting on Saturday, we worked over lunch.  I have plenty of homework to do before the next weekend and I'm going to be felting at home this week whilst I'm on half term. 

Here is a final treat.  We ate our luch outside on Sunday as it was such a beautiful day.  We made a new friend, a gorgeous black cat, who spent a lot of time with us.  Isn't he a cutie?!

Our new furry friend

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Felting Happy!

I have finally returned home from a long, tiring, but extremely fun weekend!
This weekend I have started a Foundation Course in felt, which leads to a City and Guilds Level 1 qualification in Textiles, with Artybrid up in Carnforth.  I first learnt about Artybird in 2011 when I attended my first Woolfest.  Me and my Mum oohed and ahhed over the beautiful sketchbooks and samples of the felting the students had made and I decided then that I wanted to be a felter - I even bought a kit to make a felt flower (which I never did make) in my enthusiasm to learn this art.  At that time, my weekends were rather hectic and I was unable to commit but, when I met them again at Woolfest, I knew that I had to do it!

So, after a few months of waiting for September to come around, trailing around shops to buy felting equipment (cane blinds, bubble wrap, dog brushes etc) and reading through the assignments for the first weekend, the day eventually came around and I was off up the M6 to learn how to felt.

The weekend has been amazing!  I have made some new crafty friends, taken a completley new perspective on colour, made paper collages, dyed fabric and made my first ever piece of felt (which apparently was really good!!).  My sketch book has started and I can't wait to spend more time on it next weekend, reflecting on what I have learnt and created so far. 

If I write this post without giving credit to Mr Bunny, he may refuse to help in the future!  He made me the perfect sprinkler for felting and sorted out some old towels for me.  He is now tasked with creating me a washing line in the bathroom to dry all my dyed fabric (there just aren't enough radiators in the house!) and shortening my rather large broom handle into 2 smaller ones for felting).  Thank you Mr Bunny.

I have enjoyed it all so much that I want to do it again tomorrow - I can't wait for the next weekend!
_________________________________________________________________________________

On a completley different, but not completley unrelated, note, The Gingerbread Bunny stall was out and about in Liverpool today at a belly dance event.  My assistant Bunnies (Mum and Janice), kindly looked after the stall and did a brilliant job!  I may hire them again!  Thank you x

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

What happened to summer?

Well, summer has disappeared - did it ever really arrive? Despite the odd sunny day, it has pretty much rained and been miserable and now it is pretty chilly to! For some this is bad news but for us knitters and crocheters it means we can finally get on with cowls, scarfs, jumpers and cardigans in smooshy yarns without worrying about overheating (like that was ever a problem!)

I have a queue as long as my arm of items I want to make and I still have my Pax shawl and Fresh Stitches Dragon to finish before I even start something else! I have yarn and patterns ready to go once they are finished - my stash is pretty large at the moment and keeps getting larger!

Now that autumn has arrived, I also have the start of my City and Guilds felting course this weekend (squeal!) and I have enrolled on a 6 week dressmaking course at night school starting in September. Add to this lots if making to sell at a belly dance event and I'm a pretty busy person - will I find time to make for me?

So, eventhough summer has gone, autumn is the season of the knitter and crocheter and it is time to dig deep in your stash and get working on that sweater that's been in your Ravelry queue for ages!

(below is a picture to remind you of the summer - it was taken on my birthday way back in June when it was warm enough to eat ice-cream)

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The Hills are Alive Part 2 - New Kids on the Block!



As promised, here is part 2 of The Hills are Alive - crafty podcasts I love to listen to whilst I'm sewing, crocheting, knitting etc etc etc

Part 2 is appropriatley called New Kids on the Block as these are (relatively) new podcasts.  Hopefully, there will be a podcast here that is new to you that you can try out!

Shinybees
The Shinybees podcast is in it's infancy - there are infact only 3 episodes so far but it promises to be a brilliant podcast.  The host, Jo, is originally from England (infact, we have been friends for 15 years and I am godmother to her daughter so I know her pretty well and may be slightly biased about his one!) but now resides in South Africa.  She talks about her sewing and knitting as well as her experiences in South Africa in a friendly and chatty way that is easy to listening.  Well worth downloading!!

Knit.Spin.Cake
I love Knit.Spin.Cake.  A podcast that has been around for a year now with a gorgeous Geordie presenter who not only talks about craft but also about cake and Doctor Who!  There is lots of chat about knitting, spinning and sewing - another fabulous podcast

Crochet Chat
You do not know how excited I was to find  a podcast dedicated to crochet!  The lovely Stacey Trock, who is Amercian, presents this podcast which has only been around since March this year.  She chats about crochet and it is fabulous!  Stacey is also the lovely Fresh Stitches and her amigurmi designs are truly awesome and well worth checking oout on her website and on Ravelry.  If you are a keen crocheter, this is the podcast for you!

So, that rounds up the podcasts I listen to.  I love them all because they are all so different and inspiring.  They are all available to download from iTunes and I hope you found something new to listen to whilst crafting!

Sarah x 

Friday, 31 August 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy!


Look what I've been up to - Oswald the Owl

As the title suggests, I've been rather busy lately. My creative mojo is most defintley present and my head is full of crafty ideas for The Gingerbread Bunny. 

I have been planning my newest venture, Crafty Parties for children and workshops for both children and adults and am currently checking out venues to hold these in.  I am really excited about these as teaching is what I do.  I love sharing my knowledge and passion with others and empowering people to be able to do it for themselves.  I am hoping to hold my first workshop before the end of the year and then, come the new year, I can really get stuck into them.

I have also been working on some funky applique designs.  This all came about because I wanted a t-shirt with a russian doll on and I couldn't find one anywhere. So, I decided to have a go at making one.  I bought a vest and used the internet to find a suitable template and then set about using up scraps of fabric in my stash, some bondaweb, embroidery thread, felt and Suzie the sewing machine to put it all together.  I really enjoyed making it and loved the finished product.  My Mum thought I'd bought it! From this, ideas came into my head for other designs, including ones for bellydancers (my alter ego!) and it has taken off from there.  I have developed 4 designs so far, Rita the Russian Doll, Oswald the Owl, Fatima and Tania the Tribal Bellydance Doll.  There are plans in process for a Gothic Doll, a lotus flower and a yarn themed design.  So far, I am creating vests, tshirts and tote bags but again can see project bags for knitters and crocheters, children's tshirts and even babygrows in my applique future - if it stands still, it is in danger of being appliqued!


Rita the Russian Doll
I am still crocheting as well and have just completed a custom shrug for my aunty to wear to a wedding.  I used some lovely orange Sublime bamboo and pearls yarn which is so soft and has a beautiful sheen to it - ideal for a wedding!  The design was very simple and, to add a bit of something special, I bought 2 beautiful bamboo buttons from the Textile Garden which had branches and orange flowers painted on - they really finished it off.  I would highly recommend the Textile Garden for buttons, shawl pins, clasps and even funky ribbon. 

The new term brings lots of new courses to.  At the end of September I am starting a City and Guilds Felting Course with Artybird in Carnforth.  It involves me attending 1 weekend a month for around a year and I am so excited about it.  I have always wanted to learn how to felt and this is a great course.  At Woolfest examples of work and projects were out to look at and, I have to say, it was amazing.  I only hope my work is as good.

I am also hoping to do a 6 week dressmaking course starting in November.  My aim is to be able to make an A-line skirt out of the beautiful Amy Butler fabric I bought in the sale from John Lewis last month.  I am far to scared to take the scissors to it at the moment so this should, hoepfully, help me turn it into something I can wear.

And finally, at the end of November I am returning to The Tribal Sleepover (a bellydance event in Huddersfield) to teach 2 crafty workshops in Fabric Flowers and Art Journaling.  I have some exciting ideas planned and I am really looking forward to sharing my love of craft with others.

To add to all this, the full time day job has returned.  The summer holidays are officially over and my crafting has to fit in with my job as a primary school teacher.  For the time being, crafting is limited to evenings and weekends although change is on the horizon and 2013 is definitley bringing new starts and challenges for myself.  Watch this space!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

New look blog!

Hopefully you will have noticed that the blog looks just a little bit different!  I decided that I wanted a new look to it and, as I was browsing the templates on Blogger I found this one.  I love the simplicity of it and the cleaness - if a blog can be clean - and so set about to customise it in 'Bunny colours'.

I would have liked to have been able to add an image to the blog title, alas I can't do this (I hope you are listening Blogger) but apart from that, I like the look of it and the fact that my stand alone pages can now be seen and accessed much more easily!

To help you out with navigating the blog, here are a few tips!

1)  On the right hand side there is a black bar which, if you hover over it, opens up to include my links to the blog feed, blogs I follow and my favourite sites!

2)  To read the entire blog post, just click on the link on the front page and it will open up.  If you scroll to the bottom of the post, you will find comments - click on this and you can read any comments and add your own!

3)  Hiding in the top right hand corner is a search box (for some reason it doesn't say search on it and I can't add it either!)  If you want to find posts about crochet, just type in crochet, hit return and it will bring all those posts up!

Feel free to let me know what you think about the new look blog - do you like it or hate it?  Do you think anything needs changing?  Would you like to see anything else on her?

Thanks for reading!

Sarah x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

The Hills are Alive ... Part 1 - Golden Oldies

As Maria famously sang in, what is one of my all time favourite films (who doesn't love a film where the heroine makes clothes out of the curtains?) the hills are alive with the sound of music!  In today's case, they are alive with the sounds of those wonderfully brave people who choose to make the fabulous crafty podcasts which I could not craft without.  It has crossed my mind on more than one occasion to start a podcast but a few things prevent me from doing this:

1 - My accent is very, very, very broad and northern and I'm pretty sure people outside of the North of England would struggle to understand me
2 - The thought of battling with sound recording equipment scares me to death
3 - I hate listening to the sound of myself recorded and therefore would be unable to edit myself

Luckily, however, there are many,many brilliant podcasts well worth downloading and to suit everybodies choice of crafty chit chat.  I have no less than 10 different podcasts on my phone and so I have decided to share these with you - hopefully there will be something out there for you!

NB:  Due to the rather large number I have to recommend,this blog post I am going to keep the reviews short and sweet and this post will come in 2 sections - Golden Oldies (this is no reflection on the age of the presenter) and New Kids on the Block (relatively new podcasts).




iMake
iMake is the first podcast I ever listened to after being recommended by a friend.  The lovely Martine from Guernsey presents a very professional show covering all aspects of craft from soap making to baking and, the main topic of converstaion, knitting.  I love listening to her and have learnt lots about Guernsey, a place I am now very keen to visit!

Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep is also a fabulous podcast all about knitting.  When I first listened to this podcast I wasn't a knitter at all but I absolutley loved it and downloaded all of the back issues immediatley.  Hoxton Handmade is the easy to listen to presenter and The Sheep often crops up in his own adventures (usually involving gin and cake!) 

Caithness Craft Collective
Caithness Craft Collective is one of my favourite podcasts ever!  The lovely Louise from Caithness in Scotland presents a beautifully rounded podcasts covering knitting, crochet, sewing and spinning amongst many other crafts.  Her Scottish accent is rather relaxing to listen to and the Daisy laugh makes me chuckle every time.  Sandy introduces segments wonderfully and even her husband gets in on the act in 'The Drams Section' which, as you might of guessed, is all about whisky!  She has a very active group on Ravelry where you can join in knitalongs and swaps.

A Playful Day
A Playful Day podcast by Green Triangle Girl is a British podcast all about knitting.  Again, it is easy to listen to and full of interesting information.  Her recent features on designers and other crafty folk where fabuklous to listen to.  Well worth a listen!

The Knitmore Girls
American mother and daughter GiGi and Jasmine (and now there's even a grandaughter who no doubt will be a future presenter), present the Knitmore Girls podcast all about knitting with a bit of crochet, spinning and sewing thrown in for good measure.  They even have their own smartphone app where you can stream episodes straight to your phone.


Miss Elle Knits
Miss Elle is a rather funky chick based in the south of England.  She has a rather cute voice that I love listening to and she chats about her love of knitting and crafting and helping out in a yarn shop (super jealous!) I think I saw her at Wonderwool but I was too scared to go and ask if it was her (incase it wasn't and said random person thought I was a bit strange)

Yarns from the Plain
Finally, for this section, we have Yarns from the Plain.  This Cheshire based podcast is friendly and easy to listen to.  Covering many aspects of knitting, crochet, spinning and other textile based craft, we find out about our presenters wonderfully woolly escapades.  She has, most recently, been involved in Woolsack, the project to make cushions for all the athletes at this years spectacular Olympic and Paralympic Games.

That's it for 'The Golden Oldies' of the crafty podcast world (no offence intended).  All of these podcasts can be downloaded from iTunes and the subheadings link directly to their blog, website or podbean site.  They can all be found on Ravelry and have their own very active groups to share ideas, projects, knitalongs and swaps!

Don't forget to keep checking for the second part, 'New Kids on the Block'!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Off the hook #3 - Hill of Tara shawl

It is finished!!! I am so excited (and slightly relieved) to have finally finished my shawl. I started it what seemed like years ago although in reality it was only the beginning of the year.

The hibernation of this project has nothing to do with the pattern - as an Aoibhe Ni pattern it is fabulously written and very simple to follow. You work it from the centre out in a semi circular shape, increasing at the points to get the pointy effect I so love about this shawl. You work in double crochet front loop only and the bigger it gets the longer the rows become. I made very quick progress at first and then seemed to slow down. Also, I decided that I wanted it to be bigger than the original pattern, really easy to do with this pattern, and this may have been one of the reasons it has taken so long!

I have used 4 or 5 (I've lost count) of King Cole Riot DK in The Deep. The yarn is a wool/acrylic blend and is gorgeous to work with and very soft when washed - it also comes in chunky and is great for mitts and hats! The shade is like the sea, blues, greens and a hint of pink!

I am so pleased with the finished shawl and can't wait to wear it in winter!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

There be sheep in these parts!

I love sheep! They are not only cute and funny but they also provide me with much of the yarn I need to keep my stash at an appropriate level for crochet and knitting.

My friend from work left last week to move permanently to the beautiful part of the UK that is the Lake District. I will be visiting very soon to partake in yet more of her delicious gluten free cakes and to enjoy the breathtaking views from her cottage.

As a crafter, I needed to make her an extra special leaving present. I considered many things from blankets to cushions an even a shawl but, after trawling through books for inspiration, I finally came upon the perfect gift - crocheted sheep. Now this may seem an odd sort of leaving/house warming gift but there are 3 reasons why I made them!
Reason #1 - the Lake District is renowned for its sheep. They are everywhere you look!

Reason #2 - my friend and her husband regularly play a game they have created called Sheep Bingo which involves using the numbers painted in the sheep to play bingo (I kid you not!)

Reason #3 - who doesn't need a pair of his and hers crocheted sheep in their life?

The basic sheep pattern came from the book Amigurumi. It was very easy to make using Sirdar Snowflake and a cream Arab weight yarn for the body and black Arab weight yarn for the head and feet. I omitted the bit for the top of the head and improvised a bobble hat and scarf for each sheep - they do a fair bit of walking and again the Lake District is a great place to walk!

I am very proud of my little mountain sheep and Mr Bunny chuckled at them for days as they sat on the mantelpiece waiting to be wrapped up. My friend loved them and they even made an appearance at our certificate assembly at the end of term. Whimsical gifts are by far the best!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Gingerbread Bunny HQ

Around a month ago, me and Mr Bunny embarked on the arduous task of redecorating the spare room, aka Gingerbread Bunny HQ! We are hoping to up sticks and move north of the border sometime in the not to distant future and this was the first room to be made over. Unfortunately, I don't have any before pictures but it was pretty dismal with pale blue walls, a manky border and generally an uninspiring room where I didn't want to spend much time creating and, as I have plans for The Gingerbread Bunny to grow, it needed to change!

It is amazing what a very large tub of white paint can do! Now white isn't a colour I would normally choose for my walls but they need to be pretty neutral for renting out purposes. Now worry not, I got the colour in there! My woodwork and radiator is yellow and I have managed to get just about every colour somewhere in my room to make it bright!

Storage was a big issue before (despite the large built in cupboard -which was full of rubbish!) We tidied up and organised the cupboard, putting a large curtain in front of it, and added some shelves to display my craft books (I never realised I had so many!) I've even managed to squeeze a 2 drawer unit under the table!

My favourite part of the whole redecoration was wall art! I found a gorgeous owl picture in IKEA and a great Make do and Mend canvas in a discount shop for £3.99! I have lots of cards and pictures I wanted on the walls so I created a little washing line and used pretty pegs to hang them all up! I even painted a notice board and glued buttons onto pins to make it all crafty!!!

I love cushions but haven't had any need for them, until now! My little cosy area is a place where I can sit and browse books, magazines and do a bit of crochet! My foam blocking boards are at the bottom (useful and stores easily) with a throw and my Attack of the Giant Granny Square blanket on top and lots of cushions!

I now love spending time in the new Gingerbread Bunny HQ and feel much more inspired to create and make!

(I apologise that all the photos are at the end but I am blogging from my phone and it won't let me place them anywhere else!!)

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Woolfest 2012

Woolfest!  I love it!  And this year's didn't disappoint.  We had a lovely journey up in the torrential rain and wind and, as we drove up the M6, had to keep checking to see what roads where closed due to flooding - brilliant.  It didn't turn out to be too bad and the poor weather certainly didn't keep us yarn obbsessed knitters, crocheters, felters and crafters away.

This year I took Mr Bunny with me for the first time.  We had to go and look at the animals first - various breeds of sheep, alpacas, goats and angora bunnies, before we could do anything else.  The rest of the day could have been a disaster with me 'dragging round' Mr Bunny whilst I comment on how pretty/soft/sparkly yarn is whilst he stands there looking bored as if to say 'it's only wool' but luckily the Rare Breeds Survial Trust where giving a talk and showing animals so Mr Bunny went to that whilst I spent all the money (he shouldn't have left me on my own!)

I think that I was quite well behaved. I bought 3 balls of petrol blue with a small amount of purple yarn (I think it is 4ply weight), 2 skiens of Easyknits Aran Tweed in purple and 3 balls of alpaca dyed pink, purple and turquoise.  I also paid a visit to the button stand (textilegarden) and purchased some buttons.  

One of the most exciting parts of the day was my visit to the ArtyBird stand.  They deliver textiles based City and Guilds courses in felting, fashion and embroidery up in Carnforth or via distance learning.  There were a selection of sketchbooks and work by current students and it is amazing.  So amazing that I have enrolled on the taught course for Level 1 Felting starting in September - squealllll!

All in all, it was a great day, as ever, everyone was super friendly, the ewes milk ice cream was delicious and the clog dancing entertaining.  I can't wait for next years Woolfest!

Sparkle and Shine!


The newest edition to my craft room - I am the sparkly button!

If you are a fan of The Big Bang Theory (a must for anyone a bit geeky) you may recognise the title from a chat-up line once used by Leonard.  Now don't worry, I'm not trying to chat anyone up (I'm happily married!) but it is perfect for my sparkly makes I want to share with you today.  I must admit that I am a bit of a magpie!  I love sparkly things and am drawn to them instantly so when I saw the tutorial for blinging up a pair of pumps in last months Mollie Makes I just had to have a go myself.


Squeal!  I love my sparkly shoes!

I used a cheap pair of white canvas pumps from Asda (I couldn't bear to do this to my Converse incase it didn't go to plan!), some silver fabric paint, gem tac glue and lots of sequins.  My sequins are overlapped and very close together to give that extra sparkly feel to them and I only sequinned the sides.  I found the easiest way to apply the sequins was to put a bit of glue on the end of a paintbrush and let it go tacky and use this to pick the sequins up - it made it so much easier than fiddling with them.  Gluing all of those sequins on, 1 by 1, did take a bit of time but I found that I could do it infront of the TV so it wasn't too tedious.  I actually found it quite theraputic. 

I have road tested my new super sparkly pumps out and they performed extremley well - I lost 1 sequin which I think is down to not enough glue on it - lots of glue is definitley key and as it dries clear you can't see it anyway.

I love my new pumps and no doubt will wear them until they fall apart (much like the purple glittery pumps I once owned which had holes in them by the time I would throw them away)!  I have already begun to think of all the different coloured pumps I could have - I may need a new wardrobe.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Off the Hook #2 - eReader Cover

I gave in and bought myself an eReader!  I'm not about to give up all my books or never buy another book again - my Kobo will never replace books -but it is so handy to pop in your bag and you get the instant gratification of buying a book and having it straight away (no more repeats of me waiting behind the door for the second Hunger Games book to come in the post).  Of course, when one gets a new gadget it needs a case and, being crafty, of course this had to be handmade. 



I used some left over wool from a bag I made (the wool came from B&M Bargains - £1.99 for a 100g ball in some delicious colours!) I crocheted ribbed squares in pink, purple and green, and then crocheted them togetehr in  grey in a patchwork pattern. I finished it with a button and loop fastening. 

I love my Kobo as I can get my instant book fix as well as being able to download my PDF patterns to it which is way more tidier than having lots of sheets of paper everywhere!  I have avoided buying craft books on it as it is black and white and I love the colours in these and think they are so important.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Off the hook #1 ~ Sock Yarn Mitts

To continue my series of posts sharing my finished items from the past few months, I bring you my finished mitts!  Now, I know what you are thinking, it's summer and, despite the vast quantities of wet stuff that seems to be pouring from the sky here in England, it is still quite warm out there and not 'mitt' weather.  No, I haven't worn them yet (as tempted as I was to show them off to the World) but I am looking forward to being able to slip them on when the weather starts to get a bit chillier.

As you may recall, I received some superb birthday presents way back at the start of June and my best friend, Shinybees (she has a fabulous blog here), bought me the most delicious ball of supertwist sock yarn from Nuturing Fibres in South Africa which had been hand dyed especially for me. I couldn't resist the temptation to use the yarn straight away and started searching for suitable patterns to use.  I chose the Boleyn Mitts by Aoibhe Ni from her collection of mitts and gloves in the eBook Gloves to Love (all the mitts are fabulous in here and I have plans to make more - no cold hands for me!)  They have a stretchy, ribbed cuff and are then finished with lace detail at the top.  You then add ribbon and a button to finish it all off - gorgeous.  



I made the small size, and my ball of sock yarn was 100g.  There is still some yarn left and I now need to decide what to make with it - quite possibly some flowers for brooches and my hair! 

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Off the Needles - Doggy Blanket

This is the first in what is going to be a long line of posts about items, of many different crafty natures, that I have finished.  I have borrowed the Knitmore Girls term 'off the needles' as I think it is fab!  I am aware that as late I have not been too 'on the ball' about updating my blog and so here I am remedying that.


The first item I want to share is my most recent completed project - the doggy blanket for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.  I have been knitting this as park of the KAL hosted by Plutoniummuffin.  I finished it last week and hopefully it has arrived or will do in the next few days.  The pattern was very easy to follow and I just love the little raised paw prints you get - so cute.

This is the first 'non-scarf' project I have made and I really enjoyed the knitting part.  Sewing 25 squares together and weaving in the ends - not so much but I kept going because it was for the doggys!

If you want to know more about the blanket and how you can knit your own blanket for BDCH click here for the blogpost!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Doggy Blankets

On Sunday I answered a plea.  A plea for help.  A plea for support.  This plea came from the lovely Plutoniummuffin who wanted kind knitters to join her in knitting blankets for the abandoned and mis-treated dogs rescued by Battersea Cats and Dogs Home in London.  This was a plea that, as an animal lover and supporter of animal rescue charities, I had to answer.

Some of the dogs who arrive at BCDH find kennel life stressful, may be ill or need an operation and are taken in by foster carers whilst they recover. The blanket is part of a 'doggy bag' which they take to their foster home to comfort them and then, when they are rehomed, they take this with them to ease the transition - what an amazing idea. 

I have been meaning to do for a while, and I downloaded the pattern a few months ago, but never got round to starting it.  This was the kick up the bum I needed to get it done and so I replied and joined the Knit A-Long (KAL).

Plutoniummuffin was very excited and you can see her reaction here on her blog. 

I chose my yarn, DK acrylic, in purple, lilac, royal blue, turquoise and yellow and retrieved my funky purple 4mm needles and started knitting those squares. 



The pattern, written by the wonderful Deadly Knitshade of 'The Scarf of Doom' fame, is entertaining (as always) and very easy to follow.  I have completed 5 squares so far in royal blue and I love the patterns for the paw prints - so cute! 




There is still time to join the KAL and to show your support for the dogs at Battersea Cats and Dogs Home (they are always wanting blankets so even if you can't join us now, you could add it to your queue for a future date!)  Links to the pattern, Plutoniummuffin and the Ravelry group are below.  What are you waiting for?  Get knitting!

Plutoniummuffin Blog,
@plutoniummuffinTwitter
Battersea Cats and Dogs Home
Blanket pattern on BCDH website
Blanket Pattern on Ravelry
Ravelry Knit A-Long Group

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A Crafty Birthday!

Last week I celebrated my birthday (hooray!) I spent a lovely day with Mr Bunny, which involved ice cram, and finished it nicely with a curry with my best friend Jo (aka Shinybees)
I received some fabulously crafty presents. A new sewing box from my friend at work and a Herdy Bank and quilting book from my Aunty. Mr Bunny bought me some hand carved crochet hooks and a voucher for Great British Yarns - yes, it has been spent! Shinybees bought me the most amazing yarn from South Africa which was especially dyed for me in pink and teal! It is so scrumptious and destined to become a shawl or a pair of mitts!


Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Well Deserved Break!

Last week I had a well deserved break and headed off to the north of Scotland for my hols with Mr Bunny.  My aunty kindly called in on 'The Farm' to feed the creatures whilst we enjoyed a busy, but restful week away.

We chose to stay in Gardenstown near Banff, along the Moray Firth, an area of Scotland we haven't really explored before and we fell in love with it!  Gardenstown is a fishing village and you have to take some pretty steep roads to get down to the sea!  We were staying in an old fisherman's stores, The Wee Hoose, which has been converted into the perfect, cosy holiday cottage for 2 with spectacular sea views. 


Gardenstown
The village was full of quaint cottages, a pub and a local shop called Gamrie Larder which sold the cutest pottery houses of which we bought 3 and 1 for my aunt.  They now have pride of place on my fireplace!

This area of Scotland is a great place for walking and wildlife spotting.  We took a walk up to Troup Head, an RSPB nature reserve on the cliffs and spotted ganets, guillemots and puffins - they are super cute. 



Troup Head
We regularly called off to see the seals at Portgordon who bask on the rocks quite close to the land.  We also had a close encounter with a deer who ran straight infront of the car one night - luckily we stopped in time although a stiff drink in the pub was called for after that. 

The highlight of the entire holiday for me were the dolphins at Spey Bay.  We spent many hours there in the hope that we might spot them and eventually we did.  I got so excited when I saw them that I feel over in my rush to get closer.  We were very lucky as we watched them for around half an hour feeding and playing in the bay and it was awesome.  To see dolphins in the wild is so special and I will cherish those meories for the rest of my life!  The Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society have a vistors centre at Spey Bay where you can find more out about dolphins and the local wildlife, including osprey and otters, as well as a little shop.  The volunteers in the centre are full of information and are very passionate about the dolphins - they were very keen to chat to everyone.  I adopted a dolphin, Mischief, whilst I was there to.


Sunset at Spey Bay
Amongst other activities we went on a boat trip, to the Glenfiddich and Glen Grant distilleries and to the Speyside Cooperage as well as popping along to local villages and catching up with some of our friends. 
I took my crochet with me but only managed  a few rows on my shawl as it was all a bit non-stop.  I started a scrap book whilst away and will share it with you all when it is complete later on this week.

I hope you are all enjoying this extra long weekend and eat plenty of cake!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Wonderwool 2012

It's been a whole since I blogged, so I thought I'd better get a post up before you all thought I'd disappeared! (life just keeps getting in the way!)

Last weekend I found the time to head down to Wonderwool in Wales. As I can't attend Woolfest this year (I'm away on a residential with my class), I needed to get my wool fix. I had even co-erced Mr Bunny to come with me! Plans were nearly scuppered by a very poorly guinea pig with an aggressive eye infection who needed feeding, by syringe, every few hours but my Mum came to the rescue and piggy sat for us.

Not being put off by the weather (which was truly terrible) we headed off early on Sunday morning and arrived just after 10.30am. Parking was easy and there was even a mini-bus shuttle up to the halls for the price of 30p (all money going to the Welsh Air Ambulance). We, however, thought it was a good idea to walk to the halls in the wind and rain. Needless to say, when we got to the halls we where freezing cold and in need of hot chocolate to defrost us!

The venue was huge and packed with traders and guilds. Just like Woolfest, I was totally overwhelmed by the choice of yarn and buttons and notions! We headed over to Toft Alpaca first to see the alpacas and proceeded to look at animals for the first half an hour or so!

We must have walked around 3 times before I actually bought anything as I just couldn't choose, despite being armed with a list! In the end, I bought some purple sparkly sock yarn from Laal Bear to make a shawl and a large button and alpaca pom pom (more a pet really) from Toft Alpaca. In all honesty, I could have spent a fortune!

Mr Bunny enjoyed himself, and I suspect he has bought me some birthday presents as he kept wandering off (he needs to learn that telling me to stay in one place just doesn't work, I'm like a magpie and if I see sparkle I'm off!). He loved the animals and had a go at weaving on a loom. He also bought a small amount of fleece so he can have a go at carding and spinning on my drop spindle!

Wonderwool isn't just about the wool. There are lots of other stalls selling textiles, buttons and lots if food! The wool schools they offer look fab and there are talks throughout the weekend. It is very well organised and there are plenty of people on hand to direct you and offer help. It is definitely worth a visit!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fabric Postcards

Yesterday I received the most beautiful items in the post; a needle felted postcard and flower brooch from my very kind partner in the fabric postcard swap. 


The lovely card and brooch I received
This swap was organised by the fabulous Caithness Craft Collective (presenter of the Caithness Craft Collective podcast which, if you aren't already a listener, you really should become one!)  through her Ravelry group around a month ago.  Being keen and eager to try new things, I signed up immediatley and then had to find out how to actually make a fabric postcard.  A bit of googling later, and some help from my fellow swappers, and I was ready to go.

My postcard was inspired by crafting for bliss.  I began by cutting a piece of fabric slightly larger than the postcard itself and then glued and stitched things to it.  Adding the card to the back was the hardest part and I definitley need to work on that!  Eventually it was finished and here it is.


The postcard I made
I really enjoyed making it and hope that it is the first swap of many to come.